User Guidelines doc?

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User Guidelines doc?

Postby Booker » Mon Dec 08, 2003 12:56 pm

Any idea when a draft of the user guidelines will be available for review? Might be good to create a thread here for each section in advance of release, just to gather input.
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Postby III » Mon Dec 08, 2003 2:52 pm

here's the initial super rough draft that hasn't even started getting internal comments yet. may as well get the user's input as well, though, and i'll log them for the team.

========================

Philosophy

- The eplaya exists to support the burning man community.

- In order to do so, it must support both the interest of ongoing community members (who may have a variety of interests that they bring to the commmunity that are only peripheral to the actual festival itself) as well as those members who only briefly interact online, but belong to the burning man commmunity as whole, and those who are joining the community and wish to gain an understanding of what it is.

- Everyone is capable of contributing positively to the community, and a variety of viewpoints are both expected and encouraged.

Expected Behavior

- There are different areas for different purposes within the eplaya. Please respect their intended use.

- Personal attacks are unwelcome.

- Contributions should intelligible, and add value to the discussion.

- Your words are a reflection on you. They are how you will be judged by others. Be careful in how you present yourself.

Consequences

- Moderators may move threads that are inappropriate for a certain discussion area to a more appropriate folder.

- Upon complaint, or personal observation of violation of the expected behaviors, administrators may issue a strike to the offender. The violation will be evaluated in the context of surrounding messages, as well as possibly posts in other threads. If the offense is provoked, strikes may be issued to others as well, or even instead. 3 strikes will result in a reduction of privileges. Strikes expire after 3 months. Expired privileges may remain so indefinitely.

- Extreme violations may result in immediate action without going through the strike process. The justifications for such actions will, however, be documented and made known to the general populace of the e-playa in a well defned location. (probably within the eplaya feedback area).

Privacy rights

- Your words are your own. However, this is a public forum, and anyone (even unregistered users) may read them.

- Information collected during registration, but not authorized for dissemination, will only be used by the administrators of the eplaya if necessary to administer the board, and will not be used for any other purposes by brc, llc or disseminated to any other organizations.

Modifications

- These policies are subject to revision in order to allow maximum possible freedom of expression while protecting individuals' immediate experience. Should changes occour which affect the potential privacy of your information, you will be notified and allowed to remove such information before the changes take effect.
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Postby Kinetic II » Mon Dec 08, 2003 4:23 pm

When Araceli paged and said they had posted the preliminary rules I had to take a look. Here's my feedback.

1: Spellcheck?
2: I'd like to see a pledge from the admins that this will be enforced fairly. No more Spanky situations...
3: Spell out the consequences of violating the rules. Do you lose your posting ability? Face a permanent ban? Make it clear up front, if you do these things, here is what to expect. Leave no doubts.

Beyond that it looks perfect. Trey, this is excellent. I hope TP, AG, and the admins adopt this quickly and roll it out this week.

Something else to add to address P's comments...add a section on behavior guidelines...consider leaving your posts as an archive for others to benefit from. Just because you can pull content doesn't mean you should.

Despite my taglines and all bs, socks, games, trickery and whatever else has happened, this is what the eplaya needs and could be the start of rebuilding this community. I wish everyone well in their efforts to make it happen. To give credit where credit is due, it took the socks and trolls to get people off their rear ends and make this happen...it cost some momentary friendships but the ends justify the means. If the BM event is attacked and it's survival threatened, the eplaya can be a critical resource to make sure it continues. It has to be strong and be able to resist attack. There are religious freaks and locals who really want to kill the event...if they get stronger preparation against their efforts is a must. These defenses will help protect at least the eplaya portion against attacks..it's a great first step.

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Postby Chai Guy » Mon Dec 08, 2003 4:34 pm

How about a limit on the number of new threads that can be started by a single poster in one day?

Otherwise, this looks good.
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Postby Araceli » Mon Dec 08, 2003 4:59 pm

K, not everything's a conspiracy, about you, or the end of the world as you know it.

This board was here before you came and will be here long after your gone. For all your hot air you didn't accomplish diddly squat in the overall scheme of things. You helped implement some rules, in a community known for it's openness and anything goes attitude. Is this a legacy to be proud of?

