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MichaelTannock

What are your Invalidation Policy concerns?

Poll on Invalidation Policy concerns  

49 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. What are your concerns with the Invalidation Policy?

    • People won't have the freedom to tell others that their identity is wrong.
      11
    • People won't be able to suggest other labels for others to consider.
      19
    • People will be disciplined for merely relaying information.
      27
    • "Asexual" will lose meaning leading to the disintegration of the community.
      29
    • Asexuality will not be taken seriously by outside communities.
      27
    • It won't be possible to create resources to help others understand Asexuality.
      12
    • Education will be impossible without clear definitions.
      32
    • AVEN is not supporting a large section of the Asexual population.
      22
    • The term "Asexual" has become a status symbol so people to stop exploring.
      20
    • AVEN will stop improving its resources for fear of invalidating people.
      18
    • More pressing problems will be ignored to focus on stopping invalidation.
      19
    • Not concerned.
      11


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Guest
6 hours ago, Serran said:

Which, was already against ToS and enforced and rarely happened due to this . So, again, what was "lax" and not enforced that had to be changed according to the BoD? Labeling a person has been a quick way to get a warning since ... I joined over five years ago. So, that didn't need an announcement, change in ToS and would not settle the sex favorables feeling invalidated since it would be changing nothing as that was already not allowed and strictly enforced when reported (unless you guys decided to stop following ToS since I quit being on the team, which I somehow doubt). 

Invalidation like that was being met with choruses of no action needed until the board stepped in.

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Serran
44 minutes ago, Road said:

Invalidation like that was being met with choruses of no action needed until the board stepped in.

So, the admods stopped following ToS when someone said you are / are not (insert label)? O.o Weird

 

Thank you for actually answering what was going on, for those of us not privy to the back room. The change in admods enforcement isn't something a non-staff could know. So, the announcement to the public makes it sound like an unspecified change in rules, since the rest of us were used to that line having been established years ago as the line not to be crossed.

 

When I was admod / TT there was even debate on how far to take it (example: if someone says wafflegender isnt real, since it was a joke gender used to invalidate trans). So, it was always taken rather seriously you cannot label someone else, period. For anything. 

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MichaelTannock

@Puck How's this? I'll allow people to select more than one when I set up the poll, so I've split some of your additions up.

  1. People won't have the freedom to tell others that their identity is wrong.
  2. People won't be able to suggest other labels for others to consider.
  3. People will be disciplined for merely relaying information.
  4. "Asexual" will lose meaning leading to the disintegration of the community.
  5. Asexuality will not be taken seriously by outside communities.
  6. It won't be possible to create resources to help others understand Asexuality.
  7. Education will be impossible without clear definitions.
  8. AVEN is not supporting a large section of the Asexual population.
  9. The term "Asexual" has become a status symbol so people to stop exploring.
  10. AVEN will stop improving its resources for fear of invalidating people.
  11. More pressing problems will be ignored to focus on stopping invalidation.

 

@Serran I'm sorry for not answering your question properly, and thank you @Road for doing so.

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FaerieFate
15 hours ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

@Homer I hope that doesn't get construed as breaching. Thank you for sharing this. :cake:

We're allowed to discuss our own personal opinions, and it could be assumed whatever personal opinions we state out here is also what we state in the backroom. :)

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Guest
5 hours ago, Road said:

Invalidation like that was being met with choruses of no action needed until the board stepped in.

TBH, unlike Serran... I did guess that this was eactly what happened in the BR. Thanks for confirming it.

 

If it's considered a breach, then by all means do feel free to decline to answer... but does "choruses" imply a majority, resulting in repeated final decisions of "no action"? Or just a consistent large minority of dissent?

 

 

4 hours ago, Serran said:

So, the admods stopped following ToS when someone said you are / are not (insert label)? O.o Weird

I'd say they didn't stop following ToS; they interpreted ToS differently. "Strongly discouraged" =/= "not allowed".

 

It's clear from the announcement that the BoD considers this change in interpretation as "having become lax", whereas you won't be surprised that I thought of it as "finally, some good progress in terms of allowing education".

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Qutenkuddly
5 hours ago, Serran said:

So, the announcement to the public makes it sound like an unspecified change in rules, since the rest of us were used to that line having been established years ago as the line not to be crossed.

I can see how that confusion would come about. I think one of the big reasons why the announcement was made is to prepare the rest of the community for the change in adjudication.

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Puck
4 hours ago, MichaelTannock said:

@Puck How's this? I'll allow people to select more than one when I set up the poll, so I've split some of your additions up.

