Meandering thoughts on welcoming...

Discussion in 'That's So Meta!' started by seebs, May 18, 2017.

  1. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    So, someone sent me some thoughts about the forum, and I don't think I agree, but I think they're interesting and worth talking about:

    I do think what (A) hasn't taken into account, because you're not open about it, and because it's not exactly hugely obvious until carefully reading everything you've said on the topic, that you are not trying to make Kintsugi open to everyone, or to be welcoming to everyone. You're trying to be welcoming to a specific subset of everyone (people with cluster B personality disorders?) and, for some reason or other, blatantly lying about giving a single fuck about anyone else. Possibly even to yourself. If you wanted to be as welcoming as possible to as many people as possible, you would prioritize and triage; instead you say that a civil person like (A) can just go somewhere else if they don't like your rules, while bending over backwards to accommodate (B). But that would be counter to your actual goal of being inclusive specifically to people who aren't capable of peacefully interacting with others without blowing the fuck up. At the expense of being welcoming to anyone else.​

    So, this... doesn't sound quite right to me, but I think this is actually pretty close to the heart of the matter, and what people are often upset about in terms of apparent favoritism.

    The key, I think, is in the phrase "as welcoming as possible to as many people as possible". I don't think that's my goal. I think my goal is to say "about the same amount welcoming to absolutely everyone, even if that's not as welcoming as we could be if we were willing to kick people out".

    In short, whoever you are, you're welcome here. But! That doesn't mean we can, or will, accommodate your needs or preferences. You aren't more, or less, important than anyone else. That doesn't mean that I'm playing the numbers; I'm not going to say "well, either one person leaves or four people leave, so that person has to go". Nope. No one has to leave, no one is getting kicked out. And I'm going to try to make things more accommodating for everyone... But not by kicking anyone out.
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
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  2. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    What it sounds like to me is "I feel that welcoming people with a cluster B personality disorder too much is inherently unwelcoming to others because I'm afraid of them (this may be a specific them or a generalization, but my first guess would be that there's some specifics going on). I feel like you haven't acknowledged this on a similar emotional level to where I am with it, and it feels like that means you don't care about my feelings of endangerment, and therefore my safety, and therefore me, and I'm gonna throw 'don't care about anyone' in there because I'm trying to express how much this affects my perception of you."

    In my opinion the key phrase is "giving a single fuck".

    I could be wrong, and I don't agree at all with what I just said, but that's my two cents?
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  3. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    I do think you tend to bend more for the people who, for various reasons, a lot of other people find upsetting to be around. A particular recurring issue is your spending more effort on the people who appear to be the aggressor in various blowups, with the reason given being "everyone else is on A's side, so someone needs to be on B's side". This is not to say that I disagree with this stance. But it is a recurring point of contention, whether or not you're willing to budge on it.

    I feel like this is akin to the mess of defining "equal opportunity", where different people have different notions of what exactly is supposed to be being distributed equally, and so have different opinions on how fairly or unfairly people are being treated.
    For instance, there is "equal welcome" in terms of total anarchy, where everyone is being treated equally by the mods in terms of not being treated at all. This is one version of "equal welcome" in terms of action taken by the mods, but may be unequal in terms of people being able to participate due to community situations.
    In contrast, if you're trying to allow everyone to participate at least on the level of "do you want to be able to participate", that is one version of equal, but requires doing some things for some people that you don't do for others.

    Also I think there might be some confusion over the notion of "welcome", specifically positive versus negative welcome. You don't restrict anyone from coming here, and you encourage people to come here, but I can't say you really go out of your way to "welcome" people once they're here in the "hi, new neighbors, we made you lasagna, welcome to the neighborhood" kind of way. This is entirely fair; there are a lot of us, you only have so much lasagna. But it does mean that you might appear to be more welcoming to those who you actually do do stuff on behalf of, which, see the first paragraph.

