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ATRL Civics 2021 Town Hall: Establishing Rules & Conduct


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13 minutes ago, khalyan said:

We let people freely post ‘Fuck Trump’ in the last election cycle, why should it be different for Joe Biden? 

Under this new framework you actually wouldn’t allow “Fuck Trump”. Because what  VALUE does that actually contribute to a substantive discussion? :duck:
 

I mean, unless you’re trying to assert that the last election cycle produced an ideal set of results.  :giraffe:

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18 minutes ago, Kassi said:

One suggestion for getting waaaay ahead of the mess around election season is to make it warnable to plainly insult public figures. Like no “Fuck Joe Biden!” type rants/venting. 

 

That way, it forces everyone to rise above the petty squabbles and focus on the policies and politics. 
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I'd like to add-on that we should expand this fantastic idea to not just people but to ideas as well, so it requires people to fully give contextualized and substantial responses on policies and ideas if they want to participate, ie: making it so saying it'd be similarly warnable to insult policy plans and ideas like "Fuck Medicare For All" or insulting policy proposals by calling them unrealistic/pie-in-the-sky/etc.

 

Let's make this academic and deter those of bad faith. Civics the new PBS. 

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4 minutes ago, Communion said:

I'd like to add-on that we should expand this fantastic idea to not just people but to ideas as well, so it requires people to fully give contextualized and substantial responses on policies and ideas if they want to participate, ie: making it so saying it'd be similarly warnable to insult policy plans and ideas like "Fuck Medicare For All" or insulting policy proposals by calling them unrealistic/pie-in-the-sky/etc.

 

Let's make this academic and deter those of bad faith. Civics the new PBS. 

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Nice thought, bestie. Actually agree with this to an extent. “Fuck ___!” is an idiom used to convey forceful anger, dismal, or contempt of someone/something. Apart from transcribing the posters emotional state, it does very little to build up substantive discourse. I would so be okay with this type of content being weeded out. 
 

However, you can’t really “insult” policy by using adjectives to describe it. Calling something “unrealistic” for example, is an assessment of quality that’s typically underpinned by some political, sociological, or economic consideration. It adds to the discourse by outlining the ways in which a proposal may not gain traction under a given set of circumstances. 

That said, the whole concept of moderating how people talk about intangibles like policy or ideas is a slippery slope and might even border on thought policing. ATRL doesn’t really have a framework for that anywhere else on the site. For example, users routinely assert that an album concept is dumb or a song isn’t that great or predicted sales figures are unrealistic. Whereas mods could use the same mechanism used to enforce insults against celebrities on elected officials. It’s such low hanging fruit and its impact is almost immediate. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to freshen up political discussion.

 

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Hmm. Just had a thought. One heuristic ATRL could use is consider what the acceptable bounds of discussion would be in a college level political science course and overlay that unto what’s acceptable here (with some wiggle room).

 

For instance, debate about whether affirmative action is beneficial policy might lead to heated and emotionally charged discussions, but, it would be well within the bounds of acceptable dialogue in an academic setting. Whereas personal insults, calling politicians names, and qualitative assessments of people’s character would be unconducive to honest, spirited discussions.

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I think we're going down the rabbit hole here trying to control too much what people have to say and how they say it. 

 

"Fuck Biden/Trump" is just a valid expression of frustration and disdain towards a politician, policies and actions (or lack there of).

 

When Joe Biden says he'll restart student loan payments or Trump says COVID is just like the flu, "Fuck Biden/Trump" feels like a valid statement someone would say to express their disgust and disapproval. It's really not the same as saying "I hope X politician dies in car accident and burns alive" which I think would be a graphic statement warranting moderation. 

Edited by Eric.
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22 minutes ago, Kassi said:

However, you can’t really “insult” policy by using adjectives to describe it. Calling something “unrealistic” for example, is an assessment of quality that’s typically underpinned by some political, sociological, or economic consideration. It adds to the discourse by outlining the ways in which a proposal may not gain traction under a given set of circumstances. 

