Ban Politics from the forum

Use this board for general non-cycling-related chat, or to introduce yourself to the forum.

Politics Too Contentious, Time to Stop!

Poll ended at 9 Dec 2016, 8:33am

No more political threads
9
50%
Politics behind a closed door, opt in only, largely unmoderated
9
50%
 
Total votes: 18

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661-Pete
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby 661-Pete » 8 Dec 2016, 9:55am

This thread has been initiated as a cynical 'spoiler' intended to divert attention from (a) the sensible debate about political discussion which we've already been having, and (b) the poll which - admittedly with some reluctance - I added to a thread which I'd already started.

The only two options offered in the above poll are not likely to be acceptable to the majority of forummers. Nor, I suspect, to the thread initiator.
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

PH
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby PH » 8 Dec 2016, 10:02am

meic wrote:
Perhaps you can conscisely explain what is good about it?
We like it, it works.

Who is this we? I can see it works for the 20 or so people who use it, but I don't think it works for all and as has been said elsewhere it's unlikely to be appealing to new members.
I think it'd be best in it's own board, only viewable to members and with an opt in.

SpannerGeek
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby SpannerGeek » 8 Dec 2016, 10:03am

661-Pete wrote:This thread has been initiated as a cynical 'spoiler' intended to divert attention from (a) the sensible debate about political discussion which we've already been having, and (b) the poll which - admittedly with some reluctance - I added to a thread which I'd already started.

The only two options offered in the above poll are not likely to be acceptable to the majority of forummers. Nor, I suspect, to the thread initiator.


No offence Pete but your poll was all over the place (you said so yourself). I think a binary choice is much more appropriate to the concerns raised elsewhere.

Psamathe
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Psamathe » 8 Dec 2016, 10:03am

SpannerGeek wrote:It seems no one is willing to address the elephant in the room here, and the discussion elsewhere is simply rambling and diffuse, as is the poll.

I've been a moderator myself on a Science forum, with over a 1000 regular contributors and an international membership going on 120k people and we never had problems like those existing here.

The problem is simple. The mods are knee jerk, hair trigger responsive and so keen to keep the forum 'pure' that even the slightest offence can be easily manipulated by cynical users of the ' Report' button. Threads disappear, without due warning or explanation, large sections of posts are redacted or removed, essentially any grown up discussion is moderated to death. In my time as a mod we never once removed an entire thread! Also there are one or two users who only too happy to abuse the Reporting system at the slightest offence taken. They should be removed. Both the mods and regular contributors are at fault here....

I disagree. Just because every few months somebody starts a "Lets ban politics" thread does not mean there is a "problem". Just because an abusive comment was posted on one thread (which was deleted maybe because the mods were busy in their private lives and didn't have time to edit it) does not mean there is a "problem".

Most people seem able to ignore the threads that don't interest them and read those that do. Just as for everything else on the internet - everybody ignores bits that don't interest them and reads the bits that do. It's not difficult.

Maybe ban the recurring "Lets ban ..." threads (which tend to be posted by the same people).

Maybe there should be fewer "clickbait" threads (as thirdcrank pointed out) - the ones where somebody sees a news story and posts a link (something that is swamping the Tea shop these days) but it's hardly a major problem.

I don't agree that the moderators are "knee jerk" reacting. And I don't agree that people are manipulating "the slightest offence". Does this relate to your having apparently had some threads deleted recently ?

Things seem to run very smoothly. I'm actually surprised at how on this forum some emotive subjects can be discussed at length by people of widely differing opinions and holding very different viewpoints and still there is a lengthy polite and balanced discussion - something that actually reflects very well on the forum and presents a very positive image to the "outside world" (unlike e.g. the "skewers" thread).

People often confuse the "slightest offence" with attacking the person rather attacking the idea. Some people on occasions start arguing against the poster rather that the ideas they have posted - and then nothing wrong with removing those posts as such things add nothing to the discussion anyway. And sometimes an entire thread will have to go due to time constraints - it's just bad luck and hardly shows the forum to be "moderated to death" (there are plenty of current affairs threads that more than demonstrate this).

Ian

Psamathe
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Psamathe » 8 Dec 2016, 10:08am

PH wrote:... it's unlikely to be appealing to new members.....

Before I join any forum I watch it a bit and some are such dull places they just are not worth joining (there are only so many times you can ask about :"What type of bike should I get ?". A forum without life becomes a free advice forum, members join, ask they question, one of a small group of "experts" answer and the user disappears.

I once did join an Astronomy forum that was "no current affairs" to the point where you could not even discuss Light Pollution (because it might become political) - the forum dies as people became bored with how dead an un-inspired it because (that was a forum run by a charitable organisation as well).

Ian

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meic
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby meic » 8 Dec 2016, 10:10am

I meant the forum as a whole, rather than the political debates that have been a recent feature.
Of course I can only speak for myself. Others can raise different opinions, as you have just done.

Of course as a regular contributor, I have found a place that I like, so would resist changes that threaten the ethos of the place.
I am sceptical that you can tweak a bit without damaging the whole.
Yma o Hyd

Psamathe
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Psamathe » 8 Dec 2016, 10:13am

That we have a 2nd poll and a 3rd thread running (two started by the same person) just shows how daft this discussion has become and illustrates why some thread are deleted because people are swamping the Tea Shop with daft duplicates.

Maybe people should ban themselves from the current affairs threads (if they feel so inclined) just as I have e.g. banned myself from the 3 word game (and I'm not starting multiple threads saying how such threads should be banned despite their having nothing to do with cycling and hardly present any encouragement to new users, etc.).

