Civility Rules

Comrade Sophia

Technoschizic Militia Goth
Alright let's all talk about civility.

This is by far the most complex and contentious of rules. The major problem being everyone has their own definition for what is civil and what isn't. However, a major stumbling block further is that we need to ask if it's just to require vulnerable groups to maintain civility when face with incivility? Further complicating the matter is we don't want people abusing any "reasonable frustration" clause.

So what do we do?
It is a bit of a knotty problem honestly. Like I thinl flamethrowering people and/or dunking on them is not what we want on the forum. And on one end, you could say: "always be civil", but when someone's being a bigoted asshole, why do you have to potentially accord their arguments and positions legitimacy by arguing them. Why can't you dismiss them by just telling them to fuck off in order to demonstrate clearly that their argument has no legitimacy. But equally if you that happen too much, then you're not really going to have a forum where constructive discourse from differing viewpoints (social democracts and left coms have drastically different ideas about what is needed to be done for example) can happen.

I'm thinking the solution is moderation. We should have relatively strict civility rules, and basically make it so that there is rarely reasonable justification for incivility by having prompt moderator action. against bigotry, and similar. Now the question then arises, "what if someone's just being a dishonest ass?" And I think answer for that is just to point it out and then disengage and allow moderator to handle it.

We can also have a "exceptional circumstances" clause. It's like a reasonable frustration clause, except a lot more strict. i.e., if someone comes on the forum and starts spewing naked altr-right/facist talking points, people shouldn't be hit for hostile responses up to point that they don't violate the other rules (no dehumanization,etc).


New member
Sometimes you just can't make hard and fast rules that apply to every situation- and judgement calls have to be made.

I'd say that handling incivility that's punching up should be different from incivility that's punching down.


Verified Xeno
I do think it's worth noting that 'civility'- and, in turn, incivility- is often highly contextual and imprecise as a term of art.

As such, what is considered 'civil' will naturally vary depending on who is talking to who, their prior relations, and the context in which they are speaking. Trying to define a fast and clear definition of what 'civility' is would, therefore, be a very difficult task, and one that I'm not sure would even technically be feasible.

As such, I think it might be more useful to simply set a broad guideline- 'be civil'- and then delegate a degree of authority and responsibility to members of the mod team, and allow them to exercise professional judgment of what is or is not civil when the question arises.

Of course, we'd also have to set some relatively strong controls to prevent the mod team from expanding on and abusing this power, and give the forum a set of controls to prevent mod abuse.

That aside, this seems like it would be the purview of a different thread, and a different discussion- what is the role of the staff, of moderators, supermods, admins, etc. If we define the authorities, responsibilities, and general purview of the members of the staff in a general sense, that should naturally flow outwards and inform how we will handle people who break one guideline or other; if we define it on a rule by rule basis, we'll eventually end up defining the roles of the staff anyway, but there will be no consistency in that definition.

As such, might I suggest that we make another thread, to discuss the purpose, responsibility, and authority of members of the staff? We can return to discussions on specific rules, such as this one, after doing that.


New member
Impartiality I think would be the watch word, along with making a rule or at least a guideline that you play the ball not the player. Meaning the standard should be to try to engage with the arguement not attack the motives or style of the poster. Which would kind of mean moderation would have a double load, both to moderate dunk/uncivil/attacking posts and posts made in bad faith.