The Tuesday Videos: Netiquette Edition

Thursday and Tuesday are switching places this week, (vids on Thursday, blog today) so that we can have a little discussion about Netiquette. In fact, this discussion will be the template for the new forum rules being put into place to govern the use of our comment section below. I have never been explicit about this before, trusting everyone to police themselves, but as has been pointed out to me, this is not terribly realistic, and some folks just can’t seem to help it.

I am sorry in advance. I have tried to make this as invisible and non-onerous as I could. 95% of you should never even have to know that this is here.

  • Number One: Act online as you would in person. If you wouldn’t walk up to two people having a conversation about cake recipes and start yelling at them about deficit spending in real life, don’t do it here. We are relatively anonymous here, but our feelings are not, nor should be our courtesy. Be respectful. Be ethical.
  • Number Two: Treat others as you would have them treat you. This rolls hand in hand with Number One, but it bears saying. If you don’t appreciate people being a dick to you, why would you think it’s different when you’re doing it?
  • Number Three: Not everyone is going to agree with you. Learn to be okay with that. Your argument may be the most beautifully worded, elegantly thought out, obviously logical statement of fact ever considered by a human being anywhere, but that hardly means that people are going to agree with it. If someone doesn’t agree with you, fine. They’re entitled to their opinions too.
  • Number Four: Swearing is not offensive, trolling is. So let’s define what we mean by it. Trolling is flame-baiting. Trolling is being deliberately confrontational, especially when not necessary. Trolling is thread-hijacking. Trolling is insulting other posters. Reasonable, respectful debate is not trolling. Calling someone an idiot for their point of view is.
  • Number Five: Don’t feed the trolls. Troll-sponsored threads, along with their comments, will be deleted in any case.
  • Number Six: Be forgiving. This one is for me, though I suppose it can apply to all of us. This is obviously being written because individuals in the recent past have been trying my patience on the message boards. For me Number Six means (among other things) a fresh start at square one. If we all use the guidelines here to create a positive community we can all be happy with, then job done.

So, here’s the way it will work. While it is certainly possible to be a huge enough ass to get banned with one post, I can’t imagine anyone being that rude without it being deliberate. In general, everyone gets two warnings, and the third time is the boot. If you get a warning, it will be very explicit. Comments that do not expressly say “This is a warning.” do not count — though you might consider it advice. You can always discuss your warning with me. Where possible all warnings will happen privately. If I am not certain I am getting in touch with you, I may have to deliver it publicly.

Please post any comments, additions, or feelings about this below. After I have taken the pulse here and amended the list, I’ll be posting it to the FAQ. Thanks for taking a look at it, and your input is encouraged!

76 Responses to The Tuesday Videos: Netiquette Edition

  1. I’ve seen you randomly post “That’s two” or something similar for no apparent reason. What does THAT mean in this context?

    • Actually, after reading yesterday, I gotta go ahead and take a ding on this one…
      Elfguy, you guys put a cokeheaded, alcoholic, satanist into office. And he was illiterate. Obama has continued W’s policies of war, bailouts, and tax cuts. I agree with you. He’s an idiot.
      If you feel tempted to respond, remember that I am a homeless man with a chip in my head who works for Cthulhu.

      …he pays me in tentacled fish:)

      • Hmm, i suddenly started to wonder….
        What sort of fish has tentacles?
        The closest i can think of would be some sort of carp.

        And yes, i have an odd sort of mind.

    • It means nothing, Elfguy. We’re are starting all over. No one has any black marks at all.

      @Cthulhu҉Hungers: Yes. You’re very funny. Please don’t be contrary just because you can.

  2. I’m always a little bit sad to see a place lay rules down because social etiquette is beyond them. It’s like paving a forest to put up a forest-themed amusement park.

      • Personally, I prefer using the rule ‘Don’t be an asshat’, although I suspect that’s a little too vague if you’re getting into specific rules after so long of using the trust system. I’m gonna miss the trust system, although I only started posting here recently.

  3. Huh, I can’t seem to post any crazy stuff. You got some kind of filters on, Kevin? I’m really just a homeless man connected to the net by a chip in my head, so that means I still get to be an ass, right?

    • Just spam filters. Maybe homeless man connected to the net by a chip in his head filters too. You know that’s pretty old tech, right?

