The Change in Babble Culture

108 posts / 0 new
Last post
Sean in Ottawa

I'm curious-- how can you not get twitter? It's a website-- is it blocked? Is it that it won't load on a dial up connection?

MegB

Wilf Day wrote:

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

The change in babble culture can be seen by looking at the active topics page today.

In the past, babble was where I came to learn the latest news and the missing pieces of the story. It is no longer the portal-hub that leads me to the latest; for example, a thread on Bill C38 is nowhere to be found today - not on the active topics page, at least.

That's what bothers me. I see very little toxic, except when a moderator plays thought-police unnecessarily.

That's precisely the kind of comment that too often makes this a toxic workplace. What can possibly be gained by such a nasty remark?  Will it make babble a better place?  Will it help us mods do a better job?  No to both.

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

Can't get Twitter here, ...

Click here:

http://twitter.com

... and tell me what happens.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I'm curious-- how can you not get twitter? It's a website-- is it blocked? Is it that it won't load on a dial up connection?

 

Very, very slow to load on dialup.

CMOT Dibbler

"That was the cause of The Big Schism - I don't think it had anything to do with The Little Schism"

Audra's firing made some Babblers believe that Babble had become a servant of The Establishment. They broke off to form two new boards and caused The Little Schism.

I agree with Catchfire by the way. The golden age before Audra's firing never existed. This has always been a pretty rough place.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Unionist wrote:

Boom Boom wrote:

Can't get Twitter here, ...

Click here:

http://twitter.com

... and tell me what happens.

I don't have a Twitter account but when I clicked on other people's accounts it loaded very slowly. Maybe I'll open an account and see what happens. We only have dialup and only so many hours a month - unless you're willing to pay susbtantially to increase your monthly allotment of ISP time. I'm on disability pension and can't do that. 

What I meant by my comment was that we don't have digital phone service here and thus can not access Twitter on any handheld device.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I didn't know the firing of Audra was connected to the creation of BnR.

Lachine Scot

Sorry to hear it, Rebecca :/   The internet in general has become a meaner place over time, I worry..

macktheknife

I only plugged into the internet starting in 2001, and after awhile I discovered this wonderful way people were communicating, called Message Boards. I joined a few and eventually gravitated to the "General Discussion" areas where the same people who were being helpful in the rest of the forum threads were spewing the most ridiculous pro-Bush pro-war bullshit.

I just had to join in those discussions and it inevitably led to my banning in most of those forums for "personal attacks". So, becoming frustrated, I started Googling "left wing forums" and found Babble, that was in 2004. As I started reading babble, I was at once thrilled and scared, thrilled because here were posters telling conservative trolls to "fuck off" and not only were they NOT getting banned for it, after the little right wing pukes complained to the moderators, but they were THEMSELVES being banned for having started a thread innocently asking why gay couples should not just be happy with civil unions instead of marriage, or whatever. It was so deeply satisfying, I'm sure you all understand, to see these hypocritical little con bullies not being able to fill up message boards with their vileness by hiding behind blanket no personal attack rules.

Scared because, well to be honest, I recognized I was out of my weight class here. I finally found a message board I could love but I didn't feel there was much I could offer that wasn't already being said much more eloquently and intelligently by the vast majority of the regular posters. Also, I'm a loner and frankly don't usually have much to say anyway.

So, I signed up and posted a bit but mostly just read, which was O.K. because the level of discussion was such that I found myself learning as well as entertained. A win win.

During 2006 I was busy and away from Babble and actually missed the whole schism thing, only found out a bit later, and I was like holy shit where is everyone. I looked at the two other forums created post schism and although many (most?) of my favorite posters were currently posting at those websites, it wasn't, for me, the same. The "je ne sais quois" that made babble unique and exciting pre-schism was not, again, for me, recreated in either of those two sites. Sadly, though, it seemed to be gone from babble as well.

