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/mlpol/ Policy Page and FAQ Discussion
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With the revelations in these past couple days, it's become quite clear that the current /mlpol/ policy page is out of date and misleading, even intentionally so.
The most misleading statements is in the FAQ:
>What staff has administrative access to the server, and why?
>Atlas: super sexy owner of mlpol.net former /pol/lack, access because yes
This statement is untrue and misleading. Atlas is not the owner of /mlpol/ and has not been for some time now. This really should have been announced prior to the happening, but that's a separate discussion.

It is not acceptable to leave misleading information about the boards page, because it makes adequate transparency and community input impossible, so it really needs to be fixed as soon as reasonably possible. However, changing it is a very serious issue that warrants community discussion on the matter, so let's talk about what the policy board says, what anyone thinks it should say, and how it should be stated.

For starters, the topic above also relates to the staff rules, particularly rules #2:
>2. Staff will maintain a level of transparency with the community
This rule seemed clear enough when it was written, but now it seems as though it lacks specificity and is open to very liberal interpretation. The definition of transparency is easy enough to understand, but the wording "a level of transparency" is evidently vaguer than it seemed. According to recent revelations, informing the community about a change in ownership was not considered to be within that level of transparency, and leaving blatantly untrue statements on the policy page was deemed to be acceptable under said policy.

So the questions are is:
>What exactly is the staff's standard of transparency in regards to what the board deserves to know?
>What kinds of information are considered to be open to the community?
>How is the standard of transparency maintained and enforced, and what is the decision making process for revealing something or leaving it secret?
>What members of staff are responsible/accountable for making sure that the operations and issues concerning /mlpol/'s structure and community are disclosed to the public?
>On what basis is the community able to confidently trust that the staff is being honest and transparent with them, and how are users able to confirm this other than taking the policy page at face value?
>Does the /mlpol/ staff consider it necessary to inform the community about big changes in staffing, policy, ownership of the board or operations before they occur, or only after the matter?
>In the event that it occurs, do the staff have any policies concerning "sensitive" information deemed too risky to expose? (perhaps things such as personal information and doxxable data)

In addition, rule #2 outlines committments to the community made by the staff, but reveal very, very little about how the staff make decisions amongst themselves, how the staff is managed, and most importantly, how the staff policies are enforced. The Staff policy does mention some things thing in regards to rules are enforced and says in four places that staff found to break the rules face "punitive measures" up to immediate dismissal. Now, several of those lines are as-written described as zero-tolerance policies, but that is also questionable, because although rule #1 #3 and #4 serious and clear enough to call for those measures, rule #2 is, apparently, vague enough to be open to interpretation and has even be observably broken and disregarded either through premeditated intent or negligence before. Earlier discussions brought up the issue that zero tolerance policies might put persons on the defensive and potentially harm transparency. There are surely degrees of accountability between doing nothing and outright expulsion, but those degrees are not defined anywhere.

So, questions arise from that:
>How exactly does the /mlpol/ staff discipline itself?
>Are there degrees by which staff consider and account for alleged misconduct?
>Who is/are the final arbiter(s) for considering if/when actions by the staff violate the letter or spirit of the rules?
>How can the users of the board confidently trust that staff are accountable for inappropriate behavior?
>How do the staff con

The complications with rule #2 also proppose issues with rule #3:
>3. Staff will take all community suggestions into account
>As this is a community site and not a top-down dictatorship like some other sites user input is very important
Rule #3 is in essence contingent on the proper application of rule #2, because transparency is necessary for healthy site user input, and site user input is indeed very, very, very important because it distinguishes /mlpol/ from other chans where talking this stuff on /qa/ for weeks on end doesn't actually produce any long-term results. The community cannot voice it's opinions on matters if they are not punctually made aware of them, let alone if the policy page misleads them.
So, questions arise from that:
>Aside from merely using the board, how are the staff able to ensure that their decisions represent the will of the community?
>How, and through what mediums, does the staff make sure that community considerations are taken into account and fascilitate user input?
>On what matters is community consideration deemed to be necessary in decision making?
>How often does the staff seek out direct user input on matters of any kind?
135 replies and 33 files omitted.
## Admin
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Well, until a few months ago, we had a staff member who would edit user's posts, would get into arguments with users, and - when he got angry, and while still posting anonymously - would claim that he was a moderator and would threaten action against them. We were going to fire him for doings exactly the above, getting into an argument, threatening to delete a user's post, and then actually deleting a post, but knowing we would do this, he quit before we could fire him. So yes. Since he's been gone, the last few months have been pretty good actually, and I'd say the staff is solid, if maybe we could use another member.

