New Feature: Apply to administer an orphaned group

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New Feature: Apply to administer an orphaned group

1timspalding
Ene 19, 4:12pm

LibraryThing has a number of groups without active administrators, including some popular ones. This is bad overall, and particularly so because, although administrators formerly had almost no powers, we're giving them more to do. It's time to do something.

To begin to remedy this situation, I have run an automatic process to identify groups without an active administrator. The criteria were loose. Only non-dormant groups with more than ten messages in the last year were considered, and only administrators who had not used the site in at least six months.

This yields some 70 groups (complete list here). Most should probably just die, but a few, such as "Name That Books" and "Science Fiction Fans" could use a good administrator. These groups now have a special patch:



Clicking on this opens up a text box to apply yourself, or suggest someone else for the role.

After toying with various voting systems, we've decided we're just going to have megbmore decide to add administrators when she feels she's ready to. Should previous administrators come back, they can of course re-apply to be administrators.

What Administrators Are For

At present administers can:
* Rewrite the group description
* Change basic group parameters, like whether the group is open or closed.
* Add and remove group pictures
* Create "pinned topics" that stick to the top of the group page (see https://www.librarything.com/topic/328876)
* Get notified when new members come to the group, so they can say hello, if they want to

Weeds

* I'm going to be posting notices in a few of the more active groups. My apologies for any duplication.
* After consideration, I have elected NOT to bother old members with invitations to return. Nor am I marking them as "emeritus/a" administrators. We'd love to draw some members back, but if you haven't been on the site in six months you're unlikely to want to administer a group. Waiting two weeks for long-absent members to return isn't productive.
* When you apply you can also select whether you think the group should have one administrator or more. Members have expressed a desire for more than one administrator, and megbmore will take that into consideration.
* We'll also be allowing current administrators to open up their groups to new admins, and appoint new admins. This feature does not yet exist.

2anglemark
Ene 19, 4:25pm

Look at the application lightbox on a non-English site. The dropdown for suggested number of admins has the same old boring translation bug.

3conceptDawg
Ene 19, 4:30pm

Also, we are planning on adding "links" to groups, much akin to the ones that are available for Series. This will make them more visible and allow the group description to be used as a an actual description—not just a place to drop links. This ability to add/remove links to a group will be limited to Admins.

4lorax
Ene 19, 4:32pm

timspalding (#1):

At present administers can:
(...)
* Get notified when new members come to the group, so they can say hello, if they want to


I'd perhaps be interested, but not if I'm going to get spammed every time someone joins Name That Book.

5gilroy
Ene 19, 4:35pm

What if we administer a group that we think should actually be controlled by the admin?

6lilithcat
Ene 19, 5:27pm

>4 lorax:

I didn't know that was the case. I'm admin for a number of groups and have never gotten such a notification. And I don't see that as an option under "Edit Group".

7MarthaJeanne
Ene 19, 5:29pm

I got one in the past few days.

8timspalding
Ene 19, 6:35pm

>6 lilithcat:

It's new. It shows up on your groups page, but it doesn't show up as an email. LibraryThing is going to move to a notification vs. message model, as everyone else has done, so eventually it will show up as a site notification.

9timspalding
Ene 19, 6:37pm

>2 anglemark:

Fixed. Thanks.

10affle
Ene 19, 7:02pm

>1 timspalding:

Your automatic process seems not to have identified the Folio Society Devotees group as being in need of an admin. The founder of the group has not been heard of for several years, and as this is a large and active group, there is noticeable inconvenience - staff have on occasion had to be called upon to help. Please put this group on a track to get one or more new admins - the group is strongly supported by several members who faithfully maintain the wiki to a high standard, but admin of the group itself is in stasis.

11lilithcat
Editado: Ene 19, 7:44pm

>8 timspalding:

Thanks, Tim. It was the "at present" that confused me.

12Crypto-Willobie
Editado: Ene 19, 7:52pm

I applied to be an admin but after typing out my reasons could not find a submit or finish button. Or rather I could see just a thin slice of what I think might have been the top edge of a Submit so I tried to click it; but my application is still showing as if it wasn't submitted.

Windows 10, latest Firefox
______________
ETA
OK now I see that by shrinking my window so small that regular text is too small to read I have got the Submit button to rise up where I could find it, and the group in question now shows that there is 1 admin submission. And the button seems to have changed color from red(dish) to green, so I guess it worked. Hope no one else has trouble finding the button button who's got the button...

13wcarter
Ene 19, 8:29pm

The founder and administrator of the Folio Society Devotees (FSD), Kieren Vallente, has been missing in action for many years. The previous email address I had for him no longer works and his social media has been cancelled. There is a rumour that he is deceased, but I have no evidence of this.
New administrators are required for FSD and it was suggested a couple of years ago that myself and Glenn Robinson (folio_books) be appointed, but nothing came of this.
I have written, and maintain the FSD wiki and the FSD list of publications sites on LT, and Glenn has been very helpful with these also.
You may wish to ask FSD members that joint administration by us is acceptable to the group members.

14AndreasJ
Ene 20, 3:07am

>8 timspalding: LibraryThing is going to move to a notification vs. message model, as everyone else has done

Could you explain a little what this means?

152wonderY
Ene 20, 3:17am

Oh, I hope it doesn’t mean email notifications! I very much appreciate the profile message system on this site.

16SandraArdnas
Ene 20, 6:13am

>15 2wonderY: No, sending email requires the consent of the member, at least for us Europeans, and it's even clunkier than messages. I believe it's notifications that just show a number on the icon when they appear and you see a list of them when you click it

17gilroy
Ene 20, 6:51am

>15 2wonderY: Think about the notifications that Facebook sends when you have new posts. Or if you have news sites that send you an alert when you have breaking news it thinks you should see. Things that pop up on your phone. (I refuse notifications on all my desktop and laptop applications, so not 100% sure how those work.)

18timspalding
Ene 20, 6:53am

>12 Crypto-Willobie: OK now I see that by shrinking my window so small that regular text is too small to read I have got the Submit button to rise up where I could find it, and the group in question now shows that there is 1 admin submission. And the button seems to have changed color from red(dish) to green, so I guess it worked. Hope no one else has trouble finding the button button who's got the button...

What's your browser and OS?

>13 wcarter: The founder and administrator of the Folio Society Devotees (FSD), Kieren Vallente

I'm going to look at another criterion for opening a group up--perhaps whether or not someone has posted in the group within a year.

>14 AndreasJ: Could you explain a little what this means?
>15 2wonderY: Oh, I hope it doesn’t mean email notifications! I very much appreciate the profile message system on this site.

So, at present there is only one system, a combined message and notification system. Someone can send you a message, or the site can send you a message. By default, these messages go to email—unless we have identified you as a European. You can, of course, turn this off, or on.

A split here would allow LibraryThing to have the distinction most other sites have, between system messages and user messages. Think Facebook, but the pattern is now general. This would allow members to decide what goes to email and what doesn't--probably additionally choosing between types of notifications. It would allow us to post combined notifications, like "Hey, six new people joined your group" rather than breaking them into discrete messages (X joined, Y joined, Z joined, etc.). And it would allow us to treat the "newness" of the notification differently, as Facebook does, with older notifications fading back as unimportant, whereas messages are forever "unread" if they are unread.

>16 SandraArdnas: I believe it's notifications that just show a number on the icon when they appear and you see a list of them when you click it

Right. This is the UI we will want, although we may need to go with a number and a page until we redo the catalog to remove so-called "frames."

19timspalding
Ene 20, 8:36am

I have added about 20 more groups to the orphaned list.

The criteria were:
* Public group
* Group has more than five members
* Group had more than 20 posts this year
* Group is not domant
* No administrator has posted—in any group—in at least 365 days

This surfaces Folio Society and a few others.

20gilroy
Ene 20, 8:46am

>18 timspalding: Okay, so what about my question in >5 gilroy:?

21Crypto-Willobie
Ene 20, 9:00am

>18 timspalding:
As I said in my post, Windows 10 and latest Firefox.
Thanks

22timspalding
Ene 20, 2:00pm

>5 gilroy: What if we administer a group that we think should actually be controlled by the admin?

What? Can you say that another way?

23timspalding
Ene 20, 2:08pm

>21 Crypto-Willobie:

Ah. Okay. Well, I'm not sure what's going on. When I test it on Firefox on Windows 10, it's great. It works when I make the screen much smaller too.

24Crypto-Willobie
Ene 20, 2:48pm

>23 timspalding:
OK. Well, I did ultimately get it to work. And smaller is when it DID begin to show. I usually keep my screenstuff larger (old eyes) -- that's when I had the problem; I was surprised I had to reduce it so far to make the button pop up.
Thanks

25lilithcat
Ene 20, 3:08pm

>22 timspalding:

Tim, look here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/328886

I really didn't create this to be a member run group. I had hoped that the site admin would take it over as a standing group for them.

26ulmannc
Ene 20, 4:23pm

>8 timspalding: "LibraryThing is going to move to a notification vs. message model, as everyone else has done, so eventually it will show up as a site notification."

OK "this is all greek to me" says the Electronic Luddite who has trouble with English. How about some pictures? "A picture is worth 1000 words."

27norabelle414
Ene 20, 4:32pm

>5 gilroy:, >25 lilithcat:
I think the "Name that Book" group should also be an official group, for visibility

28melannen
Editado: Ene 20, 11:04pm

>27 norabelle414: I would put in a vote for Combiners! off that list too. They are both very well handled by their current active members, but they really should be official standing groups with an employee (or, at least, specially anointed volunteer user) in charge at this point. (Probably everything in Helpers Groups and Site Groups should be.)

29gilroy
Ene 21, 1:22pm

>22 timspalding: Lilithcat really did capture my thought in >25 lilithcat: from another of my posts.

30lorax
Ene 21, 5:11pm

I see nobody has volunteered to admin Name That Book, which is a shame since if ever there was going to be a group that could benefit from a pinned topic it's that one. Few people read the description - probably even fewer, now that it's hidden behind "Show More".

I would volunteer, especially as one of multiple admins, if I could be assured that the "be notified when someone joins" is optional.

31lilithcat
Ene 21, 10:08pm

BUG: If one clicks on "This group is looking for an administrator", the box says "Find out more about the powers and duties of group administrators". But clicking on that just takes you to the main group page.

32Felagund
Ene 21, 11:07pm

>1 timspalding: At present administers can:

Thanks for this information. But are there things that administrators should or must do? I'm curious about responsibility, not just privilege :-)

33Jim53
Ene 22, 1:43pm

>32 Felagund: I second that question. Can anyone clarify about how much time a group admin spends admining each week? Are there any busy seasons? Anything that must be done on a schedule? A requirement to police content?

34avaland
Ene 22, 2:29pm

re: Reading Globally : after I first created that in '06 and ran it for a few years, we wanted to transfer admin to another volunteer, in that case rebeccanyc. There was no way to easily do that at the time (change the admin without creating a new group), so we talked to you and we came up with an odd fix. Since my admin, rebeccanyc took over, and then Sassylassy was administering it for a while ...which is all to say that I think someone has been administrating it informally all these years. Seems whoever has been doing it of late should have a chance to do it formally.

35thorold
Ene 22, 2:37pm

>34 avaland: That would be me! I’ve submitted myself as “new” admin. The dummy account ReadingGloballyAdmin has now been locked out as inactive because it never posts.

36lilithcat
Ene 22, 2:40pm

>33 Jim53:

Can anyone clarify about how much time a group admin spends admining each week? Are there any busy seasons? Anything that must be done on a schedule?

I expect that would vary. Different groups will have different time constraints. Any group will have more for the admin to do when it is first created.

A requirement to police content?

