The atmosphere of the forum...

Questions and comments
7Wannabe5
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Fish:

The problem is that there are levels and levels here. For instance, the sort of comments I am likely to have an instant reaction to are anything to do with polyamorous-slut-shaming or cookie-addict-with-fat-butt-shaming. However, I also recognize that the behaviors most likely to be associated with these labels are not uniformly socially acceptable. Therefore, one (a moderator) could choose to be either Puritanical Level 1 or Puritanical Level 2 or Puritanical Level 3, and as with other things aptly modeled with Wheaton Levels, each consequent level rejects the one directly below while simultaneously re-visiting the Level 2 below.

So, for instance, my mother's era of feminism came directly out against "sexist pig" behavior exhibited by men, but my era of feminism focused more on a woman's right to claim her own sexuality, and more recently we have been in a more Puritanical era back-lashing off of my era. Jason is extremely obnoxious, I mean he actually fictionally had me murdered on my own thread, but I think part of what he is trying to bring forward is a little bit of the sort of freedom that was taken for granted in the late 70s era in the U.S., but has now been lost. Evidence that this really is a U.S. phenomenon would be an anecdote in a book on French Beauty Secrets (IOW, very light reading, nothing to do with politics or anything controversial) I recently read in which some French men have conversation indicating that they are afraid to ride in elevators if they visit the U.S., because then they might be sued for sexual transgression.

Fish
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Fish »

@jp - Thanks for the context. I can see there is precedent for why moderation powers are limited, but I will just say that the current moderation is inadequate from my perspective, both in speed and perceived type 2 error.

@Jason - Through his actions, Jacob has accepted you into the forum and by extension the tribe. There’s no going back and I am not calling for your removal or asking you to leave.

I acknowledge you are an intelligent, well-read person and considering your posts in isolation, are probably overall a net positive for the forum (with its current composition) for their entertainment value.(*) However, you do have an effect on others. You know this and it is why you post. While I can recognize a joke, when a post from the mental gutter stands apparently unchallenged, others will take it as a signal that the behavior is accepted, and act accordingly. I can also see the genius in how you’ve challenged Jacob to the very edge of his breaking point without crossing it, but I can’t say I personally find it amusing.

(*) Sometimes you even have a helpful streak and a knack for saying what needs to be said, like this post: viewtopic.php?p=152951#p152951 But I wish that were the norm and not the exception.

@7 - That is an interesting explanation, and may explain why the older women on the forum generally tolerate him better and appreciate his presence. I have no objection to the his posts or who he is as a person (though we would have sat at different lunch tables in HS?). It’s the higher-order effects. Who has left the forum. Who is joining the forum. All this time wasted(?) on metadiscussion instead of personal finance and the mission of the board. Though I also have to take my share of responsibility for the last item.

Jason

Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jason »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:14 am
Jason is extremely obnoxious, I mean he actually fictionally had me murdered on my own thread, but I think part of what he is trying to bring forward is a little bit of the sort of freedom that was taken for granted in the late 70s era in the U.S., but has now been lost.
Exactly. Because if I had come of age in the early 70's, it wouldn't be fictional.

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C40
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by C40 »

Jason, I do like your jokes. Many of them are funny. A significant portion of your posts are essentially you being an asshole. I have some asshole friends that I like being around, and sometimes I'm an asshole. I also have friends that are total sluts, felons, and so on. I love a good asshole line here and there. I like having you around.

A joke every now and then about doing cocaine off a stripper is not so horrible, but when that's your schtick, and when you go there so much that it seems that's all you're here to do, and especially when it seems like it's time to stop or move on to actual content but you just keep going, it gets old. You've had a lot of people here telling you that it's gotten old.

There is a balance needed between being fun/entertaining (jokes and such), and actually being beneficial to be around (advice, useful questions, sharing related experiences, etc.). If someone is all of the former and little/none of the later, and especially when they are trying too hard and don't know when to stop, they cross over into 'not so fun to be around' territory. From the perspective of folks over at the PC table, and also from my own, it seems like your "other table" conversation is just a long string of trying to be funny. Sure, there are some lessons in there if one listens long enough, but it seems like there ain't much.

