Wikinews:Water cooler/policy/archives/2010/November

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Civility, retirements and drama: Let's stop it now

{{flag}} We've got several discussions about this in the past few weeks/months, but we have to urgently do something about it. These discussions have been shamelessly ignored. There are several incivility claims about certain user, we've lost many trusted users and administrators of Wikinews in a short period of time, requests for desysop and decheckuser, and all the drama that has followed this, have created an atmosphere in which it is difficult to work. Policies to make Wikinews a better place are urgently needed to be done, or expand/update the older ones to our current situation.

No ban is required for those who have done the worst part of this, but all of this needs to be clarified, improved and forgotten. --Diego Grez return fire 23:56, 5 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What I think we need is set policy. That's why we haven't had anything work yet, in my opinion. We need to make a policy. red-thunder. 00:08, 6 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be clear, I'm in favor of having a constructive discussion about this. I have a caveat to make, because there's a potential hazard in the discussion that I think we need to be wary of from the start; and I've a smallish tangle of general thoughts to offer on possible strategy toward addressing the problem. (I won't try to comment on tactics yet, as it seems premature.)
One of the two top reasons we have trouble working out what to do about the problem (the other being the peculiarity of our task, of course) is that, whenever we try to discuss it, the discussion itself degenerates into acrimony, bitterness, and, of late, further retirements. In fact, the last time I tried, inarticulately, to express this very thought, I fear it may have contributed to another retirement (in a one-of-the-last-straws sort of way). So if we're going to have a constructive discussion, we need to be quite coldly objective, especially when discussing specifics of others' —or our own— behavior. It's a microcosm of the very problem we need to solve: how can we talk about what people are doing wrong without fearing that we will be accused of making personal attacks? The discussion needs to be able to take everything into account, just as news work does. In a major go around on this topic, someone wrote a list of behavioral faults of those who had recently retired; you can imagine how well that went over. But that can't be off limits if we're going to have any hope of getting somewhere.
That caveat may itself be a clue to what we need: a viable solution for Wikinews has to protect open discussion of things, as an integral part of its function. Some things genuinely should not be said, but most things we need to be, and feel, free to say — and for those things, the lines we don't want crossed have to do with how we say them. That how doesn't even involve the vocabulary set. Perhaps the single rudest thing I recall having ever said on Wikinews was expressing a potentially valid point, and doing so without using any objectionable words. (I did later apologize for it.) Furthermore, when those lines do get crossed, the measures we recommend taking should be designed not to prevent, nor in future discourage, frank discussion. We want to encourage frank discussion. Figuring out how to de-escalate an overheating discussion without discouraging frankness may, in fact, be the most difficult part of all this, and the key to making it work.
  • How do we go about conducting frank discussions without overheating?
  • How do we deal with problems in such discussions without discouraging frankness?
--Pi zero (talk) 16:55, 6 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Pi zero once more demonstrates why I nominated (him?) for Arbcom by expressing things I'm thinking far better than I could. This is why I've largely 'ignored' the debates - I have been watching them closely, but these are questions I don't have the answers to. I simply had nothing worth contributing, and will likely have little until I see some way forward addressing those points. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 18:00, 6 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Short Answer: Appoint me as Governor-General.