I'm mostly posting to lighten any mood from being possibly tense and express thanks to the mods for creating such a dynamic subsection of the forum, so my suggestion was really just in jest, but think this bit underscores the issue with trying to restrict people's speech because not everyone engages in discussion - and politics at large - for the same reason.

 

One might view politics as entertainment or to challenge themselves as a civic duty or brain exercise to keep them aware on current events, but someone else may engage in politics out of an emotional need due to feeling like there's real consequence on their life.

 

For the former, I can see and understand how a more clinical discussion feels more substantial, but then don't think it's fair to erase how the latter are often who may make such declarations like "Fuck [politician]" or to erase how those declarations are as substantial in underscoring the emotional pain, suffering and strife, aka real material impact, that politicians have on people's lives.

 

I think it's largely about context. If a politician said white supremacists are bad and posters said "Fuck them", that'd be a little iffy. :biblio: But if politicians come out against issues that would better people lives, why not allow people to express their hurt and pain? 

 

22 minutes ago, Kassi said:

It’s such low hanging fruit and its impact is almost immediate. It’s probably one of the easiest ways to freshen up political discussion.

 

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 To go back to posting in jest and lightening the mood, I'd say.... let's agree to ban the words "Bernie Sanders", "lost", and "twice" from ever appearing together in a single post and you have yourself a deal, my friend. :fan:

 

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Edited by Communion
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Speaking on behalf of myself, I also do not think restricting "Fuck Trump" or "Fuck Biden" is entirely appropriate. People are allowed to be frustrated and angry with public officials that make decisions that affect countless people across the world. We shouldn't treat the discussion around politicians as being analogous to a pop girl in Base. People who obsessively hate some random pop star are... weird. People hating a politician because people they have been harmed by said politician's policies are entirely different.

 

So, yes, I think we should allow people to voice their frustration, anger, disappointment, etc. in politicians. There's obviously a tightrope there as well, but superfluous outbursts like the aforementioned example have a genuine place.

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13 minutes ago, Eric. said:

"Fuck Biden/Trump" is just a valid expression of frustration and disdain towards a politician, policies and actions (or lack there of)

This is honestly a good point. Reason I brought it up is because, following personal insults, vitriol directed at a public figures (celebrity, influencer, politician) is the next natural point of contention when it comes to demarcating flamebaity and trolly posts. It’s easily triggering and evokes the “fuck you!” instinct across the board.
 

But if the consensus is that that’s one hurdle too far, then yeah, there’s basically nothing to moderate except personal insults and tone, the latter of which is dubious, but I digress. And there’s not much else to talk about here. :chick1:
 

Appreciate everyone’s gracious response to my suggestion. Was just thinking out loud. 

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2 hours ago, phreshprince said:

I don’t agree with warning someone for not wanting the vaccine and restrictions. At the end of the day, it’s not going to make a difference in those person(s) view. There’s a difference between misinformation and being anti vaccine. 

Promoting your anti-vaxx views is misinformation

 

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3 hours ago, Bloo said:

In general, when we ask questions surrounding the place of conservatives in the Civics forum, it should be noted that we are not talking about people who promote anti-trans rhetoric, anti-Black rhetoric, etc. Those views are unwelcome on ATRL, period. A conservative view could be... believing that letting the markets do their thing to make renewable energy competitive is the best approach to climate change (I don't believe this, it's just an example). Of course, this is a pretty sanitized idea. But, there is precedent for establishing a separate Social Democrat/Democratic Socialist base thread that is separate from the general US Politics thread.

 

Would this be an attractive option for the more conservative members and other groups, for instance?

Agreed, but I don’t know if a thread for conservatives is a good idea. I think even if made with good intentions people will see the users in there and use that against them and be more likely to antagonize them or report them for unrelated topics when they see them in other parts of the site. But also I think most people will know that going in and it’s up to them how they will proceed to post/act. 
 