    Anyway, the bit about "prioritize and triage" indicates to me that they've kind of completely missed the point of this forum. This is not to say that their complaint is invalid, but I'm pretty sure their proposed solution is a no-go.
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  4. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Yeah. And I don't do a ton of "welcoming" to, well, anyone, in the "here's some lasagna" sense, haven't mostly had time.

    I've been wrestling with the attention thing, because one of the ways in which people get treated very differently is how likely I am to talk to them about problems with their posting. And the thing is, the more hostile someone is to me, the more likely I am to say "fuck it, I haven't got the spoons". But this is actually the opposite of the "favoritism means people seebs gets along with can get away with more" thing. People I get along with are much more likely to have their posts edited or be asked to edit their posts, because it's not a huge hassle to try to even raise the question. Say there's a conflict between persons A and B. If I talk to person A and say "hey maybe knock it off a bit", they'll have a giant hissy fit and make three threads about mod favoritism and try to get several people from offsite chats to come to the site and yell at me. If I talk to person B and say "what the fuck is wrong with you", they'll say "sorry I guess I was out of line" and fix the post. So. Who gets more "attention"? B. Who "gets away with" more? A. So which way is this favoritism? And that's... pretty consistently the case. The people I'm accused of favoritism towards are consistently significantly more restricted both in software function and in terms of what I talk to them about or ask them to change. And mostly it comes down to "they're more likely to actually accept the criticism instead of attacking me and making more drama".

    And I haven't figured out how to even start on addressing that, but I think I need to, because the perception that some people get more time and attention is totally accurate, I just haven't figured out how to improve it.
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  5. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    Upon rereading what I wrote, I totally should have picked a dish that is eaten with a spoon, for extra metaphor points.
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  6. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    I think the attention thing is mostly due to you being both the face of the forum and the main visible mod. As the face, you want to be able to say "everyone is welcome equally", but as the mod you have to treat people by what kind of attention they need, and people who see you as the face aren't happy when they see you treat people differently. For instance, I'm pretty sure, say, Beldaran can get away with giving people different amounts of attention, because people don't expect Beldaran to be the one at the door holding up the "All are welcome" sign.

    I don't really have any good ideas about what to do about this, because now people know you as both the face and the mod. I kind of feel like the only solution is for you to stop modding personally and leave it all to your team so that you can be a neutral face, but I'm not sure your stepping back like this would actually help at this point and I'm sure it would cause at least a temporary major disruption.
    A second vague suggestion, which I can't really see working unless the first is implemented to some extent, is to have other mods who aren't using mod powers on the problem act as visible advocates (this sounds too active and too strong; find better word when vocabulary kicks in) for whoever doesn't require mod-power attention. Because mod attention is worth something, even if it isn't mod-power attention. "I'm not taking sides, I'm just focusing on what needs to be done to fix the issue" is a good stance, but it isn't terribly reassuring to a lot of people, especially if it is a policy written down in the FAQ rather than something explicitly said in the context of the situation at hand. Again, not really sure how effective this would be, but at least it might balance out the perceived attention discrepancy to have a mod say "we hear you". Of course, then we get into the perceived action discrepancy, and I have no idea what to do about that.
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  7. Re Allyssa

    Re Allyssa Sylph of Heart

    So I think OP (not seebs, but the person who sent the message. I just don't have a better way to address them) might replace "being welcoming" with "make people feel welcomed." That is, they might be asserting that by making more volatile people feel welcome, the result is that other people who are afraid or unwilling to be around those people feel unwelcome. Thus, by specifically making sure all people are welcome, the result is less people feeling welcome.

    Ah, that might be confusing, hope it made sense.
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  8. Lissa Lysik'an

    Lissa Lysik'an Dragon-loving Faerie

    It made sense BUT doesn't sound like what the person was saying. The way the person was talking it sounds more like they are saying "if you welcome the people I want to hate then you are hating me". Not a call for moderation in all things but a call for ostracizing the people they don't think should be allowed in public.
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  9. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I don't think it was exactly intended that way, but I think there's a definite concern that I'm not as careful to work to include some people as others. I'm pondering this a fair bit.
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