48 votes

Repeatedly finding myself upset with the conversations on Tildes

DISCLAIMER - The following is all my impression of discussions happening. I do not wish to call out any particular individuals or make any strong statements about 'truth' or 'fact'. This is a post about how all of this information made me feel and I will try my best to avoid language which paints any of this as definitive statements of truth.

Yesterday there was a thread which got nuked in which people were seemingly arguing on the validity of eugenics. Right now there's a thread about what's going on with Reddit which at times elevates the accusations raised by a group of troublesome individuals.

I'm not comfortable with people discussing whether there's any legitimacy to eugenics. I feel extremely alienated when people elevate accusations lead by kiwifarms and lineham and other bigots - frankly speaking I don't want to see anything lineham has to say on this website, ever, except perhaps when it is prefaced by a long post explaining the background of the troublesome individual and the post is being linked to explain why they are troublesome.

How do we stop this? Am I the only one who feels alienated and like I don't want to participate in Tildes anymore? If so, at what point is a discussion veering into the realm of intolerance and how can we stop this from happening and how do we culturally enforce this to happen?

202 comments

  1. [23]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm sure I'm going to get some people upset with this post and I may regret posting it, but: if Tildes is consistently making you unhappy, please spend less time, emotional energy, and mental...
    • Exemplary

    I'm sure I'm going to get some people upset with this post and I may regret posting it, but: if Tildes is consistently making you unhappy, please spend less time, emotional energy, and mental energy on it.

    Some of you (and to be clear, when I'm saying "you" from here on out, I don't mean you specifically, Gaywallet) visit the site constantly, refreshing it every few minutes, all day, every day. Some of you check it far more often than I do, and I run the damn thing. You read the comments on every single thread, whether you're interested in the subject or not. You read every new comment, on every post, within minutes (or even seconds) of it being posted. If you're unhappy with the conversation in a thread, you don't use the Ignore function on it, you check it more often, worrying about how the vote counts are changing on the comments you agree or disagree with. You rush back into it after every new comment to see if the new post makes you even more unhappy with the direction it's going. If you strongly disagree with a particular user, you look through their post history to see how many other things they've said before that make you upset too. You use a browser extension to tag those "opposition" users so you can more easily recognize them in the future. You hang out in a Discord server where the main source of activity seems to be pointing out things on Tildes (and in the world) to be upset about. That way you can get notifications on your phone when there's something new to be unhappy about, just in case you didn't already notice it on your own.

    Of course some of you are always feeling unhappy. You're fixating on negativity and putting yourself in environments with feedback loops where you share your complaints and unhappiness with others and have them share theirs with you. Unfortunately, this has become a lot of what happens on social media now, and Tildes hasn't managed to be an exception.

    I'm not trying to deny there are issues on Tildes. There absolutely are. And I'd like to improve on them, but it's not like there's a "fix the issues" button that I'm just refusing to press. The issues are complex, and many of them are inherently impossible to truly "fix" because they're rooted in interactions between humans, which can't be meaningfully controlled or even defined. There are changes I want to make, but almost all of them aren't certain improvements. They will have negative effects too and cause their own, different issues.

    In the end, Tildes is just a website, and a tiny one at that. I'm glad that people spend time here, but nobody (except me) needs to be here, and I don't want you to keep coming here if you're not actually enjoying it. I hope we can continue improving the site, and I appreciate feedback that aims toward that, but if spending time on it right now is making you unhappy, you shouldn't keep visiting (and absolutely not as heavily as some of you do). Check in quickly once a week—or even a month. Look at a few topics you're actually interested in, see if it looks like somewhere you'd enjoy spending your time again. Leave the associated chat groups, you don't need real-time updates about all the things you're missing out on being upset about. Chat with individual people if you've met some that you want to stay in contact with.

    I already know that some people will try to frame this comment as "Deimos says it's our own fault and that he doesn't care and that we should just go away if we don't like it", but please be charitable and recognize that that's really not what I'm trying to say. I'm glad that you're here, but I don't want any of you to keep doing something that makes you unhappy. I don't want any of you to keep feeling like you need to write an "I'm still unhappy" post every month or two. Please find something that makes you happy, not upset. If that's Tildes, great. But if it's not, that's great too.

    132 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      You're not wrong, and that's all good advice. I have definitely obsessed over this site to an unhealthy degree over the years which has been detrimental to my mental health as well as negatively...
      • Exemplary

      You're not wrong, and that's all good advice. I have definitely obsessed over this site to an unhealthy degree over the years which has been detrimental to my mental health as well as negatively effected my general demeanor here and in "real life", and so I am taking steps to try to remedy that. I took a week long break from Tildes last week, installed Block Site, and still have it active on Tildes to reduce my temptation to visit here so often.

      However, even with that said, I also can't help but feel that you're also being a tad dismissive here, especially since (IMO) there actually are some simple "fix help the issues" buttons you could push but still haven't for whatever reason. E.g.

      • Take on some actual moderators for the various groups in order to allow them to implement/enforce some basic rules beyond just "don't be an asshole". I am not recommending this because I don't feel like you can handle the moderation load... it's not about that. This is so the groups can diverge and flourish a bit more, start to feel more like their own semi-autonomous communities (instead of just another extension of your personal demesne) that are worth visiting individually, and the community as a whole doesn't feel so homogeneous. And IMO actual moderators would also allow the site to handle growth more smoothly than it has in the past when we experienced a user surge.

      • Focus on and try to encourage growth a bit more (e.g. by writing more blog posts, so we can share them elsewhere to draw more users here). This would allow more content to flow, new groups to form so more people can feel like they have a home here, and allow users who do actually need a bit more of a "safe space" to retreat to them when they need a break from all the "no topic off-limit debates" currently so prevalent everywhere on the site. Not obsessing over growth is a great philosophy, but completely ignoring it isn't particularly healthy for the community either IMO. Tildes being so small means less diversity of users, groups, topics, and also means every active user who quietly leaves this place (esp. minorities) hurts us that much more.

      • Prioritize implementing user blocking and the other related (and already "accepted" by you on gitlab) "disengagement" mechanics so people who will never see eye to eye, and recognize that fact, won't keep constantly getting drawn into heated arguments with each other.

      18 votes
      1. rogue_cricket
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think there are definitely... well, I wouldn't call them solutions, maybe they're more along the lines of "harm reduction design elements" that could and should be implemented. Still, it can't...

        I think there are definitely... well, I wouldn't call them solutions, maybe they're more along the lines of "harm reduction design elements" that could and should be implemented. Still, it can't be instant and in the meantime, disengaging for a while may be for the best. Additionally there is no guarantee that any given person will be satisfied by any particular change or set of changes, especially if the problems are ultimately just... general interpersonal or societal issues writ small.

        I mean, I get it to some degree. I'm a woman, and I'm a lesbian, and people say nasty things about women and lesbians on the internet, uh, basically constantly. I'll bring special attention to Reddit * - even if I curated my experience there with blocking and subscriptions, I still knew that content was just... out there for other people to access and use to justify their hateful opinions. Changing what you see doesn't change the fact that there are people who think the cruel stuff they do and say is acceptable because of lack of action from administration and moderators. They're voting, they're influencing people, they're doing stuff that makes my life worse and more dangerous indirectly regardless of whether I've deleted my Reddit account or not.

        I still deleted the account, though.

        It's emotionally very hard to know it's there and to not push back, because that feels like tacit acceptance or defeat. But it's also emotionally very hard to do that pushing back, because then you're seeing awful stuff regularly and feeling upset and angry all the time. After some reflection, I understood that my feelings came down to "I am angry and tired that there is so much bigotry in the world in general, not just on Reddit". I was using Reddit to justify and feed my anger, to find representatives of the parts of society that were hurting me so I could... I don't know, feel like I was doing something back. I can't punch systemic sexism in the nose, but I can snark at or about a particular random sexist. It was sometimes cathartic, but mostly just made me feel bad the rest of the day. So the decade-old account is gone now.

        (Don't get me wrong, I'm still not going to debase myself by engaging in good faith with a sexist and I'm not sorry I did it out of any concern for them. I also still fully believe my anger is justified. I just decided to stop going to the hive to kick it and get stung.)

        Uh... anyway, sorry, this got away from me. I guess I had some Feelings. 😥

        (EDIT: I would also like to clarify that I think Tildes is a fine place overall and I am not trying to draw a comparison between Reddit and Tildes in terms of their individual quality, moderation, etc. Just a more general exploration/expression on engagement. I don't mean to imply that I regularly feel miserable here or anything.)

        17 votes
    2. Good_Apollo
      Link Parent
      It's refreshing to have a site admin that is so reasonable.

      It's refreshing to have a site admin that is so reasonable.

      25 votes
    3. [4]
      Grimalkin
      Link Parent
      Excellent reply, and your first line sums up something I've felt for years as I've watched how reddit and other social media have grown and changed. So many people feel the need to react and...

      Excellent reply, and your first line sums up something I've felt for years as I've watched how reddit and other social media have grown and changed. So many people feel the need to react and respond to posts that make them angry, again and again, because of the dopamine hit it provides and they often don't realize how addicting their continual anger is.

      If an app, a site, a subreddit or a person online is making you unhappy over and over it's up to you to recognize that your routine engagment is a net negative for your mental health and you should reduce or stop your participation entirely and find something else to do with your time. I've done it repeatedly on reddit by shrinking the subs I visit more and more every year and I know eventually I will simply stop using the site entirely (like so many others here have).

      And that's ok. This is a free-to-use website, as is reddit, and it's perfectly acceptable to move on to something else. Don't keep doing the things that are making you unhappy. Life is too short to be constantly caught up in anger.

      17 votes
      1. [2]
        DanBC
        Link Parent
        Eh, I feel like you're missing the point. Transphobic hate groups (especially in England) don't advertise themselves as hategroups because that's not great for recruitment. So they dress up their...

        So many people feel the need to react and respond to posts that make them angry, again and again, because of the dopamine hit it provides and they often don't realize how addicting their continual anger is.

        Eh, I feel like you're missing the point.

        Transphobic hate groups (especially in England) don't advertise themselves as hategroups because that's not great for recruitment. So they dress up their hate behind a thin veneer of "reasonable concerns". This means that people read the posts, don't see them as hate, and make the same comments on places like Tildes.

        What are trans people and allies supposed to do? Ignore it, and allow it to spread further? Or debunk it, and hopefully educate someone about the true nature of hate groups?

        9 votes
        1. streblo
          Link Parent
          Can someone please point out where this is happening? Yesterday's thread, beyond one link that should have been deleted seemed fine to me. I understand that the topic is the holy trifecta of bigot...

          This means that people read the posts, don't see them as hate, and make the same comments on places like Tildes.

          Can someone please point out where this is happening?

          Yesterday's thread, beyond one link that should have been deleted seemed fine to me.

          I understand that the topic is the holy trifecta of bigot bingo with trans person did something bad, pedophilia, and Reddit censorship -- that's unfortunate. But stifling discussion of that under the pretense it's all just bad actors feels very much like when a political party attempts to write off something insane someone did/said under the pretense it's all just noise stirred up by their opposition.

          20 votes
      2. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Not just react and respond but actively seek it out. You notice this behavior in the more toxic corners of Reddit like with Gamergate or Incels. They spend insane amounts of time sharing posts or...

        So many people feel the need to react and respond to posts that make them angry, again and again, because of the dopamine hit it provides and they often don't realize how addicting their continual anger is.

        Not just react and respond but actively seek it out. You notice this behavior in the more toxic corners of Reddit like with Gamergate or Incels. They spend insane amounts of time sharing posts or compilations of posts of people being mean or bullying towards them. Sometimes they’re in context and actually a bit too far. Other times they’re just taken way out of context or interpreted through a completely twisted, funhouse mirror view of reality. But really they’re just reveling in the negativity and sense of shared victimhood. It seems really analogous to a form of self harm. I don’t think they’re alone in this behavior pattern, just much more far gone into it. I think everyone’s doing it to a point that’s making them crazy.

        I don’t know what the solution is really. The fact is that there always have been and alway will be lots of shitty opinions and shitty people on the internet. Any group that’s sufficiently large is going to encompass some of that shittiness. It didn’t used to be able to inflict itself on everyone quite this way, and I now that trolls have developed bullying tactics that easily cross the threshold into real life it all has way more of an edge to it.

        But what can anyone do but ignore it? The fact is that shitty people exist. Wrong people exist. If merely being reminded of their existence is unbearable and we feel the need to do battle with them wherever they turn then every space online is going to be a battlefield. And as people get more scarred by this they lose the ability to engage or interact in any way that isn’t accusatory or combative.

        7 votes
    4. [2]
      daturkel
      Link Parent
      I don't use Tildes nearly as much as the users you're describing here, but I do check it a few times a day and try to participate in discussions, and my perspective on why is that it's because...

      I don't use Tildes nearly as much as the users you're describing here, but I do check it a few times a day and try to participate in discussions, and my perspective on why is that it's because Tildes is/feels so nascent and has so much potential that people feel really invested in making it the space they want it to be. You naturally want to shape the assortment of what gets posted and contribute to discussions and suggest ideas and rules and so on because when a site like Tildes becomes even a percentage of the size of major social networks, the ability for individuals to shape its trajectory shrinks to almost nothing. I suspect that many users who express their unhappiness with the site (and I've seen several posts like that) don't want to just step away from the site because they know they can still play a part in making it a place for them.

      12 votes
      1. Deimos
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah, and I definitely understand and appreciate the feedback that comes from that kind of viewpoint. But the other side of it is that we can't fixate on the rare times where things go poorly and...

        Yeah, and I definitely understand and appreciate the feedback that comes from that kind of viewpoint.

        But the other side of it is that we can't fixate on the rare times where things go poorly and act like those define the site. In the last 30 days, there have been 741 topics posted and 5,276 comments. I locked 7 of those topics, removed 5 of them, and removed 29 comments from 8 different topics. About half of the comment removals were basically "collateral damage", where the comment itself didn't have anything wrong, but it was part of a thread that was being removed in full. Excluding this topic, there have only been 18 Malice labels used in the last 30 days, in 12 different topics, by 15 different users. Only two users used it more than once. Before the thread mentioned in the OP, there had been one Malice label in the previous 11 days.

        These are not high numbers. And that's what I'm talking about: some people spend so much time focusing on the times that Tildes doesn't match up with what they want it to be that they miss noticing (and supporting) all the times that it does.

        32 votes
    5. mrbig
      Link Parent
      I'm definitely compulsive in my internet habits and that relates to things that are not really relevant here. But being locked up due to the pandemics certainly does not help. I wasn't aware that...

      I'm definitely compulsive in my internet habits and that relates to things that are not really relevant here. But being locked up due to the pandemics certainly does not help.

      I wasn't aware that there was so many people on Tildes unofficial Discord. This does seem excessive even for me.

      I'm on Tildes a lot, but I make a concerted effort to ignore the things that really bother me. It is usually not that hard to predict what bothers me. And it is also not hard to not read some things. Sometimes I'm caught off guard, though.

      I agree with you completely.

      Additionaly, Tildes will never be perfect for everyone 100% of the time, just like any website. It's unreasonable to expect all interactions to be good and ideal. Such expectation ignores the contentious nature of human interactions.

      I also agree that most of the time Tildes simply works, there's really not that many nasty situations.

      6 votes
    6. [4]
      Eric_the_Cerise
      Link Parent
      Or, to put it another way ... here's your relevant xkcd. PS: This may be too flippant/irreverant for this discussion. I don't mean to make light of people's feelings about this. Please flag or...

      Or, to put it another way ... here's your relevant xkcd.

      PS: This may be too flippant/irreverant for this discussion. I don't mean to make light of people's feelings about this. Please flag or delete if this is inappropriate. Thanks for the site, Deimos.

      10 votes
      1. Eylrid
        Link Parent
        That comic played a big part in getting me to stop arguing on the internet. Sometimes humor can get through in ways that serious discussion doesn't.

        That comic played a big part in getting me to stop arguing on the internet. Sometimes humor can get through in ways that serious discussion doesn't.

        5 votes
      2. Wren
        Link Parent
        How the hell did i not know xkcd had a good mobile site until now???

        How the hell did i not know xkcd had a good mobile site until now???

        2 votes
    7. [2]
      WendigoTulpa
      Link Parent
      Thank you Deimos for a level-headed response to the trend of grievance posting. Here's a quote I recently read that I believe would do well to soothe the minds of those too enthralled in arguing...

      Thank you Deimos for a level-headed response to the trend of grievance posting.

      Here's a quote I recently read that I believe would do well to soothe the minds of those too enthralled in arguing on the internet.

      “Seeing misery in those who cling to views, a wise person should not adopt any of them. A wise person does not by opinions become arrogant. How could anyone bother those who are free, who do not grasp at any views? But those who grasp after views and opinions wander about the world annoying people.” I like to think that the Buddha said this last sentence with a laugh. Ajahn Chah used to shake his head and smile, “You have so many opinions. And you suffer so much from them. Why not let them go?”

      3 votes
      1. Wren
        Link Parent
        When the issue at hand is whether you should have rights or not, that philosophy stops making a whole lot of sense. Not saying this is a problem here, just that there are some holes in that.

        When the issue at hand is whether you should have rights or not, that philosophy stops making a whole lot of sense. Not saying this is a problem here, just that there are some holes in that.

        7 votes
    8. [6]
      bbhoss
      Link Parent
      Ban hatemongers, make them feel unwelcome. That's it, it doesn't seem that difficult. Saying it's the users fault for not liking these opinions is missing the point. You're building a community...

      Ban hatemongers, make them feel unwelcome. That's it, it doesn't seem that difficult. Saying it's the users fault for not liking these opinions is missing the point. You're building a community whether you like it or not, if you don't eliminate these folks it pushes people that vehemently reject these views away. There are many other places to receive entertainment on the order of Tildes where I don't need to deal with eugenics advocates on a daily basis. If you're intentionally taking this position because you approve of the posts, then this will be my last visit. Throwing your hands up and saying "it's too difficult" is a cop out.

      2 votes
      1. [5]
        streblo
        Link Parent
        I'm still hoping someone can point out who these hatemongers are that Tildes has such a problem with.

        Ban hatemongers, make them feel unwelcome.

        I'm still hoping someone can point out who these hatemongers are that Tildes has such a problem with.

        28 votes
        1. [4]
          NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Not to pick on bbhoss, but this account is less than a month old and that's their first post on the site. I suspect this is a response to just the assertion that hatemongers exist rather than...
          • Exemplary

          Not to pick on bbhoss, but this account is less than a month old and that's their first post on the site. I suspect this is a response to just the assertion that hatemongers exist rather than rooted in any first-hand knowledge or experience of interacting with them.

          Which, in a way, is indicative of the problem. People pick up assumptions and habits and emotional baggage they picked up elsewhere and bring it in here whether it applies to the person or discussion they're talking to. Discussions stop being with other people, the people become sort of avatars or stand-ins for these larger amorphous forces that they actually have a problem with. When everything and everyone is tied up into a broad general category or label and your every behavior is viewed through the lens of how well it comports to macro-level ideological debates you just can't constructive discussion.

          21 votes
          1. [3]
            bbhoss
            Link Parent
            Your suspicion is incorrect. Yes I am a new member, and in this short time I've been exposed to many discussions I'd rather not see, and make me feel like Tildes isn't going to be the alternative...

            Your suspicion is incorrect. Yes I am a new member, and in this short time I've been exposed to many discussions I'd rather not see, and make me feel like Tildes isn't going to be the alternative to HN, Reddit, Lobsters, etc that I was looking for. If y'all want nazis sitting at your table, fine. But I won't be there.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              crdpa
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              This website does not have anything that resembles lobste.rs at all besides the fact that it is a link aggregator. It is not an alternative for it.

              This website does not have anything that resembles lobste.rs at all besides the fact that it is a link aggregator. It is not an alternative for it.

              1. hungariantoast
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Talking about features at least, Tildes does basically everything Lobsters does, and does it in a better or more powerful way, except for hats and the ability to filter by domains. In terms of...

                Talking about features at least, Tildes does basically everything Lobsters does, and does it in a better or more powerful way, except for hats and the ability to filter by domains. In terms of features, Tildes is almost a superset of Lobsters.

                In terms of community and focus, ~comp is basically what Lobsters is, but the people here are (generally) nicer and less transphobic or conservative.

                So not just in terms of features, but also in terms of scope, Tildes is a superset of Lobsters and I think that's hilarious.

                If Tildes grows to the point that the activity in ~comp rivals that of Lobsters, then that subgroup alone will not just be an alternative to Lobsters, but probably the best alternative.

