Boundaries: How to have them and how to enforce interpersonally on the forum level

Discussion in 'That's So Meta!' started by AbsenteeLandLady124, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. I think it's also hard to detangle disagreement from attack, especially with all the brainweird floating around, and then also distinguish that from dogpiling. Someone saying something controversial that a lot of people don't agree with is something that should be allowed to happen I think? Both in the sense that they be allowed to disagree and state that, and in the sense that other people, even a lot of other people, should be allowed to say they disagree. And I'm not quite sure how to distinguish that from dogpiling.
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  2. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    On the topic of finding an advocate of you need help, a friend pointed out that it's important to clarify that you don't have to accuse anyone of anything. Being uncomfortable is enough. Being uncertain is enough. Needing a sounding board or reality check is more than enough.

    It can be overwhelmingly difficult to have to make a case if you're not entirely certain that what's happening is bad, or if you fear the potential backfire because someone involved is socially powerful. Asking for help because you're uncomfortable or stressed or having problems can help lower the risk of speaking.
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  3. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    Because my ban request hasn't be processed yet: Also, sometimes people fuck up. Sometimes someone might be fine at one side of boundaries, and awful at the other. I'm not great at asking if someone needs my help before trying to do so. Especially in the coming weeks, I think it's really really important that if someone tells you that you messed up with regard to boundaries, you listen. Get permission to post the concern here if you don't understand what the issue is and the conversation was in a vent thread and you need debugging on it, but everyone makes mistakes, and we're all raw and afraid and reeling. The solution to making things better is not to put hands over ears even if it really hurts to realize you've hurt other people.
    It'll be okay. If you did hurt somebody, and you want to do better, asking questions and reaching out is an excellent first step to improving.
    • Agree x 7
  4. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    Excellent point, how does this sound for an addendum, along with a couple of others I've been thinking about:

    - It is okay to ask other people for help with conflict, but please bear in mind that some people have left the community for their own self-care reasons and may have trouble disengaging again if called back to assist with an argument.
    - Deliberately poking the sore/trauma spots of another forum user is extremely rude. Having disagreements isn't bad, but if someone is being poked and hurt they may lash out in response. If someone is treating you poorly, you have the right to ask them to stop and seek help.
    - Your distress and emotions are your own. Your motivations are your own. It is inappropriate for someone to tell you this is not the case, such as by attributing causation of your pain to a different issue in spite of protests.
    - It is inappropriate to debug another user's thought process, motivations, and mental state without their consent in relation to interpersonal forum conflict. If you notice a potential correlation between distress over one thing and distress over another, ask first if the user is up to deconstructing and accept if they say no. Being confused over motivations is fine - armchair diagnosing & telling someone their hurt is actually due to something else is not. If speculation on thought processes of another user is a part of processing trauma, it may be a good idea to confine this to a different thread.
    [eta: adjusted wording on last point to reduce potential confusion]
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  5. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    Thought of some others that might be good in general

    - While the urge to self-deprecate in a conflict is deeply understandable, it makes it hard for people to engage if they have a complaint with behavior without feeling like they have to soothe the emotional state of the other user first. It is not a healthy behavior and is often a tool used in deliberate manipulation. If someone is being self-deprecating in a conflict and you feel the need to perform emotional labor for them, here is a selection of potential scripts to deal with it:
    - "I'm sorry you feel bad about this, but I'm not going to engage with you putting yourself down."
    - "Please stop responding to everything with self-deprecation, it makes me feel like I'm not allowed to argue with you or your mental wellbeing is in my hands."
    - "I am not your therapist. I'm pointing out problems with your behavior. That doesn't mean you are irredeemable, and I'm not going to engage with self-deprecation."​
    - It is never appropriate to respond to conflict with threats of any kind. Stalking, saving private information, blackmail, suicide baiting and coercion via sensitive information are not okay behaviors in any way and you have the right to ask for help and be taken seriously, and to be listened too.

    - If you are prone to this sort of behavior in meltdown states, understand that the users hurt might not ever feel comfortable engaging with you again. While this may feel unpleasant, nobody should be forced to interact with someone they are afraid of. If you are prone to lashing out when hurt, please ask for resources that might help manage the behaviors and make use of them where possible. The forum software has a variety of options that can quarantine explosive meltdowns.
    - The staff are people too. It is extremely inappropriate to threaten, harass and make a staff member feel unsafe via posting abusive things at them which will not get through post moderation.
    - You have no obligation to continue to interact with a user that makes you feel unsafe, and blocking people can be a valuable self-care tool after a traumatic experience. If someone tells you that doing this is unfair, this is inappropriate and you have the right to tell them to stop. If you feel your safety has been compromised irl, contact the authorities with the relevant information.

    ETA a few things based on years of thinking about various issues I've seen crop up here and elsewhere.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  6. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    I personally consider dogpiling to be the state in which people start talking past the person who said the controversial thing, trying to figure out what their thought processes are and not just asking/accepting the result, generally ignoring boundaries - or actively attacking them, threatening them/calling them irredeemable for their thought.
    Also people using super charged phrases like 'anti' for example, because that can quickly become shorthand for 'person who said something about sex I didn't agree with' rather than 'person who calls others pedophiles and rapists on the internet for shipping things and thinks nobody knows the difference between liking a kink in fiction and pursuing harmful paraphillias in reality'. It puts the person who said the thing on the defensive as they are now dealing with being labelled something that is near universally regarded as appalling in the community and may have to compromise their beliefs and point in order to scramble back from it.

