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Old 12-12-2016, 12:19 PM   #1
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Default Rules for The Soap Box

As announced in the survey thread about setting up a New Political Board (NPB), we have already discussed among the mod team rather extensively which lessons we need to learn from the end of Hyde Park. It was a long process and had more to do with the observation and enforcement of rules than the rules themselves.

In the following, we have mapped out what we deem important and plan to implement and would appreciate some feed-back and maybe further ideas from the Dims political community here.

Given the past experiences, it is a more detailed than we would like and includes some things you normally shouldn’t need to tell literate adults. But maybe spelling out a few additional lines can help make the discussion and later decision process a little more transparent.

The internal mod team discussion though has come up with guarding rails on both sides:
Neither a “we’re adults – we don’t need rules” approach nor an minute enumeration of every potential opinion deviation is feasible.

We hope to come up with a set of comprehensive, more or less self-enforcing rules that account for a lively, controversial but civilized discussion as we know it from the other forums here. Disagree about the issue; agree on the ground rules.


Draft Rules

The New Political Board at Dimensions offers a forum for the Dims community to discuss North American, international and regional (i.e. ASEAN, CELAC, EU) general political issues in an open and respectful manner.
  1. Dimensions is an adult site, so participation in the Soap Box is linked to showing respectful behavior to other adults as you yourself expect it in a face-to-face situation. It also is a site that caters to a non-mainstream interest – meaning fat acceptance and admiration. Posters are expected to actively show and live the tolerance they demand for their interests towards others. This means making a conscious effort and contribution to developing this into a true civil society forum.

  2. Political boundaries are advocacy for issues and causes that are generally understood to be illegal and antisocial -- Nazism, racial supremacy, pedophilia, invocation of violence or terrorism, and similar subjects. Threads and posts on these issues will be deleted.

    This board is for discussing political issues – and not attacking political opponents. All posters must respect other political convictions and religious beliefs and refrain from personal aggression against others because of theirs.
    Legal framework for decision making is the State of California Defamation Law, as in the section of the California Civil Code (§§ 44, 45a & 46).

    In board practice this means:

    • Discussion means posters interact with others and respond. That includes reacting to other arguments and opinions, not simply reiterating your own.

    • Faking data or quotes or establishing fake correlations is outlawed.
      For example: Some things are universally acknowledged – like 197 countries set up the United Nations Secretariat to combat Climate Change. Even if you don’t believe in it, accept it that most of the world sees this as a fact.

    • No name calling – neither personally, not other groups, not in thread or post titles.

    • No images outside of the designated image thread. No degrading images even on the image thread.

  3. The infraction system used for the rest of the boards will only be used on the political boards for offenses against Dimensions-wide rules. For the most part, however, infractions of the NPB rules will be dealt with using a simplified system:

    1. When a moderator sees a post that they consider may break the rules, they will moderate the post (rendering it invisible to most posters, but the mods can still see it), and report it for moderator discussion. That moderator will post a short post stating that a post by (poster name) has been pulled for moderator review.

    2. Once at least three mods have reviewed the post and two of them agree about it, it will categorized in one of three ways: Acceptable, yellow card, red card (see below).

    3. Depending on the moderator panel decision, the following actions will happen:

      • Acceptable. Post is restored, moderator post about the review is edited to explain the conclusion.

      • Yellow/Red Card: Post is fully deleted, any follow-up discussion directly related to that post is deleted (could require moderator editing of longer posts), the moderator post is edited to note that a yellow/red card was issued to (poster name), and in the tracking sticky that poster is noted as having a yellow/red card.


    What are these Yellow and Red cards?

    • A yellow card is an official warning. When you are issued a yellow card, it stays with you for a month. A yellow card is issued for poor behavior and marginal cases. If you get a second yellow card while you have an active yellow card, you instead are given a red card.

    • A red card is given for more serious rules breaches, or repetitive lesser offenses. A red card lasts for a month. While you have a red card against your name, you lose your NPB posting privileges. You may still be active on the rest of the board, however bringing political discussions into other boards while under a red card will get you infracted under the general rules (and we’ll be far less tolerant of borderline cases of politics while a poster is under a red card). Posters who receive three red cards in a calender year will be permanently banned from The Soap Box.


