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Author Topic: Dealing with subjective rules  (Read 10148 times)

Aett of Cups

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Dealing with subjective rules
« on: February 09, 2015, 09:36:18 pm »
Yes, the catalyst for this post was a particular incident on this website; no, I have no interest in discussing personalities, calling names, or any of that drama - I just want to work toward a solution about which everyone feels comfortable.

I was recently told that I was violating the rules of the Beginner's forums.  I found this very frustrating because I read said rules at least three times before I ever posted for the first time in those forums and felt I understood what was expected.  The person who called me out wasn't able (or perhaps wasn’t willing) to tell me what I'd done that was specifically wrong - they just linked me to the rules page and said something about how I'd dishonored “what we mean” by the beginner-friendly rules by redefining them.

Personally, I feel we need more objective rules for the Beginner's forums (maybe the whole website) or we need administrators to understand that their interpretations of these rules are only that - their interpretations.  There is no cause to imply an argumentum ad hominem over a difference of opinion - especially when some of us have far more power and influence on the site than others.  Just looking at the rules for the beginners' forums (and ignoring, for now, the general rules), how do I interpret terms like "fairly advanced level," "basic knowledge," "'101 books'," "absence of clear evidence to the contrary," "a good teacher," "don't lecture," "polite," "dodgy," "what paganism is (and what it is not)," "not have to be as nice," etc.?

What constitutes a "dodgy" argument?  What are the particular hallmarks of a "101 book"?  How do I decide what "a good teacher" is and how to I reconcile your definition of such a person with mine if they differ?  What determines whether something is an example of "critical thinking," and, if it is a staff member’s opinion, how can one reconcile this with most persons' definitions of critical thinking (which, I would assume, would not include that which is merely considered correct, without evidence, by those who've been given control)?

I hope you'll understand that this message was motivated by curiosity and a desire for fairness for everyone, not just my feelings of hurt about a particular incident.

Is there a problem with the current rules?  Should they be fixed?  How much power should staff have in enforcing these rules?  Should that power extend to name-calling, casting aspersions on another's morality, punishing people (in terms of limiting site access or other privileges) when they disagree with those in power, etc.?  I would love to know, when I log in, what's allowed and what isn’t, what will cause someone to insult me with impunity and what won’t - and, although I have spent years studying the English language, I am still not getting that information from the rules I’ve repeatedly read here.  I would greatly appreciate clarification.

Thanks in advance to those who spend their time maintaining this site (which I think is, in general, quite excellent) and to those who might be able to answer my questions or provide some clarification in other ways.  If we have rules, I feel they should be clear and applicable to everyone.
Aett of Cups

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HeartShadow

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 10:11:06 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;170761


 
The original issue was that you said you /did not want to debate/ because it was a beginner forum.  Which .. pretty much defies the entire point OF the Cauldron, which is to discuss and debate.  So yes, someone called you on it, because any time someone says /they don't want to debate the issue/ we point out that that's not the point.

You were not moderated, you were not sanctioned - someone simply pointed out that there was a misunderstanding as to the point of what was going on.

Now, as to the concept of /staff power/ - rules only exist if they're enforced.  The entire point of there being staff is to enforce rules so that we're all dealing with a level field.  Yes, you get the interpretations of the actual staff members.  Unless you've figured out how to program a computer to make these kinds of judgments, you're stuck with human.  If you do find a program that can deal with these things, LET ME KNOW because I'd really like to have less to do.  I'm swamped up to my eyeballs with stuff as it is.

But we are only acting /as staff/ when there is a staff hat in evidence.  A blue or red box, very hard to ignore.  The rest of the time, we're people and subject to the same rules as everyone else.  You're free to disagree.  Hell, it's encouraged.  If everyone agrees, there's no conversation!

If there's a specific problem, there's a "report to moderator" function for a reason.  Even if a staff member IS the problem, the rest of us will look at it and see if it needs dealing with.  If a rule needs clarification, please, tell us specifically where the problem is.

But if the problem is that staff has power - that's the point of staff.  There are places that have no staff, they're usually cesspits.  If the problem is that there are rules, same issue.

Honestly, if we can't figure out what the issue is, it can't be addressed.  And any issue that involves "I don't like that staff act like regular members" isn't going to work, because let's face it - we're not paid and being staff ain't fun.  If it wasn't for the fact that being here as a member was important to us, we wouldn't be here at all.  Which leads right back to cesspit alley.

RandallS

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 08:01:59 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;170761
Is there a problem with the current rules?  Should they be fixed?  How much power should staff have in enforcing these rules?  Should that power extend to name-calling, casting aspersions on another's morality, punishing people (in terms of limiting site access or other privileges) when they disagree with those in power, etc.?

I haven't weighed in on this before because I could not think of a way to say what needs to be said hear in a way that will not seem to be harsh, but it still needs to be said....