    ETA: Also, hi, my ban hasn't gone through yet, so I'm scrambling to write down important things before I forget. If I don't respond, it's because my self-imposed full forum ban has been enforced for a week.
    Further ETA: Split things into individual posts bc i know peeps have issues with walls of text and i don't want to make reading this thread to be spoon intensive to the point people can't offer their perspectives and opinions.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  7. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    (i removed the ping bc ur on self-care break technically)
    i feel like while this is definitely a workable definition of dogpiling bc it gives something nicely defined to avoid, it's also a highly unusual one?
    From how I've seen the word used... most people seem to already feel dogpiled when it's just "[X variable number that feels like Too Many to the user] people are forcefully disagreeing with me And It Feels Bad" and... well it sucks that it feels bad for people and I'd like to avoid it but if like five people disagree with me, even if all five of those leave manners at the door and cuss me out the whole post, then that's their right? I'm gonna be upset about it probably bc I'm a weepy ragdoll sometimes, but I don't want to like make it a bad thing to disagree with someone, even if it's not done in a very nice way. And this definition would avoid that, sure! but i think it's oo reductive to cover what a bunch of people have perceived as dogpiling recently?
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  8. Okay uh... I used that once and it caused a chain of blow-ups, but what I said was the argument had gone into "anti territory". By which I meant that it was something antis argue about all the time, not that anyone was an anti. In fact, I was using anti arguments as a contrast to what was being said. People still interpreted that as me accusing people of being antis, something I never said or intended to say. Are you including cases like that in this statement?
  9. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    (I woke up early hi)
    Yeah, I think so, just based on how I've seen people react to things? It's kinda like dropping a live grenade in the middle of the room - people are pretty reliably gonna freak the heck out. Just based on that summary, bc I tend to avoid argument threads and stuff and am usually responding to the aftermath, I can see why people would be hostile to that. Saying a thing had gone into anti territory and then not defining 'as in, something antis argue about all the time' afterward, is something I know I would easily read as an accusation that would throw me into defensive and scrambling mode and I might not always be able to go 'wait i should ask a clarifying question here'.
    (i'm trying so hard but i'm waiting on important info ;n;)
    I forgot about that, yeah that's a really good point.
    And like, it does feel pretty damn awful when people are mean/tell me that I fucked up, in numbers. But total agreement always isn't yeah, agreed, would add that to my idea of what it is. I think handling situations like that is just...a thing that needs care. I'm unsure what kind of care, it's probably just a case by case basis thing?
    Oh, I just thought of another thing. I've been thinking about this like, a conflict thing. As in people saying something hurtful/triggering/etc and people reacting to that, rather than like, calm and collected discussion? Does the dogpiling thing happen in the latter case?
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  10. (Oh god me too. Fucking lawnmowers.)

    Well the thing is I can see that in retrospect but I could not see it beforehand. And I just posted about this in the other thread but I can't be 100% considerate of outside perspectives on my statements 100% of the time. It's probably the 'tisms. But I also frequently say controversial shit because those are frequently the opinions I hold so.... what do?
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  11. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    (hugs if wanted, thanks for what you're doing but the discussion will still be there when you come back, Good luck with the self-care break)
    Honestly it's hard to pinpoint the last bit for me because things sometimes seem to flip from 'Somewhat passionate but overall calm discussion' to 'suddenly everything is on fire levels argument' really suddenly? This might be because I'm not super duper great at reading emotional tone and the "room climate" so to say, but some of these come completely out of left field sometimes?
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  12. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    In my experience, it seems to vary a lot? For instance:
    • The troll posting and then deleting really right-wing opinions in politics threads a while back mostly just got made fun of for being loledgy
    • When somebody posted a thing about how all white people should die, people went, "Wow, that's not okay!" and it got reported to the mods and removed, but there wasn't a big long argument, I think because most people recognized the person (who was white) was probably splitting
    • There was a big long "one person against a crowd" argument last time Ace Discourse Rehash #5682 popped up, fueled in part because the way this particular recurrence was framed directly insulted or invalidated pretty much everyone the OP disagreed with (though things catch fire related to that subject even without what happened there, so it may not be a good example)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  13. Even people who tried to engage fairly evenly.

