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Ideas for the martial law

bub

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I think the martial law could be amended and follows guidelines that are used to keep debates civil at Parliaments:

Like in certain Parliaments, it could be forbidden (with a thread ban as sanction)

- to suggest that a poster is dishonest or is lying.

- some words could be forbidden: "apologist" is already forbidden, the list could also include words that are baiting/flaming, like "nazi", "fascist", "evil", "animals" (referring to people). That could include obviously exagerated suggestions like "they don't want peace", "all they want is to destroy X"...

Unparliamentary language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also, some topics could be forbidden when they are not mentioned in the OP, such as the existence of Palestinian/Jewish people, the right of Israeli/Palestinians to have their own state...

All these things could be listed under the martial law: when someone is infracted for baiting/flaming, the infracted part of the post could be copy-pasted in a post visible by everyone ( a kind of case-law), so that everyone can clearly see what is not tolerated.

Furthermore, I think all moderator actions (thread bans...) in this forum should be public.
 
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Gardener

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I would like to see a ban on the promotion of hate sites, myself.
 

MaggieD

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I think the martial law could be amended and follows guidelines that are used to keep debates civil at Parliaments:

Like in certain Parliaments, it could be forbidden (with a thread ban as sanction)

- to suggest that a poster is dishonest or is lying.

- some words could be forbidden: "apologist" is already forbidden, the list could also include words that are baiting/flaming, like "nazi", "fascist", "evil", "animals" (referring to people). That could include obviously exagerated suggestions like "they don't want peace", "all they want is to destroy X"...

Unparliamentary language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also, some topics could be forbidden when they are not mentioned in the OP, such as the existence of Palestinian/Jewish people, the right of Israeli/Palestinians to have their own state...

All these things could be listed under the martial law: when someone is infracted for baiting/flaming, the infracted part of the post could be copy-pasted in a post visible by everyone ( a kind of case-law), so that everyone can clearly see what is not tolerated.

Furthermore, I think all moderator actions (thread bans...) in this forum should be public.

I think your post is so cute. I don't know where you're from, but I think your post shows that you don't have a clear idea of freedom of speech. "Political bias optional. Civility a must," seems to be the only rule on this forum. And seems to be enforced rather well.

We really don't have "freedom of speech" on this website, though, because this website is sponsored by someone else. That "someone else" calls the shots. So -- don't like the rules -- go to another website. All in all, seems to me that unless one is personally attacking a poster in an obvious and insulting way, the mods will let it stand. Works for me.

Hope it works for you.
 

Gardener

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I think your post is so cute. I don't know where you're from, but I think your post shows that you don't have a clear idea of freedom of speech. "Political bias optional. Civility a must," seems to be the only rule on this forum. And seems to be enforced rather well.

We really don't have "freedom of speech" on this website, though, because this website is sponsored by someone else. That "someone else" calls the shots. So -- don't like the rules -- go to another website. All in all, seems to me that unless one is personally attacking a poster in an obvious and insulting way, the mods will let it stand. Works for me.

Hope it works for you.

Bub has been here for nearly 4 years. You haven't been here 4 weeks as of yet.

I don't think I have seen you post in the forum in question, the middle east forum, which already has its own distinct set of rules. Bub is referring to that specific forum, which you might have recognized had you been around long enough to get the lay of the land.

His were well-intentioned suggestions, and I don't think you should fault him for them without knowing anything about the subject matter.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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I think your post is so cute. I don't know where you're from, but I think your post shows that you don't have a clear idea of freedom of speech. "Political bias optional. Civility a must," seems to be the only rule on this forum. And seems to be enforced rather well.

We really don't have "freedom of speech" on this website, though, because this website is sponsored by someone else. That "someone else" calls the shots. So -- don't like the rules -- go to another website. All in all, seems to me that unless one is personally attacking a poster in an obvious and insulting way, the mods will let it stand. Works for me.

Hope it works for you.

bub is speaking about a specific sub-forum... the ME Forum. There are enhanced rules there. Here is the sticky that explains them:
http://www.debatepolitics.com/middle-east/57330-martial-law-me-forum.html/

This is the discussion of this thread.

I'm going to take a chance and allow this discussion with the hope that it neither turns into mod bashing, nor attacks amongst the factions in the ME Forum. I would like ME Forum members to participate, of course, but anyone may. I would appreciate some solid feedback either on what bub is proposing, your own thoughts.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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I think the martial law could be amended and follows guidelines that are used to keep debates civil at Parliaments:

Like in certain Parliaments, it could be forbidden (with a thread ban as sanction)

- to suggest that a poster is dishonest or is lying.

