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How to engage in political discourse on Army.ca

Mike Bobbitt

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Folks,

BLUF/TL;DR: All old threads are locked. Rules of conduct will be strictly enforced. Repeat offenders of any stripe will be barred from the Political forums.

You may notice that all existing threads in the Canadian Politics and Global Politics boards are now locked. After review with the Staff, it has become clear that these boards the by far, the largest source of conflict and poor user interactions of the entire site.

Given that we are by nature not a political site, the argument has been made to shutter the politics boards altogether, and this approach certainly has merit. We believe however that the right approach is to encourage open, positive discourse rather than closing shop on a busy and lively section of the site. By locking the old threads, the intent is to "leave behind" the old tone of political discussion and move forward with a new one.

A while ago, as part of the effort to improve the tone and content of posting, the Staff moved any political threads into their own sub board. We also attempted to crack down on the ad hominem attacks on individuals that are either forum members, or political leaders. Although we have achieved some measure of success, there are still folks who insist on emotional name calling or trolling instead of rational, adult arguments. This causes significant workload for the Staff, and often drags them into a debate where they are accused of taking one side (and then a short while later, the other). It also degrades the credibility of the site, and has the potential to open it (and me personally) to legal action.

Therefore, effectively immediately, there will be the following changes:

[list type=decimal]
[*]Adjectives used to describe a political leader/figure in an attempt to attack their stance/attitudes/actions will not be tolerated (examples below).
[*]Infractions will trigger a warning, with a "3 Strikes" rule. Once you have accumulated 3 warnings, you will be added to the "Apolitical" group, meaning you can see, but not interact with posts in the political sub boards. Apolitically tagged accounts are not visibly flagged in any way - this is not a public admonishment, but a minor and temporary corrective action. After a cooling off period, users may request that the restriction be lifted. The intent is not to curb participation, but to encourage respectful participation. Subsequent breaches in the political threads (no more 3 strikes) will see longer terms imposed, or the "classic" warning system used as required.
[*]Personal attacks and any other breaches of the site's guidelines will still be handled via the regular warning system.
[*]A member who wishes to self police may request to put themselves on the Apolitical group at any time, and request to be removed on their own. We will not be making daily changes to your status so folks can "post and run", but understand folks might want assistance with their self control.[/list]

Examples of unacceptable posts:
  • Justin Trudeau and his bunch of clowns...
  • Arsehole Donald Trump....
  • Kathleen Wynne is an evil witch....

Examples of acceptable posts:
  • Justin Trudeau's reluctance to appoint Senators has created a circus in the upper house.
  • Donald Trump's latest tweet is absolutely unacceptable because....
  • Kathleen Wynne's doing a great job.

This list is, obviously, not exhaustive, and I ask the you use common sense in cooperating with the spirit of this approach.

I am certain some folks will have issue with this, and see it as stifling discussion, or silencing/preferring one side. I can assure you it is neither of those, but it is an attempt to further clean up the reputation of the site and raise the bar for discussion. Yes, this is a fairly heavy-handed action, but with the increasingly worrisome tone of discussion here, we believe it is appropriate in order to get things back on track.

There are plenty of other sites where the most inventive personal attack wins the argument.

I ask, in all sincerity, to please respect and abide by these rules. Yes, there is wiggle room, and yes, if you want to skirt the line, you certainly can. But know that in doing so, you are actively working against the effort to improve the quality of debate. This is a site based completely around the community we have built here, and your individual participation helps define the tone and direction as we move forward. I truly appreciate the cooperation and guidance given by Staff and members alike so far, and look forward to seeing it continue, as we strengthen the site through open, mature dialogue.

As always, if you have any concerns feel free to post them here, PM me or any of the Army.ca Staff.


Cheers
Mike
 

Pencil Tech

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I think that is a really good policy and I hope it catches on. If I may, could you also ban provocative political statements and quotations that some people have as mottoes under their avatars? 
 

Mike Bobbitt

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If it falls under the guidelines above, it has to be changed, regardless of whether it is a post, a signature, a tagline, username, etc.
 

PuckChaser

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Pencil Tech said:
I think that is a really good policy and I hope it catches on. If I may, could you also ban provocative political statements and quotations that some people have as mottoes under their avatars?
Please feel free to PM one of us if there's a specific user you're thinking of, and we'll take a look. It's not something I typically look at while browsing the forums, especially on my phone.
 

observor 69

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Pencil Tech said:
I think that is a really good policy and I hope it catches on. If I may, could you also ban provocative political statements and quotations that some people have as mottoes under their avatars?

Don't blame me for my avatar comment. Get that Euripides guy.
"Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing."
 

PuckChaser

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I'd also like to add that since we've got a specific sub-board for politics, including Global Politics, we don't need to restart the "2018" megathread. Please feel free to post each issue/scandal/etc in its own thread on the sub-board. If something is related try to use an existing thread, and we'll merge/split as required. This will also solve some of the issues of folks trying to control debate by steering the megathread onto, or away from, something that is appropriately in the Politics area.
 

garb811

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Jarnhamar said:
Could we unlock the gun control debate thread?
Mike was very clear; all old threads are locked and the only discussion in the political forums will be via new threads that fully abide with the post at the start of this thread.

If you want to generate a new thread to discuss gun control and it can stay within those guidelines, have at it.
 

garb811

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To make it clear to all:

Use of the commenting ability in the MilPoints function is not a way around the tone and content requirements to participate in the political forums.  Attempts to circumvent the tone and content guidelines by doing this will result in the same sanctions as a post made in one of the threads.
 

