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Amata

Add "Politics" to the Content Rules

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Just in case anyone had this thought in passing.... I do not consider this a "moot point" or "no longer a problem" just because the Americans had / are finally deciding their election.* "Politics" happens everywhere around the globe; many countries are fraught with civil unrest and turbulence at present; one nation's elections may be ending but another nation's political theater is just starting up... etc. Who can say what political topic will be the next hotspot or sensitive issue? 

 

I still believe that it is important to consider this Suggestion thread, and determine what (if anything) Wurm can do to support efforts for interpersonal positivity and tranquility. 

Core Topic Points: 

  • IF Wurm maintains an enumerated list of topics to avoid in chat, and in the forums, AND such a list contains the topics "religion," "sex / pornography," and "drugs" THEN the topic "politics" and/or "current sensitive social issues" should be added to the enumerated list. 
     
  • IF "politics" is an allowed topic for discussion in Wurm chat channels, AND such a discussion has escalated such that one or more players have requested a moderator's intervention, THEN the moderator should generally err on the side of instructing players to move the discussion to a private channel and change the topic of conversation in the public channel. Per the current rules, players that do not comply with moderator's instructions may be muted, or more at the moderator's discretion. 
     
  • IF "politics" is an allowed topic for discussion in the Wurm forums, AND such a forum thread has escalated such that one or more players have requested a moderator's intervention, THEN the moderator should generally err on the side of the complainant(s). 
     
  • IF "politics" and "current sensitive social issues" continue as allowed topics for discussion in Wurm chat channels and in the forums THEN forum and chat moderators deserve modern, up-to-date, and credible training to ensure that Wurm moderators are appropriately equipped, well informed, and actively supported when asked to intervene in relevant discussions on public chat channels and on relevant forum posts. 

 

 

*yes, I'm American; I could have personalized the sentence as "just because we Americans had / are deciding our election... "  I tried to err on the side of impersonal or impartial because of what I said next: politics is everywhere, and affects everyone around the globe. This Suggestion was never intended to be specifically about my experiences and my interactions with my nation's political theater; this is about quality of life for all of us who share Wurm, no matter where on the globe we live. 

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so talk about anything u want to but be aware of its limits 

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It's always a sensitive issue.

 

On one hand, Wurm Online is a private company and can set whatever rules they want within their forums / in game. If they say "We don't want to talk about panda bears" and enforce that rule, then players can either talk about panda bears and risk a ban/ punishment or stop talking about it openly. We as players customers can either accept it or take our business (subscription ) elsewhere.

 

So is the issue about "politics" or how the topic is usually discussed?

 

Keep in mind , I am also the opinion that politics should rarely be discussed but NOT because i don't like the topic, it's because I don't enjoy how the subject of discussion degenerates into "Party A is ######", "Party B is crap" , "That political/economical/ideology is bad, mine is right, etc." It's rarely a topic that's discussed in a civilized manner and ends up, pardon my french , a mud flinging contest.

 

However, politics is an important topic to understand the world, your country, this planet, how other systems are faring, how other cultures work.

If I talk about say the abuses in North Korea, and a player disagrees with me, calling me a liar, do I risk a ban?

 

If I talk about abuses in various countries, from the USSR killing their own people in WW2 or the US dropping a (mismeasured yield) nuclear bomb in the Bikini Atoll leading to 600+ deaths, do I risk a ban? What if I want to talk about the way Great Britain handled the polish fighters that fought in the battle of britain, defending a country that wasn't even their own?  (hint, they kinda screwed them over )

 

Add to that internet trolls that can easily spark shock, outrage through simple sentences that I've read from reddit trolls such as " Trump is right to want to deport camel-jockeys back to the Middle East" which itself would spark a massive discussion, with heavy emotions on all sides.  Those sentences are meant to create outrage , they are inflamatory in design and serve no academic purpose other than providing some sad bastard a dose of dopamine seeing people argue on the internet based on his sentence.

 

Also, you have to balance out the toxicity of such chats and discussions in what should be an entertaining online game where a LOT of people come to disconnect from the real world, and not having to come back to the same stories they are bombared with 24/7, on their PCs, tablets, phones, etc. Art is escapism for many reasons.

 

I don't envy the devs having to police such a mire of mischief. And training moderators for such a task seems like a straining ordeal in itself. If not impossible.

 

We could easily draw the line at , cussing ,swearing, racism, xenophobia, etc. but the rest is quite literally the subject of thousands of treaties, papers, books on the nature of free speech, discourses and where lines are drawn.

 

Personally I like the suggestion we could have  a "Politics" channel in Wurm that can be turned on or off, similar to how we have the trade channel.

 

The question is however, what does clasify as politics? If Amata and I want to discuss say .... how Kingdom X handles its members in pvp, is that a political discussion or a Wurm discussion? If I want to talk about

 

It's an easy scapegoat to say "everything is politics". It's only that if you want to engage in sophistry and manipulate language and meaning in the process. I can just as well engage in linguistic manipulation and say "most things are armchair philosophies between people on the internet with no real life impact or meaning outside of this chat window". 

