Let’s talk through an issue that needs a clear policy decision - how we should handle "over-the-line" posts/comments/groups. As you may know, we just launched in mid-February and have been busy adding features and better organizing the content. We have grown to over 20k members 100s of member-generated groups. The goal of building the community is the hope, that collectively, we can work out challenging issues for the benefit of all people.
From the beginning, we want to create a place where people can talk opening about things concern them and not be censored. The thesis is that it's better to let all people feel that they have a voice in a conversation rather than to have it suppressed. In practice, it is a challenge to know how to handle statements that more venting than constructive. One way is to look at how IDW public figures communicate their thoughts. It is an IDW virtue to be able to discuss tough topics with logic, insight, truth, and compassion.
Our policy has been to allow posts so long as they're civil - and especially if supported by facts. Civility here is defined as "having formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. The enforcement of this policy has been mostly been responsive (i.e., we respond to complaints/flags vs proactively screening). In the first few months, there were very few uncivil posts and comments (less than 1/300). However, in the recent weeks, there have been enough that I want your help in coming up with a more clear and strict policy for members.
The most controversial topics here so far are related to immigration. This has historically been a topic where there is a tendency for anger and strong emotion. We have had conversations with many members and now think that the best policy is to be very strict as to civility. It is also been the unwavering policy of public figures of the IDW movement. We want to reflect that policy here. We recognize that people who do not want to abide by the IDW discussion philosophy still have other websites where they can use. Conservatives have a meme of "Orange Man Bad" which is often used to belittle simplistic attacks on Trump that are not based on reason. Similarly, posts of "Out-Group Bad", do not help us discuss the issues as well as thoughtful positions based on facts.
A proposed policy would be for us to move posts and comments that advocate violence (easy) or state opinions in a way that doesn't foster a conversation (hard) from view. We may show them to level 7+ members in a special "removed" category for 24 hours so they can be aware of the action. Post in any group marked "IDW" must be related to the public figure or simply a repost of their posts/tweet. Members will be barred from "IDW" groups if they post unrelated topics. Members who create controversial groups will also be responsible for the posts in their groups to ensure they abide by the policy of the website. To help, we could update the originator/moderator role to include reviewing posts that show up in their group. No longer will a member be able to simply click “join” and make a post in any group they wish without the involvement of the group’s moderator(s).
Would like get your feedback on this.
My vote is do nothing unless someone is out right saying they are going to harm someone or have others to do harm to others. I excepted to join this group because you said you wanted to protect the constitution. We can’t do that if we are allowing how do protect it. I am just as passionate about the first as I am the second.
Other over the line would be child pornographers, or any for that matter. Rape, or murder of someone live. That is all follows harming people. I definitely don’t want to see boobs and dick pics either.
But people should be able to say what they want as long as they are not out right being threatening to others. For instance you will notice a post I just put up about this very thing but with fb.
Why does our site have to have a standard of conduct. You can have limited simple rules. That way even the smallest of minds known what can be said and what couldn’t. I should be allowed to call a terrorist group a bunch of monsters if I want. Others have a right to comment on my words. Or thoughts. That’s a debate. Not censoring some because they think different. But there is also consequences for posting out ideas or thoughts. As adults we need to just understand not everyone agrees with what we think! Nor should they.
I am a person who gets very passionate about things and really find it hard not to say something. Like if I feel someone is being an idiot I say so.
Just call me the female George Carlin! If you don’t know who he is. Look him up.
We do need rules on posting stuff but they need to be very limited to not infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights.
I've given this some more thought and I can't accept that our fledgling free speech site should be bullied by people with malign intent into forcing us to erect our own nanny state.
We should make it clear that the site takes no responsibility for the comments of any one person or group. That those who read comments which they find odious are free to leave the site or to no longer read posts from that contributor. In order to facilitate that choice I would suggest that people be able to block feeds they no longer want to see.
We have to make people responsible for what they read. They may like what they read and they may not. The author can't be held accountable for how the reader feels. This site is about free speech. We shouldn't establish any censorship committee where people are burdened with being the conscience of others.
The problem with written text will always be intent. How many of us have gotten in trouble with spouse or coworker over a text that just didn't read as intended? Or on another side I know many people who can offend rather eloquently as others have stated. Reminds me of The Frenchman in the Matrix Reloaded. How about some kind of a hidden marking system. You have the ability to flag a post. But its not visible to anyone else as to not promote group think. After a number of flags it is brought to posters attention to defend and either revise or remove. Time limit. If no action post is brought to group mod for further review.
