Forum:The Tyranny of Consensus in a Discordant Era
I don't believe that we have current policies in place governing the administration of Discord, as access is limited to a small subset of users. I am proposing to codify the following policies be codified to address any concerns with the execution of Discord server administration.
The governing proposal is two-fold:
- RS Discord is not a wiki: Consensus shall not be required for the majority of routine Discord administration. Broad latitude shall be given to server administrators for the day-to-day administration of the server. The administrative actions are generally defined, but not limited to, the following:
- Changes to roles (including, but not limited to, priority, color, name), emojis, integrations, and other server level settings
- Changes to channels, including the creation, order, archive, and deletion of channels. Discretion shall be used in the deletion of channels, with the general operating principle being to retain historical discussions through archiving channels as opposed to deletion
- Users shall have an avenue for reverting disputed changes implemented by system administrators. In the event that there is a dispute on server administration activity, the following actions shall be performed
- A thread shall be created in the Meta wiki disputing the specific changes by the individual that would like to revert the administrative activity
If a second user supports the reversion of the change ("seconded"), the change shall be temporarily reverted by the server administrators until the thread concludes
- The thread shall be open for at least
32 days before it can be closed by a Meta wiki administrator, excluding the server administrator that implemented the disputed change. There shall be no requirement for the thread to be open for a week prior to closure unless warranted by the discussion.
- Closed threads shall be enacted by server administrators based on the thread closure notes
Support as nominator Hephaestus 14:09, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
- Tweaked the proposal by removing the requirement for seconding a proposal and reducing the time that a thread should remain open even further Hephaestus 04:28, 29 July 2022 (UTC)
Strong support - It should be noted that normal admins can only change roles (to a limited extent) and emojis/stickers/what have you. Integrations and all channel operations can only be performed by those with the
@server techs role. That being said, I highly appreciate the level of freedom this policy would provide to all involved with any actions that need doing on the server, while also opening a formal and established path to voice criticisms that doesn't constitute yelling at each other in a Discord channel for over a day without anything changing and a huge storm of drama unfolding. (I also highly approve of the forum thread title.) InvalidCards (talk) 14:17, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
Support - Per InvalidCards. // Salix // Talk-to Salix // 14:21, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
Support I think this is a great step towards getting the discord to run a little more smoothly and mitigate unwanted change controversy in future. Adding what is essentially a corrective referendum to discord change policy is definitely welcome and wanted. Shush (talk) 15:01, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
Oppose 1 - Giving more people the ability to delete channels is a bad idea, considering the permanence of the action. While I wouldn't care about more people being able to create/move/whatever else with channels, Discord still stupidly bundles it all under one permission, so I have to oppose. -Towelcat (talk) 20:27, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
- Clarification on 1 - The intent of 1 is not to change who has the ability to do these things, but rather to clarify the process around the people who currently have the ability to do these things. The outcome of this thread should not give people additional permissions on the discord server. Server administrators might be better defined as server techs - I'm not positive what the actual permission is though. Hephaestus 20:44, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
Oppose - Meh, this is basically just the current status quo except gives admins an excuse to implement larger changes (like admin role priority, which inactive admins on rsw seem to really care a lot about) without any reasoning and puts the onus on reverters to come up with reasons to revert rather than there being valid reasoning to change in the first place. I have been happy with the current fairly restrictive system for years, even Cook's changes a couple days ago, while I would have appreciated more notice and his (and others) response to it being less dickish, I didn't oppose because I thought they were minor enough to not have a discussion and have agreed for ages that off-topic (the actual definition, not the other channel or category) channels have turned into a bad place for potential new editors to see.
