Zero Tolerance

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

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  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I think we need to see if we can give the mods constructive advice that will help them in implementing the policy.

    My first thought was that maybe moderators should simply be less actively involved in particular debates, but I have concluded that this would be horribly unfair. These guys are volunteering their time. They deserve to have a stake in any thread they want to post in.

    Then I thought maybe we could ask the mods to refer any problem with a poster in a thread in which they are currently active to another mod for resolution, to avoid any appearance of bias. But my concern there is that this may not be very practical, or even possible in most cases.

    So my conclusion is that I don't have any constructive advice for the moderators. Sorry. Good luck gentlemen!
  2. Kimball_Kinnison Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    So, I'm questioning both the policy and the way it has been applied. You're all basically dug in here, so perhaps the next time something happens, all the mods could try following the same policy equally. PM the user with a warning. Maybe you could vote among yourselves for the appropriate progression of discipline after that depending on the case. Don't be so individually righteous about what you think is a violation, when another mod might potentially see things differently. And, if a user has a complaint, don't question their motives or psychology while glossing over your own.

    The thing is that we've been trying the "give a warning" approach for quite some time. It wasn't working. Part of the purpose of this thread was to provide a clear, general warning to everyone to watch themselves. We've also had similar warnings in several threads. We've made these warnings as public as we can in order to get the message across to everyone that things need to shape up.

    Does that mean that we're going to be a little touchy or trigger happy at times? Probably. However, the whole purpose is to get people to step back from the line and show a little more personal responsibility before posting. That's why we're only making them 24 hour bans for violating the policy (barring other offenses that compund the length). 24 hours is about the minimum length for any ban given on these boards, and is meant to serve as basically a more noticeable wakeup call for all users.

    And it has been working. Like Mr44, I've gotten several notes from people all over the Senate complimenting us on the improvement in the tone here. People have been returning to the Senate. We have more variety in our discussions. In general, the Senate is becoming a better place.

    Kimball Kinnison
  3. Darth Mischievous Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    The 'Zero Tolerance' policy has indeed improved the atmosphere around here, and it makes for a more level discussion forum.
  4. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    BTW, thanks to several of you for the background info. I lurked on the Saga, Lit and 3SA boards for months before making an account and posting, but I never really found the Senate until very recently. It helps me to know what has generally been going on.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 10
    This is why a Zero Tolerance policy should be abandoned. Each case should be dealt with individually. There are always exceptions, even with Zero Tolerance, so it seems then that what happens is that minor infractions get the full weight because of ZERO TOLERANCE, whereas larger ones that get ignored are left alone (by mistake, but it sure makes the minor infraction's punishment seem all that more severe.)



    As Cheveyo said, this simply did not work.

    You are an old timer here, you should know this place wasn't as good as it once was, nor could and should be.

    People were leaving the Senate on account of the negative atmosphere in here, and that's something we all must take responsibility for.

    The fact that this place has improved measurably is a testament to the policy's success; we were being downright nasty at worst, overly negative at best, and the Moderators made a tough decision to restore the balance in the Senate.

    However, to lift the policy right now in my opinion would be a mistake, and I would argue against it most vociferously. It's not simply good enough to behave when under the scrutiny of the Moderators; it must be instilled in each of us that the way were are behaving now, under Zero Tolerance, is the best way foward.

    My position of support for the policy and moderators has not changed one bit.

    E_S
  6. Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Yes, well, if we installed camera's in everyone's homes and put the country on constant Big Brother surveillance, I bet we could cut crime by like 80%. Doesn't make it right, results shouldn't justify bad policy.

    But hey, its not that big a deal, and I'll admit I have enjoyed the results of said policies, (except when it came around and bit ME of course), but I still don't think its anything but a harsh and easy solution.

    Rather than reason or simply remove offensive posts, banning someone on a first offense is ridiculous. Is ONE warning really that hard? Furthermore, I don't believe this policy will be carried out effectively, just arbitrarily.
  7. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Is ONE warning really that hard?

    So, let me ask you a question, OWM, that may put this into perspective:

    How many warnings have you received?


    Now that such a question has sunk in..

