SD&D Intent and Goals

Open: A proposal for community standards of forum behavior

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Nalates
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SD&D Intent and Goals

Post by Nalates » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:06 am

Civil discourse and debate are essentials of a free and civil society and any community. Use of intellectually dishonest tactics and ad homonym rhetoric detract from a community’s ability to advance and grow. Because of the political rhetoric flooding the news over healthcare, economy and global warming it is becoming more important than ever to understand how to reason, recognize clear thinking and debate civilly. With the coming of Myst Online Open Uru the fan community is mirroring RL stresses and problems as it strives to grow to something beyond MOUL.

This discussion is to help people understand the predictable dynamics of high conflict personalities and those with strong beliefs. It is to discuss debate skills and styles, rational logic and establish rules and/or guidelines to increase effective discussion.

The fragmentation of the Myst-Uru community is in some ways a symptom of poor understandings, misinformation and weak debating skills mixed with an unhealthy dose of incivility. Some think something needs to be done, thus this forum section. It is hoped to be a way to get information into the community about what constitutes rational thinking, intellectual honesty, civility and good debate skills for the purpose of providing a way to come to reasoned consensus.

Rawa becoming the community manager is a turning point in a post MOUL era. His posting a new set of be-nice-guide-lines is a help and part of the motivation for this forum section. His failing to crisply define ‘playing nice’ leaves lots of room for people to continue to bicker. Each person has their idea of what playing nice means. This is an effort to come to a consensus on what playing nice means and what it can look like when we disagree.

JW Platt has the rule of ‘do-no-damage’ for this forum. How one disagrees and avoids harm is part of what this discussion will likely include.

It is not believed we can ever turn the Uru community into a utopia of harmony and agreement. I do believe we can create a style of discussion and debate that will allow us to achieve civil disagreement and from time to time come to a rational consensus.

While I, with others, have pushed for this forum section I’m not perfect nor do I always fairly debate. I and others interested in these ideas do not have any claim to any great knowledge about any of what we will discuss or decide on. The others and I are single voices in the discussion just as anyone else that chooses to post.

The intended result of this discussion is to be a set of standards for discussion and debate within the community. Moderators and forum owners may or may not choose to use it. My hope is that some version of what we come to consensus on will be usable for those in the community. I hope many will choose to use the result as a guide in their individual discussions whether forum owners and moderators adopt the results or not.

The intent is to have respectful discussions leading to rational consensus. When posting consider how you can add to the goals. Whether you envision problems or have questions consider how they can move the discussion forward and why you are asking a question or framing a problem.

Welcome.
Last edited by Dot on Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed title to reflect project name
Nalates
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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by Mac_Fife » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:02 pm

One question I have is that of the scope for this activity: Is this intended to produce a set of rules and standards that are applicable only to OpenURU.org, or is there an aspiration that the result may be held up as an example of best practice for other sites? In part, the question may be academic, but it is possible that we can make certain assumptions about the users of this site, that we could not make elsewhere.

This site, to date, has required only very light "policing": The users are relatively respectful and mature. Rules that would work here, may not be enough elsewhere.

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by Lord Chaos » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:26 pm

I've been thinking about this, and what Mac_Fife says above fits with what I've been thinking about. I think the best way to guide people into more constructive debates is to show them how it works. Maybe this is just the right place for that.

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by admin » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:16 pm

Mac_Fife wrote:Is this intended to produce a set of rules and standards that are applicable only to OpenURU.org, or is there an aspiration that the result may be held up as an example of best practice for other sites?
The latter. It is not targeted as an internal or binding project for OpenURU.org. It is simply a project using OpenURU.org resources. If I am correct, it is meant to be a complete, detailed framework or template for anyone to use as they see fit. Kind of like open source code. ;)

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by JWPlatt » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:11 pm

One of the things I am really interested in seeing is how the organizers of this project (so far Nalates and Dot) assemble, compile, coalesce and structure information from these discussions toward their goal of a finished "product" using the various resources of this domain and making a living document of it. The wiki probably mostly applies to this project rather than our other more technical resources. I'm fond of saying "OpenURU.org is not just another forum." Done well, this project could also become a lesson in how to turn forum discussions into real information people can use beyond content searches. There should be a tool for that. I know it is hard work but I think it can be done.