Longer Answer: It feels at times that when an issue arises, the first response of the "higher-ups" is to put up a wall of objection. This alone causes frustration, especially when it appears that those who object are faceless-positionless-warrentless-inflexible elites of the site that have one vision and one vision alone. Here's the solution: 1. Establish a moredefined face-of-the-organisation through which things can work and 2. Instead of objecting, how about we "work through to a solution". BKCW8 talk 09:08, 8 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think centralization would help with this problem; I don't think it addresses the pair of questions I presented above.
My ulterior motive for posting this comment now is to reset the clock on this thread. I prefer to assume that the current inactivity here is a thoughtful one (it certainly is on my part), and I mean to keep the thread open, awaiting further post-worthy developments. --Pi zero (talk) 01:03, 16 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I greatly appreciate the lengths Pi Zero has gone to to avoid naming me. ;-) But, those who've been on-project a while know I'm not just a 'fire breathing dragon' when it comes to naive contributors. I will, equally fiercely, defend those working here constructively. I don't have time for the Kafkaesque 'niceness' seen on Wikipedia; nor, frankly, should anyone else. I'm disturbed to be told "all the Wikipedians are scared of you". If they genuinely want to contribute here, I will bend over backwards to help those that can write well do so. In other news, moving here from Wikipedia will always be a culture shock. --Brian McNeil / talk 01:51, 19 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikipedia doesn't single out niceness for special treatment; by Wikinews standards, everything is Kafkaesque over there. The level of complexity there serves as a collective memory for the complexities that have actually occurred in such a vast and sprawling community — and it's not appropriate here. The specific shape of the contributor-interaction control mechanism is also inappropriate here (even if simplified). We need to find our own way, differently shaped and simple. Note that "different from the Wikinews status quo" does not imply either Kafkaesque or Wikipedian. --Pi zero (talk) 08:15, 23 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've almost got a thought ready to post here, but in case it takes another few days, here's a clock reset. --Pi zero (talk) 09:24, 3 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Precautionary clock reset. --Pi zero (talk) 12:07, 19 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Clock reset. --Pi zero (talk) 22:53, 27 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Suggestion A

I figured it would be easier to keep track of potential solutions to this problem if we divided them up into sections.

My thoughts are that instead of creating specific rules and regulations about what can and cannot be said (there are simply too many possibilities to list), we should instead make and enforce a general rule involving the expectation of maturity among Wikinews users. People have said that that's too vague, but any specific ruleset has the problem of being too defined. If we post a specific ruleset then I assure you the same thing that happens on Wikipedia will happen here: people manoeuvrer very carefully around the rules, making sure to never explicitly violate them, while at the same time being cruel and sadistic. Strat Planning came to the conclusion that many female editors on Wikipedia feel that they are under *constant* harassment, despite the many rules in place that are suppose to prevent this. I don't think there is any difference between being bludgeoned to death with a hammer (what happens to users on Wikinews), and being tortured with Death By 1000 Needle Pricks (what happens to users on Wikipedia). In the end both systems (vague ruleset verses specific ruleset) are flawed, and we're just picking whatever evil happens to feel less horrible at the current moment.

