relax

Author Topic: Discussion about changing the rules.  (Read 6013 times)

Offline merm

  • Administrator
  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
Discussion about changing the rules.
« on: January 12, 2008, 01:26:47 PM »
For the last 4 years, this forum has maintained a semi-open policy regarding what content is appropriate and inappropriate on this board. However, over this period some members have become dissatisfied with the rules as they stand, and, although not a single member has suggested specific changes to the rules, some feel they should be more restrictive in what content is appropriate for this site while others criticize the guidelines as being too restrictive.

I want to start a discussion about what a more restrictive rule set might look like here on Astorians. A fairly comprehensive set of board guidelines are being used at eGullet's forums and I've cross posted them here for reference. Please read the complete set of rules and comment considering the following questions:

- To what degree should content be restricted on Astorians?
- Do the current rules go too far, or not go far enough, or are about right in how they restrict content?
- What aspects of the eGullet guidelines may be appropriate for this site, what may not?
- Do you have other ideas on how the rules should change on Astorians?

As always we are open to your ideas on how to make the site better. Please note that this discussion does not automatically mean the board rules will change - this is just a discussion about the merits of changing or not changing them. Thank you in advance for your input.



eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters
Decorum and Topicality Guidelines

In order to encourage an open exchange of culinary information and views, Society members are expected to act with civility and to maintain a focus on issues pertaining to food and drink.

Decorum

    * We do not permit ad hominem arguments or personal attacks.
    * 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.
    * 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.
    * Objectionable comments in the eG Forums 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 be reported to management.
    * Responding to objectionable content with retaliation or escalation is prohibited.
    * Members must not attempt to act as moderators.
    * Discussion and debate of moderation and administrative decisions are not permitted on eG Forums topics.

Defamation

    * The eGullet Society prohibits the posting of false or unconfirmed statements of fact that may injure the reputation of another party.
    * Society members who post factual statements in the eG Forums represent by so doing that such statements are true and accurate to the best of their knowledge.
    * A personal opinion as to the truthfulness of a factual statement (for example, that a visit to a restaurant resulted in "food poisoning" or that a certain restaurant is going out of business) does not constitute reasonable proof as to the truthfulness of that factual statement.
    * Each Society member bears full legal and ethical responsibility for all material posted in eG Forums discussions or communicated via Society technologies by such member.

Subject Matter

    * Discussions in the food and drink forums are restricted to the topics of food and drink. Posts on a given topic must pertain to that topic.
    * In the Technical Support forum, members may post questions relevant to using the eG Forums and other Society technologies.
    * The eG Forums and Society Questions and Comments forum is a moderated forum where members may ask questions, make suggestions and comment on the Society and eG Forums. Thoughtful questions and comments may be answered publicly or privately by Society staff; frivolous or repetitive ones will be discarded.

Politics and Religion

    * We permit political or religious discussion to the extent that it substantially focuses on our core subject of food and remains civil; however the scope of eG Forums discussions does not extend to general political or religious topics (see below).

This policy, which is incorporated by reference in the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters member agreement, was last updated on 20 December 2006.

An Additional Note on Food, Politics, Religion, and Decorum

Controversy and strong, informed opinions make for good discussions and interesting, informative forums. On the other hand, these same opinions can also cause discussions to deteriorate in into destructive, mean-spirited and personal arguments that cause hard feelings, repel members and diminish everyone’s contributions. Not surprisingly, these types of discussions seem particularly common when the subjects of food and politics or religion intersect.

It’s easy to see why. Society members come here for many different reasons, from many cultures and backgrounds, representing a diversity of values and experiences. In many countries, the media actively promote shallow conflicts on “news” shows and talk radio, and political leaders abandon nuance and compromise in hopes of demonizing opponents. Meanwhile, on many important issues facing the food community, there is no “objective” truth but a great deal of emotional opinion: “is force-feeding ducks for foie gras inhumane?” and “is fast food evil?”

When such topics work, however, they illustrate what makes eG Forums terrific. Take a look at Americans Scared of Their Dinner?, say, or Michael Pollan's Open Letter to Whole Foods. We encourage you to start topics like this and to take active part in the discussions they engender.

Unfortunately, for the reasons above, we’ve seen a wide range of subjects skid into the gutter. Please remember at all times -- but particularly when discussing a political, religious, or equally inflammatory topic -- that it is important for all of us to make an exceptional effort to be civil and to respect all of our members, regardless of their views.

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.

Finally, if you choose to post, contribute productively to the discussion at hand. If you have something constructive to share, whether it does or does not support the points made previously, by all means do so. However, if you believe the discussion is not worth your time, then respect the engagement of members posting in that topic and don't post. If you want to challenge the legitimacy of a topic, report it to the forum hosts.

