There is clearly a problem that most of the politics and news communities on Lemmy are unpleasant places to take part in discussion. People yell at each other. The tone of disagreements is that of saying what your opinion is, and insulting the other person if they don’t agree with your opinion, or a bunch of people giving quick one-off statements like “well I think it’s this way” or “no you’re wrong” which adds nothing. I’ve heard more than one person say that they simply don’t participate in politics or news communities because of it.

Well, behold:

I have made some technology which attempts to take a much heavier handed approach to moderation, by just detecting assholes or people who aren’t really contributing to the conversation, in other communities, and just banning them pre emptively en masse. In its current form, it bans about half of hexbear and lemmygrad, and almost all of the users on lemmy.world who post a nonstop stream of obnoxiously partisan content. You know the ones.

In practice it’s basically a whitelist for posting that’s easy to get on: Just don’t be a dick.

I’d like to try the experiment of having a political community with this software running the banlist, and see how it works in practice, and maybe expand it to a news community that runs the same way. There’s nothing partisan about the filtering. You can have whatever opinion you want. You just can’t be unproductive or an asshole about the way you say your opinion. And the bans aren’t permanent, they are transient based on the user’s recent past behavior.

(Edit: I think making a general news community might fit better with slrpnk than politics. In thinking about it and talking with people, I think electoral politics just doesn’t belong in the slrpnk feed, but maybe general news specifically with the political bickering that comes along with it being muted, would be a positive for the instance at the same time as I get to test out my little software project.)

I don’t want to explain in too much detail how the tech works, because I think some segment of assholes will want to evade the tech to come into the community and be assholes again. But I’d also want to set up a meta community where anyone who did get banned can ask questions or make complaints about it. (As long as that offering doesn’t turn into too much of a shit show that is.)

Is slrpnk a place where a little experiment like this could find a good home? What does everyone think of the idea?

  • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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    1 month ago

    Well…

    I’ve got questions lol

    And I’m not saying any of this in a confrontational way, that’s not my intention. So I hope it doesn’t come off they way.

    Question One: When you say ‘assholes’ are you meaning ONLY the conservative, libertarian, republican, centrist and A political assholes ? Or do you mean LITERALLY ALL THE FLAVORS OF ASSHOLES (No pun intended) which are the conservative, libertarian, republican, centrist, A political ppl, AND ALSO THE leftist, liberal, Democratic, and anti capitalism assholes ? IF it’s the second one, then I would say that is fair but with the way lemmy is, I feel like some ppl are going to be thinking “Oh great, if I disagree with the majority here it’s gunna be EVEN MORE restrictive.” I ask this bc from what I’ve seen, leftist get no penalties here when being a complete dick to ppl who disagree and don’t believe their ideologies. They have free range to be an ass. But when the minority political opinions defend themselves once provoked, they’re the ones who end up getting banned that is by no means equal or fair.

    Question Two: Have you thought about instead putting an automatic disclaimer when users go to create a new post saying at the bottom something like: WARNING BEFORE POSTING TO THIS COMMUNITY You can have whatever opinion you want. You just can’t be unproductive or an asshole about the way you say your opinion to other users in this community or you WILL BE BANNED ! Think carefully before posting and replying. Maybe even pin it as the top comment on a post? Although I’m not sure lemmy can do that.

    Question Three: what’s been your biggest issue with this that has promoted you to create this solution? What will the desired result look like in your opinion if you go forward with this?

    Thanks for your time. Was an interesting read

    • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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      1 month ago

      Sure. I’ll take some time for a detailed answer:

      Question One: I already said; it’s nothing to do with the user’s politics. What you’re saying about the flaws in the normal moderation model, I agree with. In practice I have seen political moderation boil down to “you better be leftist or we’ll ban you,” or else “anything goes unless you’re crossing certain way-too-loose boundaries, but if you just make the conversation unpleasant for everyone, that’s fine.” That’s exactly why I would like to try a third way that works by a different model.

      I just checked, and you would be banned. Not for anything political, but for things like this and this. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought the word “asshole” into it, because neither of those comments is any kind of asshole thing. But the point is, there’s a high bar. If you came in saying “Karl Marx is wrong and here is why” or the same for Biden or Trump or Bernie Sanders, or Swedish politicians, I think you’d be fine.

      Your comment about how Sweden should ban rape first is really a perfect example of what this is specifically intended to pick up on. It deciding that means you’re not allowed to post, is it working as I intended. Whether that is a feature or a bug depends on individual viewpoint of course.

