The politics forum is changing!

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Kotchanski, May 6, 2010.

  1. Kotchanski

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    It will come as no surprise to some to find that we the moderating team are currently deep in discussions pertaining to this section of the site.

    For as long as we can remember, participants of the political forum have pushed the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in accordance with the terms of service to such a degree that we ourselves find it difficult to distinguish between "heated political debate" and things warranting action. We accept full responsibility for having let it get so bad, however the burden is now upon yourselves to clear it up.

    What do we ask of you?

    We ask that you use this thread to voice your opinions on how the politics forum should move forward. What you would like to see from us as moderators, or from other members (please do not be specific, using this thread to attack each other and continue issues from political debates will result in harsh sanctions)

    As it stands it is near impossible to wade through each and every complaint received from this forum. Any action taken is met with countless comments that we've done the wrong thing, done the right thing, taken the wrong action, not taken enough action, banned the wrong person, banned the right person... No one can agree, and we're used to that, but it's time things ended, and we'd like to achieve this end without the removal of the political forum if possible.

    We don't expect an end to disagreements, we don't expect to never have to ban another member again, we do however aim to tone down what has become the norm in politics, and reach an understanding with the membership.

    The moderators and administrators want to work with the membership to create a more harmonious area of dabate, where do you think the problems are? what ideas you may have for making it a more welcoming area for those new to the site (or new to political discussions)? where you'd like to draw the line between debate and personal attacks/harassment/trolling and the likes?

    The moderating team.
     
  2. TurkeyWithaSunburn

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    :33:
    Stop the politics forum posts from showing up under "Latest Posts" I think that might be good for the majority of the site which avoids the forum like the black death.
     
  3. B_talltpaguy

    B_talltpaguy New Member

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    Given my almost decade of experience running such forums, I know of several things that could be done... These are all things I have done to other forums with positive effect. I can further explain any of these actions by request of the staff.

    Make the forum private. No visitors and search engines can see it. Also, eliminate the post count feature for this subforum.

    Make this an 'invitation only' subforum. Noobs can't participate until they have been here a month or have 100 posts, or something like that.

    Ban agenda-driven/partisan commentary written by members to open threads with...

    Threads should strictly begin with a news article featuring as objective a viewpoint on the issue that will be discussed as possible. Lacking an objective article to launch discussion with, agenda driven commentary/opinion articles should be identified in the thread's title as such (with a parenthetical note after the title, such as "commentary").... And no editorializing thread titles by members... The thread's title must match the title of the article launching the thread.

    Continue best fair use practices with regards to 3rd party content and copyright law.

    Make mods powerless to discipline in this subforum, thereby freeing them to participate and drive discussion by making a positive example to the membership. All disciplinary action would be handled directly by the Admins, responding to reported posts and/or observances of the moderation staff... Moderation staff would only act in 'urgent' cases by removing threads from the public eye to a private 'trash can' forum for later action by the Admins. Mods would only act in an editorial capacity (fix thread titles, merge duplicate threads, etc)

    Activate the anonymous thread/post rating feature.

    Establish a '3 strikes and you're out' rule for this forum, which is independent of the overall forum.... 'strikes' would include things such as posting curse/swear words... Discriminatory language... Personal attacks/name calling... trolling... post whoring/flooding... persistent repetition of concepts well understood to be espoused by a certain member.

    Moderation staff reserves the right to be flexible with these rules on a case by case basis, and is not required to justify or explain their actions.

    The forum rules must be posted at the top of the forum as a 'README before posting' type thing, not be hidden on an FAQ page elsewhere.





