Zero Tolerance

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Vaderize03, Aug 7, 2004.

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  1. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Ok everyone, here we go:

    After "The State of the Senate", it is clear that not only are personal attacks on the rise, but the level of tension around here has risen to nearly-uncontrollable heights.

    Now, to be brief, this is what we are going to do about it:

    From this point on, there will be a "zero-tolerance" policy towards personal attacks. There has been altogether too much flaming and baiting going on around here. Responding to posts with sarcasm, biting cricism, and/or condescention will get one-and only one-warning, followed immediately by a 24-hour ban. This will apply to all members; it's going to be a "shoot-first, ask-questions-later" kind of deal.

    There are plenty of examples of individuals who can debate without berating the opposition. Please, to all the members of this forum, we can and must do better. The bitter partisanship and "I have to win every argument at all costs" attitude that is so prevalent in the senate is going to stop.

    This may seem harsh, but we believe it is necessary to preserve the functionality of the senate. I know that everyone can rise above the urge to bash the competition; let's do everything we can to make this forum a better place.

    Thank you.

    Peace,

    V-03

    V-03 EDIT: The time has come to shut this thread down. It has served it's purpose, and while the policy will continue until we deem it is no longer necessary, discussion of it will not. We all know what we need to do to make the senate a better place, and it's working. I know that we can reach great heights here, and I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone is capable of :).

  2. TripleB Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 4
    THis was brought up in the STATE OF THE SENATE THREAD, but I might as well bring it up.

    THere have been only a very few times where I have ever actually said "Hey (insert name), your a (insert whatever you want)" and the few times I did, I did so with the full knowledge of what I was doing and what the consequence would be. I am sure KnightWriter and KK will tell you some story's.

    However, I would say 99% of my posts are "generalizations". While they are designed to express my direct opinion on a certain subject (namely liberals/liberalism), the fact is, the Senate is supposed to be about Issues and not about personal attacks.

    As I have said, I have a very thick skin, and the result is, that while I make plenty of generalizations, most of the replies to them are not generalizations in return, they often tend to be more personally directed at me. I don't actually have a problem with it: I see someone come back screaming things at me, and I smile and laugh and it often inspires to go on even harder on the issue.

    But I am also aware that many a poster here on these boards, despite the fact that I am making my attacks against them personally (which I am not), and instead of arguing on the issues have instead resorted to crying to moderators via PM to whine about it. I will take a step back right now and see if they (the complainers) have anything to say about it.
  3. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    This complainer does.

    TribleB, whenever you use generalizations, you insult every person that falls under that generalization personally. Insulting in mass is just as personal.

    Think of my personal insults like sniper fire. Yours would be an atom bomb. The end result is that the target is just as dead.

    Generalizations are not any better than personal attacks because they are personal attacks en masse.

  4. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    About time.

    Like the dozen or so of us who are left from the Golden Age of the Senate - pre-Iraq War II, when a thread could grow by 3 pages in about 10 minutes - I miss the calibre of posts and posters from those days.

    So, cry havoc! and let slip the Mods of War.

    E_S
  5. Jedi_Hood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2000
    star 6
    Glad to hear it....the Senate has not been a pleasant place lately.
  6. TripleB Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 4
    JediFlyer said

    This complainer does.

    TribleB, whenever you use generalizations, you insult every person that falls under that generalization personally. Insulting in mass is just as personal.


    I disagree. For one, we are talking about electronically generated HTML text messages that are projected upon computer screens'. They don't have any power to insult you. It is only what you read into them that has any effect.

    I have no problem with generalized attacks against things I believe in, because I believe I am more then capable of fighting them off. If you have a problem defending the issue at hand, then perhaps I am on target with it?

    Think of my personal insults like sniper fire. Yours would be an atom bomb. The end result is that the target is just as dead.

    1) Personal Insults are specifically forbidden by the TOS on this site. They make it very clear: Keep it on the Issues, and as such, while I am walking the tight rope at times, the fact is what I do is within TOS.

    2) I like the Sniper Rifle vs Atom Bomb analogy. I would argue "Why Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight?". The result is that there are things your side could be saying if you wanted to say them and would make things all the better.