I don't know about a "requirement", but some groups might need that more than others.

37aspirit
Ene 22, 2:52pm

Isn't the only way a group administrators can police content to do what any member can: flag messages and report major problems to the LT team?

38MarthaJeanne
Ene 22, 2:54pm

At least one group has moderation because of former problems. Apparently just the threat of moderation has been enough.

392wonderY
Editado: Ene 22, 3:20pm

>33 Jim53: A general redding up of the commons - pillow plumping, reshelving the occasional book, wood for the fireplace (optional), making sure windows are closed during thunderstorms. Most important, making sure the refreshment table is well stocked!

40aspirit
Ene 22, 3:16pm

>39 2wonderY: The refreshment table is most important, definitely.

41MarthaJeanne
Ene 22, 3:17pm

>39 2wonderY: What refreshments are you offering in A Quiet Corner, but not a lonely corner? I've missed out so far!

422wonderY
Editado: Ene 22, 8:40pm

>41 MarthaJeanne: But, my dear lady! You have been bringing kuchen, torte,..all manner of good foods. I did not say the admin provides; merely assures. You’ve been a wonderful chair of that committee!

43MarthaJeanne
Ene 22, 4:00pm

OK! Do you want Uncle Loren's Ginger Snaps next? Or savoury pinwheels with sauerkraut and bacon bits?

442wonderY
Ene 22, 4:15pm

>43 MarthaJeanne: Shhh. Advertising like this will soon lose us designation as a quiet corner.

But answering your question: Yes. And I still have some 2019 vintage blackberry cordial which should compliment both.

45superboy
Ene 24, 6:53am

>44 2wonderY: I'll pop round soon.

But what kind of paperwork is involved in being an admin? I don't mind volunteering as long as it isn't a time sink or have a heap of deadlines (I'm not good with those). I did look at a few groups but I'm not very active on them and there are other folks there who seem to be fulfilling the admin function admirably without being the official administrator.

46southernbooklady
Ene 24, 2:01pm

If you do apply, is there an ETA on when/if it will take effect?

47Zambaco
Ene 25, 12:32pm

I too would like to know more about administrator duties. Can't find anything anywhere on the site and had similar problems to >31 lilithcat:.

48megbmore
Ene 26, 12:47pm

I am starting the process of adding admins to groups. The way it works is that those volunteers who are chosen will receive an invitation from me on their comment wall. Assuming they still want the job, they accept and that's that.

The administrator can pin posts and edit the group description and pictures. Admins will also get notifications when new members join the group. These notifications will come to the Groups You Admin area. If it is in keeping with the spirit of the group, admins may wish to send a welcome message. Admins may also assign another admin and resign their duties. The idea being that the torch, as it were, can be passed from one member to another.

As time goes on, there may be more duties and responsibilities, but that's it for now. We welcome suggestions.

In some cases, such as the Folio Society Devotees, the decision is clear as the whole group put their support behind two people. In other cases, I think it will be a little more challenging for me to suss out, but I will do my best.

49lilithcat
Ene 26, 12:59pm

>48 megbmore:

Is there a way to see who has volunteered, or is that restricted to staff?

Also, could someone answer the question raised in >32 Felagund: and >33 Jim53:?

50megbmore
Ene 26, 1:08pm

>49 lilithcat: >32 Felagund: >33 Jim53: I apologize for a non-answer in advance, but I think these questions will depend very much on the group and the person in the role. You could simply set things up and then check in from time to time. Or, you could decide to send welcome messages to every member, post a weekly topic, write a group song (kidding! maybe?). Some groups are very small while others are quite large; some are focused where others are more free-ranging. These factors could determine how active an admin might need or choose to be.

The list of volunteers is restricted to staff. I am trying to pop into the groups to see if there has been a discussion within the group about possible admins. Members can also nominate others.

51Felagund
Ene 26, 3:07pm

>50 megbmore:
Thanks, that's already an answer, no need to apologize :-) The goal of my question was to determine whether there was a common set of admin duties throughout the groups, and which ones. It seems that this set is a fairly small one!

52Helenliz
Editado: Ene 26, 4:52pm

Are there any criteria relating to period of group or LT membership before a volunteer to administer a group is accepted? An activity level or history of interaction? Seems it might end up with an admin who either takes a group off topic or is not active.

53MarthaJeanne
Editado: Ene 26, 5:51pm

>52 Helenliz: We have very successful groups whose administrators have been MIA for years. It would be very hard for an administrator to take a group off topic against the will of the other members. If there is a consensus in the group who should get the job, Meg isn't going to chose someone else.

So, if you are concerned about a specific group, I suggest that you volunteer, or at least bring the subject up in the group to see what others think.

54AnnieMod
Editado: Ene 26, 6:23pm

>52 Helenliz: Most groups really do not need an admin to take them anywhere - if a group is successful, the role of the admin will be to just be there in case it is needed. And if someone becomes inactive, they can be replaced.

As for taking it off topic - short of writing a weird group description and pinning weird topics, they don’t have the power to do that. And if they do any of those, they can be replaced.

I don’t expect anything to change in most groups by adding/replacing the admins.

55timspalding
Editado: Ene 27, 12:47am

I've added a number of features. One is relevant here: The ability to open and close your group down to asking for applications for new admins.

The section is at the top of the "Administer" page for each group—visible if you're an admin.



Expand to see all:



"Open to Admin Applications" turns to "Close to Admin Applications" if they are on.

At present, LT staff (megbmore) are picking admins. In theory, we could put it in the hands of admins in situations where someone is asking for help in the future.

56John5918
Ene 27, 12:56am

>55 timspalding:

Thanks, Tim. I've just been appointed admin for the Catholic Tradition group. I've had a butcher's at it and the "Edit Group" function all looks quite straightforward, although I don't yet see the "More>>" button.

57timspalding
Editado: Ene 27, 1:12am

>56 John5918:

I believe the term is not admin, but Pope. Couldn't happen to a better guy.

Now, what about changing the name to "Catholicism…" instead of the intentionally angled Catholic Tradition?

Note: I had nothing to do with you being appointed Pope.

58John5918
Editado: Ene 27, 1:27am

>57 timspalding:

Thanks, Tim. Good idea about the group name. See http://www.librarything.com/topic/329149

59anglemark
Ene 27, 1:49am

>57 timspalding: If the group gets another admin, does one of them have to move to Avignon?

60timspalding
Ene 27, 1:51am

No, we're past that. John just becomes "Emeritus" and gets to wear the white clothing but not do much.

61Helenliz
Ene 27, 3:52am

>53 MarthaJeanne:, >54 AnnieMod: a group has had an admin appointed who has never participated in the group before. I'd expect that an admin should have shown some level of activity in the group prior to being allocated the role.

It would be appreciated if staff would answer the question.

62megbmore
Ene 27, 9:04am

>61 Helenliz: When adding admins, I am checking for participation in the group and in LT overall. If I missed something, please let me know. Probably a direct comment is best.

63lilithcat
Ene 27, 9:32am

>55 timspalding:

Tim, I'm a bit concerned about giving an admin the unilateral power to delete a group. Although I certainly hope this would never happen, or that it would be addressed before it became a problem, I could envision a situation where the admin got pissed about something and decided to take his ball and go home.

At present, LT staff (megbmore) are picking admins. In theory, we could put it in the hands of admins in situations where someone is asking for help in the future.

I think that's a good idea. I'm sure megbmore is doing a good job, but an admin is going to know the group dynamics, and know who would be a good fit and run the group well.

64megbmore
Ene 27, 9:41am

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered!

As I am working through the applications, something that would make the job very much easier is if the group had a conversation about who should admin and what the role might look like in your group.

65norabelle414
Ene 27, 9:43am

>1 timspalding: I'm going to be posting notices in a few of the more active groups. My apologies for any duplication.

Did this ever happen? I don't see any topics about admins that weren't started by users, and I do see a lot of people unaware that their group was looking for a new admin.

66anglemark
Ene 27, 9:46am

>63 lilithcat: Tim, I'm a bit concerned about giving an admin the unilateral power to delete a group.

I tried clicking that button and got a message that said that groups with more than five members can only be deleted by Staff, so it shouldn't be a problem.

672wonderY
Editado: Ene 27, 10:12am

Is it preferable to delete groups that no longer function? I started one a while ago that never did take off, but there are 6 members, I think. No one but me is still active on the site in that group.

I would want to save bits of information from there before it disappears.

68AnnieMod
Ene 27, 10:12am

>67 2wonderY: If someone else posted, they may be referring to their post from elsewhere (even if they are not active on the site) so unless the admin is the only one who ever posted, I find deleting public groups to be in a very bad taste... But that might be just me.

69AndreasJ
Ene 27, 10:17am

Exactly what does deleting a group entail? I'd be slightly miffed if dozens of my posts suddenly evaporated because an admin got upset at Tim's sartorial choices and decided that deleting a popular group was the way of getting back at him.

71lilithcat
Editado: Ene 27, 10:21am

>65 norabelle414:

See http://www.librarything.com/topic/329163

I expect others will be forthcoming.

72Crypto-Willobie
Ene 27, 10:25am

To what extent does an admin have the power to evict a troublesome member? Or is this forbidden under the free-speech free-for-all principle?

73anglemark
Ene 27, 10:47am

>72 Crypto-Willobie: The full powers of admins right now are:

* Change the name of the group
* Edit the description of the group
* Specify whether joining requires Admin approval or not
* Specify whether the group is public or private
* Specify whether everyone or only group members can post
* Specify whether all group members or only admins can post group images
* Pin topics
* Invite members to become new admins
* Mark the group as looking for more admins
* Delete the group if it has five or fewer members

If I know Tim, removing members from the group will never be on the table.

74megbmore
Ene 27, 10:48am

>72 Crypto-Willobie: That is not a power at this time. Posts can still be flagged, of course. Out of curiosity, other than personal attacks, what reasons would you have for evicting a member? (Not promising anything, just curious.)

75Crypto-Willobie
Ene 27, 11:30am

>74 megbmore: For now I will message you privately on this subject.

76lorax
Ene 27, 11:37am

lilithcat (#63):

Tim, I'm a bit concerned about giving an admin the unilateral power to delete a group.

I share your concern, but you may not be aware that this is not a new power; group creators already have this power, and have occasionally used it for active groups (most recently a fairly active history group). Years ago Tim talked about limiting this but I don't think he ever implemented those limits; now would probably be a good time to re-visit that idea.

77lorax
Ene 27, 11:40am

megbmore (#74):

Out of curiosity, other than personal attacks, what reasons would you have for evicting a member?

The most obvious would be statements that are within LT's line of "personal" but which are an affront to the group as a whole. Think about anti-Semitic statements in a Jewish group, or homophobic ones in an LGBT group. These are not "personal attacks" since they're broader statements. A couple years ago Tim agreed that groups could set terms which were more restrictive than the site-wide ones, and a couple months ago he agreed that attacks on a group could be prohibited (though it's unclear that this extends to anything less than literal death threats), so this should be permissible.

78lilithcat
Ene 27, 11:42am

>76 lorax:

Yes of course. I recall that incident now that you mention it!

79proximity1
Editado: Ene 27, 4:35pm

>74 megbmore:

"Out of curiosity, other than personal attacks, what reasons would you have for evicting a member? "

LOL! That's the most charmingly innocent question I've seen posed in a good while.

By the way, have you or has anyone else been able to devise a
clear and practical definition of what constitutes a "personal attack"? This, as far as I'm aware, has never been accomplished. It has been a lively topic of debate for quite some time. Brutus and Cassius (allies) joined in on one side of quite a lively dispute over this point in a now rather famous meeting on an open plain with, for their counterpart interlocutors, Mark Antony and Octavian. These latter had the more convincing "arguments" ---at least on that occasion.

