On Civility (Reprint)

This document represents the standing policy on civility here at DocuDharma.

Everyone should read it.

I will be happy to answer any questions.

Originally Published 9/16/07

For one thing I hate the term civility because it does not mean what you think it means.  I prefer the term “Courage”.

But before we talk about that we’re going to take a side excursion into the realm of Community Moderation.

Community Moderation

Community Moderation (as understood by kossacks) is a system of participatory democracy where elite members of the community decide what content is unsuitable for display to the general public and non-elite.

What do I mean by elite and non-elite?  Frankly it is much easier to give Community Moderation responsibilities to everyone or no one at all (just one button to push).  You can grant Trusted User status (and that’s what the software calls it) by Time (and it’s currently set at 45 days) or by measuring community approval.

You measure community approval by selecting a total average rating for a certain number of comments.

An average rating is just that, the average of two or more ratings on a given comment.  Comments without an average rating (those with 1 or no ratings) don’t count.  This is the same average rating that is used to determine if a comment is ‘Hidden’ or not.

The total average rating is the total of all the average ratings.

When I arrived those controls were set for 10 comments with a total average rating of 30.  In other words you had to make 10 comments and if 9 of them had an average rating of 3 and one had an average rating of 4, you’re in.

Ridiculously easy and easy to maintain.  Practically everybody except the rankest n00b and the most despised of users is a Trusted User.

Some time before launch budhy asked me to look at it.  I did the math and set it to the same proportions (you have to have a 3 overall average) but extended the number of comments because I wanted to encourage commenting.

You see the thing about Community Moderation, why it’s really important, is that the desire to attain and keep elite status encourages certain types of behaviors.

One of them is that it motivates and empowers people, making them stakeholders in the success of the blog.

Another one of these is indeed civility, courtesy, politeness, call it what you will.  The Community of Trusted Users has a great deal of control over it’s own membership because they are more or less the arbitrators of who has sufficient “popularity” to be a member.

In the system of Moderation proposed for DocuDharma Regular Users also have a say because of the Wrong! (1) rating which, while it wouldn’t hide your comment, does pull down your average for keeping TU.

As always though it takes many, many 1s and 0s to overcome a modest sprinkling of 4s.  The threshold at dK must be incredibly high because I’ve seen the part where MSOC loses TU in 6 comments.

And maybe the controls are different, these are the controls we have.  You can’t use time AND the community approval measure at the same time for instance.

So why are we using time now?

Shortly after launch we discovered that we couldn’t find the button that lets Trusted Users view hidden comments.  This means a ‘Hide Team’ of one single Trusted User and a Regular User (*cough*, *cough*- sockpuppet) can hide any Unrecommended comment with no appeal, even from Admins (if there is a button to change ratings I haven’t found it yet).

There is no uprating unjust ‘Hides’ by anyone at all, unless you encounter them while reading a diary.

Further investigation, including contacting several other boards using this software including pff and MLW showed that NO board using this software had this feature which was deemed essential.  A request has been made to pacified and he promises to get on it real soon now.  Until then it was our decision (and by our I mean basically budhy, OTB, Turkana and I) that we would wait for the upgrade before fully implementing Community Moderation.  I changed to time based eligibility and set a period I thought would be sufficient.

I had also thought it would have eliminated TU for everyone who wasn’t an Admin, a Contributing Editor, or a Guest Blogger, and in many cases it had that effect, but evidently not all.  I’m going to try and find a non destructive way to change it so that nothing much gets hidden and only Admins, CEs, and GBs can do it.  Anything else would be kind of unfair.

But not to worry.  As mentioned above, the Wrong! rating will still blacken and tarnish someone’s reputation quite effectively, making it that much more difficult for them to achieve Trusted Usership.

(note- These software problems have been fixed- ek hornbeck)

The Ridiculousness and Danger of Troll Ratings

And that’s it-

You can blacken and tarnish their reputation, making it that much more difficult for them to achieve Trusted Usership.

You can hide things.

There is no autoban here.  Your case will be individually reviewed by budhy who has the final say.  I’ve no doubt he will accept input from his advisors but he’s the man.  I’ve argued for penalties short of banning and I think there’s some consensus on that, but we’ll see when the time arises.

Other than that, there is nothing much anyone on this board can do to you at all.  Other than say harsh words.


Sticks and Stones make break my Bones, But Whips and Chains excite me!

If words can hurt you, perhaps you need another hobby.  My mom crochets.

This is what I said to Armando last night about civility

If what you meant Armando, was that nobody can have the expectation that they won’t get their feelings hurt, and that there is no whining and complaining about hurt feelings I agree.

In the strongest terms.

If you’re not tough enough to withstand my saying your ideas are stupid acompanied by a Wrong! or a Hide without complaining about it OR worrying that it’s somehow going to negatively affect your “popularity” you are showing the same kind of craven cowardice we decry in our elected Representatives.

Think about it.


Maybe you’ll agree with me next time.

But don’t expect anyone to act toward you in any particular way, because they don’t have to.  It’s up to you to control how you act.

You should be a courageous blogger.

Think about what we most decry in Washington, it’s the establishment’s inability to withstand the baseless bloviating and canards of the Right Wing Noise Machine.

You’re tougher than that, aren’t you?

