35 votes

Daily Tildes discussion - let's start gathering some thoughts for commenting guidelines

Inspired by this thread in ~talk from this morning, I think it would be good to start thinking about how to define some more formal guidelines for what sort of behavior we do (and don't) want to see in the discussions on Tildes. I'd like to put something together that can be on the Docs site and linked to fairly prominently, and used as a reference to help people understand what's expected here.

As an example, Hacker News has some pretty good ones (the bottom half, under "In Comments"). We should be able to do something quite similar to that, so let me know if you think any of theirs are particularly good or if there are other ones that you'd like to see covered. I know many of you are involved in other online communities too, so I'd also be curious to see links to other sites' guidelines you think are done really well.

Please focus on comments only for now, and we can have another discussion soon about guidelines related to topics/submissions (there will be some crossover, I'm sure). Thanks, input is appreciated as always.

71 comments

  1. [11]
    meristele Link
    From the Hacker News: ^This is really well put. With just text (and maybe emotes that mean different things to different people,) it's easy to assume that someone is mean spirited. Or dismissive...

    From the Hacker News:

    Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.

    ^This is really well put.
    With just text (and maybe emotes that mean different things to different people,) it's easy to assume that someone is mean spirited. Or dismissive or sarcastic. It's hard to tell.

    If someone responds to me presuming I'm a bitch, I sometimes have to really tamp down the desire to fill their expectation. If I reply to someone with an honest desire to understand what they're saying, they usually respond in kind.

    38 votes
    1. [10]
      Deimos Link Parent
      I agree that's a good one. I think the usual name for it is "principle of charity" or "principle of charitable interpretation": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity

      I agree that's a good one. I think the usual name for it is "principle of charity" or "principle of charitable interpretation": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_charity

      18 votes
      1. [7]
        Mumberthrax Link Parent
        How far does this principle go? In your post about hypnotoad's ban, you mentioned that some people on tildes are "way too forgiving" - if we assume bad faith, then someone assuming good faith...

        How far does this principle go? In your post about hypnotoad's ban, you mentioned that some people on tildes are "way too forgiving" - if we assume bad faith, then someone assuming good faith might appear to be forgiveness.

        2 votes
        1. [6]
          Emerald_Knight Link Parent
          You make an excellent point. I think it's important that we take a moment to keep in mind that this isn't an either/or choice where we always assume good faith or always assume bad faith. What we...

          You make an excellent point. I think it's important that we take a moment to keep in mind that this isn't an either/or choice where we always assume good faith or always assume bad faith.

          What we should be doing is assuming good faith for those things that are ambiguous, unless e.g. there is a clear and distinct trend of that inflammatory ambiguity in that user's history. Sometimes a spade is obviously a spade, but sometimes you can only see an outline and can't really say for sure, so it's better not to assume in those cases. If you see the outline, it looks like a spade, and you can clearly see signs of it being used to dig holes in the ground, however, then you can reasonably call it a damn spade.

          That is, we should assume good faith until we're given a good reason not to assume good faith.

          Hypnotoad's case is one where we had the outline of the spade, and at first that was all we had, but eventually we found all of the holes being dug in the ground.

          3 votes
          1. [5]
            Mumberthrax Link Parent
            I can certainly see how it is possible to have that perspective. I am not 100% certain this was the case, and I hope that if he does make an appeal that it would be given a fair hearing. I haven't...

            I can certainly see how it is possible to have that perspective. I am not 100% certain this was the case, and I hope that if he does make an appeal that it would be given a fair hearing. I haven't seen his reddit account so I don't know what deimos saw there, or if that influenced his decision to issue the ban, but based on what i can see of his posting history on here it still isn't exactly clear to me (while trying to be objective) what he did that prompted the ban. :s

            1. [2]
              cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
              Well now nobody can see his reddit history because he deleted his account. However one thing I will say that likely pushed the decision squarely in favor of the ban was the fact he posted the...

              Well now nobody can see his reddit history because he deleted his account. However one thing I will say that likely pushed the decision squarely in favor of the ban was the fact he posted the tildes blog several times on reddit over the course of several days (often to rather inappropriate subreddits) and in several of them he implied he was working for ~ in some capacity. E.g. "Email us we will give you one"

              1 vote
              1. Mumberthrax Link Parent
                ahh interesting - that definitely does add some context that was entirely missing from the announcement of the ban.

                ahh interesting - that definitely does add some context that was entirely missing from the announcement of the ban.

                1 vote
            2. [2]
              Emerald_Knight Link Parent
              He edited a lot of his comments and posts, so unfortunately there isn't a lot to see in his Tildes history. One of the biggest problems was that he would post something inflammatory to get a...

              He edited a lot of his comments and posts, so unfortunately there isn't a lot to see in his Tildes history. One of the biggest problems was that he would post something inflammatory to get a response, then quickly remove or alter the inflammatory statement.

              To give an example, it's like someone posting "I think black people are treated fairly by society" in response to an article about a modern-day lynching, then editing that to "I don't think black people are treated fairly by society" after someone replies with "You're a fucking idiot". It's the classic bait-and-switch trolling tactic.

              1 vote
              1. Mumberthrax Link Parent
                I wasn't aware that happened more than the one time where he expressed his opinion on gay marriage and then removed it before anyone but one very early commenter responded to it. cfabbro mentioned...

