Rules, ettiquette, culture, and a windsock.

The place to hang out and talk about totally anything general.

Are 'Windsock Polls' a useful idea?

Poll ended at Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:14 pm

Yes
1
10%
No
5
50%
Frog
4
40%
 
Total votes: 10
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SpitJock
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Rules, ettiquette, culture, and a windsock.

Postby SpitJock » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:14 pm

(with all due apologies for misuse of terms or misunderstanding of the subject) [/Standard_Disclaimer]

[Long-winded-preamble-skip-if-disinterested]

I'm still sort of new to all this - for a long time forums were a thing I used, logged in as a Guest, to find information. Now I find myself contributing here on a semi-regular basis (well, typing stuff others can see anyway - what constitutes an actual contribution may need a clearer definition) and I have questions. So many questions.

I tend to go through life formulating my own opinions on "how things are" based on what I see happen around me - I think that's fairly common to the human condition. But then, having seen and thought and ruminated on it all, I may find a subject interesting enough to seek confirmation that I've not got it completely wrong, or look for explanation/clarification of some detail that escapes me, and for that one must look beyond one's own opinion horizon. So here I am, looking in the only way I know how. [/Long-winded-preamble]


Forum rules: Seems pretty straightforward to me - don't spam, don't use prohibited language, don't post prohibited images, don't subvert forum as a means of organising illegal activities, don't use forum as a means to incite bigotry or discriminatory hate (no racism, religious sectarianism, that kind of thing). That about right? Violate those rules and face moderator/admin sanctions, comply with those rules and moderators/admins remain impartial and disinterested (or at least, powerless to act on their partiality/interest). That also sound about right?

Forum ettiquette: A bit trickier, as there's no hard law there, but mostly a kind of un-written agreement about what's acceptable and what isn't? So some people might see huge posts like mine as a breach of forum ettiquette, while others may not. And there will doubtless be differing opinions about the <ahem - made-up-word approaching> tolerability of any breaches... Am I still on the right lines?

Forum culture: The large fuzzy consensus that both shapes, and is shaped by, forum ettiquette (and to a lesser extent, forum rules)? So in some forums, the prevailing culture may tolerate an attempt at humour which has a racist component, while other forums will slam the perpetrator. Will some stuff be allowed to slide, but only to a certain point before it's dealt with?

Do these seem like reasonable definitions, or have I missed something/misunderstood something/misrepresented something?

These things all seem to me to be tools to use for conflict resolution, but I have no idea of the nuances of how these tools are brought to bear in this forum.
Lets' kick around an example:

Random_User_1 starts insulting Random_User_2 in an open forum and a little bit of a scuffle breaks out. Others chip in, sides get taken, and it's all very undignified. No breach of rules there unless it turns blatantly racist or Group_A start discussing how they're going to meet up with Group_B to settle it with axes and chainsaws and resolve it with blood spilt. So the admins/moderators sigh collectively, and do nothing, all perfectly correctly. OK so far?
Now let's say, during a heated exchange, tempers lost and so forth, Random_User_1 starts posting personal detail about Random_User_2, who responds in kind and the issue escalates. Still no rules violation, but quite likely an ettiquette breach. In this case, could the more level-headed sections of the forum culture appeal to a moderator thus: "OK - no rules broken but it's got out of hand and someone's gonna end up crying. Perhaps that stuff could be edited out of the thread or the thread deleted, and the miscreants advised/warned not to repeat or face further sanction..." Doesn't that seem to be a reasonable thing to suggest? Or is the prevailing culture to stand back, watching and laughing? FWIW, I advocate standing back giggling for a bit and hoping they'll both see their mistake, then separating them before someone gets into trouble...
But we're still not done - Random_User_2 has lost it now, and is taking things further. Threatening PMs/emails. Attempts to send malware via PM. That sort of thing - still just dumb kids stuff, but is this now in clear violation of rules rather than just poor ettiquette? Should Random_User_1 report this to admins, and are the admins clearly mandated to impose sanctions (ranging from a simple cease-and-desist advisory notice, all the way up to a ban and reporting to higher authorities)?


Not that any of this relates to any actual real things that have happened, you understand. Purely hypothetical. Just trying to see how my world-view stacks up against other people's. I'm also tempted to make a suggestion:

If a thread gets annoying, or an individual post in a thread appears ill-advised, how about a poll whose results can be submitted to a moderator? If you will, a windsock to show the moderator how the culture at large feels about whether a particular controversial thread or post should be allowed to stand. We could even have a little set of sub-rules dictating how such polls would be initiated and conducted.