Rules are not the answer to everything. If you want rules, work under the UCMJ and then you'll appreciate what not having rules is all about. Maybe you need to stay in Chicago, the way you've been acting you've earned a place right behind Joe Dunphy from all I've observed. I haven't been here long but the one thing I can see is you've been here too long. Be gone.

As for the actual thread topic...spellcheck it, vote on it, then implement it. You can go back and fine tune it later.

Jamie M.
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Postby III » Mon Dec 08, 2003 5:08 pm

>How about a limit on the number of new threads

this is the sort of thing that technology can easily solve. the guidelines are intended to address the more intractable issue of how to deal with antisocial behavior.

>pledge from the admins

dunno what good that would do. people pledge stuff all the time, and either intentionally or unintentionally don't live up to it. what i'd rather see is a community review board to review actions and develop a case history to guide future actions.

>Spell out the consequences of violating the rules

as mentioned, this is a rough draft. i would imagine that restrictions would include things easily managed from the phpbb admin page, such as losing thread creation ability, or only being allowed to post in certain sections, or complete elimination of the account and banning of the email address, and would also depend in part on the nature and severity of the infractions. i expect that they will eventually be codified, but expect that there may be some trial and error to determine what level is the right level.

>Just because you can pull content doesn't mean you should.

perhaps. it seemed to me at first that this could be solved with a technical solution as well (such as time limiting edit abilities, or preserving an edit history that mostly stayed out of the way, but could be easily accessed.) but i've since decided that it's a social problem, not all that different in disruptive effect than flames or null content, and can be similarly addressed.

>this is what the eplaya needs and could be the start of rebuilding this community

i see it as a stopgap measure until more abilities are added to this forum to allow users to shape their own experience, and as those get implemented the need for the community standards will hopefully decline.

>it cost some momentary friendships

well, not to me it didn't...
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Postby technopatra » Mon Dec 08, 2003 5:54 pm

Kinetic II wrote:2: I'd like to see a pledge from the admins that this will be enforced fairly. No more Spanky situations...


That situation would've been completely justified under these rules. It was a short, bullshit thread of everybody spewing nothing but personal attacks at each other. I endorsed his decision to pull it then and I would do so again.

That said, I have no problem adding the pledge - tho I feel it's redundant for us, it will soothe the savage breasts of many, and hopefully instill more confidence in the newbies.

Kinetic II wrote:3: Spell out the consequences of violating the rules. Do you lose your posting ability? Face a permanent ban? Make it clear up front, if you do these things, here is what to expect. Leave no doubts.


I agree. We're working on those rules. It new territory for everyone.

Kinetic II wrote:Beyond that it looks perfect. Trey, this is excellent. I hope TP, AG, and the admins adopt this quickly and roll it out this week.


That is my goal.

Kinetic II wrote:Something else to add to address P's comments...add a section on behavior guidelines...consider leaving your posts as an archive for others to benefit from. Just because you can pull content doesn't mean you should.


I am glad to see you take this position.
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Postby Guest » Mon Dec 08, 2003 7:25 pm

1. Thanks for posting this trey. It's clearly a first draft and subject to extensive revision. I'm sure all will treat it as such and respond with constructive suggestions. Right?

2. "Philosophy"--I'd like to see more about a focus on the posts as unacceptable post rather than people. An emphasis on behavior rather than identity leaves more room for better posts by people who draw the attention of the enforcement mechanism. I think this was a weakness of the old bbs's reliance on "fuckwitting" people labeled as offenders, which felt like an attack to which they responded by doubling down on the annoying behavior.

3. "Strikes"--Seems like a good way to approach the problems seen lately. More specifics are needed about the "reduction in privileges" and I like trey's idea of developing a set of examples to base these decisions on. I also like the emphasis on the context of the offending post and its relation to other posts.

4. "Privacy rights"--Someone with the authority to promise will have to endorse the guarantee that account info wouldn't be used except to admin the board. Also, I'd like to see an assurance that disciplinary actions wouldn't be public information--no posting anyone's strike count, eh?

5. In light of the LambdaMOO story, is some specific prohibition needed about posting info under anyone else's name? Hasn't happened here, afaik, but would it be a useful preventative? Or maybe an explicit statement that any attempt to post code that interferes with the functioning of the software is ground for immediate, permanent account termination.

6. Maybe a more general principle about maintaining one's own identity via a consistent login, with guidelines about when the juvenile sockpuppet traffic is considered inappropriate.