                I wasn't aware that happened more than the one time where he expressed his opinion on gay marriage and then removed it before anyone but one very early commenter responded to it. cfabbro mentioned him deleting a comment about canadian high school students, but that one i was not entirely clear on the context or content of.

  2. [13]
    ContemplativePanda (edited ) Link
    I think all comments should make a good faith effort to address the topic at hand in some way. When discussing a topic, there should be able to be all sides of the issue, as that is a fundamental...

    I think all comments should make a good faith effort to address the topic at hand in some way. When discussing a topic, there should be able to be all sides of the issue, as that is a fundamental aspect of a good discussion at least to start. And they should always be about the argument and not the person. There should never be any personal attacks to discredit someone just because you don't agree with what they're saying.

    Edit: either sides -> all sides because as @ourari pointed out there are often not just 2 sides. Also some grammar changes because writing on phones is hard.

    23 votes
    1. [3]
      Ark Link Parent
      Somebody mentioned it in another thread and I think it should be another major guideline on the site; attack the argument, not the user. Attack does sound like a rather harsh word but the overall...

      Somebody mentioned it in another thread and I think it should be another major guideline on the site; attack the argument, not the user. Attack does sound like a rather harsh word but the overall idea stands true, the more people focus on the argument put forward and less so the user who made the argument, the more civil and productive the discussion will be.

      18 votes
      1. ContemplativePanda Link Parent
        Absolutely, there is no room for ad hominem in productive discourse. I absolutely agree it should be a major rule on the site. That would really help.

        Absolutely, there is no room for ad hominem in productive discourse. I absolutely agree it should be a major rule on the site. That would really help.

        6 votes
      2. havoc Link Parent
        You mean no ad hominem reasoning.

        You mean no ad hominem reasoning.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      ourari Link Parent
      Just a pet peeve of mine: I prefer 'all sides' over 'either side', because there are rarely just two sides to anything, except for the grave. Carry on :)

      either sides

      Just a pet peeve of mine: I prefer 'all sides' over 'either side', because there are rarely just two sides to anything, except for the grave.

      Carry on :)

      12 votes
      1. ContemplativePanda Link Parent
        Updated the post to reflect that. Thanks for that, I absolutely agree!

        Updated the post to reflect that. Thanks for that, I absolutely agree!

        5 votes
    3. [6]
      senatorskeletor Link Parent
      I agree in general, but “attack the argument, not the person” is one of those high-minded debate ideals that can have issues in practice. Just recently, someone was banned from this site for...

      I agree in general, but “attack the argument, not the person” is one of those high-minded debate ideals that can have issues in practice. Just recently, someone was banned from this site for making what was generally considered repeated bad-faith posts. I think the decision to ban this user was correct, but under “attack the argument, not the person” the correct response would have been to continue dismissing the arguments raised in the bad-faith posts, not pointing out that the user was behaving badly.

      7 votes
      1. [4]
        Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
        If someone makes what you believe to be a "bad faith" post, you have some choices: Engage with the post's substantive arguments and treat it as a good faith post. Point out that the post is in bad...

        If someone makes what you believe to be a "bad faith" post, you have some choices:

        • Engage with the post's substantive arguments and treat it as a good faith post.

        • Point out that the post is in bad faith, by exposing its flaws.

        • Report the post to someone like an administrator or a moderator as a bad faith post. They can then research and decide if there's a pattern of bad faith posting by this user, and deal with it accordingly.

        None of these approaches require you to attack the user directly. On the one hand, you argue against the points in the post. On the other hand, you criticise the post itself. You don't need to publicly call out the user themself. That's unnecessary. It puts the poster on the defensive, it encourages other people to attack the poster, and you've turned the thread into an attack on the person behind the post, rather than on the post itself.

        7 votes
        1. abbenm Link Parent
          I agree that we should do this, but this is exactly /u/senatorskeletor's point; there are problems in practice with an unconditional requirement to always assume good faith. If you're pointing out...

          Point out that the post is in bad faith, by exposing its flaws.

          I agree that we should do this, but this is exactly /u/senatorskeletor's point; there are problems in practice with an unconditional requirement to always assume good faith. If you're pointing out that a post is in bad faith, even if you're right, you're not following the rules. This is why the rule doesn't quite work.

          Bad actors can take advantage of this by making low-effort disingenuous arguments and insisting you haven't followed the rules by spending lots of effort debating them point by point.

          3 votes
        2. [2]
          senatorskeletor Link Parent
          Could you walk me through how this is done without attacking the user? I feel like you'd have to refer back to their previous actions to demonstrate their bad faith. Am I missing something?

          Point out that the post is in bad faith, by exposing its flaws.

          Could you walk me through how this is done without attacking the user? I feel like you'd have to refer back to their previous actions to demonstrate their bad faith. Am I missing something?

          1 vote
          1. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
            Not really. It would have to be done on case-by-case basis. It's hard to lay out a standard approach.

            Could you walk me through how this is done without attacking the user?

            Not really. It would have to be done on case-by-case basis. It's hard to lay out a standard approach.

      2. ContemplativePanda Link Parent
        Good point. These things all need to work together. So one of my other suggestions, I don't know where I put it, was to have good faith discussions. Thus, the user was still banned correctly under...