With collective effort, a willingness to make our points and move on, and a little luck, we can avoid divisiveness and hurt feelings, and instead build lots more of the compelling, cutting-edge discussions about that which brought us together in the first place: the world of food and drink.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2008, 10:17:46 PM by merm »

Offline paratactical

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 4127
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 01:58:49 PM »
I'm a pretty big supporter of blanket free speech--and I would probably even loosen the rules here (it first surprised me that cursing is filtered)--so I know I might not be in the majority, but I don't think that we need stricter rules, especially because those rules posted above can be interpreted in some pretty strict or lose ways depending on the moderator (not saying you guys aren't great  :mrgreen: ).

That being said, I think the thing that I've liked about astorians.com so much is that it seems to be a pretty self-regulating board. Sure there are a few posts that have too many repetitive, biased posts, but for the most part the members of this board take people to task when they are using hate speech or making personal attacks. I think we have the kind of community that minimizes hateful words and posts by the sheer open, friendly exchange that we naturally have.

I believe that it is up to us, as a community, to ignore posters who consistently engage in hateful speech that we do not approve of. I think there are examples of this being successful in the past and that as long as we, as a group, agree to not respond to the inflammatory posts we don't need stricter rules. I like this group because it is largely unmoderated and we work as a community to make the content the kind of discourse we would all like to see.

Offline astoriagirl

  • Citizen
  • ***
  • Posts: 105
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 10:19:28 AM »
I don't think we need more restrictive rules because I haven't (so far) encountered hate speech, personal attacks, etc.

The only criticism I would offer is that sometimes posts on a particular subject go on way too long and degenerate into meaingless little back and forth quips . . . what comes to mind is "Last Poster Standing"  So if the moderator(s) want to step in every now and then and say "ok - we've heard enough on this one" I think that might be a good thing.

Thanks.

Offline daisy

  • President
  • **************
  • Posts: 5714
  • Gender: Female
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2008, 12:02:53 PM »
I don't have any easy answers for this and do tend to fall in the less restrictions camp.   There are definitely problem posters who pop up every four months and then go back into hiding, whose only purpose is to stir things up on controversial topics.  We've had huge problems with posters like this in the past, where a troll posted something hateful, a bunch of people jumped in to defend or yell back, things got out of hand with the back and forth, and eventually moderators had to step in and enforce rules, and people were 10 day banned or left over it.  It has gotten better since then, with many posters self-policing themselves and encouraging thoughtful discussion.  I do wish people would mentally hit ignore more often.

Personally, I don't care to get into the political and religious debates.   If I do post, it's short and sweet, and often times a one-time per topic thing.  I don't have the time to go on and on with someone whose mind is already made up, it just seems pointless to me, and I have better things to do.  I see Astorians.com as an informational site where I can find out more about Astoria in general.  I ignore most everything else and am happier not getting all riled up about something.  That being said, people can choose to read and respond to whatever they choose to, it's a free country.  I just can't be bothered to read it all, and I would hate to be a moderator enforcing the rules.  It's not an easy job, and I don't envy them.

Offline megc

  • President
  • **************
  • Posts: 6167
  • Sea turtles need our help.
    • Harmonious Belly
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2008, 01:53:12 PM »
Yes, it is a free country, but entering this board - which is privately owned - is like entering someone's private home.  If they don't like the way a visitor is treating the people there, or if a visitor is abusive and harassing the property owner, they can ask them to leave.  The owner of this private forum has every right to make whatever rules that seem fitting. 

I'm a big supporter of free speech but there are certain things that cross the line - hate speech, for one, simply exists to degrade others, and incite violence in extreme situations.  Oh, and it's used to make the person who is spewing it feel superior by attempting to make others feel inferior.

paratactical, you can override the filtering of swear words.  It's in the preferences.

Being a moderator pretty much anywhere is a challenging job.  Bravo to the mods and admin that keep this place afloat in the excellent manner it is.

Offline NYCMacUser

  • President
  • **************
  • Posts: 8297
  • Gender: Female
  • Bippidi Boppidi Boo!
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2008, 08:51:14 PM »
The only criticism I would offer is that sometimes posts on a particular subject go on way too long and degenerate into meaingless little back and forth quips . . . what comes to mind is "Last Poster Standing"  So if the moderator(s) want to step in every now and then and say "ok - we've heard enough on this one" I think that might be a good thing.
Y'all figured I would have to say something about this post . . . didn't you? Well, y'all are dead wrong.

Even when things get hot around here, they have a life of their own. The less moderation, the better. The site is getting new members everyday; fulfilling both Community and social needs; a nice way to meet your neighbors; a great way to make new friends; an interesting place to go with spare time; a site to have fun; learn about the Community; indulge in food and beverage discussions and a hotbed of quoting material for many blogs and local media. astorians.com is a destination of choice for many friendly local residents and any major changes to the rules are really unnecessary until something evidences itself to require the changing of those rules.

