As a fair few peeps are aware ‘the standard’ has shed a wee few authors of late. This post isn’t about that.
There has been some back end discussion on what positive structural or organisational changes we might be able to implement. That’s what this post is about. We want your thoughts, suggestions and feedback.
None of what follows is written in stone and it won’t all be happening over-night. See it as ‘direction of travel’ contingent upon available resources. There’d be little point in explaining the back end structural changes that would underpin the following, where those changes are largely tech based and on Lynn’s shoulders..
In brief, we are looking to instigate a more consistent moderating policy backed by more robust structural procedures.
This may include a ‘library’ of previous bans that any moderator can quickly and easily refer to for guidance in how to proceed with any potential comment warranting a ban.
There may be essentially two tiers of ban. One tier of very short (24 -48 hours) bans, or post specific bans, that will be handed down more or less at the whim of any author (usually) on their own post. Anything an author might subjectively consider ‘miscreant behaviour’ will be enough for ‘bye-byes’. If any commenter develops a habit of attracting short bans, their bans will be lengthened and essentially they’ll cop bans in line with the next tier, which are…
Longer bans of weeks and months will be for specific breaches of policy. (eg, defamation and other sensible suggestions that may be forthcoming) These may carry a 48 hour cooling off period during which time the collective will of the community’s moderators may see the initial ban reduced. In other words, a system of moderating the moderators may be pursued. During that 48 hour period, there would be absolutely no point, well…okay, it would probably be a bad idea, for any commenter to regale a moderator over their ban.
There may be a ‘report button’ installed on the site so that commenters can flag any behaviour they think moderators should be aware of. The use of this function will be limited to long term commenters.
Levels of sexism and racism are a particular problem. There is no easy ‘quick fix’ to make ‘The Standard’ a safe space for all authors and commenters. Authors and moderators aren’t somehow superior or better attuned to racist and/or sexist comments than anyone else. It may be a case then that ad hominem attacks are absolutely stomped on since they are fairly easy to identify and are not subject to the same grey or subjective area of evaluation as specific ad hominem (sexist/racist) comments.
Feeling like writing “You’re a (insert derogatory or demeaning word/phrase of choosing)”? In future that might have to be reworded to focus back on the content of the comment. eg – That comment/idea/argument is (insert rejigged word/phrase from above) because…
Some people are going to find that adjustment more difficult than others I guess, but hey.
There may be graded level of moderation pursued by some authors. This might be as simple as flagging a post as a level 1 through level 5 post where 1 would be open mike and therefore fairly loose and 5 would be a fully moderated (all comments needing cleared). Alternatively, authors might simply explain what topics/angles will and will not be tolerated in comments to their post.
Finally, as happens and has been acknowledged at the top of this post, ‘the standard’ is experiencing a bit of a fallow period on the contributing author’s front. SO if you have something you want to say and reckon you can say it reasonably well in about 500 words or so….