Decoy of FenrisDecoy of Fenris's Journal
Hello, folks. Thank you for stopping by.
Enough of the pleasantries. To business.
The RKBA forum is a hotbed of conflicting opinions, clashing emotions, and in some cases, inflated egos. When these things collide, conflict breeds and a general lack of civility rises, in some cases hitting the level of blatant disregard for civil discourse. One side posts their facts, another side posts another version of the same facts, and both sides insist that they are correct before the conversation degenerates into (normally) Appeal to Humanity arguments. Likewise, the group is viewed as the cesspool of Democratic Underground, a breeding pit for trolls and right-wingers. I don't think anyone subscribed to this group could honestly disagree with that point, but I've been wrong before.
What I would like to discuss in this thread is how we can repair both the image of RKBA as well as the overall tone of discourse in regards to this forum, inclusive of both content and dialogue, allowing for an overall increase in both sustained conversation as well as improved quality of said dialogue.
The Fundamentals and Analysis of Underlying Factors
1.) Lack of Respect
It is the humble opinion of this poster that civility in dialogue originates from a fundamental respect between the two opposing sides. What I've noticed in my time lurking here is that most discussions, unless they are circular in intent and nothing more than a confirmation of opinion from outside sources, tend to end in either overt or covert passive-aggressive insults. Unfortunately, most of these insults tend to stem from a basic lack of respect, either for an individual or for the cause an individual is touting.
2.) Lack of Moderation
I will say that in my observation time, I would judge Krispos to have been pretty much fair in his hosting. The one time that he has unilaterally made a decision, it was, in my opinion, for the betterment of the Group and for the sake of civil discourse. (If you have a differing opinion, please, let's take it to Meta.) With that said, Krispos is only one Host, and I think we are all aware that "It's the Gungeon, let it be" is a common excuse for a Juror to excuse violations. This, in turn, has created an atmosphere of invulnerability, where posters feel free to push the limits of their passive-aggressive insults and hope, not entirely without reason, that a Jury will exonerate them, no matter how egregious the offending post may be.
3.) "Google Dumps"
While I am aware that a google dump is often a fairly solid means and methodology to incorporate latest news in regards to firearms, a Dump of information for either side of the RKBA divide has not, to my eyes, added to any amount of discourse. The news is posted, the usual posters line up on either side of the issue, and the war begins anew. What's worse is that, almost universally, the Dumping poster only deposits the information and moves on, deciding not to include any substance of worth to a discussion at hand.
Unfortunately, numbers 1 and 2 (Respect and Moderation) go hand in hand. Our current Host has seen fit to stay out of most of our affairs, and this is not inherrently a bad thing by itself.
In this particular Group, it -is- a bad thing, in my humble opinion.
Tensions get hot, passions get heated, words are exchanged and Alerts fail. Where Alerts fail, a shocking post that would get mod-deleted in any other forum is left to stand, and there is no recourse. I am supremely aware that the Jury system is flawed, but that it is also a fundamental evolution to the progress of the site as a whole. Likewise, I am (as some of you may be) aware that in the RKBA group, the Jury system is a step backward. The Jury system has failed on so continual a basis in the RKBA forum that I believe a replacement is necessary.
It is my opinion that in order to best enhance the dialogue and discourse of the group, direct intervention may be called for. In this vein, I offer the following propositions.
The elevation of two new Hosts, combined with Krispos. These need not be "balanced" Hosts in terms of their personal views on RKBA, although such a recourse would be preferred. It is my personal opinion that extremism in any form is dangerous, be it from "ban all guns!" to "have ALL the guns!" Posters who have neither of these characteristics, as evidenced by their posting history, would be prime candidates for elevation to Hosthood.
With three Hosts, the group would be more easily monitored, and... for lack of a better term... Trolls, could be ferretted out with more ease. However, to counteract a potential balance of interests, the need to reprimand or discipline a poster -MUST- be unanimous, based on the content of the post in question, regardless of the nature of the subthread or hostility therein. A post should be held on it's own merits, not how vile the person they are responding to can be.
It is painfully clear that, when left to their own devices, certain posters can and will push the envelope in terms of civility. Not to touch on too recent a subject, but Hoyt would frequently broad-brush insult the Group as a whole, and there are others who use the same brush, just with different targets. This proposition would allow the Hosts to take a more direct hand, and with the knowledge that the Hosts were observing, posters with a history of disruption and attacking their fellows on either side of the issue will (hopefully) curtail their vitriol. This, in turn, would allow for a furtherance of understanding, provided the discourse continues, but without purposefully antagonistic attacks.
The forbiddance of "Google dumps" of two varieties:
V1: "Gunman kills everyone"
V2: "Gunman saves everyone"
These types of Google Dumps are deposited, so to speak, with one purpose and one purpose alone: To show why the other side is wrong through anecdotal evidence. Barring a tragedy on the scale of Aurora or Columbine (Which are current events that may lead to policy change regarding the Second Amendment), these Dumps do little more than provide an outlet for one side or the other to simply say "I told you so."
It's a sad fact of the matter that people die. I myself have been touched by that particular ghast in the form of a knifing on a street corner in Boston. However, simply because someone dies, or someone else lives, doesn't mean that there will be a change in policy, and likely will not change minds already dedicated to a cause.
In the context of the RKBA forum, Google Dumps serve no more of a purpose than to antagonize and divide.
Thus, I propose that Google Dumps without relevance to policy or (ESPECIALLY) without an OP contribution to the discussion be discouraged at best, possibly removed at worst. As a hypothetical example, if one were to wander to, say, the Baking group only to post a news article titled "Pastry Chef Scandal: Why Grillers are Better Than You" (Bear with me on that one) every day, then I would wager I may not last in that particular group. Why is RKBA any different?
I'm not saying that all dissent from one side or another should be stifled. Contrarily, I am trying to encourage a resurgance of civility and actual discussion, as opposed to flat-out hostility.
I am, as always willing to answer any questions or expand/elaborate on any points that you could inquire about. Likewise, this is only a working analysis of a few things that I have noticed, and is in no way comprehensive. Got something you'd like to add? Go ahead! In the meantime, please, let me know what you think in the comments.
Finally, though I am aware that this is an internet message board, please, keep it civil if you can. Let's put down the "Pro/Anti" stuff and just find a way to make this Group better, please? I'd like to think we're a bit more flexible than the Right Wing, here.