Author Topic: Political Discussion On HLP  (Read 1702 times)

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Offline karajorma

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Political Discussion On HLP
We've opened a new board for political discussion on HLP. At the moment access is available to anyone who wants it simply by going to your profile and clicking on Group Membership and then asking to join the Political Discussions group. Later your request to join will have to be approved by an admin or global moderator.

If for some reason you are currently banned from General Discussion, you will also find you are banned from the political discussion forum. We might consider some form of general amnesty in the near future once the Political Discussions group has settled down a little.
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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
If I understand correctly GD is the Bebop and political discussions are going the way of the scary lobster fridge?

?

So long as I don't apply for the political board then I don't ever need to relive the following:

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Online Mongoose

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
I'm assuming the group option doesn't have any effect on us mod-types, then?

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Offline karajorma

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
I've not tried it with a global mod account. You might need to add yourself to the group in order to see / post on the forum. You also have moderator powers on the group cause once we go over to making it require someone's permission to opt in, it will be up to the global mods and admins to decide who gets in.
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Offline The E

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Just tested. I can post in PolDis without explicitly being a member of that group according to my user profile.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
TwoThree things:

1.  Honestly, Political Discussions would be better as a child board to genDisc, not a separate off-topic area.  The net result of excising it from GenDisc is going to be a reduction in participation; at least leaving it as a fully viewable (to everyone) child board, with write permissions granted on group membership would encourage people to join.  The fact that you have to actually log in and join the group to even SEE it is going to dramatically narrow the userbase.  Those discussions are only interesting due to a diversity of opinion, not in spite of them.  Right now this just looks like an attempt to basically eliminate political discussion threads through atrophy.

2.  You need to sticky a thread in GenDisc pointing people to the Political Discussions forum, with instructions on how to join.

3.  The inevitable result of not doing the above is just going to be people posting politics-related discussions in GenDisc anyway because they don't see the Political Discussion board, which will result in more work for the mods.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 07:53:15 pm by MP-Ryan »
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
addendum to three,:
their posts getting deleted (moved to the read only trash bin called political discussion)

@The E: so what you are saying is I am already known to be a wrong thinker.
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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
TwoThree things:

1.  Honestly, Political Discussions would be better as a child board to genDisc, not a separate off-topic area.  The net result of excising it from GenDisc is going to be a reduction in participation; at least leaving it as a fully viewable (to everyone) child board, with write permissions granted on group membership would encourage people to join.  The fact that you have to actually log in and join the group to even SEE it is going to dramatically narrow the userbase.  Those discussions are only interesting due to a diversity of opinion, not in spite of them.  Right now this just looks like an attempt to basically eliminate political discussion threads through atrophy.

2.  You need to sticky a thread in GenDisc pointing people to the Political Discussions forum, with instructions on how to join.

3.  The inevitable result of not doing the above is just going to be people posting politics-related discussions in GenDisc anyway because they don't see the Political Discussion board, which will result in more work for the mods.
I think there's definitely merit to having Political Discussions be a subfolder of GenDisc, though I'm a bit less sure about having it automatically be publicly-viewable.  Subfolder or not, does SMF allow for an access-limited folder to still be visible (but not open-able) on the forum index?  If that were the case, wherever it was located, we could have the instructions for joining located right in the folder description.

 
Re: Political Discussion On HLP
TwoThree things:

1.  Honestly, Political Discussions would be better as a child board to genDisc, not a separate off-topic area.  The net result of excising it from GenDisc is going to be a reduction in participation; at least leaving it as a fully viewable (to everyone) child board, with write permissions granted on group membership would encourage people to join.  The fact that you have to actually log in and join the group to even SEE it is going to dramatically narrow the userbase.  Those discussions are only interesting due to a diversity of opinion, not in spite of them.  Right now this just looks like an attempt to basically eliminate political discussion threads through atrophy.

2.  You need to sticky a thread in GenDisc pointing people to the Political Discussions forum, with instructions on how to join.

3.  The inevitable result of not doing the above is just going to be people posting politics-related discussions in GenDisc anyway because they don't see the Political Discussion board, which will result in more work for the mods.

I agree with this: I like the setup of having a seperate political board, as well as the notion of having a clean slate to start moderating with, but I think that having a political subboard and giving it the same restrictions GenDisc previously had (hidden from "new posts", a political prisoners group, and possibly not visible to members who aren't logged in to discourage people signing up specifically to debate politics rather then playing freespace) is good enough. The current setup seems somewhat heavy handed, even if it's just a click away.