  1. People won't have the freedom to tell others that their identity is wrong.
  2. People won't be able to suggest other labels for others to consider.
  3. People will be disciplined for merely relaying information.
  4. "Asexual" will lose meaning leading to the disintegration of the community.
  5. Asexuality will not be taken seriously by outside communities.
  6. It won't be possible to create resources to help others understand Asexuality.
  7. Education will be impossible without clear definitions.
  8. AVEN is not supporting a large section of the Asexual population.
  9. The term "Asexual" has become a status symbol so people to stop exploring.
  10. AVEN will stop improving its resources for fear of invalidating people.
  11. More pressing problems will be ignored to focus on stopping invalidation.

 

@Serran I'm sorry for not answering your question properly, and thank you @Road for doing so.

Looking good to me!

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FaerieFate
Before I answer this, I want to say, anything I bring up about these reports aren't how I (personally) would vote on these reports. I didn't read them in depth, I don't know the member's disciplinary history at the time. I don't know if there's related information. A lot more goes into a report than the couple of posts, so I can't go into depth on how I'd vote. All I can do is give you the facts of these reports that I use as examples.
 
14 hours ago, Serran said:

My main concerns, as I stated in the thread (and honestly, that thread wasn't getting that heated, so no idea why you locked it when it had devolved into joking around :P which was anything but arguing ) 

The problem I (personally) had with the thread (not speaking for the admods team as a whole) is that it wasn't constructive. I saw several admods repeat themselves several times, only to be ignored. I saw several admods try to address concerns only to be accused of not listening (which was impossible to do in a thread that acquired such a large post count in such a hard time. It was physically impossible for me to read everything and catch up to address everything, and there were so many concerns stated that I needed a small book to address it all). Everyone was talking in circles, and to me it very much felt like everyone was shouting their own opinions and listening to anyone else.

 

As you can tell by this thread, several members of admods care about the concerns you have, and it was upsetting that we couldn't address them because the flow of information was so quick and we weren't being listened to. Also, as you can tell from this thread, several of our staff agrees with these concerns, which makes it more annoying that we couldn't address them.

 

Quote

1) Asexuals are losing their own space by the recent push to accept loving sex and being unhappy without it as an asexual experience and the announcement by the BoD did nothing to support the asexuals who feel that way. It actually did the opposite. It basically said "Yeah, we don't care about how you guys feel. Those sex favorables feel invalidated, so go away and shut up" ... why the lack of support for those who feel like they are losing the label they could fit with, that protected them from being diagnosed as mentally ill with HSDD? AVEN hasn't even tried to support that side, just the sex favorable side. 

I understand with the concerns of what people are calling "sexual asexuals" that this is what it felt like, but the statement from the BOD wasn't about that, specifically. It was simply stating that our TOS stated that invalidation is not allowed, and admods had recently gotten lax in their interpretation of that. I've been a mod on and off for 3-4 years, and when I first became mod, we used to handle invalidation very differently. 

 

Here's a report from 5-6 years ago (I don't feel like mathing it. It took A LOT of time to find these examples for the members without DT magic.) Saying that there is no such thing as greyromantic got this member a warn.

 

Quote

2) The ToS already clearly did not allow saying "you are not asexual" and that was already warned any time someone reported it. So, by saying the policy has been lax and not enforced, either the BoD was lying or they were announcing a change in policy. And no one in that thread clarified what the change was, they kept denying one existed. So, no one clarified if it was an empty PR stunt to try to make the sex favorables happy, or if there was an actual change.

 

Like I said previous, there's no change in policy. It's just that how we uphold it now doesn't match how we upheld it previous. Then we have this thread which is more recent. You see how they handle the "judgement" clause differently? You see how we're more lenient on the latter? That's the difference between how we used to moderate and how we moderate now, a difference that BOD finds troublesome. (Note: these are not my opinions on the reports, specifically. These are just facts on how the reports were handled.)

 

Quote

Which leads to...

 

3) As I asked in the thread and mods refused to answer multiple times: if a user says "I am asexual cause I dont get turned on by looking at people, even though I desire sex with them, so i dont experience sexual attraction" and someone posts "According to AVENs definition, sexual attraction is the desire to share your sexuality with someone, so what you are describing is what many would call sexual attraction and is an experience many sexuals share" would that be against the rules now or no? Because, if it is, something major has changed and we are no longer free to offer information. 

