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Forums: War Room Discussion policy enforcement
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The discussion policy will be amended as below to specify a non-ambiguous scope of operation.

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I'd like to propose a change, sort of, of one specific paragraph on the discussion policy, namely this one:

" Message Walls are not intended to be a facility for social interaction. They are to facilitate individual messages relevant to the users' activity on the wiki. Utilizing them for the purpose of social interaction is strongly discouraged; use the community chat or private emails for these purposes."

For those that know me, they know that I am far from the "social bee" around here. I don't care for the article comments at all, and I don't go on IRC too often, since I find it too time-consuming for various reasons. However, that is not to say that I do not like to talk to some people. However, that bit of the discussion policy basically "strongly discourages" any kind of friendly social interaction.

Nearly a year ago, a forum was made in order to remind people to enforce that bit of the policy more. I get that we are not facebook -and I am glad for that- and that we are not meant to be a social outlet, nor should we be. However, what the consensus of that forum grossly overlooked and ignored, imo, is the community spirit that comes with social communication on threads that we would now define as "irrelevant".

I am by now one of the "old users" -both literally and metaphorically speaking- on this wiki. I have actively been here since May 2011 and when people ask me what my happiest time on the wiki was, then I will say "the year 2011". And I know for a fact that I am not the only one of the "old users" who feels like that. There are many reasons for why that is, but one of them is because the wiki didn't feel so strict back then. If I look to my talk page archives, I find a fun recollection of relevant and not so relevant wiki-messages. Socialization on talk pages -or by now message walls- in not necessarily a bad thing for the wiki.

We are the Avatar Wiki, and you explain that in two different ways, and whether we like it or not, both explanations need each other. One way to define what the Avatar Wiki is would be to say that we are an objective encyclopedia that is aiming to be the best and most thorough source for everything Avatar-related. We aim to achieve that by working together, which ties in with the second way to define what the Avatar Wiki is. Avatar Wiki is a bunch of people working together to make something -in this case an Avatar encyclopedia- great. In order to make something great and in order for people to remain interested in devoting their free time to this, it needs to be fun. Since people are social beings and flock together by nature, fun usually comes by interacting with one another.

However, this is where my objecting to an enforcement of that bit of policy comes into play. I don't want to delete that bit of the policy, cause I definitely see the merit of it. However, I do like to propose to not enforce it. Let it stand there to be a sort of scarecrow, to dissuade people from doing it, but if it would occur, not do anything about it.

At this moment, the avid policy enforcers are very slim in number. As such, that piece of policy rarely gets enforced anyway, because hardly any of us wants to spend their time sifting through the plethora of made message wall texts and check them on relevance. When an enforcer does stumble upon such an irrelevant thread and rightfully enforces the policy, the original commenters are left with a sense of annoyance over being targeted. Why targeted? Because so many irrelevant message wall thread pass the revue without a word, but theirs gets singled out to be irrelevant.

The most important counter argument will likely be that "one can go to IRC to talk", but that's not true in an international community like us. With so many different time zones, you cannot regularly talk to someone who lives halfway across the world, unless one of you stays up late in the morning. For example, I consider Minnichi to be one of my close friends on here. However, I never would've gotten to know her like I did if she didn't suffer from an insane case of panditis and stayed up the whole night to talk with me and KMP on IRC. Sure, for her it's normal, but let's all face it, she's the exception on that front -and it's just not healthy ;-)

Another reason why IRC is not particularly attractive as sole means for socialization is its tendency to completely suck you in and make you lose track of time. It completely demands all your focus and as such, prevents you from doing anything else. Some people also access the wiki via mobile phone, something for which -I am told- the IRC isn't very practical. Message wall communication, however, is the perfect in between. You can talk on your own time-table and come and go without losing track of time. By not actively enforcing said policy bit, and as such, allowing such frivolous conversation (only on message walls, mind you all, not on pages in comments) we can cater an enjoyable community atmosphere.

It is such an enjoyable atmosphere that a wiki needs just as much as good pages, cause let's face it, what fun is it anyway if all one can do is talk about the wiki? At this moment, by enforcing that policy, we strive to limit any conversation to discussion about the shows, fanon, and/or the wiki. However, to give a personal example for a moment: For people like me, all I do on here is wiki-related. I edit and do maintenance most of the time, while answering questions pertaining to the wiki in between. As such, I am so sick of talking about the wiki or the shows that I am relieved when I can just joke around on an "irrelevant" message thread, one that has nothing to do with the wiki, and as such, get to know another user better. There is "focusing people" and there is "overfocusing people and sucking the fun out of it".

We are always complaining about the lack of contributers here, but by this policy enforcement, we don't even give people the chance to get to know the community in order to persuade them to join. Even I, who knows better than this, am annoyed by the enforcement of that policy, to the point where I really have a sense of "well, fuck you then, Avatar Wiki, if I can't even talk on my message wall already". Why would someone even want to stick around and spend an (insane) amount of time on something that doesn't allow the basic fun conversations once in a while on a message wall? The conversations one has there don't deter in the least from the objectivity on the pages. In my opinion, they are completely harmless and would do more good for the community spirit, than whatever bad someone else may say they bring forth.

I apologize for such a long ramble on this subject. So just to make this completely clear: I propose that we DO NOT remove that bit of the policy, but that we just do not actively enforce it either. It can stand there as a scarecrow to dissuade people from having purely social conversation, but if it does happen, I don't feel like we should do anything about it. It promotes a healthy and enjoyable community spirit, and I do not feel like we are at risk to becoming facebook by allowing that. This is solely in regards to the message walls. Any irrelevances in the comment sections on the pages do deter away from the objectivity we strive for and should as such be deleted. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 22:54, May 31, 2013 (UTC)