So how about a compromise solution? We'll have a page that lists a few things that are obviously de-admin worthy, and say "note that this is not a complete list. Other infractions will be dealt with by the community at large as they occur". I'd also like to press the point that the page should spend most of its time hammering home the point that the primary expectations of the community for admins are honesty and maturity. Gopher65talk 00:49, 9 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Sorry this is going to ramble a bit.)
Recall the two questions I suggested early in this thread (and which have been the focal point for my off-line thoughts on this thread for the past month). A very abstract way of looking at those those two questions is that is that the first is about prevention, and the second about correction.
Only around the time I posted those questions, I concluded that we've been making a very natural, but unfortunate, mistake by limiting ourselves to choosing the boundaries within which users are expected to operate — and effectively assuming that we already knew the form of both prevention and correction. We have, in fact, been assuming the Wikipedian model. To oversimplify only moderately,
  • pure correction is by blocking and, for admins, revocation of privileges;
  • pure prevention is by everyone being quietly intimidated by the implicit threat of pure correction;
  • and then there are intermediate states between those extremes, ranging from almost-pure prevention toward almost-pure correction, that consist of increasingly explicit threats of pure corrective measures.
Yes, that's an uncharitable way to put it, but my point is the downside of the strategy. It may actually be a poor strategy for Wikipedia, but I'm pretty sure it's a terrible strategy for Wikinews. Remember that the concrete versions of my questions emphasized the importance of frankness. Wikinewsies have to feel free to ruthlessly criticize reportage (I said "ruthlessly", not "rudely", but that's not my point right now). Prevention by intimidation —when it effects behaviors that aren't actually malicious, which is most of the time— is antithetical to our mission.
More recently, I've come be believe that designing corrective measures has to precede both designing preventative measures and choosing the boundaries that both are used to maintain. I was nursing along a very tentative idea on prevention, which I attempted to deploy early (in desperation, I suppose) when things looked like getting out of hand at SG talk... and for a brief moment it worked, but ultimately it was sure to fail because when some of the Wikipedians felt it was time to start shading toward correction —which means increasingly explicit threat of correction— that was in direct contradiction to my feeble measures that functioned on the principle of removing intimidation.
It seems we have to know first the shape of our corrective measures, so that all the rest can be designed to be compatible with that.
As for the boundaries that prevention/correction are used to maintain, I like the general approach of avoiding over-defined rule sets. (I'm not at all sure it's possible for Wikipedia to avoid them, but fortunately we only have to solve our own incredibly-difficult-to-fathom problem; we don't have to solve theirs too. If they can then benefit from our solution, it won't be the first time. I hope to cover the dynamics of WP-vs-WN in another post that I've been slowly assembling for some time, but that will definitely belong in a different subsection.) I just don't think we're nearly ready to start formulating lists of boundaries to maintain; I think we need to work out first how we're going to maintain them — the shape of our correction/prevention strategy.
That said, it's already beginning to occur to me, stirred up by your interesting thoughts, that there are probably different classes of suboptimal behavior, based on both intent and perception, with different kinds of preventative/corrective measures being appropriate for different classes of behavior. Yet another separate post to be written, presumably. --Pi zero (talk) 14:45, 9 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd have said that preventative measures should come first. After reading your ramble I agree with your statement that behavioural boundaries (even if only loosely defined) — and the punitive measures that would be taken if those boundaries were crossed — should come first. The stipulation being, of course, that preventative measures be swiftly implemented after the set of corrective measures has been set in motion. As can be seen from multiple examples in real life, punitive measures don't work in a vacuum. But (thinking about it now), preventative measures will also fail unless we draw a "line in the sand" in the form of punitive measures that encourage people to attempt preventative measures, or risk punishment. Gopher65talk 04:58, 10 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Touching on your last point (different types of bad behaviour), I think you're correct.
Recently a multi-wiki troll was banned and de-admined on many projects. This troll had acquired admin and/or bureaucrat status on a significant number of wikis. Their plan was to act "nice" in order to gain maximum privileges. Their end goal wasn't apparent; guesses ranged from "sociological experiment into fooling a community" to "mass vandal preparing to strike".
Compare the above troll to, say, Brianmc or me, who care about the project, but occasionally take out our real-world frustrations on other editors who don't deserve the abuse. Either set of actions (lying to acquire admin privileges, and engaging in childish behaviour), would likely be sufficient to warrant some form of punitive action under any reasonable proposed corrective ruleset, but my feeling is that the punishment involved probably wouldn't be the same. Also, one type of behaviour could potentially be helped through preventative measures, while the other would not. Gopher65talk 05:09, 10 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I prefer terminology "corrective" to "punitive", "correction" to "punishment". Sometimes one is correcting the transgressor, sometimes correcting the project by eliminating a source of harm; but if one isn't doing either, then the action probably isn't appropriate.
These three elements —prevention, correction, boundaries— are subsystems of a single machine. The whole won't function without all three, and each of them has to be designed in coordination with the others; but at any particular stage in designing the machine, there may be a particular aspect of a particular subsystem that especially needs to be determined next. My sense is that the means of correction are currently the most underdetermined and needed aspect of the design. We've got corrective measures that lend themselves to prevention by intimidation, which is the wrong kind of prevention for many kinds of problems. Re boundaries, it seems that for each kind of correction there would be a different boundary, so that detailed boundaries are logically dependent on the forms of correction available. One might even place the boundaries for one kind of corrective action differently because of the existence of another kind of corrective action.
I don't know specifically what's wanted in the correction department, other than fresh ideas. I'm studying various aspects of what goes wrong, and hoping insight into the nature of things we want to prevent/correct may catalyze ideas about how to address them. Actual means of correction elude me, and I'm quite open to brainstorming. (Some brainstorming a few weeks ago led me to this.) --Pi zero (talk) 14:20, 10 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Refactor required


The above may have taken much thought, but is too long; to the extent of being undigestible.

You know this is not Wikipedia. Everyone knows this is a well intentioned attempt to progress issues, but it can - 'uncharitably' - be described as waffle.