 

3 hours ago, madonnas said:

I echo @khalyan with wanting to know where you all fall in on the COVID topic.

 

We have been generally been going by the de-facto rule of warning members who explicitly post misinformation, but haven't really been warning members that express concern and hesitation over vaccines and restrictions (given that no other rules have been broken).

 

But the line between the two is not exactly clear.  

 

Where would you draw the line?

What type of warning would be sufficient for people who *do* post misinformation?

 

 

regarding COVID, I think the way it is set up now is fine. Posting misinformation should be warned accordingly. I’ve gotten two doses of the vaccine and the booster, but I understand where people are coming from expressing concern/hesitation. It shouldn’t be wrong to question things as long as it is done respectfully and not done with malice. Simply doing that without spreading misinformation should be fair game, but as you said it is a fine line. 

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4 minutes ago, Acetone said:

Agreed, but I don’t know if a thread for conservatives is a good idea. I think even if made with good intentions people will see the users in there and use that against them and be more likely to antagonize them or report them for unrelated topics when they see them in other parts of the site. But also I think most people will know that going in and it’s up to them how they will proceed to post/act. 
 

 

regarding COVID, I think the way it is set up now is fine. Posting misinformation should be warned accordingly. I’ve gotten two doses of the vaccine and the booster, but I understand where people are coming from expressing concern/hesitation. It shouldn’t be wrong to question things as long as it is done respectfully and not done with malice. Simply doing that without spreading misinformation should be fair game, but as you said it is a fine line. 

We had a base thread for Conservatives in the Members' Lounge before. I don't really see why they shouldn't be allowed to have one now. :michael: 

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3 minutes ago, ClashAndBurn said:

We had a base thread for Conservatives in the Members' Lounge before. I don't really see why they shouldn't be allowed to have one now. :michael: 

It’s not that it shouldn’t be allowed, it’s that everything is so extreme now with the if you’re not with me you’re against me mentality if you don’t have 100% the exact same viewpoints (on both sides). Just a precaution. I can see it going sideways quickly. The vast majority of users are not conservative. I’m just playing devils advocate while drunk but yeah. As I said, if there is a thread for that and people decide to post in there, they probably know how others will react, but I’m just pointing that out. 

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7 hours ago, madonnas said:

I echo the hesitation when it comes to banning conservative opinions.  

 

I'm extremely anti-reactionary.  I just worry about creating a space where mainstream liberal opinion is the only 'acceptable' opinion to have.  That's been a thing on other forums I've seen and it's not pleasant.  And as a leftist myself, I like to leave room for leftists to safely voice their political opinions that may be controversial.

 

Bigotry has no place in this forum though.  Period.  

I'm really divided on this. I agree that I don't think anybody should be banned for having "conservative" opinions, and in some cases actual "conservatism", in the true sense of the meaning (as in conserving something good so it can last for a long time), can be good.

 

The problem is just that the radicalized political right is now the mainstream political right. Over 70M people in the US voted for a a neo-facist autocrat in the last elections, mainstream conservative discourse is BRIMMING with reactionary white identity politics. Conservatism has colloquially become synonymous with racism, white supremacy, corruption, police brutality, holocaust denial, anti-vaxxing etc. If we say "no bigotry is allowed" we are still de facto banning 95% of all mainstream conservative discourse. And that's essentially gonna have the same effect as banning conservatives altogether from this site, but we'd invite speculation and more discourse about "what bigotry really is" and that the libs and leftists are the true bigots, victimizing the poor poor conservatives :rip: 

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Just want to say this forum and specifically the politics pinned thread is very uninviting to anyone that doesn’t despise Joe or current democrats in office. There’s also a cheerleader mod who eggs on the users with more aggressive tones, and I get this is a more mature sub forum so I’m not saying anyone, or mods, should have to worry about having an opinion. 
 

that being said, there’s a topic of “conservative” voices that aren’t even that prevalent compared to the progressives that applaud and ignore any posts about actual dangerous people like MTG and Boabart, Gaetz, trump etc to instead use it as an opportunity to drag Democrats even more.
 

idk what the answer is, but I honestly feel like I’m on a fascist leaning forum sometimes and the most aggressive posts don’t even come from conservatives which I venomously disagree with. 