>Hey, you decided it was a good idea to lock my thread. How'd THAT work out for ya?
Are you claiming that you de-railed OP's thread in retaliation for John Elway locking that "why was I banned" thread? You have bitched about your personal grievances in the Fallout: Equestria thread, the board emojis thread, and the Seb thread on /sp/, and basically every recent thread on /qa/, often posting with a name, I guess hoping it will give you greater credibility with users. Is all of that your response to Elway locking your thread?
John Elway
## Moderator
>Hey, you decided it was a good idea to lock my thread. How'd THAT work out for ya?

Seriously though, while I remain utterly perplexed as to what, if anything, you're actually angry about, I think you can relax about the "shenanigans". I don't know of any shenanigans currently going on, and we have no plans of incorporating any in the future.

>Serious question though; in the event of future incidents where anons feel it necessary to object or report staff behavior, how should they go about resolving the issue? Even before I started hammering the point, there has been some observable contempt thrown around about even discussing the policy.
Well, as I've said in previous threads, anyone who has any issue they would like to discuss is welcome to make a thread about it here, and that's generally how these issues are brought up. Ironically, this very thread was a discussion on site policy until you decided to derail it. I also have made it clear that I'm willing to personally listen to issues that users bring up to me privately via Discord, and I have heard and dealt with such concerns before. As I've said, I don't guarantee anyone that they will necessarily get the outcome they would like, but we're always willing to hear user complaints. However, if you're just going to spam incoherent, angry walls of text at me and make obnoxious demands, then I reserve the right to ignore you and/or bantz on you. This site is basically a service provided free-of-charge to the mlpol community, and staff are unpaid. You're honestly entitled to absolutely nothing here; we try to accommodate as many users as we can, but if you really don't like the way the site is being run there's nothing stopping you from fucking right off and starting your own. MLPOL at one time had as many as four independent sites operating simultaneously, this just happened to be the one the community settled on.

Anyway, I'll stop derailing the thread now. Apologies to OP.
>until a couple months ago we had a few staff members
>one of whom did so on advise and/or witnessing other staff members
>started fights by calling out other staff for rules violations, or a refusal to actually operate in any staff capacity, preferring to hugbox on discord and pretend the users have no need/right to know significant changes to the staff, namely Atlas
Fixed those for you. It would be too troublesome to amend them all, but that will suffice.
>are you claiming
No, but it illustrates bad faith from the outset. If being an asshole is actionably against the rules, that's an important detail for a site committed to free expression to declare.
One last correction. Nigel is fine by the way, he is developing his game more. We talk every so often, and he's proven to be a decent listener when you can phrase things correctly.
For the observer, this is an important detail because aside from spelling corrections, the only posts I edited or deleted were Nigel's, except those requested by a user.
Go ahead Lotus. Claim the same.
As far as getting piss drunk and doing stupid shit, yep. Guilty as charged. This is among several reasons I openly stated my removal from admin was appropriate, and my subsequent quitting was then cursory.
But as the new policy states/implies, ultimate discretion is up to staff; to punish Ninjas' misdeeds or forgive Lotus' included. But now, regardless of what anyone thinks of me, the cat is out of the bag.
As far as derailing, this has everything to do with policy, from the literal written policy, to its interpretation, as well as the attitude with which it is applied, and especially under what circumstances it is being violated and why.
I'm just going to make a new thread to discuss the No Generals rule.
## Admin
>I think it's worth it for the community to be aware of internal matters. As you just noted, the staff situation has changed before, and will probably change again in the future for whatever reason. Making users more aware of internal matters would give Anons the chance to voice concerns and decide if they're comfortable with changes as they occur.
I want to address this as well as the suggestion in >>6099 that hiring or removing staff should be up to a vote, and why I disagree strongly with both.

First, I'll address the idea of staff elections. mlpol.net staff is something like a law enforcement agency, or a tech support group. And it sort of makes sense to have a position like a Sheriff be elected, because who is selected as sheriff sets a tone for policy. Do you want loser enforcement or stricter enforcement? Do you trust the guy at the top or not? And that's what voting is best at: expressing the preferences of the community, and what people want for their community.