Fiat lux.

80timspalding
Ene 27, 6:18pm

We are indeed contemplating allowing group admins to add terms. The code that was established for that for the Feminism group is still there, but has not been ported over, the original reason having largely disappeared with the group itself going dormant.

81norabelle414
Ene 27, 7:15pm

The "upload group image" field is on the "Edit Group" page, which is only accessible by admins. Is there some other place that non-admin users can upload images for the group that I am missing?

82melannen
Editado: Ene 27, 7:41pm

>74 megbmore: A common reason in groups I'm on elsenet is that one member has harassed/targeted/assaulted another member somewhere else. Even if they're perfectly well-behaved on LT, the rest of the group might want to create a space where the attacked member can feel safe.

Or sometimes there's a person who never violates wider site policies enough to justify a flag but sealions or argues ad nauseum so much that any discussion they are in becomes excruciating, and you need a past-your-final-warning option just to keep the group functional.

More broadly: You're giving mods the power to allow new members only with approval, so you must see some value in mods being able to filter membership for reasons other than violating the TOS. If you're giving them the power to approve new members, you need to give them the power to revoke that approval, at least for groups that require approval to join.

83southernbooklady
Ene 27, 8:18pm

>80 timspalding: The Feminist Group remained fairly active for several years after moderation was enabled, but the existence of a moderator seems to have been sufficient to curtail any bad actors.

84Petroglyph
Ene 27, 8:20pm

>48 megbmore:
"Admins will also get notifications when new members join the group."

Can admins turn this one off? Think of that poor Name That Book admin!

85amanda4242
Editado: Ene 27, 8:28pm

>84 Petroglyph: Most people who post there aren't actually joining the group.

ETA: I just looked at the membership there, and it looks like a fair number of people are joining it. So I guess the admin probably would be flooded!

86lilithcat
Ene 27, 8:31pm

>85 amanda4242:

it looks like a fair number of people are joining it. So I guess the admin probably would be flooded!

Which is exactly why I'm hesitant to volunteer to admin that group.

87lorax
Ene 28, 8:32am

lilithcat (#86):

(regarding Name That Book, and the still-unanswered question of whether admins can turn off the notifications when new members join a group):

Which is exactly why I'm hesitant to volunteer to admin that group.

Same! They still haven't answered even though I asked about that way back in #4.

88MarthaJeanne
Ene 28, 8:37am

Even in the much smaller group I administer, I would prefer to turn off that notification. If someone joins and starts a topic, they can be greeted there. I can see that for classroom groups, the teacher might prefer to see notifications, but even there, the group page gives the same information.

89anglemark
Ene 28, 8:50am

I'm sure there are some admins who would prefer to start a topic regularly just to greet new members, but I would have expected the default to be no notifications. Whenever an admin wants to see new members, they can go to the group page and see them listed.

90CharlieIngram
Ene 28, 8:54am

Este usuario ha sido eliminado por spam.

91MarthaJeanne
Ene 28, 8:57am

>90 CharlieIngram: Good grief! If people are going to spam, can't they at least write real sentences that actually mean something?

92megbmore
Ene 28, 9:18am

>84 Petroglyph: The notification of new members shows up in a different spot than other notifications. On the Groups page, when you admin a group, you get the Groups You Admin link in the menu. A number there indicates a group has a new member.

Note: the number indicates the number of groups that have new members, not the number of new members. So if you admin 2 groups, and the number there is 1, then 1 of your groups has new members, and if 2, then both groups have members. It's not a ping every time a new member joins.

93megbmore
Ene 28, 9:31am

>82 melannen: Thank you. This makes a lot of sense to me.

Groups have always (I think) been able to be set up with varying degrees of openness, from being able to read and post without being a member to only a set number of people being able to see them. I think before changing a group from say, "Anyone can Post" to "Only Members can Post," the admin should have a discussion within the group to hash it out.

But I definitely see your point: if an admin can choose to not open the door to somebody, can they also choose to see them out the door? I think these questions have likely always been here, but the recruitment of new admins for orphaned groups has brought them to the surface again.

94lorax
Ene 28, 11:06am

megbore:

It's not a ping every time a new member joins.


Thank you, that's helpful.

95LolaWalser
Editado: Ene 28, 11:26am

I just realised, on the example of the Group page in Gothic Literature, that now the longer descriptions get cut off, among other changes. This is so ugly. Can't we have a static whole page at least in the "Desktop" view?

ETA: sorry if this is the wrong thread, please direct me otherwise.

96melannen
Editado: Ene 28, 2:28pm

>93 megbmore: Always glad to make sense!

Another much more trivial reason is, say you have a group that is dedicated only to pictures of cats (as the internet was intended for) and they have a rule to state that the only posts are to be pictures of cats, and require approval of new members to make sure people understand it is cats-only before they start posting. This is a great group, and even people who aren't members often come there to de-stress when they can't handle anything but pictures of cats. But you have a member who insists on continually posting about cataloging books instead, even after being reminded of the rules in private messages many times. Talking about book cataloging is great for LT, but not that specific group, so the group needs to be able to enforce the rule.

I do think there are certain groups where a volunteer user mod shouldn't be able to arbitrarily ban or remove people who aren't violating TOS - like Combiners! or Member Giveaways, where removing access to the group could seriously interfere with a person's ability to use or learn about other site functions - LT members should be able to post in, for example, most of the Helper and Site groups unless they are behaving poorly enough that Staff needs to intervene.

That might mean making you mod of all groups in that category (...sorry) or it might mean picking mods for those groups differently, or giving them different powers.

97gilroy
Ene 28, 4:11pm

Question about deleting a group:
Group I admin -- am also the only member.
Three threads, two created by me, one by another member (who's still active I believe.)
Newest thread is 2018.

Would this one be okay to just delete? Or should I make an attempt to revive it?
(I deleted another where I was the only member and it had no threads in 9 years.)

98proximity1
Editado: Ene 28, 4:53pm

>93 megbmore:


"If it is in keeping with the spirit of the group, admins may wish to send a welcome message. Admins may also assign another admin and resign their duties. The idea being that the torch, as it were, can be passed from one member to another.

"As time goes on, there may be more duties and responsibilities, but that's it for now. We welcome suggestions."


Meg,

My comments are borne of years of experience here---experience as seen through the eyes of one who is often and rarely other than classed as a "deviant" in the opinions I hold.

What you're apparently proposing, unless I've very much misunderstood the plan, is to put "Pro & Con" under a moderator's control.

This is in effect, like it or not, an establishment of what I think is quite accurately called "mob justice." If that's what you're intending and looking for, well, then, you won't be disappointed. Mob justice means, in effect, that minority opinion is only as safe as the mob's tolerance is long. In the Feminism Group site, that meant in practice that anyone who wasn't either herself a woman or who lacked anything less than a passionately held approval of feminism and all things feminist as seen from that point of view was neither welcome nor tolerated.

Contrary opinion, even from women, was severely censored--not "criticised," censored. They had no time or interest in hearing from or debating with anyone who disputed their core articles of faith; these included, though not openly admitted, that men, with few exceptions, were a bunch of oppressive bastards whose main purposes were to make the lives of women everywhere a living hell. And men were seen as meeting that ambition--attributed to them, of course--with wildly abundant success.

Women, for their part, were there to vent their frustration at this state of affairs. And they did. Ad nauseam. The purpose of the group through all its threads was to bemoan the status quo, which is and always has been men's fault, despite women's best efforts to change things.

When, with the imposition of strict rules which required a basic and abiding approval of and agreement with the local mob's core feminist catechism--which wouldn't necessarily be universal by any means, even among women themselves exclusively--the critical component of the group dried up, atrophied. At last, the local mob was free to rehearse their gripes free of any contrary opinion.

And with that they, very predictably, at length became just as tired and as tiresome as those they'd banished had already seen them to be. At last, they could see--indeed, they couldn't avoid seeing--that "all agreement, all the time, makes Jane a VERY dull woman". And so they lost interest in a group which finally had nothing in interest to offer.

All of this applies generally--not just to the world of feminism but, in our time, especially in our time, to virtually everything.

Now, minority opinion in all respects and all fronts in under siege, battling for its life. Whatever enjoys majoritarian support, no matter how false, erroneous or outright mind-bendingly stupid is safe. These are the only things that remain safe.

So, as in North Korea, or Russia, if you agree with Kim Jung Un or Vladimir Poutine, you'll find things very much to your liking in such an environment--especially the more intolerant of contrary opinion you are. The more, the better.

In the Shakespeare group, for example, those, the overwhelming majority, who are staunch proponents, in the author-identity-controversy, of one William Shakespeare of Stratford Upon Avon, shall rule the roost. And, under the new dispensation, they'll not only disapprove of my view and that of others who, on the contrary, see the rightful author as having been someone else, shall find their views unwelcome and themselves tolerated only so far as the Shaksper mob sees fit to allow. Beyond that, and tthey're going to be expelled.

This is what mob justice is and what it means for open debate in the poisoned times in which we now live.

My hunch is that this is all well understood and may even be--like it or not, admitted or not--the actual and the whole main "point" of the venture.

Many people despise giving opinions they abhor an even break. Now, they find their view the mainstream and they are LOVING it.

Untold mischief--which runs throughout history and should be entirely familiar to any who care to look on it--is the inevitable consequence of the madness in which we now live. It has a great deal of life left in it and it promises to make millions of people outcasts before it is done ---until the next flare up of this mania.

"Welcome, Mob Justice" ?

That's what you're setting up because an intolerant mob is now the majority among us.

Good thing I have plenty to occupy myself elsewhere. I don't expect to have much cause to continue to participate here. Spalding himself would cheer that news. He's a false-friend to real open debate.

The late -and-not-great Feminism group is witness to that. And it folded. All on its bored feminist's own accord.

"Disputatores, Cave!"

99Crypto-Willobie
Ene 28, 7:44pm

>98 proximity1:

Get over yourself prox. The Globe group is intended to be about Shakspere the player from Stratford. The incursion of anti-Shakespearean discourse into virtually every Globe topic just ruins it for everyone else. You know there is an LT group focused on Edward DeVere? Why not post your stuff there? We'll even put a pointer in the Globe description so your seekers can find it.

It's not 'mob justice'. It's just letting things be what they are, rather than wresting them into something else, something twisted and off-kilter.

100lilithcat
Ene 28, 8:17pm

>98 proximity1:

I don't know which feminist group you mean, but, as far as I know, the only one that had a moderator is Feminist Theory, and it is alive, well, and quite active.

101Petroglyph
Ene 28, 9:41pm

>98 proximity1:
Posting an 800+ word essay to complain that your conspiracy theories aren't taken seriously will indeed sour people on your "deviant" opinions. I can't imagine the drama-mongering and the pathos ("mob justice", "untold grief") helping either.

102John5918
Ene 28, 10:47pm

>96 melannen: not that specific group, so the group needs to be able to enforce the rule

There is an already existing function whereby individuals can just block that member so you never see their disruptive posts, but the posts are still there and can be seen by clicking the "show" button. I don't know whether the block function can be group-specific; it appears to block them from all groups. Perhaps in the case you describe it would be useful for an individual member to be able to ignore another member group by group, as your fictional bibliophile's posts might be interesting and on-topic in other groups not dedicated to cats? That leaves it up to each individual to ignore members they don't want to read rather than letting the admin take authoritarian action, which seems to me to be more in keeping with Tim's original philosophy on LT.

dedicated only to pictures of cats (as the internet was intended for)

And there was me thinking the internet was intended only for pictures of steam locomotives...

