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Community Meta-Guidelines

August 31st, 2009 · Posted by Hugo · 15 Comments


In epistemology, the prefix meta- is used to mean about (its own category). For example, metadata are data about data (who has produced them, when, what format the data are in and so on). Similarly, metamemory in psychology means an individual’s knowledge about whether or not they would remember something if they concentrated on recalling it.

Thus here follows some “guidelines” about the community guidelines. Yes, there aren’t guidelines yet, other than those floating around in my head, but I’ll start sharing them this week.

Firstly, they are guidelines, not rules: I’m finding it very difficult to stick to them myself, but it’s the commitment to the principles that’s important to me.

Writing them out and explaining them will help me to stick to them, because they will be more clear in my mind when I’m done, but also because others can then hold me to my commitments. Anyone can point out to me where I fail, even if you’re not committed to the guidelines yourself. This will not be hypocritical precisely because it comes from my own commitments, not from you expecting of me what you’re not practicing yourself.

Furthermore, this “community” I’m now referring to is completely voluntary, by which I mean you’re still welcome to participate on this site even if you choose to shun the guidelines. In some ways, I’m defining a new community that is orthogonal to any community we already have.

In short, if the guidelines make sense to you, you can strive to keep them. Those that strive to keep them will be considered to be a part of the community of people that strive to keep the guidelines. Heh. πŸ˜‰

*Orthogonal: independent of, distinct. Just because you’re not in the guidelines-community, doesn’t mean you’re any less a part of this site’s community.

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Categories: Humanity & Community

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hugo // Aug 31, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Examples of the kind of guidelines I’m thinking of, so that this isn’t as much “in the air”:
    – be for something, not against something else
    – make yourself the battleground, rather than The Other
    – with regards to certain kinds of topics, go for a “pull” communications model, rather than “push”.
    Stuff of that. To be considered and motivated and illustrated in more thorough blog posts.

  • 2 Bad Ben // Aug 31, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    here’s one.

    Conversations are about dialogue.

    If you are interseted in a conversation, refrain from lengthy closed statements about the dangers of cults, and other theses about why “certain religious groups” are generally to be avoided. These are monologic, and kill conversation.

    A more dialogic approach could entail sharing a story that would substantiate such claim, from your perspective, and inviting other people to share stories that might coincide with or contradict your experience.

    In this way, we can all imagine that we do not have exhaustive insight into any particular subject which stirs us emotionally. Heck, we might even learn something.

  • 3 gerhard // Aug 31, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    [In short, if the guidelines make sense to you, you can strive to keep them. Those that strive to keep them will be considered to be a part of the community of people that strive to keep the guidelines. Heh]
    lol and those that dont will be considered to be paty of a community of people that shun them …. heh

    love that tho , thanks for not wanting to play thought police…

  • 4 Hugo // Aug 31, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    I don’t think it’s quite that black-and-white, either-commit-or-shun… though maybe I should go double check definitions of “shun”. πŸ˜‰

    I must add though: I’m working towards a point where people can more easily choose who they intend to have a conversation with. Others will always be able to comment, but if they aren’t specifically part of a conversation, and none of those that are part of the conversation want the comment included, he will be a kibitzer, together with all the other kibitzers. That way we can have a zany kibitzing culture without interrupting serious conversations people are trying to have.

    And I will probably choose to have some conversations focused around those I feel are part of the community that don’t shun the guidelines (even if they don’t quite commit to them). πŸ˜‰ I’ll still read all the kibitzes, and include those that I feel add to the conversation I’m trying to have. And anyone else will also be able to include new people into a conversation, or just individual comments.

    The goal: encouraging earning the privileged of being included in conversations.

  • 5 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Also, gerhard, a request from my side: please don’t participate in the conversation involving Mon(k)ey et al. I have no qualms about using the moderation queue to enforce this. (I might first check with the others if they would explicitly miss your contributions in that conversation.)

