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Off Limits Topics?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Commodore, Jan 10, 2018.

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  1. Commodore

    Commodore Technology of Peace

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    As a member who frequents OT a lot, I've noticed there are certain types of threads covering certain topics that always end up "closed for review" which usually results in the thread being closed permanently. It's always threads revolving around the same two or three topics, so rather than waiting for threads on those topics to turn into the inevitable crapfest before closing it, why not just update the rules to make threads on those topics off limits altogether?

    It would certainly make things a little easier for the mods.
     
  2. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

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    If you read those threads, you'd be able to notice a different trend besides them being about the same subject matter. Execution matters a great deal and it doesn't help when the majority of threads created about a certain subject are thinly veiled baits or outright designed to anger.
     
  3. Commodore

    Commodore Technology of Peace

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    Well, that's kind of the problem I'm pointing to. Certain topics are used by members to troll and spam. And, as you point out, those troll threads are the majority when it comes to those topics, so it seems the easiest way to cut down on the trolling and baiting would be to just ban those topics outright.
     
  4. Patine

    Patine Chieftain

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    At least one or two of the said topics being topics always closed regardless of how their approached strikes me as a form of historical censorship. And, in my opinion, as an avid amateur armchair historian, I believe deliberate historical revision and censorship, regardless of the reasons behind them, are, in essence, a crime of humanity in and of itself, albeit a non-violent one. That's my two-bits from the soapbox.
     
  5. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Just closing OT would do that, too.

    I don't even understand why threads get "closed for review" half of the time anyway. It's usually just people having somewhat heated, but topical discussions, and then a moderator declares that the thread is now being reviewed and a day later or so he or she usually declares (often by sneakily editing the original note instead of adding an extra note, which would actually update people on the status of the thread) that the thread remains closed because <insert non-specific description about low standards or something here>, but usually no infractions are added to any of the posts in the thread, so what exactly is it being closed for? Is it triggering too many... reports? In any case, I'm against declaring topics to be off limits just because they make people argue with each other. This is a discussion board after all, is it not?

    Maybe it makes sense to have some "low value"-rule on threads that lack substance to justify the heated discussions that could arise though. Let me do some self-reflection and take the thread I created here as an example. It is from the very beginning built on the premise that "Hey, I had some random thoughts that I'm not going to substantiate in any way...", clearly that was not a very smart way to start the thread if my goal was to have an honest debate about whether there is such a thing as biological races or not. So I think it might be reasonable for moderators to be like: "Nope. Not like this." and just close the thread right away.

    That however says nothing about whether the topic itself is something that could host an interesting debate (and in fact, there's a lot of interesting posts for and against the notion even in that thread). Which is why again, I don't think topics should be banned just for causing heated debates.
     
  6. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

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    Not only for the mods, but also for any sane and reasonable person. In fact, it might save some bandwidth, as well.
     
  7. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    It's hardly a "crime of humanity" to shut down a thread that has become impossible to moderate effectively, or that is designed to provoke posts that violate site rules. Over the years it's become obvious that there are some topics that tend to end up like that so soon that later doesn't even matter - sometimes it happens in the OP itself.

    Years ago it used to be required that anyone wanting to post an "Ask a(n)..." thread had to have a moderator's permission. Maybe it would help to develop a policy of requiring permission for threads that are about some of these problem topics. That way the mods could vet the OP and designate the thread as RD from the get-go and keep an eye on it.
     
  8. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

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    Dude, you would not see a crime against humanity if it sits next to you in the Hague court if you think that this is a crime against humanity.
     
    Omega124 likes this.
  9. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    We do not think any topics should be "off limits" except those that deal with illegal activities as stated in the current rules. Having said that, the moderation staff in OT have wide latitude to end a discussion if it becomes toxic or descends into name calling, flaming and/or trolling. From what I have seen, thread starters need to be very careful what they say when starting a thread on a controversial subject because how they begin the thread has a great deal of impact on how it will progress.

    These are discussion forums, not argument forums. In reading reports and checking on some threads, in general, they often start fairly well and then two people get into an argument and the thread degrades because instead of listening and discussing concepts with civility they begin trashing each other. Once the personal digs start, it rarely ends well. Our Moderator's primary responsibility is to see that civil discussion is maintained. Once the thread becomes uncivil, they are called to act and often closing the thread is easier than trying to infract everyone and then put up with all the whining that follows in PM's, each side seeking its concept of justice against their opponent in the thread.
     
    Synsensa likes this.
  10. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    Though this website is family-friendly, there's plenty of threads in OT that pertain to controversial political views, controversies in science and religion, and discussions of popular media with controversial content, some of which are not suitable for children or teens.

    Posting in such threads is a privilege, not a right.

    After all, read this: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhyFandomCantHaveNiceThings
     
  11. ashendashin

    ashendashin Chieftain

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    And yet this thread barely got a start https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/multiculturalism-is-a-disaster.626848/
    Now that's one seriously charged way to start things off, especially considering those who frequent the off-topic sections, so it's admittedly obvious why it was made and where it was gonna go. But from the look of things charged responses are all you get when speaking on controversies there, so immediately closing the topic is entirely unwarranted given the usual berating that goes on there. Threads like that at least provide some contrast, which is surprisingly difficult to uphold in forums dedicated to civilization games.
     
  12. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

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    Actually, not letting this thread run on is a good thing; it provides no discussion, no value, and it only serves to amuse its OP. Take it out of its misery, please.
     
  13. ashendashin

    ashendashin Chieftain

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    Eh, it would make for a more interesting read than Trump hate thread #18 since it starts on a different point of view than the usual. Though It would probably devolve to that at some point.
     
  14. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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