 

I don't speak for all admods or BOD. So, remember this is only MY personal opinion. How I would vote. No. You're providing information. If you have some sources to back it up, even better. If you wrote that and someone reported it, most I might say is it'd be more helpful if you could share a source to define sexual attraction. I do hope that some updates I'm working on for my Q&A thread will give you some resources to do that. :) 

 

Quote

Also, one of the things stated was we cannot say asexuality is not a spectrum. So, can we no longer say we don't see asexuality as a spectrum or we can't just state it as not a spectrum as if it was fact and have to clarify that's how we see it? 

I have a link that provides scholarly articles on the "Asexual Spectrum" or "Asexual Umbrella" in my Helpful Info thread specific post linked here. I do wish to go into more detail on this with my updates with this thread. I'm working on A LOT of possible updates to better provide information. After all, I do agree that AVEN is a source for education, so I hope collecting this information will help provide education.

 

To answer your question? There's SO MUCH discussion on this invalidation clause going around. Staff are talking about it in the backroom (especially as more concerns are brought up in this thread). There's still a lot of information in that thread that got locked that I haven't gotten around to. There's a lot of information in the BOD's statement that I haven't gotten around to. So, I can't answer whether that'd get you in trouble or not, I'm sorry I couldn't answer this question better. However, I do hope education about the asexual spectrum and the terms involved (as well as updating my Helpful Info thread) will help alleviate a lot of this stress.

 

Quote

You made your rules absolutely not clear. You based it on us saying "you aren't asexual", which rarely happens. And the fuss was over sharing of information and experiences. Just like yesterday, despite saying specifically "you can ID with whatever label you like" someone told me I was telling them what their label was by simply saying how i identify. So, we really need to be clear on where the line is, or lots of us are going to face warnings for things that would have been fine to say a week ago. 

Like I mentioned previously, all this statement is saying is that this rule will be moderated more similarly to how it was in the past. And in my first example, it may not be saying "You aren't this label" However, it is saying "this label doesn't exist" which is pretty similar. Moreover, the "You aren't asexual" isn't a word-for-word quote. It's a summarization and/or simplification of a lot of invalidating posts that we've seen. Like this old report. I'd summarize that as a member saying "you aren't asexual". I know it's an old example (5 years is forever on the internet). We don't have many reports in the past couple of years declassed for a more modern example, but I hope you can understand my point.

 

I'm currently asking DT for help to find something more recent, if I find something, I'll get back to you on that.

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FaerieFate
2 hours ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

TBH, unlike Serran... I did guess that this was eactly what happened in the BR. Thanks for confirming it.

 

If it's considered a breach, then by all means do feel free to decline to answer... but does "choruses" imply a majority, resulting in repeated final decisions of "no action"? Or just a consistent large minority of dissent?

 

I'd like to refer you to my above post which highlights how we moderated based on the rule a few years ago vs more recently. Since DT is still catching up (they're doing AMAZING at catching up. They were thrown into a crap situation by being a decade behind when the team was formed.) There's not a whole lot of examples in the past year or two for me to give you.

 

And I don't wish to say more on the topic in fear of breaching. However, I am happy I could find an example or two to show the difference.

 

Quote

I'd say they didn't stop following ToS; they interpreted ToS differently. "Strongly discouraged" =/= "not allowed".

That's something I had to poke BOD and a couple of admods with when BOD brought up they didn't like the shift in moderating. I understood if there was concern for strong wording, we don't wanna be dictators or anything. However, as Q&A co-mod (with my amazing co-mod @MichaelTannock) I'd been concerned with how some of the new members that were questioning were being treated. Q&A is largely a board of scared questioning members, and the tone at which they were being welcomed with was scaring them off. We'd actually seen members request their accounts deleted after a few posts because they were met with invalidating instead of an attempt to educate in Q&A.

 

Quote

It's clear from the announcement that the BoD considers this change in interpretation as "having become lax", whereas you won't be surprised that I thought of it as "finally, some good progress in terms of allowing education".

A lot of what I thought asexuality was when I was newb is 100% different than I think it is today. My knowledge has grown by an unquantifiable amount. I admit, when I was newb, I was on the, "I'm asexual because I don't want to jump someone's bones when I first meet them" train (please don't look at my first posts on AVEN, it's embarrassing.) I was having A SHITTON of self-doubt. I had a lot of self-hate because I thought I was just saying this to be a special snowflake. I know, you wouldn't believe it, seeing the smartass I am now, but it's true. If I was met with people telling me I'm wrong or I'm not really asexual, I'd have left, hated myself, and I'd still think I'm broken years later. Instead, I was welcomed with open arms, resources to label myself, and the push to go explore, learn more about asexuality, and figure it out on my own. And, look where I am now!

