RationalWiki talk:Community Standards

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For the rewrites and their discussions during January 2009, see the revamp and its talk page and archive, an early draft here, and further discussions here, plus the voting discussion.

Amendment[edit]

We should amend the Point of View section to make it clear that Snarky Point of View must always be subordinate to Scientific Point of View. RoninMacbeth (talk) 18:19, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Current Text:

RationalWiki does not use Wikipedia's well-known "Neutral Point of View". We have our own version: SPOV. SPOV means two things:

  • Snarky point of view — This is the meaning most people refer to. It means that, to keep our articles from being dry and boring, we spice it up with humor, sarcasm, skepticism, satire, and wit.
  • Scientific point of view — Less talked about but arguably more important, the scientific point of view means that our articles take the side of the scientific consensus on an issue. RationalWiki should be and will be highly critical of any unscientific, irrational, or just plain stupid idea, movement, or ideology.

Our official policy on religion is that we do not have an official policy on religion. Our community of editors includes followers of various religions, as well as many atheists. Please bear this in mind when editing.

However, our scientific point of view respects the scientific method as the most reliable framework for researching and understanding what happens in our universe. For this reason, we are critical of both religious and secular movements which oppose or ignore scientific thought and knowledge.
Proposed Revision:

RationalWiki does not use Wikipedia's well-known "Neutral Point of View". We have our own version: SPOV. SPOV means two things:

  • Scientific point of view — The scientific point of view means that our articles take the side of the scientific consensus on an issue. RationalWiki should be and will be highly critical of any unscientific, irrational, or just plain stupid idea, movement, or ideology.
  • Snarky point of view — This is the meaning most people refer to. It means that to keep our articles from being dry and boring, we spice it up with humor, sarcasm, skepticism, satire, and wit. However, snark is always subordinate to science and skepticism and is therefore optional. "Removing snark," while disappointing, does not matter if the information is still cited and well-written. Editors are discouraged from using snark as an excuse to keep parts of an article, and moderators are encouraged to rein in editors who do.

Our official policy on religion is that we do not have an official policy on religion. Our community of editors includes followers of various religions, as well as many atheists. Please bear this in mind when editing.

However, our scientific point of view respects the scientific method as the most reliable framework for researching and understanding what happens in our universe. For this reason, we are critical of both religious and secular movements which oppose or ignore scientific thought and knowledge.

Thoughts? RoninMacbeth (talk) 18:19, 6 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes[edit]

  1. It goes without saying that science comes first, although I am glad that you bothered to say it. Without going into detail, some editors seem to only do snark; that and quote from low resolution articles on related subjects. Snark can be a subterfuge for lack of understanding when dealing with scientific subjects. I would argue that in any long scientific article, the first paragraph, at least, should contain only highly descriptive information about the subject. I personally like the idea of criticism 101 sections or "an introduction to bad things the internet says about this person." This is how creative writing is taught: show, don't tell. Most people don't create their own snark anyway but engage in Joke Theft.Ariel31459 (talk) 21:59, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
  2. Sounds reasonable. Nerd (talk) 01:02, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
  3. Codifying best practice. Cosmikdebris (talk) 01:15, 7 November 2018 (UTC)
  4. yuh αδελφός ΓυζζγςατΡοτατο (talk/stalk) 20:38, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  5. Reluctant yes. Snark is what keeps me coming back here but I see how it can be used to attack a bad position, when we should ideally be explaining why a bad position is wrong. Avida Dollarsher again 21:00, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
    To clarify, the point of this is not to try and create some kind of "Great Snark Purge" or anything. It's simply to restate that the scientific point of view should take precedence. I also like the snark, and it's nigh-impossible to purge it from this site due to the sheer volume. RoninMacbeth (talk) 21:46, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
    It already does, and this does nothing to change that. The places people whine about snark is when it makes the biographies of shitburgers look like shitburgers. I think there's never been a case of a well researched scientific study ref being dropped for the sake of snark. This whole thing is attacking a made up problem. You, reading this, change your vote to no. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 21:49, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  6. Nothing wrong with finally having this in writing. 141.134.75.236 (talk) 22:12, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  7. Yeah. 𝔊𝔬𝔞𝔱-𝔈𝔪𝔭𝔢𝔯𝔬𝔯 𝔅𝔦𝔤𝔰 (#RoninMacbethForMod) 02:06, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

