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: 1155

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Replies to This Discussion

Felch - And what does intentionally misreading what I said accomplish? Either that, or you simply did not read, but chose to respond anyway, thus contradicting what you just claimed you do. I don't know what's worse.

That spanking might be well deserved if that were the post of yours I was reading and referring to. But it wasn't.

I was responding to this post of yours. I thought the fact that I hit "reply to this" on that particular post and my response appears just below it, complete with little gray arrow pointing from your post to mine, sufficiently indicated that. It seems I thought wrong. In the future I'll be happy to include the link as well.

In that post you wrote about the functions served by name-calling, commenting:

a) it's satisfying
b) it's unambiguous
c) it means that we can pretend we are not in kindergarten and can express ourselves without artificial inhibition when the situation warrants

Again, this is another instance of this site wanting to be a sheltered workshop where defective and deranged intellects can babble with impunity and the comforting knowledge that they are a protected species that will be shielded from all psychic harm. Adults are no longer allowed to be adults.

The benefits of name-calling, followed by a complaint that taking away that ability is akin to not "allowing" adults to be adults. That is how I read your post. But I did find it a bit confusing, which is why I lead with "I'm confused" followed by a question, leaving my interpretation open for rebuttal.

Which I hoped would be more constructive than just calling you an idiot.

I disagree. One isn't entitled to say, "You are an idiot.", only "this pattern of argument is idiotic". It's important to distinguish the worth of the person from judgment of his/her behavior. "You're an idiot" implies that the person is no more than the bad behavior in question, can not learn from mistakes, and that you are better than him/her. Mutual respect matters. Name calling doesn't demonstrate respect. Put down behavior, say what you want the person to do instead, or ban, but don't disparage their humanity.

I believe you are insinuating something beyond the innocuous "Idiot" as name calling- I would think that warrants a warning. If they go really far, there is no need for a warning (and I have seen about as far as it gets, and shockingly it happened offline).

I'm more concerned about things that make others unsafe, as there is never a call for that.

Just throwing opinions out there though, as it is completely the call of the moderator, of course

All of the rules were developed with lot of thoughtful discussion, and most spring from Ning ToS. This is no exception. In many cases, concerns lie in the nuances of where to draw an objective line on a subjective situation, as Jo states. And in the uniform or nonuniform application of rules.

Not reading every line in every thread, and never in the chat room, I'm guessing. But I think rules 3a and 3f have been the biggest concerns.

As a community, there's no harm in reminding people who violate a rule. It should be OK for us to point out to someone "Let's tone it down. Calling someone who you disagree with "compost brain" really is name calling and does not deepen the discourse. It also violates our site rules". If the response is then "You scumbag syphilitic gonorrhea infected leper" then we have a couple of choices - "Thank you for your response" and leave it be, or in some cases a report to moderator is indicated. This is not "free speech infringement", it's civility.

Jo is right, there is a lot of subjectivity along the way. That's where getting to know one another and accepting each personality and style of expression comes in, and it's a reason to have moderators.

In addition, there is the issue of moderation, or enforcement of rules. It has already been discussed that moderation resources are strained. That doesn't make the rule less valid. It makes it more important that we all are aware of the rules, and keep them in mind when appropriate.
Would inferring I drink piss for breakfast every morning be considered an ad hominem attack on me? Or was it simply just someone attacking my character to discredit me and not my ideas? Is a reply like that considered "in a civil manner"? Would you consider inferring someone is a piss drinker rude? Also, isn't what I eat for breakfast immaterial to the discourse anyway? It's all very grey, isn't it?

I'm just asking to avoid any rule 3.1 infractions (or the Ning ToS) in the future.
Would inferring I drink piss for breakfast every morning be considered an ad hominem attack on me?

It would if the inference is that you choose to drink piss because you are uncouth, unclean, etc.

In this case, the inference is a common Western colloquialism to use the metaphor of someone else putting piss in your food, thereby making you angry enough to lash out at other people throughout the day who did not piss in your food. And/or treat people you do take issue with with undue vitriol rather than seeking to compartmentalize each person/situation on its own merit and communicate more civilly and with less projected anger/emotion.

We could all do with less piss in our cereal. I know I could.
Jo, I invite and even encourage you (or anyone) to go through my Latest Activity and point out all my "undue vitriol", un-civility, and projected anger. Go back farther, even before these discussions started, since I was supposedly all "cranky and rude" for the last month or so.

I think you'll see my cereal is basically piss-free and that the remark was immature and uncalled for at the very least.
@Dave give me a break. You know what someone "peed in your corn flakes" means. And it is far less abrasive as the comments you have posted here and in other places. There is absolutely no way that you were offended or felt ridiculed. You were being rude, and I pointed it out. Nothing wrong with that, and by your own admission you have done the same thing.

Perhaps your real intention can be summarized by what you said here:

Aw, come on, half the fun of this website is watching the dicks call out the non-dicks and then see the non-dicks whine about the dicks. Then the dicks bitch about the non-dicks for being oversensitive and then everyone bitches about too much whining and bitching.

I know, I use to be somewhat of a dick six months ago and coincidently, this site has become basically boring to me lately because I rarely comment on anything anymore. (I still read a lot.) Maybe I should try being somewhat of a dick again... or maybe I should just move on.

You know, madness can be entertaining sometimes - just like a train wreck. Just wait 'til there's 5 times more members.


You and I have had some fun "tit for tat" in the past, and perhaps we will again in the future. Right now, let's focus on the issues at hand and come up with some solutions.
@ Richard - Thank you for reminding me. It is time to move on. Since I started The End Times group, is there any way to transfer it's administration to someone else? If not, it's no big deal. It's been dead for a while anyway.
If someone wants to take it over, you can make them an admin. When you leave it won't close it down.
Thanks. I'll email the group now and see if anyone is interested.




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