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 3902 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7380
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #45 on: August 15, 2018, 11:53:20 AM »
Moderator Comment Just thought I'd pop in to say that we are very much aware of the problem, and have been working on a proposed solution for a few weeks now.

We will make the announcement in the near future.

Thanks for the update. Please consider this thread to be proactive feedback - feedforward? - on your efforts.

-----

The following was written before the Mod Comment.

I also agree that concrete behaviours are the way to go.

Behaviour isn't concrete. People don't behave in specific, easy-to-identify modes. The line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is always going to be fuzzy and wooly and open to interpretation. You can ban specific language, but the nice thing about language is that you can always find another way to say the same thing. The other nice thing about language is that it's almost always subject to interpretation. It's always going to be a judgement call. It has to be. There's no way around that. The moderators are empowered to make that call on behalf of the membership

You brought up Pdb as an example of what you consider to be trolling. I said that Pdb is not a troll not because I thought you were asking for judgement in that specific case, but to illustrate that trolling behaviour is subject to interpretation. What is trolling to one person is not trolling to another. You can't lay out a specific and definitive set of rules that directly govern how particular behaviours should be interpreted. You can try, but they will always be insufficient to cover the ingenious and creative use of language. And furthermore, laying out such rules will only encourage people to game the system by deliberately and carefully working around those rules.

You can't govern fuzzy behaviour with specific rules. You need fuzzy rules, and people who are empowered to interpret them. That's what we have now, and that's how I feel it should stay.

I'm a bit confused. When presented with a fuzzy rule - such as "Don't be a troll" - you pointed out that 'troll' is not specific enough to be useful, since (at least) you and I don't agree on what constitutes trolling. When presented with a more specific rule about what trolling might be - disruptive behaviours - you point out that it is too specific to be useful. Is there middle ground? Do the existing rules fall in that middle ground in your opinion? (What I proposed last was intended to be around the same level of detail as the rest of the rules.)

It sounds like you would advocate for a single rule: "Don't be an asshole." I'm not mocking: I ran a social media site for a nonprofit using that as the primary policy, and it worked reasonably well. The situation is not completely analogous since it was a site where named professionals went to ask for and provide advice, not a site where anonymous persons go to argue, teach, learn, and play. Still, I'd be interested in at least a pair of guiding principles like:
  • Do: Discuss, challenge, argue, play, present evidence, use rhetoric, use humour, use sarcasm and satire.
  • Don't: Insult, attack, incite harm, violence or hate, or argue in bad faith.

Actually I’ve been accused of trolling here and wonder how much of these new rules would be applied to me.

That's a good question. I would expect Mods to take action on disruptive behaviours whether there is a complaint or not, and to use their collective judgement about the action to take.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8851
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #46 on: August 15, 2018, 08:05:09 PM »
I'm a bit confused. When presented with a fuzzy rule - such as "Don't be a troll" - you pointed out that 'troll' is not specific enough to be useful, since (at least) you and I don't agree on what constitutes trolling. When presented with a more specific rule about what trolling might be - disruptive behaviours - you point out that it is too specific to be useful. Is there middle ground? Do the existing rules fall in that middle ground in your opinion? (What I proposed last was intended to be around the same level of detail as the rest of the rules.)

Yes.
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.

Tarvek: There's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it.
Agatha: If that's what you think, then you're DOING IT WRONG!

Online random poet

  • That's bullshit!
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2079
  • On n'a jamais le temps, le temps nous a.
    • I have a LJ
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #47 on: August 15, 2018, 08:18:28 PM »
I changed my mind.

We don't need to change the rules at all. Let's just ban any and all nazis. Trolls or not.
Aujourd'hui j'ai vu un facteur joyeux.

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8851
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #48 on: August 15, 2018, 08:36:42 PM »
I changed my mind.

We don't need to change the rules at all. Let's just ban any and all nazis. Trolls or not.

How do we know they're nazis?
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.

Tarvek: There's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it.
Agatha: If that's what you think, then you're DOING IT WRONG!

Offline Belgarath

  • Forum Sugar Daddy
  • Technical Administrator
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • *****
  • Posts: 11859
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #49 on: August 15, 2018, 08:52:29 PM »
I’m probably going to get in trouble but I do want to call out that this particular topic has been on the Mods mind (The Latinist and I are not mods) and they have been discussing the best way to do something along these lines since well before this thread started.  It’s not a particularly easy thing to do. 

I’m going to say let’s let them keep working on it and I think they may come up with something that works.  It probably won’t satisfy everyone (nothing will) but I’m willing to let them take a shot. 
#non-belief denialist

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8851
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #50 on: August 15, 2018, 08:53:38 PM »
I've said my bit. There's not a lot of room for nuance in it.
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.

Tarvek: There's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it.
Agatha: If that's what you think, then you're DOING IT WRONG!

Online random poet

  • That's bullshit!
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2079
  • On n'a jamais le temps, le temps nous a.
    • I have a LJ
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #51 on: August 15, 2018, 11:09:44 PM »
I changed my mind.

We don't need to change the rules at all. Let's just ban any and all nazis. Trolls or not.

How do we know they're nazis?
Well, sometimes they helpfully put a nazi callsign in their username.
Aujourd'hui j'ai vu un facteur joyeux.

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8851
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #52 on: August 15, 2018, 11:30:42 PM »
I changed my mind.

We don't need to change the rules at all. Let's just ban any and all nazis. Trolls or not.

How do we know they're nazis?
Well, sometimes they helpfully put a nazi callsign in their username.