    There are other things I'll add as they come to me
     
    #3 B_talltpaguy, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  4. TomCat84

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    I honestly don't see much that is wrong about this forum, considering the basis for LPSG in the first place. I mean, seriously, there are so many wonderfully weird topics on the boards- like shower erections, when we got our first erections, hitting the woman's cervix- hell, there are even members posting huge cumshots. I simply say crackdown on the rules themselves. If someone is trolling, threatening, etc, ban them. The nature of this particular sub forum is that people are going to deeply disagree about a lot of things, and any changes short of deleting it (and the Etc Etc forum, as this is where the political threads will naturally go to), will not fix the problems. Just my 0.02
     
  5. D_Harvey Schmeckel

    D_Harvey Schmeckel New Member

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    Any and all of the above sound workable. I would add that we might make it "Penis Politics" and exclude all discussions that don't relate specifically to the focus of the site. There is a vast amount of international news related specifically to sex, fodder for lots of interesting discussion. Sure, people might go off on tangents about gay/straight etc. but the minute they start ranting about the Left or Bush or whatever as a thread starter they are OFF TOPIC. I absolutely refuse to be bullied by rightwing trolls dragging The Evil Obama into everything, so have almost fallen silent on the forum in its present state.
     
  6. vince

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    I don't really have any solutions. The only way to fight basic human nature around politics is to bring in heavy-handed regs like tallpaguy suggested and that doesn't appeal to me really.

    I can live without the forum and would not mind if it disappeared and the topic of American politics was banned from etc etc as well.

    I wonder if a new forum entitled 'International Affairs' or something might change the mood?
     
    #6 vince, May 6, 2010
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  7. thoswood

    thoswood New Member

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    Thanks, Aconitum, for opening a discussion about the Politics forum. Only recently have I begun to check it regularly-- and comment occassionally-- and I understand some of the problems.

    Please don't establish requirements to qualify for posting here: disqualification for posters who can't discuss a topic positively-- even from a partisan point of view--would seem more appropriate.

    Some posters do seem hell-bent to shout down anybody who they perceive to not subscribe to their own perspectives. Perhaps our discussions would be better without their input.

    Some really smart people post on this forum. Some are not so smart as they are convicted. Nobody should be barred or blocked until they have proven they do not play well with others.

    Above all, let the administrators administer. They can set the rules, and they can enforce them. But, please don't shut down a really interesting forum.
     
  8. TomCat84

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    I like talltpaguy's idea of a minimum post count before someone can post in the politics forum. In fact, I think that should be applied before ANYONE can post a new thread (except in the New Members forum). This will weed out a good number of trolls.
     
  9. B_talltpaguy

    B_talltpaguy New Member

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    ^That's exactly why I have instituted the 'invitation only' rule for other sites... It also discourages the presence of people who aren't constructive contributors to the on-topic portions of the site... On another site I run, people who don't make substantive contributions to the on-topic portions of the site are looked upon with considerable derision by the members who do... Here, that would mean that people who don't post pics, offer links to interesting content elsewhere, or otherwise participate in a way that builds the content and community, wouldn't even be allowed to enter the politics forum.

    Oh, and at other sites, it's not called the "politics forum", it's called the "Current Events", "In The News" or "News of the Day" forum... When you start out openly declaring that all content is going to be political, that's exactly what you wind up with.
     
  10. B_talltpaguy

    B_talltpaguy New Member

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    Oh and another thing I have done to one site is to make such off-topic forums have what is called 'active moderation'... This means that a member can create a thread, but before it is posted for discussion, a staff member reviews it to ensure that it follows the rules... Ensuing posts appear in real time, just not the initial thread post.

    Note: In the case of that site, the subforum is accessed only by paying members(or members who have earned such status by making many content contributions over time), and the mod doing that work gets paid a small sum every month and is held accountable for his work, the same as any employee would be.... However, the politiforum is slow enough that such work would only take a few minutes a day, and shouldn't require a paid mod.
     
  11. Bbucko

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    Personally, I've never understood why the Politics Forum is/has been moderated differently from the rest of LPSG; though things get testy elsewhere (especially in the Women's Forum and occasionally in Etc Etc), nothing approaches the venom and vitriol that gets thrown around here.