    I am a guilty party here, despite the reply that got me really angry being a direct response to mine.
  14. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    I think in the situations where people are upset due to misinterpretation, it's a good idea to just drop something like "I'm sorry, that's not what I meant. I was meaning it like: [X]". One thing I've noticed with your conflict patterns is you tend to get kinda bristly and aggressive, and I'm never gonna tell someone not to have an emotional reaction or that it's incorrect. Suggestion of adding in an apology for accidentally hurting people makes it clear, at least to me, that it's understood there was a communication breakdown on both sides - clarifying afterward then allows the conversation to move forward again. If someone keeps hammering on 'but you said this though', after you've made it clear that it wasn't what was meant and you've apologized for a miscommunication, you have the right to tell them to knock it off and engage with the correction.
    I'm unsure though, because I need to be pretty majorly triggered before I'm able to be even a little bit aggressive/assertive, (the two often get mixed up for me in trauma brain and I get skittish) so I'm not very good at boundary advice there, sorry :c
    This is something I'm pretty good at though so maybe I can be helpful there on the reading the room thing? For me unless someone has been triggered by a very specific phrase it's normally pretty clear for me to identify when things are starting to get Heated rather than just normal levels of passionate discussion. Posts come faster, tempers start fraying a little bit, there's more miscommunication, posts start happening in vent threads as people observing make comments off to the side or process their reactions to things. In those situations, it's really hard to balance the thing of raising hand and going "I think we need to ease this back a little bit, some people aren't okay right now" without it looking like you're telling people to chill, which, almost never works. But if someone is triggered by something very specific it can be a lot harder to identify why the heck everything is one fire all of a sudden, and aside from checking in privately with the person who is demonstrating the trigger response and reminding them to do self-care things, I don't really know what to do to counteract any dogpiling that might occur there.

    The first two don't make me think 'dogpiling' and I don't know why. Dogpiling is in my head something far more intense and aggressive than people saying 'hey this isn't okay' and disagreement, and I think I'm having a small disconnect somewhere.
    I was also thinking of the ace discourse thing myself, there were a lot of weird things going on and I still don't really understand why it went down like it did. I think if someone is repeatedly not engaging with the criticism of their points, to the point where it looks like they aren't actually parsing it at all or reacting to anything people are actually saying, then it might be a good idea to just try to disengage and report posts to the mods and ask for someone to check in on them and see how they're doing in case they're Not Okay.
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  15. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    Yeah, that's why it came to mind.

    I was meaning those as examples of things people said that were hurtful/triggering where I don't think the responses were dogpiles- what I think of as dogpiles is where it spirals off into a massive argument that people don't want to let drop.

    That's pretty much what I did- left a couple snooty comments to make my opinion known, reported everything in sight, and unfollowed the thread until it blew over. But obviously, not everyone did/was willing to/could do that.
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  16. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    Ohhh gotcha.
    I think...we just need more mods? People who can come in and say "thread's locked for an hour, self care break". Because spoons are in incredibly short supply rn, delegation is a thing, and having a wider spread of people on at a variety of times would help a lot I think.
    Having Spock on board will help a lot, but ideally I would personally bring on another 3-5 people who can reliably engage calmly, de-escalate situations and also just be around at various points in the day.
    That said sometimes the mods will also see a thing that's not okay, and point out that it's not okay too? And I think that's important as well, bc the mods are still people and deserving of the same respect and basic boundaries as the rest of the userbase and are allowed to say when something upset them.
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  17. Ipuntya

    Ipuntya your purple friend

    i'm starting to get the idea that perhaps dogpiling is best defined as when the situation stops being several people expressing disagreement with a user, and instead begin to question and attack their character and/or shit talk them

    edit: ping removed
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
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  18. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    Thank you, appreciate :D
    So, that works for me as a definition, anybody have objections? I'll stick it in the 'things discussed and resolved' part of post if it's in the clear so peeps reading through have a common definition to work from. Also, did those other boundaries i wrote out look okay/any amendments or wording changes?
    After that last quote I got i realized that...yeah, a whole lot of issues on the forum come down to trauma sometimes making people feel like they don't deserve basic boundaries and rights (either actively or not), so writing those out...I hope it's helpful??
    • Like x 2
  19. KingStarscream

    KingStarscream watch_dogs walking advertisement

    I want to bring attention to this from the other direction, which is: NO MEANS NO.

    Even if you think the user is being evil. Even if you think that the boundary is stupid and shouldn't apply to you specifically. Even if you think that jumping into an argument means that every thread of theirs should be available for scrutiny.

    If someone says "I have to tap out" and you accidentally ping them, that's an accident and an apology might be enough. But if someone says "I have to tap out" and you choose to ping them, repeatedly, and pursue them into other threads, and keep trying to drag them back to this argument-- that's not okay.

    And yes, I've seen the PLEASE STOP hyperboleandahalf comic. There are going to be some boundaries which aren't valid-- for instance, an abuser does not have a right to unlimited access to their victims, and going 'denying me that access is a violation of my boundaries' does not make that right magically manifest. But I think it is a serious problem that has happened, more than once, where someone has said "no" or "please stop" and someone else has said, "This is not a valid boundary, I do not have to stop, and I think you do not deserve me stopping."

    Having mods pop in and reminding people not to ping is helping, I think, but I feel like the "no means no" factor needs to be addressed. When someone asks you to "stop", your reaction to that shouldn't be "your comfort is meaningless and therefore I will not." Because outside of the person you're hurting right then, every time that happens, "you have the right to say no" holds less meaning.
    • Agree x 18
  20. AbsenteeLandLady124

    AbsenteeLandLady124 Well-Known Member

    Will add that from the other direction in both subheadings, thank you.
    • Like x 3
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