I am not fond of the smileys or the nods. But many other people are, so why would I even suggest getting rid of them? Let those who want them use them and the rest of us can either stay away from their use or change our minds.

If it ain't broke, why fix it?
Women are like teabags.
We don't know our true strength
until we are in hot water! —Eleanor Roosevelt

lobber

  • Guest
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2008, 10:05:58 AM »
I agree with all of the less restrictionist crowd.  I have found this site to be fairly self moderating.  People have there opinions and some of those may be prima facie offensive or just offensive to some people, but how can we know our neighbors (or ourselves) if we don't hear them.  People who have way out there opinions or who attack others for the sake of attacking will leave the board on their own accord when they realize no one cares what they have to say.  I don't think the site needs a supernanny to put bad posters in the naughty corner.  Down with the FCC and down with censorship.  If you don;t like the way a thread is going, don't read it, pure and simple.  um...yeah...that's about it.

Offline PJ

  • Senator
  • ********
  • Posts: 1640
  • Gender: Male
  • AQ420 Team
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2008, 01:59:19 PM »
this is a public forum, so free speech, if you dont like the topic- you dont have to read the thread or participate in the discussion,
Astoria.....\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"A Shady Place For Shady People"\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\......So LOVE it OR LEAVE IT !!!!

Offline merm

  • Administrator
  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2008, 07:43:55 PM »
I really appreciate the comments so far. I hope others will chime in too.

As an aside, in one sense though this board really doesn't allow for entirely free speech - and it's a good thing in my opinion. There are certain content that we simply will not allow - pornography, spam, hate speech, and personal attacks are among them. Limiting any speech technically makes that speech not "free" - as is the case here (and is the case nearly everywhere in the world coincidentally - but that's for another thread :) )

Offline essen

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 2000
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2008, 04:50:23 AM »
I don't think a major rules change is necessary either. People seem to know the rules. eGullet is sort of different - you need to be a paying member just to post on it, and it's understood that the forum is strictly food-related, even sometimes in the philosophical sense. While this is forum is generally Astoria-related, it's also a community forum; as opposed to the eGullet "society," if that makes any sense.

Offline TRX

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 3837
  • Gender: Male
  • It only makes me laugh
    • http://www.lp.org
Re: Discussion about keeping the rules.
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2008, 04:19:32 PM »
Basicly, I agree with what everyone has posted so far.   :-)

Is there a mission or aim of Astorians? Whatever the case, I think the forum reflects many of our neighbors and neighborhoods. (For better or for worse)

It is pretty amazing if I think what has come out of Astorians over the past 12 months.   :mrgreen:

When there is news or questions about Astoria, I expect to find it here. Like a local version of NY1/Zagats/PBS/Jerry Springer/Larry King/Seinfeld. And an alternative to reality tv.


It is more of a mental game, but I wonder how people would use Astorians if each user had a limited number of postings per day/month. But I dont like rationing.

Got to go. AA should be meeting soon.

Thanks yall.
Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta

Offline bstewart

  • Mayor
  • ******
  • Posts: 738
  • Gender: Male
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2008, 09:34:27 PM »
I favor one rule: A. J. Liebling's "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one."

It's good to have guidelines on how to avoid the publisher's wrath, and I hope that the administration will [continue to] be benevolent, liberal, just, and fair.

lobber

  • Guest
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2008, 09:14:02 AM »
I favor one rule: A. J. Liebling's "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one."

It's good to have guidelines on how to avoid the publisher's wrath, and I hope that the administration will [continue to] be benevolent, liberal, just, and fair.


Is there an Astorians Guantanomo that we end up in if we break the rules?

Offline paratactical

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 4127
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2008, 09:26:03 AM »
Is there an Astorians Guantanomo that we end up in if we break the rules?

Not really, just a work camp where you make creme fraiche for the crazy homeless guys.

Offline TRX

  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 3837
  • Gender: Male
  • It only makes me laugh
    • http://www.lp.org
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2008, 05:19:16 PM »
I presume this is a sort of not-for-profit site. 
Is it for profit? If it is, good luck.
Life, Liberty, Happiness (pursuit of) and pasta

Offline merm

  • Administrator
  • Governor
  • ***********
  • Posts: 2643
  • Gender: Female
Re: Discussion about changing the rules.
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2008, 06:27:30 PM »
I presume this is a sort of not-for-profit site. 
Is it for profit? If it is, good luck.

It's absolutely for profit - for the profit of all that is. Thanks for the warm wishes of luck :)


 

Visit our sister site Jackson Heights Life