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Old 01-01-2020, 12:43 PM
Jonathan Chance is online now
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New Rules 2020: Discussion Thread


Now, as I'm sure you've notice, I've just stickied new rules for both Great Debates and Politics and Elections.

Tubadiva and I have been working on these rules for a month or so as we took to heart the posts made in the 'How Do We Make It Work' threads in both fora.

I realize there is no way the rules will make everyone happy. No way at all. But I do think they'll move things in Great Debates and Politics and Elections in a significantly better way.

While a lot of the rules remain the same or very similar I do want to point out a few things I think are important changes.

1. Hijacks will now be more broadly defined. We want to see more and more specific threads. That means attempts to redirect them or to derail them are now potentially sanctionable.
2. No more omnibus threads. In our experience, the large ongoing omnibus threads are the most contentious and lead to the most trouble for posters. Please keep your threads very specific moving forward. We'd rather have four topics about various aspects of tax policy than one overarching one covering all four.
3. Forum Banning. A new sanction that's available to moderation staff is the banning of a poster from Great Debates and/of Politics and Elections. Since these are the two most contentious fora, we're electing to give people a 'time out' from here as a means of preserving valuable posters who may become temporarily overwrought.

I'll respond to questions here as I can over the day.
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Old 01-01-2020, 12:57 PM
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Okay, I have a question: "Great Debates and Politics and Elections"? Is there a forum name change coming? A new forum? A merger?
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:00 PM
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So moderation will become even more arbitrary and capricious than it already was?

Broadly defined hijack? Some of the best thread have been those which veer into the related topics.
So, let’s say a thread on the Medicis, will have to remain about them only. No discussion on banking, architecture, politics, and diplomacy allowed.

Last edited by AK84; 01-01-2020 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Broadly defined hijack? Some of the best thread have been those which veer into the related topics.
So, let’s say a thread on the Medicis, will have to remain about them only. No discussion on banking, architecture, politics, and diplomacy allowed.
I hope that's not what ends up happening. If you delete the word "only" from what I quoted, you might be more on-target. As I see it, the key sentence is this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance
Posts that seem intended to steer a discussion away from the original topic may be sanctioned.
The problem IMHO isn't when posters bring in other, related issues. It's when posters—or, worse, an individual poster unilaterally—tries to divert the thread away from what it was originally about, often to that poster's own pet issue or to something that's already been discussed to death elsewhere.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:11 PM
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Okay, I have a question: "Great Debates and Politics and Elections"? Is there a forum name change coming? A new forum? A merger?
A renaming and clarity of focus, say.

It’s been done already, I believe.

Good eyes, Thudlow. Good eyes.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:13 PM
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Of course the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It looks good and we'll see how it tastes!

You've created a fantastic rubric. Implementation is unavoidably "arbitrary and capricious" and will always make some unhappy that what they thought was benign was labelled as hateful or what they thought was hateful was left stand. In advance please accept thanks for your work on that thankless task!

AK84, there is a difference between conversations evolving and relevant tangents being shared, and preventing discussion of the op subject with a hijack. Even a very interesting hijack may be better served by opening a separate thread for it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:13 PM
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A renaming and clarity of focus, say.

It’s been done already, I believe.
Apparently, the change took effect sometime between when I posted my question, and now.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:28 PM
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Bravo. It's great to see clamping down on the hijacks. Too many times we would have threads that only went for about 10-15 posts on the focused OP topic, and then the remaining 200 posts would be unrelated hijacking.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:35 PM
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The rules are pretty common sense. I have a slight issue with following upthread instructions. Say you participate in several of the first 10 pages of a thread. You step back from it for a week or so. Meantime, it is now a 25 page thread with a mod note on the 11th page warning people not to accuse others of smelling of elderberries. You come back on the 25th page and accuse someone of smelling of elderberries. Is it really reasonable to expect everyone to pore over every page of a very long thread before posting?

