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Reza

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People have this rose-tinted, nostalgic idea of how busy and exciting Shiachat used to be and the colourful personalities who used to be here.

Well, this is busy and it is also 'exciting' and we have people who won't stick to sharing houmous recipes. Passionate but polite discussions? Nah - can't remember that combination. In fact, people used to predict when threads would be locked:

https://www.shiachat.com/forum/search/?q="going to be locked"&sortby=relevancy&search_and_or=or

There was even a popular gif of someone making it through a closing door, used by the person who thought that their post would be the last one before a thread was locked.

Happy days?

Edited by Haji 2003

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I think people trolling and making useless posts should be banned for at least a week in the first instance followed by a 3 week ban. 

Also if they continuously over crowd/carpet bomb and try and divert by meaningless argumentation, the above should apply too. 

And we should not try and bring our insecurities to the forum. It is a place to learn and clarify by discussion. 

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5 hours ago, Haji 2003 said:

People have this rose-tinted, nostalgic idea of how busy and exciting Shiachat used to be and the colourful personalities who used to be here.

Perhaps the same psychological process that drives MAGA voters?

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You shared many good points Reza, and I'm comforted to see you acknowledge the existence of such Muslim vigilantes who "react strongly". I have no interest in judging them as people, but their online behaviour can be, in many cases, be described as cyberbullying. I would also like to add that the ShiaChat staff is extremely slow when dealing with such cases, precisely for judging their "outward" online piety. Were it an atheist, a feminist, a Sunni or a supporter of Ahmad al Hassan, it would take no time to decide the user is a troll and deserves a good long ban fee sabeel Allah.

11 hours ago, Reza said:

13. There are certain sensitivities of a Shia majority forum you should follow.

This is a risky point that may justify nearly anything. There are people who may go crazy on you for discussing infallibility (eg of Imams), or for criticizing sharia laws (eg death penalty and its methods) or questioning the meaning/discourse of an Islamic story (the story of al-Khidr snd Moses). And all the examples I have mentioned here are way more significant than questioning, for instance, a XXI century political leader or movement or whatever.

11 hours ago, Reza said:

5. If you give an opinion (especially a minority opinion) expect to get challenged from many sides. There are two extremes, those who post useless chickenscratch sentences and others who go on long copy/paste sprees. Just write one good, solid paragraph and cite a few sources. If youre not up for the challenge, then proceed with caution.

I fear that the two extremes you identify are very different from the real. There is a majority acting like Muslim vigilantes and bashing nearly anyone having an unpopular opinion, and there is a minority that whatever says or does, will keep receiving the treatment of a minority. For instance, in my case, when making a point against homophobia (nowhere in Islam it encourages to prosecute and kill gays, that was something originated from Ayt. Al Sistani), I have shared articles and studies globally renowned by most important health institutions and these have zero value, why? Because a conspiranoid theory (actually with zero value that almost all SCers believe in it, staff included) implies this is all coming from a liberal agenda. This is where I learn that us, minorities, will stay minorities, and if we don't speak out the truth, it's about time we will lose any debate merely for who we are and what is our message, not the ability we have to defend it.

Is this the ShiaChat you want to be in?

Edited by Bakir

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@Reza

Wish to comment:

Reacting strongly can be done well, even great. But some react wrongly, for some reason and in some way or another. 
There is an important difference here. 

When some, whoever they are and whatever intention they do or do not have, are able to "ruin" it for the others and for goodness, that is incorrect.

.

And nice comment about the brains. xD

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4 hours ago, haideriam said:

I think people trolling and making useless posts should be banned for at least a week in the first instance followed by a 3 week ban. 

 

1

There is a difference between trolling and making useless posts. Perhaps one could say levels as well.
Each can be done in different ways and for they both need a specific (re)action if any.

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So this may be news to people but this is the Internet. It is an open site for anyone and everyone to put forth their opinions. At the same time, if you post an opinion, you should be ready for it to be questioned, challenged and even ridiculed.

Fair warning - put on your big-boy/girl pants before posting anything.

