Political Discussion Board Rules/Guidelines
CONCERNING RULES/POLICY FOR THE COMMUNITY DISCUSSION BOARD:
First, allow me to reiterate that the purpose of the new board is to encourage civil and intelligent discussion and debate concerning political topics. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary written herein, this board is under the same general set of guidelines as are posted in this sites GENERAL POSTING GUIDELINES.
However, concerning this board specifically... due to the volatility of political discussions, the "policy" that we want to emphasize here on this specific common and moderated board is as follows:
We want the Community Discussion Board to be free of troll posts, thread-jacking, inflammatory drive-by posts, utterly stupid commentary, belittling, personal attacks, insulting behavior, or any behavior that incites malicious partisan bickering. This includes posting links to extreme views without explaining your own position (Naked Links), which otherwise is considered baiting. It also included the posting of meme's and GIFS that are intented to insult or antagonize members that do not share your partisan beliefs.
There has to be somewhere on the internet where citizens of all political persuasion can enter into honest and meaningful discourse without attacking one another. We intend to do our utmost to make this particular discussion board such a place.
There is a lot of misinformation, sensationalism, and propaganda floating around in the news, social media, fringe websites and within email chains, so be prepared to back up your arguments and iterations. Prepare to be challenged whenever other members feel that your information or representations seem to be either part of the misinformation flow, or otherwise of questionable credibility. Feel free to challenge others on the same. The goal is to get to the facts, and from that we will enlighten one another.
Passionate discussion and debate is accepted as a given, and we have no issue with that, however, we expect the discussion to be civil, and will enforce the rules to be certain that it remains that way.
Images can have their place, but should be used sparingly, should be relevant to the topic, and avoid the inflammatory memes. This isn't a smack board, on this board emphasis is on discussion, with people taking the time to express their own views in their own words, and linking to and discussing content that is relevant and informative.
Let's all make an effort to be far less insulting. Different opinions add interest and are important in helping to hone our own views. We aren't all able to articulate things the same way, and our beliefs vary, but let's all try a harder to be patient and considerate.
At the same time, the expectation remains in place that by participating here, you are agreeing to actually discuss your opinions - not just drop talkingpoints, one-liners, take shots at the 'other side' or other members here, and move on. If your primary interest is in being a persistently negative presence, circulating inflammatory political content in the form of faked or antagonistic images, misleading blog posts and email, and other such content, this isn't the right board for you. Share with us who and what you support, and why, and not just who and what you oppose from one discussion to the next.
Religion and politics are intertwined for many people, and we need to be respectful of opposing views along that spectrum (including non-religious). If religious/non-religious thought offends you to the point you can't keep it civil, or you don't think it adds to a discussion, focus on other comments that you do think have relevance. That said, because something is in a religious text isn't going to be a compelling reason for many other people when discussing policy. If you are looking for a comfortable place where your beliefs aren't challenged, this isn't going to be the right board for you; whatever it is that shapes your world view.
I know not everybody wants to aspire to this, but I don't think political differences should mean that we cannot try harder to get along. Let's tone down the rhetoric and insults, and put more effort into debating and discussing the issues.
To avoid confusion concerning how infraction worthy terms are defined, allow me to try to clarify for the benefit of both members and staff:
-Troll Post: A troll post is where someone posts an inflammatory message with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response.
-Thread Jacking: Derailing a good discussion by taking the topic in another direction, or to otherwise disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
-Inflammatory drive-by posts: A comment or remark intended to evoke hostility, anger, or as is often the case concerning political discussions - partisan bickering. Otherwise such a post that cannot be construed as harmless, or joking around.
-Utterly stupid commentary: A post, or series of posts indicating a lack of care, or reason, or are overly senseless, unintelligent, insensitive, or otherwise vexing. A rather gray area, but to try to clarify, do a little homework when debating topics/issues, and do not present your theories, or what you may have read in some extreme propagandist email as fact. Those that show a propensity to do so will soon lose their posting privileges on the Main Community board, or MCB.
-Belittling: Members speaking toward other members in an attempt to make them feel contemptibly small or unimportant. This includes condescending behavior and any attempts or remarks that pertain to "owning" another member.
-Personal attacks: Commenting on another members personal considerations rather than to logic or reason. Attacking an opponent personally instead of answering the argument. When debating issues, members should avoid ad hominem arguments that question their opponents' motives. Again, debate the post, not the poster.