    As we have a limited pool of moderators, who are all volunteers and have many other demands on their time, getting three moderators to review a case may take some time, so even posts which are eventually deemed acceptable may disappear for longer than is ideal. If you really don’t want this to happen to your posts, try not to tread too close to the edge of the rules.

  4. Access to the board will be via whitelist; in order to post on The Soap Box people will have to ask for access from the mod team. Previous members of the Hyde Park board will be 'grandfathered' onto the Soap Box and automatically given access when requested. New members will have to make a total of 10 posts on the rest of the forum before access will be granted. This is to stop sock-puppet accounts and spam.

  5. The Soap Box will be reviewed by the mods after 3 months (31st March 2017) to decide if the board will continue into the future or be removed.



Ideas we want community input on

  1. How long would you like the yellow cards to last? I have written a month currently, but would two weeks be better? A week? What do you think will work best?

Finally, feel free to question things, give opinions and give advice for us regarding these rules. We want to work with you to make something that benefits the whole community.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:18 PM   #2
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How about disabling the ability to upload images in the NPB? Different people will have different opinions on what constitutes "excessive".


1.How shall access to the NPB work? What about the idea of having the NPB white listed, so that in order to post on the NPB people have to contribute to other boards/areas of Dims? After all, this is supposed to be a political board for members of the Dims community.
I love this idea.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScreamingChicken View Post
How about disabling the ability to upload images in the NPB? Different people will have different opinions on what constitutes "excessive".


1.How shall access to the NPB work? What about the idea of having the NPB white listed, so that in order to post on the NPB people have to contribute to other boards/areas of Dims? After all, this is supposed to be a political board for members of the Dims community.
I love this idea.

But I do like the Political Jokes thread, and that would eliminate that one entirely.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deven View Post
But I do like the Political Jokes thread, and that would eliminate that one entirely.
It felt more like a meme war than anyone actually getting a laugh. But to each their own.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:29 PM   #5
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I like the direction this is going.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:34 PM   #6
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First idea off the top of my head is no images whatsoever in any threads other than the one specific cartoons and images thread. That alone was one of the most irritating things.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:39 PM   #7
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What kind of consequences will be faced by those who are repeat recipients of red cards?
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
What kind of consequences will be faced by those who are repeat recipients of red cards?
I was wondering about that as well. Repeated timeouts haven't worked in the past at discouraging obnoxious behavior.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackjack View Post
What kind of consequences will be faced by those who are repeat recipients of red cards?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScreamingChicken View Post
I was wondering about that as well. Repeated timeouts haven't worked in the past at discouraging obnoxious behavior.
Set 'em on fire?

Or maybe temporary (or permanent) removal from the political board?
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:56 PM   #10
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Three red cards within in a six or twelve month period leads to no posting on the NPB for six or twelve months.
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:18 PM   #11
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The FIFA statutes from which we adopted the yellow/red card system actually have the provision for longer bans to license revocation for serial red card offenders. They're almost never enforced though because even Luis Suarez isn't that dumb to ruin his overpaid livelihood.
But we'll look into that - see how we can handle it here.

And I personally like Leo's idea of limiting pics to a designated thread. Because good (!!!) political cartoons also deserve a place on a political board.
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:15 PM   #12
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I like these rules and feel they will eliminate some of the problems that were seen in Hyde Park.

I did enjoy the political cartoons thread, at times some people could really over do it, but feel that there should be some type of limit as to how many images etc.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:08 PM   #13
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With all due respect to the efforts of the Mods, the proposed system of rules will not work. For example, a posters creates a “wall of text” over 5 or 6 paragraphs. Under the proposed rules if the moderator has a “problem” with one sentence in the post; the entire post disappears while it is under review. Second, if that one sentence is considered “defective” by two Mods, the entire post is gone forever. (Even if there is nothing wrong with the rest of the post.) Further, if other posters make comments about sections of the “clean” post … their post will now be responding to nothing.

Point two; the Mods suggest there are political topics that can not be discussed. For example, President Obama signed the Paris Agreement on behalf of the United States. (It is an executive agreement under US law since the provisions of the agreement were never submitted to the Senate for approval.)

