TOS/Policy update and explanations/definitions:
Social networking is always evolving and we at Elysian Fields try to keep up with those evolving issues to the best of our ability. This often leads to new or revised policies and Terms Of Service as with the Patron site links a few months ago.
It is our objective to have Elysian Fields be a place where all of us who love these characters can share and enjoy fanworks that continue to tell stories that center on the Spuffy connection. We aim to have it be a place where we can be a community of fans where interaction is encouraging and polite, where members can feel they are in a safe place to enjoy and share.
This does require a certain amount of, for lack of a better word, policing (insofar as volunteers are able to do so). And so for that reason, there are going to be a few changes and/or policies put into place in the coming weeks.
CHAT / Chatzy:
On the menu bar is a link (Chat) to a Chatzy live chat room. That menu link has always been merely a convenience. This chat room has never been an official part of Elysian Fields. It can be reached by going directly to it thus: http://www.chatzy.com/elysianfields the direct link from the menu will be removed as soon as coding changes are made. None of the mods here have the time or authority to police a site that is not officially ours so it has been decided that the link will be eliminated. Feel free to link on your own with the above link and enjoy the chatting but remember that we at EF are not responsible for any conversations that take place there.
We are tweaking our policies on-site behavior, this is another reason we are breaking the direct link to Chatzy.
It is our intention to set clear expectations about member behavior and protect and preserve our online reputation.
We have provided multiple outlets for conversations between members that we do have authority over and will be continuing to monitor. They all serve a purpose but are not all the same.
The shoutbox is located on the home page of the site and as such is visible to every person, registered member or not, who visits our site.
The shoutbox is a place for members to say hello, give RL updates, ask questions, make announcements and so on. There are guidelines however and a reason for them.
Because all ages have unrestricted access, language should be in keeping with the varying age groups who visit. If a word is unacceptable for children or young teens it should not be used in the shoutbox. Please avoid coarse language.
There is a current limit of 300 characters for a shout and long conversations or complicated conversations are not appropriate with such limitations. That is why we have a separate LJ and FB page for such conversations. (more on that later). You are encouraged to take such longer or more in-depth conversations there. You might announce the topic of the conversation and provide a link in the shoutbox to the actual conversation. This will allow those not interested to forgo having to wade through 300 word snippets of interrupted conversation or to have disagreements turn ugly or be misunderstood.
Those who post anything intended to cause trouble in the shoutbox will receive a written warning from the site Mods after a report from other members and evaluation indicates the need. This could lead to restricted site privileges that could include a limited ban from using the shoutbox. Any action deemed as harassment such as a flurry of PM’s that accompany the troublesome shoutbox post will be cause for further action as well.
The new TOS on this will be in place shortly but in a nutshell there will be stages to how any violations will be dealt with. Anyone determined to be in violation of the new policies on Cyberbullying, Harassment, Flaming and/or Trolling (all to be defined later in this article) will be given the following (in order): A written warning to cease and desist. There will be no more than 3 written warnings in a year permitted before a permanent or one year site ban is put on the member’s ID. In the case of a one year ban, the member would be permitted back with full privileges. However, just one more warning upon return will result in a permanent ban.
LJ and FB (EF sponsored pages) conversations:
Politeness is always in order. That does not mean respectful disagreement is unacceptable. People have different opinions and views and that is fine and free speech is always permitted but the language used should always be respectful and, obviously, no name-calling is ever okay.
The subject of the conversation should be clear so that those entering into the discussions will know what they are getting into. Not everyone wishes to partake in a conversation on (for example) genres or technical writing skills whereas many others would be delighted. Make sure you title the thread properly.
No one should enter such discussions simply to stir up trouble. If you don’t wish to hear contrary opinions on a subject, do not join in the conversation!
This is how the LJ and FB pages differ from the shoutbox and why it is the proper place for those sorts of conversations. The shoutbox is there for every set of eyes to see and/or wade through to get to other shouts not related to the longer conversations. You either avoid the shoutbox altogether lest you encounter one of those discussions or you risk getting pulled in or upset. By keeping those conversations in the LJ or FB realm (and, as stated before links with description can be posted in the shoutbox to let interested parties know the conversations are taking place), only those who wish to participate can. It also makes it easier to follow the shoutbox flow without a lengthy discourse on a particular topic. Conversation not broken into 300 word chunks and with other conversations popping up in the middle will make it easier to follow for everyone.
Clearly this is not an attempt on our part to censor conversations or silence opinions but directing such conversations to the proper place. We do still insist on following basic rules of a civilized conversation that one would expect such as no flaming, harassment, bullying, trolling, and that sort of thing. Members can report violations and there will be an evaluation of the report by the mods.
DEFINITIONS of some of the terms used in this article:
Cyberbullying: Can take several forms some easier to spot than others. This includes, but is not limited to mean comments intended to inflict hurt, making fun of the victim, gossiping about another member, sending harassing PM’s or E-mails to another member.
A more difficult form to notice or police is the use of passive-aggressive behavior. Passive-Aggressive behavior on social media is explained in depth in several articles online including https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201805/confronting-passive-aggressive-behavior-social-media
Passive-aggression is a deliberate but masked way of expressing feelings of anger, it is carried out online through several actions that often fall over into cyberbullying. Without directly addressing passive-aggressive behavior the dynamic will be played out again and again and leads to disruptive situations and unsafe environments.
Passive-aggression is there but it is not. You see it and you don’t. Sometimes there is an innocent explanation but often there is not and the passive-aggressors themselves might not even know which is which. That is why a complaint that such behavior is taking place will need to be evaluated by more than one set of eyes.
