|P is for Practical|
Re^3: Having our anonymous cake and eating it too (impolite)by pemungkah (Priest)
|on Jan 24, 2014 at 05:01 UTC||Need Help??|
I think that perhaps we are talking about different kinds of "bad" speech.
I dislike bringing this up, but it's a good example - and an example of where "fight bad speech with good speech" didn't happen. In the thread concerning the poll in which I remarked that I felt that certain kinds of people were portrayed in a demeaning way, I got very little "good" speech in response to quite a lot of "bad". There are certain sensitive topics on which this policy just doesn't work. (I do not think it reasonable to say, "well, then don't discuss those here." Pretending that problems within the larger or smaller community don't exist or shouting them down does not make them go away.)
I understand why you say that consideration shouldn't be used this way. This only underscores the need for something that allows each user to shape his or her experience on the site. "If you can't handle anonymous postings, then you shouldn't respond to them" isn't sufficient.
Everyone does not experience Perlmonks in the same way, because we are not all the same people. Most people's experience is indeed that the Anonymous Monk is at most mildly irritating, but in certain situations the Anonymous Monk's posts are actively painful, angry, mean, demeaning, or nasty. As I mentioned, the emergent result of how down votes work and how consideration works means that bad behavior is not censured, and will more than likely not be censured. There are too few votes spread across too many nodes. If one did have enough votes to vote on every node, it would take far too much time to do so, and the number of negative votes that might be needed in a particularly bad situation - when they would be needed most - would probably drive one into "dog votes".
Having had one of these massively negative reactions has colored my experience as to how I feel about Perlmonks. I used to feel as if I had been among friends or comrades who supported me, and was shocked when some of them suddenly turned on me and began insulting me and demeaning me. I felt that my trust hadn't been valued. I've lost that original (many-year) positive feeling. Given how the site currently works, I feel powerless to do anything should this happen again, and discouraged.
We say that the Anonymous Monk exists because we want to encourage participation. Have we ever measured whether this actually is true or not? Are more threads initiated by the Anonymous Monk, or are they initiated by people who have signed in? That's a concrete data item, and it would be interesting to see that, perhaps over time?
My particular suggestion is not meant to be the final answer to how to fix the problem. It is meant to open a discussion about what the actual problem is. I believe that it's the problem of not being able to control one's own experience. I'm more interested in hearing what people have to say about the idea or related ideas. I do not claim this is a perfect solution, but so far the suggestions I've seen have mostly been "how do we change the site to make the behavior change?" - and I don't think that's going to work. I think we have to approach the problem from the other end, which is "we can't change behavior via software; what should each user be allowed to control to improve their experience instead?".
Perhaps exploring the idea of extending the node-pruning done by comment and score thresholds would work? Artificially adjust the score of each node using the user's block list (say -1000 fake votes) so threads containing people they don't want to see are trimmed using the standard page construction code? Again, not a perfect solution - I'm just talking. More interested in whether you think approaching the problem from the other end, so to speak, is a better way to go.