Code of Conduct: A review and discussion

Author: drafterman ,

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  • drafterman
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    With the appointment of moderators, I think it is important to examine what exactly they will be using as the basis for their decisions. And that is the "Rules and Code of Conduct."


    I've decided to look at the document (specifically the Code of Conduct Policy section) and offer my opinions on the thing. My background? I write policy documents as part of my job, which involves a lot of establishing required behaviors on behalf of users for IT services with a primary focus on maintaining the security of information systems.

    The CoC is a policy document. It establishes requirements and expectations of individual behavior. Policies should be concise, consistent, and easy to read. It should use simple language, brief sentences, and choose words that reduce ambiguity (must/will/prohibited/required vs. should/should not/shall/may, etc). It should be consistent, not conflict with other policies, and not rely on volatile information that is subject to frequent change.

    Now, on with the show:

    These are the official site-wide moderation policies for DebateArt.com. These policies cover a wide range of topics, and you are advised to familiarize yourself within them.

    "you are advised" is right out. The Code of Conduct is the primary basis on which users are permitted to use the site. They are expected to follow these rules while here and failure to follow these rules is grounds for banning. While sites such as these are generally not held accountable for the actions of their users, it is advised that web site owners and administrators close any and all loopholes for potential liability.

    Recommendation: Change to "Users are required to read and understand these policies."

    I. Moderation
    A moderator (mod) is a person granted authority by the site owners to enforce the rules of the site, primarily, the voting policy and the code of conduct policy. Moderation actions are any actions taken by the mods to enforce the rules of the site. Moderators have complete discretion in the enforcement and interpretation of the site rules.
    Short. Sweet. To the point. It establishes what the mods are and defines the scope of their responsibilities.

    A. Moderation Structure
    There is one chief moderator and one deputy moderator. The chief moderator has the power to appoint (as needed) various assistant moderators beneath the deputy moderator to assist with various tasks. The chief moderator has the power to overrule the deputy moderator. The chief and deputy moderators are vested with the power, by the site owner, to take moderation actions at their discretion, with all exceptions to this power stated in these terms. Assistant moderators must receive prior approval from the chief moderator or deputy moderation to take moderation actions, and this approval must be granted explicitly for every action taken by the assistant moderator.
    "The chief and deputy moderators are vested with the power, by the site owner, to take moderation actions at their discretion, with all exceptions to this power stated in these terms." This is redundant with the power of discretion already granted to them in the previous section.

    Recommendation: Delete. Move reference to any exceptions to the previous section.

    "Assistant moderators must receive prior approval from the chief moderator or deputy moderation to take moderation actions, and this approval must be granted explicitly for every action taken by the assistant moderator."

    Good. Strongly worded. However, as a policy it doesn't make sense. If the assistant moderator must obtain approval for each and every action, then what are they good for? I don't see how this lightens the workload for the moderators themselves.

    B. Moderation Remit
    Moderation is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy from site ownership, and may exercise their discretion in moderation decisions. Moderators can take action regarding any conduct which they believe threatens the health of the site or the wellbeing of any site user. The code of conduct policy and voting policy are not to be interpreted as defining the complete scope of moderator authority. Moderators’ decisions are final and not subject to appeal, except to the moderators themselves
    A more verbose explanation of moderator discretion. Completely unnecessary and redundant. Stating that moderators have "complete discretion in the enforcement and interpretation of the site rules" pretty much covers everything.

    Recommendation: Delete entire section. Move lack of appeal to first section. First section should now read:

    "Moderators have complete discretion in the enforcement and interpretation of the site rules, with all exceptions stated in these terms. Moderator decisions are final and not subject to appeal."

    C. Recusal
    Moderators may recuse themselves in a particular situation if they deem it necessary, passing their duties in that situation off to another mod or to a trusted third-party (such a third-party must not have a track record of poor conduct on the site). Moderators must recuse themselves from moderating votes on their own debates and from moderating their own votes on others’ debates.
    The first sentence is redundant given the power of discretion already vested in them.

    Recommendation: "Moderators must recuse themselves from performing any moderation actions involving situations which they have participated in as a user (not in their official capacity as a moderator). In such a case, the responsibility of moderation will be deferred to the other moderator. In the event all such moderators are involved in the situation as users, moderation responsibility will fall to the Site Owner."

