Competing access needs

Discussion in 'The Undercity' started by Vacuum Energy, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. Vacuum Energy

    Vacuum Energy waterwheel on the stream of entropy

    Not necessarily in any particular order.

    I reserve the right to ignore this thread if it becomes too Discourse for me; I am stating this upfront so that my brain knows that it is actually an option and that I have already "warned" people that it might happen.


    "Competing access needs" is a concept that I heard of from tumblr user theunitofcaring. I will quote the post defining it here:

    I think that seebs' statement, that "other forums exist with the kind of moderation you're looking for", is an attempt to express a similar concept, without having the words for it.



    The simplest way of resolving this conflict would be to make a second forum. The main reason "creating a second forum" is undesirable is because it splits the userbase - some people will only go to one end, some people will only go to the other, and no matter what you do, some people will have to shuffle back and forth in order to talk to everyone they like. At the same time, I don't think there's a way to not split the forum over this.

    It is more or less impossible to make a place where everyone can be exposed to only the amount of moderation they desire, while they talk with people who might have different preferences for level of moderation. (Slashdot's -1 to +5 system is the closest I have ever seen to this.)

    Any attempt to moderate some subforums more strictly than others would slippery-slope towards two entirely different forums with a single-sign-on system. This is because, in subforums about innocuous topics like fandom, there is the potential that someone could blow up, and the only way that sensitive members would be able to deal with that would be to retreat into their moderated subforum.

    I don't think there's a way to not split the forum over this. The best option I can offer is to have a close partnership with a different forum that has stronger standards, so we have somewhere to send people if they cannot handle this particular atmosphere. Either that, or embrace the "two forums with single-sign-on" thing.



    On a technical level, it is nearly impossible to "block someone from reading your posts" on a forum that is available to the Internet public, without posing a barrier to entry for people who need to be anonymous on the forums for their own safety, or people who do not have sufficient access to identification.

    On a social level, this is not necessary for anyone who is not actively trying to plot against a government. The kind of security that a technically-adept forum owner can provide, and the kind of obscurity provided by being on an out-of-the-way Internet forum that requires filling out a registration form and waiting for a waiting period, is generally enough.

    There is, however, a type of person who looks at the technical-level impossibility and throws up their hands, saying that since it's impossible anyway they don't want to try to implement it. This type of person, unfortunately, tends to be in charge of many software projects. I am not sure if XenForo is one of them. I do know that most other easily available forum software is run by this kind of person, so I am not particularly optimistic.

    There may be a XenForo extension that has the block-someone-from-reading capability. That may solve the problem well enough. However, if that extension does not exist or people are not adequately reassured by it, this devolves to the previous argument.



    The current Kintsugi Discord chat is currently serving as the de facto "group closely related to Kintsugi that enforces stricter moderation standards". While I am willing to continue to help it be that, I don't think this is enough to solve the problem completely, because a forum is not a chat.

    A synchronous chat is a very different communication system from a forum, and it poses unique challenges.

    The primary Kintsugi Skype chat is currently completely unmoderated, because Skype has very few moderation tools (and none are exposed on the GUI). This means that, as of now, the only way of getting someone to stop blowing up is to convince them, voluntarily, to move.

    For a synchronous chat, the only thing that is comparable to "putting someone on moderation" is "putting someone in a cooldown room, with read but not write access to the other channels, and then manually ferrying their messages back out". It is not possible to let someone read-but-not-write-to the chat on Skype, meaning that the equivalent of a cooldown room is definitionally impossible.

    It is very close to impossible to keep someone permanently "on moderation" for a synchronous chat group. It would be theoretically technically possible, but it would be an unreasonable burden of manpower (because you need someone willing to judge every message, at every time of day).



    The reason I think we need an official split-and-link, rather than just "people who don't want this can go somewhere else", is something that I propose for two reasons.

    Firstly, there is a specific reason why I currently recommend Kintsugi to people. I have Kintsugi bookmarked, mentally, as "the place on the Internet where people with the same general cultural background as me help people with abuse and mental issues". The "same general cultural background" part is why I do not routinely recommend other websites. I can feel reasonably confident referring people to here, or a place similar to here, because I know that things will be responded to in a way close to how I would respond to them.

    Giving me an obvious way to point people if they need something very similar, but more moderated, would help significantly with that.

