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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:07 am
 


Civility has become a bit of an issue on CKA lately and while we have forum rules that speak to this topic I wanted to add a few ideas and I encourage everyone to add their own thoughts here.

The goal is to do as our good friend Zipperfish once recommended to me and that's to disagree without being disagreeable.

And before anyone else says so please note the title and note my admission that I often fall short of the standards I strive for. I'm a hypocrite. For sure.

Upside of this is I'm in fine company! [BB]

Okay, so a few suggestions on how to get along with each other:

1. Avoid personal insults. Attack the argument and not the person making the argument. I know that's not always easy but we're here to discuss issues and we need to do our best to discuss the issues.

2. Just because it gets heated with someone on one topic does not mean you have to carry that over to another topic. This is especially important because even when two people frequently disagree on things sometimes they come together on certain issues. This opportunity can be missed if we judge a comment by who makes it instead of evaluating the comment on its own merits.

3. You don't have to respond to every post directed at you. That's right. You're not being 'chicken' and you don't need to be trolled into responding to a provocative post. Hell, you don't have to respond to any post at all if you don't want to. So if someone trolls you then you can simply choose to not feed the troll. Be the bigger person and let it go.

4. Take a break. Once in a while the emotions boil over and my measure of things being too much for me is when I'm away from the computer and I'm still thinking about what was said. Then it's time to step back and take a breather. Maybe it'll be an hour, a day, a week, or whatever you need. But step back and let the topic fade and then come back and start a new day when you're ready. In any case, don't let what happens on a forum impact you in your real life.

5. Hypocrisy disclaimer here! [B-o]

This last bit attributed to Brad Meltzer is something I strive for and I picked it up about five years ago. Maybe you might find it useful.

$1:
Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is it kind, is it necessary, is it helpful. Does it improve upon the silence? If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.


:idea:

Feel free to add your own constructive recommendations and suggestions to this topic.

[BB]


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:31 am
 


I agree with everything you say, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.


BartSimpson BartSimpson:
$1:
Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is it kind, is it necessary, is it helpful. Does it improve upon the silence? If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.


:idea:

Feel free to add your own constructive recommendations and suggestions to this topic.

[BB]



[B-o] [B-o]

I guess I didn't realize it, but I've been following these guidelines for some time. But they came from the advice I was raised with, which is basically what was quoted. It wasn't meant to be applied in an Internet context, but is nonetheless true.

"It is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt."


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:43 am
 


The key to a good debate is to attack the point, and not the person... I've definitely been guilty of this the odd time.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:02 am
 


It's also a good idea to debate what you know, unless you are planning on researching it. I tend to stick to topics that I either know something about, or want to learn more about. I also ask questions in topics I want to learn more about, rather than debate them.

I stay away from topics that piss me off.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:17 am
 


DrCaleb DrCaleb:
It's also a good idea to debate what you know, unless you are planning on researching it. I tend to stick to topics that I either know something about, or want to learn more about. I also ask questions in topics I want to learn more about, rather than debate them.


Sound policies.

DrCaleb DrCaleb:
I stay away from topics that piss me off.


Those are my favorite! :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:42 am
 


BartSimpson BartSimpson:

DrCaleb DrCaleb:
I stay away from topics that piss me off.


Those are my favorite! :lol:


I sit back and like to watch them happen, but I generally don't participate.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:45 am
 


DrCaleb DrCaleb:
I sit back and like to watch them happen, but I generally don't participate.


For me it's like hearing gunfire in the distance and my primary concern is that it'll be over before I get there. :cry:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:09 am
 


They say it's the crazy people who run toward gunfire. ;)

Edit: forgot to add, from my private collection:
0:
crazy.gif
crazy.gif [ 4.87 KiB | Viewed 383 times ]


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:15 pm
 


I'm a watch the world burn type of guy.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:16 pm
 


BartSimpson BartSimpson:
Civility has become a bit of an issue on CKA lately and while we have forum rules that speak to this topic I wanted to add a few ideas and I encourage everyone to add their own thoughts here.