Suggestion (not sure it's feasible)- could there be an icon for each thread containing mod notes and/or warnings? Say it's a exclamation point. So you come to this 25th page and see the exclamation point and say "Golly neds, there are instructions or notes or warnings here". You click on the exclamation point and all of the mod notes and warnings in that thread are displayed automatically. Again, I don't know about the software's capabilities but if it can be done I think it should be.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:04 PM
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In general, pretty good, and most of the verboten topics are pretty good, I see a couple odd things about the forbidding of things that "encourage discrimination against any minority group":

-- It isn't in the form of "threads about..." like the others but seems to be a blanket topic ban. Which isn't to say this makes it wrong, I'm just wondering what the intent was.
-- "Minority group" is not well-defined. Is this like the second amendment, in that the beginning is merely explication for the rest, and the ban should be understood to include any "race, gender, sexual orientation or any other group into which a person might belong"? If so, I am fine with it. Otherwise, it would seem to allow the advocacy for some discrimination as long as the target is not in whatever is a "minority group".
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:09 PM
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I'm having trouble thinking of any omnibus threads in either forum, I'm not sure I've ever encountered one, or else I don't know what you mean. Is an omnibus thread functionally different from one with a very broad topic? Are there any relatively recent examples of an omnibus thread you can point to?
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:38 PM
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How do the no-hijack rules apply to existing threads that have already drifted into new territory? Can we continue to discuss the points that have been brought up, or do any new posts need to be on the original topic?
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
So, let’s say a thread on the Medicis, will have to remain about them only. No discussion on banking, architecture, politics, and diplomacy allowed.
I can't recall seeing a lot of contentious threads about the politics of Renaissance Italy in Great Debates.

These rules apply to Great Debates and Elections. Free ranging discussions are still permissible in other forums like Cafe Society, The Game Room, IMHO, and MPSIMS.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:59 PM
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It's not the set of rules I would have come up with but that's probably a good thing. Let's try it and see how it works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
1. Hijacks will now be more broadly defined. We want to see more and more specific threads. That means attempts to redirect them or to derail them are now potentially sanctionable.
This will be a lot of work but it's the change I think will improve thread quality the most.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Bravo. It's great to see clamping down on the hijacks. Too many times we would have threads that only went for about 10-15 posts on the focused OP topic, and then the remaining 200 posts would be unrelated hijacking.
Indeed.

Frankly, I’d prefer to see a series of 20 post threads than one 250 post thread.

More threads that are more focused is the goal, here. Choose a topic, stick with it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:03 PM
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Re Roderick’s question about omnibus threads: The one about police violence comes to mind. I stopped even opening it years ago because at that time it seemed to be the same posters nattering at each other all the time, rather than talking about the particular examples which were ostensibly the purpose of the thread. Far as I’m concerned, omnibus threads shut down discussion, the very opposite of the goal of GD. Glad to see them go.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:08 PM
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I can't recall seeing a lot of contentious threads about the politics of Renaissance Italy in Great Debates.
I kept reading AK84’s comment as being about “medics” so was particularly confused by it.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:09 PM
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Suggestion (not sure it's feasible)- could there be an icon for each thread containing mod notes and/or warnings? Say it's a exclamation point. So you come to this 25th page and see the exclamation point and say "Golly neds, there are instructions or notes or warnings here". You click on the exclamation point and all of the mod notes and warnings in that thread are displayed automatically. Again, I don't know about the software's capabilities but if it can be done I think it should be.
I have two things to say about this.

First, I’m fairly certain that exceeds the capability of the software.

Second, I hope to see many fewer 25 page threads. Posters are required to read threads and be aware of instructions. More and shorter threads should make that easier.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:13 PM
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I'm having trouble thinking of any omnibus threads in either forum, I'm not sure I've ever encountered one, or else I don't know what you mean. Is an omnibus thread functionally different from one with a very broad topic? Are there any relatively recent examples of an omnibus thread you can point to?
I am defining ‘Omnibus’ threads as ones with very wide topics.