-Insulting behavior: Pretty simple. Insulting behavior is any verbal abuse of a member by another. Basically, any remark intended to offend another member.
-We do not allow the use of buzzwords or commonly used terms intended to trigger the opposition (TDS, Dear leader, snowflake, deplorable, etc.) on the MCB.
Note: We try to incorporate common sense into interpreting context, so attempting to cleverly work around the above terms by citing any of the terms in it's "literal sense" in an effort to continue to incorporate insults into discourse is ill advised. Bottom line: Keep it civil.
Here, we ask that participants seek a higher level of discourse.
HOW WE MODERATE THE COMMUNITY DISCUSSION BOARD:
As is often the case with a new effort on a forum such as this, we are actively working to ensure that everyone understands and accepts the new rules set for the Community Discussion Board. This board is currently being very closely moderated and I am personally taking an interest in the development of this board and the education of our members and Staff on what we are trying to accomplish here.
For clarification purposes due to some feedback that I have received, when a staff member decides to post on a thread - on any topic other than in the course of their duties in moderating - their post can be debated within site rules just like any other member. Staff does not get special protections privileges unless they are actively moderating within a post.
What a member cannot do is to "call out" a Staff member for doing their job. Topical debate is fair game, but to express disagreement with their efforts at moderation is not acceptable. This has always been the case. Feel free to start a private conversation with anyone on Staff should you have a moderation issue. Never raise that issue on the forums. "Calling out" is one of our most important and tightly moderated site rules.
When fairly debating a Staff person on a topic other than moderation you can feel comfortable treating that Staff member as you would any other member.
Allow me explain how the moderation process works and you will be able to see that this kind of abuse is not possible:
If a moderator deems it necessary to take action against a member for violating site rules, he/she must give a warning or an infraction. In all cases those warnings/infractions automatically get posted on the Infraction Discussion Board which is a sub forum to the private Staff Board. ALL communication between the Staff person and the member are also posted on that board. The entire Staff, including myself, see the full exchange along with the original questionable post. When a Staff person errs (they're human too), we correct that issue. The complete visibility of these exchanges ensures that no Staff person can arbitrarily abuse his/her position by moderating a member just because he/she disagrees with that member's POV or has an active dislike for that member. Either I, or one of my Admins, review each and every act of moderation to ensure that all members are always treated fairly. And keep in mind that we have Staff members of all political, sexual, and religious persuasions and of all ages. This is by design so that we do not have a Staff in place with a predominant outlook of any kind.
Concerning such, I want to say that there are no conspiracies in the back room seeking to suppress either conservative or liberal groups. Personally, I am not very political, so I don't care what your politics are; I only care about how you behave, and giving you an entertaining venue that has certain standards of discourse that most other venue's lack.
Of course, sometimes members who have been moderated, or banned, may choose to tell a slightly different version of events so that they can appear to be the victim rather than accept blame for their own actions. Since we do not discuss moderation with anyone other than the member in question, that leaves us at a disadvantage. But you can rest assured that we don't play favorites and that any discussion that portrays this Staff as biased to any opinion or against any member is a slanted and incorrect portrayal.
Bottom line - remember that it isn't what you say, but how you say it. If you read, understand, and follow site and Community Discussion Board rules, while keeping your responses cordial, then I can assure you that you will have no problems with moderation and can engage anyone in free and fair debate on the topic of a thread. We do not moderate opinion, we moderate behavior.
I hope this clears up the concern that some have expressed. Anyone here can feel free to initiate a conversation with any Staff member should they have further concerns. We'll be glad to discuss them on a case-by-case basis."
1. The purpose of the Community Discussion Board is to encourage civil and intelligent discussion and debate where political topics are concerned. In addition to the posting guidelines posted throughout the community, specific policy for the Community Discussion Board is given.
2. Staff members who participate in political discussions can be debated with as if with any other member as long as it doesn't concern moderation or policy. Keep in mind, that you aren't allowed to "call out" any member with derogatory or malicious intent, moderator or otherwise.
3. Moderators are also scrutinized and their actions are automatically presented for review by the entire staff.
4. Staff members are of various political affiliation and ideology. We do not seek to suppress yours.
5. If you have an issue with the moderation of this or any other board, initiate a conversation (private message) with any member of the Madaboutpolitics.com (MAP) staff, they'll make sure it gets to the right person. Do not start a thread about it on the boards.
6. Know and follow the rules, and be cordial, and you won't have any problems.