I am strongly in favour of this change. This wiki was created to be a comprehensive encyclopaedia of Avatar, however it can only become that through the collaborative efforts of all the users. By enforcing this policy, we are stifling the interpersonal relationships and, in my opinion, segregating the community. Until recently, I would never have dreamed of striking up conversation with Lostris, due simply to the fact that she is an admin, which I automatically associated with a "policy-enforcing, lording over the community" type of person. Not that she did it purposely, but because of these policies, was made to under her 'admin'and 'beauracrat' status.
What is a message wall for if not conversation? By discussing only Avatar related topics, policies or queries pertaining to the running and editing of the wiki, the whole place becomes tedious to work on, because without social interaction (and being told that the easiest method of such is out of the question) users, myself included, feel somewhat used that despite their best efforts to clean up/make the wiki a fun and interesting place to be and visit, they are being reprimanded for making conversation about subjects that don't directly tie in with the wiki.
I personally don't use Iar Sea. I don't generally have a computer that works, and it's unaccomadating to tablet users. This greatly influences that amount of interaction I can do on the wiki because of the disputed policy. By not enforcing it (but keeping it there) we can discourage people who just want to use this site to socialise, but allow users who contribute regularly, whether it be generally comments or edits, or even fanfiction, to chat with other members about whatever takes their fancy, provided it doesn't volate any other policy. Frui (🌹🐝🐝🐝) 23:35, May 31, 2013 (UTC)
I'm all for this change as well. We call ourselves a community, not an office, and this is really the way to honor that claim. Message wall posts tend to grow casual and stray from wiki topics, and that's just the natural way for users to start establishing friendships with one another. I, for one, didn't venture onto the IRC until I had established some social grounds with others on the wiki first. Sure, most discussions started off primarily as AW-related, but I wouldn't have gotten to know the other user as an actual person without some casual socialization along the way. Keeping topics strictly wiki-related leads users to post only to talk business, and ultimately sends a message that people here are not associating themselves with you to be friends. That's not the kind of vibe a community should have, if you ask me. If users can't even feel like friends with one another on the Wiki, how would they be motivated to go to the IRC? Would they really want to be obligated to Instant Message someone they hardly know personally? And at any rate, socializing on Message Walls doesn't do any harm to the wiki and its encyclopedia quality, from what I've seen. --MinnichiDai Li Sprite 23:53, May 31, 2013 (UTC)
This only happens every 1,000 years, when the planets align. I agree with Lady Lostris! This is a very efficient and productive wiki, and that's great. While it's important that we remember why we're here and ensure that we do not stray from our main goal, I see no harm in permitting some casual conversation on message walls. For me, IRC has always been more for private discussion rather than a general powwow, though I know it can be employed for either. It seems that message walls, as LL articulated, are a quicker more convenient method of such long-distance chatting. I would go even father than Lostris does, actually. I see no reason to leave the scarecrow standing at all. If what made 2011 so glorious was the less strict "feeling" then perhaps we should delete the policy that imposes the sense of rigidness in the first place. Just my two cents. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 23:56, May 31, 2013 (UTC)
The rule has always been there, even in 2011, the difference was just that is was hardly ever -to not say, never- enforced, cause the social talk never grew to problematic proportions on the talk pages. Usually, people would just casually talk and then eventually move to IRC if it became apparent that both had the time. However, by actively enforcing this policy, new users would be "forced" to go on IRC to chat with complete strangers who usually are not particularly chatty on main and/or PM to strangers.
Imo, the rule can stay to still emphasize that we are not a social wiki, but that does not need to mean that any form of socialization cannot take place. By keeping the rule there, but not actively enforcing it, casual fun conversations can take place. If things really do get out of hand, then nothing is stopping anyone to enforce the policy anyone, but that can be done on the user's own discretion. (And when I say, "get out of hand", then I mean it in the light of "on the verge of breaking another policy" or something.) Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 00:05, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
"The "no socializing" rule is already rather fuzzy and ambiguous, and that has probably contributed to the fact it is rarely enforced. I don't think we need to start enforcing it to the point where we delete a message left by someone mid conversation asking how someone has been, but I think that conversations that begin with "I saw this totally awesome video totally unrelated to Avatar" or "lol, something hilarious just happened to me totally unrelated to Avatar" are not needed." -HammerOfThor, original forum
I supported the original forum, but the rule is indeed a fuzzy line and I think users left the War Room that day with different understandings of the situation. I was under the impression that it would only effect the most blatantly irrelevant threads and that threads could include some off-topic discussion if there was also on-topic discussion, and that even threads that started with "hi, how's it going" would be allowed a lot of the time. Looking at the conversation between Lostris and Fruipit just now, I never would've supported the previous forum if I thought something like that would be included. Since the rule is so vague, perhaps it's best that we let it sit with the "discourage" part in the language as a guideline. I don't typically like rules with no teeth, and I was willing to support the enforcement in certain cases, but if it's going to be enforced this loosely, I agree with LL. It's time to change course. --AvatarRokus Ghost (Message meRead my fanon) Aang Cosmic Toph-DoBS-2 00:06, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Very well then. If those who were around in 2011 say the rule should stay, and if in fact the rule was in place during that time, then I rescind my previous amendment to LL's proposal. I'm all in favor. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 00:16, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

I am completely on board with this proposal. Although I was only here for the second half of 2011, I can understand what LL is getting at when she says it used to be a little less stiff at this place. Recently I saw a message wall thread that was requested to become a halted discussion, as does happen once in a blue moon, and I honestly just felt bad that the wiki was apparently mostly in agreement with that discussion policy. I'm glad to see that I was wrong in that assumption. Full support on this count. Krazykid51 00:31, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

This post may be rather long since there is quite a lot to go through, but just bear with me. There may also be some repetition of particular points, if such arguments are applicable in multiple places.
There is something I want to mention first, since it will be repeated several times throughout the rest of my argument. It concerns the idea of having the policy but not enforcing it. To me, that seems pointless. Why bother having the policy there, if it is not intended to be followed. A policy, by definition, is a course of action that is adopted and pursued by a government, ruler, political party, etc. So, with particular reference to the wiki, a policy is something agreed upon by the community, and then enforced in some manner by users. For the particular policy being discussed, the enforcement, which was agreed upon within last year's forum, was that when it was felt a thread had drifted into socializing, the contributors to that conversation would be asked to move their conversation onto the IRC. What you are proposing is to have a policy, a course of action that is meant to be followed, but not to ask any to actually follow it. To that I say, why bother mentioning it in the first place. The idea it would act as some kind of scarecrow is weak given that people are (in general ;)) smarter than crows; anyone that reads or contributes to this forum will know the policy isn't intended to be enforced, and that no-one will enforce it, and thus socialize anyway. People that do so would be actively, and knowingly, breaking policy, but we wouldn't do anything about it. Changing this policy is effectively allowing people to socialize as they wish, despite it being discouraged by policy, and doing nothing about it.
Avatar Wiki is not Facebook; Avatar Wiki is a wiki, not a social networking site. Content remains the most important focus. Try to limit blatant socializing to our community chat.
This paragraph, which is the first point on the What Avatar Wiki is not page, summarises my main opposition to this proposal. This wiki is intended to be a repository of information on the Avatar franchise, which is maintained by the vast number of users that we have on the site. As has been mentioned, this experience should be fun and enjoyable but at the same time, should still maintain its professionalism. Allowing socializing on message walls detracts from this professionalism, and pushes us further towards being a social networking site. It may make this place "more fun", but we should not do so at the loss of the wiki's core value.
Now for more specific arguments. The first concerns IRC. One of the arguments given is that IRC can suck you in and make you lose track of time. To which I say, whose fault is that really. The IRC shouldn't be berated for being a good place for socializing, when it is intended to be a place for socializing. If you walked into McDonald's, bought a hamburger, ate it, liked it so much you bought three more, and then ate those, is McDonald's at fault for you eating four burgers. Of course not. You made an active chose to buy and eat four burgers, same as if you intend to spend one hour on the IRC and end up spending four, you made an active choice to do that.
Next this idea that only some people enforce the rule, and that somehow we (since I include myself as one of these "enforcers") are targeting people. Firstly, nobody is targeting or singling out anyone. I don't keep track of every message thread, but when I spot one I feel is drifting into socializing, then I will post a message asking the contributors to move their conversation. This doesn't mean I went (to use the thread that initiated this forum as an example), "there goes Lostris, gotta watch for socializing, she's discussing something with Fruipit, could drift into socializing, better watch this day and night, nothing doing, nothing doing, BAM, socializing, deploy non-socialization message". Seriously, I have better things to do than that. I spotted the thread, and requested (politely I think) that the conversation be moved onto the IRC. Also, regarding the suggestion that because only some people follow the policy to discourage users from socializing the policy is somehow irrelevant, I ask this; if only some people enforced the don't vandalise policy, is that somehow an open door for people to vandalise. No, of course not. Concerns should be regarding the policy itself, not the number of (I disagree per my point just above to the use of the word avid) users that actually enforce the policy.
Next point, IRC is not always useful when users are in different time zones. Agreed. So, what's wrong with email. If you are on the wiki, you have access to the internet, so you have access to email. Making an email account is quick and free, and many have systems that can facilitate both short and long period conversations. Therefore, any suggestion that without IRC, message walls are the only option left, is false.
Next, the idea this policy somehow prohibits socializing entirely. Not true. All we ask is that such conversations happen in more appropriate (and in my opinion better suited) places. Allowing this to happen on the wiki detracts from the professionalism of the wiki itself, whereas asking that it happens on the IRC allows people to get to know others, but maintain this professionalism. And yes, it might be your message wall, same as how it is your blog, but things that are posted should still be relevant to the wiki.
Next point is regarding Minnichi's and OR's points about casual socialization. People are allowed to socialize on their messages provided there is still some relevancy to the wiki. An example that I often see happening is people discussing their fanon; such discussions often also include things about what people are doing IRL that prevents them from continuing their fanon, but such messages are perfectly acceptable. A conversation like this:
I'm not going to be able to work on the next chapter of my fanon for a few days because I have some family coming over and we are going to Disneyland.
Aah, and I was really looking forward to finding out what happens to character X. Hope you have fun.
Yeah, I should be able to continue afterwards, and have it finished by next Wednesday, so you won't have to wait too long. I've never been before, really looking forward to it.
is fine. The conversation is relevant because the people are discussing fanon, even though they are socializing at the same time. The point at which it becomes "a policy violation" is if said users were completely discussing the first user's trip to Disneyland.
Next point, the idea people are forced to use IRC. No, just no. We do not force anyone to do anything. I believe it was Vulmen that brought this up in the forum last year, but the decision was that if someone saw what they thought constituted socializing, they would ask the users to move their conversation. Not force them, ask them. Politely. Also, I don't see how doing that forces people to converse with strangers.
To ARG, I don't feel that I in some way misinterpreted how the policy is meant to be enforced. To quote myself "I don't see any reason to get all Avatar state on people that drift into socializing, but at the same time a gentle nudge may be necessary." In my opinion, said thread was drifting into socializing, and I gave a gentle nudge. The policy was written with the word "discourage" because of how easy it is to find oneself drifting into socializing, and that a "gentle nudge" as opposed to a stern warning was better given this. Having it as a guideline is, as I believed I covered in some detail above, completely useless. It is either policy or it isn't, and if it is policy, then it should be enforced, else it serves no purpose.
My (quite a lot more than) two yuans. HAMMEROFTHOR 11:56, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I can't agree with this. I mean, I agree with everything LL said, but I don't like the idea of having a policy we won't enforce. New users don't read policies, so leaving it sitting there won't do a thing. Especially if when we do cite it to discourage social interactions, this consensus will be slammed on our faces. And rightly so, because it renders the policy moot.
I think it would be more productive to rephrase the policy to define "social interaction". I doubt anyone here hasn't been involved in some kind of off-topic, harmless discussion on Walls, which, per what LL said, I'm totally fine with, but when these discussions dissolve into pointless posts bereft of content, such as smiley faces or signs alike, I think those should be put a stop to. Specially when they happen in real time. Those could easily and should be moved to IRC.
Edit: I only read HoT's points after writing the above and getting an edit conflict, and it seems that we share the same concerns. ― Thailog 12:04, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