An example of one would be the overarching 2020 Democratic Primary thread in Politics and Elections. Threads should, going forward, be specific in their topics.
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:16 PM
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How do the no-hijack rules apply to existing threads that have already drifted into new territory? Can we continue to discuss the points that have been brought up, or do any new posts need to be on the original topic?
I’ll give you a pass on existing threads provided they’re not kept alive just to keep such going.
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Old 01-01-2020, 05:09 PM
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Don't you think the description of "Politics and Elections" on the MB home page should be coherent?

"Politics & Elections
The forum for discussion about the horse race For discussion of elections and electoral politics, including strategy and tactics, political parties, individual races, political news, and politicians and public figures."

Underlining added
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:16 PM
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I don't even lurk on those forums, mainly because of the reasons these rules were necessary. Maybe they're not perfect, nothing will be, but I appreciate the attempt to introduce more civility anywhere on this board. Thank you to all involved! I'll definitely at least do some lurking.
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:30 PM
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I really don’t know how you can enforce the “no threats of harm that might include a poster” rule, without just saying “dont’t threaten harm”.

Sure, no threats to Dems or Repubs; easy to see how that can be modded, but in practice it means “no threats of harm to Dems or Repubs”, period.

What if the US is in a heated exchange with Elbonia and poster A says “All Elbonians should be rounded up “. And then poster Elb, long-time member of the board, says “I’m an Elbinonian ! Breach of the rules!” And poster A says “I had no idea we had Elbonians posting here?!?”

Given this Board’s wide membership, crossing political, gender, racial, ethnic and international boundaries, what group is there that a poster could threaten harm to, comfortable that they’re not attacking a group that at least one Doper belongs to?
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Old 01-01-2020, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
I am defining ‘Omnibus’ threads as ones with very wide topics.

An example of one would be the overarching 2020 Democratic Primary thread in Politics and Elections. Threads should, going forward, be specific in their topics.
OK, I'm sorry and I don't want to beat this to death, but this example seems a bit problematic to me. Does this mean that a thread could only be about one candidate, or one primary, and not a whole primary campaign? How many different threads do you think that one thread should have been divided into? There's an arch to the story of a primary campaign, and discussions of one candidate without discussing other candidates in the same thread seem likely to be rather sterile.

Your example is one that I was afraid you would select, and I would like to say that I think this specific area is one that ought to be allowed (in future) as an exception to that omnibus rule. As it happens I don't post in that thread, but I do read it from time to time, and it still seems like a useful discussion.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:18 PM
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Found it amusing that the discussion of exhausted topics is closely followed by the statement that religious witnessing is A-OK!
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:25 PM
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I really don’t know how you can enforce the “no threats of harm that might include a poster” rule, without just saying “dont’t threaten harm”.
That's how I'm reading it, "don't threaten harm at all in GD/P&E".

I am concerned as to whether advocating for policies such as war counts as threatening harm.

In a thread about the threat of an Iranian first strike on Israel:
"We should go to war with Iran, and start by bombing Bushehr".
"I live in Bushehr! Are you threatening me? Mods!"

~Max
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:36 PM
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Hijacks will now be more broadly defined. We want to see more and more specific threads. That means attempts to redirect them or to derail them are now potentially sanctionable.
I'm taking a wait and see stance on this one. There were some recent moderator decisions in this area which I disagreed with. It seemed like the moderator just didn't like the topic that was being discussed and declared that it was not the topic of the thread and we should all stop discussing it.

On the other hand, we've had posters who regularly derailed threads and I have no problem with a policy of telling them to knock it off.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:08 AM
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I can't recall seeing a lot of contentious threads about the politics of Renaissance Italy in Great Debates.

