It makes me sad to hear about people being run off…

It makes me sad to hear about people being run off of micro.blog due to the behavior of community members, and I have a few thoughts. First, surely we can be better than this, we’re all adults. Admittedly, that’s wishful thinking on my part I know, but it still is something I think of. Second, I think that the micro.blog community as a whole, (or at least as much of it as possible), should spend some time thinking about not only what isn’t acceptable behavior, but also what counts as acceptable and expected behavior. Fortunately I think we’re small enough that this can actually be accomplished, along with adding the technical tools for community members as well as the community manager to deal with objectionable content. Finally, I hope we as a community don’t make the mistake of turning to digital solutionism in order to solve the problem of people being harmful to the community as a whole or members in particular, because at the end of the day these are social problems, not technical ones.

Comments

  • @arush I’ve been lobbying for your #2 for a long time. If you can make a positive statement that everyone can agree to, like to promote good will among all people, it makes for a clear standard which is easy to administer, rather than having to list every possible way a person could engage in unwanted behavior and then having to specifically ban each one of them. I think the best codes of conduct are ones that set positive, high standards of conduct, in clear short statements, such the Golden Rule, the Boy Scout oath, the Scout Law, etc but then you can also get into all kinds of cultural and/or religious differences, so what seemed easy in the beginning might get very difficult in implementation. Before you know it, you might have a Code of Ethics that is 116 pages long, like the IOC. Around here, I suppose you’d need to start with some sort of Nerd’s Code of Proper Behavior, but even then, is that something the geeks could agree to, and then what about the dorks?!

  • @Ron I think we would probably have to start with something like “There’s no possible way we can define every kind of acceptable and unacceptable behavior”. That said, here’s what we find generally unacceptable, and here’s what we find generally acceptable. I’m of course intentionally leaving out all the behaviors, (racism, anti-semitism, sexism, ETC), that I think we all agree on. It seems to me though that, since in meet space, communities have all kinds of rules about what’s acceptable and what’s not, we ought to be able to come up with something similar for online. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe the first ground rule should be: “please keep in mind that the other end of that pithy mention you might be composing features a human being, with all the attendant complexities. If you don’t think you’d say what you’re about to type to that human being’s face, you shouldn’t say it online either.”

  • @arush @schuth @ron A discussion about community norms would be really helpful. I just posted a couple questions about my behavior in an earlier thread. In both cases, I would have said the same things in person. But I recognize different spaces are for different discussions and I’m uncertain about what is appropriate for Micro.blog.

    To some extent, this may also be a discussion about who we want to welcome here. Different cultures have different expectations around arguments. In the Quaker world, we struggle with tension between the traditional cultural and spiritual norm of quiet and calm debate and the intensity of those on the margins, especially African Americans.

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