First reaction. Though this is not the best way to express one's opinion, it is not always invalid.

- some words could be forbidden: "apologist" is already forbidden, the list could also include words that are baiting/flaming, like "nazi", "fascist", "evil", "animals" (referring to people). That could include obviously exagerated suggestions like "they don't want peace", "all they want is to destroy X"...

Hmmm... interesting suggestion.

Also, some topics could be forbidden when they are not mentioned in the OP, such as the existence of Palestinian/Jewish people, the right of Israeli/Palestinians to have their own state...

This certainly has potential; it is a form of baiting/derailing.

All these things could be listed under the martial law: when someone is infracted for baiting/flaming, the infracted part of the post could be copy-pasted in a post visible by everyone ( a kind of case-law), so that everyone can clearly see what is not tolerated.

Furthermore, I think all moderator actions (thread bans...) in this forum should be public.

Also interesting. I would be curious to know how most posters in the ME Forum would react to this.
 

CaptainCourtesy

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I would like to see a ban on the promotion of hate sites, myself.

Though I think there are some that are clear, the ambiguity of others would probably warrant erring on the side of latitude.
 

MaggieD

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Bub has been here for nearly 4 years. You haven't been here 4 weeks as of yet.

I don't think I have seen you post in the forum in question, the middle east forum, which already has its own distinct set of rules. Bub is referring to that specific forum, which you might have recognized had you been around long enough to get the lay of the land.

His were well-intentioned suggestions, and I don't think you should fault him for them without knowing anything about the subject matter.

I think you're pretty hard on a new user. That new user being me. I had good intentions which you obviously missed. It's hard enough being a new user and trying to fit in with all of the regulars. A little undestanding and merely explaining as CC did would have been nice. I'm going to bed now. Thanks for your kind words.
 

MaggieD

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@ Bub -- please accept my sincere apology.
 

bub

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I think your post is so cute. I don't know where you're from, but I think your post shows that you don't have a clear idea of freedom of speech. "Political bias optional. Civility a must," seems to be the only rule on this forum. And seems to be enforced rather well.

We really don't have "freedom of speech" on this website, though, because this website is sponsored by someone else. That "someone else" calls the shots. So -- don't like the rules -- go to another website. All in all, seems to me that unless one is personally attacking a poster in an obvious and insulting way, the mods will let it stand. Works for me.

Hope it works for you.

Hi!

You're right, freedom of speech is important, but it is also very important, on a political forum, that people can develop and share some arguments. Unfortunately, in some parts of the forum, threads tend to be derailed quite quickly, when some posters start talking about unrelated topics or start flaming/baiting.

The words/suggestions that would be banned are only insults or baiting, so I don't think that the freedom of speech would be damaged. On the contrary, as it could help some posters to develop arguments in a civil debate, it could "enforce" freedom of speech.
 

Winston Smith

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bub is speaking about a specific sub-forum... the ME Forum. There are enhanced rules there. Here is the sticky that explains them:
http://www.debatepolitics.com/middle-east/57330-martial-law-me-forum.html/

This is the discussion of this thread.

I'm going to take a chance and allow this discussion with the hope that it neither turns into mod bashing, nor attacks amongst the factions in the ME Forum. I would like ME Forum members to participate, of course, but anyone may. I would appreciate some solid feedback either on what bub is proposing, your own thoughts.

As a newbie, I appreciate the efforts of the moderators here. The last site I posted on was extremely chaotic, the management didn't care what happened on the boards, and there was no meaningful dialogue about issues like this. So, it's good to see the discussion happening and being taken seriously.

From my perspective, while the ME forum doesn't seem particularly civil, it does seem like a place where the moderation is trending toward censorship of content. To me this suggests that martial law, or whatever else has been tried, isn't working very well. Of course, part of that could be because I wasn't here to see it at its worst.

There are a few things I'd like to put in for consideration. The first is that we need an objective measure of how well any given set of rules is working. Whenever there's confusion about what a rule is or should be, I find it helpful to step back and ask why the rule is there in the first place. What is the purpose behind the policy? If you know the answer to that, you'll know how well the policy is working.

Second, no system of rules can ever substitute for good judgment on the part of the people making the calls. The rules can give guidance, set boundaries, and help maintain consistency, but in the end someone is going to be there deciding what things mean and how they should be handled in the context of a particular discussion. "Per se" rules like the ones some have suggested are tempting because they appear to remove the element of human fallibility. But in practice they often lead to absurd results because they don't make sense in context and don't encourage the referees to make carefully considered judgments.

