This version of Wittenberg is now the legal national forum for Talossa! Feel free to explore it, and to check out the threads for feedback, requests and criticisms to make sure Wittenberg is tailored to you.

Author Topic: Wittiquette discussion  (Read 779 times)

Offline Glüc da Dhi S.H.

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Wittiquette discussion
« on: February 18, 2020, 05:48:21 AM »
Wittiquette is now the rules for users of this forum. (Which is not the same as the rules by which moderators will enforce those rules, which are still under construction.)

However, changes may still be possible.

At this point comments, suggestions, etc are still very welcome.

Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 03:02:11 PM »
Quote
Making claims/allegations about Talossans that could be considered libel/slander...
Do not use abusive language. This may include swearing, wishing harm upon or threatening to harm other users...
Don’t be a troll or otherwise post in a way that is intended solely to annoy people or infuriate them.

If these rules are actually enforced, New Witt will be 10 times as restrictive as old Witt and people will have to change their ways significantly!

To take them one by one:
- "Libelslander": you know for a fact that much of Talossan political discourse has degenerated into allegations of corruption or other criminal malfeasance on one hand and allegations of severe personality disorders on the other hand. Talossan tradition has taken a very relaxed view to this, acting more in the American tradition than the British Commonwealth tradition - in the US, "public figures" have few protections against libelslander unless you can prove actual malice, which is very hard. No-one has ever been successfully prosecuted for libelslander in Talossa. Are you saying that NewWittiquette will be much stricter than current legal standards?
- "Swearing": we had the Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet using the C*** word in the Shoutbox just yesterday, which is considered beyond the pale in most countries which aren't Scotland or Australia (even such rough-and-ready places such as New York or New Zealand would only take it out of the box in extreme necessity). I would prefer my own personal rule, that profane language (anything from bastard on upwards) should be tolerated only when in the Talossan language.
- "Don't be a troll": Actually I entirely approve of this as a standard, but it won't work as a rule without stopping certain citizens from posting altogether. The problem is that good trolling is always plausibly deniable - there is at least one Talossan citizen who has perfected the act of nasty trolling (basically slanderous accusations/nasty personal attacks couched in unobjectionable-seeming language) and then professing innocence ("what did I say?") when people get upset. Another part of the problem is that many of us don't speak English as our first language and might miss some of the subtleties of language which enable really nasty trolling.

This draft Wittiquette is a combination of too strict and too subjective.

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Offline Glüc da Dhi S.H.

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2020, 04:23:37 PM »

If these rules are actually enforced, New Witt will be 10 times as restrictive as old Witt and people will have to change their ways significantly
True, but the plan never was to strictly enforce them. These rules are actually more lenient I think than oldwittiquette which includes such broad rules as "be nice", "be polite and correct" etc, and which is also rarely enforced. Generally speaking, in my view when you break these rules you tend to be in the wrong, and it would be great if people actually did change their ways. However, people tend to be wrong quite often and most of the time this is very forgiveable. Also, admins are not babysitters.

Context, severity, intention all matter a lot, which makes it hard to formulate very specific rules. In the end everything that is rarely ever the most enlightened course of action and could in their most extreme case be worthy of an intervention was included in these rules.

The actual guidelines for enforcement will eventually be in a separate document, (which will not be as prominently advertised). The general idea behind that should imo not be very different from what is described here: http://talossa.proboards.com/thread/13853/

Quote
To take them one by one:
- "Libelslander": you know for a fact that much of Talossan political discourse has degenerated into allegations of corruption or other criminal malfeasance on one hand and allegations of severe personality disorders on the other hand. Talossan tradition has taken a very relaxed view to this, acting more in the American tradition than the British Commonwealth tradition - in the US, "public figures" have few protections against libelslander unless you can prove actual malice, which is very hard. No-one has ever been successfully prosecuted for libelslander in Talossa. Are you saying that NewWittiquette will be much stricter than current legal standards?

