Important Announcement: Now focusing on SFF, not politics

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Brian G Turner

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#1
The chrons forums has always aimed to cover a wide range of interests as part of building a strong science fiction and fantasy community.

However, just as politics in the real world is becoming ugly and factionalised, so that is creeping into discussions here.

The aim of the these forums has always been to celebrate our shared interests - but discussion of politics exposes our divisions and works against that.

Though the political discussions have only ever been a small part of the chronicles forums, they have always had a disproportionate visibility.

There has been discussion in previous years about shutting down the World Affairs section.

I've decided that it's now time to do that.

It may be possible to discuss politics again here sometime in the future, but for the time being I think it's not just harmful, but is going to become ever more poisonous to our community spirit.

I know this decision will upset some people - I enjoy discussing current affairs - but the shared needs of the community are more important than wearing our individual political affiliations in public.

Additionally, and I know this may also be unpopular, but as of this moment the ban on discussing politics also extends to social politics.

That means I don't want to see any more discussions on gender, sexuality, or racial issues - or on Free Speech or Political Correctness - until further notice.

These issues are very important and should be discussed. But not here.

Every single discussion on these issues has ended in argument and acrimony.

Every single one of those discussions has lost us members.

So for the time being at least, there are a plenty enough places around the internet where we can discuss politics and social politics and the state of the world.

But from now on, such discussions occur on those articles elsewhere on the web, and we don't bring them here.

I appreciate that people may want to ask questions of the wider community about a certain issue, but be unsure of whether it falls foul of such rules. In such instances, I can only suggest you raise it with me via PM to discuss it.

In the meantime, I'll shut the door on the World Affairs section and move it into a private archive. Maybe it will be brought out again when the world seems a brighter place.

Until then, that's what chrons should be: a safe and relaxing place for everyone to share and enjoy in all things science fiction and fantasy. And that means accepting one another for what we have in common, to the exclusion of all division.

Thank you for your patience.
 

dask

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#2
Good call, Brian. One needn't be placed in crosshairs just because they say something someone doesn't like. But discussions on SF can be just as bad. Let's hope some hotheads don't shut the whole forum down.
 

Nick B

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#3
I support this decision fully. Even though I said a while ago that I wouldn't partiipate in WA discussions any more, the temptation was always there and sometimes impossible to ignore.
I joined chrons as an aspiring writer, looking for help and likeminded people. I found it, and that is what I love here. But the amount of polarising discussions increased and I think it made the community a lesser place. So this decision is one that I agree with.
 

Lucien21

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#6
I've seen it ruin other websites when political fights turned nasty. I tend to avoid those discussions.

SFF books etc can be very political though. I presume that discussions along those lines are ok.
 

psikeyhackr

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#7
Curious about how you will discuss SF and exclude socio/political issues. Any such issues in A Handmaid's Tale and Starship Troopers?

Sounds like it will make SF not worth discussing. There is something to discuss in Fantasy?

psik
 

Nick B

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#9
Curious about how you will discuss SF and exclude socio/political issues. Any such issues in A Handmaid's Tale and Starship Troopers?

Sounds like it will make SF not worth discussing. There is something to discuss in Fantasy?

psik

I expect discussing how fictional politics within a novel would be okay as long as it is discussed within the context of that work.
To be fair, I havn't seen much discussion like that anyway.
 

Brian G Turner

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#12
Curious about how you will discuss SF and exclude socio/political issues.
SFF books etc can be very political though. I presume that discussions along those lines are ok.
It's absolutely fine to discuss social/political commentary from a story, within the context of that story. What I don't want to see is these then used as a springboard to discuss current affairs to the exclusion of that story.
 

tinkerdan

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#14
I perceive an increasing need for this and more vigilant moderating in some other portions of the forum where it seems things have leaked over, so I would have to say that there is more than enough evidence to support the decision.

With that in mind I'll ask about a couple items and by far this does not include all my concerns, but using these as examples::

Is This including exclusion of discussion about Genre in relation to demographics; which I have to admit recently has gotten just a bit heated.
Also the demographic behind publishing industry and how it affects writers and potential writers; including also the perceived demographics of the same.

In other words; just how deep should we expect this cut to go.
 

farntfar

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#15
A good call, Brian.
I've got involved in the political discussions sometimes, because, like lots of other people, political decisions are very important to me.
But I've always thought, that's not why I'm here on the Chrons.

Mind you, you say I could find political discussions elsewhere on the internet.
You're certainly right. But finding completely opposing views discussed with such restraint and while remaining polite and friendly is something you'll have trouble finding elsewhere.
I missed the arguments that have caused all the ruckus, so maybe in those cases I'm wrong.
But I would like to thank everyone on the Chrons for being generally so reasonable and restrained even when we've completely disagreed.
 

johnnyjet

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#16
Good call and completely understandable! I've never gotten too much involved in these types of discussions, but found them interesting from time to time. I never let it upset me like it did to some folks.