Having said that, I have continued to read, and (very) occasionally post under different pseudonyms (hehe who's next...jimmythegreek perhaps?), up to this point and will continue to do so as for me, it is still has some of the best posters on any message board I've seen. I know post-schism members tend to feel somewhat insulted by the implication that babble "was better before" they got here lol, and it was, but not because of their presence, but because of others absence.

I don't know, maybe the whole schism thing did more damage to babble then we care to admit, it's not hard to believe that the sense of community that existed before '06 evaporated when a large portion of those that participated in making babble a community left. But that was six years ago. That's a long bloody time, so either babble needs the equivelant of a couch and box of kleenex and deal with unresolved issues, or it's irrelevant.

P.S. I am aware of the irony of a very sparse poster commenting about community, but I come here every day to read.

ygtbk

Rebecca West wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

The change in babble culture can be seen by looking at the active topics page today.

In the past, babble was where I came to learn the latest news and the missing pieces of the story. It is no longer the portal-hub that leads me to the latest; for example, a thread on Bill C38 is nowhere to be found today - not on the active topics page, at least.

That's what bothers me. I see very little toxic, except when a moderator plays thought-police unnecessarily.

That's precisely the kind of comment that too often makes this a toxic workplace. What can possibly be gained by such a nasty remark?  Will it make babble a better place?  Will it help us mods do a better job?  No to both.

First, Rebecca, it's not clear that Wilf is being nasty. Second, I am almost certain that the comment was not directed at you.

onlinediscountanvils

ygtbk wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

The change in babble culture can be seen by looking at the active topics page today.

In the past, babble was where I came to learn the latest news and the missing pieces of the story. It is no longer the portal-hub that leads me to the latest; for example, a thread on Bill C38 is nowhere to be found today - not on the active topics page, at least.

That's what bothers me. I see very little toxic, except when a moderator plays thought-police unnecessarily.

That's precisely the kind of comment that too often makes this a toxic workplace. What can possibly be gained by such a nasty remark?  Will it make babble a better place?  Will it help us mods do a better job?  No to both.

First, Rebecca, it's not clear that Wilf is being nasty. Second, I am almost certain that the comment was not directed at you.

Not helpful. 

Wilf Day

Babble should apologize to Malcolm and ask him to come back.

MegB

ygtbk wrote:

Rebecca West wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

The change in babble culture can be seen by looking at the active topics page today.

In the past, babble was where I came to learn the latest news and the missing pieces of the story. It is no longer the portal-hub that leads me to the latest; for example, a thread on Bill C38 is nowhere to be found today - not on the active topics page, at least.

That's what bothers me. I see very little toxic, except when a moderator plays thought-police unnecessarily.

That's precisely the kind of comment that too often makes this a toxic workplace. What can possibly be gained by such a nasty remark?  Will it make babble a better place?  Will it help us mods do a better job?  No to both.

First, Rebecca, it's not clear that Wilf is being nasty. Second, I am almost certain that the comment was not directed at you.

It doesn't matter whether it's directed at me or Catchfire - we're a team and this is our shared workplace.  "When a moderator plays thought police" is pointlessly nasty.  There are many ways to voice dissent. Being insulting on a personal level shouldn't be one of them.

Jacob Two-Two

I don't believe that the Audra affair is really the issue. It was more of a catalyst than a reason. It's telling to me that another break occured shortly after EnMasse was created, which happened, as I recall, because many women felt that neither babble nor Enmasse had created enough of a safe and friendly environment for women's voices to be heard, and not shouted down by men (and there is definitely something to that).

Basically, a lot of people already had problems with the way the board was run and the focus of the moderation. Audra being fired just became a excuse to air those grievances and act on them.

I think it all comes down to a difference of opinion about why the board exists and what it is meant to accomplish. Babble continues to walk a line between two conflicting philosophies. The need to create a protected space where progressives can talk amongst themselves without having to shout down opposing viewpoints that we're all sick of dealing with over and over, and the need to create a space where progressive ideas can reach a wider audience and challenge those same opposing viewpoints in the public sphere. Sadly, these tend to be fairly mutually exclusive in practice.

