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kenmorefield

Board Rules and Guidelines (Under Construction)

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The board changed administration in October of 2018, so the Board Rules and Guidelines are under construction. Below is a first draft swipe at adapting the previous set of rules. Comments about what works/doesn't and input about suggestions are welcome:

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Please remember that Arts & Faith is not responsible for any messages posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or usefulness of any message or posting, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. The postings and messages express the views of the authors of the individual authors, not necessarily the views of this website or its staff. 

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Although there is no longer a prohibition against posting links or information that might be deemed promotional (of one's personal activities or professional endeavors), if this is the only content a member is posting, they may be restricted in regards to the frequency of such messages. 

You agree to conduct yourself with respect for others, abide by the decisions of the board moderators and moderators, avoiding abusive or otherwise disrespectful language (although quoting words of others, especially excerpts from artwork, is not considered inappropriate even if vulgar). 

You should think carefully about the content of your messages and use the SPOILERS tag wherever appropriate to avoid divulging information and spoiling a work for other readers. However, everyone should be aware that spoilers in messages are common and if they truly wish for a work to be unspoiled, they should take precautions when reading related posts. 

You agree not to register duplicate user IDs without administrator approval in advance. You agree to disclose (in your profile) previous aliases or account handles you have used if you have been previously registered at Arts & Faith with a different alias. (This rule does not apply to those who change the name or alias of active accounts, as the board retroactively associates past content with the new alias.) 

Anonymous accounts or aliases used to conceal one's identity are discouraged but not prohibited. Anonymity or even pseudo-anonymity can sometimes make posters more aggressive or belligerent, but we recognize there may occasionally be reasons why a participant might not feel comfortable disclosing publicly his or her information. 

Failure to abide by these terms in conditions may result in sanctions, including termination of access privileges or the involvement of law enforcement where necessary. A user should have no expectation of privacy in any area of the board, including personal messaging. 

By using this board, you are agreeing to be unconditionally bound by all these provisions. You agree to be bound by this document as it exists and as it is revised in the future. You are responsible for being familiar with its contents and changes with or without notification. This document is subject to change without notification.

Third-party advertising and links

Third parties may be used for active content, advertising, and other purposes when you visit this website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. [I do not know what this means.]

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I'm chewing on this, but I figured I needed to put something up while specifics were being formulated.

Thus far, I've gotten as far as articulating what kind of policies I want more than what they are. Specifically, I want to make more of a clear distinction between "rules" and "guidelines" or "best practices." The former, I think, should be clear, the latter may have some leeway. 

I was not here when the Politics and Religion Forums were archived (they still exist in the archive), so I am not really sure what went into that decision, whether it was a community consensus or an admin decision. I don't much care--I rarely, if ever, frequented them or posted in them. I suspect from remnants of conversations in the moderator threads (also invisible to users) that they were a source of a lot of inter-personal conflict and the origin of "merely to provoke responses on controversial issues." But if there is an inherited assumption that politics and/or religion, divorced from specific contexts, are verboten, that needs to be better articulated to newcomers, in my opinion. Is it possible to have a Jennifer Knapp or Boy Erased discussion without talking about homosexuality? Can one review the new D'Souza film (positively or negatively) or discuss RBG or Our New President without talking politics? 

More later, comments welcome. 

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I think in general that not having a forum devoted to politics would be the most, um, politic decision possible. I (obviously) don't have a problem invoking politics in discussing art; my whole take on Captain America: The Winter Soldier was basically a political  rumination, and I'm sure I could think of other examples (my eventual review of Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven, for instance, derived from politically-inflected thoughts posted here).

That said, I think it's probably for the best not to have a place specifically devoted to the arena of politics, for a couple of reasons. First, we're an international board, so there's that to consider. Second--frankly, this is a personal thing, but I talk and think and worry about politics all the time, lately, and it's kind of nice to have a place where I can go and not worry about having to ignore/block/mute/whatever threads. A safe space, if you will. 

