Etiquette Expectations

Author: Ragnar ,

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  • Ragnar
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    Discussing religion online, often needlessly devolves into toxicity. This thread is an attempt to both mitigate that, and help new users find their path.


    Words of Wisdom:
    “Despite our own fervency. Religion nonetheless does not offer up any definitive answers. Therefore we must always be tolerant of opposing beliefs and opinions.”
    -Zedvictor4
    “We must admit that refutation is the greatest and chiefest of purifications, and he who has not been refuted, though he be the Great King himself, is in an awful state of impurity.”
    -Plato (suggested by Discipulus_Didicit)

    ==========

    Formatting Best Practices:
    For actual debates, I highly suggest referencing the guide. However, for general forum use, just obey a few simple guidelines:
    1. Space between things is useful if you wish to be legible
    2. Don’t bold and/or CAPITALIZE all of your text
    3. Don’t misquote other users
    Regarding the quote tool (just right of the underline button when making a post), bare in mind it adds an extra space after paragraphs; so if replying just after it, use a couple line breaks around each section.


    Correct Way
    What’s being replied to...
    Reply to the above, followed by two line breaks to separate it from the next point of discussion.


    What’s being replied to next...
    Reply to the above.


    Wrong Way
    What’s being replied to...
    Reply to the above, disguised to look like it’s replying to what’s below; adding needless confusion.
    What’s being replied to next
    Reply to the above, disconnected from the flow of everything else.


    The problem with this is there are no extra line breaks, which clusters the wrong bits together. That the formatting does this is known, so use the extra line breaks.

    ========

    Code of Conduct:
    A new Code of Conduct (CoC) was ratified June 1st, 2020.

    There are two frequently relevant sections of the CoC:
    1. Targeted Harassment
    2. Violence
    This should not need to be said, but if a behavior is obviously wrong, don’t do it.


    Making Reports
    To make a report, click the flag icon on the offending post. Ideally also message a moderator to explain what CoC violation occurred, as some posts have a lot of text and we usually have to read several others to determine context. So please make it less difficult.

    The context of who is making the report does matter. As an example, some users are friends in real life, and make rude seeming inside jokes at each others expense; it being consensual, mitigates the offense.

    Most things you dislike are not offenses that should be reported (such as the mere fact of having a contradictory opinion), you being  “triggered” does not constitute a CoC violation.  When someone writes something you dislike, first imagine a line in the sand. On one side of the line is civility, and the other savagery. Usually just a reminder is enough. A user without history of crossing the line, will be shown more leniency than someone who regularly skates it. The users who tend to be banned, are the ones who forget there is a line at all. Of course the ones likely to be indefinitely banned, might ask “what sand?”

    Some examples of disagreeable statements, posts akin to the delinquent ones should be reported...

    Expressing frustration with immaturity:
    • Borderline: “The job of moderation is not to be your surrogate parents.”
      Problematic, but not outright vile.
    • Delinquent“Clearly your daddy didn’t beat you enough, so I’m going to take your mom out to a nice dinner; don’t wait up...”
      Don’t start imagining things about peoples upbringing, especially not to insinuate child abuse, or infer intent to... Just don’t ok?

    Response to mind reading:
    • Borderline: “I didn’t know you have super powers to know what I was thinking! What’s it like to be a superhero?”
      Sarcasm is usually warranted, and as an isolated case it does not cross the line into excessive trolling.
    • Delinquent: “Oh yeah? You’re a Nazi!”
      Accusing someone of direct involvement with genocide, is almost never warranted.
      (This example had to go in here somewhere, and I did not have any good bad reply to the common BS of members claiming to know what someone else is thinking)

    Please submit more hypothetical examples, and suggest any refinements to the above (layout and/or content). The basic idea here is to make people aware first that there is a line to be crossed, and further about where that line is (without getting too ugly).


    ========

    Trolls (and comedy):
    A troll is a mythic cave dwelling being, with an appetite for billygoats.

    Nothing attracts trolls like attempts at intelligent discourse. They are usually best handled by simply ignoring them.

    Overly sensitive users are going to accuse anyone who so much as cracks of joke (or corrects them) of being a malicious troll, so I will use the term a bit open-endedly.

    There are three types of trolls (or with vulgarity):
    1. Clowns who are not necessarily trying to inspire anger.
    2. Losers with nothing better to do with their lives than try to anger strangers.
    3. Idiots who say things so stupid you mistake them for the Type 1 or Type 2, but they lack the mental facilities to do it intentionally.

    So if engaging in comedy, please keep the following in mind:
    • Lots of people will see it, so try to make it more about entertaining the audience, rather than hurting anyone’s feelings.
    • Never forget Poe's Law. The one time a feminist talks in satire about how women are weakened by their right to vote, someone will mistake them for being serious.
    • Don’t do mindless insults. Just calling someone a retard makes you look uninspired. It’s much better to properly evaluate their logic, point out every flaw in it, and leave them being a mentally deficient the unspoken but only rational conclusion from the evidence.
    • Don’t stalk people. Their interactions on a different topic in a different thread, is not the time to bring up old dirt. Certainly never make threads calling them out by name.

    ========

    Toxic Threads:
    Some threads act like they’ve caught a disease. If a thread in general gets too vitriolic, moderators are likely to take the following actions against the thread:

    1. Place a general warning inside it against the most problematic behavior(s).
    2. Lock the thread for a minimum of 24 hours.
    Users within may or may not be punished, as it is contextually understood that negative feedback loops happen without malevolence.