    Generalizations are not any better than personal attacks because they are personal attacks en masse.

    I disagree.
  7. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    Good policy. Kudos. There's no question in my mind the Senate has been a much nastier place of late, and a lot of good posters may have gotten scared off as a result.

    As I have said, I have a very thick skin, and the result is, that while I make plenty of generalizations, most of the replies to them are not generalizations in return, they often tend to be more personally directed at me.

    That probably means that, whether you intended to be or not, you were the direct cause of a bunch of people feeling insulted. (Blame those people for feeling insulted, if you want, but you must admit you were still the one responsible for the production of those words.) Instead of telling other people to get a thicker skin and potentially getting yourself banned under the new rule, it would be soooo much easier to just be more diplomatic and polite in your wording.

    Furthermore, I could ask why you need to make generalizations that could be interpreted as insults by others. Example: instead of imputing that Democrats are associated with the Satan of your religion, you could name a specific issue and explain in non-value judgement-related terms why you disagree with the Democrats' perspective.
  8. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    While I'm not a big fan of zero tolerance policies in general, it may just be that this is the best option left.

    I certainly understand why this has gone into effect, and I hope it has a positive impact on the Senate.
  9. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I'm not this was meant to be a place in which we bury or praise anyone.

    And no, I won't stop the Shakespearian remarks.

    But seriously, this wasn't a place for us to either tell someone what we think they're doing wrong, nor for people to exonerate or rationalise their posting in an attempt to contextualise it. We have been told that there will be no tolerance of misbehaving; and should someone step out line, they will be nailed to the wall by the Mods of War.

    Simple as that, really, and neat. Except when Kimball goes postal with a butterknife. Then it'll get messy. :eek:

    E_S
  10. Dark Lady Mara Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 1999
    star 7
    But this thread was posted in the Senate! You can't honestly expect it not to fill up with pages and pages of ramblings! :p

    Seriously, you're right. I apologize.
  11. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Generalizations are not any better than personal attacks because they are personal attacks en masse.

    I disagree.


    Well, I don't, and neither do the rules. They clearly say not to label the views of others, and blanket generalizations are a form of labeling. They are almost always an attempt to take a complex issue and reduce it to simple soundbites.

    Let me provide two similar examples from opposite sides of the political spectrum. There may be some truth to some liberals wanting to have more soldiers get kileld/wounded in Iraq so that Bush loses the election, but that doesn't mean that all liberals (or even all ler left liberals) want that. In the same way, there may be some truth to some gun owners being irrational with regards to personal safety, but that does not mean that all individuals who buy a gun for protection are irrational.

    In both cases, the generalization is an attempt to take what applies to only a small portion of the group and apply it to everyone. Such things do nothing to promote a peaceful discussion, and instead come across as thily veiled attacks on anyone associated with one of those groups.

    Similarly, when a person starts claiming that "anyone who votes for Bush/Kerry/Clinton/Gore/Nader/Perot/Mickey Mouse is an idiot, it also does nothing to maintain a positive environment in the Senate. Personal attacks on the candidiates do nothing towards that goal either, and instead will only stir up trouble from that candidate's supporters.

    These things aren't needed, and only hurt the Senate. Unfortunately, they've become far too common in recent weeks.

    Kimball Kinnison
  12. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    The general point is that we would like to see a return to respectful debate, rather than the angry generalizations and partisan nitpicking that has become the norm around here.

    We are frustrated and feel that the only option left is this one. Hopefully, we won't need it for very long; the senate has oftentimes taken care of itself, but the cynics seem to have taken over, and the "win-at-all-costs" attitude is going to stop.

    I remember those days, Ender, and they will return. Count on it ;).

    Peace,

    V-03
  13. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    Being lazy I decided to dig some comments I made in The Senate Floor Focus Group last year.

