The Debaters' Lounge

Extraneous communication, genuflection, adulation, dissection and admiration should make its way in here.

The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Ghurlag » Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:46 pm

Attention, folks.

The moderator team, prompted by requests from certain members, are pleased to announce the grand opening of a new subforum on the boards. Entitled "The Debaters' Lounge", this area is intended to serve as a place for polite yet passionate debate on a wide range of potentially controversial topics.

As most of you are probably aware, this sort of conversation was recently prohibited from the IoT board. This was due to rising issues with moderating them when things appeared to be moving out of hand or causing offense. However, many of us find the topics and discussions intriguing, and it is for these members that the subforum is being opened up.

In order to prevent the same issues re-occurring, we are going to operate the Lounge on a different policy to the rest of the boards. Loosely speaking, this policy should encourage lighter moderation and more open discussion. We will be encouraging members to resolve their own differences in all but the most extreme cases.

Part of this new policy is that the new subforum is going to be an opt-in area. You won't be able to see it unless you are subscribed to the group 'The Debaters'. In order to gain access to the group, you need to PM one of:

Ghurlag
shadowhawk2008

The mod you contact will provide you with a rundown of the rules, and more importantly, the purpose and ethos of this board. Once you have agreed to said rules, you'll be added to the group and sent on your way. We're doing it this way so that you have a moderator as a contact point with whom you have at least some prior exchanges.

To pre-warn you, the rules for the board are extremely simple.

1. No Selling of Goods. This is just a continuation of the overall forum policy, and should be fairly simple to understand.
2. No Inappropriate material. To clarify this point, innappropriate material refers simply to pornographic materials of any sort and illegal materials and links to them.
3. No Swearing. Whilst this could possibly fall under the above, it seems best to emphasise it here. Swearing is never a productive part of debate, and often evokes hostility. Don't do it here.
4. No Personal Attacks. These are the lowest thing you can resort to in a debate. If your post is criticising the person rather than what they've said, you're moving from a debate into a squabble, and it will be stopped.

There. Hopefully you will agree that these rules are not too restrictive. They are also very simple and (I hope) clear. Be forewarned, however, that if you invent some new form of deliberately destructive activity, it'll probably end up here.

However, in the spirit of encouraging reasonable and productive debate on issues, the mods will also be encouraging you to follow the following guidelines in the subforum.

1) Be Calm. The simplest way to stray into bad behaviour is to lose your civillity. We understand that you will have passionate opinions, but getting angry isn't the way to express them. If you find yourself getting agitated by a topic, make sure you calm down before sending your response.
2) Be Clear. A lack of clarity can lead to people misunderstanding your intention and getting the wrong idea, leading to all sorts of problems. Try to look at what you are saying from a variety of angles, and consider how it might be misconstrued.
3) Be Nice. Strive not to cause offense to others. Sometimes this is accidental, and people may be offended despite your intentions, but more often than not a little effort on your part would have averted it. Try to make sure you would be willing to hear what you are saying from someone else.
4) Be Prepared. You will no doubt happen across opinions and attitudes in this subforum which you find shocking. We ask that you be ready to deal with this maturely. If you disagree with the opinion, voice such disagreement in terms of the guidelines and rules above. If you feel offended, consider whether the intent was to injure you, or merely to voice a thought, perhaps poorly considered. In all cases, we urge members to in the first case seek to resolve their differences amongst themselves, and only resort to calling on the moderator team if this proves unfruitful.

The moderators will only be 'enforcing' the rules. The guidelines given are just that, hints at behaviour we hope to see flourish. However, if it is considered that someone is abusing the nature of the board, action will still be taken.

When a breach of the rules or abuse of the board is observed, the offender will in the first instance be given a written warning, and appropriate editing may occur. In the second instance, the offender's right to access the board will be suspended, with written notification of why, and the moderation team will discuss the case to decide whether a total ban or a defined suspension period is most appropriate.

We hope, however, that moderation will not be necessary. We also hope you will enjoy yourselves.

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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:24 pm

shouldn't the rules be made available now for people to decide whether they want in or not so as to save everybodies time?

Also on the subject of rules for the boards when will the moderation policy come out so that we can all know where we stand and how things are meant to go?
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Ghurlag » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:33 pm

They, uh, are available. Up there.
...*Points*
That's all of it.

I'll chase up the moderation issue for you, though, shafe.

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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby flick » Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:58 pm

A place for serious debate? Man, I can't even get past the blood ravens argument, let alone debating the death penalty. :lol:
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Mossy Toes » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:15 am

Hmm, I might just have some content for this.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Xisor » Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:39 am

Ghurlag wrote:These are the lowest thing you can resort to in a debate.


You're the lowest thing we can resort to in a debate. Except from your mother.
:P

As a vague aside, don't these rules apply rather more generally...anyway? That's not to be madcap and critical but...these rules, these guidelines: they apply pretty much explicitly to absolutely everything engaged in on the forum: unless, of course, we're permitted to agitated, vague, nasty and unprepared elsewhere?

