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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What “Gentlemen Rules” could be created for a more genteel Fluther?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (22148 points ) April 4th, 2014

I am sure some “Gentlemen Rules” can be established and acted upon to make Fluther a place where no one in the future has to ever feel cyber bullied, insulted, or worse. I know there is no way to implement any rule officially; we did not create the site. However, voluntarily we could adhere to a protocol that will keep infighting, insulting, berating, etc. to a bare minimum. It will never be 100% there will always be someone that will take something said personally because it was said against their group, political party, religion, orientation, lifestyle, country, etc. If you were going to name at least one “Gentlemen Rule” (if you don’t have more than one) what would that rule be?

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43 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

This place is pretty genteel, really, considering it is fairly anonymous and on the internet.

My only “Gentleman’s Rule” is no tolerance for anything that condones abuse of any kind of children or adolescents or those who are not in a position to speak or stand up for themselves.

talljasperman's avatar

By waiting ten minutes before flagging a question and for me not picking someones grammar when they legitimately have difficulty with the language, Like for me I will never get to know the difference between their and there. It’s like Data and Lore from Star trek TNG where Mr. Crusher spotted that Data doesn’t use contractions. It causes me anxiety when using their/there and I spend a couple of minutes looking for alternate words. I would rather have a private PM or forgiving me. Or can I have permission to use “there/their” instead of guessing?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@zenvelo My only “Gentleman’s Rule” is no tolerance for anything that condones abuse of any kind of children or adolescents or those who are not in a position to speak or stand up for themselves.
That would be an issue outside this swimming hole, there are not supposed to be any chitlins in here to be abuse or picked on. If any has slipped through, it is on the mods. They have nothing to do with how fellow Flutheronians treat each other here.

@talljasperman By waiting ten minutes before flagging a question and for me not picking someones grammar when they legitimately have difficulty with the language, Like for me I will never get to know the difference between their and there.
That would be more benevolent to take in account that if the misspelling or punctuation etc. doesn’t take away from the context of the comment or question people would not be so anal about it.

zenvelo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central You misread what I said. Nothing that condones abusive behavior of children and others. Like not condoning questions about “why people get upset” over sexualized children.

I don’t condone that and will speak out about it.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Not to ask questions why people sup[port a dangerous activity over on that isn’t, if that makes all the other funk go away, I am on board with that; there are other questions that can be added as well. However, to ask a question as such is insulting who? I mean other than you taking offence? huh?

ragingloli's avatar

There should not be any such rules.
Sugar Coating is for the weak.

jerv's avatar

Fluther is a site frequented by peoples from all cultures. We have Vietnamese, Brits, Americans, Canadians, Texans… all sorts of cultures. Add to that the wide variety of temperaments from icy-calm to hair-trigger, along with each of us having our own, unique set of hot buttons, it’s hard to avoid accidentally offending people.

One that offends me is when I feel dismissed rather than disproven; I have a hot button for feeling like I am not getting across to people. I don’t generally complain about that since I tend to be a bit dismissive myself when I hear something I feel is utter bullshit; instead I get pissed and go for ad hominems and such.

However, I think it’d be nice if we all at listened to other’s opinions and views, then politely explained why we disagree instead of just getting all agro. I fail at that myself, but the part that scares me is that I, of all people, am better at that than quite a few people.

So, how about, “Listen carefully, and if you disagree, calmly explain why.”. I think that’d be a good informal rule.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ So, how about, “Listen carefully, and if you disagree, calmly explain why.”. I think that’d be a good informal rule.
Now we are talking….lurve that…..

Cruiser's avatar

My only rule here is to put on your big boy/girl pants and have a spare because you are going to soil the ones you are wearing.

hominid's avatar

Practice using the scroll bar, understand who is responsible for your emotions, and carry a box of tissues if you’re feeling weepy.

hearkat's avatar

I agree with @jerv – When one reads the rules and guidelines, it is clear that the site’s creators wanted this to be a place where ideas are shared and discussed openly, not a place where agendas are pushed and people are degraded for their opinions or beliefs.

It would be great if we could all read what others say and open our minds and try to understand their views from their perspective, and then to ponder their points and perhaps ask additional questions to try to understand how they reached that conclusion. Attacking people or their ideas results in those people taking a defensive position, and that is when the tension builds and things get ugly.

Even if one believes strongly in a cause or social position, you won’t convince others whose opinions differ to change their minds by badgering them or ridiculing their beliefs. Minds only change when they are coaxed to open, not when they reflexively lock-down as a protective mechanism.

I also find that it is best to lead by example. When we have controversial conversations that turn to attack and insult-fests, I wonder why anyone thinks they can convince others that their opinion is “right” if it’s coming from a person whose moral code allows them to be inconsiderate of others, or if their opinions don’t have enough integrity to withstand rude comments and harsh criticism.

Seek's avatar

I’m over genteel. People keep pushing genteel and we haven’t had a thread hit over 100 posts in how long?

