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: 1116

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Replies to This Discussion

I'll second Daniel on that. I know you guys are spread thin and taking lots of heat for it. Shocking to learn that Nexus isn't your 24/7 life, but ... there you have it.

Thanks to you, BR and moJoe!
Ditto that Amanda.
One more point that I haven't seen addressed regarding rule #3...

English is the default language we use on this site, but not everyone here is a native English speaker. Likewise, we have people from different backgrounds, cultures, age groups, levels and types of education. If someone has had a stroke for instance, they might not be as sharp on the keyboard but it shouldn't mean they can't participate.

All that to say, I wouldn't mind seeing a reminder to step back and consider possibilities like this before lashing out at someone. It's not an ego or greater-than/less-than thing. It's a think-before-calling-someone-stupid thing.

Reminds me of a friend who got bumped into by a guy in a store. She whipped around and shouted, "What the fuck? Are you blind?!?" ... Only to discover he actually was blind. She now keeps a wary eye out for those white canes. ;-)
That's a very good point.
I completely agree!
Since English is not my native language this seems to be a perfect excuse to hide behind when I'm being called out on my ignorance!

Seriously though, at times we can all use a moment to think before we act, which can also be quite difficult depending on the situation.
Rule #3 seems utterly fair and consistent.

My only question is about blame. In particular, I believe the INSTIGATOR (not responder) needs to be targeted by moderators. An angry, don't-tread-on-me, response can be justified from victims if the violation is blatant or egregious enough.

Turning the other cheek serves only to leave a metallic taste in my mouth. I should not be expected to wimp out if attacked. Instigating an attack leaves the instigator open to counter-attack. This might not be the wisest option but I don't believe the victim should be punished for the instigator's offense.
Well put Free Thinker.

This rule is definitely a no-brainer and violation of it or of the spirit of the rule will make people feel unsafe.

Not my forum, but in my humble opinion, you tried to hard to make this one perfectly clear (I do applaud the effort though). I feel this is a very subjective thing and if anyone acts in a threatening manner to anyone else, it clearly justifies being banned without warning


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