Civility has been an issue on CKA for a very long time. There's been no shortage of references lately to people who have left over the past several years who have indicated that no smart part was do to the environment they faced on CKA. I think we lose a lot by not recognizing that there are long-term, endemic problems with how the community functions that really have to change if we want to have a real discussion on bringing civility to the forums.

Also, I think we should recognize that many of these members were at least partially open in why they chose to leave the site, either by reason or by name. Most of the membership of CKA have been members for a long time, so it stands that either we've gotten worse or the behaviour has always been this way and we've never confronted it if we're choosing to discuss it now. Whether it's one or the other I leave down to more active members.

And I say that as someone who brought this up in 2012. Everything is, of course, my opinion.

$1:
1. Avoid personal insults. Attack the argument and not the person making the argument. I know that's not always easy but we're here to discuss issues and we need to do our best to discuss the issues.


I think if we really want to improve on this front, we need to expand on what we mean here. There's personal insults, and then there's making arguments in and of themselves personal and antagonistic. There's been no shortage of threads that have been derailed by someone decided to discuss the other side (not individually, just the entire spectrum, community, or belief) in crude, vulgar, and horribly insulting terms. Or there's people who enter threads in obviously excessively confrontational ways, even if they don't call someone an idiot or an asshole.

There needs to be a bigger focus on trolling and unnecessary confrontation, is basically what I'm saying. We don't allow personal insults because they derail conversations and cause unnecessary tension, but we allow (and in some cases, promote) the kind of confrontation that changes the tone and atmosphere into a negative one. It's not just about avoiding personal insults, it's about avoiding unnecessary antagonism in general.

Civility is about far more than just insults. It's about your bearing and your ability to engage with other people. It's about being social rather than being antisocial. If you are mangling a politician's name to piss someone off, it might not be a personal attack, but it is an attack, and it's not promoting civility.

$1:
2. Just because it gets heated with someone on one topic does not mean you have to carry that over to another topic. This is especially important because even when two people frequently disagree on things sometimes they come together on certain issues. This opportunity can be missed if we judge a comment by who makes it instead of evaluating the comment on its own merits.


On this one I kind of disagree in part. I think it's all too easy for people to escape the consequences of their behaviour when they are encouraged to leave everything in one thread. Trolls infamously across the net leave a thread they've "lost" (or won because they got the angry responses they wanted) to go and make the same arguments in others, or make new threads in the hopes of "resetting" an argument.

I agree you shouldn't hold on to old, undeserved grievances, but I also think people need to have consequences for their actions and their engagement. Most things that carry over, in my opinion, should be; if one makes an argument in a thread about a war, or a politician, and another thread is on those topics, then absolutely that old content is relevant and should be discussed.

$1:
3. You don't have to respond to every post directed at you. That's right. You're not being 'chicken' and you don't need to be trolled into responding to a provocative post. Hell, you don't have to respond to any post at all if you don't want to. So if someone trolls you then you can simply choose to not feed the troll. Be the bigger person and let it go.


Agree, but with a caveat. Don't expect people to let go of experiences where you were a troll. I think all too often we let people get away with stuff on this site because they stop responding and try to joke around, or wait a week and start the same argument in another thread. It doesn't help that it feels like we chase off people who try to hold those who do it accountable.

People have to take consequences for their actions. It's your choice not to respond. But if you don't respond, and you were the one causing controversy, don't be surprised when it follows you. It's one of the few ways a community has of moderating itself.

Additional thoughts:

All must be treated equal: It doesn't matter if you have 200 posts or 200,000, or if you have been here for 40 years, or if you have the longest posts, or if you've given money to the website. Being an ass is being an ass, and if you find yourself mentioning one of these in your own defense, it might be time to re-evaluate how you've entered a thread and reconsider if there's a better way to deal with the criticism you are facing. Trying to invoke some level of "superiority" doesn't improve civility.

Hold each other accountable: I find we give people who are choosing to engage poorly with the forum passes all to often. It doesn't matter if you are joking around after the fact, it doesn't change the fact that you made the forum materially worse at some point; especially as potential members look into a thread and see that argument first and foremost. It doesn't "balance out" at the end of the day. Someone who is being periodically toxic in a thread is still being toxic, period. If you find yourself justifying your behaviour because "it all balances out," you're probably not being civil.