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1 hour ago, feuxtography said:

Just want to say this forum and specifically the politics pinned thread is very uninviting to anyone that doesn’t despise Joe or current democrats in office. There’s also a cheerleader mod who eggs on the users with more aggressive tones, and I get this is a more mature sub forum so I’m not saying anyone, or mods, should have to worry about having an opinion. 
 

that being said, there’s a topic of “conservative” voices that aren’t even that prevalent compared to the progressives that applaud and ignore any posts about actual dangerous people like MTG and Boabart, Gaetz, trump etc to instead use it as an opportunity to drag Democrats even more.
 

idk what the answer is, but I honestly feel like I’m on a fascist leaning forum sometimes and the most aggressive posts don’t even come from conservatives which I venomously disagree with. 

The fact that you feel the need to equate progressives with fascists is...... :skull: 

 

There are multiple Biden cheerleaders constantly dragging Bernie Sanders, who isn't even the president, calling him a worthless legislator that's never done anything meaningful in order to defend Biden from the justifiable criticism he gets AS THE PRESIDENT, calling US "worthless losers," and saying we're literally the reason that abortion rights are about to be lost even though most of us swallowed our pride and voted for Hillary despite living in states where our vote really didn't count for anything.

 

The only reason it might seem slanted like it right now is because one of the most vocal neoliberals got a 6-month ban for being extremely racist towards another poster. As for conservative voices, there was one who was permabanned for downplaying Jan. 6 the day that it happened by comparing it to BLM protests. There are others still around, but they mostly stick to the COVID megathread.

 

TLDR: All of this to say, it's not as one-sided as you're making it sound.

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12 hours ago, Bethenny Frankel said:

I don't think conservative voices deserve a place when they are actively against democracy in the United States. Above all else, democracy is the most important thing to upload in the United States, and when one party has been consistently against it, and tried to stage a coup, I don't see why they need a voice on ATRL.

what the hell.... :deadbanana:

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13 hours ago, khalyan said:

Some things that should be eventually addressed,

 

- do conservative voices have a place on our forum?

- does bringing up a member’s post history qualify as a warnable offense when it comes to political talk?

- how harsh should the criticism against public figures be allowed to get?

- how does COVID views at this point factor into getting warned?

 

- Of course, this even being a question is... puzzling.

 

- Of course, that's off-topic to the topic at hand and is a personal attack. If members can't carry out a discussion with veering toward taking jabs at others, they should be warned and probably thread/section banned (and this happens quite a bit here btw, and it's glaring at times that certain mods allow it coming from certain members).

 

- It should be similar to the standards regarding artists elsewhere in the site. Wishing death/harm and outright hatred should be off-limits. Obsessively posting hate towards a particular politician should be considered as well.

 

- Posting misinformation about COVID and vaccines should absolutely be warned and the member thread-banned.

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1 hour ago, Gui Blackout said:

- Of course, that's off-topic to the topic at hand and is a personal attack. If members can't carry out a discussion with veering toward taking jabs at others, they should be warned and probably thread/section banned (and this happens quite a bit here btw, and it's glaring at times that certain mods allow it coming from certain members).

Let's go into this a bit deeper

 

As long as the information is coming from ATRL, then there really isn't an issue.  If a member last week said they do not believe in student loan forgiveness, and then a week later they are talking about how they prefer Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders, then of course someone else can bring up the fact that they do not believe in student loan forgiveness in a debate against them.  That's not off topic as student loan forgiveness was a key to one of these politicians plans.  This is really no different than how politicians themselves have historically handled themselves during political debates, and the Civics section is here to cultivate similar political discussion.