 

My end question would be, if we had a "politics" channel, would the moderators police everyone about panda bears or would it be a free for all in there?

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13 hours ago, christopher said:

so talk about anything u want to but be aware of its limits 

 

TBH... I feel like this is a good articulation of the premise of Wurm chat & forum guidelines. Like, all Wurmians start at the assumption that limits and decency will be respected. 

 

This might be tangential, but I kinda feel like even IRL, rules aren't (or shouldn't be) established to define how people should or must behave... so much as to address how to handle a situation when people haven't lived up to the norms, standards, and expectations of citizenry. Or, at very least, being a decent human being. 

 

Anyway, I guess I'm saying@christopher, well, Yes. That's the starting point. 

 

To engage with this topic, I would ask you to consider what happens when the limits are broken. What, if anything, should Wurm put down in writing as guidelines for how to handle a situation where a participant in conversation about a political topic is aware of the limits AND pushes past those limits anyway. 

 

If that is too broad, perhaps consider this question instead: who is given the "right of way" in chat & forums - the person who would like to "talk about anything" or the person who has reached "its limits"? 

 

I am interested to hear what you think. 

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10 hours ago, elentari said:

It's always a sensitive issue.

 

Hi. I adore pretty much everything you said.

I'm trying very hard to keep an open mind and take an unbiased view of all the points people are bringing to this discussion, but your post really got me. I mean, I was so pleased and interested by what you were saying AND how you were saying it... I accidentally gave a heart to your response out of instinct, before remembering that I've challenged myself to not give out "hearts" to responses on this particular thread. I've had that reaction to other responses, but always caught myself before any action was taken... with this one, I actually had to scroll back up and un-click the heart. 

 

... so now everybody knows that about me (and about what I thought about your response). I feel that everyone probably already could guess that your thoughtful reply would make me happy, anyway. 😅

 

 

10 hours ago, elentari said:

So is the issue about "politics" or how the topic is usually discussed?

 

This nuance is brilliant, and thank you for articulating it so directly. 

 

Personally, I don't feel that topics of political nature should be outright banned or restricted. To be frank, I don't think there are any topics under the sun that humanity has ever tried to discuss that should be outright, inherently banned or restricted. I honestly cannot think of a single subject matter that even the merest mention thereof is as bad or worse than the thing itself - Voldemort exempted - and, as you mention, there are many times where it is vitally important to center topics in public discourse, especially the "bad" ones that must be identified in order to call for corrections. 

 

In short - I believe any topics placed on enumerated "do not talk" lists have found their place on that list specifically due to how the topic is typically discussed. 

 

A glance at Wurm's "do not talk" list seems to confirm this - those topics being sex, drugs & rock'n'roll I mean, religion, sex/pornography, & drug use. As noted earlier in this discussion, the only such topic missing from this line up of "usual suspects" is politics. This is why my first (and initial) suggestion is IF this list continues to exist, "politics" has a universally-recognized place on it, and THUS, should be added. 

 

However, I will admit that I would be more interested in not having a "do not talk" list in the first place

 

My primary course of studies in life have been focused on religion and the human practice thereof... there is not a single context in my life that I do not carry what I've learned with me. As such - for me - there is never a time or a place (IRL, in-game, on discussion boards, forums, and cocktail parties) that I ever feel that religion as a topic would be wrong in any way. I am entirely swayed by your point that, if only people could keep a civil tongue, we could finally have some darn good conversations about things that are actually worth talking about.  I know a great deal about religion, for example, and absolutely nothing about what celebrities are using for their makeup and hair care products. 

 

But I am not perfect. I am a very fallible human being. I, myself, sometimes cannot keep a civil tongue, and I would be the first to avoid a topic rather than expose others to the venom and cruelty I can dish out when pushed too far on certain subjects. 

 

My questions to @elentarimight be: if it is, in fact, how a topic is usually discussed - how does that change the approach to handle that situation? If we know that a certain topic usually generates a specific (undesired) type of discussion, is that any different in practice from recognizing that there is an undesirable effect somehow inherent to the topic itself? 

 

 

11 hours ago, elentari said:

However, politics is an important topic to understand the world, your country, this planet, how other systems are faring, how other cultures work.

 

*fans self* ... Is it getting awfully warm in here, or is it just me? 

 

lol, no seriously, stop talking before I am forced to kiss you. Did you study anthropology at some point in life? Or polysci? Or even that demon bastard sociology? (There was a very large interdepartmental rivalry at my Uni between the anth and soci departments). 

 

 

11 hours ago, elentari said:

Add to that internet trolls that can easily spark shock, outrage through simple sentences

 

This is the most direct catalyst for me in creating this Suggestion in the first place. 

Player A says a simple sentence in chat, or in a forum post. 

Player B says "that's trolling. I'm shocked and outraged and hurt and upset. Please mute / delete the trolling."

Player A says "I'm just discussing politics, that's not against any rules." 

 

What happens next? 