And yes, however much you might not like hearing it, the place for folks whose schtick is gutter jokes about cocaine, whores, and revenge porn IS 4chan. Or, AFAIK, that's the closest place. It's generally much younger guys there. Most folks mature past their 'whore jokes' phase. I know that you have more in you than jokes.

I feel like this post is harsh. I'm not saying you should go away, or that you need act like a square. But people are telling you they're tired of your shit, and you seem to keep going back to the well of "it's a joke, bro, relax" and "you squares would be boring without my whore jokes".

So, I'm suggesting (that for your posts here) you get better at recognizing where you are and making adjustments on the scale of:

[Asshole that is funny but gets old to be around after a while]
|
|
|
|
[Asshole that is funny and also has some tact, good advice, etc.]

(I'm pretty sure you get what I mean already, but, my context of "asshole" here is more of a description of the tone/nature of your posts and jokes, and not a character judgement of you. Because your posts are mostly jokes, I feel like I don't really know you)
Last edited by C40 on Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Fish wrote: All this time wasted(?) on metadiscussion instead of personal finance and the mission of the board.
Well, I will certainly plead guilty to not keeping to thread or even forum topic :oops:

OTOH, I actually came to the book "ERE" before I came to the forum, and I came to the book by way of one of the lifestyle design books Jacob listed in initial reading list, "The Renaissance Soul." So, if you think of this forum as being more largely about systems thinking level lifestyle design, almost any topic should or could be fair game.

Also, I think any or all sides of perspective on gender dichotomy are fair game given that Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" is also recommended reading. IOW, there certainly is a well-established prior to ERE strain of Libertarian philosophy in the realm of FIRE oriented personal finance, and this philosophy is entangled in current political debates. In fact, I would say that any other personal finance FIRE forum that goes out of its way to ignore the obvious input of this philosophy due to lack of taste for certain unsavory recent associations is likely to not be very deep or self-aware in its forward development.

luxagraf
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by luxagraf »

oh, now I see what you mean about the atmosphere of the forum.

I always liked this statement from the ERE forum conduct guide:

> I will sacrifice the one to protect the many.

Seems simple and clear.

henrik
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by henrik »

As long as Jason is the standard for obnoxious behaviour and seen as challenging people to their breaking points, and as long as he can still post, I really think we're doing fine. I do miss some people who have left, but in those specific cases I'm certain the reasons had more to do with their personal circumstances and/or having "grown out of it" rather than any qualities of the atmosphere.

daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen »

luxagraf wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:31 pm
Seems simple and clear.
Assuming everyone agrees on what protection means.

This appears to me to be at the core of all this conflict. Different people have different perceptions of what "harm" is and what a "joke" is. This coupled with a detachment from non-verbal cues means chaos when trying to agree on boundaries. In the end, this is Jacob's house and his interpretation of the rules is the only one that matters. His intuition is also introverted, so there is not much chance of understanding why he draws the boundaries the way he does without walking his path. Personally, I trust his judgement so I choose to hang around. All this talk of atmosphere is somewhat foreign to me; I cannot relate or understand many of the perspectives here, but the social dynamics are fascinating. :)

luxagraf
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by luxagraf »

daylen wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:12 pm
Assuming everyone agrees on what protection means.
Actually no one has to agree. This is Jacob's site, he can do whatever the hell he wants. That he built it at all is charity.

daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen »

That is what I just said. I was pointing out that it does not seem simple and clear to everyone.

No matter how hard Jacob (or anyone) attempts to explain their intuition on how they set boundaries in the presence of social complexity there will always be misinterpretation. Edge cases always exist and often the edge cases are attractive / humorous since they straddle the line of truth-hood or the collective unconscious.

luxagraf
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by luxagraf »

daylen wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:38 pm
That is what I just said. I was pointing out that it does not seem simple and clear to everyone.
No, that's not what you just said.

What you just said is that Jacob's moderation guidelines only work "assuming everyone agrees on what protection means." But in fact those guidelines work whether or not everyone agrees. You may be banned for life and never understand why, but that's not object of the guidelines, the object of the guideline is to protect everyone else. How exactly that works can remain a mystery to you and I and still function perfectly well.

daylen
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by daylen »

Ugh.. you are misinterpreting me which is hilarious since it proves my point.

