Testing new guidelines for "unproductive posting"

Dormant threads from the middle school section are preserved here.
Locked
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5553
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am
Contact:

Testing new guidelines for "unproductive posting"

Post by theMoMA » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:48 pm

Hello everyone,

For the rest of the competition season, we will be testing a new implementation guideline for the forum rule on "unproductive posting." This guideline is a direct response to the state of the board discussion we had earlier this year, and to private feedback that I have received.

I want to stress two things about it.

First, it's provisional, and this is a testing period. If it ends up causing strife, unduly increases moderator workload, or results in other problems, we will not hesitate to revert it back. If anything becomes obviously problematic before the testing period closes, we may revert it back at any time.

Second, this change is designed with the idea that people can reasonably police themselves. I have a slightly queasy feeling about whether the general board populace is capable of having the increased leeway that it might afford. But I'd like to see what happens if we put more trust in the board populace in general. So I'm asking you, the board users, to help me out. Please use your best judgment when posting. The discretion we give other board users, not to mention whether I look like an idiot for sticking my neck out here, depends on it.

This rule, which has not changed, remains in effect:
Humor in posts that does not violate other rules is allowed/encouraged. Parody posts, threads that are only about non-quizbowl humor topics, and the like should be restricted to the Off Topic forum. Unproductive discussion is forbidden at all times. This includes image posting, tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, anything containing or originating from anime, and anything else that consistently gets in the way of this board's main purpose of facilitating quizbowl discussion. What constitutes anything in the previous sentence is at the sole discretion of the staff.
But I have instructed the moderating crew that
As a guideline for the above, discussion of these topics is only banned to the extent it is "unproductive." There is a presumption that things like "image posting, tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, anything containing or originating from anime" are "unproductive." But it is possible that discussion of these topics in threads that are relevant to quizbowl (e.g. discussion of questions on those topics) or an existing off-topic thread (e.g. "your favorite TV shows") does not fall into this "unproductive" usage. The staff reserves the right to lock or split any thread that becomes overrun with posts about banned topics, or to preemptively close any thread that the staff believes was started to encourage discussion of banned topics.
I have further instructed the moderating crew to follow this checklist to implement the guidelines. I post it here so general board users know what our policies are:
Follow this checklist to enforce the "unproductive posting" rule.

1. Is the topic one that we presume is unproductive (i.e. image posting, tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, anything containing or originating from anime)? Basically, is this a topic that feels "internetty"?

2. If yes, is it relevant to an existing discussion of quizbowl (i.e. a question on an anime topic) or an otherwise-not-internetty off-topic thread (i.e. "your favorite TV shows")?

3a. If no to #2, do what you normally do: i.e. place the offending posts in the forbidden zone, warn or tempban the offending poster as necessary, and post an explanation in the moderator forum as necessary, etc.

3b. If yes to #2, has the discussion of the normally banned topic overrun the underlying quizbowl discussion or off-topic thread?

4a. If no to #3b, everything is fine. Continue to monitor the discussion, but no action is currently necessary.

4b. If yes to #3b, split only the offending posts (i.e. the ones that constitute an overrunning of the underlying topic, not the original post about the topic) and place them in the forbidden zone, warn the offending poster or posters that they're overrunning the discussion, and post a warning in the thread saying something like "We split some posts from this thread because discussion of internetty topics was overrunning the rest of the discussion. Please tone it down going forward."

4c. When asking whether the normally banned topic has overrun the underlying discussion, err on the side of "it has not." If it's borderline but you foresee continued discussion being problematic, the appropriate recourse is likely to email the poster/s in question (or have me do it) and ask them to tone it down before taking more drastic steps.

5. If anything is in doubt, or if you'd simply rather that I or another moderator deal with the issue, start a thread in the moderator forum for further discussion.
Any questions about or discussion of this change can happen in the thread below.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5553
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am
Contact:

Re: Testing new guidelines for "unproductive posting"

Post by theMoMA » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:56 pm

I should also remind everyone that the only acceptable way to respond to moderator action, including use of discretion under these guidelines, is to email me privately. Posts along the lines of "why was X split? I was just discussing my favorite TV shows!" are not allowed, but you're always welcome to email me for an explanation of moderator decisions.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
minusfive
Rikku
Posts: 426
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 11:35 pm
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Re: Testing new guidelines for "unproductive posting"

Post by minusfive » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:01 pm

theMoMA wrote: Any questions about or discussion of this change can happen in the thread below.
I take it that this creates an exemption from the normal rule that we don't discuss rules publically (or maybe I was just interpreting the rule wrongly). In either case:

1) I'd like to applaud Mr. Hart for this action. It's always good to see innovations which can enhance (hopefully) the board discussion.

2) When it comes to unproductivity, I feel that the criteria are very context-specific (for example, an "internetty" thing may enhance the quality of a post while still being severable from its main message). I've never personally encountered a thread that didn't have some relevance to quizbowl (maybe just because I'm late to the party), but I can see why discussions completely devoid of quizbowl content would be verboten.

3) Hopefully the line between fun and utility can be straddled-as someone who is now putting out what seem like endless posts about an upcoming tournament (the tournament will be fun, but the posts are devoid), I look forward to the whimsy.

4) As a matter of process, I trust people who go over the line (which can be, quite appropriately, moved at any time) are going to either receive a warning, or at least not be treated harshly for testing out the new policy?
Jordan Palmer, Nick Penner's Hero.

Pass by, and curse thy fill, but pass and stay not here thy gait.

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5553
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am
Contact:

Re: Testing new guidelines for "unproductive posting"

Post by theMoMA » Sun Feb 02, 2014 3:55 pm

Any punishments would have to fit the contours of the case, of course, but based on our typical way of handling things, I don't imagine that we'd be too harsh on a first-time offender unless the violation was particularly egregious. As I hope the checklist above indicates, I'd like the staff to intervene privately with people toeing the line before we consider any punishments in the private forum. More serious violations may have more immediate consequences, of course.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

Locked