                2 votes
  2. [5]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    I think a lot of this friction comes from a misalignment of perspectives. I think Tildes has done a very good job of avoiding the outright malice and hatred that plagues other sites, but I do...
    • Exemplary

    I think a lot of this friction comes from a misalignment of perspectives. I think Tildes has done a very good job of avoiding the outright malice and hatred that plagues other sites, but I do think there's another piece here that often gets missed. It's hard to put into words, but I'm going to try to do my best to speak to it:

    I think a lot of people find significant value in the academic discussion of topics, and I think that's often driven by intellectual curiosity. I believe this is fundamentally a good thing. I'm a teacher -- I love intellectual curiosity and academic exploration! I think there are many people who often engage with controversial topics from this perspective and with this as their grounding. When told to avoid certain topics or limit their discussion, it can feel like a stifling of the pursuit of knowledge or understanding, which can strike very close to people's moral centers.

    On the other hand, I think there are other people for whom those topics aren't academic and, as such, can't maintain an impartial distance from them. When people dissect these topics, they don't see a high-level academic back-and-forth -- they see themselves or people they care about on the table, being picked apart by instruments.

    Speaking from my personal experience, Tildes is the first site where I, as a gay man, haven't had to metaphorically be on that dissection table. On literally every other internet platform I've ever been on, I've lived with the reality that some people will put me and people like me under the microscope, debate my merits, critique my personhood or legitimacy, and treat me as if I'm some question mark of humanity rather than a human being myself.

    I think this sort of thing is often benign -- people pursuing an intellectual curiosity -- and I think a lot of valuable understanding can come from it. But I also encourage anyone who's never faced that kind of widespread scrutiny to consider what it feels like to constantly be a specimen -- to have people looking down at you on the table and talking about you with an authority that they never yield to you. It's frustrating, limiting, and often damaging. Do you know how many calm, rational discussions I've had to sit through about whether being gay makes me a biological mistake? A failure of evolution? The product of mental illness? Unworthy of dignity? Undeserving of legal rights? Fundamentally selfish? Akin to a pedophile? Unable to love? Unable to care for children? A disappointment to parents? A drain on society?

    Again, I'm not talking about outright hate. I've certainly dealt with my fair share of that, and I don't want to downplay its severity, but I also want to note that the benign stuff does hit, just in a different way.

    If you have never had your own personhood questioned and then watched that questioning go supported by wider society, then I think it's probably hard to understand just how invasive and upsetting it can be. It's a powerful drain on your quality of life. It erodes nearly everything. It's a constant reminder that you're living in someone else's space -- not your own. It's a constant reminder that you're the one on the dissection table, powerless to do anything as others gawk and stare and question and and poke and prod and pull apart and discuss while never once considering that maybe the right thing to do is to invite you to stand around the table with them and also maybe take their scalpels out of your chest cavity.

    Tildes doesn't feel like that for me. I've never once had to defend my personhood as a gay man here. I've never -- not even once -- felt like I've been on the dissection table for it. I don't feel like I'm an outsider in a straight space, treading lightly lest I lose my standing. I feel like I'm part of the group of humanity here -- someone who is afforded an unquestioned respect for who I am and an implicit understanding that questioning that would be harmful to me.

    I very much want Tildes to be a place where trans people, people with disabilities, women, people of color, and other widely maligned and marginalized groups can feel the same thing that I feel here. I want them to have that relief. I want them to have that freedom and unquestioned respect. I want them to be seen as fellow authorities on humanity rather than primarily specimens open for dissection. And I don't think we're there yet. I think we've done a good job of eliminating a lot of the more overt pollution of the wider internet, but I think we still have a lot of "academic dissections" here that still hit, but in a different way.

    Again, I genuinely love intellectual curiosity, and I don't think there's anything wrong with academic discussions of difficult topics. I do think that internet discussions have a false intimacy to them, however, that can make us forget that we're speaking in a public space with a wide audience. Thus, I think that when we do have these discussions, it's part of the responsibility of the participants to be aware of how they can come across to that wide audience.

    Even if we have purely academic discussions that don't involve anyone directly linked to the topic, we have to assume that the broadcast medium of the internet is bringing our words to affected parties anyway. We have to assume that trans people are reading our conversations on trans people. We have to assume that people with disabilities are reading our conversations on eugenics. We have to assume that affected populations are reading our discussions about that which affects them, and we have to understand that what might be academic for us is likely deeply personal for them. I think that can help us see that deeply personal reaction on these topics isn't necessarily an overreaction or a hypersensitivity but a genuine response based in actual frustration.

    More than anything else, however, we have to center ourselves with a view of fairness in discourse that includes their voices and perspectives -- one that has them standing around the table with us rather than being the ones lying on it.

    64 votes
    1. Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      I just want to let you know that I really appreciate your contribution here and I enjoy reading your comments and perspective. :)

      I just want to let you know that I really appreciate your contribution here and I enjoy reading your comments and perspective. :)

      7 votes
    2. [2]
      silfilim
      Link Parent
      Is Tildes different because academic discussion on the topic doesn't come up, or because academic discussion on the topic is accompanied by acknowledgement of the personal perspectives? or...

      I've never -- not even once -- felt like I've been on the dissection table for it.

      Is Tildes different because academic discussion on the topic doesn't come up, or because academic discussion on the topic is accompanied by acknowledgement of the personal perspectives? or something else?

      5 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Good question. It’s honestly hard to speak about the absence of something with any level of definitiveness, but I reflected on it and I think it’s sort of a mesh of three things, really. The first...

        Good question. It’s honestly hard to speak about the absence of something with any level of definitiveness, but I reflected on it and I think it’s sort of a mesh of three things, really.

        The first isn’t really Tildes-specific and is simply that the floor on gay acceptance has been raised quite significantly in my lifetime. There is less need for dissection because being gay is now more commonly understood and seen, so that has some effect on discussions whether here or elsewhere. For a long time I was a novelty or a curiosity — now I’ve reached a refreshing level of mundane, where disclosing that I’m gay is like saying I had pizza for dinner last night. Nobody hears the latter and then starts questioning whether pizzas should be cut into 6 or 8 slices or whether we can even call a pizza without cheese a pizza or whatnot.

        The second is that, similar to the “pizza” thing — the Tildes community has never treated being gay as one of “those” topics. You know — the ones people tend not to bring up because it naturally leads to exhausting and frustrating debate? I’ve never witnessed that here. On prior platforms I always had to make a judgment call about whether or not I bring anything gay-related up, because it might start another firestorm or prompt another dissection of me. I think this is what trans people are facing on the internet right now. Even in places without overt hatred, they have to suss out whether to bring up transness at all, knowing that it could easily start the very escalations they’re already sick of dealing with. I’ve talked about being gay a lot on Tildes, and nobody has ever been a stick in my spokes about it (much less trying to knock me clean off the bicycle), but I think our trans users have to deal with that more regularly, and I think some of them have ultimately left the site because of it.

        The third is that I think a lot of people here choose to comment in a way that keeps the community in mind rather than in a way that only prioritizes individual expression. There have no doubt been some people who have maybe wanted to start a dissection on something but then said to themselves “maybe this isn’t the time or place for that” or “I don’t want to be too invasive” or “that might come across the wrong way”. I’ve done it myself! I think a lot of people here go out of their way to not turn things into inflection points. I also think this is supported by the site’s philosophy and moderation.

        When considered altogether, I think Tildes has a default level of empathy and consideration across its comments that I don’t see elsewhere online. In fact, I think part of the reason the frictions we do have pull such a large focus is because, outside of them, this is a calm, chill, affirming place to be for most users. I genuinely want that to be the case for all users, but it’s hard because harmony takes work, and it’s hard because we’re not our own island and the rest of the internet seems hell-bent on getting people to hate one another and live life as nothing but a stream of unending anger and outrage.

        I used to not only be in that stream, but I used to be a target of it. It feels wonderful to not be there anymore, and I credit Tildes for making that happen for me. I want other people in and targeted by that stream to feel that way too.

        18 votes
    3. nukeman
      Link Parent
      I don’t have much to say other than this is an excellent perspective to consider.

      I don’t have much to say other than this is an excellent perspective to consider.

      7 votes
    4. Removed by admin: 4 comments by 4 users
      Link Parent
  3. [10]
    tesseractcat
    Link
    Anyone else tired of the cyclical nature of: some controversial event happens, big thread on tildes about it (with drama, of course), new thread about how bad tildes is (with more drama, of...

    Anyone else tired of the cyclical nature of: some controversial event happens, big thread on tildes about it (with drama, of course), new thread about how bad tildes is (with more drama, of course), wait for everything to simmer down back to the usual activity level of 10 comments per thread, repeat.

    Maybe we should create a ~controversial group and move any thread that gets too heated over there so people that aren't interested in participating don't have to? Or maybe ban anything that's sufficiently controversial? Honestly I would appreciate any solution that stops this cycle...

    40 votes
    1. [6]
      Amarok
      Link Parent
      This cycle is as old as the internet. Tildes is about two years old, so it's right on time. I've been expecting (dreading) it because it's simply inevitable. The thing to recognize about this is...

      This cycle is as old as the internet. Tildes is about two years old, so it's right on time. I've been expecting (dreading) it because it's simply inevitable. The thing to recognize about this is that these cycles (no matter the topic, or forum) point out a problem (or problems) that need to be addressed - and then find a way to address it somehow. Ignoring them, or having kneejerk reactions is what brings the real trouble later on.

      Carving things up into other groups won't help. Blocking users won't help - there are always more new users. It's a fundamental failure of the discussion models we use, I think. I'd love to throw a pile of clever ideas at you, but frankly, I've been thinking about this problem for the better part of a decade and I still haven't got a path forward for this one. All I've been able to do is bust every solution for it I've ever seen and depress myself.

      19 votes
      1. [4]
        tesseractcat
        Link Parent
        Yeah, sadly the one constant about controversial topics is that they are by definition controversial. I really can't imagine a way where we could both have discussions of controversial topics and...

        Yeah, sadly the one constant about controversial topics is that they are by definition controversial. I really can't imagine a way where we could both have discussions of controversial topics and not have these sort of reactions. Even in totally private discussion groups where everyone should (theoretically at least) hold the same general viewpoints on most topics, I've seen this same cycle crop up...

        I still think some way of opting-out could help make the site more tolerable for people that find themselves drawn into these topics, even if it wouldn't solve the problem altogether.

        8 votes
        1. [3]
          CALICO
          Link Parent
          I love going deep on a controversial idea. Really taking it apart, examining its pieces, projecting to extremes and looking for real life correlations. Looking at it from different philosophical...

          I love going deep on a controversial idea. Really taking it apart, examining its pieces, projecting to extremes and looking for real life correlations. Looking at it from different philosophical perspectives, noting what I see from the varied angles.
          The problem is the internet is too fast a medium. I can type much faster than I can feasibly speak, and BANG it's out there for everyone to read, get fired up over, and crank out a kneejerk emotional analysis, and everything quickly devolves. Not fun.

          Speaking IRL is sometimes too fast too. Some ideas are really complex when viewed in context of an individual scenario, and take time to think about thoroughly.

          Having a conversation online standing around a poison well—I feel—the only way to get the job done would be to have a very organized structure in place through which specifically controversial topics abide by. A controlled environment. Maybe minimum character requirements, maybe no comments and everything is just topic post, original content in the form of analytical essays and response essays. Maybe there'd have to be a panel of mods that had to reach majority consensus to approve a submission—like to prevent anything blatantly inflammatory from everything the conversation.

          It would be an effort. I think it's possible, even if I'm wrong about the way to do it. I'm just not sure anyone would expend that effort for such a specific situation.

          I still think some way of opting-out could help make the site more tolerable

          Those of us with the superpower to tag posts could make an executive decision to tag a topic as controversial, and then by default we could have that tag hidden, and a little thing on the bio about enabling the visibility of controversial topics. Then only those interested, or those seeing it before it got tagged, even know the topic exists. Make it opt-in. So people have to consent to engage in an uncertain, uncomfortable environment.

          8 votes
          1. [2]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            The other problem is that for you it's an interesting discussion but for other people it's their actual lives. Why does your desire for stimulating discussion trump their desire for a place where...

            I love going deep on a controversial idea. Really taking it apart, examining its pieces, projecting to extremes and looking for real life correlations. Looking at it from different philosophical perspectives, noting what I see from the varied angles.

            The other problem is that for you it's an interesting discussion but for other people it's their actual lives. Why does your desire for stimulating discussion trump their desire for a place where their existence is accepted?

            5 votes
            1. CALICO
              Link Parent
              It doesn't, and I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. I don't touch controversial topics on the internet at all, unless I happen to be in a bad emotional place myself. I can only really deep dive in an...

              Why does your desire for stimulating discussion trump their desire for a place where their existence is accepted?

              It doesn't, and I'm sorry if that wasn't clear. I don't touch controversial topics on the internet at all, unless I happen to be in a bad emotional place myself.

              I can only really deep dive in an appropriate manner, handling such sensitive topics, with close friends and romantic partners. I guess I could compile my thoughts and will them into existence as a philosophical text, but like, that's way too formal. I like have conversations, learning moments, and teaching moments. But there's not really a way to do that online.

              8 votes
      2. bub
        Link Parent
        I might be misunderstanding, but doesn't the inevitable turning point into this cycle you speak of usually coincide with the growth of a user base? Has Tildes grown? It seems as small as always to me.

        I might be misunderstanding, but doesn't the inevitable turning point into this cycle you speak of usually coincide with the growth of a user base? Has Tildes grown? It seems as small as always to me.

        3 votes
    2. Sand
      Link Parent
      The problem is it only takes 5 or so people to have a "big controversy" on tildes. A ~controversial group would probably just bring more fuel to the fire.

      The problem is it only takes 5 or so people to have a "big controversy" on tildes. A ~controversial group would probably just bring more fuel to the fire.

      18 votes
    3. AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      Yes. I like the controversial indicator idea, although think it'd likely be a tag instead of a group. That said there are many topics that are going to be easily determined controversial and...

      Anyone else tired of the cyclical nature of: some controversial event happens, big thread on tildes about it (with drama, of course), new thread about how bad tildes is (with more drama, of course), wait for everything to simmer down back to the usual activity level of 10 comments per thread, repeat.

      Yes.

      Maybe we should create a ~controversial group and move any thread that gets too heated over there so people that aren't interested in participating don't have to? Or maybe ban anything that's sufficiently controversial? Honestly I would appreciate any solution that stops this cycle...

      I like the controversial indicator idea, although think it'd likely be a tag instead of a group. That said there are many topics that are going to be easily determined controversial and others that are only controversial to some, muddying the tagging waters. The larger issue is the controversial topics are rarely the link itself, but rather the conversations spawned within the comments afterward. There's a thought about being able to add a tag (or perhaps a new label) to comments to mark them as controversial and a setting within user preferences that allows someone to opt-out of seeing controversial comments.

      10 votes
    4. elcuello
      Link Parent
      Deimos said it in a comment elsewhere and it's kind of an important point a lot of people agree with but don't follow through with. Why are you in this thread then? I'm not trying to be cocky but...

      Maybe we should create a ~controversial group and move any thread that gets too heated over there so people that aren't interested in participating don't have to?

      Deimos said it in a comment elsewhere and it's kind of an important point a lot of people agree with but don't follow through with. Why are you in this thread then? I'm not trying to be cocky but there would literally be no drama on Tildes in your experience if you don't visit the 2-3 threads about it. It's actually one of the greats things about this place is that the drama doesn't spill easily.

      4 votes
  4. [11]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [6]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      Was just postulating something similar to this in a comment below. A "Controversial" comment label, since most of these subjects seem to come up in comments and not the link itself, may be...

      Maybe a comment that is flagged as "Harmful" by enough people might have its priority in the comments section reduced, or even deleted. Or perhaps we could create a label called "Concern" which gives a user space to report a comment to moderation and explain why they feel it should be the target of moderation. I should also note that "moderation" doesn't have to mean deleting a comment. We can be creative and think of other interventions that allow for comments to remain while the underlying conflict is resolved.

      Was just postulating something similar to this in a comment below. A "Controversial" comment label, since most of these subjects seem to come up in comments and not the link itself, may be beneficial if accompanied with a user preferences option that allows someone to opt-out of seeing controversial comments. If a comment meets the controversial threshold then it's hidden (or collapsed) from those that don't wish to see such and aligns with the "Let users make their own decisions about what they want to see" philosophy of Tildes.

      14 votes
      1. [3]
        chrysanth
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Thanks for engaging with my recommendations. I don't think the section of the docs you're quoting was meant to apply to the situation we're discussing in this thread. It seems like that subheading...

        Thanks for engaging with my recommendations.

        I don't think the section of the docs you're quoting was meant to apply to the situation we're discussing in this thread. It seems like that subheading was written with reference to proprietary algorithms which determine what users' feeds look like for ad profits. In response, the tagging system was developed as an alternative, to categorize posts by subject so you can find posts on topics you are interested in. The thing that a user might not want to see, as implied in that section, is something boring or unrelated to their interests, not a controversial or offensive comment.

        I think expanding labels could be a way forward to deal with that latter issue, which is what I feel is at stake in this discussion. We'd need to change the Tildes philosophy or code of conduct pages to include whatever framework is developed for thinking about these issues. What currently exists just doesn't cover what we're talking about now.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          Thank you for making them! I disagree. The docs provide statements that Tildes isn't a "free speech" haven, but also isn't a safe space either. So it would seem, to me anyway, that the tagging...

          Thank you for making them!

          I don't think the section of the docs you're quoting was meant to apply to the situation we're discussing in this thread. It seems like that subheading was written with reference to proprietary algorithms which determine what users' feeds look like for ad profits. In response, the tagging system was developed as an alternative, to categorize posts by subject so you can find posts on topics you are interested in. The thing that a user might not want to see, as implied in that section, is something boring or unrelated to their interests, not a controversial or offensive comment.

          I disagree. The docs provide statements that Tildes isn't a "free speech" haven, but also isn't a safe space either. So it would seem, to me anyway, that the tagging system was meant both as a way to follow things you're interested in, ignore things you are not, and avoid topics which have the potential to upset you. A post about torture or a horrific accident where the story included gore-y images would be tagged with such warnings to reduce the risk of someone seeing something they didn't want to.

          7 votes
          1. chrysanth
            Link Parent
            Yes, but this thread is not about NSFW content, it's about offensive content that users find a little too close to hate speech or violence for their comfort. For NSFW content on the site, tagging...

            A post about torture or a horrific accident where the story included gore-y images would be tagged with such warnings to reduce the risk of someone seeing something they didn't want to.

            Yes, but this thread is not about NSFW content, it's about offensive content that users find a little too close to hate speech or violence for their comfort. For NSFW content on the site, tagging has been an effective tool. The latter continues to be a problem even with the tagging system.

            4 votes
      2. [2]
        highsomatic
        Link Parent
        One issue with this approach is that for a comment to receive such a tag, users would need to tag it enough times and thus have enough users be exposed to it, which can defeat the purpose for the...

        One issue with this approach is that for a comment to receive such a tag, users would need to tag it enough times and thus have enough users be exposed to it, which can defeat the purpose for the first users that show up in a comment section. It should also mark further child comments as controversial, given that they stem from the controversial comment. It also won't work in an older post that doesn't have enough eyes on it but still has a couple of users replying to each other (assuming you need more than one controversial report for a comment to be labeled as controversial).

        5 votes
        1. AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          That applies for all tags/labels though. Like the noise label it'd effectively collapse/hide the replies to the highest level controversial comment for users that have elected to not see such. No...

          That applies for all tags/labels though. Like the noise label it'd effectively collapse/hide the replies to the highest level controversial comment for users that have elected to not see such. No solution is perfect and if an old thread just has a couple of users going back and forth the likelihood of someone popping in and being offended by the conversation is near zero.

          2 votes
    2. [4]
      viborgu
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is a solid argument with some great constructive suggestions for how to address the issue, thank you. I'm fairly new here, this is the kind of discussion I had hoped to find more of on...

      This is a solid argument with some great constructive suggestions for how to address the issue, thank you. I'm fairly new here, this is the kind of discussion I had hoped to find more of on Tildes. What occurs to me immediately is that there have been similar attempts on Reddit, although generally in subs where the presumption of good faith is not necessarily there. But there are subs which have options for reporting "grandstanding", "flamebait", and similar kinds of rhetorical dead ends. It's not clear to me how those could be directly applied here, but by adapting them to this environment, and synthesizing with your suggestion of a "harmful" option for reports, it seems like a way of clarifying what the issue is.