Personally, I've always been closer to the second philosophy. It's not often these days that I trouble myself to do it, but I used to take great pleasure in engaging those random posters who would come here with their genuine, well-intentioned right-wing nonsense (as opposed to trolls who just come to aggravate) and calmly pick out the inconsistencies in their thinking. Not only does it get them thinking, but hopefully it has the same effect on many lurkers. It was heated discussions of those kinds that taught me so much in my first few years on babble. For this reason I have always valued the contributions of our handful of more centrist or conservative posters and the challenges to the babble consensus they provide. It keeps our thinking sharp and our arguments honest, while doing a real service to those who have not already joined the choir, so to speak. It makes me cringe everytime I see a new poster who doesn't share our perspective met with cries of "What are you doing here?", and "Go back to Free Dominion!"

That's not to discount the needs of those who would like to have a more indepth discussion of the fine points of left-wing thought without getting every thread derailed into the same old base-line arguments. I agree it's frustrating when you want to compare different models of socialism and have everything go off the rails because Average Joe pops up to say "what do you guys have against the free market anyway?" But it's equally frustrating to me to have this person be hounded out or shut down and miss a valuable opportunity to share our perspective.

Let me say that I really don't envy our moderators, who try so hard to both satisfy the core community and their needs and still avoid the tendency for babble to become an insular ghetto of leftist thought, inaccessible to the very people we should be trying to reach. Do they succeed? No they don't, but frankly the job is probably impossible so I have to appauld them for attempting it anyway.

Babble in it's early stages seemed to fulfill these conflicting mandates better, but it was probably just because the board wasn't as well known and people were willing to put up with more disappointment. At a certain point, those that were more interested in a safe space than a media outlet went their own way and didn't want to compromise anymore. It probably would have happened no matter what. Similarly, the moderation was lighter because it wasn't as necessary. The place was quite civil in general. All you had to do was dump the trolls. Nowadays it seems that it's the regulars who are always at each others throats, and I think in a myriad of ways it all comes back to people wanting different things from their experience here.

So is there a solution to this? I don't have one, but it would surely have to start with awareness of the problem and the maturity to remember that we don't own babble, we just hang out here. We have to recognise that the board won't always be what we want it to be, sigh and push our chairs back from the computer for a while, and resolve that when we come back we'll try to get what we can from it while doing our best not to ruin anyone else's experience. At least, that's what I try to do.

MegB

A very thoughtful post Jacob TT. 

Sven Sven's picture

Rebecca West wrote:

A very thoughtful post Jacob TT. 

I agree.  Excellent.

jjuares

I would like to respond to Jacob's interesting post. I agree with it totally. I participate in two sites. the other one is a general one full of right wing nonsense, racism,sexism and all manner of sins. It is infested with trolls. I am quite rude there.  I don't participate very much there anymore. I come here because I want to listen to thoughtful progressive voices. The last thing I want to do is to get into heated converstions with people who I agree with probably 99% of the time.  So I fit into the first camp identified by Jacob.

Sean in Ottawa

I think there is a difference between being

1) genuinely angry becuase of a principle behind a post that comes close to home or angry at a personal attack

or

2) using anger/nastiness as a tactic even without a lot of emotional involvement in the issue-- simply because it shuts down discussions or is easier than responding to what a person has said in a more reasonable manner

 

I think if each person considered the two and were a little more forgiving of the first and refrained from the second the place could be a bit better. The problem is that sometimes it is diffiuclt to know when another person is in the first or the second category.

quizzical

not + or helpful

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Jacob Two-Two wrote:

It's not often these days that I trouble myself to do it, but I used to take great pleasure in engaging those random posters who would come here with their genuine, well-intentioned right-wing nonsense (as opposed to trolls who just come to aggravate) and calmly pick out the inconsistencies in their thinking. Not only does it get them thinking, but hopefully it has the same effect on many lurkers. It was heated discussions of those kinds that taught me so much in my first few years on babble. For this reason I have always valued the contributions of our handful of more centrist or conservative posters and the challenges to the babble consensus they provide. It keeps our thinking sharp and our arguments honest, while doing a real service to those who have not already joined the choir, so to speak. It makes me cringe everytime I see a new poster who doesn't share our perspective met with cries of "What are you doing here?", and "Go back to Free Dominion!"

