The Prisoner’s Dilemma. Two criminals in cahoots, caught by the cops, divided by one deal. Confess, condemn your comrade, and escape scott-free; or stay silent and serve a seven-year sentence. One catch – if they both confess and condemn the other, they both get twenty years. In comment sections, you can build a cooperative community for discussing ideas. But there’s a lot of short-term incentives to break community norms to express frustration, mock someone, or push back at an idea. If it happens too often, it cascades, and we lose the community. We lose to Prisoner’s Dilemma. But the set-up can be beat by the mob boss: let snitches get stitches and then there are no benefits to betrayal. Create stable communities with predictable consequences.
So here are the Mob Rules:
- Violence, harassment, doxxing or threats of/incitement to any of the above are absolutely forbidden
Everyone has a right to their physical safety and privacy here. If you wish to comment, you’re participating in a conversation, not attempting to shut it down. Any of the above will warrant an instant ban and potential reporting to the nation-specific relevant authorities if we feel it is warranted.
- Civil blood makes civil hands unclean
Slurs and major pejoratives are out. You may disagree with an argument, but you’re still dealing with a fellow human being. If you think someone is being a deliberately unpleasant person, contact the mods. Even if you hate everything a commentator stands for, linguistically spilling their blood still makes your hands unclean.
(Consequences: banning for slurs; warnings or short bans for other personal attacks.)
Don’t swear at people, and don’t swear at their personal ideas – always try to be charitable about people’s motivations. More detail is always helpful. When tempted to swear, it may be better to say exactly why and how you disagree.
(Consequence: warning if it gets excessive)
- Be ready to cite a source, and please indicate your level of uncertainty or mention areas of major disagreement – e.g. with regards to facts, arguments, and hypotheses.
If we find that you’re recklessly spreading misinformation we will give you a warning. Comment removals will be used on anything we feel is dangerous (e.g. incitement to violence).
- Try to add to the discourse instead of shutting people out of it.
If we judge that you’re making a conversation uncomfortable (major criterion: has someone asked you to tone it down?) we will give you a warning.