Proposal: A community code of conduct for TWHL Created 9 months ago2019-12-05 09:06:44 UTC by Penguinboy Penguinboy

Created 9 months ago2019-12-05 09:06:44 UTC by Penguinboy Penguinboy

Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 09:06:44 UTC Post #343420
Hi all, after a recent incident on the Discord server, I've realised that we don't have a formal code of conduct for the TWHL community and that makes it difficult for moderators to effectively do their jobs, and it causes difficulty with users not knowing exactly what the expectations of the moderators are. Our Site Rules page is a good start, but in the last few years people have discovered that something more formal and enforceable makes communities better. It's past time for TWHL to do better in this space as well.

Here's a page with a lot of different code of conducts to choose from: https://indieweb.org/code-of-conduct-examples
I'm currently thinking that the "Community Covenant" seems good, which you can read here: https://community-covenant.net/version/1/0/

I also like the IndieWeb code of conduct tl;dr paragraph, which I think would be good to add to the rules page:
Be respectful of other people, respectfully ask people to stop if you are bothered, and if you can't resolve an issue, contact staff. If you are being a problem, it will be apparent and you'll be asked to leave.
Does anyone have any experience with code of conducts in other communities? I'd really like to get input from other community members and moderators on this. Feel free to reply to the thread, respond in Discord, or contact me privately via a TWHL message, at Discord @LogicAndTrick#5337 or email me at penguinboy77@gmail.com.

To be clear, adopting a code of conduct will happen, this is not optional - but I'm open to suggestions of which to adopt and anything else that might be related. This is not about changing the rules of TWHL - it's about making those rules clear.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 10:06:24 UTC Post #343421
The Community Covenant seems more than reasonable to me, personally.
UrbaNebula UrbaNebulaGoldSourcerer
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 11:28:15 UTC Post #343422
I like most of it, but I have four concerns
1) It's very long. Few people are going to read it.
2) With a big enough audience, any well-intended comment is offensive to someone. To ban offensive speech is to ban all speech. Talking about Taiwanese as a nationality is offensive to many Chinese and pretending that it's not a nationality is offensive to Taiwanese. Are we just not allowed to talk about Taiwan as a country? The intent behind the comment and the care for other people that the commenter displays should be what matters.
3) "Jokes that resemble the above, such as "hipster racism", still count as harassment even if meant satirically or ironically." See 2). Hipster racism is harmful, but genuine jokes about racism are not, even if they loosely resemble racist commentry.
4) Not permitting "*simulated physical contact (eg, textual descriptions like "hug" or "backrub") without consent*" is just ridiculous. If someone is hurt by an innocent virtual hug, it is up to them to let people know they don't like it. It's like having to ask people for permission to say "good morning"
Oskar Potatis Oskar PotatisIt's never too late to give up. Happily lazy
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 12:53:50 UTC Post #343423
For point 2, I'm not opposed to just borrowing parts of the "Community Covenant" or any other CoC in order to reach a point where everyone's satisfied. Certain key parts of the "Community Covenant" are very important, but others could potentially be relaxed or left up to moderators' judgement.

We could consider a "trimmed down" TWHL code of conduct, for example:
  • Brief summary (from TWHL's current rules)
  • TWHL's current rules:
    • Be nice (taking into account the below points)
    • No piracy and other illegal activities
    • No spam
  • (maybe?) Expected behaviour (possibly using some parts of Mozilla's guidelines)
  • Examples of unacceptable behaviour (from the "Community Covenant")
    • Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, [....all of this section]
    • Deliberate misgendering and other identity-related harassment
    • Sexual images and attention (virtual hug seems fine to me, backrub maybe not - but would require the user to report it)
    • Stalking, doxxing, and other violations of privacy
    • Threats, intimidation, incitement of violence, suggestions of self-harm
    • Continued one-on-one communication after requests to cease
  • Information on reporting (customised for TWHL)
    • Add a note that all user reports are given serious consideration by moderators, even if they don't fall into any of the exact categories above
  • Information on enforcement & consequences (customised for TWHL)
What are your thoughts on something like that? I don't think any of the "unacceptable behaviours" in the above list are controversial.

I think you're right about point 4, I feel that a "virtual hug" is - by default - acceptable. If a user finds that uncomfortable, then I think it's best that they let the other person know first, and ask that they not do it again. If it continues after that, then they can report the problematic person to the moderators and they can step in. That kind of info should be explained in the "reporting" section of the CoC.

