GeekNights Community Code of Conduct Draft

We have been working on a new code of conduct for our community for quite awhile now. Thanks to being trapped inside, we have something now we are comfortable moving to the open rough draft phase. Emphasis on the draft part. I don’t want to see any people freaking out like we suddenly changed the law of the universe with no warning. This is a very advanced warning!

Also emphasis on the open part. This is an open invitation for people to submit comments, criticisms, changes, ideas, etc. We are far from perfect, and we know it. A community code should be a product of community input. Send us your input any way you like. But the document has been posted on Github, so posting issues or pull requests there is the best since it creates an open and thoroughly documented history of the document’s life.

Of course, all input will be carefully considered, but not necessarily accepted. When the code eventually exits the draft and becomes “law”, you will all be made well aware.

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Do not advocate for or encourage other people to engage in violent or immoral activities.

Does this include my incessant worship of John Brown? I can think of a lot of people on here who have encouraged violence against inhumane systems.

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I know. I’m still struggling with that one as well.

I think we’ll have to come up with a list of the OK cases and the not-OK cases, and draw some sort of blurry line near the middle. I think one of the major factors is really the specificity. The general idea of punching nazis like Captain America is more than welcome. The specifics of “go punch this specific person at 3pm” is definitely not.

What if that specific person is Richard Spencer? I don’t think Geeknights spaces should be a place for organizing violent disobedience, but also you’re saying these rules apply across a person’s entire life. If the dude who punched Richard Spencer started posting here, we wouldn’t want him to leave.

Well, maybe we would, and maybe we wouldn’t.

The main problem is that even though we are in ideological alignment with such a person, their presence could make the community less welcoming.

Imagine a protest in the street. A few hundred people with signs. Everyone is on the same side. Then a subset of people take things to the next level. Getting into it with the cops. A little rock throwing maybe. Suddenly, although all the protestors are on the same side, some are still comfortable being there, and many are not. Some get into it, and a bunch run. We don’t necessarily dislike or disagree with the rock throwers, but their actions could cause many to no longer feel safe in the space, and flee.

And so the same principle applies here. We have a situation where people are in complete agreement about wanting inhumane systems to be destroyed. Some of those people start talking about doing stuff that goes far. Maybe someone suggests that physical force should be used against ICE agents or something. Someone who agrees that ICE is evil, might now feel unsafe in a community with this kind of talk going on.

A lot of that talk might be coming from a place of unrealistic masculine power fantasies. White dudes imagining taking down the man. I’m very familiar with it because my brain has imagined it many times. That’s obviously not ok.

Also, it can often overlap with the rule about endangering the community. This is a public space. Everyone in the whole world with unfiltered Internet access can read this post, if they like. There’s nothing to stop law enforcement agencies from reading this and trying to find all of us, not just the author of a post they don’t like. Much like being at a party with drugs and not partaking can still put yourself at risk. I know well the feeling of not going to a party with cool people I like because what is happening at the party makes it not a place that is safe to be.

TL;DR: The balance needs to be between having a party full of the cool people that like it when Richard Spencer gets punched. But also not making the party itself a scary place that any of those people would feel uncomfortable attending.

So you want a community of people who advocate for something but not the people who do the thing they advocate for? Sounds kinda hypocritical.

Think of it more like this. I’m totally OK with consenting adults doing whatever sexy biz they are into. I’m never going to unfriend someone because they are into S&M or whatev. If anything, I’m more likely to be friends with them, because they’re likely to be more interesting people. What my personal proclivities are bear no relation to it.

But I’m not OK with consenting adults doing whatever sexy biz they are into in my living room while I’m standing right there! Doesn’t matter if what they’re doing is boring or freaky deaky. That is not an appropriate time or place. It makes almost everyone else feel very very uncomfortable, even if they are ok with the behavior itself.

So we have to do a better job of defining when advocacy for violent or immoral activities makes a community an uncomfortable place to be, even when we agree with the advocacy.

This feels like you’re agreeing what I’m getting at. We shouldn’t allow advocacy for violence in Geeknights spaces, but also if someone advocates for violence against an unjust power structure outside Geeknights spaces that shouldn’t be enough to ban them.

Also maybe make it only apply to future violence so that advocacy of John Brown is OK.

Yeah, I think definitely think we’re talking about cases where it’s advocacy of actual/specific action in the present and future that make people uncomfortable. For historical contexts, let’s say someone says a particular genocide was a good thing. That’s going to violate the evil ideologies rule, and it won’t matter that it doesn’t violate the no violence rule.

The section “Do Not Endanger the Community or its Members” has “striclty” instead of “strictly”. I’m too lazy to make a pull request just for that.

EDIT: “Argument and Debate” has “necesasry”

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The Unverified “News” is something that could be construed as a tad ambiguous. If I were to link a story from say the Intercept about Joe Biden’s issues with Times Up would not be considered verified even when the major outlets do not want to touch the story? This is me just using a recent example of something that came up with an online buddy of mine elsewhere.

If this is the intention, let me know, but the Good Faith paragraph reads as if you’re banning sarcasm and facetiousness. I get that sometimes bad actors hide behind the shield of sarcasm, but as someone with a bit of a sarcastic streak, that drew my attention.

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Yeah, if they don’t want to list banned sources (which is reasonable) I think giving a sample list of approved sources, especially some that are considered near the borderline, would be useful. Quality is a spectrum and I have no idea where the line is.

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There’s definitely a fuzzy line between sarcasm and bad faith. It’s hard to draw where it is exactly, but we do want to move it a bit from where it has been historically.

Rym will have to address this, as it is mostly his initiative, though I fundamentally agree with it.

It’s definitely a difficult question, and even professionals can get caught short sometimes. And, for that matter, even the worst sites can get it right sometimes - Remember, ZeroHedge, the bonkers right-wing conspiracy nut site who have predicted 400 of the last two recessions, broke some pretty big stuff about High Frequency Trading back in the day, which even caused the SEC to change some shit up.

There’s some easy picks, sure. But that’s far from all of them.

No, the idea is to create a community that does not engage in calls for specific violence against specific people because doing so often puts marginalized people in direct jeopardy. It’s an action rooted in privilege.

I understand your concern but extrapolating this beyond its clear intent is not helpful.

If the dude who punched Richard Spencer showed up and said “Hey I punched Richard Spencer now let’s go punch [this specific person],” he should be banned.

If that dude shows up and shares K-pop videos, he’s fine.

This does not seem terribly blurry to me.

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This is tricky, but in general, can be resolved through conversation - although also, I would generally advocate not using sarcasm in discussions of emotionally fraught topics, because that tends to be where it matters.

Like, sarcasm in a Simpsons shitpost is normal and expected. Sarcasm about self-identity in a discussion about, say, trans rights is a stupid fucking plan. Like, if people are talking about their personal struggles, maybe don’t post the “I sexually identify as an attack helicopter” copypasta.

Borderline examples will always be a challenge no matter how clearly you write a rule, and writing more explicit rules just allows assholes more wiggle room. There’s also a difference between a rule and a standard, and I think it’s better to talk about standards of behavior than anything else. If someone lacks the maturity to interpret a standard and figure out how to take the cues they’re being given to realize that standard, then they probably don’t belong here.

However, since it could be a bit clearer, I might encourage @Apreche and @SkeleRym to amend to say something like this:

“That usually leads to misunderstandings, often harmful ones; and so such tools should be used sparingly, with consent, and only where such misunderstandings would not cause undue distress.”

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“Green Party of the United States” should be called out alongside the GOP, as should any other banned parties.

Under “Draft Status” the word “reviewed” is spelled “reveiewed”.