Political Forum Guidelines Discussion

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Rower_CPU, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    Since the topic of the "proper" means of discussing a topic seems to be coming up quite a bit, I figured it would be a good idea for the political community to come up with a set of guidelines for posters to attempt to adhere to. The general forum rules are a good start, but I figured we could use some more specific ones for this forum.

    Guidelines should reflect the type of conduct that will be tolerated and the type of conduct that could be considered trolling/inflammatory. For instance, one such guideline might be that claims of events/quotes/etc. must be substantiated by evidence, ideally from an impartial news source such as the AP or Reuters.

    If this goes well, I'll make a sticky of the thread, or a new post and the community can direct people there as needed. If not, I'll close the topic. So, let's take a shot at some constructive feedback on bringing the level of discourse up a notch or two here.

    I'm going to be very strict on this thread in limiting any sort of verbiage that could be construed as an attack - regardless of whether or not it's intended as a joke. Don't name names or in any way discuss specifics of posts/posters. Keep it general, keep it clean and keep it positive. :)

    =========================
    Guidelines [v1.0]

    The purpose of this forum is to inform and educate through a free exchange and analysis of facts, opinions, and ideas. To that end, the following guidelines apply:

    I. Show respect for your fellow posters
    • Name-calling, eye-rolling, use of deprecating smilies, generalizations/stereotypes, etc. will be viewed as a display of disrespect and will fall under the heading of "trolling"
    II. Be willing to engage in fact-based debate
    • Provide links or other form of citation to corroborate claims; uncited claims will be considered opinion/hearsay
    • Repetition of opinion/hearsay as the factual basis for an argument will fall under the heading of "trolling"
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    Sticking to the issues without resorting to jokes and insults at the expense of your opposition would be nice.
     
  3. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

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    Sep 19, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    #3
    That rule already applies to all forums, so it wouldn't be a new rule at all. I'm not sure what rules the political discussion forum might have that wouldn't apply to other forums too.

    The political discussion forum covers topics that people often feel much more strongly about, and there are more likely to be opposite poles of opinion. That leads me to think that some helpful rules are informal: listen to others before you give your view; think before posting anything; read more than you write.

    I could add another one that could be more formal: Once you've made a point, don't repeat it unless you have something new to add.
     
  4. Voltron macrumors newbie

    Voltron

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    #4
    This is a dangerous rule if it comes to pass. For example you can find plenty of links by "unbiased news or web sources" for the dangerous usage of firearms and use such links to argue taking guns off the streets. But if you want to counter such arguments and show how armed citizenry helped stop a crime you have to resort to going to a biased site in order to get case examples. I don't know why but these typically thought of unbiased news agencies only report one side of this issue. Perhaps its bigger ratings to report a murder vs someone stopping one? It is not like it doesn't happen, in fact using weapons to prevent a crime is almost as common as using weapons to commit a crime. But only one side gets reported at the acknowledged "unbias sources."

    Stuff like Iraq, the only news you'll get from "unbiased" news sources are the rating grabbers and thus again only one side of the view. Now thats fine and dandy if all you want to discuss is the one side of the issue but to get the other side you have to go elsewhere.

    Another problem is talking about something that happened months or even years ago. Old stuff like that isn't provided on the internet very often. Most folks delete their old news items and as such there are no links to provide. Or on the other end a new news item sometimes also cannot be found on the internet because somebody has exclusivity to it and doesn't want it to be easily pasted or copied.

    I have not explored this argument completly and I shouldn't have to I am sure you can come up with more examples some of which are better than what I have already posted.

    Oh, one more just because a source is biased doesn't mean it doesn't have value or could be informative.
     
  5. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #5
    Voltron-

    I'm talking specifically about citing events/stats/quotes here, not Op-Ed pieces. The two are completely different. To me, a source that at least mentions, and preferably discusses, both sides of a topic can be considered to have a degree of impartiality.

    I tossed it out as a for instance - it's up to the community to say yea or nay and craft the final verbiage.
     
  6. Voltron macrumors newbie

    Voltron

    Joined:
    May 9, 2004
    #6
    Statistics like number of people killed by weapons could be found on the unbiased sources. Statistics like number of people who defended themselves from criminals using weapons usually isn't.

    I'm not sure who reported on Kerry's statement "I voted for the 87 billion before I voted against it." I only heard it on FOX news and only read about it on right wing web sites. Not sure I would be able to find that quote on a site considered as unbiased? But he still said it.
     
  7. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #7
    No problem with the rules, since I try to limit my exposure to this section of the forum.