I don't want to create an environment where nobody is allowed to discuss anything. The key here is to make sure everyone can have a positive experience with the community, and that moderators know how to enforce the rules consistently.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 15:20:33 UTC Post #343424
Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, [....all of this section]
Point 2 was in reference to this. It's problematic to not be able to say offensive things related to those topics. Tolerance, acceptance and respect is offensive to some people (for example: recognising the marital status of a married homosexual couple when there's a conservative Christian listening). And some topics are so sensitive that people are offended by differences of opinion even when everyone has the best of intentions and tries to be respectful and considerate (for example: the topic of gay men's blood donations). Even the covenant itself could be considered an example of
Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, [....all of this section]
if read by someone unreasonable.

Perhaps a distinction needs to be made between comments that offend, and comments that intentionally harm or are unreasonably inconsiderate
Oskar Potatis Oskar PotatisIt's never too late to give up. Happily lazy
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 16:10:44 UTC Post #343425
Perhaps a distinction needs to be made between comments that offend, and comments that intentionally harm or are unreasonably inconsiderate
The problem with this angle is that I don't think the person in question meant to intentionally harm, he let his personal experience give him an emotionally charged, incorrect opinion about trans issues.
Dimbeak DimbeakRotten Bastard
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 16:27:07 UTC Post #343426
I wasn't refering to whatever went down on Discord (I wasn't there), but I think I see your point. I think my angle, as you put it, works, since we have moderators that at least I trust to be able to separate hate (or intolerance based in emotions) from disagreement. And if one of them fail at that job, there are others.
Oskar Potatis Oskar PotatisIt's never too late to give up. Happily lazy
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 18:07:24 UTC Post #343427
Strict rules doesn't work most of the times, but this is usually directed to a more popular active community with a high number of members (1000+). Although, that doesn't mean that one day our community can achieve that milestone; who knows.

I agree with every rule, but I think it has to be super clear that common sense should always step in first (aka "think first, talk later").

I've been running several communities in the past years, and I've always used the same number and type of rules for them. Those are the following:
  • It is not allowed to disturb conversations with noises or echoes;
  • It is permitted to send or attach images with "NSFW" contents only in the specific channel;
  • Use the Discord channels appropriately;
  • Respect all users in public and private channels. Do not offend, do not insult, do not be rude or use provocative language;
  • The rules and briefs given by an administrator or moderator must be respected and not discussed (unless necessary);
  • Racist behaviors and sexual discriminations are absolutely not tolerated;
  • Advertising and spamming is not permitted.
Those who will behave in a dangerous and/or negative alternative way, will be the only responsible for their actions, and will be punished accordingly.
And it went pretty well in the past 6-7 years.
Alberto309 Alberto309weapon_spaghetti
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 18:35:12 UTC Post #343428
Here's how I would see things:
  • Introduction (why do we have rules in the first place)
  • Rules that applies to both here and Discord (the existing TWHL rules: 'be nice, no piracy, no spam' are enough, each detailed in a sub-title)
  • Examples of bad behavior that we don't tolerate
  • Consequences for disobeying
  • Reporting bad behavior to moderators & administrators
All of these in a short size (like a single A4 page should be enough) and using simple sentences (no "lawyer style language"). The references that PenguinBoy posted could be use to reform complicated rules (if needed) and examples of bad behavior.
Shepard62700FR Shepard62700FRHalf-Cat is watching...
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 21:28:45 UTC Post #343429
Potatis, I'll take a look around and see if I can find a definition of "offensive comments" that's less subjective. I think the "spirit" of the rule is correct, and it just could be worded in a way that defines the unwanted behaviour in a more obvious way. In the end of comes down to the moderators to make the call on a case-by-case basis, but wording it in a less ambiguous way is always good.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 21:29:24 UTC Post #343430
The Community Covenant code seems solid, honestly. I'd say given THWL's smaller size, it probably could be trimmed down a little and given in somewhat simpler language. If you do, though, just be careful about what you trim down, especially in the "anti-harassment statement section. If your goal is to make the rules more clear, you want that bit to be nice and thorough.

