New Code of Conduct

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n0e:

FUCK fuck Fuckity Fuck Fuck

How would you like to go see the school councilor?!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

madwarper:
Rule 0
This needs to go. Either the mods/staff are always right and there's no need for an appeals process, or mod/staff are human that are capable of erring and the appeals process can make amends for their fallibility. Can't have it both ways. If you want to say that there's a time and place to appeal a penalty, and any discussion outside that arena will be met with further penalties, that's OK. But, your Rule 0 gives an air of being needlessly standoffish.

Two things.

1) When it comes to any decision made on the forums, the moderators/staff are always right. It means you can't just ignore what they say or do whatever the hell you want thinking you don't need to listen to them.

2) We're humans. No one is perfect and we wanted to be sure there was a way of handling situations that are borderline as, at times, hot topics can lead to decisions that may be correct, but the severity of the action is wrong.

Moderators aren't stupid. They can make mistakes, but the vast majority of decisions they make are correct and do not require any further consideration. It's only a handful that may need additional investigating. That's true anywhere you go.

Topic-less Thread Creation
What about a deliberately vague title? "You'll never believe this..."
What won't I believe? That the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, Roman, nor an Empire? That Kristin shot JR? That it wasn't butter? That someone couldn't be bothered to come up with a Topic that reflected the discussion that wanted to conduct? Well, that last one is quite believable.

It's just baiting people into looking at your post instead of telling them why they're clicking on it. Let's be considerate of others and give them an idea of why they should read said post.

Official staff group discussion and communication
Are those groups addresses supposed to be url links? Because, as of now, they're just text.

Good call. Fixing.

Necroing posts isn't something I feel is worth worrying about and the old "low content" rule was a bit harsh for my taste.

Has there been some change to how the system treats locked threads? It seems that pages of threads have been set at locked, which would mean they automatically get deleted. I had suggested this a few times to the tech team (each time being met with a resounding /shrug) that the old threads simply remain sunk. That way any discussion could continue, but without that thread rising to the surface and interfering discussions on the top of the forum.

Closed, not deleted. It's more or less an archiving system so they can't be replied to. They can still be read and it only affects non-stickied, non-content related posts.

n0e:
It means you can't just ignore what they say or do whatever the hell you want thinking you don't need to listen to them.

That may be what you intended for it to mean, but it's coming off as a holier than thou; "[we're] always right. deal with it."

2) We're humans. No one is perfect and we wanted to be sure there was a way of handling situations that are borderline as, at times, hot topics can lead to decisions that may be correct, but the severity of the action is wrong.

Moderators aren't stupid. They can make mistakes, but the vast majority of decisions they make are correct and do not require any further consideration. It's only a handful that may need additional investigating. That's true anywhere you go.

This is what should be in the CoC. It has a much more amiable tone than what is currently written.

It's just baiting people into looking at your post instead of telling them why they're clicking on it. Let's be considerate of others and give them an idea of why they should read said post.

Is that going to me memorialized in the CoC, or just a rough guideline?

madwarper:
This is what should be in the CoC. It has a much more amiable tone than what is currently written.

The idea behind choosing Rule 0, a D&D reference, was to try and take the edge off the fact that the existence of 'Moderators are always right' is always going to come across as what it is, you can only sugar-coat it to some degree, but we wanted to make it fun in a way that a lot of The Escapist's typical demographic would relate to, in order that it didn't come off as 'holier than thou'.

But the fact is that it also addresses the appeals system and the right way to dispute a decision, and the wrong way to do it. If we thought that all we ever needed was Rule 0, because we're all demi-gods and never wrong, we wouldn't bother putting an appeals system in place at all, and dedicating half of Rule 0 to explaining how it works, right?

n0e:
Moderators aren't stupid. They can make mistakes, but the vast majority of decisions they make are correct and do not require any further consideration. It's only a handful that may need additional investigating.

