The Chainlink

Before the recent rule update, I was worried that the calls for more action from moderators was going to make it harder for people to speak their minds liberally on chainlink, and in my mind, this private message from Duppie confirms that my fear was justified:

Tristan,

I saw your posts in the Drive-thru thread. Name calling and personal attacks are not allowed. Please keep that in mind going forward.

Thank you.

Duppie,

Moderator 

So, Duppie, let's see what was said. Here is the post by Martin Hazard that I was replying to:

I love to go to the drive through at the Mcdonalds on Milwaukee just south of Diversey. They state that they dont serve walk up traffic, after the lobby is closed. Nothing more. I didn't walk my F-ing bike up to the window. I order a hamburger and wait for them to call the police. The police never show up for that type of call, and in the mean time they have countless drivers who already placed orders driving off without paying. When they finally capitulate, and they always do, I throw that burger out;-) F-them, it is up to the individual Mc-d's. 

Here is my response:

Man, if I was the drive-thru manager, hell would of frozen over before I would of given you that hamburger, because I follow the principle of never give in to the demands of an entitled asshole. 

Definitely, a sassy reply. But, technically, I didn't call him anything directly. I was simply trying to say that I thought it was asshole behavior. And, bottom line, my criticism is directed at the behavior, not the person. At least, I meant it that way. After that h' sarcastically replies:

Matin Hazard, the very personification of "entitlement."

To which, I sarcastically reply:

Oh is Martin a transgender albino native american asshole? Regardless, I still wouldn't of given him the hamburger. 

That's sarcastic. And in question form. Again, it's sassy, but hardly a personal attack. And, bottom line, I'm going to continue to speak my mind. If you want to delete my posts go ahead.

And I want to voice my support for Lee Diamond's approach to moderation:

It is easy to say that there should be more moderation, or better moderation, or that certain language or topics or discussions have crossed the line, but in the end, this is just a place.  The conversations that are had at this place are not condoned or endorsed by the Chainlink simply because we don't intervene.  Does Facebook moderate your conversations?  Does AT&T listen in on your calls and tell you how to talk or what you can and can't say?  If you go to a bar or a restaurant or a mall to have a conversation, are there security guards escorting you out when you use a certain word, express a particular opinion or say something that even the owner of the mall, restaurant or bar objects to?  In some cases the answer is yes, and those businesses can choose to run themselves that way.  For the most part, the answer is that the place itself is just where that stuff happens.  It has no ownership of the conversations held within its walls, be they physical or digital. Like a bar, we'll toss a patron when they get too rowdy.  Like a bar, many of the patrons will feel we should have done that long ago, or shouldn't have done it at all, or should have let that person stay and tossed someone else instead.  Such is life.  And internet life too.

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Replies to This Discussion

I don't agree that I broke the rules. That's the problem. In my mind, I was criticizing an idea, not a person. I don't know Martin. And I wouldn't discuss anything about Martin the person. I did discuss the idea Martin put forward. I know what an ad hominem is, and I try my best to avoid them. I'm with Simon on this:

We don't have a rule against "personal attacks" because we need to avoid comments that could possibly be construed as direct insults. We have a rule like that so that discussions don't veer off topic into pointless flamewars where people just insult one another. When a rule against "personal attacks" morphs into a rule against abrasive language - as it apparently already has in Duppie's mind - and that rule is enforced in a non-transparent way, the result is a lot of frustration. I.e., exactly what Tristan's displayed here.

Really, there's no way that Tristan could have said anything negative about Martin's throwing a tantrum at a drive-in window without saying something that could possibly be construed as a "personal attack." He would, in any event, have to have said something about Martin's personal behavior. So this is a particularly silly example of moderator enforcement.

Tom A.K. said:

Tristan, we live by a system of rules. If you want to be a part of the community here, you have to follow the rules. In my opinion, as of now, the new rules and moderation seem to be fair and even-handed. Things evolve over time for the positive impact for all involved in the community. Stay, only if you want to be a part of this community.

And I said I wont do it. Your move, David. 

David P. said:

Tristan,

Your apparent sense of victimhood greatly exceeds the non-existent sanction that was levelled against you for the post you quoted. Duppie wrote you to ask to please mind your manners. You would be well-served to try it!

