Jeric

Debate Symposium Closure

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Summary of Action

Effective today, Administration will be closing and removing the Debate Symposium section of MLPF from view.

 

Reasons 

This has been internally discussed several times, and over the years I have personally been opposed to such a decision, believing that the users on this site can conduct themselves in topical debate without provocation. There are copious threads from users in favor of closing Debate that I have personally shot down. Over the years Debate Pit / Debate Symposium has proven to be far more trouble that the benefit it provides. What happens in that area is not actual debate, at least in the classical sense and use. The smugness, the constant jockeying for that zinger, the lack of focus and cohesion, and lack of respect is out of control. As this is a forum with the mission to bring people together to talk about all things pony, we do not need a forum concerning debate. It is too far removed from the scope of MLPF. It was created because these discussions were 

The equally important reason for this is the perception of bias. Over the years this section has given rise to claims of Moderation bias. In the past I could rely on statistics of warnings and bans to invalidate such claims, but recently this is not the case. Most of the staff have been personally careful in expressing political opinions on this site to prevent this accusation, not from a requirement, but from a deeply help pragmatic belief that it is best way of fighting our own biases. Accusations of bias become as toxic as the approaches to 'debate' that we see in Debate Symposium. This is why there is a rise of communication platforms that disallow politics and political debate. I suspect that this is also the reason why we always found staffing the area a challenge. Once a person feels that there is an agenda against them or a group, it changes the way they interact and leads to ... additional caustic commentary. Being understaffed is a problem in that feeds into a perception of bias. 

 

Impact Elsewhere

The current prohibition on political and religious commentary in blogs and status updates remains. I am aware of several deviations of that rule, and we will be removing any such content that was published after @~C. Discord~'s announcement. Threads that are communal topics in nature such as the Christianity, LGBT, and Feminist lounge topics will be allowed to remain as they already disallow debate or directed condemnation to their principles. And no, I know what some of you are considering, political parties and ideologies will not be allowed to have their own topic. There will be no public place on MLPF that will allow for the continuation of the discussion that was happening in DS. There is no loophole. Tread carefully.

 

Shooting the Elephant in the Room

We know that this decision will be unpopular, and will result in some users going elsewhere. We understand that, and we accept that as a consequence of this decision. There are plenty of platforms that allow all manner of what was happening on DS. Your opinion and voice is not being silenced, just diverted. We already have an idea on who is going to have an issue with this. Most of us have been here long enough to know that. 

 

The Future

This may not be a lasting change. As of now I am treating this as temporary. There may be some return of a Debate section in the future, perhaps in early 2021. Any new section will have a different approach than the old one as we continue to evaluate any way to bring back debate that is less of a dumpster fire. Perhaps with some limited topics and a classical limit on number of rebuttals to an affirmative argument. 

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After seeing certain recent things in that section, this is now totally fine by me. While I still think there should be some form of allowance of giving political opinion (such as locked blog posts), the debate area evolved into a place of total insult and slander. It was being used as a shield for such. Now that is gone so hopefully it makes some kind of difference, at least on the surface. At this point I'll take anything I can get. 

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(edited)

About time this happened! I hope it is permanent. All it did was cause issues and drama between people here. This isn't what this forum is about.

Edited by Scar
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(edited)

Couldn't you just, be stricter on people, and keep it open? And have a warning in the post boxes people type in, and it asks them are you sure before posting. But ok uh. Guess I'm not gonna spend time here anymore? lol

If anything this means the mods are understaffed, or incompetent, not gonna lie.

Edited by NiceVillains
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1 minute ago, NiceVillains said:

Couldn't you just, be stricter on people, and keep it open?

Apparently not, because the 'strictness' is no longer being uniformly-applied?

Quote

Over the years this section has given rise to claims of Moderation bias. In the past I could rely on statistics of warnings and bans to invalidate such claims, but recently this is not the case.

 

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2 minutes ago, NiceVillains said:

Couldn't you just, be stricter on people, and keep it open? And have a warning in the post boxes people type in, and it asks them are you sure before posting. But ok uh. Guess I'm not gonna spend time here anymore? lol

If anything this means the mods are understaffed, or incompetent, not gonna lie.

The debate section caused constant problems. Nobody can deny that. Why anyone would be here only for that one section is beyond me. If you want politics, go elsewhere. Thats pretty much what Jeric said. 

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(edited)

@ bornagain

My bad. But yeah. Bye.

Edited by NiceVillains
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(edited)
3 minutes ago, Scar said:

The debate section caused constant problems. Nobody can deny that. Why anyone would be here only for that one section is beyond me. If you want politics, go elsewhere. Thats pretty much what Jeric said. 

Forum games are way more fun anyway. 

Edited by Yakamaru
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This is surprising news! I wasn't expecting the staff to completely close Debate Symposium, but it makes sense as this is a forums devoted to ponies and friendship, and that Debate Symposium was not a place that encouraged those things. I am personally supportive of this decision to close that place.

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Just now, Yakamaru said:

Forum games are way more fun anyway. 