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is not a democracy. The rules are set by the owners of the web site (LyricFox and myself aka the Co-Hosts) who also select the staff and decide how much power they have. Staff try to use their powers in limited ways and as little as necessary to enforce the rules.

Name-calling is not allowed for staff or regular members but what is and is not considered name-calling is subjective and is decided by the Co-Hosts based on what they believe the average member who enjoys discussion and debate would consider name-calling. This is true of most of our subjective rules, they are set based on what the Co-Hosts believes the average member who likes discussion and debate would consider truly overboard. This means that members who do not like discussion and debate or who are more sensitive than average will likely find the rules allow people to say things they personally consider upsetting/offensive without getting in trouble. Likewise people less sensitive than average will likely see people getting in trouble for things they think should be allowed to be said.

No one is punished for "disagreeing with those in power" so long as they follow trhe rules of the board. The Co-Hosts and staff don't have a problem with people who think the rules here are wrong so long as they follow them when they choose to be here. Disagreeing with those in power over non-rules issues is always okay, but others -- including those in power -- are free to disagree with you in posts and even to say things about your ideas that you may find offensive.  For example, saying "that idea is stupid" is not against the rules because ideas are not people. Saying an idea that you hold is stupid is not saying that the person who holds it is stupid -- even though people who identify themselves closely with their ideas sometimes feel that an attack on their ideas is a personal attack on their person.

Quote
I would love to know, when I log in, what's allowed and what isn’t, what will cause someone to insult me with impunity and what won’t...

You ask for the impossible here, unfortunately.
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Aett of Cups

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2015, 08:06:51 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;170762
The original issue was that you said you /did not want to debate/ because it was a beginner forum.  Which .. pretty much defies the entire point OF the Cauldron, which is to discuss and debate.  So yes, someone called you on it, because any time someone says /they don't want to debate the issue/ we point out that that's not the point.

You were not moderated, you were not sanctioned - someone simply pointed out that there was a misunderstanding as to the point of what was going on.

Now, as to the concept of /staff power/ - rules only exist if they're enforced.  The entire point of there being staff is to enforce rules so that we're all dealing with a level field.  Yes, you get the interpretations of the actual staff members.  Unless you've figured out how to program a computer to make these kinds of judgments, you're stuck with human.  If you do find a program that can deal with these things, LET ME KNOW because I'd really like to have less to do.  I'm swamped up to my eyeballs with stuff as it is.

But we are only acting /as staff/ when there is a staff hat in evidence.  A blue or red box, very hard to ignore.  The rest of the time, we're people and subject to the same rules as everyone else.  You're free to disagree.  Hell, it's encouraged.  If everyone agrees, there's no conversation!

If there's a specific problem, there's a "report to moderator" function for a reason.  Even if a staff member IS the problem, the rest of us will look at it and see if it needs dealing with.  If a rule needs clarification, please, tell us specifically where the problem is.

But if the problem is that staff has power - that's the point of staff.  There are places that have no staff, they're usually cesspits.  If the problem is that there are rules, same issue.

Honestly, if we can't figure out what the issue is, it can't be addressed.  And any issue that involves "I don't like that staff act like regular members" isn't going to work, because let's face it - we're not paid and being staff ain't fun.  If it wasn't for the fact that being here as a member was important to us, we wouldn't be here at all.  Which leads right back to cesspit alley.

Quote from: RandallS;170976
I haven't weighed in on this before because I could not think of a way to say what needs to be said hear in a way that will not seem to be harsh, but it still needs to be said....

The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is not a democracy. The rules are set by the owners of the web site (LyricFox and myself aka the Co-Hosts) who also select the staff and decide how much power they have. Staff try to use their powers in limited ways and as little as necessary to enforce the rules.

Name-calling is not allowed for staff or regular members but what is and is not considered name-calling is subjective and is decided by the Co-Hosts based on what they believe the average member who enjoys discussion and debate would consider name-calling. This is true of most of our subjective rules, they are set based on what the Co-Hosts believes the average member who likes discussion and debate would consider truly overboard. This means that members who do not like discussion and debate or who are more sensitive than average will likely find the rules allow people to say things they personally consider upsetting/offensive without getting in trouble. Likewise people less sensitive than average will likely see people getting in trouble for things they think should be allowed to be said.

No one is punished for "disagreeing with those in power" so long as they follow trhe rules of the board. The Co-Hosts and staff don't have a problem with people who think the rules here are wrong so long as they follow them when they choose to be here. Disagreeing with those in power over non-rules issues is always okay, but others -- including those in power -- are free to disagree with you in posts and even to say things about your ideas that you may find offensive.  For example, saying "that idea is stupid" is not against the rules because ideas are not people. Saying an idea that you hold is stupid is not saying that the person who holds it is stupid -- even though people who identify themselves closely with their ideas sometimes feel that an attack on their ideas is a personal attack on their person.



You ask for the impossible here, unfortunately.