The system to revert is also status quo, except with a weird ass "seconding" clause that doesn't make sense. Unless it's obviously bad faith or just has extremely bad reasoning, if somebody cares enough to make a thread to revert a change that had no reasoning behind it in the first place, then the change should be reverted without any need of a "second" or honestly even any discussion before reversion, the onus should be on the changer to have valid reasoning to implement changes and not the person wanting to keep status quo. Crow 23:01, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
- Support - Per Owl. Crow 07:27, 29 July 2022 (UTC)
Oppose - I don't mind having more relaxed rules about discord changes, but when the change is divisive, it should be reverted immediately and afterwards, the onus of thread-creation should lie on the person who made the original change, since that's what has gone against the status quo. Talk-to Kelsey 23:39, 28 July 2022 (UTC)
- Support - While I still think it's unfair to have the thread-creation fall on the opposition of the original change, I can't really think of a better system than this. Talk-to Kelsey 02:00, 29 July 2022 (UTC)
Support - I'm fine with changes taking place provided there is a valid reason. (I have no problem with meme-y renames of channels that we already do just to be clear.) Much like Kelsey I don't have a good alternative that I actually like and I think it is important for opposing views to be recognized at the very least in the long run. I don't think have a seconder (to revert the chance) is the best solution, but it would warrant actually taking a look at the effects of the change earlier on than initially expected. I do unfortunately think forums are the best place for these discussions, even though making so many is annoying, because if you've been in #meta-dicussion its been days talking about this with the same stuff on repeat.
My expectations of the initial changer are much higher however, and I'm waning on this debacle, so I will list them, propose how it should've gone and be done (except for clarifications if needed): The changer should state the intent/goal of the change very clearly, followed by a period of time with which it should be "under review". This doesn't mean we have to do a lot of work or conversing, but taking note of the differences it makes.
In this case, going back to the initial proposal in meta, it was both jokingly and seriously talked about in different forms from deleting #general. I'm fine with joking about things, but seeing the responses afterwards there should be a more straight forward/neutral approach when actually attempting to implement it. Again, looking back it, there was a lot of talk about the channel general and only one support (there were no real objectors and very little conversation about it the two times cook didnt mention moving categories) for actually moving the categories, which I really think makes it clear that these things need to be very clear For the people that did initially oppose it, it was not clear that it would experimental or at the very least if it would be reverted if it was worse. Also, do it when more people are awake or active for a wider response so that it is less likely to hit with people hating it and then realizing what was done after having a reaction to it. These are things to do next time obviously learning from this time. FjaraTalk 04:09, 29 July 2022 (UTC)
Support - I had previously typed out a different reply, but with the striking of 2.2 and slightly lower minimum time on 2.3 (could arguably still be lower), I fully support the proposal. Owl (t | c) (osrsw) 04:34, 29 July 2022 (UTC)
Comment - with regards to #1, I agree that it makes sense from an administrative/security perspective that only a small group of users (those with the server techs role i.e. Kitty, Jayden, Cook, and Gaz, which is what I think is meant by server administrators) have the ability to make most changes to the server. I disagree with the first proposal which seems to be that a) people in this user group should be able to enact changes based solely on their own initiative and b) no one else is able to be able to make changes in this way. Without an amendment to this I am opposed to these changes.
The recent issues with discord administration seem to come down to the status quo of users having to making it offputtingly difficult for anyone to make any changes to our server. On the other hand, sudden changes to the server affect a large number of people and can be jarring to them. It's difficult to come up with a catch all process which would allow changes to be made more easily in a way which is less bureaucratic than the current "go make a thread" default, but still the community the ability to veto suggestions.
Nevertheless I think that it is important that we have some kind of process that attempts to manage these concerns. I would suggest an amendment to #1 whereby we have:
- Consensus on what server changes we agree are "minor". It is worth noting that many of the given examples in proposal #1 are in fact things which there have been previously been the focus of discussion threads on the wiki (examples: whatever we were doing here about admin role order twice, no consensus to add role icons, changing role colours, no consensus to add more off-topic channels or other channels, consensus to add off-topic channels and a second time, getting consensus to remove update-squids role, splitting OSWF channel, and changing talk permissions for the reddit channels). It's also been the case that changes have been made in the server without consensus, such as adding new channels for projects and archiving things, and that the community has not had an issue with most of these undiscussed changes.