      Sure, be an ass, if that’s who you really are. I’d never tell anyone how to behave. However, if you are offensive personally to me or my readers, you might not be able to be an ass here. And just to clarify, disagreeing with someone’s personally held views is not being personally offensive. Making disparaging remarks about them for holding those views is.

  4. So really not the time to draw attention to this link: ?


    It’s an article in the UK’s Independent on the work of Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist who explains the evolutionary reasons for politically incorrect truths like “Beautiful people have more daughters”, “Liberals are more intelligent than conservatives” or “Men sexually harass women because they’re not sexist”.

    • Why? I didn’t see a rule forbidding linking to ridiculous “scientific” theories pulled out the ass by shallow, attention grabbing “scientists” in their search for recognition and money.
      Besides, isn’t that kinda old? I’m sure I’ve heard about it long ago, so why are they “reprinting” this story?
      Or it could be my damn deja-vu thing kicking in again.

      • Actually, it’s an indication of just how hard-up UK newspaper are these days, and how bent. The dates are in the story – Kanazawa initially published in 2007 but has “updated” his views in some way. In other words, he’s looking to boost sales and posted a press release or called a friend. The author of the article, meanwhile, had probably just got back to the office after a long yet liquid lunch at, I am guessing, the Prince of Wales boozer on Kensington Church Street and needed to file a thousand words on something or other before the 4 pm cut-off for the early edition.

        Still, it’s a valid question. Where do we draw the line between controversy and “being deliberately confrontational, even when not necessary”? And I do like some of the claims… particularly the one about mid-life crises. It’s not me, honey, it’s you!

        • I didn’t even bother reading beyond the headline, it was both too familiar to continue reading and too silly for me to take it seriously.
          I really hate it when newspapers rehash articles every year and hope the readers don’t realize it.

      • And I would have said “more GULLIBLE than conservatives” instead of Intelligent. I mean, someone intelligent wouldn’t belive that a gas that composses less than 0.05% of the atmosphere, of which humans produce a negligible amount, and is necessary for plant resperation, is going to cause catastrophy because of the human contribution.

        • I mean, someone intelligent wouldn’t believe that a gas that composes less than 0.05% of the atmosphere, of which humans produce a negligible amount, and is necessary for plant respiration, is going to cause catastrophy because of the human contribution.

          By that logic, high cholesterol is also harmless,. After all, it only composes a tiny percentage of the total human body, our bodies produce our own, and it’s necessary for us in small amounts. Right?

          • Number Five: Don’t feed the trolls. Troll-sponsored threads, along with their comments, will be deleted in any case.

            I don’t know if this counts to Kevin but I’d call his comment trolling.

          • While your attempted comparison between a planetwide system where chaos theory has a high impact with the tiny system where Chaos theory has almost NO impact (The human body isn’t large enough for high impact chaos theory…our bodies are extremely ORDERLY compared to the Earth’s atmosphere) is amusing, let’s examine it.

            The proportion of “Man Generated” CO2 in the atmosphere is a very tiny fraction of the total Carbon Dioxide. So let’s say in your example, a normal, balanced diet consists of “natural” cholesterol…to add a bit MORE than the proportion of Man-generated CO2, would be the equivalent of eating an extra scrambled egg every other monday.

            Given all the OTHER potential causes of death, the odds of that extra egg every other week resulting in your death are, as scientists say, “not statistically significant.”

            Another thing about the AGW fanatics I find particularly amusing is, when thousands of Emails surfaced of environmental “scientists” (And I use that word in it’s most ironic sense) talking back and forth about how they were going to HIDE the fact that it wasn’t getting warmer worldwide, and no one disputed the AUTHENTICITY of those Emails, suddenly how they got released became more important than the content.

            And yet, now that Wikileaks has released tens of thousands of classified documents, CLEARLY illegally obtained, suddenly how things get released is not so important.

            Weird huh?

            “There is a thin line between Genius and insanity. I use that line as a Jump-rope.” – Not sure who said it first, but it’s SOooooo appropriate…

            • From he first sentence of the Wikipedia entry “Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, physics, economics, and philosophy studying the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. ” This means that in a chaotically snsitive system, like planetary weather, small (ie “insignificant”) changes or actions will have catastrophic effects,

              • Actually, the Wiki entry is wrong. Chaos theory does NOT dictate that changes or actions will always have catastrophic effects, it dictates that the system is unpredictable because small changes or actions can affect the outcome, and not necessarily in a BAD way. Some small change could PREVENT a hurricane, just as easily as it could CAUSE one.