 

As things currently stand, moderator intervention is entirely discretionary

 

Some mods say Player A gets the benefit of the doubt, unless Player B can prove that Player A was intentionally trolling. According to Wurm, proof of "trolling" activity requires repetition and intent - two things that the random mod responding that particular day might not be aware of, or keeping track of. The demonstrable effect of Player B experiencing shock, outrage, or hurt is insufficient to prove that Player A has broken any rules. Player B is assumed to be overreacting or in some way too sensitive, and the mod's final decision is to encourage Player B to /ignore things that bother them, and/or go to a different chat channel, or block the other forum user. 

 

Some mods say Player B gets the benefit of the doubt, unless Player A can prove that Player B is overreacting to an otherwise unremarkable discussion / forum topic. This is sufficiently provable based on chat logs, surrounding forum posts, the general vibe being represented by the discourse, and if any other players have made (or would make) similar complaints. If there is evidence that a typical conversation is progressing, or if there is evidence that other players share the sentiment, the mod will make a final decision based on discretion and context. 

 

Either way, there is very little consistency in the current handling by chat and forum moderators. With no specific rule addressing a topic known to generate undesired actions, both the players and the moderators are in a constant state of "playing it by ear" - for the same basic issue over and over again. 

 

 

11 hours ago, elentari said:

Also, you have to balance out the toxicity of such chats and discussions in what should be an entertaining online game where a LOT of people come to disconnect from the real world, and not having to come back to the same stories they are bombared with 24/7, on their PCs, tablets, phones, etc. Art is escapism for many reasons.

 

The train of thought that led to this Suggestion might be summarized as: 

political topics are known to generate toxicity in a game community actively trying to fight a reputation as a toxic community. I love this game, and many of the good folk I have met in this gaming community. I have had personal experiences of what I consider political trolling in chat / forums - and I have seen first hand that the moderator's response to such is inconsistent and sometimes appears to uphold a player's right to be toxic. This makes no sense to me. Something ought to address this disconnect between wanting to oust toxicity and the unregulated state of political topics fostering toxic interactions subject to random moderator discretion.  

 

 

 

11 hours ago, elentari said:

I don't envy the devs having to police such a mire of mischief. And training moderators for such a task seems like a straining ordeal in itself. If not impossible.

 

I agree. 

 

Suggesting that the chat & forum rules might be changed to address the broader issue was an attempt on my part to ensure that the moderators are not to blame for the state of things. A moderator can only do so much - and as Wurm is a small community (feeling growing pains at present?) - many or most or all of the moderators are volunteer positions.

 

While I believe that the players deserve better continuity & instruction in writing about consequences for certain actions... I also believe that the moderators deserve better, too. Without a clear, written ruleset for something known to be a source of problematic behavior,  the moderators are left in the precarious position of making constant judgement calls about an already sensitive matter. In this particular area, I feel like Wurm is kinda pushing its own moderators out on a limb, and one that is known to be tricky at best.

 

I don't like the idea that the mods are in that sort of position. I also don't like that putting mods in that sort of position has a trickle-down effect of being singularly unhelpful for the players calling mods specifically for help. 

 

Basically: we're all getting the short end of the stick. And it can be better. It should be better. Let's make it better. For all of us. 

 

 

11 hours ago, elentari said:

We could easily draw the line at , cussing ,swearing, racism, xenophobia, etc. but the rest is quite literally the subject of thousands of treaties, papers, books on the nature of free speech, discourses and where lines are drawn.

 

Personally I like the suggestion we could have  a "Politics" channel in Wurm that can be turned on or off, similar to how we have the trade channel.

 

The question is however, what does clasify as politics? If Amata and I want to discuss say .... how Kingdom X handles its members in pvp, is that a political discussion or a Wurm discussion? If I want to talk about

 

It's an easy scapegoat to say "everything is politics". It's only that if you want to engage in sophistry and manipulate language and meaning in the process. I can just as well engage in linguistic manipulation and say "most things are armchair philosophies between people on the internet with no real life impact or meaning outside of this chat window". 

 

My end question would be, if we had a "politics" channel, would the moderators police everyone about panda bears or would it be a free for all in there?

 

Hi. My name's Amata. Welcome to the topic. 

 

no, seriously, tho... I honestly cannot speak to what the moderators would do, or could do, or even would want to do. I also know that, as a matter of policy, the moderators do not comment on topics in the Suggestion forum - so I'm pretty sure that this question will remain, unfortunately, unanswered. 

 

As for the rest.... I agree, books and treatises and papers and studies and the life-long works of great humans that have come before have been dedicated to unraveling the question "what is political?"  and also, "when is this political?"  

 

It might be easier to find an answer to the question "when is it Art, versus when is it obscene?" - and that's really saying something. 

 

I agree that I find the response "everything is political" a purposefully navel-gazing act of diverting from an otherwise well-defined discussion. How to throw a call for action off the rails? Convert it into a philosophical debate. There are plenty of other responses that have a similar (intended?) effect on the conversation; I find them all to be distastefully disingenuous. Although I have tried to be supportive and pleasant, there are a few that I have even called out in this thread already. Very few things leave me as disgusted as an earnest question given a flippant response. (I see you, you blackguards, and you've been put on my shtlist). 