HeartShadow, I appreciate your willingness to help, but you have misreported the incident.  Please read the relevant threads again.

HeartShadow and RandallS, thank you both for your help.  Many forums would have just insulted me and deleted my account for disagreeing with the elite.  It's good to know that, even if no one actually knows what the rules are in most situations, we can at least be honest about that.  It's much better than pretending everything is perfect because you annul the voices who remind you that improvement is still possible.  I’ve been on boards where they do that, and I’ve never known it to work.
 
Nevertheless, I don't like that the "rules" essentially boil down to doing whatever I want until someone with power interprets what I've done in a way that allows them to punish me or insult me in a manner that no other member (that I’ve ever seen) has ever been rude enough to employ.  I like many aspects of this forum, but the rules are confusing at best - and they certainly don't have to be, in my opinion.

I have not, in any interpretation I can make, dishonored everything for which the beginner's board rules stand, as SunflowerP has strongly implied.  If anything, this moderator is the one in error.  She calls the beginner's rules "what we mean" instead of "what I mean" or “what I think I mean”.  Is she, indeed, officially speaking for every admin, everyone else on the thread, whom?  And why dismiss me for not having understood "what we mean" when it's highly subjective?  Why insist I've redefined rules that were never properly defined in the first place?  You have a rule prohibiting rudeness which SunflowerP actually used to tell me I was being rude and dishonorable.  Your beginners' rules contain at least two patently obvious logical fallacies (based on the argumentum ad populum and the argumentum ad verecundiam, two of the most basic fallacies imaginable), but they're still being used to scold me about how I’m not being logical.

I see no reason to request a formal complaint against SunflowerP, but please don't expect me to treat this person as if I felt s/he were worthy to moderate.  I will simply ignore her/him when s/he cannot control her rudeness (as I interpret it, of course), in keeping with your own (and SunflowerP’s own) rules.  S/he is, of course, free to punish me, to silence me, because s/he doesn't like what I've said.  I'm not trying to steal your moderator's power, just to express that it means nothing to me personally.  Whether I give it to the top moderator of this board or to a homeless person no one else has ever considered worthwhile, my respect must be earned and my standards are high.

Thank you again for your comments.  I am an experienced writer and neo-pagan minister.  Please let me know if you would ever like my assistance in making the rules easier to interpret and free of fallacious reasoning.

And, as I have informed Ponder, I have continued the debate… on my website, where the rules are as clear as I can make them and SunflowerP has the same ability to speak as everyone else (including myself) instead of thinking s/he is the keeper of the final interpretation of some very slippery tenets.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 08:08:24 pm by Aett of Cups »
Aett of Cups

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SunflowerP

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2015, 11:17:51 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171147


 
Please do not mispronoun me. My preferred ones can be found in the profile sidebar of any post I make, and on my profile page.

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carillion

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2015, 11:33:20 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171147

Nevertheless, I don't like that the "rules" essentially boil down to doing whatever I want until someone with power interprets what I've done in a way that allows them to punish me or insult me in a manner that no other member (that I’ve ever seen) has ever been rude enough to employ.  I like many aspects of this forum, but the rules are confusing at best - and they certainly don't have to be, in my opinion.



You mean...like life? Teachers, bosses, parents, cops, the drunk on the train platform, etc, etc.?:)

When I first came, a moderator gave me stick for only quoting part of a post , the reason given that what I was answering to lost context by doing so. Several months later, the  *same* moderator gave me stick for quoting an entire, rather long post rather than cut it down for ease of reading. Since then I've seen some hellashish long quotes  in other peoples post but nary a tut-tut. I still appear to be breathing.

I considered saying something but then I reckoned one should choose their battles.  Moderators are human beings and expecting perfect consistency in a world full of who knows what hell is around the next corner ( I'm very polite but I have bad days or tired days and so forth) is not very realistic. And I took no harm from it except a little hurt pride which is no harm ...at all.

I do not subscribe to the 'Just World Hypothesis' and if a forum must have machine moderated responses (guaranteed perfect consistency every time!)  then I'll have none of it.

'Their house , their rules' applies everywhere . Sometimes people might not like the person they are entrusted to oversee and I suspect that despite the best discipline, that slips out now and then. Yet that's pretty seldom and even more impressive given the size of this forum. But one cannot expect everyone in the world to like them and slips happen. I don't come here to be liked (yeah, yeah, keep the raspberries down in the back row):p

But judge by the *entirety*, not just an occurrence now and then and you'll see that a pretty fair job is done here in this very big and diverse forum. That's a lot of work that just a few people have to undertake . Frankly, I'm impressed (even if it might personally sting some times).

Again, sorta like life.

carillion

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2015, 11:44:32 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;171169
Please do not mispronoun me. My preferred ones can be found in the profile sidebar of any post I make, and on my profile page.

