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Author Topic: Etiquette and political discussions  (Read 3345 times)

Jeremy Roussak

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Etiquette and political discussions
« on: March 10, 2018, 02:39:11 PM »

The Coffee Corner has not been a happy place of late. The forum’s description indicates that it is for “discussion of photographic topics of a general nature” but several threads have been purely political, some overtly so and some masquerading as having a connection, however peripheral, with photography. Discussions have become unnecessarily aggressive, more heat has been generated than light, some threads have descended into acrimony and some members have been temporarily barred from posting. Perfectly reasonably, Kevin and Chris took the decision to ban further political discussion.

I have now started to act as a moderator. I enjoy discussion and rational argument; I spend my working life indulging in it. I like hearing political views, whether they coincide with or differ from my own. I have therefore taken the decision, with the agreement of Kevin and Chris, to reopen the forum to politics and the word “photographic” has been removed from the description. Political discussion must, however, be confined to the Coffee Corner: this is a photographic site.

We have retained the last sentence of the board’s description: “Posters must conduct themselves in a civil and adult nature”. I intend to moderate political discussions very much more strictly than those on photography-related topics. The rules are set out below: they will apply in particular to political discussions in the Coffee Corner, but the principles apply to all exchanges in any of LuLa’s forums.

  • Discussions must be conducted politely.
  • Robust discussion is to be encouraged but offensive language is not. That is not intended to be a ban on all language which to which anyone might take exception - we are not maiden aunts - but consideration of whether the words used would be spoken in a face-to-face conversation in a home will give some indication of what is acceptable.
  • Ad hominem attacks on members will not be tolerated.
  • The forum is not, however, a “safe space”, in which views which some might find upsetting are silenced merely because some might find them upsetting.

Sanctions will be applied, flexibly but rationally, to those who break the rules. The sanctions will include deletion of the offending post; warnings, private and/or public; temporary bans from posting, beginning with a week; and, for persistent and repeat offenders, permanent exclusion. On occasion, it may be necessary to lock or delete the entire thread.

We are all adults; many, if not all, of us are professional people. I can see no reason why interesting and thoughtful discussions cannot take place in compliance with those stipulations. I hope they can.

Jeremy
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2018, 03:32:08 PM »

Good luck Jeremy!

I hope moderating the Coffee Corner won't slow down the pace at which you post compelling images in other areas.

Perhaps there should be a thread specifically for "Maiden Aunts," which ideally won't get any posts whatever.

Eric
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RSL

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2018, 03:34:41 PM »

+1, except that to say "we're all adults" glosses over a few performances.

Rob C

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2018, 04:30:17 PM »

Language, written, is an interesting aspect of communication via the Internet. That it requires sound understanding - or at least a good dictionary - is part of the thrill of interfacing with people on the medium. You get no facial clues.
 
I'm currently deeply involved in running through a couple of episodes of The Sopranos every night; this is relevant because the language there is somewhat, well, definitely ripe. Yet, after the initial shock that it is what it is and can be found on a tv show, it becomes quite interesting way beyond its use in the programme itself.

It serves to illustrate what passes for normality within different spheres of human relationships. Before I became an apprentice engineer I hardly ever swore: it was just so common (in the British, put-down sense) and not the thing to do. And even there, in the factory, there were words that were seldom used. Now, in Sopranos, much scripted shock is expressed over the hero/villain's occasional use of the c word (no, not cancer) yet, here in Spain, even the ladies can be heard to use it in everyday conversation over a cup of coffee in any bar. How come that the very same word has such widely differing acceptance values in different cultures? Interestingly, in Spanish, it also starts with a c. You see what I mean about the thrill of language?

texshooter

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2018, 07:10:30 PM »


Release the dragons!


« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 08:04:19 PM by texshooter »
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churly

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2018, 07:17:56 PM »

Brave move Jeremy.  I echo Eric in hoping you will continue posting images.
Chuck
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Chuck Hurich

Rand47

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2018, 10:51:32 PM »

Why bother?   Seriously.  It isn’t as though there are not eight billion places on the net to harangue about politics.  I wish you the best, but fool’s errand and pyrrhic victory come to mind. 

Rand

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Rob C

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2018, 09:43:35 AM »

Why bother?   Seriously.  It isn’t as though there are not eight billion places on the net to harangue about politics.  I wish you the best, but fool’s errand and pyrrhic victory come to mind. 

Rand


You make a good point: the only recourse that makes a difference is removal. Do much of that, and LuLa eventually becomes redundant courtesy that heavy pruning.