    Second sentence is good.
  • drafterman
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    II.Personal Attacks
    Personal attacks serve no purpose and only harm what we are trying to foster on this site. They will not be tolerated. This policy will take place site wide - in debates, forums and everywhere else. Do not make personal attacks, or there will be consequences.
     
    This is a website of heatedexchanges. Yet it should also be a place where all users can feel comfortable,a space where they can be free of personal attack. But on a website of suchvariety of ideology, and that's intended to foster debate, it's worth spendingsome time explaining what that means in our context.
    This reads more like a manifesto than a policy document. Policy documents should not contain editorializing.
     
    Recommendation: "Personal attacks will not be tolerated. This restriction applies to any place on the site where users can communicate with other users, to include (but not limited to): forums, debates, debate comments,votes, and private messages."
     
    A.Definition of a Personal Attack
    A personal attack, in the context of this site, is not "anything directed at a person that they find to be unfavorable". Not only would such a definition be absurd, it would stifle exchange and debate. If someone is being dishonest, calling them out on it could be considered by the literalist to be a "personal attack". You are, after all, saying something negative about them, personally. But that'snot what's intended by the policy.
     
    The goal is to foster debate, and allow for even heated debate and exchange of ideas, without allowing abuse and unwarranted attack.

    A personal attack can take several different common forms.There is some overlap between them, but it may be helpful to specifically outline a few:
    The entire policy document is "in the context of this site." This sentiment is inherently redundant and does not need to be stated. Also, presenting incorrect definitions only to refute them is silly. The policy document should contain only information users need to know. The rest is more mission statement stuff.
     
    Recommendation: Delete entire introduction except the last line. Reduce last line to: "A personal attack is any abusive or derogatory remark that relates to an individual as a person (or group of people) rather than the content of their claims or comments. A personal attack can take several different common forms (not limited to):
     
    1. Direct Attack
    A direct attack is when, outside the context of a discussion on the topic or of behavior in the course of that discussion, someone posts something negative about a specific member.Generalized complaints about generalized behaviors are not direct attacks. But,for example, a thread specifically calling out a member by name, and speaking negatively about them, is a direct attack. Attack threads will be deleted out of hand.
     
    There is another kind of direct attack,as well. The kind of post where someone drops in to just say something like"You're all idiots". While not a direct personal attack against an individual, it's still a direct attack against the members on the thread.
     
    If you have a problem with a member being on this site, the appropriate place to bring it up is with a moderator in private.
    This definition is horribly vague.Basically it is reduced to any off-topic comment that is negative about a specific member. This is almost as bad as the "anything directed at a person that they find to be unfavorable" definition that is disallowed.Furthermore, the definition goes in to basically contradict itself by saying that "generalized complains about generalized behaviors" are not direct attacks.
     
    The definition, defined as an attack against a specific member, then goes on to add attacks against not directed against an individual.
     
    Recommendation: Split into two types of attacks: Generalized Attacks and Directed Attacks.
     
    Generalized Attacks
     
    A generalized attack is any personal attack that is not directed to a specific individual but is instead made to a wide audience. For example: "You're all idiots" is not directed to a specific individual or groups, but rather addresses an undefined audience.
     
    Directed Attacks
     
    Directed attacks are personal attacks directed to a specific individual or specific group of people.
  • drafterman
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    2. Mere Insult
    A mere insult is a simple unjustified insult. "Stupidity" is not something that can be objectively shown or grounded. Nor can other insults with subjective meaning(a**hole, etc.). Some things which may be insulting can be justified. "You are saying something dishonest" can be justified objectively, by demonstrating dishonesty. If it isn't justified, though, then it becomes a mere insult. Mere insult of ideas is allowed, mere insult of people is not.
     
    Slurs against an entire class of people (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, ageist,ableist, religious, political, ethnic, or national groups) are mere insults.Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual orientation,ethnicity, etc., is not a legitimate excuse for mere insult.
    This entire section is redundant.The description here falls under the general definition of what a personal attack is and does not need to be called out as a specific example.
     
    Recommendation: Delete.
     
