8

A relatively popular site, likely to defer trolls (which are likely to flock to this site because of its thematics), enforces a rule that one must be registered there for a week minimum to be able to talk in most places. I consider this rule substantiated.

What I find odd, however, is that the staff makes clear they don't want to be bugged about this rule. Proposing relaxing the period to a day or even asking the staff to substantiate this rule is not welcome there. When someone tries to talk to staff about this rule they're simply warned to drop the topic because the rule isn't going anywhere; if this is not enough then disciplinary actions in the form of temporary mutes are enforced against those who keep asking.

Partially because one of my many faults is that I dislike such an attitude and partially because I genuinely believed that this was an example of a suboptimal staff policy I told the staffer, after being customarily warned to drop the topic, that while they had the right to act in this manner, this nevertheless creates a bad impression for new users who ask in a good faith. I was muted.

I wonder, though, if I was right. Was I right that enforcing such rules "just because", while refusing to even substantiate them, creates a bad impression on community members and is likely to repulse some users? Or am I exaggerating, and such harsh mannerism contributes towards maintaining order in the site without causing much harm?

Related and why such a harsh policy might be appropriate there: https://communitybuilding.stackexchange.com/a/2683/2363

8

Generally it is a bad idea to have "because we said so" rules. Having a rationale for the rule makes it easier to follow and easier to justify. However in this case it's clear why the rule was put in place as you reference the reason - to deter trolls - in your question.

What would probably be useful is somewhere where both the rationale for the rule and the "we don't discuss this" policy was explained - the obvious place would be on the page where it states that you can't immediately post on registration. A couple of simple one-liners along the lines of:

"we make you wait a week to help prove you're not a troll"

and

"we've discussed this to death, there's no point in revisiting it"

would probably be enough. However, given the sensitivity of the subject I fear that even raising this possibility will get you muted.

If the admins have a clear policy of not wanting to discuss this further, then I think you should respect those wishes. I would suspect that there were seemingly endless discussions about the policy before and immediately after it was put into place and the admins feel there is no value in rehashing those discussions with each and every new member to the site. When the 100th new user to your site brings up the same topic I can see how a "we don't discuss this" response is going to sound like the best solution.

  • I am not opposed to imposing rules in an authoritative manner nor even to banning never ending discussions; however, I've always believed that if staff decides to impose rules in this manner it owes the community at least a brief explanation why they thought the rule was necessary. So, if a new user asks "why the period must be as long as a week, I believe a day should be enough" then it is not cool if the response boils down to "we're not talking to you on this subject and if you keep talking to us we'll make you stop". I guess I've been wrong? Have an upvote. – gaazkam Sep 13 '17 at 12:45
  • I mean, a link to a brief explanation with a note not to try to bring this topic up would be enough for me; but this what I described... well, perhaps just they are right and I am wrong. – gaazkam Sep 13 '17 at 18:14
  • @gaazkam - I think this is a case of you both being right. You are right in wanting a rationale for the rule, but they are also right in not wanting to keep rehashing the same old ground all the time. Perhaps they'll come round to seeing that a little bit more explanation would be a good thing. – ChrisF Sep 13 '17 at 20:03
-1

Unfortunately, it is a very opinion-based question if the admins should or should not enforce rules in such a manner, give no rationale and outright mute users for trying to discuss things. And the opinion it is based on is the opinion of the community owners, or whoever is in charge of the community. I can tell you my opinion (no, it's a bad idea), you can tell me yours, but our opinions don't matter.

Whether you do or do not agree with the policy of party owners, you either comply or leave the party. That's sad, but there is mostly no third choice, most people don't appreciate discussing their rules.

However, if the amount of users who don't agree grows big enough, you can make an alternative community and have fun there. It really works!

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