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As people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, many of us belong to ethnic minorities. It's no secret that said ethnic minorities already struggle with dealing with 'taboo' subjects. Mashallah, ShiaChat seems to be doing amazing at breaking taboos when it comes to subjects concerning relationships, with yourself and the opposite gender. But somehow, when it comes to the taboo of mental health, nothing is being addressed. I think the majority of people would agree that bullying, whether online or in real life is terrible. We stand against bullying right? So why is it that members who've constantly shown abusive behaviour and proven themselves to be bullies, are being left with no ban? Bullying can take a huge toll on an individual's mental health. Cyber bullying is the same. Especially when you have multiple people bullying and abusing others in the name of Islam and enjoying the good and forbidding the evil. Isn't bullying evil in the first place? I've seen certain individuals prove themselves to be bigger bullies time and time again, so blatantly, but it seems there has been no action taken against them. They still post the same rude posts. So, if in fact they are being penalised, whatever it is that's being done to them is obviously not enough. Bullying should not be tolerated on a forward thinking Shia majority forum like this one. Not only does it damage our name, but it can have a huge negative impact on the more vulnerable individuals of our community.

Cyber bullying must not be tolerated at all.

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1 minute ago, 2Timeless said:

forward thinking

There is nothing called forward thinking or backwards thinking in Islam, this notion comes from the idea that Islam is something that can be liberal or conservative, that is not the reality of Gods eternal religion and system of existence for all things created.

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3 minutes ago, IbnSina said:

There is nothing called forward thinking or backwards thinking in Islam, this notion comes from the idea that Islam is something that can be liberal or conservative, that is not the reality of Gods eternal religion and system of existence for all things created.

I completely agree. I meant that phrase in reference to our communities and the taboos within them, as I mentioned earlier on in my post. You're completely right, there is no such thing as forward or backward thinking Islam.

Here, I was referring to an ideal view of ShiaChat where we are a group of forward thinking people of ethnic minorities (and not) , who will acknowledge and find solutions to issues that would culturally be viewed as 'taboo'. In this case, mental health.

Edited by 2Timeless

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1 hour ago, IbnSina said:

forward thinking or backwards thinking in Islam

There are forward and backward thinking Muslims though. Nonetheless, that's not really the important thing, but a certain degree of respect and tolerance.

Edited by Bakir

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1 minute ago, Bakir said:

There are forward and backward thinking Muslims though. Nonetheless, that's not really the important thing, but a certain degree of respect and tolerance.

You mean traditional Muslims (sunnah) vs new age liberal Muslims (women leading a jamaah prayer) I think.

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2 hours ago, IbnSina said:

You mean traditional Muslims (sunnah) vs new age liberal Muslims (women leading a jamaah prayer) I think.

Well... There is more variety than that imo... Anyway, nevermind.

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4 hours ago, Sisterfatima1 said:

With rule number 3 what if mods have said we are not allowed to comment on someone’s topic?

Firstly, whats stated above aren't "rules" but suggestions. It is advised that members follow them. Of course members can do whatever they want, but they will be liable for any downstream consequences. In general, its best to do what mods say.

Although one of these is in the Official ShiaChat guidelines, which is not to discuss mod actions in public. Something many people forget over and over again. Theres a reason for it.

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20 minutes ago, Reza said:

not to discuss mod actions in public. Something many people forget over and over again. Theres a reason for it.

I honestly do it when the case is public and sets unjust precedents. I can understand the other cases though, where actions are related to others' private lives.

I understand this is not a democracy, but people will obviously talk when something happens in public.

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5 minutes ago, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Brother, we have to realize that being ridiculed isn't acceptable at all. No one in this site should expect that kind of behaviour from anyone. One of the main things about our Shia faith which attracted me was our 'open-mindedness'. I use to be disgusted at some of the Sunni forums, where if we criticized a figure like Ibn Tammiyah, they would be so quick to attack us rather than present a logical argument. Honestly, the more we stand up against this kind of disgusting behaviour and make it abnormal, the better it is for this site. I'm honestly very glad a lot of our members are awake, and refuse to accept all this beef and fights on threads. Once we accept people who ridicule and bully, then we'll become desensitized to it, which is horrible.

