What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby ghijkmnop » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:06 am

aviel wrote:
That being said, I was under the impression that CAaSS was the sole subforum where members were allowed to bitch about their world

Probably best for the rant thread in GenDisc.


The description text of CAaSS says "What's happening in your world? Discuss it here." I know I'm being pedantic here, but that's what people see, and that's how I assumed it worked. Also, I would only use the Rant thread to vent--not to have a discussion about something happening that I think is bad.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby Kate » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:08 am

No, actually. Rarely do we disagree. It's generally pretty obvious when something is off-topic, because the standards are pretty broad. The standard so far is basically, is it newsworthy?

Your proposed standards fit your definition of news. They don't fit mine. They don't fit the Washington Post's definition of news. They don't fit the BBC's definition of news. I know this, because you have reported things before that haven't been newsworthy enough, despite a quick google search turning up those two organizations as sources for the same story.

"No it is not, they can discuss those interests in the appropriate forum." Why yes they can. And that forum would be Current Affairs and Serious Stuff.

It is very easy to ignore a thread that does not interest you. It is more difficult to check multiple forums, especially as those forums do not have the same discussion guidelines so the discussion might not be the kind you want; if you want to discuss the World Cup seriously, it'd be fine for other people to respond with gifs and literally nothing else in Gen Dis, but we'd ask you to cut that out if it went overboard in Current Affairs. You are asking for limits on discussion that others deem newsworthy because it does not fit your definition and tastes.

I do appreciate it. If I did not appreciate it, I would not be engaging you in this discussion at 4 am. Because honestly, this is the kind of thing I do. This is the kind of thing I've done at TCS for over two years. I do care. I do want checks on mods. I do want transparency where it's reasonable, which by nature isn't very reassuring because what's reasonable and what's not is left to mod discretion and that involves an amount of trust from users. All I can do as a mod is try to let my actions speak for me, and other people can judge them. There are mod standards up the wazoo. Threads are almost never moved from here. There is about a 99% chance that a post will not be moved from CAaSS, which seems to indicate that people in general have a good idea of what goes there and what does not. Mod standards should exist for both purposes, and beyond that, they should exist to ensure that moderators are not abusing their powers (which is why we have a slew of rules for ourselves that you will never see; it isn't just to make your life easier, it's to do our very best to protect your interests...one of which is to have as free a discussion as we can have while still staying within the bounds of civility). Greater flexibility in discussion is not just to the advantage of moderators. In fact, "you know it when you see it" is not a great standard for mods. It makes our job harder. It means we need to make judgment calls when we should be sleeping, or eating, or taking care of our kid (we...we keep one kid. It's a very nice kid), or studying, or doing homework, or working. Whenever you see "mod discretion" that is not usually to our advantage, but there in order to enable a greater degree of freedom of discussion than we would otherwise have with stricter rules.

I absolutely appreciate that this is frustrating for you, and that some people will be uncomfortable with this degree vagueness for the sake of latitude, for several good reasons, but we cannot have a perfect model that will please literally everyone, and when there is a choice between limiting discussion for the sake of clarity or expanding discussion at the cost of clarity, I tend to lean towards more discussion. Perhaps that comes across as me always saying "no" but it is never a failure on my part to understand, care, appreciate, or relate to you, it is because I am weighing the needs and wants of many people who have voiced their thoughts and preferences and trying my very best to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone while staying true to the aim of this site, which has always been intelligent discussion.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby aviel » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:17 am

Kate wrote:No, actually. Rarely do we disagree. It's generally pretty obvious when something is off-topic, because the standards are pretty broad.

You can state this all you want, but I have specific evidence that it isn't true, because there were moderators discussing in front of me confusion as to whether celebrity news or the SJA thread qualify as appropriate for CAaSS.

Your proposed standards fit your definition of news.

They fit the definition of news: "newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events."
It is very easy to ignore a thread that does not interest you.

Then why not combine everything into one big forum? That way you never have to look in multiple fora. You can just ignore what doesn't interest you.

I do appreciate it.

I said you don't appreciate it sufficiently.

I do want checks on mods.

As far as I can remember you have never agreed to a single suggestion of a check on moderators.
All I can do as a mod is try to let my actions speak for me, and other people can judge them.

No, you can also clarify your reasoning and ensure your actions are compliant with the written rules.
(which is why we have a slew of rules for ourselves that you will never see;

What the actual fuck? Please publicize these immediately. It's not fair to users if we don't know what we can and can't do.
it isn't just to make your life easier, it's to do our very best to protect your interests...one of which is to have as free a discussion as we can have while still staying within the bounds of civility). Greater flexibility in discussion is not just to the advantage of moderators. In fact, "you know it when you see it" is not a great standard for mods. It makes our job harder. It means we need to make judgment calls when we should be sleeping, or eating, or taking care of our kid (we...we keep one kid. It's a very nice kid), or studying, or doing homework, or working. Whenever you see "mod discretion" that is not usually to our advantage, but there in order to enable a greater degree of freedom of discussion than we would otherwise have with stricter rules.