The advocacy of violence is an easy block. The fostering of conversation is not. The second should not be a feature admin attempts to undertake. You could give that power to group leaders and the original poster of a thread. The slope down subjective monitoring is slippery. Threats of violence is pretty objective. Orange man bad or pepe memes etc don’t foster discussion but are not threats of violence and it is not a path of selective exclusion I think is useful. Jokesters are fine and idiots are easy to spot and ignore or block. Another thing that could be helpful is a ranking system like Uber a five star for likeability or quality of interaction etc but that can be easily abused if it is tied to exclusion. I am a Dem or Repub so I low rank any one of opposition vs dismantling them through reasoned discussion. Beware the slippery slope of control.
As long as something isn't illegal IAM against removing any post. Adults can not engage the things that are just trolling or inflammatory if they don't want to be involved with such a conversation. This new age idea of policing speech is just the first step in complete censorship of speech in a pragmatic slow approach. If a person is jus an ass all the time the community as a whole won't be engaging the and they will see they are wasting their time but to silence anything that isn't illegal is wrong across the board IMO. If someone is a snowflake and don't like something they can always block and ignore it but instead they choose to engage and provoke then run to authority figures for protection and to silence any kind of response that hurts their lil feelings and that is something we as a country should not be supporting by censoring things they don't like. Nothing makes anyone log on here and nothing stops them from not engaging so I say the line should be the same as a speech laws are already written. This same topic is the reason I have left other sites and I hope it don't end up the same way here as other sites I have been a part of. Nothing is worse than grown people wanting something removed just because it hurts their feelings. Many things people say cross the line for what is acceptable to me but I don't report or engage them because even if I don't support what is said I will always stand up for the right for them to say it. We need to quit coddling so many adults and tell them to grow up and move along or stay in the house and don't get on the internet if they are that fragile.
I personally will engage the pure insult response with the same mentality and insult them back while I share facts related to the topic at hand. Many people stop with the insults and change to a decent conversation if u allow the insults and petty stuff to be thrown at each other in the beginning of the talk. The facts always win and as long as discussion keeps going there is always a better chance that someone will learn things they didn't know and never have heard of because of how things are censored and shut down so easily on many sites. What's even worse is when two people are combative but still making progress only to have a third party report the stuff because they are offended even when they aren't even part of the talk to begin with. If only we could go back to the "sticks and stones" mentality of the past.
Barring libel and calls to violence, I still think the first step needs to be directed directly at the person making the uncivil post. Make it an option (next to the reply button) to flag a comment directed to the person and request that they change their post. If they don't respond (put a time limit on it), the uncivil post gets upgraded to a higher authority.
If I say something uncivil I'd like a chance to defend it or fix it.
I wish maybe there were some thread that would guide others on how to debate politely. Maybe like a remedial driving class that gets assigned to a bad driver. After all, there are some rules to the road of debate. This would just be open for people who want some guidance. Think ‘Roberts Rules of Order’ for the Internet.
If people want to be heard, they need to take time to organize their thoughts and politely submit them.
Indeed, Perhaps the best way to deal with the rule violators and people that advocate violence is for everyone to block their posts and/or agree to ignore them, to pretend they don’t even exist, to Not include them in the conversation, to not reward misbehavior with any acknowledgment whatsoever.
Alternatively, Instead of merely a like or not like button… Too bad we don’t have another button that says: “please rephrase your thoughts more politely and try again.” Or “please see the thread on how to maintain a polite discourse.” (I’m sure somebody else could rephrase my thoughts better on this.) This leaves the community to Police ourselves.
I will not be part of IDW If they begin to police individual speech… I will, however, accept the community as a whole enforcing politeness. I want us to be a community… So we must have someway as a community to limit the damage from those who can’t or won’t be respectful to free speech and debate. I would prefer that ‘discipline’ to initially involve educational opportunities.
Maybe I'm not looking in the right places, but I generally commend people on here for trying to keep the conversations civil. Even folks I disagree with at least have put forth the line of thinking that brings them to their conclusion. This is a stark contrast to folks on Facebook that finds personal insults to be a good substitution for rational discussion. I even had someone recently suggest that I really should become a victim of premeditated murder for one of my beliefs.
