Developing a Policy for Editing the Discuss Forum

I brought this up at a meeting a few weeks ago, that I’m noticing some troubling editing / censorship / changing of posts on this forum. It’s happened a number of times now, and most recently here.

I would like to see this change and for some collective decision making in this process.

Please consider this a draft “small-c” consensus proposal. Something that makes editing by admins allowable only if there is severe misuse and abuse of rules here (cussing, lots of name-calling, etc.). To clarify, this is for editing without a posters consent.

Otherwise, we have something very unexcellent in place where a select person or persons have a lot of power to censor the community… I’m worried about it.

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@Zach there is literally no difference between what you wrote and the 3rd revision made by @James. James moved your post in good faith under principles we previously decided on in a small-c consensus kind of way. Then he moved it back; either the first move was a mistake, or he moved it back when you freaked out. This left a revision history on your post.

No “censorship” is occurring.

Your inflammatory language is getting tiresome. You are, of course, welcome to be angry all you want.

I’m going to bet no one has a problem with your ideals here, being an anarchist space. Unfortunately it’s impossible for admins to not have the ability to edit posts at all, so a technical solution isn’t in the cards.


I literally told you that you can be as angry as you would like. Feel free.

That doesn’t give you the right to emotionally censor other people’s reactions to you.

That’s funny because I don’t ever see you volunteer that level of curiosity towards other people’s positions, nor do you express yourself in the way you just told me i should be expressing myself.

For instance, have you noticed that your emotions are valid, and you shouldn’t have to apologize for unwarranted insults, but everyone else’s emotions are “censoring” yours?

The thing about people who see themselves as The Victim, @Zach, is that literally every interaction with The Victim places everyone else as either a Rescuer or a Persecutor.

This means there’s literally no cogent position other than completely kowtowing to the Victim’s demands even when they’re being kind of a shit and leaving a mess all over the place.

You’ve shown zero willingness to acknowledge your own part in creating strife lately, and I’m not expecting that to change; it’s pretty similar to what I saw from you in 2018 when you were angry about the elevator being broken and decided to demonize everyone at the meeting table instead of expressing any curiosity about what was going on.

There is no win for anyone here (other than avoiding you completely, which is what a lot of people are deciding) and you will paint me as a Persecutor just for responding. I’m losing by responding at all.

But I cannot stand idly by and let you falsely accuse people of “censorship”. No, moving a post is not “literally censorship”. Get over yourself.

Why don’t you take your own advice and express some curiosity towards @James first instead of assuming the worst.

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It’s interesting to note that in your reply, you seem to have ignored my point on censorship and that the original post specifically requested not to be edited, as non-consensual edits had happened in the past.

Then maybe try coming to a meeting? Or reading my posts more carefully. I do this all the time, for example (one of my many), my recent post about standing corrected on the formation of DoubleUnion. I listen to people all the time, and am wrong sometimes.

I had:1) spoken to James about this privately before and 2) brought this up at a meeting previously as a community concern.
I’m not “assuming the worst” that James is some evil person (of course, he is not). Not sure why you would tell someone what they are assuming.

I’m concerned about the activity and distribution of power for admins without collective oversight or clearer definitions in place. That’s why I made this a community thread to start a discussion, not to lambaste James. I think he has overall done a great job of setting up and helping run this forum.

I don’t think you’re attempts to call me out as a hypocrite here are very well founded, but I’m open to improving communication with others and learn from my mistakes.

Please don’t put words in my mouth. I never said any such thing.

This has all sorts of disturbing undertones and is bordering on abuser tactics.
Trying to psychoanalyze me as “The Victim” for speaking up about minority inclusion and disability access is highly inappropriate and unexcellent, to say the least.

I have not forgotten this meeting and the hurtful things you expressed toward me during it.
But I suppose even mentioning that just means I’m playing “The Victim”? :roll_eyes:

Note sure what you are referring to here.
I absolutely 100% acknowledge that my recent Consensus item and some posts have created some unfortunate and unwanted community friction.

It is necessary, unfortunately, to daylight abuse and discrimination in order to affect change.
What is seen as strife and annoyance now has been for a long time the day-to-say experience of minorities at Noisebridge, swept under the rug.

I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.

It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure everyone is included, safe, and welcome at Noisebridge.

If anyone wants to add to small-c consensus ideas for improving discuss (discourse) admin oversight accountability and / or a new policy around non-consensual edits, it would be nice to read your thoughts. I’d like to keep this thread on topic.

