Civility in OT

Discussion in 'Site News & Support' started by narad, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. narad

    narad Owned a Zune

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    So the thought of an OT place for things like political discussion is nice in theory, but having yet another thread in there get locked up I kind of have to wonder: is this worth doing? do we need tighter rules / penalties?

    Not absolving myself here, but it seems like every thread about American politics in particular (or things that factor along those lines, like gun control), is total deja vu and play out exactly the same way. And it's pretty clear some people are in there not to have a real discussion but just to incite the masses. I'm not sure any exit polling would say, "Yea, that was fun, lots of great points, and I learned a lot."

    I'm also fine just ignoring these, but thought it made sense to ask -- How could we have like the most extremely polarizing thread and still have it play out it ... like a debate team or something that's rational and purposeful even if ultimately subjective. I mean otherwise, like, the Trump thread is closed now, can someone just create a new Trump thread? Or what's the statute of limitations, etc.? Seems like it's just a matter of time.
     
  2. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    This is a strongly left leaning board. The exact same thing happens on strongly right leaning boards, just in the other direction. Healthy discourse is just not happening these days anywhere, and the amount of bias here will sadly disregard any opposing viewpoint. It's no one's fault, it's just the nature of pack mentality. I'm surprised this isn't obvious to anyone else who has Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

    That said, I'm all for these types of discussion. I like to hear all different viewpoints on all different things, and feel like I learn quite a bit from these different points of view. But the sad fact on any biased social media platform is that it will divest the minority from actively engaging in a sensible and reasonable discussion. If you do have the answer, feel free to collect your Nobel Prize for solving world peace.
     
  3. narad

    narad Owned a Zune

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    Have you watched one of the big annual Oxford Union debates, or similar? There is no need to think of a civil discourse and differing viewpoints as mutually exclusive things. Rules (and to some degree common sense) dictate that no one in these debates is insulting the other guy, or holding up some big pre-made sign with a bad photoshop to prove a point.

    And I refuse to believe that just because one side is outnumbered here, that pack mentality takes over and everyone has no choice than to behave like children. That doesn't make any sense. It really is someone's fault. Perhaps all of our fault, but not some unconscious or inevitable behavior.
     
  4. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    No, but I have watched a lot of Cops, and believe me that shows a lot of bias toward the law.

    Oh, I never did, until November 8, 2016.

    We'll agree to disagree because I must see something a little differently than you.
     
  5. narad

    narad Owned a Zune

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    ???

    FWIW, if a mod locks a thread, and you just start a new thread on the same topic, surely you can see how that kinda undermines the whole act of locking it in the first place...
     
  6. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Narad: You mean posts by folks that perceive a slight, have to up the ante and then demand to hear from the person that delete their post and dont want an answer from anyone else other than the person who deleted it?
    I hate to tell you this, but reality has a strong left-leaning bias. Also, unfortunately, the Trumpster-sect of the GOP have a much harder than usual time separating a disagreement with their ideas from attacks on them personally and they also have a harder time than the general population dealing with facts/reality that disagrees with their pre-conceived notions. Much like their anti-evolutionists, anti-vaxers, anti-moonlanding, anti-holocaust, anti-anthropogenic climate change, anti-heliocentric solar system, anti-abortion, anti-multiculturalism, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ, arrogantly ignorant siblings/cousins.
     
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  7. ramses

    ramses Guitar/pizza regular

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    It is society's fault, and the nonsensical attachment to a two party system — this has lead to irrational polarization and the inability to politely disagree.

    If you support the First Amendment to the constitution, idiot leftists call you a nazi. If you mention evidence about climate change, idiot conservatives talk about solar cycles or some such nonsense.

    In any case, we have to keep trying, and must continue having conversations. If you take conversation away, what are we left with?
     
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  8. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Regarding the discussion of "pack mentality", this is a thing that exists in things besides politics, including this very board.

    Take any fan thread on this very forum and note the level of decorum among those who agree with the thread subject matter (the vast majority) and then note the decorum of those who show up, knowing they're in the minority (see: sakeido, Andrew Lloyd Weber). The term ''bomb throwing" comes to mind. And disagreeing with the majority is fine but there's ways of handling it with or without class; it just so happens the dynamic leans disproportionately toward the latter.

    The only reason we're talking about it as it applies to the P&CE is because we've all been trained how to spot our 'enemy' and how to act offended by them; in some cases it's almost literally from a script.

    There've always been conservatives on this board but typically one or two at most at a time and usually pretty reasonable, measured personalities (RenegadeDave, are you still out there somewhere?) Something about the state of politics now, we have more engagement from the minority in that forum (which is good) but the flavor of discourse seldom rises above kicking eachother in the knees, and that sucks.

    Unleash is like they generated an algorithm for forum posting, and they used the comments section of Breitbart to program it. Everythings attacks, everything's buzzwords, there are no answers, always vague allusions to ideologies and edgelording. It sucks.