        Good point. These things all need to work together. So one of my other suggestions, I don't know where I put it, was to have good faith discussions. Thus, the user was still banned correctly under the rules. We have to look at things holistically with the entire rule set to really assess bans to be honest, there's no one size fits all unfortunately.

        2 votes
    4. clerical_terrors Link Parent
      A variant I used to apply on another subreddit was "discuss idea, not each other's character". Because in some cases people will argue their very personal reply wasn't technically an "attack" and...

      A variant I used to apply on another subreddit was "discuss idea, not each other's character". Because in some cases people will argue their very personal reply wasn't technically an "attack" and will contest it being branded as such.

      And aside from personal life advice or intimate conversation there's not often a case where discussing a user's character is actually fruitful or relevant to the topic at hand.

      4 votes
  3. Ark Link
    I think civility should be one of the most important guidelines to follow. Being rude or arrogant to others contributes nothing to the conversation and maintaining an environment in which everyone...

    I think civility should be one of the most important guidelines to follow. Being rude or arrogant to others contributes nothing to the conversation and maintaining an environment in which everyone is treated equally and respectfully, regardless of their own opinions, is one of the best way to ensure the community not only grows and attracts new users but also solidifies this idea of civility as it continues to grow.

    Looking over the Hacker News list, I also agree with the no-caps rule for putting emphasis on words. Italicising words is a far more simpler and cleaner way to do so, and also follows the civility guideline as you wouldn't shout at someone in a real life discussion about a topic.

    Clearly the hardest thing to moderate is whether someone genuinely wants to start a discussion over a sensitive topic or wants to generate a reaction. I think for the most part though it is easy to distinguish between the two, but there will always be a grey area in which moderation will have to be balanced.

    Comments that do not further the discussion in general should be avoided. Agreeing with someone's comment is fine as long as the reply extends the idea or opinion further, i.e. simply putting "This" or "I agree" is a rather redundant reply and should be discouraged in general.

    I think these guidelines and the standard set of rules regarding common decency (no hate speech, racism etc. ) form a rather good basis for the style of comments that can be written.

    18 votes
  4. [2]
    eladnarra Link
    I know tildes doesn't have the systems in place for it yet, but I like this. If you think something is offtopic, replying to it just adds to the noise and creates more stuff to scroll past....

    Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it. Don't feed egregious comments by replying; flag them instead. If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did.

    I know tildes doesn't have the systems in place for it yet, but I like this. If you think something is offtopic, replying to it just adds to the noise and creates more stuff to scroll past.

    Personally, I'd like it if there was a rule/guideline against arguing from a point of view that you don't hold without making that clear. I'm not saying we shouldn't consider the other side(s) of issues to gain a broader perspective and test out our own beliefs. But I dislike discussing things with people who aren't clear about what they (currently) believe. I like to take people at face value, and finding out at the end of a difficult discussion that the person didn't have any investment in what they were saying feels... bad. As if I've been duped, foolish for being invested in the discussion myself.

    18 votes
    1. Mechangel Link Parent
      The topic of playing Devil's Advocate came up in the ~talk thread from earlier today. @BuckeyeSundae made the point that presenting a viewpoint that is disingenuous with what you actually believe...

      The topic of playing Devil's Advocate came up in the ~talk thread from earlier today. @BuckeyeSundae made the point that presenting a viewpoint that is disingenuous with what you actually believe undermines trust in the discussion. I think that it can also confuse and blur a conversation when it is not made clear when and where in the discussion a poster is presenting a viewpoint that is not his or her own. If someone is making comments that are both genuinely in line with their own views and comments that are not within the same thread, the context of the conversation starts to erode rapidly.

      12 votes
  5. [2]
    Mechangel Link
    I'm not really sure how to put this eloquently, but I'd like to see us avoid comments in the vein of "Who cares?" Even if a user has a well-thought-out, thousand word response to another person's...

    I'm not really sure how to put this eloquently, but I'd like to see us avoid comments in the vein of "Who cares?" Even if a user has a well-thought-out, thousand word response to another person's link, text post or comment, if the heart of the user's argument is, "I don't care about this, you shouldn't care about this, and no one else here should either," then I don't think said user should be posting that response.

    People usually post content because they think it's important or it's meaningful to them. If someone has made a post, we should assume that the poster cares about that content. Responding to them simply to tell them that it's not worthwhile is disrespectful and can dampen the rest of the conversation on the topic. It can discourage other people from engaging in the topical discussion because they don't want to be seen as someone who cares about something others see as silly or trivial. It can also lead to the entire comments section devolving into a heated argument about whether or not the topic is worth talking about.

    Instead, I'd like to see comments like, "Can you tell me why (thing) is important to you?" or "This isn't something I usually give much thought to. What do you think I should be taking away from your article/post/video you linked?"

    If someone could help me put this more succinctly, I'd be very grateful.

    17 votes
    1. crius Link Parent
      Even if you don't find another person's comment particularly important, the fact the the other person took time to write it down means that it's important for them and they wanted to share it with...

      Even if you don't find another person's comment particularly important, the fact the the other person took time to write it down means that it's important for them and they wanted to share it with others.
      Be respectful to them because they're helping foster different point of views that you could be ignoring or not considering yet.