For the benefit of those who are a bit short of attention span:

[tl;dr]

I see'd a frog! Hooray!

[/tl;dr]


**EDIT** And this one's important. I was prompted to post this, because from time to time we see bits of this kind of thing going on. It really doesn't relate to any one particular example, and some of the stuff I've described has probably never taken place here. It's all hypothetical "worst-case" stuff - the kind of thing that we all know can happen out here in internet land. No fingers are pointing here, and no veiled accusations are intended. I really am just trying to see the windsock before I land... **EDIT**



SJ
Last edited by SpitJock on Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TGR » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:25 pm

I think you are quite right in what you are saying

The best solution to these sorts of problems is modern forum software. I used to run a forum where we had abilities to block pms from certain members, remove threads from our own view that had "x" words or phrases, that sort of thing.

Giving the end user the flexibility to deal with what they personally see as "questionable/annoying content" is the best way to deal with these problems.
Obviously the forum software here for example is ancient and doesn't have those abilities. Imagine if it did....

EDIT: This would also take a load off of admins who would not need to deal with squabbles and could instead deal with other issues.
Last edited by TGR on Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jordy... » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:28 pm

it was tl dr for me, but to give my 2 cents.. I praise the IV forums for there anarchistic nature, almost anything seems to go except straight-up spam.

Only thing that worries me is that the turtle is growing power hungry and will go overboard with his OP-abilities.. :/
Cuz fuck logic
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Re: Rules, ettiquette, culture, and a windsock.

Postby Xocrates » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:50 pm

SpitJock wrote:If a thread gets annoying, or an individual post in a thread appears ill-advised, how about a poll whose results can be submitted to a moderator? If you will, a windsock to show the moderator how the culture at large feels about whether a particular controversial thread or post should be allowed to stand. We could even have a little set of sub-rules dictating how such polls would be initiated and conducted.


It's the moderator's job to decide what stays and what doesn't, as such that kind of poll comes across two major problems:

1) Regardless of the result, it would still come down to the moderator decision.

2) Due to 1, all such a poll would achieve would be to call attention to the troublesome post/thread, which may be exactly what the poster wanted.

That said, there are forum options (which granted, we do lack) which give more of those powers to the general populace, from being able to report posts to downvoting particular posts causing them to be removed or hidden.

I don't find the IV forums to have such a moderation problem as to cause such measures to be essential, though there have been situations where I wish for either those options to be available or for the mod team to be harsher on the "infractors".
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Postby SpitJock » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:05 pm

It was a particularly nice frog, Jordy. :D
I understand your point of view perfectly. If I didn't, I couldn't be certain that you're wrong.
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Postby Jordy... » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:44 pm

SpitJock wrote:It was a particularly nice frog, Jordy. :D


That being said.. I'll vote frog then. no clue what it means though.
Cuz fuck logic
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Postby Deepsmeg » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:54 pm

Didn't Sarkozy's successor get chosen by a similar vote?
[ ] Frog.
[ ] Frog.
[ ] Frog.
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Re: Rules, ettiquette, culture, and a windsock.

Postby NeoThermic » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:11 am

SpitJock wrote: Now let's say, during a heated exchange, tempers lost and so forth, Random_User_1 starts posting personal detail about Random_User_2, who responds in kind and the issue escalates. Still no rules violation, but quite likely an ettiquette breach.


As an aside, I was mostly ok with what was said up to this point. Basically if RU1 and RU2 start posting personal information, and either RU1 or RU2 ask for their info removed, I'd remove both bits of personal info and tell them to quit it, in no elaborate terms.

These forums seem to self-govern for the 98%; 1% is spam and 1% is moderator cleanup after fallouts of members. But otherwise I just coast here infrequently to check that no one has destroyed civilisation on here.

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Postby GreenRock » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:44 am

I tend to stray away from arguments (because I'm no good at arguing, or figure that constructing a well-thought-out response isn't worth the effort, ignoring someone's instigation) so I wouldn't be able to comment on the resolution of arguments.

Forum culture involves a sort of wittiness, and definitely expects a sort of intelligence. It's intimidating; for me, at least. I'm sort of an idiot, so understanding the jokes/discussions gives me the warm fuzzies. In comparison to other communities, the number of active members on here is relatively small. It's a tight-knit group. That adds to the culture on here, I guess.

I enjoy visiting these forums, all in all.
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Postby Cooper42 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:07 am

If whenever 'culture' is written in this thread you read it as if it were referring to bacterial cultures of biological specimins, I find the topic becomes much more interesting.
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