 

Now, if someone had on their LinkedIn that they did an internship with a Republican politician but never shared that here - yet somehow a different member found up and brought that up against them in a debate that would be against our rules.  

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7 hours ago, feuxtography said:

Just want to say this forum and specifically the politics pinned thread is very uninviting to anyone that doesn’t despise Joe or current democrats in office. There’s also a cheerleader mod who eggs on the users with more aggressive tones, and I get this is a more mature sub forum so I’m not saying anyone, or mods, should have to worry about having an opinion. 

This.

 

I feel like the forum has devolved so much in terms of political discourse. I had so much more meaningful and productive conversations when I first joined.

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Really appreciate this thread :clap3: A slightly long read, so putting in spoilers for visual brevity.

 

 

My main feedback would be - as someone who used to post geopolitical events/news in the past (before Civics existed, that is) and now largely lurks (because of exponentially decreased ATRL activity for personal reasons that I do not wish to get into) - that there really needs to be discourse around ad-hominem personal attacks, the kind that have been allowed to run amok in here forever - with seemingly no action taken (presumably).

I actually have spoken to staff member(s) at length about this in the past (pertaining to this section only), and some of those conversations have been productive at least. I'm glad to see it brought up in here, at any rate.

In my opinion, there is no place for that in this section, and it puzzles me why it's not simply ruled out. I understand that forum culture is using post histories against each other, especially in stan spaces - but are we saying:
"NOT with that avi! :bibliahh:" and "Didn't you fucking stream that sing 50 times on your last.fm when it came out, only to switch now? :giraffe:" are comparable to "You live in <insert country>. <Country nationals> are really something else! Worry about <domestic problem of said that apparently this one user should atone for, simply because they were born there :skull:> and leave <country I clearly have an agenda in favour of> alone" are at the same level? :biblio:

Yes, both instance of information are "searchable" if the users have posted about it. And it is a public forum. (Although, there used to be a Breach of Privacy rule in ATRL Rules that seems to no longer exist. Even so, the current rules say using people's selfies (avis) in dragging context is warnable, even if the user posted that selfie themselves *points to Post Your Picture Thread*). But then using those two facts two then justify an inherently hostile culture that prominent users in here have fully cultivated seems...alarming? The second example given above is:

-Qualitatively eons more malicious than that stan nonsense preceding it;
-Meant to shutdown any critique, however valid/invalid;
-Emotionally manipulative - it is meant to use a perceived instance of "personal hypocrisy" as a gotcha, to then paint a random forum user as solely responsible/culpable for the questionable policy/issue rampant in said country. It's like hounding a user from X country (I am refraining from using an actual example here) and saying "I don't want to hear anything from you, *proceeds to weaponize homophobia/bigotry as a "win" to then invalidate personal politics*". Does anyone think this user is acting in good faith?
-Adds nothing substantial to the discourse; in fact it only goes downhill from here;
-Exclusive - what users from what countries and with what "correct" views are "allowed", and in "what" threads?
-Off topic?

So....why not simply rule it out via simple rule that applies in Civics only? :confused: I understand ad-hominem attacks are amusing, easy and in stan contexts I've done them too, some posts even veering into what I'm writing about here now dd wayyy back in the past (although they've frustrated me in retrospect too, I recognize I was wrong every time I did it). Politics though, should not be akin to stanning. And so I fail to see why a cultural (to the forum I mean) practice has been allowed to just flourish; especially when the inception of this section showcases that everyone recognizes politics should be separated from stan shit. For years, SYG was also a part of ATRL's "culture".  :cm: The bigoted users will be swept up by the ZTP anyway, so none of this is caping for any of those views too.