That's not to discount the needs of those who would like to have a more indepth discussion of the fine points of left-wing thought without getting every thread derailed into the same old base-line arguments. I agree it's frustrating when you want to compare different models of socialism and have everything go off the rails because Average Joe pops up to say "what do you guys have against the free market anyway?" But it's equally frustrating to me to have this person be hounded out or shut down and miss a valuable opportunity to share our perspective.

It might surprise many to hear that I agree with this. Honest engagement by a newbie generally doesn't disturb me, even if it's clear they'll never belong here. 

What does disturb me is the "pet troll" phenomenon, where certain people seem to have license to repeat the same obnoxious opinions and patented right-wing talking points as if they were pearls of wisdom we've never seen - even when we've seen and refuted them hundreds of times, without acknowledgement by said pets.

kropotkin1951

Babble is having teenage angst and doesn't know who it is or what it wants to grow up to be. 

I think the problem is drawing the parameters around the phrase "discussions which develop and expand progressive thought." 

"In defining itself as "progressive," rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and as such encourages discussions which develop and expand progressive thought."

As we talk in this thread in another thread a poster from the Canadian military is trash talking Unionist; "Still the little thread stalker, aren't you? And why no denunciation of Assad? Hmmm? Oh, right..." 

On this "progressive" board many of the threads are either derailed or dominated by people spouting imperialist propaganda.  Racist and misogynist talk is easier to spot and moderate, it is the subtle poor bashing and the acceptance of our right as "Western democracies" to intervene for the "good" of others that is far harder to deal with in the context of the stated goals of rabble.ca. 

How do we provide a better medium to enhance the discussions without stifling them.  The Moderators and others claim the current system does not work so what is the fix?

 

6079_Smith_W

@ LTJ

Thing is, there are opinions and talking points from all sides that not everyone agrees with, even though some people might think they are settled and put to rest. The only difference is that in some instances there is no point in making counter arguments. 

For that matter, even though this is a protected space of sorts, and some positions are taken as a given, it would be a grave mistake to ignore the fact that many people hold different opinions, whether we think they are bullshit and can prove it, and even whether we don't want to entertain those opinions here.

Really, I think this is less about staking out political territory and deciding who is in and who is out,  and more about common decency.

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

I agree, it is about common decency.

But I guess we must totally disagree upon the definition of that term.

Deliberately annoying as many people as you can doesn't fit with it in my book.

6079_Smith_W

What annoys you is probably not the same as what annoys me. And whether something is a deliberate attempt to annoy, well that depends. I think there is more than enough of that - deliberate or not -  to go around on all of our parts. But I think it also gets confused with values, and with peoples' differing opinions about how this place should work.

Jacob TT's summation is an excellent illustration

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

whatever.

I guess hoping for incremental progress here is as futile as hoping for it in the wider world. Blow it all up and start over, anyone?

 

macktheknife
quizzical

been thinkin on this. maybe what's happening here is a micro of the macro happening in Canadian society at large?  look at just the recent incidents of person to person acts of violence.

this mornings mass shooting and killing of 3  in Edmonton alledgedly by a co-worker. the murder and dismemberment in Quebec. the disgusting actions of the Conservative government plus plus plus all indicate to me nastiness-at best- is the new norm in our society. 

MegB

6079_Smith_W wrote:

What annoys you is probably not the same as what annoys me. And whether something is a deliberate attempt to annoy, well that depends. I think there is more than enough of that - deliberate or not -  to go around on all of our parts. But I think it also gets confused with values, and with peoples' differing opinions about how this place should work.