Three sentences per point, or proposal, no more than four short bullet point on each. And, then there is a basis for discussion. Take the internal monologue to your userspace, and take the flag off it here. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:08, 28 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Please stop sticking in a 'clock reset' on this overly-verbose discussion when nobody is taking any interest in it. I will summarily archive it if this is repeated without a sincere effort to slash the excess verbiage. Copy the above "thinking-aloud" to your usespace, and think long and hard about how to trim this to a maximum of three, brief, sentences per point. I do appreciate what you're trying to do Pi Zero, but you're drowning people in words and not offering points to kick off discussion or move to decisions. --Brian McNeil / talk 14:33, 29 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll respond when I get a chance. Hopefully later today. --Pi zero (talk) 15:11, 29 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you. I know you care about this issue. I know it is complex. But, it needs a brief 'brief', not a dissertation. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:27, 29 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The simplest form of refactoring that I would have no problem with —I'd consider it an improvement— would take each logical segment of the discussion, package it up neatly in a subsection, write a summary of each major point, and bury the details in a collapsed box. For the sake of lesser access devices, the summary could be in a subsubsection isolated from the hidden details. (If collapsed boxes need to be avoided entirely, a slightly less graceful arrangement can be devised...)

Would that satisfy you?

Regarding the rest of the content of your above posts, beyond your IMO valid concerns about verbosity/refactoring, consider: This thread has worked at being a tolerant and non-threatening place to discuss bad behaviors of a sort that you are notorious for. You came here, berated people's contributions, and threatened to unilaterally kill the discussion. --Pi zero (talk) 13:38, 30 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hearing no objection, I will refactor the section in the next day or two. Meanwhile, here are two general observations concerning my practice of resetting the clock on this thread.
  • There is a false appearance of apathy about this problem. Its falseness was established early in this discussion, which I believe makes it reasonable to keep it open. The appearance is corrosive, which I believe makes it important to keep it open.
  • I postpone fresh comments here if, at the particular moment, I feel that the community's immediate attention should be directed elsewhere. Thus, the slow pace of evolution is meant to benefit the community.
I look forward to ruthlessly "refactoring" this subsection, as I consider most of it unproductive and needlessly heated meta-talk. --Pi zero (talk) 14:51, 31 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I despair of any progress on this; once again, you output volumous verbiage. Cut to the chase. Nobody reads such lengthy discussions. "Hiding" sections is pointless. My original point stands: Sum it up, maximum three sentences per point, define your terms instead of inventing vague ones, and choose the accusations you decide to make far more carefully. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:22, 31 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clarification required

Brian McNeil, please explain what you want. You have twice described succinct comments, but I don't know how you want them to relate to the disposition of this thread. The most plausible guess I had, you seem to indicate was entirely wrong. Please explain. --Pi zero (talk) 23:04, 31 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The accusations on both sides are accurate, in my opinion.
  1. Several comments are unclear: shorter or clearer ones may generate more valuable responses.
  2. Comments appear to berate contributions and threaten a guillotine. Please don't.
  • It would be ok by me to archive the thing and pick up the thread where we left off when new ideas or shorter comments are ready.

--InfantGorilla (talk) 06:50, 1 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


We should, and to my knowledge don't, have basic practical advice on avoiding synthesis-copyvio, placed somewhere prominent so that it will be found early by newcomers.

For example, I long since picked up, by premeditated osmosis here, that copying sentence by sentence while changing a few words is a copyvio. I'd think that scrambling the order of such sentences would still be a copyvio, and copying the ordering of ideas from a source too closely would be problematic... but I'm really not an expert on heuristics for determining such things, and I'm pretty sure that a bunch of Wikinewsises are — yet, if this sort of thing is covered anywhere permanent on our site, it's not prominently enough placed for me to know about it.

I've lately gotten an impression of gossip on Wikipedia saying, more or less, that sentence-by-sentence word-replacement paraphrase is what Wikinews is all about. What should matter to us about that is that a significant pool of our potential contributors may arrive here with a pernicious misconception already in place. For which the antidote is to say this stuff where it will be seen.

  • Is there in fact nothing about this written down in a place on the site where it will be readily noticed?
  • What simple basic advice should we be giving?
  • Where should we give it?