And on a tangent, I find the notion that this would be penalizing users with "good memory" inane. If a user says well "I just happen to remember this thing about you ;) ;)" is really not...um...well. It reads a certain way, and there is no way to skirt around it. In either case the user is somehow keeping tabs actively on bits of irl information posted by people (red flag) or then somehow memorizes/remembers particular information to then later weaponize against users. :skull:

 

General statements are fine, and I am guilty of them myself - stuff like "Why are Europeans so obsessed with dunking on American geography trivia" in those weekly threads we have (:skull:) is so broad it doesn't even target anything.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see instances of what I've mentioned - and there are literally dozens I could provide by the same bunch of users, simply because I read this section from time to time - being warned or at least corrected for tone. This is how narratives about biases/favoritism form, and I know better simply by seeing HQ stan meltdowns, one has to think. I'm glad the already warned feature is being worked on, perhaps that could help.
 

Lastly, maybe thread title etiquette can be tweaked. Stan language is fine (some titles like "debuts ____" can be hilarious, and no one is/should be bothered by that); what I largely mean is punctuation. Some users post thread titles with like 5 exclamation marks, and it's so...jarring, especially with the nature of the thread :skull:

Also. For instances of graphic news coming out of countries (or if the thread has visuals), a soft rule for a Trigger Warning might also be really helpful. Sometimes I have been caught completely off guard in threads :dies: I imagine I'm not the only one.

 

On a lighter note, maybe there could be yearly round ups/Civics Year-In-Review of the most major stories worldwide, picked by the staff (user submissions)? :michael: That would be nice. It could include links to the ATRL threads (if posted), or articles/resources chronicling said news. It would also be largely informative for people, so a win-win.  Sometimes it can be really helpful to see an entire year's worth of major geopolitical events chronicled in a cohesive fashion.

Edited by Phantom
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7 hours ago, feuxtography said:

Just want to say this forum and specifically the politics pinned thread is very uninviting to anyone that doesn’t despise Joe or current democrats in office. There’s also a cheerleader mod who eggs on the users with more aggressive tones, and I get this is a more mature sub forum so I’m not saying anyone, or mods, should have to worry about having an opinion. 
 

that being said, there’s a topic of “conservative” voices that aren’t even that prevalent compared to the progressives that applaud and ignore any posts about actual dangerous people like MTG and Boabart, Gaetz, trump etc to instead use it as an opportunity to drag Democrats even more.
 

idk what the answer is, but I honestly feel like I’m on a fascist leaning forum sometimes and the most aggressive posts don’t even come from conservatives which I venomously disagree with. 

Nothing about the political discussions on ATRL are fascist in nature, and I'm unsure why you and @Kassihave both said this recently.

9 minutes ago, Jotham said:

This.

 

I feel like the forum has devolved so much in terms of political discourse. I had so much more meaningful and productive conversations when I first joined.

I know the majority of users here identify as leftists/progressives now, even though back in 2016 this was not the case.  It seems like a natural evolution to the left by members (including myself) as they become more knowledgable of the happenings within the current political climate.

 

How do we continue to keep less progressive members involved and included in debate without overwhelming/overpowering them?  What are some opinions on how we can make this happen?

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The idea that anyone can say that ATRL growing into a more welcoming space for leftists has made it "fascist-leaning" is... :priceless:

 

I'm not going to erase people's experience, but it's such an odd thing to read having experienced out-right mocking and targeted harassment for political views as far back as 2016, from both fellow members and people who, at the time, were members of staff. It's odd to see members reference what was largely a hostile and outright toxic environment for anyone who wasn't a centrist, where abuses of power did take place, and I remember experiencing things like talking about traumatic childhood experiences wrt growing up poor or talking about family members dying due to issues policy could have solved and being trolled with Paris Hilton memes about not being poor. :priceless:

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2 hours ago, khalyan said:

Let's go into this a bit deeper

 

As long as the information is coming from ATRL, then there really isn't an issue.  If a member last week said they do not believe in student loan forgiveness, and then a week later they are talking about how they prefer Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders, then of course someone else can bring up the fact that they do not believe in student loan forgiveness in a debate against them.  That's not off topic as student loan forgiveness was a key to one of these politicians plans.  This is really no different than how politicians themselves have historically handled themselves during political debates, and the Civics section is here to cultivate similar political discussion.

