*IMPORTANT* A place for civil and intelligent discussion (1 Viewer)

Richard

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The Political Discussion Board was created out of members' desire to have political threads moved away from the Everything Else Board to a separate board. Members expressed dissatifaction with the way threads on the EE Board were overrun with nonsense posts, trolls looking to start arguments and driveby posts with little or no content or value. So Andrus created this board to accomodate members and provide a place to have "civil and intelligent discussion."

Moderators have tried a minimalist approach to moderating the PDB but it has become obvious that the board is deteriorating both in civility and intelligence. This thread is to put everyone who would like to continue to participate on this board on notice that moderators intend to be more "hands on" in the moderation of this board. As with any board, we all have jobs and lives away from Saintsreport, as well as a desire to read other threads on the site, so we may not catch problems right away. It is always appreciated when members help us by using the Report This Post feature.

Please understand that there are no new rules or infractions being added. We are simply going to make an effort to return the PDB to the vision expressed in Andrus' statement at the top of this forum titled IMPORTANT (Read first) Board Rules/Policies and Clarifications. This would be a good time to re-read the board guidelines to make sure there won't be a problem in the future.

http://saintsreport.com/forums/f60/important-read-first-board-rules-policies-clarifications-167130/

But if you read nothing else in Andrus' statement, you should pay particular attention to this paragraph:

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.
The whole statement is well worth reading, but I will summarize some things you should know.

The troll posts/threads must stop. Don't just post a link to an inflammatory article, plug in a smilie or say "whatcha think?" and wait for the fall out. Such a thread will be deleted. Any thread or post deemed to be against the rules is subject to deletion and the member could face consequences.

The personal attacks must stop and that includes belittling someone for their beliefs or how they phrase their argument. Hiding behind humor to give someone a backhanded insult is just as bad as if you had left off the humor. Dancing on the fringes of calling someone an idiot while all but calling someone an idiot isn't going to work either. Try to remember that "civil" discussion is desired as well as intelligent discussion.

It is in the nature of political discussion to pick a side of an issue and argue one's position. You can argue and state your positions with conviction, but the obvious partisan bickering must stop. It is not necessary to be disagreeable when you disagree. Those who will moderating this forum don't care whether you lean left or right, but we do care how respectful you are on this site when having a discussion with someone with an opposite view. If you try to be respectful with those with whom you disagree, you may find that there are points of agreement.

Finally, if you can't follow the guidelines expressed in Andrus' statement, then we will remove your posting privileges. It's extremely simple. Follow the rules and you have no problems. Ignore the rules and you will not participate on the PDB.
 

Geldo

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C'mon guys it's not hard to know where the line should be drawn.

It's perfectly reasonable to argue points with passion and to disagree with each other - it's quite another when it all gets personal, the tone becomes abusive and the debate turns into name-calling.

It's actually a joy to get into a detailed and well-thought out discussion with people who have different views - as long as the tone stays respectful.

I can disagree with everything another man may believe in, but I don't have to hate or ruthlessly disparage that person's beliefs - or insinuate they're an agent of the devil etc because they don't agree with me.

Like a good boxer let's punch hard but always remember to shake hands before and after the fight.
 

BHM

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Does this mean nobody can again say one of my posts is the most idiotic posts in the history of SR?


If so, then :9:
 
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Richard

Richard

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IMO, this is fine. In fact, in a good thread "trolls" will have a hard time taking over and will usually give up when both sane sides of the argument take aim at the troll. The problem (again, IMO) is when a terrible thread is allowed to remain as a safe haven for trolls. If the thread begins with a nonsensical, party rhetoric, extreme conspiracy theory, email chain based post, it's going to be ugly on page 2, page 7, page 13, page...

For all the talk about civilty, we're not promoting it when we allow these threads to hang around. If you turn to Cinemax at midnight, you're doing so for a reason. Don't complain at 2 a.m, that they're airing a bunch of debauchery. Turn the channel. Mods, if you want to see better conversation get rid of the junk threads when they appear. I'm more inclined to take Richard's plea to heart if bad threads weren't allowed to remain. No One is posting anything civil and intelligent in a threat titled "why are Republicans all crazy" or "Pelosi is so darn cute".
Good points on the junk threads. Those are the kinds of threads that would be deleted in the future. I decided not to go back through all of the old threads and delete retroactively. If another mod/admin chooses to do so, I am not opposed to it, but the intention, as you suggest, is to delete those threads as they appear. Hopefully, members participating here realize we have jobs and lives and aren't on this board 24/7.