Third, the moderators should be aware that different factions may have different ideas not just about the ME but also about what the underlying purposes of moderation are. I suspect this has something to do with why people on both sides often feel the moderation is unfair.

I would suggest that the purpose of the rules on a political website is to facilitate substantive debate, and that this is the only purpose. All the specific rules should be designed, and all the moderators' decisions should be made, with this is mind. The principle may seem obvious, but it has some implications that may not be so obvious. For example, the purpose of the rules is not to avoid hurt feelings. It's not to educate posters, e.g. about proper definitions and usages--they can do that for each other. It's not to suppress offensive opinions or police logical fallacies, which will always be part of any discussion.

Does this mean the mods should never take steps to avoid hurt feelings, clear up confusion, or eliminate dishonest argument? Not at all. What it means is that they should do everything in light of their primary purpose. They should deal with all these problems to the extent that they interfere with the exchange of ideas...and only to that extent.

Others may disagree about what the purpose of the rules should be. This is my two cents. The mods should come to an agreement on it and work from there, being aware that their decision is going to affect how fair people perceive the moderation to be and that it will affect different people in different ways. For example, here's a dynamic that I think is common. Poster A is someone like me who primarily values free, open debate. Poster B is someone who puts more value on suppressing what they see as offensive speech. Poster A gets warned and gets upset, so naturally he points out other instances where he thinks B got away with worse. The mods respond that if you have a problem with a post you should report it and they'll do their best to handle it. They feel they're being as fair as they can, but A feels that's no help at all because he has no interest in reporting or suppressing B's speech. He only brought it up to gain leeway for himself.

This comes down to different understandings of the reasons behind the rules. If and when a consistent philosophy is adopted, it stands to reason that not everyone will be equally pleased with it. Therefore, uniform acceptance by all factions probably shouldn't be the standard by which the policies are judged. The mods don't have to (and shouldn't) choose between the Israelis and the Pallies. But I think they should articulate the basic principles of moderation in more detail, if only among themselves, and try not to let secondary concerns get in the way too much.
 

Gardener

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All these things could be listed under the martial law: when someone is infracted for baiting/flaming, the infracted part of the post could be copy-pasted in a post visible by everyone ( a kind of case-law), so that everyone can clearly see what is not tolerated.

Furthermore, I think all moderator actions (thread bans...) in this forum should be public.


This is one suggestion I have thought about, myself, and agree with. Anything to make things more consistant fair and transparent is a good thing.

As to some of the other suggestions, I'm not so sure, because of the way people with an agenda will exploit the rules. If it is against the rules to point out a lie, but not against the rules to lie, then the forum will trend towards even more agitprop instead of more legitimate discussion. If people are free to quote from neo Nazi or Islamist oriented hate sites, but people are prevented from pointing that out, there will be an increase in the neo nazi and Islamist materials. If people are alowed to offer rationalizations justifying terrorism, but others are prevented from pointing out they are justifying terrorism, then the support for terrorism will only increase.

I see martial Law as addressing the manifestations but not the cause here in that if there are no restrictions placed upon the provocation, but only the reactions to the provocation, the levels of provocation will only increase as those who are using the forum to fight THEIR war up the ante. Why shouldn't they if they are allowed more and more freedom to induge in the agitprop while those who object are restricted to a greater and greater degree?

People need to think about unintended consequences here before making new rules sure to be exploited by those with an agenda. Even though you and I disagree vehemently, I don't see you as one of those people who has such an agenda since you get out into the rest of the forum, discuss things with folks and are a generally friendly fellow. There are others, however, who only do one thing on this forum, and that is to vent their spleen on one subject and THAT is the source of the problem here -- those who use the forum for just one thing and that is to fight a war. That's why I would rather see an emphasis on legitimate reference sites since the source of so much of the agitprop lies in the rhetoric people read at the propaganda sites they visit, a good number of which operate as out and out hate sites.

Fight the disease and not the symptoms.
 

Winston Smith

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Hate speech isn't an issue here. I've never seen an example on this site, and I've rarely seen the label used by someone who understood its meaning.
 

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I would like to see a ban on the promotion of hate sites, myself.

Well, what is the criteria for something to be a 'hate site'?

I mean sure we can't link stormfront but that is a given.
 