But each new and existing member of staff isn't the equivalent of Sheriff. They are more an equivalent of a Sheriff's deputy, someone who is hired to bring about the vision of the law or the guy on top. And it makes absolutely no sense to have every single deputy or lower employee be elected. For one, there is no way the people voting can possibly have enough information to make that decision. They can only get a minimum of information and maybe hear a few arguments, but they can never do what an actual hiring committee can do, which is spend several days over a period of weeks interviewing, gathering information, and considering.

Second, if you need to fire someone, especially on a board like this, then you need to do it immediately before that staff member can find a way to retaliate. Sure, you can give a staff member in charge the power to suspend an account but not formally "fire" the offending staff member, but then this leads to a whole trial over whether the dismissal was correct, and this leads back into the problem of the userbase at large not having sufficient information. Context of actions is important, and the people actually on staff will know more about context than the userbase at large.

Democracy is great at being a measure of community preferences, as most people know what they want and don't want, and what they like and don't like. It isn't so great as a way of making complex and information-heavy decisions. The general policy direction of the site is a perfectly valid subject of a vote, but staff hiring? Not so much.

And further, the userbase may be moderated or have tech support from a staff member, but they don't have to interact with and work with the staff member on a daily basis. mlpol.net staff is a team. As mentioned before, one of the unwritten but still persistent internal staff rules is that as much as possible, moderator actions and changes to the site code are decisions that are to be made with the consultation and approval of at least one other staff member. This rule hasn't applied to blatant spam, but still it is a rule we try to follow. The staff, to be effective, must cohere and work together as a team. The people who are on staff have much more interest in making sure incoming staff are people they can get along with, and much more of an understanding of how the new person will work with the group. Another reason why staff hiring should remain with staff.

As for how the users are supposed to know who is and is not on staff, this actually refers back to another staff rule: when you post as a member of staff, you never post anonymously, or with an anonymous moderator capcode. You always post under your staff handle, and a capcode. This way, users know who the staff are, and who is saying what. It probably wouldn't hurt to add a staff members list to the policy page.

Finally, on the subject of "awareness of internal matters," much of what occurs has no business being public. Most of what happens within staff is complete silence, statements like "deleted cp links," personal bullshitting, or discussing the best way to make a color cycle. Trivialities that have no relevance to people outside. And when there is disagreement, it can be personal in nature. Staff leaving or entering is often surrounded by drama and is the result of interpersonal relationships within staff. And we have little desire to let drama spill out onto the board. That's actually yet another one of our little unwritten rules. Keep disagreements and drama within staff. The staff has, since march, been very harmonious and there would be little to report besides "all quite within the staff discord server." But even if it weren't quiet, internal matters ought to remain internal matters.
Done >>6135 →
>tfw it's already full of shit-flinging
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Are there any other policy questions worthy of their own thread, so I can put an end to this dumpster fire?
Okay, are there any other policy discussions that people would rather remain kept contained in this shit-flinging thread, before I make any more posts?
Nobody? Nobody's going to act offended if I ask a new question or raise a new topic about the policy page?
Is there any kind of policy that says how staff that break the policy should be treated?
As far as I can tell, only these lines:
>Using information for any purpose, including selling to others, data mining for malicious purposes, or for any reason are grounds for immediate removal from staff position, permanent banning from the site
>Staff found to deliberately delete threads or posts to avoid discussing important topics about the site can face punitive measures up to and including dismissal
>Staff found to be deliberately removing community suggestions to avoid changes on the site or push their own agenda will be subject to punitive measures up to and including dismissal
Nothing else is on the policy page. Just guidelines for those particularly egregious acts.
>maybe we could use another member
Is this an actual thing?
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You are neglecting a key phrase.
>All moderation decisions and bans are ultimately up to staff's discretion
Translation: the enforcement (or refusal to enforce) of those staff guidelines is subject to staff.
Ergo: staff has rules, but only if they feel like it. And, if they feel like going beyond the rules in their enforcement, thats something they also reserve the right to do also.
Legalese is a bitch
Huh, that's a good point.
What sort of alternative would you propose then?
Theres nothing to propose, its as comprehensive as I could imagine. It acknowledges that 9999 times the rules will be adhered to in spirit if not in letter and that is a responsibility of staff to enforce/maintain, but that on that 1 exception staff may exercise discretion in deviating from the rules.
Now, under what context staff has deviated from the rules bears consideration, though possibly in another thread?
In any case, such exceptional assholes cases where deviation occurs are arguably where transparency becomes most important and I trust that staff - through tea time and other avenues - has made transparency a priority
It would be worth bringing that up at the next tea time then.
>Tea time
How about too little, too late. You guys have been letting these fools push you around since the very start. This whooooole shitshow could've been avoided if you bothered to show any strength, oh, was it really around mid March? But don't mind me, you know. Might actually require you to get off your ass and do a quick edit and take out the trash. For crying out loud, gentlemen.
What the actual fuck are you talking about?
I believe that faggot is demanding action.
I don't understand. Action on what?
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Not sure who or what exactly he wants, but it must be the OP >>5810
I'm not staff but I understand that things are running fine, therefore I oppose any changes, even to modify a simple dot.
I am the OP. Idk what Anon is referring to.
I'm just here to discuss board policy.
Even if you're opposed to changes, I hope you recognize that changes have been made before in the past, sometimes with little discussion. Perhaps in some cases they were good, or less good, but in any case it's important to talk about them.
So I hope you participate in the discussion to talk about potential and past changes, to critique what they might do or have done to us, so we can all maintain this comfy board.
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>I hope you participate in the discussion to talk about potential and past changes
>potential changes
None is needed.
Suit yourself then.
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Why? Can you really call this situation perfect?
It's not bad. I wouldn't call it perfect though.
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Perfection is unattainable
For the time being, through no small amount of effort.
Lets not pretend that one singulat line in the policy page took 9ver a year to drag out. That "oh so hard" amendment that amounted to a full sentence.
You know, that thing that was unattainable.