That is to say: this seems legitimate for the entire forum, with the caveat that in Debaters' Lounge you'll more likely be exposed to a view that, as it were, happens to be a bee in your bonnet (thus bear in mind the above).

Altogether, I thoroughly approve. Room for improvement, but generally approve to a thorough extent.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Raziel4707 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:24 am

Xisor: Absolutely. The rules haven't really changed too much, it's more the enforcement of them from our point of view that will differ within this area. That and obviously the fact that potentially contentious topics are thoroughly encouraged (within reason :P ) as opposed to forbidden.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Phalanx » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:44 am

I still reckon it will boil down to "Yo Mama" comments. :D
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Raziel4707 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:50 am

"Yo mama?" Please Phalanx, don't reduce this to childishness before it even begins.


























Especially given what I've heard about yo mama.....
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:08 am

Edit: Tried to post this last night but my internet was being screwy.

Ghurlag wrote:They, uh, are available. Up there.
...*Points*
That's all of it.

I'll chase up the moderation issue for you, though, shafe.

then what is this run through of the rules the mods will give me if I ask about joining?

I'm out btw, it seems like an awful lot of effort just to discuss things on the internet. If I want to discuss things and sound out this community (and it happens, it's a nice, smart bunch here) I'm going to the traditional thing and post it for everyone and people can respond and react (either by taking part or taking offense) as they see fit.

Where the line is drawn over if a subject is suitable for anyone or just for the chosen few who opt in to a discussions sub forum is unclear to me anyways and again the term "lighter moderation" with regards the new area means nothing when the current state of affairs isn't defined or organised.

Sorry if this seems like a bit of a moan. I however feel that moderation and what not happens best when the community and the site staff are on the same page so I'm letting my opinion be aired here as I missed wherever the conversation happened that led to these decisions.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Stuart000X » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:40 am

I'm interested in being a part of this debate sub-forum. :o
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:10 am

schaferwhat‽ wrote:I'm out btw, it seems like an awful lot of effort just to discuss things on the internet. If I want to discuss things and sound out this community (and it happens, it's a nice, smart bunch here) I'm going to the traditional thing and post it for everyone and people can respond and react (either by taking part or taking offense) as they see fit.


Within reason I hope :)

schaferwhat‽ wrote:Where the line is drawn over if a subject is suitable for anyone or just for the chosen few who opt in to a discussions sub forum is unclear to me anyways and again the term "lighter moderation" with regards the new area means nothing when the current state of affairs isn't defined or organised.


What is suitable for everyone includes things such as reviews of games/music etc or planning meet-ups or talking about stuff like "what to see when in london" or talking about the latest exhibitions. Perhaps even the latest fashion trends. Or what car people drive, what they like, what they want etc.

What is not suitable however are things like talking about politics which by their very nature can be quiet contentious and can lead to heated arguments. Or topics like "why I don't believe in patriotism". The new sub-forum has been created to address that in order that these discussions/arguments do not spill over to the main board.

Lighter moderation refers to, as Ghurlag said above, the moderators only stepping in when discussions have veered off into unacceptable territory and such. We will not be solving one person's problems with another person and are going to let them work it out. Mature discussions between mature people is what we are after, without any bias of any kind.

But then people ask what is the point of the sub-forum at all if the rules are all largely the same? Well, this way we hope to "contain" any nastiness, for lack of a better word, that emerges through such discussions. People also cannot blame anyone else for finding the topics discussed tasteless, because they opted-in for this with the full knowledge that they can expect to find such topics here and should be more understanding. The same is not true for the rest of the IOT board.

schaferwhat‽ wrote:Sorry if this seems like a bit of a moan. I however feel that moderation and what not happens best when the community and the site staff are on the same page so I'm letting my opinion be aired here as I missed wherever the conversation happened that led to these decisions.


This was discussed within the moderator team itself in response to some people's requests, some people's unhappiness with the state of affairs and because some of the moderators felt that these kind of discussions should definitely be allowed.

I hope that this helps in understanding why we went ahead with this.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby Phalanx » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:35 am

schaferwhat‽ wrote:then what is this run through of the rules the mods will give me if I ask about joining?

I'm out btw, it seems like an awful lot of effort just to discuss things on the internet. If I want to discuss things and sound out this community (and it happens, it's a nice, smart bunch here) I'm going to the traditional thing and post it for everyone and people can respond and react (either by taking part or taking offense) as they see fit.

Where the line is drawn over if a subject is suitable for anyone or just for the chosen few who opt in to a discussions sub forum is unclear to me anyways and again the term "lighter moderation" with regards the new area means nothing when the current state of affairs isn't defined or organised.

Sorry if this seems like a bit of a moan. I however feel that moderation and what not happens best when the community and the site staff are on the same page so I'm letting my opinion be aired here as I missed wherever the conversation happened that led to these decisions.