Edit conflict

"It concerns the idea of having the policy but not enforcing it."
But you are misreading the policy is at is at this moment: the policy at this moment reads "Utilizing them for the purpose of social interaction is strongly discouraged". As said on our private thread before, "discouraged" is not the same of "prohibited". By the letter of the policy, there is nothing that any of us can do when socialization occurs. In fact, anyone who is asked to take their socialization talk elsewhere is in their right to completely ignore that request, cause as it stands now, that bit of policy has no teeth whatsoever. As such, there is nothing to enforce there as it is. So instead of looking at that bit as a policy, you should be looking at it as a guideline, cause the way it is written, there is no definite rule stated.
"The idea it would act as some kind of scarecrow is weak given that people are (in general ;)) smarter than crows; anyone that reads or contributes to this forum will know the policy isn't intended to be enforced, and that no-one will enforce it, and thus socialize anyway."
Moot point, cause you know as well as I do that newcomers hardly ever contribute to ongoing WR discussion, let alone peruse the archives for old ones. So by that, the scarecrow effect is still a valid point.
"People that do so would be actively, and knowingly, breaking policy, but we wouldn't do anything about it."
As stated just before, the way it is worded now, it is not a bit of policy, it is a guideline. There is nothing you can do at this moment to effectively enforce that bit of policy anyway. Let's take the thread Fruipit and I were having as an example for a moment. Based on the wording of that paragraph, you intervened and requested for us to take it to IRC. However, if we would've completely ignored you and/or told you to sod off, there would've been nothing you could've done. That paragraph does not give anyone the "authority" to warn users for having social conversations with one another, let alone that one could be blocked for that. So if that is the direction you want to take this, you either have to move to make that piece of guideline into a policy that warrants people getting warned and/or blocked over it, or we let it go, cause right now, that's just a piece of guideline that -when enforced- does nothing more than suck the joy out of the community.
"Changing this policy is effectively allowing people to socialize as they wish, despite it being discouraged by policy, and doing nothing about it."
We would not change anything, we would just not actively enforce it, cause that -at this instance- is just done on a seemingly arbitrary basis and has no beneficial consequences. It scares people off and annoys them, and for what? What is the greater good that that bit of guideline attempts to achieve?
"As has been mentioned, this experience should be fun and enjoyable but at the same time, should still maintain its professionalism. Allowing socializing on message walls detracts from this professionalism, and pushes us further towards being a social networking site. It may make this place "more fun", but we should not do so at the loss of the wiki's core value."
I strongly and vehemently disagree with the dry interpretation you present on how a community should be. Allowing fun and somewhat irrelevant messages on message walls does not deter away from professionalism. It allows for a better understanding between the community members and if anything, it allows for a better atmosphere to work professional in. Do you think that no one is allowed to crack a joke at a firm somewhere? Irrelevant conversation is the glue that bonds people together and lets them enjoy what they are doing. By nipping that in the butt, you are moving to make this "all business and no play", which is boring as hell and not inviting at all for new members. No irrelevant conversation makes this a sterile place, and why would anyone wants to work at a sterile place (that is not done so for medicinal purposes)?
As said, yes, this is a very personal proposal, cause I was indeed having a completely irrelevant conversation that was cut off based on that bit of text. I dare anyone here to tell me that I don't know how to work professional around here, or that irrelevant conversations are a distraction.
Socializing is not what causes a loss of the wiki's core value. The wiki's core value, gathering information, can only exist by the grace of a community willing to work on it, and a community can only exist when people enjoy being somewhere. For further explanation on this, I refer you back to where I talk about the two definitions of what is the Avatar Wiki.
" The IRC shouldn't be berated for being a good place for socializing, when it is intended to be a place for socializing.".
And it is not being berated at all for that, on the contrary really, it's being praised for it. It is even such a good medium for socialization that you get sucked in and spend a lot of time on there. So really, I don't see the point you were attempting to make here. Besides, I'd even dare say that you shot yourself in the foot bigtime with your reasoning there. You are opposing this proposal based on your wish to be more content focused. However, you are fine with sending people off to a time-consuming, all-focus-demanding socialization method that effectively deprives people from doing anything else on the wiki. Imo, that's the opposite of what you'd like to achieve.
" Firstly, nobody is targeting or singling out anyone."
You have to read my words more carefully. I never said that anyone was targeting anyone. I said that those who get that paragraph enforced upon them feel targeted, because there are undoubtedly so many instances of irrelevant social talk that pass by without a word. You said it yourself: "Seriously, I have better things to do than that." As such, you admit, just as well as any other regular policy enforcer will, that they don't want to spend their time sifting through the messages made. However, if this bit of text wants to be effective, than that is what should be done. If not, then it is only natural that the people that were told to take it elsewhere feel like they have been targeted, even when that obviously wasn't the intention. And yes, you most certainly asked it politely, but just as I told you there on the thread, the fact that it was enforced still made me have that "fuck you, stupid AW" feeling, and I ask you, if even I, someone who knows all about the policies and their intention, already feels like that, then how will a less knowledgeable person in that regard feel when they have that enforced upon them? What message does that send them? "Shut up, we don't want anything fun around here, everything must be Avatar all the time". At this moment, that is the message we're sending out with that paragraph, so I ask you again, is that really the vibe that we want to have around this place? What is the higher purpose that it is serving for the community, cause I am only seeing a lot of negative consequences.
"if only some people enforced the don't vandalise policy, is that somehow an open door for people to vandalise."
You are making an unjustified comparison. As you said it yourself, obviously that does not open the door for vandalism, however, vandalism directly hurts the cause of the wiki. There is nothing good that can come of vandalizing a page. However, socialization on the other hand does nothing to deter from the cause of the wiki. In fact, it works toward strengthening the community's ties with one another, tempting the users to stick around and help out. People found this place likely due to their affection for the show. However, most people stick around because they like it here, and based on the many goodbye blog we've had over the past year, people always have at least one person whom they refer to as their friend, and it are just those bonds of friendship that entice a person to stick around and work for this community. Striving to restrict such bonds serves no beneficial point whatsoever.
"Agreed. So, what's wrong with email."
Email implies a personal connection to the point where one reveals their real name. I for example have my normal mail address tied to my wiki account. As such, everyone who receives a mail from me, will know my real name. Needless to say why, I don't want everyone to know my real name. Sure, it is my own choice to tie that mail to this account, but that is done because I hardly checked the other mail account, and as such, I missed a lot of wiki mails sent to me. So sure, that was a personal choice, but one based on very valid reasons that outweigh the, imo, non-existing benefits that come from enforcing the paragraph in question.