    Are you honestly claiming that you are unfamiliar with the rules?

    If I'm wrong, I'll apologize, but I know what you are asking for.

    When you say "one warning," you really mean a freebie at that time. And that's the problem.

    Simply put, too many people had that same attitude. A flame would be thrown out and then the person would sit back and wait for their warning. 3 days later, they would do the same, and expect another warning..

    When 5, 6 or 7 people do this in a row, the forum becomes downright hostile.

    Like we have always said, this should be a temporary solution, until the baseline for Senate posting is re-established.

    However, the concept that has ALWAYS remained constant is that people are responsible for their own posts, "warning" or not.

  8. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    OBM, be fair.

    You've broken the rules numerous times; the fact that you haven't been mean-spirited about it doesn't mean that you get a free pass. I will agree that while being argumentative without flaming/baiting is probably not as big a deal as actually engaging in flaming or baiting, both constitute an equal violation of the TOS and both must be dealt with the same.

    "Zero tolerance" is less about "one warning and you're out" (although that is part of it) and more about "all offenses are equal, all members are equal". The mod staff in the Senate has been accused before of not applying the rules equally to all based on length of membership, personal preference and political affiliation. This, amongst the other reasons also stated, is partially why we have chosen to deal quickly and harshly with anyone who creates problems. No problems are too small; the policy is most likely not permanent but stands for now. Challenges to it that fall outside the TOS will be considered rule-breaking.

    I know that you mean well, OBM, but constant haranguing on a point after being asked to stop does violate the TOS, and it can get you banned, just as surely as a personal attack will.

    Things are already calming down. Hopefully they will continue to do so.

    Peace,

    V-03
  9. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    That things are calming down is not an indication that the policy is right, but that it is working. It might be working for the wrong reason, through intimidation, rather than through fairness.

    "A flame would be thrown out and then the person would sit back and wait for their warning. 3 days later, they would do the same, and expect another warning.."

    That is a very good point. The obvious response is that the discipline should have progressed, more PMs, more edits, longer bans, etc. No offense meant, but it is lazy, faux leadership to create a one-size-fits-all approach and shrug it off as a necessary evil. I know it's more work to dole out measures in progression per case, but that's what fairness, which is its own reward, requires from leaders, more work...
  10. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I've thought about this problem too, and my conclusion is that the mods are overworked volunteers involved in a thankless task. But too many moderators can be a bigger problem than too few moderators, and the ability of the current mods to reach a workable concensus among themselves for policing the forum is a valuable thing indeed.
  11. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Yes, I agree. Sorry if I sound hypercritical. I'm talking about the theory more than the practice. I believe that if we don't set our theoretical goals high, we can't complain when we don't get off the ground in practice...
  12. Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    I know that you mean well, OBM, but constant haranguing on a point after being asked to stop does violate the TOS, and it can get you banned, just as surely as a personal attack will.

    -Not so fast Vader03. This is a thread dedicated to discussing this misguided policy you three have implemented. If you don't want to hear about it, ask your colleagues to close discussion on the thread.

    Mr. 44, Vader, you both raise good points. Mr. 44, I especially sympathize with your point about people skirting the rules and EXPECTING the warning as a freebie. By all means, ban trouble makers. From now on if I make a blatent "label" go ahead and ban me too.

    My problem was that I honestly didn't think I wrote anything that was out of line. I still think the context of my bannable statement shows the "label" wasn't a serious infraction, I was just expressing what I thought I was seeing.

    Furthermore, to take your policy to its logical conclusion, I couldn't even say "Liberals believe in equality and freedom." I couldn't say "Conservatives believe in fiscal responsibility and the order of law." Heck, in the extreme I couldn't even say "Bush supporters oppose Kerry's bid for the Presidency." These are now bannable offenses which I assume you are not banning people for.

    What zero tolerance does is stifle the expression of ideas. I think the three of you know what is appropriate and not appropriate on these boards, so I don't know why you have to try and justify your actions with a Zero Tolerance policy. Seriously, why do you even need to have such a policy?

