It has come to my attention that there are some things which need to stated, things which need to be clarified, and things which need to be reinforced.
ODN has, for at least as long as I have been a member, enjoyed a generally positive atmosphere despite being a very diverse community in terms of ideology, religion, race & ethnicity, etc. We maintain it by encouraging our members to focus on the debate and not the debater. This is what makes us ODN and not other debate sites.
The all-volunteer staff of ODN exists to help encourage that atmosphere and to keep the peace, as it were. We have developed a set of rules that we believe, if followed, will help keep ODN pointed in the right direction. In addition, staff will not hesitate to stop, without warning, any behavior which we feel threatens that "peace." Remember a lot of what we do relies on your post reports.
Lastly, I'm going to take this opportunity to reinforce the idea that you are responsible for everything you post on ODN, especially that which is visible in public, has a measurable impact on the community. This includes but is not limited to...
- Posts (even and especially those in response to spam)
- Thread Titles
- Question directed to Staff
- Commentary in Reported Posts
- Profile Comments
- Reputation Comments...
Which leads me back to Rep.
There has been much discussion about the definition of "reputation," its purpose, and how best to establish and maintain that purpose. The purpose of rep is (to my understanding) to encourage good debate and discourage bad debate.
To this end, we have decided that the most efficient way to insure that rep is used for its proper purpose is to treat rep the same as all other posts in debate threads. This means they will be subject to the same rules and expectations, such as:
- Flaming, Vulgarity, Proper English - This should go without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway.
- Trolling & Harassment - Obviously, we did this before as well, but we will include rep when deciding whether or not a member is guilty of these two.
- Supporting Claims* - As with debate posts, "I agree" is not sufficient. If you make a claim or leave a rep, you MUST support it-which in the case of rep means giving an explanation as opposed to leaving it blank (more about this to follow).
- Spam* - Your rep comment must always be apparently (again, more to follow) relevant to the post it's given to.
*differences from the most recent announcement regarding rep
Lastly, if a rep doesn't appear fall within guidelines, it will be subject to removal. Staff may elect to ask for clarification before removal, but just like with other spam or flame issues, we don't generally do so. You guys know what constitutes flames and spam, so this isn't something new.
I know that we offered the ability to challenge rep ratings for a time. Our conclusion on this front is that if a rep violates the rules of ODN (any of them), the rep should be reported and staff will deal with it. If it doesn't violate the rules and you want to challenge the reason it was given (for instance, if you were charged with a fallacy you don't feel you committed), posts in reply to that rep in the thread should be "on-topic" if the rep itself was "on-topic." Obviously, if this completely takes over the thread, we're going to stop it.
So, in summary, before you rep, think "would this fly as a post in and of itself?" If so, you should be fine.
The Reputation System will be turned back on in the next day.