 

Offline Bobboau

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
I agree with this: I like the setup of having a seperate political board, as well as the notion of having a clean slate to start moderating with, but I think that having a political subboard and giving it the same restrictions GenDisc previously had (hidden from "new posts", a political prisoners group, and possibly not visible to members who aren't logged in to discourage people signing up specifically to debate politics rather then playing freespace) is good enough. The current setup seems somewhat heavy handed, even if it's just a click away.

I agree with all of this.

see we can agree on things!  :)
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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
can we put this discussion into political discussion so that ordinary decent people don't have to witness the sheer piss and vomit
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Done. All the political stuff has been moved where it belongs. And it had better not come back either.

TwoThree things:

1.  Honestly, Political Discussions would be better as a child board to genDisc, not a separate off-topic area.  The net result of excising it from GenDisc is going to be a reduction in participation; at least leaving it as a fully viewable (to everyone) child board, with write permissions granted on group membership would encourage people to join.  The fact that you have to actually log in and join the group to even SEE it is going to dramatically narrow the userbase.  Those discussions are only interesting due to a diversity of opinion, not in spite of them.  Right now this just looks like an attempt to basically eliminate political discussion threads through atrophy.

2.  You need to sticky a thread in GenDisc pointing people to the Political Discussions forum, with instructions on how to join.

3.  The inevitable result of not doing the above is just going to be people posting politics-related discussions in GenDisc anyway because they don't see the Political Discussion board, which will result in more work for the mods.

I agree with this: I like the setup of having a seperate political board, as well as the notion of having a clean slate to start moderating with, but I think that having a political subboard and giving it the same restrictions GenDisc previously had (hidden from "new posts", a political prisoners group, and possibly not visible to members who aren't logged in to discourage people signing up specifically to debate politics rather then playing freespace) is good enough. The current setup seems somewhat heavy handed, even if it's just a click away.

Bear in mind that the idea behind this round is to get the political forum up and running smoothly. If things work out well then we can see about making it run more smoothly for people who want to casually drop in. If it doesn't, I'd rather than only those who choose to wallow in flith get to see the board. :p
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 07:05:10 am by karajorma »
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
If it is made a child board of GenDisc, the posts do not make their way to the 'new posts' thing, and it's not visible to unregistered users, would that not meet that goal? I think there is a (rare) consensus forming from all angles. Even me and Josh are in agreement, when was the last time that happened?

and it might be a good idea to include "and Religion" in this, as those threads tend to be just as contentious and the two subjects lead into each other.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 10:05:19 am by Bobboau »
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DEUTERONOMY 22:11
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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Me you and Ryan aren't nearly enough to form a consensus though! It's not like this approach hasn't been discussed in both the announcements forum and on the internal mod board (or whatever communication system admins use).

 

Offline Bobboau

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
see how hard it is for us to agree on literally anything?
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DEUTERONOMY 22:11
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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
that seems almost entirely to be on account of your efforts though
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Bear in mind that the idea behind this round is to get the political forum up and running smoothly. If things work out well then we can see about making it run more smoothly for people who want to casually drop in. If it doesn't, I'd rather than only those who choose to wallow in flith get to see the board. :p

That's self-defeating.  If you make the board only visible to people who choose to opt-in, and then make it non-obvious about how one even finds the board and opts into it, then you're definitely narrowing the userbase to a tiny group of people, which is going to make it MORE tribal, not less.

What's wrong with making Political Discussions a subforum of GenDisc without all the hoops to get into it?  You've already said moderation is going to stay the same, you can already set permissions for child boards, so I fail to see any reason whatsoever to make Political Discussions a special category of opt-in that's otherwise invisible except as a misguided attempt to kill that sort of discussion on HLP altogether, which is exactly what all of these measures look like.  Literally no other board on this entire forum is opt-in (and buried under menus to do so) or accessible to the general userbase but invisible to them unless they've opted in.

There is literally no impact to anyone who does not want to participate by separating it but keeping it transparently viewable and making default forum membership allow people to post in it if they want to.  No one is forcing anyone to venture in there, but you're setting up a default opt-in to "no Political Discussion" with zero transparency.  It's garbage when developers hide functionality under cryptic menu schemes, and its doubly-garbage when a group of people who actively protest that behaviour in software turn around and do the same damn thing in something they manage and control.