David

Tristan,

Your words: "this private message" was sent to you. And you took said private message and deconstructed it and put it up for all. Did you ask the sender if this was ok?

This is the sort of needy behavior that makes my head spin. You want the chainlink to be : "I rather chainlink be a space where people speak their minds, even if immature or even rude."

Yea, but what about the 98% of the rest of us who tire of immaturity and rudeness?  You didn't make this site, why do you think, it's proper to be rude an immature here?  Grow up! I count you among the many man-childs that I run into on a daily basis, actively voicing their opinion for a forum for people to be "immature or even rude" (your words)

If this is what you want and advocate for go to 4chan and post your brains out, if you leave you won't be missed. Seriously no one will cry that you took your need for juvenile behavior with you. How about being a respectful adult? When did this go out of style? When did being childish be the "IN" thing?

MODS: at one point 'self moderation' was voiced and I don't see any reason to not take you up on it. When someone is an ass I think public notation is fine. If it isn't please let me know. Other adults who feel the need please call out the children and perhaps in time they may modulate their behavior.

H

Personally, I think the way to create a stronger sense of community is for moderators to step into threads and try to guide them in productive directions, when they're not productive, rather than to send warnings to discussion participants that no one else sees or learns from.

Tristan at least arguably called Martin an "entitled asshole" for standing at a drive-thru window, inconveniencing a bunch of workers and bystanders, and then ostentatiously wasting food in order to prove some point about being served at a drive-thru while riding a bike. Besides being a defensible characterization, that statement didn't seem to have prevented anyone else from participating in that discussion in their own ways, and it didn't seem to veer into a counter-productive slugfest. 

So why was there any need to get involved? 

I just don't know who these would-be participants are supposed to be. Here we have an active thread with participants who seem to be enjoying themselves; we're talking about coming down harder on some of them, so that people who aren't participating might?

This isn't the sort of, "no one's going to like being subjected to moderator action" situation you're referring to. This is an approach to moderation that's hard to make sense of. You can even see that here! Lots of people are openly attacking Tristan and chiding him for being rude. Well - when did that become against the rules?

This is unwinding in completely predictable fashion. People who complain about not wanting to participate in a community where they might occasionally be called names are not going to start participating, once they no longer feel that's a risk. There are plenty of threads where that never happens! This community isn't going to seem any more fun or welcoming to them once it's policed into order. Just deader and less interesting. And these mysteriously silent people are still not going to participate, no matter how they justify their inaction now.


Anne Alt said:

Moderation is always a judgment call. No matter what we do, someone will take exception to it. 

There are many more people who would enjoy participating in Chainlink discussions if there were fewer personal attacks. I would be happy to see more of them join in. 

I appreciate what Tom said above. Who else would like to join in creating a greater sense of community rather than an arena full of verbal slugfests?

I don't believe this comment was very "respectful" or "adult." Is there a reason you don't have to follow that guiding standard, when responding to Tristan?

Haddon said:

Tristan,

Your words: "this private message" was sent to you. And you took said private message and deconstructed it and put it up for all. Did you ask the sender if this was ok?

This is the sort of needy behavior that makes my head spin. You want the chainlink to be : "I rather chainlink be a space where people speak their minds, even if immature or even rude."

Yea, but what about the 98% of the rest of us who tire of immaturity and rudeness?  You didn't make this site, why do you think, it's proper to be rude an immature here?  Grow up! I count you among the many man-childs that I run into on a daily basis, actively voicing their opinion for a forum for people to be "immature or even rude" (your words)

If this is what you want and advocate for go to 4chan and post your brains out, if you leave you won't be missed. Seriously no one will cry that you took your need for juvenile behavior with you. How about being a respectful adult? When did this go out of style? When did being childish be the "IN" thing?

MODS: at one point 'self moderation' was voiced and I don't see any reason to not take you up on it. When someone is an ass I think public notation is fine. If it isn't please let me know.