Sunflower


Is 'mispronoun' even a proper verb? It sounds like a title at the 'Glamour of Grammar' pageant "You should see the ampersands, they are just stunning!" :p

RandallS

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2015, 07:48:49 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171147
Nevertheless, I don't like that the "rules" essentially boil down to doing whatever I want until someone with power interprets what I've done in a way that allows them to punish me or insult me in a manner that no other member (that I’ve ever seen) has ever been rude enough to employ.  I like many aspects of this forum, but the rules are confusing at best - and they certainly don't have to be, in my opinion.

I'm sorry that you find them confusing. I'm sure they aren't perfect, but they work well for us and have for years.

Quote
Is she, indeed, officially speaking for every admin, everyone else on the thread, whom?

When discussing rules issues, she speaks for the Co-Hosts and staff unless the Message Board Coordinator or one of the Co-Hosts overrules her. You will note that this has not happened.

Quote
Why insist I've redefined rules that were never properly defined in the first place?

If the rules here bother you as much as they seem to from this post, perhaps you should consider finding a board with rules that do not bother you and posting there. TC certainly cannot please everyone (and we do not attempt to do so).

Quote
Your beginners' rules contain at least two patently obvious logical fallacies (based on the argumentum ad populum and the argumentum ad verecundiam, two of the most basic fallacies imaginable), but they're still being used to scold me about how I’m not being logical.

Since rules are not arguments in a discussion or debate, they really can't have logical argument fallacies.

Quote
I see no reason to request a formal complaint against SunflowerP, but please don't expect me to treat this person as if I felt s/he were worthy to moderate.  I will simply ignore her/him when s/he cannot control her rudeness (as I interpret it, of course), in keeping with your own (and SunflowerP’s own) rules.

The rules do not care what you (or any other member consider) rudeness as everyone's definition is different -- whether a person is being rules violating rude here is determined by what the ADMINs (as owners of the board) consider rudeness. This board is basically their home and they get to define what is and is not rude here just as you do in your home.

Quote
S/he is, of course, free to punish me, to silence me, because s/he doesn't like what I've said.  I'm not trying to steal your moderator's power, just to express that it means nothing to me personally.  Whether I give it to the top moderator of this board or to a homeless person no one else has ever considered worthwhile, my respect must be earned and my standards are high.

I don't give a damn whether you respect a staff member or the rules of this board. All I care about is that you follow the rules while you are here and that you read and follow any official staff directives or warnings. If you cannot or will not do so, you need to find another board -- otherwise, you are welcome here no matter who/what you respect or don't respect.
Randall
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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2015, 08:39:36 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;171169
Please do not mispronoun me. My preferred ones can be found in the profile sidebar of any post I make, and on my profile page.


A Reminder:
As neither of these are actually visible when a person is typing a reply, it is unfair to expect people to remember. This information is provided to help people remember, but if I see those who prefer specific pronouns expecting people to remember to check before they hit reply and remember them correctly as this message implies, the field will be removed.
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Microlite20: Lots of Rules Lite Tabletop RPGs -- Many Free
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Aett of Cups

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 08:47:39 pm »
Quote from: carillion;171170
You mean...like life? Teachers, bosses, parents, cops, the drunk on the train platform, etc, etc.?:)

When I first came, a moderator gave me stick for only quoting part of a post , the reason given that what I was answering to lost context by doing so. Several months later, the  *same* moderator gave me stick for quoting an entire, rather long post rather than cut it down for ease of reading. Since then I've seen some hellashish long quotes  in other peoples post but nary a tut-tut. I still appear to be breathing.

I considered saying something but then I reckoned one should choose their battles.  Moderators are human beings and expecting perfect consistency in a world full of who knows what hell is around the next corner ( I'm very polite but I have bad days or tired days and so forth) is not very realistic. And I took no harm from it except a little hurt pride which is no harm ...at all.

I do not subscribe to the 'Just World Hypothesis' and if a forum must have machine moderated responses (guaranteed perfect consistency every time!)  then I'll have none of it.

'Their house , their rules' applies everywhere . Sometimes people might not like the person they are entrusted to oversee and I suspect that despite the best discipline, that slips out now and then. Yet that's pretty seldom and even more impressive given the size of this forum. But one cannot expect everyone in the world to like them and slips happen. I don't come here to be liked (yeah, yeah, keep the raspberries down in the back row):p

But judge by the *entirety*, not just an occurrence now and then and you'll see that a pretty fair job is done here in this very big and diverse forum. That's a lot of work that just a few people have to undertake . Frankly, I'm impressed (even if it might personally sting some times).

