The Xenforo "Discourage" Feature

Discussion in 'That's So Meta!' started by palindromordnilap, May 14, 2018.

  1. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    No, this thread started on that, but the relevant thing is "why did I use that feature in the first place", and the death threats and stuff are pretty relevant to that. People want to know whether they're in danger of having this happen to them, and explaining what it takes to get there is relevant to that. Furthermore, you've been making comments, here and elsewhere, about the reasons for the thing, and trivializing or minimizing your actions, so I'm correcting that, because that seems pretty fucking relevant.

    FWIW, I still don't plan to add forum bans. The discord ban is because discord hasn't got the tools to handle anything more subtle.
    • Informative x 3
  2. emythos

    emythos Lipstick Hoarding Dragon

    • Agree x 8
  3. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    alright, fair.

    i'm just really distressed by all the threats palin is making, and i wish she'd stop. like, death threats are awful and i don't want palin to use eu law to cover up her actions and/or use social workers to get nick sent back to his bioparents. that's all fucked the hell up.
    • Witnessed x 2
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  4. Beldaran

    Beldaran 70% abuse and 30% ramen

    I know it's super distressing, I'm sorry that it's freaking you out.

    Seebs is talking to lawyer people, so Nick isn't going to be sent anywhere. And as I understand it the EU law is for EU big businesses and personal information, not making an ass of yourself in front of God and everyone on an American server. Alix can request that EU companies lose her home address, not that the American dude Seebs delete her death threats off his private forum. That's why I responded to her post by scoffing.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  5. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    I agree, but I think digging up the old banning argument isnt going to help deal with that. It will just cause people to fight over rhat again and not the matter at hand.
    Remember this happened on discord mostly. Kintsugis tools seemed to be working.
    • Like x 2
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  6. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+


    ao3 is hosted in america as far as i know and it's updating its policy to comply with the gdpr, though, so i think there is reason to think an american site could get in trouble for this.
    alright, that's fair. sorry.
    • Like x 1
  7. rigel

    rigel in a line of late afternoon sun

    im going to be a bit of an asshole and say that like.

    palin, when you threaten people and continually abuse others and seriously consider putting someone back into an abusive environment simply bc they happen to be slightly adjacent to the conversation, i really dont think you get to ask those same people for anything.

    personally i think seebs was well within their right to use the discourage feature, and if they so chose, in a situation similar to this, they continue to have that right. the safety of other people is more important than what you think you deserve from them.
    • Agree x 16
  8. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for all of this. I'm not sure I can or should elaborate because this isn't really justifiable, but I'll try my best not to do it again.
    • Witnessed x 3
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  9. Ipuntya

    Ipuntya return of eggplant

    the harassment, suicide baiting, suicide threats, and deadnaming and misgendering certainly wasn't fun, but i do also feel rather betrayed that seebs planned on omitting the existence of this kind of feature, including the usage of it to the user facing administrative action. it strikes me as rather dishonest.

    i'm not happy about any of this
    • Like x 1
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  10. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    So, there's a context in which this feature is actually a really good tool for solving a problem. This wasn't really that context.

    Assume you have a forum with somewhat-automated signups, because it gets actual user signups that aren't spambots. And you have a troll. If you ban them, they just make a new account and restart things immediately. Any kind of response they can identify as being a response will be effectively encouragement; they're Getting A Reaction.

    But if the site's unreliable and annoying, and no one's paying much attention even when they do manage to post a thing? Then they get bored and go do something else.

    And as long as people don't know it's a thing, and it's used only sparingly and temporarily, it's actually a pretty excellent solution. The frustration with the computer is just "dammit internet why always bad", and they will go do something else. And if they were just trolling, they have no reason to come interact, because they were never really looking to interact. And someone who's in a meltdown will probably try again after they've calmed down. By which time it's off again.

    So it's useful, but only if people don't know about it. So even apart from any ethical concerns, there's no point.
    • Agree x 3
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  11. Verily

    Verily surprised Xue Yang peddler

    A feature like that can still can have utility if it’s a different type of situation. If a malicious user can’t tell immediately whether the feature is in use, even if they know damn well it exists and will be deployed, it can still lead to far less successful spam while postponing or even lowering the chance of a ddos escalation. But again, different situation.
    • Agree x 5
  12. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    I can see a couple different points to ping in this discussion that I'm going to hit, because I think most everyone's okay with the future policy going forward and there are just some communication disconnects between some of the folks talking, and I'm going to bounce off them real quick before the disconnects get wide enough that the thread is running in circles. Some of this is probably coming off things I've observed watching discord go, not necessarily just this thread. No judgments on my part one direction or another on the issues, just some things that I think people are trying to communicate.

    First off, I think that people are disagreeing with the idea that the feature is only useful if people don't know it exists. Seebs is saying that not knowing it's an option means that the discouraged person will just blame the internet and wander off without getting worked up further at the site, and without having a reason to direct any frustration at the site itself. Other people are saying that the upset over finding out that a thing could have been Done To Them without their knowledge and without any intention of ever telling them about it is enough harm to outweigh the benefit Seebs is talking about.