Salaam - I hear you. But when people are abusive towards others, they need to be sorted out. I will not say anymore here lest we get into more mudslinging...

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2 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

Salaam - I hear you. But when people are abusive towards others, they need to be sorted out. I will not say anymore here lest we get into more mudslinging...

Firstly, no, it's not regular members' job to sort people out. It's the mods'. Secondly, if the 'sorting out' involves an individual being abusive in return, then it's not really sorting anything out. It's just making things worse, and it's definitely not the akhlaq of the Ahlul Bayt.

There's a famous story about Imam Zainul Abideen that years after the incident of Karbala, he was handing out food to the needy. And one man was among those in the queue. When he reached the Imam, the Imam gave him food without saying anything and the man started crying. "Do you know who I am?" And the Imam replied, "Yes, you are one of the men who killed my father."

If the man hadn't asked, the Imam wouldn't even mention who the guy is. He'd just give him food and let the guy go just like the rest of them. The Imam certainly didn't try to 'sort him out'. We could all learn from this story about how to respond to people if we feel they are crossing the line. First and foremost, we shouldn't cross the line ourselves - this includes thinly veiled passive aggressive attacks. It's not just swearing or calling someone an idiot that's rude. Secondly, if at all possible, we should follow the Imam's example and treat even those who are rude to us with compassion, in the hope that we may change their opinion for the better.

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22 hours ago, Khadim uz Zahra said:

Firstly, no, it's not regular members' job to sort people out. It's the mods'. Secondly, if the 'sorting out' involves an individual being abusive in return, then it's not really sorting anything out. It's just making things worse, and it's definitely not the akhlaq of the Ahlul Bayt.

There's a famous story about Imam Zainul Abideen that years after the incident of Karbala, he was handing out food to the needy. And one man was among those in the queue. When he reached the Imam, the Imam gave him food without saying anything and the man started crying. "Do you know who I am?" And the Imam replied, "Yes, you are one of the men who killed my father."

If the man hadn't asked, the Imam wouldn't even mention who the guy is. He'd just give him food and let the guy go just like the rest of them. The Imam certainly didn't try to 'sort him out'. We could all learn from this story about how to respond to people if we feel they are crossing the line. First and foremost, we shouldn't cross the line ourselves - this includes thinly veiled passive aggressive attacks. It's not just swearing or calling someone an idiot that's rude. Secondly, if at all possible, we should follow the Imam's example and treat even those who are rude to us with compassion, in the hope that we may change their opinion for the better.

I hear you but I don't think the example you cited applies here.

In terms of Regular members 'job', what is the current active moderator to regular members ratio? How does it compare to previous years? is the current ratio sufficient? I ask this question because there is a very popular and effective "Self-Regulating" team approach where the group (in this case ShiaChat members) regulate themselves. Authoritarian rule is so 1980s.

Edited by ShiaMan14

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6 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

I ask this question because there is a very popular and effective "Self-Regulating" team approach where the group (in this case ShiaChat members) regulate themselves

Regardless of how much I may complain about certain aspects of moderation, this idea sounds terrible. They are, in the end, people with a blue name whose moderation actions and messages will be judged. In the other case, though, if majority of people here took a stand in favour of decent principles, that would be okay. But I have seen the exact contrary so many times.

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On 1/29/2019 at 6:51 AM, haideriam said:

I think people trolling and making useless posts should be banned for at least a week in the first instance followed by a 3 week ban. 

Also if they continuously over crowd/carpet bomb and try and divert by meaningless argumentation, the above should apply too. 

Brother, in all honesty, we are very lenient and give many chances to people. Mods debate a lot on what to do. We only look at clear rule violations. Being annoying or being a poor discussion member, or having an unpopular opinion doesn't factor as much as many wish they did. 