There does need to be a discussion as to where "the line" is or if their should be a line. While I do not like censorship, I don't think a certain level of civility is not an unreasonable request. If someone wants to call me a Nazi, at least have the testicals to give examples and explain why the comparison is made. Just baseless name calling is intellectually weak and really isn't necessary. If your best answer to someone is name calling, that isn't really needed. If someone wants to propose an idea, no matter how outrageous..... if they are willing to talk it out.... fine. Allow it. I think death threats are not really productive. Personal attacks are not productive. Yes, I am white, male, and fat. Get over it..... I'm trying to deal with the one of those I can have some control of. I would be very careful in drawing and defining a "line" and no matter where or how you draw it.... there will be a need for judgement calls.
It just occurred to me that if the most controversial topics are related to immigration then maybe we just may have someone amongst us whose goal it is to tamp down any criticism of immigration and along with that special interest group that is associated with immigrants, Islam.
We should be cognizant that those who may come here are here only to get us to restrict our speech so as to not be critical of them or their cause. If a person or group of people is complaining about the views on immigration that are being expressed here then they should make themselves known in the comments section of the posts that they don't like so the the writer of the post can respond and not go behind our backs.
Their other choice is to just stay away from the site. No one is forcing them to be here. We should not self impose Sharia compliance or U.N. restrictions on freedom of speech because that would run contrary to the reason why we exist.
We live at a time in history that is like the period when Hitler was coming to power and then starting his conquest of Europe. We know that appeasement didn't stop Hitler from wanting more and it will be the same again if we think that we can appease the Left and their Muslim supporters. Immigration is our Maginot Line. If we refuse to fight with words we will end up fighting with guns. There is no other way. 1400yrs of Islam is proof that there can be no peaceful coexistence because they don't want it nor can they ideologically accept it.
Nor should the U.S. be expected to accommodate all of Central America. The border must be respected. Lawful immigration is a whole other matter from those in Central America and the Middle East who are gaming the system. All of this is fair criticism.
If immigration were such a good thing for the recipient countries then why is it that the sending countries want it cloaked in so much secrecy? Why is it that they don't welcome open and honest debate? They don't want either of these things because they know that immigration isn't designed for the benefit of the receiving countries but rather for that of the sending countries and ideologies they bring. Freedom of speech is the wall that they have to breach.
@admin I think you are missing a very important point that any one for reason can flag or report a post say someone was upset set with you over something in another comment they can easily troll and flag your post right? Did you see my help with a member post? And in doing so it looks bad on you right? How can false flagging be stopped? Reporting and flagging with I'll intent to hurt the reputation, influence, information, personality, etc. Of the person posting?
admin - I know of at least one other user who thought it might be good to get rid of the red faced Grrr dislike emoticon and replace it with something that simply conveys disagreement. Redfaced grrrr conveys anger. Not a good thing to have since we all want to keep it civil here on IDW. Have you looked at that idea? What do you think about it?
I see myself as a logical, reasoned and fact-based thinker. I do have some strongly held views that definitely are red flags and I do have trouble articulating myself especially in the light of outright lying and misrepresentation. I do use swear words on occasion to express emotion and provide emphasis. I was accused of "delivering the truth too bluntly" in a performance review.
How about some scheme wherein my homepage would contain a queue of "held" posts or comments that I could attempt to rewrite into something less objectionable? I would then have to action it, or its revision for at least a +1 level person to review - or I could simply cancel it. Allow annotations for those reviews because I may prefer to argue where the line is rather than the post itself. Hide the identity of the complainant & adjudicators from me until the issue is resolved (to prevent retaliation from gumming up the process). Not that I would stoop to retaliation, I'd abandon the site before going that low.
Some timer mechanism should exist that would gradually "freeze" groups or users until "held" queues are cleared. Maybe start with awarding points for timely queue clearing.
Satire, Sarcasm, and Humour - In the vein of Justice Stewart, I can't explain when something "crosses the line" but I know it when I see it.
Just reading back over, and I just don't know how this works.
Also, I wonder if the natural corpus of deep discussions ends in polarization, rather than some kind of convergence. We sort of assume (or pretend) like being good-natured and perfect free speech and decorum will end in a kumbaya moment. Maybe it won't. What do you do when you reach differences that are irreconcilable? I often see this come up with different worldviews. I've never seen those end well.
Maybe a difference in the IDW group is they look for commonality more than we do here. They have a better rhythm for when to let points of contention go.
Anyway, this points to a lot of exhausting personal responsibility, more than systemic behavior moderation.
I honestly think the best thing to do is a hands off approach... this won't be perfect, but I think it's the best way to do it if you want to trend in the right direction.
What I would do if I were you is censor or ban people only when they are advocating for violence, threatening someone's physical safety, or intentionally harrassing a specific person.