President-elect Trump has said he will ignore the agreement since it is not legally binding on him nor does he agree with the premise of the agreement.

Yet, this is clearly something that is political. So why could we not discuss this and debate it?

Also, what other “political” topics are the Mods making off limits for discussion? Why does it feel like the Mods are attempting to create a new political board that is a (PBINO) or Political Board In Name Only?
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leem View Post
I like these rules and feel they will eliminate some of the problems that were seen in Hyde Park.

I did enjoy the political cartoons thread, at times some people could really over do it, but feel that there should be some type of limit as to how many images etc.
Suggestion:
One per post and no two consecutive posts by an individual on a thread may be image-only or primarily based around an image. The only justification for posting multiple images should be to use one as a commentary on the other, to include supporting graphs or charts (with attribution), or multiple screenshots of Twitter posts if needed to cover a conversation or Tweetstorm -- but this should not be exploited to allow multi-meme posts. (Probably that last is better done as a screenshot or link to a Twitter-cataloging site like Storify, but whatever.)

That reads a bit awkwardly. The idea is to prevent meme-spamming. Essentially, if you post a meme, you have to also post a a (presumably) substantial and on-topic text post as well, before dropping another meme. It's ok to include charts, graphs, or tables if you also link the source.

Clear abuse of the spirit of this policy should constitute an infraction. One such abusive case might be: post meme, post 10-character text post, post another meme.

This probably needs a bit more nuance but it's at least on the soccer field.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CleverBomb View Post
Suggestion:
One per post and no two consecutive posts by an individual on a thread may be image-only or primarily based around an image. The only justification for posting multiple images should be to use one as a commentary on the other, to include supporting graphs or charts (with attribution), or multiple screenshots of Twitter posts if needed to cover a conversation or Tweetstorm -- but this should not be exploited to allow multi-meme posts. (Probably that last is better done as a screenshot or link to a Twitter-cataloging site like Storify, but whatever.)

That reads a bit awkwardly. The idea is to prevent meme-spamming. Essentially, if you post a meme, you have to also post a a (presumably) substantial and on-topic text post as well, before dropping another meme. It's ok to include charts, graphs, or tables if you also link the source.

Clear abuse of the spirit of this policy should constitute an infraction. One such abusive case might be: post meme, post 10-character text post, post another meme.

This probably needs a bit more nuance but it's at least on the soccer field.
A bit more? It sounds like a lot of work for mods to police. A blanket ban, except for a specific political cartoon thread, may be inconvenient but it's difficult to abuse.
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Old 12-13-2016, 02:05 AM   #16
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Hey guys, thank you all for your feedback! I'm really glad to see people getting involved and taking the time to work with us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScreamingChicken View Post
I was wondering about that as well. Repeated timeouts haven't worked in the past at discouraging obnoxious behavior.
There are a few ways we could go about it... one idea would be to keep track of the number of red cards a person has had in a time span (say, in a calender year) and every time they get another red card the ban length doubles (e.g. one week for the first red card, two for the second, four for the third etc etc).

I do think that a lot of the reason timeouts didn't work as deterrents on Hyde Park is because people were willing to take them in order to have their rule breaking posts out there. We are hoping that if we delete all rule breaking posts then this will act as more of a deterrent, as from my experience as moderator the people on Hyde Park tend to care a lot more about whether or not their post is deleted than if they get banned for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoGibson View Post
First idea off the top of my head is no images whatsoever in any threads other than the one specific cartoons and images thread. That alone was one of the most irritating things.
I think this would make a good middle ground. No images allowed aside from in a specified thread would be simple and easy to understand and implement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DELIMAN092262 View Post
With all due respect to the efforts of the Mods, the proposed system of rules will not work. For example, a posters creates a “wall of text” over 5 or 6 paragraphs. Under the proposed rules if the moderator has a “problem” with one sentence in the post; the entire post disappears while it is under review. Second, if that one sentence is considered “defective” by two Mods, the entire post is gone forever. (Even if there is nothing wrong with the rest of the post.) Further, if other posters make comments about sections of the “clean” post … their post will now be responding to nothing.