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by Nalates » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:07 am

JWP and I are thinking along the same lines.

I would like for it to be a larger framework than just the Uru community. But, for all practical purposes this is a discussion among Uru fans. It is not intended that these rules be just for OpenUru.org. If JWP and other key people decide to adopt something from the discussion for here or other forums, great. If not, well I've tried my idea and learned something.

I also have the hope that it can be a reference point for people inside the community. I have not seen many people going outside the community to understand the etiquette of forums and rhetoric. Nor have I seen much information provided along that line. Whether it is or not, I think sending someone to an in-community wiki to wise up and consider their posting style is less harsh than sending them outside the community.

How this boils down to a final result... is somewhat open. The moderator thread spin off is advancing. At some point I plan to go through the thread and summarize it into a single post. I expect that will draw some tweaks and discussion. From that a wiki post/article can be written. I expect those come down the road a bit. I hope to spend some time finding people that have problems with the level of discourse in the forums and get them contributing here. Over time this will become more widely known. At some point I will start to link to discussions here when it is appropriate to the discussion. Others will or won't do that as they choose. So, I don't have complete control and can't predict how this will go. So, far all the invitations, not many, have drawn positive response.

Wiki's tend to have a member discussion section for each page. I have never been overly happy with or used those much. So, I plan to link the article to the forum discussion for those that want to change or add to the article.

JWP's idea of the one ring to rule them all has good points. A single rule and the tax code problem have merit. In my view the problem is each person can interrupt a single rule differently. People then have to learn by experience, a trial and error process. Several of the things I think are acceptable by MOUL rules I have learned are not permitted. Several of the posts of some anothers and mine were removed in a discussion of the Important Uru Threads vs Uru Forums Search. It was a learning process and for a couple of the others it created some hard feelings.

If the wiki serves as a guideline for the meaning of the single rule, I think moderators can keep a measure of freedom and have a clearer idea of why and when to intervene. It could also reduce the use of rules for bashing others and gaming the forum. In some of the combat RPG games I play I see people use ignorance of rules to game the admins. That does not exclude a single rule from being a good idea, it's just likely a part of the nature of that approach.
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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by JWPlatt » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:02 am

Just in case you read the moderator discussion post by habit, I performed one transposition, one substitution and an abridgement. Fully implemented, it would read "One Rule to ring them all, One Rule to find them, One Rule to bring them all and in the forums bind them."

I think it still makes sense.

;)

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by Mac_Fife » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:39 pm

Nalates wrote:Wiki's tend to have a member discussion section for each page. I have never been overly happy with or used those much. So, I plan to link the article to the forum discussion for those that want to change or add to the article.
I think the wiki discussion page is really a mechanism provided for those instances where the wiki is the only "tool" on the website: The wiki discussion, or "talk" page does not really lend itself to structured discussion of change proposals; since there is no enforcement of a "timeline" and edits (or deletions) can appear anywhere it can often be very difficult to follow the discussion. So, I agree with Nalates that the forums are a better place to discuss how to develop and improve the content of the wiki page. What I'd suggest is planting a link to the forum thread on the "Talk" page, as well as a link from the forum to the wiki.

However, I don't think it is possible within the MediaWiki software to lock the Talk page against user edits. I'll need to look into that, but if it is then it's probably global to the whole wiki rather than something that can be imposed on specific pages.

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by JWPlatt » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:11 pm

A special forum acting as a link to the wiki can be set up in this forum. I'd recommend an SD&D project portal/TOC as the linked page and from there you can branch out with your topics. The wiki Community Portal can also get a link to the same page.

See the top of the Wiki forum for an example:
viewforum.php?f=24

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Re: D&DS Intent and Goals

Post by Mac_Fife » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:43 pm

As a starting point, I've created an entry on the wiki Community Portal page for a "SD&D Overview": This is just a placeholder for now and no page has actually been created, so the title can be changed. Once there's a "real" main page to point to, we can create a link on the wiki main page, as we have for the URU Documentation Project and create the forum link.

BTW: I used "SD&D" since that is the forum title, although this thread has "D&DS" :? .

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