I don't think the no rules thing is working

Discussion in 'That's So Meta!' started by versi2, Oct 18, 2017.


are there rules?

  1. no

    5 vote(s)
  2. technically, no

    4 vote(s)
  3. yes

    9 vote(s)
  4. sort of, yes

    9 vote(s)
  5. I can't even tell

    16 vote(s)
  6. I mean, there's one, I guess, but it's very vague and unhelpful

    11 vote(s)
  1. versi2

    versi2 ???????

    It seems like there are a lot of rules, but I don't know how to find them, and if I break one by accident everyone will get upset, and it will be terrible.
  2. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    What's a "rule"?

    I think of rules as things like "you must not do X" or "you must do X". If they start having exceptions, they're not really rules, they're guidelines. And no matter how many explicit rules a site has, you can do things that upset people a lot but weren't against any rules.

    When there's formalized rules, you get a lot of people trying to wield them as weapons against the people they're mad at. Even here, people keep trying to turn individual choices or statements about general preferences into absolute things that can be used to force the mods to Punish That Guy I Dislike. And I really, really, don't want that.

    I'm a bit busy at work right now, but I have plans to write a clearer thing about what moderation is supposed to do, or accomplish. But fundamentally, it comes down to this: I don't like the use of coercion and power as concepts. I don't think they can be, ever, not-evil. They may sometimes be inevitable, or less evil than letting a thing happen. But they stay bad, no matter what. So I'm carefully and actively opposing anything that could conceivably lead to institutional power structures getting established. Which doesn't mean they won't creep up, it just means I save some effort when it comes time to destroy all the institutional power structures that keep trying to establish themselves.

    Someone made a comment once about the theory that I would "send the mods" to silence criticism. Honestly, I have never picked anyone as a mod that I would think I could "send" to do anything they didn't feel morally comfortable with doing. That would be stupid and contrary to the purpose of the thing. We don't have back-channel discussions so we can establish and present a united front; we are careful to talk openly about our disagreements about what we should do and why.

    I'm a militant anarchist serving as an absolute dictator because anything else would result in more governance, rather than less.

    I know this is awful for some people. I can't see a way to fix that without breaking the things it's doing which are important or necessary.

    But ultimately: The point is that I am not telling you what is or isn't "right", or how you "should" behave, or how it is "okay" to behave. I'm letting you make your own choices. You may make choices that produce outcomes you or other people don't like. Mods will try to find ways to mitigate harms. We have people who have asked to be put on post moderation because they have trouble controlling their tempers, we have people who ask for bans from subforums that tend to set them off. But fundamentally, the site's philosophy is that you're the one making decisions about how you behave. Many of the users here are adequately supplied with people inclined to impose a moral code on them and enforce it with threats. I don't want to add another.
  3. Khan

    Khan why does anyone NOT hate her

    Making a written set of rules and/or guidelines somewhere is not "imposing a moral code... and enforc[ing] it with threats." Numerous people have told you they need a list of things that are allowed and not allowed so they can feel safer reporting behavior that makes them uncomfortable, or so they can act within those rules and/or guidelines without fear of stepping on a land mine.

    Could you at least try to frame it as a competing need instead of dismissing it as the evil workings of people who want to make nasty threats.
    • Agree x 5
    • Like x 1
    • Winner x 1
    • Witnessed x 1
  4. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    Maybe it would help to have an admin statement in the boundary thread, which peeps have been helping me workshop to help new folks with reasonable expectations for using the forum and interacting with other people in a healthy way that's conducive to recovery?
    A lot of the time I've observed people asking for 'rules' or 'more guidelines' when it seems what's actually being asked for is details on what kinds of behaviors are healthy and unhealthy, which is a reasonable thing to want more info on given the purpose of the forum. I do agree that this is a competing access need, and that the uncertainty is really distressing.
    It is understood that people will not be banned for breaking rules or going against guidelines. And that's fine, I don't have any real issues with that outside of an emergency situation. However there is a lot of conflict on the forum that when traced back comes back to different boundaries and understandings of how to appropriately enforce them in interpersonal relationships in a way that's healthy for both parties.
    I've been too ill to super engage in that thread, but I'll try to read over any new stuff today and make updates if needed?
    • Like x 2
    • Agree x 2
  5. Khan

    Khan why does anyone NOT hate her

    I'm glad we agree! But what would be really nice is if Seebs could make an effort to see this as a competing access need rather than dismissing the people that need it as not authentically needing it, and only wanting it for evil ends.

    Rather, the users agreeing that people need something doesn't do a whole lot in terms of getting a list of things people can point at and say, "This is how [User] was mistreating me" or "This is how [User] was mistreating others."

    Seebs, can you see why a concrete list of things like this may help a forum of abuse survivors identify abusive behaviors they may otherwise feel like they should accept? Can you see why this might be more helpful than "Oh, just report it anyway, and never mind the fellow who was airing the subjects of reports in public to laugh at how no one could possibly be upset by racial slurs, because that's just virtue signaling?"