    Go back and read the last several pages of the big Trump thread. 80% of it is Drew and bostjan typing wall of text after wall of text against one another over minutae, and that's among people from the same ideological hemisphere. Hell, I've spent more words debating Drew than anyone else on this forum and we're both Kombucha sipping liberals. But we hold eachother to a standard. There are better conserative posters than Unleash in that subforum (Flappydoodle) but show me any of them debating eachother?

    No, the left leaning posters in that forum are not perfect and it sometimes come across as a circlejerk but its incumbent to hold your own people to a standard if you want to argue one shred of objectivity.

    If you're going to come into this forum, whether it's in the General Music or Politics, and you just want to hear yourself talk or you just want to stick your fingers in your ears and spew what some much more original but equally vapid fuckhead told you to write/think somewhere else, you contribute nothing and you're a drain to this community. That applies to both sides.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  9. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    And for the record, it looks like Unleash is banned again. I didn't do it, I didnt request it and none of the moderators even HAVE the ability to ban without Alex having the final say. What I will say as one brief peek behind the curtain, there have been several reports from people who don't even participate in the P&CE about the guy and there've been requests for intervention from moderators who do not participate in that subforum, don't post on here much at all or are even middle to right leaning.

    So before anyone accuses it of being some kind of a biased putdown for his politics or before the dozenth duplicate account gets made to complain about it, it's been a long time coming and thoroughly vetted. It stands to reason he just came back from a ban what, a week ago and he's gone but Spaced and Jax are still here (for now :lol: )
     
  10. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    It's just what happens in literally all forums I've ever participated in - and I started my career as an “internet tough-guy“ back in '98 with the USENET groups. :fever:

    Quite honestly, I find discussions on SSO to be conducted a lot more civilized than in other places. The moderator team is also quite laid back and doesn't go nuts on every minor comment that might hurt overly sensitive 5 year olds...
     
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  11. narad

    narad Owned a Zune

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    Yea, I'm not saying conversations like that shouldn't happen, just that I'm curious how straining it is to the mod team to sift through the shit. The fact that every thread of that sort gets locked is indicative to me that they're not super fun times for those guys. Or maybe thread -> lock -> cool down -> new thread is just the inevitable cycle.

    I just think people can choose to be adults and a political thread that doesn't get locked could exist if people had to stay on point and weren't just exploring more creative ways to indirectly insult each other. Maybe this requires more modding or new rules though.

    The fact that this is a guitar forum, and OT stuff is like extra-curricular thing to me says, if you want to be a total child, base all your posts on buzzwords and memes, there are places on the internet that will cater 100% to you. If hobbyist website has a political discussion area you'd think it wouldn't just be like harmony-central/youtube comment spillover, because that's not the primary reason people visit a guitar website.

    I called a guy a racist and my post was deleted! WHY!!
     
  12. _MonSTeR_

    _MonSTeR_ SS.org Regular

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    I’d say it would be exactly the opposite of what you describe; because politics is the ‘side order’ to the ‘main course’ of guitars, it’s more than likely going to have less commitment from the majority of members on non-guitar topics. As a result, we end up,with a lot of YouTube comment spillover. If people are focussed then the topics do better, when they lose focus or someone posts in those topics for yucks, the whole thing derails fast.

    Sometimes a guitar site is better sticking to guitars...
     
  13. Randy

    Randy Sous Chef Super Moderator

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    Worth mentioning, IP information indicates about a dozen instances of the same one or two individuals making accounts over and over again after they've been banned. Those same one or two individuals even followed people from this site to troll them elsewhere.

    So it's not like we have an insurgency of ignornant right wing posters, there's just one or two guys that can't let this place go. The regular conservative bunch here may be emboldened by having a chief kneekicker that's not afraid to be banned repeatedly but overall, I don't think any of the regulars are any less civil overall. Like I said, it stands to reason it's really only one or two guys getting banned over and over again.
     
  14. narad

    narad Owned a Zune

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    Ha, I am well aware of that! :D
     
  15. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    To tell you the truth there might be difference of opinions on politics and social issues but when it comes to sharing our love for guitars and exchanging knowledge about music gear and music I see that people do come together and converse in a civil manner regardless if in a PC&E thread they were tearing into each other a few minutes ago.
     
  16. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    andrewlloydweber means well though
     
  17. Sermo Lupi

    Sermo Lupi SS.org Regular

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    Having been to some of the debates at the Union, you might be surprised. I remember a couple years ago we had Mehdi Hasan come in to debate whether Islam is a religion of peace, and he definitely traded barbs with his opposition (one particularly humourous example: he warned Anne-Marie Waters that her 'astonishing claims' [i.e. that Islam was fundamentally violent] might endanger her future as a Labour Party candidate, but assured her 'don't worry, the BNP will take you.') Obviously there is a difference between ad hominem attacks and witty banter, but I wouldn't hold this forum to the same standards as the Oxford Union in any case. If only because I don't want to pay £300 in fees just to post here :lol:

    I don't browse Off-Topic, so I went searching for the Trump thread and couldn't find it. However, I found an oddly prescient thread titled 'The State of Online Forums in General' started by Bostjan on Feb. 2nd of this year. In his OP, Bostjan describes being banned from another music forum for having rebutted a post he thought was lazy and unhelpful; the explanation he got from the moderator didn't specify that he broke any particular rules, but simply claimed that he was 'being argumentative'.