"Therefore, any suggestion that without IRC, message walls are the only option left, is false.".
I never said they were to only option left, I said they were the perfect compromise based on the time-zone and the privacy issues. That is something completely different than what you are implying that I said.
"in more appropriate (and in my opinion better suited) places."
Various reasons have already been given why IRC and/or mail are not universally seen as the most feasible channels for needed socialization. Facts (such as the incompatibility of IRC with tablets, the privacy concerns, and the time-zone issues) are preferred to subjective opinions.
"Allowing this to happen on the wiki detracts from the professionalism of the wiki itself"
Wrong. For reasons stated above, socializing is needed to for a healthy workable community. By having it on a personal message wall, the objectivity and the professional vibe of the wiki are not compromised in the least.
"whereas asking that it happens on the IRC allows people to get to know others,"
As pointed out by several people now: getting to know people on IRC is not as easy as you make it out to be here. People on IRC tend to slink away in private conversations with people they know from the wiki. What you are suggesting is that newcomers who don't know anyone come onto IRC, where the main chat is mostly empty, and strike up a private conversation with a complete stranger? Come one, I hope that I don't need to explain why that is an unworkable and unreasonable request.
"And yes, it might be your message wall, same as how it is your blog, but things that are posted should still be relevant to the wiki."
Blog posts have a wider visibility in the fact that they show up in the blog post list, and as such, are displayed at the side of the RWA is enough people comment on it. As such, they are at risk pushing down actually relevant Avatar and/or wiki related things. Tell me what the risk of allowing social talk that breaches no wiki policy on a message wall is for the greater good of the wiki and its goal of distributing information.
"People are allowed to socialize on their messages provided there is still some relevancy to the wiki."
You do know that by your own standards just now you wouldn't have had any right to interfere with the conversation I was having with Fruipit, right? Cause that started as being relevant to the wiki since it was about edit summaries. This just to exemplify how arbitrary the enforcement of this paragraph comes over to others.
"the idea people are forced to use IRC. No, just no."
You are right, you are not forced to use IRC. However, by enforcing that paragraph, we are forcing people to choose between using IRC or don't get to know said person. Or we are forcing people to have their socializing talk have a "hey, what do you think of fanon X" every five lines or something to keep it relevant to the wiki. So you might not be directly forcing people to use IRC, but enforcing this definitely constitutes an indirect force to use IRC.
"I don't see how doing that forces people to converse with strangers."
Explained numerous times already. Go on IRC and see for yourself how lively the main chat is and how inviting it is for completely strangers to strike up conversation with some of the resident users.
"a gentle nudge may be necessary"
That gentle nudge you are referring to might, no matter how nice you word it, be just as well a rude statement telling people to "stfu with your irrelevant crap and gtf on IRC with this nonsense!". By politely nudging people, you are already completely killing the fun in the conversation they were having, making the AW once again come off as being rigid, stale, dull, not fun at all, and just an overall drag. Is that really the kind of community we want to be?
An irrelevant message wall conversation is not the same as an irrelevant comment on a content page. The last deters away from the wiki's professionalism, the former aids the wiki by allowing a healthy community to grow and work for the wiki. You cannot make the mistake of thinking that those two instances are the same, cause they're not. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 12:56, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
@Thailog: I do share you opinion on how there is a lot of irrelevant socialization, but by enforcing this how it is done at the moment, I still believe that we are doing more harm than good. To give the personal example again, I hardly think that I need to be told to be professional on this wiki. However, since everyone is the same for the "policy", I was told to shut up (yes, it was stated more friendly than than, but that was basically what it was). By doing that, we are distancing people from one another. You know that I don't like the comments either, but I do not see the harm in letting people have harmless fun on a message wall. I am completely missing the so called higher purpose of that bit of the discussion policy that warrants all the negative consequences that come with it. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 13:00, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
I'd rather not embark on a long tirade like you guys seem to enjoy, but I would like to sum up what I believe many of us feel about the place for socializing on this wiki. No, it is not Facebook, so I will not be posting my status or giving everyone updates on my life, but I don't see how getting to know one another is harmful. In fact, I believe we're a more effective resource if the users have good chemistry and can work together. Furthermore, this is a community of people who like Avatar, nota some professional board of scholars. The other wikis seem to be fine with being a friendly, chatty website full of people with the same interest. I say we could stand to be just a bit more like that, which is why I support LL's proposal. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 13:26, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Well, HoT seems to have brought up the major issues and concerns with altering the policy/enforcement of the policy, however Lostris counter-argued quite well. I can't think of any other aspects of this save for the ones already mentioned above, so really I don't have anything more to add except reaffirm my position in support of no longer enforcing the rather ambiguously and loosely worded policy. Frui (🌹🐝🐝🐝) 13:33, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
"As stated just before, the way it is worded now, it is not a bit of policy, it is a guideline. There is nothing you can do at this moment to effectively enforce that bit of policy anyway."
Not true. Admins are fully entitled to end said discussion based on said policy. That was the whole point of this forum and its consensus (The Message Wall socialisation policy should be enforced, but in a polite way and certainly without threat of sanctions) therefore, making it a binding policy. If the wording of the policy does not reflect that, then it should be reworded, not ignored.
Fruitpit said "This wiki was created to be a comprehensive encyclopaedia of Avatar, however it can only become that through the collaborative efforts of all the users. By enforcing this policy, we are stifling the interpersonal relationships and, in my opinion, segregating the community." I agree with this in its stricktest sense. Like I said, I'm fine with social interaction between users who contribute to the goal of the wiki: create a comprehensive encyclopaedia of Avatar. It is conducive to a healthy "work atmosphere", but I certainly cannot support nor endorse social interaction for the sake of it between people whose sole purpose is just to "make friends". That does detract from our main goal and is a slippery slope to make Avatar Wiki into a social network.
I'm not saying social interaction should only occur between editors, but I certainly can't stand behind the idea of walls being used to "make friends".
To reaffirm my position: I think that keeping a policy and pretend it's not there is pointless. It either needs to be less fuzzy or removed altogether. ― Thailog 13:49, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