No doubt I'll find even more to say in due course.
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Postby Booker » Mon Dec 08, 2003 7:28 pm

Poop. That was me. Thought I was logged in. And I have no idea why the hell the software lets me post without being logged in. Surely that's a first step toward my number 6 above.
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Postby III » Mon Dec 08, 2003 8:17 pm

>Philosophy

this was one of the categories listed in a (very) rough outline proposed by someone on the etf. i wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but decided it made sense to enumerate some guiding principals to provide context for the actual rules. this is intended to be a living document, subject to refinements, and it makes sense to me to keep track of the orginal goals to make sure that it doesn't grow away from those.

as such, it's very pointedly about who should be enabled to use this service as a result of these guidelines.

>emphasis on the context of the offending post and its relation to other posts.

i think this is key, which is why i threw it in there. i've seen other boards where that wasn't payed attention to, and games of bait and snitch became common.

i expect that there should also be some sort of review or appeals process, eventually.

>authority to promise will have to endorse

ayup. that certainly isn't me. i just threw in what i thought would be appropriate for this community - i'd expect that at some point they'll have to run it by a lawyer.

>assurance that disciplinary actions wouldn't be public information

this is a double edged sword, and i'm not sure which edge i'd rather be cut by.

on the one hand, public branding is (to me, at least) undesireable. the purpose of the action should be to enhance the community, not punish and shame an individual.

on the other hand, without knowing how the standards are enforced, it makes commmunity overview of moderation process difficult. it's why there is a requirement to publicly document quick actions: these things should not happen in the dark.

it would be nice if there was a way to record the violation and response, without identifying an individual. given the small size of this board, and the diverse nature of issues this document is meant to deal with, though, i'm quite sure that goal is impossible.

>attempt to post code

this is not lambda moo, and users cannot actually submit code that changes the behavior of the system.

as for impersonating other people, it seems like a reasonable thing to add. my first instinct is that simply cancelling the account in that case would be an appropriate thing to do. in borderline cases (fer example, does "sugarlarry" count?) the offender could be offered the chance to change the name to something less referential.

>more general principle about maintaining one's own identity

maybe. this is being debated among some of the etf members right now. i'm not sure where i stand on the issue. i'll point out that there are a number of multiple identities i've enjoyed (including my all time favorite poster), and who have managed to contribute positively with all of their various identities.
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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:13 am

>That situation would've been completely justified under these rules. It was a short, bullshit thread of everybody spewing nothing but personal attacks at each other. I endorsed his decision to pull it then and I would do so again.

it's not clear, however, that it would be the appropriate thing to do.

i keep coming back to how rangers have to handle these situations on the playa. the first rule is that you try to approach it from the level of the participants. you don't play the authority figure. you try to establish a meeting of the minds, rather than jumping in and dictating how people are going to behave. and sometimes you just wait for the fires to burn themselves out. not everything needs to be managed. it is well understood by the good rangers that playing the authority card not only doesn't work, but it actually serves to undermine the community that they're supposed to be supporting. the ranger training sessions have spent years being refined to try to eliminate this impulse in new (and even experienced) rangers.

as a non-admin, i still feel that the way that situation was handled was a greater violation of trust than the actual discussion itself. it disturbs me that the guidelines i helped create could be seen as a justification for that.

in fact, from what i can tell, these guidelines do *not* support that action. it allows for moving threads, not freezing them. and it allows for strikes to be issued. and it allows for more direct action, but only on the condition that the reasoning behind it is carefully documented and publicised.
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Postby III » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:15 am

bah. and that last post was me.

stupid guest posts.
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Postby Ivy » Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:32 am

This may be trivial and have nothing relevant to the overall point at ahnd, but i feed a need to clarify re: the situation of threads being locked/deleted.

There was a thread, some random thread (I don't recall the title anymore) where people got involved in an overly heated discussion. Some people thought it was flaming. therefore, someone started a new thread, entitled "Let's flame Xperson" and *that's* the thread that was locked. It may have then been deleted after that. I don't know what happened to the first thread; i was under the assumption it was still around at the bottom of some page somewhere.