    From the moment it was separated from Etc this forum has been a troll farm, and it genuinely pains me to see members whom I generally respect and admire bang out their aggressions on their keyboards in response to some flaming bag of shit left by a troll here. It's demeaning to watch: demeaning for them and demeaning for me.

    I haven't a clue as to how to "fix" this place. My personal suggestion is that it be reintegrated into the Etc Forum and moderated with the same vigor as every other part of the site. That means keeping out the trolls and keeping things as reasonably civil as can be expected on a website where members have their genitals on display.
     
  12. houtx48

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    This is a dick website not the Washington Post.
     
  13. Mr. Snakey

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    There is a very easy solution to the problem. As it stands now, we allow conduct in the politics forum that we simply don't allow in any other forum. The Moderators and the Admin and Rob _E work very hard to keep this site the great place it is. All they are asking is that we tone it down a bit. We owe them that much.
     
  14. Bbucko

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    The $10,000 question is why it is moderated any differently than the rest of the website; I'm not being disingenuous. I really don't know.
     
  15. TomCat84

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    Which would lead back to the solution of just cracking down. That's all.
     
  16. Mule

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    It's simple. Attack the idea, not the person. Ad hominem attacks result in a first-time warning. Second time is a week's ban. Third time, perm ban. Problem solved.
     
  17. B_talltpaguy

    B_talltpaguy New Member

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    Where are the forum rules posted anyways?
     
  18. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    A system of warnings posted in the thread by mods for breach of a stated code of conduct for debate might help. If members continue to breach the stated code of conduct of debate after having received a series of warnings they should be temp banned, several temp bans should lead to a perma-ban, leading to delete-on-sight.

    This system works fairly well on other sites I've used over the years. One of the major rules of this code of conduct should be "debate the post/point not the poster", members should be publicly warned if instead of debating other member's opinions they choose to attack other members personally. Frankly posts filled with insults, evidence of grudges and stalking and personal vitriol should be completely forbidden, and should earn those who post them, warnings leading to temp bans etc.

    Having a nasty little row with someone else does not constitute a political debate, heated or otherwise.


    Stick the code of conduct in a sticky and remind those who breach it to go refresh their familiarity with it.
     
  19. Kotchanski

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    That started with on a very slippery slope.

    When the first reports came in about the forum it was moderated like any other, but in all fairness it wasn't all that bad back then. As it become more popular however, naturally more problems were being reported.

    It starts with silly complaints that are essentially people reporting each other for nothing more than having a different opinion than their own, which obviously is dismissed and no action taken. Trends begin to form though, and soon what it becomes a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other, and what else where might seem like a serious issue because "Well that's just politics for you"

    As was stated in the opening, we take responsibility for having let this become the issue it has, and agree that not only should it not have happened but that it needs to change. At this point though, to suddenly start enforcing the site rules here as we do elsewhere would see a number of members warned and temp banned, if not banned outright, which is something none of us want. Neither do we want to rid the site of this forum.

    This thread is both an announcement of impending change, and a sounding board for the opinions of those who either already use it or would like to if things were a little less heated (feel free to read heated as "bitchy" "aggressive" "offensive" or "childish" depending on which threads you happen to have read lately)

    During these discussions we will be taking a harsher view towards things like the changing of users names within threads, editing quotes to suit your needs and the likes. By the end of these discussions, we hope to have a better understanding of what the members themselves want, so that we can tie those in to both what the owner of the site wants, and what can be achieved from a moderating point of view.

    The aim is not to stop people using this forum, but to encourage more welcoming air to the forum where people are free to voice their opinions in an adult manner without the worry of attack from others (disagreement is good, just without all the abuse and insults)
     
  20. TomCat84

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    With all due respect, hy wouldn't it be something that you want? Perhaps post a Sticky that would serve as a warning to refresh ourselves with the TOS, and that a crackdown or stricter enforcing of the rules would be in effect. Just my two cents :)
     
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