    "Just report it anyway" is clearly insufficient to a bunch of people who think they deserve to be mistreated, or that being mistreated is a fact of life. As for privately and publicly making jabs at users who were hurt and used reports to take this hurt to the mod team, the actions of former mods speak louder than words.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
    • Agree x 6
    • Like x 1
  6. Leechkin

    Leechkin Well-Known Member

    the no-rules approach kinda fails the second one person goes "no" when asked to respect persons boundaries, or when people's needs are impossible to reconcile (ie "i have to screenshot the vent threads of people i hate because of memory verification needs" vs "i dont want my vent thread screenshotted because it's inherently personal, private information")
    • Agree x 1
  7. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    Oh I don't dispute that. And also, yeah what leech just said.
    I believe at this point it's vital that we have a conversation about community safety and how to handle potentially very dangerous edge cases. I meant to make a thread about this earlier in the month but I've been too ill.
    There's clearly a problem, the preliminary votes on the poll would show that even if we didn't have events of the last couple of months to think about. However, I also think it's really important to try and keep the discussion focused on things that can actually be done to help. I'm not saying that's not happening currently. These threads tend to get bogged down super hard in terminology debates, which is totally understandable. Maybe if people posted what they define as a 'rule' vs a 'guideline' vs a 'boundary' that might help cut down on miscommunication?
  8. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    As Seebs said, the closest we get to rules are guidelines, which are in the Welcome thread. Interpersonal conflict happens sometimes, even if people are all following the guidelines, and it's one of the reasons I encourage using TCHGB, whether or not you want anyone else to mediate. People can also report things that make them uncomfortable or start a thread in the Caring Void to discuss things with mods.

    Guidelines for Behavior

    The guidelines here are not "rules". They are suggestions for ways to behave that work better than most of the alternatives.
    • Respect people's experiences, including your own.
    • Be kind. Be forgiving. Be compassionate.
    • Focus more on understanding people than judging them. Again, including yourself.
    • Show respect for boundaries and privacy.
    None of these are rules. You are not required to do these things. You do not need to forgive people if you don't want to. You will not be banned or punished for "failing" to do these things. If your actions hurt other people, we may take steps to limit the effects of those actions, such as moving posts to a forum where those people don't see them. However, you will still be regarded as a member of the forum, entitled to the same protection against being hurt that anyone else would get, entitled to participate in discussions, and so on.

    We encourage users to refrain from screencapping posts in areas of the forum marked ‘private.’ While privacy is not something we can guarantee on a software level, we can work to respect it on a social level.
  9. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    [/saunters in]

    Strong disagree. It isn't about healthy vs unhealthy behaviours. Expressing your sexuality (to pick a subject that's been hotly debated 'round the discord chats recently) is generally healthy. Expressing it towards inappropriate people - minors or those who just don't consent to that sort of thing - is not something I would characterize as an "unhealthy behaviour." It doesn't have much of a particular impact, in terms of the "needing to express this is normal and actually expressing it generally improves your mental health," who you express it to.

    That doesn't stop expressing those feelings towards nonconsenting parties or minors from being super inappropriate. "Inappropriate behaviour" and "unhealthy behaviour" are not the same thing, and it weakens both terms to the point of meaninglessness to use them interchangeably.

    [/saunters back out, letting door hit his arse on the way]
    • Like x 1
  10. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    So again, that kinda highlights the access needs problem super hard? Because as the boundary thread has demonstrated, there's a lot of confusion over them. What's reasonable, what's unreasonable, what to do if you accidentally cross one or someone is crossing yours, and that then leads into the rules debate I think?
    I don't know, I'm just spitballing here because we all keep coming back to this. And the guidelines in the welcome thread were a really good first step I feel like, but the vagueness on the particulars is the sticking point a lot of the time I feel.
    There's a difference between 'imposing a moral code' and laying out things that would be unhealthy behaviors and things to watch out for in your own actions/the way people behave toward you.
    Imposing a moral code: "Using twitter is awful, and we won't accept twitter users here."
    Not imposing a moral code: "Pruning your twitter feed of politics and images of disasters is a good step to take for self-care when you are feeling overwhelmed, and reading the comments on political posts is often an unhealthy behavior that can lead to depressive spirals."
    Maybe not the best example, I can't words very good rn.
    I'm sorry, I legit cannot parse a lot of this. Expressing sexuality toward minors or people who don't consent is absolutely unhealthy behavior and also deeply inappropriate. I really don't understand :c
    especially this part? maybe rephrasing would help..

    [eta] added on the quote and after response because it showed up just as i was hitting submit. As said, I really think there needs to be a discussion about community safety.
    [further eta] i can only talk about things i see on the forum, i don't take part in the discord chats because previously the skype ones proved hella unhealthy for me.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  11. Azurite

    Azurite Just Floating

    It might be useful to have a couple examples of things that will get your posts wiggled, and an explanation of TCHGB and vent threads. Both to have them written in plain English, and to give a better idea of when and how the mods will intervene in a situation.

