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[META] Political News

Hello fellow Lemmys. The mod team here at !news has been in discussions about the best approach to ensure we stay unbiased with news during the U.S. Election Cycle.

While we can’t say “don’t point out flaws in candidates” - nor would we want to - we do believe that when you excessively post/comment/reply negative things in News about one person, instead of, say mixing it up about topics, this feels like you are using !news as a propaganda machine.

While propaganda is a normal part of elections, by posting only one topic, about one person, you are abusing the NEWS community for politics, and this could even be seen as election interference. There are other communities that this would fit better.

Doing this will result in posts/comments being deleted (with the option to appeal, of course). Repeat offenders may see temporary bans. Keep doing after that, and you may reach our perma-ban list.

As of right now, this only apples to politics. We don’t plan to extend this to other areas, but that will change as needed.

BonesOfTheMoon ,

This is good modding.

thoro ,

If the articles are news, they’re news. End of.

Let’s not pretend like this comm isn’t overrun with accounts that (rightfully) post articles that are only critical of conservative policies and politicians. Are you going to ban them for not also posting critical of liberals? Must they criticize leftists?

This will be entirely used in a one sided way to censor criticism of Biden. I think that’s obvious.

Paragone ,

Immunize the mods against ideological-torque:

all the mods who can afford to need to subscribe to Ground.News in order to SEE when the community is being moved off target by unconscious bias or by machiavellianism,

and, seeing what’s happening, they then have the leverage to counteract it, by posting news items that’re being ignored, or underreported, see?

Proactive correction ( :

_ /\ _

A_A , avatar

i agree with every main comments posted here until now which are opposed to this policy of yours, at least about this part :

(…) we do believe that when you excessively post/comment/reply negative things in News about one person (… ((you are eligible to ban)) …)

i join my voice to other users here to say this policy should focus more on frequency of posts and quality of sources. (more emphasis should be put on explaining to us what here excessively means)

There should be no restriction of stating, in comments, the fact that one candidate is, for example, a convicted felon + rapist etc … if this is established as factual.

HootinNHollerin ,

I hope posters consider posting non newsworthy political stuff to politics instead of here. Especially opinion pieces. Some just flood this community with politics, especially US politics, like there’s not tons of politics communities on lemmy. I appreciate the acknowledgement that this flood is occurring. Not everyone wants to drown in US politics when trying to see what’s happening in the world.

jeffw , (edited )

I will say that politics is often newsworthy and this community definitely has a US skew. Those things combined mean we do have a lot of US political content.

I acknowledge that a significant volume of the political content comes from a few specific posters (not gonna name them but I think you know at least one of them). That isn’t necessarily a problem, unless all of the content from a given user is about the same topic. That’s when it approaches propaganda and becomes problematic. Opinion pieces should go on politics-specific pages though, per Rule 6.

TimLovesTech , avatar

Trying to make the news “fair and balanced” or “both sides” sounds like a great way to enable fascism. If a candidate is going to continuely do/say things that are going to have a large impact on the country, then reporting on that should absolutely be shared without fear of a ban just because the “other side” hasn’t done enough negative to write about.

I understand not wanting to be filled with shit posting, but legit news sources should be the goal, not trying to balance reporting which IMHO sounds more like election interference.

gedaliyah , avatar

Our goal is not to enforce any type of equal representation of candidates or issues. However, the articles should reflect equal newsworthiness, as you say.

TimLovesTech , avatar

The post sounds more like a limitation on negative press than a limit on poor sources. Might be a better idea to just temp-ban politics all together till after November, then nobody needs to try and interpret this post that doesn’t seem to align with what is being agreed with in comments.

gedaliyah , avatar

Thank you for the input. We want to be as transparent as possible so people understand the expectations. This community has always allowed politics, although this is the first US presidential election cycle. If the community decides to make a change, that is always a possibility.

thoro ,

Of course it isn’t. Your goal is to stifle criticism of Biden from the left.