 

However, with the culture on AVEN these days and what I've learned about my sexuality since then, I 100% believe I'd be told I'm not asexual and run off if I was a new member here now. As a Q&A mod, I see a lot of new members, and I want to be welcoming. I absolutely LOVE what Michael is doing for Q&A by welcoming everyone (I wish I could be more like that, but I'm too much of a smartass for that. Lol.). I want AVEN to be welcoming. That's why I think the TOS needs to be a little restrictive on old members and regulars, because I want a culture that I'd have responded well to when I was new. I'm trying SO HARD to make sure there's resources here for everyone to use (something I didn't have) to help new people if they're confused about what asexuality is. I'm trying to provide resources both for new members to label themselves and for regular members to educate people. However, it has to be shown in a better light. Less "You're wrong. You're not asexual" and more "Here's some information about asexuality. I think you might fit this definition better. Please, go out and do more research before you label yourself."

 

There's nothing wrong with trying to educate, just be careful of your tone and how you come off. New members come in feeling broken all of the time. They're sensitive. I just urge everyone to try to be more welcoming in their education. More statements like "only you can label yourself", "Here's more info to help you out", and "This is the definition for sexual attraction". Less "No."

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4 minutes ago, FaerieFate said:

I'd like to refer you to my above post which highlights how we moderated based on the rule a few years ago vs more recently. Since DT is still catching up (they're doing AMAZING at catching up. They were thrown into a crap situation by being a decade behind when the team was formed.) There's not a whole lot of examples in the past year or two for me to give you.

 

And I don't wish to say more on the topic in fear of breaching. However, I am happy I could find an example or two to show the difference.

See this post as me pressing "Like" on this part of your post. Thank you. :cake:

 

(And the DT is definitely one part of the staff whose hard work I have nothing but respect and admiration for.)

 

 

You can probably already guess I disagree too much with the rest of the post to actually press the "Like" button... but I trust you can handle that. :)

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FaerieFate
6 minutes ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

See this post as me pressing "Like" on this part of your post. Thank you. :cake:

 

(And the DT is definitely one part of the staff whose hard work I have nothing but respect and admiration for.)

Yeah, I went through some of the archives. Was gonna ask DT if they're ever ad at admods for the sheer number of policies, but then I saw old chat reports and old regular reports, and I imagine policy is a breath of fresh air compared to that. Current reports you can tell by recently declassed stuff is restricted to one member. I saw some old reports on liek 5 members. And don't even GET me started on the chat reports. Redacting those chat logs... I'm going to have nightmares about that...

 

Glad the examples I gave were helpful :) That reminds me, I meant to give DT kudos... gonna do do that now. That just looks painful...

 

6 minutes ago, Mysticus Insanus said:

 

You can probably already guess I disagree too much with the rest of the post to actually press the "Like" button... but I trust you can handle that. :)

I can. People don't have to agree with me, as long as they know where I'm coming from when I want people to be welcoming. :) Honestly, the sex-favorable stuff never crossed my mind when dealing with the invalidation stuff. I didn't even know that was a thing going on that members were seriously concerned with (beyond a couple of threads, at least)

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anisotrophic

@FaerieFate I appreciate these posts, I think it helps to clarify how communication is hoped to occur.

As @Snao van der Cone observed, I think people who've been around the bend can have trouble communicating experiences, observations, opinions, and definitions in ways that aren't – one way or another – experienced as invalidating. It's a tough issue, because when those experiences do seem to contradict someone, feeling invalidated may be inevitable. It helps to have clarification on how those experiences should be appropriately communicated – especially useful to have statements that are, essentially, "this way is good" and "this way is bad".

I'd appreciate some thoughts on whether/when/how people might broadly discuss the definitions and utility of various labels and identities, if that happens at all.

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MichaelTannock

If averyone is happy with the list of concerns, I will poll them later?

I'll also allow people to select more than one when I set up the poll.

  1. People won't have the freedom to tell others that their identity is wrong.
  2. People won't be able to suggest other labels for others to consider.
  3. People will be disciplined for merely relaying information.
  4. "Asexual" will lose meaning leading to the disintegration of the community.
  5. Asexuality will not be taken seriously by outside communities.
  6. It won't be possible to create resources to help others understand Asexuality.
  7. Education will be impossible without clear definitions.
  8. AVEN is not supporting a large section of the Asexual population.
  9. The term "Asexual" has become a status symbol so people to stop exploring.
  10. AVEN will stop improving its resources for fear of invalidating people.
  11. More pressing problems will be ignored to focus on stopping invalidation.
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ithaca
On 10/27/2019 at 9:47 PM, Snao van der Cone said:

