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...My dear little ponies. It has been a long time since we last discussed, in earnest, the topic of politics on /pony/, and on Ponyville as a whole.

Last time we talked, the mandate of the users was that we were too lenient with politics as it created conflict which broke rules on the site.

This caused our enforcement policy to learn towards moving all politics to townhall, and being quite strict about politics on /pony/.

It seems though that many users are feeling unhappy with this policy.

As the times change, so too do opinions, and we should not hold today's policy if it's based on yesterday's opinions.

So, i think, let us discuss, and ultimately let us vote, on what direction we think the site should go in, with regards to how politics are handled.

Open discussion/total free speech? Even stricter? Censorship?

It should be, ultimately, your decision, as a community.

Please let us discuss, and decide. I will consider the leading positions, and make a poll for us to vote on, to decide our policy direction on this topic.

Thank you for your time.
112 posts and 79 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.


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oh, i see.

sigh.png has gotten a lot of use tonight ...


Tracer can be a mean person, Moony. I tend to ignore him. But if you have a point you're trying to make I'd like to hear it.


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You shouldn't be too surprised knowing the userbase you're proposing too.


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Here's an eyeroll png to change things up


>And it's certainly old enough to understand being a Nazi is bad.
Yes; that supports my point that it would be good to try to help him understand.  And he was young enough that his political views were still pretty malleable.

Also, I think Mint was in denial about the Nazis having actually done the bad things that they did.  I vaguely remember (but might be misremembering) that he finally got convinced he had been wrong in regard to that.


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>No, we shouldn't allow people to celebrate evil here, that's my point.

If we try cutting out people who are evil, we won't have a site left.


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I say we cut out those who want to cut out people from the site.


People can BE evil, they just can't celebrate evil on the site.

Again, I don't believe that is true or care about Mint personally. From my breif conversations I had with him, he struck me as a very evil person who held beliefs that I didn't just disagree with, but were actively harmful to me and my family and people like me. I'm glad he was finally removed from the site, but the fact that he was allowed to be here and spread his rhetoric for so long made me uncomfortable posting here as one of the few regular posters who is a non-white person.

I also feel that because the non-white population of the site is so small that perspective gets ignored sometimes. You want to write some of these issues off as strictly political disagreements, but they aren't for us. Sometimes it's about our very lives and livelyhoods, and it's disheartening to see the otherside, who wants to cause us directly harm, humored or accommodated.



We should give Manley a staff position as the "evil arbiter" or something like that.

>I say we cut out those who want to cut out people from the site.

Nothing like banning people based solely on their beliefis to show how against bigotry someone is.


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The joke is that I would be banning myself, yes. Thank you for getting the joke


You weren't the one I was referring to.


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You linked to me and quoted my post.


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maybe we can all have ice cream! <3


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Got any Moose Tracks?


I mean, it would be easy to teach the current staff how to do it. Just be like "Is this person supporting a racist on the site"? That's probably a bad sign!


>From my breif conversations I had with him, he struck me as a very evil person
I don't think this notion of "evil person" is a useful concept.  A person can commit evil acts and hold some abhorrent views, but that doesn't mean that he is innately or incorrigibly evil or that he doesn't act in a morally praiseworthy manner in other aspects.  And I saw a lot of good in Mint.

>Sometimes it's about our very lives and livelyhoods
That's true of many political issues.  E.g., shutting down coal mining cost coal miners their livelihoods and a non-negligible number of them succumbed to the opioid epidemic or committed suicide when they couldn't find other employment.


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..ice cream <3


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I wish it were so simple.


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Lactose intolerant?


You were only able to see "good" in Mint because you are white. His vitriol and rhetoric was not directed at you. You would suffer no ill if he had his way. But I wish to try and ask you to see it from another perspective.

Then the issue isn't coal, it's relocating workers and dealing with opiod epidemics. It's not a "political" issue unless you look at it from a binary position of "keep coal, let planet die" or "get rid of coal, fuck the workers".