I wrote.. "In the end, this is Jacob's house and his interpretation of the rules is the only one that matters."

Freedom_2018
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Freedom_2018 »

@Nobody in Particular

I wonder is this is not an issue of scale: I mean that the forum has too small a number of active participants. Like a somewhat large extended family where everyone is bickering at the table because some family members take umbrage at some others.

Now if the table were to be extended in all dimensions till you had a mega number of family members, there is a good possibility that the actions of some would not affect the others so much. There would be a lot of local conversations on the table with people close to you (as in many different threads on different topics) and the rantings and ravings of someone half a mile down the table wouldn't matter as much.

I guess the whole of the internet could be viewed that way.

So maybe grow the forum both in members and diversity of topics so that a wide range of people are attracted here?

Otherwise if the forum is run as a family dinner table with minimum moderation it is possibly going to lead to a very noisy dinner with mashed potatoes and peas flying everywhere...some will leave without eating and renounce the family and possibly be replaced by newer family members who might be great people but a lot of history might be lost...and the level of forum discussion would not advance beyond a point due to the churn. Family legacy does have its advantages.

On the other hand too much moderation might result in a increasingly shrinking level of like minded family members resulting eventually in incest. And we know how the progeny of that looks.

I also wonder if there is an age component to this. As in are the younger folks getting more offended than the older ones?

What a world! :-)

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Dream of Freedom »

:idea: You might not want to give more control to moderators, but I bet they could use the pm system to give some feedback. This could even mostly automated with a general pm reminding people of the rules.

Riggerjack
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Riggerjack »

Well, I have been here for a while, and I have had a few posts and even a thread deleted. I have disagreed with Jacob about his moderation policy before.

I am a free speech absolutist, and felt that no opinion should be stifled. His opinion is well documented.

But I can't argue with success. I am here because this place isn't like other places I have found on the net. It's hard to find people worth disagreeing with.

That may sound strange to people who want safe, welcoming places. But that's why I am here.

I love finding people who can both spot the hole in my reasoning, and show it to me in terms I can understand. This requires more time, energy, and intellect than most people are capable of bringing to any aspect of their lives, let alone share with strangers online. Thanks to you all.

I was describing a thread here to a IRL friend, and he looked perplexed. He said, "You seem to be on a different internet than the rest of us". And I think he's right. I do visit a different internet. Part of that is here, and it's only here because Jacob made it the way he has.

While I believe there are ways to tweak the moderation to optimize for a result more personally palatable to me, I also understand tweaks have unintended consequences, that could inadvertently cause far more harm than good.

People will come and go. That's the way the world is. There's no need to make changes to chase after them. We would lose more and gain less.

********

And on a less congenial note, I was really disappointed in how Jason has been treated in this thread. I understand that some folks have strong reactions to profanity, but I think you are selling his contribution short.

Sure, many of his posts are jarring, filled with profanity and/or grotesque imagery, but they are on topic, and absurd. That's pretty much the definition of comedy. No, I don't think he's a hidden comedic genius, but what he is doing is a quick counter to the direction the thread is going, and often, to new and better places (though more often not).

But many of his posts are pretty deep in the K post territory. I think we would definitely lose more than we gain if we lost his contribution.


And here is where the soapbox emoticon belongs.

Seppia
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Seppia »

@Riggerjack

“He said, "You seem to be on a different internet than the rest of us".”

Couldn’t have said it any better. This forum is awesome. I think we must say it often to remind ourselves how unique it is.
I have basically disappeared from all other places on the internet because it was making me sad about the status of humanity.

“I was really disappointed in how Jason has been treated in this thread”

For what is worth, I agree wholeheartedly

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

It was offered above that Jason is in a way a genius but that he drives out or repels valuable would-be members who find him offensive.

It was also offered that he can alter thread directions in ways that are useful, but he is no genius.

I will say he is both useful, and a genius.

Were he, and others like him, expunged, how quickly would the forums become solely about bicycle repair and spreadsheets? And nothing against bicycles or spreadsheets, but there is more to life than that. I hate to remind you, but you’re going to die. I hope between now and then you can find the time to laugh a little.