Potato seems to be arguing for tolerance of intolerance, which is a dangerous way to go. Suggesting that offensive shit shouldn't be disallowed because some people (often the same people) are shitheads is a bad idea. I think the mods are capable of telling whether something is being said in good faith. Pretending to not understand the spirit of such a rule should ring obviously hollow.

(Ant's about to word this better than I have, I think.)
Jessie JessieTrans Rights <3
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 21:30:07 UTC Post #343431
I think it's less about making sure no one is ever offended ever and instead about making sure that rules are in place that ensure that a certain standard is set. So yes, a conservative Christian might be offended when discussing homosexual marriage for example, but if the wider community has stipulated that TWHL is a safe and inclusive place for all people regardless of their sexual orientation, then that is the standard that is followed.

Freedom of speech is frequently misinterpreted. It's a mandate that prevents a government from actively censoring its own citizens. It, however, does not mean that speech is consequence-free, particularly if whatever is said breaks other laws. Furthermore, TWHL is a privately-run community and is free to set its own regulations as to the types of speech it will and won't accept, with the condition that if you want to be a part of this community, you abide by those rules.

Personally, I want TWHL to be as inclusive as I remember it when I joined over 15 years ago. Inclusivity is not about allowing absolutely everything and anything onto the site, it's about ensuring that people are treated with respect and dignity. If your opinions and beliefs go against the concept of inclusivity, then maybe TWHL is not a place you want to be in.

Edit: I should also add that I am not anti-religious or anti-conservative. I am, however, fully against hiding behind those titles to attack others who do not come under those purviews.
AJ AJGlorious Overlord
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 21:44:47 UTC Post #343432
I feel partially responsible for this conundrum, as I'm usually the one who likes to stir up politics around here. I agree with most of the sentiments here and think this code of conduct could be a good idea.

I realize TWHL isn't exactly the place for it, but more often than not it's fun discussing politics and more ethically gray subjects with the people here. This is why I tend to keep it moreso on the discord rather than the forums these days, which I think could benefit from an extra room dedicated to talking about this kind of stuff. I've requested this before, but the idea is always countered that TWHL isn't the kind of place for this to begin with and shouldn't honor it, which is true, but regardless we still end up discussing it. In an age where everything is becoming political, politics is just one of the things people will be interested in discussing.

The code of conduct is a good idea, though more often than not it's easy to offend when no offense is met. On the subject of trans issues, just because the majority of us here from western countries support the transgender cause doesn't mean everyone will agree, as it's one of the most widely debated subjects in politics at the moment. As such, the people affected by this debate are very often offended as the merits of their own existence is discussed. Banning people for being skeptical/disbelieving of the science that has only in the last decade become accepted by most people is something I can see happening with the collective worldview that is had here at TWHL. A debate of this nature was what sparked this code of conduct being necessary. Furthermore, this kind of attitude may potentially alienate people from cultures that have not advanced to understanding these issues. Of course, obviously people with outright disrespect for trans folk don't belong here.

Just food for thought. I mostly agree with the sentiment behind these rules.
It, however, does not mean that speech is consequence-free, particularly if whatever is said breaks other laws.
I've never liked this argument against free speech, as the rule of consequences applies to pretty much everything in the world. You can't make levels for video games consequence-free either. I do agree with the sentiment that this is a private community that can and should be moderated, this is just an unrelated response to a phrase I see constantly repeated.
Dimbeak DimbeakRotten Bastard
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 22:01:24 UTC Post #343433
As I said, it's not about making sure rules are in place to ensure that no one is offended, it's about setting a standard that the community wants to adhere to. If the community sets a standard whereby differing sexual orientations are treated with respect and dignity, then that is the standard: anything that goes against that is not allowed. TWHL does not have to reflect the difference of opinion if it doesn't want to, particularly if it opens the site up to the degradation of other people.

Furthermore, regardless of whether or not something is fun does not give someone carte blanche to do it, particularly if there are rules about it. If, as a community, TWHL decides that a standard is set, then that is the standard that is followed. If those standards need to be tweaked in the future, then they can be, in discussion and agreement with the community.

