I always feel simplistic rules like these or like wikipedia's "don't be a dick" work well for small communities but never scale.
The ambiguity is really code for "follow implicit unstated behavioral community norms". When a community is small enough and everyone knows each other, a consensus can develop over what is appropriate behaviour. Yes people will push boundries, and there will be disagreements over what is good, but there is enough of a shared consensus on what being "good" means, you can just say "behave" and it sort of works.
The moment the community gets big and elements of it are strangers to one another, there is no shared meaning over what good behaviour is, even roughly, or for that matter shared context for which to evaluate the behavior in. Telling people to just play nice stops working.
But does the situation improve with a longer code of conduct though? I doubt it. What matters when the community gets larger is efforts of moderation.
I think with a big community, consistent moderation matters more, as people won't respect it if it is precieved as biased or unfair. A longer code of conduct can help with that, but it won't do it by itself.
In the 90s we had so much discussions about netiquette on usenet. It seems naive now.
Yours truly have translated RFC 1855 to Hungarian some three decades ago.
I remember a lot of arguments about how a signature should look…
You could have just had your Geek Code in there to be efficient.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geek_Code for the people who didn't get to experience it
About the number of bytes a signature was supposed to be....
80 bytes was the limit in Italy.
At that time in Italy we did not have free local phone calls, every call would be billed based on its duration.
Now imagine being a Fidonet sysop who on a volunteer basis was running a computer at home 24/7, often having a second phone line dedicated to the computer (at the time even more expensive) to make sure that your users would not clog your home landline making you unreachable all day. Plus overnight your system would need to dial up and connect to your hub and exchange all data produced by your user's discussions (echomail). All the costs were on the sysop and the national hubs in Italy would then exchange with a system running in Belgium or the Netherlands, system which would in turn then exchange with USA. Flat rates did not exist (at least in Italy), and no sysop was asking (at least in Italy) end users to contribute with money or a subscription.
That is why content was moderated in the first place, to avoid off topic discussions that would waste byte and increase the bills. For this reason you would also need to limit signatures, tag-lines and so forth to 80 bytes, which IMHO are more than enough for a signature, unless you want to add ASCII ART to it.
2:333/300.15 (or 2:333/329.15)
Ans if you did it wrong, you would be mercilessly roasted on alt.fan.warlord
Do kids these days even know where Perth is?
_____ _ _ _ _ __ _
| __ \ | | | | (_) | | \ \ /\| |/\
| |__) |__ _ __| |_| |__ _ ___ | |__ ___ _ __ ___ ______ \ \ \ ` ' /
| ___/ _ \ '__| __| '_ \ | / __| | '_ \ / _ \ '__/ _ \ |______| > > |_ _|
| | | __/ | | |_| | | | | \__ \ | | | | __/ | | __/ / / / , . \
|_| \___|_| \__|_| |_| |_|___/ |_| |_|\___|_| \___| /_/ \/|_|\/
Just show us your map of Tasmania.
An increasingly rare thing these days.
But we didn't have mods then which I think makes a difference.
My mileage varies.
In my FidoNet nodes and the ones I visited there was explicit moderation. We were just called sysops.
For Usenet, in all sci. & comp. there were heavy moderation, and of course little to no moderation in alt. at least what I saw.
Fidonet in 2023 - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=36097617 - May 2023 (8 comments)
The History of Usenet and FidoNet - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23678687 - June 2020 (32 comments)
History of Fidonet (1993) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21669570 - Nov 2019 (75 comments)
Ask HN: Remember FidoNet? - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12216932 - Aug 2016 (3 comments)
Edit: this is also pretty good:
The big dummy's guide to Fidonet(1992) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37531198
That's a great submission but the convention of linking to previous threads is to only include the ones with meaningful comments.
But I've added it to the list of candidates to invite a repost for, and if you want to email email@example.com and remind us after enough time has gone by (say a few months, to let the hivemind caches clear), we'll be happy to do that. Invited reposts go in the second-chance pool (https://news.ycombinator.com/pool, explained at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26998308), so they get a random placement on HN's front page.
The reason why I posted this, was that I find it kind-of interesting for the "culture wars" that plague public discourse - especially in the US, but with a global fall-out - where a number of topics are mis-used as either political maces (don't annoy others) or/and to claim a victim status (don't be easily annoyed), therefore making them radioactive for everybody else who does not want to engage in the game.