      I tried :)

      Edit: Also known as "the teenager rule". When I was a teenager, lots of stuff were "i don't care". Then I grew up. Damn it.

      4 votes
  6. tiz (edited ) Link
    I spent a long time coming up with my own form of etiquette for my sub r/CasulConversation and I really do think it helped create a general well-rounded atmosphere that helps encourage...

    I spent a long time coming up with my own form of etiquette for my sub r/CasulConversation and I really do think it helped create a general well-rounded atmosphere that helps encourage conversation or discussion.

    You can view them in full here: https://www.reddit.com/r/CasualConversation/wiki/etiquette

    but what it comes down to is;

    1. be respectful and aware you are talking to other humans, which is often times forgotten on the internet
    2. do not be vitriolic; with definitions of toxic, flaming, trolling, harassment and offensive behavior
    3. respect personal private information
    4. be aware of sensitive or controversial topics and engage with them with an open mind
    5. misc things such as BEING dIsRuPtIve, spammy, spoiling and posting illegal content
    10 votes
  7. [7]
    Neverland (edited ) Link
    Links to sources. Please provide links to sources of information whenever possible. Edit: maybe you all could help me narrow the focus of when sources should be given. Is this best done in cases...

    Links to sources.

    Please provide links to sources of information whenever possible.

    Edit: maybe you all could help me narrow the focus of when sources should be given. Is this best done in cases of controversial statements? Uncommon wisdom? Or when is a source really useful?

    8 votes
    1. ContemplativePanda Link Parent
      Sources are important. Anytime you are making an assertion based on facts or statistics you should be backing it up to be honest. If you want to say that more people die in the US due to...

      Sources are important. Anytime you are making an assertion based on facts or statistics you should be backing it up to be honest. If you want to say that more people die in the US due to healthcare related issues than in China you better be ready to back it up. And it's on you to have your source and cite it, not us.

      And on the flip side, I think it's on everyone reading the source to actually check it and verify if it's a good and reputable source. This gets into some sketchy territory regarding bias and semantics of reputable, but in general government websites and such should be fairly acceptable. Maybe a list of good sources is something we can work on as a community.

      5 votes
    2. [4]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      This isn't /r/AskHistorians. It's a discussion website. Why should I have to provide sources if we're sharing opinions?

      This isn't /r/AskHistorians. It's a discussion website. Why should I have to provide sources if we're sharing opinions?

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
        Because if you don't at least encourage sourcing you get bullshit like this happening: https://tildes.net/~news/228/how_suicide_quietly_morphed_into_a_public_health_crisis#comment-lyt Pure opinion...

        Because if you don't at least encourage sourcing you get bullshit like this happening:
        https://tildes.net/~news/228/how_suicide_quietly_morphed_into_a_public_health_crisis#comment-lyt

        Pure opinion is one thing, as long as it's explicitly stated as as opinion with nothing to back it up, and I understand and agree with you about not requiring people to source every opinion... but making definitive claims/statements like @settdigger did without sources is another thing entirely.

        6 votes
        1. Mumberthrax Link Parent
          Something about this rubs me the wrong way, and I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it would be great if people were not able to get away with intentionally lying on the internet....

          Something about this rubs me the wrong way, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

          I think it would be great if people were not able to get away with intentionally lying on the internet. Disinformation, and misinformation ideally would have no power to warp people's perceptions. and still...

          distinguishing between them, evaluating sources, deciding when a source is necessary, time/energy investment, potential for abuse for noncompliance...

          I'm thinking of a friend of mine who does not participate in online conversations like on reddit because of the abuse she gets if she doesn't say the "right thing" or if she doesn't feel like getting into a heated argument. So instead of that, she chooses to just not engage at all.

      2. DrFaceless Link Parent
        As long as you just say/state that opinions are opinions you're fine.

        As long as you just say/state that opinions are opinions you're fine.

    3. DrFaceless Link Parent
      I like to think that it's the arguee who has to link directly (like this) to the source instead of them telling the listener what the source is (article in new york times titled "This And That")....

      I like to think that it's the arguee who has to link directly (like this) to the source instead of them telling the listener what the source is (article in new york times titled "This And That"). By linking the source directly all who read the argument can easily read the source themselves. If there's no direct link to the source the reader has to jump a hoop just to be able to verify that there is a source at all which will deteriorate the debate.

      I'd like to go so far as to say that if you claim to have a source or claim something to be a fact you have to provide a direct link to the source.

      3 votes
  8. aki Link
    Some of the bigger concerns have been raised already, civility and always assuming the best of the other person in a discussion are two guiding principles that if followed can generally steer us...

    Some of the bigger concerns have been raised already, civility and always assuming the best of the other person in a discussion are two guiding principles that if followed can generally steer us in the right direction. Some other smaller guidelines I would include are

    • Replies that are obviously inflammatory, trolling, or completely off topic should be ignored and flagged. Replying only makes the thread messier.
    • Comments should always add something valuable to the discussion. Reaction comments are fine as long as they’re more than a one or two liner that doesn’t add a new perspective or voice to the discussion.
    7 votes
  9. APassenger Link
    There should be room for playfulness in all of this. I know tempers will run hot at times - and we have a responsibility to elevate the discourse, but having a playful spirit goes a long ways in...