--Pi zero (talk) 13:52, 26 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The general rule (or at least how it works at my school) is plagiarism happens when you have three or more words in a row that are exactly the same as a source. (or if you don't attribute your source). I think thats a good rule to follow here. As it stands much of our articles are way too close to the source. Furthermore, articles should avoid being word for word replacements, because thats kind of useless (might as well read the source). They should have some value added, usually in the form of combining information (or viewpoints) not currently available in a single article. Bawolff 00:33, 27 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, the signpost ran an excellent article on plagiarism a while back. Bawolff 00:35, 27 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two edits worth discussion here:

  • //
  • //

Newcomers deserve to have Brian's short essay made available to them somehow.

So many apparently well meaning new contributors come unstuck in this area that I wish there would be a way of educating folks as soon as they get here. I can't for the moment see what it is. However, by the time it comes to one-on-one assistance, both the newcomer and the reviewer are often out of energy.

--InfantGorilla (talk) 21:34, 29 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • IG, you've quite a knack for 'data mining'. That 'little essay' was aimed at exactly what this thread is complaining about. Latest example: Obama lands in New Delhi. Perhaps we actually need a plagiarism guideline, expounding somewhat on my, sadly reverted, addition to the nothanks template? --Brian McNeil / talk 18:51, 7 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Addendum: We've covered this issue (or, at least, I have). The following will probably amuse IG no end, but it forms an excellent base for either a {{plagiarism}} cautionary template, or - perhaps better - a Wikinews:Plagiarism guideline:

Counsel for the prosecution of plagiarists rests m'lud.

A draft guideline to follow... --Brian McNeil / talk 19:22, 7 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This is now a blue link. Yes, I enjoyed a couple of glasses of alcohol, and have probably been hideously overly verbose. But, I think we need to strike a balance between stern reprimand, dull-as-ditchwater policy, and (I think important) a humorous challenge to improve people's writing.

Please don't edit this "mercilessly" without considering the time, and context within which it's been written. I'll take my 'drubbing' in the form of - hopefully - constructive criticism on the corresponding talk page. Where is it overly verbose? What are the near-universal jibes at modern, mainstream, media? What points does it miss? Why would someone not read to the end?

All valid points for all policies and guidelines. You want people to read the whole thig; you also don't want it to seem a chore if pointed at something again.

It's a thought that only recently struck me, but our policies need read, and re-read. How can that be made more enjoyable than a homework essay? I don't have a clear answer, but 'in jokes' form a part of it. As does a visible passion, even on the dryest of subjects.

So, if you hate this, don't offer me a blindfold; I'll face the firing squad with the most expensive Cuban cigar you can lay your hands on. ;-) --Brian McNeil / talk 20:59, 7 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

/me likes. However I think the lines: "Can you afford a million-dollar lawsuit? It won't be the Wikimedia Foundation they're after. Just Little. Old. You. The one who copied what they shouldn't." and "Never, ever commit the sins of plagiarism or copyright violation. As part of the new forth estate, Wikinews must remain beyond reproach." might be a bit too strong. Bawolff 01:22, 8 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My comment is on the talk page. --Pi zero (talk) 02:09, 8 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Behavioral strategy

In our search for a workable strategy to keep our contributor–contributor interactions on an even keel, I suggest the following two questions.

  • What principles/advice should we be trying to follow, that will help us to keep things from getting overheated?
  • When things do start to overheat, what measures should we take to bring the situation back under control?

I'll describe below one possible approach for each question. --Pi zero (talk) 01:12, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How to behave

Encourage, and be courteous

Say please and thankyou. Say good things when people do well. Give helpful, positive advice on how to do better when explaining to them what they did wrong. Don't assume that a misunderstanding, or seeming offense, is deliberate — skepticism should prevent you from assuming bad faith. Although swear words are not necessarily objectionable in discussions on Wikinews, they should not be used in a way that might be taken as directed at another contributor.

We ought to be able to put together a succinct how-to guide on this. Perhaps we should try to write that first, and only then worry about how it should relate to the existing WN:Etiquette guideline (which needs overhauling). --Pi zero (talk) 01:12, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]



In horse operas, there are two ways to stop those two guys fist-fighting in the street. Either fire your rifle into the air (but the analog here would be explicit threat of blocking, and threats don't produce a positive working environment). Or douse the combatants with a bucketful of water from the horse trough.

