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?

  • poVoq@slrpnk.netM
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    1 month ago

    We are defederated from Lemmygrad and Hexbear so at least that part of the Lemmyverse wouldn’t be able to participate if the community was hosted on SLRPNK.

    • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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      1 month ago

      I know, I was just trying to give a frame of reference for what the level of ban-worthiness would be.

      So you’re okay if I try this experiment? Looking now at how it might play out, I admit I’m having second thoughts about whether it’s even a good fit for this instance. Maybe something would be better like “pleasant news,” where people can post news stories even about political or geopolitical topics, but the actors who like to turn the comments into a war zone are removed to a much lower level. Tell me what you think, though, and I also want to think about it a little bit more.

      • poVoq@slrpnk.netM
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        1 month ago

        I would like to discuss this with the other admins first. To be honest I am a bit sceptical as I don’t think what you want to do can be really done as even if you think you are being unbiased in your banning criteria, it is basically impossible to do so. And as a result you will likely get an endless number of “polite” concern trolls that will test how far they can go.

        • auk@slrpnk.netOP
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          1 month ago

          Yes. That probing on the part of bad actors is part of why I don’t want to explain anything about how it works even though that raises massive transparency questions. I’m happy to point out a message to any particular person who has a question and say “Here is the kind of thing you did, that you can’t do anymore if you want to post here,” but I definitely don’t want to draw out a little roadmap for how to trick the bot.

          Mostly the process is for the 95% of people that it is fine with to just talk as they want to, and for anyone that’s in the 5% to have an avenue to ask reasonable questions, and then run the experiment, and see what happens.

          And yes, I’ll certainly abide by whatever your decision is about whether this is the place to try it out. Making it about news in general (bringing that to slrpnk without the bickering that comes with it whenever anything political comes in) sounds like it might be a real positive for the instance. Making it about politics (as I did in my original pitch), now that I think about it, sounds a little bit wrong. But let me know what you and everyone thinks.