Politics Check-In

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by keithburgun, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Hey everyone! I just wanted to write to check in about the Politics subforum. Recently a very well-known and well-liked user left the forum because of their interactions in the Politics subforum, so I figured it would be a good time to check in and make sure other people are feeling comfortable and not threatened or like it's just too horrible or anything. I wanna make a couple points about it that I've been thinking about recently.

    "Toxicity" is a complicated thing when it comes to politics. Really, politics are us questioning each others world view and morality and huge things about each others' identity, so, it's pretty obvious that things will be tense. I also think it's likely that people are more likely to get a little bit mean or obnoxious to each other in this context. I think, if we choose to engage, we should do what we can to minimize this stuff, while also understanding that it's going to happen.

    I don't think we have a particularly toxic forum (or Discord). From my vantage point, both are definitely spikey and spicy and there's definitely been people making at least borderline personal attacks. But to me, this stuff isn't "toxicity". Toxicity is like, outright hateful aggression with little to no attempt to engage in the conversation.

    We've definitely had a few moments where people were bigger dicks than they needed to be - myself totally included in that. But I don't know. Maybe it's "toxic", but just, less so than nearly every other website?

    My opinion is that we should know before going into political discussions that they are a deep dive into people, and so you're going to see, I think, both the best and the worst of people. It can be rough, and it isn't for everyone maybe, but I think it's important.

    1. How do you feel about the current state of the politics forum/discord? (More interested in the forum because the discord is a lot more transient.)
    2. Any suggestions or recommendations as to what we should do to improve things?
    Lemon likes this.
  2. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    I've been a bit distant from the politics forum, just have been busy and haven't had time/interest to prioritize chatting about politics. Ideally people with different opinions could debate without questioning eachother's character/motives.
  3. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    I was planning to make a post on the subject this afternoon. I will link to it here when it's done.
  4. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    Batlad and keithburgun like this.
  5. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    (redirecting this discussion to the proper thread)

    I don't think hiding the politics sub-forum will solve much. The hostility will just move to another subforum.

    AFAICT, the general problem seems to be that people interpret certain broad categories of ideas as extreme personal attacks and retaliate 'in kind' with their own extreme personal attacks. I can see only three solutions to this:
    1) Ban the topics they interpret as attacks AKA the Heckler's Veto. The drawback of this solution is that it's essentially a Reverse Mocker Rule; the mockers get to dictate what everyone is allowed to say. This is a really bad incentive for civil discussion.
    2) Ban the posters that escalate the situation. The downside of this is that we lose posters. But if we've lost more posters due to toxicity than we'd end up banning, maybe it's worthwhile?
    3) Teach the problem posters not to escalate. This is what the Mocker Rule is supposed to accomplish.
  6. Lemon

    Lemon Well-Known Member

    I don't believe the hostility will move to another forum. Perhaps some of it might move to general discussion, but the game design forums on this site are almost entirely devoid of hostility and I don't see that changing even if the politics forum is removed.

    I think a combination of closing the politics forum (where all of the most bitter and toxic discussions are) and applying the mocker rule to general discussion would help a great deal.
    keithburgun likes this.
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

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