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Winston Smith

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Regarding the new post on Middle East Forum rules:

http://www.debatepolitics.com/middle-east/78853-middle-east-forum-rules.html

If we are going to prohibit specific terms and concepts, and particularly if the list of prohibitions is rather extensive, there seem to be two glaring omissions from the list.

1) Calling anyone an anti-Semite, "Jew hater," or variations thereof. Merriam-Webster defines anti-Semitism as "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group." The definition has nothing to do with opposition to Israeli or American policy.

2) Accusing anyone of hate speech. Black's Law Dictionary defines hate speech as "speech that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, such as a particular race, esp. in circumstances where the communication is likely to provoke violence."

In my experience there is little if any actual anti-Semitism or hate speech in evidence, and yet these two points are responsible for a good deal of the side-tracking and personal attacks that take place in the ME Forum.
 

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Regarding the new post on Middle East Forum rules:

http://www.debatepolitics.com/middle-east/78853-middle-east-forum-rules.html

If we are going to prohibit specific terms and concepts, and particularly if the list of prohibitions is rather extensive, there seem to be two glaring omissions from the list.

1) Calling anyone an anti-Semite, "Jew hater," or variations thereof. Merriam-Webster defines anti-Semitism as "hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group." The definition has nothing to do with opposition to Israeli or American policy.

First, thank you for your suggestions. Some study might be needed to properly incorporate something along those lines into the Middle East Forum's rules.

The dictionary definition is fairly straight-forward. Certainly, I agree that anti-semitism is not identical to criticism of Israel's policy. However, in recent years, certain treatment directed at Israel has been viewed as an example of discrimination against Jews. For example, when one gets into holding Israel--the world's Jewish state--to a separate standard than other countries, some sources define that different treatment as anti-semitic, as Israel serves as a proxy for the Jewish people. The Jewish Virtual Library explains:

There is a dangerous confluence between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, though the two concepts are not always identical. Anti-Zionism is often used to conceal hatred of Jews. Anti-Semitic views can be easily distinguished from legitimate criticism of Israel.

-Consider the source. Is the speaker someone with a history of anti-Jewish attitudes?

-Critics who habitually single out Israel for condemnation while ignoring far worse actions by other countries (especially other Middle Eastern countries) are anti-Semitic.

-Likening Israel to Nazi Germany, or to traditional anti-Jewish stereotypical behavior is another sure sign of Jew-baiting.

- Attacks on the merits of Israel's existence rather than individual government policies are anti-Semitic.

IMO, rather than calling a member anti-semitic, members should report the offending messages. The moderators could then review the matter. If the posted content is truly anti-semitic that would violate Rule 18. In any case, the term should not be used lightly.

2) Accusing anyone of hate speech. Black's Law Dictionary defines hate speech as "speech that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, such as a particular race, esp. in circumstances where the communication is likely to provoke violence."

DP's Rule 18 already deals with that matter. As noted in the Middle East Forum's rules, the set of rules is in addition to DP's existing rules.
 

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This is one suggestion I have thought about, myself, and agree with. Anything to make things more consistant fair and transparent is a good thing.

People need to think about unintended consequences here before making new rules sure to be exploited by those with an agenda. Even though you and I disagree vehemently, I don't see you as one of those people who has such an agenda since you get out into the rest of the forum, discuss things with folks and are a generally friendly fellow. There are others, however, who only do one thing on this forum, and that is to vent their spleen on one subject and THAT is the source of the problem here...

Thank you for your feedback.

Perhaps in a follow-up to the newly posted Middle East Rules, methods/techniques by which individuals exploit the rules could be reviewed. The posted rules reflect a first crack at addressing some of the issues found in a review of threads in the forum. Additional issues almost certainly will arise and those will need to be reviewed.
 

donsutherland1

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Well, what is the criteria for something to be a 'hate site'?

I mean sure we can't link stormfront but that is a given.

Laila,

It would probably be impractictical for the moderators to maintain a list of prohibited sites. However, sites that focus on providing content that is "intended to ridicule, debase, degrade, intimidate, or incite violence and/or prejudicial actions against a group of people based on their race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability" (language from DP's Rule 18) would be viewed as a hate site for purposes of enforcing DP's rules.
 

bub

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First, thank you for your suggestions. Some study might be needed to properly incorporate something along those lines into the Middle East Forum's rules.