 

 

One problem with simply making an official "politics" chat channel that players can simply opt out of, is that this implies the message that all political topics are inevitable trainwrecks that ought to be isolated from public / general discourse... I would much prefer a message that says political topics are for discourse, but will be curtailed when they are heading toward trainwrecks. 

 

Also: If "politics" chat channel.... why not "religion" chat channel. Why not "adult topics" chat channel. Why not "drugs and rock n'roll" chat channel. 
I don't want to cry "slippery slope!!" but, well, there it is for just this moment.  

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Would simple discord like spoiler feature work for wurm chat. you are allowed to speak politics and religion or whatnot if you use spoiler on it which requires player to click on to see what was sent. That way players can choose to not open those messages?

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13 hours ago, Ame said:

Would simple discord like spoiler feature work for wurm chat. you are allowed to speak politics and religion or whatnot if you use spoiler on it which requires player to click on to see what was sent. That way players can choose to not open those messages?

 

If this is something that can be programmed and implemented, sure. 

 

This suggestion absolutely achieves the core goal - "make political topics optional content for players without removing access to the primary mode of Wurm communication (ie. public chat channels)" 

 

And this suggestion has the added benefit that basically nothing would need changing about forum posts with political content - as forum posts are already filtered by subforum (content), topic Title (discussion focus), and spoilers (particularly sensitive content).

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@Oblivionnreaverhere, I fixed it for you: 
 

15 hours ago, Oblivionnreaver said:

reject politics, embrace monke  a privileged sociopolitical & economic situation in society such that I am able to "reject politics" and position the entire discourse as a laughing matter. 

 

Maybe we can consider something like:  "reject trolling, embrace respect & empathy for others" ??

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expectations are too high for a community

realistically the only viable suggestion to be made here is whether or not to ban topics or not- everything else has too much nuance, and i'd be extremely wary of encroaching on the "rules on how to talk about things" or "how to moderate trolling"

 

Quote

WXZx13E.png


player B types /ignore player A/the people conversing with player A and the day goes on as normal

i get you might get back into the "what if more people are talking about it in a public chat and i dont want to see it" and the notion of 'who has the right of way on a public forum' but the answer is unfortunately "everyone does" and when conflicts arise it's up to the individual person to deal with it- moderators merely need to judge based off a, mostly binary, set of rules and whether someone is doing something bad or not. any time a moderator overreaches and tries to moderate something that isnt strictly against the rules, people will become upset- which isn't to say they are wrong in doing w/e they do

tl;dr i don't support any rule change that's too vague or complicated as it arbitrarily empowers moderator's abilities to stifle conversation, and if you dislike where a conversation is going it's honestly on you to distance yourself away- if you can't because you're too liable to get emotional or cant resist, then any consequences of that are honestly on you

i say this because it doesn't necessarily need to relate to politics or even something political- i know people who completely and genuinely believe that discussing the murder of people they are not ideologically in line with is completely fine and tolerable and dont understand why its controversial, i also know people who freak out the moment they mention they've killed an animal in game and will enter long debates about why murdering pixel animals is unethical and genuinely think other people are trolling them when they disagree

it's cases like those and all the more why we can't really try to rule these grey areas. just walk away and leave the insane people to their ramblings. works every time.

Edited by RainRain

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so we need to act like the mute function does not work, and practice censorship, all because a few people dont like listen to the opinions of others? interesting.. 
in that case we better ban every topic that someone might find offensive.. woodscraps give me terrible flashbacks, and should no longer be a topic for debate. 

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-1 less chat censorship.

This isn't a daycare.

As long as its fair and non extremist. Playball.

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Heya Y'all .... I know there have been some new replies, and I'm really looking forward to giving them a good read, a long think, and (hopefully) an intelligible response. 

 

As some of y'all might already know, I received some serious and also seriously bad news during a doctor appointment Wednesday morning, and I've mostly been hiding out on-deed grooming foals and lambs and baby seals since then. 

 

Just wanted y'all to know - I'm not ignoring your discussion points, and I will engage with your perspectives, just as soon as I can get the ground back under my feet again. 

Until then, stay healthy, safe, and happy plz. 💜 

Edited by Amata
typos and stuff

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I'm gonna hit up the smaller responses in a quick manner before I dive into the wonderful things that RainRain has said. Hope that is okay with everyone. 

 

On 11/11/2020 at 8:02 PM, Azgodeth said:

practice censorship

 

On 11/11/2020 at 8:21 PM, Beastwolf said:

less chat censorship.

 

I have previously taken a look at the idea that this discussion / topic / suggestion approaches or overlaps with the realm of censorship. On censorship, I agree: censorship is not a good thing, and we should fight against it. On whether or not what, specifically, we are discussing here qualifies as censorship... I am ambivalent. I am open to being convinced that putting 'politics' on the enumerated list is, at its core, a matter of censorship - but so far, honestly, I have not yet heard a compelling discussion on that point. 