    3.Ad Hominem (Ad Hom)
    An ad hominem is a logical fallacy which every debater should be aware of, it is formally known as the Argumentum Ad Hominem. Ad hominem attacks seek to attack the the messenger rather than the message.
     
    Ad hominem attacks are not valid rebuttals, which is not to say that the every statement about the person in relation to their arguments is an ad hominem attack. Pointing out that of course a politician would deny cheating, whether they did cheat or not, is not an ad hominem. Claiming that of course someone cheated, because they're a politician, would be.
    An ad hominem is basically just a fancy Latin way of saying "personal attack." This section is completely redundant.
     
    Recommendation: Delete.
     
    4.Cross-Thread Contamination
    Another kind of personal attack is where a member with whom you've had heated exchanges in the past posts something unrelated, and you feel the need to bring up their actions there against them. Unrelated discussions are just that: unrelated. Sometimes new discussions do directly relate to the old ones. Then, it may be acceptable to bring up the old ones. Otherwise, if it's not related to the current discussion, it's just you attacking them to attack. That doesn't help the current discussion/debate, it only hinders it. Comment on the arguments presented, and the way they're being presented. Not about the member or your own general opinions of them. Treat every new exchange with a member with as much of a "clean slate" as possible.
    I like the idea, but this is completely wishy-washy.
     
    Recommendation: "If a user repeatedly replies or directs comments to another specific user about a specific subject or argument across different forums or threads outside the context of the original discussion, the comments and behavior as a whole will be considered a personal attack, even if no individual comment meets the criteria previously established."
     
    5. Accusations and Threats
    If you're going to accuse a member of something, remember that serious accusations require serious evidence.Egregious misconduct of the kind likely to warrant immediate banning should be reported to moderation rather than complained about in the forums. However, if you want to discuss something like an accusation of a supposed vote bomb, you may bring up the vote for discussion, provided you actually have cause to make the accusation. Without that evidence, an accusation is as stifling to discussion as a threat. It should be noted that, even with a justified accusation, stating what consequences will result would be a threat. Threats are, for the purposes of this policy, personal attacks. They are not tolerated.Threats include (but are not limited to):
    • Threats of legal action.
    • Threats of violence (even oblique ones).
    • Threats of "Doxxing"someone, particularly if the threat implies exposing the user to political,religious or other persecution.
    • Threats of moderator reporting or moderator action.
    More wishy washy language. Also,we're threatening to ban people if they make any unfounded accusation? Ridiculous.
     
    Recommendation: Eliminate reference to "accusations" and reduce to "Threats." Also, making the threat of moderator action itself a threat seems bizarre. Statement should read: "Threats are considered personal attacks and are not permitted. Threads include (but are not limited):
     
    • Threats of legal action.
    • Threats of violence (even oblique ones).
    • Threats of "Doxxing" someone, particularly if the threat implies exposing the user to political, religious or other persecution."
  • drafterman
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    Fighting Words
    Fighting words are posts intended solely to provoke or belittle. They're essentially a form of bullying. Even if you've avoided the specific use of an insult, if you post a diatribe intended solely to make someone feel bad, you're going against the goal of the site. If you're getting in the way of that goal, even if you're technically keeping your hands clean, expect to have a conversation on the subject with moderation.
    The language should be tightened up a bit.
     
    Recommendation: "'Fighting words' is any comment or series of comments designed to provoke or incite another person into prohibited action. 'Fighting words' will be considered a personal attack even if the comments themselves do not otherwise meet criteria previously established.
     
    In summary, the list of personal attacks should now read:
     
    1. Generalized Attacks
    2. Directed Attacks
    3. Cross-Thread Contamination
    4. Threats
    5. Fighting Words
    B.The Just Kidding Excuse
    Remember that the internet is a primarily text-based medium; tone of voice doesn't always come through. If you meant to be kidding, but the person you were joking with didn't "get it", trying to say "I was just kidding" isn't going to be a sufficient defense.

    This is dodging around the main point, which is: the response of the recipient, not the intentions of the speaker, is the primary determinant of whether or not a comment is a personal attack.
     
    Recommendation: "The abusive, insulting, or derogatory nature of a comment will be judged based on how a reasonable individual would interpret it.It is not based upon the intentions of speaker, unless those intentions were stated clearly and explicitly prior to the statement of the remark.'Reasonable' interpretation is left to the discretion of the moderators."
     