Here's where I think a lot of the concerns stem from:

  • Several long-standing members here came to AVEN thinking they were broken because they didn't want sex, or didn't like the sex they were having, and they were told there was something wrong with them but they felt deep within them that they genuinely didn't want it. They joined AVEN, participated, identified as asexual, and remained active members while the rest of their lives unfolded. Through a mix of interacting on AVEN and developments in their offline lives, they came to realizations that they are sexual in ways that they weren't aware of or didn't acknowledge before for whatever reason. This could be because they hadn't met the right partner. It could be because they had mental health issues getting in the way. It could be because they were confused about their orientation living in a heteronormative society. It could be because they had misleading impressions of what real world sexuality is because of hypersexualized media. These people now know more about sexuality than they did before, and they now confidently say that they're not asexual. They have stuck around AVEN because of the community they've formed, the connections they've made, and the wisdom they feel they have to offer people going through similar struggles. They're vocal people who are naturally inclined to engage in online environments, specifically on serious life-focused topics (rather than, you know, just make satirical memes or play AVEN Arcade games).
  • Most of the new members who come here heard about asexuality elsewhere through media coverage, which is usually written and/or edited by sexual people in media that wants to sell stories through quick reads of online content. People come here with incomplete information, or very select portions that media thinks will interest the sexual population. It's not written for asexual people. Thus, not everyone who comes here is quite as familiar with the less click-worthy stories of people whose lives involve no sex because they're happy that way. They might be assuming things about asexuality that aren't true for most people, and depending on their style of communication it might come across as declarative and presumptive of asexuality as a whole, rather than just sharing their personal experience and seeing if anyone else relates.
  • A lot of other new members come here at very vulnerable periods in their lives when they are being told somethings wrong with them, or they're expecting something to happen based on what they've been told, but they've been expecting it for a very long time and it's never come. They are confused or struggling to accept things about them and need a supportive environment that focuses on quelling their emotional volatility first. They might not be able to digest conceptual discussions before gaining assurance that they're not broken and are free to explore themselves here with no expectation that they turn out one way or the other at the end of the path.
  • When any combination of these types of members collide, the reaction can be explosive. Statements that suggest something based on an experienced person's knowledge and perspective can be taken as invalidation, even if it's worded in a friendly way. If a newer person is not 100% receptive to things an experienced person is saying, that experienced person can get very frustrated, and respond in a way that will again not be taken as intended, because the first explosion hasn't yet been contained. Even if two individual people try to communicate in a more constructive way and defuse the situation, because this is a forum anyone can join at any point and if they're not equally on board with developing rapport and understanding, things can start all up again.
  • Admods are expected to keep the peace in what are sometimes impossible situations. You can't please all the people all the time, right? Admod decisions, individual or collective, are not going to be universally applauded. The people who feel like they're not being listened to will not react well. If it's the experienced members, they already feel established enough in the community to put up a fight here. If it's newer members, they leave AVEN with a bitter taste in their mouths because they feel invalidated not only by individuals, but by AVEN as a whole. The newer members who stay remain embittered and stick to one side of arguments that keep popping up, rather than bridging things, because they feel like their experiences and perspectives will be erased if they don't defend them.
  • The jadedness and grudges that these frequent conflicts build up change how people communicate based on how overall frustrated they are. When a new person asks the same question, the responses they get may be of a tone that comes from very tired people who have said the same thing so many times that they hash it out without the kid gloves that may be necessary. This means the way something is said, even if the content is the same, isn't as sensitive or tactful as it might have been at an earlier time, which might cause more friction and conflicts, which builds up to statements that might be legitimately invalidating. Or it might be said by somebody who ideologically doesn't believe that sensitivity should ever matter. Their idea of "education" might be strict lesson-giving from a person of absolute authority to an underling. They might think declarative "facts" are the only way to get people to understand things. That could be based on their own experiences, or their culture, or their thinking style, or whatever. I'm personally not from that camp, but I acknowledge that I was given early education in a different way from most people, so my idea of what "education" is isn't held by everyone. People who believe in a more authoritative method of education are disenfranchised from AVEN based on not seeing what they think the E should stand for, while people who believe in a more collaborative method of education are disenfranchised from AVEN based on narrow thinking and no consideration for what will effectively resonate with people who want to learn.