H

Tristan and all - 
Your comments about moderation transparency cause some interesting thoughts. In this particular discussion, I think the questions to ponder fall into 2 categories: 1 - visibility to moderator action and 2 - what is being moderated.
For #1, I think it's a best practice to first contact people privately. Sometimes people do not know the rules and other times it would allow for more in-depth discussion around moderation that the entire community doesn't need to see. I say this knowing I prefer to be told off to the side if I may be in the wrong and have the chance to amend behavior without the public slight.  I've also seen other site moderators add to posts reminders of the terms. It seems to kill discussion, though. A third approach is one that Simon shared (which I like, too.) I like a blend of the three personally. 
 
Regarding #2 - This is trickier, as you are indeed correct that we are growing and learning. I think this is a lesson learned. I do ask that people remember that sarcasm doesn't transfer well in online spaces. I think the moderators can aim to keep this in mind, too, and look for ways to allow for spirited conversations to take place but not offend. Again, we aren't looking to censor everyone but we are trying to help people feel welcome. 
 
What may help us down the line is if people send examples of moderation done RIGHT and moderation done Wrong to mods @ thechainlink.org. We'd be looking for examples of active moderation; not examples of 'see no one replied!' Examples will help us better understand how to best communicate.
 

And I'd like to request that this thread stop any additional finger pointing comments at any user on this thread. I think people's points were conveyed. 

How is a gentle reminder that not everyone wants to participate in a negative environment heavy handed?

I used to post very regularly to this forum and participate actively in it. I no longer do so, because so often the conversations are aggressive and multiple people have been hostile to me personally. 

If a simple message that your posts are crossing a line is that offensive to you, then I say good riddance.

I think moderating should only be transparent when one of the following occurs: Someone is banned (temp or perm), posts are deleted, or a thread is closed. Otherwise handle your business privately.  

Thanks, Katie. I think this was a very welcoming reply! (Hopefully, that's not a finger-pointing comment...)

KatieP said:

Tristan and all - 
Your comments about moderation transparency cause some interesting thoughts. In this particular discussion, I think the questions to ponder fall into 2 categories: 1 - visibility to moderator action and 2 - what is being moderated.
For #1, I think it's a best practice to first contact people privately. Sometimes people do not know the rules and other times it would allow for more in-depth discussion around moderation that the entire community doesn't need to see. I say this knowing I prefer to be told off to the side if I may be in the wrong and have the chance to amend behavior without the public slight.  I've also seen other site moderators add to posts reminders of the terms. It seems to kill discussion, though. A third approach is one that Simon shared (which I like, too.) I like a blend of the three personally. 
 
Regarding #2 - This is trickier, as you are indeed correct that we are growing and learning. I think this is a lesson learned. I do ask that people remember that sarcasm doesn't transfer well in online spaces. I think the moderators can aim to keep this in mind, too, and look for ways to allow for spirited conversations to take place but not offend. Again, we aren't looking to censor everyone but we are trying to help people feel welcome. 
 
What may help us down the line is if people send examples of moderation done RIGHT and moderation done Wrong to mods @ thechainlink.org. We'd be looking for examples of active moderation; not examples of 'see no one replied!' Examples will help us better understand how to best communicate.
 

This.


Liz said:

I think moderating should only be transparent when one of the following occurs: Someone is banned (temp or perm), posts are deleted, or a thread is closed. Otherwise handle your business privately.  

Simon - Thanks! Not heavy-handed at all. More like a verbal bear hug!

Oh my lord, somebody sent you a rather polite note asking you to tone down calling people names!!

How shall free speech and the exchange of ideas ever survive this travesty!?

Are you fucking kidding me?

No, really, are you?

You called somebody an asshole and got asked to stop, is that really that big a deal?  

Are you not capable of expressing yourself without calling somebody an asshole?  Because that is basically what you are saying here.

Censorship and moderation are things that should be well thought out and controlled because when they are let run wild they can prevent people from expressing their feelings and ideas.  

Has anyone here done that?  

All that happened was you were asked to not call names and use some offensive language moving forward, your post was not even edited or removed.  I fail to see how you are a victim of anything here unless you are really so simple minded and inarticulate that you could not have expressed how you felt without calling somebody an asshole.

I also think it is worth pointing out that you, the guy who called somebody else entitled, are having a fit because somebody asked you not to do something....

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