I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking this. I completely agree with you here schafe. There's a lot wrong here, and segregating people into a sub-forum is all well and good, until it starts to segregate the already-small community in the first place. Ah well, live and learn, I guess (hope)?
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:52 am

so the rest of the forum is only for vapid immature meaningless discussion?

Now I'm not a moderator so I don't know what sort of complaints, reports, requests and issues have been here to be dealt with so I am talking from a position of ignorance spurred mostly from the point of view that as a community there has been no engagement from the staff about our opinions about what sort of tone we want to foster here or what we'd like to talk about. (Which may not be weighted quite as highly as moderation considerations but should still be a factor).

I also don't see the hurt in people getting upset from time to time, or the difficulty of a quiet word saying "you're getting close to the knuckle guy(s) tone it down" as I don't feel anyone intentionally intends to offend and when called on it will opt to then alter their language. That said offense is subjective, text on a forum has little emotional context attatched to it, you can read into things which were never intended and this does seem to be motivated out of some sort of need to punish/remove people who dare to voice an opinion which sets uneasily with me.

I might be wrong mind, like I said I'm talking out of ignorance but that's what happens when stuff is launched upon a community with no engagement or prewarning or discussion about it.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby J D Dunsany » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:23 pm

schaferwhat‽ wrote:so the rest of the forum is only for vapid immature meaningless discussion?


You're confusing topic with tone there, schafe. You can be as mature as you like when discussing the latest films, music etc.

Now I'm not a moderator so I don't know what sort of complaints, reports, requests and issues have been here to be dealt with so I am talking from a position of ignorance spurred mostly from the point of view that as a community there has been no engagement from the staff about our opinions about what sort of tone we want to foster here or what we'd like to talk about. (Which may not be weighted quite as highly as moderation considerations but should still be a factor).

I also don't see the hurt in people getting upset from time to time, or the difficulty of a quiet word saying "you're getting close to the knuckle guy(s) tone it down" as I don't feel anyone intentionally intends to offend and when called on it will opt to then alter their language. That said offense is subjective, text on a forum has little emotional context attatched to it, you can read into things which were never intended and this does seem to be motivated out of some sort of need to punish/remove people who dare to voice an opinion which sets uneasily with me.


There is no desire to 'punish' anyone. Far from it, the opt-in sub-forum is a way of giving people who want it a forum that, because of issues that have arisen in the past, is currently being denied them. I'm not, to be honest, sure about where your unease comes from.

I might be wrong mind, like I said I'm talking out of ignorance but that's what happens when stuff is launched upon a community with no engagement or prewarning or discussion about it.


Well, you're getting a chance to discuss it now. :)

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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:43 pm

Music, Films and the like can all be politicised though or viewed politically. Would it be OK to say "I like the redskins because they say stuff I can get behind about socialism and unionising" or would that line of reasoning be frowned upon because people may disagree with the stuff I can get behind?

I didn't notice that such talk was "disallowed" until a couple of days ago because I don't pay attention to the announcements and sticky threads so much it's just a blur of stuff that doesn't need seeing again so new stuff gets missed and when I did notice I didn't kick up a fuss because I respect the right of the moderators to make decisions even when I think they're out of whack. However given this oppotunity to jump into a discussion I am saying that a sub-board whilst "preferable" in someways to talk being prohibited is born from the same sentiment that somehow such threads, discussions and interaction between people here is not fit for the general forum.

The moderation seems reactionary and ill thought out at the moment. We can't have multiple birthday threads because people don't like it, we can't discuss topics people may be offended, compromises are offered to negate those put out by what seems to be almost knee jerk reactions which still put out those very seem people just to a lesser extent. The fact that things could be (or are) worse is a poor substatitute arguement for actual merits of the proposed situation.

Maybe my unease is undue, I could quite clearly have jumped to the wrong conclusion. That's the impression I'm under at the moment, if I don't tell you I'm under this impression how can you correct your behaviour to stop me concluding as I do (or at least talking me down from my position).
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby J D Dunsany » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:50 pm

Well, you're right.

Moderation is, by its very nature, reactionary. You're trying to conserve something all the time - in this case, a civil atmosphere.

I appreciate your forthrightness, as always, schafe.

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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:53 pm

true however if there was a clear moderation policy and set up already maybe we'd all have a clearer idea where the lines stand although I do wonder how birthday wishes undermine a civil atmosphere.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:57 pm

schaferwhat‽ wrote:true however if there was a clear moderation policy and set up already maybe we'd all have a clearer idea where the lines stand although I do wonder how birthday wishes undermine a civil atmosphere.


They do not. There is a general thread up for this to prevent several threads cropping up for it.
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Re: The Debaters' Lounge

Postby schaferwhat‽ » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:03 pm

ok to clarify, how does having multiple personalised expressions of acknowledgement to forumites birthdays undermine the civil atmosphere?

Just out of curiosity mind.
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