- I personally agree that the changes to roles and changes to channels listed by Hephaestus are minor, with the exception of actually deleting channels rather than just archiving them. I would also argue that making changes to multiple channels, e.g. moving multiple channels around or moving a channel group, is probably more than "minor". If this thread passes successfully with broad agreement on what things are "minor" then this will overtake previously established consensus (like the threads listed above, which would suggest that these changes need formal discussion) so its important that people really consider what they want here. I agree that minor changes should not require consensus and think that server techs should be able to make these changes without prior announcement/discussion. However I also think that other users should be able to request the changes that the community has deemed as minor and that server techs should be obliged to fulfil these requests.
- With any change not being defined as being minor I propose that we have an informal process to allow users to propose their changes on Discord in #meta-discussion (we may also want to use discord threads to prevent discussions being lost). There must be at least 24 hours following the proposal before the changes are implemented. During the 24 hours users can discuss the idea; if at least 5 people (open to ideas here on what would be reasonable: could be a minimum number or a percent using reactions or something) are opposed to the change then it is not implemented, if there is <5 people opposing then the server techs are obliged to implement the changes. Server techs would also be required to use this process from any non-minor change suggestions.
- Hephaestus #2 proposal is a sensible way of resolving any disputes that still occur - i.e. a change is made without discussion as it is deemed a "minor change" but there are users who object to the change; or a change is made following an informal 24 hour discussion where there is initially less than 5 opposers, but users object once the change is implemented. I think it would also be helpful to make it explicit that changes will not be made until after the conclusion of a revert thread: i.e. there would be no revert until the thread is closed. The avenue of making a discord thread is also still available to propose a change, for example if a user does not want to make an informal discussion, or wants to formally propose a change after an informal discussion being unsuccessful.
I feel like this amendment to the original proposal would allow all users to be able to enact changes to the server with minimal hassle, while still giving users opportunity to veto changes when they genuinely have concerns over it not being a good change. At least, it gives users a day's notice of when more significant changes are going to happen, which makes it easier for people to adjust to changes. Isobel talk page 14:48, 29 July 2022 (UTC)
- Two main thoughts here. One, I think it's not going to be feasible to get consensus here about what is/isn't minor. Two, regarding a process for proposing changes, I would prefer to have very short and to-the-point threads on the wiki (like 1-2 days) rather than some new thing we come up with involving Discord discussions and thresholds for opposition. Just a more straightforward way to read the room IMO. ʞooɔ 12:34, 3 August 2022 (UTC)
Closed - This thread really popped off for about 24 hours, huh? It's been about a month and it doesn't seem like any additional discussion is forthcoming. The amended proposal from Hephaestus will be adopted, which basically boils down to:
- Sysadmins (or whoever has implementation ability on the wiki Discord) should feel reasonably unencumbered to make small changes to the server, but this should be done with discretion, and some degree of feedback should be gathered that is hopefully proportional to the prominence of the change.
- If there's a dispute over Discord configuration, anyone is welcome to make a meta thread, which may be closed as early as 1-2 days in, and a "no consensus" result should generally revert back to the status quo prior to whatever change caused the dispute.
- Where possible, care should be taken to try to avoid repeatedly changing things back and forth (no snip-snap-snip-snap).
Isobel made a proposal to create a low-barrier mechanism for non-sysadmins to propose small changes to the wiki Discord. I think this is probably a good idea, but I'm not really comfortable saying there's consensus for it, since nobody else commented on it here (or in Discord, from what I can recall) besides me. I'm not sure if this is because people didn't realize there was a proposal, or everyone was just burnt out from Discord stuff by halfway through the 29th. In any case, it deserves more careful consideration than it got here, so perhaps an explicit thread about it would get more attention. ʞooɔ 13:31, 1 September 2022 (UTC)