    Such threads may be unlocked by request (message any moderator). If unlocked, any resumed CoC violations will be treated more seriously, and if the negative feedback loop resumes the thread will be locked permanently.

199 days later

  • Ragnar
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    Obviously the CoC can't (or at least shouldn't) be run as a computer script. Sure User A mentioned User B so many times, but what types of mentions were those and in what context? Instead we apply a “reasonable person” standard to it. Yes, mistakes will happen. I would rather have the occasional mistake, then abusers having utter free reign to manipulate the system.

    While there is flexibility, and plenty of room for discussion of general refinements, restraining orders have come up a bit recently...


    Restraining Orders:
    First, I will not hand out restraining orders every time someone wants one. They are nearly a last resort.

    If a restraining order is issued, they are always mutual. Repeated or severe violations from either side, will result in a ban (the last one was for the remaining length of the RO, anyone have any thoughts to what would be better?).

    Users under a restraining order may not seek to provoke the other (and no, failing to mention them is not seeking to provoke them... and yes, there have been complaints about that very action being the epitome of bullying). Things that clearly are violations (context dependant):
    • Trying to talk to them, be it on the forums, private messages, asking others to talk to them on your behalf, or otherwise.
    • Publicly talking about them (yes, even if using an obvious code name), especially in a negative light. Something small like "I'm not interested in discussing so-and-so" is not a violation unless done in a bizzare repetitive manner (like spamming it across several threads to try to tell them how much you're still thinking about them).
    • Interacting with their debates.
    • Following them around like a stalker. ... Regarding this, many times people will be drawn to the same discussion and even engage with the same people, but this can be done without direct engagement with each other (and should still be treated with care). If a topic started by the other catches your attention, you can start your own thread on that topic and invite specific users (even quoting them from the previous thread).


    If a user is bothering you to the point where you would like a restraining order, here's the steps I suggest (all steps assume they are being an intentional nuisance, and over a prolonged period):
    1. Ask them to cease and desist engaging with you (usually preceded by asking them to back off on the problematic type of engagement).
    2. Likewise, cease and desist yourself (this is usually critical).
    3. Repeat the request.
    4. Ask a moderator for help (usually this results in just a PM to them asking them to tone whatever down).
    5. Repeat the request.
    6. Ask a moderator again.
    Of course, some things will warrant an RO faster, or even skipping to other sanctions. Other things are not problematic enough to ever warrant intervention.

    After an RO ends, interaction with whomever it was should still be treated with care... Just imagine in real life an RO expires, and the person immediately shows up at the other's birthday party.
  • Ragnar
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    --> @SupaDudz
    The referendum is technically still under way, but with the outcome a statistical near-certentiny...

    SupaDudz came up with a transparent system for handling Restraining Orders. Here are his own words on it:

    First, I believe obtaining an RO or receiving a RO should be harder to obtain than it is now. This site is about expressing freedom of speech. If you dislike someone then that is life. Ignore this user. If you ignore them and they repeatedly follow you, you have enough evidence to claim an RO. This site is about freedom of speech and being comfortable to share our views. To restrict others is being blind and we shouldn't encourage others to do so

    Another thing is that restraining orders should not be 90 day long limitations. The most an RO should be is 30 days, as that allows the users to calm down enough to think logically, while not being overly destructive of freedom. 

    Here are some reforms I have made to make a clear way of RO violations. Right now the definitions are as loose as a plate of jello, so I decided to beef them up into what I think is the ideal standard.

    The A-H Rule Reform of Restraining Orders on DebateArt.com

    A) If a person comments on the restrained users original thread that is not a DIRECT response to that person AND/OR is in response to another user that is NOT the user RO'd and the thread itself is a tame/vanilla topic, that user is not warned or punished
    ----A1) If a person comments on the restrained users original thread that is not a DIRECT response to that person AND/OR is in response to another user that is NOT the user RO'd, but the thread itself is a topic of conflict (religion/politics), that user is not warned or punished, but is reminded to remain cautious of the RO.

    B) If a person comments on the restrained users original thread that is not a DIRECT response to that person, but the moderation team concludes there is enough evidence to warrant that user was looking for a reaction out of the restrained user, that user will receive a warning
    C) If a person comments on the restrained users original thread that is a DIRECT response, but is not malice, that user is will be notified but no warn will be given

    D) If a person comments on the restrained users original thread that is a DIRECT response and there is enough evidence that said user was in malice or response, that user will receive a warn

    EXCESSIVE REPETTITION OF WARNS DUE TO VIOLATIONS OF A-D WILL RESULT IN A 3 DAY BAN
    ======================
    E) If a person comments on the restrained users original threat is a DIRECT response and a situation has escalated due the post made being egregious enough to violate the basic terms of the CoC, that user is subjected to a 7-day ban.

    F) If a person replies DIRECTLY to a restrained user in a different thread with no malice, that user will receive a warning

    EXCESSIVE REPETTITION OF WARNS DUE TO VIOLATIONS OF F WILL RESULT IN A 3 DAY BAN

    G) If a person replies DIRECTLY to a restrained user in a different thread and there is enough evidence that said user was in malice, that user will be subjected to a 3-day ban

    H) If a person replies DIRECTLY to a restrained user in a different thread and a situation has escalated due the post made being egregious enough to violate the basic terms of the CoC, that user is subjected to a 14-day ban

    Supa will also be taking an active role in determining which cases need an RO.  He and and I do differ. He would prefer to do away with ROs, I think there's occasionally a need for them (admittedly less often than I've assigned them). That said, my preferred way to handle my own virtual stalkers is to either ignore them, and/or to mock them mercilessly whenever they show up in my threads and debates.