    While I understand fully why they do it, my view is that Senate Mod's come down too hard on personal comments. The Senate Floor is home to some very serious discussions, more so than other forum, most of them are things that many of us feel very passionate about. Politics, religion, morality and ethics are subjects that arouse very strong opinions and in many cases personal points of view are equally if not more important than facts. Take abortion as an example, the question of whether life begins at conception or birth is down to personal opinion. There is no scientific fact that proves the POV of either side correct. Such discussions are by there very nature always going to be personalised to some degree. This is not to say that out and out flames are acceptable, they are clearly not, but sometimes personalised comments are a legitimate part of a debate. I will admit that it is an extremely fine line but IMO the Mods currently take too harsh a line on this issue.


    I understand where everyone is coming from on this but I don't see it as achievable to take "partisan nitpicking" or the attitude of "win-at-all-costs" out of political debates. For better or worse politics is partisan and it is about winning.

    I will say again that I do not condone flaming and offensive comments but given the subjects discussed here it is inevitable that there will be some level of personal comments. Perhaps I'm excessively thick skinned but I don't think that anyone should get too upset over "sarcasm, or condescention" and if they do I have to worry about how such people cope in the real world. As for generalisations, they harm the person making the comments more. They make themselves look idiotic and discourage others from having serious debates with them.

    So I'm sorry to say that while I respect the good intentions of the mods I find their take on this subject increasingly irrational and flawed. I will of course fall into line.

    **Flicks the sarcasm switch to OFF**
  14. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    What we're trying to do here is to foster mature debate.

    While you're point that this may not be how people react in the "real world" is valid, it certainly is in line for expected standards of behavior for a debate team.

    In a way, the senate is really just a bunch of individual debate teams. We simply want to see more respect than has been shown of late, that's all. We've been commenting on it for a long time, we had the focus group, the State of the Senate thread, and nothing changed. It was time to get people's attention, and this is how we did it.

    Hopefully it won't have to last too long.

    Peace,

    V-03
  15. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    As for generalisations, they harm the person making the comments more. They make themselves look idiotic and discourage others from having serious debates with them.

    Very much agreed.

    However, I think an unfortunate byproduct of that is an increasingly negative environment for a thread or the forum itself, and to clutter up discussion (or just plain derail it).
  16. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I think debate and discussion in this area is all but exhausted; the mods have set a zero tolerance policy, we abide. Imagine them as T.E Lawrence:

    [image=http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/630/lu2.jpg]

    "NO PRISONERS!"

    E_S
  17. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I've already ahd to ban at least one person because of this policy. When we say that we are going for zero tolerance, we mean it.

    It is time that this petty bickering, baiting, flaming, labeling, generalizing, and childishness stops. I don't care if we have to ban half the Senate to get everyone to settle down and stop sniping at each other. Enough is enough, and it's time that everyone realized that.


    Kimball Kinnison
  18. alpha_red Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2003
    star 5
    Ooh! Ooh!

    Y'all just got told. :p
  19. Dracmus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 4
    i don't post a lot here, but i do read a lot of threads. personally, the Senate is about as nice sometimes as the actual US Senate. there are a lot of personal attacks (one of the reasons why i don't post much anymore)

    on another note...all we need now is Mr Cheney to make an appearance and we will be all set... :p ;)
  20. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Since one of my threads was used as an example for the zero tolerance policy, I don't see a problem in stating that I'm a bit perplexed by this equating of personal attacks with "generalizations" about groups.

    If someone says, "we all know liberals have no regard for the sanctity of human life" I think 9 out of 10 people immediately recognize this as partisan puffery, driven by ideology, and incorporating a few obvious rhetorical ploys. As such it has no capacity to offend me. If I choose not to ignore it, I ask, because this is after all a debating forum, if the person can define "liberal," define "regard" and define "sanctity of human life."

    It turns out by "liberal" he means "anyone who has ever voted democrat in a national election," by "regard" he means "political activism" and by "sanctity of human life" he means "in favor of all prohibitions against any kind of abortion."

    So, simply by asking, we find out that what he means is "Anyone who votes democrat is against total prohibition of abortion."

    Ok. There's some truth to this statement. Many people who vote democrat are against total prohibition of abortion.

    But why not let him throw his statement out into the public forum to see how it flies? Maybe he just doesn't know how to properly articulate an opinion. Maybe we do him and ourselves a great service, or at least get to entertain ourselves for a few minutes, by letting him post his generalizations and then tearing them apart in a congenial way.