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that many -1 posts use "censorship' in a manner suggestive of a little straw man mixed with a variation of Godwin's Law. That is, I have found these responses to be more interested in declaring the entire discussion problematic due to CeNS0rShiP! (and daring anyone to disagree - thus arguing from an assumed pro-censorship position) rather than interested in engaging in an examination of what, if any, aspects of censorship are in play.

 

With all the discussion so far, I think my position re: censorship has become this - IF we determine that maintaining an enumerated list of topics to avoid in chat, and in the forums, is ultimately a form of censorship that we reject; THEN the entire list should be removed from the game rules. For me, there is only 1 caveat - IF an enumerated list of banned topics is removed from the rules, THEN it is reasonable for Wurm to instead ban only such topics or content that is legally necessary to maintain a "family friendly" rating on an international level

I would expect the content rules to look something like this, if the enumerated list were removed, my additions and subtractions are marked in purple. I used bold text to emphasis that article "B" already provides a decent basis for addressing rules specifically because of laws involving young audiences / "family friendly" content. 

Quote

 

Content

A ) You may not use sexually explicit, harmful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive language.

 - This includes workarounds, symbols, links, misspelling, and text within images.

B ) You may not discuss, post items or links, use images, videos, names, or avatars unsuitable for a young audience, or which would be likely to cause offense.

 - This includes pornography, illegal drugs or the abuse of such drugs, obscene imagery, racially offensive imagery, imagery symbolic of themes which would cause offense, or images that contain inappropriate text.
C ) You may not discuss, post items or links on religion, pornography, illegal drugs or the abuse of such drugs, game exploits, macros, or disallowed game practices as per the game rules.
D ) You may not use the Wurm Online chat system to sell or advertise digital asset keys(i.e. Steam keys*), products which are illegal, or market any products not concerned with Wurm Online.

*The sale of Wurm Unlimited keys is prohibited on all platforms as per Steam policy.

 

 

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On 11/11/2020 at 8:21 PM, Beastwolf said:

This isn't a daycare.

As long as its fair and non extremist. Playball.

 

Hi Beastwolf 
(1) It is not infantile to want to discuss when and how "rules" step in when voluntary courtesy fails to safeguard desired interpersonal interactions.

(2) The premise of the problem rests on a situation where the chat is specifically not fair and non extremist. 

 

I agree that "fair and non extremist" chat and forum posts should be free and unregulated and promoted and enjoyed by all. What, if anything, do you think should be done to curb and/or react to chat and forum posts that are unfair and extremist

Also, what is the rubric you might suggest we all use to determine what is "fair" and what is "non extremist"? 

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On 11/11/2020 at 8:02 PM, Azgodeth said:

so we need to act like the mute function does not work, and practice censorship, all because a few people dont like listen to the opinions of others? interesting.. 
in that case we better ban every topic that someone might find offensive.. woodscraps give me terrible flashbacks, and should no longer be a topic for debate. 

 

Hi Azgodeth!
I am interested in the conclusion you have suggested (I marked in bold above). Although it feels a little bit like a causal slope, I would like to better understand the rationale behind this discussion point - Can you elaborate how it is reasonable to expect that adding "politics" to the enumerated list will ultimately arrive at a need to ban every topic with the possibility of offense? 

 

 

On 11/11/2020 at 8:02 PM, Azgodeth said:

so we need to act like the mute function does not work, and practice censorship, all because a few people dont like listen to the opinions of others? interesting.. 
in that case we better ban every topic that someone might find offensive.. woodscraps give me terrible flashbacks, and should no longer be a topic for debate. 

 

1 person tending to fight with or act on dislike for another 1 person = reasonable scope for /ignore usage

X people in 1 deed tending to poor interpersonal interactions with another X person and/or 1 deed = reasonable scope for using /ignore

1 alliance with a general pattern for poor interactions when dealing with 1 or 2 other alliances = reasonable scope for using / ignore
 

X person and/or people known for a constant stream of problematic interactions with the majority of the entire server = well beyond a reasonable expectation that the entire server should individually use /ignore and cede the chat channel and/or subforum to continued misuse. 

 

AND on top of that - because moderation is discretionary - repeated reporting of X person / people for "trolling" or "harassment" results in the underlying issue being addressed sporadically, if at all. 

 

So I reached the point of coming to this Suggestion. I would be pleased to hear from you a better suggestion for handling situations where - in fact - the mute function does not work

 

 

On 11/11/2020 at 8:02 PM, Azgodeth said:

so we need to act like the mute function does not work, and practice censorship, all because a few people dont like listen to the opinions of others? interesting.. 
in that case we better ban every topic that someone might find offensive.. woodscraps give me terrible flashbacks, and should no longer be a topic for debate. 

 

 

I'm honestly confused who this is addressing.
Is "a few people" the people using politics as a topic to troll; and the "opinions of others" the other people in chat who have asked for the upsetting behavior to stop? 
(A few people are misbehaving and don't like listening to others' opinions that the behavior is negative / toxic, and needs to stop)

Or 
Is "a few people" the individuals in chat who don't like to listen to trolling or extremist remarks, and the "opinions of others" the characterization of those extremist remarks / trolling?