I think the last time I had real fun on a thread was messing with that teenaged girl who was sharing way too much information.

Cruiser's avatar

@Seek It seems like forever and at one time we hit 100 posts daily and then some, but it was just one week ago we hit 142 posts

Blondesjon's avatar

Why are only men, albeit gentle ones, being asked to make the rules governing proper social intercourse?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

“Don’t attack me for my opinion. Let’s discuss it”

bolwerk's avatar

Maybe modding could become less common.

jerv's avatar

@Blondesjon Like it or not, the past was paternalistic, and I cannot think of any phrase that could convey that particular concept nearly as concisely as two anachronistic ones did there. Therefore, I assume it was just for ease of communication rather than anything malicious or intentionally discriminatory.

hearkat's avatar

@bolwerk – Do you sincerely believe that a site less moderation is more civilized, or are you being facetious (there’s no sarcasm tilde after your comment, though)?

Seek's avatar

@Cruiser That’s a meta question. And it was discussing how much fun we used to have and which people we used to have it with. Kind of adding to my point.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@hearkat It would be great if we could all read what others say and open our minds and try to understand their views from their perspective, and then to ponder their points and perhaps ask additional questions to try to understand how they reached that conclusion.
This is Fluther for goodness sake, what you say is way too much to ask. Here someone will post a question about watermelons, and it is imperative someone who likes bananas has to believe the reason why bananas was not included was that the watermelon lover has something against bananas and it is their duty to expose the collusion by attacking the OP, the question, or in some other way invent something into the question that was not there, as oppose to getting into the spirit of the question the way the OP posted it, and adding to the conversation.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I don’t see what’s wrong with the way things are.

bolwerk's avatar

@hearkat: dubious modding is pretty common. I’d provide examples, but they’ve been modded.

hearkat's avatar

@bolwerk – The OP is asking for suggestions to make a more genteel Fluther. Your response was, “Maybe modding could become less common.” So I asked if you believe that less moderation would result in a more civilized website – since that was your proposal.

However, your response to me that there has been modding in the past which you found ‘dubious’ does not answer the question. Therefore, I will ask again: Do you honestly believe that Fluther would be more genteel (OP’s question) with “less common” moderation (your original reply)?

It seems that when discussion turns to comparing Fluther with other sites, most people refer to other places as over- or under-moderated and that Fluther has a fairly balanced approach. Even so, I can’t imagine how a site with fewer rules or less enforcement would somehow have a more courteous community. Therefore, I’m asking you to expand upon your theory to illustrate your point.

Cruiser's avatar

@Seek reality is any question that scored 100+ comments in the past were Meta or Lurve, Frizzer or pancake parties.

bolwerk's avatar

@hearkat: Yep, certainly less of the overzealous variety. I wouldn’t call modding anything done in good faith without any appeal “genteel.” It would perhaps be a little more fair if modding resulted in a chance to re-edit for clarification (this also addresses the writing standards issue) or appeal, with the opportunity to maintain the answer’s place in the flow, but this isn’t so. Presumably, for better or for worse, fallacy has to be tolerated to have discussion at all.

As for rules, you’ll find societies with fewer of them are generally more genteel as people in them have the presumption of being equals, and each eliminated rule gives authority figures one less thing to be authoritarian about. Lots and lots of rules governing personal behavior is a major reason the USA is one of the world’s most prolific police states.

Seek's avatar

You apparently didn’t play in too many of my religious or political debates.

hearkat's avatar

@bolwerk – The guidelines here aren’t all that stringent, they mostly ask that people be considerate and clear. Being genteel falls well within Fluther guidelines, so if everyone’s contributions to the site are genteel to begin with, we mods can focus on spam control.

If one is mindful of the guidelines and writing standards, 10 minutes post-submission is usually adequate for making corrections of typos. On sites where comments can be edited long after, the flow of the conversation can be disrupted because edits can make subsequent comments seem nonsensical by altering the context.

We don’t pull comments for a typo or two, only if they’re very poorly written or lacking proper grammar, and especially if they are unintelligible. We do pull comments that contain disrespectful, attacking and/or baiting statements; and when that happens, we do allow the user to repost all but the offending statement in a new comment – thus, it will be out of line.

Therefore, if one wants their comment to stay in line, don’t make statements that are not ‘genteel’ in the first place – problem solved. If one sees a comment that is against guidelines, they should flag it to bring it to the mods’ attention and not respond to it, because the responses to a moderated comment will also be removed since the context has changed and they disrupt the discussion.

bolwerk's avatar

@hearkat: that would perhaps even be defensible, but more than once I’ve seen good answers modded, perhaps because the mod(s) overestimated their own understanding of the subject matter and refused to consider good faith.

I don’t know why you went on that much about writing standards considering I only mentioned them parenthetically. I think it would be nice for people who don’t write up to standards to have an opportunity to resubmit, as I assume many of them are well-meaning, but I suppose it isn’t strictly necessary.

hearkat's avatar

@bolwerk – Since becoming a moderator, I have encountered comments in discussions that were beyond the scope of my knowledge. When that happens, we usually check with the other mod team members for another opinion. There have been times that I will reach out to the person who commented to ask for clarification, as well.