    There should be room for playfulness in all of this. I know tempers will run hot at times - and we have a responsibility to elevate the discourse, but having a playful spirit goes a long ways in defusing situations or finding new perspectives.

    I'm not sure if that's Daoist or what... but I think there's room for that. Playfully examining the uncarved block (that is whatever topic).

    7 votes
  10. [2]
    mistouflon Link
    #1 item should be to breathe.

    #1 item should be to breathe.

    6 votes
    1. ourari Link Parent
      Zen and the art of online discussions.

      Zen and the art of online discussions.

      7 votes
  11. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    My overriding principle for civility in discussions is this: play the ball, not the player. In other words, no personal attacks. If you're attacking the other person instead of their arguments,...

    My overriding principle for civility in discussions is this: play the ball, not the player. In other words, no personal attacks. If you're attacking the other person instead of their arguments, then you're on the wrong track. Engage with their arguments to your heart's content, but don't attack them personally. To me, that's where you've crossed the line. That's where I, as a moderator, will step in.

    I'm very surprised that the Hacker News guidelines don't say anything about this.

    A lot of people equate "civility" with nice language, which is a bit silly. I can express exasperation ("for the sake of fuck!") or emphasis ("fuck yeah!") without being uncivil. I can also be extremely insulting without ever using a single four-letter word ("you microcephalic idiot"). Using naughty words is not the same as being uncivil.

    I'm not really fussed about the rest. If someone wants to restrict their reply to something as puerile as "That's a stupid question!" that's their prerogative. It is also my prerogative to decide it's not worth my time to engage with that person any more.

    6 votes
    1. hightrix Link Parent
      Couldn't agree more. I'd love to see something along the lines of this included in commenting guidelines: Comments should pertain to the topic and/or be a direct response to the parent comment...

      Couldn't agree more. I'd love to see something along the lines of this included in commenting guidelines:

      • Comments should pertain to the topic and/or be a direct response to the parent comment

      This would help eliminate comments like, "You said 'x' 2 years ago and, taken completely out of context, refutes the point you are making here"

      1 vote
  12. [3]
    Kenny Link
    I think there should also be some guidelines on how to comment when someone is breaking the comment guidelines. How does the community react to these comments in order to dissuade them, but...

    I think there should also be some guidelines on how to comment when someone is breaking the comment guidelines. How does the community react to these comments in order to dissuade them, but without being uninviting or insulting?

    Some of the comments trying to point out less-liked comments make me want to puke a little. I can't quite put my finger on it and I'm sure there are others that would be able to articulate it a bit better. There is an air of smugness around them. Or, maybe I'm alone.

    6 votes
    1. EightRoundsRapid Link Parent
      You are not. Some of the things I've seen have struck me as somewhat pretentious. I think there's an element of "trying too hard", which isn't bad in and of itself, but can come across as fake, or...

      There is an air of smugness around them. Or, maybe I'm alone.

      You are not. Some of the things I've seen have struck me as somewhat pretentious. I think there's an element of "trying too hard", which isn't bad in and of itself, but can come across as fake, or insincere. Almost like playing to the gallery.

      4 votes
    2. Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      That issue should decrease (and possibly disappear) as the site develops, and some moderation-type features are added. There'll be no need to comment on a substandard comment when you can tag it...

      I think there should also be some guidelines on how to comment when someone is breaking the comment guidelines.

      That issue should decrease (and possibly disappear) as the site develops, and some moderation-type features are added. There'll be no need to comment on a substandard comment when you can tag it or report it.

  13. ajar Link
    Whatever the guidelines, and some good ones were pointed out here and on the link thread on civility, I believe it's important to have some examples with them, so that people know how to proceed....

    Whatever the guidelines, and some good ones were pointed out here and on the link thread on civility, I believe it's important to have some examples with them, so that people know how to proceed.

    To what has been mentioned i would maybe add "don't make accusations, assumptions or insinuations".

    -Accusation: "That's an ad hominem attack", "You are commenting in bad faith", etc.

    -Assumptions: "You clearly think this is a joke", "Since it seems you didn't read the link... ", "You far-left people believe that..." etc.

    -Insinuations: "I've seen your comments before...", "Don't know about you, but I don't believe women are inferior to men", etc.

    It might be a good idea to have several examples of different unwelcome behaviors. There are many mods here from several good subs. Maybe they (and users) could help providing some and we could have a list for people to learn about them, recognize them, avoid them themselves and report them if necessary.

    5 votes
  14. [3]
    havoc Link
    You could use an etherpad for collaborative drafting. I've set-up one. It would also be a small test whether the community can be trusted without moderation.

    You could use an etherpad for collaborative drafting. I've set-up one.
    It would also be a small test whether the community can be trusted without moderation.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      Neverland (edited ) Link Parent
      I think your comment has an interesting detail that might be a good thing to suggest. Use could in place of should where possible. Or is that unnecessarily passive? Edit: grammar

      I think your comment has an interesting detail that might be a good thing to suggest. Use could in place of should where possible. Or is that unnecessarily passive?

      Edit: grammar

      5 votes
      1. ZaphodBeebblebrox Link Parent
        It does not seems unnecessarily passive to me. I think that using passive words helps keep a discussion focused on the topic rather than the people. However, I generally use way to many clauses...