    Okay, so, The idea that knowing about the feature ruins it, because there's no straightforward way to know if it's the discourage feature that's been used on them or if it is just the internet. I actually do have an opinion here, which is that I don't think either situation is a clear winner, because things are going to vary wildly from person to person. Some people will just shrug and move on, even if they know the feature is an option, but other people will jump to that feature as a potential explanation and it'll make things worse for them, not better. And we saw the flip side here, which didn't play out well either. I don't see a good one size fits all situation, because the bad extremes to either option get pretty darn bad. But it's felt a little like people on both ends of the spectrum have been talking past each other a little, and have been getting frustrated when they don't feel heard.

    And then, even though I think previous discussion of notifying users of admin actions that could be applied to their accounts was, strictly speaking, focused on specific features, like not being able to delete or edit, or post moderation, etc., it still had the flavor to people watching that [admin actions] as a whole were being discussed, and that this feels like an omission used with intent to deceive. Which it kind of was, for the reasons Seebs gave above (which some people disagree with). And which it kind of wasn't, considering how extremely infrequently this tool has been used. And how deliberate an omission it was is something I have no idea about, because Seebs tends towards literalism and those previous discussions were typically about admin actions being considered to address a current situation, and the discourage feature is something that wasn't relevant to those cases.

    And last little point, I think there's a bit of an implicit question for Seebs about whether there are other background actions that they could take/have taken against users in the past. The discourage feature is largely off the table for future use, but I feel like people are trying to communicate their upset over the omission, and their disagreement that the omission was important for the feature to work. So I feel like these people don't only want to communicate those feelings to Seebs about the past, they want to know if there are any other similar situations that could crop up in the future.

    Now, all that being said! We have just finished day three (3) of Seebs's new job. From what I hear, things seem to be going well, but I just went through the new job dance a little while back, and it's a pain and exhausting and adjusting to the new schedule and workload can be really draining for a while. I don't know how much of a detailed discussion Seebs has the spoons for right now. And considering that especially when they're stressed, Seebs sometimes disconnects super hard with other people's emotional responses, I'm not sure how much of that discussion they should have right now :P This isn't trying to sweep discussion under the table, I think this is an important conversation and that some nice productive things have already been accomplished, but I want to help balance things enough that little communication disconnects don't get too out of hand.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    • Agree x 9
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  13. rigorist

    rigorist On the beach

    I said elsewhere that I wouldn't participate in this crap, but I've changed my mind. Not because I care greatly about Alix, but because I care about you.

    <Angry rant deleted>

    You keep claiming the "feature" is "a pretty excellent solution". You have no evidence of that. In fact, I provided you with evidence of my own experience with Gurdur that the "feature" has exactly the opposite effect to what you claim. Rather than just encourage people to go away, it irritates them. It irritated me and my headbugs are small and cuddly. Imagine the impact on someone whose headbugs are big and mean.

    As long as you hold to this unsupported claim--a claim that serves no purpose except to minimize your error--you will not be able to repent.
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  14. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    Well, let's just see what happened to me when you did it. I got extremely frustrated and lashed out even more, both here as well as I could and on side channels.
    I am also not particularly fond of the whole "They'll just blame their internet connection and go away" aspect. Like, great ready-made gaslighting toolkit you've got there.
  15. unknownanonymous

    unknownanonymous i am inimitable, i am an original|18+

    don't blame your death threats and harassment and legal threats and social worker threats on seebs, palin. those are all your own fault.
    • Agree x 1
  16. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    I think you're confused. What I'm saying is that I was already lashing out, but the discouragement thing which I interpreted as a massive breach of trust clearly made it worse.
    • Witnessed x 1
  17. Petra

    Petra space case

    Everything pisses you off, Alix. There is literally nothing people can say to you when you've decided to hate them and are splitting to get you to back down. We know this because people have tried. You've accused Seebs of picking actions they knew would set you off further when Seebs tried to explain, but come one... Seebs existing would set you off further. Seebs talking to you would, Seebs not talking to you would, people trying to talk you down would, whatever.

    I don't know what the solution to that is! IIRC, you're not really in a place where you can get good mental health care. But like, I don't think you're inherently evil, but I sure as hell am frustrated with how you deflect blame and try to control the conversation after you've had an episode, when you are not currently so out of it it's a blank spot in your head. That's a really fucking bad habit to get into.
    • Agree x 6
  18. Petra

    Petra space case

    To clarify: this is not meant to be an attack on you, Alix. I know you genuinely struggle with a lot of things. This is me giving you my most sincere advice that your behavior after really bad behavior spirals tends to make people feel worse, and that while I don't know what you can say to make things better, especially since some people don't trust you, it's a valid thing to not really say anything at all if you've got to. You've brought up your objections with the feature. That's on the table. Some people are discussing it. It's probably time to just let it be on the table and being discussed without jumping in, because you're still glowing a little red-hot and people don't want to get burned. Okay?
    • Agree x 1
  19. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    While I understand your general point: no. Everything you've tried pisses me off, and that's because I perceive it as unfair and uncalled for. I would like if, for once, people listened to my advice on how to handle my meltdowns. Essentially, what I need is an opportunity and incentive to just get up and leave. Discouragement clearly didn't work there, but you know what might have? A temp ban, which I have explicitly requested to be an option for me for a year now.
    • Witnessed x 1
  20. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I wasn't aware Gurdur was involved. I think that some of it is context; it's effective with people who genuinely have no investment in the thing, and are just poking for lulz. It doesn't work the same way at all when people have actual investment in participation.
    • Informative x 2
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