      For me the eugenics issue is pretty clear. But my impression is that many of the users here are refugees from Reddit, and Reddit has a real problem with bad actors poisoning the well, or normalizing significantly prejudiced views. I'm not saying those same bad actors have migrated here, but the arguments they normalize certainly would seem to, based on some of the comments here. I think the meta-Reddit thread that OP mentioned is in fact one good example of that, much of the discussion seems to originate fairly directly from the frankly bigoted TERF community which is most notable on Twitter from my perspective, and which I saw mentioned on Reddit as a main corroborating source, and apparently OP saw some of the same sources here as well. I don't know what the best way to address this is, but I do think that left unchecked it's likely this forum will repeat many of the mistakes of Reddit.

      Just a final note that's been banging around in my head as I browse tildes: with respect to Deimos and the crew here, as a noob hoping for quality discussion, there seems to be a certain paucity of engagement coming from the top here. I know this is probably a shoestring operation, I don't want to make unreasonable demands at all. I appreciate everything they've done so far. But in my experience in watching Reddit almost from the beginning, the best subreddit that ever existed was the original iteration of /r/TrueReddit, when kleopatra6tilde9, the creator, was also moderating. They were very engaged in most discussion in the subreddit that I saw, and did their best just to establish a reasonable and moderate tone there. Again not trying to disparage the efforts here, it's also possible I missed a formative period where there was more engagement, or I just don't recognize the names here who are sort of acting as that moderating force. My point is just that one of the best ways to moderate is by example, and outreach.


      *I have to say @Deimos' reply to this thread is not too encouraging. I don't know the ins and outs of all the drama here but the response there basically seems to be "if you don't like it, leave". Which to me very much reflects the attitude you see coming from the top of Reddit on these issues too.

      Frankly I think what it comes down to is that there are bad actors throughout social media who have frankly bigoted views, or they have unconscious bias around issues of social justice etc, and they've learned the tricks that bad actors use to push discussions into these rhetorical dead ends, so they parrot those dysfunctional arguments. Either we figure out a way to confront that bullshit directly, or it gradually takes over discussion and over time forces out the people who do value yes "social justice" and more generally reasonable discussion. It's exactly what's happening on Reddit now, the reasonable discussion is mostly gone.

      If this is basically the sum of the state of things here I will probably delete my account by the end of the day. I appreciate Deimos' coding skills, but they might want to consider delegating the community interaction to someone else.

      10 votes
      1. [2]
        chrysanth
        Link Parent
        Thanks for replying! I appreciate it, and welcome to Tildes too. Yes, in my experience, many discussions end up in these "rhetorical dead ends" as a result of these unhelpful behaviors that aren't...

        Thanks for replying! I appreciate it, and welcome to Tildes too.

        Yes, in my experience, many discussions end up in these "rhetorical dead ends" as a result of these unhelpful behaviors that aren't necessarily against the rules here on Tildes but don't contribute to meaningful or healthy conversation. I think editing the Code of Conduct to address these in-between situations would be a step forward in this regard, and could serve as the foundation on which we'd build additional labels and moderation tools. As it currently stands, there actually is no basis on which moderation could address those behaviors, since they aren't mentioned at all in the rules. What exactly constitutes those behaviors would have to arise from all of us discussing together.

        Usually ongoing events on Reddit don't comprise much of the discussion here, but you make a broader point I agree with. Minus ads, tracking, and the explicit prohibition of fascism and white supremacy, how much is actually different between Tildes and Reddit? It's not a surprise that patterns we observe on Reddit then go on to repeat themselves here. To be clear, those three things make Tildes a much better experience that Reddit - but I think we should strive to improve even beyond that baseline.

        10 votes
        1. viborgu
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          You're very welcome. i hope this and similar discussions will give rise to some concrete and constructive ways to address these issues. I will just note that while there is indeed much similarity...

          You're very welcome. i hope this and similar discussions will give rise to some concrete and constructive ways to address these issues.

          I will just note that while there is indeed much similarity between Tildes and Reddit, there is one crucial distinction you didn't mention. If I was going to make just one improvement to try to detoxify Reddit, it would be removing the downvote button. That was a key insight of Deimos (I assume) when he was designing the basic algorithm here. It is the main tool that troll brigades on Reddit use to shut down opposing views for one thing, it's also just to easy to abuse on an individual basis as well.

          5 votes
      2. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        There is no "the top" there is just Deimos. It's a 1-man operation. This also isn't meant to be a "your one place on the internet" the way Reddit is. It's intended to be more of a community...

        There is no "the top" there is just Deimos. It's a 1-man operation. This also isn't meant to be a "your one place on the internet" the way Reddit is. It's intended to be more of a community space/discussion group and it's kind of critical for those sorts of spaces to have people come and go over time. Community spaces become toxic when oldheads spend all their time being in it and complaining about how it used to be better in the past but it sucks now. They just create loci of negativity and, before you know it, you've got a forum full of Statler and Waldorfs that's off putting to new people. That tendency in the forum culture that dominated online discourse before Reddit is why Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter took over in the first place.

        Frankly I think what it comes down to is that there are bad actors throughout social media who have frankly bigoted views, or they have unconscious bias around issues of social justice etc, and they've learned the tricks that bad actors use to push discussions into these rhetorical dead ends, so they parrot those dysfunctional arguments. Either we figure out a way to confront that bullshit directly, or it gradually takes over discussion and over time forces out the people who do value yes "social justice" and more generally reasonable discussion.

        TBH these tricks aren't solely the provenance of bad actors. Engaging in this sort of rhetoric is much more of a personality flaw than an ideological problem. Certain ideological corners might be more prone to doing it but I think that aligns with orientations towards "dominance" and "threat elimination" more than anything else. That tends to be, but is not exclusively a right wing thing.

        8 votes
  5. [20]
    elcuello
    Link
    I'm sorry if this is too brass but I am perplexed by the thought that this place is so bad all of a sudden. Maybe I'm used to more toxic places and the tone on the internet is generally worse but...

    I'm sorry if this is too brass but I am perplexed by the thought that this place is so bad all of a sudden. Maybe I'm used to more toxic places and the tone on the internet is generally worse but if this place is that awful I really don't know what the solution is. I read Kfwyres wonderful comment and was enlightened and understood things I haven't given enough thought before but I still can't see that this attitude is so prevalent here. I feel like we're getting to a point where people actively seek out these things no matter what. Granted I haven't read the eugenics thread but I have yet to come across anything remotely offending/off putting traditionally speaking. This is not a "grow a pair" message I'm genuinely wondering why this seems so persistent for so many here. I thought we were all getting a long pretty well...

    Edit: I just want to say that I really don't hope anyone leaves because of this. This is to me at least a wonderful place where I have learnt a lot and enjoy being part of.

    24 votes
    1. [19]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      You're not the only person who feels this way. In fact, I would say you are firmly in the majority. Much of what has been upsetting me as of late isn't actually personally upsetting to me. It's...

      You're not the only person who feels this way. In fact, I would say you are firmly in the majority. Much of what has been upsetting me as of late isn't actually personally upsetting to me. It's upsetting to the people I surround myself with.

      You see, I talk to a lot of people on Tildes through direct messages and outside of Tildes through other chatting apps. Sometimes they vent publicly, other times we chat one on one. When I made the thread on Tildes about the minority voice leaving, I had several people in mind when I posted it. Luckily I still have contact with many of them. Unfortunately, some I do not. As of this morning, at least one more is fleeing this platform as a direct response to some of the hostility they saw in this thread. While I was typing up this response, another. 😭

      I find myself sitting in an awkward place. I was silent for about a year as I formulated my thoughts on how to address this pervasive issue which culminated in the pushing out the minority post I made a month or so ago. My conclusion after all of this thought was the following - the vast majority of people on this platform are not maliciously driving this population out. They simply don't see how certain topics and certain conversational points being present are inherently dehumanizing and demeaning to these minority groups and they may not be aware of how others can be more emotionally affected by others than they are.

      At the same time, I was aware that bringing this up would inevitably cause some individuals on this site to dig their heels into the ground at the very mention of limiting speech. I find this a bit weird because everyone regularly modifies what speech is acceptable depending on their company. What they say to a cashier at a grocery store is different than what they say to their friend, their lover, their grandmother, an acquaintance, their work colleagues, their peers, in a library, around children, and so on. But the idea of changing how we behave online, on a website which is devoted to, well, changing the way we interact online, is somehow foreign or unwanted. This opposition, I knew would be interpreted by some of the very population I'm trying to stop from bleeding away from this website as hostility and that we would lose some of these individuals.

      My ultimate decision was that as a natural educator, I feel a drive to help others learn what they do not know and understand what they are on the cusp of grasping. My decision was that I needed to bring extra visibility to what's going on in the heads of some of the people who are being driven away. My hope was more good would come of this (changing minds) than the inevitable fallout (more minority voices leaving). What this community decides to do with this information is entirely up to the community, but it is my hope that by surfacing this issue and forcing the community to engage with it will ultimately lead to a better, stronger, more compassionate community in the future. One which is able to support the voices of those which are currently cast aside.

      14 votes
      1. [16]
        Akir
        Link Parent
        For some reason, what you're saying is the only thing that's really made me feel like contributing to this conversation. Personally speaking, I found yesterday to be very frustrating. Between what...

        For some reason, what you're saying is the only thing that's really made me feel like contributing to this conversation.

        Personally speaking, I found yesterday to be very frustrating. Between what was happening here and what was happening on Reddit, it seemed like everyone was rushing to partake in toxic activities. Nothing positive was going to come out of any of it and I feel that everyone who contributed to it, even though everyone had the best of intentions going in, is responsible for making the world just that slight bit worse. Of course, I mean that mostly in the context of what was happening on Reddit, but looking over here at this battlefield of a topic, I believe there's at least some shared DNA.

        We - by which I mean our shared culture in general terms - tend to have a problem understanding how to react to things on the internet. People tend to fail to realize that social media has real-world equivalents. Tildes, for instance, is like a giant over-scaled social club. It's full of people who get together to talk about their shared interests and learn new things about them. And in any social club, there's going to be some person who you think is a total jerk who you can't stand. So when you come across that kind of person in real life, do you put up with them, or do you leave the club?

        Of course, either action is valid. Leaving the club is especially valid if everyone's backing up the jerk. But what if it's the opposite: what if the community censures the jerk, or better yet, if the jerk is punished for their actions? Then it sounds like you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater; you're getting rid of any potential benefits of the social group because there was one person who irritated you. Though, of course, this is assuming you see the benefits of being part of the group in the first place.

        I guess what I'm trying to say is that when it comes to this website, everyone needs to simply remember the human. If there is one thing that makes us different from any other community, it is that, in general, we do our best to understand one another. We take personalized approaches when trying to gain consensus on issues. That's why it's so common to see these long-winded posts like you've been writing, and like I'm writing right now.

        I don't know who these people are who have left, so feel free to dismiss this idea altogether, but I feel that the people who are leaving because of people who are saying these bad things are not interested in seeing their humanity and are not at all invested in understanding our community. And my view is that losing people who are not invested in our community is not a measurable loss to our community.

        And to loop this back to the beginning, that's why I think that this kind of "drama post" (and yes, I'm fully aware you didn't intend this to turn out like this when you posted the original submission) is completely counterproductive, because it took the pool of people who could have potentially become invested in our community and scared them away. So while these losses may not be a major loss for the community, they are still losses.

        I hope none of this comes across as judgemental; I'm not blaming anyone for anything. What I'm trying to get at in a general sense is that we as a community should avoid feeding the drama machine, because that only generates more drama and it causes damage to our community.

        10 votes
        1. [15]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          While I agree with the majority of your post, and remembering the human is important, this particular bit rubs me the wrong way: These individuals absolutely are invested in our community. I've...

          While I agree with the majority of your post, and remembering the human is important, this particular bit rubs me the wrong way:

          I don't know who these people are who have left, so feel free to dismiss this idea altogether, but I feel that the people who are leaving because of people who are saying these bad things are not interested in seeing their humanity and are not at all invested in understanding our community. And my view is that losing people who are not invested in our community is not a measurable loss to our community.

          These individuals absolutely are invested in our community. I've seen them post wonderfully eloquent and measured responses, provide invaluable insight, and have shown their commitment through their contributions to this website. There is no question of their participation. Many of these users are instantly recognizable by username (and in fact personal names as well) if you ask any of the more prolific and older accounts on this website about them.

          In my mind they absolutely are major losses. That comes from my perspective and what I see and value in this community. These posts are mentally taxing to create because I see so many people chiming in with 'I don't see the problem, so is it really a problem?' which is the exact drive behind making these posts - this is a problem that exists out of view of the people who don't have the same issues with discussions on certain topics.

          I'm making these difficult posts because I want to draw attention to what is currently invisible. We don't have a list of 'this person left Tildes', let alone a list of why they left Tildes. There are probably a plethora of users I used to enjoy who have fled this platform and not informed me of their departure that I may find myself in the future wondering 'I wonder what they'd think about this' or 'huh, haven't seen them around for awhile'. I'm not sure how to draw extra visibility into this, but I believe it is bleeding out the minority voices and it's making us more homogeneous. I don't know about you and what you value, but I view this as a strong negative for this platform. Judging by discussions and answers to the last Tildes census, diversity is something people want on this platform, and so these discussions are meant to bring insight into how we can maintain and grow our minority population rather than alienate and shrink it.

          11 votes
          1. [14]
            Akir
            Link Parent
            That's completely fair. There's a reason why I said that you can dismiss that entire idea to begin with. But at the same time, I'm frustrated to hear this, because I really do want to know more...

            That's completely fair. There's a reason why I said that you can dismiss that entire idea to begin with.

            But at the same time, I'm frustrated to hear this, because I really do want to know more about what they have to say! I think that's the core of what's really bothering me about this issue; it seems like we have people talking in their place instead of actually hearing their voices. Practically everyone commenting in this thread is an outsider talking in their space; @whom is the only user who actually seems to feel personally attached to it.

            I know it's unfair, but from a purely emotional perspective it feels like we're being punished for angering people who can't even be bothered to explain why they are upset. And that's why I'm so frustrated with this topic. It's also why I assumed that they were not invested in the community; they are clearly hurt enough to leave, but for some reason they don't seem to want to explain it to the rest of us so we can make things better for them.

            And of course, I'm willing to accept that I may have overlooked them or even gone so far as to reject their ideas at some point. I'm far from perfect. But from what I'm getting on your comment earlier is that you're hearing these problems largely outside of tildes. Keep in mind that even if we do have a demi-official discord or game server, speaking up there alienates the majority of the people here.

            I want the same thing as you do; I want these people here contributing to this community. They have a unique perspective that I would love to hear more about from time to time. But it feels like this was the most important time to hear their voices and they have already given up on us! Without more input, how do we improve? It doesn't help the issue in that our example issue seems to have been biased towards the people in question (though I will admit that removing the entire conversation may have been a bit heavy-handed; I could understand someone being upset about their defensive comments being removed).

            9 votes
            1. [11]
              Cycloneblaze
              Link Parent
              As I read it the people who left Tildes did so because they were tired of constantly explaining and defending themselves on a variety of issues. What makes you think that, when they've reached the...

              I know it's unfair, but from a purely emotional perspective it feels like we're being punished for angering people who can't even be bothered to explain why they are upset. And that's why I'm so frustrated with this topic. It's also why I assumed that they were not invested in the community; they are clearly hurt enough to leave, but for some reason they don't seem to want to explain it to the rest of us so we can make things better for them.

              As I read it the people who left Tildes did so because they were tired of constantly explaining and defending themselves on a variety of issues. What makes you think that, when they've reached the point where they're giving up on doing that, they would want to litigate the reason why they're leaving?

              I mean, I think that's what Gaywallet is trying to do here: discuss those reasons before he gets to the point of stepping out.

              6 votes
              1. [10]
                Akir
                Link Parent
                I'm really not posting any of this to argue; I just haven't seen it myself. And though I'd like to think that it's because they're not on topics that I read, I'll be the first to admit that it's...

                I'm really not posting any of this to argue; I just haven't seen it myself. And though I'd like to think that it's because they're not on topics that I read, I'll be the first to admit that it's entirely possible that I'm just overlooking it. But like I mentioned, this is mostly about feelings rather than facts.

                Also, @gaywallet, please don't leave us. ;_; You're in my top 5 best Tildenizens list.

                8 votes
                1. [9]
                  AugustusFerdinand
                  Link Parent
                  And there are multiple times people, in this thread and elsewhere, have requested it be pointed out and it seems to always be met with silence.

                  I just haven't seen it myself.

                  And there are multiple times people, in this thread and elsewhere, have requested it be pointed out and it seems to always be met with silence.

                  4 votes
                  1. [4]
                    Atvelonis
                    Link Parent
                    Respectfully, we have no reason to doubt the veracity of @Gaywallet's statements. If you're accusing him of fabricating or exaggerating the issue, I'm not really sure what to say. I don't see what...

                    Respectfully, we have no reason to doubt the veracity of @Gaywallet's statements. If you're accusing him of fabricating or exaggerating the issue, I'm not really sure what to say. I don't see what he would gain from that or how our assuming it would help with anything. I'm not trying to be combative, but the basic premise of "I need explicit sources to believe the personal account of a trusted community member" isn't exactly a useful framing, especially given that plenty of people in this thread and elsewhere have corroborated what he's brought up. In this situation, the users who left presumably chose not to talk about it for a reason; drawing attention to their identities at this point would open them up for unnecessarily pedantic and public scrutiny in a way that I doubt would help with the fundamental problem of them "not feeling comfortable on Tildes."

                    I don't mean to assume bad faith, it's just difficult for me to read your tone. I hear your frustration, and I understand the hyper-rationalist desire to have independently verifiable sources for every piece of information in the universe. I run a wiki in my spare time, so attribution has become an important part of the way I look at the world. But Tildes is not a wiki, it's at least nominally a community. Sometimes it's good to just take people at their word—in a community, that can be a source enough. @Gaywallet is a single degree of separation from these people. His analysis of their messages is naturally subjective, but I feel that such intense skepticism of his remarks is misguided, given the self-evident lack of demographic data indicating anything to the contrary.

                    The attitude of "automatic dismissal in lieu of hardcore evidence" in a context that doesn't ask for it is one of the things that seems to bother a lot of people about Tildes. Not to condescend, but part of the empathetic listening model requires taking certain things on faith. We aren't in a courtroom, and we don't lose anything by integrating personal experiences more heavily into our epistemology. The stories people tell and the experiences they share are valid forms of knowledge. It's too cynical to assume falsehood absolutely everywhere, and certainly not pursuant to community-building. I wouldn't say I have any close personal relationships on this website, but I do value the openness that many people bring to the table about how they feel. It would be a shame for that practice to fade away just because we aren't willing to listen.

                    11 votes
                    1. NaraVara
                      Link Parent
                      I don't read his comment as doubting the veracity so much as wanting detail and wondering about how representative it is. Like we know his friends have left and expressed frustration about the...

                      I don't read his comment as doubting the veracity so much as wanting detail and wondering about how representative it is. Like we know his friends have left and expressed frustration about the thing. What we don't know is whether this is a representative sample, whether just a natural churn in any community where interpersonal differences cause people to come and go over time, or a number of other things. Can we reasonably make decisions about what is to be done without a complete picture?

                      For example I've heard from someone expressing frustration about these sorts of posts. Not even out of opposition to the intent, but more out of finding them annoying and acrimonious. So in capturing the perspectives of people who happen to have an active power-user friend that they vent to, are we also capturing the perspectives of people who might be driven out because they find dealing with a regular cadence of fractious meta-threads and unproductive struggle sessions where everyone bikesheds over word choice to be tiresome?

                      I have, myself decreased my participation on this site because of this tendency and I'd even consider myself a "minority voice." It's not an intentional choice or anything, but like any lab rat I just don't push the button if it doesn't provide good feelings and that effects how often I push the Tildes bookmark. I don't particularly like the perspectives on either side of this issue and I feel pushed out by both the "progressive" and the "conservative" elements.

                      10 votes
                    2. [2]
                      Gaywallet
                      Link Parent
                      In case anyone was wondering, I have purposefully avoided pointing at specific comments for a few reasons. It has been pointed out in the past that by making comments like this thread that others...

                      In case anyone was wondering, I have purposefully avoided pointing at specific comments for a few reasons.