In the end, the sensible way is ever a compromise: act where there remains no alternative, but consider that seriously before doing. Where it really makes little difference, let it ride.

RSL

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2018, 05:03:48 PM »

Better yet, confine the suspensions to personal insults. That would include personal insults against political figures as well as against posters. Let the rest of it flow.

JoeKitchen

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2018, 05:08:34 PM »

Another forum I belong to has a pretty strict rule of not discussing any USA politics.  Politics in other countries are fine to talk about, but USA politics is strictly off limits since it typically divulges into a sh*t show. 

I think it's a good rule. 
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Joe Kitchen
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"Photography is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent moving furniture."  Arnold Newman
“Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”  William Faulkner

Farmer

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2018, 05:50:31 PM »

Better yet, confine the suspensions to personal insults. That would include personal insults against political figures as well as against posters. Let the rest of it flow.

So if I don't name you (or anyone specifically), it's not personal?  "All right/left wingers suck" is fine?  "Anyone over/under the age of X sucks" is fine?

How about we let the moderator work it out by himself and if you get a warning, take it to heart and stop whatever you were warned for and then never get suspended or banned?
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Phil Brown

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2018, 07:49:36 PM »

Come on, Phil. Saying anyone or any group "sucks" is a personal insult. On the other hand, saying "left-wingers seem incapable of coming to grips with the real world' isn't. It's a pretty clear distinction.

Rob C

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2018, 08:20:46 AM »

Better yet, confine the suspensions to personal insults. That would include personal insults against political figures as well as against posters. Let the rest of it flow.

Yes, sounds a good idea, especially when tightly focussed (there, snapper-obsessive should be happy) insults are projected at members of the forum. It makes little sense to insult politicians, though, for they are immune to it by nature; it comes with the territory.

RSL

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2018, 09:48:14 AM »

Good point, Rob. I know that from experience, but I forgot.

Farmer

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2018, 02:25:10 PM »

Come on, Phil. Saying anyone or any group "sucks" is a personal insult. On the other hand, saying "left-wingers seem incapable of coming to grips with the real world' isn't. It's a pretty clear distinction.

How so?  "All older people seem incapable of coming to grips with the reality of a modern world".  If I say that in a thread involving older people, you think that's not designed to label them as having no idea, without actually addressing an argument?

I mean look at the current thread that's playing from Slobo's post - I'm being accused of ad hominem attacks on an author where I am both responding to his claim of special status (which automatically makes discussion of him valid) and backing that up with discussion about how and why I think he's wrong.  Imagine if that were a poster in these threads - would I be charged with a personal insult?  Ironically, the argument against me is also a "personal" attack saying that I've resorted to ad hominem to carry an argument.

Do you see how easily this becomes entirely subjective and reductive?

If Jeremy wants to have a crack, then let him do so on his own terms and either the forum will work or it will not.  Provide feedback, yes, but let's not start to try to dictate to him how it should work - if anyone wants to do that, they should have put their hand up to moderate.  Enough from our back seats.
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Jeremy Roussak

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2018, 03:17:41 PM »

How about we let the moderator work it out by himself and if you get a warning, take it to heart and stop whatever you were warned for and then never get suspended or banned?

Now that's a cracking idea.

Jeremy
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Rob C

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2018, 03:40:38 PM »

Now that's a cracking idea.

Jeremy


Careful, Jeremy; could be seen as taking sides!

:-)

Rob

RSL

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2018, 03:43:43 PM »

Jeremy, you're among friends, but they're not gonna let you get away with diddly squat.

Farmer

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2018, 05:15:45 PM »

Jeremy, you're among friends, but they're not gonna let you get away with diddly squat.

On the contrary, I will go out of my way to accommodate the direction Jeremy provides - it's the only fair and reasonable way to test his vision, for want of a better word, for the way this should work.  Let's not beat it down until it's had a chance!  If we (the majority of users) don't like it in the long run then it won't work - I speak with over 10 years' experience moderating a political forum on a gaming site (I stopped about 8 months ago) - but if we settle down and consider the path reasonable (albeit not perhaps not exactly as we want), then it will work and the compromises will be acceptable.
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Etiquette and political discussions
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2018, 05:13:29 AM »

Surely this is a case of using common sense.  I have stopped reading threads that go on and on and can degenerate into a few people arguing back and forth.  I am happy to be criticised, but only if it is constructive. If someone is abusive to me, I walk away.  If this forum is to thrive, then don't allow language that causes people to walk away.

Jonathan

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