Code of Conduct, conversation, censorship, and inclusion of marginalized perspectives…

  • Problem: the set of people skilled at healthy communication habits is unlikely to be a representative sample of all perspectives in terms of ideas.
  • Solution(s): ???

I have lots of thoughts… If we reduce emphasis on healthy communication, we risk all sorts of problems. But how can we avoid having a biased overall community perspective which favors whoever happens to be more skilled at communication?

Should we strongly emphasize the practices of “steel-manning” and Rapoport’s Rules to get everyone to actively help present the ideas that are under-represented?

I think we want to recruit (and train if needed) great facilitators separate from moderators. Such facilitators would just go around helping everyone else express their ideas better with emphasis on highlighting marginalized perspectives and working against the over-weighting of dominant ideas or voices…


At the current scale of our project I can see us needing at this time, at most one such person.

My bias towards who’s idea’s I favor, regardless of how well they present themselves, is how personally they are invested in snowdrift. For example, when someone who has been with this project since it started or has put in significant work into it says something, I give it more consideration than I do to others because they are particularly invested in this and knowledgeable.

This isn’t how I suggest other people approach this community, it’s just how I do it.

Finally, @wolftune, based on how I’ve observed you conduct yourself on this forum, I would say that we already have a great facilitator, you! :ok_hand:

However, you tend to have a lot on your plate as is. If someone comes along who can replicate or perform a similar level of performance it would free you up to focus on other things.


Oh, I definitely meant the topic as a broader, general, long-term concern. How can we prepare for this issue so that we retain and invite diverse views in the long-run?

Thanks, but the ideal facilitator is neutral by not expressing their own viewpoints. They participate only in the capacity of helping others communicate best. That might be on a per-topic basis, but anyone weighing in on a topic can’t be seen as truly neutral.

This old wiki page is relevant:

But I think this isn’t the only possible solution to the problem I presented above… although it seems novel anyway (I’ve never heard of an online forum like this that has people acting mainly or often as explicit neutral facilitators)…


Why do they need to be separate?


Well, the concept (role) is distinct more than the people need to be distinct. But ideally, facilitators aren’t associated with having power as much as with just being helpful. I don’t want to get too pedantic though.

In principle, the people communicating should feel that the facilitator is there as an assistant. They should feel welcome to push back any time they feel the facilitator is being non-neutral or isn’t being helpful. The facilitator serves the people discussing rather than being a controlling moderator.

So, it’s helpful if it’s a different person so there’s no confusion about the roles. (Note: this is my feeling/understanding at this point from some knowledge and experience, but I’m no expert here.)