Nov. 3rd, 2010

tibicen: (Default)
This will (probably) be a (mostly) moderated space.

Moderation will work differently here than you are likely used to -- especially as you are used to me doing it elsewhere.

I have defaulted all comments to screening, and I suspect I will typically leave that on. There may also be discussions with no screening; dunno yet.

I am defaulting to screen-all-comments for several reasons.

I will be using screening heavily to control the direction of discourse. I will be picking and choosing among threads of discussion to have here, from among those offered. I will unscreen comments I want to share with the other readers of the post on which the comment is made.

Just because I didn't unscreen a comment of yours does not mean I think it's bad or wrong (though, of course, bad and wrong comments will be among those left screened). It may be that I thought it was a good comment, and am taking my time composing a reply to it. Sometimes instead of replying directly to a comment, I will reply in a top post.

It may be that I thought your comment was good, it just wasn't the right time and place for it, that it was diverging from the topic introduced.

It may be that I thought your comment was amusing, but I didn't want discussion of something serious diverted into mirth, or that I thought your comment raised an important serious issue, in what was intended as a light and jovial discussion.

It may be that you asked a question that I feel better left unanswered, or that I don't feel like answering, whether because in that moment I am tired or because I think you should be able to figure it out for yourself or because I do not like the tone of your asking or because I'm feeling pissy and the fact I owe no explanations is particularly salient to me in that moment.

It may be that I loved your comment and want to keep it all to myself and not share.

Learning to sit with uncertainty, ambiguity, and ambivalence is part of maturity. You are all adults; it seems reasonable to me that I expect this of you.

Remember, when you make a comment here, you are addressing me and, so long as LJ comment notifications work, I am hearing you. I may not always reply, and I may not always share your comments with others, but I am here and I am listening.

Screening also affords me several other advantages. It slows the rate of discussion, also called its "heat"; some research shows "cooling" online discussion elicits more thoughtful and calm discourse. It allows me to supervise the sandbox for trolls, and to participate as actively as anyone else here, which I would not otherwise be able to do with my work schedule, which prohibits me using LJ during the day for a minimum of three days a week.

Finally, this is not a general discussion forum. This is a Discuss Things With Tibicen forum. As such, I reserve the right of first reply to all comments, which screening allows me to enjoy.

Because of this, you may find that the tempo of discussion (assuming there is any) on posts in this journal happen at a rate which doesn't work well with LJ's "friends page" implementation: comments may not be unscreened until after the post has slid off the bottom of your friends page. For public posts, you may find some RSS aggregators work better (I'm sorry, I don't know the field and can't make any recommendations). Alternatively, you may want to use the tracking feature on LJ or manually check this journal by hand.

One thing I may do that will mitigate that problem is that as mentioned above, I may take discussion to a top post.

I reserve the right to screen or unscreen any comment made to this journal at my whim, or to quote it in a top post. I recommend you not rely upon my leaving comments screened; i.e. don't get so accustomed to my leaving comments screened that you say something to me in a comment with the assumption it is private and I won't unscreen it for all to seen. For private communications, use the Private Message function of LJ.

Be your warned that I do not moderate for "nice", and I have a different standard of what constitutes civility that you may be used to. Contention, even vigourous, passionate, immoderate contention, does not violate it. After all, not only does rapidity bring heat; so too does love, which we as a people have in abundance.

But the faintest whiff of skimming before replying -- evidence that you don't actually know what is said in what you're replying to -- is grounds not just for screening, but for banning. There are few things as casually contemptuous, disrespectful, and/or arrogant as replying to a post you couldn't be bothered to read first, and it will not be tolerated. You are not so superior in apprehension and intellect to your fellows that you need not read their words to know what they have to say.

If you mean to express contempt so great you do not even intend to finish reading a post or comment, I recommend you make it more explicit, by using the expressions "blah blah blah" or "tl;dr". As the Carolingian Cooks Guild has the express ethical commitment not to poison any by accident, so too here, if you are going to treat your discussant with disrespect due those beneath contempt, make it clear that it is deliberate. Otherwise, have the basic decency to read carefully, and, ideally, think deeply about, what someone else troubled to write before you respond to it.

Know that you aren't always going to know what is going on here. Kindly roll with it. Things will not always be as they may seem. There may well be discussions going on to which you are not party, and I can guarantee that I have a history of some sort, in some cases stretching back for decades, with just about everyone on my flist. You cannot assume you know the social context in which comments are made between me and someone else, or between any two commenters here.

An illustrative story: At Pennsic XXI, fellow denizen of the Carolingian encampment, seeing that I was extremely angry about something, presumed to advise me to chill out and be more tolerant of other people. I was so homicidal at that point, I turned and walked away, out of camp, across the whole of the Serengeddi, and down around the lake to try to cool off and regain my composure. An hour or two later, that same person encountered me again, and craved my pardon for having spoken so out of turn. He explained he had learned what I was so angry about: that a friend I had trusted had taken most of my grocery money and my shopping list, and taken them to the store on my behalf, and returned instead with -- I am not making this up -- a brown paper grocery bag full of limes for making limeade, leaving me with nothing to eat and little funds for getting more and no means to get to the store. Under the circumstance, he said, he thought I was showing admirable restraint. Pray learn from his mistake. Be careful with your assumptions, do not jump to conclusions, and see above about uncertainty, ambiguity, and ambivalence.

Similarly, if you are not a Carolingian/Easterner/etc, remember your experience is not as likely to illuminate Carolingian/Eastern/etc issues as you might think, because differences between local groups and between kingdoms is greater than many people are aware. Before telling us how things are elsewhere in the midst of a discussion of how things are here, you might first adopt a particular Carolingian custom of courtesy. It was (and perhaps is) taught here to our new members to bite their tongues whenever abroad and they find themselves about to say, "In Carolingia, we..."

In summation: Doubt yourself a little. I ask that before commenting, you contemplate the possibilities, "Well, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about", "Maybe I don't know better", "Maybe this isn't the time or place for this", "What if I misunderstood the point of that which which I'm replying?", "Maybe I don't need this resolved right now", "Maybe I could answer this with a quick google", "Maybe I'm just anxious about not knowing", "Maybe I don't need to rush to propose a fix", "Maybe I don't know the whole story", "Maybe the case I have in mind doesn't apply here", etc. This is what intellectual humility looks like, and I commend it to you. Examine the possibilities, adjust accordingly, and then, if so minded, click "Post comment".

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tibicen

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