 

Now, if someone had on their LinkedIn that they did an internship with a Republican politician but never shared that here - yet somehow a different member found up and brought that up against them in a debate that would be against our rules.  

I respectfully disagree, because the discussion shifts from ideas and policies to something personal. And the instances where this occurs are not as innocent and respectful as you're describing. Not to mention, members keeping tabs on other members' post history or past takes is, quite frankly, creepy and stalkerish. It should not be encouraged.

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8 hours ago, feuxtography said:

Just want to say this forum and specifically the politics pinned thread is very uninviting to anyone that doesn’t despise Joe or current democrats in office. There’s also a cheerleader mod who eggs on the users with more aggressive tones, and I get this is a more mature sub forum so I’m not saying anyone, or mods, should have to worry about having an opinion. 
 

that being said, there’s a topic of “conservative” voices that aren’t even that prevalent compared to the progressives that applaud and ignore any posts about actual dangerous people like MTG and Boabart, Gaetz, trump etc to instead use it as an opportunity to drag Democrats even more.
 

idk what the answer is, but I honestly feel like I’m on a fascist leaning forum sometimes and the most aggressive posts don’t even come from conservatives which I venomously disagree with. 

Regarding the pinned US politics thread, the thread used to be much more pro-Biden around the time of the 2020 election. However, as that election gets further and further in the past, it appears there are fewer more moderate/centrist voices participating in the thread. Naturally, the members that were always critical of Biden and remain active are going to then make the thread seem more naturally anti-Biden than it was previously. I expect that we will see a shift in the opposite directio heading into the 2022 elections where people not currently active begin to get engaged at the height of the midterm elections. That being said, do you have any suggestions for how to make the Civics forum more welcoming to our members as a whole?

 

I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say that the forum has become more fascist-leaning? Can you provide some examples of what you mean exactly? 

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1 hour ago, Phantom said:

Really appreciate this thread :clap3: A slightly long read, so putting in spoilers for visual brevity.

 

  Hide contents

My main feedback would be - as someone who used to post geopolitical events/news in the past (before Civics existed, that is) and now largely lurks (because of exponentially decreased ATRL activity for personal reasons that I do not wish to get into) - that there really needs to be discourse around ad-hominem personal attacks, the kind that have been allowed to run amok in here forever - with seemingly no action taken (presumably).

I actually have spoken to staff member(s) at length about this in the past (pertaining to this section only), and some of those conversations have been productive at least. I'm glad to see it brought up in here, at any rate.

In my opinion, there is no place for that in this section, and it puzzles me why it's not simply ruled out. I understand that forum culture is using post histories against each other, especially in stan spaces - but are we saying:
"NOT with that avi! :bibliahh:" and "Didn't you fucking stream that sing 50 times on your last.fm when it came out, only to switch now? :giraffe:" are comparable to "You live in <insert country>. <Country nationals> are really something else! Worry about <domestic problem of said that apparently this one user should atone for, simply because they were born there :skull:> and leave <country I clearly have an agenda in favour of> alone" are at the same level? :biblio:

Yes, both instance of information are "searchable" if the users have posted about it. And it is a public forum. (Although, there used to be a Breach of Privacy rule in ATRL Rules that seems to no longer exist. Even so, the current rules say using people's selfies (avis) in dragging context is warnable, even if the user posted that selfie themselves *points to Post Your Picture Thread*). But then using those two facts two then justify an inherently hostile culture that prominent users in here have fully cultivated seems...alarming? The second example given above is:

