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09-05-2017, 05:59   #1
mike_ie
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Politics Cafe Charter - Suggestions and Amendments

Good morning guys,

while Cafe related threads have been quite contentious in the feedback forum as of late, the most recent thread was extremely productive in terms of trying to find out where our posters felt the issues were, and more improtantly, what we can do to change that. While I appreciate that on the outside things might appear to be slow moving, I assure you that the feedback thread sparked a lot of conversation has been going on behind the scenes in terms of improving the mood in the Cafe, and making it a place where people are happy to post.

I know that the others might have more to add, but for me, the most recent feedback thread in particular raised a few genuine issues that users perceive to exist in the cafe, one being a lack of clarity of the rules. Quite a few of the comments in feedback (and in many of the reported posts) question if posts or issues with posts fall within the realms of the charter, which in certain cases at least, is a valid point. The second issue that was raised was inconsistencies in moderation, which also is a valid point at times, and is likely not helped by having an unclear charter to follow.

With that in mind, we would like to make the userbase of the Politics Cafe an active part of revising the forum charter, hence this thread. We would like you, the users, to put forward suggestions as to what additions should be made to the charter, what you feel should be changed, and what you feel should be removed completely, with an argument as to why. While I appreciate that this isn't an instant solution to all issues within the Cafe, I do think that making our users a part of the process and the compromise that goes into formulating a forum charter is a step that will benefit us all here. We may not be able to take all of your suggestions onboard, but if we can't, we'll endeavour to give you a good reason as to why.

Reasonable and well thought out suggestions as to how moderation might be improved are also welcome - that being said, using this thread as a soapbox, or as a means to take potshots at the forum mods or other posters will be quickly shot down, and that poster will be asked not to contribute to the thread again. If nothing else, the recent feedback thread illustrated that most people here have a genuine interest in improving the forum and can argue their points rationally, and I'd like to see more of the same here.

This particular thread will be moderated by the SOC CMods - the forum mods are welcome to contribute their ideas and suggestions to this thread, just as our regular members are.

I look forward to your suggestions and contributions, and hopefully it will be a step towards giving you the forum that you want.

~Mike

Last edited by mike_ie; 09-05-2017 at 07:11.
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09-05-2017, 10:26   #2
 
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I think the powers that be have missed the point......

First.....tinkering with the charter is a pointless exercise unless a principle is established regarding mods posting in the Cafe. Is it acceptable? If so, fine.

Second....there needs to be an improvement in consistency. A revised, improved charter inconsistently applied will not solve much.

Third....the charter needs to recognise the difference between personal abuse (insults etc directed at a poster) and the parodying of political personalities that have been a part of politics since forever.....put is this way, these.....

Quote:
Bazza wasn’t going to be pushed around anymore by Coveney or Enda Kenny or any other Blueshirt.
Quote:
Shane Ross, aka Winston Churchtown, flew to Rio for sport.....
would currently fall foul of the prohibition on "Name calling , stupid nicknames".......even though it was written by Miriam Lord!

Last edited by Jawgap; 09-05-2017 at 10:31.
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09-05-2017, 10:29   #3
Kivaro
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Thanks Mike and to everyone else involved in attempting to get a fair system in place that allows posters of different persuasions to express their views on Politics Cafe.

The disclaimer should be made that just because one side has a particular view e.g. a fiscally responsible approach to economic migration from outside the EU into Ireland; that does not imply that the group exhibits bigotry for expressing that view. Bigotry should not be acceptable in any form, but likewise that label should not be imposed on posters just because they have divergent views. Boards has made gains in recent years on this point but has still a way to go; in the past anyone who expressed measured border controls were deemed 'racist'.

A major improvement to the existing PC moderation system would be a demonstration of obvious impartiality. In a sense of fairness to mods who have an interest in the topic, there should be a clear distinction between them posting as a mod and as a regular user. Posting in bold (as a mod) is not sufficient. Maybe mods should have two profiles; one as a mod and one a user?

It becomes apparent very quickly on threads that if a mod has topic exuberance, then that can lead to posters retreating from the thread for fear of bans/cards. Demonstrable mod impartiality is key to a successful forum. A good example would be the actual feedback thread on this topic, where I felt mods were actually listening to our views, and responded appropriately when the thread was derailing.
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09-05-2017, 12:45   #4
 
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I'd agree that the name calling rule is overly harsh in practice although it shouldn't be removed in its entirety. There should be a prohibition on abusive name calling but the rule against nicknames should come under the Trolling rule. If nicknames are being used to antagonise other posters they should be acted on but simply using a nickname should not be.

The mod bias is a bit of a red herring in my view. It's more a perception issue. There is plenty of oversight in the way of the DRP process to overrule individual actions. We've had two feedback threads yet no real examples of a moderator action motivated by bias. That's because we do tend to stay away from moderating threads we actively post on and we do communicate with each other in many cases before acting as moderators. And contrary to popular belief and rampant misrepresentation, we do have different opinions on many topics. There will obviously be exceptions such as blatantly abusive or potentially libelous posts where a mod will act straight away but these are generally flagged for the rest of the mods and higher ups straight away. However, I am reminded of the phrase "Justice should be seen to be done". Obviously if people are not completely satisfied with the oversight process provided by Cmods and Admins and are concerned about posting an opposing opinion to a mod in a thread that is an issue so perhaps the alternative moderator account idea has some merit.

