We struggled a bit on the title for this one. Can you tell?
Last year, a few issues were raised in the community and we promised to come back to these to discuss them more thoroughly. I thought it might be a good idea for the community to have several conversations about these issues and I wanted to kick off with a discussion on situations involving personal attacks.
The rule against personal attacks is a pretty standard one on discussion forums and communities of all sorts. But though it is standard, it can be one of the most important issues in a community.
Before we dive in, I’d like to let you know that from here forward the moderation team will be starting to move over to a new way of communicating – one that we hope makes everyone feel more at home, and to be honest…is a much nicer way for us to be! Previously we approached the community from a fairly ‘formal’ voice, but we’d like to be more free to just be ourselves and we think that this small change is one of the first steps on our journey to creating a new, more vibrant and healthy forum space.
Ok, so – back to the topic! I know that for many of you this may be a sensitive topic, and I would first like to apologise to anyone who may have been in a situation where they were wronged, and felt like help did not come in the way you expected. We would like to avoid this in the future! Avoiding these situations and creating a safe space for everyone is at the heart of this conversation today.
To start off I am asking that everyone contribute to this conversation in a friendly, helpful manner which is constructive to the community which we are all a part of.
Although sharing experiences is important, I think it would be really helpful to avoid rehashing the fine details and specifics of negative things which have happened to you, and instead focus on how to shape/channel our collective experiences toward something positive for everyone. (However, if you would like to speak privately about something in more detail, you are always welcome to email me on email@example.com
) So, what do we mean by “personal attacks”?
Discussions and disagreements are a natural part of a community where people have different backgrounds, situations and different opinions on issues but attacks on individuals makes up no part of a good discussion. In fact, they often take away from a legitimate difference of opinion and in many cases, can drive a good argument off course… not to mention creating a situation where people don’t feel good about the community that they are a part of. What does this mean in practice?
You can respectfully disagree with the point that someone is making but when it comes to attacking the person, by making derogatory comments about the individual, this moves into different territory.An example from my own mind:X’s argument that cats with spots tend to be mean is wrong because there is no evidence that cats with spots act any differently to cats without spots.
VsWhat would X know about cats anyway? He abuses animals.
I’ve found Wikipedia’s entry on this issue to be very useful. You can find it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_personal_attacks
I wonder if everyone could take a look at our current guidelines and give me your thoughts. You can find the guidelines here: http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/forum-terms-and-conditions/forum-help/forum-user-guidelines.aspx
For example, I’d really love to know:
• Do you think we’ve appropriately covered personal attacks in our guidelines?
• If not, what might you add?
• Do you have any other thoughts on how personal attacks have been handled, and how you’d like to see them handled in the future?
• Is there an experience which you’d like to share, which may help us better understand how to improve our approach?
I would like to thank you all in advance for sharing your thoughts with us - your insights are welcomed and appreciated.
So let’s get started!