On 1/29/2019 at 8:08 AM, Bakir said:

You shared many good points Reza, and I'm comforted to see you acknowledge the existence of such Muslim vigilantes who "react strongly". I have no interest in judging them as people, but their online behaviour can be, in many cases, be described as cyberbullying. I would also like to add that the ShiaChat staff is extremely slow when dealing with such cases, precisely for judging their "outward" online piety. Were it an atheist, a feminist, a Sunni or a supporter of Ahmad al Hassan, it would take no time to decide the user is a troll and deserves a good long ban fee sabeel Allah.

I won't deny in ShiaChat's history this may have been the case. But I hope we've improved since then. 

On 1/29/2019 at 8:08 AM, Bakir said:

This is a risky point that may justify nearly anything. There are people who may go crazy on you for discussing infallibility (eg of Imams), or for criticizing sharia laws (eg death penalty and its methods) or questioning the meaning/discourse of an Islamic story (the story of al-Khidr snd Moses). And all the examples I have mentioned here are way more significant than questioning, for instance, a XXI century political leader or movement or whatever.

Everybody has what's sacred and important to them, and members of an identity driven webform will be more ideological than casual. Qualifying tiers of importance to issues depends on the readers. The internet has become a place of "safe spaces", where people huddle into collectives that reaffirm their beliefs. Facebook news feeds, YouTube feeds, etc algorithms showcase things similar to what you've already clicked on, so finding contrary viewpoints are minimal. 

On 1/29/2019 at 8:08 AM, Bakir said:

I fear that the two extremes you identify are very different from the real. There is a majority acting like Muslim vigilantes and bashing nearly anyone having an unpopular opinion, and there is a minority that whatever says or does, will keep receiving the treatment of a minority. For instance, in my case, when making a point against homophobia (nowhere in Islam it encourages to prosecute and kill gays, that was something originated from Ayt. Al Sistani), I have shared articles and studies globally renowned by most important health institutions and these have zero value, why? Because a conspiranoid theory (actually with zero value that almost all SCers believe in it, staff included) implies this is all coming from a liberal agenda. This is where I learn that us, minorities, will stay minorities, and if we don't speak out the truth, it's about time we will lose any debate merely for who we are and what is our message, not the ability we have to defend it.

Is this the ShiaChat you want to be in?

Can't comment on the specifics of your example, but I never said things were easy. Forum posting and moderation is an art, not a science. 

But overall, you're still here, so something must be working ok?

On 1/29/2019 at 10:34 AM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

@Reza I liked a lot of your points. However I want to kinda go to the root cause.

I think users simply need to stop using religion as a sort of justification to say hurtful things. Forbidding evil and Enjoying good doesn't give us a free ticket to become absolute fools. Islamic Ethics is a very important subject which will help us be a human before anything else. It's our duty to learn from the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt (عليه السلام) - their generosity, humility, forbearance and truthfulness etc. The moment we all worry about perfecting our own character, before judging others, everything will follow.

Pointless debates which are heated and hateful, will destroy your iman, regardless of your intentions. It's something we all need to be careful of. No one gains when both sides argue in an uncivilized way. 

It's truly a challange, but possible inshallah. The least we can do is perfect our akhlaq - you will send positive vibes, and that's what we need.

I've stated this same fact multiple times in the past. People believe since they have the "truth", that gives them free range to behave however they want. Ends justify the means. "Telling it like it is", etc, etc. 

A message is only as good as it's delivery. Nobody else knew that better than the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) himself. If ShiaChat members were responsible for upholding maintaining Islam during its vulnerable years on this Earth (especially during the Husayni period), I guarantee you it wouldn't have been preserved the way it is today. 