Where I do see a potential issue is the "mod warning" posts. They themselves are not subject to the DRP process so posters feel they need to argue them on the thread. This completely derails any discussion going on. They should generally be argued by PM or in Help Desk but perhaps a permanent Help Desk sticky in the PC forum itself where posters can bring up issues with the direction of threads or ask about mod warnings might help.

As to the charter itself it is a bit oddly structured. There are bullet point rules followed by paragraphs that also introduce some rules. And the first five bullet points are basically covering the same kind of behaviour. I think it should be divided into distinct Rules, each with a brief description. Rule 1 could be about civility and cover aggressive/rude posts, name calling and personal abuse. Rule 2 could be about news dumps/spam/no opinion posts etc.

There is an issue with rereg posters on the forum too. I have no issue with someone starting over with a new name but if they have an existing record in the Politics Cafe I think they should be obliged to notify a CMod or Admin of who they are. Or maybe there should be a minimum post count before people can post. It's a bit of a pain giving someone the benefit of the doubt or yellow cards only to find they have been on the forum doing the same thing for years under different names.

This brings me to my last point. Should there be a defined punishment escalation procedure or should it be left to the mods to decide themselves? Should three reds automatically incur a ban? Should there be a probation period after a ban? I'm not completely sure on this one myself. I do think there should be a defined procedure but I think removing mod discretion completely would make things unduly harsh.
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09-05-2017, 13:04   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Little CuChulainn View Post
I'd agree that the name calling rule is overly harsh in practice although it shouldn't be removed in its entirety. There should be a prohibition on abusive name calling but the rule against nicknames should come under the Trolling rule. If nicknames are being used to antagonise other posters they should be acted on but simply using a nickname should not be.

The mod bias is a bit of a red herring in my view. It's more a perception issue. There is plenty of oversight in the way of the DRP process to overrule individual actions. We've had two feedback threads yet no real examples of a moderator action motivated by bias. ......
How do we know what's driving a mod to intervene or not intervene in a particular case?

Maybe all mod decisions arise from the purest of motives but do they represent the fair and consistent application of the charter and the general boards.ie standards of behaviour?

My own view is that there are glaring, apparent, inconsistencies. Maybe posters when they transgress get a PM or something of an indirect warning, which is fair enough.....but only if everyone gets such a warning in comparable circumstances.

Also, if a mod posts as a poster, and it takes a turn in the wrong direction it doesn't look great, in my view, when another mod steps in and sanctions the the non-mod poster. It's one of the reasons I tend to back away from threads where a mod or two have engaged on the topic as posters......it doesn't, to my mind, create the perception of impartiality.

also, again putting a "rule against nicknames" "under the Trolling rule"? I respectfully suggest you need to seriously think about that one.......unless you're suggesting that boards.ie posters are going to be held to a higher standard than the Oireachtas.....

Brid Smith in the Dail, 22/2/17
At least the Minister wears her blue shirt and we can see her true colours.
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09-05-2017, 13:43   #6
 
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How do we know what's driving a mod to intervene or not intervene in a particular case?
You can't really. You can only judge the action on it's own merit.

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Originally Posted by Jawgap View Post
also, again putting a "rule against nicknames" "under the Trolling rule"? I respectfully suggest you need to seriously think about that one.......unless you're suggesting that boards.ie posters are going to be held to a higher standard than the Oireachtas.....

Brid Smith in the Dail, 22/2/17
At least the Minister wears her blue shirt and we can see her true colours.
I'm not suggesting the use of nicknames be considered trolling. I mean when someone is using nicknames to antagonise someone it should be treated as trolling as opposed to banning the use of nicknames entirely.
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09-05-2017, 13:57   #7
 
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You can't really. You can only judge the action on it's own merit.



I'm not suggesting the use of nicknames be considered trolling. I mean when someone is using nicknames to antagonise someone it should be treated as trolling as opposed to banning the use of nicknames entirely.
Nicknames, jibes whatever etc directed at a poster should be out of bounds because they're calculated to get a rise from someone......but nicknames, aliases etc for politicians should be fair game especially if they've been plagiarised used elsewhere, and they're based on the politician's political persona, rather than lampooning a personal issue.....and to be honest any public utterance a politician should be fair game for a bit of mockery/humour.

Qualitatively there should be a difference in response to when someone replies.....

"You Blueshirt, you" to a poster, compared to posting "Bluey McBlueFace TD said......"

On an unrelated point, I'd agree about the issue of re-regging - it's a bit of a joke to see a poster's name disappear or an account close, then have another spring up that not only expresses a remarkably detailed and similar political viewpoint (fair enough) but also using the same argument as the now disappeared poster......and even the same language, with the same sentence construction and even the same spelling mistakes!!!
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09-05-2017, 14:32   #8
hatrickpatrick
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If the charter is clear enough, individual threads really shouldn't have mod warnings at all - just delete, warn, infract and ban posts / users which break the charter on-thread, in that order.