Jacob TT's summation is an excellent illustration

The fact that everyone here brings something different - a perspective, an idea, an experience - to babble means the strife isn't going to disappear.  Nor should it, IMO. The varience in POV, the clashing of ideas, is part of what is best about babble.  Objectivity doesn't exist as anything more than a euphenism for "I'm being reasonable and am therefore correct".  We can't divorce ourselves from our subjectivity, but we can recognize that in a language that is rich in descriptives, metaphors, etc., there are better ways of expressing antipathy than the personal attack.

As moderators, CF and I are often seen as being either too heavy-handed and narrow in our interpretation of babble policy, or as too lax, when really it isn't what we're doing or not doing, but is rather that people's interpretations of what is going on in any given conflict or complaint , and what response from us is required, are very different.

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Sorry, RW, but I'm not sure I get the point you're trying to make.

If there's misunderstanding of your responses or lack thereof, are we to always assume good intentions?

I do, and I'm certain that's true of most here; but that doesn't mean that an attempt at clarification or explanation is a wasted effort. Of course, meta-threads that drag on forever on the topic of moderation are amongst the biggest time-wasters around, but one or two shots at dissipating controversy are worthwhile. 

And I'm not saying you guys haven't made such efforts; you have, for the most part.

So I guess I'm saying thank you, and asking for just a little more conscious effort in that sphere.

MegB

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

Sorry, RW, but I'm not sure I get the point you're trying to make.

If there's misunderstanding of your responses or lack thereof, are we to always assume good intentions?

I do, and I'm certain that's true of most here; but that doesn't mean that an attempt at clarification or explanation is a wasted effort. Of course, meta-threads that drag on forever on the topic of moderation are amongst the biggest time-wasters around, but one or two shots at dissipating controversy are worthwhile. 

And I'm not saying you guys haven't made such efforts; you have, for the most part.

So I guess I'm saying thank you, and asking for just a little more conscious effort in that sphere.

Actually, I'm not referring to misinterpretation, but rather to seeing things in individual ways and perceiving others' posts and moderator behaviour with that personal filter.

Additionally, there is the fact that we mods are also human, with our own filters, and we make mistakes too.  The "mistake" isn't, however, the dominant theme I'm getting at. It's about different perspectives and our individual reactions to what we perceive.

And if you disagree with this post, it's all Smith's fault.  So there.

milo204

i agree, some things i try and do when posting are:

*don't assume i'm correct in my assumptions: take what other people say into account and if it makes sense don't be scared to change your mind.  that doesn't mean there's no back and forth, but if after a while what someone says makes sense don't be afraid of admitting you might have been wrong/hadn't thought of it from that perspective.

*think about how you write, and how it will be read by others.  i.e. don't be condescending, don't be a jerk, treat others with respect.

*argue your point, not the person.  

i'm sure there's plenty more...

 

 

Wilf Day

A modest suggestion: sunset all bannings. Start again. Trolls will soon get themselves re-banned.

I'm serious. At least it would liven things up. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Wilf, you seem to be operating under the misapprehension that there are a great number of ex-babblers banned; there aren't. I can count the number of non-troll bannings since becoming a moderator over two years ago on one hand. That doesn't stop the myth from spreading that we mods have itchy trigger fingers of course -- probably has something to do with babblers calling us "thought police" and the like. Rather than, you know, asking if they themselves have contributed to the unwelcoming atmosphere to babblers new and old, particularly women and persons of colour.

This thread isn't about mods, please. Ford knows there are enough of those. This is about us, as a community, becoming better. Take the plank out of your eye, etc.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Things I like in this thread:

onlinediscountanvils wrote:
I think the need psychological urge to 'win' an argument, to have the last word, or to save face, can all have an enormously negative effect on the overall culture of a message board.

Learn to let stuff go.

Caissa wrote:
I suppose the question [of when babble culture changed] doesn't matter....I know I have played a role in creating the culture that exists here. I have tried very hard over the last month or so to be positive and respectful. I am sure some days are better than others for me.  First and foremost I need to listen, really listen. I need to respond empathetically and respectfully.   And above all else I need to remember that it doesn't matter if someone is wrong on the internet. I pledge to do my utmost to make Babble a pleasant place to visit. Will others join me in the pledge?