Who does it hurt if two users make friends via message wall? In my view, this only brings our community closer together. Why can't we simply establish a principle of nonmaleficence, where any message is tolerated so long as it does not harm another user? Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 13:53, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

(EC) I agree with those who are in favor of no longer enforcing the policy - I mean really, what betterment will we get for the wiki from monitoring every conversation and every one that drifts into something irrelevant - we have to step in and basically tell users to stop talking? What's the benefit of stopping a "Hey, what's up?"-style talk? Is it really so bad for users to want to get to know people and maybe have a good laugh or two on their message walls? Back last year, I agreed with curbing socialization - but now looking at it, it just seems pointless to be a continuous monitor and silence what could be an enjoyable conversation. Let people get to know each other, catch up on things, and if they want to have a talk...why stop them? PSUAvatar14 Want to have a word? Katarasprite1Ty Lee KW 13:56, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
As it is now, the wording of that bit does not make it a binding policy. As said "dissuaded" means in no way "prohibited". Dissuading something is advising against something, but in no way is that binding. As such, I don't believe that any official action based on that bit of the discussion policy alone is justified. If people find that it needs to be made into a binding policy, then it needs to be reworded, but then I will definitely start a forum to reword or remove it from the policy all together, cause that is not a beneficial way for the wiki to take, imo.
Thai, I really do agree with you on that regard. The Avatar Wiki does not need to be used as a social medium that is solely used by some to make friends, cause that is indeed really not what we are about. However, when enforcing that policy means that conversation like the one I was having is put down, then I do oppose keeping that paragraph around, cause that is just sucking the joy out of everything we do here -even for those who know better than to perceive it as such.
Again, I know that is a very personal argument and in no way to be generalized: I am not above any policies here, and I will abide by them even if I don't like them -hence the fact that the irrelevant conversation has seized- but I really ask any of you, what is the point of that policy if you are -without wanting to sound conceited and arrogant- sucking the joy out of the wiki for one who is clearly not at risk of losing track of the wiki's goal? That's my issue with it: I understand some of the worries one might have by not completely enforcing this, and I certainly see how it will be even more arbitrary if it would only be enforced against new users and not against established contributers, but I really can't shake the feeling of how clinically the wiki is if we really enforce that rule. Really, what kind of place is this and why would I want to stick around further if I can't even have a fun random conversation without being told to take it elsewhere after having done several edits? At this moment, nipping that conversation in the butt, I really can't help but feel that I was told "hey, we appreciate your work, but only your work, not whatever else you have to say". I know that's not what HoT meant, so please, don't take it that way, but that is a message that is being send out by enforcing it the way that we do and it is without a doubt a message that I detest. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 14:09, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
"Who does it hurt if two users make friends via message wall?"
Other than it going against our mission statement that I already brought up? (I really hope this doesn't turn into one of those discussions where I have to repeat myself endlessly.)
"However, when enforcing that policy means that conversation like the one I was having is put down, then I do oppose keeping that paragraph around, cause that is just sucking the joy out of everything we do here -even for those who know better than to perceive it as such."
I agree, hence my point: either remove it or reword it. There's no point in keeping it around if it's not something we can cite when we take some action against socialization. You said it yourself: people can just ignore our requests to relocate those conversations elsewhere, so why would they care about a scarecrow "guideline"?
To me clear: I don't think the type of conversation you used as an example should be nipped in the bud, at all. I've been part of many. How else would we flirt shamelessly? However, not enforcing any kind of anti-socialization rule is the same as removing the policy, and thus opening the door for abuse. Let's imagine one user engages in a pointless, shallow chat in multiple Walls during five or so minutes, flooding the RC. You're basically saying we can't do anything about it besides putting up with it. Who's to say that it doesn't suck the joy out of the site for members too? My point is: either anything goes, or we protect ourselves from such incidents by having a clear policy that we can enforce. ― Thailog 14:44, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

Okay, then there lies our conundrum: how do we nip unwanted socialization in the butt while allowed casual, which is usual irrelevant, conversation as well without appearing arbitrary? That's why I didn't move to delete the rule, cause I do see it's point. I do, however, also see many disadvantages with a stern enforcement of it -cause even though one can ignore the request to take it elsewhere, it still is an effective conversation stopper, and it comes off rather rude if one were to just ignore someone else's request like that. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 15:28, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