My personal opinion: I don't think creating a thread specifically for the purpose of flaming someone, whether it be LH or especially another user of the forum, is appropriate. I think Spanky's actions were appropriate-- however, with no set guidlelines to back him up nor any sort of warning system, his actions did come out of the blue and seemed to be more "God-powerful" like than "commuity safety" like, as that was probaly not the best course of action to take without anysort of feedback from the commuinty or guidlelines to refer to.

Just my $0.02 on that whole thing.
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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:02 am

Thank you for clarifying that Ivy. That goes a long way to resolving what is and is not considered acceptable behavior.
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Postby III » Tue Dec 09, 2003 10:27 am

i just went back and reread the thread, or at least what's left of it.

there was quite a bit of vitriol, but there was also a lot of discussion about how people interact in a community. compared to some later stuff (including, say, sed's skewering of bradley) it's pretty mild.

i dunno.

mebbe i'll write up a couple of case studies, and put them up both here and to the etf for discussion to get a better community understanding.
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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:27 pm

> someone started a new thread, entitled "Let's flame Xperson" and
> *that's* the thread that was locked.

Nope. That thread may have been locked, but the one that we're talking
about was the original discussion (about Center Camp, I think, later
renamed to something about PJ and his cows).

I'm in agreement that flame threads are in poor taste, but I'm reluctant to
say that I think flamey stuff should be deleted. I agree with trey's ranger
analogy in that an authoritarian approach is not necessarily productive.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:36 pm

Fuck. So, can we, like, make this forum not public? I'm not sure
anonymous users should be able to post here anyway (though in
Bugs they should, in case it's a login problem).
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Postby Guest » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:39 pm

yeah what's up with the guest opinion? does that count or not?
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Postby Ivy » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:43 pm

A community as a whole might agree that a thread titled and solely devoted to flaming someone is okay.

However, that's a community that I would choose not to be a part of.

I still think Spanky did the right thing, if not the right way. If he had gone through the right channels (if they had been there to go through), I'd venture to guess it would have nipped a lot of other problems in the bud before they got out of hand.

the cow sniffing (or whatever) thread may be locked now, but it wasn't the first one to go. That thread, IMO, should not have been locked. There was some good debate in there.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Dec 09, 2003 12:47 pm

> the cow sniffing (or whatever) thread may be locked now, but it wasn't
> the first one to go.

Really? It's the only one I was aware of. If that's true, I'm fairly disturbed.
Not that I believe that kind of admin behavior will continue now that
there's dialogue going on with the user community, but still. I'm
disturbed.
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Postby Ivy » Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:04 pm

With all the name changed and deleted posts, I don't know which is which.

I know this: there were two threads.

The first one, I don't recall the name, had a debate about center camp. Tawnee Lynne and I got into an arguement. i don't believe either one of us flamed the other. However, other people got involved in the debate and some namecalling began which escaleted to flaming.

Starboy (I think) started another thread (including a poll, I believe) called something to the effect of "WHat's your reason for flaming TL?" I'm pretty sure this is the thread linked to in one of Trey's earlier posts in this topic.

I'm am 98.3 % sure they both ended up locked and one got deleted (I'm inanely assuming it's not the one trey linked to...duh). However, I am still not entirely clear which one ended up being which.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Dec 09, 2003 1:08 pm

You're right. I got confused by all the name changing and post deleting.

Nevermind.
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let's clarify

Postby technopatra » Tue Dec 09, 2003 5:34 pm

hmm.. ok now I'm confused-

The Spanky-pulled thread that I went crying to him about had nothing to do with the cafe. It did have some really nasty Tawny-bashing, and some nasty replies to Tawny-bashing.

This was, as far as I know, the only thread that was pulled by an admin.

We had a couple of other threads that were accidentally auto-pruned because we missed turning off the auto-prune function when they were set- so if no one responded in something like 7 or 14 days, they disappeared.

The difference between that the pulled thread and most of WSPR's nasty threads is that the eplayans rallied and turned his around - they for the most part, became useful, even enjoyable conversations.

The difference in our response is due to that, and to the reaction from the community of Spanky pulling the first one, which was mixed at best. This was due to the fact (that someone else pointed out) that there was no policy to point to so it was perceived as reactionary. Which I guess it was.

Someone questioned, earlier in this thread (sorry I can't see who, oh does it bug me that in the preview window you can only see the messages that are on the same page as you, grrr), whether we should've gotten involved at all. Well that's a good question.