You are also completely missing my original point and getting dangerously close to a "many sides" argument when I'm trying to discuss bigotry.


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There's perhaps a variety of intolerance involved.


>You were only able to see "good" in Mint because you are white.
I'm a mutt with ancestors of various ethnicities; I wouldn't be allowed to immigrate to Mint's UK any more than you would.

>Then the issue isn't coal, it's relocating workers and dealing with opiod epidemics. It's not a "political" issue unless you look at it from a binary position of "keep coal, let planet die" or "get rid of coal, fuck the workers".
My only point is ordinary politics is certainly capable of costing people their livelihoods or even their lives.  The coal-miner example isn't a hypothetical; it is something that actually happened.


Then the answer is get rid of coal, train former coal workers to work another job. Also deal with the opiod crisis separately. The opiod issue is sad, but it's one that disproportionately affects white people and thus would be easy to fix.

But OK, this isn't the place to discuss hypotheticals about coal. We are discussing politics on the site. My point was, branding things "political" and not allowing people to discuss them on the site only hurts marginalized groups of people.


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Its fine, it was an expected lay-off. Part of working in the public sector. A visit from Dr winterough.

It seems people got off track to talk about mint anyway, so this might just be a momentary problem that can be solved by just waiting for the next one.

Yes, ill take ice cream, cookie dough if you have it.


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I don't really have anything against you, but I get why it would appear like I am holding some kind of strong dislike for you. Though, I'll still make no concession as to the quality of the post you had made in that thread. My opinion, but it was one of the most unnecessary and inappropriate things I've seen posted here.

If you want to talk privately, I'm cool with that. I'd prefer to learn and understand a thing than have nothing but assumption to work with.

Still really far from understanding my priorities. I don't care who provides what quantity or quality of content. My preference goes entirely to people acting decently and acting in good faith. I'm not running a business, I have no interest in internet traffic.

Like honestly, you are not selling yourself well here. You are blaming others when it's kinda your fault that people respond poorly to you. You post like an internet troll dude. You vent your frustrations and post short, low quality, sarcasm laden posts which draw out upset replies. Dude, do you really not see what you are doing as shitty? Do you think Andrea doesn't have a pretty legitimate reason to gripe about you if this is how you have decided to act?

Do internet trolls posting low quality general attacks deserve better than veiled jabs? Like, don't tell me my offense is absurd or what you did is innocuous while also openly admitting that you make no effort sarcastic jabs! People were talking about a thing important to them and you decided to crap on that. Doesn't matter if you could have been truly "mean". To put it another way, your post added nothing to the thread, didn't open a discussion, just upset people. Is that what you want to use ponyville for? Upsetting people?

Like, I think maybe you should reflect on this dude, whether this is the kind of person you want be. Instead of blaming this on others for dog piling you, consider that you post in ways to have cultured a reputation that earned you this dog piling. Like, you can in fact discuss certain things with most people if you act decently and are willing to compromise and listen. I mean, despite the fact you're acting like a jerk I was starting to have a productive conversation with you about something. Nobody else even jumped in other than chainwall to try to help clarify my points. Imagine what it would be like if you tried approaching a discussion with people in good faith with a willingness to learn! I mean, you will probably always need to avoid Manley, but you could have a positive experience with a lot of other people if you tried and didn't create a self fulfilling prophecy.

I mean I personally wouldn't have a problem with the threads you described. Though I respect others would not like that. That's kinda the struggle, and why the site took down Biden celebration threads. I don't really have anything else to add to that, just that I understand the point you are making.


Wait, why is he avoiding me? I know why I'm avoiding him...


I would like to state, with perfect clarity, as the person who locked LP's thread: It didn't matter who's opinion it was or why. At least not to me. I absolved both PseudoFox and Boat of any wrongdoing, mentally and emotionally, because they were simply responding to an inherently political thread. Inciting incidents matter, and Boat is perfectly fair to respond to political threads with why he's been hurt, how he feels about the politicians... really, anything. This is why politics discussion on /pony/ is madness. Everyone would be a fool NOT to voice their opinions, but we also cannot hope to control peoples' vague and inherently opposing ideological feelings on incredibly nuanced subjects. It's better it not be an option at all


Maybe we should talk about the elephant in the room.