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Great, I think we’ve covered all the bases here.

If you’d care to enlighten me as to what my “hurtful” comments towards you were back then, let me know.

As I recall, you told me I was “ableist” for expressing surprise that you weren’t on Slack, which is where the conversation about the elevator had been happening.

I also remember not standing for your attempts at characterizing all of Noisebridge as “bigoted” because of the elevator being broken (which was something we were working on, which you didn’t know about since you weren’t on Slack), which you insisted on doing during the Event Announcements portion of the meeting.

Cool, have you apologized to David and Tyler yet?

I for one appreciate that this discussion is happening, regardless of how emotionally charged its getting at times.

I’m okay with you hashing these things out like this, because personally I think it needs to be done; but I understand it’s a difficult conversation. If it ever gets to a point where you guys feel that mediation is necessary, let me know.

I do have some personal thoughts on the matter of ‘censorship’ and what it means. I’m noticing a difference of opinion on that matter here and elsewhere. It seems to me that we need to try and figure out a definition that works for everyone. This is going to require some real work.

@Zach: On the subject of admin oversight/accountability - I don’t see what can even be done that could appease you. Admins can edit and delete posts. That’s literally what they do. Its baked into the software. We assign admin privileges to people that we trust. It sounds like you trust the admins at times, but then it sounds like you don’t at others. Its hard to make out what you are getting at about “oversight”.

  1. There definitely is collective oversight. We can see everything the admins do and hold them accountable for them.
  2. As for “clearer definitions”, clearer definitions of what, exactly?
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You have an entirely different memory of events than I have. Not worth digging into old stuff, you’ve made clear in your recent posts how much you dont support the disabled and people speaking out against oppressive behaviors (in fact, I’d say you’ve been taking part in them).

  1. This is not about “appeasing” me. That is a weird use of language here.

  2. We could draft a policy around non-consensual edits. It really isn’t hard at all. Having more admins and / or a published list of admins to appeal to would be nice. This has nothing to do with trust or not. It has to do with having a clear process here.

  1. List of all admins / moderators is always available on the About page.
    You can also @staff to contact admins + mods within a post, as opposed to @admins or @moderators . Same idea as contacting users or most groups.

Thanks James. This is really helpul.
I do think a clearer policy would be nice to have though, if anyone wants to offer one. I am trying to do some “small c” consensus here. I know some people are tired of “big-C” consensus right now.

How about:
"Noisebridge is committed to offering a democratic, open, and transparent Discussion forum for members and the wider public to communicate with each other. While this discussion is not usually necessary to moderate heavily, there are some instances where non-consensual editing may be required. We, as decided on this “small-c” consensus, propose that an @admin can edit any post if it:

  1. Contains excessive profanity
  2. Contains explicit or obscene material or images
  3. Threatens acts of violence towards another member
  4. Contains efforts to do illegal / unlawful acts under the State of California and/ or Federal Law

Under these extreme circumstances it may be necessary to edit or remove a post before contacting the author. In all other circumstances, we require that posts only be edited with consent from the original poster, who can ping @Staff @moderators or @admins with any needs."

^ suggested text. Feel free to add, looking forward to hearing from more people.

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On policy… let me think. I think one thing to consider for Discuss, which was mentioned before in past posts, is the underlying documentation design for Discourse forums. None of it has been re-written for Noisebridge, but does include the terms of service, etc. that is the default for all Discourse communities. Both are worth a read.

  1. FAQ Page
  2. TOS

Links to these are also in our footer, at the bottom of most pages. Looks like:

Any links to our pre-existing Noisebridge documentation from the wiki and other relevant places is warmly encouraged.

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See my edit above for suggestions to improve the policy (looks like you replied while I was adding this text above).
@pyconaut interested in your thoughts on this. You seem interested in knowing more when I brought it up at the meeting a couple months ago (not trying to call you out - just trying to get more community input. Feel free to ignore as well).


Thanks Robert, I think youre right. I made the title of this thread when I was a little too upset, and should have taken a deep breath first.

I edited the title now to reflect the actual goal I’m hoping we can reach and smooth things out a bit. Sorry for my reaction to you @James, I can see by your posts and replies that you did not mean ill-will with the edit.

It would be great to have a clear policy moving forward, any thoughts on the proposed text (in the post above)?