        It does not seems unnecessarily passive to me. I think that using passive words helps keep a discussion focused on the topic rather than the people. However, I generally use way to many clauses and passive words when I am giving an opinion, so you should take my words with a grain of salt.

        6 votes
  15. epitten Link
    I would argue that what we need is not necessarily a set of guidelines for comments, but rather a set of guidelines for discussions. To illustrate how I see the difference between these two, I...

    I would argue that what we need is not necessarily a set of guidelines for comments, but rather a set of guidelines for discussions. To illustrate how I see the difference between these two, I want to offer two starting points for further discussion.

    First, the voting system in Tildes is deliberately different from that of Reddit (e.g., no downvotes). There's been at least one thread about why users here like the lack of downvotes. With the full disclaimer that I haven't read all of the comments on that thread, I would argue that what users seem (IMO) to really dislike about simple upvotes/downvotes is that simple voting provides little information about why. On Reddit, maybe I upvoted a comment because I thought it made very well-reasoned points, maybe I upvoted because it was a clever joke, maybe I upvoted because it resonated with me emotionally. Similarly, maybe I downvoted a comment because it was clearly a product ad, or a personal insult, or an unsubstantive comment like "Python is dumb" (in a context where such a comment would indeed not add anything to the discussion).

    Therefore, I think that being able to convey this information (to a reasonable degree of precision) in the voting scheme, and treating these votes in a reasonable way (e.g., providing filter options to hide jokes, and only auto-hiding comments that are heavily voted to be a bad-faith comment), is what we want.

    Secondly, to expand on this idea a little bit, discussions on these threads may be far more useful if we nudged users to avoid duplicating information. For example, if someone cites a data source to back up an argument but misinterprets the data, I might see several comments that are all a variation of "this line of reasoning is incorrect because you interpreted the data as X when really one should do so as Y." This behavior makes it a bit more cumbersome to find the diversity of opinions.

    Therefore (and this suggestion will probably be a bit more controversial), perhaps users could use the simple vote as an "I agree" feature, and as users type comments, perhaps we could show them comments that may be similar to allow users to easily find such comments and vote on them instead. This approach thus gives us much more information about the nature of the discussion: a counterargument with high votes would thus perhaps encourage readers to look more closely at cited sources. As an alternative, perhaps we could simply bake common response patterns (e.g., you didn't cite sources, your source is biased, this comment addresses a different issue, etc) into the voting system, although this carries this high risk of significantly complicating voting.

    4 votes
  16. [4]
    rib Link
    Cherry picking a couple from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies : Ad hominem – attacking the arguer instead of the argument. Straw man fallacy – an argument based on misrepresentation...

    Cherry picking a couple from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies :

    Ad hominem – attacking the arguer instead of the argument.

    Straw man fallacy – an argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position.

    I see the straw man argument a lot, have experienced it a lot.

    3 votes
    1. [3]
      ajar Link Parent
      I think we should avoid calling people on fallacies. Most often I see that someone says "that's a strawman/ad hominem/whatever" and just using the term seems to imply they don't need to add...

      I think we should avoid calling people on fallacies. Most often I see that someone says "that's a strawman/ad hominem/whatever" and just using the term seems to imply they don't need to add anything else. Instead people could say "I never claimed X" or whatever fits.

      Attacking someone's argument mentioning the fallacies they incur into usually comes across as entitled and often discourages true discussion, I think.

      8 votes
      1. aphoenix Link Parent
        I fully agree with you. Calling out fallacies is great in formal debate, but not so great in conversations. Unless you outline at the beginning that you are outlining a logical argument for...

        I fully agree with you.

        Calling out fallacies is great in formal debate, but not so great in conversations. Unless you outline at the beginning that you are outlining a logical argument for something, calling out fallacies doesn't really have a place in discussion. We're not Romulans; we don't only deal with issues on a logical level.

        I also think that stating "agree / disagree" at the outset is a good way to avoid arguments. Sometimes I'll read a comment that seems like it is a rebuttal, but it agrees with my point, and the first thing that pops into my head is... what are you rebutting? You agree with me! So I try to outline at the beginning whether something is posting a rebuttal or an agreement.

        2 votes
      2. rib Link Parent
        I think you have a sold point, I think that it'd be better implemented in guidelines as "attack the argument not the user" instead of referring to it as "Ad hominem" etc. I do think all debate...

        I think you have a sold point, I think that it'd be better implemented in guidelines as "attack the argument not the user" instead of referring to it as "Ad hominem" etc.

        I do think all debate would be enhanced by users understanding basic logical fallacies but I don't expect them to be educated on them just for the sake of participating.

        "that's a strawman/ad hominem/whatever" and just using the term seems to imply they don't need to add anything else. Instead people could say "I never claimed X" or whatever fits.

        I mean that's the exact same thing, but I agree you phrased it better for informal debate.

  17. Awoo (edited ) Link
    Attack ideas. Not people. Address what the comment SAYS, do not draw a picture of the comment writer and then attack what you imagine the comment writer to be. EDIT: Maybe not "attack" though....

    Attack ideas. Not people.

    Address what the comment SAYS, do not draw a picture of the comment writer and then attack what you imagine the comment writer to be.