103lorax
Ene 29, 11:10am

That leaves it up to each individual to ignore members they don't want to read rather than letting the admin take authoritarian action, which seems to me to be more in keeping with Tim's original philosophy on LT.

Tim's "original philosophy" is narrow and naive.

Imagine there's an LGBT group with, as per Tim's "original philosophy", zero restrictions other than "don't insult any specific LT member". So a homophobe is free to come in and say gay people should all be thrown in jail and have their children taken away - that's just "polictical debate" - but people are forbidden by the TOS from calling that person a homophobe or a bigot, since those would be "personal attacks". So, instead, members all dutifully ignore that person, or people.

Now a new member comes to look at what they think should be a "welcoming" group - and find homophobic statements going unchallenged. This is a terrible situation. This is I think why groups of this nature have never caught on at LT - because until very, very recently this was exactly what had to happen.

You want to say whatever the heck you want to anyone? Well, Parler is shut down, thank goodness, but I'm sure you can find a similar place that would be more congenial for you.

104proximity1
Ene 29, 11:36am


>103 lorax:

"Imagine there's an LGBT group"...

Yeah. Imagine there is.

Suppose that in that group's discussions there are welcomed posts which read, "all non-LGBT people should be "thrown in jail and have their children taken away" and the general consensus in the group is that, whatever one thinks of this, pro or con, it's not, per se, cause for censure but there's also a strong consensus in the group's membership that objections to that view constitute "personal attacks" on all the group's members and on LGBT people in general and, thus, that posts of such objections are grounds for their authors' censure or removal/banning from the group?

That's the climate in which we now live.

Hate "heteros"? You and your view are protected. You are definitely allowed--entitled, even, as a member of the LGBT "community" (LOL!) to express this view wherever and whenever you please. LT not excepted, AFAIAA.

105MarthaJeanne
Ene 29, 11:38am

>103 lorax: I assume that if that sort of thing were to become a problem, the administrator could ask for moderating powers as the Feminist Theory group has. Just the threat of moderation has worked well there. Tim would probably also throw the bad actors off LT.

106John5918
Editado: Ene 29, 11:44am

>103 lorax:

Is that last paragraph personal, aimed at me, or is that a general "you"? Although I believe in the principle of free speech, I do not take it to extremes as many people in the USA (and on LT) appear to, and I believe I'm on record on LT saying that "free speech" should not include hate speech and incitement to violence. I have no strong feelings either way about LT banning individuals from certain groups, but was simply pointing it out. On Pro and Con the block function is widely used to avoid having to look at posts by our friend >98 proximity1: and their ilk without resorting to banning them, and I know that having a moderator on the Feminist Theory group has worked out well. The conversation continues.

107lorax
Ene 29, 11:55am

You seemed to be adamantly against any sort of moderation, as in the Feminist Theory group - I support that moderation 100% and also recognize that it is 100% antithetical to Tim's radical free-speech absolutism, which you seemed in #103 to be in favor of. (He has in fact explicitly said that his free-speech absolutism means LT does not recognize things such as "hate speech" as being prohibited, though he has in recent months clarified or evolved his position such that incitement to violence against groups is now also against the TOS, which it previously had not been.) If I misread you, I apologize.

108southernbooklady
Ene 29, 12:01pm

>105 MarthaJeanne: ultimately I think the real benefit of a moderator is in keeping a discussion on topic, more than having the ability to kick someone off the island. Yes, having that power ensures trolls are short-lived phenomena, but if a group has gathered around a common interest, a moderator can help maintain that purpose. The best example I've seen in practice was when I used to belong to the DOROTHY-L listserv, a general discussion list for mystery lovers named for Dorothy L. Sayers. The owner/moderator there made any discussions of Sayers's antisemitism a no-go topic after a number of highly unpleasant and acrimonious shouting matches broke out over whether she was or was not antisemitic. She basically said, "we are not going to die on this hill" and really, the whole group was the better for that decision.

109John5918
Ene 29, 12:15pm

>107 lorax:

Thanks for responding. I am certainly not "adamantly against any form of moderation", and I am not in favour of 100% free speech in the face of hate speech and incitement - in my day job I have worked against genocide and ethnic cleansing, of which hate speech and incitement are very real precursors. My apologies if I was not clear and if my attempt to raise other options could be misconstrued.

110aspirit
Ene 29, 12:22pm

>104 proximity1: This is hate speech, in case anyone was wondering.

>93 megbmore: I agree with melannen that when a group is set for members to have to ask permission to join, there should be an option to remove members that no longer follow the group's guidelines. Perhaps that could be an option that appears to the administrator(s) when the setting for only members to post is selected.

111proximity1
Editado: Ene 29, 12:38pm


" You seemed to be adamantly against any sort of moderation, as in the Feminist Theory group - I support that moderation 100% and also recognize that it is 100% antithetical to Tim's radical free-speech absolutism, which you seemed in #103 to be in favor of. (He has in fact explicitly said that his free-speech absolutism means LT does not recognize things such as "hate speech" as being prohibited, though he has in recent months clarified or evolved his position such that incitement to violence against groups is now also against the TOS, which it previously had not been.) If I misread you, I apologize."


This is why your views of free-speech are dangerously narrow. You presume to summarize my views above and, in doing it, you show that you still don't have any accurate understanding of my opinions--this case is an example of that failure.

You glibly refer to a group's hostile censorship of opinions which are contrary to the consensus of the group's members as "moderation." I call it censorship.

What Tim did was simple. He said, in effect, that he wouldn't pre-empt what others (self-servingly) denounce (because they disagree with it) as "hate speech." None of my posts above referred to "hate speech". Rather, I used the term "hate."

More to the point, in the case you cite at Feminist Theory, Spalding also said that it's not the policy at LT to require more in toleration of opinions than group's member's (loosely defined as a consensus view) happen to find acceptable. That means that if a bunch of bigoted people want to start a group designed and dedicated to expounding on their own particular shared bigotr(y)(ies), they're not only free to do so, but, moreover, they're free to label their critics objections as bigotry and to refuse to allow those or the critics' participation generally.

My point is that this system ensures that, for any given "topic", the tolerance for the expression of non-consensus views and the participation of those holding those views is allowed only "at sufferance" of the group's majority consensus. That's a recipe for ensuring that popular opinions inside moderated groups are welcome and protected and the survival of anything else is on its own.

That means that Feminist Theory, which asked for and got authorization to appoint a "moderator" (censor) expressly to institute a policy which banned those who didn't already share the group's majority of member's prejudices and preconceived notions -- with the power to reject any unpopular opinions and to effectively eject any and all of their authors at a whim.

You've subscribed to this. But you don't subscribe to its general application in places outside this site, for example, by others who, hostile to _your_ cherished opinions, would censor them and you for expressing them.

In short, you're delighted to support and defend your own free-speech and that of all others with whom you agree. That makes you a typical "liberal" and "feminist" of our time.

112melannen
Editado: Ene 29, 1:45pm

>103 lorax: 100% Agreed with lorax. The problem with a "moderation" system that depends on individual users hiding posts only for themselves is that the bad actors then don't get any responses, and new users only see the bad actors all over the place and not being challenged, and leave. Ignoring bullies while still letting them speak doesn't actually solve a bully problem, it just means the bullies are the only ones people can hear.

Also, if the worry is about people who are acting in good faith who are banned anyway, I don't know why people think individual blockfiles is better. If you're kicked out of a group, you know exactly what happened and who you can talk to about it. If you're silently blockfiled by everyone, all you know is that suddenly nobody will talk to you, and you have no way to make your case. I don't know why people prefer the second one.

Depending on individual users' blockfiles basically killed a lot of Usenet groups, among other things.

If people come to Pics of Cats Riding Steam Locomotives group because they are tired of thinking about books and only want to deal with Cats Riding Steam Locomotives right now, but all they see are books-related posts, it doesn't matter if all of the existing members have hidden the books-related posts: the Cat Pics group is still messed up for everybody else.

And saying that the Cats Riding Locomotives group is only for Cats Riding Locomotives, and enforcing that, isn't quashing anybody's right to speak: it's keeping the group functional for the purpose it was intended for. If we can't do that, why have separate groups at all?

Right now, enforcing of community standards on Talk is done on LT mostly via flags : somebody comes in with a TOS-violating post, other members flag them to perdition, and one of our blunter regulars explains to them why they were flagged in blunt terms, and they nearly always stop one way or another. If a stranger comes by, they see the hidden flagged post and the blunt reply, and that acts to reinforce the standards, in the way that individual users hiding them only for that user don't.

But we can only flag for actual TOS violations, and the book posts in the Cats Riding Locomotives group aren't (and shouldn't be.)

If people are really that concerned about a single admin abusing their powers, I guess we could have some kind of system where people get a separate flag for violating the group's rules but not the TOS, but that would still mean people coming to look at Cats Riding Locomotives would have to stare at the non-Cats on Locomotives posts long enough to flag them; ability for mods to revoke membership would be a lot smoother.

I have been in groups on other sites where a mod did decide to abuse their power to ban people. What happened was the other members got upset, started a new group with a new mod, and the left the old group to the old mod to enjoy in silence. Or they appealed to site owner to kick the abusive mod and appoint a new one. That's a problem that is solvable.

(Of course, much more often what actually happened was the mod banned someone with very good reason, the other members thanked them effusively, and the banned person whined a lot in other places that it was unfair. But that is not actually an 'abusive mod' problem when the mod is enforcing the existing norms of the group.)

113lilithcat
Ene 29, 1:48pm

>112 melannen:

If people come to Pics of Cats Riding Steam Locomotives group

Here's the group pic:

114melannen
Ene 29, 2:01pm

>113 lilithcat: Nice!

I vote we also allow videos of kittens on model train layouts:
https://animatedamerican.tumblr.com/post/185946955337/what-an-excellent-kaiju

115aspirit
Ene 29, 2:06pm

>112 melannen: I'll add that anyone who wants to talk about books while sharing pictures can immediately start the Book Reviewing Cats Riding Steam Locomotives group, even after removal from the Pics of Cats Riding Steam Locomotives group. No one will have had their ability to exercise their free speech (on this private site!) taken away.

116lorax
Ene 29, 2:16pm

lilithcat (#113):

I bow to your Google Image Search prowess. Well done indeed.

117melannen
Ene 29, 2:17pm

>115 aspirit: Exactly!

>113 lilithcat: Is that a famous train cat or just a really good photo? I love them and want to keep looking at them.

118spiphany
Ene 29, 2:28pm

>114 melannen: What about pictures of steam locomotives with cat logos painted on them? https://www.themetrains.com/chessie-steam-special-consist-2101-steam-locomotive....

119melannen
Ene 29, 2:41pm

>118 spiphany: Ah, Chessie! So many memories of road trips where whoever was first to spot a train car that still had Chessie on it won. :D

Now there is only her spiritual successor Tama: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tama_(cat)

120JacobHolt
Ene 29, 2:45pm

To the extent it is under discussion or reconsideration, please consider this my vote for continuing the site philosophy of free-speech absolutism. In my actual experience, the vast majority of Talk participants are thoughtful and kind, and the anarchist in me says that new moderation powers or standards could upset that balance and create new, second-order questions to argue over. Blocking the few people who are less than thoughtful, or who are unkind, (as well as flagging personal attacks when I see them) has always worked for me.

121Maddz
Ene 29, 2:46pm

122megbmore
Ene 29, 2:52pm

I am enjoying this conversation about the possible roles of admins. Really! My sense (and I am still very new to this side of the site) is that these conversations have popped up from time to time--group-specific rules and norms, within group moderation, etc. With a round of new admins, people are interested in what admins could/should do.