    I mean, I can understand not INSULTING others, ie. "all liberals are pink-commies" "all conservatives are right-wing nutjobs," but sometimes a spade is a spade and you want to call it out. But if I said "conservatives will vote for Bush," how do you reconcile such a statement with your zero tolerance policy? You'd have to ban me again, and every other user who makes any sort of label, otherwise you are just arbitrarily using a justification that you only selectively implement.

    If a person is being a problem, ban them. If they make an honest mistake, like I did, then you should give them the benefit of a warning. Use your knowledge and intuition, I think you'll find them a little more reliable than applying zero tolerance policies without any thought.

  13. Cheveyo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    The obvious response is that the discipline should have progressed, more PMs, more edits, longer bans, etc. No offense meant, but it is lazy, faux leadership to create a one-size-fits-all approach and shrug it off as a necessary evil. I know it's more work to dole out measures in progression per case, but that's what fairness, which is its own reward, requires from leaders, more work...

    Setting aside for a moment Jab's excellent point about voluntary mod's, Let us try to put this into perspective.

    This forum is not a Mom-n-Pop production, nor has it been for many years. I can't even begin to count how many posters there are (though I'm sure the number is traceable for anyone reeeeeeally bored enough to look for it). The kind of one-on-one PM guidance/discipline is simply not a realistic approach in this environment if the goal is to be both fair AND all-encompassing.

    Think of it from a managerial perspective. You have a twenty people raising the same type of trouble in your office of 700 employees. Is it best for the morale of the office if you sneak each person individually into your office and chat with them about how you feel they are being inapprpriate? Or is it best for morale to show decisive action across the board against those who are disrupting the office?

    The latter has the dual purpose of disciplining those who are not following guidelines while illustrating to the rest that such behavior is not tolerated.

    So, really, it all comes down to you. If you cannot control you behavior long enough to post within the guidelines, then--as warned (And this thread should be acting as our "1 warning")--you have no one to blame but yourself for any action taken against your access to this site.

    It's simple common sense.

  14. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Well, then using simple commonsense, you should allow that the PM is just the first step for a first offense. After that, discipline progresses, and that will in fact, given the publication of such a policy, send the signal to everyone else. I wasn't advocating just PM'ing people and doing nothing else...
  15. Cheveyo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Well, then using simple commonsense, you should allow that the PM is just the first step for a first offense. After that, discipline progresses, and that will in fact, given the publication of such a policy, send the signal to everyone else. I wasn't advocating just PM'img people and doing nothing else...

    But then it falls to the moderators to maintain a database of all posters and the number of warning sthey have received. The database has to be in a shared location, and edittable by all mods. The database would be a list of ALL posters on the forums, and would need to be updated everytime a new poster is created.

    I'm sorry, but this is just not practical, especially in light of the alternative--that being, everyone is responsible for their own behavior.

    Moreover, to do so would be poor business sense, as it is inefficient and leaves too much room for error.

  16. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Everything you're saying applies just as well to Zero Tolerance. The points are moot.

    edit: I mean that technically, of course. I'm not disagreeing per se...
  17. Cheveyo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2001
    star 5
    Everything you're saying applies just as well to Zero Tolerance. The points are moot.

    The points are moot, in that the policy is here; no amount of debate will change that.

    To you first statement, however: That is simply not true. My points apply exclusively to a system other than a blanket ZT rule. With this policy, mods need only to monitor (dare I say moderate?) this forum. No housekeeping is required other than that which is already in place. No need to keep records of who has been warned, and no need to get into semantic debates in PM over whether or not something was implied or inferred the wrong way.

    Why is this a problem for some?


  18. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    OBM, I was not referring to any particular discussion within this thread, but an incidence from the past when you were told repeated to "drop it" (in reference to a situation) and you didn't; a ban was subsequently handed out which, IIRC, you felt was not justified.

    That's what I was referring to.

    Like I said, when things appear relatively calm, we will back off.

    Peace,

    V-03
  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 10
    OWM, we all get one warning. They gave it [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=16634438]here[/link]. ;)

    E_S
  20. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    Cheveyo
    "...No need to keep records..."