Again, sorta like life.


carillion, just because things happen doesn’t make them fair.  Just because rules exist doesn’t mean we should follow them blindly.  In fact, for me, questioning authority is a part of my spirituality.  And I’m not looking for anything more than an explanation of how SunflowerP is using the rules, which has still never been provided.  If those who govern cannot provide a rationale for an insistence that the rules have been broken, I feel there’s usually some problem with either the rules or the governors.  And I don’t care that SunflowerP was rude to me.  I care that this is generally a good community that doesn’t deserve to be disrupted because SunflowerP is using rules that SunflowerP cannot even explain in a coherent manner.  Imagine how much better our community could be with understandable, evenly enforced rules.  Is it so wrong of me to request rules that are as close as possible to fair for everyone, not just the elites?

Also, I must entirely disagree with the house analogy.  This is a forum.  No, it isn’t a public forum, but it’s also not here only for the support and enjoyment of the “tenants”.  What are the “owners” without their “guests”?
 
Quote from: RandallS;171188
I'm sorry that you find them confusing. I'm sure they aren't perfect, but they work well for us and have for years.


As a general statement: I’m sorry you’re so angry.  I was angry when your staff member refused to explain how I’d dishonored your entire set of beginners’ rules, but I got over it so I could attempt a debate that might improve those rules or how they’re interpreted.  I hope you will set aside your anger for similar reasons.  This shouldn’t be about ego; it should be about community.

As I’ve said to carillion, something is not correct simply because it exists.  You say the rules have always worked well “for us”.  I’m obviously not one of “us,” as I find the rules confusingly written.  Who else isn’t permitted to be one of “us”?  Why are we not told who is an “us” and who is a “them” when we join this board?  Or should we just assume it’s members versus administration instead of administrators helping members?


Quote from: RandallS;171188
When discussing rules issues, she speaks for the Co-Hosts and staff unless the Message Board Coordinator or one of the Co-Hosts overrules her. You will note that this has not happened.


If you support SunflowerP’s scolding, fine.  Since SunflowerP refuses, could you let me know what I did wrong?  How did I “redefine” and dishonor “what we mean” by the beginners’ rules?  Do I not have a right to know what I’ve done wrong (if it really was wrong)?  Don’t others witnessing the conversation have a right to know so they don’t repeat my mistake (if it was a mistake)?  If not, then who does have the right to know how the highly subjective rules are being interpreted?

Quote from: RandallS;171188
If the rules here bother you as much as they seem to from this post, perhaps you should consider finding a board with rules that do not bother you and posting there. TC certainly cannot please everyone (and we do not attempt to do so).


If you want me off the board, you have the authority to kick me off.  Your goading neither frightens me nor flatters you.

I’m not expecting your forum to please everyone.  I’m asking you to do your best to create fair rules, and I’m even offering my expertise for free toward that goal.  There’s a huge difference.

Quote from: RandallS;171188
Since rules are not arguments in a discussion or debate, they really can't have logical argument fallacies.


That’s, frankly, one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever read.  Are you asserting that advertising - to choose only the most obvious example - cannot contain fallacious reasoning or quasi-logical statements?  I’m sorry you would rather make up fantastical properties of debate than demonstrate a willingness to improve your own rules.

Quote from: RandallS;171188
The rules do not care what you (or any other member consider) rudeness as everyone's definition is different -- whether a person is being rules violating rude here is determined by what the ADMINs (as owners of the board) consider rudeness. This board is basically their home and they get to define what is and is not rude here just as you do in your home.


The rules obviously don’t care about anything - they’re statements, not persons.  I assume what you mean is that you (who enforce the rules) don’t care what I (who cannot enforce them) think.  If so: yes, that’s more than obvious.

Again, I think you and carillion are mixing house-like metaphors with forum-like metaphors.  But, rest assured, I see no one questioning that your are an “owner” (to use your own term).

Quote from: RandallS;171188
I don't give a damn whether you respect a staff member or the rules of this board. All I care about is that you follow the rules while you are here and that you read and follow any official staff directives or warnings. If you cannot or will not do so, you need to find another board -- otherwise, you are welcome here no matter who/what you respect or don't respect.

 
Again, the goading is unnecessary.  I would love to stay and follow the rules.  Would you mind to clarify how I dishonored and redefined those rules so that I (and others) don’t have to be continually confused - or, at the least, let me know that it’s really just a guessing game?

Folks, I don’t care about your anger, your egos, your power.  I care about being part of a pagan community where everyone can understand what’s expected for honest participation.  You need clear rules, not a bait-and-switch scheme or a game of Guess What Angers Your Betters.  I’m requesting that you fix a problem on the grounds that doing so helps everyone participating in this community.  You are, clearly, free to ignore me, scold me, and punish me.  But, ultimately, what good is accomplished by doing so?  Just because this forum isn’t a democracy doesn’t mean it has to list in the direction of either total tyranny or utter chaos.
Aett of Cups

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Spiral Tree is an ezine for pagans I co-founded.

HeartShadow

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 09:02:02 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171247


 
Post in question: http://ecauldron.com/forum/showthread.php?10999-Trying-to-understand-what-it-means-to-be-a-pagan.&p=169543#post169543
 
Quote
First, I want to honor the fact that this is a beginner-friendly area, and I know that many people see conflicts (even if they're only conflicts of ideas and not persons) as off-putting.