Some examples that might warrant evaluation include “the non-compliment”. If you are not sure which kind of compliment you’ve gotten, pay attention to your responses. If you feel like saying, “Thank you” it’s a normal compliment. If you feel like crying or screaming from the room...not so much. “Terrific soup” is a compliment, “Terrific soup, I didn’t even taste all that cilantro” is a passive-aggressive non-compliment.
“Wistful wishing” is another example. Someone will passive-aggressively announce something they want and then immediately conclude, aloud, that it’s probably not going to happen. The objective is to get an idea out there then immediately disown it. To illustrate, “It would be so great if no one ever wrote another claim fic but I guess that would make some people unhappy,” would be a passive-aggressive statement.
“The disguised insult” is another. Usually it comes in the form of a “but” statement. Something along the lines of “I don’t want to sound mean, but…” or “I hope you don’t think I’m insensitive, but…” After that “but” comes something hurtful or insensitive or judgmental. This is as close to pure aggression as the passive-aggressor gets.
If you see a pattern, it is probably real. You can tell the aggressor to knock it off but it often does not work. If you see a pattern, report it and a determination can be made if such statements indicate invocation of policy towards the offender should take place.
Harassment: Is repeated and unrelenting negative threats, mean comments and other hurtful activity. It becomes cyberbullying based on the repetition. Specifically, harassment can mean sharing private communications online with others, targeting the victim relentlessly in group communications or simply sending hurtful private message to another.
Flaming: Flames usually occur in a public setting online such as a chat group, shoutbox or forum. The cyberbully will send hurtful, angry or shaming messages to the victim directly but within the group so others can see. In addition to the effect of the hurtful message itself, the victim has also lost some of their credibility and reputation within the group and may feel they cannot be part of the community anymore. The victim will often disappear from the group with no fanfare but emotionally distraught.
Trolling: To make a deliberate offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them. A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community intending to provoke readers into an emotional response or otherwise disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
Often a troll will use emotionally charged words or expressions (“ick” or “yuck” in an opinion for example). They will use negative words designed to cause an emotional response in others.
Many trolls will take the time and energy to continue the trolling via PM’s or e-mails once they begin the exercise in the forum, shoutbox or other area of public communication.
How to spot a troll: A social media troll is someone who creates conflict on sites by posting messages that are particularly controversial or inflammatory with the sole intent of provoking an emotional (read: angry) response from other users. We all are capable of saying something that will result in hurt or anger. When informed that we have done so the normal response is to apologize (a REAL apology for the hurt/anger not a “if you were hurt…” statement of non-apology apology) and move on. With a troll there will not be an apology but a continuation that often attempts to shift the blame for the hurt/anger response on the person trolled. This can also lead to a group “taking of sides” situation. The more you respond to a troll the more motivation they have to continue stirring the pot.
Trolls do not toll to start an open-minded discourse about issues, they exist solely to antagonize and start fights.
Why do people troll? There are many reasons, but bear in mind they may feel depressed, attention-starved, angry, sad, jealous, narcissistic or some other emotion they may not be conscious of that influences their online behavior. The most recommended response by experts to a troll trying to provoke you is to just ignore them. The old saying, “Don’t feed the troll,” is apt.
Sadly this does not always stop them. If you feel you are being trolled, report to the mods and it will be investigated and dealt with according to policy.
They troll for many reasons including but not limited to being a source of perverse entertainment for the troller, to be offensive and argumentative, to derive pleasure from annoying, hurting or angering others, to get attention, to feel powerful, to gain recognition, to upset the victim and even to present themselves as the victim.
Conflict vs. bullying: Conflict is a disagreement (civil) or argument in which both sides express their views. Bullying is negative behavior directed by someone seeking control over another person. Their goal is to hurt, harm or humiliate.
Cyberbullying can be relentless and increases the likelihood of anxiety and depression in the person being bullied (or those impacted as an observer).
Those who feel bullied can notably decrease involvement with the site or become withdrawn, losing interest in the community at large or the fandom in general. Not everyone who leaves a fandom or site is a victim of bullying but it is also not uncommon.
People guided by empathy usually realize they have hurt someone and will want to stop their negative behavior. On the other hand, people intending to cause harm and whose behavior goes beyond normal conflict will continue their behavior even when knowing it is hurting someone. At times revisiting a topic already proven to cause trouble in the past.
These types of behavior break down a community. It drives people away. It causes hurt and anger. It can eventually destroy a site completely.
When members try to retaliate or do anything that might be perceived by an outsider to have contributed to the problem you make it worse. Do not respond to a cyberbully except to calmly ask them to stop. If they refuse then take the next step and report the behavior to administration.
Again we will be adapting our TOS and policies to reflect our position on such behavior if and when it is reported or noticed by the mods. Warnings will be given and if that does not eliminate the problem site bans and restrictions will be enacted.
We are not trying to stifle anyone. We are not trying to censor anyone. We are not looking forward to a role as police-person. We do insist on having this site be one that is a positive place for people who share an interest in Spuffy and love of this fandom. We insist on respectful behavior and proper conflict resolution. We hope these coming clarifications and changes will help to preserve that environment, keep EF a place for writers to expand their skills and share their output and readers to enjoy the free gift of these stories as well as the community discussions that take place on site run locations such as the shoutbox, LJ and FB EF pages.
What to do if you have experienced or believe you have witnessed a violation?
Every registered member has a profile page. On that page next to the username are boxes one of which says, “[Report this]”. Click this box and fill in your report of where the violation occurred and it will transmit to the administrators of the site. The mods will then investigate and take it from there. You might be contacted for further information if deemed necessary. Please be as specific as possible so that we can make a fair and timely judgment. If the infraction occurred in a PM or e-mail you should be willing to share that information with the mods. (a screenshot will work or an e-mail forward)
Thank you for reading and understanding and for helping us be the place you WANT to come and join in safely.
--Mods on May 22, 2018 08:36pm 25 Comments