The "don't be easily annoyed" rule is increasingly needed. An acquaintance was recently attacked for saying "hey guys" on a Discord. Then when he pointed out the madness of it, he got banned.
> The "don't be easily annoyed" rule is increasingly needed.
I recall a post on here where a bloke got very indignant about the innocent use of the term 'Chinaman'; something this Englishman (sharing an office with two Frenchmen, an Irishman and a Dane) found rather odd, especially considering the complainant was not Chinese themselves.
I think this was my introduction to the idea of the 'modern' internet user being far too easily offended (on somebody else's behalf to boot!), coupled with a modern desire to engage in culture wars and internet virtue signalling. This has certainly not lead to rational and healthy discourse.
So what you're saying is that he didn't take being corrected well and was easily annoyed.
Literally costs him nothing to adopt the culture of the Discord he wants to participate in yet still he was so easily annoyed he got banned.
1. he wasn't "corrected", he was attacked
2. even if he was "corrected" that makes no sense since the dictionary literally agrees with him
He was attacked for being a male that knew he was male. That was the attack. Quite absurd.
<Don't be excessively annoying.>
We do understand humans are involved,right?
<Don't be easily annoyed.>
This is the only chance for success. You can only forgive if you can manage the hurt. You won't be annoyed if you've already made up your mind not to be. (excepting children and loud noises, of course.)
The problem is with your second paragraph is that these days, being annoyed can be used as a weapon. So we're back at "humans are involved".
But I think, even more fundamental than people being annoying and being annoyed, some people are acting in bad faith. Some people are there, essentially, as agents - of a nation, or a political party, or a viewpoint. They are there to declaim, not to have a conversation. This is incredibly destructive to communities.
For a small community, I could see a moderator having the ability to ban users from the site, but also the ability to ban users from a thread. "On this topic, you're not acting in good faith, so you're done for this thread." It wouldn't scale to HN, of course - dang is busy enough as it is. (Of course, this presumes the moderator is acting in good faith. But if they aren't, the site turns into an echo chamber for the position the moderator supports, and the reasonable people go somewhere else.)
Emphasis on the "excessively"; my comment here is annoying for being pedantic perhaps, but it's manageable. Excessive annoyance crosses a threshold to being a troll.
Good rules, I've been guilty of breaking both but I find things are a lot more pleasant if I don't.
People violating these rules on social media are big neon warning lights. Mute, and move on with your life. There are so many intelligent and pleasant people out there in cyberspace.
Eh, it’s easy to put elegant and abstract rules in place, but it’s another beast to scale that rule consistently over all users of your platform. The ambiguity is just a cop out.
On the contrary, I'd say a self-evidently subjective policy like this one has a better chance of being enforced fairly than a legalistic code that usually ends up being twisted by whoever's in power to go after their political opponents.
I see this with my CTO coaching clients, I see quite a lot of values and policy documents. Often they have very long value documents no one reads or knows. Better have 5 bullet points everyone knows by heart.
This is probably the biggest downfall of policies - long, drawn out prattle about irrelevant topics with weasel words and irrelevant niceties. Distilling them into standards and procedures becomes a nightmare and constant fight.
This is true for so many things.
You can have both kind of documents.
I agree. Less is more. Better chances of users actually being aware what the rules are too, since I think only few users to actually read long code of conduct documents.
That’s a false dichotomy. You can have your subjective vision along with a legalistic code, so the abuse in practice could be tested against the vision itself. Think of it like having a constitution and laws at the same time.
> You can have your subjective vision along with a legalistic code, so the abuse in practice could be tested against the vision itself.
When has that ever worked out in practice?
on Wikipedia for instance.
My experience is that rules-lawyering and organisational politics has very much won out over the original spirit/vision of Wikipedia.
It has indeed, but that may not be the worst outcome as the other alternative would be a toxic trashcan.
Your statement begs the question, what rules would you put forth for online communities in the same succinct way that also scaled?
You can’t have succint and unambiguous at the same time. You need to be as specific and elaborate as possible to avoid ambiguity.
I had a Fido node in the late 90s — early 2000s.
One thing I miss is the fact that it was possible to have civil conversations on very controversial subjects.
I think part of the civility was because people knew they could get banned from the various BBS's that were their access to fidonet in the first place. When you were limited to local access points, due to the costs of long distance calls, there was more incentive to not piss off your hosts.
Click the JohnPassaniti link. That is funny, loved it!