CMOT Dibbler wrote:
I find this insistance that Babble be a safe space quite perplexing. How can a medium as intensley public as the Internet be considered a safe place to express dark secrets, radical opinions an personal tradgadies?

Safe spaces have doors and locks, clearly marked exit signs and comfortable chairs cofee and donuts, someone to listen and a big sign that says BUGGER OFF OUTSIDE WORLD, WE'RE PLANNING THE REVOLUTION THERAPUDICALLY! Babble is a virtual environment, and as such can never really be secure.

Jacob Two-Two wrote:
So is there a solution to this? I don't have one, but it would surely have to start with awareness of the problem and the maturity to remember that we don't own babble, we just hang out here. We have to recognise that the board won't always be what we want it to be, sigh and push our chairs back from the computer for a while, and resolve that when we come back we'll try to get what we can from it while doing our best not to ruin anyone else's experience. At least, that's what I try to do.

My sincere thanks for these and other thoughtful contributions to this thread. It makes me think that people like this place as a space, rather than a venting valve or ego fluffer. Still, in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, there's work to be done, eh?

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

This thread isn't about mods, please. Ford knows there are enough of those.

Ambiguous. Re-word.

Re Wilf's comments: I agree, there have been very few bans, although some I find difficult and regrettable (sorry for mentioning names, but I will - Martin Dufresne, a feminist activist around town and and serious contributor here).

Michelle made a proposal a few years ago, when we were going through what I consider to be a more difficult time, and it led to much discussion. I had formulated it as a resolution and proposed a three-month trial:

Quote:

Be it resolved that we implement the following policy:

1. No personal attacks, whatsoever (understanding that obviously there may be grey areas).

2. No bans or suspensions (except obvious trolls/spammers).

3. Mods intervene to lay down the law, gently or firmly as required.

4. Revisit and reconsider these rules in three (3) months.

A non-binding poll was conducted, and there was discussion over various threads. A sampling:

http://rabble.ca/babble/rabble-reactions/vote-babble-proposal

http://rabble.ca/babble/rabble-reactions/discussion-babble-proposal

http://rabble.ca/babble/rabble-reactions/babble-proposal-please-no-posti...

There were some (very very few) individuals who were viscerally incapable of avoiding personal attacks in these very threads. Others felt that removing the threat of ban or suspension, even for three months, would somehow throw the doors open. But most participants favoured giving the idea a try. I think the discussion was useful. The discussion and thread were revived a year later. In the end, the trial never happened.

I realize the "culture" question doesn't just come down to personal attacks, although I still think that's a significant element. And maybe the three-month trial would have put too great a strain on the moderators by removing an indipensable tool? I was encouraged by the fact that it was a mod who suggested the idea,

Wilf Day

Catchfire wrote:
Wilf, you seem to be operating under the misapprehension that there are a great number of ex-babblers banned; there aren't. I can count the number of non-troll bannings since becoming a moderator over two years ago on one hand. That doesn't stop the myth from spreading that we mods have itchy trigger fingers of course -- probably has something to do with babblers calling us "thought police" and the like.

There's no other word for what happened to Malcolm, which was unforgiveable and made Ottawa Observer leave. And Jeffry House is still banned, as far as I know, which was also unforgiveable and made me leave for a while. And what happened to Gaia/George? And I'm sure there are others.

 

Fidel

Wilf Day wrote:

A modest suggestion: sunset all bannings. Start again. Trolls will soon get themselves re-banned.

I'm serious. At least it would liven things up. 

