What are rules?

Discussion in 'The Undercity' started by seebs, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Onna asked this over in the vent thread thread, and I think I want to try to articulate this thing.

    Why do I try so hard to say "guideline" rather than "rule"? Because they are completely different things.

    Say you're in a fight with someone. If there are rules, and they break a rule, you can Invoke The Rule. They can be punished for doing the thing wrong, or they can be generally understood to have Broken A Rule, and there can be social consequences. And the existence of a rule means the existence of corresponding exploits. If you can make someone break a rule, you have power. If you can demonstrate that you didn't break a rule, you have power. So power goes to people who are good at edging up to the rules and not-quite breaking them, and pissing other people off.

    If there's guidelines, and you aren't really violating a guideline, and you poke someone while technically not really "violating" any "guidelines", and they respond by doing something that appears to violate a guideline, we can just look at that and say "wow, you're sort of being an asshole there, no shit they yelled at you, you were poking them".

    And that's why guidelines, not rules. That's why the complete lack of "enforcement" of rules. That's why I don't like to be super careful and precise and draw up exact lines and exact protocols. Because I don't want anyone thinking that they have to follow this exact procedure or they're Wrong.
    • Like x 7
  2. kmoss

    kmoss Under Construction

    This makes sense.
    and it tries to duck the whole social thing of "if you break a rule, you get punished, because that's how rules work"

    ...shit, i'm not wording too well right now, let me block this out re: issues with this
    And please, if anyone has clarification on wtf i'm saying, feel free to jump in

    so, people need boundaries, because that amorphous grey area around a guideline is a different amount for everyone
    "being a dick" isn't necessarily an absolute rule, so person a can say "you're being a dick rn" and one person can say "no, this is familiar to me"

    ...as a personal example, i was uncomfortable with the way two people were interacting in complaints department the first, way back last year sometime, and because i was worried, i made a comment about how it Wasn't Helping, and then I later realized that the way they were interacting worked for them in general, even though it had moments that made me uncomfortable. So, different definitions of "being a dick"

    sometimes people will draw up their own absolute boundaries. but then, instead of getting
    "do not do this" as a solid line of "Way to Behave": ---------------------------------------
    you get a group consensus of what it means to be in the wrong - can i go Up To the edges of the "maybe i am being dickish" territory? Can I keep going?
    so you get
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    -- ___ -- ___ -- ___ -- ___ -- ___ -- __
    + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
    where there is no solid boundary on "this should not be a thing that happens", but everyone has their own definitions on what that boundary is

    so, either way, i still think that both Guideline and Rule methods are vulnerable to people using it to their own benefit, because any way of trying to figure out Proper Ways of Doing Things still requires a sort of social contract, where i trust you to learn wtf my boundaries are and to respect them, and you trust me to learn the same about you. And in a large community like this, it's really difficult for every single member to come up to every single other member and learn those things and be able to trust them for the amount of respect they require

    Personally, I like guidelines better, because I'm bad at remembering Specific Rules, and remembering certain attitudes I think I need to fulfill guidelines works better for me, but figuring out those attitudes is still an internal process, which means that what I think is going to work for a majority of people is not always right.

    ...I am not totally sure if this has helped or contributed.
    • Like x 6
  3. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Those are good thoughts. And I think the thing is, I want to get away from the idea "failure to follow these guidelines is prohibited". You're allowed to "violate" the guidelines! It's a judgment call. You get to make your own decisions. So, someone might say "hey, we usually recommend that people don't do that", but if you wanna do it, you go right ahead.
    • Like x 4
  4. Exohedron

    Exohedron Doesn't like words

    It's a request rather than an order. A convention rather than a constraint.
    • Like x 5
  5. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    That is the intent, yeah.
    • Like x 1
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