These rules apply to Great Debates and Elections. Free ranging discussions are still permissible in other forums like Cafe Society, The Game Room, IMHO, and MPSIMS.
Gotcha!
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:31 AM
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Regarding discrimination of minorities


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
In general, pretty good, and most of the verboten topics are pretty good, I see a couple odd things about the forbidding of things that "encourage discrimination against any minority group":

-- It isn't in the form of "threads about..." like the others but seems to be a blanket topic ban. Which isn't to say this makes it wrong, I'm just wondering what the intent was.
-- "Minority group" is not well-defined. Is this like the second amendment, in that the beginning is merely explication for the rest, and the ban should be understood to include any "race, gender, sexual orientation or any other group into which a person might belong"? If so, I am fine with it. Otherwise, it would seem to allow the advocacy for some discrimination as long as the target is not in whatever is a "minority group".
I'm also not sure what would count as discrimination against a minority group. I discriminate against minority groups all the time - it's part of life. Women are traditionally considered a "minority" group although I think the majority of the population in my country are women. And segregation is discrimination, but we segregate women and men routinely. In restrooms, in (some) schools, in sports, in medicine, in choral music, in religion, etc.

And then, of course, whatever should happen if some official government policy actually discriminates against a minority group? God forbid the President of the United States wants to discriminate against Muslims, it would become literally impossible to voice support for the President without breaking the rules.

And then is there a distinction made between discrimination for some ostensible purpose versus discrimination for the sake of discrimination? Is a post against the rules because it advocates for something that has the effect of discriminating against a minority? Does it matter at all how the poster might try and justify their opinion?

~Max
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:37 AM
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Re: Men's Rights Advocacy


I was thinking about starting a thread about the morality of rejecting male nurse job applicants on the basis of sex. Because I have hired nurses of both genders and have what may be legitimate reasons to do so. If I acted on those reasons - circumstances have luckily prevented me from making a hiring decision based on sex - I could myself be the one putting men at a disadvantage. If men's rights advocacy is verboten I don't think I can have that debate; a one-sided debate is no debate at all.

~Max
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:48 AM
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Women are a minority?
Seriously?
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:03 AM
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Women are a minority?
Seriously?
If you're asking me, the answer is that women are not a minority, but women are a minority group.

That's because, as I understand it, "minority group" does not literally mean a group of people that is less than half of the population. I think "minority group" means something more like, a group that is historically disadvantaged.

~Max
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Old 01-02-2020, 04:10 AM
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The rules are pretty common sense. I have a slight issue with following upthread instructions. Say you participate in several of the first 10 pages of a thread. You step back from it for a week or so. Meantime, it is now a 25 page thread with a mod note on the 11th page warning people not to accuse others of smelling of elderberries. You come back on the 25th page and accuse someone of smelling of elderberries. Is it really reasonable to expect everyone to pore over every page of a very long thread before posting?

Suggestion (not sure it's feasible)- could there be an icon for each thread containing mod notes and/or warnings? Say it's a exclamation point. So you come to this 25th page and see the exclamation point and say "Golly neds, there are instructions or notes or warnings here". You click on the exclamation point and all of the mod notes and warnings in that thread are displayed automatically. Again, I don't know about the software's capabilities but if it can be done I think it should be.
A simple workaround for this, assuming that you can recognise the user names of the mods, is to click on the number of replies at the forum search and then on the number next to the mod's user name in the search result. You will be provided, in reverse order, with a link to each post and the first line of text.
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Old 01-02-2020, 07:59 AM
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The in-thread rule-making is and always has been a disaster that mods on other boards manage to avoid, but we've been over it before and the ones hear have been clear that they're not interested in making that minimal effort.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:52 PM
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If you're asking me, the answer is that women are not a minority, but women are a minority group.

That's because, as I understand it, "minority group" does not literally mean a group of people that is less than half of the population. I think "minority group" means something more like, a group that is historically disadvantaged.