I'm not meaning to be an ass here or start an argument, but I personally take issue with this. And here's why:

14 warnings in 11 months, and only 2 of them were actually accurate.

I fully admit that this is anecdotal, but for me personally, the "vast majority" of moderation decisions against me have in fact NOT been correct.

I dunno... maybe other people's experiences have been different, and I've just had a run of bad luck or something.

Anyway, moving on from that, another question:

How are 'thread derails' going to be handled now? There was a small clause in the previous COC that mentioned it, but I can't see it mentioned in the new COC at all.

IceForce:
Anyway, moving on from that, another question:

How are 'thread derails' going to be handled now? There was a small clause in the previous COC that mentioned it, but I can't see it mentioned in the new COC at all.

Topics drifting into other conversations naturally is not so big of a deal, but randomly hijacking a thread or using it for a ping-pong quoting match type argument that isn't on topic won't fly.

n0e:

LifeCharacter:

n0e:
It would fall under sexist comments if a comment attacks a sexual nature and racist if it attacks the LGBT community itself. Race is rather loosely defined this day and age

Example; Jews, when it comes to debates and discussions are considered a race of people when, in fact, it's a religious preference.

I feel like it shouldn't be assumed that people will read that rule and think that it also applies to LGBT people, mostly because you have to twist how sexism and racism are generally understood (while declaring that LGBT people are now a race) to make it apply to them. It's not like it would be difficult to just add homophobic and transphobic onto it.

True, but also, sucks to be them if they don't read the rules they agreed to.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but no one is entitled to attack others for that opinion. If you can't communicate without using combative, aggressive, or passive aggressive responses, then consider that these may not be the forums for you. Focus your response on your disagreement with a person's opinion, not on the person.

Inflammatory Comments / Trolling
You may not post anything that is reasonably considered discriminatory towards other members. (i.e. homophobic, prejudiced or any other comments that would be deemed as hate speech)

If anything else, being a dick towards a group of folks of any sort is frowned upon. By frowned upon, I mean my banhammer will see action if they do it.

<- Strong supporter of LGBT rights.

As nice as that sounds, those have been the basic operating standards for posting for a long time... I've seen quite a lot of thinly veiled, but still obvious transphobia and homophobia that's had basically no action taken against it. By that logic I think that homophobia and transphobia need to be specifically mentioned. Otherwise it seems to get a pass.

Edit: This applies double with Rule 0 actually. Not arguing with the mods and cutting out the behavior that earned you an infraction has always been the rule. But it had to be specified anyways.

Just a quick question about the COC update.

I notice that the guideline against advocating for pedophilia was removed from the COC. Is that due to its redundancy caused by this clause?:

"Posting, admitting to, or advocating any illegal act or content, such as footage or images of any crime,"

n0e:

AccursedTheory:

Questions for n0e

Was the exclusion of thread necromancy intentional, or a goof?

It was intentional, as with the lack of "low content" posts being something to be concerned with. Necroing posts isn't something I feel is worth worrying about and the old "low content" rule was a bit harsh for my taste.

So long as your post contributes in some positive way to the discussion, it's fine and there's no minimum level of text required. Just try not to make a habit of it. We want to see discussions, not just acknowledgements.

yay

Corey Schaff:
Just a quick question about the COC update.

I notice that the guideline against advocating for pedophilia was removed from the COC. Is that due to its redundancy caused by this clause?:

"Posting, admitting to, or advocating any illegal act or content, such as footage or images of any crime,"

It's inclusive. It's illegal content and we didn't feel the need to post it twice.

PG-13? Do you know what that actually means? Your forum isn't PG-13, by any stretch. If you're really going to enforce that, a lot is going to have to change. You might want to reconsider your metaphor.

IceForce:
I fully admit that this is anecdotal, but for me personally, the "vast majority" of moderation decisions against me have in fact NOT been correct.

I dunno... maybe other people's experiences have been different, and I've just had a run of bad luck or something.