The site did not need such strict political rules before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. That's what we are all dancing around, isn't it?

It is his presence within politics that is toxic and makes people defend things the site would normally deem reprehensible. With Trump leaving office and hopefully much of public discourse, is the political board still needed, or has his rhetoric and lies damaged and divided the country so much that we cannot return to peaceful discussion? That is what we need to be discussing, all other topics pivot on that topic.


>With Trump leaving office and hopefully much of public discourse, is the political board still needed

Well, while political stuff is allowed on /townhall/ and sometimes fills up its topics, if it was actually the "politics board" we would've named it as such.  It's intended for discussions of any kind in general, even if the current climate demands an eye for politics.

Also, while it can be nice to have a lighter air of political stuff in more casual places, I think some political conversations do still need the heavier moderation that's prescribed by /townhall/, lest it devolve into a lot of name calling (which sometimes happens anyway, but that's a different matter, I think).

In short, no matter what we do, I'd say we probably keep /townhall/.


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I'm pretty sure that Trump is a symptom and catalyst of an underlying problem of political polarization and tribalism rather than the root cause.  I would expect such things will gradually become a bit better under Biden, but I wouldn't expect any major improvements immediately after Jan 20.


>>7112  Ponyville has its sacred cows - social and political.  As someone who doesn't worship at those particular altars, my choices, when confronted with these cows, are 1) say nothing and continue being annoyed, 2) blow smoke up the asses of various posters, 3) get into an hours' long debates with point by point refutations that will ultimately change no one's minds, or 4) make my one-off comment and go about my business.  I find 4) to be the best option in cases like this, since it adequately gets the point across in a satisfying manner without also subtracting hours from my life.  I used to go with option 3) but have found over the years that it was just a waste of time in the vast majority of cases, and unless it's some novel issue, I tend to avoid it now.  There's no sense in rehashing the same argument for the 27th time at this point, since the outcome will be exactly the same as the previous 26.

>Wait, why is he avoiding me?
because every conversation with you goes like this:

>>7114  Like I said way earlier in this thread, I'd be fine with whatever level of censorship the site chooses to use, and I'd be fine with just not seeing this sort of thing at all.  but if it's there, I'm going to have a reaction to it, just as anyone else would to things they themselves are annoyed by.


Thorax asks you to stop being needlessly hostile and troll-like, and you compare me to Idiocracy... Yeah, I can't imagine why some people find you to be an abrasive jackass.


Thread is locked while we investigate reports.


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Alright, I'm unlocking the thread and leaving a few comments here about how we as a staff want to proceed with certain issues moving forward. I'll just highlight those thoughts here for everyone as well as point out a few examples of places where users need to improve the way they communicate.

We feel there is a model of behavior that people need to adhere to that just can't be codified by the rules. We have felt limited in guiding people towards the right behaviors in the past because our tools as moderators have felt very punishing to use. For instance, there is a ban escalation system in place where users move up a ladder towards more punitive bans until permanent banning. I think the idea behind this policy was that frequent troublemakers need to understand there are consequences for their actions. The problem with that though is it led to moderator resistance to issuing corrections or educating users because often times any issue with a user is subtle and we would need rely on properly interpreting intent to actually issue an escalating ban in good faith. That is too high a bar to meet for many of us on staff, which means we often times just didn't do what needed to be done to properly moderate issues (at least that is my opinion).

The first major change is that we are completely dropping the ban escalation model. That frees us to use our system of bans more actively to break up fights and give users 'timeouts' without that actually being a punitive action against them. Secondly, our goal will be to educate users about the problems with the ways they are posting and how we would like them to improve. Our hope with these changes is for us to gently guide users towards the right behaviors without it feeling like we are policing the moral character of the user. If we give you a 'timeout' ban, that doesn't mean you are an asshole that is the doghouse, it just means in order to keep things moving smoothly we need you to take a break from things. Usually it would be for a pretty short duration, unless the offense was particularly egregious.

