Loomio

Concerns about public shaming (CoC relevant etc)

AW
Aaron Wolf Public Seen by 262

I believe that some conflicts resist resolution more when there's a public complaint and a sense of face-saving and shame etc.

Public discussion of conflicts can sometimes feel like a threat and thus lead people to be more defensive. There's also the issue of a permanent-record so to speak which can get in the way of restorative justice and a return to truly full good-standing.

Public discussion can sometimes be enlightening though.

In my ideal world, users could set a preference of whether they would generally rather discuss publicly or privately if they are involved in a conflict, and some deference to that preference would be respected…

I've not settled all my ideas, but the core point is a concern with the harms that come from public shaming online and a desire to see that discouraged.

SG

Simon Grant Tue 21 Aug 2018

You have a really good point here Aaron @wolftune which is easy to miss. My experience FWIW is that people who feel vulnerable like to start out private, while people who feel, er, well, I don't want to say "arrogant" but I guess you know what I mean, start out happy to have their conflict aired. Risk of public shaming in either case. My guess is to prefer private initial contact, going to public when the protagonists are happy doing so, which again I would guess would be when some restoration has taken place.

Restorative circles are a case in point. We only allow people into the circle when they have attended a pre-circle to explain and understand the principles, and to accept them. But the circle itself is not confidential -- participants may talk about it -- we just ask people to be respectful as they would expect others to respect them.

AW

Aaron Wolf Tue 21 Aug 2018

Thanks. I guess a proposal would be to emphasize in the reporting guidelines that public discussion of a conflict should get consent from all parties?

The concern about private is whether someone emotional may be more antagonistic privately (I think this is less often the case, people with good-faith tend to relax more when discussing in private, but certainly not always). So maybe it's more a matter of making clear some mechanism for all parties in some issue to first agree to whether their discussion will be public or private. If they can't agree (one wants only public, the other only private), then we move to needing help from a moderator…?

In summary:

  1. Determine your willingness to engage directly
  2. If yes, do you prefer public or private discussion in this case?
  3. Either way, contact the other(s) to get their consent (should we encourage this step to be public or private or either?)
    • and medium? Mastodon versus Riot text versus live chat, any others?
  4. With consensus, go about discussing resolution using [good resolution practices link]

If answer to 1 is "no" or if consensus on communication medium isn't achieved, then request moderator assistance…

If this all makes sense, we should update the reporting guidelines accordingly.

AR

Antoine-Frédéric Raquin Thu 23 Aug 2018

All of this. In my experience, a smiley from Munnin helped me reconsidering how I reacted to a poll, and I should add that "emotional people" can just not trust groups of strangers by default. Telling someone that nobody's judging them and that their behaviour is inappropriate can help.

CG

Cathal Garvey Tue 28 Aug 2018

I wonder if framing this differently might clear it up a bit:

If there is a dispute that is occurring publicly, and that dispute is bringing at least one member of social.coop or the whole instance into disrepute, then we might ask the members to take it offline and seek mediation. But that's just social contract stuff, I don't know if it needs to be written down.

However, if on the other hand someone is explicitly trying to damage another person's reputation in order to "win" an argument, I think this is what we mean by "public shaming", and I think that should simply be against our Code of Conduct.

So for example, if someone says something nasty about a class of people in a way that indicates bigotry, and members of Social.coop engage to say "that's not OK", and maybe even escalate it to a report to our moderation panel, then I think it's OK that this happened in public. After all, the original poster may have said something ranging from insensitive to insulting, and putting it online always risks discussion. We might separately discuss a "Social.coop right to be forgotten" where we agree that, having settled or mediated a conflict, one or both parties may ask for all parts of the discussion to be deleted, or something.

But, if instead someone publicly linked to the offending post and said, "to the gallery" as it were, "Look at this awful person's awful views", I would consider that unacceptable. It's not seeking remedy, mediation, or resolution. It's just stoking dopamine-hit tribalism, mutual distrust and dislike, and further conflict. I think this behaviour is inflammatory and should be unacceptable.

For the record, some here are thinking "but what about nazis and transphobes", and I still think that if you don't think you can reform them, the best thing is to state your objections to them civilly, then ban or defederate them and perhaps log it somewhere. I don't see any problem with letting other people know about bad behaviour, and warning others off, but that's not the same as saying "come join me in shaming this person".

AW

Aaron Wolf Tue 28 Aug 2018

That's all very well-put. A few minor notes:

If there is a dispute that is occurring publicly, and that dispute is bringing at least one member of social.coop or the whole instance into disrepute, then we might ask the members to take it offline and seek mediation. But that's just social contract stuff, I don't know if it needs to be written down.

I think this really should be written down, especially because the questions come up around how the tooling works. So, it's one thing to just have social tendencies as people. It's another to know how to actually deal with situations within our online context.

As to public vs private disputes, my current inclination is that people should seek consensus on the process as described in my comment above

I don't see any problem with letting other people know about bad behaviour, and warning others off, but that's not the same as saying "come join me in shaming this person"

Note that all these qualifications should have different standards for highly public figures. Regular participants online shouldn't have to think that merely participating opens them up to all manner of public shaming. But these anti-shaming points don't apply to the President of the USA. And there's some fuzzy area somewhere on the spectrum where it's a tough judgment call.