Please clarify. 


If few = the trolls, and others = the other players in chat, then I believe this is an accurate summary of the type of situation I would like to see handled (better?) (more consistently?) by Wurm staff. If you dislike or find fault with the Suggestion(s) I am working with in this topic, I would very much appreciate your input on how to modify or completely change the suggestion to be more acceptable. 

 

However, if few = people who have been offended, and  others = players simply sharing their opinions on political topics, then I agree with you. The mere sharing of political opinions in chat is insufficient reason for banning topics or escalating from a relatively simple /ignore function. 

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On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:

tl;dr i don't support any rule change that's too vague or complicated as it arbitrarily empowers moderator's abilities to stifle conversation, and if you dislike where a conversation is going it's honestly on you to distance yourself away

 

RainRain, I very much enjoyed your response and honestly liked many of the individual points you made. I fully intend to make a real response you so rightly deserve - but I've hit a time limit this evening (and I realllllly need to eat). 

I'll try to make a reply that shows how much I appreciated your thoughtful input, as soon as I can 💜✌🏼️

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whoever claimed that banning politics would require us to ban anything else in the future? 
but if we're getting rid of anything people find offensive, then we may as well ban everything that could offend anyone in any way. 
you still haven't actually articulated a good reason why we should even bother adding politics to any sort of list, other then the fact that some people don't like other people's opinions, and some people can troll the chat.  
again i wonder, why are you trying to outright ban a vast area of discussion, when your mute function can save you from any of those nasty opinions already?

one person talking about thing you don't like = mute that person. two people, one hundred people = mute those people. the whole channel? then don't keep that channel open. real simple fix. no censorship required. 
we don't need another suggestion because the mute function works perfectly, and has worked since day 1. no point in digging for philosophical alternatives when the classic fix still works the best. if you don't bother to use the mute function, thats on you. you have no right to complain about things you don't like seeing when you have the option of not seeing it. we're not going to hold your hand and do all the work for you, nor should you expect the game to do it for you. 


 

and your confused about who doesn't like the opinions of others, when you started a whole forum topic calling for the censorship of a blanket term like politics to try and tame some trolls? sure, some people use it as an excuse to troll. well people use EVERY topic in the book as an excuse to troll. you still haven't given us a reason why politics in particular should be added to the rules, when it is not the problem. you seem to be assuming that every political conversation is automatically a troll, and meant to attack you and everyone else in the chat. im not seeing the connection yet? 

oh, and who says your idea of what is a "toxic" conversation meets anyone else's standards?  seems pretty toxic to force the entire community to conform to your particular standards, when its already got its own. wanting to rush out and silence everyone cause you think they are trolling makes you the busybody interfering in other people's lives, making you the guilty party technically. one persons standards of civility may not match everyone else's. 


sounds more like you just want more speech police patrolling the chats, something that doesn't actually have anything to do whatsoever with people discussing politics in chat. so i have to keep wondering, why go after politics itself? but since you agree with me that the topic itself is not the issue, i wonder why you are going after it at all in the first place? 

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I think that the "good reason" that you are looking to be articulated is that it is currently already an unwritten rule, so there is being sought the actual putting of it in writing.

 

Moderators step in stop political discussion, on what basis?  It isn't in the ruleset that is available.   A ruleset augmented through chat amongst the moderators?  

Edited by TheTrickster

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Dedicated to anyone who believes that they can create a perfect system (set of rules) that will solve every problem.

 

 

No, you cannot create such a system. The only thing you can and try to do is make excuses to restrict people with whom you disagree.

Edited by Darnok
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@DarnokCan't agree more. We don't need any extensive content rules. We have moderators, who are to moderate the discussion, and moderation doesn't mean just telling us to shut and go away - this is something that should only happen in extreme cases, a good moderator will turn wild discussion into pleasant one using uber diplomacy and people skills, it doesn't even need to be an official moderator. After Amata did her "catharsis thread" we had a pretty neat and looong discussion on Freedom, with many participants, and hell we were able to even discuss hot topic such as sources of morality without hating each other and getting wild. We were our own moderators. And I loved it. 

 

There was some nice, smart guy named Heinlein, and he said: Free speech includes the right to not listen if not interested. 

Edited by Platyna
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Quote

We were our own moderators. And I loved it. 

 

There was some nice, smart guy named Heinlein, and he said: Free speech includes the right to not listen if not interested

 

Exactly. If some mechanism is needed for these less patient players, then being able to ignore the other player for several hours should solve any problem. But it should work in a way that it can be turned on/off by the individual player so as not to centralize the possibility of censorship on any player or any topic.

Edited by Darnok

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On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:

expectations are too high for a community

 

But are they, tho? 

If you lower expectations, a community will always disappoint. If you raise the bar, you have the chance of the community rising above expectations. ... maybe? One bais that I must acknowledge is that I was raised in high-expectation type communities, and shoved in among peers and colleagues that constantly vied to exceed expectations by the greatest amount possible. That's simply what I am used to - and it is good to remember that other people have other experiences of what a community of people might be capable of or not. 