Well, I think(?) libel is illegal in Talossa as well, so it should probably be a rule regardless. Proving it is obviously quite difficult.

In this case my proposal for the enforcement would be edit "-Libel/slander ONLY when it concerns unsubstantiated claims that potentially have a major effect on someones reputation outside wittenberg (e.g. such and such is a pedophile or similar) . In other cases, wait for the courts first (admins are not fact-checkers)" and no insta-ban, but a potential ban after a warning in these extreme cases (or if court orders are being violated).

Quote
- "Swearing": we had the Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet using the C*** word in the Shoutbox just yesterday, which is considered beyond the pale in most countries which aren't Scotland or Australia (even such rough-and-ready places such as New York or New Zealand would only take it out of the box in extreme necessity). I would prefer my own personal rule, that profane language (anything from bastard on upwards) should be tolerated only when in the Talossan language.
Can't say I particularly approve of the comments of my friend there, though I was mostly just surprised. I will give him that the recipient isn't very likely to read that and it will be gone from the shoutbox before he ever returned. (Also the difference between someone is a c and someone is being a c, but not everyone will appreciate that distinction.) Either way, it was far from the stream of abuse that has gotten someone banned on oldwitt.

Fwiw, unlike what people may think, I'm not particularly bothered by the use of swearwords themselves, though I prefer to use them sparingly because inflation makes them somewhat meaningless. I also use them a lot more often offline. I think it worth considering that a)the whole world can see what you posted, b)they won't disappear, c)you have more opportunity to think about what you are saying. That's also why I don't fully buy into the I'm just being a good hearted Glaswegian/New yorker argument. You don't need to be Canadian to see that what you post on a forum comes across different than what you say in the pub. What can bother me is when words are used directed at a person purely to hurt them and make normal conversation impossible, though I'm also understanding of people saying things in the heat of an argument that they wouldn't say otherwise.


Again, I don't think its bad to have this as a rule, because generally speaking people shouldnt be verbally abusing people, but I wouldn't propose to ban anyone who calls someone else a teringlijer. Only when someone is repeatedly violating this rule with ill intent and completely derailing discussion they should get a warning and then maybe a ban if they really can't contain themselves.

Quote
"Don't be a troll": Actually I entirely approve of this as a standard, but it won't work as a rule without stopping certain citizens from posting altogether. The problem is that good trolling is always plausibly deniable - there is at least one Talossan citizen who has perfected the act of nasty trolling (basically slanderous accusations/nasty personal attacks couched in unobjectionable-seeming language) and then professing innocence ("what did I say?") when people get upset. Another part of the problem is that many of us don't speak English as our first language and might miss some of the subtleties of language which enable really nasty trolling.
Agreed, but I don't see any obvious ways around this.

People shouldn't troll, so the rule should be not to troll, but actually enforcing this is going to very difficult. Essentially it needs to be very obvious to do anything in the first place and even then it should probably be repeated multiple times following some very specific warning explaining why something is being seen as trolling, before you can definitely say there isn't any plausible deniability anymore. Does that mean we just shouldn't mention it? At least, this way, when it is obvious there is some basis for maybe intervening.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 05:09:19 PM by Glüc »

Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2020, 05:00:38 PM »
Well, I think(?) libel is illegal in Talossa as well, so it should probably be a rule regardless. Proving it is obviously quite difficult.

That's an interesting question. Theoretically Talossa inherited Anglo-American libelslander common law, but as I mentioned, the definitions of the two are very different between American and British traditions, and no successful prosecution for libelslander has ever taken place in Talossa. In fact, most of the contents of the official history of our first 25 years as a nation are pure defamation by most people's definition.

Let's put it this way. Would either of the following two events be, in your opinion, libel/slander which could and should be punished in Talossan Cort?

