Rule #3, in our ongoing discussion about rules.

The Rule:

   3. Harassing other members of the site may result in a ban.
Harassment includes (but is not necessarily limited to) the following:

   1. Ad hominem attacks and name calling.
   2. Blatantly bigoted or derogatory statements or remarks about
someone’s race, gender, or sexual orientation.
   3. Posting any contents of private conversations without the
expressed consent of all people involved.
   4. Disclosing private information about a fellow member without
their expressed consent.
   5. Posting inappropriate or private pictures of fellow members
without their expressed consent.
   6. Making negative threads targeting fellow members.

The Reason:
Nobody likes being harassed, we'd like everyone to have a fair shot at
getting along on Atheist Nexus and nobody should be subjected to an
undue amount of hassle. We'll go over this one slowly as it is a
matter of contention among members.

First, note that harassment is going to be one of those issues in
which the mod is going to have to make a decision based on what they
can see is happening using their judgment. It is another instance
where "good faith" and "Intent" will be leaned upon. The body of the
rule even mentions that items in the list of "things that are
harassment" are not the only ways to harass people.

a. Ad hominem attacks and name calling.
The long and the short of it is this: if people avoid calling others
names, they'll never get in trouble for calling others names.
Attacking people's character in order to discredit their ideas falls
under the same heading. If one takes exception to a person's ideas,
they should attempt to discredit those ideas in a civil manner. If
that person is acting foolish, their actions will speak for
themselves. Opinions about their IQ, the likely chemical composition
of their brain, the legitimacy of their parentage and other such
things are immaterial to discourse and hurtful.

b. Blatantly bigoted or derogatory statements or remarks about
someone’s race, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Keep it to yourself. The freedom to talk down to other races, genders, disabilities, ages
and/or sexual orientations, can be found plenty of other places on the
internet. This isn't one of them.

c. Posting any contents of private conversations without the expressed
consent of all people involved.
Things written in private should stay private. The exception to this
is if someone is making a report of another member harassing them in
public, in which case it is acceptable to forward messages on to the
moderation staff. It is never appropriate to publicly post the
contents of a private message without the senders permission.

d. Disclosing private information about a fellow member without their
expressed consent.
This rule is meant to protect people from being harassed via other
mediums or in their-day-to-day lives. Giving away another user's e-
mail address, phone number, home address, place of work or even real
name can be potentially harmful to that person, especially considering
the nature of this website and the prevailing attitudes toward
atheists and non-believers in most places around the world.

e. Posting inappropriate or private pictures of fellow members without
their expressed consent.
What is going to be inappropriate or private is sort of going to be up
to the person who's pictures is being posted. The onus is on each of
us to obtain permission before posting pictures of other members. 

f. Making negative threads targeting fellow members.
There is a fine line between targeting a person and targeting an idea
which has been associated with a person with such vitriol or passive
aggression that it becomes indistinguishable from a personal attack.
We'd like the free flow of ideas to remain free, and clamping down on
what people can and can't say is always a dangerous game--a game we'd
rather not have to play at all. However, our lack of action on matters
of harassment because of our respect for the freedom of speech is
causing a lot of problems.

On the one hand, as atheists, we have a great appreciation for ideas.
On the other hand, we typically expect those ideas to be based on
sound evidence and thinking. It's not wrong to challenge someone's
idea and it is not against the rules to upset someone. It is against
the rules to harangue them. Sometimes, people are wrong. Often times,
their minds can't be changed through argument. If it is evident that
no one is going to change their mind, continuing to attempt to
convince them or knock down an idea that has presumably already been
knocked down is accomplishing nothing. People are not obliged to
defend their ideas if they don't want to. They are also not obliged to
be right, nor are they obliged to acknowledge when other people are
right. These are all lovely, polite things, but they are not
obligations. Nobody has the right to persistently attempt to force
another person into a conversation they don't want to have.