To be fair, I almost perma-banned you immediately when you emailed my boss directly about some forum shit (twice I think?), and the mods talked me down (multiple times even, every time you're stressing them out I offer). ;)

Alright thanks for the response.

Could I get a long list of examples of passive aggressiveness? I've never understood what it is and I'd like to make sure I'm not doing it. I've always thought of myself as agressively passive. Grrr zzzz.

In regards to the sexism/racism angle, is this the new or old definition? In other words, are straight white men still protected? Or is similar action against them not considered sexism or racism?

I think Rule 0 can be made clear, but sound less like "The mods are holier than thou". You could say something like "The mods have the authority to use their discretion in determining which posts to take action on". You don't actually have to use the words "always right" especially when a few sentences later it says "you can make an appeal", implying that they're not always right.

Even now there are things I'm afraid to say about the CoC since I fear mod wrath, so I just won't say them. I feel like what I have to say will fall under "criticism/complaint of the mods/rules", which needs to be tunneled through the private channels like PMs.

NewClassic:
"Purposeful use of jokes, images, or videos are allowed if it serves to enhance the thread, whereas posting random meme images unrelated to the topic does not."

Does this mean we can make Spider-Man threads in Off Topic again? Or threads like Daystar's food threads? Or "Escapist is drowning" style threads? 'Cos, come on, those were pretty fun things.

Baffle:
Could I get a long list of examples of passive aggressiveness? I've never understood what it is and I'd like to make sure I'm not doing it. I've always thought of myself as agressively passive. Grrr zzzz.

It's hard to make up a good example for this off the cuff. Passive aggressive statements typically use soft, general targets to imply incapability, incompetence, or that the target is unintelligent. Statements like "Figures someone from that group would say something like that." or "Since some people are in this thread, I guess it's ruined." are the kinds of statements that really target someone or some group without actively using language to be rude, or otherwise break rules.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of what we mean, though.

9tailedflame:
In regards to the sexism/racism angle, is this the new or old definition? In other words, are straight white men still protected? Or is similar action against them not considered sexism or racism?

According to the Code of Conduct, the "protected" folks are users. That applies universally for all genders, sexes, races, political beliefs, socio-economic statuses, etc. If anyone is being rude to anyone for any reason, the Code of Conduct has an edge-case for why it's a bad thing.

However, there are a lot of discussions that speak generally that are hard to pin down. Talking about how white men are privileged isn't an offensive statement, but it can be an emotionally charged one. Likewise for LGBTQ discussions. Trans rights. Political beliefs. Religions.

There are limits to how moderators will respond based on the discussion in question, but yes, the protections in the sexual, racial, ideological clause of the Code of Conduct apply equally.

Today I was making a post and I got this new coc presented to me when I tried to post it. It started out saying that my message was saved. While I got my message back by clumsily fumbling around with the back button of my browser and some other random buttons, I'm not entirely sure whether my message was actually saved or whether my browser saved it for me. It seemed to me like something went wrong there. More of a technical issue than anything related to the new Coc but I thought I'd point it out nonetheless as it is kind of related to the new coc. Maybe it was just a one-off error for whatever reason, idunno.

The new rules look fine. I don't have much of an opinion about that.

Houseman:
I think Rule 0 can be made clear, but sound less like "The mods are holier than thou". You could say something like "The mods have the authority to use their discretion in determining which posts to take action on". You don't actually have to use the words "always right" especially when a few sentences later it says "you can make an appeal", implying that they're not always right.

Even now there are things I'm afraid to say about the CoC since I fear mod wrath, so I just won't say them. I feel like what I have to say will fall under "criticism/complaint of the mods/rules", which needs to be tunneled through the private channels like PMs.

For the specific CoC language, I'll talk with n0e about it. Can't make any guarantees, but we'll see what we can do.

As for criticism, I'm always happy to hear it. Hit me with a PM, and I promise no discussion related to the CoC will be infracted. You can quote me on that.