 

On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:

realistically the only viable suggestion to be made here is whether or not to ban topics or not- everything else has too much nuance, and i'd be extremely wary of encroaching on the "rules on how to talk about things" or "how to moderate trolling"

 

This honestly sounds entirely reasonable to me. 

 

IMO - topics should not be banned unless specifically necessary due to laws for "family friendly" game ratings. And that specific underlying reason should be clearly written in black and white in the game rules. Any other topic under the sun should be left free for the community to explore if they want to. You are correct that everything above and beyond this adds layers of nuance - and many scenarios end up relyant on player's experiences and personal lives and beliefs and opinions. 

 

 

On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:

... "how to moderate trolling"

 

At this point in time, I don't think I care anymore about how mods handle trolling - at this point, I just care that mods are actually able to identify trolling. 

 

If I were to go back in time and write this post again, I would take greater care in the initial post to differentiate between Wurmians having conversations of all sorts with different opinions...  and trolling / harassment in chat. Looking back, I feel like my original post was a bit of a tangle of threads, but feedback and discussion here has helped straighten out & separate the bits of string from each other. 

 

One loose thread is a somewhat straight-forward question:  the game Rules have an enumerated list of traditionally touchy topics to avoid, why is political topics not part of this list? 

 

Another bit of string might be: Beyond what might be legally necessary to retain a "family friendly" game rating, is it even appropriate for Wurm to be listing topics banned from discussion? 

 

The last bit that I feel has been unwound goes something like: having a list of disallowed topic content has an unintended effect of muddying the waters for moderators trying to distinguish between players having engaging discussions and players trolling and/or harassing each other. Even if no topics of conversation were banned, Wurm would still have a game Rule against trolling and a Rule against harassment. Those rules need to be clarified, and then enforced with some level of consistency, please. 

 

On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:

the answer is unfortunately "everyone does" and when conflicts arise it's up to the individual person to deal with it- moderators merely need to judge based off a, mostly binary, set of rules and whether someone is doing something bad or not. any time a moderator overreaches and tries to moderate something that isnt strictly against the rules, people will become upset- which isn't to say they are wrong in doing w/e they do

 

I have been thinking about this bit a lot. 

There is much content in Wurm that is proudly advertised as "player-driven" and "player-generated".... I keep thinking that if "everyone does" (have a right inside Wurm) - that ought to mean that everyone is also able to have a hand in judgement and reparations. As you mention, a moderator is merely a judge who can state with authority whether something is or is not against a Rule. And following this, most (all?) Wurmians can name at least 1 moment where "technically, no rule was broken" but the community involved more or less all agree that something wrong was done, even if it wasn't against the Rules

 

If it truly is down to the individual person(s) to deal with it, and /ignore is the weapon we are given - we are basically saying that when we're in Wurm and there's a troll lurking around the neighborhood, don't attack it or anything, just ignore that it's there, and ... what, exactly? Say Mr Troll please stop hitting me with that rough shod club? 

No, in Wurm we mount our horse and kill the troll. With neighbors and guards if need be. 

But in chat and in the forums? I don't think we have an equivalent action at our disposal. And if we try to give as good as we get, we tend to get warned & muted too. 

 

 

On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:

if you dislike where a conversation is going it's honestly on you to distance yourself away- if you can't because you're too liable to get emotional or cant resist, then any consequences of that are honestly on you

 

Yeah. well, yes to this. Pretty much all of this. 

There's a lot of things that I've been reflecting on from the responses to this topic. And this specific section right here tells me that I miscommunicated in my first post. I was not very clear or precise, or I had too many aspects layered up to effectively discuss any one individually. But this is not the first (and I suspect not the last) response that rests on a premise that even with a political topic, the situation in question is a conversation being held in good faith. And that the interpersonal conflict arises from simply not liking the trend or tone or opinions being voiced. Whereas, I've been trying this whole time to talk about something entirely different. 

 

So that's on me, everyone. It was my job in the first post to clearly articulate the premise, the problem, and suggest one possible solution. And I clearly failed in that regard. 

 

The other thing that I have learned from the general tone and content of various responses, is that I had just assumed that all islands had chat channel content roughly equivalent to the chat channel content I've been seeing since joining Wurm. One trend I've picked up from responses is a general underestimation of the impact of the problematic interactions. All I can say in the forums at this time is that I wouldn't make a post about everyday conversations that simply hurt some feelings when different opinions were expressed. 

 

Taken together, this suggests to me that I probably overestimated the spread of this sort of behavior and pervasiveness in the broader Wurm community.

 

I observed a situation where the few dominated and alienated the many - and when questioned, the many replied, "its better to just give up now; we've tried to address this issue but nothing has worked. nobody likes it, but we've got nothing else we can do. you'll get used to it eventually." Generally a community with this kind of response is due to a "there's just too many of 'em, Cap'n" situation; so I had thought it implied that what I was seeing was fairly standard for the Wurm community no matter what island you were on or what subforum you were visiting. So if I've been overestimating the spread of trolls and toxic dumps in Wurm, I apologise and I am, frankly, a bit relieved. 