Point two; the Mods suggest there are political topics that can not be discussed. For example, President Obama signed the Paris Agreement on behalf of the United States. (It is an executive agreement under US law since the provisions of the agreement were never submitted to the Senate for approval.)

President-elect Trump has said he will ignore the agreement since it is not legally binding on him nor does he agree with the premise of the agreement.

Yet, this is clearly something that is political. So why could we not discuss this and debate it?

Also, what other “political” topics are the Mods making off limits for discussion? Why does it feel like the Mods are attempting to create a new political board that is a (PBINO) or Political Board In Name Only?
Okay Deli, thank you for taking the time to give us your opinion.

I agree that pulling all of a large post for one or two lines that break the rules isn't ideal, but at the end of the day the idea is to encourage people not to break the rules in the first place. I did forget to mention it in the rules, but for Yellow Card offenses we would offer the poster the opportunity to edit their post to remove the rule breaking lines rather than having it deleted.

I'm not sure I understand where you are coming from with your second point. I don't understand why you wouldn't be allowed to discuss that under these rules?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CleverBomb View Post
Suggestion:
One per post and no two consecutive posts by an individual on a thread may be image-only or primarily based around an image. The only justification for posting multiple images should be to use one as a commentary on the other, to include supporting graphs or charts (with attribution), or multiple screenshots of Twitter posts if needed to cover a conversation or Tweetstorm -- but this should not be exploited to allow multi-meme posts. (Probably that last is better done as a screenshot or link to a Twitter-cataloging site like Storify, but whatever.)

That reads a bit awkwardly. The idea is to prevent meme-spamming. Essentially, if you post a meme, you have to also post a a (presumably) substantial and on-topic text post as well, before dropping another meme. It's ok to include charts, graphs, or tables if you also link the source.

Clear abuse of the spirit of this policy should constitute an infraction. One such abusive case might be: post meme, post 10-character text post, post another meme.

This probably needs a bit more nuance but it's at least on the soccer field.
Wow, thanks for all the thought you put into this! I agree that ideally, I like for graphs etc to be allowed in the NPB in general as they can be useful for backing up points. I think your suggestion would be a bit too difficult/involved for a small team of volunteer moderators to handle, though.

We could have a rule that data charts/info graphs are allowed if accompanying a text post but that all other images are to be restrained to the designated thread?
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:39 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DELIMAN092262 View Post
With all due respect to the efforts of the Mods, the proposed system of rules will not work. For example, a posters creates a “wall of text” over 5 or 6 paragraphs. Under the proposed rules if the moderator has a “problem” with one sentence in the post; the entire post disappears while it is under review. Second, if that one sentence is considered “defective” by two Mods, the entire post is gone forever.
That is not the case.
Threads/posts are moderated to also have the option of editing and amending them. We do that in the Library all the time. With stories that are good - but either content or language wise something more minor either needs improvement or doesn't comply with the rules. It's moderated, we discuss with the author, mostly changes are made and back up it goes.

Same would happen on the NPB in a case like the one you reference.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DELIMAN092262 View Post
Point two; the Mods suggest there are political topics that can not be discussed. For example, President Obama signed the Paris Agreement on behalf of the United States. (It is an executive agreement under US law since the provisions of the agreement were never submitted to the Senate for approval.)

President-elect Trump has said he will ignore the agreement since it is not legally binding on him nor does he agree with the premise of the agreement.

Yet, this is clearly something that is political. So why could we not discuss this and debate it?
Of course you can discuss whether or not President Obama's handling of the Paris Agreement makes political sense or not. (I for one would argue that he made a mistake in not trying to get it through Congress. Because the question of climate action is one which finally needs to be addressed and decided by the highest US legislative authority, alone for reasons of political hygiene.)