    Secondly, having this be an official or semi-official partnership would help with the "not splitting the userbase" thing. Yes, there are going to be people who only want to go on one forum or the other. But an easy way to link people back and forth will minimize the worst of the split.


    edited because I got the name of the forum software wrong
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    • Like x 12
  2. Ipuntya

    Ipuntya your purple friend

    i was under the impression that the forum split was already underway. baskerville/leo and cyborgism created a forum called bmp at some point, except i think it's invite-only?

    i never asked much about it, since my expectations are pessimistically low, and since i'm probably one of the people they'd prefer to vet.
    • Like x 2
  3. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    Imo a user created side forum that is invite only is different from a secondary. Tbqh I have been thinking of hosting a secondary forum to complement the existing rp forum area for times when kintsugi goes down / for more organization. I'm on my phone ATM but I will explain in more detail if it's wanted

    Edit: that isn't to say I don't like Leo or bmp, I was just under the impression that it wasnt made to compete with kintsugi. Pretty sure it's its own thing that could stand alone without kintsugi, at least that's my understanding
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
    • Like x 4
  4. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    This is how internet forums reproduce. Through metastasis.
    • Like x 3
  5. evilas

    evilas Sure, I'll put a custom title here

    That is an interesting perspective, makes perfect sense, and yet.
    It is so goddamn annoying.

    I truly thought Kintsugi could be the perfect site where the worst abusive assholes and the most awfully PTSD-stricken victims could come together and get along and be friends and live happily together as one big, ten-thousand-people hyper-extended found family.

    And yeah it was stupid but that was my dream. And seeing someone straight-up saying that isn't possible is... crushing, at best.

    I honestly don't know where we go from here. OJ, I want to talk to you about the Discord moderation more in private but you know.

    I just want to fix my home.
    • Like x 5
  6. leo

    leo Well-Known Member

    i don't have much of a horse in this race, just clearing up a misconception.

    again, and as mendacity said, bmp is not a "split" from kintsugi. bmp has been around a lot longer than the recent drama, and so was the idea of a forum.
    i would rather you not bring your personal issues with the forum when it came to discussing it.

    and it isn't invite-only, we either invite people or you ask to be a member and every member of bmp has to approve you.
    • Like x 1
  7. Ipuntya

    Ipuntya your purple friend

    i never said that bmp was a split off of kintsugi. i meant that people were splitting off from kintsugi to go to bmp. i don't have any personal issues with the forum, i just have low expectations for it in general, and wasn't interested in finding out more information about a forum i have low expectations for, that i most likely wouldn't be allowed into in the first place
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
  8. leo

    leo Well-Known Member

    ...i don't believe anyone is doing that, and i don't think they'd appreciate that take on it. personal issues, i would include "not being allowed in," which also isn't relevant in a meta thread. if you have any problems with not being welcomed, you can ask me.
  9. Morven

    Morven In darkness be the sound and light

    My issue with bmp is that means a bitmap file

    the association is too strong in my brains.
    • Like x 17
  10. Mendacity

    Mendacity I’m meaner than my demons

    same hat
  11. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I don't think the allegation was that it was related exclusively to the recent drama, but I'd gotten the impression it was a reaction to differences of opinion about moderation.

    I don't think I want to try to do a "sibling forum" thing, simply because there's a very fundamental connotational issue, which is that "the forum with stricter moderation standards" is going to get interpreted, fairly often, as "the forum without the bad people", and I really dislike the implicit judgment, and I don't think any amount of disclaiming it could ever make it go away.

    "Competing access needs" is a good term for part of the problem. There's another term I heard once, and for Reasons I never heard it defined or discussed, just used in passing, but the term was "agreements of belonging", and from context I inferred a sense of "the things that you agree to implicitly to be part of a community". You can't really be a part of a community without accepting its premises. One of the premises that makes Kintsugi what it is has been the rejection of the "bad people" idea, the idea that we could make everything better if we just got rid of those people.

    And the problem we end up with is that we have people (a fair number) who really strongly feel that we need to exclude some specific people, not always the same ones, because those are the people who are causing the problems and making people leave. And there's a significant correlation between that and "people that other users tell me they're afraid of" or "people that other users leave because of". And I don't think that's a coincidence at all; people are pretty good at detecting when they're Not Wanted. But we can't get rid of "the people who do that", because that would be another category of users to forcibly exclude to make things better, and the entire point is that this approach has never actually worked.

    I went and poked around last night. Kintsugi has ~2k listed members, of which a bit over 1,200 are sub-accounts. Only 197 accounts have sub-accounts. We had about 750ish visitors in February, of whom ~340 were sub-accounts, so a bit over 400 active users who are actually distinct people, give or take.

    That's not a super large forum in the first place, but the density of users with significant emotional disturbances or trauma is, to put it mildly, unusually high. (I think most forums, it probably hovers around 1-2% of user base, because anyone who acts up gets disappeared pretty quickly.)
    • Like x 11
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