    EDIT: Maybe not "attack" though. Poor tone. Assumes negativity. The guidelines should avoid this. Approach the guidelines with a positive attitude and tell your community they are a positive community - the result will be that they will try to live up to what you say they are.

    3 votes
  18. DonQuixote Link
    First, I think the guidelines from Hacker News are great. They're not overbearing and in my opinion show thoughtful common sense. That being said, people are people. They are going to come onto...

    First, I think the guidelines from Hacker News are great. They're not overbearing and in my opinion show thoughtful common sense.

    That being said, people are people. They are going to come onto discussion sites, even this one, after having a bad day; going through emotional problems; intoxicated (seen that more than once); hormonally stressed; and otherwise predisposed to be rude, take things the wrong way, and so on. The problem is when behaviors caused by these issues persist. I think banning someone should come in a stepwise fashion to prevent the moderator from coming in on their own bad day and not making a thoughtful judgment. The point is we all have these days. On the other hand, enough is enough.

    As an example I'll point out r/zen which to my mind is ironically the most dysfunctional subreddit I've ever seen (and I haven't seen many). I finally had to leave this subreddit, because in my opinion the strife there wasn't getting any better with time.

    To me, whatever guidelines you set up are going to be gamed at times, no matter how legalistic you get. If anything, I think moderators (who are really needed, so this is tough) should be held to a higher standard of judgement and oversight than every day contributors.

    Anyways, that's my two cents.

    3 votes
  19. [10]
    Mumberthrax Link
    I spent some time years ago working on something like this for Voat. Here's a summary of the draft I put together back in the day: Three fundamental principles/values: Respect others. Respecting...

    I spent some time years ago working on something like this for Voat. Here's a summary of the draft I put together back in the day:

    Three fundamental principles/values:

    1. Respect others. Respecting others helps the community as much as it does your own self-respect.

    2. Promote quality content. Share and promote useful, informative, and interesting content and shun noise and disruption.

    3. Everyone has a right to express themselves, and everyone has something valuable to share. That contribution benefits all of us.

    Here's a sampling of some specific habits from that document which support the above principles:

    • Confront issues and ideas, not people - don't attack someone just because they have views different from your own.

    • Spend time in "new" and help quality content to gain visibility by upvoting it

    • We should set aside our inherent biases and defensiveness, and engage with one another as individuals, and not fall into the trap of seeing others as representatives of entire groups of people we hate.

    • Promote transparency and accountability in moderator activities.

    • Avoid posting "click-bait" or sensationalized titles.

    • Even though this is the internet, it isn't "Just the internet". Nothing about online interactions means we should abandon all useful social norms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m3jLOCSEsE


    I think making a small handful (3, 5, maaayyybe 7) of fundamental principles/values which are supported by specific habits is an aesthetically pleasing model.

    3 votes
    1. [9]
      paddy Link Parent
      Is a site that is a haven for white supremacy a good model for rules we want to adopt?

      Is a site that is a haven for white supremacy a good model for rules we want to adopt?

      1. [8]
        Mumberthrax Link Parent
        I think you may have misunderstood. This project is something that I was working on for voat years ago, but was never completed. Also, this was prior to the FPH/Coontown influxes from reddit after...

        I think you may have misunderstood. This project is something that I was working on for voat years ago, but was never completed. Also, this was prior to the FPH/Coontown influxes from reddit after those subreddits were banned. ALSO, the ideas are what is important, not the origin. The items i list above are just examples, I'm mainly trying to convey the concept of the structure for any such document being based on a small handful of values/principles, and then having specific habits to support those values.

        1 vote
        1. [7]
          paddy Link Parent
          Nope, I understood. If you thought the rules or format were appropriate for that community, looking at how that community turned out, I'd probably not consider them at all, choosing to reference...

          Nope, I understood. If you thought the rules or format were appropriate for that community, looking at how that community turned out, I'd probably not consider them at all, choosing to reference the origins for healthier communities when looking for something to emulate.

          The origin of the ideas is absolutely important, as it provides context. If someone wants me dead, it's totally rational and reasonable for me to think they probably do not have good ideas for how to make a community that is welcoming and inclusive for people like me.

          1. [6]
            Mumberthrax Link Parent
            I would have made the same sort of document for reddit if it did not already have reddiquette. I would say the vision guiding my CVA project was closer to Deimos' aspirations for Tildes than even...

            I would have made the same sort of document for reddit if it did not already have reddiquette. I would say the vision guiding my CVA project was closer to Deimos' aspirations for Tildes than even reddiquette appears to aim at. It really sounds like you simply are prejudiced against Voat, and believe that anything which comes into contact with it is poisonous - when @Amarok has even mentioned that several elements in Tildes were also recommended for Voat early in its life as well, just like the CVA. Should those ideas also be scrapped since they are contaminated by "white supremacy"?

            1. [5]
              paddy Link Parent
              Let me be super explicit and clear on this point: I am absolutely prejudiced against Voat, which tends to happen when something becomes synonymous with white supremacy. I have a nasty habit of...

              Let me be super explicit and clear on this point: I am absolutely prejudiced against Voat, which tends to happen when something becomes synonymous with white supremacy. I have a nasty habit of becoming prejudiced against communities that want me dead. It's a character flaw I have.

