relax

Poll

Generally, I find the rules of Astorians to be:

Too Strict
17 (21.5%)
About Right
26 (32.9%)
Too Lax
3 (3.8%)
Too Difficult to Understand
16 (20.3%)
Easy Enough to Understand
14 (17.7%)
Too Easy - Use Bigger Words Please
3 (3.8%)

Total Members Voted: 57

Voting closed: June 20, 2008, 08:02:09 PM

Author Topic: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy  (Read 16210 times)

Offline merm

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Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« on: June 12, 2008, 04:10:37 PM »
Recently there's been an increased interest on the boards for discussion of the rules, and the enforcement of the rules that guide this site. As this community grows and changes I recognize that the rules that guide both member and moderator activities need to evolve and change. If you're a member of this site, please take a moment to provide feedback and ideas as to the quality of the rules we currently have, and help us make them better if there are areas that are non-representative of the community, or are problematic.

In order to facilitate as efficient and constructive a conversation as possible, I'd like to set two expectations for this thread:

First, I've broken out each of the individual rules below. Please provide feedback on the rules that are important to you or need changing. For example, you could suggest that a rule is "too lax" or "too strict" or "about right" or "should be removed entirely". Any general comments you have about the rules, or links to other online communities that have done a good job at writing rules would add greatly to the discussion. Please be as specific as you can, and use examples if possible. If you feel a new rule is needed, please suggest it (and if possible suggest how it might be written).

Second, please do not use this thread to discuss the enforcement of the rules, or specific users or suspensions. There are several active threads that already are serving this purpose, please post in one of those - or as an alternative start a new thread to discuss any specific concerns about enforcement you have. Please focus on the rules themselves and how they can be as clear and representative as possible for both members and moderators to understand and actualize.

A couple things to keep in mind:
- The rules are the set of guidelines that moderators attempt to use when performing moderation activities. They need to be clear enough to accomplish their purpose, while not being overly complex and difficult to understand.
- The rules should represent the kind of conversation you want to see on Astorians. Keep in mind that overly strict guidelines will make for a more streamlined conversation on limited topics, but at a cost of speech diversity. While unrestricted speech will allow for speech diversity, but at the cost of giving voice to the extremes (hatred, spam etc).
- I'm going to focus first on the areas of the rules that generate the most discussion, and move to areas of the rules that appear to have more broad agreement.
- It's my intention to have the discussion span a period of about a week, after which time we'll try and implement any necessary changes that come out of the discussion.

Thank you in advance for being a member of Astorians, and more specifically for helping us make the site a representative voice within the community.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
No name calling: Don't call people names. Calling people names does no service to this community and it will not be tolerated - don't do it, even if "the other person started it". Responding to objectionable content with retaliation or escalation is one of the fastest ways to get banned from this site.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
- Don't make it personal: We do not permit ad hominem arguments or personal attacks. If you have a problem with something someone has said, ask for clarification, or send them a private message. If you feel the need to respond publicly don't make it personal (like "hey you jerk, I'm offended"). Instead engage the person's idea and express your disagreement with it in a respectful way (I disagree with notion that... and this is why...).

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
- Avoid repetition and duplicate posting: We encourage a diversity of viewpoints; however once a point has been made the discussion needs to move forward. Excessive repetition and filibustering are not permitted - this also applies to "announcements". You might think this will give more exposure to your content; it does, but in a negative way because this is seen as rude. Post your content once, to the correct category. This includes "quoting" an earlier message for the sole purpose of bumping the thread or expressing agreement. Please use the "nod" feature instead.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
- Use the "report to moderator" feature: Objectionable comments should be reported to the moderation staff by clicking the “report” button and filling out the form on the following page. Personal messenger (PM) and email harassment should also be reported to management. Once you submit a report your message is put in a moderation queue, please note it may take a while for a moderator to take action since we do work full-time jobs.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
-  Members should not attempt to act as moderators, instead, report the post and move on.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
- Do not quote personal messages publicly: Unless you are sure the other person would be ok with it. We don't want to read your personal conversations.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
- Act appropriately: We do not permit comments that we deem abusive, baiting, defamatory, insulting, harassing, inflammatory, hateful, obscene, inappropriately rude or personal, retaliatory, threatening, invasive of privacy or violative of any law.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

Quote
- Contact a moderator or admin (merm) directly: If you are having an ongoing problem, or feel you are being harassed by another member you can contact one of the moderators directly. Additionally, public debate and protest of moderation or administrative decisions is discouraged because it seldom is helpful to the community as a whole.