On 1/29/2019 at 4:25 PM, 2Timeless said:

As people from diverse backgrounds and cultures, many of us belong to ethnic minorities. It's no secret that said ethnic minorities already struggle with dealing with 'taboo' subjects. Mashallah, ShiaChat seems to be doing amazing at breaking taboos when it comes to subjects concerning relationships, with yourself and the opposite gender. But somehow, when it comes to the taboo of mental health, nothing is being addressed. I think the majority of people would agree that bullying, whether online or in real life is terrible. We stand against bullying right? So why is it that members who've constantly shown abusive behaviour and proven themselves to be bullies, are being left with no ban? Bullying can take a huge toll on an individual's mental health. Cyber bullying is the same. Especially when you have multiple people bullying and abusing others in the name of Islam and enjoying the good and forbidding the evil. Isn't bullying evil in the first place? I've seen certain individuals prove themselves to be bigger bullies time and time again, so blatantly, but it seems there has been no action taken against them. They still post the same rude posts. So, if in fact they are being penalised, whatever it is that's being done to them is obviously not enough. Bullying should not be tolerated on a forward thinking Shia majority forum like this one. Not only does it damage our name, but it can have a huge negative impact on the more vulnerable individuals of our community.

Cyber bullying must not be tolerated at all.

We try to be lenient and have a procedure for members with inappropriate posts. First, we try to calmly tell them to stop. Then it leads to warnings. After a few warnings, then suspensions. Then possible mod preview. Then after all that is exhausted, and the member continues to show bad behavior, a ban is possible. Basically we give them every opportunity for recourse. 

It's a slow process that maybe you think should be faster? That's a viewpoint, but most members don't know what goes on behind the scenes. 

Then again, others complain that we ban too quickly and trigger happy. So which is it?

 

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8 hours ago, ShiaMan14 said:

I hear you but I don't think the example you cited applies here.

In terms of Regular members 'job', what is the current active moderator to regular members ratio? How does it compare to previous years? is the current ratio sufficient? I ask this question because there is a very popular and effective "Self-Regulating" team approach where the group (in this case ShiaChat members) regulate themselves. Authoritarian rule is so 1980s.

Yes, I think the ratio is sufficient. 

Yes, there is always a self-regulating component, but ultimately mods exist for a reason. No respectable discussion thread or forum on the internet doesn't have them. 

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8 hours ago, Reza said:

Yes, I think the ratio is sufficient. 

Yes, there is always a self-regulating component, but ultimately mods exist for a reason. No respectable discussion thread or forum on the internet doesn't have them. 

I am definitely not saying to do away with Mods. I was referring to the comment that regular members should not self-regulate each other.

 

On 1/29/2019 at 10:25 PM, ali_fatheroforphans said:

Brother, we have to realize that being ridiculed isn't acceptable at all. No one in this site should expect that kind of behaviour from anyone. One of the main things about our Shia faith which attracted me was our 'open-mindedness'. I use to be disgusted at some of the Sunni forums, where if we criticized a figure like Ibn Tammiyah, they would be so quick to attack us rather than present a logical argument. Honestly, the more we stand up against this kind of disgusting behaviour and make it abnormal, the better it is for this site. I'm honestly very glad a lot of our members are awake, and refuse to accept all this beef and fights on threads. Once we accept people who ridicule and bully, then we'll become desensitized to it, which is horrible.

Salaam - so we can't have a blanket approach to all situations.

Our Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was sent as mercy to mankind. Yet he took part in wars and battles. He even gave his approval for an entire male population of a tribe to be killed. So there is a time and place for everything.

Circling back to ShiaChat, when you see a person named Abul-Hussain Hasani - first reaction is what an awesome name, this person must be a true Shia. You start suspecting something after a few weeks and then eventually you get the confirmation that this person is actually an administrator on an anti-Shia web-site just pretending to Shia. So what do you do? Report to a Mod? The Mod may ban him but he will create another name and keep doing what he is doing. Additionally he will brag to his anti-Shia friends that Shias could not hack his posts, so he got banned. He will get high-fives from his mates and a few of them will come to ShiaChat to try their luck.

My experience tells me it is better to go after them with such fervor that they think twice about visiting ShiaChat and if they do, they won't tell their friends about it because they would be embarrassed to do so.

So I am not saying ridicule everyone, but sometimes it is the better option.

 

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