A quick question similar to the question about discussions of politics in fiction: Can someone submit a writing challenge with a political theme that might be controversial? I generally don't do that myself, but I wouldn't want some writers to feel they are being stifled creatively.
 

Ursa major

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#17
Can someone submit a writing challenge with a political theme that might be controversial? I generally don't do that myself, but I wouldn't want some writers to feel they are being stifled creatively.
Aren't these two different things?
  • Submitting a challenge topic (when one has just won a challenge) is not writing, as such, and if the topic was considered unsuitable, no writing would be being stifled.
  • The writing is what the authors of the entries are doing based on their personal interpretations of the topic and genre; they too are not being stifled, as far as I can see (and, as you know, people can come up with all sorts of apparently (at first sight) tangential story ideas).
 

Jo Zebedee

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#18
I was involved in two of the threads that led to this announcement, I think (well, I know). I am annoyed about things - not least my own inability to walk away from things I feel passionate about. I doubt anyone could question events more than I have today. But I think it is sad that this is the outcome - this was the site that managed a multi-page thread about rape in fantasy and kept it civil. And a similar one on gun laws in America which enhanced my - and others', judging by comments - understanding of the subject.

I have huge respect for Brian and the mods. I'm sure they wanted to strangle me at some points in the last week. I'm sure I made their job harder.

But! I'd like sanctions to be more transparent. Not, by the way, that anyone should know when anyone else has been sanctioned - that would be awful. But I'd like to know that when a problem arises how it is being dealt with.

I put a post up two nights ago that I should have been sanctioned for (whether I was or not lies between me and the mods.) I wasn't proud of it, it was a personal attack, and I did post in anger - as any of us can. We are not saints. But there were other posts that night that should equally have been sanctioned. I would like to think all were but I don't know because none of us know how the process works.

Which is what I mean about transparency. I'd like to know that if someone continually posts with a tone that offends, or subject matter that offends, or opinions that aren't factual but inciting, or whatever, that there is a sanction. And I'd like to be sure that, if changes don't occur on the back of it, that sanction leads to consequences. A sort of three warnings for the same thing over a space of time and your membership is suspended, that sort of thing (with, of course, gross misconduct-y clauses).

When I was last involved in such an event on the Chrons there was huge fall out (I was caught in the crossfire that time - this time I squarely take the blame on myself) and one of the things that came up was that sanctions hadn't been followed through. The way forward, at that stage, we were told was that sanctions would be applied across the board when applicable. But now I think I'd like to know more about what they are and where they lead, when - which makes people more confident that there is a process and it is the same for all.

I'm sorry if this post is out of turn. But I just feel that, instead of banning conversations (or maybe as well as), more transparency would also help.
 

vanye

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#19
I have taken part in various discussions around the world affairs section and found them unusually informative as well as lacking in acrimony.

So I am saddened by this decision as it is highly unlikely that I will find another place with so many well informed and well spoken discussion partners. A loss, no doubt.
 

Ursa major

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#20
But! I'd like sanctions to be more transparent. Not, by the way, that anyone should know when anyone else has been sanctioned - that would be awful. But I'd like to know that when a problem arises how it is being dealt with.

I put a post up two nights ago that I should have been sanctioned for (whether I was or not lies between me and the mods.) I wasn't proud of it, it was a personal attack, and I did post in anger - as any of us can. We are not saints. But there were other posts that night that should equally have been sanctioned. I would like to think all were but I don't know because none of us know how the process works.

Which is what I mean about transparency. I'd like to know that if someone continually posts with a tone that offends, or subject matter that offends, or opinions that aren't factual but inciting, or whatever, that there is a sanction. And I'd like to be sure that, if changes don't occur on the back of it, that sanction leads to consequences. A sort of three warnings for the same thing over a space of time and your membership is suspended, that sort of thing (with, of course, gross misconduct-y clauses).
I think you're going to have to be a bit clearer here about what you expect to see.

We can't talk about the use of sanctions in a particular case and simultaneously give no information about who is being sanctioned (if only because we don't live in the same box as Schrödinger's unfortunate, or not, cat).

And even if we could set up watertight rules that precisely apply specified sanctions on closely specified behaviour, and then told you all about them, most of you would be able to see how they'd be applied, again giving away who'd been sanctioned, or not, for what.

So, obviously, you don't mean that sort of thing (and/or I'm missing something), but it would help me at least if I understood what you're actually getting at.
 
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