Now I’m all for hiding hate speech and fighting words but stupid ain’t one of them and Wrong! indicates- “Your comment makes me question your motives and/or intelligence.”

It’s ok to call someone Wrong!.  It’s ok to be called Wrong!.  Doesn’t hurt a bit, see?

A Ridiculous Example

budhy explicitly allows 9-11 Conspiracy Theories.  Perhaps you wish to post an Essay.  I think MIHOP is ridiculous and LIHOP proven- “Bin Ladin Determined to Attack in U.S.”

From the community you can expect ridicule and derision at best (yes, I wrote that).  Wrong!s and Hides– piles of them.

Suck it up you Whiny Ass Titty Baby.  You’ll never get TU but you’ll never be banned.  budhy explicitly allows CT.

The community will think you’re kooky because you’re a kook.  Get over it.

You can’t be afraid of words.

“Your ideas are stupid and you’re a poopy head.”

Really? How so?

“You smell like farts. Hahhahahahahhahhahah!”

Pfui.  I’m done with you.

And stay done.

The whole concept of this site is for you not to be afraid to say what you think, but you can’t go around afraid that someone will disagree with you.  And that’s what it is.

If you have the courage of your convictions engage.  If you’re not impressed don’t, you control your own actions and reactions.

What ever you do don’t whine and complain about how mean and unfair it is when somebody says Wrong! “Your comment makes me question your motives and/or intelligence.”, either with words or with ratings.

I didn’t sign on to be a hall monitor in a kindergarden.


I wish to add a few points for extra emphasis-

Point A-  You can’t hurt anyone with ratings.  They mean what they say.

Point B-  There are no bad opinions.  There are bad actors.

Point C-  “If you can’t handle someone saying you are full of shit, or you are clueless, or you don’t know what you’re talking about, or whatever, then really, this isn’t the sort of thing you should be doing.”- Markos Moulitsas.

So there you go.

What kind of content do I think should be Hidden?

  • Hate speech, fighting words, comments intended to incite and inflame, either the Community as a whole or an individual User.
  • Visual obscenity, dirty pictures, pornographic images, racist iconography.
  • Pointless disruption, filibustering, Diary hijacking.

I’ll add that here you can expect things to be downrated and hidden out of pure spite.  Wrong! means Wrong! and it’s an acceptable rating to give if you disagree with a comment beyond not a Pony.  No explanation is required, but it does not hurt you, it merely expresses disagreement.

Hide means exactly what it says.  If something stays hidden then it was deemed inappropriate by the community, 4 to 1.  So say we all.  Now the ones who advocate that most specifically and frequently run the risk of being labeled chronic malcontents by the board of this site, but good or bad we are all actors and willing to stand by our dramatic choices are we not?

Finally, Couragous bloggers don’t spend their days sitting around whining so and so was mean to me, he called me a poopy head.

Grow up and get over it you whiny ass titty baby.


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  1. I’ll note for the record that there are users who’s indiscriminate use of downrates has brought them to the attention of the Board.

    This despite the fact we do not consider the use of downrates to be unacceptable behavior because they have so little effect on anything except your inflated sense of self importance.

    Smart posters ingore them.  If you do not, that in fact makes you less than smart.  Learn to live with your mental handicap.

  2. I missed this when it was first posted.

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    • plf515 on November 30, 2007 at 22:08

    you are a sociopath.  

    Words hurt.

    I have seen words hurt me, and I have seen them hurt others.

    Words don’t only hurt, they can kill.  They can start wars.

  4. because I’m without the ability to see hidden comments. For the better, probably.

  5. truly hidden? At Dkos I can veiw the hidden with my TU, here their seems to be a hidden reality which I cannot even as a TU access. I follow a tread and people start referring to ‘hidden’ things are the ‘peons’ of different levels denied access to these things hidden? How can the peons then understand the real dialog that is occurring if hunks are hidden and there is no reference nor access.

    Color me an idiot, tech wise or just not resigned to  navigating through treads in which hunks and major references  are not avialiable to the peons who are involved in deciphering an intriguing or an inflammatory pieces of the puzzle or a key element that those with power have hidden Where do these go?    

  6. Just ask Arno…

    DSC_0019 copy

  7. DSC_0023 copy

  8. are we done with the frakkin’ navel-gazing here?  Can we get back to pummeling each other senseless with hateful words and recriminations or must I come back tomorrow to get my licks in?

  9. I can’t figure out how to embed pictures of my cats which are significantly more beautiful and handsome than those I have seen here – not to mention the english farting bulldogs.

    Seriously, I continue to say thanks for the work you do.

  10. If you are around….

    I published a diary… Robyn made a comment but the diary kinda disappeared… I tried to re-publish and nothing happened….

  11. why was Cheryl banned?

      • oculus on November 30, 2007 at 23:45

      chaos is a troll?  

      • kj on December 1, 2007 at 00:02

      confusion is the fact that some comments were taken from one diary to new diary, so there might have been two active threads on one basic topic (divided into 14 subtopics and 12 undersubs), going on at the same time.

      Add a few comments that were moved from one thread to another, and really, I don’t understand at all why you might be confused as to whether or not there was order to the chaos.

      I was here and I was not once confused about anything!  Of course, I forgot my name and several other so-called important things, but hey. Not confused. Not once!  

      (someone pass the pipe, now!)

  12. http://farm3.static.flickr.com


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