                      • It has been pointed out in the past that by making comments like this thread that others felt I was inciting a witch hunt. As I have stated elsewhere, I believe that very few of these people were trying to be malicious on purpose, but were rather mislead by their singular world view shaped by the way that they think and the experiences that they had. I'm extremely wary of starting a witch hunt by pointing out the specific comments.
                      • If I point to exact comments, there is the chance that someone will come in and dissect the comments in great detail. I am not interested in pedantry. The point is not whether the person intended for this discussion to be dehumanizing or discriminatory. What I'm trying to drive home is that some people are interpreting it that way. If you can check out one of these threads and view nothing as problematic, I believe this is a great example of how you might be failing to put yourself in the shoes of others. We all are intrinsically trapped in our own heads - it's easy to empathize with the people you've been exposed to through media and your own experiences as you know how to model their behavior; it's far more difficult to empathize with the people you haven't been exposed to as they think in a way you've never experienced. With this knowledge you can re-examine the words with through a new lens - ask yourself whether these words can possibly be interpreted in any other way than you interpreted and how that might make someone else feel.
                      • I am frankly not a fan of super rationalist debate. Remember the human is a core philosophy of tildes and taking an extremely rationalist view where you set the human aside runs counter to this idea. The emotions of others on this website I feel are more important than having the best possible debate on something. I believe many would agree that some of the most magnificent posts on this website such as those by @kfwyre and others spend a lot of time focused on the emotional state of the reader or important figures in the discussion. In fact, I would argue that the reason they are so exemplary is because they consider emotions to an extent which other more rationalist posts and comments do not.
                      • I am not an ambassador for all minorities and I do not speak for them. In some cases I'm merely relaying the fact that they are venting to me about the thread. Because of this it is impossible for me to provide the exact context of why it made them feel upset. I'm doing the best I can with this level of abstraction, but I do not wish to directly engage when in some cases I'm upset on behalf of others, rather than directly upset at the words themselves.
                      9 votes
                      1. AugustusFerdinand
                        Link Parent
                        A core philophy of Tildes is also...

                        A core philophy of Tildes is also...

                        support the ability to freely discuss important and controversial topics without also being obligated to allow threats, harassment, and hate speech.

                        4 votes
                  2. Kuromantis
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    The 2 things I've been shown that seem decently verifiable is that there's been a small decrease of the share of women (well, I wasn't shown that one, I made it.) , and a deleted topic where a...

                    The 2 things I've been shown that seem decently verifiable is that there's been a small decrease of the share of women (well, I wasn't shown that one, I made it.) , and a deleted topic where a Chinese person said they felt uncomfortable because they felt the separation of government and people when it comes to criticism of China doesn't feel as implicit to them as it is to 'the rest of us'. Otherwise, I asked him in the discord and he said he's not naming the people out of privacy concerns.

                    There's also the type of comment he dislikes and is complaining about, which is talking out these identity groups in the terms of a discussion about a topic vs people's identities and saying something that has a lot more weight to them than you (something which I have done before*), which has arguably been here for far longer and is far more important, alongside that theead having a deleted user which seems quite likely to be someone Gaywallet would mention if he wanted to, alongside more people saying this happens quite often.

                    *Basically I said demisexual is a bad name because it comes from half. They retorted that, I as a straight person don't get to name their sexuality because this matters a lot more to them than me, which makes sense IMO.

                    1 vote
                  3. [3]
                    MonkeyPants
                    Link Parent
                    Does this thread qualify?

                    Does this thread qualify?

                    1 vote
                    1. [2]
                      envy
                      Link Parent
                      @AugustusFerdinand, did you get a chance to review the thread linked above? Was it specific enough? My intentions were good, but I didn't realize at the time how weary it would be to constantly...

                      @AugustusFerdinand, did you get a chance to review the thread linked above?

                      Was it specific enough? My intentions were good, but I didn't realize at the time how weary it would be to constantly have to engage with the same underlying ignorance.

                      1. AugustusFerdinand
                        Link Parent
                        I did, I didn't quite get the context outside of the quoted portions as it was rightfully removed. Was your comment the removed one? More specifically, my comment wasn't me stating that it doesn't...

                        I did, I didn't quite get the context outside of the quoted portions as it was rightfully removed. Was your comment the removed one?

                        More specifically, my comment wasn't me stating that it doesn't happen or wanting "proof." Just that there were multiple comments here, and in the other threads, requesting a representation of what others accuse. NaraVara's comment sums it up nicely in my opinion.

                        3 votes
            2. [2]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              I wish I had an answer for you, but I cannot speak on their behalf. At best what I can do is draw attention to them leaving and when they get upset. I can create threads like this and the minority...

              I wish I had an answer for you, but I cannot speak on their behalf. At best what I can do is draw attention to them leaving and when they get upset. I can create threads like this and the minority voice thread to try to offer the insight that I see and offer a suggestion that I think is reasonable. I'm not sure what's missing from this conversation that I haven't already touched upon - if you have more pointed questions I'd be happy to do my best to answer them.

              1 vote
              1. Akir
                Link Parent
                Thank you very much for your responses. Please don't take anything I'm saying as needing any particular action. I'm really just airing my feelings more than anything else. I don't know for sure if...

                Thank you very much for your responses. Please don't take anything I'm saying as needing any particular action. I'm really just airing my feelings more than anything else.

                I don't know for sure if we really do need to change, honestly; I believe that this is already a really great place as it is, but I certainly don't want anyone to feel alienated. Though to be honest, I kind of liked @psi's idea of axiomatic truths.

                4 votes
      2. [2]
        elcuello
        Link Parent
        Well, you have a great way of disarming and calming things. Thank you for taking the time to answer and explaining it once again to me. I had no idea about the direct messages and other...

        Well, you have a great way of disarming and calming things. Thank you for taking the time to answer and explaining it once again to me. I had no idea about the direct messages and other communication and of course that makes it more personal and different. Your words (and this place in general) reminds me how I sometimes find myself in the same mindset I criticize others for being in. I've seen the majority of reddit (a place that's meant a lot to me through the years) collapse on itself and somewhat naively thought I was risen above the influence it had on myself and my own way of acting and being online. This place has opened my eyes to that and reinstated some of the initial curiosity and positive thinking that's always lurking in me beneath the surface but have been getting harder to recognize in my online endeavors.

        the vast majority of people on this platform are not maliciously driving this population out. They simply don't see how certain topics and certain conversational points being present are inherently dehumanizing and demeaning to these minority groups and they may not be aware of how others can be more emotionally affected by others than they are.

        You are right on the money here IMO and it's a tough one. I'm guilty of this as you can see in my previous comment. The more I think about it the frustration stems more from disappointment in myself by not understanding these issues better and more automatically. I really thought I was the type of person who could empathize with almost everybody and recognize their standpoint from the get go. Maybe not agree with but understand. And I do understand. I just need carefully worded thought out responses like yours and Kwfyres to get it through my thick skull and I realize it must be exhausting to be on the other side of this and go through that every time.
        I really don't know what the solution is but I can say I'm still learning here and taking every argument into account so I would be very sorry if you and others left because of this.

        At the same time, I was aware that bringing this up would inevitably cause some individuals on this site to dig their heels into the ground at the very mention of limiting speech.

        I don't care about free speech in that sense. This discussion is so poisonous right now in other places that I really don't care about it here. I just want everybody to get a long and don't feel alienated. That's because I'm privileged and not part of a minority where this could be i bigger issue.

        My ultimate decision was that as a natural educator, I feel a drive to help others learn what they do not know and understand what they are on the cusp of grasping. My decision was that I needed to bring extra visibility to what's going on in the heads of some of the people who are being driven away. My hope was more good would come of this (changing minds) than the inevitable fallout (more minority voices leaving).

        You did and I'm glad you did. After understanding it better I don't think it's blowing things out of proportions. The "outrage"-gene is stronger than I thought in me but this is the antidote.

        7 votes
        1. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          First off, thank you for the kind words 💜. The replies all over this post has been a mix of upsetting and greatly lifting. I'm glad that many of you are willing to share your positive emotions as...

          First off, thank you for the kind words 💜. The replies all over this post has been a mix of upsetting and greatly lifting. I'm glad that many of you are willing to share your positive emotions as well, because I think we often forget how important they can be to others.

          It's great that you recognize where your faults are and where you have to learn. I'm not sure any humans start in a state of extreme empathy. We have to learn about how others think, because we cannot by definition think in more than one way. We have to explore human diversity and be exposed to it to truly appreciate and begin to understand how we might frame the world differently. Just as someone who is color blind has to learn of colors they cannot perceive, we must be told how others think and even then we can never truly perceive the world through their eyes. The shoes you occupy today should not be shamed, and we should celebrate the recognition of the boundaries they currently have and the future desired state of greater empathy.

          I share your opinion that I want everybody to get along and not feel alienated, but the reality is that the idea that we can help everyone is misguided. I think you and I would both agree that we do not want to see people who spread intolerant speech on this website, so by definition we do not want them to get along with us and we do want them alienated from this space. We should be okay with simultaneously alienating some for the better good, and take a stance on how to create a space which helps people who act in good faith and are compassionate to get along and feel welcomed.

          6 votes
  6. [67]
    Gatonegro
    Link
    The ability to filter threads by tags and ignore specific posts exists on this site. Maybe I'm just weird, but wouldn't it be better to use those options instead of letting a topic or a particular...

    I don't want to see anything [x] has to say on this website, ever

    The ability to filter threads by tags and ignore specific posts exists on this site. Maybe I'm just weird, but wouldn't it be better to use those options instead of letting a topic or a particular conversation ruin your day or your enjoyment of the site? Personally, I make heavy use of filtering options both on this site and in other places, because there are topics I just prefer to avoid. That way I get to see content I'm actually interested in, and my online experience is a tiny bit better.

    I'm half expecting this comment to backfire in some way because I'm breaking my own rules, but oh well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    23 votes
    1. [36]
      mat
      Link Parent
      I wrote then didn't post something very similar. Because it felt like it would somehow go wrong but I wasn't sure how. "I don't like X therefore nobody should talk about X" seems very untildes-y...

      I wrote then didn't post something very similar. Because it felt like it would somehow go wrong but I wasn't sure how.

      "I don't like X therefore nobody should talk about X" seems very untildes-y to me but I try not to get into the meta discussions, and here I am breaking my own rule as well...

      22 votes
      1. [20]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I can’t speak for @Gaywallet, but my read of their complaint is that it’s rooted in something far greater than just personal dislike or preference. I think it’s more “it hurts to hang out in a...

        I can’t speak for @Gaywallet, but my read of their complaint is that it’s rooted in something far greater than just personal dislike or preference. I think it’s more “it hurts to hang out in a place where people argue for the subhumanity of certain populations”.

        Ignoring posts is definitely good digital hygiene, but it doesn’t really address that root issue, where certain views and discussions deal damage through their mere existence and propagation within a community. A conversation supporting the merits of, say, eugenics can be as neutrally worded and even-tempered as they come, but that doesn't negate the fact that supporting eugenics is a fundamentally non-neutral stance that says something about where we draw the lines for what constitutes personhood. When someone draws that line, what does it look like to someone standing on the other side of it? And what does it say about how much we value them if we don't consider their perception in the first place? And what does it say about us if we're a platform that engages in and supports those discussions?

        I don't think this post is "certain topics are fully verboten" more than it is "we need to be aware of the potential for damage that certain topics hold". I think when Gaywallet says they don't want to see certain things on this site, they're expressing a sentiment, not a policy. They're trying to articulate their experience with those threads, rather than a mandate against them.

        EDIT: And @Gaywallet, if I'm off on my interpretation, please don't hesitate to let me know, either here or by PM. I greatly value your input.

        27 votes
        1. [19]
          mat
          Link Parent
          I think this is an excellent point but also I don't know how that's not covered in the already existing approach to moderation. Hate speech is hate speech and should absolutely be dealt with, but...

          "it hurts to hang out in a place where people argue for the subhumanity of certain populations”.

          I think this is an excellent point but also I don't know how that's not covered in the already existing approach to moderation. Hate speech is hate speech and should absolutely be dealt with, but I don't think it's done by saying "people shouldn't talk about X". If a conversation about X devolves into being hateful then sure, nuke it and didn't that happen already to the thread in question?

          Because if hate speech is the issue, finding a way to stop that before it starts is... well, you'd be able to solve a lot of problems and make a lot of money!

          I don't want to get into discussing the ways in which one can talk about a difficult topic such as eugenics without supporting it (because that will just end up being a discussion about eugenics) but it's absolutely possible. I believe, and all my experience backs this up, that reasonable people can talk about anything without it turning to hate. Although I also think the converse of that is that hateful people will find a way to get hate into any topic, no matter how mundane.

          So this becomes an issue of people, not topics. How do you foster a community of compassionate, intelligent, reasonable people? On the internet? I don't have a lot of answers for that but it feels like that's been the main goal of this site from day one.

          8 votes
          1. [17]
            Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            Yes but it still upset me and others a lot because they aren't nuked instantly. We are reading and absorbing the idea that we aren't wanted on this platform because it's present for a period of...

            If a conversation about X devolves into being hateful then sure, nuke it and didn't that happen already to the thread in question?

            Yes but it still upset me and others a lot because they aren't nuked instantly. We are reading and absorbing the idea that we aren't wanted on this platform because it's present for a period of time. The less the period of time, the better, but we're not at a state where this can be solved quickly so we need to decide how to deal with that.

            Furthermore, there are conversations which happen which straddle the line and result in maybe a few deleted comment threads or simply the minorities in question being disgusted with the behavior. Some of these people might try to educate, others might close the thread, and for some it's the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back. They leave this platform. We're becoming more and more uniform by the day because there aren't a lot of these minority folks and each loss compounds the issues the minorities on this platform are already experiencing and the hostility they are likely to meet.

            reasonable people can talk about anything without it turning to hate.

            The problem with the internet is that there are unreasonable people and there are also people who are normally reasonable but are not right now because of their emotional state. There are also people who don't want to be reasonable about certain topics for very valid and very important reasons (for example, no matter how reasonable an African American is, I simply do not and will not ever discuss phrenology with them... it's demeaning).

            The larger and more diverse we become, the more limited conversations we can have without alienating people. The more topics we allow, the more we allow for people who are hateful to be subversive and shift the narrative or goalposts to further their ideology.

            7 votes
            1. meme
              Link Parent
              I'm not black so it's not my lane, but there are always going to be some members of a vulnerable group who are willing and ready to discuss harmful topics with insensitive people. Not all the time...
              • Exemplary

              I'm not black so it's not my lane, but there are always going to be some members of a vulnerable group who are willing and ready to discuss harmful topics with insensitive people. Not all the time even, but some times. And since you and I aren't black, I would imagine we can't really make a guess of how they feel about discussions of phrenology, how seriously they take it, and whether or not it is disturbing.

              People are not going to ever be in 100% agreement about what is hateful and what is off limits, or what is too sensitive to discuss. Conflict and disagreement are inevitable.

              Without conflict, there can be no diversity. And I'm using "conflict" here loosely, as in, verbal disagreement of some sort, opposing viewpoints, lack of agreement. If everyone has the exact same views, there is no conflict.

              I do echo deimos's opinion and say that it is also good and healthy to check out when certain topics are not bringing joy to you. We all have our sensitivities and things that really get under our skin or ignite old feelings of mistreatment. But I do not believe that such feelings are sacred in of themselves - or that such feelings always require accommodation from the offending party.

              I care about social justice, unfairness, and making people feel welcome. But I have also seen what happens when you let a group's rules and conversations be built around who performs the most pain and oppression. You end up with an even more toxic space where hurt and trauma become a sort of currency and people feel worse interacting with the space.

              20 votes
            2. [12]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [11]
                Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                Until these threads aren't up for literal hours, I have no good feedback to give you. I posted this thread because I'm looking for an answer that isn't "stop going to Tildes forever" because...

                Until these threads aren't up for literal hours, I have no good feedback to give you. I posted this thread because I'm looking for an answer that isn't "stop going to Tildes forever" because that's the trajectory I'm currently headed on. I don't want to end up in the same place that all the wonderful minority voices who've fled this place ended up at, but unless we find a solution together I don't see any other possibility.

                8 votes
                1. [3]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. Gaywallet
                    Link Parent
                    This rarely happens and it only happens in threads which are often eventually deleted, indicating that they were ultimately against the code of conduct. I'm asking for people to report more, for...

                    This rarely happens and it only happens in threads which are often eventually deleted, indicating that they were ultimately against the code of conduct. I'm asking for people to report more, for moderation to be stepped up, and for people to shut down these conversations faster and more vocally.

                    I don't understand why you think this is a black and white issue with no solution. It's disheartening to see you treating it that way and feels to me like you're discouraging any continued discussion.

                    6 votes
                  2. DanBC
                    Link Parent
                    In this thread there are people saying that we can definitely talk about eugenics. I'd like a little bit more understanding that these kinds of conversations are often problematic because they...

                    In this thread there are people saying that we can definitely talk about eugenics. I'd like a little bit more understanding that these kinds of conversations are often problematic because they consist of a bunch of people who don't really know what they're talking about, discussion the validity of the existence of other people (who may be on Tildes reading this).

                    Hypothetical_Bob may enjoy noodling around a topic, having those difficult discussions, but I don't understand why his desire to have difficult discussions trumps someone else's desire to use Tildes without having to justify their worth as a human; without having to spend their time debunking stuff that's been debunked hundreds of times in other places.

                    4 votes
                2. [5]
                  Deimos
                  Link Parent
                  I locked, temporarily removed, and cleaned up the thread 7 minutes after someone used the first Malice label on a comment in it. I hadn't looked at it before that. This is one of the main...

                  I locked, temporarily removed, and cleaned up the thread 7 minutes after someone used the first Malice label on a comment in it. I hadn't looked at it before that.

                  This is one of the main difficult parts: obviously people were unhappy with the thread before that point, but nobody used a Malice label, nobody sent me a message. Adding more tools is unlikely to help much when even the existing ones aren't used often.

                  14 votes
                  1. [2]
                    nukeman
                    Link Parent
                    I don’t use the malice tag because I don’t see malice going on. A suggestion I’ve seen, and will make, is a “Harmful” tag, which indicates a comment is hurtful to others, but not necessarily...

                    I don’t use the malice tag because I don’t see malice going on. A suggestion I’ve seen, and will make, is a “Harmful” tag, which indicates a comment is hurtful to others, but not necessarily malicious.

                    8 votes
                    1. vektor
                      Link Parent
                      I think beyond the harmful tag, a simple-ish addition would be to add whisper comments that don't bump the thread up the ladder. I've found myself in the position of wanting to clarify my stance...

                      I think beyond the harmful tag, a simple-ish addition would be to add whisper comments that don't bump the thread up the ladder. I've found myself in the position of wanting to clarify my stance in order to deescalate a situation of rapidly escalating miscommunication, but I was discouraged because I did not want to draw more attention to what is already a dumpster fire.

                      Additionally, I think the "harmful" tag should be visible to the author of a comment. Exactly because the subtext of that tag is "this is harmful, but not malicious", we can reasonably assume that the author will be amenable to that.

                      5 votes
                  2. [2]
                    Gaywallet
                    Link Parent
                    This makes me wonder whether I'm one of the most prolific users of the malice label. I view it as a way to get you to review something that I think is headed in the wrong direction. It's part of...

                    This is one of the main difficult parts: obviously people were unhappy with the thread before that point, but nobody used a Malice label, nobody sent me a message. Adding more tools is unlikely to help much when even the existing ones aren't used often.

                    This makes me wonder whether I'm one of the most prolific users of the malice label. I view it as a way to get you to review something that I think is headed in the wrong direction. It's part of the reason I advocate for wider use, which a lot of users seem to not wish to do.

                    Perhaps the solution is a less strongly worded label, such as 'concern', which can serve a similar purpose of getting another pair of eyes on it.

                    6 votes
                    1. Kuromantis
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      I definitely think so for both questions. I don't think I've ever used a malice label, and the intended use is as such: So a report button, and definitely not for misguided who may not know...

                      This makes me wonder whether I'm one of the most prolific users of the malice label. I view it as a way to get you to review something that I think is headed in the wrong direction. It's part of the reason I advocate for wider use, which a lot of users seem to not wish to do.

                      Perhaps the solution is a less strongly worded label, such as 'concern', which can serve a similar purpose of getting another pair of eyes on it.

                      I definitely think so for both questions. I don't think I've ever used a malice label, and the intended use is as such:

                      The "Malice" label is for comments which contain negative language. This includes:

                      Personal attacks on other Tilders.

                      Bigoted language (such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, religious slurs, and so on).

                      Incitement to violence.

                      Hate speech.

                      So a report button, and definitely not for misguided who may not know better, but for people who know what they mean and have intent. An intermediate option is a good idea, and seems like a pretty uncontroversial suggestion.