By the same token, if a member takes exception to another person's
views and brings evidence and rational discourse to the table--that is
not harassment. Hounding people is. The difference will be up to the
moderators to decide. Their decisions need to be respected. 

The Action:
If it is determined that a member is harassing another member,
depending on the severity, they will usually receive a warning to
stop. After that, they may be banned. There will no longer be a chain
of warnings because a particular offender has decided to simply switch
targets. People who chronically hassle other members will be banned.
The culture of mean-spirited confrontation is getting stale and--as it
has manufactured nothing of value--it's going to stop.

It is my hope the the dialogue here will become more dialectic and a
little less argumentative.

Views: 1138

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

It's true that "one person's scholarship is another person's stupidity and vice versa", except that in such cases, one or both sides are wrong. That is, The Discovery Institute thinks evolution is crap and evolution scientists think Intelligent Design is crap, but only one group's opinion is actually correct. If homeopathy supporters argue with chiropractors about which "treatment" is superior, they are both wrong.

To assert that all scholarship is subjective smacks of postmodernism and seems on the face of it to be a rejection of the validity of the scientific method.

Having said that, asking the mods to arbitrate may not always be easy, and is probably impossible to do completely. Though Al-KADIM's list is a good start. There are some things we actually do know to be crap. We could at least not tolerate those.
Diana, you are right. Wild guess, I suspect that 99.9% of members never write posts. I have no idea about how many read them - it's like going to church. A few speakers, a choir, and the temple prostitutes :-) but most are there to soak up the atmosphere and get community.

I've added counters to a couple of the groups that I created, to get ideas on participation. Currently readership of those groups is down. I suspect people just lose interest, but I don't know.

Not wanting to derail this discussion, I'll leave that for a separate discussion but your point is worth thinking about.

(By the way, historical accuracy, Brother Richard came into his leadership role after AN already existed. He didn't create it. But probably 99% of members came on board after that. Sort of like the pope. :-)
Let me understand this. In a discussion of the culture of debate and name calling, you are insinuating that someone who disagrees with you and brings arguments as to why you are wrong is a troll. Hmmm. Oh, excuse me, troll-like.

From Wikipedia: "In Freudian psychology, Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies their own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, a tool, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings. ... An example of this behavior might be blaming another for self failure."
--- John D states - Just so you know in the future. People often use the word "believe" to mean the same thing as "assert" or "agree with."

@ Al-KADIM One person's belief is another person's assertion/agreement. This is what I mean by the potential subjectiveness of one person's dogma vs another person's scholarship.

--- John D also states - A good way to add to a site is to add content that has not already been discussed in an existing post with over one thousand responses.... just so you know for the future.

@ John D - Yes, I agree. I also agree that when that thousand-reply thread appears to have been hijacked, dominated and dragged into the mud by name-calling and personal attacks from both sides of the issue, it doesn't hurt to take a step back and attempt to revisit the topic (particularly if it is one that interests you), with a hopefully fresh sense of civility.

The odds it will work might be low, but we can still try.

Unless that is being insensitive to the people who put a lot of time and effort into those personal attacks?
But calling another blog a "Sideshow" is just asking for trouble.

The original was a Forum thread, not a blog. I think there's a difference, but that's just my subjective view.

And I didn't see the word "sideshow" as being in reference to that thread. The initial thousand-reply thread was "Do you believe Jesus existed?" specifically asking, in poll format, people's thoughts on yes, no, yes-but, etc.

The blog in question is titled "The Historical Jesus is a Sideshow." The topic of that blog was not to address *if* there was a historical Jesus, but that whomever that person was is lost behind the myth; the silliness of the Theists who presume to know the "real" Jesus. That is what I gathered was meant by "Sideshow."

