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9:00 AM
@PM2Ring hm
 
user206222
Oh, one other thought -- I think it's also worth keeping in mind that justifying a point by replying to it can create a conversation about that point, and is a process by which it is legitimized in public.
 
@Aza do you mine if I quickly focus on another point?
 
user206222
That's a process I see happening a lot, and the justification step is happening even by the hand of people who mean well.
 
user206222
Yeah, go ahead, by all means!
 
So - in the broader view
SE's kinda seasawed between how they engage with the community
We had a pretty low point post the folks getting laid off
stuff got better, slowly
 
9:02 AM
What makes it feel that way IMO is the lack of response over the past few years. A change happens. We talk about it, push against it, and... nothing. Rinse repeat. It’s fruitless, all while people attack and attack each other more and more, over nonsense.
 
but our community team's still pretty small - probably bigger and more visible than than most places but its still small.
 
user206222
for sure, it's t i n y for the size of the place.
 
THey can handle good days, not bad ones
and right now we have...
uhm. 4 crisis going on?
at least one of which (the relicencing) significantly made bigger due to a lack of trust?
and they build on each other.
 
Even worse when attacks are coming from the company itself
 
@KevinB oh yeah
 
user206222
9:03 AM
Yeah, that's extremely fair
 
So here's the frustration
we have a process in place for each of the issues we had so far
 
user206222
There's an underlying trust issue at play, to be sure. Go on?
 
least in theory
But specific ways things played out made it difficult
I've brought it up a few times - one of the more 'unusual' roles of a meta moderator was to actually help feed back when we needed to request a member of staff to cool down
Some of the current situations made it difficult
We're in a massive period of transition
 
user206222
(so to speak.)
 
@Aza New CEO, IPO, and a bunch of uncertainty
 
9:07 AM
@Aza (I see what you did there :)
 
user206222
@JourneymanGeek Sorry-- to clarify, when you as a meta mod want staff to cool down, or when you need help from a staff member to cool a situation down?
 
(talking in parentheses is cool)
 
@Aza the latter!
Its literally in the post about us
 
user206222
Gotcha! Go on.
 
> Sometimes, we as employees need to disengage, or dial it back, or whatever euphemism you want to use for calm the heck down and think about the goals and the people helping you meet them.
That's the exact quote
but in this situation I don't know how
 
user206222
9:09 AM
Truthfully, that strikes me as advice that's ill-suited for the current situation in general.
 
Yup
As for our latest drama
We have a way to escalate potential social media dumpster fires
 
That's some liberal interpretation of "soon"
 
the system is designed to deal with... outside.
So. erf
We have everything in place to try to calm things down in theory
but I have no idea how to use any of these tools in the current situation
 
user206222
...even that post is pretty short-sighted on the kinds of unrest that can emerge, to tell you the truth. I appreciate it and it's probably a useful tool but as a policy? Mmm.
 
@Aza oh
the social media thing?
 
user206222
9:11 AM
Yeah
 
Used it once or twice. gets responded to promptly
The idea is to help SE get an eye on external issues
 
user206222
Really? That's neat, I'm glad it exists. It scans well-suited for what it does.
 
@JourneymanGeek If it looks like a fire capsule, use it to open doors.
 
@Aza and... it kinda broke down a little this time
I had one situation where I was unsure if it would help. then it blew up all over meta.
 
user206222
Is this... the situation I'm likely thinking of?
 
9:13 AM
Yes
 
user206222
Gotcha. Go on!
 
And I think you also see exactly where the problem is
Actually, more broadly
without trust in the company and the tools, its a lot harder for us to act outside 'safe' situations where we're in control
And these tools are designed for more extreme situations where well
stuff can go horribly wrong
 
user206222
I wonder if SE has any formal risk tracking / risk matrix process, for keeping tabs on key threats like, well. Something going horribly wrong.
 
user206222
How'd you handle that specific situation?
 
user206222
Or... well. I know the details probably aren't something to divulge, but in as much detail as you're comfortable.
 
9:18 AM
I think it’s... well time for strategy change. clearly just letting the situation “die down” is just making each successive incident that much more volatile
 
user206222
Unrelated, here's a helpful video.
 
