Retrospective for yesterday's post

I would like to do a sort of retrospective on yesterday’s ‘drama’ post.

I think retrospectives are helpful in situations where there are wide opinions on how certain things were handled and hopefully everyone can have a chance to give their feedback in a constructive manner. I would like to see retrospectives happen more often across all the teams, so let’s lay some foundation rules (taken from Atlassian).

  • Embrace a positive spirit of continuous improvement and share whatever you think will help us improve.
  • Don’t make it personal, don’t take it personally.
  • Listen with an open mind, and remember that everyone’s experience is valid (even those you don’t share).
  • We are only discussing the handling of yesterday, we aren’t discussing the full administration of the forums.
  • Remember to embrace an improvement mindset, and stay away from passing blame.

What went well?

Even though there was disagreement on how to approach the thread, I think the community as a whole showed its true colours. Everyone was respectful to each other and the new poster, and I believe it says a lot about our community. We aren’t tearing each other down, but rather having insightful conversations, as that post quickly turned from ‘drama’ to discussing how we can be better prepared for similar threads in the future.

What needs improvement?

An understanding of what we do with drama, and how we communicate decisions. There has been discussions about starting guidelines for the forums, but I have been hesitant to start them (if everyone believes it is in the best interest, we will, I am happy to be proven wrong in this regard). My main concern is that guidelines lead to decisions that otherwise may not happen when a forum moderator or trusted user has to stand by their own actions.

Next steps

While we weigh options for improving, I have made slight changes to the Trust Level 0 permissions. Trust Level 0 users can no longer add links in their posts. They can still add images, and do everything else required to receive support. My feeling around this is that our requirements to get Trust Level 1 are not high, and are easily accessible for all new users, there is no reason (I can think of) that a Trust Level 0 user should require a link in their post.

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Democracy.
Options, not decisions.

Vs.

Autocracy.
Censorship. One person know better.

Been there. Now want to be here.
Reasons to choose CP over WP are not only Gutenberg, orientation to business, etc., but what values are adhered in decision making. Personally, I want very liberal rules, I don’t mind if anyone assault me personally. Every attempt of a censorship is a step from democracy. Only a violation of law should be censored.

Agree 100%. We can discuss here, but chances are, that even without any rules, the community will deal with the next drama with dignity. Maybe this is the start of the formation of the internal culture. This culture will be much stronger than formal rules.

@wadestriebel, a very good retrospective, congratulations. Really good job.

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@LinasSimonis nailed down something important. Our “culture” and the fact culture and rules are not the same.
Thanks for putting this into words.
@wadestriebel I agree on your concern about rules. However the places where that works are the ones where trusted members spend time and efforts to educate others on a healthy culture. And it takes time to build one.

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For support, it’s often easier to diagnose a problem with the website first-hand than by the user’s description.

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100% on board with this.

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I also think this is a necessity. As others have pointed out, it’s fine now while we have a small, supportive and respectful community. But as it grows it will fracture… that’s just human nature.

I think written, formal and publicly viewable guidelines are needed for 2 reasons.

  1. To guide moderators. I saw that post very early and my first instinct was to flag it for deletion. To me it was clearly intended to publicise an inflammatory article (it was also childishly stupid and possibly worse in terms of invasion of privacy). It had nothing to do with ClassicPress and didn’t belong on a forum dedicated to discussing ClassicPress. I didn’t do anything because I have no clearly defined basis for any action.

  2. To inform the public. Moderators will have to do this sort of stuff from time to time, and they need to be able to point to something concrete and say “You broke the rules here”. That’s makes it clear and above-the-board for both sides. Ideally there would be a placemaker left with the reason for the action shown. The guidelines should also include a dispute resolution procedure, so that a mod’s decision can be challenged and referred to a higher authority.

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As I mentioned in my retrospective above, I have major concerns about setting down rules or guidelines that must be followed (yes, I realize guidelines are not meant to be followed to the T but there is room for abuse and that is the point I am making). I would much rather have a moderator have to stand by and justify their decision then allowing any moderator to point to a line buried in a long list of rules.

@ozfiddler if you had flagged it, I would have supported that decision as well. Although, I likely still would have opened it back up on the basis of not wanting to close down discussions. As long as you could clearly (like you have above) outline why then I don’t think we needed a guideline to point to.

On the concern of the community being small, and this approach not working long term. I would like to strongly disagree. We have grown so fast to date, and while we do have to deal with spam or nonsense (like every community does) I personally can continue to say that the way the community as a whole handled the original situation truly showed the power of this democratic approach we have taken. I personally don’t think undermining this approach is worth it considering how well the community worked together.

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OK, if that’s the community consensus then I’m happy to go keep going with things as they are.

It’s interesting that you think that having guidelines increases the room for abuse. I would have thought the exact opposite.

Regarding the size of the community… do you know about Dunbar’s Number? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number). I don’t know if it applies in this situation (although it has been applied in the past to virtual communities). At this stage I would say we are still small enough to qualify as a cohesive group. But as we grow we will fragment. It’s inevitable.

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I’m with you @ozfiddler. I fail to see the problem with identifying behavior that is not acceptable. Attacks on another person’s character should not be acceptable here, and I cannot think of any circumstance in a professional or community setting in which there would be an exception.

@wadestriebel the best communities I’ve participated in policed themselves. But they could only do so if it was well-known within the community what was and what was not acceptable. If there’s confusion, people are reluctant to speak in opposition to sketchy behavior. And then: drama, while people object to the behavior, defend the behavior, and then object to how the behavior was or wasn’t handled.

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I think we have all been so caught up with everything we forgot there are technically the foundation of guidelines and rules already in place (I am guilty of forgetting this too).

We have the following high level rules in place already:
https://forums.classicpress.net/faq

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First of all, the rules referenced in the faq read more like suggestions.
Second, if ad hominem attacks really are not acceptable (as suggested), then @klein’s deletion of the post was entirely on point. IMO, it should have been left deleted.

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Once I was made aware of the doxing the post was removed. The doxing should have been flagged using our built in flagging system that we have in place specifically for this type of post.

Yes, I agree. I’d prefer to see something more structured, with a clear indication of what will happen when you break the rules. If you have a definite list of reasons a post can be deleted it allows mods to easily reference the reason in a short inserted placemarker, such as: “Post deleted. Reason: Spam”

From memory, I don’t think Klein did delete the post. I think he only closed the topic.

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Could be it was closed rather than deleted. I became aware of the issue only after it had been ‘restored’ or whatever the term that was used.

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