Idsertian:

NewClassic:
"Purposeful use of jokes, images, or videos are allowed if it serves to enhance the thread, whereas posting random meme images unrelated to the topic does not."

Does this mean we can make Spider-Man threads in Off Topic again? Or threads like Daystar's food threads? Or "Escapist is drowning" style threads? 'Cos, come on, those were pretty fun things.

Honestly, although I'm not 100% certain exactly which threads you're referring to, some of these threads sound like they'd be better fits for Forum Games, which are largely exempt from the low content or no-discussion thread rules.

Really, the idea is we don't want a thread to be exclusively about in-jokes or group humor - that's better left to usergroups or similarly closed communities - but we also don't want to have to shut down every post or thread that's built on humor or cheer. It's about finding a balance. If a thread exists exclusively to make jokes, then it's probably not a terribly meaningful thread. If a thread says something with its jokes, and bolsters the community in so doing, then it's a different story.

Just a question if we already talk about it, probably not the right place to ask though, any way to have cooldown period to decrease the penalties? Like having half a year without issues lowering it by one? It just means that people who've been here longer are closing in to their doom, especially if they can't play "the game" right.

NewClassic:

Baffle:
Could I get a long list of examples of passive aggressiveness? I've never understood what it is and I'd like to make sure I'm not doing it. I've always thought of myself as agressively passive. Grrr zzzz.

It's hard to make up a good example for this off the cuff. Passive aggressive statements typically use soft, general targets to imply incapability, incompetence, or that the target is unintelligent. Statements like "Figures someone from that group would say something like that." or "Since some people are in this thread, I guess it's ruined." are the kinds of statements that really target someone or some group without actively using language to be rude, or otherwise break rules.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of what we mean, though.

9tailedflame:
In regards to the sexism/racism angle, is this the new or old definition? In other words, are straight white men still protected? Or is similar action against them not considered sexism or racism?

According to the Code of Conduct, the "protected" folks are users. That applies universally for all genders, sexes, races, political beliefs, socio-economic statuses, etc. If anyone is being rude to anyone for any reason, the Code of Conduct has an edge-case for why it's a bad thing.

However, there are a lot of discussions that speak generally that are hard to pin down. Talking about how white men are privileged isn't an offensive statement, but it can be an emotionally charged one. Likewise for LGBTQ discussions. Trans rights. Political beliefs. Religions.

There are limits to how moderators will respond based on the discussion in question, but yes, the protections in the sexual, racial, ideological clause of the Code of Conduct apply equally.

Ok, but a hypothetical similar discussion about talking about different privileges that black people are women have would be treated equally, right?

NewClassic:

Idsertian:

NewClassic:
"Purposeful use of jokes, images, or videos are allowed if it serves to enhance the thread, whereas posting random meme images unrelated to the topic does not."

Does this mean we can make Spider-Man threads in Off Topic again? Or threads like Daystar's food threads? Or "Escapist is drowning" style threads? 'Cos, come on, those were pretty fun things.

Honestly, although I'm not 100% certain exactly which threads you're referring to, some of these threads sound like they'd be better fits for Forum Games, which are largely exempt from the low content or no-discussion thread rules.

Really, the idea is we don't want a thread to be exclusively about in-jokes or group humor - that's better left to usergroups or similarly closed communities - but we also don't want to have to shut down every post or thread that's built on humor or cheer. It's about finding a balance. If a thread exists exclusively to make jokes, then it's probably not a terribly meaningful thread. If a thread says something with its jokes, and bolsters the community in so doing, then it's a different story.

Does that mean things like Taco News joke news stories are out too?

On the illegal content thing, what country/state laws are being applied here?

I mean I'm not going to be posting anything illicit, but in Thailand its illegal to wear or take photos of yourself wearing yellow. Knowing for future reference what nations laws we're operating under would be nice.

