Rolling Policy Update Thread

DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
edited April 1 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.

(ETA Quotes are inevitably taken out of their context for this thread, so if you are quoted - but would prefer to be just identified as shipmate, host or admin - please pm an admin and the edit will be made.)


  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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.

    Original thread.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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".

    Original thread.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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).
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    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.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    8: Sensitive Analogies
    Doc Tor wrote:
    Analogies are problematic, in that the thread often becomes about the analogy.

    If you can discuss the thing without recourse to analogies, then just discuss the thing. There's usually plenty to talk about.

    That's rather my point - I thought I was discussing the "the thing", in this case the impact of accepting vs questioning the opinions expressed about instances of oppression by the oppressed. I absolutely get why and that analogies are problematic, I just didn't think I was using them; hence my suggestion of a misunderstanding.
    Louise wrote:
    I think sometimes threads in Epiphanies start with people conceiving them more broadly but then become about one thing and it's best to stick to it and not suddenly have a lot of people wanting to talk about transphobia BLM, sexual assault all at one time on one thread. Once someone mentions them someone else thinks they're OK to run with it or feels compelled to say something about that because it matters to them

    It's not a question of doing anything wrong it's a question of how we manage the thread and it seemed better not to risk having those issues boil up on it as we've got a very very contentious issue very much in play already
    My problem with this stance, reasonable though it sounds, is that it delegitmates empathy, or at least leaves those commenting from analagous but not directly related experience with no option but to sound as if they are commenting in the abstract. To my mind, they are two very different forms of argument/comment, and I am very uncomfortable about being forced into appearing to do the one when I'm in fact doing the other.
    KarlLB wrote:
    There is another aspect to this though - perhaps sticking to the example in question forces us to consider aspects in which it is different to other examples we might be tempted to bring in as analogies. In this particular case, for example, one might consider the degree to which a drive towards consistency across a range of apparently analogous situations can be harnessed as a part of the weaponisation which the OP addressed.
    Louise wrote:
    This is a fair point Thunderbunk and sorry for the oversight, in fact we normally say if this is you - and it's an own voice thing - then do that and bring that.

    But the problem is eg. people who're not trans suddenly bringing in trans discussions to a thread that's centred on antisemitism or who're not Black suddenly bringing in BLM to threads that are centred on other issues as analogies or comparisons. Somebody who's not a sexual abuse survivor thinks they'll use it as an analogy... and it becomes very hard to manage. We had a very similar problem with a thread on disability which was framed generally and so meant we suddenly got potentially distressing issues which were different being lumped into the same thread by people who did not have those disabilities/differences. I think general discussions which can bring up a lot of different sensitive topics which are more sensitive to some people than others can be very tricky.
    Making a comment about the rights of Palestinians whilst talking about human rights is a very different thing from making the same comment about the rights of Palestinians every time Abraham Goldstein from down the street comes in to the newsagent to buy his morning paper.

    This point is important. That situation is not unlike a speech act, in that it is not just the content of what you are saying - it’s where, and when you say it.

    Which is why tangent management can be both so difficult, and so important in Epiphanies. If you (generic you) tangent / analogise sideways away from the focus of thread and/or own voice perspectives on that topic - that is potentially very disruptive, and also concerning if you (generic you) persistently do so in relationship to the same marginalised group every time.

    Therefore, thread framing / post framing that is likely to initiate multiple tangents can be problematic. (Though not always, there are issues of intersectionality to consider.)
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    9. Terminology: Racism / Xenophobia
    My opinion is that the "Anti-English" sentiments expressed in that thread were racist
    Dafyd wrote:
    Can we avoid using the term racist for anti-English sentiment?
    Doc Tor wrote:
    The problem we're trying to avoid here is not using the word xenophobia to make already unpleasant stuff less pleasant (xenophobia is genuinely unpleasant and not laudable), but we want to reserve the term racist to its commonly understood definition.
    You're more than welcome to use the term xenophobic or bigoted or nationalistic to describe the argument, back on the thread in question.
    Doc Tor wrote:
    on these boards, calling it racism is only going to be unnecessarily contentious. We want to avoid that, and there are other, more accurate, terms to use.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    10. Epiphanies Resources
    We note the suggestion of a resource thread; this seems like a very good idea, and our Epiphanies hosts will develop this in the coming weeks.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    11. Crew Manifest

    It was noted that a clear personnel list was needed - a crew manifest was added here.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    12: Use of Identity Slurs

    Identity slurs effectively fall foul of our 1st commandment. Some of these are very obvious, e.g., racial epithets, but distinguishing ableist slurs from figurative language is sometimes more difficult, especially as language usage varies around the world. Whilst many terms have ableist roots, using slang for a diagnosis as an insult - he is a "..." is fairly unambiguous. Likewise, "if you think x you must have condition y" - which implies, regardless of the term used, that "only" a person with condition y could possibly think such an outrageous/ uncivilised/ stupid thing. Misgendering and deadnamingare are likewise unacceptable.

    If you have a pressing to need to reference an identity slur in the course of a serious discussion, then use spoiler tags to create a hidden text notice & content warning.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    13: Copyright
    Following discussion backstage:

    While the copyright resides with the author of anything posted, the norm is that the owner of the platform where it is posted is granted a non-exclusive licence to the use of the content. The copyright to the Ship of Fools can be found bottom left of every page on the site.

    Anything published here doesn't mean agreement or endorsement, and permission to use the Ship's name needs to be separately and explicitly sought in relation to any reprinting/reposting elsewhere.