      Question Two: Yes, it should be very clear what’s going on. The whole point of the community is to offer this moderation model for people who want to be in that community. But like I say, think of it more like a whitelist. You don’t really have to do anything “wrong” for it to not let you in.

      If there’s a way to set the CSS so people have a warning about what’s going on, also, that sounds good to me.

      Question Three: The Lemmy political communities are maybe one third people talking about politics, and two thirds people yelling opinions at each other with no interest in hearing what the other person is saying, no interest in explaining why they hold their viewpoints, just barking “this way this way” in discord with each other, and it makes it unpleasant.

      Look at this thread for a good example.

      • Top level comment with a little bit of explanation, fine
      • Reply with a pretty inflammatory response with 0 explanation and no follow-up when the person asks questions. What a bunch of crap.
      • Top level comment with detailed argument for, basically, the same thing Linkerbaan’s reply said, but with a lot of argument in favor. Fine.

      To me, the first and last ones would be influential to a “don’t ban” decision, and the middle one would be influential to a “ban” decision.

      I’m not saying that’s how the technology would see it, but you asked me how I would like the conversation to look. If it was the first guy and the third guy disagreeing with each other but explaining why and going into some detailed back and forth about it, and little inflammatory opinion-bombs like the second one weren’t allowed, I think that would help things be less painful.

      Hope this explanation and answer is helpful.

      • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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        1 month ago

        Appreciate the response getting into detail.

        I think I get the idea of what you’re meaning and trying to do. My interpretation from what you’ve written is basically, sense people go ape shit and lose their marbles derailing actual discussion, toxic asf, out of control basically.

        The idea is to lay a strict barrier of entry to any and all users across the bored, while also immediately banning users that display any type of chaotic behavior, its solely dependent on their temperament, interactions, and behavior on lemmy. Because that will be the indicator if whether or not they are just gunna absolutely lose their shit in the political community OR if they’re grounded enough to actually be able to ‘handle’ and maintain their composure.

        I get it, I mean it makes sense. I’m not saying this in a being an ass passive aggressive bs way, but basically since those communities are a disaster, you want to strictly moderate to the strictest degree in order to get the crap out. And if they don’t like it ? Well though shit. You either be civil or gtfo and not allowed to participate. Good behavior? Then, yea, ok you’re allowed but also follow these x rules or you fucking out.

        Makes me think of Pavlovs dogs honestly lol But I could be wrong that’s just my interpretation of the idea. Desperate times Desperate measures. Stay on topic zero tolerance for deviating. Idk man you’re not wrong. The political communities are toxic asf maybe it does need that. We’ll see in sure some instances will be interested.

        As for the CSS disclaimer I need to find the post. But maybe a month ago I saw a .ml post someone asking to only leave their community post disclaimer in specific communities and not all of them. So it is possible to do that. I just don’t know the necessary details about getting that going. You should look into it. I’ll try to find that post and link it in a comment. But in case I don’t, it’s worth a search if you’re interested and if it would help you.

        • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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          1 month ago

          Right. Or, even if people aren’t getting openly hostile, if they’re just not being productive with how they approach the discussion. It’s for an exchange of ideas and not for shouting opinions in short hostile bursts and nothing more.

          Compare it to a big party at someone’s house, where you can come in if you’re a communist or a jock or a DJ or whoever you are, but if you’re openly being annoying to people, you may have to go, and there’s a rough understanding of who is and isn’t supposed to be there and the social contract. In contrast to a bar, where there are some baseline legalistic rules but nothing to prevent any random person from “having a right to be there” even if they’re kind of being a jerk.

          Maybe it can come with a guidebook about what to do so the bot won’t active Judge Dredd mode on you.

          Maybe this is just my imagination at work, but I think it’s a good idea.

          • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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            1 month ago

            Maybe it can come with a guidebook about what to do so the bot won’t active Judge Dredd mode on you.

            Yes.

            In my opinion, for what you’re trying to achieve, this would literally help a lot of people.

            I was even going to mention if you thought of providing examples to the community of what NOT TO DO so ppl can avoid the ban hammer.

            I think examples and such would help get you to where you want the community to be faster, and also it shows you’re being transparent with everyone and that’s what most ppl appreciate and respect.

            If you don’t provide a guide like that they might feel like a wool is being pulled over their eyes.

            I mean you’re not required to care about that, yes that’s true, I’m only saying I think it would paint you and your goal here in a better/ Your trying to help everyone light rather then assuming you’re trying to silence everyone if that makes sense.

            • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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              1 month ago

              That sounds like a good idea. I can make a wiki or sticky post with some examples of what type of thing can get you banned.

              • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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                1 month ago

                If you’re interested, you should try this community idea I had. You can use it, I don’t care. But it would be an interesting experiment for this I think maybe give you some insight ? It’d be a fun way to see how users can adhere to strict rules in political communities.

                Community - Extremely Polite Politics: Where everyone can argue and be rude to eachother about politics BUT it MUST ONLY BE WRITTEN IN EXTREMELY FORMAL AND POLITE LANGUAGE think 1800s kind of but to the point of Ridiculousness. Example: Leftist might I inquire about your beliefs in X Y and Z and why it appears as though, you are most certainty incorrect on all of the above issues as mentioned? No cussing no slang. None of that.

                https://hilariouschaos.com/post/266168

                Just a thought

                • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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                  1 month ago

                  I like the general thinking of these. I was aiming with this bot to achieve very similar things. Meaning, certain types of discussions are impossible on the internet right now because there’s no penalty for being a jerk or hard to talk to, as long as you’re within the bounds of the community rules. The types of discussions that I want to make possible are very similar to the conversations you’re talking about in these communities.

                  • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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                    1 month ago

                    I think you should try it. You can create the community idea I mentioned on our instance if you want, (Extremely Polite Politics. You can call it something else I don’t care) Not to test the bot you made though as I am not the server admin. Creating the above community would be basically a way for you to experiment and get a feel for what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish without the heavy commitment.

                    Think of it like it’s a game. Everyone’s allowed to say what they usually would say I guess (No violations of TOS though)

                    But they literally HAVE TO keep it Extremely formal and polite otherwise ban from community. It doesn’t have to be a permanent ban from this community, but it needs to be long enough to where when they come back, they’ll know they have to be more careful.

                    I think a 5 day to a week ban at most, would be the ideal option. Possibly leave yourself a note to notify you either on the modlog or something else that will give you a notification to unban them and notify them their ban time is up. But that’s a curiosity on your part if you want to do that u don’t have too.

                    However that open line of communication builds trust in your moderation and that you’re actually following your own rules. Bans won’t be because they’re leftist or conservative bans will be because their wording is rude, baligerant, angry and so forth.

                    So they’re able to speak their minds but just not in the way they want to.

                    Also it will be a fun way less stressful to and more entertaining and humorous as a reader or lurker. You’ll get to see throughou and consistent back and forth without the toxicity that just makes you feel nasty and gets your angry.

                    I say do it ! But I know and understand if not interested. I’m only meaning to be encouraging that’s all

              • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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                1 month ago

                Yea I think that would really show effort on your part of ‘trying to make it work’ and not ‘working against’ if that makes sense.

                Hell dude, you use chatgpt? Use the voice option and have it type it up for you to save some time. Obviously edit for specifics and clarity. Even ask it’s opinion on it for shits and giggles lol

                I do that it’s interesting sometimes. But good luck ok ! U got this !

                • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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                  1 month ago

                  Thanks. Let’s see what happens.

                  I don’t anticipate it being a “working against” thing for an overwhelming majority of people. Most people’s experience should be simply that they get to talk about politics without a bunch of disruptive comments all over the place.

                  You’re right that anything I can do to show transparency will help create that, because it would be easy to interpret the place as a “working against” thing where everyone has to be obedient to my way or else I’ll ban them, even if everything with the bot works perfectly and there’s no reality to that at all. More likely, everything won’t work perfectly, and there will be some small number of people who legitimately wind up tangling with the bot even if they are fine.

                  I do anticipate there will be a certain population that will get very upset that they’re not allowed to come in and make whatever type of hostile or disruptive comments they want, and make a big stink about how it’s grossly unfair that I am running the community like my own little echo chamber and kicking out any unpopular opinion, even though 99% of the time nothing like that is happening. I plan to ignore those people.

                  • Alice@hilariouschaos.com
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                    1 month ago

                    Yea you’ll be fine man don’t sweat it. I hope it works out where everyone including yourself is happy with the result.

                    Don’t ever spend a second ‘worrying’ about lemmy hissy fit throwers. You couldn’t pay me to spend my time trying to please all of them because then that would mean I’m in fucking hell 🤣

                    You can never please an army of entitled, self important, politically obsessed, and passive aggressive internet people no matter what you do. Someone is not gunna be happy for whatever reason, but you’re not responsible for their feelings.

                    Down votes don’t mean shit 🤣 other then you’re right and they’re fucking mad about it and need to be able to press a button because you’re not kissing their ass and catering to them. Children throw fits that’s what that is.

                    Anyway I’m done preaching lol touch base with me if or when you get this going. I’m not gunna participate but I would like to see how it unfolds