"CG Discussion" Follow Up

The purpose of Friday's "Public CG Discussion" post was to give the community a voice in helping to shape/tweak policy--but this practice is still only useful if the community knows its voice has really been heard. The purpose of this diary is to summarize the consensus views that were expressed for Blez, me, and the sub-committee to consider, to address one of the concerns right here, and to solicit some more very specific feedback where appropriate...

     I. There was desire expressed that the system be "more transparent," though only a couple of users explained specifically what they meant. (For those users who said they desire "more transparency" but didn't explain what they meant, this diary provides another opportunity.)

Since some users said they weren't sure exactly how the system exactly worked, and since explaining the system in more detail could be considered providing "more transparency," here is a basic step-by-step summary of how the CGV system currently works:

   When a complaint is sent to the CGV address, the complainer receives an auto-reply to let them know the complaint was received. Each of the 4 sub-committee members receives the complaint and votes, independently, on whether or not they interpret the allegedly offending comment as violating the CGs as stated. If all 4 agree it is a strike, of if 3 out of 4 agree, there has been a "clear majority decision" and I (as the official conduit) send the complainee an informational "strike" letter. In theory, a 2-2 split decision can go to Blez for his opinion, but this has never happened (even a 3-1 vote has been pretty rare). The complainer is not informed as to what happened with the complaint, and the community is not informed. As stated in the CGs, Blez is not in the loop at all on any "strike one," but is copied on my email to the complainee on any "strike two," and is the sole decision maker of "ban/don't ban" on any "strike three". Strikes on users believed, by the sub-committee members, to be trolls, are forwarded to Blez (even on a first strike) to act as sole decision maker on "ban/don't ban."

     II. There was consensus agreement that it made sense for strikes to "roll off" at some point, so I will suggest this formally to Blez and the sub-committee members. This diary would be a place to weigh in on the time-frame for when you feel a "strike" should roll off: After one month? After 3 months? After 6 months? After 1 year? Another question this would raise is: If a "strike" rolls off after X months, does that mean that a banned user is reinstated X months after his/her first "strike"? (If so, that user would presumably return with two "strikes," until X months after his/her second "strike," at which point he/she would go down to one "strike," etc.).

     III. There was consensus agreement that the "no political comments" rule was in need of improvement, though opinions/suggestions on how it should be changed differed greatly. Nick offered a suggested revised text for that paragraph in the CGs, and he posted late enough on the thread that many users may not have seen it. I am reprinting it here, for people to comment on whether this might incorporate a lot of the different opinions and suggestions expressed by various users:

     Nick: I think the current guideline on politics -- that it's a CGV to "bring politics into AN" -- is not very workable. Looking at this thread, I think there's a strong consensus that no one wants people "dinged" for mentioning something political in a respectful way.  What people rightfully want to avoid is nasty, divisive arguing, and I think there's some legitimacy to the concern that politics tends to bring out the most divisive aspects of people's personalities on blogs. But I think the blanket ban is going too far, and leads to the rule being rarely enforced, which makes some ANers think the enforcement is biased. I'd prefer something along the lines of a sort of disclaimer about OT comments and diaries:

     "The AN community has grown a great deal since its inception, and as on-line friendships develop, community members naturally start to discuss topics outside of baseball -- everything from tv shows to whose high-school class is coolest to English football. OT discussions are fine as long as (a) they don't crowd out the main topic of discussion, which is baseball, (b) they adhere to the other Community Guidelines, and (c) they don't inflame personal divisiveness and bickering over OT topics. This is a particular concern when ANers discuss political issues, but is not limited to political topics: if a debate over whether Rush deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame turns into an ongoing flame-war, Blez and the other moderators reserve the right to step in and tell those involved to take their debate elsewhere."

Finally, my apologies to those who believe that we talk too much about the process itself, but that is how we can give the community a real voice, and make sure that the community's feedback is given true consideration.

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