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: 1014

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Replies to This Discussion

Daniel: I suggest that be a separate discussion or issue

I was responding to a bunch of moJoe's highly creative reinterpretations of what has allegedly been said - yet the derailing is my fault? Welcome to AtheistNexus.
I hope you forgive my confusion, I am glad you like the rules as they are. Whether my application of them is satisfactory to you only time will tell.

To avoid further confusion: calling people a "retard" or and "idiot" or "stupid" is unacceptable.
So long as you are willing to explain why and are able to effectively differentiate between the idea and the person. Ideas, again, are not sacred. This will, of course, be pushed and abused by someone, and when it is used overmuch and without ceremony or qualification, it will still bring problems down on people who can't articulate their grievances and must resort to lashing out childishly.

But to be clear: there are stupid ideas floating around out there. By all means, lay them to rest. I'd just like people to be able to reasonably be able to determine the difference between an idea that simply lacks enough evidence to be accepted as true and a "stupid, retarded, OMG I WANT TO GASH MY EYES OUT THAT IS SUCH A RIDICULOUS" idea. There is such a thing as "overkill."

As to the Pope: I don't see him filing a complaint about it.
I'm wondering at this point, is a dead horse being beaten?

Have currently interested parties at least seen the rule, understood it, disagreed or agreed, and made their points/branch points/branch-branch points? Have the "let's be nice people" and "don't be a wimp people" all identified their point of view? ("pro-nice" and "pro-cahones" ?)

Transparency is very important. It can also be very difficult and cumbersome and controversial, which is why it doesn't happen in a lot of places. This is about as transparent as I can imagine.

I don't want to be an "on topic nazi" but out of respect for those who act on the rules, and those who moderate discussions - a finite and unappreciated resource - I think there should be an end-point to this particular discussion of each rule. Otherwise it will never get to the end. I'm fine if others state we are not there yet, but asking if we are.

Not everyone can have the last word. And once a horse is dead, it's really no good beating further, except to tenderize the meat. This despite I want each person to be able to express themselves.
Again, good points Daniel. Not only is it important that we stay on topic, but we should all be clear about the outcome we are seeking.

Quite frankly, if someone doesn't want to be a part of a civil community where all are free to discuss and defend their opinions and views, then they are wasting their time here.
I'm wondering at this point, is a dead horse being beaten?

Quite possibly. Though it's brought a few things to light I believe. Namely, this thread, in my humble opinion, has become a microcosm of the larger site issues for many of us:

One person's post being misinterpreted or misrepresented by another.

- In at least one case, I got spanked for my presumed reply to post A when in fact I was responding to post B. What tends to stand out in people's minds is not the technical error but the spanking.

- In most cases, I suspect it is the peed-in-my-cornflakes effect. We're mad at someone, or several someones, or the issue in general, and rather than responding to the compartmentalized, specific point, we read into it a way broader meaning and respond to the assumed broader meaning ... which can be miles off course from the point itself.

Subjectivity of the rule

- Some of the responses here, I and I know many others, would perceive as unduly hostile and uncivil relative to what is being discussed/responded to. I would predict that those persons and any loyal fans of theirs would not perceive undue hostility. Surprise! We're all human and we all think we're right and the other guy is wrong!

- Some people seem threatened by the very word civility itself; as if it is akin to a gag order, as if it is not possible to have ... lively discussion? ... without name calling and personal attacks.

- One person's personal attack is another person's statement of fact, and vice-versa.

- One person's subject-deserving-of-analysis is another person's I-have-the-truth-and-how-dare-you-question-it.

This is where moderators come in. Call them fascist or oppressive, but ultimately, Brother Richard, moJoe, Grundgetta, and anyone else hired to help are the jury. If someone is unhappy with the level of civility they set, then like Dave Rogers, they are free to leave.
Just to be clear, Dave Rogers has not left. He is currently suspended, which is again silencing members.

I am completely against the silencing of members by suspension, or by deleting comments, or even by closing discussions. It is cowardly
I would appreciate people not making accusations based on half-truths and rumors. This is especially true when they are not privy to all information.

I have already addressed the closing of discussions, but the only comments that were ever deleted by moderators were those that violated the rules of the site. In most cases, screen shots of these comments are taken. We have discussed new courses of action that will not remove the offensive item, and more info will be available soon.

I will not comment on any particular member or ex-member. However, on several occasions when people who have made it clear they are leaving Nexus, have done so only to come back a few days later (when they think no one is looking) to wreak havoc. Therefore, at times certain accounts are blocked when the member leaves the site. These ex-members always have the option to request reinstatement. On a situational basis, their account may or may not be restored.

And for the record, I am completely against banning, harassing, or comment bombing members simply because someone disagrees with them.
Not everyone can spend 24/7 on Nexus. Once upon a time I could, and sometimes almost did. I don't have that luxury now. I'm sure many more people don't have that luxury, also.

Some discussions were closed before I could fully formulate my thoughts. I would appreciate the opportunity to respond before it is decided that the horse is dead.
Acknowledged. Me too. I have to turn off the "follow" button now, because the high signal:noise ratio is making it so that I can't keep up. I've made my 2 cent comments. Sorry you missed making some input.

And thank you for your hard work and role in keeping nexus open and fair, G.
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.




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