I should also add that there are avenues for vibrant political discourse. Maybe a Half-Life level design community is not the best venue for such things.
AJ AJGlorious Overlord
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-05 23:17:23 UTC Post #343434
Potato seems to be arguing for tolerance of intolerance, which is a dangerous way to go.
No, I am arguing for the complete opposite. I am arguing for tolerance of diversity, because all speech is offensive to someone. What's offensive or not is completely subjective. People are still getting killed for the offense of supporting gay rights, or the offense of saying maybe there isn't a God.
Suggesting that offensive shit shouldn't be disallowed because some people (often the same people) are shitheads is a bad idea.
I agree, which is why I am not saying that. "Shitheads" (I don't like that term) and people who have strong feelings about things (which is almost anybody, really) get offended by innocent, well-intended, friendly comments. It's not uncommon. Read the comment section of any news site. To ban offensive comments is to ban innocent, well-intended, friendly comments.
Inclusivity is not about allowing absolutely everything and anything onto the site, it's about ensuring that people are treated with respect and dignity. If your opinions and beliefs go against the concept of inclusivity, then maybe TWHL is not a place you want to be in.
I agree completely. Intolerance is the one thing a tolerant community or society can't tolerate if it is to stay tolerant.
I think the mods are capable of telling whether something is being said in good faith.
Again I agree. Which is why the code of conduct shouldn't contradict their common sense and tolerance.
Pretending to not understand the spirit of such a rule should ring obviously hollow.
If that's aimed at me, I suggest you reread my comments. While the spirit of that rule is excellent, its wording is terrible. It needs to be clear and unambiguous, because what else is the point of a formal code of conduct?

Offensive doesn't mean intolerant. It just means someone gets upset. And some things are worth upsetting the narrow-minded about: ideas like tolerance and acceptance.
I should also add that there are avenues for vibrant political discourse. Maybe a Half-Life level design community is not the best venue for such things.
You're saying we don't need a Politics section in the map vault? 😉
Oskar Potatis Oskar PotatisIt's never too late to give up. Happily lazy
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-06 01:05:06 UTC Post #343436
Maybe I misread what you meant — honestly, I'm still not certain what exactly you're articulating — so how about you lay out how you would phrase the rule?
Examples of harassment include:
  • ________________________ gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, mental illness, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, pregnancy status, veteran status, political affiliation, marital status, body size, age, race, national origin, ethnic origin, nationality, immigration status, language, religion or lack thereof, or other identity marker. This includes anti-Indigenous/Nativeness and anti-Blackness.
Jessie JessieTrans Rights <3
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-06 03:04:12 UTC Post #343437
marital status
I can't make fun of incels?
political affiliation
nor ancaps??
age
nor boomers???
Dimbeak DimbeakRotten Bastard
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-06 04:41:07 UTC Post #343438
Is TWHL an appropriate place to be making fun of anybody? (before you answer: no, it's not)
Things can be discussed about topics without having to demean people. If you can't do that, then don't discuss it. You can mock people elsewhere. I don't want to read it.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-06 14:59:27 UTC Post #343439
I'm glad this has been brought up.

I'm happy with the community covenant, with the tweaks that Urby and Jessie have suggested. At the end of the day, we're a half life level design community, and it does not necessarily need to cater to political discussion. There's absolutely no reason this community should give leeway to intolerance or bad vibes, we're all friends here and should treat each other with respect and dignity
Instant Mix Instant MixTitle commitment issues
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-06 19:55:36 UTC Post #343442
I'm glad we haven't had any incidents with this before, but yeah, given recent events in the Valve community, probably a good idea to have a code of conduct in place before it becomes an issue.

I'm happy with the current proposal!
Notewell NotewellCall 141.12
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-07 04:34:26 UTC Post #343443
Thanks to everyone for the feedback so far. The main point of contention has been the definition of "offensive comments". I've looked around for alternate ways to phrase this so that it more clearly represents the intention behind those rules. I think that Mozilla's community guidelines are less ambiguous than the Community Covenant, while still clearly explaining the things we want to avoid.

I don't plan on using all of Mozilla's document - it's very long. Currently our draft document has a 1 page summary, and the full details of the rules are 2 pages. It's still kind of long, but it's not too bad.

Instead of "offensive comments", Mozilla breaks this down into two specific categories:
  • Personal attacks - these are attacks against an individual that are intended to demean or belittle somebody for their beliefs
  • Derogatory language - specifically, these slurs and insults intended to harm individuals or cultures
Here's part of our current draft of the new sections to be added to the rules. They're mostly taken directly from Mozilla's document, with modifications to make it fit into TWHL a bit better.

