Politics Thread Survey – Action Time!

Now that the PT Survey Results have been published, and folks have had time to read and think about them, we’d like to discuss as a community what changes we might be able to make to make the Politics Thread even better and more welcoming. We as a mod team would like to have community discussion around this rather than simply deciding on new rules and guidelines and telling the community about them. So this will function as a space to discuss what actionable changes we might be able to make, what rule and guideline additions might be appropriate, and what changes we as a community would like to see.

Based on the results of both the survey and the discussion in the results thread, here are some ideas we as a team had. Please discuss what you think of these specific ideas, but also feel free to add and discuss ones of your own.

  • Create a header addition to be used in all Politics Thread headers, similar to the McSquirrel Rule, that would mention any guidelines or considerations we’d like people to pay attention to when posting in the thread.
  • Ask members to refrain entirely from making posts that feature reposts of bigoted/otherwise horrific things said by people with no political power OR ask members to spoil these posts and include a content warning before posting. “People with no political power” would mean unverified Twitter randos, people on Breitbart or similar sites, and people who otherwise are not an important part of the political landscape.
  • Ask members to limit Twitter links/embeds to news articles, updates, and other factual additions as much as possible.
  • In general, ask members to increase their use of content/trigger warnings, with content defined (as in “content warning for homophobia”), for potentially upsetting topics.
  • Encourage anyone interested to post longer-form discussion prompts in subthreads in the Politics Thread.
  • Encourage anyone interested to post/continue to post more international news.
  • Mod team change: When possible, try to include links to stories when making Clam Alerts. Also, continue to clarify in alerts that they are meant to let people know what stories have already posted, not to keep people from discussing a story in more depth/from other perspectives.
  • Clarify and enforce the McSquirrel rule: Threats (real/hypothetical/otherwise) against public officials, public figures, ordinary people, and other commenters is strictly prohibited not only by the Avocado but by Disqus guidelines. Such comments will be deleted.
  • Clarify and enforce the Red Handle Rule: Refrain from mocking public officials/figures and other people based on physical appearance – such comments will also be deleted.
  • Ask that members give consideration to the perspectives of our members of color, queer members, and women members – they often feel like they have to speak louder than others if even given that opportunity. If they voice a concern about something, listen. Understand. Take a moment to examine yourself as well. Refrain from automatic defensiveness.
  • Make it clear that no state/region bashing is acceptable.
  • Ask people to think carefully before posting/responding – be sure what you are about to say is what you want to say.
  • Ask people to make more use of the mod team: Alert us to issues as they are happening so that we can (hopefully) help prevent issues from spiraling.