Jarnhamar

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garb811 said:
Mike was very clear; all old threads are locked and the only discussion in the political forums will be via new threads that fully abide with the post at the start of this thread.

If you want to generate a new thread to discuss gun control and it can stay within those guidelines, have at it.

Right. I'll make a new one. Lots of factual neutral and non political information with explination in the old one that's all. All good, thanks.
 

PuckChaser

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Jarnhamar said:
Right. I'll make a new one. Lots of factual neutral and non political information with explination in the old one that's all. All good, thanks.

It'll stay there (not get deleted), so feel free to link to a post directly in that thread to advance a new point without having to type it all out again. It can be a good reference thread for future discussions.
 

Infanteer

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http://time.com/5434373/phil-klay-american-public-rage/

I'm sticking this here, as I feel it's the right place for it.

The article is worth reading and reflecting upon, especially for many here.  Next time anyone decides to post some "performative rage" in the politics section, think twice about whether the kabuki act is contributing to the problem, or the solution.
 

daftandbarmy

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Infanteer said:
http://time.com/5434373/phil-klay-american-public-rage/

I'm sticking this here, as I feel it's the right place for it.

The article is worth reading and reflecting upon, especially for many here.  Next time anyone decides to post some "performative rage" in the politics section, think twice about whether the kabuki act is contributing to the problem, or the solution.

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

TimneyTime

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I'm just new here, but I'm not sure censorship of political issues is the best way to go.  There are important political issues flaring up, heading into election season, that I think are valid food for thought.  All it requires is a fair amount of temperament with everyone involved.

Shuttering the boards on politics feels more like a one sided intervention, than a fair solution.  That's just my two cents.

Having said that, I've seen over and over again, political debates devolving into name calling and outright threats.  So I'm not saying that kind of thing should be allowed... but shuttering the whole thing seems a bit extreme.  I think the call to shutter it all comes from increased tensions from the upcoming election, and is a sign of how messy things have gotten between the major parties in Canada.  It isn't right, in my opinion, to just shutter everything.

I bet the political boards will calm down after the election.  It's good to have healthy, civilized political discussions.  Many opinions have been swayed one way or the other over a good political debate.

There are trolls all over the internet, who just love forcing outright shutdowns, and who love to brag about it on other boards... due to a bias for another board.

Again, I'm new, and I can't speak to the severity of what's actually going on, but I assume it's over bullying and threats?
 

SeaKingTacco

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So, without pretending to be a Mod, the issue, IIRC, wasn't the subject matter being discussed. It was how it was being discussed. Alot of otherwise useful threads were degenerating into ad hominem mudslinging, with unsubstantiated claims being thrown around by all sides.

 

TimneyTime

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SeaKingTacco said:
So, without pretending to be a Mod, the issue, IIRC, wasn't the subject matter being discussed. It was how it was being discussed. Alot of otherwise useful threads were degenerating into ad hominem mudslinging, with unsubstantiated claims being thrown around by all sides.

I figured as much.  I guess when ideas matter to people they just start acting like savages to defend them.
 

brihard

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TimneyTime said:
I'm just new here, but I'm not sure censorship of political issues is the best way to go.  There are important political issues flaring up, heading into election season, that I think are valid food for thought.  All it requires is a fair amount of temperament with everyone involved.

Shuttering the boards on politics feels more like a one sided intervention, than a fair solution.  That's just my two cents.

Having said that, I've seen over and over again, political debates devolving into name calling and outright threats.  So I'm not saying that kind of thing should be allowed... but shuttering the whole thing seems a bit extreme.  I think the call to shutter it all comes from increased tensions from the upcoming election, and is a sign of how messy things have gotten between the major parties in Canada.  It isn't right, in my opinion, to just shutter everything.

I bet the political boards will calm down after the election.  It's good to have healthy, civilized political discussions.  Many opinions have been swayed one way or the other over a good political debate.

There are trolls all over the internet, who just love forcing outright shutdowns, and who love to brag about it on other boards... due to a bias for another board.

Again, I'm new, and I can't speak to the severity of what's actually going on, but I assume it's over bullying and threats?

Politics threads have been a gong show for the 15 years I’ve been on the site... The site owner and admins have a pretty good grip over what goes sideways.
 

ballz

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Brihard said:
Politics threads have been a gong show for the 15 years I’ve been on the site... The site owner and admins have a pretty good grip over what goes sideways.

Agreed.

For anyone new to the site, I would not worry about censorship at all. I can't recall a single issue being censored. Sometimes, and only after a topic has run its course and is going in circles, I've seen some "time-outs" or even "indefinite time-outs" (on topics that will ultimately resurface and be allowed to get itself back into a death spiral before being locked up and merged with the rest of the banter), but it was almost all well-warranted (even if I wanted to get another word or two in :stirpot: ) and the fact that the site enforces some decorum means there is better discussion/debate/discourse than any other part of the internet I've stumbled into. And FWIW, I appreciate Mr. Bobbit and the staff for it.
 

brihard

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ballz said:
Agreed.

For anyone new to the site, I would not worry about censorship at all. I can't recall a single issue being censored. Sometimes, and only after a topic has run its course and is going in circles, I've seen some "time-outs" or even "indefinite time-outs" (on topics that will ultimately resurface and be allowed to get itself back into a death spiral before being locked up and merged with the rest of the banter), but it was almost all well-warranted (even if I wanted to get another word or two in :stirpot: ) and the fact that the site enforces some decorum means there is better discussion/debate/discourse than any other part of the internet I've stumbled into. And FWIW, I appreciate Mr. Bobbit and the staff for it.

It seems to be the worst system- except for all of the others that have been tried.
 
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