I think it's important to note that the role is an administrator, not a moderator, a subtle but important difference. We're not calling on volunteers to moderate other members' behavior. I know other sites (reddit, in particular), that's the main role of the mod, but we haven't gone that route.

It does seem like a gray area that's not violating TOS but is annoying and disruptive to the functioning of the group. Is there any sense of how prevalent this is? Has it gotten better or worse over time?

>114 melannen: I could watch this kitten for hours.

123lilithcat
Ene 29, 3:14pm

124lorax
Editado: Ene 29, 3:48pm

megbmore:

It does seem like a gray area that's not violating TOS but is annoying and disruptive to the functioning of the group. Is there any sense of how prevalent this is? Has it gotten better or worse over time?


No, and it would be meaningless anyway.

As I've said many times over the years in discussions on the topic, many groups have probably never gotten started, or never gotten off the ground, because of the chilling effect posed by "There is nothing you can do as a group to keep out people who hate your very existence, because the founder of the site considers those sorts of statements to be "political" and therefore acceptable anywhere and everywhere on the site. Your only recourse is to goad them into attacking you as an individual rather than as a member of a group, at which point you can flag that post and only that post."

Either you decide that groups can throw out hateful and disruptive members, or you don't, but "how often has it been a problem" doesn't address the root of the problem posed by the general climate of an anything-goes free-for-all.

125melannen
Editado: Ene 29, 4:25pm

>123 lilithcat: Oooh, thanks, I have a new favorite!

>122 megbmore: I love that video! I wish it were longer but I've never found an extended cut.

There have definitely been cases of individual members or small subsets of members refusing to abide by group norms and seriously disrupting a group's ability to function; some were mentioned upthread. I don't have any direct parallels to the Cats Riding Locomotives example that happened on LT, but I suspect that's partly because it would be really hard to run a group like that on a site with LT's current tools. I'm sticking to that as my example because bringing up the actual cases results in the same problems appearing in the threads discussing them, and then the thread dies as everyone else leaves (as happens in the groups too) unless another small set of users decides to put in the effort to judo it back around with cat pics or pasta recipes or whatever, or Tim steps in and bans people.

There are definitely also long-running problems with groups getting disrupted by offtopic posts, although the most obvious problem with threads in the wrong place (the Name That Book problem) wouldn't be solved by being able to remove people from a group (there are a bunch of fixes that have been proposed for it for years that haven't been implemented either, though.) Instead certain members have taken it on themselves to actively steer people to the correct groups as an avocation, which is wonderful of them but not ideal, and sometimes involves them getting nasty responses for it.

Long-term talk users have gotten pretty good at modding-without-tools by necessity in a lot of situations, although it's often not fun, and as >124 lorax: said, sometimes it has just meant not having discussions or groups we might otherwise like to have.

Sorry about using "mod" and "admin" interchangeably - in my experience, you can't really keep the functions separate, no matter how the site tries to distinguish on the back end. (unless you have, like, a team of dozens who work well together at delegating to each other.) You can't admin without doing some moderation work, and it's not fun to try to moderate without at least some admin powers. What I'm seeing in my groups is a lot of people who were previously doing unrecognized mod work finally getting admin powers to help them with it.

I don't think any of the stronger powers would get used a *lot* in Talk - we definitely don't need the level that Reddit has (and where I'm pulling my mental examples are other web 1.0 social media like Livejournal communities and phpBB forums, we definitely don't want to worry about Facebook or Twitter level problems.) But when you need those powers, you *really* need them, and not having those powers at all shuts down a lot of things pre-emptively.

Edit: It's also become sort of a truism among the people who spend a lot of time thinking about social media moderation that sites like LT Talk and special-interest phpBB boards with MIA mods often have fewer problems with large-scale trolling because the emphasis on the membership enforcing community norms socially rather than with admin tools makes them relatively socially unfriendly to new users. They have a very high learning barrier for new members to be accepted to the community, because the current members are aware they don't have any other way to keep the community safe. Talk isn't mean to newbies, of course, but I'd say a huge proportion of people have one of their first social interactions on Talk being some member forcefully letting them know they've violated an unstated norm and they need to learn more if they want to take part. It keeps LT Talk relatively polite for an Internet community, but also relatively quiet.

126timspalding
Ene 29, 6:25pm

I don't see evidence that LibraryThing is overrun with people such as Lorax describes in 103. As she writes "Imagine there's an LGBT group…." This is not a strong argument, when we have and have had many such groups.

My so-called "free speech absolutism"—an odd notion when I penned the rule allowing a member to be sanctioned for calling someone else a jerk or a liar—is a belief that it is hard for sites to draw lines around ideas, as distinct from simple expressions and attacks. This becomes easier when a given group context is considered. But context is hard for a site to police. We will not satisfy anyone here. There's no agreement on principles to start, and principles collapse quickly when they meet how people feel about this or that group.

That said, and as a partial solution, I would be fine with a policy allowing groups, probably by their admins, to police membership.

So I think we should talk about how that might work. For example, should we require a vote before a group allows its admins that power? What powers should admins have—warn, suspend and remove? Remove messages? Do we link this to having an in-group TOS, or is it just part of being an admin? What if there are multiple admins—do all admins need to agree? A majority? Etc.

For what it's worth, such a policy could handle a problem that, as >125 melannen: writes, happens occasionally—disruptive members. The biggest complaint recently has been about an antistratfordian in a Shakespeare club. In theory, we could allow the Globe group to add a "No antistratfordians!" TOS. But, really, I suspect Globe members don't care if someone doubts the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, so long as they do so with moderation and social intelligence.

I agree with others that certain groups should never have member admins empowered to sanction other members.

127melannen
Editado: Ene 29, 6:59pm

>126 timspalding: I would honestly be fine with a rule that says only the groups that are private, or that limit posting to members and require admin approval for new members, are the groups that allow admins to remove members - without those other restrictions, removing the member wouldn't do a lot, and that would mean that the power would only come into play once a group had already gotten serious about controlling who can post.

(I think in arguing in favor of the capability of removing membership when needed, I came off as more strongly in favor of the *use* than I actually I am.)

We currently leave it up to the admins to decide whether to require approval or limit posting to members, right? I would also be fine with just leaving that as it is. At some point you are trusting your admins to use their admin powers wisely. As I said above, if an admin is acting in a way that's plainly against the desires of the group as a whole, it's not that difficult for the rest of the group to deal with that in various ways; and once that is happening, the group has bigger problems.

128timspalding
Editado: Ene 29, 7:10pm

>126 timspalding:

Sorry. I was assuming that admins could prevent a user from posting, not merely that they could prevent them from being members. However, indeed, we could accomplish this by restricting the power to groups that require posters to be members. Almost all such groups are not private--all you have to do is click "join."

129melannen
Ene 29, 7:14pm

>128 timspalding: Oh, if you wanted to be able to ban people from interacting at all in fully open groups too, that would extend the power a lot, but I'm not sure we need it - I figured that wasn't even on the table! If a group is having ongoing problems with disruptive posts, or is worried about the possibility, most groups would probably limit posting to members first anyway, I hope?

Does 'only members can post' apply to all comments, or only new threads? It's been awhile since I've been in a situation where that difference would matter. I thought it was for starting threads only, in which case you might need to somehow extend it to comments on existing threads in order to really help with those situations. But it would still probably be okay to limit that power only to groups that already have restricted posting.

130LolaWalser
Ene 29, 7:45pm

>126 timspalding:

By no means do I wish to speak for lorax but I happen to agree with them and feel that the discussion is confused by two different topics. One is the sort of "disruptive" people who post off topic in groups that explicitly note other subjects as irrelevant. That's not the problem lorax brought up.

Lorax is talking about insecurity created by knowing that certain most personal things, that define us at our core, are here being treated as open to criticism, up to and including opinions most devastating to our well-being. Just as an example--from a day or two ago--someone with prior form for such things mooted again the idea that there is something good to be said for sexism, racism, homophobia. This is not flaggable, and equally obviously it's an attack on women, non-whites, gays, such as this person engaged in before and no doubt will again (god is his co-pilot).

Online, outside some strictly controlled spaces, pretty much everyone who is not a white man (straight, preferably) has experienced or dreaded such attacks. Not of the "your stoopid" variety happily exchanged by all-American white lads but gender-based or race-based or sexuality-based etc. attacks that most of the people who are prone to them already deal with or have dealt with in real life. It hurts to be hurt over and over--and so casually, dismissively, or cynically under the guise of "opinion" and "freedom of speech".

There is no equivalence in these things, they don't happen to everyone, to "all sides". It's a form of bullying and often, conscious intimidation of people historically subject to abuse.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out the difference, I'm not saying I have a global solution for this, I presume that since moderation works in one group it would do so for other groups that might request it.

131melannen
Ene 29, 10:21pm

>130 LolaWalser: I think that a moderation method that works for Cats Riding Locomotives should, in the context of groups' admin powers, work for that as well. If you have a group for asexual people to talk about things that interest them*, and someone keeps interrupting the discussions of cakes and dragons to tell them that asexuality is a disease and terrible things should happen to all people who say they are ace in order to cure them, that is still someone being off-topic and disruptive of the group, because the purpose of the group is not to debate whether asexual people deserve to exist, it's to talk about topics of interest to them, and that debate is not a topic of interest to them.

Whether those people should be welcome on Talk at all (especially if they exhibit that behavior in sitewide spaces like New Features threads) is a valid question, but that shouldn't be the determiner of whether they can be removed from specific groups where their behaviors are specifically hostile to the members of and opposed to the purpose of that group, which should be an easy yes.

*used as an example because it's one that applies to me. Also, I have no idea if this has been a problem with any ace groups that might exist on LT, because I have never gone looking for them, because given LT's current mod policies and powers I wouldn't feel like this was a safe place to talk about that stuff.

132proximity1
Editado: Ene 30, 12:23pm

Again, if you so choose, you can have a site with discussion fora in which all correspondents go to and remain in their own 'safe-spaces'.

In that case, there are going to be few or no challenges, little or no important and meaningful interaction, virtually no 'feather-ruffling.' Because avoidance of all that shall be the highest of all priorities. That, of course, is exactly the point, the plan and the desire of petty-minded people who harbor bigotries.

News-flash: We're human beings and as such, in some regard or another, that would be "everyone," all of us are petty-minded, are bigoted, in some respect. And it's in just those respects that we want no truck with out-landers' critiques and criticisms---especially where these may serve to create in the general society more tolerance of things, people and ideas which, on the bigot's side, is anathema to their beliefs.

People who stubbornly assert, or, who, more to the point, never actually assert but simply believe to their bones without doubt or question, that they're enlightened and have grown out of and beyond the stage of petty bigotries (in which their ideological opponents remain trapped) are the more blinkered and self-deceiving and, for that reason, far more dangerous as freedom's fashion-leaders than are those who just admit that we're this way by evolutionary accident and so far none of us has "out-grown" this aspect of his, her or our nature and are not likely to over the course of the foreseeable eon ahead.

You could do that. Nice, bland, little islands of "discussion" made and kept tidy by prerequisite conformity and group-think. Some groups can live in that hot-house climate and do well since their areas of interest are not particularly and inherently controversial. But for those which are or which inevitably shall be unless one form or another of rigorous censorship is imposed (by the intolerance of a majoritarian consensus on which the identification and expulsion of unwelcome opinion is child's play), they won't be worth a bucket of warm spit as a place to pass any free time--not for people whose minds are both open and alive.

This place, which had been something of an exception, is destined soon to be no exception at all.