First, in addition to the current 3 rules (be nice, no piracy, no spam), I would like to add one additional rule, called "be respectful and inclusive". The aim is to include others from other cultures and backgrounds. Mozilla makes it clear that we should try to avoid our own prejudices and discriminatory practices when interacting with the community. It goes on to explain that disagreements and differences of opinion are natural, but they must be approached in a respectful way.
Draft copy of new TWHL rules

Be respectful and inclusive

We all come from many cultures and backgrounds. Cultural differences can encompass everything from official religious observances to personal habits to clothing. Be respectful of people with different cultural practices, attitudes and beliefs. Try to eliminate your own biases, prejudices and discriminatory practices. Think of others’ needs from their point of view. Use preferred titles (including pronouns) and the appropriate tone of speech. Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality. Be open to learning from and educating others as well as educating yourself. It’s unrealistic to expect users to know the cultural practices of every ethnic and cultural group, but everyone needs to recognize that acknowledging and respecting cultures outside your own is necessary for positive interactions.

We may not always agree, but disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. Be open to different possibilities and to being wrong. Be kind in all interactions and communications, especially when debating the merits of different options. Be aware of your impact and how intense interactions may be affecting people. Be direct, constructive and positive. Take responsibility for your impact and your mistakes – if someone says they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully, apologise sincerely, and correct the behavior going forward.
Here's the current draft of some modifications to the "be nice" rule that are relevant. We've made a few changes to this from the Mozilla document. The "personal attacks" section again reiterates that conflicts are natural, but must be handled respectfully without resorting to an attack on the individual. I've reworded "derogatory language" to "derogatory slurs or insults" to try and be very clear that we are talking about words that are designed to maliciously harm people of certain cultures or minorities. There is never an appropriate time to use these words on TWHL. We also have an explanation that accidents will occur, and are not against the rules if the behaviour stops after the user is corrected.
Draft copy of new TWHL rules

Be nice

No personal attacks

Conflicts will inevitably arise, but frustration should never turn into a personal attack. It is not okay to insult, demean or belittle others. Attacking someone for their opinions, beliefs and ideas is not acceptable. If you are unable to express your opinion without an attack on an individual, then you should not post that opinion at all.

No derogatory slurs or insults

Slurs and insults related to background, family status, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, native language, age, ability, race, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic status, religion, geographic location, or other attributes are not acceptable.

This includes deliberately referring to someone by a gender that they do not identify with, and/or questioning the legitimacy of an individual’s gender identity. If you’re unsure if a word is derogatory, don’t use it. This also includes repeated subtle and/or indirect discrimination; when asked to stop, stop the behavior in question.

We understand that accidents will happen. We will not punish you for unintentionally insulting another person (for instance by using the incorrect pronouns), so long as you politely apologise and correct your mistake. If you feel you have been incorrectly penalised for a misunderstanding, feel free to contact a moderator for discussion.
If you're interested, please have a read of the draft rules above, as I think we've been able to redefine our intentions in a way that's less ambiguous. I would appreciate any feedback.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-07 05:10:12 UTC Post #343444
Looks reasonable. I've no complaints with this draft.
Dimbeak DimbeakRotten Bastard
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-07 07:09:29 UTC Post #343445
I personally would not allow any passing of judgment before the person who is beeing insulted responds as to why is it insulted by what insulted it so it is known and clear. You are giving room for a whole lot of drama to happen with that wide of a black list. You could even go as far as to say : We are not here to discuss people but everything else - But even so any discussion about what peole have made or use could end up breaking those rules.
Its like there will be babies on discord and now you need to protect them from themselfes for not causing drama or harm to themselfes... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Stojke StojkeUnReal
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-07 07:58:20 UTC Post #343446
I'm not against anything stated here, but I kinda feel like we are overreacting a little bit.
Most if not all of us understand what "Be nice" entails without going into details, those who don't are probably not welcome here in the first place.
rufee rufeeSledge fanboy
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-07 08:43:24 UTC Post #343447
As I have said previously, the intention is not to change the rules, but to clarify them so that moderators can enforce the rules more consistently. That's it. There's no overreaction here, it's something we should have done a long time ago, and this has prompted me to do it.

If you haven't had any trouble with the rules up until now, then nothing changes.