I basically hang around entirely in the Off-Topic areas these days and I saw no notice or mention of these decisions in advance, so I highly doubt I'm the only user who's simultaneously surprised and angry at changes seemingly out of nowhere with no consultation in the actual board that the most drastic changes are being made to.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Actually the vast majority expressed a desire to not even see the political threads. Now whether making things opt-in goes too far in that direction is another matter.

I'm not unaverse to removing the opt-in usergroup but I also like the idea of making people actually decide that they want to participate rather than simply drive-by posting. I suppose read-only access for logged in forum members might be a way to achieve that though. What I don't want any more of is situations where board members leave HLP after having stumbled into a political discussion cause they're disgusted by the opinions that are allowed on here. We've had entirely too much of that in the past.

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What's wrong with making Political Discussions a subforum of GenDisc without all the hoops to get into it?  You've already said moderation is going to stay the same

Actually I haven't said that. In fact I've pointed out that the moderation will be stricter. And that's the problem. I don't want people wandering into a more strictly moderated section of HLP and then whining about it once the hammer comes down.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 07:07:20 pm by karajorma »
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Actually the vast majority expressed a desire to not even see the political threads.

Who? Where?  I ask this not out of spite, but if there genuinely has been a feedback attempt apparently I (and who knows how many others) missed it.  Or is this purely anecdotal?

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Now whether making things opt-in goes too far in that direction is another matter.

I'm not unaverse to removing the opt-in usergroup but I also like the idea of making people actually decide that they want to participate rather than simply drive-by posting. I suppose read-only access for logged in forum members might be a way to achieve that though. What I don't want any more of is situations where board members leave HLP after having stumbled into a political discussion cause they're disgusted by the opinions that are allowed on here. We've had entirely too much of that in the past.

1.  People decide every day if they want to participate in any open area of the forums.  People who don't want to participate in a particular board don't click on it.  If drive-by posting becomes a problem in those boards, then the moderators of them deal with it.  This seems like an effective proven model.

2.  If the problem is people getting their feelings hurt because of opinions expressed, there are three remedies:  (1) people can avoid those threads, (2) people can recognize that different opinions exist and being exposed to them is called "life", AND/OR (3) the community can make it clear in an amendment to the forum guidelines exactly what opinions will and will not be tolerated.

This reeks of the illiberal idea that people should only ever be exposed to ideas they agree with no matter where they wander.  Segregating political discussions into an open, accessible, and publicly-viewable subforum clearly labelled as Political Discussion should be more than sufficient accommodation.  It goes without saying that there is a great deal posted in the political discussions around here that I have expressly and strongly disagreed with, and I agree that general HLP users should not be made to feel the site is hostile to them, but the changes-as-implemented are the equivalent of dealing with a living you you don't like the colour of by bulldozing the house.

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What's wrong with making Political Discussions a subforum of GenDisc without all the hoops to get into it?  You've already said moderation is going to stay the same

Actually I haven't said that. In fact I've pointed out that the moderation will be stricter. And that's the problem. I don't want people wandering into a more strictly moderated section of HLP and then whining about it once the hammer comes down.

So put a big blinking sticky at the top with special rules for the Political Discussion area.  This is also contradictory to your earlier points in your reply; if the moderation is going to be stricter, there should be less risk of people being exposed to things that disgust them and consequently less need to make the board as hidden as seemingly possible.

Communities may be built around specific niches and continued on that basis, but long-term communities also depend on the health of their Off-Topic areas.  Without fail, every online community I've participated in over the last 20+ years that has continued to be successful has done it because of the availability of the Off-Topic areas, not in spite of them.  Killing and segregating "political discussions" - which also tend to be the interesting ones where debates occur and you actually see people make arguments - is not good for the health of a community, and that is exactly the road the changes-as-currently-implemented are leading down.  I fully support efforts to improve the quality of contentious discussions on HLP, but shoving them off in some dark corner of the board and setting them up to narrow the userbase is going to make the problem worse, not better.  This is, in fact, why I spent a considerable amount of time helping revise the Guidelines a couple years ago and it pains me to see that instead of improved moderation to improve discussion wuality we're instead resorting to technical mechanics.

Again, some actual comprehensive consultation with the community-at-large would have been nice here, folks.
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Political Discussion On HLP
Who? Where?  I ask this not out of spite, but if there genuinely has been a feedback attempt apparently I (and who knows how many others) missed it.  Or is this purely anecdotal?