And if they don't?
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.

Tarvek: There's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it.
Agatha: If that's what you think, then you're DOING IT WRONG!

Online brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7380
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2018, 12:21:00 AM »
I’m probably going to get in trouble but I do want to call out that this particular topic has been on the Mods mind (The Latinist and I are not mods) and they have been discussing the best way to do something along these lines since well before this thread started.  It’s not a particularly easy thing to do. 

I’m going to say let’s let them keep working on it and I think they may come up with something that works.  It probably won’t satisfy everyone (nothing will) but I’m willing to let them take a shot.

I'm glad that the Mods are working on this. I'm not at all glad that the Mods were working on this in silence. I spent a lot of years as a change manager of one sort or another. One of the most common causes of utter failure to achieve positive change is imposing a change without engaging the people who will be changed. It's atrocious. Itis also my professional demesne and I have done it to my stakeholders more often than I'd like to admit. It is terribly easy to slip silently into the pit of "knowing what they need for their own good".

This is not a plea or demand for transparency, or 'activist Mods' or such. I know why I have left this community for months at a time and felt better about my life as a result. I know why I've come back in metered doses, too.

Whether it is the rules, the way the rules are enforced, or both, I think this community suffers from a lack of effective moderation. Trolling, IMO, is the standout offender - therefore this thread.

It's late and I'm tired and frustrated. I think our mods are top shelf and have enjoyed actual physical contact with at least one. Even so, I'm not willing to stop talking about the problems in our community because "a shadowy cabal is working on it." (See above, sarcasm, etc.)

Tell us more about what you're thinking about, Mods. Engage the modded with the modding more. Build a consensus with us. Clearly we care - whether we want changes or want no changes.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline arthwollipot

  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 8851
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #54 on: August 16, 2018, 01:47:12 AM »
In contrast, I am in no way interested in being informed about every little thing that the mod team are working on or considering. They didn't advise us that they were working on the troll problem because there was no need to advise us that they were working on it. If moderation here is anything like the moderation on other boards that I've been a moderator on, the team is always working on something, and the general membership has no need to see how the sausage is made. It's a hard job, full of difficult judgement calls, and the moderators are all volunteers donating their time because of their love for the community. I would like to extend my praise and my thanks for the work that they do.
Self-described nerd. Pronouns: He/Him.

Tarvek: There's more to being an evil despot than getting cake whenever you want it.
Agatha: If that's what you think, then you're DOING IT WRONG!

Offline SkeptiQueer

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7736
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2018, 04:39:43 AM »
Rather than something as squishy as "trolling" I would propose something more along the lines of "posting in bad faith" to invoice things like frequently derailing topics towards pet ideas or topics, ignoring or rejecting evidence or arguments asked for (example: "Show me evidence for _____" and then ignoring when evidence is presented, then repeating the question), accusations of shilling, or beginning a discussion and then refusing to engage with other good-faith discussion.

This laundry list sounds very much like your own personal pet peeves and frustrations in engaging in discussions here.

Those are things detrimental to discussion, period. If you think you've engaged in those behaviors than you should stop doing that. I don't keep an enemies list, you're literally not that important.
HIISSSSSSSS

Offline jt512

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2483
    • jt512
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2018, 05:14:56 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.

We could nickname the new rule the Echo Chamber Clause or maybe Mob Rule Clause. If enough cool kids don‘t like someone‘s ideas they can kick him out of the club. Perhaps we should call the club the Pure Ideology Clause.

Good way to doom a forum which has already become almost complete uninteresting due to the steadily increasing homogeneity of the participants.

Skepticism, my ass.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.

Offline Belgarath

  • Forum Sugar Daddy
  • Technical Administrator
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • *****
  • Posts: 11859
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2018, 07:48:31 AM »

 I'm not at all glad that the Mods were working on this in silence. I spent a lot of years as a change manager of one sort or another. One of the most common causes of utter failure to achieve positive change is imposing a change without engaging the people who will be changed. It's atrocious. Itis also my professional demesne and I have done it to my stakeholders more often than I'd like to admit. It is terribly easy to slip silently into the pit of "knowing what they need for their own good".


Thankfully, that's a complete misunderstanding of what is going on.
#non-belief denialist

Online brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7380
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #58 on: August 16, 2018, 10:09:20 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.

We could nickname the new rule the Echo Chamber Clause or maybe Mob Rule Clause. If enough cool kids don‘t like someone‘s ideas they can kick him out of the club. Perhaps we should call the club the Pure Ideology Clause.

Good way to doom a forum which has already become almost complete uninteresting due to the steadily increasing homogeneity of the participants.

Skepticism, my ass.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I have changed my position on the based on criticism and discussion. Keep reading.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Online brilligtove

  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 7380
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
Re: Who wants to modify the Rules to deal with trolls?
« Reply #59 on: August 16, 2018, 10:10:27 AM »

 I'm not at all glad that the Mods were working on this in silence. I spent a lot of years as a change manager of one sort or another. One of the most common causes of utter failure to achieve positive change is imposing a change without engaging the people who will be changed. It's atrocious. Itis also my professional demesne and I have done it to my stakeholders more often than I'd like to admit. It is terribly easy to slip silently into the pit of "knowing what they need for their own good".


Thankfully, that's a complete misunderstanding of what is going on.

Cool. What's going on?

ETA: I am not looking for detailed information about the process. I'm interested in the broad strokes and overall direction.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

 

personate-rain
personate-rain