If something “moddable” is posted while I am active online, I try to reach out to the user ASAP so they can make revisions during the editing window – but it’s not always possible to see everything happening on the site at once. Once the 10-minute window closes, we are very limited, and so removing a comment that is in violation is our only option.

None of us will claim to know everything about everything and none of us will claim to be perfect. We are volunteers trying our best to maintain the site according to the founders’ guidelines, which isn’t always easy. When something is questionable, we seek consensus – but sometimes no one else is active, and we have to make unilateral decisions.

I had one sentence about writing standards. The other suggested that users keep the guidelines and writing standards in mind when they are composing their comments – before they hit the “Answer” button. When people clearly struggle with the language, we do send the PMs to explain the reason for the guidelines and to offer help; we might leave the comment up if it is fairly helpful and reasonably intelligible, but will remove low-quality comments if they do not contribute significantly to the conversation.

Some members compose their comments in word-processing programs that will check their spelling and grammar, then copy and paste their replies to the site, and I have recommended that to those that struggle, since they might find that helpful.

jerv's avatar

@hearkat Expect slightly lower writing standards from smartphones though. Whether it’s hitting the wrong auto-correct button, hitting the wrong micro-key (especially amongst those of us with bigger fingers) or just whipping out our thoughts more hastily than someone at a desk (like being in a waiting room and your name is called),us smartphone users are ripe targets for Grammar Nazis.
A smartphone poster from someone for whom English is a second (or fourth) language can be…. interesting.

hearkat's avatar

The smartphone was my primary tool for Fluthering for over six years, @jerv – I completely understand your point. It’s only since becoming a mod that I make a point to use at least the tablet when I’m on the ste. We are more stringent on the writing standards for questions that can be pushed back for editing than we are with comments, as noted above. If a comment is unintelligible, though, please flag it so we can contact the user. Thanks.

jerv's avatar

@hearkat No wifi at work. For me, it’s either use the phone or wait until the weekend since I spend most of the week with no time for anything other than work or sleep.

hearkat's avatar

@jerv – I barely have enough time to do my work at work, so I don’t bother bringing my tablet. My social media is on my time, where I usually have WiFi. I just use the phone because it’s always in my pocket.

Cruiser's avatar

@seek….sorry I avoid those like the plague ;)

bolwerk's avatar

@hearkat: stuff like the modding here (toward the bottom) is all too common, however, where a mod judged an on-topic comment as off-topic and then deleted much of a thread. Nothing sloppy or even particularly offensive was said. The crime was being too general, but the generality more or less applied to the question anyway. It just had wider scope.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

[…stuff like the modding here (toward the bottom) is all too common, however, where a mod judged an on-topic comment as off-topic and then deleted much of a thread.
I think a bunch of off topic comments and quips just get looked over easier in social, when help up to general they appear more as being what they are. Someone dripping wet by the poolside with a bunch of other swimmers would not be noticed as much as someone walking through the mall dripping wet.

Cruiser's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central great point but I have been here over 4 years and am acutely aware of the rules of fair play here yet I still get comments censored modded. Apparently playing by their published rules is not good enough for some of the mods here.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Why not state your piece and not judge anyone else’s choices, that’s genteel.

hearkat's avatar

@bolwerk – as the [mod says] comment indicates on that post, the commentary had veered away from the OP’s question. When a post is in the General section, the responses have to relate directly to the question – we didn’t make the rules, we enforce them.

When we see a General conversation take an interesting tangent, we often contact the OP and suggest that the post be moved to Social, so the off-topic commentary can be left up to continue. It is not our call to make, and if the OP wants to keep the conversation only about their question, they elect to keep it in General, and we have to remove the off-topic comments.

If there is a General discussion that brings up an interesting thought, someone can begin a new post about that thought, so as not to derail the first conversation. My guess is that this was what the founders were hoping would happen, since this is a Q&A site and we would like to see more activity.

Seek's avatar

Just don’t post too many offshoot questions, because then you’re pushing an agenda.

Blondesjon's avatar

Yep. Yep, Yep. ^^

no tilde

jerv's avatar

@hearkat Sadly, sometimes the OP mis-states the question then, after complaining that people answered the question as-asked are veering off-topic, states that the question was about something else (usually pushing an agenda). Tolerable in Social, but annoying in General.

bolwerk's avatar

@hearkat: It was prima facie relevant to the question. It may have been a little misdirected, but it wasn’t irrelevant. IIRC, it wasn’t even a comment I agreed with.

For that matter, there are presumably plenty of other examples. I’ve had at least one answer modded in the past several months that was practically a textbook point, but apparently offended the OP because it didn’t match his politically charged preconceptions. Perhaps the dumbest modding I’ve ever seen.

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