    Now all we need to put the brakes on the majority of the hijinks around here are a couple new members that just happen to be named John Kerry and George Bush. ;)
     
  8. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    #8
    Voltron-
    You're getting hung up on specifics. The purpose of this thread is to explore ways that the community can achieve consensus on what type of dialog is positive/productive.

    Rather than focus on your specific arguments, try to view how comments such as ones that can't be corroborated/confirmed affect the discussion as a whole and go from there.
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Jul 16, 2002
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    Palookaville
    #9
    Thanks for asking Rower.

    My main objection is to trolling. I realize trolling is very much in the eye of the beholder, but I think any post which is made mainly or strictly for the purpose of eliciting a flame response from another poster probably qualifies, and anyone who makes a practice of this should at least be cautioned. Antagonism for sport has no place here.

    If I were King, I'd also ban both the roll-eyes and those animated smilies. The former is over-used and the latter are just plain annoying. Oh, and I also request that people who were banned for violating the rules weren't allowed to simply return under new alias and keep posting as though nothing ever happened.
     
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #10
    I believe this policy has been unofficially in place for quite some time. The general rule of thumb is if an article can't be substantiated elsewhere then it needs to be mentioned and taken with a grain of salt. I would hate to see this become little more than regurgitated AP, Reuters, and BBC news but.....

    To me The Guardian #1 for world political news. It is slightly left leaning but rarely extremist, IMHO. My point is where do we draw the line? Grist, Daily Kos, Alternet are all sources of info for me and I occasionally draw from them for my posts. I don't want to have them banned just because they are leftist in nature.

    Most posters here seem to feel that if a news item can't be substantiated elsewhere by a reputable source then it is little more than heresay. What happens when posters believe that Boortz, Hannity and Rush are unfallible news gods?

    I like the idea that opinions need to be stated as such and facts need to be backed up with hard news. Can this policy be enforced?
     
  11. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    San Diego, CA
    #11
    Reminder: Don't refer to specific posts/posters. I don't want this to turn into a venue for potshots at each other.

    Trolling-
    Trolling is one of those things that's tough to call - some is more overt than others, some is probably intentional, but couched so as to flirt with the line without crossing it. My main criteria is if a poster shows no willingness to discuss a topic, instead resorting to generalizations, opinion, name calling, etc. instead of honestly dealing with opposing viewpoints, they're falling into the troll category.

    Any other ways that could be worded/changed to reflect the community's opinion on trolling?

    Re-registrations-
    I try to give folks a second chance most times, and I think it's only fair because people need the chance to be brought up to speed on the rules and how the forum works - I think it makes these new rules all the more important for clarifying the dos and don'ts for newbies.

    If we have to ban someone twice, subsequent attempts to re-join the discussion are met with the full arsenal of admin tools we have available to keep them away.

    Sources-
    OK, so it sounds like assessing whether or not a source is unbiased/impartial is beyond the scope of our efforts here. ;)

    How about we clarify the unwritten rule about the requirement of a link to an external source for corroboration of a claim, leaving the assessment of a source's validity to the group? All other comments will be treated as opinion unless otherwise substantiated.

    Are we getting somewhere?
     
  12. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #12
    i'll second that.

    in the past couple months, there has been an increase in lack of respect (somehow subtly different from a decrease in respect :)

    the rolling eyes almost always reads as a lack of respect. i personally have trouble getting past the rolling eyes to see what the person actually said.

    also -

    - i don't like it when someone is told their opinion doesn't count because that person doesn't live in a particular geographical area

    - i would like to see fewer "person X said that s/he..." as a paraphrase and more actual quotes (w/ links, of course)

    - i would like to see fewer "all you liberals" and "all you conservatives" type generalities

    - there has been an increase in the number of instances political figures are attributed views they've never expressed; again, backing it up w/ a link would help here

    - should we make rules about straw man et. al. arguing techniques?

    now who's the authority on which rules are adopted and who writes them up? are we really gonna do this by committee?
     
  13. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #13
    In the interest of fairness, the regulars should all have their say and achieve some sort of consensus (if possible) on these topics. I'll bear the burden of the final decisions, along with any other moderators who want to be involved.
     
  14. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #14
    Rower,

    I don't mind discussing items from sources out of the mainstream. Perhaps instead of new rules on sources, a suggested "code of conduct" as a supplement to the rules could be posted (i.e. back up your quotes with links whenever possible.) Perhaps that is what you are suggesting, but I don't think many hard and fast new rules are needed. I think most folks here are committed to honest give and take and I've seen a good amount of self policing.