                      4 votes
                3. [3]
                  Odysseus
                  Link Parent
                  This website is quite small. Bad threads are removed within hours. How fast can you reasonably expect a site with such limited resources site to be able to moderate itself? There's limited...

                  This website is quite small. Bad threads are removed within hours. How fast can you reasonably expect a site with such limited resources site to be able to moderate itself? There's limited moderators, all volunteers, and I'd imagine that here has to be some thought as to whether or not a topic should or should not be nuked. In a perfect world, we'd all be in the same boat with the same moral priorities and lines in the sand where we could actively moderate ourselves as a community, but people are different with different degrees of ideas they find tolerable.

                  And like you said, the topics are removed, and fairly quickly. What more could you ask for?

                  9 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Cycloneblaze
                    Link Parent
                    Not to be flippant (and I'm not Gaywallet) but, for them not to come up in the first place? Really, I was reading that thread on Stallman and the whole time I was thinking, I'm sharing a website...

                    And like you said, the topics are removed, and fairly quickly. What more could you ask for?

                    Not to be flippant (and I'm not Gaywallet) but, for them not to come up in the first place? Really, I was reading that thread on Stallman and the whole time I was thinking, I'm sharing a website with the sort of people who think it's cool to litigate the lives of people with Downs syndrome?

                    This topic is about the culture more so than the moderation even. Moderation can enforce culture but it can't really create it, ya know?

                    12 votes
                    1. Odysseus
                      Link Parent
                      I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect those ideas to never come up in the first place. I don't think it would be possible for a site that (I believe) is trying to include a very broad and diverse...

                      I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect those ideas to never come up in the first place. I don't think it would be possible for a site that (I believe) is trying to include a very broad and diverse range of topics and conversation. So long as you have a wide mix of people, you're going to have people sharing ideas and topics that some others are going to find harmful in one way or another.
                      I'm not saying that there can't be clear topics that shouldn't be given platform (the most overt of which really aren't seen on this site), but where the line is drawn can be different for everyone and there's always going to be a gray area where some people are going to think something is an okay discussion topic while others will not.

                      That's why I chose to address moderation more than just culture. I'm not saying we shouldn't try our best to cultivate the sort of culture we'd like to see around here, but not everyone agrees on what that is. To be honest, I'm not even sure Deimos knows exactly the sort of culture he's hoping to see here.
                      For now, we have to rely on moderators to make the right call in those gray areas, and I don't think it's fair to them right now to expect to never see topics we find harmful before the moderators have a chance to address them.

                      7 votes
            3. [4]
              mat
              Link Parent
              Personally I'll talk to anyone about anything up to the point they start to show signs of being dicks about things. That doesn't always happen by any means (even on reddit!). And with that not...

              Personally I'll talk to anyone about anything up to the point they start to show signs of being dicks about things. That doesn't always happen by any means (even on reddit!). And with that not happening in mind, because I don't think that's what you're doing here - you think that we should pre-judge certain topics, I do see your point but I also disagree with it - I don't think we're going to get much further on this and I do apologise but I've had a very long day of heavy manual work and am very tired and a bit woozy from the back pain drugs so I'm done for now I'm afraid.

              for example, no matter how reasonable an African American is, I simply do not and will not ever discuss phrenology with them... it's demeaning).

              OK, so this is (a) off topic and (b) really off fuckin' topic but... I'm absolutely certain you're not being racist here by singling out one particular race but.. can you explain? Or just a link if you're busy. I'm not American so I suspect I'm missing some historical context. Phrenology is just a Victorian curiosity, isn't it?

              5 votes
              1. [3]
                Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                No worries, take care of yourself! Indeed. Historically speaking phrenology was used to argue that African Americans were less intelligent than their white counterparts.

                I do apologise but I've had a very long day of heavy manual work and am very tired and a bit woozy from the back pain drugs so I'm done for now I'm afraid.

                No worries, take care of yourself!

                I'm not American so I suspect I'm missing some historical context.

                Indeed. Historically speaking phrenology was used to argue that African Americans were less intelligent than their white counterparts.

                4 votes
                1. [2]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  Ah, America. You do manage to make so, so many things racist... Sigh. In the UK it's not particularly uncommon for people to have ceramic phrenology skulls as decoration in their homes or...

                  Indeed. Historically speaking phrenology was used to argue that African Americans were less intelligent than their white counterparts.

                  Ah, America. You do manage to make so, so many things racist... Sigh.

                  In the UK it's not particularly uncommon for people to have ceramic phrenology skulls as decoration in their homes or businesses. You see them in cafes and pubs quite often. There are no racist association that I'm aware of.

                  Also, thanks. For both the explanation and the wishes of care. I'm going to take some more painkillers and go to bed.

                  5 votes
                  1. MonkeyPants
                    Link Parent
                    There is real pain in America due to a horribly racist history and frankly a racist present.. There are very real triggers that not only some remind folks of the pain, but other folks use to dog...

                    There is real pain in America due to a horribly racist history and frankly a racist present.. There are very real triggers that not only some remind folks of the pain, but other folks use to dog whistle fellow racists and to troll everyone else.

                    I wasn't raised here, but I have learned to tread carefully, much like I might tread carefully in Germany about similar subjects.

                    5 votes
          2. kfwyre
            Link Parent
            I agree -- I definitely don't think topical restriction is the way to go. Like you said, there are ways to talk about things without doing damage, and there are some people who will find ways to...

            I agree -- I definitely don't think topical restriction is the way to go. Like you said, there are ways to talk about things without doing damage, and there are some people who will find ways to make benign topics hurt anyway. My position is more that we need to be aware of the ways we can be dealing unintentional damage when we do have these discussions. I posted a bit more at length about that idea here if you're interested in reading further.

            5 votes
      2. [10]
        Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        These discussions are skirting around issues which are intolerant in nature. We don't allow discussions which are inherently intolerant. Posting a thread about the legitimacy of Nazi ideology...

        "I don't like X therefore nobody should talk about X" seems very untildes-y to me but I try not to get into the meta discussions, and here I am breaking my own rule as well...

        These discussions are skirting around issues which are intolerant in nature. We don't allow discussions which are inherently intolerant. Posting a thread about the legitimacy of Nazi ideology because they 'furthered science' or other such nonsense is not allowed because it is spreading intolerant speech.

        14 votes
        1. [9]
          psi
          Link Parent
          Somewhat off-topic, but what I'd like to see is Tildes develop its own sort of post-rationalist culture: a space where thoughtful discussion is encouraged, but certain ideas are accepted...
          • Exemplary

          Somewhat off-topic, but what I'd like to see is Tildes develop its own sort of post-rationalist culture: a space where thoughtful discussion is encouraged, but certain ideas are accepted axiomatically, eg:

          • trans rights are human rights
          • abortion is a human right
          • eugenics is wrong
          • "scientific" racism is pseudoscience
          • black lives matter

          etc. I just find it bizarre that we're constantly litigating free speech in threads like this one. I mean, none of those opinions I listed are controversial here! In fact, if you tried to argue against any of those positions, you'd be dog-piled and possibly banned. And yet this thread is centered around whether it's tildes-like to ban certain topics. Well, why shouldn't it be? Certain opinions are effectively banned here already.

          I don't know what the solution is. I think the previous thread was useful in identifying the problem, but less so in actually offering solutions. Maybe we should be more explicit -- and more inclusive -- in specifying what hate speech entails, so that when someone starts minimizing rape, for example, we can cite a rule and have that comment/submission flagged. Maybe we should have Country Club threads similar to those in /r/BlackPeopleTwitter.

          But frankly, we need to start doing instead of elocuting.

          (Er, I realize the point I started with is different from the one I ended with. I guess I'm just kind of frustrated as well. Sorry for rambling.)

          22 votes
          1. [2]
            petrichor
            Link Parent
            One potential worry I have is that bad actors would take a list of axioms as incentive to skirt the rules as controversially as possible. And then, there's also good-faith posts that could fall...

            Somewhat off-topic, but what I'd like to see is Tildes develop its own sort of post-rationalist culture: a space where thoughtful discussion is encouraged, but certain ideas are accepted axiomatically, eg:

            One potential worry I have is that bad actors would take a list of axioms as incentive to skirt the rules as controversially as possible. And then, there's also good-faith posts that could fall under those - eg. an interesting article about the history of pseudoscience, or a narrative about someone's trans experience in an unwelcoming country, etc. Maybe I'm overthinking it and those would just be wording issues...

            8 votes
            1. Odysseus
              Link Parent
              That's the thing about language isn't it? Language isn't perfect. We'll never be able to write rules, axioms, or guidelines that bad actors wouldn't be able to skirt around on a technicality....

              That's the thing about language isn't it? Language isn't perfect. We'll never be able to write rules, axioms, or guidelines that bad actors wouldn't be able to skirt around on a technicality. That's why court systems and lawyers exist. With that said, Tildes is a website. The stakes are much lower. We leave it up to moderators to make judgements to the best of their abilities in regards to whether something is within guidelines or posted in good faith. They too, aren't perfect, and they will make mistakes, but they don't have to be. You just have to be able to do a good enough job where the kind of culture you want to see can thrive and that bad actors will see it's not worth the effort to stick around. The tricky part is that we don't know what that culture looks like yet.

              4 votes
          2. [5]
            DanBC
            Link Parent
            And yet this thread exists because a Tildes user did in fact defend Stallman when RMS pushed eugenics.

            I mean, none of those opinions I listed are controversial here!

            And yet this thread exists because a Tildes user did in fact defend Stallman when RMS pushed eugenics.

            8 votes
            1. [4]
              psi
              Link Parent
              Yes, but the controversy started by someone playing devil's advocate for eugenics. Obviously if you take any well-accepted fact here -- for example, trans right are human rights -- and argue the...

              Yes, but the controversy started by someone playing devil's advocate for eugenics. Obviously if you take any well-accepted fact here -- for example, trans right are human rights -- and argue the opposite, you'll cause a huge amount of controversy. But that doesn't mean the statement "trans right are human rights" is controversial. It means people find it upsetting that someone would suggest otherwise.

              We could circumvent so many of these controversial takes if we just labeled certain, well-established positions here as "right". I mean, what did we actually gain from the RMS thread? Eventually almost the entire thread was purged. Clearly it caused harm (see this thread), and we gained little (if anything) for having that discussion.

              And notice that I'm not trying to say that we should ban certain topics -- I'm saying we should ban certain positions. If someone wants to discuss abortion, they should be able to do it. But if that person starts sympathizing with pro-lifers, they should be censured. Such an opinion is unlikely to sway anyone, is vastly unpopular here, and contributes to driving certain marginalized communities away from this site.

              I realize it sounds like I'm arguing for an echo chamber, but really I'd rather this place be something more akin to a think tank. I mean, you wouldn't go to a trans rights organization and start with the premise that trans people are mentally ill. Likewise, we should ban certain premises so that we can discuss the actual consequences of things we care about. Obviously that's easier said that done (when does a premise become controversial?), but finding (and refining) that line should be the goal.

              8 votes
              1. eladnarra
                Link Parent
                I didn't see the thread before it was closed and things were deleted, but this doesn't surprise me a ton. Almost all of the conversations on Tildes where I felt upset involved someone playing...
                • Exemplary

                Yes, but the controversy started by someone playing devil's advocate for eugenics.

                I didn't see the thread before it was closed and things were deleted, but this doesn't surprise me a ton. Almost all of the conversations on Tildes where I felt upset involved someone playing devil's advocate. I like your idea of exploring banning certain positions, but at the very least I'd also be in favor of banning devil's advocate arguments - no doing it on purpose, and no going back later and claiming you were playing the devil's advocate to avoid accountability (even if maybe you weren't playing one originally).

                Devil's advocate arguments poison discussions. When I find out I've been arguing for my (or someone else's) humanity against someone who didn't even believe the horrible things they were saying and were treating the conversation with me as a fun little thinking exercise... it's almost worse than if they actually believed in eugenics or whatever.

                I make conscious decisions about whether or not I have the energy and emotional bandwidth to engage with and refute bigotry online, because when I have the energy I think it is necessary, not in order to change their mind but to present a different opinion and argument for other people reading. When it turns out that maybe that person wasn't even genuinely arguing [x horrible thing], that means I wasted energy that could have been spared. And as a chronically ill person, it's quite a limited resource.

                15 votes
              2. [2]
                nukeman
                Link Parent
                I like the think tank analogy. But I think the million dollar question is: Will we get a consensus on what positions are considered controversial, and therefore, bannable?

                I like the think tank analogy. But I think the million dollar question is: Will we get a consensus on what positions are considered controversial, and therefore, bannable?

                3 votes
                1. psi
                  Link Parent
                  I doubt we can assemble a list that will everyone would agree with 100% of the time, but I'd be satisfied with a list that everyone would agree with 90% of the time. I suspect everyone harbors at...

                  I doubt we can assemble a list that will everyone would agree with 100% of the time, but I'd be satisfied with a list that everyone would agree with 90% of the time. I suspect everyone harbors at least one opinion that would be controversial if shared here. Does that make us wrong for harboring those opinions? Well, maybe, maybe not. But if your opinion goes against the grain, particularly as it pertains to marginalized groups, maybe keep it to yourself for the betterment of the community as a whole.

                  8 votes
          3. mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Sure, but I think that is very much the case already. Unique interactions create a stronger impression, but the positions you bring are very much "accepted axiomatically". That said, there is...

            a space where thoughtful discussion is encouraged, but certain ideas are accepted axiomatically

            Sure, but I think that is very much the case already. Unique interactions create a stronger impression, but the positions you bring are very much "accepted axiomatically".

            That said, there is space for respectful disagreement I believe.

            5 votes
      3. [3]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        tbh it's sensible to have a rule that puts certain topics off-limit simply because people can't actually talk about it without things becoming insensitive, aggressive, or straight up thinly-veiled...

        "I don't like X therefore nobody should talk about X" seems very untildes-y to me but I try not to get into the meta discussions, and here I am breaking my own rule as well...

        tbh it's sensible to have a rule that puts certain topics off-limit simply because people can't actually talk about it without things becoming insensitive, aggressive, or straight up thinly-veiled hate. Eugenics is probably a good example.

        IMO if you need to read & abide by three pages worth of context in order to enter a discussion about a subject, it's not a subject worth discussing here. And I'd personally much rather have a chill, friendly community where not everything can be discussed, than one where everything can be discussed but where you need to literally do homework before choosing to read or contribute to a thread. The latter exists and they are, I'm sure, really fun places; but that is not really what Tildes is.

        14 votes
        1. [2]
          mat
          Link Parent
          I agree that certain topics can descend into shit but in my experience that is more of a reddit thing (and like holy shit the list of things not to mention there is a mile long), and that here we...

          I agree that certain topics can descend into shit but in my experience that is more of a reddit thing (and like holy shit the list of things not to mention there is a mile long), and that here we were capable of (generally) managing to talk on any subject like adults.

          Eugenics, for example, I've had perfectly civil, decent and interesting discussions about with both friends and family. It's entirely possible. I thought I'd seen the thread in question but I'm not sure any more because what I saw seemed civil enough and reasonable to me, even if I didn't always agree with the things being said.

          Less theoretically, who creates, maintains and enforces this list of banned topics? It's fairly easy to say "act like a grown up, and don't be a dick to other people" and enforce that as a moderation policy, but a blacklist is rather trickier.

          7 votes
          1. Adys
            Link Parent
            It's a lot easier to have controversial conversations with fewer people, especially people you know well, especially people you have a close relationship to (and thus probably share a decent...

            I've had perfectly civil, decent and interesting discussions about with both friends and family.

            It's a lot easier to have controversial conversations with fewer people, especially people you know well, especially people you have a close relationship to (and thus probably share a decent amount of your world view with). Tildes is a much more diverse place than a group of friends/family, and so, what sounds simple to a small group of friends may not be so.

            IMO tildes has done an okayish job on most fronts but I'd be fine just saying we don't touch eugenics. Things are unlikely to get better on that front so let's not let them get worse.

            Agree with your more general point about "banned topics". IMO it's the sort of thing that is fine, at this size of a community, to just keep to a short few topics that seem to recur once in a while & make the judgement call "no, this is devolving or going to devolve into a shitty thread". It doesn't scale, but it doesn't have to be that way forever either.

            11 votes
      4. [2]
        Gatonegro
        Link Parent
        "X topic should not be discussed" rubs me the wrong way in general, be it on or offline. I recognise that no one has an obligation to engage with topics they dislike for whatever reason, but I...

        "I don't like X therefore nobody should talk about X" seems very untildes-y to me

        "X topic should not be discussed" rubs me the wrong way in general, be it on or offline. I recognise that no one has an obligation to engage with topics they dislike for whatever reason, but I can't get behind the notion of dictating what people should or should not talk about based on what a particular person or group likes and dislikes.

        10 votes
        1. DanBC
          Link Parent
          How about "topic X should be avoided unless you've got something genuinely interesting and useful to say about it, because we've found that the discussion inevitably explodes"?

          How about "topic X should be avoided unless you've got something genuinely interesting and useful to say about it, because we've found that the discussion inevitably explodes"?

          6 votes
    2. [30]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      It sure does, but the eugenics conversation happened within a thread about Richard Stallman and the current Reddit discussions does not need to elevate the platform of bigots. Tags do not solve...

      The ability to filter threads by tags and ignore specific posts exists on this site.

      It sure does, but the eugenics conversation happened within a thread about Richard Stallman and the current Reddit discussions does not need to elevate the platform of bigots. Tags do not solve either of these.

      Perhaps more importantly, the eugenics conversation talked about people with downs syndrome. How do you think someone with downs who's on this site will feel seeing someone openly discussing whether it's morally okay for their parents to have aborted them?

      How do you think trans individuals feel when they see shit from lineham being used as a source?

      19 votes
      1. [29]
        Gatonegro
        Link Parent
        The problem there is the thread being derailed, not the subject itself. I agree that, in cases like that one, tags and filtering don't do much. But I'd argue that the option of "not engaging" is...

        the eugenics conversation happened within a thread about Richard Stallman

        The problem there is the thread being derailed, not the subject itself. I agree that, in cases like that one, tags and filtering don't do much. But I'd argue that the option of "not engaging" is still there. Again, just how I go about things.

        How do you think someone with downs who's on this site will feel...?
        [...]
        How do you think trans individuals feel...?

        I won't presume to know how anyone would feel in such a situation. I'm not in the business of telling other people how they should feel. My point, however, remains the same: I support everyone's right to ignore/not engage with topics if they do not want to do so, but I absolutely reject the notion that discussion of certain topics should be off-limits, discouraged, or straight-up punished because of what an individual or group of individuals like or dislike.

        15 votes
        1. [10]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Worth mentioning, in case you didn't know, is that hate speech is banned here, and several topics have already resulted in permanent bans of users arguing in favor of them (e.g. scientific...

          I absolutely reject the notion that discussion of certain topics should be off-limits, discouraged, or straight-up punished because of what an individual or group of individuals like or dislike.

          Worth mentioning, in case you didn't know, is that hate speech is banned here, and several topics have already resulted in permanent bans of users arguing in favor of them (e.g. scientific racism). This is not an absolutist free speech site, and IMO hopefully never will be, as all the sites that are tend to be toxic shitholes (see: Voat, Gab, Parler, etc). So if that's your opinion, that no subject should be off-limits, to be totally frank with you, I don't know if Tildes is the right site for you.

          20 votes
          1. [6]
            Gatonegro
            Link Parent
            I'm well aware of that, and it strikes me as an eminently sensible rule. I do not, in any way, support "public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group", but the...

            Worth mentioning, in case you didn't know, is that hate speech is banned here

            I'm well aware of that, and it strikes me as an eminently sensible rule. I do not, in any way, support "public speech that expresses hate or encourages violence towards a person or group", but the fact that you seem to be conflating opposition to banning discussion of certain topics with support for violence towards others is one of the reasons why I rarely engage in conversations like this. It's flawed logic at best, and baiting at worst.

            TL;DR: Discussion does not equal hate speech. Supporting the former does not imply supporting the later.

            11 votes
            1. [5]
              cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              You don't have to be advocating for violence against a group directly for something to be considered hate speech. Dehumanization, scapegoating, and many other euphemistic forms of hate-based...

              You don't have to be advocating for violence against a group directly for something to be considered hate speech. Dehumanization, scapegoating, and many other euphemistic forms of hate-based expression are also generally considered hate speech in most countries that have laws against it. E.g. Here in Canada, holocaust denial and other forms of anti-antisemitism where the intent is to incite hatred are still considered hate speech and punishable through our "hate propaganda" laws.