Besides that, I think the best thing we can do is to use our own free speech to encourage a discourse that is productive and civil. Unfortunately for you guys, I think the only way to do this is from the bottom up,
Random idea... maybe we can find some mechanism to playfully poke fun at uncivil comments, even if they aren't banned. Or members can give each other some sort of credit for engaging in a civil discussion, similar to the IDW coins.
I can see some things going wrong with those ideas if they aren't done right, so you'd have to think it through, but I think something like that would be helpful.
Censorship for non-threatening comments should be off the table though.
I can get rather curt at times but I do try to use a civil voice in my commenting. I am sure I have strayed into bad territory a few times and I do regret that. If someone complains about my tone I would like to be notified and asked to either edit or to remove the comment(s). However, it is my experience that our leftist friends tend to react to almost every counter argument as though they were personal attacks on themselves or on someone they deem to be in need of protection from challenging commentary. Furthermore they (leftist friends) then characterize their counterparts as haters and fascists and such. Honestly I never take personal offense when someone challenges my opinions or ideas. If someone doesn't like me or my opinions I'm ok with that. I simply move on. My philosophy about this topic is that every one has an opinion and they have a right to express those opinions just as I. I do try to keep my language always related to the content of other posts and comments and I never attack on a personal level. Nevertheless, I will state sincerely that If and or when my remarks are taken as offensive I will be more than glad to learn how it was so and then perhaps restate my opinion(s) some other "less offensive" way.
When IDW core members engage in conversation, it includes something that this platform lacks; an indication of conclusion. This is important, because it generates new lines of thinking. I loved that experience after watching conversations on YouTube unfold. I may not have attended the event, but I THINK as if I was there. Their conclusion ( by time limit or debate structure) opens the floodgates to new ideas, whereas if these specific conversations went on and on... well... I might have better things to do. I kinda think that cool down periods have a way of lending to the maturing of opinions.
Also some kind of rating system. Someone mentioned it already. But there is another site I frequent that you give "thanks" to an OP for a post that profits the community. You accumulate "thanks" and they are visible in your details that are shown within your picture details on every post and comment you make. The more "thanks" you accumulate the more value the community sees in your posts and comments. The more "thanks" a person has the more likely you would be to engage them.
Maybe emphasize that in order to form a post an unbiased question must be asked of the viewers.
Then the owner of the post gets to approve or disapprove first response. If the response is approved because it is within community guidelines, the first responder gets a point.
Cant see how this isn't going to turn into another FB or Twitter if algorithms are used, or only certain people are assigned to approve posts. Just because people are of high levels doesn't necessarily reflect common sense, including me.
Also merit for quality of response system would more fairly distribute rewards, maybe?
. Agree when group was smaller, the code of conduct was more managable, but now...also think groups should be reviewed for usefulness before being activated. We all have our less than reason.....able days
Hopefully it works out, it is still amazing how this community grows and good will come of it.
The issue is that all of the terms surrounding this are subjective and open to individual interpretation. The obvious causes for removal should be doxxing, calls to violence, and threats. Beyond that, finding a clear way to define a line will be impossible. As users of this site, we are relying on the staff, administrators, etc. to make judgment calls on removing or not removing people. Our traffic on this site is an individual choice of the members. There will be those who agree and those who disagree with all decisions and they have a plethora of options for voicing themselves.
In short, make sure the people making judgement calls are ones who are able to separate themselves and their biases from the issue and let them work from there, coach them as needed, and allow those running their own groups to use their discretion while also having them take responsibility.
My question would be what is that grey area of OVER the line... I haven't seen anything so far that advocate violence.... I saw outrage... Venting etc etc... and I tend to be sympathetic to such reaction with all that happen in this world right now.... With the church Christ event and the Sri Lanka event I think that you have much more to worry about than immigration. those events are not even the beginning they are the continuation of a lot of dark talk. I deal with it with humor most of the time on my group... And try to have video of all type of views. I mean... 648 post...Of free speech.. And that is how I advertise this site.. Will this representation and claim about this forum change ?
Understandable to want to address the obvious. The only thing that worries me is a possible transference of what we're seeing in society to IDW. Namely oversensitivity. Civility is always preferred but we're dealing with people, who are naturally unpredictable, and highly charged topics as you mention. Sarcasm and flippancy can be hard to detect in posts and texts and have caused many an unnecessary problem. So while the urge is to try to plan for every contingency, according to everyone's definition, caution on the side of freedom (someone said in a post) is a good standard, imo, for the moderators. Just a thought.
I myself can surely do my best to keep my blood at a low simmer at most lol