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User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
Administrator Notice
Seriously people. Last warning or your posts will start disappearing.

Comments in the Peanut Gallery. Suggestions here.
"There remain four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking." ~Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great

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RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
Could I make a suggestion to add the shoutbox to the top of the newpost and today's post filters as well. Seems like that would increase the use, and decrease some pressure if people could blow off some steam in a shout without moderation?
"There ought to be a term that would designate those who actually follow the teachings of Jesus, since the word 'Christian' has been largely divorced from those teachings, and so polluted by fundamentalists that it has come to connote their polar opposite: intolerance, vindictive hatred, and bigotry." -- Philip Stater, Huffington Post

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RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
So far I like Grandizer's suggestion best: when we start a thread we can put an icon in or next to the thread title, indicating that we want serious talk without scratching and biting. 

That would leave everything else, and the more social threads, for less careful chat. 

The ideal would be to avoid adding a lot of work for the mods, of course, who have enough to do. If we only add to your workload on pre-selected threads, maybe that's a compromise. 

But you're the boss, and I'll go along with your decision.
RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
(November 19, 2018 at 9:39 pm)Shell B Wrote: In light of recent events, the staff would like to open up some discussion on balancing free speech with an at least somewhat welcoming environment that's conducive to on-topic discussion. We would like to take suggestions from the forum on how we can promote an attitude to that end without inhibiting our ability to share our opinions and criticize each other's world views. This is where you can share those suggestions.

It is a bit like what you said in another thread:
Bring the forum back to be a welcoming place and allow the more harsh comments only in R'lyeh, as it was always intended to be, but seems to have been lost along the way.
I know we are all for free speech and let others develop their thick skin, but I've always felt that the spirit of this forum was one of inclusion and respect. Let the nastier aspects thrive only in R'lyeh.
To me, harsh comments are not necessarily coincident with foul language.
Comments like "that's bullshit" should be allowed across the board, as they pertain to the content of whatever the previous person posted.
Comments like "you're a dumbass" should only be allowed in R'lyeh, as they pertain to another poster and tend to breed animosity between people, but that's the sort of thing that section was made for. For the thick skinned ones.
I admit that it's sometimes difficult to discern between these two and that's when the warning system may come into effect. Provide a warning to the person posting dubious content that may be interpreted as personal insults. Warnings here have a time duration of a few weeks. Perhaps Tibs can increase that to 3 months or so and, with that, it gets easy to see who keeps pushing the limits, or who just skirts them occasionally. Each warning of this sort increases the level by 25%, when it reaches 100%, the 4th offense in 3 months, a temp ban may ensue... a 3 month ban? Or simply a ban from most of the forum except R'lyeh, if that's not increasing the admin workload significantly?
Also, if someone reaches 75% in their warning level, perhaps it would be helpful to mention that in the staff log - maybe the public eye will help keep that person more in self-check and avoid it reaching 100%... Of course, there will be those who take offense to this and will immediately do their best to reach that 100% mark, as if it's some sort of derp medal, but, as inclusive as I like this place to be, are these the kind of members the forum wishes to have around?

And, just like we have R'lyeh for the thick skinned, we can have a foul language free section where, instead of saying "that's bullshit", we'd have to say something like "that does not make sense". The intro section is already a bit like this, so it could be a sub-section called "Discussion Starter" within the intros for the thin skinned ones, or just for those who don't like foul language.
RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
I'm going to agree with what another member suggested. That we proceed with a civility section that gives members the choice of either posting in the civility thread where they can have uninterrupted conversations under its rules of civility, while others who prefer the main forums can post there. This way gives members more options to choose the kinds of conversations they'd like to have. Something similar was tried once already last year

Quote:As part of the new "Prime Directive" rule, we are moving to remove and/or shut down threads which serve no purpose but to be provocative and troll people. We live in times where people spend too much time shouting at each other and spreading misinformation about each other, rather than sitting down and having a good discussion about their views. At AF, we want to facilitate the latter and not the former.

As with anything new, there will be some kinks that need to be worked out along the way, but we feel that this will be a positive move for the forum. It is important to note that we aren't too concerned with the subjects of discussions, but are more concerned with how threads start off, and how threads develop.


I think that going back to the idea of creating the civility section will be a good compromise and will serve to widen choice availability for forum members.

1. Main Forum, for those who prefer the conversations they've always had in this setting.

2. R'lyeh, for the more hash conversations

3. Civility Section, for those who prefer discussions that aren't interrupted by provocation through the rules of civility.
"Inside every Liberal there's a Totalitarian screaming to get out"

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Quote:It was an awful mistake to characterize based upon religion. I should not judge any theist that way, I must remember what I said in order to change.
RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
Change nothing. 

I think these are over reactions to relatively recent events. Trying to add or enforce any tighter restrictions of speech (other than the current rules) would be extremely difficult and ultimately fail.
I don't have an anger problem, I have an idiot problem

RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
I also think the Civil sub forum is still a good idea.

Another idea would be for the user to be able to tag topics as [SERIOUS] or [CIVIL] and then civility rules apply to that thread alone. May require more modding though. Dont know how popular that would be.
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RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
Ok, I'd like to update my original suggestion:

- Making just one section for civil discussions, while keeping the rest of the forum more relaxed


- Making the whole forum civil, while keeping just one section more relaxed


- Allowing members the option of choosing which threads they create to be under "civil rules", in any section.

....To me, any one of those is great. I thought the first would be the most practical and best compromise for "the other side", which is why I suggested it. But my vote is for any one of the above. So long as there is a way to have civil discussions, it doesn't make a difference to me how it gets done.

- I also still vote for moderation of thread titles and a poop emoji.
"Of course, everyone will claim they respect someone who tries to speak the truth, but in reality, this is a rare quality. Most respect those who speak truths they agree with, and their respect for the speaking only extends as far as their realm of personal agreement. It is less common, almost to the point of becoming a saintly virtue, that someone truly respects and loves the truth seeker, even when their conclusions differ wildly." 

RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
(November 20, 2018 at 11:17 am)Aegon Wrote: I also think the Civil sub forum is still a good idea.

Another idea would be for the user to be able to tag topics as [SERIOUS] or [CIVIL] and then civility rules apply to that thread alone. May require more modding though. Dont know how popular that would be.

I would suggest the same, only without the additional modding or rules. At least as an initial step. Try voluntary civility, and then see if additional tweaks are needed. I don't think any of the objection to a civil forum is that people really just want to be dicks. Given the chance, I think most people would respect the request. And for the few that don't, then additional, less globally restrictive measures or rules could be applied. (Or not. Perhaps reducing rather than completely eliminating disruption of civil discussions is a more reasonable goal.)

ETA: Now that I think about it, you could have the civil forum section, just without any specific rules or enforcement. I'd keep the thread labeling for usability, but people's participation and restraint would be voluntary. That would seem to eliminate many objections to the Civil Forum section. (Though not all.)
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RE: User Suggestions for Future of Atheist Forums
Here's something I just thought of, but haven't thought about to consider whether it's good or bad. Allow one-on-one or group debates in the current debate forum section, just don't have a moderator. If people who aren't originally invited want, they could PM a member and ask to be invited. Participants could choose to veto any specific person joining. (Still spitballing, but participants--maybe--being allowed to eject a participant by majority vote. Maybe too much Robert's Rules for a discussion, I don't know.)
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