We know this started because a (presumably, leftist) user stated they only care to share negative content of Biden and were banned.

homesweethomeMrL ,

? I missed that if so.

thoro ,

Looks like I confused this comm with the politics comm, but considering this comm is following the decision of that one a week later, I think the reasoning stands:

aseriesoftubes ,

Be like jeffw, not like return2ozma.

return2ozma , avatar

We’ll have a dance off. Let’s go @jeffw

snooggums , avatar

I get the underlying sentiment in a perfect world, but it isn’t like both candidates say and do horrible things multiple times per day and trying to strike some kind of balance seems like trying to ‘both sides’ the news.

If one person is posted aboit far more frequently, but by multiple people instead of just one, or two is that going to be ok?

gedaliyah , (edited ) avatar

We understand your concerns. Our goal is not to direct or manipulate the dialogue at all. In fact, this policy is specifically to prevent any individual user from manipulating the conversation. We understand that there will almost certainly be more newsworthy material about one candidate or issue.

snooggums , avatar

It might help to clarify that ‘you’ is referring to a singular poster and if comments (frequently called posting) count. Both terms are pretty vague and could lead to stifling discussion.

Something like ‘when individuals start many posts’ and ‘excessively commenting about only one candidate’ would make it clearer that you are looking for more balanced participation among the members of the community, which I am understanding your goal to be.

jeffw ,

Thanks for the feedback, that makes sense. It’s a shame English doesn’t distinguish between you singular and you plural.

gedaliyah , avatar

You, not y’all?

Beetlejuice0001 , (edited )

Y’all isn’t a word used outside the trailer park

DocMcStuffin , avatar

It’s in the dictionary. There’s even a wikipedia page on it.

homesweethomeMrL ,

And down he goes with the folding chaiiiir! B’gawd!

thoro ,

How is one individual possibly manipulating the community if we’re all reading it, agreeing, and upvoting?

Just shelve the paternalism and focus on spam and other areas of rightful moderation.

nondescripthandle ,

If you’re going to punish people for spamming only negative things because its basically propaganda I’d hope you do the same for people who only spam positive things for the same reason. Things don’t stop being propaganda simply because they are positive, and if you only focus on the negative culprits then you’re effectively enforcing one type of propaganda over the other.

gedaliyah , avatar

Yes, although we mention negative posts/comments as an example above, we will be keeping an eye out for all types of abuse.

dhork ,

Due to how the US Presidential election works, however, many articles with a partisan tilt will necessarily be in favor of one person and against another person. So think you should also factor frequency into this.

Does someone post one progressive, anti-Trump news article a week? Or a conservative anti-Biden article? Particularly from reputable sources? I would say that should be allowed, even if they don’t give equal time to the other side.

OTOH, someone who posts several anti-Trump (or anti-Biden) articles every day is likely digging down to some questionable sites to find the content. Such a person should be given a temp ban, and advised to go touch some grass. Someone who manages to give a balanced approach to news, though, while using reputable news sources, might possibly get a pass for the lack of a social life.

bhmnscmm , avatar

I think your last paragraph is pretty much the goal. It makes sense to me. Just don’t post partisan articles from partisan sources.

goferking0 ,

But their intentions for the rule makes it seem like even non partisan sources or articles would get removed or rejected by this rule.

Then again if it’s gonna be enforced I hope they have it well defined

FlyingSquid , avatar

OTOH, someone who posts several anti-Trump (or anti-Biden) articles every day is likely digging down to some questionable sites to find the content.

That’s exactly what was happening and why this rule had to be implemented.

dhork ,

Right, but in that case the problem isn’t posting one-sided content, or content that favors one person over another, but posting poorly sourced content.

I find it dangerous to say “we’ll ban people who mainly post about one person” because the US presidential race, for better or worse, is about two people. Expressing any opinion at all advocates one of those people above the other. Put the rules in terms of quality of sources, though, and you will find that you can solve the same problem without the same baggage.

This is a News forum, it seems reasonable to vet sources.

goferking0 ,

Which the only anti stuff or also bad sources. Cause it really feels like the reputable sources rule would already cover it

gedaliyah , avatar

I think you’ve understood the idea behind the policy.

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