    C.Non-Exhaustiveness of the List
    This list of personal attacks is not an exhaustive list of personal attacks, nor is it an exhaustive list of conduct which may warrant moderator action. At their discretion, moderators can take action regarding any conduct which they believe threatens the health of the site or the well being of any site user.
    Redundant with previous sections.
     
    Recommendation: Delete.
     
    The next few sections is a bit weird and addressing it point-by-point overlooks the larger structural issues. You have a section on warnings, then another section on bannable offenses. You should have all prohibited behavior in one part of the document, then the consequences of that behavior in another section.
     
    Recommendation: Create new section:
     
    III. Other Prohibited Behavior
     
    The following additional actions are forbidden:
     
    1. Doxxing. Posting (in private or public) any real-life, personal, or personally identifiable information about another user.
    2. Circumventing Site Security. Bypassing the technical and operational security measures of the site - including any action to access the site once banned.
    3. Multiple Accounts. Having multiple accounts used by the same person, or having one account used by multiple people.
    4. Adult Content.Posting adult or pornographic content.
    5. Impersonation.Impersonating other users or site staff.
    6. Illegal Material.Posting content which is illegal in the user's jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of this site.
    7. Vote Manipulation.Using any measure to alter another person's vote or to vote on a debate more than once.
    Recommendation: Combine sections the sections of "Warnings", "Temporary Bans", and"Permanent Bans" into a new section:

  • drafterman
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    IV. Consequences For Violation
     
    A. Warning
     
    In response the first instance of observed or reported behavior of a user, moderators will issue a private,written warning to the user in question. The specific comment, message, post,or vote in violation of policy will be cited in the warning. The moderator will provide a link to these policies to the user, and state that subsequent violations will result in the additional consequences identified therein.
     
    B. Temporary Ban (Temp Ban)
     
    In response to the second instance of observed or reported behavior of a user, moderators will temporarily ban the user from the site for one week. The user will be provided with an e-mail that contains the specific comment, message, post, or vote in violation of the policy, along with the reference to the warning previously given in accordance with this policy. The user will be provided with the date the ban will no longer be in effect.
     
    C. Permanent Ban (Perma Ban)
     
    In response to the third instance of observed or reported behavior of a user, moderators will permanently ban the user from the site. The user will be provided with an e-mail that contains the specific comment, message, post, or vote in violation of the policy.
     
    D. Good Behavior
     
    Users previously warned or temporarily banned that is active for a month without additional violations of this policy will have their record expunged. The next violation of the policy after such a period of good behavior will be considered the "first"instance for the purposes of this policy.
     
    E. Recidivism
     
    A user that has earn a tenth temporary ban in accordance with this policy will instead be permanently banned.
     
    D. Trials
    Trials of users are prohibited.Trials foster a culture of mob rule, and are thus counterproductive to the interests of fairness, order, and effective site administration.
    Trials fall into the definition of personal attacks as thus defined. They do not need to be called out. Section is redundant.
     
    Recommendation: Delete.
     
    IV.Profanity
    The use of profanity without asterisks or similar non-letters replacing the majority of the letters in the word is a minor offense and is discouraged.
    Behavior is either permitted (and thus does not need to be called out) or is forbidden. "Discouraging"or "encouraging" behavior does not belong here.
     
    Recommendation: Delete.

  • drafterman
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    Sorry, there were a lot of formatting errors with the cut-and-paste. I've fixed (most of) them.
  • bsh1
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    --> @drafterman
    I don't view this as exclusively a policy document. In its original iteration on DDO, it was also an argument for the conduct being required, primarily because there were concerns regarding whether the rules were appropriate. I think containing some editorial remarks is useful in explaining to readers of the policy why that policy is in place. I'm also not going to be so rigid as to lay out precise benchmarks that automatically trigger a ban, for example. Moderation is a more human process than that, and I don't think mechanically applying standards of that sort really serves anyone (but the moderator) well.

    That being said, there are some of your recommendations I like, particularly some issues of wording, and I'll work them up and submit them to the site owner this afternoon.