Addressing Ken-Bob's concerns, we don't intend to moderate content that exists within the rules. Someone may make a poor argument for their position, but they attempted to make a reasoned statement. We don't intend to moderate whether or not someone has made their point well. Andrus' statement about intelligent discussion seeks to eliminate drive-by posting of slams and consistent idiocy without an attempt at legitimate discussion. But it doesn't preclude humor or the occasional one-liners.

On another note, it appears that some here are under the impression that one day I had had enough and just decided to post a rant in this thread's first post. That post, written at DavidM's request and after receipt of a number of PMs from concerned members, had been sitting in the PM's of this site's admins for almost a month, waiting on feedback and changes. After consulting with them, the decision was made to go forward with the post as written. It was intended to come across as firm in order to show how serious the staff is about turning this board around. If that becomes too much work or not worth the trouble, I doubt the board continues to exist. But some of us still think it has value and want to preserve it. We hope members here feel the same way.
 

Severum

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I didn't see anything wrong with the Rocker thread. He put forth a news story and started a conversation. Some people will undoubtedly be on either side of the fence. It was possible to have a civil and intelligent discussion going into the thread because of the way it was presented, but it was deleted.

On the other hand, the thread titled, "Pelosi is so darn cute", is still up. Even if the OP thinks that Pelosi really is cute, would this be the forum for his crush? Of course not. The title was meant to be condescending. That's no way to start a civil conversation. From the title to the clips to the comments the OP makes in the very first post, its obvious that the intent of this new thread was to needle members that hold a different opinion from the OP and not to invite them in for a genuine conversation about Pelosi. If I wanted to have a conversation about Pelosi, it's blatantly obvious that this wouldn't be the venue to do so. So what purpose does that thread serve? So far there's several posts in that thread that have nothing to do with Pelosi or politics. Why is it allowed to remain? Who here thinks that that thread is going to lead to a good, civil discussion by the way it was presented?

Richard, if you want to promote better dialogue on the PDB, hold thread starters more accountable. I'm skeptical of your desire to improve discourse when the thread you started appears next to a purposely inflammatory titled thread.

It seems that we're going about this the wrong way. The Rocker thread was deleted based on the potential that it could become ugly while a thread that starts adversarially remains. Are we hoping that a good conversation will begin in spite of the original post?

Thanks for the reminder. We can all use one. However, if you want to uplift the conversation let's do a better job of limiting the rhetoric that weighs its down...starting with the most obvious threads.
I'd like to reiterate that all PDB mods of all political persuasions want to promote better discourse. Richard just helped do the heavy lifting to get the ball rolling. Hopefully most members share those desires since we would much prefer a mostly self moderating community. Any ideas on how to best achieve those goals are always welcome. I think it can be accomplished since the PDB has a limited number of mostly well-informed posters compared to our other forums. Even in the current state it's far better than the average political forum or cable news show.

As David mentioned we also viewed the Rocker thread as acceptable and it could have remained up. Perhaps he could have made his opinion more obvious, but I don't think anyone viewed his post as an endorsement of Rocker's views. I see no problem with threads highlighting bigotry in politicians or political statements. Threads and posters clearly endorsing bigotry would be candidates for removal however.

Humor and satire are still welcome as long as it's done in a way that avoids insulting posters and derailing threads. Fortunately most of us know each other well enough to pick up on jokes and take some ribbing. If someone's humor is repeatedly misinterpreted then perhaps they need to reassess their comedic stylings.

Most of the PDB focused mods have been busy for various reasons lately so we've probably neglected moderating non-reported posts. I hope that Richard's message and other community developed reforms resonate with the board so we won't need to overly moderate the forum in the future. Those who can't get the message will be removed, but we want to retain and gain as many beneficial members as possible. Ideally the forum will be more about enjoyable factual debate and information and less about email forwards and insults.
 

DavidM

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I'd like to reiterate that all PDB mods of all political persuasions want to promote better discourse. Richard just helped do the heavy lifting to get the ball rolling. Hopefully most members share those desires since we would much prefer a mostly self moderating community. Any ideas on how to best achieve those goals are always welcome. I think it can be accomplished since the PDB has a limited number of mostly well-informed posters compared to our other forums. Even in the current state it's far better than the average political forum or cable news show.
Let me reiterate all of the above and provide some additional background, especially as it relates to some feedback over changes and questions raised about our ability to be impartial.

Richard, Severum and I assumed the oversight of this board some time last year and turned to other politically-interested staff to work together in its management. Because of the nature of political discussion and an awareness of the potential for claims of bias, a collective approach seemed the best course. The only agenda that we are interested in promoting is keeping the discussions as focused, enlightening, and civil as is practical.

I bring that up to point out that we have been overseeing this board for quite some time now and I don't believe anybody can accurately assert that moderation has been unfair or overbearing. If anything, we have been generous in the amount of leeway given to the point that some people have become too comfortable in being rude and offensive.

