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More policy tweaks (And new jellytable!)

3:29 pm

As part of our continual refining of Fluther’s vision, Ben and I sent out a new moderation policy to the mod team last night, and I wanted to share it with the collective. One thing we’ve honed in on as we define what’s acceptable on the site is motive — why someone is asking a question. We’ve touched on this in the new community guidelines, but I’ll spell it out more succinctly here.

We’ll be institutionalizing this as we revamp the asking process in the near future.

(Also! The next jellytable will be on Thursday, April 9, at 10AM Pacific time).

Here are the motives that are encouraged and allowed:

– Help me resolve this issue: (aka legit questions).

This is the fundamental type of question in Fluther. A user has a problem, and taps into the collective to find the answer.

The more specific the problem and the more personal the details, the better. Most ‘legit’ questions use first person language: “I, my…”.

A subsection of this are the legitimate, not-rhetorical curious questions, or “Why is this this way?” questions, like “What happens when you’re arrested by a bike cop?”, “What’s the etymology of this word?”, etc.

Of course, quality, spelling, clarity are all paramount, and questions lacking in these should be moderated so users are better able to ask great questions. Easy/Googleable questions are allowed, and should be answered courteously.

– I want to start a thoughtful discussion (aka social questions).

This is a valuable and important type of question, and also requires the most finesse. Interesting questions here can be open-ended, and are really looking for thoughtful exploration of an idea, rather than resolving an issue. “Can a religion or philosophy be immoral?” The key for a quality social questions is a good premise (idea), a succinct title (subject), and a thoughtful prompt (details, jumping off point). Questions that are lacking in these categories should be moderated and helpful guidance given so the user can better start great discussions/ask great questions; this includes questions that are rhetorical.

Special note on games and puzzles: 

Games and puzzle are allowed (sparingly), but only if presented in such a way that inspires a quality discussion / exploration / playing of game, so the premise (the game itself) and the prompt are especially important. Simply posing a puzzle will be moderated for the the same reasons as before.

As a rule of thumb, if one can answer a “social question” in a short sentence, it needs a better prompt or it doesn’t belong.

– This is a question or issue about Fluther itself. (aka meta questions).

This is a special motivation specific to getting help about how to use Fluther, getting an opinion about an idea for Fluther, or simply announcing something relevant to Fluther users (used very sparingly–“Has everyone voted for Fluther’s new award?”. Asking a great meta question is very similar to 1. and 2.: It still should be clear and concise, and (if appropriate) supply a thoughtful prompt for a discussion (“Should Fluther add this feature? Details: I’ve been struggling with this problem…”). Simply blasting something is not appropriate.

Those are the allowed motives. Other motives for questions (To get attention, to be funny, to sell a product, to be controversial, etc.) do not belong on Fluther.