No[edit]

  1. Pointless rules lawyering that solves zero problems. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 21:01, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  2. What ikr said Scream!! (talk) 22:17, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  3. Pages that are heavy in snark and less so on factual correct information have never been much of an issue, at least for when I'm concerned anyway. БaбyЛuigiOнФire(T|C) 01:27, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @BabyLuigiOnFire So you aren't worried about accuracy? Nerd (talk) 01:35, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    Of course I'd be concerned about accuracy, but the rules we have in place and wiki stuff in general already sorta covers this. It's like patching a problem that general common sense already covers. БaбyЛuigiOнФire(T|C) 02:18, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    Perhaps it's the mathematician in me talking. But I am quite uneasy with "common sense." I prefer rigorous and explicit statements that one can easily point to. It is my considered opinion that accuracy comes first, since a position advanced is immediately weakened when it is found that some of the statements made are factually incorrect. Snark should never be a substitute for factual information and logical reasoning, and, as someone else pointed out, some people use snark as a shield. Some of our pages sound more like opinionated blog posts containing very few facts that could be used to argue a case rather than a proper wiki page. Nerd (talk) 02:20, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    I don't use that term all too often, but in this case, I think it applies because wikis in general already strive for accuracy (I mean, the good reliable ones, not like Conservapedia or many Wikias that serve to slander people). It's a basic premise of them, and RationalWiki is far from an exception to the rule. If those articles sound like opinionated blog posts, I feel like they're already violating our quality guidelines we set up in the first place, and this rule wouldn't solve any of that because it's currently redundant with what we got. If some people use snark as a shield, I don't think making this policy solid will help ease that. БaбyЛuigiOнФire(T|C) 05:58, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @BabyLuigiOnFire Ah, but the point of having rules is so that we know how to remind each other how to behave and how to edit. Nerd (talk) 13:35, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    I dunno, feels like something most editors are already aware of. The ones who do it most are likely people not involved in community matters to begin with and think they're being funny when they insert bad information. БaбyЛuigiOнФire(T|C) 15:53, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  4. Literally the same rules we already have. No. --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 02:12, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  5. I'd have to agree that this looks like looking for a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. I don't think anybody has ever removed facts from an article only to leave snark or put in snark. Most editors who remove snark from pages are well-meaning but clueless newbies who think that everything on every wiki should be written from a neutral point of view in formal language. And, yes, it's sometimes done by the subjects of the articles themselves and their supporters in an attempt to whitewash. Although we don't pretend to be neutral and none of us want to abandon the snark, I think we all agree that all information on pages should be true, as far as it possibly can be, and we are striving towards that already. Spud (talk) 03:19, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @Spud There have been instances in the past where some users have put true, but irrelevant information into an article, and then resisted having said content removed. In addition, while we have an informal rule against drama on social media, it isn't codified, which has led to problems in the past. The SPOV debate is similar in that while the rules are informally held to be true, they are not formally codified, and thus, as informal rules, hold limited authority. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 16:06, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  6. Spelt-correctly Point Of View is more important and should come first. Or maybe we don't need rules for everything that's obvious. --Annanoon (talk) 11:53, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @Annanoon So you think having a point of view is more important than making sure your point of view conforms to the facts? Nerd (talk) 13:33, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  7. I'm not swayed on the need for this, and having seen a now significant volume of reactionary antagonist users who seem to only stir up negativity, I fear it would only provide an excuse to censor articles they take issue with.Eponymous (talk) 21:11, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  8. James Earl Cash (talk) 03:50, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
  9. Let's finish this. RoninMacbeth (talk) 05:08, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

Goat[edit]