W/r/t the specific issue of homosexuality, it's complicated by the fact that religion and politics step all over each other (at least, in the U.S. they do); people with political reasons for supporting/opposing LGBTQ rights will offer religious reasons and vice-versa. I'll note that we have a thread on "Sexuality and Christian Belief," which started under a more specific title and which is pretty much devoted to discussing LGBTQ issues (similarly, we do have a recent-ish thread on "The U.S. Evangelical Vote," so I guess the "no politics" rule has been flexible for some time).

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Quote

You agree not to register duplicate user IDs without administrator approval in advance. 

So this one time in summer 2004, I made a fake account to take good-natured shots at Stef Loy and received temporary "termination of access privileges."  

If I held grudges, I'd advocate for that provision to get redlined.

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4 hours ago, Russ said:

So this one time in summer 2004, I made a fake account to take good-natured shots at Stef Loy and received temporary "termination of access privileges."  

If I held grudges, I'd advocate for that provision to get redlined.

Russ! Good to see you. 

I understand this rule, I guess. Though I wonder if we've evolved to the point where really what people are worried about are bots and spammers. Who has time to make multiple accounts to use my dummy account to praise my public account? But, then again, given all the NBA stories about burner Twitter accounts, I suspect this could easily be a way to let loose. 

I, personally, am very uncomfortable with the idea of anonymous accounts for road rage kinda reasons. But the other part of me is also reluctant to have more *rules.* And I don't think one can/should force people to share, particularly in an age of cyber-stalking. I've always tried my best to avoid engaging in anyone who had a cultivated anonymity rather than a relative anonymity. People have used handles and aliases on this board, but it's not like it wasn't an open secret who they were. 

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Hey, Ken!  Thanks for stepping up here and taking custody of the site.  It's fair to say that A&F was used for many good things--a lot of meaningful discussions of truth and beauty--and I'm glad to see that you cared to try to nurse the site back to health, or at the least to make sure it didn't dissolve into the ether.  Truthfully, I'm fine with whatever regarding alternate accounts, but agree with you that less rules are likely better than more with regard to these kinds of things.

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Please don't bring back the Politics section.  In this board's history, it ended up being toxic and divisive.  And thinking about the present day, I suspect resurrecting this section would draw the nastiest sorts of trolls.  (Over at my Patheos page, every political post leads to the blocking of one or two trolls, and through Disqus, I can view their favorite websites, which are usually the likes of Breitbart and Milo Fascistopolos.)  

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Currently, Jeremy is listed as an Admin so that someone has access to the control panel if anything happens to me. 

Steven agreed to keep his account listed under the Moderator group which essentially means he is listed if someone clicks "Staff," can see (and post in) the moderator threads, and has some capacity to edit, move threads and lock posts, etc. If traffic picks up, we may be helped by another Moderator or two. 

Andrew, I'm not on the verge of bringing back Politics section, but I do confess that I was absent through much of the discussion of what went into that and how it affected board participation. So right now, I'm more interested in articulating to new users (if any) what the expectations are. Obviously, they can't post in a forum that's not there, but I imagine new users could posts forum threads (in Faith Matters, Short Term Parking, or one of the other forums) that would be explicitly political in nature. I'm trying to gauge how much slack to give or how to communicate community standards/expectations when things get political wherever they are posted. 

As an aside, when I realize previous admins archived that forum rather than deleted it, I confess all I could think of was Matt Damon digging up the nuclear reactor in The Martian....

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Andrew wrote:
: Please don't bring back the Politics section.  In this board's history, it ended up being toxic and divisive. 

For what it's worth, my recollection is that the Politics section was created to help deal with the fact that our discussions around certain movies kept veering into politics. In other words, the section was meant to siphon off the explicitly political tangents that were making the *movie* discussions toxic and divisive (and as I recall, there were some people who objected to the creation of the Politics section precisely because they felt that it was wrong to separate art from politics; after all, how could you discuss the then-hugely-successful movies of Michael Moore *without* getting into politics?).