Once again, because people seem to be ignoring this:
  • The rules of the site, as they are enforced, are not changing.
  • We're only changing the wording so they are easier to understand.
  • The purpose of this change is to help moderators do their job.
EDIT: And Stojke, you seem to be misunderstanding. The wording is quite specifically mentioning slurs. These are very specific words that are intended to be harmful to others. These are words that get censored the world around because they don't belong in the community. Using those words on TWHL is not, and never has been, acceptable.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-08 21:12:45 UTC Post #343451
This looks great, Pebs.
AJ AJGlorious Overlord
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-09 10:30:04 UTC Post #343453
I haven't had the opportunity to read through any of the linked examples, but the draft looks fairly comprehensive to me, although disability might be worth including specifically under the section on slurs.
TJB TJBaka Alabastor_Twob
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-09 11:10:44 UTC Post #343454
I think including "ability" in the list would cover "disability" as well.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-13 15:06:42 UTC Post #343461
Nice one, Pebs :hammer:
Archie ArchieGoodbye Moonmen
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-17 20:16:27 UTC Post #343469
Yeah, that looks perfect to me. Good job
Oskar Potatis Oskar PotatisIt's never too late to give up. Happily lazy
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-20 00:11:39 UTC Post #343492
I'm sorry to revive this thread so late, and I hope my contribution will not restart a heated controversial debate (in which case I let Penguinboy delete this post), but the reason for my delay is that I've been thinking about my opinion for the past few days weeks and I'm a bit concerned by what I'm reading.

AJ's claim that Freedom of Speech is often misinterpreted looks like a play on words to me. Terms can be defined in many ways but it was pretty clear from the beginning that what the uneducated such as myself mean when they say Freedom of Speech is being given the ability to express and discuss their opinion, without serious consequences, even if contrary to what the majority thinks (within some limits, of course). For this reason, I don't see the point of giving it a legalese definition halfway through the debate.
I also find meaningless the claim that Freedom of Speech does not mean speech is consequence-free. Censorship or harrassment are possible consequences that seem to fit within your definition of Freedom of Speech, as long as the government is not directly responsible for these.
And yes, as you said, TWHL is free to set its own rules because it's a private community. Which is exactly what it is doing, based on the suggestions of its members, so I'm not sure what you're trying to say...

I'm also a bit concerned about what Jessie is saying. You used the words intolerance, offensive shit and shitheads to qualify what Potatis was referring to as conservative Christians against gay marriage, or to the topic of gay men's blood donations. I'm not necessarily defending them but that seems like derogatory insults to me, which furthermore seems to imply that anybody against gay marriage or gay men's blood donation is an offensive shithead defending offensive shit. Unless you were referring only to people who reject tolerance and inclusion, in which case this language still seems unneeded to me.
And also I don't like the example Potatis gives for people who reject tolerance and inclusion. I completely agree with the message: people who reject tolerance and inclusion because of their religious beliefs or ideologies do not have their place on TWHL or in any Free country. But let's not forget prejudice and violence can be found in all opinions and groups, people against gay marriage are not necessarily disrepectful and not inclusive, much like people on the other side can lack any respect for people with different opinions. Similarly, not only gay and atheists are being persecuted in the world, but religious people as well. (which includes Christians) So, we should remain careful with the preconceptions we naturally tend to develop as human beings (and social animals) about people of a certain group, religion, or opinion and remember this doesn't give us the right to qualify the opinion they are defending with the flaws of some of their supporters, and even less censor the opinion altogether.

I'd also like to say I don't know exactly why TWHL needs a more formal code of conduct, though I can imagine there is a reason. I believe I took part in the beginning of the Discord (a rather fitting name) debate that was mentionned, if we are talking about the same, but I do not know of anything else that happened afterwards. (I don't think there was anything controversial with anything I said or anything that came before.) Not knowing this makes it a bit difficult to know why exactly we need a more formal code of conduct for such a small community, and what needs to be made more obvious. So, the draft copy of the new detailled TWHL rules seem good to me, but I do not know exactly what they're trying to address. I'll come back to that later in my post, I have a suggestion.

In an ideal world, everybody should be able to express their opinion, live in accordance with it, and discuss it, without fearing for their lives or facing judgement, prejudice, social exclusion, insults, harrassment, etc. Of course, opinions that contradict freedom of speech or any other fundamental right should be banned. The problem is that it can be difficult to determine what opinion is incompatible with the fundamental rights, because even this is an opinion... Add to that the misconceptions we all have about certain groups, the limited or biased informations we get about certain events, and it quickly becomes a mess... Some people might abuse of Freedom of Speech because they are simply be ill-motivated or misguided, without necessarily being aware of it. The context also plays a significant role, and for practicality this ideal world cannot be possible in our current society.