Honestly I've never paid much mind to the specifics of the CoC and just try to avoid being a jerk to people but I do see at least 2 welcome changes here. Namely easing off the minimum content rule for comments and more defined rules against passive aggressiveness/ people who push the rules as close to breaking point as possible. Big thumbs up from me.

I do have one question though- what's the ruling on discussing adblock? No really, it's a genuine question. With the recent #WTFU campaign and the number of content creators coming out the woodwork to talk about other people monetising their videos I was curious if that changed the way people thought about adblock (I.e. is it OK to adblock a video if you know the content creator isn't the one profiting from that revenue). Given the history of that topic on this site I thought better of making a thread but I'm curious to know if there is an official answer/ consensus for future reference.

NewClassic:

Idsertian:

NewClassic:
"Purposeful use of jokes, images, or videos are allowed if it serves to enhance the thread, whereas posting random meme images unrelated to the topic does not."

Does this mean we can make Spider-Man threads in Off Topic again? Or threads like Daystar's food threads? Or "Escapist is drowning" style threads? 'Cos, come on, those were pretty fun things.

Honestly, although I'm not 100% certain exactly which threads you're referring to, some of these threads sound like they'd be better fits for Forum Games, which are largely exempt from the low content or no-discussion thread rules.

Really, the idea is we don't want a thread to be exclusively about in-jokes or group humor - that's better left to usergroups or similarly closed communities - but we also don't want to have to shut down every post or thread that's built on humor or cheer. It's about finding a balance. If a thread exists exclusively to make jokes, then it's probably not a terribly meaningful thread. If a thread says something with its jokes, and bolsters the community in so doing, then it's a different story.

We have a "Forums Games" forum? *goes off and checks*

Well, stick me in a dress and call me Sally, so we do. How long has that been there?

Just for the sake of clarity: A Spider-Man thread is a thread dedicated solely to posting 60's Spider-Man memes. Daystar's food threads were him posting humourous threads about British food, and Escapist is Drowning was an historic moment in the community from not too far back, actually, though I think that fad got mod-wrath'd because it was clogging the forums. If memory serves, someone posted a perfectly innocent "x and y are drowning, which do you save" type thread and the community went nuts with it, eventually culminating in a thread called "Escapist is drowning" with possibly some other text in the title, I don't remember.

Shitposting of the highest order, basically, but fun times, nonetheless. I seem to recall the last change to the CoC (or maybe the one before it) that basically put the kibosh on fun threads like that, much to the sadness of a number of people here. Doesn't seem like that's a thing anymore, though, so yay?

I have a question about the specifics of this part of the new CoC.

Zero tolerance offenses

This section of the Code of Conduct also includes special circumstances that overrule any other type of warning and result in immediate removal of your posting privilege. Note: These circumstances cannot be appealed and will not expire.

Illegal Acts or Materials
Posting, admitting to, or advocating any illegal act or content, such as footage or images of any crime, will lead to immediate ban and forwarding of any and all information to the appropriate authorities.

Under what country's or state's jurisdiction will things be considered illegal or a crime? Is it illegal where you live, illegal in the US, or illegal in North Carolina where the Escapist is based?

Also, just how closely will this ruling be applied?

For example, in a discussion about the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe or some of Donald Trump's policies in the US, the subject of illegal immigrants and illegal immigration will come up.

Illegal immigration and crossing or breaking through another country's border is illegal by definition, so if someone were to post footage of some of these illegal immigrants (such as video journalism from the migrant camp in Calais or tensions and action at a border as migrants attempt to illegally cross a fence or board a vehicle), then they would be posting footage of a crime. Also, if someone were to express the view that they believed migrants should have the right to enter other countries irrespective of borders or the proper channels, then they would be advocating an illegal act.

Would such posting footage of and advocating these illegal acts and crimes be met with an immediate ban with no possibility of appeal, or would the degree of illegality of these illegal acts and the amount of zero tolerance to be applied to such posts be up to Moderator's discretion and personal and/or moral interpretation of the laws being broken?