@Roboto :smile:

how about we adopt Roboto’s language:

  1. no personal attacks. target ideas.
  2. no profanity. why tolerate profanity at all? use your imagination.
  3. explicit or obscene material or images
  4. threatens acts of violence towards another
  5. contains efforts to do illegal / unlawful acts under the State of California and/ or Federal Law

attack someone? Shout profanity? we can deconstruct each other’s ideas instead.

  1. Things you do/say directly to other people v.s. things you say in general.
  2. I swear sometimes in my class to say “This shit is hard, hardware sucks and takes patience,
    I and all of noisebrige is here for you but hours of study will be required to move foward
    with confidence.”
  3. Private parts exist on some beautiful art. And I think it would be situation dependent
  4. Yes. those are un-exelent
  5. I must hack the network and steal back the data from XYZ (we are a hackerspace, Greyhats wanted?)
  6. When I stub my toe or get excited: “F**K YA” is Yelled especially when banging my head for hours on end and I finally find the “;” that I missed.

I think reading the space is important. If there are kids on tour or in my class that s***t gets toned way the hell down… CUZ, <3 's

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@Zach I think when you both are ready reaching out to @nthmost would be excellent, She is a great problem solver and a compassionate thinker(experienced from interacting at NB.) And with patience from both sides I bet you both would actually come up with some of the best language and guidance for the rest of the community.

Many people in our society would rather have someone else at the helm, not because they can’t do it, but because the stress and the strain from the responsibility of leading is HAF ('Hard as F**K) and so they defer. @Zach + @nthmost you are both leaders in my mind which is why I mention communicating with each-other. Noisebridge needs more leaders who want the space to grow and prosper, I know both of you want this. (your actions prove that you want good things for the space, and talking to you both of course)

Especially as our spaceship transitions to a new planet. We made sure we packed our baggage. “Secure in the cargohold captian!!!” We always will and that’s ok… But when we all get to our new planet we must choose carefully how we unpack. Lest we bring the roaches and the mouse family with us…

Love [type = “Philia”] you both. Cheers.

  1. I see this as a tricky one because it can get very hairy / arbitrary onwhat counts as a “personal attack.” We’ve seen problems with this recently, where someone says “I feel x behavior or x word(s) are harmful, oppressive, etc.” - however, that could be construed as a “personal attack” depending on the moderator.

  2. Profanity has always been a part of noisebridge, although censoring it on a forum could be pretty harmless. “my shit just broke!” or something like that I could see happening.

True, but how often are people showing penis or vagina arts in here?
I think that would be fair to require moderator approval / oversight without OP consent.

Very true, but this thread is asking for a policy for this Discuss forum only, not for classes. Good that you’re thinking of the kids!

To further clarify, this is to create a policy for 100% editing without a posters consent on this Forum only, for extreme violations of our community discussion. In all other instances, a mod / admin / community member could reach out and ask for the edit.

that reads as a great example of attacking an idea instead of the person who said it. roboto said this well:

@zach is there a different example you are speaking of?

Call me a Name/word/idea:
Then I’m going to get angry and tell you to shove it as that is not who I am.

agree on this. name calling is not excellent.

sounds like we are not worried about profanity. just profanity as name calling. example I think of is directed: “you are a shitty person” is just more name calling. doesn’t feel extreme. just not excellent to others if the goal is discussion.

I would love to know what small-c discussion took place that allowed admins here to move threads off discuss without OP consent

Note, I bring this up only because things of this nature have happened multiple times before.

Censoring my post from search engines is literally censorship. Not sure how you can claim / rationalize otherwise, but I’m open to reading your thoughts.

There is a pattern I see in many responses you share of stating opinions as facts without room for discussion and input. Instead of saying “this is not x.”
Why not ask, “What makes you think this is x?” Or starting with “I feel” can also help in this regard, i.e. “I feel this is not x.”
I hope you know I’m not trying to tell you how to write, just a suggestion that would bring the tension down a bit I think.

Your opinion is noted. Your language suggests the efforts to emotionally censor community discussion on oppressive behaviors I spoke of in the linked thread above.

Calling my posts “inflammatory” and then linking text about being a fragile false victim below is exactly the kind of thing I’m worried about.

Instead of working so hard to discredit me, why not listen to concerns with an open ear and an open heart? You can respectfully disagree without the other stuff and it would mean a lot to me and other people as well I think.