 

I apologize for being so wordy, and I acknowledge the irony since wordiness can be one of the problems when someone who wants to relay useful information is perceived as lecturing and judging other people. What I think could be helpful for addressing the invalidation issues is making it clearer what the V and the E in AVEN stand for. Some people think it means declaring a set of requirements for somebody to qualify as asexual according to official AVEN guidelines. Some people think it means getting as many people to be aware of the word and to see it as a widely diverse and accepting group of people. What I've tried to do as the Resource and Education Director (and I'm sure a few of you are less than impressed) is improve the outward facing resources that new people can see before coming to the forums to give them a better idea of what the asexual community and concept has been built around so they don't have to ask as many questions that may erupt into nightmare debates that result in multiple warnings. I've tried to create better material that can be linked to for people to read on their own, rather than rehash their own version of it based on years of personal exploration in a way that can be seen as imposing and dictating how another person is allowed to feel. It's been a major task that I wish I could do more of, but life is life and setbacks are setbacks. And it was always too ambitious of me to think I could undo years of simmering conflict here, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

I just want more people to understand where both new members and experienced members are coming from, with less pride and ego getting in the way. It's not a lopsided cause. People from all sides are frustrated and don't feel like they're being listened to or respected.

Just wanted to thank you, Snao, for this post. It explains things very well, and I think it helps get different sides' views on what's going on.

 

I think it can be easy to get less empathetic and more frustrated, when someone has been here a long time, to keep seeing people using labels that we don't think are the right ones, or that we think "if they keep using this label, it will erode meaning from my label". That's a scary thought, for many people. I think there are so many things in addition to this that contribute to what's going on, and your post explains a lot of them very well.

 

There's definitely different views on how education should happen. For AVEN's forums, it used to be (and was designed as, I think) a community where people would come and get some help in exploring, not in getting a label or an answer. And yes, I know people ASK and even beg for answers and labels, they've always done that, and we've always known to give them tools, not labels, because that was their journey to make (even though we might have guessed where they'd end up eventually). That is very different from other kinds of educations (the "listen-and-learn" kind, for example), but it's just always been what has worked for a lot of people, and what one of AVEN's values has been historically. 

 

Anyway, I agree Snao that it's important to understand both sides here, and I've been slowly getting into this discussion to try and get a glimpse of what I've missed on AVEN in the last few months or so. I apologise if my post gets long, I hope it can help provide some thoughts? I don't know, meh.

 

In one of the recent discussions I had with some AVEN members, I realised that looking at the asexual community's history was helpful for me to get a bigger picture in what might be happening. The asexual definition and label has always been debated and has always caused fights and splits. Many years ago, if you look at it as a movement, some groups and individuals were pushing for a MUCH more conservative definition of "asexuality": according to these groups, you couldn't be asexual if you had a libido, masturbated, or even had romantic attraction. This eventually died out (and AVEN's more liberal understanding of asexuality survived), but not without creating a small impact: you could see a lot of newcomers saying they couldn't be asexual, because they felt X and Y, or that asexual as a label wasn't right for them, because they could fall in love with people, etc. It was a lot of "I CAN'T POSSIBLY BE" and alike, and a lot of visibility work in the forums and media went into reassuring people that it wasn't only non-libidoist aromantic aces that fit the "asexual" label.

 

In a way, if you look at it in a similar way as a movement, today there is a more established community with a shared understanding of a label, and there are some newer individuals (I don't know if there's groups?) pushing (consciously or not) the definition of asexuality toward a more progressive/liberal definition than AVEN has usually had. Yes, I mean these people who approach AVEN and identify as ace while also struggling a lot less with sex and the sexual world in general. Now, I don't know if the asexual label will be something that helps them, that fits them etc. But it's interesting to see this situation from a bigger-picture point of view, because then you can see how what's happening on AVEN could be a bit of resistance and boundary-setting. Just like in the past we had to say "No, not having a libido is NOT a characteristic that is mandatory for asexuals" and fight for it, today some people are trying to keep the "other end" of the boundary by saying "Well maybe if someone seeks sex and enjoy it, that might not fit into what we understand as asexuality", or what they want the world to understand as asexuality.

 

It's an important step to take, and I think it needs to have its space and time. I personally think that newcomers' posts might not be the right space and time, even though that might be where we see this definition taken too far compared to what we're comfortable with. Even if those newcomers' have their ideas confused and not quite right when they arrive, welcoming them warmly and kindly is essential to get to an open-minded discussion with them later on. That to be seems better than than a heel-digging confrontation when they're new, where both sides say what they want, but neither listens to the other or takes anything away from the encounter. To me it's about working smart (and kindly), not working hard. Damn this is exhausting and I've been back 2 days.