You want to honor the fact that it's a beginner area by NOT DEBATING on a DEBATE AND DISCUSSION forum.  That's pretty much missing the point.  That's honoring a football stadium by not playing football in it.  The point is to discuss.  Debate.  Have conflict.  Refusing to do that to respect rules that don't exist is MISSING THE POINT.

I don't know how to be any more clear than that.  Refusal to cause conflict because of a beginner area is MISSING THE POINT.  You are imposing a set of guidelines that do not exist.  Then you are complaining that everyone else is going "but those guidelines don't exist" by calling the rules unclear.  Apparently because there should be rules there that do not exist.

They're not unclear.  there is no "do not cause conflict" rule.  Which, really, is just as well, isn't it?

Darkhawk

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2015, 09:04:24 pm »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171247
As a general statement: I’m sorry you’re so angry.


As a general statement: making assumptions about other people's emotional states does not serve you well, particularly when they are so obviously incorrect.

Quote
How did I “redefine” and dishonor “what we mean” by the beginners’ rules?  Do I not have a right to know what I’ve done wrong (if it really was wrong)?  Don’t others witnessing the conversation have a right to know so they don’t repeat my mistake (if it was a mistake)?  If not, then who does have the right to know how the highly subjective rules are being interpreted?


This is a discussion and debate board.  It says so, clearly and explicitly, in the rules.  It does not stop being a discussion and debate board in the beginner's areas.

When you suggest that the primary function of the board should be set aside because some "people see conflicts (even if they're only conflicts of ideas and not persons) as off-putting" (a direct quote from your relevant post, which can be found here), you are demonstrating you have a very poor understanding of the board.

In fact, the rules to which you were linked say, explicitly:  "While we ask our more experienced members to be polite in refuting incorrect information and dodgy ideas, The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is devoted to critical thinking, so expect to see incorrect information and ideas mercilessly (and often bluntly) shot down".

Is there some way in which the focus of discussion and debate is unclear here?  You appear to believe that this is "subjective", as opposed to having a clear denotational meaning that would explicitly preclude your desire to cater to people so conflict-averse that they cannot handle the basic principles of the board's basic, fundamental function.
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SunflowerP

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2015, 01:31:30 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171247
Since SunflowerP refuses, could you let me know what I did wrong?  How did I “redefine” and dishonor “what we mean” by the beginners’ rules?  Do I not have a right to know what I’ve done wrong (if it really was wrong)?  Don’t others witnessing the conversation have a right to know so they don’t repeat my mistake (if it was a mistake)?  If not, then who does have the right to know how the highly subjective rules are being interpreted?

 
I haven't refused; this is simply the first time that you expressed that you wanted clarification, about that incident specifically; you've simply thrown around generalized complaints - many of which have confused me.

For instance, I've been completely baffled by your claim that I 'punished' you. This is not true; I did not gag you, ban you, or limit your account in any way, nor did I suggest to Randall that any of these things should be done. Heck, I didn't even report the post that started all this. Why not? Because it wasn't a rules infraction - and I did not treat it as one; you were not moderated.

Yes, I had a 'staff hat' on, because I was speaking as staff about a board matter, not as an individual member. I did not have a 'moderation hat' on, because I was not issuing either a reminder or a warning about a violation of rules, I was providing information on TC's policies about what a 'beginner's area' is and how we expect people to conduct themselves.

Now, that does not mean you cannot, as a personal choice, conduct yourself in ways that are more circumspect than those rules require. But that's a personal choice. It does not 'honor the fact that this is a beginner-friendly area', as you put it, because the fact of it being a beginner-friendly area is a thing constructed and defined by TC - the label 'this is a beginner-friendly area' doesn't exist separately from the rules about beginner-friendly areas.

This does not mean, nor did I at any time say, that you dishonored the phrase 'beginner-friendly area'; I simply pointed out that, contrary to your claim, what you were doing was not honoring it, either. It was neutral; neither honor nor dishonor.

Or, alternately, what you were honoring was your own standards of what 'beginner-friendly' should mean, in a way that implied that you either a) believed/assumed that our beginner-area rules expressed the same standard, even though they do not, or b) that you knew they did not, but believed they should. In either of those cases, you would be - as HeartShadow and Darkhawk point out - dishonoring the fact that TC is first and foremost a discussion and debate forum, even in the beginner-friendly areas.

I preferred to take the former position, that your words were neutral with regard to honor and made no claims, explicit or implied, about what TC's standards are or 'should' be, and pointed you to where 'the fact that this is a beginner-friendly area' was described in detail.