The worst that could possibly happen to SE is somebody revealing fundamental flaws in their rules they pushed onto everybody without prior consultation :D
 
@Aza sounds like something very few companies have. :(
 
@Aza oh hey, i've heard of philosophy tube
what a great intro
 
user206222
9:21 AM
Yeah, he's really good. This video's a little subtle but it also hits close to home.
 
user206222
> Since the position of the transphobe is that trans people don't really exist as trans people, and the position of trans people is obviously that they do exist, immediately we can see that no compromise is possible. Things either exist or they don't: there's no middle ground.
 
user206222
> So in any debate on the issue it's gonna be winner takes all. The trans person, then, is in the impossible situation of having to prove their own existence to someone whose every response is gonna be, "How do you know? How do you know? How do you know?"
 
user206222
Don't let me derail, though, @JourneymanGeek -- I am listening, sincerely. I'm, getting a picture of how Meta works that I wasn't before, and that's really valuable.
 
@Aza Nothing to share
I have no idea
THough, I totally was thinking about IR and DR processes in social spaces at some point
 
What are those?
 
9:30 AM
Infrared
 
Incident response and disaster response
basically "Our server went down" and "Our datacenter caught fire"
 
user206222
The community team could probably do well with a PagerDuty license ;)
 
"Our CMs are on fire"?
 
user206222
That's super fair, though. So I guess the question becomes: why do these tools break, in this specific situation? And... I have a theory, just based on what I've seen in the past couple weeks.
 
user206222
They're all designed for holding patterns. When there's no shift that needs to occur: they only work when things are fine as is, and should be maintained at a peaceful neutral.
 
9:31 AM
@Aza a few things
firstly they're designed to handle external issues with sufficient time to react
the folks who should be triggering the alarm got caught flatfooted
I for one didn't expect the speed or nature of escalation on any side
We're not very good at handling things 'in the family' when folks in it are fighting
So basically all our safeties failed at once
 
user206222
@JourneymanGeek I think this is true, but I also have a slightly different lens on it. The Stack community is... okay at handling questions of Content, but is terrible at questions of Personhood.
 
@Aza by design
As I often joke - we have a community in spite of itself.
And on most sites - its always about content, not who posted it
 
user206222
@JourneymanGeek The speed and nature... well, it's hard for me to see, because I've predicted most of this essentially to a T from the moment Monica was terminated. And that's true just because I'm a lot more familiar with the forms of violence transphobia takes on. It's hard for me to see what I'd think if I... weren't.
 
user206222
I can sympathize with being caught flat-footed, at a minimum. I'd probably have been, too, if not for... y'know. Life.
 
user206222
@JourneymanGeek Definitely agree here. It's just... Stack's now gotta grapple with the fact that content alone doesn't cut it, y'know?
 
9:39 AM
Content alone would cut it just fine if the company didn't push social issues onto us
3
that there's rampant disrespect going in in TL is a separate issue - a big one - but I don't see the need to drag the community at large into it.
 
@Aza I did too
but what's there to do?
 
user206222
...do our best to set the stage for recovery, I guess.
 
user206222
CMs can't predict every issue. We as community have... some obligation to help build that back up, at least if we care for the community to succeed.
 
I was upset to read the last paragraph here: "I, and other mods, made suggestions along these lines and the phrasing was softened. I actually don't think the wording of the new CoC is problematic. However, I was then blindsided by the coercive and authoritarian FAQ that came with it."
 
@PM2Ring that FAQ ... was not a brilliant move
 
9:43 AM
@JohnDvorak the TL stuff... eh
A lot of stuff hasn't scaled well
Mods tend to be... the strong, opinonated, passionate sort
 
user206222
> If the transphobe acknowledges that trans people exist as trans people, then that amounts to a total forfeit of their position. So the strongest a trans person could get to in that debate would still probably be one in which they are either lying or deluded about their own existence. The deck is very much stacked in the transphobe's favour, so in that situation it's perhaps unsurprising that many[...] would [choose] not to play.
 
put enough of them in a room, and give them something to argue about...
 
@Aza historically the stack system has been designed to view members not as human beings with relevant emotional needs, but as fungible content creators: CONTINUE SUBMITTING, HUMAN.
 
user206222
@doppelgreener yeah, for real. I think Shog acknowledged that here openly, too, so at minimum they have awareness of the problem, I think.
 