This was all in the first few years following 9/11 (the invasion of Iraq, the re-election of Bush, etc.) -- and this was all at a time when we didn't have Facebook and Twitter as a repository for political venting. Presumably things have changed since then. Certainly I don't think our *movie* discussions are anywhere near as divisive as they used to be.

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5 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

For what it's worth, my recollection is that the Politics section was created to help deal with the fact that our discussions around certain movies kept veering into politics. In other words, the section was meant to siphon off the explicitly political tangents that were making the *movie* discussions toxic and divisive (and as I recall, there were some people who objected to the creation of the Politics section precisely because they felt that it was wrong to separate art from politics; after all, how could you discuss the then-hugely-successful movies of Michael Moore *without* getting into politics?).

This is helpful context. 

I realize as we talk about this that for me the issue is not so much whether to bring back this or that forum nor even whether to change expectations of what is permissible and what isn't but rather how to communicate in a manner that is sufficiently clear what community expectations are. 

I don't think anyone wants to be bogged down by a large number of policy rules on one extreme. But on the other extreme, the case-by-case handling of conflicts can lend itself to perceptions of inconsistency, favoritism, etc. It may be the case that this isn't an issue now. With traffic at an ebb rather than a flow, it may not be an issue for awhile. But it is probably productive to think about how I/we might handle conflict during a time of rest rather than waiting until we are in the middle of it. 

 

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On 11/7/2018 at 7:54 PM, kenmorefield said:

With traffic at an ebb rather than a flow, it may not be an issue for awhile. But it is probably productive to think about how I/we might handle conflict during a time of rest rather than waiting until we are in the middle of it. 

I think this is wise, to articulate some sense of expectations/values for the kind of online environment this is and aspires to be, but without become policy-heavy.

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So I've been meditating on this a bit. I'm wondering now if it might be better to leave this close to as is and have a separate page or thread, maybe even this one, to answer questions or tease out ambiguities. But I'm not there yet. 

Anyhow, I have some questions about:

Quote

hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually inappropriate, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy,

It seems to me like other terms (like defamation) have precise terms but these are a bit ambiguous. I've seen a fair bit of disagreement over the years here about what is harassing, for instance. I'm also concerned that "profane" and "sexually inappropriate" may have one intended meaning (no explicit photos) and be broadly interpreted as not expressing views that are orthodox. (If I were to review or discuss a transgender film like Gigi Gorgeous: This is Everything...?) Finally, we've had instances in the past where people have posted publicly available information (such as a member's full name instead of alias or a photo of a member from a work website) and had this called an invasion of privacy. On the one hand, the rules say members have no expectation of privacy (at the end), on the other hand, we call on members to not invade another's privacy. 

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I have altered the section about agreeing to not post anything that is abusive or harassing to include a clause that says members agree to abide by decisions of the moderators regarding the content. 

I have added a brief paragraph adding a requirement that those who have previously had accounts that have been deactivated must disclose previous aliases or handles if re-registering. This is mostly to keep someone from doing an end-run around the multiple accounts. 

I have added a couple sentences about anonymous accounts. 

I have softened the language regarding use of the board to promote work elsewhere. This is to try to distinguish the new user who is using the board strictly to promote his or her work elsewhere and the long-time participants who might occasionally do so as part of the community sharing. 

Let me know if any of these changes strike you as problematic or untenable. 

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Those changes all make sense. One little note: since the rules say not to post anything illegal, they should probably say what jurisdiction's laws are being applied. (Presumably the United States; I don't know if the state matters.) This might especially become relevant for copyright law, which is specifically mentioned.

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That's a good question. I don't really know. (The Image version said Washington's.) I'm in North Carolina, the web host is in Canada. What little I've looked up suggests the main principle is to be responsive in removing something if copyright is challenged. 

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