Returning to the question of 'punishment': the only thing I can come up with is that you consider it 'punishment' to receive staff attention publicly. This seems odd to me; you have been around for quite a long time now, and surely are aware that staff responses to things done publicly in forum threads are themselves public, whether that's a warning (red box) for a significant rules breach, a reminder (blue box) about small rules issues that are easy to slip up on such as not quoting, or to provide information (no box at all, but signed as staff) about TC's rules, policies, procedures, etc.

It might, though, be that you are unclear on why we do this publicly, and imagine that the purpose is to humiliate the person. It is not. There are several reasons for it: it gives transparency about how our rules are enforced, so that all the membership can see how staff are conducting themselves; it means that, when someone is violating rules, other members can see that this has been dealt with and not quietly brushed under the rug; it provides the very clarity you are asking for about how the rules are enforced in practice; it makes sure that information goes not just to the individual who requested it or demonstrated that they require it, but to any others who might also have a need for it.

I hope this serves, along with Shad's and Darkhawk's posts, to clarify for you just what you did - and what you didn't - do, and what I did and didn't do. Short version: you didn't break any rules, but you did post in a way that suggested you had false assumptions about TC and the conduct required; thus, I did not moderate you, but I did direct you to accurate info about required conduct.

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RandallS

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2015, 08:10:31 am »
Quote from: Aett of Cups;171247
Folks, I don’t care about your anger, your egos, your power.  I care about being part of a pagan community where everyone can understand what’s expected for honest participation.  You need clear rules, not a bait-and-switch scheme or a game of Guess What Angers Your Betters.

Then you need to find a different forum, because we are not changing our focus or discussion and debate (even in beginner areas) nor are we going to change our rules because you do not like them.

Quote
I’m requesting that you fix a problem on the grounds that doing so helps everyone participating in this community.

No that is not what you are actually requesting. You are really requesting is that we change our board to cater to a different audience (an audience who is uncomfortable with debate ) by changing our rules to prohibit debate in areas you do not believe should have debate or in discussion/debate styles you do not like. There are other Pagan boards on the Internet that do not allow debate as we do here. We are not those boards and the Co-Hosts have zero interest in running such a board. Translation: The Cauldron is never going to cater to the needs of Pagans who do not like debate in the manner you seem to want us to do so.

And BTW, I'm not mad or even upset over this discussion. I'm just bored as we seem to have had a discussion like this at least once a year since we opened the first version of The Cauldron in late 1997. The Cauldron is a discussion and debate board. We are very upfront about this. Our rules are designed to support being a discussion and debate board. Our audience is Pagans (and their friends) who like the type of free-wheeling discussion and debate that goes on here. We are not going to change this to cater to people who want us to be something different than we are. If this board is not what you want, please find another or start one of your own, because I have no interest in running  the type of board you want The Cauldron to be.
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Aett of Cups

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Re: Dealing with subjective rules
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2015, 01:09:41 am »
Quote from: HeartShadow;171249
Post in question: http://ecauldron.com/forum/showthread.php?10999-Trying-to-understand-what-it-means-to-be-a-pagan.&p=169543#post169543
 

You want to honor the fact that it's a beginner area by NOT DEBATING on a DEBATE AND DISCUSSION forum.  That's pretty much missing the point.  That's honoring a football stadium by not playing football in it.  The point is to discuss.  Debate.  Have conflict.  Refusing to do that to respect rules that don't exist is MISSING THE POINT.

I don't know how to be any more clear than that.  Refusal to cause conflict because of a beginner area is MISSING THE POINT.  You are imposing a set of guidelines that do not exist.  Then you are complaining that everyone else is going "but those guidelines don't exist" by calling the rules unclear.  Apparently because there should be rules there that do not exist.

They're not unclear.  there is no "do not cause conflict" rule.  Which, really, is just as well, isn't it?

 
Quote from: Darkhawk;171250
As a general statement: making assumptions about other people's emotional states does not serve you well, particularly when they are so obviously incorrect.



This is a discussion and debate board.  It says so, clearly and explicitly, in the rules.  It does not stop being a discussion and debate board in the beginner's areas.

When you suggest that the primary function of the board should be set aside because some "people see conflicts (even if they're only conflicts of ideas and not persons) as off-putting" (a direct quote from your relevant post, which can be found here), you are demonstrating you have a very poor understanding of the board.

In fact, the rules to which you were linked say, explicitly:  "While we ask our more experienced members to be polite in refuting incorrect information and dodgy ideas, The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum is devoted to critical thinking, so expect to see incorrect information and ideas mercilessly (and often bluntly) shot down".

Is there some way in which the focus of discussion and debate is unclear here?  You appear to believe that this is "subjective", as opposed to having a clear denotational meaning that would explicitly preclude your desire to cater to people so conflict-averse that they cannot handle the basic principles of the board's basic, fundamental function.

 
Quote from: SunflowerP;171261
I haven't refused; this is simply the first time that you expressed that you wanted clarification, about that incident specifically; you've simply thrown around generalized complaints - many of which have confused me.