~Max
So White South Africans, British Colonists and Israeli settlers are also minorities and thus disadvantaged.
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Old 01-02-2020, 01:02 PM
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A simple workaround for this, assuming that you can recognise the user names of the mods, is to click on the number of replies at the forum search and then on the number next to the mod's user name in the search result. You will be provided, in reverse order, with a link to each post and the first line of text.
In all these years, I never knew about that trick. Can the mod names be visibly unique in some way? The board admins may be able to manually change the user name of the mods and insert a character which would normally be prohibited for user names. Perhaps they could have a character at the end that normal members wouldn't be able to specify (*, $, or whatever).
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I was thinking about starting a thread about the morality of rejecting male nurse job applicants on the basis of sex. Because I have hired nurses of both genders and have what may be legitimate reasons to do so. If I acted on those reasons - circumstances have luckily prevented me from making a hiring decision based on sex - I could myself be the one putting men at a disadvantage. If men's rights advocacy is verboten I don't think I can have that debate; a one-sided debate is no debate at all.

~Max
Here is what I think is the relevant part of the new rules sticky -
Quote:
Posters may start threads on these subjects only with prior approval of a Great Debates or Politics and Elections moderator. If you think you've got a new angle on something we've discussed a million times and found unpleasant, please feel free to make your case. Getting one approved is a very heavy lift, however.
...
Men's Rights Advocacy. This can include threads about how men are somehow disadvantaged in society, women are somehow genetically inferior or have a predisposition toward specific gender roles and other threads about the ways in which men are somehow naturally entitled to be in charge
AFAICT you would need to get prior approval from a mod to start such a thread, and they are not inclined to grant such approval. Perhaps I am wrong about this, and IANAM in any case.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
If you're asking me, the answer is that women are not a minority, but women are a minority group.

That's because, as I understand it, "minority group" does not literally mean a group of people that is less than half of the population. I think "minority group" means something more like, a group that is historically disadvantaged.

~Max
FWIW, Wikipedia agrees with this.
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Old 01-02-2020, 05:05 PM
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So White South Africans, British Colonists and Israeli settlers are also minorities and thus disadvantaged.
I think you are equivocating on the word "minority". In the context of discrimination against minorities, "minority" does not mean the smaller of two or more groups. Instead minority means a group that is (historically) subordinate to a dominant group.

You have listed three traditionally dominant groups. None of them are minorities for the purposes of a rule that prohibits discrimination against minorities.

~Max
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:58 PM
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And then, of course, whatever should happen if some official government policy actually discriminates against a minority group? God forbid the President of the United States wants to discriminate against Muslims, it would become literally impossible to voice support for the President without breaking the rules.

And then is there a distinction made between discrimination for some ostensible purpose versus discrimination for the sake of discrimination? Is a post against the rules because it advocates for something that has the effect of discriminating against a minority? Does it matter at all how the poster might try and justify their opinion?

~Max
I hope the mods use a scalpel with this instead of an axe. Is saying that Obergefell was wrongly decided advocating discrimination against gays? I notice that transgender status is not mentioned, but is that subsumed under "minority"? If I support a "bathroom bill" is that a no-no? If a person believes in single sex higher education, will that be modded?

If it is taken at face value and only applied to clear and obvious discrimination, then I don't have a problem, but we've already seen the arguments that many posters put forward to censor viewpoints under the idea of the "don't be a jerk" rule.
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Old 01-02-2020, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Max S. View Post
I think you are equivocating on the word "minority". In the context of discrimination against minorities, "minority" does not mean the smaller of two or more groups. Instead minority means a group that is (historically) subordinate to a dominant group.
In some environments, there is the usage "marginalized groups" instead of "minorities". I get it that in the US common cultural usage they tend to map very closely though not perfectly.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 01-02-2020 at 11:36 PM.
  #42  
Old 01-03-2020, 08:50 AM
Jonathan Chance is online now
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Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
OK, I'm sorry and I don't want to beat this to death, but this example seems a bit problematic to me. Does this mean that a thread could only be about one candidate, or one primary, and not a whole primary campaign? How many different threads do you think that one thread should have been divided into? There's an arch to the story of a primary campaign, and discussions of one candidate without discussing other candidates in the same thread seem likely to be rather sterile.