-Qualitatively eons more malicious than that stan nonsense preceding it;
-Meant to shutdown any critique, however valid/invalid;
-Emotionally manipulative - it is meant to use a perceived instance of "personal hypocrisy" as a gotcha, to then paint a random forum user as solely responsible/culpable for the questionable policy/issue rampant in said country. It's like hounding a user from X country (I am refraining from using an actual example here) and saying "I don't want to hear anything from you, *proceeds to weaponize homophobia/bigotry as a "win" to then invalidate personal politics*". Does anyone think this user is acting in good faith?
-Adds nothing substantial to the discourse; in fact it only goes downhill from here;
-Exclusive - what users from what countries and with what "correct" views are "allowed", and in "what" threads?
-Off topic?

So....why not simply rule it out via simple rule that applies in Civics only? :confused: I understand ad-hominem attacks are amusing, easy and in stan contexts I've done them too, some posts even veering into what I'm writing about here now dd wayyy back in the past (although they've frustrated me in retrospect too, I recognize I was wrong every time I did it). Politics though, should not be akin to stanning. And so I fail to see why a cultural (to the forum I mean) practice has been allowed to just flourish; especially when the inception of this section showcases that everyone recognizes politics should be separated from stan shit. For years, SYG was also a part of ATRL's "culture".  :cm: The bigoted users will be swept up by the ZTP anyway, so none of this is caping for any of those views too.

And on a tangent, I find the notion that this would be penalizing users with "good memory" inane. If a user says well "I just happen to remember this thing about you ;) ;)" is really not...um...well. It reads a certain way, and there is no way to skirt around it. In either case the user is somehow keeping tabs actively on bits of irl information posted by people (red flag) or then somehow memorizes/remembers particular information to then later weaponize against users. :skull:

 

General statements are fine, and I am guilty of them myself - stuff like "Why are Europeans so obsessed with dunking on American geography trivia" in those weekly threads we have (:skull:) is so broad it doesn't even target anything.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't see instances of what I've mentioned - and there are literally dozens I could provide by the same bunch of users, simply because I read this section from time to time - being warned or at least corrected for tone. This is how narratives about biases/favoritism form, and I know better simply by seeing HQ stan meltdowns, one has to think. I'm glad the already warned feature is being worked on, perhaps that could help.
 

Lastly, maybe thread title etiquette can be tweaked. Stan language is fine (some titles like "debuts ____" can be hilarious, and no one is/should be bothered by that); what I largely mean is punctuation. Some users post thread titles with like 5 exclamation marks, and it's so...jarring, especially with the nature of the thread :skull:

Also. For instances of graphic news coming out of countries (or if the thread has visuals), a soft rule for a Trigger Warning might also be really helpful. Sometimes I have been caught completely off guard in threads :dies: I imagine I'm not the only one.

 

On a lighter note, maybe there could be yearly round ups/Civics Year-In-Review of the most major stories worldwide, picked by the staff (user submissions)? :michael: That would be nice. It could include links to the ATRL threads (if posted), or articles/resources chronicling said news. It would also be largely informative for people, so a win-win.  Sometimes it can be really helpful to see an entire year's worth of major geopolitical events chronicled in a cohesive fashion.

Agreed with what you pointed out here:

 

Quote

 

-Meant to shutdown any critique, however valid/invalid;
-Emotionally manipulative - it is meant to use a perceived instance of "personal hypocrisy" as a gotcha, to then paint a random forum user as solely responsible/culpable for the questionable policy/issue rampant in said country. It's like hounding a user from X country (I am refraining from using an actual example here) and saying "I don't want to hear anything from you, *proceeds to weaponizehomophobia/bigotry as a "win" to then invalidate personal politics*". Does anyone think this user is acting in good faith?
-Adds nothing substantial to the discourse; in fact it onlygoes downhill from here;
-Exclusive - what users from what countries and with what "correct" views are "allowed", and in "what" threads?
-Off topic?

 

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