Another One Down
Another week, that is.
Not to mention most likely a valuable forum for techy types, since it would seem that the Stack Overflow network has acquired itself that terrible combination of terminally well-meaning but horrifyingly naïve HR-type folks who have come to the conclusion that they need to enforce proper pronominal behavior upon us peons whose main concern is high quality content.
Thus far, the exercise has seen one moderator de-modded, multiple other moderators resigning in support of the de-modded mod or in protest over the new code of conduct rules (it’s not easy to work out which, and at this point I don’t care. The confusion surrounding the entire mess is such that if I hadn’t developed compassion fatigue the numerous long and oh-so-earnest posts on all sides of the matter would have driven me insane). It’s also seen numerous long-term members retreating at speed, simply to ensure they aren’t targeted by what appears to be an enthusiastic ban-hammer wielded by someone with a lack of discretion and/or common sense.
Heck, it’s more than likely most of the people involved in the mess will never find out what’s going on, not least because the combination of the corporate management and a number of forums that are private or limited-access mean that most people have at best a third-hand account.
My, I’m confused. I fail to see the need for several thousand words of increasingly self-contradictory verbiage when a simple “Treat other people with respect” covers the lot. Unfortunately when something that operated primarily on mutual trust – that is, trusting that the overwhelming majority of users would do their honest best to honor the extremely limited set of rules (stay on topic, treat people with respect, ask good questions and give good answers pretty much covers it) – is pushed into something where the behavior is fenced by rules attempting to cover every situation the end result is never good.
Every time I’ve seen this shift, the organization that does it has died. Some take longer than others, but the inevitable result of withdrawing trust is to foster bad faith behavior and ultimately a collection of dick moves that can’t be penalized because they’re technically covered by the rules. Which leads to more rules, more loopholes, and even less trust.
Sound familiar? It should.
It’s a fine premise to play with in a story, but I really don’t want to watch it happen in real life.