trooper6 wrote:As long as the Anime board and the off topic social threads in general are here, you send the message that this *is* a place for off-topic discussions and it becomes difficult when you shut down *some* threads for being off-topic while leaving up others--because then it looks like enforcement is biased. If this is not going to be a place for off topic discussions, then it really should not be a place for off topic discussions.
I think there will continuously be problems as long as some off-topic discussions are allowed while others are not.
It kind of sucks but I have to say this makes the most sense. It would be helpful if people's first post was in the guestbook, and their second post was something productive. Not that we don't already have people doing this... we have many valuable and contributing members here. Just, if people did not have as many distractions, they might be more inclined to post progress (or make some progress to post), rather than hanging out and making "easy" fun posts.
Perhaps it makes sense to add "Intolerance" to the list of reasons one can report a post. While I worry a little that "Intolerance" could be used as a way to shut down an opponent, I suspect it's probably going to be used as more of a guideline - if I start seeing reports for intolerance, and a thread is off-topic, it makes sense to either bring it back on topic or shut the thread down.
We should have this! If anything, it is a way for mods to know for sure that users are feeling uncomfortable with someone's behavior in a thread, since I know there are a lot of users here who feel scared to get involved and won't speak up. There are also users who feel they need to defend those people, and sometimes their way of trying to protect others can feel overbearing, which triggers a defensive reaction in the person whose behavior is being perceived as the problem, creating friction. It could be better to ask that if people are feeling uncomfortable, that they disengage and report the behavior to moderators rather than trying to directly fight behavior they perceive as being damaging.
If a person is regularly reported for making people feel uncomfortable, it is a pretty safe bet that such a person is being too abrasive for the collective taste of the forum, and that they should make a more serious attempt not to offend.
If a person is regularly the one doing the reporting, it is a pretty safe bet that such a person is too sensitive to participate here without getting hurt, and should be advised to take a break from forum activities that are causing them stress.
This would not be a perfect system, but it would give a much more statistical picture than I presume the mods have currently when they need to evaluate forum behavior. It would also make moderation much less haphazard and prone to bias, since it would be based in feedback from the community at large. I am much in favor of it.
On a similar note...
Another positive action that would help the forum, I think, would be to accept that different people have different communication styles.
I've been thinking about this more, since trooper6 dutifully pointed out that the non-binary thread was trying to be on topic from the beginning, and since daikiraikimi wrote:
Things will only get better when we accept that we have differences, and embrace them instead of pretending we can only empathize with people who we are convinced are "just like us."
I estimate that 80 to 90 percent of fights or disagreements that I have had in my lifetime were due to communication breakdowns. And, since I have been here, I have been involved in some and I have watched quite a few more.
This was part of why I originally stressed focusing on our commonalities, perhaps somewhat erroneously (after all I do think diversity breeds creativity). I thought that focusing on what we had in common (visual novels) would help us give each other the benefit of the doubt. "You like the same thing I like! You can't be *all* bad." But of course as daikiraikimi reminded me, it would be creatively detrimental and unrealistic to expect people to shed their identities.
So given the fact that the non-binary thread was actually on topic, then I do think that thread was helpful to the forum.
The real thing unhelpful to the forum, I am now more firmly convinced, is the expectation that everybody should know to communicate a certain way here by default, and the idea that it is OK to jump on people when they don't measure up to that standard because "they should know better already so they deserve it". This cuts both ways. I have seen it here with social justice activists and I have also seen it here with a "net savvy" person who mocked a younger user by replying to her naive post with a shitpost.
In either case I find this attitude quite alarming. You may devote your life to the cause of social justice, and as a result develop highly refined communication skills which you have skillfully optimized to be as non-offensive to as many people as possible. You may devote your life to computer systems mastery and as a result develop highly technical skills with which you seek to solve as many problems as possible. It is detrimental in either case to expect that others will be as advanced in your chosen field and that you get to look down on anybody who is not.
I do share the opinion of a few people here who say they feel ill at ease to post opinions. I have sometimes felt uncomfortable about posting opinions here, and in fact if we are being transparent and honest, I have already lost a great deal of sleep over this thread. (It was my choice to participate here, obviously, so I am not a victim nor do I expect or particularly desire any sympathy.) Posting one's opinion often comes at the cost of being furiously misunderstood due to differences in perception of language. A perfect illustration: I never expected to be told that I was "persecuting" anyone in the course of this discussion. That was, nevertheless, the way at least one person (and at least a few silent lurkers
) perceived me. Still, I posted here because I care about the community and I assume everyone else in the thread has the same basic motivation.
Just recently, I lost a friend because, in part, nearly everything I said to her was interpreted differently than the way that I meant it. I use this personal illustration, but what I really want to stress is that it's not just me
. I know people who are even worse
than me at anticipating how their words come across to others - quite a few people. Yes, good communication is important. But no, we cannot expect everyone to have it. It is something that develops with experience, and it is also something that some people never really develop, because their strengths lie in other areas.
Should some people be encouraged to be a little more sensitive to the feelings of others? Yes, of course. But it should be with patience and good will from one community member to another, rather than "You should have known this already! ARRGHGHGHGHGHGH! WHY DON'T YOU KNOW IT?!" I want to believe that when people speak up to correct another user, they are doing it out of a place of trying to spread knowledge, to teach them. So, good teachers are patient; they don't yell at their pupils for making mistakes or being slow to catch on. We should all try to be good teachers to one another. And help remind each other when we are getting a little too rabid about our sacred cows.
Back to the subject of my friend: What I found was that when I tried to have a discussion with her -- to hash out the misunderstandings that had taken place -- she actually did not trust me. She did not take it on good faith that I was trying to be her friend, and that the words I said were not meant
to be hurtful. If she only could have had that faith, she would have felt comfortable enough to say, "Sapphi, that hurt my feelings." And because I really was trying to be her friend, and her happiness was important to me, I would have tried very hard not to do that anymore. As it stands, she pushed me away because she could not take on good faith that I did not want to hurt her
, and both she and I have now lost a source of insight and happiness.
In sum, going forward, can we all please acknowledge that not everybody is on the same wavelength when it comes to communication, and give each other the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst of each other? Can we not get paranoid and develop persecution complexes and conspiracy theories about this or that subgroup in the forum? Can we feel comfortable enough, when someone is hurting our feelings, to say "Please stop, it hurts my feelings"? Can we believe in people enough to expect that the majority of them will be like "Aww shit, I didn't mean to do that" rather than "Lulz I'm going to keep hurting them"? And can we trust that the mods are here to take care of the latter group?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, if we cannot assume people are innocent until proven guilty ("I will try my best not to hurt you" vs "I don't care if I hurt your feelings or not"), then I cannot see a future for this community, at least not as one cohesive whole.
Sorry for writing a book.