Can we devise a suitable analog to a bucketful of water from the horse trough? Or, perhaps, some somewhat more flexible/articulate form of brining-to-heel intercession? --Pi zero (talk) 01:12, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • <laughing> I get the point. But, am struggling to find an online equivalent to your bucket of water. As you know, the biggest problem is what you write can all too easily be misconstued in the absence of all the face to face visual cues. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:58, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Very true. Suppose there were a template one could interject into a thread, generating a little icon with a standard message after it, and a link from the message to some expanded form of its recommendation.
  • The template should be something that  (a) participants in a dust-up would never use, and  (b) won't cause whoever uses it to be drawn into the situation. Probably, a canned message (for (b)) that actually says it's from an uninvolved party (for (a)).
  • Choosing the right metaphor/icon and message is key. Will just one do for all situations, or are there two or more classes of situations calling for different messages/icons? To look for broad patterns, I've started a folder of minor dust-ups.
--Pi zero (talk) 16:50, 26 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A possible intervention model
What you're trying to do is enforce a synaptic pause, a moment in which the participants' single-minded drive to [prove their point(s)/disprove their opponent's(s') point(s)/insult and abuse/disrupt the community for fun or profit] is suspended, hopefully long enough for them to step back and consider how important the discussion is to the Wikinews community and mission.
  • Consider a show/hide template added to the top and bottom of the section (hopefully via a nice, ez-style javascript which adds a one-click button next to the section edit link) which will require a click to view the conversation but display a template which says it was added by a non-involved party who thinks the conversation is too heated. This requires the participants to do more just to see the conversation, and do more to make the conversation visible to everyone (remove the top and bottom template bits) as well as generally complexifying continuing the conversation.
Any intervention technique can, by its nature, be abused. This one is a reasonably mild intervention which slows down responses, which is its entire goal. As a secondary benefit, it removes some of the perceived rewards for posting witty or cutting remarks as those remarks will not be readily visible to the community unless the templates are removed (which removal can easily be reinstated by any other community member. iow: this is an extension of the wiki anti-vandal model of making it more difficult to be disruptive and easier to reverse that disruption.) - Amgine | t 03:43, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Lots of uncharted (AFAIK) territory around that idea.
  • As in your description, some explanation/appeal is needed. When they pause, we've one shot at getting a short, simple message through. In the sorts of cases I've studied, often both parties would say, on reflection, that they are pursuing the good of the WN community — but an unabstract, impersonal admonition to stick to technical issues might help. Alas, that wouldn't help with a variety of situations where technical/policy issues are central.
  • Making the discussion text entirely disappear may be more antagonizing than stunning (even more so if the exchange is taking place in user talk space). Is it technically feasible, rather than hiding the text entirely, to make it too small to read? That might also support a metaphor of "taking a step back".
--Pi zero (talk) 10:55, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about disemvowelling? — μ 13:19, November 27 2010 (UTC)
Another possibility is popups. Everyone hates popups, so they may have the desired effect. Everyone hates popups, so they'll prolly just get everyone more pissed. That's the inherent problem with all of these - will the extra effort just annoy people? Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 13:52, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the text-shrinking thing could be made to work (I foresee a snag with images not shrinking), the principals might be reassured thereby that nothing has been destroyed.
The annoyance factor can also be mitigated by a really lucid message, and by the whole thing coming across as an impersonal, officially prescribed measure (rather than personal interference).
BTW (just in case there weren't enough hurdles to clear), this should be arranged so it doesn't require that javascript be turned on. --Pi zero (talk) 15:32, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Such a thing should be possible using pure css (including images. I think anyways). (a person could just turn off CSS if they wanted to though. A person could just read the conversation in the edit box as well). Alternative approach is to just make everything blink. Bawolff 22:06, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, but blink doesn't work for me and never has. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 22:10, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Stupid IE users. That can be rectified with JS. Bawolff 23:20, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about spoiler tags? Look! It fits into the Vector theme.μ 22:57, November 27 2010 (UTC)
So far I like the de-vowel option the best. But to do it so its reversible would require js (The point of this is to enforce cool-down period right? not permanent abandonment of the conversation?). Bawolff 23:20, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like Microchip's spoiler box thing. Blood Red Sandman (Talk) (Contribs) 23:22, 27 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]