It was said that this forum is competing with others for members. If Dr. Fisker moderated these boards like all the others, how would these boards be in anyway different? Are not the lower numbers a positive, rather than a negative?

*****

It is not lost on me either that I am very irritating to some people. I can assure you that I do not need Jason’s example to be irritating. That would happen by itself.

If I convinced one person to modify their investment strategy instead of going all-in on VTSAX right before a once-in-a-90 year market event, I will have considered my contributions a net positive. Because then that person will not have to calculate on an Excel spreadsheet the optimum trajectory they need to take when riding their bicycle out of a planned Dutch-style city and into a Colorado gorge with the rest of them after everyone drinks the Kool-Aid one final time.

And regarding the social element of life, I would think this is something that has to be considered. Unless your web-of-goals includes being alone forever, the impact of voluntary simplicity on finding a mate is worth discussion as those in the future could take notes from the difficulties that had been recorded here for posterity. And perhaps someone in the present might actually be able to lend a helping hand.

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Jean
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Jean »

Thé nz topic has been so courteous but informative, that it Can only call praises to the moderation policy.

Fish
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Fish »

It’s also not lost on me that my presence is toxic and maybe I should be the one to leave. :? It is remarkable what drama results from all of us trying to inhabit and cultivate this digital space according to what we think would make it better. Anyway, we’ll have to agree to disagree but I’ll concede that the opposition also makes some convincing arguments.

At the same time I am going to retract my request for granting the volunteer mods increased powers, noting the current situation is not broken enough to warrant risking the potential downside. It is hard to fault Jacob and the idealistic set of rules he is using to guide the forum’s development, while the idea of peer mods is reminiscent of Capos and would cause resentment. (Capos were privileged prisoners who performed administrative duties in the Nazi concentration camps, oftentimes more brutal than the guards. This is depicted vividly in Man’s Search for Meaning.)

However, in the spirit of getting some of us to loosen up, I would like to suggest an informal chat area. This could be a designated thread or an entire subforum. The crucial difference is that: 1) there is no expectation of form (though all posts still have to comply with forum rules), 2) all chat threads are temporary in nature and posts would be deleted after a period of time (24-72 hours), and 3) they should only be visible to logged in members.

The way I see it being used is to provide immediate feedback without contributing to the permanent record of a thread. There have been many times where I wanted to acknowledge a “nice post” but had nothing more constructive to offer than that, so refrained and the author never got the feedback. Or refrained from discussing an exceptional post (in the moment) because I didn’t want my comment to draw attention away from it.

Freedom_2018
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Re: The atmosphere of the forum...

Post by Freedom_2018 »

My $0.02...well since I already posted on this earlier that was my $0.01

Honestly, everyone on here is fine. The reason I can believe that is that while there are no barriers to entry to create a forum ID and start posting, the nature of the forum and its topics is that if someone has been hanging around for a while and posting and replying (i.e. interacting) they are quite unlikely to be your garden variety nuisance who would have gotten bored by now and moved onto something else.

I think most of the problems really are created not by person X or Y but by the nature of how we communicate:

1) Scale - I already mentioned this before...too few active forum participants so that action of a few might seem to have a disproportionate impact.

2) Asynchronous communication - Unlike a discussion in real time which is synchronous (whether in person or say on the telephone)...there are large gaps between stimulus and response and in that time between a post and someone's reply a whole bunch of other people might have posted which changes the direction of the discussion and often even the context of the discussion.

3) Short replies and blurbs - This one is my pet peeve especially since I think the more asynchronous the medium the more context and fleshing out of the thought needs to happen to avoid miscommunication. I understand the need to be efficient and direct but I also think that in human communications, context and social niceties are important. I think I am less likely to piss off someone or conversely I am less likely to consider them hostile if I could see them as a 'person' and less as a forum ID (I can speak less confidently about my ability to not piss off others vs not getting pissed off :-). Again, this is not an attack on someone who wants to post in short bursts but I think laying out a thought with a lead in and then trying to flesh it out helps better understanding (at least to me). Opinions are good, opinions with data even better, opinions with data and personal context perhaps the most persuasive. Heck even opinions with personal context and no data give me some insight into what you think and perhaps why.

1) and 2) we can't do much about but 3) is in our hands

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