For the rest of the competition season, we will be testing a new implementation guideline for the forum rule on "unproductive posting." This guideline is a direct response to the state of the board discussion we had earlier this year, and to private feedback that I have received.
I want to stress two things about it.
First, it's provisional, and this is a testing period. If it ends up causing strife, unduly increases moderator workload, or results in other problems, we will not hesitate to revert it back. If anything becomes obviously problematic before the testing period closes, we may revert it back at any time.
Second, this change is designed with the idea that people can reasonably police themselves. I have a slightly queasy feeling about whether the general board populace is capable of having the increased leeway that it might afford. But I'd like to see what happens if we put more trust in the board populace in general. So I'm asking you, the board users, to help me out. Please use your best judgment when posting. The discretion we give other board users, not to mention whether I look like an idiot for sticking my neck out here, depends on it.
This rule, which has not changed, remains in effect:
But I have instructed the moderating crew thatHumor in posts that does not violate other rules is allowed/encouraged. Parody posts, threads that are only about non-quizbowl humor topics, and the like should be restricted to the Off Topic forum. Unproductive discussion is forbidden at all times. This includes image posting, tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, anything containing or originating from anime, and anything else that consistently gets in the way of this board's main purpose of facilitating quizbowl discussion. What constitutes anything in the previous sentence is at the sole discretion of the staff.
I have further instructed the moderating crew to follow this checklist to implement the guidelines. I post it here so general board users know what our policies are:As a guideline for the above, discussion of these topics is only banned to the extent it is "unproductive." There is a presumption that things like "image posting, tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, anything containing or originating from anime" are "unproductive." But it is possible that discussion of these topics in threads that are relevant to quizbowl (e.g. discussion of questions on those topics) or an existing off-topic thread (e.g. "your favorite TV shows") does not fall into this "unproductive" usage. The staff reserves the right to lock or split any thread that becomes overrun with posts about banned topics, or to preemptively close any thread that the staff believes was started to encourage discussion of banned topics.
Any questions about or discussion of this change can happen in the thread below.Follow this checklist to enforce the "unproductive posting" rule.
1. Is the topic one that we presume is unproductive (i.e. image posting, tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, anything containing or originating from anime)? Basically, is this a topic that feels "internetty"?
2. If yes, is it relevant to an existing discussion of quizbowl (i.e. a question on an anime topic) or an otherwise-not-internetty off-topic thread (i.e. "your favorite TV shows")?
3a. If no to #2, do what you normally do: i.e. place the offending posts in the forbidden zone, warn or tempban the offending poster as necessary, and post an explanation in the moderator forum as necessary, etc.
3b. If yes to #2, has the discussion of the normally banned topic overrun the underlying quizbowl discussion or off-topic thread?
4a. If no to #3b, everything is fine. Continue to monitor the discussion, but no action is currently necessary.
4b. If yes to #3b, split only the offending posts (i.e. the ones that constitute an overrunning of the underlying topic, not the original post about the topic) and place them in the forbidden zone, warn the offending poster or posters that they're overrunning the discussion, and post a warning in the thread saying something like "We split some posts from this thread because discussion of internetty topics was overrunning the rest of the discussion. Please tone it down going forward."
4c. When asking whether the normally banned topic has overrun the underlying discussion, err on the side of "it has not." If it's borderline but you foresee continued discussion being problematic, the appropriate recourse is likely to email the poster/s in question (or have me do it) and ask them to tone it down before taking more drastic steps.
5. If anything is in doubt, or if you'd simply rather that I or another moderator deal with the issue, start a thread in the moderator forum for further discussion.