Whats the story on THAT? IM not begrudging the shift its self, I find its quite apt.
What I WOULD like to know is how the delay and avoidance can be justified given that it literally took a single sentence. You do realize that the unwillingness to rise to a challenge is foremost on my issues to address with staff right?
Look, I get it better than most, you do it for free. That doesnt (or shouldnt) potentiate a decreased/eliminated motivation.
Ill break it down simply.
Why did it take a year and some exceptional strong-arm tactics to motivate a single sentence change to the policy page, and why did it go unmodified for so long? so long?
I guess that's a fair point.
I'm not sure what you meant by "strong arm tactics" though.
Whether youre being disingenuous, or entirely generous, unless you had a hand in delaying the aforementioned changes then your comprehension is unnecessary and irrelevant
>unecessary and irrelevant
Says you.
Am I wrong? Is there something to be gained from your incomprehension?
Now you're just confusing me.
What are you talking about?
## Admin
Ninjas, shut up. You were on staff for nine out of those twelve months, and you didn’t push for a change to the policy page.

Here’s a screenshot of you explicitly saying you were fine with not making a public notice that Atlas stepped down, dated July 31, 2020. Stop trying to convince people who weren’t there that you pushed for a policy page change, because you didn’t, and you didn’t care.

We didn’t change the sentence because of pressure from you. We know that you never cared about the sentence in the first place and it wouldn’t have pleased you to change it. We did it for someone else.
Ah, the gaslighter in chief.
Yes, I acceeded to Pupper's insistence that no notice be made to the board, in spite of objections. I notice you neglect THAT part of the discussion, using a single out-of-context post to try and whitewash the exchange. Its almost like youre trying to rhetorically spin my position as being different from my professed intent. But you wouldnt do that would you, thats what a narcissist would do.
Why can't this argument have its own thread, ffs.
It's all so tiresome.
It doesnt have to be. The victory condition for this leg is 'own up to it'.
If I were on staff, it would be something like "I on behalf of staff apologize for the previous position of neglecting to notify the site users of changes in site structure. I further promise to not use bullshit excuses like 'its hard' when faced with some editing. Also, I wont delete/abuse posters who make me mad"
I think some of this is due to being unable to keep the thread on-topic...
Hello everyponer, I'm back.
If you poners allow me, This silly argument about the policy page is a storm in a teapot.
Just knock this caprice off and let everyponer back in business.
If you don't mind.
I'm not really trying to argue here. I'm still trying to figure out what Anon is talking about.
>I'm still trying to figure out what Anon is talking about.
To OP and supporters.
I am OP. I don't know what you mean about "supporters" because I haven't really called for anything.
>I am OP. I don't know what you mean about "supporters" because I haven't really called for anything.
>I can't communicate like an grown man, so here's this meme