Nobody holds authority over the truth. Not the users, and certainly not us as staff. It is going to be a guaranteed thing that we will fail to properly interpret your behaviors when we try to educated and issue guidance. This is something we hope you will cooperate with us productively on. Because if we are misinterpreting you, then others will certainly be doing the same. That miscommunication I believe is a major source of drama on this website. I honestly believe everyone here is a genuine person of character, but sometimes things get posted that have a really bad vibe around them that many people will feel lessens our collective experience on this website. And that's a problem regardless of intent of harm. I know many of us have very opposed ideologies, but we really want people to come together as a community and attempt to bridge those gaps. And part of that is learning about the ways we annoy and upset each other and try to be as accommodating as possible.

My own hope with these changes is that I personally can help diffuse situations in a productive way rather than feel tied to whatever kinds of actions I have taken in the recent past. I pushed in a big way for a lot of this paradigm shift because I felt trapped in the ways I could actually moderate. I think at least a couple people will probably always feel a little burned by the way I have handled issues regarding them, that's understandable. Whether you are in that camp or not, I'm asking people to work with myself (and other members of staff) who are attempting to guide everyone towards more friendly interactions with each other. To keep this place something that feels safe and like home for as many people as we can.

Let me attempt to predict a few responses in advance:
>Does this mean that habitual bad actors and rules abusers will not be punished for their behaviors?  
The new model will try to assume best intent from users and guide users towards kinder interactions. Our hope is that rule breaking behavior will actually decrease if moderators are educating and using the tools to break things up rather than punish. The threat of longer bans never really had much impact on user behaviors in the first place. I think this shift will also help us issue more punitive bans as well. A lot of the resistance to extreme measures against users has been a reluctance to get things wrong about a user's motivations and what constitutes rule breaking behavior. There has been such an extreme degree of rules lawyering that has disrupted our ability to actually do anything productive. But I think under the system it will become clear quickly who wants to collaborate with us on making a friendlier ponyville and who has no intentions of truly cooperating. I think that is going to end up being the bar by which we determine who requires more serious punitive action. Uncovering true intent is hard, but knowing who is willing to work with us to create a more positive and less toxic environment is much easier.

>Issuing bans liberally sounds a lot like silencing opposition and using your power to enforce your own correctness. How is that not an abuse of power?
Our job as moderators is to keep things moving cleanly and to try to maintain the tone of the website. We don't need to be correct about anyone's intentions in order to determine that something said is not inline with that tone. You may be removed by force from a thread and effectively shut out of responding and that does not make the moderator a tyrant. Frankly, I'm pretty sure most of the staff hates being moderators. Nobody here is in it for the power, we just want to create a place for people we consider friends to engage positively. I recommend to people who worry about such things to set them aside, because you will create the conditions yourself by which we act harsher against you.

So I am going to start here by saying that your decision to choose option 4 here is not in line with the tone we want to set for this community. You are not allowed to see something annoying and vent that at users in the manner you have. People have different opinions than you, and you are not the arbiter of truth. I'm not sure what you consider to be 'sacred cows' here, but frankly, you are probably either misunderstanding other people's positions or you are just stubbornly and defiantly in the wrong yourself. For instance, my best interpretation of your behavior in Pseudo's thread was that you think people were making the argument "A quote from 50 years ago is evidence of sexism today". Problem is, absolutely nobody was making that argument. Not myself or any other people. If I'm getting this correct, then what you did was get annoyed at a strawman and then vent that frustration at members of the thread. That is not the kind of behavior we want to see in this community. You are required to either keep your annoyance to yourself or engage constructively with other posters in the thread. This kind of venting behavior is something we've seen a few times over the past political cycle from multiple users and is not in line with our expectations for community behavior. If you are not willing to put in those hours discussing things with people in good faith, then you are required to hold your tongue. Dissenting opinions are welcome, just not in the way you have decided to make them.