How long do we let the bashing go before it demands admin attention? That one had almost a full page of just mean trash, with no end, imo, in sight. WSPR's threads didn't get 2 posts before he got called out, and it took few posts after that for the thread to drift somewhere better. Even after that, I got a number of PMs and emails asking me to kill his account, because just seeing the topic title made them feed bad and they didn't want to be here anymore.

What do you guys think? If our judgement is being questioned when we act on our own, and our judgement is being questioned when we act on user requests, what undebatable metric can we use to decide when to get involved?

I don't mean to sound defensive - but what I'm hearing is a call for an alternative to subjective judgements about what's too evil to keep on the boards. The problem I'm having, is that eveil _is_ subjective. If we tackle defining what is evil, beyond the start that Trey gave us, in the rules they will never get finished.

When it comes down to it, we just have to make some basic rules, then we'll make our best calls and deal with the heat.

I don't want to kill this conversation - please continue, it may yield some better ideas. But for the immediate present, what we need is hard suggestions for Trey's draft so I can officialize it this week.
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Postby precipitate » Tue Dec 09, 2003 6:17 pm

> hmm.. ok now I'm confused-

No, you're not. I was. It's as you said.

> what undebatable metric can we use to decide when to get involved?

There isn't one. You're probably going to have to take criticism no matter
what you do. That's OK. As long as your decisions are explained, and
defensible, it'll all be fine.

I think trey's guidelines are fine (I did get to see them before they were
posted here, and gave my feedback then; it was largely cosmetic). I still
think that a user FAQ would be useful and deserves to be a separate
document.
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Postby technopatra » Tue Dec 09, 2003 6:32 pm

precipitate wrote:I still think that a user FAQ would be useful and deserves to be a separate document.


Absolutely. It's coming right behind this.
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Postby III » Tue Dec 09, 2003 7:12 pm

i'm willing to disagree on the tawnee-lynne thread, because i can see it going both ways. i also think that the thread itself was in response to ugliness elsewhere, which might have been managed better earlier.

it's part of why the guidelines are loosly defined, and exlicitely allowed to change over time - it'll be a matter of trial and error to get to something good.
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Re: let's clarify

Postby Kinetic II » Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:35 am

technopatra wrote:What do you guys think? If our judgement is being questioned when we act on our own, and our judgement is being questioned when we act on user requests, what undebatable metric can we use to decide when to get involved?


Would somebody please answer this CRITICAL question?
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Postby Ivy » Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:58 am

Would somebody please answer this CRITICAL question?


Why don't you put your money where your mouth is and answer it yourself?

I for one, agree that there is no "undebatable" standard. Someone, somewhere is always gonna disagree. that's life. But if you have something, some sort of "rules" (shudder, for lack of a better word) to fall back on, that should establish the admin posisition and be suffiecently explanatory for any actions taken.
What the rules are is a different question. You could basically list anything and act on on it as long as you established it to begin with. I'd like to imagine that this being a community and all, it would work somewhat (on a very basic loose analogy) like the law being checked by the courts--rules are defind in user guidlines, user breaks rules, admins act. Either the community agress with this action, or, if they feel that for some reason there is a special circumstance or that perhaps it's time for a guidleines to be revised or looked at again, they could bring it up and work on it. I don't see it as being a set in stone, forever and ever kind of thing, always the same in every case.

But basically, what it comes down to, is that as long as the users agree to the guidelines when they participate here, then the actions of the admins reflected in those guidelines would not be debateable.
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Postby III » Wed Dec 10, 2003 9:52 am

> it would work somewhat (on a very basic loose analogy) like the law being checked by the courts

which is exactly what i'm trying to do with the case studies thread.

i see it being very much like the legal system in the u.s. is set up. anyone who's ever read the laws realizes that there is a lot of slop room in them (especially the ones written and passed by voters, rather than legislators). the courts then take those laws, and try to apply them in a way that is consistant with the moires of current society. not everyone likes things turn out, but they wouldn't anyways.
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Postby Zane5100 » Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:52 pm

Ah,... I just slipped into a very cynical frame of mind.

The admin(s) can stomp on anyone they wish whenever they want to and they don't have to clear it with or justify it to the "community."

Maybe a few lightning bolts from the blue will get some attention.

http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?p=32011#32011

The biggest danger to a community is the community.
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