The Washington Examiner (Letter From The Editor )| Doubts grow in freedom's last redoubt |
by Hugo Gurdon, Editor-in-Chief | | January 28, 2021 11:00 PM


_______________

Opinion | The Atlantic monthly (Boston) | When Anti-racist Manifestos Become Anti-racist Wrecking-Balls |
by John McWhorter | 29 January 2021




Damn right: these points, for many among us, aren't that easy to grasp. If they were, they wouldn't be part of human society's oldest and most persistent problems in living together. Making such ideological purity once more a feature of our most important and central preoccupations is a fool's recipe for needless, deep and prolonged division, hatred and strife.

We're again in a very low point, getting some basic things wrong, badly wrong, in ways which previous generations had, for a variety of circumstantial reasons, been able to escape for a time.

Our juvenile, infantilized, society is in psychic horror of and in emotional flight from everything serious, dangerous and adult about human social responsibilities.



(p. 208)

“Our thinking is still determined by models of rationality not powerful enough for Shakespeare. In spite of its loudly professed respect for 'all cultural differences,' contemporary rationalism still dismisses primitive religion as totally meaningless, 'pure' superstition, unintelligible mumbo-jumbo. That is why it cannot understand Julius Caesar ; it cannot understand the tragic writer's understanding of scapegoat phenomena and of their role in ancient religion.

“The whole modern dogma of the absolute separation between great poetry and intelligence is one of the consequences of our blindness to the role of mimetic desire and victimage in great literature. The ultimate implications of Julius Caesar seem almost too dangerous to pursue. Our own rationality cannot reach the founding role of mimetic victimage because it remains tainted with it. Narrow rationality and victimage lose their effectiveness together.

“Reason itself is the child of the foundational murder. As our own mimetic crisis worsens, we plunge into nihilism and madness, and cannot afford to disregard the thinkers who preceded us on this road; we need the real William Shakespeare more than we need any modern philosopher.” …

(p. 217)

“When sacrificial cultures understand their own rites too well, they can no longer practice them as innocently as their ancestors had, and the institution must evolve in the direction of non-violent mysticism on the one hand and political manipulation on the other.

"As sacrifice loses its power, a few holy men flee to the desert, leaving the sacrificial altar to many ambitious leaders who turn it into a political stage upon which Caesars, Brutuses, and Mark Antonies of this world play sacrificial politics, each one trying to sell his own brand of 'good violence' to the mob.

(p. 221)

... “The theater is an alleviation and mitigation of sacrifice in the sense that the victims (as opposed to those in ancient religious rites of sacrificial practices) are not immolated at all. Their death is only a mock death, and not even the representation of this mock death is permitted on the stage. This last prohibition emphasizes the shift away from real violence. Just about anything can be represented in the theater except the death of the protagonist, which must never be seen even if it sometimes can be heard, as in the case of the king's murder at the end of Aeschylus's Agamemnon.

“One should not conclude from this evolution that the original (a society's or civilization's “foundational”) murder has lost its importance and ceased to be foundational in post-ritual institutions such as theater. The bloodlessness of tragedy does not radically alter the nature and purpose of the re-enactment, which remains the same as in the case of ritual; the Aristotelian definition of it as catharsis or purification makes this abundantly clear. The medical use of the word goes back to the religious usage, which designates the assuagement produced by sacrifice.

“ Nineteenth- and twentieth-century scholars have made great efforts to demonstrate that the catharsis of the theater is quite different from the catharsis of sacrifice, which indirectly suggests more awareness of what sacrifice is really about in these scholars than they pretend to have. Tragedy, the Dionysiac ode of the goat, cannot be as alien as we have been told to the most unsavory aspect of all human religion and human culture as a whole, the collective ganging up against a single victim that was still transparent all over classical Greece in the famous rite of the pharmakos, or scapegoat. All it takes to realize that the two catharses are in fact one and the same is to observe that the same word refers to the same re-enactment of the foundational murder in both instances. The specific difference of the theater is that total make-believe replaces the partial make-believe of sacrificial rites.

… …

(p. 225)

“All aesthetic criticism is ultimately based on a notion of 'human interest' that is just about as sacrificial as the Roman circus, with this one (important) difference, that the shedding of blood is forbidden. Like the modern theater, the Roman circus was a purely recreational use of sacrifice. Our theater is sacrificial in its blindness to the sacrificial closure within which all its concepts are rooted.

“It is unpleasant to learn that the inner sanctum of of human culture is really a putrefied core. This resistance is sacrifice protecting itself from an awareness that would make all catharsis impossible. Shakespeare is both closer to the Greeks and further from them than those poets who merely repeat the past. He goes to the very heart of tragedy and uncovers the significance of what tragedy has always done.

“Catharsis is Mark Antony absolving Brutus of envy. A play will not be intensely cathartic if it triggers too much thinking about the mimetic interaction in it. Mimesis is so contagious that its very representation is potentially disruptive for the spectators. Mark Antony's eulogy is destined, if not to erase entirely the knowledge of everything we have discussed in our last five chapters, then at least to lower our level of awareness, to bring about at least partial amnesia in regard to mimesis, to promote an idealized vision of what happened in the play.”

... ...

________________________

René Girard, A Theater of Envy: William Shakespeare; (1991, Oxford University Press).




133Crypto-Willobie
Ene 30, 11:28am

>126 timspalding:
For what it's worth, such a policy could handle a problem that, as >125 melannen: melannen: writes, happens occasionally—disruptive members. The biggest complaint recently has been about an antistratfordian in a Shakespeare club. In theory, we could allow the Globe group to add a "No antistratfordians!" TOS. But, really, I suspect Globe members don't care if someone doubts the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, so long as they do so with moderation and social intelligence.

Unfortunately the member in question does not discuss the so-called authorship question "with moderation and social intelligence" but rather in the manner of a prosecuting attorney or an attack journalist. It's like making a nice comfortable room and then having someone come in and piss all over everything. More than a few online Shakespeare groups have banned anti-Shakespearean subject matter -- for instance the venerable SHAKSPER listserv, as well as the Facebook groups Shakespeare Forum, Early Modernists, and Shakespeare and Early Modern Friends. They have been forced to this by the aggressive, no-holds-barred (and completely deaf) tactics of the promoters of this conspiracy-myth.

Another example:
>131 melannen:
If you have a group for asexual people to talk about things that interest them*, and someone keeps interrupting the discussions of cakes and dragons to tell them that asexuality is a disease and terrible things should happen to all people who say they are ace in order to cure them, that is still someone being off-topic and disruptive of the group, because the purpose of the group is not to debate whether asexual people deserve to exist, it's to talk about topics of interest to them, and that debate is not a topic of interest to them.

What if you had a Virginia Woolf discussion group and it was constantly disrupted by someone claiming that a mere woman could not have written those works but that they were written by her husband Leonard Woolf using her name? And they just wouldn't stfu about it? Or a group for the African-American poet Langston Hughes invaded by someone claiming that his works were beyond the abilities of a mere Negro but were really written by his white friend Carl Van Vechten? And they wouldn't stfu -- would anyone stand for this Woolf and Hughes abuse? It's all very well for people to say (weird voice) "Oh! it doesn't matter at all who wrote Shakespeare's plays, just enjoy them as works of art!" But it does affect the study and discussion of Shakespeare's works to have someone try to force you to view them through the bizarro lens of a conspiracy myth, rather than in the documented context of Elizabethan theatre history.

So, as the new admin of The Globe group, I do not plan to expel anyone, but I do plan to forbid the introduction or discussion of anti-Shakespearian topics, whether the alternative candidates be Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon, Derby, Neville, Queen Elizabeth, or your Uncle Ted. We will, in the pinned Group Description, refer people wishing to discuss such matters to the group "Edward De Vere and The Shakespeare Authorship Mystery" https://www.librarything.com/ngroups/5500/Edward-De-Vere-and-The-Shakespeare-Aut...

134abbottthomas
Ene 30, 1:13pm

>133 Crypto-Willobie: I'm sorry about my uncle Ted.............

135timspalding
Editado: Ene 30, 2:15pm

I've started a topic to discuss just how group moderation should be achieved: https://www.librarything.com/topic/329278

I put one proposal up for discussion, but I'm eager to hear others. My hope is that we can give groups that want more protection what they want, so long as keep it simple.

>133 Crypto-Willobie: Please look at my proposal topic. I'd be concerned that you'd banning a topic but the problem isn't the topic per se. Perhaps you think the one will translate into the other?

>130 LolaWalser: Lorax is talking about insecurity created by knowing that certain most personal things, that define us at our core, are here being treated as open to criticism

I hear where you're coming from. It is highly offensive when others declare that things at the core of someone's identity are open to criticism or indeed evil and should be prevented. Some people, for example, seek to prevent me from taking my son to mass and talking to him about God as "horrific mental abuse" (link). And while I am not a Muslim, I am offended on behalf of my Muslim friends, that some urge laws forbidding them and members of other religions from wearing religious symbols or clothing (link). And I am concerned that someone concerned with identity and abusive language would describe Muhammed as "their fucking prophet, may syphilitic camels piss on his beard in eternity." (link) Now that sounds like something you'd see on Parler!

136Crypto-Willobie
Editado: Ene 30, 6:58pm

>135 timspalding:

>133 Crypto-Willobie: Crypto-Willobie: Please look at my proposal topic. I'd be concerned that you'd banning a topic but the problem isn't the topic per se. Perhaps you think the one will translate into the other?

I'll chime in over on the other thread but let me just say here that while in the abstract I can agree with your suggestion regarding Auntie Strat in the House of Shakspere my long experience of the controversy has taught me that almost any toleration of the subject is a slippery slope. It ought to be possible for someone to be innocently curious as to why there exists such a question; but in reality more or less every Auntie turns out to be a relentless True Believer. Let them expound their position but let them do it in their own dedicated group.

137melannen
Editado: Ene 31, 11:21am

>135 timspalding: That's why it's important to be able to ban on a per-group basis- I know Pro and Con and Let's Talk Religion are festering pits of bile *by the preferences of their members*, and have been for fifteen years, so I don't go there.

It would be nice if my Catholic and Muslim friends had options that they knew would be different, though. Lots of places have religion discussion groups where attacks on others' religions are banned - and they can coexist with ones where they aren't (and even share members who know how to codeswap discourse styles), as long as the lines can be enforced.

(There are also groups that ban bringing up something that was said a long time ago, and in another country, as a method of argument. Just as an example. I know Let's Talk Religion loves that style of gotcha, though, another reason I don't visit.)

Anyway thank you for the new topic! A few walls o' text aside, this has been a surprisingly good discussion!

138gilroy
Ene 31, 11:05am

>137 melannen: I think that might make for some helpful arguments and we can put solid statistics forward for Tim to consider.

How many Active forum users have Pro and Con blocked?
How many Active Forum users have Let's Talk Religion blocked?

Of those known to frequent these two forums, how many Active Forum users have individual members of those two groups blocked?

Of those two groups, how frequently do you see flags for TOS violations? From group members? From non-group members?

If we really want to talk about why moderation might help, maybe we do need to look at some site statistics...

139proximity1
Editado: Ene 31, 1:07pm

Yes. He's (>136 Crypto-Willobie:) quite right.


"It ought to be possible for someone to be innocently curious as to why there exists such a question; but in reality more or less every Auntie turns out to be a relentless True Believer. Let them expound their position but let them do it in their own dedicated group.*"

(emphasis added)


My own case is an example but, in fact, all cases are similar. With virtually no exceptions, all students first learn the Stratfordian orthodoxy about William Shaksper as the author, "William Shakespeare" and, so, always arrive "innocently" at an acquaintance with the Oxfordian case for Shakespeare's identity---that is, in the unlikely event that they ever arrive at one at all.

The only institution of higher learning of which I am aware to have formally and routinely taught students about Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, as the author of the "Shakespeare" canon was the now-defunct Concordia University of Portland, Oregon.