  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    I don't view this as exclusively a policy document. In its original iteration on DDO, it was also an argument for the conduct being required, primarily because there were concerns regarding whether the rules were appropriate. I think containing some editorial remarks is useful in explaining to readers of the policy why that policy is in place.
    It absolutely should be exclusively a policy document. Or, at least, it should be exclusively one thing, not a bunch of things. This is one of the main issues I had with "policies" drafted by Max: they were trying to be too many things at the same time. The problem when you do that is you weaken the overall message and structure of the whole thing. I'm all for debating or understanding why the rules are the way they the are, I'm just saying you don't clutter your Code of Laws with that information; you make it a separate document. It's like the Declaration of Independence and the Lee Resolution. One is a giant, flowing philosophical treatise on human rights and the role of government. Another is a short, concise, statement that officially declared our independence.

    The purpose of this document is to tell the users what they can and cannot do on this site, and the consequences for violating that. Waxing philosophical about the nature of debate and communication on the internet should be reserved for a separate document. A mission statement or something like that.

    In the same vein, how moderators make their decisions (in terms of having votes or consensus) shouldn't be in this document either. That should be a separate procedural document that concisely spells out, to the moderators, how they perform their duties.

    It isn't exactly a controversial thing to suggest that a document have a singular purpose directed at a single audience and that information and messages that serve a different audience or are for a different purpose are best put in a separate document.

    I'm also not going to be so rigid as to lay out precise benchmarks that automatically trigger a ban, for example. Moderation is a more human process than that, and I don't think mechanically applying standards of that sort really serves anyone (but the moderator) well. 
    Well, to be fair, that's Mike's decision, not yours. Your role as a moderator is to enforce the CoC. If you are saying you can also decide what that CoC is, then there seems little point in having one, since you can just will it to be whatever you want it to be at any given moment. After all, consider that you will not always be the moderator. Do you want just anyone to have that kind of leeway when it comes to moderation here? Or would you rather they be constrained by explicitly stated principles that have been decide in advance?

    Clearly defined consequences do serve the user, as it deters moderator abuse. If the CoC clearly says you're temp banned for one week after a second offense. Then a moderator can't come in and temp ban you for a month after a first offense. Clearly defined standards serves both the moderators and the users.

    Again, how the moderation team comes to its decisions about what constitutes a violation (within their proscribed discretionary powers) is up to them to define as a matter of procedure.
  • drafterman
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    Now, the specific number of offensives that trigger a specific consequence can certainly be argued. But I stand by the general principle that the specific actions that trigger specific consequences should be defined and explicitly stated. If it's 526 violations that trigger a a temp ban until the next Blue Moon, fine, but the consequences for violating the rules shouldn't be a surprise.
  • Castin
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    I agree with a lot of draft's points about redundancy and organization. The CoC did seem a bit repetitive when I was going over it.

    If the assistant moderator must obtain approval for each and every action, then what are they good for? I don't see how this lightens the workload for the moderators themselves.
    I thought this as soon as I read it.

    Trials fall into the definition of personal attacks as thus defined. They do not need to be called out. Section is redundant.
    In earlier site discussions, there was talk about the idea of bans by popular vote. A few seemed to see it as democratic. I interpreted this as the CoC making a point to declare it stands against that (thank goodness).

    The purpose of this document is to tell the users what they can and cannot do on this site, and the consequences for violating that. Waxing philosophical about the nature of debate and communication on the internet should be reserved for a separate document. A mission statement or something like that.
    I'm perfectly fine with the why's of the rules being included with the rules themselves. But perhaps each rule could have a Why? button at the bottom of its section that expands an editorial explanation of the rule.

    2. Mere Insult
    A mere insult is a simple unjustified insult. "Stupidity" is not something that can be objectively shown or grounded. Nor can other insults with subjective meaning(a**hole, etc.). Some things which may be insulting can be justified. "You are saying something dishonest" can be justified objectively, by demonstrating dishonesty. If it isn't justified, though, then it becomes a mere insult. Mere insult of ideas is allowed, mere insult of people is not.
     