 

Is anyone interested in discussing/creating a space/time for these important discussions that is NOT in newcomers' posts? So no one is feeling invalidated (while hopefully stepping into resources and education soon), no one is getting warns, AVEN is more peaceful and everyone can work on education and important debates?

 

 

21 hours ago, Serran said:

My main concerns, as I stated in the thread (and honestly, that thread wasn't getting that heated, so no idea why you locked it when it had devolved into joking around :P which was anything but arguing ) 

 

1) Asexuals are losing their own space by the recent push to accept loving sex and being unhappy without it as an asexual experience and the announcement by the BoD did nothing to support the asexuals who feel that way. It actually did the opposite. It basically said "Yeah, we don't care about how you guys feel. Those sex favorables feel invalidated, so go away and shut up" ... why the lack of support for those who feel like they are losing the label they could fit with, that protected them from being diagnosed as mentally ill with HSDD? AVEN hasn't even tried to support that side, just the sex favorable side. 

 

2) The ToS already clearly did not allow saying "you are not asexual" and that was already warned any time someone reported it. So, by saying the policy has been lax and not enforced, either the BoD was lying or they were announcing a change in policy. And no one in that thread clarified what the change was, they kept denying one existed. So, no one clarified if it was an empty PR stunt to try to make the sex favorables happy, or if there was an actual change.

 

Which leads to...

 

3) As I asked in the thread and mods refused to answer multiple times: if a user says "I am asexual cause I dont get turned on by looking at people, even though I desire sex with them, so i dont experience sexual attraction" and someone posts "According to AVENs definition, sexual attraction is the desire to share your sexuality with someone, so what you are describing is what many would call sexual attraction and is an experience many sexuals share" would that be against the rules now or no? Because, if it is, something major has changed and we are no longer free to offer information. 

 

Also, one of the things stated was we cannot say asexuality is not a spectrum. So, can we no longer say we don't see asexuality as a spectrum or we can't just state it as not a spectrum as if it was fact and have to clarify that's how we see it? 

 

You made your rules absolutely not clear. You based it on us saying "you aren't asexual", which rarely happens. And the fuss was over sharing of information and experiences. Just like yesterday, despite saying specifically "you can ID with whatever label you like" someone told me I was telling them what their label was by simply saying how i identify. So, we really need to be clear on where the line is, or lots of us are going to face warnings for things that would have been fine to say a week ago. 

Thank you for sharing your concerns, Serran, you always explain yourself very clearly and I appreciate the time you put into this.

 

Having had the chance to know each BOD member personally (minus one of the new ones, I think), I doubt any of them doesn't care about how either side is feeling, and especially the bigger, more established community. It's sad that the message didn't reflect this, and I think it's good feedback to have that it didn't. I know the pare of my post above your quoted post here is long (and maybe boring), but am I getting any closer to understanding people's position?

 

To me it's also important that people take away the fact that labelling on AVEN, as a value, hasn't been a no-no only in terms of "don't tell people they're not ace", which seems to be what a lot of people are taking away from this. I've seen quite a few threads recently where people were telling newbies that they ARE ace, or X or Y label, and that's also historically not been allowed. 

 

It's interesting to see what Road had to share:

 

13 hours ago, Road said:

Invalidation like that was being met with choruses of no action needed until the board stepped in.

It breaks my heart a bit to see that these feelings of concern and fear for what's going on in our community and "label" are getting to the heart of some in the Admods team, including some of my friends. I wish I had the power to magically make things better, but I don't quite know how. This is likely then affecting this shift in moderation, and I hope the announcement from the BOD is being taken kindly and for what it is, just a reminder of one of AVEN's values, which doesn't mean it needs to change anyone's personal values. (I had to vote many times against my personal beliefs that something was right/wrong, because as an Admod I had to enforce AVEN's rules fairly and consistently, regardless of how I felt about that rule, so I know how it feels)

 

 

5 hours ago, FaerieFate said:
Before I answer this, I want to say, anything I bring up about these reports aren't how I (personally) would vote on these reports. I didn't read them in depth, I don't know the member's disciplinary history at the time. I don't know if there's related information. A lot more goes into a report than the couple of posts, so I can't go into depth on how I'd vote. All I can do is give you the facts of these reports that I use as examples.
 

The problem I (personally) had with the thread (not speaking for the admods team as a whole) is that it wasn't constructive. I saw several admods repeat themselves several times, only to be ignored. I saw several admods try to address concerns only to be accused of not listening (which was impossible to do in a thread that acquired such a large post count in such a hard time. It was physically impossible for me to read everything and catch up to address everything, and there were so many concerns stated that I needed a small book to address it all). Everyone was talking in circles, and to me it very much felt like everyone was shouting their own opinions and listening to anyone else.