So virtually everyone comes "innocently"-- not to say accidentally--to an acquaintance with the "Shakespeare Authorship Question." The closed-shop teaching of Stratfordian scholars (LOL!) make sure of this. It's their vitally-important "employment protection plan," not essentially different from Vladimir Poutine's or Bashir al-Assad's--except for the lengths to which these go in the measures taken to ensure that apostasy is stamped out.


"Let them expound their position but let them do it in their own dedicated group."


Right, again.

As with race, so with Shakespeare, "Separate but Equal" prevents dangerous chaos in the classroom.

"Mixing" is messy, complicated and invites confusion and division and controversy in teaching aims and methods. Our own history teaches us that education works best when it's conducted in a strictly segregated fashion--that's provided, of course, that the resources and facilities are, as we know they'd surely be, "separate but equal."

This has the indispensable added advantage of keeping those who want exposure to the Oxfordian case largely and fortunately ignorant of it in the first place and, therefore, hardly in a position to even know about, let alone be taught in the alternative schools' programs.

That's both important and as it should be since, if we've learned anything, we've learned that mere exposure to dangerous unorthodox ideas is like unto a disease: quite sufficient to infect and injure those exposed rendering them less able or even completely incapable of recognizing the clearly air-tight character of Stratfordians' case---just putting it so shows the chaos invited in granting that there even exists some "alternative".

That error, after all, is what this approach is designed and intended to remedy.

Blacks and Whites used to be taught according to this principle in virtually all of the United States until, around sometime in the 1960s, certain nit-pickers began to object that students so segregated were probably inherently condemned to being treated separately and unequally--to the great detriment of those taught in the vast majority of Black-only institutions from K-University graduation.

140LolaWalser
Ene 31, 12:18pm

>135 timspalding:

You are... indescribable. I try to raise empathy for vulnerable people lorax is concerned about, and you decide to tear me down shrieking about your precious religion. And you can't even muster anything that isn't sheer lies and distortions. Picking out of context bits and pieces from conversations years and years old.

Some people, for example, seek to prevent me from taking my son to mass and talking to him about God as "horrific mental abuse" (link).

That's beyond disingenuous. First, your religious beliefs are not comparable to people's biological being, period. You have chosen them and you have chosen to indoctrinate your child--mind that YOU have introduced this topic and made it personal, this time as every time before--with those same beliefs. This is just a fact.

I have never talked about you or your child but about the general phenomenon of religious indoctrination of children and its consequences as I've seen them, suffered them, as did others.

Stop lying about me.

I am offended on behalf of my Muslim friends, that some urge laws forbidding them and members of other religions from wearing religious symbols or clothing (link).

You are lying again. I discussed French secular philosophy in order to explain/understand the stance they take on religious covering but not only have I not urged any laws, I explicitly stated I was against the bans in public and horrified by the arrests.

And why are you concerned on behalf of your Muslim friends only? And why are you not concerned about Muslims who see veiling as a noxious discriminatory practice? And finally, being not only not Muslim but a male, what fucking business of yours is it to defend a practice that has historically been used--and still is so used in most of the world--to oppress, segregate, and comprehensively discriminate against women?

And I am concerned that someone concerned with identity and abusive language would describe Muhammed as "their fucking prophet, may syphilitic camels piss on his beard in eternity."

NO idea what you are talking about--you are linking to a post of mine but that quote is not mine nor remotely something I've said or agreed with. Seriously, flag me, but fuck you for that, Tim. I keep wanting to say this is beneath you but now I'm recalling it's not the first time. You've gone this low before.

It really gets your goat when we try to explain the systemic abuse faced by women, gays, trans people.

You shouldn't have done this. You may think you're showing me up but you're only injuring yourself.

141Crypto-Willobie
Editado: Ene 31, 3:45pm

>139 proximity1:

I'm not going to argue the case in this thread -- it's the wrong place and it would never end. But the fact is that there is nothing unusual about the prima facie case for Shakespere the player from Stratford as the actor-playwright responsible for writing or co-writing the contents of the 1623 First Folio. There is no reason he cannot or should not be appreciated and studied within his documented historical context.

On the other hand there is no evidence at all (according to the normal definition of that term) that the Earl of Oxford or the Earl of Derby or Sir Francis Bacon or Sir Henry Neville or anyone else was the primary or co-author of those works. The people who argue this are promoting a conspiracy myth and their so-called evidence is all imaginary or the result of confirmation bias. Can you really believe that the Earl of Oxford was one of six children borne by Queen Elizabeth I and that she then slept with her own son to produce the Earl of Southhampton? Or that Oxford is responsible for writing not just the works of Shakespeare but also the works of Robert Greene and a dozen other Elizabethan writers? It's the fan-fiction of a fantasy world. If that's fun for you then play with it in the Oxford group and let the Shakespeare group get on with real life.

142timspalding
Editado: Ene 31, 1:45pm

>140 LolaWalser: First, your religious beliefs are not comparable to people's biological being, period.

And here we get to the nugget of it. Some hold that religion is a protected category, alongside race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age and so forth. And some don't. That religion is such a category is basic to US law. LibraryThing may not consider whether someone is Jewish, Christian, Muslim or atheist in its hiring, or, for example, require employees to ditch their yarmulkes and headscarves on the job. The same protections apply to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy status and so forth. While of course these are not all the same, they are alike in being protected categories of situation or identity. I am on board with that.

I explicitly stated I was against the bans in public and horrified by the arrests.

You have said—I linked to it—that you support such bans when they involve public spaces--that religious clothing and items should be banned in public contexts ("public schools, and face-covering in schools and public institutions").

I, with many others, consider banning Jews from wearing yarmulkes or Muslims from wearing headscarves in schools to be a violation of their freedom and, in practice, an intentional effort to extinguish their identity. I find this particularly so in the mentioned France and Germany, two countries where Jews and Muslims—the only people likely to be affected by such measures—have not always been treated well by the Christian and agnostic majority.

Again, telling someone to hide their gender identity or sexual orientation in school isn't the same as telling them to hide their Jewishness or Muslim identity (and contravening their conscience by doing so). But I'm on board with the basic principle that both are wrong and for similar reasons.

And why are you concerned on behalf of your Muslim friends only? And why are you not concerned about Muslims who see veiling as a noxious discriminatory practice?

I am resolutely against laws that require women to wear the veil, and should the topic be Iran or Saudi Arabia, and someone defending that notion, I would be saying it.

NO idea what you are talking about--you are linking to a post of mine but that quote is not mine nor remotely something I've said or agreed with

You said it. The link is here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/194510#5268946 .

143proximity1
Editado: Ene 31, 1:14pm


>142 timspalding:

">139 proximity1: proximity1:

First, your religious beliefs are not comparable to people's biological being, period." ... (Walser's )

Please hold while we transfer you to your party -----


Paging Lola Walser, paging Lola Walser, a call for you, paging Lola Walser ... >140 LolaWalser:


144proximity1
Ene 31, 1:18pm



>141 Crypto-Willobie:

"I'm not going to argue the case in this thread -- " ....

(argument of the case follows ...)

LOL!!!

Typical.

145timspalding
Ene 31, 1:38pm

>138 gilroy:

People ignoring a group isn't quite the same as wanting to moderate it. But, look, I'm convinced that group admins with moderation power would be helpful.

146LolaWalser
Ene 31, 2:07pm

>142 timspalding:

You said it. The link is here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/194510#5268946 .

Indeed. I don't understand how I could have missed it? I retract that you lied about that, I see the words there now. I will say this: that whole thread is about the Daesh and that post is very clearly, in context of the thread and what was going on in the world at the time, about the Daesh.

Do you need to remind yourself of the events that led to that thread and my outburst in it?

You have said—I linked to it—that you support such bans when they involve public spaces--that religious clothing and items should be banned in public contexts ("public schools, and face-covering in schools and public institutions").

Here's what I said:

"As I've said before, I don't agree with banning the burqa (and/or the niqab--the two are frequently confused and meant interchangeably) on the streets, nor with banning the burqini. I do agree with banning religious symbols in public schools, and face-covering in schools and public institutions--something that Germany looks poised to impose as well, and probably other EU countries."

And I stand by it. This is not "urging" a law, it's simply agreeing with it. Where different laws are at work, for example here in Canada, I agree with them too. Because I recognise validity in both stances in the respective countries and contexts.

I note I inadvertently created confusion in the post in this thread with a different meaning of "public"--whereas in the old post I was talking of public institutions, just now in this thread I used it simply as "open public space". So yes--I am against such things as banning the veils, burqinis whatever in open public spaces like beaches etc. but not in public schools.

As for yarmulkes, same considerations. Don't wear them in public schools, courts and similar, wear them in private schools, in public etc.

Some hold that religion is a protected category, alongside race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age and so forth. And some don't.

This is not what I'm talking about and by now you should know it. Anything can be proclaimed a "protected category". It makes no difference whatsoever to the FACT that some features of our identity are biological and not dependent on our choice, and others are.

Religion simply isn't the same as gender, race, sexual orientation. Theoretically even the religious posture as free thinkers who choose their beliefs intellectually, compos mentis. And I have yet to meet someone religious who'll say "yeah I believe a bunch of nonsense but it's genetic".

Bottom line is, religion is a set of beliefs that can be expressed as certain statements and intellectually analysed. It can be found or abandoned, and it can be disputed on various grounds. It can also--in my opinion--be attacked as I have attacked in the past and will continue to attack it as long as I draw breath, as a political and social force for all sorts of evil.

Now, if you want to moderate discussions on religion so that you may punish its critics, I can only say it's your site and your choice.

147aspirit
Ene 31, 2:59pm

So... instead of the site owner acknowledging the possibility of a moderation issue that comes up so often elsewhere to likely be a major reason for the quiet in certain identity-based groups, his responses are to dismiss the illustration of concern as "not a strong argument"(!) then to turn it around to a different group (associated with the source of persecution in the first social group!) as an example of... him being a victim that we should all model...? And that's started a religious debate (happening between a conversation on the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, for some reason).

Oh, gods. I was going to confirm that I would like to be the administrator for one of the queer groups but am instead resisting the urge to delete much of my catalogue here and run.

148timspalding
Editado: Ene 31, 3:24pm

>147 aspirit:

I have already said that group admins would be a good idea. I think members should feel that they can say what they want to say, but also, if they wish, have groups in which certain things can't be discussed, or from which certain members should be excluded. If you will look to the other discussion, you will see that I have already implemented part of that. See https://www.librarything.com/topic/329278

As to your second point, indeed, I may not see it as you do. I do not think that someone who seeks to deny people their religious identity and insults Muslims in ghastly ways—ways that would be prohibited from many online platforms—should be leading the charge. As for "religious debate," I do not consider whether Muslims should be able to wear headscarves or Christians should be able to teach their children what they believe a religious debate anymore than I consider those who question the essential importance of sexual identity a sexual debate.

149LolaWalser
Ene 31, 3:53pm

>148 timspalding:

I do not think that someone who seeks to deny people their religious identity and insults Muslims in ghastly ways—ways that would be prohibited from many online platforms—should be leading the charge.

What is wrong with you? Leading the charge--what charge? Where is this charge I'm supposedly leading on what here? You're seriously raving like this because it bothers you this much that people will protest discrimination of gender, race and sexuality?

I have not sought to "deny people their religious identity". Whether I have "insulted Muslims in ghastly ways" is up to Muslims to decide--I have no qualms about insulting the likes of the Daesh at all.

I do not consider whether Muslims should be able to wear headscarves or Christians should be able to teach their children what they believe a religious debate anymore than I consider those who question the essential importance of sexual identity a sexual debate.