                You’ve been watching too many movies where they mischaracterize the Butterfly Effect. It doesn’t always make things worse.

                • You mis-characterize your original statement, the Wiki entry, and my statement.

                  In your original statement you dismiss the possibility of human generated greenhouse gases contributing to climate change because the total quantity of such gases is less than 1 part in 2000. Lorenz’ work on the “butterfly curve” (Wiki does confuse this with the “butterfly effect”) involved changes on the order 1 part in 100,000. In your response to Not-so-anonymous you then claim that, unlike the human body, planet-wide systems can not be effected by small changes because they are impacted by chaos.
                  In fact being a non-linear dynamical system, climate is subject to large and unpredictable effects from the introduction of even very small changes. Whether or not undesirable, such results (unpredictable and large scale) are termed “catastrophic”.

    • I think that Mr Kanazawa would have some serious trouble convincing a woman of the vallidity of number ten. 🙄

  5. Swearing is not offensive, trolling is. Bless you Kevin! Sheer poetry! It is good to occasionally lay it out in black n white when people get excited and forget thier manners. I think perhaps a rule to consider might be: Politics and religion are verboten unless brought up or asked about in the blog. On these two subjects, it’s best to avoid it entirely unless there’s a specific point to discuss and it can be done without flaming, trolling, or hating. The point of: Not everyone is going to agree with you. Learn to be okay with that. That too is a beautiful sentiment that I wish more people in real life would bear in mind. Well done!

    • Not everyone is going to agree with you. Get a gun permit and learn to shoot straight. – Now that’s a sentiment I can identify with!

      • I don’t troll though…I really AM a loonie-toon in real life…And when I post something TRULY off topic ( ) , I announce it quite clearly with something like John Cleese’s “And now for something completely different” line from the Monty Python shows, and usually in response to something happening in the news that day or that I find particularly annoying or interesting.

        Just keep in mind when reading my posts and you’ll usually get it…oh, and

        • @Jesse: Thanks. I just hope it helps. I don’t want to be Mr. Forum Police guy, and with this crowd, it has almost never come up. You folks are a great group. I think you’re right though. Folks do just get excited. I’m going to give the “No religion or politics” thing some thought. Banning them outright (except when topical) may not be practical, as they do leak over into everyday conversations. I’ll have to give it some thought.

          @Orald: Literally laughing out loud.

          @Elfguy: Well… maybe you should try and act more reserved here than you do IRL. I want you to know though, I would never single you out because of your political philosophies. More than half of my truly close friends believe much the same way you do, and depending on the person, it’s either something we tease over, or simply don’t discuss. My only problem has ever been with the aggressively adversarial style with which you present yourself, as well as inserting your political beliefs into conversations where they are inappropriate. This combination can create a negative experience for folks who just wanted to talk about gaming or cartoon boobies or whatever. I do not dislike you and I do want to read what you have to say, otherwise I would simply have banned you without going to all this trouble. Trust me, it would have been a lot easier. But in the end I am going to ask you to use your brain. Just… play nice.

          • Exept that, like it or not, they WERE appropriate yesterday…when someone mentions a stupid law (in this case inheritance law) then Politics ARE involved.

            Let’s see if you can follow the line of reasoning here: Stupid laws don’t just spring into existance Ex nihilus, like Minerva from the head of Jove. Behind every stupid law, is a stupid politician.

            What offends ME is when someone tries to claim that someone who opposes a particular politician’s policies and laws only does so because of their SKIN COLOR – which is about the stupidest possible reason for ANYONE to oppose ANYTHING. Sometimes I wish I could just reach through the internet and Moe-slap such people.

            (For those too young to know what a “Moe-Slap” is, you need to go back and watch some 3 stooges movies.)

            If you recall, Tim once went on a big rant because I had made a number of Anime references over the course of a couple of months…he seemed to be under the impression that I “Always” brought a particular Anime into whatever conversation, when in fact this was not the case. Like any Manic personality, I tend to go through cycles. This month it’s politics, next month it might be, oh, I dunno, maybe Monty Python or Disney. Or I might start randomly breaking into song…or maybe not, that loses something in the Text-based world…

            But like the lunatic in the old “lost lugnuts” urban myth, “I’m crazy…not stupid.”