              I addressed whether ideas should be dismissed out of hand if white supremacists happened to like them:

              I'd probably not consider them at all, choosing to reference the origins for healthier communities when looking for something to emulate.

              The difference is, I'm advocating "hey, maybe let's not look at Voat or what it's doing or did unless we want explicit examples of what not to do, and if we're looking for things to emulate, let's choose a community that is less toxic to draw examples from, even if those examples are used elsewhere."

              I didn't tie those ideas to Voat, you did. I didn't say they were bad rules, or address whether we should have them at all. I said let's maybe not look at Voat, which has a literal white supremacy community on it (no quotes, it's actually called WhiteRights), and instead perhaps look at a less toxic community to draw examples from.

              1. [4]
                Mumberthrax Link Parent
                I think you are still misunderstanding. Voat has nothing to do with this except by happenstance. You are making a mountain out of a molehill, if even that. Also, I don't know what is on the...

                I think you are still misunderstanding. Voat has nothing to do with this except by happenstance. You are making a mountain out of a molehill, if even that.

                Also, I don't know what is on the "WhiteRights" thing on there, but i do find it kind of funny that rights = supremacy in your mind. :P

                1. [3]
                  paddy Link Parent
                  I really don't understand what is so hard about "let's not look at sites that are friendly to white supremacy as models for our community". Like, this isn't that radical, complicated, or unusual...

                  I really don't understand what is so hard about "let's not look at sites that are friendly to white supremacy as models for our community". Like, this isn't that radical, complicated, or unusual stance.

                  Also, I don't know what is on the "WhiteRights" thing on there, but i do find it kind of funny that rights = supremacy in your mind. :P

                  White Rights is a common euphemism for white supremacy, deployed in e.g. "Rights of White People", a recognised white supremacist group and KKK affiliate. That you don't know this is not giving me a whole lot of confidence in this being a productive conversation.

                  1 vote
                  1. [2]
                    Mumberthrax Link Parent
                    You don't seem to understand that an idea about a set of guidelines being built on a structure of: value/principle value/principle value/principle habit supporting the above habit supporting the...

                    You don't seem to understand that an idea about a set of guidelines being built on a structure of:

                    1. value/principle
                    2. value/principle
                    3. value/principle
                    • habit supporting the above
                    • habit supporting the above
                    • etc. etc. etc.

                    is wholly independent of Voat. It is absurd to suggest that this will produce white supremacy. So I think we may actually be in agreement that this conversation is not going to be productive - though for different reasons.

                    1 vote
                    1. paddy Link Parent
                      I really don't know how to be clearer about how the part of this I'm objecting to is As if it being relevant for Voat somehow makes it relevant for Tildes. You want to suggest that format? I see...

                      I really don't know how to be clearer about how the part of this I'm objecting to is

                      I spent some time years ago working on something like this for Voat.

                      As if it being relevant for Voat somehow makes it relevant for Tildes. You want to suggest that format? I see nothing wrong with it. You think it's valuable because you thought it made sense for Voat? I see a problem with that reasoning. The implicit message that Voat is worth emulating is what I'm objecting to here, not the format.

  20. DrFaceless (edited ) Link
    Take time (edit: and consideration) when commenting and respect the human(s) you talk to and about. Please. Let us all be decent humans. Take time when commenting and respect the human(s) you talk...

    Take time (edit: and consideration) when commenting and respect the human(s) you talk to and about.

    Please. Let us all be decent humans. Take time when commenting and respect the human(s) you talk to and about. Let us make it easy for eachother to engage in debate. Let us care for each other. Let us make an enviornment where we dare to engage in debate and enjoy being argued with in.

    This would be make Tildes a place where I'd love to engage in discussion.

    2 votes
  21. Axelia Link
    Make edits in good faith, not to completely change your argument. If you do need to make edits to your original comment that significantly alter the meaning or content (in other words, more than...

    Make edits in good faith, not to completely change your argument. If you do need to make edits to your original comment that significantly alter the meaning or content (in other words, more than just fixing some spelling and grammar errors), add an "EDIT:" section somewhere in the comment stating what you changed and why.

    Also, don't flame people for their poor grammar. This isn't everyone's first language and it's possible to make a good argument even if it has poor presentation.

    1 vote
  22. [3]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      EightRoundsRapid Link Parent
      Humour can play an important part in a discussion though. Most people are capable of recognising when it's inappropriate, and I think a "serious only, serious always" approach may make the site a...

      Humour can play an important part in a discussion though. Most people are capable of recognising when it's inappropriate, and I think a "serious only, serious always" approach may make the site a bit sterile and dry.

      8 votes
      1. Awoo Link Parent
        There are certainly issues with it worth regarding. Humour is weaponised to dismiss valid and important topics which can be highly damaging. A simple character joke can dismiss and exceptionally...

        There are certainly issues with it worth regarding. Humour is weaponised to dismiss valid and important topics which can be highly damaging. A simple character joke can dismiss and exceptionally important debate to have. Some groups understand this and successfully use it in strategy to drag down the visibility of topics by successfully off-putting others with a well placed joke.

        While I agree that, yes, humour is valuable and important - Moderation needs to be ridiculously vigilant to stop its misuse.

        1 vote