An example. Instead of telling people they are getting 'bent out of shape' over nothing. Ask them why they find this something worthy of their frustrations. You might find you didn't understand their position and were annoyed at nothing, or you might even learn something. You might also find nothing was learned and nobody changed position, but that is part of being on a site with a diverse set of users.

As for dog piling you mention. You are not required to fend off conversations with several people if you don't want to. You can decline speaking to anyone if you want to focus a discussion 1:1 with someone. But if you feel people are levying unfair attacks at you, you have the power to actually do something about that if you bring it to our attention. You are not a guest or second class citizen here, which is the way it looks like you feel. If you assume that is the way you will be treated by staff, the nothing can be done to make the place more welcoming to you. If you decide to engage productively with someone and make that effort and you don't think that someone else is giving you the same consideration, report it. Or reach out to me personally and I will address that myself. I respect if you too feel boxed into the kind of responses you make. Maybe we can fix this though so you don't feel like your only option is to be annoyed and frustrated or vent at people.

Also, using a clip from Idiocracy maybe very succinctly get across the point you are trying to make, but the movie itself has such a negative premise that we don't want users to use such a clip to try to make a point. I think you have something valid to say to Manley that could even be constructive towards him if he were to listen, but consider how your messaging escalates the conflict. It may not feel as emotionally satisfying making attempts to deescalate, but in the long term that will be behavior which is rewarded so I would encourage you to take it.

The subject of your permanent banning was recently floating around among staff (as you are aware. I state it for the benefit of the rest of the community reading this). Currently, you are not under any special restrictions but I think you are going to need to reflect on your own personal convictions if you are going to meet the bar for the kind of behavior and tone we expect from users going forward. You have quite stubbornly planted yourself onto an extreme and radical belief that quite literally all conservatives and trump supporters are evil/racist/etc. While I and many others have very strong convictions about our political beliefs and that I agree there are many very problematic people and ideas out there, what you hold onto in this regard is so polarizing that I don't blame anyone for feeling your very presence disrupts their own safety in expressing their feelings. That is a problem for the site and community.

The official political stance of ponyville is to be against extremism. To be against almost every political idea which includes the word "all". I believe your inflexibility in this has set the stage for a lot of the conservative leaning posters to feel frustrated, causing them to close up and be less generous and more hostile with other liberal leaning posters. Even if I am very politically aligned with you, this belief is not really okay to express here. I am letting you know that you will most likely end up permanently banned again some day because of this strict adherence to black and white morality. Even if you agree to keep certain things to yourself, this leaks out and it creates hostilities within the community. This isn't intended as a warning in any official capacity, just to lay out a very plain truth so that you understand what the cost of holding onto this worldview will be for you. Having a secure position on this site for the long term will likely require you to adopt more nuance and flexibility into the things you believe about other people who use this website.


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Max, your salary is officially doubled.


I'd still like to discuss what I originally brought up. With Trump by all apperances leaving office, is the political board still needed?


You referring to your post [>>7115]?  You already got an answer to that: [>>7116].  Please go ahead  and read that post (or re-read it if you already have read it, since it also corrects your mischaracterization of /townhall/ as a 'political board').


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It's also a place where identity is forcibly stripped away.

If you are on the spectrum a require basic identity labels to navigate the social minefield and apply workarounds (as i am and do), then that board is a very psychologically damaging place to attempt to read, let alone interact. The fear of any established fact like which planet this is or what year it miggt be or i dont want to say cough a public officials name, might banish any conversation there like a lightning bolt from on high makes it very stressful to talk with my very few friends here.  Its oppressive.

I "like" how you people dont even try to grasp the concept before dismissing it.  Why not be happ babbling away where the only voices are harassing flies and im not allowed to swat em.  Thats not why i come to /pony.  I need names to keep my brain from popping fuses.

Edit:  oh yeah and if townhall isnt a political dumping ground then why is it nothing but /pol and threads literally dumped there from pony specifically because they are "political" hmmmmmmmmm? Answer me that or accept that townhall is nothing but a place to dump shit a few peeps around here feel they shouldnt have to see in their echo chamber.  Riddle me this.  IF you can.


