A Modest Proposal to Amend the Community Rules

As a reminder, The TL;DR

  1. Be cool. Don’t post insulting, bullying, victim-blaming, racist, sexist, or homophobic remarks.

  2. Stunt accounts and throwaways may live, but sock puppets, astroturfers and spammers will die.

  3. Stay on topic. Don’t hijack threads, repeat yourself or post generic talking points.

  4. Constructive criticism is welcome. Hostile, whining hand-wringers will be eaten.

  5. Like the good, Flag the bad, and avoid contentless comments.

  6. Don’t post e-mail addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, URL-shortened links that obscure the target, porn, or gore.

  7. We politely insist you do not post stuff you do not have the right to post.

  8. We have the right to delete an account or content at any time for any reason. Remember to export your data right after making dodgy comments.

  9. Enforcement may be lax or draconian as befits the whims of the Entity. The rude will be eaten first.

  10. Rules lawyering will fail. Be sure to read our exciting Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

I introduce the following bill (viz., “the funruly rule”) to the community for discussion, revision, and potential adoption.

`x. Punch up, not down. Prioritize mutant values over mutant style. Recognize that it’s not always humanly possible to elegantly do both, so always err on the side of including integrity over panache.``

Use case:
I’ve been commenting here for for 3 years now. Discourse counts some 5,200 individual posts. Many long-winded. Many obscure. Noobies should not have to read all of that in order to call me out if I say something hurtful or derogatory. Anyone who calls me out on my values is giving me an opportunity to learn how to be a more effective champion of my values. This requires the strength and the courage to face bad-faith challenges, but let’s face it, bad faith challenges are pretty weaksauce these days. On the other hand, growing a values-based community is a wonderful thing.

hashtag make every reader regular again


Are you finding new users are not calling people out for bad behavior? I’m also wondering why one would make a reference to “mutant” anything in a document that’s worded to be understandable by people who are new to the community. Frankly, I’m a little confused by the entire proposal.


Well, there goes the cast of regulars.


You want all TLs (or at least 1 and 2) to be able to flag?


They already are.


That’s what I thought. So I don’t see why noobs can’t call out someone who’s been around a while.

I am misunderstanding.

Have some Regulars (like me?) been beatin’ up on new arrivals? Maybe not giving them a chance to speak up without us making fun of their maybe inelegant bons mots?


Hijacking threads is my favorite hobby :frowning:


Initial feedback suggests deleting the extraneous

Current revision.

x. Punch up, not down. Prioritize values over style. Recognize it's not always possible to support both, so always err on elevating integrity over panache.


I’d have thought that all came under the heading of “Be Cool” but maybe I don’t get what you’re saying here.


So far it’s aligning fairly well with the DC303 style guidelines:

substance over style. use lowercase. write code. python. know how to use/break/fix your *. ignore style mandates from others.


Great question. Tropo asked a version of the same.

I posit that there’s some sort of Hidden Curriculum that regulars grok but is less-than-explicit in the current ruleset.

How do we identify those hidden values? How do we surface them? How do we validate that we are promoting the values that we want? How do we make them explicit and nurture those values to be forefront in the minds of the boingers of the future?


jinx, buy me a coke.

although “substance” is not as ethically-laden as “values.”


How do we identify those hidden values? How do we surface them? How do
we validate that we are promoting the values that we want? How do we
make them explicit and nurture those values to be forefront in the minds
of the boingers of the future?

Click on the heart button and get on with your life.


Since you’ve laid it out at this point, I’ll go ahead and chime in with my response. Lead by example. I’ve never been very big on codifying values. My 2 cents anyway.

ETA: Going back to this statement:

Noobies should not have to read all of that in order to call me out

I don’t feel that they do. I think the overall values, beyond what’s laid out in the “TL;DR” come across fairly quickly from the more senior members here.


I think that the notion of punching up/down presupposes a community or society based upon inequality. All voluntary participants in the social process share power, it can’t really be taken or given, isn’t transferable. Anybody reading this is just as much the “power elite” of society as any politician, businessperson, or celebrity. All that the “society of the spectacle” really sells is mediation and disenfranchisement.

The key is to simply interact with people as equals, rather than starting from the presumption that other people have more or less power than you do. Failing to do this would be to internalize the mechanisms of oppression.


Why would I or anyone have to read everything you’ve ever written to call you out on a lapse in civility or whatever on your part?


I dunno, but I’m starting to feel like I’ve missed a meeting or three here and there ain’t much I can usefully add anyway. :slight_smile:

Like, if it was me, I’d just cut all the rules down to four words - “Don’t be a dick”.
I’d add “Or you’ll get eaten” but that would look a bit odd. :laughing:


yes, yes it would.
[SFX: snort of derision]


see. i knew you were going to say that. :wink:


This is important. I think a lot of us (most definitely me included) are smartasses who are kind of in love with our own wit, and, as Regulars, have been around enough blocks at the BBS to have formed sometimes-unspoken consensuses about what’s cool to say and what isn’t. And I don’t really mean just the obvious stuff (the racism and sexism). Every now and then an unpopular opinion gets raised, and then dogpiled down into oblivion. Some of those opinions probably deserve such dogpiling. But every now and then I think we might have a tendency to clobber some benighted comment with, I dunno, maybe a hair-trigger on the slurping GIF. Not always, not even most times such a thing is employed. But every now and then.

Might it be possible that we have a few knee-jerk reactions to certain mindsets different from whatever seems to be closest to a consensus? Is it possible there might be some benefit to, say, drawing out some clarification first before piling on the hapless Wrong Person Who Is Wrong with all our clever word-spankings and dismissive GIFs?

I think that’s probably true. But are we sometimes a little heavy-handed with it? I mean, just because we’ve been around this particular block a time or two, does that insulate us from possibly learning from a tentative comment that strays from the zone we normally inhabit?

I think the key is to interact with people as equals, and yet there is a power imbalance here. We Regulars are entrusted with (admittedly quite minor) powers that are withheld from other users. Arguably we’ve earned those powers by… well, blowing a lot of time reading shit around here. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

But we’ve also earned some standing in this community. I just earned Regularity a month or so ago, but I’ve been farting around and blathering on this BBS for, I dunno, since before it went to Disqus anyway, and many of you see my name and/or my avatar and pretty much know what to expect from me. Kinda like we’ve come to know the way Cowicide posts, or funruly, or chgoliz, or popobawa4u… we’ve all built up reputations here. And that’s great. That’s part of why Discourse is set up the way it is.

But sometimes I think we’ve become so comfortable in our community of regulars (not just Regulars, but all the users we’ve come to recognize over the years) that we have a tendency to be a bit insular.

Sigh. I know I should come up with examples.