    I can give you your very own blog post, and thus blog thread, in which you can discuss whatever you want in whatever way you want. Let me know if you’d like that, and what the topic(s) should be. (And there’s #126 which I was still hoping to build a discussion on.)

  • 6 gerhard // Sep 1, 2009 at 9:12 am

    ok which portion would you like to discuss? the gossip? the original post? or what you call a 180? (which is quite weird , because i have not changed.)

  • 7 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Ah, you don’t see what I feel was a 180? I’ll explain the 180 later, I know it is a bit buried. (Later == tomorrow at the earliest, I’ll be working for the rest of the day, and the night.) And you surely noticed I’ve been veto’d (vetoed?), feel free to comment anywhere and on anything. Though, still please don’t derail if people aren’t interested in the derailing: I love that you asked if there’s interest. If they say yes, I’ll have no gripes at all about such a derailing, that would be something they chose.

  • 8 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:04 am


    feeling the love people πŸ˜‰

  • 9 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 11:23 am

    @Bad Ben #2, thanks, I’ll work those into some guidelines posts. Another one:

    “Don’t try to win”. Or even “try not to win”. Like I said: I need to write whole posts to explain what I mean by that. πŸ˜‰

    @Bad Ben #8 and @gerhard: there’s an interesting dynamic that happens when people are given a choice… well, they can choose! OK, that sounds silly I know. It’s like a friend of mine that says if some girl’s with him, he wants it to be because she wants to be with him, not because they have some marriage contract. If she’s actually given the choice to leave, it means she gets to choose to stay. How’s that for something about what negative impact a “no divorce, else burn in hell!” ideology can have on people’s relationships? Intricate…

    Likewise, I don’t want to barge into a conversation where people don’t actually want me. If they have a choice, it means they can *choose* to have me join in. Empowering and potentially transformative with regards to our relationships and conversations, though the dangerous flip-side of possible abuse of some piece of technology is also always present.

    (I’m hoping the vapourware I have in mind can serve to create spaces for new conversations to occur, that wouldn’t otherwise occur, while hopefully not breaking the conversations we’re already having.)

  • 10 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I think the Ethos of the forum is/should be an inquiring style. Comments that raise more questions than attempt to answer them. I am often guilty of trying to win. Yet I am in love with those cathartic situations were some comment of Ken’s or whoever absolutely flattens my mind. Gerhard has also made some pretty punchy points lately. Woe is me. Competitions seems unavoidable…

  • 11 gerhard // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    veto or not, i obviously am not wanted in the conversation by you so i respectfully exit πŸ™‚ it doesn’t matter that ben or ken or mon(k)ey think i added to the convo, if you’d believed so then you wouldn’t have asked me to leave.

    i’ll still lurk and may chirp in if the convo seems to get too polarized but i probably should stay out of the main convo anyway.

  • 12 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    nooit. bleek

  • 13 Bad Ben // Sep 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Hierdie voel soos ‘n ander kamer in jou huis hugo. Die studeer kamer. waar mens shit uitpraat. Vapour ware: almal het avatars en jou huis is ‘n cyber…erm…space?

  • 14 Hugo // Sep 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Hoi gerhard:

    i obviously am not wanted in the conversation […] it doesn’t matter that ben or ken or mon(k)ey think i added to the convo, if you’d believed so then you wouldn’t have asked me to leave.

    Sorry, you’re wrong there. If it were that simple, I’d have had no trouble banning you years ago. πŸ˜‰

    That conversation is also not my conversation I feel, so my opinion also doesn’t count. No-one else could ask you to leave, so I did it “on their behalf” (on behalf of the conversation and the participants). I was obviously misguided.

  • 15 Tribe Meta-Guidelines // Mar 28, 2010 at 1:06 am

    […] is a rerun of Community Meta-Guidelines with one word replaced β€” which do you prefer? Which word should I run with, or should I simply […]

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