For instance, I've been completely baffled by your claim that I 'punished' you. This is not true; I did not gag you, ban you, or limit your account in any way, nor did I suggest to Randall that any of these things should be done. Heck, I didn't even report the post that started all this. Why not? Because it wasn't a rules infraction - and I did not treat it as one; you were not moderated.

Yes, I had a 'staff hat' on, because I was speaking as staff about a board matter, not as an individual member. I did not have a 'moderation hat' on, because I was not issuing either a reminder or a warning about a violation of rules, I was providing information on TC's policies about what a 'beginner's area' is and how we expect people to conduct themselves.

Now, that does not mean you cannot, as a personal choice, conduct yourself in ways that are more circumspect than those rules require. But that's a personal choice. It does not 'honor the fact that this is a beginner-friendly area', as you put it, because the fact of it being a beginner-friendly area is a thing constructed and defined by TC - the label 'this is a beginner-friendly area' doesn't exist separately from the rules about beginner-friendly areas.

This does not mean, nor did I at any time say, that you dishonored the phrase 'beginner-friendly area'; I simply pointed out that, contrary to your claim, what you were doing was not honoring it, either. It was neutral; neither honor nor dishonor.

Or, alternately, what you were honoring was your own standards of what 'beginner-friendly' should mean, in a way that implied that you either a) believed/assumed that our beginner-area rules expressed the same standard, even though they do not, or b) that you knew they did not, but believed they should. In either of those cases, you would be - as HeartShadow and Darkhawk point out - dishonoring the fact that TC is first and foremost a discussion and debate forum, even in the beginner-friendly areas.

I preferred to take the former position, that your words were neutral with regard to honor and made no claims, explicit or implied, about what TC's standards are or 'should' be, and pointed you to where 'the fact that this is a beginner-friendly area' was described in detail.

Returning to the question of 'punishment': the only thing I can come up with is that you consider it 'punishment' to receive staff attention publicly. This seems odd to me; you have been around for quite a long time now, and surely are aware that staff responses to things done publicly in forum threads are themselves public, whether that's a warning (red box) for a significant rules breach, a reminder (blue box) about small rules issues that are easy to slip up on such as not quoting, or to provide information (no box at all, but signed as staff) about TC's rules, policies, procedures, etc.

It might, though, be that you are unclear on why we do this publicly, and imagine that the purpose is to humiliate the person. It is not. There are several reasons for it: it gives transparency about how our rules are enforced, so that all the membership can see how staff are conducting themselves; it means that, when someone is violating rules, other members can see that this has been dealt with and not quietly brushed under the rug; it provides the very clarity you are asking for about how the rules are enforced in practice; it makes sure that information goes not just to the individual who requested it or demonstrated that they require it, but to any others who might also have a need for it.

I hope this serves, along with Shad's and Darkhawk's posts, to clarify for you just what you did - and what you didn't - do, and what I did and didn't do. Short version: you didn't break any rules, but you did post in a way that suggested you had false assumptions about TC and the conduct required; thus, I did not moderate you, but I did direct you to accurate info about required conduct.

Sunflower

 
Quote from: RandallS;171274
Then you need to find a different forum, because we are not changing our focus or discussion and debate (even in beginner areas) nor are we going to change our rules because you do not like them.



No that is not what you are actually requesting. You are really requesting is that we change our board to cater to a different audience (an audience who is uncomfortable with debate ) by changing our rules to prohibit debate in areas you do not believe should have debate or in discussion/debate styles you do not like. There are other Pagan boards on the Internet that do not allow debate as we do here. We are not those boards and the Co-Hosts have zero interest in running such a board. Translation: The Cauldron is never going to cater to the needs of Pagans who do not like debate in the manner you seem to want us to do so.

And BTW, I'm not mad or even upset over this discussion. I'm just bored as we seem to have had a discussion like this at least once a year since we opened the first version of The Cauldron in late 1997. The Cauldron is a discussion and debate board. We are very upfront about this. Our rules are designed to support being a discussion and debate board. Our audience is Pagans (and their friends) who like the type of free-wheeling discussion and debate that goes on here. We are not going to change this to cater to people who want us to be something different than we are. If this board is not what you want, please find another or start one of your own, because I have no interest in running  the type of board you want The Cauldron to be.

 
To know you disagree about first principles, but to lecture on as if the other person’s words and worldview aren’t important…

To ignore the text of a conversation but to still pretend to participate by making up facts as you go along…

To hand-pick only the comments you’re willing to address and to ignore other relevant statements…

To not even understand that rules are debatable statements…

To be so bored with your own project that you shrug away nearly two decades of a recurring problem that could probably have been fixed in the early planning stages…

These failures of critical thinking, in my opinion, are characteristics of those who merely administer, but who are not yet ready to teach.
Aett of Cups

Book of Spirals is my author site.
The Sentient Hillside is my blog.
Spiral Tree is an ezine for pagans I co-founded.

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