    Ever heard of the division of labour? In theory, one mod does the PM warnings and keeps up with that correspondence. Those cases needing more discipline are passed to the second mod, who starts editing and issuing public warnings (warnings in the forum itself), then those needing even more deterent are passed to another mod who does the banning and keeps up with those durations and rebans. The labour becomes easier as the discipline progresses, because the numbers of offenders goes down gradually.

    Of course, in practice it might not be so tidy, but there's no need for a complicated process between the 3 mods, in this case. Just simple division of labour and good cop/bad cop handling. I would think with more PMs the need to progress matters would go down, as well. That first mod would need to be one who just liked sending PMs! :)

    "Why is this a problem for some?"

    Because, generally, decisions are made by those who show up. I may not have any effect whatsoever on the policy here for now, but I'm pretty sure I've got several of you thinking about it.

    This is a pretty good forum (as TF.N forums go), and if what you are all saying about the good ole days is true, then it would be great to see that again. I just don't think the smackdown is the way to go in the long run. It may be possible to consider lifting Zero Tolerance at some point in the future, and my feedback just might be of some help to the mods: That's why ;)
  21. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 10
    The smackdown isn't the main emphasis of Zero Tolerance. Think Tarkin; "Fear will keep the local systems in line."

    Essentially, knowing you have no leeway to flame, bait, or otherwise behave in an anti-social manner is going to leave you with three choices; get banned anyway, leave the Senate or work harder at making a valued contribution. The latter is obviously what the Moderators want; the other two are the necessary evils in order to achieve that.

    Matter, you should go back a year and look at the older threads, like the Iraq War ones, then you'll know why we're getting misty eyed for the Better Days. ;) :D

    E_S
  22. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
  23. Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    OBM, I was not referring to any particular discussion within this thread, but an incidence from the past when you were told repeated to "drop it" (in reference to a situation) and you didn't; a ban was subsequently handed out which, IIRC, you felt was not justified.

    -Why bring this up at all? But since you did, that was the most unfair ban of all. All I did was repost a rule in the rule thread, no commentary, NOTHING. I just reposted a rule and I got banned. Even if reposting a sentence that the mods themselves wrote is a bannable offense, you proceeded to ban me for actions I had already been disciplined for and had stopped doing. Namely, the PM spamming. It would kind of be like if the mods added four days extra banning to my sentence last week (for the labeling 1-day ZT ban I got) for my PM spamming four months ago. THat didn't make any sense Vader, Kimball already warned me to stop PM spamming and I did, you had no right to ban me for it.

    -Second, I think my point about the arbitrary nature of this policy is NOT moot. Like I said, you cannot possibly follow this policy out to its logical conclusion or you will stiffle discussion to a reasonable degree. Besides, then Kimball should be banning anyone who states that homosexuals are sinners or that Mormon's are good god-fearing people.

    And I still don't think what I wrote to get my most recent ban constitutes a flame or even an improper label. I stated that I believed conservatives were all too willing to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on his war record. Is that really a bannable offense now? Without even a warning?

    I know you all like people to act all kind and decent, but most of you are patriotic Americans (or wait, I probably can't say that anymor either?) and this type of policy on speech should shock your moral compass to SOME degree.

    Has it really gotten so bad?
  24. TripleB Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 4
    I guess I should chime in again.

    I brought up in a few threads, I raised the spectre on some "Teasing/Baiting". I call it "Teasing/Baiting" becuase while I was well aware that Gonk was being playfull (even though he insulted my precious Kitty....), and while I know deep down that Ender_Sai was just playing, the fact is, he has been the most criticial of me in the past when I have attempted to "Play" and in some cases, took things that were in complete good jest, and cried enough about it that helped convince Red-Seven to give me a ban more then once for it.

    I agree that "Zero-Tolerance-Zero Fuh" is no fun for everybody. At the same time, I have held back on retaliating on some things because I was not sure how hard a reprisal I would face for it.

    So where exactly are we on this? That is addressed more to moderators then anyone else.
  25. Obi-Wan McCartney Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Trip, fifty percent of the stuff you say is now considered a bannable offense man! Any ad hominem attacks on liberals and democrats are out.
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