              12 votes
              1. NaraVara
                Link Parent
                Stepping into what this means for Tildes in practical terms, overemphasis on what constitutes "dehumanization" or "scapegoating" just ends up developing a norm where discussions revolve around...

                Stepping into what this means for Tildes in practical terms, overemphasis on what constitutes "dehumanization" or "scapegoating" just ends up developing a norm where discussions revolve around people looking for reasons to invalidate and ban each other rather than engaging with what they have to say. Much like 'obsenity' it's best to just go with a "I know it when I see it" and err on the side of openness when things are in question.

                Even without the ban threats, this orientation towards needing to declare whether someone is on the "right" or "wrong" side of an issue is basically what happens here constantly. It's why everyone finds these discussions to be tiresome, frustrating, and involve people constantly talking past each other. That posture invites reading people's comments with an eye towards seeking reasons to object and take things in the least charitable and most objectionable light possible.

                It gets really hard to discuss anything substantive when everyone is doing this. Discussions inevitably become really antogonistic. People end up taking things too personally and the rhetoric itself revolves around sort of positioning and jousting to talk around rhetorical land-mines that can be taken out of context or finding quotes to tear down. It's just not a good way to have a discussion where anyone learns anything. It's also not a great way to have a conversational space because everyone's "on guard" all the time. So you get the worst of both worlds. It's all the stress of a rigorous debate with none of the actual rigor on issues of substance. And it's all the personal accusations and shit-flinging and hurt feelings of an argument with none of the ribbing and joking around that a convivial conversation space could offer.

                15 votes
              2. [3]
                Gatonegro
                Link Parent
                Again, I am aware. "Violence" is not exclusively "go punch this person", I know it takes many forms. That does not change my summary from the previous comment. Discussion does not equal hate...

                Again, I am aware. "Violence" is not exclusively "go punch this person", I know it takes many forms. That does not change my summary from the previous comment. Discussion does not equal hate speech. Supporting the former does not imply supporting the later.

                6 votes
                1. [2]
                  cfabbro
                  Link Parent
                  So if you are aware that hate speech is not exclusively "kill these people" and includes euphemisms (and dogwhistles) intended to still ultimately incite hatred, and you're against hate speech...

                  So if you are aware that hate speech is not exclusively "kill these people" and includes euphemisms (and dogwhistles) intended to still ultimately incite hatred, and you're against hate speech being allowed, how can you reconcile that with believing there should be no off-limits discussions when one side in particular discussions (e.g. holocaust "skepticism") is likely attempting to spread their hateful ideologies and/or beliefs (i.e. inciting hatred)?

                  That seems like a contradiction to me.

                  9 votes
                  1. Gatonegro
                    Link Parent
                    Because discussion does not equal hate speech. Supporting the former does not imply supporting the later. I've said the same thing three times now, but I don't think my point is coming across. All...

                    how can you reconcile that with believing there should be no off-limits discussions

                    Because discussion does not equal hate speech. Supporting the former does not imply supporting the later. I've said the same thing three times now, but I don't think my point is coming across.

                    especially when one side in particular discussions (e.g. holocaust "skepticism") is likely attempting to spread their hateful ideologies and/or beliefs

                    All I'm advocating for is common sense, logic, and nuanced discussion. I prefer that over thought-terminating discourse.

                    10 votes
          2. [3]
            nukeman
            Link Parent
            Based on the comment chain in question (regarding abortions for fetuses believed to have Down’s Syndrome); does advocacy of such a viewpoint incite, encourage, or promote hate or harm against...

            Based on the comment chain in question (regarding abortions for fetuses believed to have Down’s Syndrome); does advocacy of such a viewpoint incite, encourage, or promote hate or harm against someone? Ultimately that’s the question I think we have to answer (and by extension, whether advocacy or argument in favor of new/liberal/positive/non-coercive eugenics allowed or banned).

            8 votes
            1. [2]
              cfabbro
              Link Parent
              It may not directly, but it's barely one step removed from it... especially given the history and historical ties of eugenics. Do you think the comment chain in question should have been allowed...

              It may not directly, but it's barely one step removed from it... especially given the history and historical ties of eugenics. Do you think the comment chain in question should have been allowed to continue? Because it got nuked it for good reason, IMO. Just because something doesn't directly incite hatred does not mean it should be allowed to be advocated for. E.g. Holocaust denial.

              11 votes
              1. nukeman
                Link Parent
                Regarding relevance of the RMS comment chain, by the end it was very much off-topic and irrelevant to the material at hand. I agree that it was acceptable and prudent to lock it. Regarding the...

                Regarding relevance of the RMS comment chain, by the end it was very much off-topic and irrelevant to the material at hand. I agree that it was acceptable and prudent to lock it.

                Regarding the suitability of the content with respect to Tildes as a whole, one of the more controversial comments could’ve been construed as supporting RMS’ particular viewpoint and phrasing. I don’t believe that was the case (I think they were trying to state that it was acceptable to abort a fetus with Down’s Syndrome in general), however, it was very easy to make the argument that they were encouraging such abortions. It probably veered very close to crossing a line, and for those a arguing the user was endorsing Stallman’s views, did cross a line. There was another comment from a different user that acknowledged that the decision to abort was a personal, parental decision.

                I don’t believe a comment about hypothetical gene therapy to remove the third chromosome would violate the rules of Tildes.

                9 votes
        2. [6]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          This is very easy to argue when your very existence hasn't been dehumanized, delegitimized, or questioned openly. This is not about like or dislike, this is about tolerant and intolerant speech.

          I'd argue that the option of "not engaging" is still there.

          This is very easy to argue when your very existence hasn't been dehumanized, delegitimized, or questioned openly.

          I absolutely reject the notion that discussion of certain topics should be off-limits, discouraged, or straight-up punished because of what an individual or group of individuals like or dislike.

          This is not about like or dislike, this is about tolerant and intolerant speech.

          15 votes
          1. [4]
            Gatonegro
            Link Parent
            And this is why I have the non-engagement rule in place for topics such as this one. You assume things about me and my existence based on a statement that pushes against your own views. Serves me...

            This is very easy to argue when your very existence hasn't been dehumanized, delegitimized, or questioned openly.

            And this is why I have the non-engagement rule in place for topics such as this one. You assume things about me and my existence based on a statement that pushes against your own views. Serves me right for breaking my own rules. I should know better by now.

            This is not about like or dislike, this is about tolerant and intolerant speech.

            Tolerant and intolerant speech is being constantly redefined in these types of discussions, so I'm not too keen on taking it as any sort of objective moral standard for what should or shouldn't be discussed.

            19 votes
            1. [3]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              To be clear, my statement was not pointed at you. Merely stating that it's easy to say something like that when someone is privileged. There are many non-privileged individuals who are okay with...

              You assume things about me and my existence based on a statement that pushes against your own views.

              To be clear, my statement was not pointed at you. Merely stating that it's easy to say something like that when someone is privileged. There are many non-privileged individuals who are okay with debating their very right to exist. This website, however, is not the place for that. Debating whether someone has the right to exist is intolerant speech. This should not be allowed. However, here we are - in the case of the former discussion on eugenics, it got deleted, but not until it had reached the eyes of many users, some of which were rightfully appalled and disgusted by it. These users have been fleeing the platform because these discussions happen and aren't deleted or dealt with quickly enough.

              I also think it's worth noting that while there are some minority individuals who are okay with these kinds of discussions, there are plenty of people who are not. Do we want to drive them from out platform or do we value them being here?

              In addition, other discussions happen which are tangential enough to hate speech that inevitably someone without the right life experiences or who happens to think in a particular matter steps over a line that pushes other people away. I sit firmly on the side of not allowing these discussions at all on this platform because I'm tired of seeing everyone I love on this platform flee because they don't want to be brought down daily by people rehashing a discussion which has existed for many ages online and there's endless pages on google explaining why this shouldn't be discussed and answering the questions these people bring to the threads.

              Tolerant and intolerant speech is being constantly redefined in these types of discussions

              That's precisely the problem. This simply doesn't happen in threads about internet security, movie discussions, weekly fitness, gaming, and weekend threads. This doesn't happen in stuff where there's the possibility for intolerant speech to be on topic and I think that's what we need to be avoiding.

              I'm not arguing that these topics should be off limits, but we need to find a way to have these topics without opening the gates to bad faith arguments about whether someone's existence is tolerable or valid.

              16 votes
              1. [2]
                Gatonegro
                Link Parent
                I understand there are topics you don't want to see or engage with. I support your right to that. There are topics I can't be bothered to deal with either, and I like being able to ignore them....

                I understand there are topics you don't want to see or engage with. I support your right to that. There are topics I can't be bothered to deal with either, and I like being able to ignore them.

                This website, however, is not the place for that.

                This right here, though, is my main issue. You do not like that certain discussions happen on this site. Perfectly fair. The leap from that to "this website is not the place for x" — based on nothing but you deciding that to be the case — is where I push back.

                13 votes
                1. Gaywallet
                  Link Parent
                  This is based on the code of conduct and the founding principles that intolerant speech is not to be tolerated. I am not deciding anything here, these are the rules.

                  "this website is not the place for x" — based on nothing but you deciding that to be the case — is where I push back.

                  This is based on the code of conduct and the founding principles that intolerant speech is not to be tolerated. I am not deciding anything here, these are the rules.

                  17 votes
          2. Phinocio
            Link Parent
            Making assumptions about people based on very little interactions is part of the broader issue of discussion degrading on the internet

            This is very easy to argue when your very existence hasn't been dehumanized, delegitimized, or questioned openly.

            Making assumptions about people based on very little interactions is part of the broader issue of discussion degrading on the internet

            10 votes
        3. [4]
          edoceo
          Link Parent
          Shit. I think that thread the RMS letter I posted yesterday. Then a mod purged some comments I think? (I'm new here). I didn't see it devolve into bullshit, was not the intention

          Shit. I think that thread the RMS letter I posted yesterday. Then a mod purged some comments I think? (I'm new here). I didn't see it devolve into bullshit, was not the intention

          7 votes
          1. vektor
            Link Parent
            It is most certainly not your fault.

            It is most certainly not your fault.

            12 votes
          2. Whom
            Link Parent
            Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong by posting it.

            Don't worry, you didn't do anything wrong by posting it.

            11 votes
          3. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            As others have said, it's not your fault. p.s. Just FYI, "mods" cannot remove comments here. Only Deimos, the sole admin on Tildes, can. The only "mods" on Tildes so far aren't really mods in the...

            As others have said, it's not your fault.

            p.s. Just FYI, "mods" cannot remove comments here. Only Deimos, the sole admin on Tildes, can. The only "mods" on Tildes so far aren't really mods in the traditional reddit/forum sense, since AFAIK we all can only edit titles, tags, and links, and move topics to other groups.

            10 votes
        4. [9]
          Comment deleted by author
          Link Parent
          1. [6]
            AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            Yes? "Let users make their own decisions about what they want to see."
            5 votes
            1. [6]
              Comment deleted by author
              Link Parent
              1. [5]
                AugustusFerdinand
                Link Parent
                I didn't read it as an absolute free speech question, more a "safe space" question. Deimos stated from the start that Tildes will be neither. Tildes should absolutely not be a "free speech" veil...

                I didn't read it as an absolute free speech question, more a "safe space" question. Deimos stated from the start that Tildes will be neither.

                This is a difficult topic, so I want to try to be clear about where on the spectrum Tildes is trying to land. I'm never going to refer to the site as a "safe space" or ban anyone just for occasionally acting like a jerk in an argument—I'd probably have to ban myself fairly quickly. However, it will also never be described as anything like "an absolute free speech site".

                There's a reasonable middle ground between those extremes—I believe that it's possible to support the ability to freely discuss important and controversial topics without also being obligated to allow threats, harassment, and hate speech.

                Tildes should absolutely not be a "free speech" veil for hatred, but is a place to freely discuss controversial topics so long as it is done without hate.

                15 votes
                1. streblo
                  Link Parent
                  I think that's ultimately the crux of things. There's a group of people who seem like they would like Tildes to be more of a safe space. Personally I think that would be a mistake but it's not my...

                  I think that's ultimately the crux of things.

                  There's a group of people who seem like they would like Tildes to be more of a safe space. Personally I think that would be a mistake but it's not my decision to make.

                  15 votes
                2. [4]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. [3]
                    AugustusFerdinand
                    Link Parent
                    Perhaps I'm lost, which quote?

                    Perhaps I'm lost, which quote?

                    2 votes
                    1. [3]
                      Comment deleted by author
                      Link Parent
                      1. [2]
                        AugustusFerdinand
                        Link Parent
                        Ok, that ensures we're on the same page. I didn't read that as "all controversial topics" in fact it says (emphasis mine):

                        Ok, that ensures we're on the same page.

                        I didn't read that as "all controversial topics" in fact it says (emphasis mine):

                        I absolutely reject the notion that discussion of certain topics should be off-limits, discouraged, or straight-up punished because of what an individual or group of individuals like or dislike.

                        3 votes
                        1. [2]
                          Comment deleted by author
                          Link Parent
                          1. AugustusFerdinand
                            Link Parent
                            No worries! Everyone has a different view and I just wanted to be sure we weren't talking past each other or in circles.

                            No worries! Everyone has a different view and I just wanted to be sure we weren't talking past each other or in circles.

                            1 vote
          2. [2]
            Gatonegro
            Link Parent
            In theory, I would argue that it is. It would require two things, though: 1) A userbase that's willing to ignore topics they personally don't want to engage in; and 2) an obscene amount of...

            In theory, I would argue that it is. It would require two things, though: 1) A userbase that's willing to ignore topics they personally don't want to engage in; and 2) an obscene amount of moderation work to prevent trolling/baiting/derailing on threads where sensible discussions are being had.

            In reality, however, I doubt it. The first point is basically the exact opposite of normal online behaviour these days, and I seriously doubt the admin (or anyone) would be interested in taking on the soul-crushing task that the second point requires.

            Edit because I missed your second point.

            I can't square this at all with what I know about the site. Do you want to rephrase?

            I'm not 100% sure I understand what you mean by this.

            3 votes
            1. cfabbro
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              Wait... so if you're aware that it would require a herculean moderation effort, and standards that are basically impossible to practically achieve here (or anywhere on social media, I would...

              Wait... so if you're aware that it would require a herculean moderation effort, and standards that are basically impossible to practically achieve here (or anywhere on social media, I would argue), why do you still believe that no topic should be off-limits? Should practicality and the negative effects/outcomes of allowing those discussions be damned, and we just allow those sorts of discussions to take place anyways out of principle? Or am I completely misreading you?

              8 votes
  7. [5]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm arriving at the conclusion that certain topics simply cannot be discussed in a constructive manner while retaining the required degree of civility. No one employs interpretative charity and...

    I'm arriving at the conclusion that certain topics simply cannot be discussed in a constructive manner while retaining the required degree of civility. No one employs interpretative charity and eventually any response that is not a total agreement will invite personal accusations, misconstructions, and other kinds of nastiness. We're simply not mature enough.

    Will I say what kinds of subjects I'm talking about? No, I won't. That's how afraid I am.

    18 votes
    1. vektor
      Link Parent
      I think this is the crux of it. My thought is that we should be very careful about the accusations we raise and the assumptions we make, exactly because communication is very difficult. It never...

      No one employs interpretative charity and eventually any response that is not a total agreement will invite personal accusations, misconstructions, and other kinds of nastiness.

      I think this is the crux of it. My thought is that we should be very careful about the accusations we raise and the assumptions we make, exactly because communication is very difficult. It never hurts to ask, to clarify. I've written more on this just now.

      10 votes
    2. [3]
      Amarok
      Link Parent
      It's a moving target, too. Let's say we had an impossibly complete list of all these topics and ways to prevent the inevitable slide in the comments. Tomorrow will produce a new topic for everyone...

      It's a moving target, too. Let's say we had an impossibly complete list of all these topics and ways to prevent the inevitable slide in the comments. Tomorrow will produce a new topic for everyone to take umbrage at because most tech companies' bottom lines depend on that to stay in business.

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        mrbig
        Link Parent
        Well yeah but Tildes is not a company, right?

        Well yeah but Tildes is not a company, right?

        3 votes
        1. Amarok
          Link Parent
          A non-profit with a single employee and a tiny payroll... and all of us, whatever we can donate, be it code, cash, or curator work. If people want to really start experimenting, we need to get...

          A non-profit with a single employee and a tiny payroll... and all of us, whatever we can donate, be it code, cash, or curator work. If people want to really start experimenting, we need to get Deimos working on this full time and give him 2-3 clever code warriors to boss around. That's in the ballpark of half a million a year, assuming fair wages for top talent. A million users tossing in a buck a year would cover it.

          We can always see about bringing on more users - we definitely don't do enough outreach - but more voices will only exacerbate these issues, like it always does.

          7 votes
  8. [15]
    Whom
    Link
    I'm exhausted going through this over and over with nothing really changing, but you're right and: No, you're not. I'm about a step away from giving up my hope in this place. It's a pity, because...

    I'm exhausted going through this over and over with nothing really changing, but you're right and:

    Am I the only one who feels alienated and like I don't want to participate in Tildes anymore?

    No, you're not. I'm about a step away from giving up my hope in this place. It's a pity, because I love so many of the technical and organizational things about the site, as well as plenty of the users. Seems like hosting our own might be a better move, lol.

    16 votes
    1. [11]
      drannex
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think one of the most sorely missing things, is being able to make our own ~groups, this was one of the things that we talked about at the beginning being a great thing, and then it stalled. If...

      I think one of the most sorely missing things, is being able to make our own ~groups, this was one of the things that we talked about at the beginning being a great thing, and then it stalled.

      If we were able to make our own groups, share things pertaining to the specific groups it would solve 90% of the things on this quite awesome community and help us grow even more. We are required to share things in limited categories that are seen by everyone on the platform who might not find it as interesting as a small subset of us would want. Being able to create niche groups solves that problem.

      Edit: Just to be clear, I love tildes as a whole, absolutely one of my favourite places in cyberspace. I just think it's time we allowed ourselves to grow and try new things.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        It wouldn't magically fix everything, but if we had user-managed groups then we could at least carve out spaces which enforce rules that keep it more welcoming and less infuriating. Those tools...

        It wouldn't magically fix everything, but if we had user-managed groups then we could at least carve out spaces which enforce rules that keep it more welcoming and less infuriating. Those tools make it so Reddit, a site which is clearly much worse than Tildes even at its worse, can have decent independent communities. There's no way to do that here.

        13 votes
        1. NaraVara
          Link Parent
          Bear in mind that something that gives you more scope to make a subspace that’s more tailored to you by excluding certain types of discourse is also creating scope for those other people to create...

          Bear in mind that something that gives you more scope to make a subspace that’s more tailored to you by excluding certain types of discourse is also creating scope for those other people to create such spaces for themselves as well.

          Reddit initially developed subreddits specifically to cordon off /r/politics discourse from shitting up every other thread. But look at it now? /r/politics tier content has taken over the site. In fact, the subreddit format provided a staging area for bad actors to congregate and spread the bad norms from their bad corners of the internet everywhere else.

          Any group ends up being sort of like a genetic algorithm to refine and develop ideas and world views that are reflective of the norms and beliefs and views of the group. A bigger, more diverse group ends up being more balanced because extremes counteract each other. A smaller, more insular group can quickly spiral out of control, though by leaning into its most negative tendencies. And then you’ve ended up with spaces like /r/fatpeoplehate or /r/incels or /r/femaledatingstrategy.

          9 votes
      2. [8]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        Why do you think that? The site is pretty small. What groups would you make and what would that fix? Might it simply be easier at this point to ask "can we have a group for X"?

        If we were able to make our own groups, share things pertaining to the specific groups it would solve 90% of the things on this quite awesome community.

        Why do you think that?

        The site is pretty small. What groups would you make and what would that fix?

        Might it simply be easier at this point to ask "can we have a group for X"?

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          Kuromantis
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Well, we did.

          Might it simply be easier at this point to ask "can we have a group for X"?

          Well, we did.

          5 votes
          1. Adys
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Right, it's been a full baby since the last one. Well, there were some good suggestions in it, and I think we did end up with some new ones as a result. Maybe a new discussion would be good. I'll...

            Right, it's been a full baby since the last one. Well, there were some good suggestions in it, and I think we did end up with some new ones as a result. Maybe a new discussion would be good. I'll post a thread in a bit.

            Edit: https://tildes.net/~tildes/vvl/new_groups_and_site_mechanics_2021_edition

            5 votes
        2. [5]
          drannex
          Link Parent
          I would love to make a ~technocracy group, perhaps a ~hacking group, and most certainly a ~robotics group. Technocracy is a growing reemergent social political ideology and I am part of about a...