  1. Do we necessarily need to amend this? I always thought this was a given. --It's-a me, 🎄LeftyGreenMario!🎄(Mod) 18:47, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
    Sort of, kind of. I've seen people use snark as a shield. Hell, I've used snark as a shield before. Some of the mods have been fine with it, too. RoninMacbeth (talk) 19:05, 6 November 2018 (UTC)
  2. if this ain't gettin enough attention post it at the bar @RoninMacbeth oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 20:39, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  3. the real issue is that it just isnt funny AMassiveGay (talk) 21:59, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
    Encouraging science over snark is slightly more feasible than banning unfunny snark, so I had to compromise. RoninMacbeth (talk) 23:07, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
    @AMassiveGay What some consider funny, others think is offensive and crass. That's why one needs to be careful. Snark should never be a substitute for factual information and logical reasoning. If something can be cut out, always cut it out. Nerd (talk) 23:56, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  4. I don't know. If one is creative enough, one can always slip some snark in, particularly for photo captions. Just like the Ig Nobel Prize, RationalWiki abide by the motto, "First make people laugh, and then make them think." Bongolian (talk) 23:26, 16 November 2018 (UTC)
  5. I kant read. So wat he said. But seriously, I don't see a reason to have a rule that says dumb jokes should be put aside when discussing serious stuff, that is common sense. ^_^ This message is approved by Dysklyver Gears.png Ensign of the Duke of Cornwall.svg (brebmyn) 00:08, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @Dysklyver and @LeftyGreenMario, don't you guys think Community Standards should be made clear and rigorous? Nerd (talk) 00:16, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah but the proposal sort of died in the water, so I'm led to believe to do nothing. --It's-a me, 🎄LeftyGreenMario!🎄(Mod) 02:49, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  6. RationalWiki has a problem. Let's start by being honest about the elephant in the room. We need to decide what we want our articles to be. Do we want quality edits, or edits like this and this? The latter two are certainly snarky, but are they relevant? Do we want talkpage arguments that assume bad faith, as is too often the case (and I myself am guilty of), or do we wish to actually run the problems to their conclusion and at least try to correct faulty logic? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 16:34, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
    @GrammarCommie i think everyone wants that, the question is how to get there. i think the CS change helps a tiny tiny bit but we probably need active enforcement to matter any great deal FU22YC47P07470 (talk/stalk) 13:44, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
  7. Since the vote is so close, can @RoninMacbeth or someone else give us fence-sitters at least one real-life example that this rewrite would have addressed? Bongolian (talk) 18:36, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, I'm going to admit that it's mostly a theoretical response to Kazitor's essay. And also some vague memories of "Keep the snark" as a reason for reversion. RoninMacbeth (talk) 20:33, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
    @Bongolian revisions to RW:CS require 66%+1 anyway (see "policy vote") oʇɐʇoԀʇɐϽʎzznℲ (talk/stalk) 21:32, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
    Yeah, I figured that was how it even worked, even before the No votes outnumbered the Yes votes. RoninMacbeth (talk) 21:51, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
    OK, so it looks like this proposal is not going to pass. Bongolian (talk) 21:53, 18 November 2018 (UTC)
    By the way I stopped taking Kazitor's essay seriously once he used the responses to someone spouting bigoted comments to asexuals as an example of RationalWiki's image problem. --It's-a me, 🎄LeftyGreenMario!🎄(Mod) 05:06, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

Results[edit]

Does not pass: does not even have a simple majority, and needs a 66%+1 majority to pass. Bongolian (talk) 05:38, 19 November 2018 (UTC)

YouTube channel for RationalWiki?[edit]

I like the idea. --Rationalzombie94 (talk) 02:14, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Yes

No

  1. I don't think it's needed, and I feel there's already a filled niche for anti-authoritarianism and debunking pseudo-science related videos. It's pretty limited by nature. It's not like video editing is open to everyone. (Laughs). --It's-a me, 🎄LeftyGreenMario!🎄(Mod) 15:46, 17 November 2018 (UTC)

Goat

  1. Who will be responsible for it? What will the content be on? Why do we need a YouTube channel? Nerd (talk) 02:18, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  2. Who will make the content? How will they make it? What will the content be? RoninMacbeth (talk) 02:53, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  3. Wasn't there a broader project called RationalMedia? Whatever happened with that? 141.134.75.236 (talk) 03:57, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  4. This is the wrong place for this discussion since it's not about community standards specifically. It should be in the Saloon Bar. Bongolian (talk) 05:55, 17 November 2018 (UTC)
  5. Who what when where why and how? There's a lot of work to running a youtube channel, more if you want it to be any good. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 15:15, 17 November 2018 (UTC)