    Slurs against an entire class of people (such as racist, sexist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, ageist,ableist, religious, political, ethnic, or national groups) are mere insults.Disagreement over what constitutes a religion, race, sexual orientation,ethnicity, etc., is not a legitimate excuse for mere insult.
    This entire section is redundant.The description here falls under the general definition of what a personal attack is and does not need to be called out as a specific example.
    I think the last paragraph should be kept and moved to the definition of a Personal Attack. Specificity is good.

    Also, we're threatening to ban people if they make any unfounded accusation? Ridiculous.
     
    Recommendation: Eliminate reference to "accusations" and reduce to "Threats."
    The first thing that leapt to my mind was accusations of multi-accounting. They're inevitable and not uncommon. I've seen accusations of multi-accounting I heartily believed myself. But there's no way a member can produce hard proof to back it up, so this not uncommon thing people do may result in a lot of policing if it's interpreted as "unfounded accusations".
  • drafterman
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    I'm perfectly fine with the why's of the rules being included with the rules themselves. But perhaps each rule could have a Why? button at the bottom of its section that expands an editorial explanation of the rule. 

    That's a very interesting compromise; I like it.

    I have two main issues with the "why" being included in-line in the same document.

    1. The longer and more verbose a document is, the less likely it is to be read and understood in its entirety. That's just a fact. And what you absolutely, positively want, in this case, is people to read, understand, and conform to the CoC. People understanding why a rule is the way it is, doesn't matter. It may sound callous, but as a site owner and moderator, they want user obedience, not user agreement. Agreement is icing on the cake, but if it gets in the way of conveying the desired result, it should be set aside.

    2. It raises a potential issue where a user may agree with the rule, but disagree on the why of that rule. Two people can agree on the same course of action for different reasons. If what matters is the course of action, then talking about the reasons is only going to foster argumentation, which then in turn distracts from the course of action! This is just human behavior. You can put a document in front of a person, and they can agree with 99% of it, but damned if they won't chew your ear off about the 1% they disagree with.

    Putting the "why" in its own document insulates the CoC from that kind of disagreement. People might still disagree with the overall philosophy, but that disagreement will be directed away from the CoC, not at it.
  • Vaarka
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    you're all idiots
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1 @David
    you're all idiots
    And here's the trial balloon of the moderation team. A violation of the policy (II.A.1), one of the examples, verbatim, of a violation (perhaps deliberately chosen for that purpose).

    And, remember, "Just Kidding" (II.B) is not an excuse.

    What happens?The policy isn't clear. On the one hand, the policy states that personal attacks won't be tolerated and that there will be consequences. However, the warning section says the moderators shall warn in response upon "observing patterns" of conduct violation. Is a single post a "pattern"? If so, has Vaarka received their warning? If not, does that not mean you are "tolerating" this behavior?
  • bsh1
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    --> @drafterman
    It absolutely should be exclusively a policy document.
    I don't see the argument for not including justifications for the rules within the policies document. The policies function sufficiently on DDO, and I see no need for a major overhaul of the wording. I do, however, understand that there is a need to justify rules to readers of the policies.

    Well, to be fair, that's Mike's decision, not yours.
    Of course it's Mike's decision what the COC says. But I am not going to be a moderator for a COC which is overly prescriptive. Overly defined standards create far too much room for users to game the system by utilizing technicalities to avoid punishment. Moderators need the ability to implement their best judgement as a reflection of community standards, period. Moderation is not and should not be a math equation. It should be a human exercise that is able to take into account extenuating circumstances and shifting site norms, rooted in the COC.
  • bsh1
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    --> @Castin
    If the assistant moderator must obtain approval for each and every action, then what are they good for? I don't see how this lightens the workload for the moderators themselves.
    I thought this as soon as I read it. 
    The utility is much like Blade-of-Truth to Max, for example. The recommendations of assistant mods make it easier for the primary mods to just make a cursory review the incident (inasmuch as the primary mods trust the judgement of the assistant mods).
  • Vaarka
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    --> @bsh1 @David @drafterman
    you're all idiots
    And here's the trial balloon of the moderation team. A violation of the policy (II.A.1), one of the examples, verbatim, of a violation (perhaps deliberately chosen for that purpose).

    And, remember, "Just Kidding" (II.B) is not an excuse.