Now that I think of it, I should be more active there. It's more fun. I hadn't been debating in the debate pit in a few weeks due to the constant divisive and negative atmosphere. Something we ALL need less of. 

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I have an issue with this. Will be fine tho, don'tcha worry. In fact, this move shall hurt my opposition more than I ever could. However, those who think that this will solve the issues which have led you to believe that the pit needs to be closed are gravely mistaken.

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2 minutes ago, Goat-kun said:

I have an issue with this. Will be fine tho, don'tcha worry. In fact, this move shall hurt my opposition more than I ever could. However, those who think that this will solve the issues which have led you to believe that the pit needs to be closed are gravely mistaken.

 

And what is your reasoning for that? Just curious.

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Just now, Scar said:

And what is your reasoning for that? Just curious.

Experience

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3 minutes ago, Goat-kun said:

I have an issue with this. Will be fine tho, don'tcha worry. In fact, this move shall hurt my opposition more than I ever could. However, those who think that this will solve the issues which have led you to believe that the pit needs to be closed are gravely mistaken.

 

To me, this heavily depends on if this move is the equivalent of sweeping the issues under a rug or if it results in actual change. For now I am simply not convinced of the latter but only time will tell. 

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26 minutes ago, Scar said:

About time this happened! I hope it is permanent. All it did was cause issues and drama between people here. This isn't what this forum is about.

I agree with this. I really hope this is permanent. That place was nothing but insults and provocative topics, it was terrible. I hardly ever went there, and it honestly looked like everybody else who used that place wasn't having a great time either. Thank goodness it's gone now! Let's please keep it that way! :yay:

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Good. We don't need it rn tbh...especially bc of next month. :worry:

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4 minutes ago, Kyoshi said:

To me, this heavily depends on if this move is the equivalent of sweeping the issues under a rug or if it results in actual change. For now I am simply not convinced of the latter but only time will tell. 

After US elections, are you going to sit down and happily discuss ponies? Cause now, I expect you all to do exactly that. No rolling on the ground, screaming into the sky, or moaning about "le tiny mustaches".

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Just now, Goat-kun said:

After US elections, are you going to sit down and happily discuss ponies? Cause now, I expect you all to do exactly that. No rolling on the ground, screaming into the sky, or moaning about "le tiny mustaches".

 

Yes I will do exactly that. It needs to stay banned forever because clearly it just causes rifts between users here and creates drama. We don't need that.

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9 minutes ago, Scar said:

Yes I will do exactly that. It needs to stay banned forever because clearly it just causes rifts between users here and creates drama. We don't need that.

Two words: shipping wars.

 

Fans will be fans. Life finds a way, and so does strife, but since our fandom is in decline we'll have a long quiet before the storm that is G5.

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11 minutes ago, Goat-kun said:

After US elections, are you going to sit down and happily discuss ponies? Cause now, I expect you all to do exactly that. No rolling on the ground, screaming into the sky, or moaning about "le tiny mustaches".

 

Whatever happens with the elections will be what it will be. At that point, a debate area wouldn't even serve any purpose for that. I know futility when I see it. :P 

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I've always half joked about political discussion being social napalm in the past and firing a rainbow laser at the Debate Pit to be done with it all. I never really expected the place to go - although potentially only temporarily. But any joking and personal views I have of the place aside, I have always respected that it was a place for forum users to go to dabble in political discussion, even though it was never my personal cup of tea. I always simply stayed away from it.

However, there have been times in the past where hurt feelings have spilled from that area throughout other places across the forum. A lot of people I speak with, come to this forum as an escape from drama or their troubles in real life and even seek to find comfort for whatever problems they may be dealing with. The last thing they want to encounter is ambient drama in the background that they never asked for. It's like trying to watch a television show you enjoy while having to listen to a blazing argument in the next room.

So when that happens, staying away is never enough in some cases.

Like I said, I respect people want to talk about politics.

But I also respect the peace of the forums. I respect the users rights to enjoy these boards as a place of friendship and entertainment. I respect that the moderators and admins should not have to deal with discussions that get out of hand due to people forgetting the spirit of what debate and discussion is really about. So I fully support the moderators and admins on their decision. I've done moderation work myself in the past on different forums. There's a lot of work involved on large boards and a constantly active membership. More often than not it can be thankless.

I'm willing to bet that it wasn't an easy decision for them to reach. But I respect them for that.

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16 minutes ago, Goat-kun said:

Two words: shipping wars.

Fans will be fans. Life finds a way, and so does strife, but since our fandom is in decline we'll have a long quiet before the storm that is G5.

Shipping Wars isn't a debate about something that gets people literally killed.

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Well this isn’t something I expected to happen, but I’m perfectly fine with this decision.  Boy am I more than fine with it. 
 

I know I won’t be leaving for this decision nor will the friends I’ve made here. :)
 

 

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Well, I guess I'll have one fewer tab to keep open.

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Hmmm a sub-fourm can always be added later or tags made for debt threads.

B)

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