What do you think of the idea of adding a [#politics] tag so that political threads can appear on /pony/?  Or adding a new non-forced-anon board that allows political talk?

> why is it nothing but /pol and threads literally dumped there from pony specifically because they are "political" hmmmmmmmmm?
Here are three threads on the front page that aren't political:


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/townall/ is a board for people to engage in civil debate about heavy philosophical and moral topics. Folks like using that board. That's reason enough for it to exist, my friends


Nobodys calling for eliminating your pet 4chan on pvil.  The issue is whether its fun to shove people there for mentioning an ubiquitus current event so others can hide from reality.

Sure.  But no one actually wants to fix this.  Even Noonim doesnt show up here anymore and its real clear people liked that solution.  The only real problem here is that i havent stopped coming where im not wanted.


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Why are you always so quick to attack people, LP? People you consider friends? You use such rude and hurtful language when anyone disagrees with you

No one wants to hurt you, or hurt anyone else, but you act like everyone's out to get you. It's really exhausting. It seems like you don't have any good faith that we're doing our best, or even any faith that maybe there's a good reason we disagree?

I think we've talked about this several times, and we've come to the same conclusion a lot...


I am not attacking anyone.

You single me out for unequal segregation then attack me for daring to complain.

I am owed an apology.  I expect none.  You have not behaved as my friend nor as a fair arbiter on this issue.

I recognize a no win situation. I withdraw from this discussion, in hurt anger and humiliation.  Preesh.


I forgot my image.  Its fitting, i always feel the same when i try to participate on this board.  Im a loser

Hidden for stupid rant.  I warnedu

The best part is how im villified.  Im your worst nutjob lefty who eats red children in their beds in the night.  Ive never given any support to this other than arguing that its not cool to separate families and i hate all the racial rhetoric and just about everything the 45th? President has actually done.

But before that i have always been a huge trump fan.  He showed that losers can win big and ive always been a loser.  Like a, role model to me before learning that just like our founding fathers hes a bigot and i hate that.  I hate it so much.  But you freaky reds just cant understand that i loved the business mogul Trump when you were in diapers so, enjoy your 46th president.


>If you are on the spectrum a require basic identity labels to navigate the social minefield and apply workarounds (as i am and do), then that board is a very psychologically damaging place to attempt to read, let alone interact.

That board is a separate board because it's expected that not everyone would enjoy that board.  If everyone on the site enjoyed that board, it wouldn't be a separate board.  We'd have just the one board.  (And also /rp/, which is a real board, it's right there.)

>If you are on the spectrum a require basic identity labels to navigate the social minefield

As someone else on the spectrum (as are several people here, I believe, especially on /townhall/) part of the appeal of anonymity is that you don't have to navigate a social minefield.  It's largely antithetical to being social at all.  You get to add your ideas to a floating pool, and then in the next thread ignore that you ever presented those ideas.  There's no names to remember, no history to keep track of, no lasting shame for posting something that gets shot down.  I think if you adjusted yourself to it, you might really come to enjoy the anonymity.


ive always felt certain that you are doing your best effort to be fair to me and to include me, Mondo.  I dont remember saying thank you for that.  So thanks.


>>7122 Thanks for the response.  Points taken.


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Such a well thought out, well organized,  post, Thorax.

Much of this initiative in so far as it comes to adjusting internal policy for moderation here comes directly from Thorax's mind, and we all have him to thank for it.

We shall still be holding a referendum, with which to provide information and context to help inform us as staff of your expectations as users.

That said, i think putting everyone on the same page, and making it clear that we are going to be exercising necessary authority to enforce our policies in the future will help a great deal

in so doing, maybe by reining in some of the more anarchic tendencies of the site, everyone will feel more comfortable and happy


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Yes Max is the best of us.

Imo Moony there will always be a squeaky wheel whinging away somewhere until this site actually enforces whatever policy it states both fairly and in spirit of its clearly-stated intent.

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