              • Maybe you could send Elfguy some lithium.

                (NB: I base that on his self description of his personality, not my assessment.)

              • No, what I’m saying is, if you ARE gonna ban someone, be absolutely sure they actually DID what you THINK they did. Is that too much to ask, given that you just sort of skipped over the whole bit with Kroiden saying that everyone who doesn’t think Obama is doing a good job is just racist. Didn’t see you giving HIM any warnings, just me…for making fun of an actual stupid inheritance law that is, in fact, scheduled to go into effect, in response to a post about stupid inheritance laws, which, I think you’ll agree WAS keeping to the previously introduced topic.

                Or are you saying overt racism in a post is LESS obnoxious than poking fun at stupid politicians?

                • (Assuming you WANTED to see my paranoid side…it tends to come out when I’m accused of something like racism for replying to an ongoing topic, on topic, point out the flame, and then _I_ get blamed, while the guy who flamed with the racism accusation gets a pass…)

                  • I think Kroiden’s post was quite reasonably (and conservatively) worded, he didn’t accuse anyone of anything, he just expressed discomfort and suspicion, which anyone is entitled to feel. He may have been referring to a group that implicitly included Elfguy, but Elfguy was not the sole target of his concern, nor did he make any explicit allegations. He just said what it looked like, and an objective observer would have to admit his is one possible interpretation that is open to being bolstered or refuted.

                    If everyone just remembers Voltaire’s thing about giving your life for the freedom of other people to say things you fundamentally disagree with, then our traditions of democratic debate will carry on fine and dandy. In these polarised times where each side thinks the other is taking us to hell in a handcart, we need it. In 20 years we will look back on these days and think “it wasn’t so bad after all.”

                    (unless the Rapture or the Revolution actually happens)

                    • An implicit insult is still an insult.

                      For example, If I were to say that “anyone who doesn’t have a custom avatar icon is just too lazy to make one”, wouldn’t you find that a bit overbroad and insulting?

                      After all, some people just like the randomly generated one and stick with it.

  6. I’d recommend that if you do ban anyone … do not rescind that ban for any reason.
    I see that you are going to think hard on whether that ban is warranted before you use it.
    Do not second guess yourself at a later time period or you will bring more headaches down on yourself.

    • I guess that’s good advice. I once held position as co-admin on some small sci-fi board, mainly just watching the boards for spammers etc and straightening out minor glitches(as my tech skills are nonexistent), and I guess I hesitated taking out a crazy(but well written, I think the guy was truly disturbed and high on mushrooms, by his own admission, most of the time) troll for too long. And the bugger was very tenacious, too, made a couple of disguised new accounts and tried quite subtly to fuck with the board and me in particular.
      Now he was a high quality troll, and he could make some rather interesting, if winded, posts, but he just kept going on and on about mysticism and religion(IIRC he was very anti-Catholic but kept spewing religious stuff, I think it was a “new-age” kind of thing but kinda garbled due to his eccentric personality) in a way that was mostly against the rules(wasn’t the same thing as your blog, Kevin). But I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt and because it was kinda on the dark-gray side of the laws, at least until he intentionally disregarded my pleas(and later, warnings) not to talk about it so much. I had to draw the line at a direct refusal to comply by the rules.
      But I think I’ve changed since then. I’ve become less tolerant of crazy, bullshitting junkies, thanks to that experience.

    • I was a member on a forum that let in the same troll over and again. It was mostly because the minority of pre-pubescent, emotionally retarded eejits whined and complained loudly because they liked the horrid little troll in question. Needless to say, the entire community soon consisted of whiny, self-absorbed fucktards before it sank without a trace. At least I assume it sank without a trace; I bailed when Troll-Boy was allowed back in for the second time.

  7. Good post!


    Rules are often needed though rarely desired in a forum like this. I generally use the prime rule of forum/comments/etc. posting: don’t say things that you wouldn’t say to your mom. It’s worked for me up till now, YMMV. :mrgreen:

      • Do I really need to point out the flaw of this advice to someone like me? It’s not only what I would say, it’s what I’ve already said to that retarded, nagging bitch.