Nevertheless, since 197 countries agree that something is happening with the climate, any discussions about this will of course be subject to closer scrutiny as to their bogus content.
To use an analogy: It took the Catholic Church until 1992 (!) to officially acknowledge that the earth isn't flat.
Remember, their Inquisition incarcerated Galilei for claiming that in 1632! And it was not until 1822 that they took the first publication including the heliocentric system of the universe off the index. For the world in general, Copernicus' and Galilei's discoveries were a given since at the latest 1750.
From a certain point onward it's just that knowledge has moved on and doubting and debating it is no longer relevant.
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:54 AM   #18
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I would like to see cartoons and memes mostly, if not entirely, allowed only in the "Political Pics and Jokes" thread. Even in there, however, one or two users would typically post six or ten in one post -- or, if the rules required it, would no doubt drop back to six or ten posts in a row. Many of the pics posted were not jokes/cartoons. I think that's some of the concern I'm hearing.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:44 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Big Beautiful Dreamer View Post
I would like to see cartoons and memes mostly, if not entirely, allowed only in the "Political Pics and Jokes" thread. Even in there, however, one or two users would typically post six or ten in one post -- or, if the rules required it, would no doubt drop back to six or ten posts in a row. Many of the pics posted were not jokes/cartoons. I think that's some of the concern I'm hearing.
It felt more like an attempt at passive/aggressive attacks than jokes or cartoons. Someone would post something that offended someone's sensibilities. the other side would attack only to be met with something along the lines of "what makes you think I was talking about you?"...lather, rinse, repeat.
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:02 AM   #20
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The scepticism whether a political pic/cartoon board can work is well founded given past experiences.

But maybe this is one for a classic trial&error approach. Restrict images to a special pic thread.
If that works out - great, then we have a thread with in the best case entertaining & thought provoking images.
If it descends into a pictorial garbage dump again - too bad; we can still delete it then and turn the NPB into a text only board.
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:11 AM   #21
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I am going to be that guy and point out the 800 pound pink gorilla in the room...until I hear Big Mac and Bio weigh in and see where they stand with all the proposed changes, I am going to be concerned about the NPB's success. For good or bad (depending on your point of view), they framed Hyde Park the last few years. And I am worried that it takes just a handful of people to derail the NPB.
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Old 12-13-2016, 10:16 AM   #22
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Urge to snark... rising... *vibrates*

Somehow I don't see bio responding, though.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:33 AM   #23
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I have a GREAT idea!. Post the rules, open the board, and hand out infractions as needed. If someone wants to piss in the sandbox, show them the door.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:46 AM   #24
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I have a GREAT idea!. Post the rules, open the board, and hand out infractions as needed. If someone wants to piss in the sandbox, show them the door.
Except there has been a reluctance to do that in the past. Infract people over the silliest things that are not in the rules but an inability to ban those that made things miserable because they were a "draw" or it would be showing one side favoritism or a number of other excuses.

Don't be afraid to use the ban hammer every once in a great while.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:49 AM   #25
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How shall access to the NPB work? What about the idea of having the NPB white listed, so that in order to post on the NPB people have to contribute to other boards/areas of Dims? After all, this is supposed to be a political board for members of the Dims community.
I'm curious as to people's thoughts on this one. What this means in practice is that everyone who wanted to post on the NPB would have to write (probably to Loopy) and ask to have their status adjusted so that they were allowed to post there.

This could be taken even farther, so that people who don't have write access to the board can't even see it. But the issue then is that new members would have a hard time finding out it existed. On the other hand, people who don't want to be bothered by politics wouldn't see the board (either on the home page or in latest posts).

IF we put that rule in place, a couple of things could be done with it:
- as suggested, we could put requirements in place in order to get posting permission. For example, we could say something like "You have to have made at least productive posts in the past year before you can use the NPB" (by productive we mean that posting "One ......" "Two ........" etc wouldn't count, nor would be going into the Lounge and posting "This game is so stupid, I can't believe how much time people waste playing it."

- If we did the above, possibly we could add some related requirement as part of clearing a red card? (You have to wait two weeks, but you also have to make at least four useful non-political posts, or whatever).

- Aside from making sure that people using the board have at least some involvement with the broader community (letting people see another side of them, and maybe getting them to see another side of other people), this would also help block off any the occasional odd case where a new sign-up immediately started in HP without having posted elsewhere, which always raised concerns about sock-puppet accounts.

- On the other hand, this would be more work to administer, and maybe feels infantalizing?
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