Your example is one that I was afraid you would select, and I would like to say that I think this specific area is one that ought to be allowed (in future) as an exception to that omnibus rule. As it happens I don't post in that thread, but I do read it from time to time, and it still seems like a useful discussion.
There are really two replies to this, one practical and one more...prosaic.

First, the practical. The fact is that, from observation as a moderator, long omnibus threads end up much more contentious and receiving moderator attention. They also, largely, end up being participated in by fewer and fewer posters and close off discussion.

Second, the prosaic. Longer threads are, in essence, less monetizable for the SDMB. Each successive page view by an individual poster, guest or registered, counts less toward either generating revenue or upping our page views and therefore the amount we receive per impression (it's not much per impression, trust me on that). By thread visit 3-5 there's essentially no revenue being generated by that visitor. Therefore, longer, omnibus threads that are participated in by fewer and fewer posters don't generate as much revenue as shorter, more diverse and wider participated threads. It is much better for the overall long-term survival of the SDMB to see:

Pete Buttigieg: Who the hell?
Pete Buttigieg: Debate Performance
Pete Buttigied: Slipping in the polls?

Than it is to see a general Pete Buttigieg primary thread.

Last edited by Jonathan Chance; 01-03-2020 at 09:14 AM.
  #43  
Old 01-03-2020, 08:56 AM
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Just wondering: do the new rules cover a situation in which a single poster posts - say an 8th of the posts in a thread - 5 of the most recent 16, pressing a particular point while doing so? Because IMO that sort of hyperactive posting dominates and distorts discussion, and is the sort of thing that makes me drop out of many GD threads.
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  #44  
Old 01-03-2020, 09:13 AM
Jonathan Chance is online now
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Such should definitely be brought to our attention. Obsessively posting - while not really bringing much new information to the table - can potentially be hijacking behavior.

Now, I've seen people use the 'reply individually to each poster' approach and that can work. But it's rarer than the other way around.

So yeah, report that sort of thing.

Remember, the SDMB is largely self-policing. If you see something you think is harmful to discussion report it. We all try to read our fora as much as possible, but it's almost inevitable that some will be missed.
  #45  
Old 01-03-2020, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
Such should definitely be brought to our attention. Obsessively posting - while not really bringing much new information to the table - can potentially be hijacking behavior.

Now, I've seen people use the 'reply individually to each poster' approach and that can work. But it's rarer than the other way around.

So yeah, report that sort of thing.

Remember, the SDMB is largely self-policing. If you see something you think is harmful to discussion report it. We all try to read our fora as much as possible, but it's almost inevitable that some will be missed.
As someone who's been a Great Debates and Politics and Elections poster with a minority opinion a few times, including a recent thread on Joe Biden, I disagree with this approach. It's very easy to be the only one, or one of a few posters on one side of a debate while there are a dozen or more on the other side. It's been noted before that this board is approximately 80% liberal, and the liberals are far more outspoken in Politics and Elections. If you try to enforce a diversity of posters, you're going to eliminate a diversity of viewpoints. Suppose after the upcoming State of the Union address, a poster believes that Trump delivered a terrific speech and wants to discuss it. He'd likely be in a one-against-ten debate. If he posts three times as much as an average poster on the other side, he'd still be accounting for less than a quarter of the total posts. If you try to limit the number of posts from a poster with a minority viewpoint, you're going to end up with a roundtable discussion and not a debate. It won't be a collegial discussion either if you're going to allow the snark, pejorative remarks, and shot-taking that often occur in Great Debates and Politics and Elections. If that's the case, why would somebody with a minority opinion, in the context of this board, bother to start a thread or participate in one?
  #46  
Old 01-03-2020, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance
Thrice Told Tales are off limits. Over the last 20 years, posters in Great Debates and Politics and Elections have debated pretty much everything. As such, there are some contentious issues about which we are tired of hearing. We just don't want to go around and around about these things any more. In general, we're just tired of these subjects.
This seems disingenuous.