    What happens?The policy isn't clear. On the one hand, the policy states that personal attacks won't be tolerated and that there will be consequences. However, the warning section says the moderators shall warn in response upon "observing patterns" of conduct violation. Is a single post a "pattern"? If so, has Vaarka received their warning? If not, does that not mean you are "tolerating" this behavior?

    tfw I made a joke but it helped out

    idk how they're planning on handling this, but saying that what I said is not allowed and punishable is kinda dumb imo. It's a statement that doesn't really carry much weight behind it.

    Don't get me wrong, I think that call-out threads and actual threats/attacks should receive attention, but if I hop in a thread and say "lol you guys are retarded" then it's not a personal attack. On top of that, since I haven't specified a particular member, you can't argue that I'm targeting someone and, more importantly, it can go ignored by the other participants of the thread. 
  • David
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    Statements like “You all are idiots” will be dealt with on a case by case basis. On MU it would most likely be a warning but not an infraction. 
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    I don't see the argument for not including justifications for the rules within the policies document. The policies function sufficiently on DDO, and I see no need for a major overhaul of the wording. I do, however, understand that there is a need to justify rules to readers of the policies.
    For the purposes of argument, let's accept that there is a need to justify the rules to the readers (there isn't, but that's irrelevant to the issue at hand). There is still the question of whether there is a need to justify it, in the rules document itself. Including the justifications in-line necessarily makes it more complex. Complexity necessarily makes it less likely to be read and understood and necessarily increases the occurrence of error and disagreement. If you want a document to be read, understood, and followed, then it is an accepted general precept that it should be kept as short, concise, and simple as possible.

    Codes of laws do not contain philosophical musics on the purpose of the criminal justice system.
    No organizational policy document I've read or written intermingles directives with justifications. At most, an introductory paragraph may provide a broadly stated justification or rationale for the rest of the document, but this is still segregation of philosophy and procedure.

    Overly defined standards create far too much room for users to game the system by utilizing technicalities to avoid punishment.
    I agree, except the "standards" I provided in terms of defining what constitutes unacceptable behavior isn't significantly more "defined" than what is already there. I simply eliminated redundant language and tightened up the wording. The issue you had was with the proscription of punishment. As I wrote it, the only way to avoid punishment is to not violate the CoC.

    If a user somehow comes up with some unforeseen technicality that results in undesirable behavior being allowed, guess what: you petition to have the CoC amended!

    Moderators need the ability to implement their best judgement as a reflection of community standards, period. Moderation is not and should not be a math equation. It should be a human exercise that is able to take into account extenuating circumstances and shifting site norms, rooted in the COC.
    Moderation, like any form of legal or quasilegal systems, should eliminate the human element as much as possible. If you could turn over moderation to a bot, I'd vote for that in an instant. Your suggestion simply roots power in the specific personalities and dispositions of the people in power which is a horrible idea. The only reason a human element needs to exist because right now, the human brain is the best machine available to interpret the actions and words of other human beings and make appropriate categorizations. Once the categorization of behavior has been made (as acceptable or not) then the response to that should not be at the discretion of the mod. The punishment should already be predetermined for a given violation.
  • David
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    Unless someone actually reports the post neither myself nor bsh will take action unless it’s super egregious. 
  • drafterman
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    --> @David
    You have an actual case staring right at you; this isn't a hypothetical question. You have an explicit CoC violation right here, right in this thread. There is your case. How do you respond?

    It is a verbatim policy violation basically cut and pasted from the CoC. Joking is not an excuse. So what is the moderation response for DART (as opposed to MU, whatever that is)?
  • drafterman
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    I reported it. Now what?
  • Vaarka
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    --> @drafterman
    I reported it. Now what?
    yeet I reported it too
  • David
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    --> @drafterman
    The mod team discusses the report and makes a decision. Infractions, warnings, and reports are all private. Reports are also completely anonymous. We don’t know who flagged the post. 


  • Castin
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    --> @David
    How are infractions private, unless they're being committed in private messages? And will you guys be implementing that thread for announcing and explaining bans or other rule enforcements?

  • David
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    --> @Castin
    infeactions will be handled privately and occur via PM. Most of the time it’ll probably just be mod coaching. 

    As per the ban thread bsh is opposed to it so most likely not. I still think a ban log is a good idea.