Being an ass needs to be punished: There are a lot of people who consider it victory when someone with opposing viewpoints leaves the thread, or even the site. There is little incentive for people who "win" their arguments this way to change their behaviour. They get what they want; they get to vent; they feel better about hurting someone on the "other side"; they get to "win" an argument by forcing someone of the site. This is why unmoderated forums go downhill; good members leave and bad members remain because bad behaviour thrives in that kind of environment. This kind of behaviour needs to be disincentivized. If someone is being an ass, they should get outed, or a warning or a ban. I think we lost several people who finally lost their patience with one of these people because they lash out at someone who was never punished for lowering the decorum or civility of the site. They get good at "riding the line." Which brings me to my final point.

Don't moderate yourself just by the rules: The rules are basic and cover little with relation to civility. But a general rule of "don't be an ass" applies. In my view, that's how you'd want to moderate a site as well; every site I've moderated there's been at least one line in the ruleset that states I could take action outside of what that ruleset requires at my discretion (this is fairly typical on most sites). Generally, moderating strictly by the rules will always allow someone to find a loophole or ride the edge of their acceptability, and I think people moderating themselves to those guidelines are going to be seeking those loopholes, consciously or unconsciously.


Last edited by Khar on Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:29 pm
 


I remember you! ;)

I don't have a lot of time, but I did want to address one point:

Khar Khar:
BartSimpson BartSimpson:
1. Avoid personal insults. Attack the argument and not the person making the argument. I know that's not always easy but we're here to discuss issues and we need to do our best to discuss the issues.


I think if we really want to improve on this front, we need to expand on what we mean here. There's personal insults, and then there's making arguments in and of themselves personal and antagonistic. There's been no shortage of threads that have been derailed by someone decided to discuss the other side (not individually, just the entire spectrum, community, or belief) in crude, vulgar, and horribly insulting terms. Or there's people who enter threads in obviously excessively confrontational ways, even if they don't call someone an idiot or an asshole.

There needs to be a bigger focus on trolling and unnecessary confrontation, is basically what I'm saying. We don't allow personal insults because they derail conversations and cause unnecessary tension, but we allow (and in some cases, promote) the kind of confrontation that changes the tone and atmosphere into a negative one. It's not just about avoiding personal insults, it's about avoiding unnecessary antagonism in general.

Civility is about far more than just insults. It's about your bearing and your ability to engage with other people. It's about being social rather than being antisocial. If you are mangling a politician's name to piss someone off, it might not be a personal attack, but it is an attack, and it's not promoting civility.


I know based on people's history that certain kinds of threads can result in certain responses. On an automotive forum for example, any thread starting with the title "What is the best kind of oil to use?" will result in a huge fight. But it comes from a genuine interest in the answer.

This site is no different. There are subjects that people feel passionately about. But just because I know that there will be a fight does not mean that I am 'trolling'. I have to assume the same about others.

Trying to read into what a person really means by a comment or thread comes down to the often misused skill of 'inductive logic'. If used properly, it can be a valuable tool. But almost no one is able to use it properly.

I think it would be a mistake to assume we always know a person is being insulting or trying to attack without hard proof of it.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:50 pm
 


DrCaleb DrCaleb:
I remember you! ;)

I don't have a lot of time, but I did want to address one point:

Khar Khar:
BartSimpson BartSimpson:
1. Avoid personal insults. Attack the argument and not the person making the argument. I know that's not always easy but we're here to discuss issues and we need to do our best to discuss the issues.


I think if we really want to improve on this front, we need to expand on what we mean here. There's personal insults, and then there's making arguments in and of themselves personal and antagonistic. There's been no shortage of threads that have been derailed by someone decided to discuss the other side (not individually, just the entire spectrum, community, or belief) in crude, vulgar, and horribly insulting terms. Or there's people who enter threads in obviously excessively confrontational ways, even if they don't call someone an idiot or an asshole.

There needs to be a bigger focus on trolling and unnecessary confrontation, is basically what I'm saying. We don't allow personal insults because they derail conversations and cause unnecessary tension, but we allow (and in some cases, promote) the kind of confrontation that changes the tone and atmosphere into a negative one. It's not just about avoiding personal insults, it's about avoiding unnecessary antagonism in general.