 

That's right, no one is actually banned, Wilf. What they do is create a laissez-faire sense that the door is left wide open for personal attacks on certain long-time babblers. False accusations of racism based on google searches turning up nothing to support the false allegation are typical and often leading to frustration and even conflagration. And then there is Puerto Rico, that virtual colony of the U.S. which shares language with dozens of actual countries including Guatemala and Honduras. The uncanny resemblance to the banana republics is obvious to everyone except me.  Enough said.  And when the false and otherwise tenuous allegations lead to a situation so bad that retaliatory comments are made,  then they step in. It's a kind of Stalinist purge technique for discouraging people you don't agree with but can't find the words to express it properly. So I think that although no is ever banned, they can sometimes be highly discouraged from babbling at the same time. Again, this is nothing personal between me and the mods - I've never met them and don't know them personally. It's just a comment from afar and could be anywhere from somewhat true to wholly inaccurate. I don't really know for sure because they don't explain very much. It's their way or the highway in a lot of cases I find. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Wilf Day wrote:
There's no other word for what happened to Malcolm, which was unforgiveable and made Ottawa Observer leave.

Both of these independent clauses are false. Malcolm was not banned, and Oo did not leave because of that incident. Jeffrey House was banned years before I became a mod, and an invitation to return rather begs the question that he has any interest in returning. But I'm through discussing this with you. Grind your axe elsewhere.

@Unionist, I found that an interesting experiment, which I didn't participate in (I wasn't a mod at the time). I don't recall why, but I think because it sounded too prescriptive to me. That might have been an unfair criticism, on second thought, but my personal approach to these sorts of matters is more holistic.

I personally don't think that personal attacks are a problem on babble. The problems I note are usually more subtle -- gang-ups, wholesale dismissal of posters, contempt for differing opinions, and more interest in being victorious rather than engaging in a collegial and mutually beneficial discussion.  For that to change, we just need to like each other: believe that babblers are posting in good faith (even when they probably arent) and respond accordingly. It ain't easy, and I rarely succeed myself, but it's worth trying.

I've spoken in favour of a no-ban policy before (again, despite this reputation some babblers never fail to conjure up) -- I really don't like banning and have only advocated for it in extreme (imo) circumstances. I love the idea of a "no exit society." Capitalism is an easy-exit society. If something goes wrong, or conflicts arise, you exit: prison, relocation, or exodus. Adopting a "no exit" mentality means that you work through all issues as a matter of necessity, as difficult as it may be. But for this to work, it requires a buy-in from the whole community, not just mods. It means when there is a problem that has incurred bannings or suspensions in the past, the whole community needs to stand up for the infringed values and ethos. If they don't, how can it possibly work?

ETA @Fidel, please learn to let things go, Fidel. I don't harbour any ill will towards you. You'll be happier if you do.

Fidel

@Catchfire I was replying to Wilf. No ill will towards you, either. It's a discussion thread afterall.

And I don't actually require your approval in order to be happy, either. That's another issue that is outside your small circle of control, thnx. Smile

On a more constructive note, what about a list of banned words and phrases for babblers to refer to? Even in medieval times there existed a list of banned texts(texts filled with heresies and other offensive words and phrases) for would-be heretics to refer to. I suggest a nailed-up thread for listing all offensive words and phrases which are not typically found by google searches of electronic repositories anywhere else in the free world. I think that a kind of index liborum prohibitorum babbleonium would be worthwhile creating. It would be fair to unsuspecting babblers who are otherwise unaware of the currently unwritten naughty words and phrases, and which if uttered are punishable by suspension of posting privileges. In this way the current procedures for deciding on spur of the moment suspensions could be made as current as medieval inquisitions.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Fidel, we've been over all of this. Again, I beg you, just let it drop. Your offesnive accusations of Stalinism and inqusition are as disruptive as they are tiresome.

I'd like to return to Unionist's last post and hear babblers' responses to it.

6079_Smith_W

Catchfire wrote:

I'd like to return to Unionist's last post and hear babblers' responses to it.

Good idea in principle; unfortunately I have seen enough cases where there is confusion about what is and is not a personal attack; ditto for trolling. So really, I see it as good advice rather than a policy change.

Ultimately mods must have the option of banning and suspending. What are you supposed to do if you are dealing with someone who refuses to comply when you say repeatedly to stop? We have all seen that happen a few times.

How about this: no suspensions without a clear warning. And when a mod says "stop" you stop.

 

 

onlinediscountanvils

I'm with Smith.