The dictionary definition is fairly straight-forward. Certainly, I agree that anti-semitism is not identical to criticism of Israel's policy. However, in recent years, certain treatment directed at Israel has been viewed as an example of discrimination against Jews. For example, when one gets into holding Israel--the world's Jewish state--to a separate standard than other countries, some sources define that different treatment as anti-semitic, as Israel serves as a proxy for the Jewish people. The Jewish Virtual Library explains:



IMO, rather than calling a member anti-semitic, members should report the offending messages. The moderators could then review the matter. If the posted content is truly anti-semitic that would violate Rule 18. In any case, the term should not be used lightly.



DP's Rule 18 already deals with that matter. As noted in the Middle East Forum's rules, the set of rules is in addition to DP's existing rules.

Hi,

While, as you say, anti-zionism may be similar to anti-semitism, there are many cases where the accusation of anti-semitism can be dismissed and should be considered as an attempt to derail an argument.

For example, I think it is clear that criticism towards certain Israeli policies are not directed towards the state of Israel nor towards Israeli, and thus are neither antizionist nor anti-semite.
 

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Hi,

While, as you say, anti-zionism may be similar to anti-semitism, there are many cases where the accusation of anti-semitism can be dismissed and should be considered as an attempt to derail an argument.

I agree. The term "anti-semitism" should never be used lightly.

For example, I think it is clear that criticism towards certain Israeli policies are not directed towards the state of Israel nor towards Israeli, and thus are neither antizionist nor anti-semite.

Again, I agree with you. It is not anti-semitic to critique Israel's policies. Much more is required for posted content to be anti-semitic in nature.
 

danarhea

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I have a suggestion for the ME forum.

Perpetual Halloween.

Have all the supporters for Israel dress up as Palestinians, and the supporters for the Palestinians dress up as Israelis. Since nobody is going to be uncivil to or bash their own, problem is solved (although some on each side may fight amongst themselves). :mrgreen:
 
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bub

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I have a suggestion for the ME forum.

Perpetual Halloween.

Have all the supporters for Israel dress up as Palestinians, and the supporters for the Palestinians dress up as Israelis. Since nobody is going to be uncivil to or bash their own, problem is solved (although some on each side may fight amongst themselves). :mrgreen:

actually that would be a good idea, i'd like to take part in such reverse debate.
 

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First, thank you for your suggestions. Some study might be needed to properly incorporate something along those lines into the Middle East Forum's rules.

The dictionary definition is fairly straight-forward. Certainly, I agree that anti-semitism is not identical to criticism of Israel's policy. However, in recent years, certain treatment directed at Israel has been viewed as an example of discrimination against Jews. For example, when one gets into holding Israel--the world's Jewish state--to a separate standard than other countries, some sources define that different treatment as anti-semitic, as Israel serves as a proxy for the Jewish people. The Jewish Virtual Library explains:



IMO, rather than calling a member anti-semitic, members should report the offending messages. The moderators could then review the matter. If the posted content is truly anti-semitic that would violate Rule 18. In any case, the term should not be used lightly.



DP's Rule 18 already deals with that matter. As noted in the Middle East Forum's rules, the set of rules is in addition to DP's existing rules.

Personally, I don't care what names I'm called here, so there's no need for me to press the issue. But it's an example of a bigger issue that does concern me. Dictionary definitions are not only straightforward, they also have the advantage of being authoritative and basically universal. You can't really argue with them. When you start supplementing them with outside commentary, especially from a source with an interest in some controversy related to the word, you're stacking the deck at the outset. By definition, you're introducing bias, because you're elevating someone's opinion to authoritative status and saying that it can't be argued with.

There are other examples, too, which I won't go into here. I know the moderators try to be fair, and I certainly don't fault them for having opinions I disagree with. But knowing the difference between fact and opinion is key. Without that, the best intentions are futile. I think there are some cases where passion for one side in the debate has taken over and obscured that objective difference. Possibly the same thing could happen to me if I were a mod; fortunately, I'm not. But I think this is something to be very careful about for those who are in that role.
 
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Winston Smith

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I also think it might be good to rehabilitate the idea of bias a little bit in the context of the ME Forum. I was trained to explain it to potential jurors as something we all have on some subject, not something that's evil or shameful. It just means you lean one way or the other. Anyone who follows my posts can see that I lean toward the Palestinians. Others lean toward Israel. It's pretty clear that the moderators lean toward Israel as well. That's something the pro-Pallies will have to learn to be comfortable with if we're going to post there. It's also something the mods should admit freely and make a special effort to counter. It doesn't mean the forum can't function well if everyone keeps the purpose in mind--that is healthy, substantive debate on the issues.

Okay, done now, finally.
 
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expandmymind

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What about having a mod that isn't blatantly pro-Israel? One of each maybe?
 
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