Some of us on the first thread tried to make that point but were drowned out by the I-believe-in-Jesus crowd. So an attempt was made at a new thread. At least, that's my subjective read of the situation.
Do you mean the blog post where you called Matt a troll, and later apologized for using the blog post to promote your book? Is it the blog post where you said you won't answer comments from anyone who hasn't read your book, and went on a deletion spree of comments that were unfavorable to you?

There is one thing worse than calling people stupid, and that's treating people as if they are stupid.
--- Al-KADIM - There is one thing worse than calling people stupid, and that's treating people as if they are stupid.

So if I were to call you, say, an ignoramus (stupid), the only thing worse than that would be to treat you as if you *are* stupid. Like, say, assuming that because you correctly say "Famous quote X does not come from the bible" you therefore must be completely ignorant that there exist bible passages that are similar to X, at which point I write a blog aimed at telling you and the rest of the site just how wrong you are about that.

'K. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.
Let me give you an example of how to conduct a civil debate...

you are extremely patronizing, and a coward. Deleting comments and then crying about them, when they were simply skeptical of your claims, and information. You are the troll, my dear. I haven't seen anything from you but argumentative postings since your "blog" trauma.

I think you need to take a good look at yourself before you claim to be a victim, and certainly before you tell lies about what comments entailed, and conveniently delete them in order for there to be no proof to the contrary.
It's quite amusing to see how full of yourself you really are. I suppose your book isn't selling so well, or else you might have money for therapy. Perhaps if you went with peer reviewed and a professional press ... Ah, but then you'd have to actually know something.

I find it tragic that you have tried to use this otherwise civil discussion about the culture of discourse here to play the victim, whine, and insult other members in good standing. I do hope the moderators look into your behavior and act accordingly.

My own reading of this is as follows: I do not expect everyone to like me, agree with me, or even recognize the colorfully innate genius that is inherent to my persona. Life's a bitch, no less than some people I can think of. On the other hand, even when tempers rise, most of us, as mature adults, are capable of moving on.

Why just a few days ago, I had a testy exchange with MoJoe. Does that mean I dislike MoJoe? Not at all. It is simply the nature of the beast called blogging, where a lot of the facial and tonal expressions in daily conversation are absent. We moved on and have had some valuable and friendly exchanges since then.

Unfortunately, Diana, you are unable to move on. Wherever you seem to go, you fling recriminations and then claim victimhood. I think Encyclopedia Dramatica put it best.

Victim complex is a psychological disorder manifesting in both individuals and groups. Once upon a time, traditionally downtrodden ethnic minority groups, suffering genuine persecution, had some cause to complain about the shitty state of affairs that said group was going through. In modern times, of course, what with all the democratic freedoms we enjoy and the general lack of pogroms and gas chambers, many other oppressed groups have bravely spoken up about the terrifying ordeals they nobly endured, up to and including 'being looked at funny', 'being called nasty names', 'having their deviantART/LJ trolled'.

In short, every idiotic group and individual with a slight is nursing a complex about it. The truly desperate cultivate multiple complexes into an entire bundle wrapped up into deep seated psychosis.

The possessor of a victim complex needs some outside authority to blame for their own failures. They can never compensate for their personal challenges in order to do the basic competition necessary to be even minimally successful at life. Those with the most institutional of complexes have created not only an outside persecutor but feel an innate and deep endowment for entitlement, even privilege. In many cases those with a victim complex have foisted their delusions of persecution onto others and convinced the supposed persecutor into another complex: liberal guilt. Those who are members of the class of people (supposedly) persecuting the victim who don't subscribe to liberal guilt are held up as examples of those who really ARE persecuting them which just reinforces the complex.

And there we go. I do hope the mods look into your behavior. That, more than any haggling over the rules here, would show how serious they are in their efforts to improve the site.
Keep your replies civil and stop with the ad hominems or refrain from posting. For further details, please read the original post. Thank you!
Awesome post.
Wow - it is a lot easier to tell everyone to just suck it up.


instead of the "Don't be a dick" meme, I vote for the motto to be "don't be a pussy"




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