Well at what point does one become the other. If the concern is that the existing policy is too vague, or can be interpreted differently, then we need an objective way to say, this thread is OK, but for this thread a request should be made for the conversation to be moved. To be honest, I don't know whether such a criterion can be established, since any consideration of whether a conversation would constitute "enough socialization for a request to be issued" is largely subjective. If two users strike up an irrelevant conversation from the start, then I'd say a request would be clear, but what about one that starts OK but drifts into socializing. My own consideration would be to request it be moved, much as I did with Lostris and Fruipit's conversation, but reading other people's arguments, it seems they don't consider such a request to be warranted. If in both examples the users involved are socializing (and there is no relevant discussion happening at all), what differentiates one from the other. A criteria of "a thread has to start out relevant but after that anything goes" hardly seems applicable.
That said, if we do introduce such a criterion, I think it needs more teeth, to use other's people analogy, something like "Repeatedly continuing a conversation that has been requested to be moved onto the IRC (or elsewhere) under the reasoning of socialization is grounds for a warning, and potentially a block." A polite request can still be made for it to be moved, but if it is clear they have no intention of doing so, and have repeatedly continued their conversation, something has to change. HAMMEROFTHOR 15:48, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
I get the "it needs teeth"-remark, but let me just already say that I am not in favor at all for making "repeated socializing" a blockable offense, cause seriously, what the hell are we doing if we start doing that? That would certainly not be a place that I would like to be a part of, let alone actually execute due to my administrative rights. So I really get it, but no, that is not a way I want to go down with the wiki and I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that at all.
And that's why this is a tough nut to crack. I honestly indeed feel like breaking up a conversation like Fruipit and I were having was unwarranted. I don't blame you at all, cause you did it based on that bit in the discussion policy, so that's why I concluded that the bit of policy and its consequences as they are now are not healthy. One could perhaps take a users overall contributions into account, see whether or not this is a habit, but in general, I think it's okay to say that there rarely are truly socialization messages. Most irrelevant conversation seems to evolve from relevant ones, and if it does, I do not feel like anything should be done about it, cause that's just what makes it fun to be here. I honestly believe that "no socialization" on message walls does way more harm to the community and the wiki's goal than turning the other way and have a sort of tolerance for it. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 16:03, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Banning socialization altogether is rather excessive (but so is allowing all kind of it). Can't we just use some common sense? I'm sure anyone who has some can see the difference between LL and Fruipit's conversation and something like this, which should be nipped in the bud, for which we need a policy.
"One could perhaps take a users overall contributions into account, see whether or not this is a habit, but in general"
That sounds like common sense to me... I also like to believe that someone with common sense and fully aware of our policies would not drag that conversation ad nauseam. ― Thailog 16:34, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Obviously I agree with your reasoning there, but to now momentarily switch roles and bat against my own side: doesn't that come off rather arbitrary then? I can definitely see people think it is not fair that their conversation is being called out when some seemingly similar irrelevant one is not. This is just me pointing at that elephant in the room, cause I would take, how unfair it may seem to some, an arbitrary judgment about what is and is not allowed socializing wise on the wiki above nipping any kind of socialization in the butt. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 16:46, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Naturally I can see that, but a line must be crossed somewhere. Otherwise there are no lines, there are no rules, everything is fair game and it's pandemonium. And you know there's always someone who is going to cry foul, regardless of how hard you try to make policies as neutral as possible. ― Thailog 16:54, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Am I the only one who think that the "omg profile picture whatever" thread isn't all that detrimental to the wiki? Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 17:01, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Depends on your professional standards. You cannot say that a wiki that condones such discussions is a paragon of professionalism. We do have high standards, even for discussions. That is why there's this caveat under every article, above the comments that state "Comments that use inappropriate language, are irrelevant, are inflammatory, or do not adhere to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation will be deleted" (emphasis mine). ― Thailog 17:17, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Oh I agree that comments irrelevant to the article should be deleted, but I think messages are different, as I view them to be harmless. I understand the concerns with RC flooding, but users do have the option of filtering the RC. No one is forced to read annoying threads, and yes I understand that some can be unbearably irritating. Still, I don't think the overall professionalism or productivity of this wiki, which is maintained by users such as LL and yourself, is threatened by people who wouldn't otherwise be contributing much anyway. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 17:20, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Discussions are discussions, regardless of where they take place. Walls are not a private user venue, which is why we disallow the whimsical removal of messages. And the thing is, new users or the occasional passersby may not know they can filter out wall threads. The fact is, if these discussions become recurring and predominant, they do reflect poorly on us. Speaking for myself, if I go to a wiki and see the RC flooded with ".....ur pic rockzzzzzz... four realziez......." and "wanna be friendz111???" messages, I will turn away. Because that sort of juvenility speaks poorly for the overall community and upheld standards, or lack thereof. And it may very well be the most comprehensive subject matter database, but I won't want to be part of it. And I repeat, LL's conversation in no way falls under this category. ― Thailog 17:41, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

@LL - what I meant by repeated socializing was continuing a purely socializing conversation after repeated requests to move the conversation elsewhere, as opposed to having to be asked to do so on different conversations over time. If I request a conversation be moved (and lets assume for ease that it didn't start or become relevant at any point), but they don't, and then I ask again, and they don't, and then I ask again, and they don't, there has to be a point at which we go "enough's enough, you've been asked several times but not complied, here is a warning".

If we allow irrelevant threads to stay if they evolve from relevant ones, all people would do is send a couple of messages that are relevant ("Do you like Aang?", "I really like Aang", "Now lets talk about something irrelevant") which in my opinion doesn't exactly solve the problem. Also, I don't think considering a user's past contributions to be entirely objective. Long term users would benefit from that far more than newer users, and thus it would serve only to create a sense of long term contributors can socialize, but newer users can't because they haven't earned it.

Referring to Lostris and Fruipit's discussion, there was nothing wrong with the majority of the conversation, since they were discussing edit summaries etc. but the three or so comments above my first I consider to be socialization, and thus why I sent my message. You can argue that there is nothing wrong with the messages and that they don't harm the wiki, but the other thread that was linked to, the users that were involved there probably felt the same about their own messages. This is what I meant when I said consideration of what is relevant is subjective; what we need is an objective criterion. HAMMEROFTHOR 17:53, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

@Thai, I see your point, but then it seems that the problem is over not a message's relevance, but the level of maturity displayed. I think we can assume that had the message have simply been "I like your new Avatar, and I think it really reflects your personality well" then we would not have brought it up in this discussion. Perhaps we should change our outlook on this so that we are monitoring juvenility, as you put it. Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 17:55, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

For reasons mentioned above, I still oppose making it an actual blockable offense, cause that just feels wrong on every level. Sure, you can say it's for the benefit of the wiki's professionalism, but in reality, warning and blocking people for having a social conversation -even after being asked to take it elsewhere- makes us look like assholes. I truly get where you are coming from and I see the point you want to reach with that, but that doesn't deter from the fact that I would feel like a horrible human being if I would need to block someone just for having an irrelevant conversation on their message walls -blocking people for socializing on article comments is something else, per the explanation of the subtle difference before.
No objective criteria can be given for what is an acceptable limit for socialization. And really? We got three messages the time to drift into irrelevance? Come on, that is exactly what is wrong with the execution of that rule. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 18:01, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
I agree that blocking is over the top. The most logical course of action to take would be simply... closing the thread. I also agree that there's something to be said about taking the policy to the letter. Right now there's an off-topic albeit harmless discussion taking place that I personally have no problems with, but should that discussing progress in a way that takes over half the RC page, I would feel compelled to ask the participants to take it down a notch or move it elsewhere. And I can't justifiably do that without a policy. Hence my whole point.
@OR: I can agree with that. Of course that the lack of any kind of policy would allow those juvenile chatters. ― Thailog 18:10, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
This is perhaps a stupid question, but don't message wall posts get grouped? As such, no matter how many messages are added to a certain thread, the "flooding" will always be limited to one message, no?
Anyway, I do stand by Thailog's assessment that there needs to be a possible form of action for when irrelevant discussions get way out of hand, also spelling and grammar wise, and I have no objection into writing it down in the policy that such "juvenile" threads, to use that words, are liable to be closed when continued. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 18:21, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
@LL - I didn't pick three messages as some sort of personal limit. I came across the thread, read through it, felt given the last few comments the conversation was starting to drift into socialization, and so made my request. The specific number of comments had no bearing.
I think the idea of closing threads is a good compromise, since it gives a definite endpoint. What do you guys think about making the following additions to the policy:
  1. Socialization conversations which are considered juvenile, that is below the standard that would be expected of someone 13 or above, will be asked to be moved onto the IRC. If after said request the conversation still continues, the thread will be closed, but no further action will be taken.
  2. For socialization conversations which are of an acceptable standard, if for a length of 10 consecutive posts the conversation is not relevant to the wiki, show etc. a request will be made to move the conversation onto the IRC. If the conversation continues, another request will be made after another period of 10 consecutive irrelevant posts. If the second request is not met, the thread will be closed, but no further action will be taken.
I feel these are a good compromise of the issues people have brought forward. HAMMEROFTHOR 20:16, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

