Rolling Policy Update Thread

DoublethinkDoublethink Admin
edited January 4 in The Styx
Lightly indexed:

Every so often the forum guidelines and FAQs get updated and items will no longer need to be listed here. We’ll try to keep this rolling thread updated.


  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin
    edited January 1
    1: Amendment to hosting model
    As the number of active Shipmates has declined this has been reflected in the number of hosts and admin. We're going to be adapting our hosting model to try and maintain the ideal of all posts being read and problems addressed as quickly as possible, without overloading our hosting team. In practice this means that, in particular in Purgatory which is our most active and demanding forum for hosting, something that requires action may be addressed by an admin or host from a different forum rather than waiting for one of the hosts for that forum to be online to address it.

    The dedicated hosts for each forum (named in the guidelines threads) are still primarily responsible for each forum, and are the first point of contact for anyone with queries or comments about that forum, to raise concerns about specific posts or threads etc.

    We hope that makes sense, but if you have any questions then fire them at us.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin
    edited January 1
    2: "Spoiler" changing to "Hidden Text"
    pease wrote: »
    We have made a small change to the spoiler code, which signals a more significant change in its usage. Instead of "Spoiler", the label now reads "Hidden Text" and instead of just being for hiding spoilers (unexpected plot twists in films and books, etc), it is now a more general-purpose tool for concealing text in posts.

    From the point of view of hosting, the primary purpose is to reduce the amount of bigoted language and distressing imagery that those participating in discussions have to read without warning. It also allows the detail of the issue to be addressed within the concealed section, with less disruption to the discussion. To illustrate:

    [Hosting: Paragraph implies ... whatever offensive thing was implied, Host]
    Offensive paragraph
    [Further explanation of the reason for concealing the text, if required]

    The underlying intent is to promote more consideration for other posters and, for that matter, anyone reading the forums.
    We should add that this is a feature that you can all use if you feel it would be useful. For example, if you want to include a detailed explanation of a point that may not be necessary for everyone to see (a TLDR use) making your posts a lot shorter without omitting useful detail. Or, if there's something you think is relevant but might be offensive to others (a not work safe use). And, of course, you can still use it to hide plot twists for posts about movies. It would be useful if you do use it to include a wee phrase before it to indicate the nature of the hidden content.

    The hosts will still be reading anything you put in hidden text, and it'll still be visible to search engines etc. The content of hidden text will still be subject to the 10Cs and relevant guidelines for the forum you're posting on.
    The coding language is unchanged, just the words that appear in the screen and the option on the drop-down menu (if you use that option) have changed. If you go back to the few occasions where this coding has been used (some book and movie threads in Heaven, for example) these still hide spoilers but now have the description "Hidden Text" rather than "Spoiler".
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin
    edited January 1
    3: Naming other Shipmates in Circus games
    Naming other shipmates in Circus games, given the potential for hurt feelings, is usually best avoided.

    I have added this sentence to The Circus guidelines, at the end of the second paragraph about games. General guidance, rather than an absolute rule, which seems to reflect the views on this thread.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin
    edited January 1
    4: Will there ever be a name change amnesty on the Ship-II?
    With the previous software, users had two names - a user name and a display name - and the could change their own display names unless this was disabled in the control panel - when some people kept changing their displayed name several times a week and confusing everyone we routinely disabled this. A "name change amnesty" was a simple matter of enabling that feature for a limited period.

    With this software users have a single name, everything associated with your registration is filed under your user name and that is what is displayed. We had some initial problems when people registered here with their old user name expecting to enter a different display name ... we did change some names, but it's a bit of work for the admins to do that each time (and, we'd very much prefer not to tinker with the personal data in individual user accounts).
  • 5: COVID restrictions: signalled intentions to break the law
    Advocating breaking the law or encouraging others to do so comes very close to Commandment 7. Our policy on that is "don't do it" and we reserve the right to delete such content. Whether a particular post by someone saying they'll break the law does that is going to depend on context.

    As a reminder to all, these are public forums and anyone can read what's posted here. You may not be readily identifiable, but if you wouldn't phone the local police station to tell them what you're going to do it's probably not wise to post those intentions here.
  • 6: Video Shipmeets
    I have a suggestion. Could we set up an additional ship meet board in 8th day (or stand-alone) that is only readable by logged in shipmates and on there ship meets can be arranged and log in details can be shared.
    Yes. I've just posted a new thread in the 8th Day forum (should we get an application to use that forum for an experimental theme we'll work out a suitable alternative) in which people can post the links to a meet or other online event. The organisation of meets, setting a date and time etc, should be conducted as usual in All Saints or other suitable forum. But, once the link is known the host for the meeting can post that on that thread where all registered members of the Ship can see it. A single post there (and another post on the thread in AS saying the link is there) and the host can enjoy the meet without constantly looking for PMs or other posts asking for the invite link.

    We ask that people use that thread exclusively for posting links to make it easy to find links without a lot of other chatter cluttering things up. And, if someone sees a need to share the link more widely they only do that with the explicit permission of the meet organisers and host.
  • 7: Clearly representing one’s own opinion
    The host post was/is to address as specific issue, not an entire posting style.

    If you write “All Martians are bastards” or an ”Invasion of Bassertshire is justified because all the inhabitants are inbred subhumans”: either statement, if it were to refer to a real group of people, would be a commandment 1 violation.

    If you say, “well Autocrat Tintin believes all Martians are bastards” or “King Peter believes invasion of Bassertshire is justified because he believes all the inhabitants are inbred subhumans” - that is not.

    If you are writing without an ironic or sarcastic font, and somehow roleplay Autocrat Tintin or King Peter saying these things - it just reads as if you advocating genocide on the grounds of a belief some group are subhuman. This is more and more the case, the less and less obvious it is that you are roleplaying.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    I think that being clear on what you, the poster, believes and are arguing for, is important. You can pull in links and comments from elsewhere (either on the ship, or in published media), but it should be clear that the argument you're making is your argument, and not either someone else's, nor something that you don't believe but are trying to provoke others with.

    This isn't a limit on creativity. The best writing is full of passion and imagery, yet is perfectly and unambiguously clear.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    We're trying to encourage passionate and honest debate. If shipmates deliberately obscure their opinions or worse, adopt a contrary stance to provoke, then we intend to discourage that with the tools we have.
    I think one of the problems is that this is an international board and, quite often, what is seen as an acceptable way of expressing an idea in one sphere of the Anglophone world can be seen as unacceptably rude in another sphere. To work together well and not be unnecessarily provocative, it seems to me to be better, politer and more considerate to fellow Shipmates if we temper our modes of expression to cater for others.

    Clarity of expression also helps those who are not native English speakers to participate, or for those with neurodiversities that mean they find it harder to interpret allusive or opaque writing.
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    And that this is an (increasingly) international board is a joy and a delight. Yes, it brings concomitant issues of language and clarity we all need to address, but it's something that we, as a community, can celebrate.
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