Too strict? Too lax? About right? Not needed? Other suggestions (edits)?

The above constitutes the "rules" that moderators use in considering what posts cross the line. The next section is considered the "General Guidelines" and is more a philosophical guideline that has served to represent the guiding philosophy of the site. I'll quote it in it's entirety and encourage feedback on this section as well.

Quote
General Board Guidelines:

- This board is an open community site. Anyone and everyone is welcome here as long as you obey the rules. No member of this board speaks for all the other members. Everyone is equal, there are no cliques. To our best ability the rules are applied equally - please let us know if you've been treated unfairly by sending a personal message to a moderator.

- This isn't a random internet site. Given the nature of this online community having real world connections to a real community (Astoria & LIC) it's important to keep in mind that what happens here is not limited to the void of the internet. What you say, and how you behave here has an impact on your real community that you live in. Please treat others with the same neighborly respect you would like to receive from one of your neighbors. This isn't just a random internet site with people you'll never meet.

- This is not a "bulletin board" like the kind you see at your local grocery store, it is a community discussion and conversation board. There is a bias on the board towards "discussion" and less interest in "classifieds" and "advertisements". If you have a classified or advertisement to post it's no problem, just please do it in the business or trade categories, or post on craigslist. Spamming will not be tolerated.

With that in mind, here are some things to consider when posting:

    * Write about posts, arguments, and positions, not members.
    * Avoid generalizations about and dismissive names for groups of people.
    * If you’ve got data, evidence, or proof, provide it and a source. If you don’t, recognize that you’re arguing from experience, anecdote, and a limited perspective.
    * Ask other members questions, particularly if you disagree. That’s a good way to avoid the sorts of erroneous assumptions that are otherwise inevitable in on-line communication.
    * Think about pronouns: “I” is generally good, “we” is tricky, and “you” is almost always a bad idea, as it implicates members and not their ideas.
    * Recognize that you’re unlikely to prove someone’s beliefs are wrong, but that a respectful explanation of why you disagree might help them understand your position.


Basically, please try and keep in mind that this is a public conversation and dialog just like you might have in a local cafe or bar. You might feel insulated from other people on this board because it's an electronic conversation but try and keep in mind that unlike most random internet sites, you probably live next door to the people you interact with on this board. The way you treat others here has a direct impact on the "Astoria Karma" you experience on the street. As you engage people please keep this in mind.

Thank you again in advance for helping improve the site. Your constructive feedback is greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2008, 11:43:31 AM by merm »

Offline paratactical

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2008, 05:05:16 PM »
Quote
- Don't make it personal: We do not permit ad hominem arguments or personal attacks. If you have a problem with something someone has said, ask for clarification, or send them a private message. If you feel the need to respond publicly don't make it personal (like "hey you jerk, I'm offended"). Instead engage the person's idea and express your disagreement with it in a respectful way (I disagree with notion that... and this is why...).

My only real problem with the rules on this site stems from this one. Saying "No ad hominems" is okay, but that's not what the rule is.

The post that got me suspended, while mean and not particularly nice, was not an ad hominem. Neither is the post that got MacMomma suspended. Were they plesant? No. But they weren't ad hominems.

The problem with this is the idea of "don't make it personal". This entire site is inheritently personal because it is about a neighborhood and the community. People don't talk about motorcycles in a general sense and how they fit into the neighborhood--they talk about how motorcycles bother them, in their apartments, in their experiences. Any conversation about the 'hood is going to be personal and disagreeing with someone's stance is also going to be personal.

The difference between having personal  things in an argument and an ad hominem position are many and large. An ad hominem is name-calling, baiting and the like. Personal retorts based on information provided in a thread by the other person, or questioning another person's motives are not ad hominems.

Also, this is the rule that seems to be enforced with the most varying degrees of severity. Why people who suggested that pink_floyd obviously hated Oleput because they decided he owned some other business didn't get suspended is beyond me. That's obviously a personal attack not based on the merits.

I guess the problem is that it seems like because of the "report to moderator" button, if the majority of the people are on one side of the discussion and you are on the other you are much more likely to get reported and suspended, regardless of how often others are nasty to people who are not in the majority.

Offline jennifer

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2008, 09:27:30 AM »
A voice from beyond (not PP) has spoken to me and asked that the date of this poll be extended so that those who have been banned for 30 days can vote.

please

Handyman

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2008, 06:14:39 PM »
30 days??   Daaaaaayum.

One thing...   WT(heck) is an ad hominems.