@doppelgreener and it worked as far as Q&A went
every social space we have was a happy accident
meta? Jeff was dragged into it kicking and screaming
 
9:46 AM
The community and leadership are shifting, but the system design hasn't been re-evaluated to match
 
chat? Someone set up an IRC channel and ... someone felt they could do better
 
@Bart I believe we do need a FAQ, but they should have had mod feedback before rolling it out, at the very least. Ideally, community feedback. Of course, the feedback process would have been heated. But nowhere near the scale of what happened when the FAQ was dropped on us like a bomb.
 
@Aza That's good!
@JourneymanGeek Also needs a rebuild lol.
Several CMs have said as much.
 
@PM2Ring A FAQ is best if they are actually responses to frequently asked questions. Rolling out a FAQ with "this is the kind of nonsense you're probably going to bombard us with" probably won't work all that well.
 
user206222
I mean, there's a reason I live more on meta than on main, and it has very little to do with "meta is murder"-y things. It's because... that's the place you go when you want to make something better of the situation.
 
9:47 AM
@PM2Ring I've found that mods are easy to nerdsnipe
@doppelgreener :/
So... something that we might disagree on
 
user206222
@JourneymanGeek Mods are easy to confuse, too. You just have to state a position, get a little support, and mods will go "we must accommodate this to keep the peace. but it's bad, and now I'm not sure,"
 
I feel we need to build the community cores back up, and that helps with dealing with divisiveness...
@Aza Oh not really
they're also easy to get opinions from ;p
 
@rene nice!
 
user206222
Ah, that's the thing!
 
and ...
 
9:48 AM
@Aza Journeyman particularly so. Just yell "where did the ball go" and he'll be running around all disoriented ...
 
user206222
A mod who encounters a harmful statement without any support will just remove it. A mod who encounters a harmful statement with support... will speak against it rather than remove it.
 
well the thing about the sort of folks who are active here is...
they love problems.
@Aza ... true
 
user206222
That's how moderated civility can be used to shift the conversation.
 
even when I'm not a mod :/
wait, is that good or bad?
 
user206222
State a bad position, get some support, and mods will come rushing to say the opposite. Now you have a debate... a debate in which mods are on one side and users are on the other side, and now it looks bad, too.
 
9:49 AM
@JourneymanGeek yes, yes it is.
 
user206222
So more users are going to jump in, especially if they see gain to be made by agreeing with their fellow users.
 
user206222
Now you've got a case of Mod Abuse, now your mods are Authoritarian if they decide it's time to clean up, now...
 
user206222
And that's kind of how we ended up here.
 
o_O
 
user206222
This is kind of why I say keeping the peace is a very useful tool, but it's only a tool. It's easy to be abused, it's easy for someone to say "I'm just stating this [rAcE rEaLIsM, etc.] in good faith," if they have two upvotes behind their back.
 
9:51 AM
morning yall
 
user206222
That fabricates a social issue where there wasn't one before, and it happens because a moderator... wanted to keep peace in a values-neutral way, above all else.
 
user206222
That's not to say moderated civility should be discarded. It's a useful tool, broadly applicable, and a powerful first-resort. But... context. And we're running face-first into a context where moderated civility breaks, here.
 
@djsmiley2k o/
 
user206222
You can't go back, once a position is permitted to take hold. Or, once a moderator argues against it rather than removing it. The only route to correct a situation that's diverging in this way is to escalate to someone with more authority to clean up, and even that often fails. Sometimes it can be restored by a mod who hasn't been involved yet, which is why moderation is pilot/copilot.
 
@Aza and indirectly - while that's not why I quit, not being a mod has been... useful here
 
9:57 AM
Morning
 
I don't have the same privilege of trust I have on SU. Not yet anyway
 
user206222
I hear that.
 
@Aza This is something like the overton window of stack exchange, no?
 
pilot / copilot, aka good cop / bad cop
 
user206222
@Magisch Yes and no. I think the analogy is good, but it's a little different. The Overton Window relies on a general population being swayed by a limited set of information, which is kind of where it starts to break down. But a lot of the framework still applies.
 
9:59 AM
@PM2Ring that ... that's not what I want a copilot to be ... "screw permission to take off, let's get this baby rolling!! WOOOOH"
 
The system here fundamentally means that the mods are on the side of the community (they literally are part of and elected by popular vote), and the general sentiment is that they exist to enforce the will of the community, not the platform
 

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