          I would love to make a ~technocracy group, perhaps a ~hacking group, and most certainly a ~robotics group.

          Technocracy is a growing reemergent social political ideology and I am part of about a dozen channels with 600+ members that would happily join here since the views are similar to those of the community at large.

          ~tech.hacking, Hardware and Software related, yes we have ~comp but it doesn't quite fit the overall political aspect of hacking at large and hardware jacking doesn't fit there for the most part.

          ~tech.robotics, I run a robotics company so this is obviously a guilt pleasure and would open a lot of more niche conversations for people who are most interested in it.

          Others are possible, such as ~religion.atheism or ~lgbt.gay, I love taking part in more direct line conversations with more like minded people. When you bundle all these different things together, you get people arguing and since you are catering to more generic conversations you end up with more link sharing, and not dicussions.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            I feel like you didn't answer the more important part of my question: What would having those groups "fix"? You did say having user-created groups would fix 90% of the problems you have with...

            I feel like you didn't answer the more important part of my question: What would having those groups "fix"? You did say having user-created groups would fix 90% of the problems you have with tildes. I guess I just don't see the difference between having 30 glorified tags, and having 50 of them.

            But I'm always up for more groups. If it encourages more contributions, let's do it. Of all those you mentioned, I'm down with ~tech.robotics and possibly ~religion (incl. ~religion.atheism; though not sure about that subgrouping).

            4 votes
            1. [3]
              drannex
              Link Parent
              The difference is you have a place that is more specific, somewhere where more of the people who just really love something can talk a out it with others who are really into it. When you create...

              The difference is you have a place that is more specific, somewhere where more of the people who just really love something can talk a out it with others who are really into it.

              When you create overly generalized spaces you get very generalized communications, and the people who are most interested are more likely to feel alienated and can't find each other as well

              Yes, this creates a sort of "echo chamber" but it also allows people to be more focused on the overall and internal communities.

              Example: I am not interested in talking or seeing posts about Christianity or Buddhism, but I am interested in talking and seeing posts about primarily Atheism. You could filter tags, but then any topic that is primarily atheism but with a touch of Christianity would be hidden.

              That's just a quick example, and I hope it makes sense.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Kuromantis
                Link Parent
                I agree, although the big problem with that is that, with the size of the site now, you may not have anyone who shares some of your specific interests.

                I agree, although the big problem with that is that, with the size of the site now, you may not have anyone who shares some of your specific interests.

                1 vote
    2. [3]
      MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      Oh, darling. What would you like changed? Anything beyond what Gaywallet eloquently outlined above?

      Oh, darling.

      What would you like changed?

      Anything beyond what Gaywallet eloquently outlined above?

      3 votes
  9. [3]
    highsomatic
    (edited )
    Link
    A couple of years ago I moderated 3 subs: a 2.5k members one that involved a lot of local politics, a 300k members NSFW picture-based one and a 1M+ members one. Eventually I got burned out,...

    A couple of years ago I moderated 3 subs: a 2.5k members one that involved a lot of local politics, a 300k members NSFW picture-based one and a 1M+ members one. Eventually I got burned out, deleted my reddit account and created a new one to start fresh.

    The sub that was the most fun, but also the most draining to moderate was the smallest one for two reasons: political topics brought the worst of people at times, and you had to juggle moderation strictness against subreddit activity. Removing comments and posts of a particularly insensitive but also non-rule-breaking nature would stifle participation immediately. As a compromise, I decided that part of being a reddit moderator of a small subreddit is to participate and encourage others to participate while trying to set up a tacit culture/norms for the forum through my own participation. I debated a lot and argued a lot with different users who seemed well meaning but with insensitive comments, sometimes the same users on different posts. A user's intent becomes easier to identify the more you engage with them and browse their profile and comment history. Toolbox allowed me to quickly see the most frequent URL bases of each users' link submissions, as well as the subreddits they most participate in, and query their comment history by different terms which allowed me to paint a more accurate picture of whether they always acted in such a way across different forums, entering a discussion with a particular axe to grind. It worked well. With enough time, the culture established was more welcoming towards my group, without stifling activity in the subreddit too much or being too heavy-handed with moderation... Until it didn't. Subreddit activity went through an almost yearly cycle of new users coming in, older users lessening their participation or leaving and I found myself in the same place a year later because of this. Debating the same ideas with with different, younger users.

    Based on my experience, the reason we seem to be circling over this is because of the trickling of new, well-intentioned active users that may not be as educated or conscious about some topics, new users wanting to participate that have not gone through or read over past discussions on Tildes where consensus was made, unaware that the idea they are genuinely curious about and want to bring up has already been brought up time and again. Veteran participants such as yourself, Gaywallet, will pick up on the frequency and recurrence as well as the impression of these arguments and ideas made in past threads which can slowly degrade your motivation on the site.

    On the other hand, 2 other relevant issues on Tildes are about the low level of activity/submissions or having the same users drive activity and discussions along many different posts, as well as the standards of discussion becoming a barrier for a lot of users who want to participate but don't think their comments would be up to par with what they see. One remedy to these two is an increase in users, but this will inevitably reset the past consensuses.

    If you agree with my reasoning on the recurrence of comments that are insensitive to some groups, then one way to try and tackle this would be to force new users to go through an interval of time that only allows them to set up a customized feed without the ability to comment with the hope that, in the meantime, they will pick up on the current culture, consensuses and become sensitized to the site's norms before typing their first comment.

    Is this issue only due to newly active users?
    No, I don't think so. Users that have been here for a while but may not be as educated or that want to educate themselves on topics involving minorities through participation in discussions here are also prone to do the same. Nevertheless this can lessen how often minorities on Tildes may feel bombarded with these comments. I do think that once in a while, having an insensitive comment is a nonissue (arguably it could be healthy for the site, but I digress), but it's the impression of the constant bombardment of these comments across different posts, given the small number of new posts per day, that can push people to leave.

    15 votes
    1. [2]
      chrysanth
      Link Parent
      An interesting solution I've seen proposed to the problem of new users who aren't familiar with the site's culture (somewhere in here, actually, a Mastodon thread which was posted on Tildes,...

      An interesting solution I've seen proposed to the problem of new users who aren't familiar with the site's culture (somewhere in here, actually, a Mastodon thread which was posted on Tildes, though I can't seem to find it in that thread now) was the creation of a "site history" page which explains which consensuses have already been reached in the past. Every new user would read what these issues of contention were, how they were resolved, and decide for themselves if they wanted to continue with becoming an active user on the site.

      8 votes
      1. highsomatic
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yes! I saw this solution proposed before too. I think however one drawback is that the "site history" can become too long for users to read. I think we can combine this concept with a way to allow...

        Yes! I saw this solution proposed before too. I think however one drawback is that the "site history" can become too long for users to read. I think we can combine this concept with a way to allow users to disengage from a discussion (I think it was @Whom's comment in a previous post that mentioned disengaging):

        Tildes as a whole will build up a consensus surrounding different topics and opinions. These would be available for all to view somewhere, and each consensus should have a link to a discussion that demonstrate why that particular consensus is held. It should link to one or more comment discussions where these insensitive/naive comments/opinions posited by genuinely caring users are dismantled and discussed and shown why they're not sound (for whatever reason).
        In addition, each group inside Tildes can build its own consensuses as long as they don't go against the general ones, again linking to a past discussion that would have already answered "beginner" recurring questions. When a user wants to disengage from a discussion because a particular argument has already been argued before, there should be a way to generate an automatic response linking to the consensus they're referring to. Further replies to the user would be muted. The opposing user may then read up on the past discussion and become informed without inviting repetition.

        7 votes
  10. [5]
    Staross
    Link
    I haven't seen that particular topic but I have no issues people discussing here, if done sensibly. It's an interesting and relevant topic.

    I'm not comfortable with people discussing whether there's any legitimacy to eugenics.

    I haven't seen that particular topic but I have no issues people discussing here, if done sensibly. It's an interesting and relevant topic.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      Link Parent
      Can it ever really be though? IMO, it honestly can't, at least not on a social media site, since it's a subject that draws in bad-faith actors like moths to a flame. Not only that but just by...

      if done sensibly.

      Can it ever really be though? IMO, it honestly can't, at least not on a social media site, since it's a subject that draws in bad-faith actors like moths to a flame. Not only that but just by allowing such discussions to take place you risk alienating a huge swatch of people who may leave the site as a result. See: this very topic, the one on Tildes pushing out minority voices, and also evidenced by the fact I know that Gaywallet is not the only one feeling this way either, since I do as well, and others have also voiced the same elsewhere.

      12 votes
      1. Staross
        Link Parent
        I think it's possible yes, it depends a lot on OP setting the tone and being active. That said a more substantial moderation system wouldn't hurt, although we have labels already. Otherwise I...

        I think it's possible yes, it depends a lot on OP setting the tone and being active. That said a more substantial moderation system wouldn't hurt, although we have labels already.

        Otherwise I don't find "X and Y might leave the site" very compelling ; some other people might enjoy discussing sensitive topics and be leaving instead if these topics are removed. Plus there's options to filter things out and you can just ignore topics you're not interested in.

        8 votes
    2. [2]
      Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Just for some context, the controversial comment in the topic basically started because someone said that people with Down's syndrome couldn’t meaningfully live a happy life and thus should be...

      I haven't seen that particular topic

      Just for some context, the controversial comment in the topic basically started because someone said that people with Down's syndrome couldn’t meaningfully live a happy life and thus should be aborted when discovered to have down's as fetuses. That fits the description of Eugenics reasonably well, which unsurprisingly led to this. (Not that I find that opinion wrong, but this is beyond my personal understanding.)

      5 votes
      1. AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        I recall that thread and I think the accusations of eugenics lacks the specificity required to separate classic eugenics and "liberal eugenics".

        I recall that thread and I think the accusations of eugenics lacks the specificity required to separate classic eugenics and "liberal eugenics".

        9 votes
  11. [6]
    petrichor
    Link
    I understand the good intentions behind not wanting to name the users or the threads, @Gaywallet, but stumbling into this conversation I feel lost and missing context. I guess my opener prefaces...

    I understand the good intentions behind not wanting to name the users or the threads, @Gaywallet, but stumbling into this conversation I feel lost and missing context.

    I'm not comfortable with people discussing whether there's any legitimacy to eugenics.

    I guess my opener prefaces what I have to say about eugenics - to a fair number of people (speculation), it doesn't register as a clear-cut "this topic will lead to malicious discussion" like scientific racism does. CRISPR, gene editing, and prevention of hereditary diseases all fall under the same unfortunately-large eugenics umbrella that also houses genocide and the Nazis. Again, I'm missing a boatload of Removed by admin context here, so apologies if this is totally off the mark.

    I feel extremely alienated when people elevate accusations lead by kiwifarms and lineham and other bigots - frankly speaking I don't want to see anything lineham has to say on this website, ever, except perhaps when it is prefaced by a long post explaining the background of the troublesome individual and the post is being linked to explain why they are troublesome.

    Was that not the case? Currently, in the controversial Reddit thread I see "Warning, substack link to a transphobe POS, highly recommend not reading the content, but leaving the link here as it has the screenshots and links to back up claims made elsewhere." Even before that label was (rather quickly) added, there were a couple of comments warning others that that Substack writer was a POS. How could this be done better?

    How do we stop this? Am I the only one who feels alienated and like I don't want to participate in Tildes anymore? If so, at what point is a discussion veering into the realm of intolerance and how can we stop this from happening and how do we culturally enforce this to happen?

    I think it boils down to moderation and setting examples. Setting examples is important to convey Tildes' culture, more so than just reading the documentation and normal "good" threads does. Moderation is important to keep Tildes' older users, who shouldn't be subject to or be obligated to keep saying the same things over and over, especially if they're members of a minority, but we've been over this before.

    A Discord server I'm in has "pseudo-moderators" with removal powers each attached to a channel, that are community-vouched but head-honcho-chosen that get completely cycled out every year or so. That model could work well for Tildes.

    My perception is that the worst of these also happen several layers deep into threads. I think that reworking both the Noise and Malice labels so that they're more frequently applied (or weighted heavier) could help redirect engagement from this malicious bikeshedding, and towards actual discussion of the post (as an example, the Reddit post has over 60 comments but only 7 threads, and 50 of those comments are concentrated in one thread).

    12 votes
    1. [5]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      In this case I think it just went off the rails discussing this matter and whether or not it was morally okay to abort if your fetus has downs. In this situation, the offending material got...

      CRISPR, gene editing, and prevention of hereditary diseases all fall under the same unfortunately-large eugenics umbrella that also houses genocide and the Nazis. Again, I'm missing a boatload of Removed by admin context here, so apologies if this is totally off the mark.

      In this case I think it just went off the rails discussing this matter and whether or not it was morally okay to abort if your fetus has downs. In this situation, the offending material got removed, but it took a significant period of time to do so. I believe the major issue here was that there weren't enough people malicing the offending comment thread or enough people with the power to remove these threads quickly so that people aren't upset by its presence. It was absolutely intolerant speech, which is why it got removed.

      Was that not the case? Currently, in the controversial Reddit thread I see "Warning, substack link to a transphobe POS, highly recommend not reading the content, but leaving the link here as it has the screenshots and links to back up claims made elsewhere." Even before that label was (rather quickly) added, there were a couple of comments warning others that that Substack writer was a POS. How could this be done better?

      I'm struggling with a good answer to this. My response when I don't know much and a minority is being subject to a public trial is to immediately doubt everything and wait for more information to come out. Obviously not everyone is going to follow suit and that's fine, but a larger discussion on the implications that the people leading the charge are from a questionable background would have helped. If we're going to be discussing the issue perhaps we shouldn't focus on the bad deeds of the father or other easily emotional subjects, but rather the fact that all of this information is being dug up by a group of individuals with a clear anti-trans and bigoted rhetoric and very little if nothing has any primary sources and much had not been picked up by major news outlets yet (probably due to questionable sourcing).

      I think that reworking both the Noise and Malice labels so that they're more frequently applied (or weighted heavier) could help redirect engagement from this malicious bikeshedding, and towards actual discussion of the post

      Absolutely, I think we need to rethink what tools we have but also how we interact with what we have available to us. I personally think that we are not utilizing malice nearly enough, and questionable threads stay up for long periods of time when they could be deleted. At the very least, noising threads which are potentially headed in the wrong direction can help collapse and discourage further discussion.

      7 votes
      1. nukeman
        Link Parent
        Also consider that I’m not going to use the Malice label on anything that isn’t actual malice. A Harmful label would be a very useful.

        Also consider that I’m not going to use the Malice label on anything that isn’t actual malice. A Harmful label would be a very useful.

        11 votes
      2. [3]
        AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        This shows a bias against news that shines a bad light on populations that you have an interest in protecting and implies that if the individual in question was of a population that you despise...

        I'm struggling with a good answer to this. My response when I don't know much and a minority is being subject to a public trial is to immediately doubt everything and wait for more information to come out.

        This shows a bias against news that shines a bad light on populations that you have an interest in protecting and implies that if the individual in question was of a population that you despise (or simply isn't a minority) the same "immediate doubt" wouldn't be provided.

        Obviously not everyone is going to follow suit and that's fine, but a larger discussion on the implications that the people leading the charge are from a questionable background would have helped. If we're going to be discussing the issue perhaps we shouldn't focus on the bad deeds of the father or other easily emotional subjects, but rather the fact that all of this information is being dug up by a group of individuals with a clear anti-trans and bigoted rhetoric and very little if nothing has any primary sources and much had not been picked up by major news outlets yet (probably due to questionable sourcing).

        This is simply not true.

        The "charge" was led by /u/Blank-Cheque/ of which I find no evidence of "questionable background" and the "evidence dug up" was provided by "major news outlets" which were linked prior to the transphobe (which I'll admit was likely a mistake to include) and outlined her actions that should have preempted the hiring by reddit in the first place. Which was the entire point of the protest today.

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          I wish I had the time to properly respond to this and blank-cheque but the best I can offer right now is that this is absolutely not the case and the only source I have for this is my own...

          The "charge" was led by /u/Blank-Cheque/ of which I find no evidence of "questionable background"

          I wish I had the time to properly respond to this and blank-cheque but the best I can offer right now is that this is absolutely not the case and the only source I have for this is my own experience on Reddit and inside knowledge and discussions going on in moderator circles. This person has repeatedly harassed minorities.

          Which was the entire point of the protest today.

          Except the vast majority of subs that went silent were right-wing affiliated and the initial misinformation was spearheaded by kiwifarms and other radical rightwing people. They started the strong push for character assassination and are part of the reason mostly subs with right-wing mods went dark and most of the left leaning ones did not.

          8 votes
          1. AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            That's a whole lot of accusations with absolutely nothing to back them up.

            That's a whole lot of accusations with absolutely nothing to back them up.

            13 votes
  12. [4]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    I don't feel comfortable weighing in because I feel I'm part of the problem. Not in the more recent examples, but definitely your thread "Tildes is pushing out the minority voice." That caused me...

    I don't feel comfortable weighing in because I feel I'm part of the problem. Not in the more recent examples, but definitely your thread "Tildes is pushing out the minority voice." That caused me to do a lot of thinking.

    If so, at what point is a discussion veering into the realm of intolerance and how can we stop this from happening and how do we culturally enforce this to happen?

    I see two main options toward solving the problem:

    1. Push back. The problem is, we've lost quite a few great users to what I assume is exhaustion at this solution. I know, because I'd bet that I contributed to this burnout, and feel guilty knowing I may have contributed to good people leaving the site through my own ignorance. You'd have to have an agreed-upon set of acceptable values and push out anything else (which we have), and from here on out, make new rules about acceptable/unacceptable topics, and incorporate certain specific ideologies into the site framework, more specific than "not tolerating intolerance." I see this as most compatible with Tildes's founding ideas. Some assholes don't know they're being assholes, and sometimes can't be convinced, as I can say from my experience being an accidental asshole on this site. A measurable assholery metric would help most with this, I think.

    2. Heavy moderation. This would, like (1), require a set of rules omitting certain topics, if not styles of discussion, and, unfortunately, significantly more manpower. However, since moderators would be volunteering, for this sort of enforcement, at least it wouldn't be them visiting the site, having a bad time too much of the time, and ultimately quitting in frustration. This would also require some sort of ideological vetting, probably based on observing one's activity here, to ensure you don't have people nuking topics they disagree with, unless they fall into these forbidden categories. We have a handful of people who can moderate, and only step in when needed, and I think we're pretty far from this being a necessity.

    I would say 1 is the most likely solution to implement, but I'm admittedly unable to figure out how to do it in a way that isn't conceptual waffling. As mentioned, it seems we've had people quit the site because they had to do this on many topics. I don't feel it's right to put this sort of pressure on somebody who's only trying to have a good time on a discussion-oriented website, and it does drive people to not participate if they think every time they go into a comment section they're going to have to see bad takes about something they believe in or even shapes their existence.

    11 votes
    1. Gaywallet
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I honestly think that 1 can only be enforced through consistent application of the user-base - that is to say more people regularly flairing posts and comments as malice or noise to be deleted or...

      I honestly think that 1 can only be enforced through consistent application of the user-base - that is to say more people regularly flairing posts and comments as malice or noise to be deleted or at the very least collapsed or through the application of item 2.

      I believe the problem here is what you get at in 1 - people often aren't being malicious and are trying to have good faith arguments, but they haven't been educated in how debating stuff like whether super straight is a valid sexuality in a public manner is inherently alienating and dehumanizing to transgender individuals. We need to enforce a level of self-education to participate in good faith which can really only be done through removal of discussions which are inherently intolerant in nature.

      8 votes
    2. [2]
      vektor
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      As another involuntary asshole, let me give my view of the causes of this mess. I think a big part of how this shit happens is a lack of shared context. It's hard to communicate, without being...

      As another involuntary asshole, let me give my view of the causes of this mess.

      I think a big part of how this shit happens is a lack of shared context. It's hard to communicate, without being overly wordy, what you refer to in your comment. If I speak about information X and say A about it, without explicitly mentioning X, someone else might replace that with Y in their head. Suddenly A gets a very different meaning. This does not happen in person, because X and Y are communicated through high-bandwidth channels such as a shared context, body language, tone, etc. Beyond that, in person communication is zero-latency, which helps a lot in quickly sorting out miscommunications about X and Y.

      I don't know where to go with that; maybe the solution is to be more explicit about X if you're speaking and less assuming about Y if you're listening. I think that would often help, and on both sides of the coin. [E: From another comment I just posted: It never hurts to ask, to clarify.]