What about if someone posted a video in which someone was technically assaulted, or in which a group of people were partaking in an illegal gathering or committing acts of vandalism?

What about video that contained speech that may be considered hate speech in one region, but which is directed at or critical of a group of people who aren't protected by Hate Crimes legislation in some areas, and which is protected as Free Speech in another area? How about if this video of illegal hate speech was posted in order to critique it?

Also, on the subject of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other accusations of bigotry or prejudice, what are the definitions of these terms under the CoC, or are they defined by the person making the accusation who felt offended?

KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime:
Does that mean things like Taco News joke news stories are out too?

That would be a damn shame, since he just posted one recently. Almost had me, too, the clever sod.

Battenberg:
Namely easing off the minimum content rule for comments

Low content. It wasn't "minimum" content. There wasn't a word count that had to be satisfied. The rule isn't really changed for over a year or more. As long as the comment contributes to the discussion, it's not a low content one.

Battenberg:
I do have one question though- what's the ruling on discussing adblock? No really, it's a genuine question. With the recent #WTFU campaign and the number of content creators coming out the woodwork to talk about other people monetising their videos I was curious if that changed the way people thought about adblock (I.e. is it OK to adblock a video if you know the content creator isn't the one profiting from that revenue). Given the history of that topic on this site I thought better of making a thread but I'm curious to know if there is an official answer/ consensus for future reference.

That also hasn't been changed. It's also explicitly spelled out in the rules - do not admit or advocate the usage of adblock. It can be discussed as long as you refrain from those two. The infractions handed out have been for exactly those two reasons, including the "infamous" Jim Sterling episode - if you go through the comments, the warnings given were mostly to people saying "yeah, I use adblock and so and so".

Most of the vague bits seem to have been answered already, but I have been rather curious about this one:

If you can't communicate without using combative, aggressive, or passive aggressive responses, then consider that these may not be the forums for you.

I'd like to know how you're going to judge passive aggressive responses. Because that shit can be real sneaky.

KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime:
Does that mean things like Taco News joke news stories are out too?

Now that'd be a shame. Nah, I doubt it. Hopefully. It's basically satire anyway, those topics basically create their own discussion value.

DoPo:

Low content. It wasn't "minimum" content. There wasn't a word count that had to be satisfied. The rule isn't really changed for over a year or more. As long as the comment contributes to the discussion, it's not a low content one.

Ok, low content not minimum. Either way I was just saying was just that people often get a point across in a comment in just a few words but then feel obliged to add an extra sentence or two that aren't necessary because of that rule (often specifically referencing it in that extra sentence). Between removing it from the CoC and some of the comments clarifying it in this thread hopefully those people, myself included, won't feel the need to skirt around it since it often cluttered straightforward comments.

DoPo:

That also hasn't been changed. It's also explicitly spelled out in the rules - do not admit or advocate the usage of adblock. It can be discussed as long as you refrain from those two. The infractions handed out have been for exactly those two reasons, including the "infamous" Jim Sterling episode - if you go through the comments, the warnings given were mostly to people saying "yeah, I use adblock and so and so".

Oh yeah, didn't notice it had been put in the same rule as illegal narcotics and piracy on first read. Whilst I neither condone nor use adblock it seems like it would be difficult to have any kind of meaningful discussion on the topic if one side of the argument is disallowed so I'll continue to give that whole subject a miss. Cheers for replying though, feel a little silly missing it first time round.

Battenberg:

DoPo:

Low content. It wasn't "minimum" content. There wasn't a word count that had to be satisfied. The rule isn't really changed for over a year or more. As long as the comment contributes to the discussion, it's not a low content one.

Ok, low content not minimum. Either way I was just saying was just that people often get a point across in a comment in just a few words but then feel obliged to add an extra sentence or two that aren't necessary because of that rule (often specifically referencing it in that extra sentence).

*shrug* Then they shouldn't have.

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