Civility is about far more than just insults. It's about your bearing and your ability to engage with other people. It's about being social rather than being antisocial. If you are mangling a politician's name to piss someone off, it might not be a personal attack, but it is an attack, and it's not promoting civility.


I know based on people's history that certain kinds of threads can result in certain responses. On an automotive forum for example, any thread starting with the title "What is the best kind of oil to use?" will result in a huge fight. But it comes from a genuine interest in the answer.

This site is no different. There are subjects that people feel passionately about. But just because I know that there will be a fight does not mean that I am 'trolling'. I have to assume the same about others.

Trying to read into what a person really means by a comment or thread comes down to the often misused skill of 'inductive logic'. If used properly, it can be a valuable tool. But almost no one is able to use it properly.

I think it would be a mistake to assume we always know a person is being insulting or trying to attack without hard proof of it.


I disagree a bit with you here, Caleb, but it's just my opinion.

Materially, we know the result of some of these activities have been people leaving the site. It doesn't matter if someone intends to be excessively confrontational, or controversial, or insulting, or not. If the result is negative, they have to be told to change their behaviour. Being tone deaf cannot be an excuse; them seeing lashback, either from the community or the moderator, should be a learning experience and has to improve their ability to engage with the board.

I think the only way to really drive for civility on CKA is to stop giving people cover and excuses for bad behaviour. It doesn't matter if they claim to have not considered the impact of their actions, their actions have impacts. People who didn't intend to kill someone, in an example, don't get off without a punishment; employees who accidentally lose their companies money don't get to keep their jobs; people who are passingly rude get told off; their carelessness has to have repercussions to change their behaviour. The fact they are engaging badly, whether they intended it or not, needs to be communicated to them if they are to change their behaviour. If someone is harming the board by being obtuse, the community needs to tell them off or they need to be banned.

At the end of the day, I think people need to self-moderate (and be moderated) for the result, not the intent. Because otherwise people who really do take the tone down will be able to get away with it, and justify it to both themselves and to others, that they didn't mean it. Or worse, that it's the fault of the other side for taking it personally, when they go out of their way to make it so. Again, I think, a reason why we lost several people, where they just get tired of someone getting a pass on this front. It's not fair to the other participants of the forum that they have to deal with that kind of bullshit if they want to post here because we can't be sure if it was intentional.

I also want to mention, people on this board have been very candid about their outright distaste for people using insulting names, labels, etc for a variety of topics. I too see heated arguments on other boards, and engage in those topics, but I don't see the same amount of times someone decided "to discuss the other side (not individually, just the entire spectrum, community, or belief) in crude, vulgar, and horribly insulting terms" as I mentioned in my last post.

The fact that this thread (and others like it) exist is because people recognize that it's gotten far worse than forum members just reading into crude comments, or being too sensitive, but that it's become a real problem that has had real repercussions on the site and needs to see real change in either how we engage with each other or how these issues are handled. I think it's safe to say we're well past the concern of misused inductive logic at this point. I also think there's more than a few glaring examples everyone could think of where someone was definitely more vulgar, confrontational, or insulting about something without actually using a direct insult. Mangling the name of a politician was an easy example, because the general expectation is that it's probably going to piss off someone (and isn't civil to boot).


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:14 pm
 


I think there is a point being missed, the fundamental tenant of free speech is sometimes a point is aired that is controversial or offensive to some. I think if we censor comments or steer a conversation in a "non-confrontational" direction the point of a forum becomes moot.

The point you miss is with you if someone didn't intend to kill someone is they are not always punished, you still must prove wrong doing (ie. Actus Reas and Mens Rea). Look no further than the Colton Bushie case for my point.

You have the right to be offended, but understand I have the right to offend. This is what free speech is. Think. 150 years ago proposing women be allowed to vote would offend many, still the discussion was had. 300 years ago the thought of a slave being anything other than a possession would have been both controversial and offensive yet, the conversation was had.