So every other ten posts we have to say "Aang rocks", works for me. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 20:21, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

Aang is overused. I dare people to say something so bold as "Omashu rocks." Omashu Rocks (Talk - Crossfire) Bosco 20:24, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

But on a more serious note, I would add something in the lines of "Message wall threads that do not adhere to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation are prone to being closed" behind the existing policy of "Message Walls are not intended to be a facility for social interaction. They are to facilitate individual messages relevant to the users' activity on the wiki. Utilizing them for the purpose of social interaction is strongly discouraged; use the community chat or private emails for these purposes." As such, the sense of discouragement for socialization practices is maintained, and a clear indication and a sanction are added, as well as still allowing for normal socialization. Adding "you have 10 messages to be relevant" is just . . . who wants to go counting? What will you do then if you come across a clearly irrelevant socialization thread that only has 8 messages so far? Just leaving it out is best I think. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 20:49, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

I agree. The 10 posts limit is a loophole waiting to be exploited. ― Thailog 20:57, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
I cannot support that alteration. The discouragement of general socialization means nothing if people do not have something to back them in making requests that users move their conversation onto the IRC. The sanction of a thread being closed if the socialization continues is fine, but having nothing at all, I cannot support that. HAMMEROFTHOR 21:11, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Then make a feasible and justified suggestion without any obvious loopholes, and one that still allows for the needed socialization. Otherwise, this addition would just just fine, cause common sense is really the sole indication an enforcer of said policy needs. If a thread is borderline, then just let it be. If it's not, then it will be so obvious that no explanation needs to be given. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 21:15, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
And what constitutes borderline. All the suggestions you have given on when a thread should or should not be moved have been subjective. That to me is a step down from what we have now, and thus something that will only create confusion. My suggestion ultimately is that we stick with what we have, and have socialization conversations requested to be moved to the IRC, and make an addition to the policy that stipulates that a thread would be closed if such socialization continued after X number of requests. That still allows for the needed socialization, as you have asked for, gives a clear indication of when a thread should be moved, and has something which will back a user when they make their request. HAMMEROFTHOR 21:31, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

If "stick to what we have now" means that you'll stiffen conversations like the one between me and Fruipit in the future than I am all for "changing what we have", and based on the majority of this forum, so are many others. As such, you are the only one in favor so it seems to make this into a clear rule and as such you are the one who should come up with a workable proposal, cause the current situation is not workable. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 21:37, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

I do not believe such a proposal can be given. Any judgement on whether socialization is "too far" and thus requires moving is subjective. I ultimately do not believe socialization on message walls is necessary when the IRC stands as a perfectly acceptable alternative, and that any socialization that does happen should be requested to be moved. You believe socialization is perfectly fine on the wiki, and that only juvenile conversations should be closed/asked to move. I do not see a way to combine these two together. You are willing to have a policy that no one actually has to follow, and that someone would actually be chastised for asking another user to follow. Explain to me the reasoning behind that. A policy that actually punishes users that attempt to follow/enforce it. We tell users that policy is to be followed, and yet here is a clear example that that isn't actually the case. HAMMEROFTHOR 21:53, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
You have been given ample reasons by more than me alone for why IRC is not always sufficient and for why some of the socialization messages should be allowed, so for that, I refer you back to the above.
How is the enforcer being punished in any way? Am I punishing you? Have I punished you? Specifically for this reason, I have emphasized it more than once that I am not calling you out for your actions as they were justified, I am "shooting" at the policy that made you take the actions, as I find the consequences of the execution of the policy to be unwanted. As for the reasons why, I refer you back to the above as well. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 21:58, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
I was referring to what would happen if the policy change was passed. If that happened, anyone that asked others users to follow policy would have this forum shoved in their face. I just don't understand having a policy that isn't intended to be followed, and that no one is supposed to enforce. Discouragement does nothing if no one follows through on seeing that it actually happens. What would we say to new users that ask about that policy? It says discourage, but no one cares if you don't follow that, so do as you wish provided you write nicely. HAMMEROFTHOR 22:12, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Discouraging is just that, you put up a sign "please don't", but that's it. What you are gunning for is prohibiting it, which is just not healthy for this wiki. If new users ask about that policy, then one will say "the Avatar Wiki is not meant as a place to socialize with people, and as such, socialization threads are discouraged". It would be as simple as that, cause again, there is a difference between discouragement and a prohibition. By making that addendum, people will know that it is not really supposed to be done and that such threads can be closed. However, that does not mean that we will have to go hunting for such threads. I don't see what your problem with the rule is, it's not like it would be the first rule to rely on common sense and good judgment. I would even say, if one cannot make a call, then just give the thread in question the benefit of the doubt and let it be. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 22:18, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
"You believe socialization is perfectly fine on the wiki, and that only juvenile conversations should be closed/asked to move. I do not see a way to combine these two together."
Now it's my time to ask what's so wrong with an innocent off-topic derailment such as the one that happened between LL and Fruipit. It happens a lot and it's good to blow off steam. It's not like it went on for 50 posts straight without interval. The old forum was created because off-topic threads were out of control. We certainly are not at that stage again. While I oppose the abolishment of the current policy per what HoT just said, I can't agree with such a strict adherence to it either. Patrolling every thread to make sure every post is Avatar related and stifle the conversation once it reaches an established quota is overkill, imo. And this from someone who doesn't care at all for wiki socialization. ― Thailog 22:21, June 1, 2013 (UTC)
Okay, it might seem a little strange that myself of all people are mentioning this, but I don't really believe the discussion I was having with Lostris was ever really that relevant. That is, until the whole "policy should be changed" comments. I was the one who initiated the conversation, and yes it was about edit summaries, but that in and of itself doesn't make it relevant. We did stray onto topics which most of you deem to be relating to the Wiki, such as the FFF and fanfic, but the actual catalyst was myself referencing an in joke in regards to LL's edit summary, one which I didn't need to mention at all. It wasn't one asking for clarification, or her explaining to me that they must be used. It didn't pertain to the "professionalism" or have any influence or effect on the running of the Wiki.
HoT, you repeatedly suggest the IRC - that method doesn't work for me. I don't always have a computer. I don't always have Internet. But I do always have my phone. As I've mentioned above, the IRC doesn't work on my phone or tablet, making it a difficult medium. Message walls are good because you can see how friendly people are from more than just the claims they make on their user page, and anyone can butt in and contribute something to the conversation. I gather you don't like socialisation on the message walls, but that's your choice. I prefer it - I get an email saying someone has replied, and I can send my own back at my leisure. I'm currently having another "unprofessional" conversation with Wordbender that began relevant and slipped the category into "friendly", because honestly can we determine how friendly someone is purely based on a "hey, which categories do I need to put for my new storie page?" "Oh, this, this and this one." "Awesome, thanks". You want this wiki to run smoothly - it doesn't happen without communication, and not just communication about everything relevant to the wiki. Sure, some conversations do start out like that, but most appear to descend into just conversation. Again, like I stated above, until very recently I would never have dreamed of talking to Lostris in such a casual manner because of this policy, and yet I now consider her a good friend because I blatantly ignored it - without, mind you, any repercussions until now. Would I get into trouble for socialising? Aside from annoying what appears to be a vast minority, no, I wouldn't. No one has the power to "enforce" this rule, with most users overlooking it because, using Lostris's words, it "makes us look like assholes."
HoT, to counter what you most recently mentioned, people wouldn't throw this forum in our face because we wouldn't be enforcing it. Unless of course we came to a compromise, I don't think any user would be within their right to enforce it. Frui (🌹🐝🐝🐝) 22:27, June 1, 2013 (UTC)

I'm not one that cares for socialization on the wiki proper, however, I know that like all things, it must be regulated to some extent. For example, I enforce this particular policy until it becomes clear upon one of three points:

  • The given topic is completely inappropriate, such that it will probably break another policy (or already has) or it is not up to the basic standards of maturity that we expect on this wiki
  • The thread is consistently out-of-scope with the site, with no meaningful elements relating to the series or the wiki, and will most likely grow to significant proportions if allowed to continue
  • And lastly, the primary discussion has strayed far too much into sharing detailed personal information, which could (and would) be better done on Facebook - rather than in the public eye.