You apparently didn't pay enough attention to the "Let's Talk, HLP" thread. Quite a few people suggested completely deleting General Discussion simply because of how toxic the political discussions on there get. Others said that Gen Dis and the forum drame it causes are a major reason why they prefer to stay on IRC or Discord instead of HLP. Quite a few others suggested exactly what I did, that it was put behind an opt-in. That thread was the main reason that Gen Dis was removed from the forums which show up on unread threads. I didn't see many posts at all in favour of leaving politics on Gen Dis and I don't remember many suggesting that the politics threads shouldn't be hidden in some way (even if it was just on unread threads).



But to move on to the main point, you seem to be missing that the current restrictions on Political Discussions are meant to be temporary, hopefully not lasting more than a month or so and loosening up when/if people can actually be civil. The idea is to start small with the core users and then open up once everyone has gotten used to the new rules. If you're trying to get people used to the new board's different culture having people wonder in all the time and posting without understanding that the place is different from the rest of HLP is not going to help. Mods are just going to spend all their time dealing with forum drama from people who got themselves into trouble. And if people can't be civil in a more heavily moderated board where the guidelines are more strictly enforced, then we might as well kick political discussion off the boards entirely because people here can't be adult enough to have them.



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2.  If the problem is people getting their feelings hurt because of opinions expressed, there are three remedies:  (1) people can avoid those threads, (2) people can recognize that different opinions exist and being exposed to them is called "life", AND/OR (3) the community can make it clear in an amendment to the forum guidelines exactly what opinions will and will not be tolerated.

Get Dave B back. Then we'll talk about how well those remedies work. Gen Dis has such a bad habit of driving away forum members that even though I usually like and particate in political discussions it's pretty obvious something needs to be done about it. And I doubt that simply sticking it in a child board is enough. So we'll try something more drastic with that as an end goal.


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So put a big blinking sticky at the top with special rules for the Political Discussion area.

There already is one of those. And from the bit earlier where you said that moderation on the Political Discussion board would be the same, it's obvious you've either not read it, not understood it, or read it and then completely forgotten about it. And you're one of the more literate posters on here! Which more than anything should prove the effectiveness of stickied threads pointing out special rules.

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This is also contradictory to your earlier points in your reply; if the moderation is going to be stricter, there should be less risk of people being exposed to things that disgust them and consequently less need to make the board as hidden as seemingly possible.

Only once the board has settled down. Right now it's more of a powder keg than usual.

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Communities may be built around specific niches and continued on that basis, but long-term communities also depend on the health of their Off-Topic areas.  Without fail, every online community I've participated in over the last 20+ years that has continued to be successful has done it because of the availability of the Off-Topic areas, not in spite of them.  Killing and segregating "political discussions" - which also tend to be the interesting ones where debates occur and you actually see people make arguments - is not good for the health of a community, and that is exactly the road the changes-as-currently-implemented are leading down.  I fully support efforts to improve the quality of contentious discussions on HLP, but shoving them off in some dark corner of the board and setting them up to narrow the userbase is going to make the problem worse, not better.  This is, in fact, why I spent a considerable amount of time helping revise the Guidelines a couple years ago and it pains me to see that instead of improved moderation to improve discussion wuality we're instead resorting to technical mechanics.

The problem was not moderation so much as the fact that quite a few people refuse to be moderated and the board can't afford to lose members who go off in a strop because they got told off for doing something they should be smart enough to not do. The idea behond the politics subforum is to let the moderators say "In here, you don't get to mess around and you're gone if you do" In other words to allow those guidelines to actually be followed.

EDIT: Actually part of me thinks we should just make you a Global Moderator whether you want to be one or not so you can actually deal with those kinds of people instead of us. :p


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Again, some actual comprehensive consultation with the community-at-large would have been nice here, folks.

You were consulted. There is a 9 page thread on the top board of the entire forum where people were asked about the direction HLP should take in the future. And then having seen the fact that the majorty of people who expressed any opinion about Gen Dis thought it was horribly toxic, the admins decided to compromise with the userbase by choosing a less drastic option than the one most people suggested of simply locking it away temporarily for those who still want to participate while steps are taken to clean it up. And now people start turning up and saying that they should have been consulted.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 11:05:23 pm by karajorma »
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