    My main concern is with trolls who keep reappearing under new names. If folks know they can start flame wars and get away with it through using a new screen name it is not a very effective ban against trolls. If there are members who I find, after trying my best to have constructive discussions, that our interaction is getting way out of hand, then I will just add to my ignore list or refrain from a thread (that might be a suggested conduct to add to your list.) In short, Rower, I don't know if new rules are needed other than a stronger ban on trolling.
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
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    Location:
    toronto
    #15
    sources should be verifiable. links work well for this. things seen on TV or heard on the radio should be accompanied by specifics (e.g. "abc nightly news on 6/25", "npr's talk of the nation on 6/18").

    op/ed sources should be cited as such.

    distinction should be made among major media outlets (NYT, LA Times, Fox), fringe outlets (moveon.org, Insightmag) and individuals (Franken, Boortz).

    also note that the above could also be characterized as media (intent is balance), advocacy (w/ an agenda) and entertainment. an individual's tendency to agree w/ the last shouldn't be mistaken w/ the intent of the first.
     
  16. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #16
    So let's better define trolling. IMO, that's what we're getting at, and helping to clarify what trolling consists of in this context will achieve that end.

    Use of supporting sources is one facet of the "honest argument" vs. "trolling" debate, to me.
     
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #17
    [​IMG]
    Oh no, killing the animated smilies. [​IMG]

    Turning off the img code will kill animated smilies, and any pictures people will want to link to, but people will just DL them pictures like they used to.

    Or they will end up saying stuff like this... very bad example. ;)

    Member BLANK it seems like you keep digging you arguments out of this place.
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #18
    So what i take from this is quoting from MoveOnb.org or AmericaMovesOn.org would not be allowed, but quotes from CNN and Fox would be?

    I am not asking to srat an argument, but more to make sue the posts that I have made in the past would be OK. I enjoy the change of pace from iMac G5 or no iMac G5.
     
  19. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #19
    I've noticed posters who rarely participate in the Political threads who only show up with occasional insulting generalizations. It takes place from both sides of the political aisle. I don't mind discussions with people who hold strongly held views, I just hate it when people drop outrageous statements and then won't at least try to back them up with reasoned arguments. To me that is trolling.

    OK, so third time's a charm. Sounds reasonable.

    I agree.

    Yep.
     
  20. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #20
    In order to better understand the issues, would this thread be considered "safe":

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=77114

    despite how some my have tried to take it?
     
  21. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Northern Virginia
    #21
    Maybe a percentage basis in the non political forums would work.

    I know that I have tried to contribute both in answers and questions in the "hardware" forums. I guess I have been trying to be a "community" member. Hope I have passed muster. :)
     
  22. jefhatfield Retired

    jefhatfield

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2000
    #22
    political talk will lead to badmouthing and i have decided to ignore it

    the political talk, from when it first appeared in the general discussions forum in 2001, has had waves of bad behavior and good behavior

    with the use of mods, which i think has civilized macrumors in this section, the behavior seems to have basically been good or bad based directly on how often the mods have stepped in

    a few months ago, it seems the mods were told to hold back some and the trolls really went to town...but now that there is more mod activity and monitoring, things are good again

    i think, after four years here, and seeing political talk nearly as long, there will be unavoidable seasons of bad behavior which often reaches its peak and then subsides rather quickly

    i used to report really mean and offensive posters in the political forums, but little or nothing was ever done so when i see a bad post or poster, i just ignore it and move on...i have thought about putting some of the trolls on my ignore list, but i find it's much easier not to have anybody on that list and just ignore the trolls

    and after all this time and nearly 7000 posts, i am glad to say that overall, macrumors is a very civilized site with hundreds of regular members and just as many different opinions

    heck, sometimes crossfire on cnn gets ugly, so i really don't expect the political section to be any more civilized

    politics, more than sex/gender and religion, gets the public very hot under the collar, even when the two opposing viewpoints are not all that different ;)
     
  23. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    Dec 25, 2003
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    #23
    I agree.

    There are two other forums that I regularly look at. One that quite honestly unless you say something pro-Bush the thread is deleted. The other in which name calling and insults are the norm.

    I Like Mac Rumors for political discussions, because most come "armed" with "reasonable" arguments. And I'll admit that I have learned a thing or two.
     
  24. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #24
    and that seems to happen a lot when a thread started outside the political forums is dropped in here. maybe such threads that are already out of hand and/or have too many posts that violate the forthcoming rules should go straight to wasteland, especially when there's already a thread here that covers the topic.
     
  25. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
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    Northern Virginia
    #25
    I have a problem with people that mention the "wasteland" all too often.

    Some have questionable motives for posting, but that does not mean that it is "wasteland" material. Sometimes one has to look deep into the topic in order to move past the motives.

    My problem there some her that seem to be the "wasteland" police.
     

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