Again the issue I see on the Cafe is with regard to ideology, and the line between an ideological stance and an offensive comment. Where are we drawing that?
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09-05-2017, 14:43   #9
 
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For me everyone, including Mods, have their own politics, to pretend that might change if Mods cease to post is not realistic. If you've no politics, why on earth would you be interested in a politics forum?
We have had posters who are always set to kick off and others who seemed only interested in stirring up others on all sides of the spectrum. My personal fav is folks who drop in to critique a posters intent with seemingly no regard to the actual discussion at hand.
It's never an issue who is a Mod and who isn't when people are simply discussing politics. It's when it has already gotten uncivil and personal, that's when bias is seen to appear. We do not card in threads that we take an active role in and most often if there's a grey area a few Mods will discuss it before any cards or bans are given out. I can only say, from what I've seen, the PC Mods are not all on the same political page so to speak. We don't all live in the same house. There is no political consensus. Any political talk is carried out in the PC itself. That's all I can say on that.

Nickname wise; it's difficult to base carding someone on perceived intent. Are they acting the maggot? Are they just being quirky? I retracted a card just yesterday on that very thing.
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09-05-2017, 15:10   #10
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Nicknames in politics are, by their very nature, there to antagonise.

All of the nicknames you can think of have come up in The Dail, or The Phoenix, as a slight against one individual or group/party.

Apart from people like Pat The Cope, or Ming, who's nicknames are used to commonly refer to those people - but while the term Blueshirts is in common usage, even within the chamber, you probably wouldn't get any kind of serious publication (ie, non-satirical) using the term to refer to the Fine Gael party.

Even ones made up on this forum (FFG anyone?) are used only as a slight.

Just like the terms which are disallowed in the Soccer Forum - Manure, Lollerpool, Whiskey Nose, Arselol, whathaveyou - purely designed to be a slight against a team or individual, unless it's a term like The Red Devils, which is along the same lines as "Ming" really.

"The Shinners" is a tough one, it's a legit rendering of the pronunciation of "Sinn", and I'm not aware that it's used as a slight, exactly. "Shinnerbots" on the other hand, is definitely a slight.

Can you outlaw some and not others? Sure, but be prepared for rules lawyering and calls of inconsistency, at the end of the day, and ask the Soccer mods, better to have one harsh rule than a grey area.
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09-05-2017, 15:17   #11
 
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Nicknames in politics are, by their very nature, there to antagonise.

All of the nicknames you can think of have come up in The Dail, or The Phoenix, as a slight against one individual or group/party.

Apart from people like Pat The Cope, or Ming, who's nicknames are used to commonly refer to those people - but while the term Blueshirts is in common usage, even within the chamber, you probably wouldn't get any kind of serious publication (ie, non-satirical) using the term to refer to the Fine Gael party.

Even ones made up on this forum (FFG anyone?) are used only as a slight.

Just like the terms which are disallowed in the Soccer Forum - Manure, Lollerpool, Whiskey Nose, Arselol, whathaveyou - purely designed to be a slight against a team or individual, unless it's a term like The Red Devils, which is along the same lines as "Ming" really.

"The Shinners" is a tough one, it's a legit rendering of the pronunciation of "Sinn", and I'm not aware that it's used as a slight, exactly. "Shinnerbots" on the other hand, is definitely a slight.

Can you outlaw some and not others? Sure, but be prepared for rules lawyering and calls of inconsistency, at the end of the day, and ask the Soccer mods, better to have one harsh rule than a grey area.
Agreed. We would need some way of clearly distinguishing though. 'Biffo' was generally accepted in the mainstream media for Cowen, but it would be a slag in my view.
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09-05-2017, 15:47   #12
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@For Reals: Using the reverential capitalisation to refer to "mods" is taking it a bit far don't you think
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09-05-2017, 16:09   #13
 
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@For Reals: Using the reverential capitalisation to refer to "mods" is taking it a bit far don't you think
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09-05-2017, 16:38   #14
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My 2c.

"Blueshirt" is a common terms for FGers, and not-derogatory in its own right. But it's thrown around too frequently as a catch-all, intended to dismiss/scorn, without any accompanying argument. The exact same goes for terms like "Shinners", a valid term, but thrown around lazily or with intent. I would like to hope that we don't have to ban certain terms/nouns in order to prevent posters from abusing them. On the other hand, derogatory phrases like "Shinbots" should be completely banned.

Nicknames would be valid for me, if that is how the individual them self identified themselves. Ming after all, is commonly accepted as Ming. But tabloid nicknames, no thanks.
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09-05-2017, 20:39   #15
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First.....tinkering with the charter is a pointless exercise unless a principle is established regarding mods posting in the Cafe. Is it acceptable? If so, fine.
Yes it is, and will always be. As we've said many times before, potential new mods are chosen initially on the basis of their contribution to the forum. If they have an interest in the forum and are regular posters there, why would they want to moderate it if they were prevented from posting there?
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