In that time, we have made some changes to the moderation approach here, understanding that politics can bring out the worst in people. We've preferred to handly things less formally through PMs when that has been reasonable to do so. Ideally, we really don't want to have to become more involved, or change our approach, now.

Some things have remained the same and that includes our desire to limit, as much as possible, the viral and baseless propaganda from having a place here. We realize that not everybody views that in the same way but there are plenty of other sites catering to the lowest common denominator and group-think if that is what somebody is looking for.

We have a more diverse representation of ideologies here over some comparable sites and we believe that is a good thing. If you prefer to discuss politics with people who think like you, or if you are unable to respectfully discuss politics with people who think differently from you, this probably isn't the place for you. If you think liberalism or conservatism (or whatever) is 'evil' and all who represent a specific view are your enemy, this isn't the right board for you. If political discourse for you amounts to derogatory commentary aimed at "the other side", this isn't the right board for you. If you primarily post inflammatory links, clips, images, or other media with the intent to stir up "the other side", this isn't the place for you. If it becomes apparent that you are consistently ignorant about the discussions you are participating in, or if you are trolling the board, annoying others, or otherwise causing problems, and efforts to remedy that aren't effective, you will likely lose access to this board.

To address a specific point that was brought up, links and blurbs about news events, including to start a thread, can be posted with limited or no opening commentary. A link and blurb from a legitimate news source can usually stand alone as a discussion starter. Just use good judgement. If you know something is controversial or criticial of an idea or group, provide some commentary to get a discussion started (something more than "What do you think?") So: If it's news from a recognized news source, it's probably okay without opening commentary, if you prefer. If it's an opinion piece, even from a recognized news source, it probably needs to be opened with some of your own thoughts. Definitely if it's obviously and overly critical and/or of dubious origin.


The overall point is that we don’t want to have to be that involved in moderation and none of us plans to be a stickler about much of anything. What we are really hoping is everybody will read through this thread and take it upon themselves to be more diligent in keeping discussions civil enough and focused. We are not, however, be-nice-above-all-else types and all three of us agree that stupidity/ignorance is every bit as destructive to good discussion as being a jerk. To that extent, we will reserve the right to remove access to this board, temporarily or permanently, for anybody we believe demonstrates a pattern of being misinformed, spreading misinformation, or otherwise dragging down the discussions. If all you can do is parrot garbage, do it somewhere else. We want people who demonstrate an ability to do some critical thinking of the information they take in.

We didn't mean to cause unnecessary concern. The primary goal here is to improve the board for the majority of you who are putting forth the effort.
 

Saint_Ward

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It's nice to go back in here and get a refresher on what we're aiming for here..
 

V Chip

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I saw this and thought it was very relevant for this board.

<iframe width="853" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bVV2Zk88beY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

SharonT

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I saw this and thought it was very relevant for this board.

<iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bVV2Zk88beY" allowfullscreen="" width="853" height="480" frameborder="0"></iframe>
That was excellent. So simple, too:

Don't assume bad intent.
Ask questions. (And listen. The message is 'you are being heard.')
Stay calm.
Make your argument. (back up your claim)
 

Domefan504

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Rich,

It is hard to take this board seriously with your avatar.
But I did take the refresher course!
 
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Richard

Richard

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Rich,

It is hard to take this board seriously with your avatar.
But I did take the refresher course!
The avatar was from Donald Trump's White House speech for the Easter egg roll. In the speech, Trump revealed that the building has no name (er... ahh...the White House?) and he and the staff say that it is in "Tippy Top shape." While the assembled children waited for the Easter fun to ensue, Trump rambled on about the economy, the military and how much money was going "straight to the military." Melania looked at Trump like he had lost his mind, while the Bunny appeared to be as stunned as anyone listening to the speech.


My last avatar was the Etrade baby with a shocked face

etrade-baby.jpg

so I thought it was appropriate that when I changed my avatar, that I use a similarly stunned image. :eek:
 

billinms

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I had no idea there was such a depth of thought behind that avatar. Mine tells crude jokes.
 

Humperdoo

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The avatar was from Donald Trump's White House speech for the Easter egg roll. In the speech, Trump revealed that the building has no name (er... ahh...the White House?) and he and the staff say that it is in "Tippy Top shape." While the assembled children waited for the Easter fun to ensue, Trump rambled on about the economy, the military and how much money was going "straight to the military." Melania looked at Trump like he had lost his mind, while the Bunny appeared to be as stunned as anyone listening to the speech.


My last avatar was the Etrade baby with a shocked face

etrade-baby.jpg

so I thought it was appropriate that when I changed my avatar, that I use a similarly stunned image. :eek:
I love the Rabbit.
 

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