Political Discussion Board Rules/Guidelines
CONCERNING RULES/POLICY FOR THE PDB:
First, allow me to reiterate that the purpose of the new board is to encourage civil and intelligent discussion and debate concerning political topics. This board is under the same set of guidelines as are posted in the POSTING GUIDELINES announcement seen on every board like for example the SSF.
However, concerning this board specifically... due to the volatility of political discussions, and the fact that before this boards implementation said rules concerning such discussions on the EE were relaxed, the additional rule, or should I say "policy" that we want to emphasize here on the PDB is simple...
We want the PDB discussion to be free of troll posts, thread-jacking, inflammatory drive-by posts, utterly stupid commentary, belittling, personal attacks, insulting behavior, or any behavior that incites malicious partisan bickering. This includes posting links to extreme views without explaining your own position, which otherwise is considered baiting.
Being there has been some confusion about how these infraction worthy terms are defined, allow me to try to clarify for the benefit of both members and staff:
-Troll Post: A troll post is where someone posts an inflammatory message with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response.
-Thread Jacking: Derailing a good discussion by taking the topic in another direction, or to otherwise disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
-Inflammatory drive-by posts: A comment or remark intended to evoke hostility, anger, or as is often the case concerning political discussions - partisan bickering. Otherwise such a post that cannot be construed as harmless, or joking around.
-Utterly stupid commentary: A post, or series of posts indicating a lack of care, or reason, or are overly senseless, unintelligent, insensitive, or otherwise vexing. A rather gray area, but to try to clarify, do a little homework when debating topics/issues, and do not present your theories, or what you may have read in some extreme propagandist email as fact. Those that show a propensity to do so will soon lose their posting privileges on the PDB.
-Belittling: Members speaking toward other members in an attempt to make them feel contemptibly small or unimportant. This includes condescending behavior and any attempts or remarks that pertain to "owning" another member.
-Personal attacks: Commenting on another members personal considerations rather than to logic or reason. Attacking an opponent personally instead of answering the argument. When debating issues, members should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives. Again, debate the post, not the poster.
-Insulting behavior: Pretty simple. Insulting behavior is any verbal abuse of a member by another. Basically, any remark intended to offend another member.
Note: We try to incorporate common sense into interpreting context, so attempting to cleverly work around the above terms by citing any of the terms in it's "literal sense" in an effort to continue to incorporate insults into discourse is ill advised. Bottom line: Keep it civil.
Any such behavior is reserved for the BTL and Locker Room boards, where such discourse is allowed.
Here, we ask that participants seek a higher level of discourse.
HOW WE MODERATE THE PDB:
As is often the case with a new effort on a forum such as this, we are actively working to ensure that everyone understands and accepts the new rules set for the Political Discussion Board. This board is currently being very closely moderated and I am personally taking an interest in the development of this board and the education of our members and Staff on what we are trying to accomplish here.
For clarification purposes due to some feedback that I have received, when a staff member decides to post on a thread - on any topic other than moderation - their post can be debated within site rules just like any other member. Staff does not get special posting privileges unless they are actively moderating within a post.
What a member cannot do is to "call out" a Staff member for doing their job. Topical debate is fair game, but to express disagreement with their efforts at moderation is not acceptable. This has always been the case. Feel free to PM anyone on Staff should you have a moderation problem. Never raise that kind of problem on the forums. "Calling out" is one of our most important and tightly moderated site rules.
When fairly debating a Staff person on a topic other than moderation you can feel comfortable treating that Staff person as any other member. It has come to my attention that some rumors are circulating that members are being moderated just because they chose to disagree with a Staff person on the topic at hand. Those rumors are untrue. Let me explain how the moderation process works and you will be able to see that this kind of abuse is not possible:
If a moderator deems it necessary to take action against a member for violating site rules, he/she must give a warning or an infraction. In all cases those warnings/infractions automatically get posted on the Infraction Discussion Board which is a sub board of the Admin and Mods Board. ALL communication between the Staff person and the member are also posted on that board. The entire Staff, including myself, see the full exchange along with the original questionable post on that board. When a Staff person errs (they're human too), we correct that issue. The complete visibility of these exchanges ensures that no Staff person can arbitrarily abuse his/her position by moderating a member just because he/she disagrees with that member's POV or has an active dislike for that member. Either I, or one of my Admins, review each and every act of moderation to ensure that all members are always treated fairly. And keep in mind that we have Staff members of all political, sexual, and religious persuasions and of all ages. This is by design so that we do not have a Staff in place with a predominant outlook of any kind.
Concerning such, I want to say that there are no conspiracies in the back room seeking to suppress either conservative or liberal groups. Personally, I am not very political, so I don't care what your politics are; I only care about how you behave.
Of course, sometimes members who have been moderated, or banned, may choose to tell a slightly different version of events so that they can appear to be the victim rather than accept blame for their own actions. Since we do not discuss moderation with anyone other than the member in question, that leaves us at a disadvantage. But you can rest assured that we don't play favorites and that any discussion that portrays this Staff as biased to any opinion or against any member is a slanted and incorrect portrayal.
Bottom line - remember that it isn't what you say, but how you say it. If you read, understand, and follow site and PDB rules, while keeping your responses cordial, then I can assure you that you will have no problems with moderation and can engage anyone in free and fair debate on the topic of a thread. We do not moderate opinion, we moderate behavior.
I hope this clears up the concern that some have expressed. Anyone here can feel free to PM any Staff member should they have further concerns. We'll be glad to discuss them on a case-by-case basis."
1. The purpose of the PDB is to encourage civil and intelligent discussion and debate where political topics are concerned. In addition to the posting guidelines posted throughout the community, specific policy for the PDB is given.
2. Staff members who participate in political discussions can be debated with as if with any other member as long as it doesn't concern moderation or policy. Keep in mind, that you aren't allowed to "call out" any member with derogatory or malicious intent, moderator or otherwise.
3. Moderators are also scrutinized and their actions are automatically presented for review by the entire staff.
4. Staff members are of various political affiliation and ideology. We do not seek to suppress yours.
5. If you have an issue with the moderation of this or any other board. PM any member of the SR staff, they'll make sure it gets to the right person. Do not start a thread about it on the boards.
6. Know and follow the rules, and be cordial, and you won't have any problems.