Poll

Should we update the Conduct section of the Rules to address trolling?  

Yes.
4 (33.3%)
Yes, but with a different standard (see my comment).
1 (8.3%)
No.
7 (58.3%)

Total Members Voted: 12

Author Topic: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?  (Read 3462 times)

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Offline brilligtove

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Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« on: August 13, 2018, 11:23:20 AM »
I propose SGUForums update The Rules as follows:

Conduct
You may not post pornography or obscenity.
Pornographic or obscene content, and hyperlinks to pornographic or obscene content will be removed.

While we do not prohibit profanity, we do ask users to avoid using excessive foul language. Generally, we will consider "weighted phrases" such as those often used to advertise x-rated websites as content that will definitely be disallowed as well as truly obscene content.

We do prefer people to avoid using foul language, but we won't worry about isolated usage. We trust that the forum will not be swamped in a deluge of "bad words." A user who posts a lot of foul language is likely to have their posting privileges restricted or removed.
Conduct
You may not post pornography or obscenity. Pornographic or obscene content, and hyperlinks to pornographic or obscene content will be removed.

While we do not prohibit profanity, we do ask users to avoid using excessive foul language. Generally, we will consider "weighted phrases" such as those often used to advertise x-rated websites as content that will definitely be disallowed as well as truly obscene content.

We do prefer people to avoid using foul language, but we won't worry about isolated usage. We trust that the forum will not be swamped in a deluge of "bad words." A user who posts a lot of foul language is likely to have their posting privileges restricted or removed.

Any forum user who is identified as a troll by a large portion of the active user community is likely to have their posting privileges restricted or removed for continued disruption of the community.

You may not encourage others to commit violence or suicide.

Any forum user who posts a credible threat of bodily harm to another user of this forum will be banned immediately.

You may not post or link to computer viruses or malicious code.
You may not encourage others to commit violence or suicide.

Any forum user who posts a credible threat of bodily harm to another user of this forum will be banned immediately.

You may not post or link to computer viruses or malicious code.

I suggest that "a large portion of active participants" ⅓ of posters who meet at least one of these criteria:
- Post at least [once per week] and have posted [in the last month].
- Have posted more than [200] times in at least [2] topics.

(Square brackets to indicate factors I pulled out of the air, and which I expect to be debated.)

Reporting a troll could be achieved by:
- sending private message to mods,
- reporting a comment for trolling, or
- calling out trolling publicly in a message thread.

Please debate.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2018, 11:25:48 AM »
As a practical example of how this might work, I would propose Pdb is a troll and should be banned.

If enough active users agree, Mods can follow Mod policy for warnings, etc., and take action.
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2018, 11:42:56 AM »
I would need a much more clear statement of what constitutes a "large portions of active users".  And probably still wouldn't like that much.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2018, 11:48:08 AM »
I would need a much more clear statement of what constitutes a "large portions of active users".  And probably still wouldn't like that much.

What do you propose?
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Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2018, 12:08:11 PM »
I would need a much more clear statement of what constitutes a "large portions of active users".  And probably still wouldn't like that much.

What do you propose?
A specific percentage, 3/4, 2/3,.....

A definition of active user, 10 post in the last week, 30 posts in the last month?  Don't really know, just something more definitive.  I'm still not too keen on the idea that would amount to an unpopularity contest. 

Offline Belgarath

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2018, 12:48:20 PM »
I get worried about an unpopular opinion vs. a troll.  I'd actually like the term defined just a bit more.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2018, 01:02:34 PM »
I would need a much more clear statement of what constitutes a "large portions of active users".  And probably still wouldn't like that much.

What do you propose?
A specific percentage, 3/4, 2/3,.....

A definition of active user, 10 post in the last week, 30 posts in the last month?  Don't really know, just something more definitive.  I'm still not too keen on the idea that would amount to an unpopularity contest.

My suggestion is a bit clumsy in phrasing...

I suggest that "a large portion of active participants" ⅓ of posters who meet at least one of these criteria:
- Post at least [once per week] and have posted [in the last month].
- Have posted more than [200] times in at least [2] topics.

(Square brackets to indicate factors I pulled out of the air, and which I expect to be debated.)

Basically, I would set the threshold for "active" relatively low, as long as the person has committed a bit of time and effort to the conversations here.

The definition of an Active User could be as specific as having to meet some or all of the following conditions:

A. Posted at least [P] times in the last [D] days.
B. Posted an average of at least [A] posts/week since account creation.
C. Has posted at least [C] times.

The Threshhold for trollness could also be specific:

D. When [R]% of Active Users raise a troll complaint about a user, Mods take appropriate action.

I am more concerned about the words in the Rules, and less concerned about the exact details of P, D, C, and R. We have good Mods who have exhibited good judgement in my experience, so at this point I would be happy for them to declare that they have a standard for assessing trollness, and a threshold for action.

I get worried about an unpopular opinion vs. a troll.  I'd actually like the term defined just a bit more.

I'm not so worried about that, especially in this community. Very few opinions are universally unpopular here.

My working definition of a troll is a user acting to undermine effective discourse, and to disrupt meaningful discussion. Pdb meets that criteria for me. A single issue jerk - like that anti-self-driving-car person from a while back - would not meet that definition of a troll.

