I applaud the recent lounge topics on “how can we be more civil”, such as:
However. I find that these topics, though they are started with the best of intentions, ironically tend to devolve, because it’s not clear what is actually being discussed.
Poster #1: I think abstract concept A.
Poster #2: No, abstract concept B.
Poster #3: You’re both idiots, abstract concept C!
People have an uncanny ability to argue about a lot of abstract concepts that may or may not have anything to do with actual problems the community actually has. That is why these kinds of topics, in my opinion, need to be heavily anchored with concrete examples. By this I do not mean User X did something I don’t like, absolutely not!*
For example, let’s concrete-ize Civility on the BBS:
Are we doing too much eye-rolling?
I think that, while not specifically mentioned in the Community Guidelines, eye-rolling violates the intent of civility here, and falls in with things like insulting, bullying, and hostility.
I felt that this was an excellent question to bring up, it was answered wonderfully in the topic by several regulars, and it made me think about what I do, and what others do. That’s awesome. That’s what these topics are for. As for the rest of the topic much further downstream of that… eehhhh notsomuch. Perhaps that could have been avoided if the topic was specific and concrete and anchored on a real world example in the first post.
Rules of Nettiquiite has a different problem. It is a bit of an everything and the kitchen sink topic, so it’s hard to tell what responses it’s looking for, or even how to respond to it at all… cool story, bro? Also I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s spelled, is it? Isn’t properly spelling it part of the … uh… er… Koyaanisqatsi itself?
What’s the actual problem?
Rather than list a bunch of … stuff, it might have been better to focus this topic on the existing BBS rules (which are quite good IMO) and what specifically might be changed in them to make them better or more clear based on what is observed to be happening regularly in BBS discussions.
This should be accompanied by a few (anonymized!) real world examples of the problems that these rule changes are designed to address.
What exactly is it we are trying to fix here, and why?
So, carry on, wayward mutants. Continue to think about how we can improve this place, and each other. It’s good stuff! I got your back(s)!
But please try to anchor civility discussion with concrete, real world examples. Otherwise we’ll end up spending a lot of time arguing over a bunch of abstract concepts that doesn’t really accomplish anything.
* Yes I am aware I have fucked this up in the past and I apologize to @Mindysan33 again. I really should know better, and I swear I do, but sometimes my mind grapes just don’t work like they should.