    @2ndRateMind are you happy for your poem to remain on the site on that basis, or would you like me to redact it ? If you’d like to go ahead with the thread it can be restarted; but, as a poetry discussion, the thread should really be re-started in Heaven.

    Doublethink, Admin
    The author holds copyright, so needs to be contacted for permission to use a poem etc. If you also wanted to reproduce it as a screenshot of the page on the Ship you'd also need to get permission from Simon as the page layout etc is our copyright (it's probably polite to at least let Simon know). And, AIUI, if you also wanted to include some of the comments then you'd also need to contact everyone else (for permission to reproduce their words) you want to quote as well as Simon (because you're then reproducing a thread not just the content of a single post).

    FAQ has also been updated regarding this issue.

    Original thread.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited March 2023
    14: Donations
    MrsBeaky wrote: »
    After discussion backstage we can confirm we're currently not taking donations. We’ll post here if there is any change.

    Thanks so much for the clarification and yes please do keep us posted as I really want to put my money where my mouth (occasionally!) is....

    Original thread.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited June 2022
    15: Content Warning Textual Content that is Explicitly Violent or Sexual
    Further to the discussions on this thread and consultation amongst the crew, the position in future is that material containing text with explicit sexual or violent content should be posted with hidden text spoiler tags and a clear content warning - even if the material is intended to be humorous. The two click requirement will be reserved for extreme audio visual material only.

    As a courtesy to your fellow shipmates, if you realise something you wish to post needs a content warning - please consider carefully whether you really want or need to post the material.

    Original thread.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    16: Signatures manually written onto posts
    RooK wrote: »
    It is clear that there are opinions about the utility of signatures, and some consternation about the dissonance of meta-messages for some. However, as far as Ships Business is concerned, the ruling is that they are not going to be officially constrained
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited April 2023
    17: Blasphemy
    We rightly have boundaries on language which either directly prejudices or dog whistles other groups and beliefs, so why not this?

    There are two elements to the answer to this.

    Firstly, definitions of blasphemy vary wildly and are different for each and every one of the hundreds of faiths currently in existence - so I doubt it is practical on a religious discussion board. For example, my understanding is that Orthodox Jews do not write down God - using G-d instead and certainly not Jehovah.

    Secondly, blasphemy is not a C1 violation but sectarianism is - which is where your equivalent protection sits.
    blasphemy strikes at the identity and worth of the divine. That's the common ground for pejorative language in any of these circumstances.

    If there is a God, they do not have a marginalised identity. They can not be improperly subject to dehumanising language because they are not a human. Also, as an omnipotent omniscient being they are not impacted in any meaningful sense by the moderation policies of a niche interest internet discussion forum.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited July 2023
    18: No homework threads
    Leaf wrote: »

    I think of "homework" as being a form of Thread Manipulation. Crusading is another form of thread manipulation, and there's already a commandment against it. Thread manipulation tends to suppress and kill discussion.

    ISTM thread manipulation can be overt or covert. Someone may announce their intention up front ("I'm writing a paper on why John the Baptist wasn't Baptist at all, and I'd like you to help me prove it.") Or thread manipulation can be covert and revealed over time and posting habit. That's why I'm not sure an adequate definition can be provided to the satisfaction of all. It reminds me of the remark about defining pornography - "I know it when I see it."

    That's also why I think the comments about 'honesty' are misguided. It doesn't matter if someone states up front that they have a specific goal in mind for the thread, or whether their posting eventually reveals their specific goal for the thread. I don't think it matters if that specific goal is conversion (crusading) or a personal project (homework). The goal ought to be discussion!

    We all come to discussions with some kinds of knowledge and/or relevant experience. Some of us may hope that people will come around to our point of view, which is obviously right and true :wink: But as this is a discussion board, some kinds of openness seem to be a baseline need.
    To be honest, I thought that the "no homework" rule was included in the FAQs, but it isn't. It's been a very long standing convention here, across all forums. As @Leaf said, such threads don't tend to lend themselves to quality discussion. And, most people don't tend to like being treated as a living Wiki only valued by someone else as a source of knowledge to supplement their own work on a project
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    19: UK proscribed organisations

    The Terrorism Act 2000 makes it an offence to, amongst other things:
    • invite support for a proscribed organisation (the support invited need not be material support, such as the provision of money or other property, and can also include moral support or approval) (section 12(1))
    • express an opinion or belief that is supportive of a proscribed organisation, reckless as to whether a person to whom the expression is directed will be encouraged to support a proscribed organisation (section 12(1A))

    The current list of proscribed organisations can be found here, and obviously we would remove any material necessary - per commandment 7.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Admin, 8th Day Host
    edited April 1
    20: Scottish Hate Crime Law

    Please note new UK law that may effect social media posts:
    The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 creates a new crime of "stirring up hatred" relating to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being intersex.

    The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of seven years.

    A person commits an offence if they communicate material, or behave in a manner, "that a reasonable person would consider to be threatening or abusive," with the intention of stirring up hatred based on the protected characteristics.

    Stirring up hatred based on race, colour, nationality or ethnicity was already illegal in Great Britain under the Public Order Act 1986 but, in an attempt to streamline the criminal law in Scotland, that too is now part of the Hate Crime Act.

    The bar for this offence is lower than for the other protected characteristics, as it also includes "insulting" behaviour, and as the prosecution need only prove that stirring up hatred was "likely" rather than "intended".
This discussion has been closed.