Do I agree with everything Bart or Thanos or anyone else says? Hell no, but I engage in discussion to
a. learn more
b. formulate an opinion
c. engage in civil discourse on the subject

Sometimes you become passionate, and passionate people make ignorant statements, it comes from being an emotional being.

If I wanted a discussion with something without emotion I'd download a chatbot to talk to.

That being said posts or comments that are blatantly racist or hateful in tone absolutely need to be moderated.

But people need to know themselves, if a post on Trump is going to piss you off and you know you won't be civil stay out of the fucking post, why do we need moderators to do that for us? We need to own our own actions and be aware that others may have other opinions and other ways to express them.

My last point in this rambling wall of madness is, this is the fucking internet, the opinions have as much or as little bearing on your life as you let them, every day I read something and I get pissed and I start a post and then I delete it because I remember "it doesn't matter on my life". I can log off and go about my business without being encumbered by the emotional burden of being called a "loser or piece of shit" by some keyboard warrior, and I expect others to do the same if they feel wounded by a comment I make.

People need to self moderate as much as the moderators need to moderate for them.

Anyways, thats that and I am done my rant. We now resume your regular scheduled programming.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:44 pm
 


Should go to a NFL forum for some real incivility:

- Seahawks rule!
- no, they suck, Raiders are the best!
- Raiders suck and imma gonna kill your entire family!

We got it easy here at CKA compared to that. :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:45 pm
 


@llama:

I recognize the value of free speech. I believe that this thread represents the fact that it's already possibly being harmed by the atmosphere some feel is present on the site, vis a vis the lack of civility.

Any civility, either self-imposed or imposed by a moderator, is going to be an inherent reduction of someone's ability to engage fully in free speech. I believe that improved civility is worth it; the creation of this thread and recent complaints in other threads about this topic implies that some people agree with that, foundationally.

For the record, people don't have a right to offend; the site has rules against personal attacks, which limit speech directly in that regard. We accept limits on our speech because it encourages the ability for us to actually engage with the forum. When someone is being unnecessarily confrontational or is working to chase someone off the board, they are inherently impacting the ability of someone else to engage in speech on this board. I think your comment that some things that are racist or blatantly hateful do need to be moderated reflects that as well. A not insignificant part of this discussion is oriented around the fact that a lot of people are no longer here who wanted to be, and who found they could no longer be on this board because of the change in atmosphere.

The entire structure of rules is built around the idea of protecting the ability for people to actually converse. Moderators ban spam bots; the bot owners "rights of free speech" are ignored because it takes away from the board. Trolls are banned because their "rights of free speech" impinge on other's ability to do so. Pretty much every rule on the site, and in the terms of service, are designed to limit speech in some ways to allow everyone's speech to flourish.

I'm also not arguing against people posting controversial or confrontational things. I'm arguing against people being excessively controversial or confrontational when there's no point to be to the point of hindering discussion, and the free speech of others. There's also a clear difference between being passionate and going overboard. People can be passionate and civil, people can be passionate and less than civil but not unduly cross any lines. I am not arguing against being passionate either. I made allowances in both of my prior posts that I understand that arguments can get heated, or passionate, and that shit happens and that's okay. My argument is that there's no need to go out of someone's way to piss people off more on top of that (aka trolling) and that it's probably good for people to be told that they might be going overboard, or need to take a break from a topic. I'm sorry if this wasn't sufficiently clear in my previous posts, I had assumed it was.

Most of my posts were about self-moderation. Ironically, "people need to self moderate as much as the moderators need to moderate for them" is kind of my point. When you said "why do we need moderators to do that for us," the first thought that went through my mind is "because we often don't do it ourselves." Everyone in this thread wants everyone to take ownership for our actions (including both of us, that was the primary thrust of our posts), and it's an unfortunate reality that we often fail to achieve.

Finally, when someone accidentally kills someone, it's called negligence or manslaughter. Stanley was found not guilty of a different crime, murder, which would have implied some level of intent. We can debate in another thread whether or not he would have been found guilty of a different crime. It also is irrelevant in my view; my point exists without that example, it was there more for rhetorical flourish, because that's about as flashy as I get.

Also, as a fellow ranter, I appreciated your rant. Of course, all just my opinion.


Last edited by Khar on Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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