    I say we should encourage each other to think a little bit before we raise a stink about someone's posting style. Don't whine to the mods simply because you don't like the person's opinion and you feel personally affronted by a non-specific generalization. Maybe it's unreasonable to feel personaly affronted by a non-specific generalization. If the shoe doesn't fit, try not wearing it.

  21. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    But why not let him throw his statement out into the public forum to see how it flies? Maybe he just doesn't know how to properly articulate an opinion. Maybe we do him and ourselves a great service, or at least get to entertain ourselves for a few minutes, by letting him post his generalizations and then tearing them apart in a congenial way.

    We've tried that, and all it has done is led to an increased tension level and additional combativeness. When we warn people not to label others' views, they sometimes stop for a little while, but then they go right back to the same old stuff.

    Quite frankly, it's childish. It's one step above namecalling and other playground-type behavior, and we expect a lot better from everyone in the Senate. It's also extremely disrespectful to everyone (on both sides) and violates the TOS of these boards.

    For example, if a preson goes into a thread on homosexuality and starts calling everyone who disagrees with homosexuality a homophobe, it's not adding anything productive to the discussion, and is only likely to stir up trouble. Similarly, telling a goup of liberals that all liberals want troops to die so Bush loses the election will only stir up trouble as well. Saying that people who buy guns for personal protection are irrational or cowardly does the same thing. Calling liberals communists, socialists, pinko-commie-leftists, or whatever is just as bad. Calling people who support Kerry traitors or Bush supporters idiots/fools/etc also doesn't help anything.

    It's like the This Land parody says, "You're a liberal weiner! You're a right wing nut job! You're a pinko commie! You're dumb as a door knob!" and so forth.

    It doesn't matter if you don't intend it to apply to any specific user here. The generalizations still cause problems, and they need to stop now. If people don't settle down and quite the partisan bickering and sniping at each other, we're going to have to move to even more drastic measures, such as making the Senate a private forum (like 3NS) until after the elections and requiring users to register to post in the Senate. If they continue to cause problems, we would revoke the ability to even read the Senate, let alone post. We don't want that, and I doubt any of you want that either.

    Kimball Kinnison
  22. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    All I can tell you is that it's going to be much easier to enforce a zero tolerance policy against insults and attacks than a zero tolerance policy against "generalizations."
  23. Cheveyo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    For example, if a preson goes into a thread on homosexuality and starts calling everyone who disagrees with homosexuality a homophobe, it's not adding anything productive to the discussion, and is only likely to stir up trouble.

    How about the discussion within that topic of homophobia, as it is described in real world psychology? Is that accepted, since you're not calling anyone homophobic, but giving information on what homophobia really is.

    OR is that just a no-no word altogether, that we should add to the list of profanities here? ;)

  24. Darth_OlsenTwins Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 5
    Can we install and enforce a rule that whomever brings Nazi's or Nazism or Nazi Germany or Hitler into an argument that has nothing to do with these subjects, automatically loses said argument?
  25. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    How about the discussion within that topic of homophobia, as it is described in real world psychology? Is that accepted, since you're not calling anyone homophobic, but giving information on what homophobia really is.

    But by whose definition of homophobia?

    For example, religioustolerance.org defines it in such a way that almost anyone who voices an opinion against homosexuality is homophobic. Even something like writing a letter to a congressman is enough to earn you that label, according to them.

    The most common definition I have been able to find (through several books and the help of Google) is simply an irrational fear of homosexuality (with a secondary definition that applies to a homosexual afraid of their own sexuality). Most resources provide slight variations to the wording of that definition, but keep the same basic meanings.

    It simply causes problems in an already charged discussion. Inevitably, someone starts using people in the thread as examples of "homophobia", or draw parallels to peoples' comments.

    It falls in the category of making those same sweeping generalizations. Its very much like making the erroneous claim that all opposition to homosexuality is religious in nature (when there are people who are not religious who oppose it). It's not going to improve the discussion, and only causes problems.

    Kimball Kinnison
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