Ian

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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Vorpal » 8 Dec 2016, 10:13am

SpannerGeek wrote:The problem is simple. The mods are knee jerk, hair trigger responsive and so keen to keep the forum 'pure' that even the slightest offence can be easily manipulated by cynical users of the ' Report' button. Threads disappear, without due warning or explanation, large sections of posts are redacted or removed, essentially any grown up discussion is moderated to death. In my time as a mod we never once removed an entire thread! Also there are one or two users who only too happy to abuse the Reporting system at the slightest offence taken. They should be removed. Both the mods and regular contributors are at fault here.

This can't go on. It's farcical. Either ban politics altogether or put it beyond reach of the average user on an opt in, members only section with minimal moderation and supervision.

This solves the majority of current frictions:

1. It frees the mods up to do more relevant, useful work

2. Extreme views can be challenged and not 'moderated' away by those who wish to abuse the Report system.

3. Free speech returns to the forum and those who no longer wish to see 'Blacking Up' stories don't have to.

4. Robust discussion can carry on behind closed doors, the more trivial trivia of everyday life can carry on regardless in the Tea Shop.

I've set this up as a binary question, because it really is quite straightforward, do we want vigorous political debate or not?

First of all, many reports on this forum are either closed with no action, or minimal action (e.g. removal of a direct insult)
Second of all, extreme views are not moderated away. I think that there are many examples on this forum of extreme views that have been left in place, including in a number of recent threads about current events.

Frankly, this forum is not here for robust discussion about politics or current events, although I appreciate that most users bring a balanced and interesting view on such things. I actually think that we are pretty tolerant on here. But, this is a cycling forum. That means our primary purpose is to talk about cycling and related matters. If you don't like the moderation here, feel free to take your arguments about politics and current events somewhere else.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Psamathe
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Psamathe » 8 Dec 2016, 10:15am

AlaninWales wrote:It does seem that some people are made nervous and annoyed by exposure to opinions which they disagree with, which makes them want to shut down debate. ...

+1

Ian

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661-Pete
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby 661-Pete » 8 Dec 2016, 10:24am

I think a binary choice is much more appropriate

There is no status quo option. At least I included it in my list of choices.
When I first broached the subject some years ago, that was my preference. On the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" principle.
Now I'm not so sure. Like many who voted Brexit, I suspect, I'm capable of changing my mind.
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

Psamathe
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Psamathe » 8 Dec 2016, 10:26am

SpannerGeek wrote:... I think a binary choice is much more appropriate to the concerns raised elsewhere.

Maybe I should start a poll/thread with the options I consider appropriate, and then maybe somebody else does. I'm sure if we all behaved in a similar manner we could get 50 running by the end of the week.

The important question is rather how does discussion of current affairs impact those who don't want to discuss them. If I get on a bus or go to a pub where another table is having a quiet polite discussion about something I'm not interested in I don't go to the owner/bus company and tell them to ban people from talking about such things. So why do people do that here?

It is easy to ignore current affairs discussions but instead people seem to want to silence them - which is rather sad.

Ian

Canuk
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Canuk » 8 Dec 2016, 10:37am

Psamathe wrote:
SpannerGeek wrote:... I think a binary choice is much more appropriate to the concerns raised elsewhere.

Maybe I should start a poll/thread with the options I consider appropriate, and then maybe somebody else does. I'm sure if we all behaved in a similar manner we could get 50 running by the end of the week.

The important question is rather how does discussion of current affairs impact those who don't want to discuss them. If I get on a bus or go to a pub where another table is having a quiet polite discussion about something I'm not interested in I don't go to the owner/bus company and tell them to ban people from talking about such things. So why do people do that here?

It is easy to ignore current affairs discussions but instead people seem to want to silence them - which is rather sad.

Ian


I think that those that are complaining most are those turkeys who wouldn't for Xmas!

Canuk
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Canuk » 8 Dec 2016, 10:37am

Canuk wrote:
Psamathe wrote:
SpannerGeek wrote:... I think a binary choice is much more appropriate to the concerns raised elsewhere.

Maybe I should start a poll/thread with the options I consider appropriate, and then maybe somebody else does. I'm sure if we all behaved in a similar manner we could get 50 running by the end of the week.

The important question is rather how does discussion of current affairs impact those who don't want to discuss them. If I get on a bus or go to a pub where another table is having a quiet polite discussion about something I'm not interested in I don't go to the owner/bus company and tell them to ban people from talking about such things. So why do people do that here?

It is easy to ignore current affairs discussions but instead people seem to want to silence them - which is rather sad.

Ian


I think that those that are complaining most are those turkeys who wouldn't for Xmas!

Psamathe
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Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Psamathe » 8 Dec 2016, 10:39am

Having just looked at the poll questions this is pretty daft and it pre-supposes an answer. Anybody votng automatically accepts that "there is a problem that needs solving". It is a classic methods to prove yourself right.

Ian

Canuk
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Re: Ban Politics from the forum

Postby Canuk » 8 Dec 2016, 10:39am

I don't contribute, but I read the Politics threads quite a bit and they do seem very harshly moderated. I'm in engineering IT and contribute to a lot of forums for work. I've only seen a thread removed once in ten years! (and that was because of a threat of violence).

The demographic of this Tea Room seems to be white, middle aged, right of centre. beardy men! I am none of these, so I find it interesting to watch the conversations develop. However it does all seem very anodyne and 'polite', probably because it's over moderated. There are one or two rotten eggs, as you get on any forum who seem to abuse it.

Obviously those who are long term contributors don't want change, but I'm put off the forum by 'Blacking Up' type threads myself. Perhaps a move behind closed doors is long overdue. I for one wouldn't miss it. Best left to the beardy men to wage war with their keyboards :)