Vagueness is not freeing, it's restrictive. If the rules are vague then users can't do anything because anything they do might be against the rules. If you want to place few restrictions on users, then lay out specific but broad limits on user activity.

I absolutely appreciate that this is frustrating for you, and that some people will be uncomfortable with this degree vagueness for the sake of latitude, for several good reasons, but we cannot have a perfect model that will please literally everyone, and when there is a choice between limiting discussion for the sake of clarity or expanding discussion at the cost of clarity, I tend to lean towards more discussion.

That's fine, but then clarify what discussion is allowed.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby Qinglong » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:30 am

aviel wrote:Then why not combine everything into one big forum? That way you never have to look in multiple fora. You can just ignore what doesn't interest you.

This is the best suggestion I've heard yet. Just combine General Discussion and CAaSS. Is anyone really going to be confused or overwhelmed by having just one forum for these sorts sorts of topics since they seem to overlap?
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby Tesseracts » Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:49 pm

aviel wrote:
Kate wrote:My feelings on this forum have always been, if you can roll out of bed in the morning, throw on your bathrobe, grab a cup of coffee and sleepily shuffle to the door, pick up a newspaper, plop it on the table, and open it up to your news section of choice and find this story there and you wish to have a quality discussion about it, this is where it belongs. Is it the Sports section? Is it celebrity news? Is it politics? Business? I will make the exception for the Sunday funnies and say that probably doesn't belong here, but why should someone's love of Israeli politics outweigh someone else's love of the Redskins or golf or Chris Pratt's fancy new hairdo, if it is news?

Tess has explicitly stated that sports is for General Discussion and not CAaSS, so this cannot be the standard. People are free to discuss all those topics in the appropriate forum.

Does that mean we have no standards here? I don't think so.

Right now it does, because moderators admittedly do not know what those standards are. If the decisions are going to be vastly different from one moderator to another, then we need specific policies.

Ugh. I don't really have time for this stuff right now, but I believe my phrasing was "feel free to talk about sports in GD." This was in the context of a thread requesting a sports forum. I don't recall ever saying sports don't belong in CAASS.

My view is, it's up to user discretion to decide if something is for CAASS or GD. Some topics may go in either.

It may not be a bad idea to write up a guide on what the forums are for. This doesn't necessarily mean our policies will change or even that they won't be subjective, but it would probably be a good thing to have in writing.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby sunglasses » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:04 pm

My view has always been just because you don't think it's news doesn't mean someone else doesn't. A newspaper has multiple sections of news. CAaSS I've always viewed as our newspaper.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby aviel » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:08 pm

The vagueness doctrine requires that, if the moderators are taking action, the parameters under which they do so can be understood by the average user. That is currently not he case. They can't even be understood by the average moderator.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby DamianaRaven » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:33 pm

Avi, I think you might need some rest. You're being obsessive, stubborn, petulant, and obnoxious.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby aviel » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:36 pm

I definitely need some rest, but have been unable to so far.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby Tesseracts » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:38 pm

aviel wrote:I definitely need some rest, but have been unable to so far.

It's... Not because of this issue, is it?
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby aviel » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:42 pm

Tesseracts wrote:
aviel wrote:I definitely need some rest, but have been unable to so far.

It's... Not because of this issue, is it?

Because of this issue and some stemming from it, yes.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby DamianaRaven » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:45 pm

It might help to walk away from the computer and take a very warm shower with the lights off. Darkness and light are cues your body uses to regulate the hormone melatonin. At the very least, find something else to do so that your logic is not influenced by exhaustion. Don't let your mind fight your body - nobody ever wins that nasty battle!
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby aviel » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:48 pm

DamianaRaven wrote:It might help to walk away from the computer and take a very warm shower with the lights off.

As it turns out, this isn't possible. My bathroom has a skylight that just refracts light from the sun into the bathroom, so I can't turn that off.

Darkness and light are cues your body uses to regulate the hormone melatonin.

I also have melatonin. Unfortunately if I'm not already nearing tired when I take it it's useless.
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Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

Click for a Limerick
OrangeEyebrows wrote:There once was a guy, Aviel,
whose arguments no one could quell.
He tested with Turing,
his circuits fried during,
and now we'll have peace for a spell.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby FaceTheCitizen » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:25 pm

The standards for CAaSS is like porn. I don't know how to explain it, but I do know what it is.

I also fap to it.

That's right, Bert. Talk about the merits of philosophy in modern psychology, you dirty, dirty whore.
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Re: What is On-Topic for CAaSS?

Postby DamianaRaven » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:26 pm

I don't mean to insult your intelligence, but you have you tried lying down and closing your eyes? Give yourself a time frame - I recommend thirty minutes - after which you can give up and get back on the computer. If it helps, we could ask the mods to lock this thread (and that other one) for a few hours, just to break you free from them long enough to settle down.
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