      I would give examples of X and Y, but I will wait until I come across one that is clear enough for my purposes here while not starting a riot. If you can think of your own example, let's hear it.

      8 votes
      1. vektor
        Link Parent
        I also think that you should question where you got your X/Y from. Was it external to the discussion? [Maybe the discord, as deimos mentioned?] Was it another comment? You don't know whether the...

        I also think that you should question where you got your X/Y from. Was it external to the discussion? [Maybe the discord, as deimos mentioned?] Was it another comment? You don't know whether the information you assume about a comment is accurate, and I think it's also important to look at where you got it.

        Say Alice makes a comment. Something about it is off, maybe it's worded clumsily. As a result, X and Y aren't clearly identifiable. Bob reads it, infers X correctly, and goes on his merry way. Charlie reads it, and comments that it is defending/affirming Y, which is no bueno. Dan comes along, reads Alice's and Charlie's comment and is convinced that Alice talks about Y. Which is no bueno. Dan comments likewise. Charlie and Dan are wrong, but only Charlie had a genuine failure in communication. Dan relied on second-hand opinion. Maybe Dan would've interpreted Alice differently if not for Charlie's comment. [If you think you know who of A,B,C and D I identify as the problem in OP's post, think again, because it works either way around.]

        Maybe this is related to the way we do traffic court, at least in germany. The basic rule is: Be alert, take care of one another, and don't harm one another. The basic consequence is that if you are in the right, and someone isn't and e.g. cuts you off, you have a duty to prevent that collision. If you can't, you're not at fault, but if you don't even try, you're partially at fault, even though you abided by every rule but that one. What that means is that you and whoever you're talking to, you're both responsible for making communication work. I have a duty to express myself in such a way as not to allow the appearance of Y. But you also have the duty to interpret my words as accurately as you can. That means asking clarifying questions before assuming, not jumping on a bandwagon.

        This all presumes of course that Alice isn't an asshole and doesn't hold unacceptable views, and is instead just gravely misunderstood, i.e. X good, Y bad. But if we apply it, we should generally get a good feeling of if Alice is indeed an asshole, either by their refusal to communicate clearly about X and obey the basic rule, or by what they say.

        I dunno, I kinda would like to test my theory of Defensive Driving. It also seems that with the state of moderation tools right now, I don't think we can have that test discussion in a safe way. As in, safe for minorities in the way OP outlined. Because I don't think my theory provides a lot of additional value in cases of calm discussion about a chill topic.

        5 votes
  13. [4]
    babypuncher
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't really know how to fairly solve this problem without discouraging political/controversial topics as a whole. It's easy to ban outright hate speech, obvious bad faith arguments, and...

    I don't really know how to fairly solve this problem without discouraging political/controversial topics as a whole.

    It's easy to ban outright hate speech, obvious bad faith arguments, and conspiracy theories. But I don't think they are really the problem here on Tildes so much as they are on other platforms. The issue here is comments and opinions that are somewhat adjacent to hateful rhetoric but not necessarily intentional racism/tansphobia/misogyny on the part of the author. Sometimes these are informed by actual hateful beliefs. Other times, I think the author is misinformed. Sometimes even, I think they have a valid viewpoint on a complex topic that is difficult for anyone to wrap their head around, and I just happen to disagree with it. Aggressively moderating these individuals could backfire, pushing them towards extreme beliefs rather than helping them to see other points of view.

    A major problem is that, when there is some genuine criticism to be levied against someone or something within a minority community, malicious actors pounce on it as a gateway to bring people into actual hateful rhetoric. The current drama on Reddit is a prime example of this, with the target of some legitimate serious criticism is both trans and has been a significant figure in Reddit's LGBTQ+ communities. It becomes extremely hard to to have calm, reasonable discussions when legitimate arguments get intermingled with inflammatory comments and identity politics. Segregating the useful discourse from the toxicity and kneejerk reactions can be quite a chore, and it's led me to just avoid many of these topics altogether on large platforms. When I do wander in, I find myself almost invariably becoming part of the problem rather than actually making things better.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Honestly, I don't think that's in scope for Tildes. We don't allow intolerant speech here, so we wouldn't take it on ourselves to un-brainwash a Nazi, for example. Why should we care about pushing...

      Aggressively moderating these individuals could backfire, pushing them further into extreme beliefs rather than helping them to see other points of view.

      Honestly, I don't think that's in scope for Tildes. We don't allow intolerant speech here, so we wouldn't take it on ourselves to un-brainwash a Nazi, for example. Why should we care about pushing someone into more extreme beliefs? The job of teaching them should occur elsewhere, when the subject matter involves potentially intolerant speech.

      Segregating the useful discourse from the toxicity and kneejerk reactions can be quite a chore, and it's led me to just avoid many of these topics altogether on large platforms.

      Why should we even entertain the useful discourse if it's repeatedly pushing away the very minorities we wish to interact and have discourse with? I personally think the lines need to be drawn clearer and more discussions tossed out as simply not allowed on this platform.

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        babypuncher
        Link Parent
        The question is, where do we draw the line? How do we quantify whether an opinion is hateful and therefore not allowed? There is always going to be a fuzzy middle ground. Oftentimes, context is an...

        We don't allow intolerant speech here, so we wouldn't take it on ourselves to un-brainwash a Nazi, for example.

        The question is, where do we draw the line? How do we quantify whether an opinion is hateful and therefore not allowed? There is always going to be a fuzzy middle ground. Oftentimes, context is an important factor that gets left out when evaluating someone's meaning or intent.

        The best solution might be to just discourage controversial topics entirely, but that is its own can of worms. Do we ban mentions of J.K. Rowling's nasty comments in topics about Harry Potter? Do we just ban all Harry Potter topics because of her nasty comments?

        I don't really have answers to any of these questions.

        5 votes
        1. petrichor
          Link Parent
          Others have linked and discussed it before me, but there's a particular essay I read that helped me come to a conclusion about this issue: On a technicality by eevee (who also has some great...

          Others have linked and discussed it before me, but there's a particular essay I read that helped me come to a conclusion about this issue: On a technicality by eevee (who also has some great webdev posts)

          In essence, a fuzzy middle ground is always going to exist. And that sucks. The general best thing to do is recognize this and not try and patch it up, over and over, but rather embrace the fuzziness to make context calls you couldn't otherwise technically justify. I feel fine giving Deimos that context call power - if I didn't, I wouldn't have joined the site. I also suspect that because that's such a difficult thing to do is why there aren't any other full admins yet.

          I guess that didn't really answer your question, but maybe you'll find it helpful.

          6 votes
  14. [11]
    viborgu
    Link
    I just commented there to note this too, assuming we're on the same page. What I specifically noted was that the thread on SubredditDrama, which seemed to be one of the first major threads calling...

    Right now there's a thread about what's going on with Reddit which at times elevates the accusations raised by a group of troublesome individuals.

    I just commented there to note this too, assuming we're on the same page. What I specifically noted was that the thread on SubredditDrama, which seemed to be one of the first major threads calling attention to this, very much appeared to be dominated by bad faith trolls. I tried to follow through on some of the Twitter discussion they alleged was making a reasonable case for it, and again, all I found there was at best more bad faith trolling.

    I didn't see the eugenics thread, and I'm pretty new here. I'd hate to see this site go the way of Reddit though. Free speech is no excuse for bigotry and bad faith attempts to poison the well, in a forum like this.

    How do we stop this?

    As far as I can tell, there is basically one individual empowered with acting as the moderator of civil discussion on tildes. Maybe I'm mistaken?

    (Just on a side note I have to say it was pretty odd in my first submission on Tildes, where I specifically noted that I was new and that was my first submission, that someone edited my title but didn't comment to offer any welcome or explanation. Not exactly the best way to initiate good faith discussion and build a civil community there.)

    8 votes
    1. [9]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        It might be worth looking into some kinda automated inbox reply which explains this the first 5-10 times your posts have titles change and then automatically turns off.

        It might be worth looking into some kinda automated inbox reply which explains this the first 5-10 times your posts have titles change and then automatically turns off.

        10 votes
      2. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Also worth noting is that all edit actions are publicly visible in the topic log too, @viborgu. If you go to your submission that was edited, click the "Topic log" dropdown on the right sidebar,...

        Also worth noting is that all edit actions are publicly visible in the topic log too, @viborgu.

        If you go to your submission that was edited, click the "Topic log" dropdown on the right sidebar, you can see all the edits and who they were made by. And it looks like the title edit was merely to move the song genre, which you included in the title, into the topic tags instead... which is a pretty minor adjustment IMO. I agree that it probably could have been communicated better though, especially given your newness to Tildes.

        9 votes
      3. [6]
        viborgu
        Link Parent
        I didn't take it personally, in fact I took it impersonally. If I was given that power and someone had made a comment clearly stating it was their first submission, I would at the very least bash...

        I didn't take it personally, in fact I took it impersonally. If I was given that power and someone had made a comment clearly stating it was their first submission, I would at the very least bash out a quick comment to welcome them and note I edited the title. That's just me though.

        4 votes
        1. [5]
          mycketforvirrad
          Link Parent
          I tend not to comment about any of the background work I do on editing titles or tags. It feels like unnecessary noise on a post, where the conversational focus should always be on the submission...

          I tend not to comment about any of the background work I do on editing titles or tags. It feels like unnecessary noise on a post, where the conversational focus should always be on the submission rather than the housekeeping.

          But you can always shoot me a private message if you feel my modifications are not in the spirit of any of your posts. I'm always open to the possibility of being wrong, or a little obsessive in my edits.

          15 votes
          1. kfwyre
            Link Parent
            Your presence and work here is such a comfort to me. When I first joined Tildes I used to stress out about the tagging and titling of posts, worried I was going to slip up or make mistakes. Now I...

            Your presence and work here is such a comfort to me. When I first joined Tildes I used to stress out about the tagging and titling of posts, worried I was going to slip up or make mistakes. Now I know that, whatever I do, you'll be around to help out if I messed something up!

            You're an unsung hero of this site. Thank you for all of the behind the scenes work that you do!

            Also, I encourage anyone here who has their tags or titles changed to not think of it as a correction or slap on the wrist, but as a collaboration.

            13 votes
          2. [3]
            streblo
            Link Parent
            I'm pretty sure you've edited every one of my submissions even when I try really hard to get it perfect. :P Seriously though, I think Tildes benefits from your tag and case editing. I think...

            I'm pretty sure you've edited every one of my submissions even when I try really hard to get it perfect. :P

            Seriously though, I think Tildes benefits from your tag and case editing. I think consistency, especially for tag-searching, is great.

            10 votes
            1. [2]
              mycketforvirrad
              Link Parent
              That's the great thing about the Tildes system, in my opinion. There's no need to get everything absolutely perfect, or to fret over which tag is right with our posts. There's bound to be someone...

              That's the great thing about the Tildes system, in my opinion. There's no need to get everything absolutely perfect, or to fret over which tag is right with our posts. There's bound to be someone from the community to come along and lend a helping hand, where needed.

              10 votes
              1. Amarok
                Link Parent
                I enjoyed your massive effort on the music submissions. I like the changes to the convention/taxonomy there, didn't really notice them until yesterday when I submitted Tash's latest effort.

                I enjoyed your massive effort on the music submissions. I like the changes to the convention/taxonomy there, didn't really notice them until yesterday when I submitted Tash's latest effort.

                9 votes
    2. [2]
      Micycle_the_Bichael
      Link Parent
      To address this really quickly. Yes. There is currently one person with moderation powers and that is the site admin Deimos. There is work being done for a trust-based community moderation system...

      As far as I can tell, there is basically one individual empowered with acting as the moderator of civil discussion on tildes. Maybe I'm mistaken?

      To address this really quickly. Yes. There is currently one person with moderation powers and that is the site admin Deimos. There is work being done for a trust-based community moderation system that I am sure there are docs about somewhere but I am not familiar with where.

      6 votes
      1. mat
        Link Parent
        It's mentioned here Generally I would say that if one has to tell people to RTFM that indicates a user interface design problem not a user error but on a site under active development I wouldn't...

        It's mentioned here

        Generally I would say that if one has to tell people to RTFM that indicates a user interface design problem not a user error but on a site under active development I wouldn't expect user-friendly notifications for every thing to exist yet. So RTFM for now :)

        8 votes
  15. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    I haven't been posting links lately because I've also been feeling unhappy about how things are going. I have some ideas about what sort of improvements might help, but I'll write that up another day.

    I haven't been posting links lately because I've also been feeling unhappy about how things are going. I have some ideas about what sort of improvements might help, but I'll write that up another day.

    8 votes
    1. MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      I am really interested in what you have to say. I've mentioned before how much I really appreciated your repeated early warnings about COVID. I hope you find time to write up your concerns and...

      I am really interested in what you have to say.

      I've mentioned before how much I really appreciated your repeated early warnings about COVID.

      I hope you find time to write up your concerns and thoughts when you are ready.

      5 votes
  16. DMBuce
    Link
    You're not the only one. Tildes helped me cut down on my redditing a lot. Then Tildes users helped me cut down on my Tildes browsing by a lot. A while ago I realized that having threads bumped to...

    Am I the only one who feels alienated and like I don't want to participate in Tildes anymore?

    You're not the only one. Tildes helped me cut down on my redditing a lot. Then Tildes users helped me cut down on my Tildes browsing by a lot.

    A while ago I realized that having threads bumped to the top of Tildes by crappy comments was not a great way to experience Tildes, and switched my default view from Activity to Votes. It's been a mostly positive change.

    8 votes
  17. [5]
    vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm naturally inclined towards classical liberalism, somewhat (but not exactly) like what Reason magazine stands for. I'm in Tildes because I want to keep my feet to the ground about how the left...

    I'm naturally inclined towards classical liberalism, somewhat (but not exactly) like what Reason magazine stands for. I'm in Tildes because I want to keep my feet to the ground about how the left thinks like, and also because generally speaking I enjoy the company of people from the left more than from other spectrums. I think I've gained valuable insights and have been able to soften some stances on many issues I wouldn't have without this site.

    I think all this might be (but not necessarily would be) in jeopardy if the discussion was more moderated, and more focused on not hurting peoples' feelings. Not hurting people is important in discussion, and things should be done to mitigate problems if such arise, but I feel it shouldn't override non-bad faith spreading of information and opinions.

    7 votes
    1. [3]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      This isn't about hurting feelings, it's about slowly bleeding away the users who make Tildes worth visiting. I can go anywhere and read the opinions of privileged cis white dudes, but Tildes is...

      This isn't about hurting feelings, it's about slowly bleeding away the users who make Tildes worth visiting. I can go anywhere and read the opinions of privileged cis white dudes, but Tildes is the only link aggregator I know of that was designed to accommodate people of minor and vulnerable demographics, who bring unique and necessary lessons with them through lived experiences.

      I can promise you that, without those users, this place would be a lot less interesting. You'd see a lot less of "how the left thinks", and the site would lose a lot of value for you.

      So even just for your specific reason for being here, it's in your interest that these wonderful people feel welcome here, and that the site and the community not operate in a way that constantly exhausts them and their capacity to contribute.

      13 votes
      1. [2]
        AugustusFerdinand
        Link Parent
        The suggested barring of discussion of those "necessary lessons and lived experiences" would subsequently negate the contributions provided by those demographics.

        Tildes is the only link aggregator I know of that was designed to accommodate people of minor and vulnerable demographics, who bring unique and necessary lessons with them through lived experiences.

        The suggested barring of discussion of those "necessary lessons and lived experiences" would subsequently negate the contributions provided by those demographics.

        5 votes
        1. DanBC
          Link Parent
          That's absolutely not what the suggestion is. This thread is not an attempt to ban discussion of the lives of people with Down's Syndrome. It's a reasonable request to avoid promoting eugenics.

          That's absolutely not what the suggestion is.

          This thread is not an attempt to ban discussion of the lives of people with Down's Syndrome. It's a reasonable request to avoid promoting eugenics.

          11 votes
    2. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      The issue as it exists is that it doesn't need to be in bad faith to be bad. Someone could, in good faith, share their opinion that some other group is maybe just a little bit less deserving of a...

      The issue as it exists is that it doesn't need to be in bad faith to be bad.

      Someone could, in good faith, share their opinion that some other group is maybe just a little bit less deserving of a full and free life based on their beliefs, identity, or physical/mental attributes, based on these statistics that they're happy to share. This interests some other people who are of course concerned about the issue, and so they have a grand old time discussing how this situation affects them and their communities. At no point do they talk to a member of that outgroup, though they of course would absolutely welcome someone coming forward to defend their whole demographic.

      Nothing here is in bad faith, but simultaneously is not really how you want to run a place.

      Essentially, "not being a dick" still leaves a lot of space for people to politely and calmly talk about how others aren't deserving of the same rights and freedoms. How do we balance that? Because we absolutely will drive away people who are really tired of defending themselves and their groups. Given how divisive some issues are, we as a website either tamp down on debate in those hotspots or choose which groups' speech we're willing to allow with the understanding that groups that don't agree with those choices will suffer attenuation as people who can't stand the discussions being had decide that it's not worth their time to keep coming here.

      11 votes
  18. DanBC
    Link
    The eugenics comment was concerning, but there were several people making clear arguments against it, and the thread was (as you say) nuked and locked. This is not perfect, but it's pretty good,...

    The eugenics comment was concerning, but there were several people making clear arguments against it, and the thread was (as you say) nuked and locked. This is not perfect, but it's pretty good, no? Other sites would see that eugenic comment upvoted, and replied to by people explaining how it's not really eugenics or ok it is eugenics but in this situation that's ok.

    I'd agree that if people think Linehan has anything useful to say about anything they're probably a bad fit for Tildes and it's somewhat concerning that they got an invite.

    6 votes
  19. Wren
    Link
    I feel like a good bit of this could be solved with just two or three more mods. It's not like we can expect Deimos to be here 24/7, but it would be nice to have some mod or another around at...

    I feel like a good bit of this could be solved with just two or three more mods. It's not like we can expect Deimos to be here 24/7, but it would be nice to have some mod or another around at something close to all times. It would ensure a timely enough response for like 99% of people to be satisfied with. Personally I don't check the site more than about a couple times a month, so I never noticed a huge issue, but I'll take people who are more regular's word that this is a thing that happens. Surely we'd have at least a couple people willing and able to do a decent job at modding.

    6 votes
  20. Litmus2336
    Link
    I too get angry often on the internet, and am sympathetic. I suppose the question is what content don't we want, and how do we determine which gets banned? I'm sure lots of people will disagree on...

    I too get angry often on the internet, and am sympathetic. I suppose the question is what content don't we want, and how do we determine which gets banned?

    I'm sure lots of people will disagree on what comments shouldn't be allowed, and there will be lots of edge cases. It would be an interesting process to determine how to best handle things.

    5 votes
  21. [3]
    floweringmind
    Link
    I would suggest people who get abusive should get a timeout. The timeout depends on the number of people who vote a comment as abusive. Maybe 1 hours per person that votes them as abusive. During...

    I would suggest people who get abusive should get a timeout. The timeout depends on the number of people who vote a comment as abusive. Maybe 1 hours per person that votes them as abusive. During the timeout they can still read but can't post. Up to a max of 24 hour timeout. Also the post gets highlighted as abusive so the community knows and if there is more than one abusive person the topic gets a timeout where people can read it, but can't post to it.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      AugustusFerdinand
      Link Parent
      That is utterly ripe for abuse and it would take a very small cabal of users (or alt accounts) to silence anyone they disagree with.

      That is utterly ripe for abuse and it would take a very small cabal of users (or alt accounts) to silence anyone they disagree with.

      12 votes
      1. floweringmind
        Link Parent
        Any idea is ripe for abuse. That is why you need a group of developers and the community to figure out how to implement this. I was only giving a basic idea that could be fleshed out. For example...

        Any idea is ripe for abuse. That is why you need a group of developers and the community to figure out how to implement this. I was only giving a basic idea that could be fleshed out. For example you could expand the idea to deal with abuse:

        1. Users only have so many votes a month which are gained by participation. If you don't comment then you don't gain votes.

        2. When a post is flagged as abuse 3 sections open for commenting: Why the post is abusive, Why the post isn't abusive, and a Section for user who made the post to explain why they made the post. Each section can be voted on and the votes are tallied.

        3. If more than one post is flagged as abusive the topic is locked.

        4. A user only gets a timeout if they have had multiple posts in say 3 different topics voted as abusive.

        5. You can only get 1 timeout a month.

        6. If a user gets flagged again after a timeout then a private chat begins with that user and a group of people are assigned to find out what is going on with this user. Maybe they have something really hard going in their life and need support. But that group of people focus on discovering what is going on for this person.

        2 votes