    Bostjan obviously thought that was unfair. I wasn't there, so who knows. However, I recently got into an exchange with Bostjan in the Dream Theater thread, and he did exactly as you described: quoted my whole post and went through it sentence by sentence like he was marking an essay. It's as you say: arguing over minutiae. After two or three responses like that I had to put an end to it for the sake of the thread. I'm not saying he's a bad guy, but that's not how you promote a civil discussion; you dissect someone's post like that and it isn't uncommon for them to come back with an insult. Once that happens, you might as well forget about the idea of having a civil exchange without moderator intervention. So, having not seen this post of Bostjan's that got him banned on that other forum, nor the kind of things he was saying in the Trump thread, I can't really pass my own judgment on who was right and wrong. But maybe it's not a coincidence that I ended our back-and-forth in the Dream Theater thread with similar language: 'I just do not see the point in having a conversation with someone who is looking to argue rather than understand, and to antagonise and misinterpret rather than honestly discuss.' To his credit, he moved on after that.

    I don't mean to come down hard on Bostjan, I'm just saying how you say something matters. For my own part, I don't 'debate' on here in a formal sense: that is, I often just say what first comes to mind and don't bother meticulously constructing my arguments; rarely, and against my better judgment, I'll waste my time defending something emotionally rather than logically simply because it's something I care for. Still, I try not to express myself in a way that is likely to offend. I do this because, at the end of the day, I have other outlets for more formal discussion and SevenString.org is the corner of the Internet I prefer for shooting the shit about gear and 'arguing' over which phase of Pink Floyd's career was their greatest. I prefer a more relaxed atmosphere and would rather not dread checking my notifications box.

    Yet SevenString.org means something different to everyone. It's clear that, for some of the posters with thousands and thousands of posts across all the subforums, including in threads covering delicate or complicated topics, this forum is a primary social outlet for them. It's where they come to vet ideas that will ultimately influence their worldview--and not just about politics but about nearly everything, whether that's ketogenic diets or philosophies on life. One reason why I'm still on this forum ~10 years after I joined is that, unlike the direction most social media have gone in during those same years, the interactions here remain earnest and often fairly highbrow. Even if I don't weigh in on most threads in the off-topic vein, this place tends to attract fairly level-headed folk to converse with in the music-oriented threads I do wander into. The demographic appeals to me.

    Anyway, my point in saying all of that is that, when a troll is loose in the dungeon, there's more at stake for some than for others. Some posters won't just close the proverbial door and let it be. It's at that point that you run into trouble, I think. Rather than brush off some silly remark or comment, the socially-invested types will swap manifestos to the point that the arguments might get personal and bans need to be handed out. It's a shame, but I think it's a byproduct of investing such a large portion of one's social energies on an Internet forum.

    How much of that can be weeded out with heavier moderation, I don't know. I don't mean to shoulder-shrug, it's just that forums are usually never short on etiquette or moderation, the problem is more that they're frequented by users who have preconceived ideas about how discussion on the Internet should go.

    For what it's worth, I think the mod team already does a decent job. The popular perception of this website is that it is already pretty strictly moderated.
     
  18. narad

    narad Owned a Zune

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    Yea, I was recently picking up a guitar from a local shop and went with my dad. He commented later that it was fascinating hearing our discussion (me and the shop owner), and I'd like to think that if I ran into 95% of the people on the board that we'd be friends simply through obsession with similar music and gear, regardless of where someone's coming in life or their political persuasion. That's the attitude I take when maybe we're being quite critical of each other's attitudes in OT but then happy to see someone landing that rare guitar in general discussion.

    I don't extend that to trolls who are just coming in to rile people up, in the same way I don't have real life friends who picket funerals and abortion clinics, and who base their lives around us-vs-them attitudes. I spent longer writing this post than I probably have spent talking real politics in real life the past year.
     
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  19. Andrew Lloyd Webber

    Andrew Lloyd Webber Super Duper Moduraturr

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    And likely reached more people.

    Aww.
     
  20. auxioluck

    auxioluck Metal Teddy Bear

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    While I'm the first person to get up in arms about the current state of tribalism in our society, and the general reality that political discussions ceased being actual discussions a long time ago, I also think that any civil debate must hold each individual accountable for what they do.

    Saying something inflammatory to get a conversation going is okay to a point. When the conversation devolves into someone posting shit memes or making fun of a "spermy-looking vein" on a politician's forehead, or making fun of a politician's fake tan...this is when the conversation is no longer productive. And I firmly believe that people who have shown they are not being what I call "responsible internet users" should be held accountable for what they do/say.

    I don't partake in social media or many political/religious discussions on the internet anymore, because I recognize that I can get really passionate about my beliefs, which leads to me being very irresponsible on the internet. And that doesn't help anyone. I used to engage in debates in person, but even those are increasingly rare now with how rabid and toxic everyone is about politics and religion. People on ALL sides interpret counter-arguments as personal attacks now, and is probably the biggest contributor as to why we are where we are now as a society.
     
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