    Unless I missed something, a lot of the "everyone will get upset" isn't a rules issue.
    • Agree x 6
  12. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    Yeah, that's why I suggested definitions. There's social codes of conduct that kinda will naturally evolve over time as people spend more time around each other and online spaces aren't an exception to that in any way. There's a difference between that and site rules, as in "You cannot do this."

    eta: also in case i muddled things up because fever brain, i believe the discussion about community safety and edge cases should happen in a dedicated thread because it's so important? I have been mentally drawing a distinction between unhealthy behaviors like "lifted 15kg when i'm only supposed to lift 5kg" versus "pressing up against consent and doing inappropriate things" because I think trying to discuss both at once will result in frustration, terminology quibbles and lots of good points getting lost, because that kinda tends to happen?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
    • Agree x 1
  13. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    There are explanations of TCHGB and vent threads in the first post of the FAQ, in the community basics section. As for wiggling, that's a good suggestion and I'll go add it now.
    • Like x 1
  14. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Sometimes boundaries aren't very reasonable. If you have mental health problems, there can be things which are a big problem for you, but not for other people, and we could say "that boundary is unreasonable". But we could also say "hey, i get that you're in a bad place right now, so i'll try to accommodate that as best I can". So the question is, is the ultimate purpose of the thing to have a definite list of reasonable and unreasonable things, or is it to try to help people recover and adapt? Because if you want to help people recover, you do have to let them have sort of unreasonable boundaries sometimes.

    Someone linked me to a relevant thread on Twitter a while back.

    Start with a thing you want. That's a goal. Look at how to achieve it effectively. You will usually find it useful to develop strategies or patterns of action that allow you to pursue your goal. You can formalize these, and have "rules". And if you follow the rules, that will help you achieve your goal, usually. But sometimes they won't, and when they do, the rule is wrong. You shouldn't follow it. Which means that it's not really a rule in the first place.

    Lots of forums have a rule against "flaming". We don't, because those rules work horribly. If your goal is civil discourse, allowing at least some conflict is way better than making everyone sublimate it into passive-aggressive bullshit. We have goals, not rules. The guidelines are a pretty good start on the thing. I'm not sure I've ever quite managed to articulate the goals. But the fact is, sometimes you can't do all those things at once, and you have to make judgment calls, and... yeah, that's a thing. You have to make judgment calls. I'm not interested in being the latest in a long line of people saying you're all too stupid or incompetent to make judgment calls. You can, and indeed must, make judgment calls. Sometimes people will disagree, and sometimes you'll decide you could have done better, but if you don't actually make judgment calls, you will never get better at it.

    You cannot learn discipline by being controlled so that you can't screw up. You can't learn kindness by being controlled so you can't hurt people.

    We cannot make a thing that meets everyone's needs, and we're not really trying to. We're making a thing that meets one particular set of needs that I'm good at and some people need. There are many other places that meet other sets of needs, and for a lot of people, those will be better. But I'm still making this one.
  15. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    As many other people have pointed out, the situation we currently have isn't "Kintsugi doesn't have rules", it's "Kintsugi has rules enforced by both mods and users, they're not written down, no one wants to clarify them, and if you break one you're screwed". Not exactly the best environment for recovery.
    • Like x 1
    • Agree x 1
  16. Khan

    Khan why does anyone NOT hate her

    True in theory? Maybe. True in practice? Nah.

    Seebs went off at me a long time ago about an acquaintance of mine behaving inappropriately, and why didn't I stop them? I said there is only so much I can do to talk people out of things, and Seebs expressed frustration with me for not having done more. I don't know how it is possible for me to control others.

    Seebs admitted to prioritizing other people's hurt over mine, after I had spent months begging the mods to do anything to stop continued harassment, because I struck him as a "big girl [who] can take it."

    I've talked about this in Caring Void. The mods know about it.

    If it is routine to sweep users who are perceived as tougher under the rug even as they are asking or begging for moderator assistance, where is their protection against being hurt? Does it exist at all?
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
    • Witnessed x 7
    • Agree x 4
    • Informative x 1
  17. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    I'm sorry that happened. I don't have any words or constructed thoughts on how to improve that aside from "assuming that people aren't telling the truth about their feelings and abilities is a thing people, especially in power, should watch out for and correct when they notice it"
  18. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    Something needs to be done about small, vocal groups of people creating and enforcing of their own unspoken rules for how you can behave and express your opinions in public threads on a public forum.

    see: people shutting down others with the wrong opinion by whipping out their boundaries that didnt seem to exist until now to control the conversation because "but muh boundaries!"
    • Agree x 3
  19. AbsenteeLandlady123

    AbsenteeLandlady123 Chronically screaming

    That's not really fair though, because like, what if the boundary did exist and someone wasn't comfortable expressing it? What if the person didn't actually realize it was a reasonable boundary to have until they were told otherwise?

    eta: this is largely rhetorical, just, given what khan just said it makes me pretty uncomfortable to characterize a thing like that. I don't know if there's a specific thing being talked about.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
  20. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    see: you expressed that you didnt think "dont like dont read" was the end all be all solution to content online and now you sound like an anti and are thus inherently wrong, none of your points matter, and you should just shut up, karen
    • Agree x 3
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice