17 votes

Suggestion for another label beside Malice

Malice implies intent to break the rules (or just the general conduct of the community). On one end, sometimes a user gets caught up in the heat of the argument and writes something they know they shouldn't. On the other end, sometimes a comment isn't particularly inflammatory at all but you can feel from the content that its author was in a place of of hurt, or anger. You can either label them as Malice and let the moderators sort out who are the real trouble makers and who just need some help, or you can reply to them in a helpful manner and possibly have a side conversation regarding their wellbeing.

I think it'd be a nice if there's a label to tell the moderators that "I think this user needs some talking to", for usage other than "I think this user needs a warning". More users are probably comfortable with clicking a label than putting themselves out there in a conversation about mental health, some may also not want to derail the discussion. Mental wellbeing and rule enforcement are 2 different skills with 2 different mindsets so having 2 different mod teams for each function probably also help.

This suggestion was partly inspired by, but not limited to, this comment by kfwyre. I feel that most social media's features (Tildes included with the way labels are currently) are designed to be content-centric and not much in the way of taking care of the wellbeing of their members, maybe we can improve.

14 comments

  1. [9]
    skybrian
    (edited )
    Link
    Labeling things can serve as an efficient form of negative feedback and I think we need that because replies are often worse when they continue a conversation that’s no fun for anyone. I’m a fan...

    Labeling things can serve as an efficient form of negative feedback and I think we need that because replies are often worse when they continue a conversation that’s no fun for anyone.

    I’m a fan of having vague negative feedback by default. On Hacker News it’s a downvote. If you want to know why the downvotes, you can ask and someone will try to explain, and that’s good because it’s feedback that’s wanted, and it may come from someone who is better at giving constructive criticism. And if no further feedback is wanted, nobody needs to waste time writing it.

    So, a label that’s a bit vaguer than “malice” might be an improvement but I’m not sure what makes sense. “Inflammatory” maybe, or “angry?” “Heated?”

    “Not safe for work” is ambiguous and relatively nonjudgmental and it would be nice to come up with a label as good as that.

    7 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      I'm partial to "inflammatory," as it marks a post as likely to get a reaction out of someone, whether it was intended or not. If you mark something as malice, you're in the headspace of having to...

      I'm partial to "inflammatory," as it marks a post as likely to get a reaction out of someone, whether it was intended or not. If you mark something as malice, you're in the headspace of having to make a judgement call on what the original poster was trying to communicate or what their meta-behavior was. Inflammatory is entirely in the eye of the beholder.

      12 votes
    2. [3]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      "unconstructive", how bout that? Vague as fuck, so it should fit basically all occasions.

      "unconstructive", how bout that? Vague as fuck, so it should fit basically all occasions.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        moocow1452
        Link Parent
        That's just noise, right?

        That's just noise, right?

        3 votes
        1. Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          I don't think so. Noise is used for comments that don't need to have any more action taken against them and aren't a big deal. From the docs: So definitely not something that would cause an angry...

          I don't think so. Noise is used for comments that don't need to have any more action taken against them and aren't a big deal. From the docs:

          "Noise" label
          The "Noise" label is for comments which make no difference to the discussion. These might include remarks such as "This^" or "Thanks." or "Good news!" or "This sucks."

          So definitely not something that would cause an angry argument or a rant as a reply.

          8 votes
    3. [4]
      mundane_and_naive
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      How we name a label influences people's attitude toward it (both the people applying and receiving) and in effect, its potential use cases. "Inflammatory", "heated" and similar terms are more or...

      How we name a label influences people's attitude toward it (both the people applying and receiving) and in effect, its potential use cases. "Inflammatory", "heated" and similar terms are more or less malice-lite, in the sense that they all express degrees of anger. While a less judgmental language can help, if they express similar sentiments, I worry they'd likely be used in similar ways and so their usefulness would only be incremental (kind of like how the Exemplary label is effectively just a super-upvote).

      As far as de-escalation is concerned, these are fine if the community is overall constructive. But you know how sometimes if you tell someone that they're angry, they'd just get more angry? I was hoping that maybe in addition to the usual Malice label (or Inflammatory), having another approach from a different mindset entirely would be more meaningful. Something more along the line of "concern" or "worry" and that clearly express its purpose to be more supportive than corrective (but not these label specifically, I don't know what's the best term for this, naming is hard).

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Amarok
        Link Parent
        The first thing that jumps into my mind is 'salt'. It has a long tradition as a dash of candor in conversational expressions, just check out the classics. It's a simple, small word that doesn't...

        The first thing that jumps into my mind is 'salt'. It has a long tradition as a dash of candor in conversational expressions, just check out the classics. It's a simple, small word that doesn't drag as much baggage as words like troll or controversial or inflammatory or malice. If we can't think of anything more clever, perhaps we can bring back a classic.

        4 votes
        1. vektor
          Link Parent
          I don't know about you, but "salt" certainly has baggage in my book. I'd perceive it virtually identical to "angry". In the sense that salty me doesn't like being called salty. I like the...

          I don't know about you, but "salt" certainly has baggage in my book. I'd perceive it virtually identical to "angry". In the sense that salty me doesn't like being called salty. I like the "concern/worry" ones, as they're not antagonistic, though they're not quite right.

          9 votes
      2. Grzmot
        Link Parent
        How about a simple "Mod Attention Needed"? It's a bit long, but I don't think it gets more neutral than that. Bearing in mind, I don't really care either way, I think just if you want to remove...

        How about a simple "Mod Attention Needed"? It's a bit long, but I don't think it gets more neutral than that.

        Bearing in mind, I don't really care either way, I think just if you want to remove the emotion from the term, you'd have to go with something like this.

        3 votes
  2. [2]
    mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    It is kinda impressive to me how well Tildes was built and how well it has been working so far, to the point that it is not that easy to read feature suggestions that don't make me think "but that...

    It is kinda impressive to me how well Tildes was built and how well it has been working so far, to the point that it is not that easy to read feature suggestions that don't make me think "but that problem was already solved or is not salient enough to justify any action". For better or worse, this post is one example of this.

    The desire for improvements is a good thing, but for the most part @deimos and the other developers made a lot of our suggestions quite irrelevant by simply doing a great job...

    6 votes
    1. Amarok
      Link Parent
      The key is taking it slow and having the conversations. We have a zillion plans and ideas floating around, but none of it is pressing, and very little of it ever needs to become pressing. This...

      The key is taking it slow and having the conversations. We have a zillion plans and ideas floating around, but none of it is pressing, and very little of it ever needs to become pressing.

      This suggestion is more for a 'tone' warning than actual disciplinary action. I don't like the idea of moderator-types being saddled with making that judgement call all day and talking to all the users, though. That's nuts, nobody has time for that, or is able to maintain being good at it on a long enough timeline.

      What we might do is have that 'tone' warning only be displayed to the user who is getting them, not to anyone else in the thread. It'd be a private tag just to let that user know that some folks were a bit salty about something. We could even let the user applying the tone tag make a little comment about why if they choose so the person getting the tag had something to go on as to why they get it. I wonder if this system would work itself out over time - giving people that little nudge to get better without turning it into mod drudgery. I'm convinced that drudgery will always end badly.

      We might want to be very careful about who can apply the tone tag, though. That rather implies you've been around Tildes enough to grok the culture, so not a good fit for new users to abuse. We don't allow label access for a week right now, for example. We might not want to allow the tone label until some other threshold in time or activity is reached.

      I don't think we need this, however I think it might be a useful experiment sometime. I like the idea of the users quietly sending little bits of feedback to each other to help them acclimate to the culture of their communities. Doing it in private rather than calling users out in public (which invites dogpiling and other less savory behaviors) seems like it may work out differently.

      11 votes
  3. [3]
    mooey
    Link
    Tildes is currently a pretty small site. It's a community as opposed to Reddit's more city-like structure and organization. Plus, each user had to make an appeal to enter the site. There will...

    Tildes is currently a pretty small site. It's a community as opposed to Reddit's more city-like structure and organization. Plus, each user had to make an appeal to enter the site. There will rarely be bad-faith actors (something you mention).

    What this means is that I don't think having any administrative mediation for arguments will be necessary. It would feel foreign and maybe a little patronizing. Every conflict here can either be moved past or worked through with the people in it should they choose. Alternatively, members of the Tildes community could call them out and say "Hey, you guys should really work it out."

    Hell, I think that the labels are worthless in general because you could just comment "high quality!" and make a greater impact on the person you're complimenting.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I admire your optimism, but that's already definitely been proven untrue. Deimos has unfortunately had to step in quite a few times over the years in order to calm things down, and on rarer...

      What this means is that I don't think having any administrative mediation for arguments will be necessary... Every conflict here can either be moved past or worked through with the people in it should they choose.

      I admire your optimism, but that's already definitely been proven untrue. Deimos has unfortunately had to step in quite a few times over the years in order to calm things down, and on rarer occasions even completely shut down discussions that continued to spiral out of control.

      I also completely disagree with you on the usefulness of the labels. Replying with "high quality!" would just add pointless noise to comments sections, making it harder to find actually on-topic and useful comments. While Tildes is still small, it wouldn't be too bad, but imagine what it would be like at scale with potentially hundreds of people doing that? Besides, the Exemplary label already allows you to include a personal message to the commenter when you apply it, so it can be just as impactful/meaningful an interaction as a reply... but without adding noise to the comments section.

      Speaking of, that's one of the things I like most about the Noise label too; It automatically collapsing comments is brilliant, and greatly increases the signal to noise ratio in the comments sections. And the Offtopic and Joke labels modifying the sort order also helps keep on-topic and more meaningful discussion nearer the top of the comments section and in threads too, which is also incredibly useful as well, IMO.

      Edit: Oh, I just realized you're still pretty new to Tildes. Welcome! And sorry for kinda shitting on your ideas and potentially making you more jaded about the place. :P Tildes isn't perfect, but it's still miles better than the alternatives, IMO.

      p.s. In case you weren't yet aware of exactly what each comment label does:
      https://docs.tildes.net/instructions/commenting-on-tildes#labelling-comments

      11 votes
      1. vektor
        Link Parent
        Was just thinking, and mind you this thought isn't properly developed, but maybe it could help sometimes to... hide a discussion for a while, while the parties involved sort it out. I think often...

        Was just thinking, and mind you this thought isn't properly developed, but maybe it could help sometimes to... hide a discussion for a while, while the parties involved sort it out. I think often what leads to the clusterfucks we see isn't bad faith, but rather an either unreflected opinion or a undercooked way of expressing an opinion. My thinking here is that if multiple people dogpile someone who is out of line, this drives up the intensity of the situation a lot, leading to sloppier communication on both sides, which just makes everything worse. Essentially, being confronted with multiple people telling you off (in various forms, regarding multiple statements you made, possibly misunderstanding you, possibly repeating each other) that essentially feels like a gish gallop. This is not conducive to actually reflecting on your opinion or sorting out any communication problems. I've personally found myself in a similar situation: Found my own position under attack by a minor detail. Defended my point, putting me in a defensive state of mind. Someone else misunderstands another position of mine, and instead of correcting the misunderstanding, I defended a position I never even held. Now, you could attest me poor emotion management and you'd be correct, but I hope this illustrates how things can go south real quick.

        I'm not sure if hiding a discussion is going to be the right way here. As I said, underdeveloped. Maybe someone else has an idea how this can be implemented.

        11 votes