The topics chosen as off-limits topics are far from the most commonly discussed topics on this MB. For example, the number of threads discussing "how men are somehow disadvantaged in society" is dwarfed by the number discussing how women are somehow disadvantaged by society, which is apparently completely A-OK. And so on for some of the other examples. This is not about thrice told tales or the like, but about suppressing opinions that some posters don't like hearing. You can bring up an issue which has been discussed a thousand times, as long as it's PC, and you can't assert (certain) positions which are discussed relatively rarely because they are not PC.

Call a spade a spade.
  #47  
Old 01-03-2020, 11:57 AM
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I agree with Fotheringay-Phipps here - while threads on the following topics do happen, they are hardly all that common, unlike abortion, gay marriage, gun control or other threads:

Quote:
Scientific racism
Holocaust Denial.
Encouraging discrimination against any minority groups.
Men's Rights Advocacy.
9/11 Truthers.
Climate Change Denialism.
The reason for banning these topics obviously isn't that they are cropping up so often that we're thinking, "That's the 5th Holocaust Denial thread we've had this week!" It's because they are offensive and/or obviously false and/or not worth the time to discuss.
  #48  
Old 01-03-2020, 12:10 PM
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I think there was a missed opportunity to set the tone for the two forums with these three points. I think you should add the following bolded sentences (my additions):
• Everyone who comes to the SDMB presumably does so to enjoy themselves. Don't take it so seriously. Keep it friendly.
• As with academic politics, the passion is high because the stakes are small. We're discussing and debating among like-minded people. No matter how good your solution to taxation issues might be the Dept of the Treasury is not reading the SDMB looking for silver bullet solutions. Be proactive with your passion. Support your arguments with zeal. But be polite when criticizing an argument you oppose. Pejorative language that comes across as jerkishness will be moderated.
• Posters disagreeing with your posts are not necessarily trolling. Try to listen to the other side. Don’t try to shut them out because they have a different opinion or belief.

I think it really comes down to whether the powers-that-be want Great Debates and Politics and Elections to be friendly or contentious. In the previous discussions about where these forums should go, I believe it was stated that posters were avoiding these forums because they were too bilious. I personally don’t mind if the forums stay confrontational. But if you want to move towards a more collegial, welcoming environment then I think you need to set that tone in the rules.
  #49  
Old 01-03-2020, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance View Post
There are really two replies to this, one practical and one more...prosaic.

First, the practical. The fact is that, from observation as a moderator, long omnibus threads end up much more contentious and receiving moderator attention. They also, largely, end up being participated in by fewer and fewer posters and close off discussion.

Second, the prosaic. Longer threads are, in essence, less monetizable for the SDMB. Each successive page view by an individual poster, guest or registered, counts less toward either generating revenue or upping our page views and therefore the amount we receive per impression (it's not much per impression, trust me on that). By thread visit 3-5 there's essentially no revenue being generated by that visitor. Therefore, longer, omnibus threads that are participated in by fewer and fewer posters don't generate as much revenue as shorter, more diverse and wider participated threads. It is much better for the overall long-term survival of the SDMB to see:

Pete Buttigieg: Who the hell?
Pete Buttigieg: Debate Performance
Pete Buttigied: Slipping in the polls?

Than it is to see a general Pete Buttigieg primary thread.
That's ... awful. No thanks.
  #50  
Old 01-03-2020, 12:35 PM
Jonathan Chance is online now
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I kind of like that, Wrenching Spanners. I'll integrate those right away.
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