Still blatantly, deliberately misrepresenting other people's arguments--mine for sure. The headscarf thing is context-dependent; I have never nor do I intend to discuss what "Muslims should be able to wear" in abstract. Or Shiners, or Martians, or cats.

Similarly, I have never discussed what Christians should or should not "be able to teach their children", but pointed out that they do so by indoctrination with many negative aspects for mental health--not just fear of disappointing parents and other authoritative adults, but a supernatural omnipotent being with the potential to hound them for eternity.

Childhood indoctrination also engenders superstition, as can be seen in effects lingering even after people have rejected faith. Etc.

But, this is how faith is maintained in a community. At least you don't deny that?--that it's important to get to the children, to imprint them way before intellectual maturity and (god forbid) a habit of scepticism sets in.

150proximity1
Editado: Ene 31, 4:28pm


"This is not a strong argument, when we have and have had many such groups."


>147 aspirit: : ..."So... instead of the site owner acknowledging the possibility of a moderation issue that comes up so often elsewhere to likely be a major reason for the quiet in certain identity-based groups, his responses are to dismiss the illustration of concern as "not a strong argument"(!)" ...


Spalding's point, cited above (at top), is not a matter of opinion. It's either a fact or it isn't that the site has had "many such groups."

If you're disputing his claim, well, the onus is on you to show that there are not in fact many such groups.

Spalding, for his part, could simply point to them if need be.

Group:

Let's Talk Religion
(Feel free to discuss openly any topics related to religion and to agnostic and atheistic perspectives. All positions and topics are open.)

Plagued by hostile interlopers?

Mystical & Spiritual
For any people who are interested in anything related to mystic, occult, esoteric like Astrology, Numerology, Tarot, Palmistry & other forms of ...

Plagued by hostile interlopers?

Anarchism (Classed thematically with "Feminist Theory")
Studies, histories, theories, accounts, discussions ...

Plagued by hostile interlopers?

Philosophy and Theory Classed thematically with "Feminist Theory")
Broadly construed -- meaning traditional philosophy, be it classical, continental, or British; more modern philosophy and theory (American pragmatism, …

Plagued by hostile interlopers?

History: On learning from and writing history
(Classed thematically with "Feminist Theory")

"Each written history has its own viewpoint, but which is correct and why? Is it the big men that make the big movements of history or the other way …"

Plagued by hostile interlopers?

I haven't looked in "Feminist Theory" in so long a time that, when T.S. reported it as having folded, I had no idea either that it had (or hadn't) --whichever the claim or counter-claim.

These examples could be multiplied.

Meanwhile, the site indicates? "Feminist Theory
6 messages this week" (emphasis added)

That is a thriving "group"?!!?!

Okay, then. LOL!

Not a peep from me anywhere in that group's since they became "moderated" for the express purpose of getting rid of me--- and made it VERY clear that I had better either toe their doctrinal lines or I'd find myself removed by order of the "moderator." And that state of affairs---rank censorship---they point to admiringly as evidence, as proof, that "moderation" "works." "Works," here, of course is synonymous with, "Allows us, the majority, to censor, threaten and ban minority opinion we happen to dislike and with which we disagree.

Plagued by hostile interlopers?

These aforementioned groups all have threads teeming with occasions for heated controversy. If they're not plagued by hostile and unwelcome posts, then there's a point in each case in favor of Spalding's view. If the alleged problems were as bad as claimed, how do these critics account for this absence?

Well? How do you?

151LolaWalser
Ene 31, 5:19pm

>148 timspalding:

Your attack discombobulated me so much I'm just now getting my bearings. I've forgotten you actually really do HATE me. And now you've put me on trial--in this thread and off a discussion about abuse of powers--dragging out of context old threads.

That indoctrination discussion is from NINE years ago. It was spurred by the harassment my then nine year old niece was going through as the only kid not attending catechism classes that year--imposed in a public school and in the middle of the school day. (I posted about that.)

The Daesh thread, like the one on blasphemy, was started in the immediate aftermath of atrocious events--the ISIS caliphate's enslavement of the Yazidis, the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I'm not proud of my fury but I can't feel guilty about it. I have deep emotional ties to the Middle East and I react as I would if I still lived there, as the person I am, prone there to the vulnerabilities of people like me. I'm also attached to people who did escape to the West in hopes of leading lives free of oppression, including religious oppression.

The blasphemy thread was making a point which even at the time it cost me a lot to make, since the Charlie Hebdo guys, their paper and its mentality, was and is distant to mine. It was and probably is a dudebro thing. But much as I may despise them, I draw a line at massacring dudebros, very much so, very indignantly so. I posted about my regrets for not, for instance, taking Rushdie's side when he got the fatwa on him--not that I was gung ho about getting him killed, but that I ever thought that he sort of brought it on himself, so...

The material of Charlie Hebdo was offensive to religion--all religions--but it was a satirical paper you could buy or not. Its satire was aimed at everyone and at no one individually (politicians and celebrities excluded). And if they "overstepped" a line, what then can be said about their murderers? Didn't they go a "step" even farther?

No amount of "hurt feelings" justifies murder--that's what I wanted to show with the blasphemy thread. If people are going to be killed for "blaspheming", then we must "blaspheme" until the ridiculousness of the threat is evident to all. Because if not, should it be up for debate whether murdering in the name of protecting religion is okay?

It's distressing to have to go back to that time, and in these circumstances. It's distressing to find myself put on the carpet in this dishonest fashion, and simply because I dared speak up for actual people who have been members of this site a long time and endured insults of all kind. Not in Pro & Con or just in Pro & Con--if you're up for a religious cleansing, take a look at what had been posted over the years in Catholic Tradition about women, gays, Jews. There are self-confessed fascists and Nazi sympathisers posting in Talk. All of them are untouchable by the rules because you can get sanctioned for calling someone an idiot but not for saying that Jews are "in error" or that women's one function is motherhood.

Today I was forced to take up here arguments and topics I had not the slightest intention of revisiting let alone imposing in this group and thread. I sketched the context in which they originally occurred but I won't respond to posts on these topics here again.

If Tim or anyone else wishes to discuss them, make a thread in an appropriate group.

152timspalding
Ene 31, 6:12pm

Clearly for everyone's nerves, I should not have engaged. Ms. Walser and I have disagreed on these topics for some years very strongly, as you can tell. I think they undermine her concerns, but the concerns are certainly valid and others share them.

If you want clearer proof that groups must be administered by their own admins, it is that our opinions differ so strongly here. So, indeed, I think it would be highly useful for groups that are concerned to have the mechanisms to prevent such an exchange, or channel it in a better directions.

My apologies to her for my vehemence of expression, and for trying peoples' patience.

153aspirit
Editado: Ene 31, 6:56pm

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

154LolaWalser
Ene 31, 7:24pm

>152 timspalding:

Thank you for your message. As you say, we disagree vehemently about some things and it shows. But, I'll repeat what I told you before, I don't think of you as bad people, quite the contrary, and I have been, despite criticism and scuffles, admiring of your tolerance and dedication to free speech. For my part I am very sorry that I have not made better effort to make some discussions less rancorous; I'm also sorry about my propensity to vent.

And just to be clear on this, I'm not against moderation on any topic in any group, nothing I argued was for the sake of protecting my opinions from censure.

>153 aspirit:

I hope this won't be seen as abandonment (I only looked for the thread again because of Tim's message) but perhaps the conversation will go on better in my absence.

155timspalding
Ene 31, 7:30pm

>154 LolaWalser:

Thank you for your grace. It exceeds mine.

And just to be clear on this, I'm not against moderation on any topic in any group, nothing I argued was for the sake of protecting my opinions from censure.

Oh, I certainly did not think that.

156John5918
Feb 1, 12:31am

Thank you Tim and Lola. I wish more of the robust exchanges on LT could conclude thus.

157Crypto-Willobie
Feb 1, 11:47am

Say two Hail Marys and a Glory Be...

158melannen
Feb 1, 12:21pm

Thank you for settling that calmly, both of you! Lots of respect.

(Am now setting this thread invisible like I should have done awhile ago.)

(Closing posts to new comments after everyone has apologized is another admin power that can be super useful, come to think - it's the only one I generally use ever on the comms I admin.)

159abbottthomas
Feb 1, 2:54pm

It occurs to me that one of the essential qualities for a group admin is that they should very, very rarely get angry. The business of a group has obviously to interest the admin but probably shouldn’t matter too much to them. I suppose there is a place for highly polarised groups but I would rather have them administered by someone who could accept that there was at least something to be said for both ends of the spectrum of opinion.

Maybe one should be wary of volunteers? My view, when asked to support an application for a shotgun license (in an urban area of the UK) was that anyone who wanted one had already disqualified himself by asking. It was almost always ‘him’.

As an aside, the Diogenes Club group’s admin is thecardiffgiant. He seems to have been inactive for a decade. I hope he has moved to pastures new rather than fallen off the twig but whatever his fate he seems to be absolutely the right person for the job, in perpetuity! The group don’t like being troubled so they can hardly be asked to vote. I think all the balls are black anyway. Perhaps TPTB could discreetly sort this out?

160gilroy
Feb 1, 2:59pm

>159 abbottthomas: I thought all the balls were felt.

161amanda4242
Feb 1, 3:15pm

>159 abbottthomas: The Diogenes Club isn't listed as one of the groups looking for an admin. Do we even need one?

162abbottthomas
Feb 1, 3:31pm

>161 amanda4242: just so long as nobody notices how quiet the current incumbent has been 😏

163John5918
Feb 1, 3:34pm

>159 abbottthomas: My view, when asked to support an application for a shotgun license (in an urban area of the UK) was that anyone who wanted one had already disqualified himself by asking

I think you'll find that Rowan Atkinson agrees with you - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7ThhuIUll8

164anglemark
Feb 1, 3:50pm

>159 abbottthomas: It think it's fine to get angry as long as you know how not to be it on the job. I can get quite angry and post stupid stuff when I'm mad, but I also admin several Facebook groups with up to 5K people and I used to be a superadmin ("meta editor") at the Mozilla Open Directory Project, and in those capacities, I learned to take deep breaths, give people the benefit of the doubt, and not do anything rash. If you can do that, then you can be an admin also as an angry person.

165MaureenRoy
Editado: Feb 16, 11:17am

Thank you, LT and everyone in this thread, for your work on LT group admin issues. 10 years ago, the LT group Sustainability (Sus? S?) had great ideas but fewer than 10 members and minimal activity. Nowadays it's a much larger group, but our admin is long gone from LT. (He's in grad school now, possibly a PhD student.) So I ask LT to add the Sus group to your "needs an admin" list. Thank you, Obi-Wans.

166norabelle414
Feb 16, 11:21am

>165 MaureenRoy: This group? https://www.librarything.com/ngroups/639/Sustainability
2WonderY is listed as the Admin, and they are very active. They can add other admins if they want to.

167MaureenRoy
Feb 16, 11:27am

>166 norabelle414: Thanks, norabelle414, for the fast answer. Since I joined the Sustainability group 10 years ago, I have been recommending large groups of new titles there, when I have the time.

I am now asking to be added as an Admin there. Should I ask that of you folks on this thread?

168lilithcat
Feb 16, 11:55am

>167 MaureenRoy:

I am now asking to be added as an Admin there. Should I ask that of you folks on this thread?

That group is not currently looking for an Admin; however, the current Admin can add another. So I would suggest that you reach out to 2WonderY to see if she wants/needs a co-Admin.

169Ennas
Editado: Feb 16, 11:56am

>167 MaureenRoy: Asking the current admin 2wonderY is the most logical thing to do, I think.

Edit
Crosspost with lilithcat :)