1) A Cabinet minister argues against a Talossan citizen receiving a state grant. Even though the citizen receives that grant, the citizen accuses the Cabinet minister of "corruption and illegitimate bias" for having argued against the grant at all.
2) One Talossan rises to say: "I have no evidence for this, but I'm pretty sure X citizen sent a poison-pen letter to Y citizen's employer, then claimed falsely to have received such a poison-pen letter him/herself, to cover his/her tracks."

Quote
"-Libel/slander ONLY when it concerns unsubstantiated claims that potentially have a major effect on someones reputation outside Wittenberg (e.g. such and such is a pedophile or similar). In other cases, wait for the courts first (admins are not fact-checkers)" and no insta-ban, but a potential ban after a warning in these extreme cases (or if court orders are being violated).

The problem with this, as I've indicated, is that the Corts have been historically extremely lax about what you're allowed to say about another Talossan as long as it stays "inside Talossa". Therefore this would, in practice, mean absolutely nothing.

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Offline Glüc da Dhi S.H.

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2020, 05:30:48 PM »

Let's put it this way. Would either of the following two events be, in your opinion, libel/slander which could and should be punished in Talossan Cort?

1) A Cabinet minister argues against a Talossan citizen receiving a state grant. Even though the citizen receives that grant, the citizen accuses the Cabinet minister of "corruption and illegitimate bias" for having argued against the grant at all.
2) One Talossan rises to say: "I have no evidence for this, but I'm pretty sure X citizen sent a poison-pen letter to Y citizen's employer, then claimed falsely to have received such a poison-pen letter him/herself, to cover his/her tracks."

No time/energy for a full response now, but the short answer:
1. No
2. I don't know.

Would you say either of these requires an intervention from forum staff?
« Last Edit: February 18, 2020, 05:40:01 PM by Glüc »

Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2020, 05:51:27 PM »

Let's put it this way. Would either of the following two events be, in your opinion, libel/slander which could and should be punished in Talossan Cort?

1) A Cabinet minister argues against a Talossan citizen receiving a state grant. Even though the citizen receives that grant, the citizen accuses the Cabinet minister of "corruption and illegitimate bias" for having argued against the grant at all.
2) One Talossan rises to say: "I have no evidence for this, but I'm pretty sure X citizen sent a poison-pen letter to Y citizen's employer, then claimed falsely to have received such a poison-pen letter him/herself, to cover his/her tracks."

No time/energy for a full response now, but the short answer:
1. No
2. I don't know.

Would you say either of these requires an intervention from forum staff?

I would agree with you on your estimations of whether they're legally "libelslander". But I would say that they both require intervention, because I would say that they are both raising the temperature of debate higher than they need to and making Talossa a less fun place to be. In my ideal world the responses would be

1) "Cut that out; play the ball, not the man" (an Anglophone expression which means "debate the issues, don't abuse people")
2) "Unless you have evidence, cut that out."

The thing is that if you don't think Talossans accusing each other of corruption and other "high crimes and misdemeanours" without evidence is a problem, then we don't have any kind of consensus on what New Wittiquette should look like.

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Offline Viteu

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2020, 09:21:50 PM »
Regarding libel/slander, collectively known as defamation, Talossa has adopted a more US appraoch because, like the US and unlike the UK, Talossa has a codified constituional right to free speech.

Even without that constituional protection, the UK goes a bit to the extreme. The person suing for defamation does not have to prove the statement is defamatory. The accused had to prove its not. It completely reverses the burden of proof.

All of that said, I don't support a rule about this other than if something is considered defamatory, an admin can edit a post to highlight unsubstantiated claims. Otherwise the admins will start acting in a quasi-judicial function.  Not to mention, a rule will have a chilling effect on free speech.
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Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: Wittiquette discussion
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2020, 09:37:41 PM »
I took the ironic portmanteau phrase "libelslander" from the famous legal Twitter account "Popehat", are you familiar with it?

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"IS INACTIVITY BAD? I THINK NOT!" - Lord Hooligan
"It probably would be a bit helpful if you resigned and became inactive..." - Sir A. Davinescù