...and yes, I'm too lazy to look it up.   :-P

Offline lizluv43

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2008, 06:39:40 PM »
I feel that for this poll to be fair that it should be extended so that those that are currently in "time out" have a chance to cast their votes as well, after all, they are also part of this community and some of them for quite some time, their votes should also count.
I am immature by choice, I found that being mature was quite dreary. That's why I come to Astorians.com where every hour is Happy Hour!

Offline merm

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2008, 06:44:22 PM »
I feel that for this poll to be fair that it should be extended so that those that are currently in "time out" have a chance to cast their votes as well, after all, they are also part of this community and some of them for quite some time, their votes should also count.

I think you're right. They'll be given a chance to weigh in.

Offline Bentleys Dad

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2008, 09:49:22 PM »
Quote
Post your content once, to the correct category. This includes "quoting" an earlier message for the sole purpose of bumping the thread or expressing agreement. Please use the "nod" feature instead.

So let's say that if I agree with something that someone may have said in a certain thread, I just can't quote and agree by saying " I agree with you", but I have to just use the nod feature? Well that seems against all that this board is about, considering that it is a community board. How can we be a community oriented board if we can't even communicate our agreement with someone.
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Offline lizluv43

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2008, 10:00:39 PM »
That's one of the ones that are confusing......

So basically if that were the case, on this topic, technically all we should be doing is the poll and giving a positive or negative nod and post no comments or not quote because then technically we're bumping this thread?
I am immature by choice, I found that being mature was quite dreary. That's why I come to Astorians.com where every hour is Happy Hour!

Offline merm

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2008, 07:40:03 PM »
Here is what bumping is: "To bump a thread on an Internet forum is to post a reply to it purely in order to raise the thread's profile." Source: Wikipedia

Also of interest, "Users may get around that by posting what is ostensibly a genuine reply."

If it's clear that the reason for your posting to a thread is simply to force the thread to the top of the list this would be considered bumping and is considered bad forum etiquette across many mid to large size internet forums (see Wikipedia article above for more on this topic).

Likewise, it's considered bad forum etiquette to simply reply with "yes" to comment. The reason for this is because when people come back to the site to check "unread messages" it's inefficient and annoying to see a new post and have it only say "yes". It's seen as a disservice to other readers.

Actually, this video is a good summarization of some of the main points of Forum Etiquette held widely across the internet. Additionally, a quick search of Google for 'forum eqituette' and 'forum rules' you'll find many examples of sites with varying policies - however, there are some basics that you'll find on most forums, such as duplicate posting, bumping, spamming, trolling etc.

I'm not saying we have to be like the other forums mind you as I'm very open to changing or adjusting the rules as needed.

Offline Bentleys Dad

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2008, 08:04:54 PM »
I'm sorry, but wikipedia is not an official resource for quality information in that it is user created.
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Offline AJTNYC

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Offline JavaJay73

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2008, 08:39:15 PM »
Wow...when did we start getting so strict around here?  When I first came to this web board I thought it was great to see such a community presence and hear what other people have to say about the neighborhood.  Now, apparently if you say to much you get booted for a month (does that sound right).  Why did it get so strict in here.  What happened to the 1st amendment?  I know Merm you are looking out for your butt as this is your site, but come on.  Let's relax a little and let people take responsibility for their own words.   

Offline Bentleys Dad

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2008, 08:39:53 PM »
I appreciate the effort AJT, but I know about all those sites and, again, they are user created, unlike an official source, like Merriam-Webster or the like.
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Offline AJTNYC

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2008, 08:48:46 PM »
I appreciate the effort AJT, but I know about all those sites and, again, they are user created, unlike an official source, like Merriam-Webster or the like.

I honestly don't know if they are user created or not but are you suggesting that the definition of bumping a thread is not accurate?

Offline AJTNYC

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Re: Open Discussion of Board Rules and Policy
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2008, 09:17:28 PM »
Wow...when did we start getting so strict around here?  When I first came to this web board I thought it was great to see such a community presence and hear what other people have to say about the neighborhood.  Now, apparently if you say to much you get booted for a month (does that sound right).  Why did it get so strict in here.  What happened to the 1st amendment?  I know Merm you are looking out for your butt as this is your site, but come on.  Let's relax a little and let people take responsibility for their own words.   

"Now, apparently if you say to much you get booted for a month (does that sound right)."  I think that oversimplifies the problem.  Don't we need to know more about what was said that warranted getting the boot for a month?  I think some people have the view that the first amendment permits you to say what you want, whenever you want, wherever you want.  That's just simply not the case.



 

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