Fwd: [agi] [silk] moderating online conversations

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (sentience@pobox.com)
Date: Fri Jul 28 2006 - 13:09:28 MDT

This summarizes the philosophy of SL4 List Sniping better than I ever
have. -- Eliezer

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [agi] [udhay@pobox.com: [silk] moderating online conversations]
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 09:05:19 +0200
From: Eugen Leitl <eugen@leitl.org>
Reply-To: agi@v2.listbox.com
To: transhumantech@yahoogroups.com, agi@v2.listbox.com

----- Forwarded message from Udhay Shankar N <udhay@pobox.com> -----

From: Udhay Shankar N <udhay@pobox.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 09:50:40 +0530
To: silklist@lists.hserus.net
Subject: [silk] moderating online conversations
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version
Reply-To: silklist@lists.hserus.net

 From Teresa Nielsen Hayden, "Some things I know about moderating
conversations in virtual space"


1. There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of
moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather
more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil
discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself.
Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like
expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.

2. Once you have a well-established online conversation space, with
enough regulars to explain the local mores to newcomers, they'll do a
lot of the policing themselves.

3. You own the space. You host the conversation. You don't own the
community. Respect their needs. For instance, if you're going away
for a while, don't shut down your comment area. Give them an open
thread to play with, so they'll still be there when you get back.

4. Message persistence rewards people who write good comments.

5. Over-specific rules are an invitation to people who get off on
gaming the system.

6. Civil speech and impassioned speech are not opposed and mutually
exclusive sets. Being interesting trumps any amount of conventional

7. Things to cherish: Your regulars. A sense of community. Real
expertise. Genuine engagement with the subject under discussion.
Outstanding performances. Helping others. Cooperation in maintenance
of a good conversation. Taking the time to teach newbies the ropes.

All these things should be rewarded with your attention and praise.
And if you get a particularly good comment, consider adding it to the
original post.

8. Grant more lenience to participants who are only part-time jerks,
as long as they're valuable the rest of the time.

9. If you judge that a post is offensive, upsetting, or just plain
unpleasant, it's important to get rid of it, or at least make it hard
to read. Do it as quickly as possible. There's no more useless advice
than to tell people to just ignore such things. We can't. We
automatically read what falls under our eyes.

10. Another important rule: You can let one jeering, unpleasant jerk
hang around for a while, but the minute you get two or more of them
egging each other on, they both have to go, and all their recent
messages with them. There are others like them prowling the net,
looking for just that kind of situation. More of them will turn up,
and they'll encourage each other to behave more and more
outrageously. Kill them quickly and have no regrets.

11. You can't automate intelligence. In theory, systems like
Slashdot's ought to work better than they do. Maintaining a
conversation is a task for human beings.

12. Disemvowelling works. Consider it.

13. If someone you've disemvowelled comes back and behaves, forgive
and forget their earlier gaffes. You're acting in the service of
civility, not abstract justice.

((Udhay Shankar N)) ((udhay @ pobox.com)) ((www.digeratus.com))
----- End forwarded message -----
Eugen* Leitl leitl http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                          http://intelligence.org/
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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