NDPP

More laissez-faire, no suspensions and minimize ideological judgements/ interventions which are frequently clumsy, unnecessary or based on misunderstanding.

Fidel

What about new and future babblers who are  totally unaware of the unwritten rules? I'm simply thinking in practical terms and saving everyone some confusion.

But if, of course, the unwritten rules are so silly that writing them up would be to create an embarrassing artefact indicative of inquisitional moderating on babble, then we can surely understand why such a plainly written list of naughty words and phrases mentioned nowhere else on the internet should be avoided at all cost. Better that new and future babblers be totally oblivious of the inquisition and its methods.

Fidel

And we shall make no further mention of Puerto Rico  from here on. Someone said it's okay to liken Canada to a banana republic, though, which I find to be highly ambiguous and arbitrary given the previous unwritten decree. 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Bananas grow in Canada? Tongue out

Fidel

Sooner than we think, Boom Boom, given the current rates of global warming and inflated petro loonie. We'll know we are in trouble when we see Polar bears selling themselves on the corner of Bay and Dundas. Much will always have more.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Good idea in principle; unfortunately I have seen enough cases where there is confusion about what is and is not a personal attack;

I've never seen any significant confusion on this point. I'd be interested in your providing a single example. But what if it's not black and white? The idea of my proposal wasn't to lay down some law. It is a very short simple set of principles that the whole community commits to uphold. I've never seen people here commit, collectively, to avoid personal attacks. Why shouldn't we do that? Because the lines aren't clear? It's in babble policy. Why not make an implicit commitment explicit?

Quote:
... ditto for trolling.

My proposal was "obvious trolls". And so what if there's a grey area once a year on what an "obvious troll" is? I'm not talking about so-called "trolling". I'm talking about trolls.

Quote:
So really, I see it as good advice rather than a policy change.

The idea isn't advice. It's sort of like a pledge.

Quote:
Ultimately mods must have the option of banning and suspending.

What happens if the community says, let's not use that power for three months? Instead, when serious trouble arises, the community collectively deals with it - because the decision to abandon those powers for 3 months wasn't just a moderatorial one, it was collective. So we all speak out, ask for the trouble to stop, support the mods in trying to restore order instead of just sitting back and watching - and see what happens.

Quote:
What are you supposed to do if you are dealing with someone who refuses to comply when you say repeatedly to stop? We have all seen that happen a few times.

I haven't seen the community get together and remind that participant of our common norms of behaviour. Let's try that. Then, we still have other tools at our disposal. One of the most powerful is totally ignoring a member who "refuses to comply" - shun them without exiling them, if they don't respond to gentle or firm reminders of the community's expectations.

Quote:
How about this: no suspensions without a clear warning. And when a mod says "stop" you stop.

Of course to the second part. But no suspensions, on a trial basis. We appeal to people's sense of reason and fairness and community. We offer assistance if needed. And we don't "warn" each other either.

 

NDPP

I would support U's initiative. Something has to be done - interesting and worthy contributors are leaving in droves.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist, I think it's pretty clear: a personal attack is directed at the person rather than the argument.

Nevertheless, I have seen people accuse others of it on a regular basis. If you really need an example I will PM you one; I am sure you can appreciate it is something best not done in public. My point is that not everyone has exactly the same understanding of any of these concepts - in fact, there are some clear differences. 

But like I said, I agree in principle.

By the same token, I don't see the problem; If a moderator tells you to stop something, and you know that a supension is at that point dependent on what you do, really you are in control of what happens next.

I don't want to make out like there are no problems because I know there are problems, but I don't see tying moderators' hands, putting them at the mercy of some presumed collective, and making their job harder than it is as any solution.

Bottom line is that they bear the ultimate responsibility for what happens here. Whether I agree with how they make this or that specific call how can we expect them to hold that responsibility without the power to back it up? 

If you are the one who is being hounded and attacked, you want to have someone to be able to act on it. Personally I don't see how the "be nicer" part is in any way dependent on reducing their power.

 

 

 

Pages

Topic locked