November 21, 2021 / by Rayne


Community Guidelines

This is an introduction for newer community members and a reminder to our seasoned community members about emptywheel community guidelines.

Over the more than a decade this site’s been around we’ve tried not to have a structured set of rules, allowing for freewheeling conversation; but we also have to deal with trolls of all kinds who drop in to either disrupt conversation, discredit the site, or generally DDoS comments. This is as close to policy as we’ve gotten.

source: xkcd on Free Speech (ep. 1357)

Things frowned upon here include but not limited to: deliberate sockpuppetry, ad hominem attacks on contributors and/or commenters, (far-fetched) claims without substantiation, behavior denying other commenters’ use of comment thread, behavior undermining site integrity and/or or users’ security.

Long-time blogger and citizen journalist Lisa Williams once explained that her blog was like her living room; she expected commenters to behave as they would in her living room. This seems a perfect rule of thumb — not overly specific but easy to understand. This might be a fairly raucous living room but hosts and guests alike don’t care for the jerk who does something nasty in the punch bowl.

And it’s especially frowned upon for strangers to walk in off the street, not make an effort to develop a rapport with the community, and then doody in the pool.

It’s just plain bad manners in real life and in comment space. Thanks to our community members who make this a place where we only infrequently need to throw participants out of the pool.

Because many of the commenters here have been here and participated with regularity in the community, there’s give-and-take including casual chatter between seasoned members and contributors/moderators. Jumping both feet into a discussion between folks with a long history and taking liberties they have earned with each other causes friction.

And jumping in making exclamations without any supporting material on an initial foray here having also attempted to sockpuppet, followed by repeated demands earns the boot out the door.

Apologies to our seasoned regulars for a repeat posting of these guidelines. Fortunately it hasn’t been necessary to post this since October 2020.

Oh, and one more thing: Swatting trolls tends to make mods tetchy. If the moderator is testy with you, it means it’s time to slow your roll. Don’t keep poking the bear. Take a move to the shade, spend more time reading, maybe even at a different site for while.

[#commentpolicy – original version published in Comments, February 17, 2021]

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