These three scenarios are very much in the extreme on this wiki, based upon criteria which I formulated for my own use in regards to moderating threads as the current wording for the policy does not really include a good scope to work with. As such, I can see Lady Lostris's problem with absolute enforcement of a rather vague rule. However, per Thailog, I cannot agree to the oxymoron that we should write down a policy, and yet, never substantially be able to follow or facilitate it - it's there for a reason, as has been stipulated by both sides. I would support a new policy keeping the above three points in mind, as I see that as a moderate take onto the socialization aspect - it keeps sensible socialization more or less laissez faire, but would give leeway in the edge cases. KettleMeetPotwall 01:48, June 2, 2013 (UTC)

No offense to everyone, and I know that I'm not a good evaluator, but as you know, this wiki activity has been decreased a lot, and this wiki show a significant sign of "walking to dead" (read:inactivity). As I see in this wiki's life, people are coming and a lot of new users are excited with this wiki community! But in the coming years, people went inactive because new wikia feature, busy life, and. . . Enforcement of socializing. For new users, (read:new crops) IRC is hard to understand, it's too open, it's prohibited (by their parents) etc. I know for some old users like Thailog, it's better for socializing, chatting, or even do a meeting there, but this wiki consists of human, and the pluralism itself. Of course, clearly irrelevant talking must be prohibited, but talking and stopping by to say hi is not that bad-we are human! In late 2011, as I was online, the wiki had a talk page where people joked around, notifying about the newsletter, and socializing. As of the new forum yesterday had been made, a decreasing activity came in a sight. And now, it's ended with several editors who stay active, and some new users. Maybe some of you think this is odd, but not every of us came before 2012; when people can easily talking and laughing all over the wiki. Sorry if I write this poorly, but the point is, no-socializing enforcement is not needed for a better community. Just my two-cents. :) AcerEvan ( Contributions · Zuko EK Fugitive) 12:01, June 2, 2013 (UTC)

Wiki activity always increases in the summer by the way. Shadow☆Star 13:29, June 2, 2013 (UTC)

I, as several others, do not see how casual socialization every now and then is injurious to the wiki's professionalism; the high standards of this wiki and users' aims to maintain the quality of articles and such will not be jeopardized if two users somewhere happen to be getting to know one another and enjoying themselves on a message wall thread. I've been part of and seen many conversations throughout my time on the wiki that have strayed from subjects pertaining to the wiki or both series and yet nothing wholly harmful to the wiki has stemmed from those conversations. Rather, again as others pointed out, occasional chatting, especially among two users who are unfamiliar with one another, is healthy for promoting a friendly, spirited atmosphere with users who have come to know and like each other.
Of course there are certain things that must be taken into account, such as grammatical standards and level of maturity or lack thereof displayed. And if such threads that contain poor grammar, are inappropriate, or involve immature remarks are seen - and we all have the common sense to call out those message threads when they come up - then either the participants will be encouraged to move their conversation elsewhere or the thread will be closed after some time. But aside from those instances, which do read poorly for the wiki community, some friendly conversation threads are overall beneficial and won't cause much harm, as far as I can see. The Ultimate Waterbender 14:39, June 2, 2013 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Shadow☆Star: Yes it does. But do you realize that our continual editors had departed from this wiki constantly since 2012? I don't see a BIG community after the ending of Fanon Awards; a lot of users resigned for a lot of reasons. Fortunately for me, though I believe I'd said a lot of good bye etc. I'm still here-first, now finals have ended. And two, this month will be my graduation holiday. Yes, summer is coming forward. But can you guarantee them to stay on in this wiki? They lost their interest of this wiki because some reasons, and for me, talking-prohibition does give an effect. AcerEvan ( Contributions · Zuko EK Fugitive) 14:42, June 2, 2013 (UTC)
Acer, please stay on-topic. No one has left because of some "talking-prohibition". There's no such thing. And that's not what this is about.
Anyway, I pretty much agree with KMP's criteria. ― Thailog 21:18, June 2, 2013 (UTC)
Per Thai, and as such, per KMP. Those are nicely summed up criteria. Lady Lostris vstf (talkHotN) 21:28, June 2, 2013 (UTC)

Late to the party again! :P Thankfully, I agree with KMP's criteria. I don't think the "harms" of social chit-chat (miniscule in virtually all cases) in any way outweigh the benefits of a community of people getting to know each other better. I've always been for incentivising people to stick around in any way that won't damage the substantial content we host. Let's not get too worked up about this. The 888th Avatar (talk) 13:38, June 4, 2013 (UTC)

KMP's criteria seem agreeable to me as well, though I believe the second of the three encompasses the bulk of the issue. The first one is a given, since it implies there are problems other than the relevancy of the topic, and the third isn't something which is commonly gone against on here. As for the second, I think it sums it up nicely, with the second part of it being as vital as the first: "The thread is consistently out-of-scope with the site, with no meaningful elements relating to the series or the wiki, and will most likely grow to significant proportions if allowed to continue." --AvatarRokus Ghost (Message meRead my fanon) Aang Cosmic Toph-DoBS-2 15:07, June 4, 2013 (UTC)
In other words, small off-topic pieces in the short run wouldn't fall into that. Just double-checking that we're on the same page, since apparently everyone wasn't last time. --AvatarRokus Ghost (Message meRead my fanon) Aang Cosmic Toph-DoBS-2 15:09, June 4, 2013 (UTC)
I admit I have only briefly scrolled through this forum (after all, it is quite long) but ultimately I agree with KMP's standards. Although, I would like some clarification on the middle point— KMP, you mean as if a conversation was started for entirely non-avatar related reasons and continues to do so, right? (IE: hi how are you; good how was your day; fine; what are you doing; homework, etc.) Or does it refer to things even more irrelevant than that? And also, would said threads be deleted or simply closed? Fire Pabu Sprite Ferret 00:42, June 5, 2013 (UTC)
Most probably on the non-avatar related reasons point - though, as you know, that by itself would not count as an infringement. Having said that, however, I would expect that a very large and massively active thread in which the discussion started out relevant and drifted (completely) from anything meaningful should also count. As for how it would be dealt with, I would inform the participants of the thread first and only close it if it was entirely necessary - as the latter seems like a heavy-handed way of doing things since you automatically assume the users will not care to listen. KettleMeetPotwall 03:23, June 6, 2013 (UTC)

Ah, alright thanks for clearing that up. I'm 100% in favor of your proposal now. Fire Pabu Sprite Ferret 04:21, June 6, 2013 (UTC)