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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 we (the Arts & Faith management and staff) Arts & Faith is not responsible for any messages posted. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or usefulness of one iota 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 messages, not necessarily the views of this website or its staff. 

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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. 

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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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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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