 

 

On 11/10/2020 at 7:15 PM, RainRain said:


it's cases like those and all the more why we can't really try to rule these grey areas. just walk away and leave the insane people to their ramblings. works every time.

 

You are intelligent and willing to interact, and challenge me... I am genuinely curious - If Mr Insane is on the main chat channel for your server every day, spouting off and trying to stir up contention and drama; what methods do you use to maintain interactions with the others on your island, while also avoiding ever using the main chat channel? 

 

 

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On 11/23/2020 at 1:56 AM, Azgodeth said:

 whoever claimed that banning politics would require us to ban anything else in the future? 
but if we're getting rid of anything people find offensive, then we may as well ban everything that could offend anyone in any way. 

 

What do you see as the extent of "we may as well ban everything that could offend anyone in any way."  If you are not implying a slippery slope, can you please clarify what you mean by this? Also I'm not sure you answered the previous question I had about this specific point: I would like to better understand the rationale behind this discussion point - Can you elaborate how it is reasonable to expect that adding "politics" to the enumerated list will ultimately arrive at a need to ban every topic with the possibility of offense? 

 

Your most recent response had a whole lot to unpack there. I'm still picking through aspects of it, but overall, I got the impression that the core elements were a nearly identical repetition of your previous response. Maybe you missed it - but I did go through your earlier reply & had a few specific questions or clarifications I would love to hear you address. 

 

 

On 11/23/2020 at 1:56 AM, Azgodeth said:

 ...

and your confused about ...

 

your syntax. Your phrasing was unclear and I would like you to please clarify your pronouns, among other things. 

 

 

On 11/23/2020 at 1:56 AM, Azgodeth said:

sure, some people use it as an excuse to troll. well people use EVERY topic in the book as an excuse to troll.

 

This is a solid point. 

Trolls gonna troll. ... on the other hand, if I know that a troll is comin' to attack me, I would rather that the troll have a fishing pole equipped than a huge shod club. Why allow a troll easy access to things that can actually cause serious wounds? 

 

Haters gonna hate; trolls gonna troll - but I don't go around handing out ammo, because some people do not grasp the concept of contextual relativity. 

 

 

On 11/23/2020 at 1:56 AM, Azgodeth said:

one persons standards of civility may not match everyone else's

 

... clearly. 

 

 

On 11/23/2020 at 1:56 AM, Azgodeth said:

you still haven't given us a reason why politics in particular should be added to the rules, when it is not the problem

 

Although I feel as though I've spent the last 3 pages working with others to help define and identify which areas of concern are problematic, and for what reason.... I also feel that as many times as you repeat this question, I ought to have a ready answer. So today, here is what I was considering: 

Why add "politics" to the enumerated list? Because of the balance of probability standard. 

 

 

On 11/23/2020 at 1:56 AM, Azgodeth said:

i wonder why you are going after it at all in the first place? 

 

I am curious what you meant to suggest by this ? 

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On 11/23/2020 at 3:53 AM, TheTrickster said:

I think that the "good reason" that you are looking to be articulated is that it is currently already an unwritten rule, so there is being sought the actual putting of it in writing.

 

Moderators step in stop political discussion, on what basis?  It isn't in the ruleset that is available.   A ruleset augmented through chat amongst the moderators?  

 

 

This honestly means a lot to me. 

 

I've seen a bit on the forums and in chat recently about "unwritten rules" and "common courtesy" and the like. I've also had any number of PMs lately with a wide variety of Wurm players who took the opportunity to reveal to me, their mental health status. Any number of Wurm players may be exactly the sort of person who, through no fault of their own, struggle to understand and relate to "unwritten rules" and "social conventions" and "common courtesies." 

 

As others have noted in various responses on this topic so far, a player cannot expect that other Wurm players share the same concepts of courtesy or toxicity in interpersonal interactions. All we have to help put us all on the same page are the Rules As Written. 

 

Players might voluntarily extend to each other niceties that are unwritten or not otherwise specified. That's nice. It is optional, however, and while it might earn a bit of extra esteem among your neighbors, those Wurm players who do not spend time with "niceties" are not uncourteous, they are not to be considered rude - they are simply our Wurm neighbors with direct and businesslike manner. But navigating social interplay in a larger community is trivial compared to when the misunderstandings really begin. 

 

I truly believe that it is, to some extent, necessary for moderators to have reasonable amounts of discretionary power - at very least, so a moderator is empowered to read a room; to respond based on context as well as black & white "facts"... 

 

But when mods step in to break up a discussion, or act to mute a player, based on something that is not in the Rules As Written - they (and we) are immediately in the no man's land of a judgement call. Did the mod read the room correctly? Was there actually a problem going on? The best analogy I can think of right now is that when young children are playing in the backyard, it is extremely hard to know what is playful roughhousing - and what is bullying that needs intervention. 

 

I think "reasonable amounts" of discretionary power can be (should be?) limited when possible. One way to do this is to add areas of known instability into the rule set from the start. 

 

 

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