In addition, this is not an invitation to mob justice. We have Mods - and not a Chinese-style social value score - for reasons beyond the technical.
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Online The Latinist

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2018, 01:20:42 PM »
I don’t know if I’d be in favor of this; I prefer that moderation decisions be let entirely in the hands of our esteemed moderation team. I would propose instead that the rule against personal attacks be extended to prohibit posts which promote bigotry or which promote hatred or violence against any individual or group.  The mods would then be responsible for determining when people run afoul of the rule.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 01:40:52 PM »
I don’t know if I’d be in favor of this; I prefer that moderation decisions be let entirely in the hands of our esteemed moderation team. I would propose instead that the rule against personal attacks be extended to prohibit posts which promote bigotry or which promote hatred or violence against any individual or group.  The mods would then be responsible for determining when people run afoul of the rule.

A reasonable position.
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Offline random poet

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 02:55:51 PM »
Yeah, I like the intent of this rule amendment, but not the method. Leaving it to a popular vote is just too mob-like to me. The mod team, with suggestions from the user base, could come up with enforceable rules for dealing with trolls, especially with regards to hate speech. If a large number of users report someone for this type of offense, they would investigate and take the proper actions, just like any other rule breaking.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 03:22:32 PM »
My desire for a ruleset for the community to engage Mods is to promote community engagement with this concern and related concerns. Maybe it is enough to report to the mods and then have judgement in secret? That doesn't show off the community culture though - not to visitors or to ourselves. I suspect some of the anger that gets poured into our threads has to do with some members feeling that their concerns are not taken seriously, or are not heard.

In any case, the requirement that drove the active users stuff is for the community to be able to show what behaviours are not welcome without the vitriol we get now.
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Offline Nosmas

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2018, 05:27:32 PM »
I'm not so sure. I'm also worried about the popular opinion kicking out people with views they just don't like. Pdb is the only user that I thought of as maybe falling under this (I lurk far more than I post). I'm still not sure he's an actual troll rather than someone who believes many things I think are wrong. To be honest though after reading a few of his posts in the past I mostly see the wall of text and Excel graphs and skip to the next person. I guess a lot hinges on what you define as a troll. I've always seen it as more than a jerk who argues in bad faith. My memory may be failing me but I recall seeing troll accusations in the past which I just didn't agree with which shakes my confidence in this method.

Curious. Do you think it could apply to more than one person who currently frequents these forums?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 05:30:17 PM by Nosmas »
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Offline PANTS!

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2018, 05:49:29 PM »
I would modify the suggest to say something like some or all of this:

Should not repeatedly post unrelated memes or videos with little to no comment, and/or little to no follow up or defense of the posts. 

Should not repeatedly post off-thread-topic messages, and/or little to no follow up or defense of the posts. (I have been dinged for this, so I thought it was a rule, but if it was it is no longer enforced)

Should not repeatedly post "Tu-Quoque" messages or engage in both-sides-ism- especially if

Should not repeatedly post or link to known unskeptical sites as a means to promote those sites, especially ones that promote hateful, factually incorrect, blatantly proselytizing, or harmful ideologies.  That is at best an attempt to get better page rankings, you tube views, or whatever metic they make money off of for fringe sites.  At worst it is an attempt to associate the SGU and skepticism with such bunkum.  No trying to get mainstream buy in for your Holocaust Denial (or Mormons Were Right, or Alex Jones, or whatever)  site by constantly linking to it with a fawning post.

Should not be deliberately inflammatory.  (As defined by the mods), but should include - referring to someone by a name they have asked they not be referred to by.  To not repeatedly use "dog-whistle" language - especially after such language is pointed out as being as such.

Should not continuously strawman or change the subject when engaged.  "If you though it was important enough to bring up, then it should be important enough to defend"

In general, all posters should strive to engage in logical discussion over mere rhetoric alone.  Everyone slips, and there is nothing wrong with giving a rhetorical flourish to a well thought out logical point or immaculate data, but that is in contrast to substanceless cliches, statements rife with logical flaws and bereft of facts, etc.  (This one should be enforced much more loosely by the mods, but, really we all know when it has gone waaaay to far, and someone is giving the old razzle dazzle and not interested in discussion).

In addition, there is much to be said for being a part of the community.  One of the best ways to tell a troll is to see if they ever talk in the personal or entertainment threads.  Not sure how that translates into mod rules, but it feels right to say it counts for something.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 05:53:50 PM by PANTS! »
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Offline Nosmas

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2018, 06:09:36 PM »
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This actually sounds pretty good. I agree with the Tu-Quoque as long as it's the fallacy where someone is claiming your statement is false because you're guilty of not following it. I don't think there's anything wrong with simply pointing out hypocrisy or inconsistency. The dog whistle seems like it's assuming intent. Some dog whistles are still legit statements without a more nefarious intent to signal to horrible people or to take a further step to something worse. For some, just criticizing Islam is a dog whistle.
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Offline PANTS!

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Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 06:18:38 PM »
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This actually sounds pretty good. I agree with the Tu-Quoque as long as it's the fallacy where someone is claiming your statement is false because you're guilty of not following it. I don't think there's anything wrong with simply pointing out hypocrisy or inconsistency. The dog whistle seems like it's assuming intent. Some dog whistles are still legit statements without a more nefarious intent to signal to horrible people or to take a further step to something worse. For some, just criticizing Islam is a dog whistle.

Yeah - but I also trust the mods.  They make calls on this sort of thing all the time.  And most of the time they assume good intent - especially for first time posters. 
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