Currently in the West many new ideas are being accepted as self-evident by society and they that are becoming increasibly hard to challenge, with their opponents either facing some sort of censorship, social exclusion, or any other sort of judgement by the majority. Some of it is justified, because we do not live in an ideal world and there are indeed many dangerous people with dangerous ideas. But I also believe a lot of it is unjustified and unfair, caused by some people's urge for a meaning for their lives, or their impossibility to emotionally process certain opinions. It would be best if it was possible to live in that ideal Free country that I described above, but the current context might make it partly impossible. (Still, we can do much much better.)

The reason I'm saying that is because I've always considered TWHL to be a safe heaven for Free Speech. Some people put forward the fact it's a community centered aroung gaming, and not around political debates. That's true, but the very fact it is before anything else a community, rather small, centered around similar passions, with people knowing others relatively well, makes it in some respects a better fit for political and other kinds of debates than the comments section of a newspaper or a political forum, where people don't know other people (and don't care about respecting them or not), have misconceptions about them, and only participate to defend their political convictions. Comparatively, the very nature of TWHL coerces people to be more listening, polite and respectful. It did allow me to challenge my opinions much more than in any other place, either physical or online. We all love Half-Life, so for all of us there's at least one part of our brain that's functionning normally. This assumption is not one many people make about their opponent when they debate online or elsewhere. We all want this community to continue to exist, and I believe we kind of all like each other as well? All of these things make it a better fit for debates, and I second Dimbeak's request for a separate space for discussions and debates. Saying TWHL is not a place for debating is a bit like barring friends in a Pub from talking about politics or Football (*). For that reason, I think very clear rules for debating would be very welcomed on TWHL, such as: always back up your claims, don't just say "your opinion is stupid"... This sort of things. :) After all, all the problems the new rules seek to address stem from debates and political discussions, don't they?
Obviously, some subjects should be treated with more care than others, because some people might take it personally, such as the trans issue (assuming people want to debate this at all), but I believe discussions about this should still be allowed. Even if the majority takes something for self-evident, discussing it in a friendly atmosphere and with rules allows them to better understand what they are thinking and to what their opponent is thinking, to make sure they are not deviating from their original opinion, and maybe to make the opponent more informed and maybe convince them.

To conclude this record-breaking lengthy message, here's an extract from the book: Letters from my Windmill (Alphonse Daudet):

"Despite being neighbours, our keeper and he don't see each other. They actually avoid each other. One day when I asked the stalker the reason for this, he replied in a serious manner:

--It's because of a difference of opinion.... He is a red; I am a white.

Well, even in this wilderness, where solitude ought to have brought them close together, these two unsociable people, as ignorant and naïve as each other, these two cowherds of Theocritus, who barely go to town once a year, and the small cafés of Arles must seem like the Palace of Ptolemy to them, have managed to fall out about politics of all things."

(Not sure how good the translation is)

*: Disclaimer: I don't like Football.
Posted 9 months ago2019-12-20 01:14:41 UTC Post #343493
I've moved away from using a formal code of conduct because I don't want to change the way people discuss things on TWHL, just to clarify what kind of behaviour is definitely not permitted so the moderators can effectively enforce it. So I'll just be adding the paragraphs from the draft above into the existing rules page, and that's all - nothing more formal than that.

Basically, all that's happening is that the rules are being reformatted a little, with some more detail in some places so it's less ambiguous. Honestly I think you're over-exaggerating the importance of this.

I'll quickly address some of your other topics:
  • The freedom of speech thing is an off-topic political debate, it doesn't apply here.
  • Derogatory insults are very specific words such as racial slurs (e.g. the "n-word"), and not just generic swear words.
  • Personal attacks are specifically towards other members (so someone could insult Trump, for example, and that's ok).
  • If someone said "Your opinion is stupid" in a debate, then they've probably already "lost" the debate since that's an absolutely pathetic response.
Can't we all just talk about video games and other fun things? Debating politics on the internet is an awful experience, and moderating it is even worse.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
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