 

As you can tell by this thread, several members of admods care about the concerns you have, and it was upsetting that we couldn't address them because the flow of information was so quick and we weren't being listened to. Also, as you can tell from this thread, several of our staff agrees with these concerns, which makes it more annoying that we couldn't address them.

 

I understand with the concerns of what people are calling "sexual asexuals" that this is what it felt like, but the statement from the BOD wasn't about that, specifically. It was simply stating that our TOS stated that invalidation is not allowed, and admods had recently gotten lax in their interpretation of that. I've been a mod on and off for 3-4 years, and when I first became mod, we used to handle invalidation very differently. 

 

Here's a report from 5-6 years ago (I don't feel like mathing it. It took A LOT of time to find these examples for the members without DT magic.) Saying that there is no such thing as greyromantic got this member a warn.

 

 

Like I said previous, there's no change in policy. It's just that how we uphold it now doesn't match how we upheld it previous. Then we have this thread which is more recent. You see how they handle the "judgement" clause differently? You see how we're more lenient on the latter? That's the difference between how we used to moderate and how we moderate now, a difference that BOD finds troublesome. (Note: these are not my opinions on the reports, specifically. These are just facts on how the reports were handled.)

 

 

I don't speak for all admods or BOD. So, remember this is only MY personal opinion. How I would vote. No. You're providing information. If you have some sources to back it up, even better. If you wrote that and someone reported it, most I might say is it'd be more helpful if you could share a source to define sexual attraction. I do hope that some updates I'm working on for my Q&A thread will give you some resources to do that. :) 

 

I have a link that provides scholarly articles on the "Asexual Spectrum" or "Asexual Umbrella" in my Helpful Info thread specific post linked here. I do wish to go into more detail on this with my updates with this thread. I'm working on A LOT of possible updates to better provide information. After all, I do agree that AVEN is a source for education, so I hope collecting this information will help provide education.

 

To answer your question? There's SO MUCH discussion on this invalidation clause going around. Staff are talking about it in the backroom (especially as more concerns are brought up in this thread). There's still a lot of information in that thread that got locked that I haven't gotten around to. There's a lot of information in the BOD's statement that I haven't gotten around to. So, I can't answer whether that'd get you in trouble or not, I'm sorry I couldn't answer this question better. However, I do hope education about the asexual spectrum and the terms involved (as well as updating my Helpful Info thread) will help alleviate a lot of this stress.

 

Like I mentioned previously, all this statement is saying is that this rule will be moderated more similarly to how it was in the past. And in my first example, it may not be saying "You aren't this label" However, it is saying "this label doesn't exist" which is pretty similar. Moreover, the "You aren't asexual" isn't a word-for-word quote. It's a summarization and/or simplification of a lot of invalidating posts that we've seen. Like this old report. I'd summarize that as a member saying "you aren't asexual". I know it's an old example (5 years is forever on the internet). We don't have many reports in the past couple of years declassed for a more modern example, but I hope you can understand my point.

 

I'm currently asking DT for help to find something more recent, if I find something, I'll get back to you on that.

Thank you SO MUCH @FaerieFate for this post. Going through history and finding old posts isn't easy, I know that much, so I particularly appreciate you doing that.

 

Part of me hopes that it's of some comfort for people to see that it's not a new trend for people to come to AVEN and initially identify as ace even if they claimed to want/desire/like sex etc. There have always been individuals every now and then doing that, or (as explained above) doing the opposite and pushing for the most conservative definition of asexual. It's nothing new and hasn't destabilised our community in the past if not for brief moments/debated now and then. Though I understand now people feel it's getting more frequent and more concerning, right?

 

The link you provided are good examples of how this was moderated in the past, I know it's not a popular opinion but I hope we can find a way to re-establish that sense of safety in exploring/learning, while at the same time also finding a space and time for people who need to discuss/debate where they stand and how they feel.

 

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AceMissBehaving
3 hours ago, ithaca said:

Part of me hopes that it's of some comfort for people to see that it's not a new trend for people to come to AVEN and initially identify as ace even if they claimed to want/desire/like sex etc. There have always been individuals every now and then doing that, or (as explained above) doing the opposite and pushing for the most conservative definition of asexual. It's nothing new and hasn't destabilised our community in the past if not for brief moments/debated now and then. Though I understand now people feel it's getting more frequent and more concerning, right?

.

Edited by AceMissBehaving
I need to post less when Ive only had 2 hours sleep. this post was not useful

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daveb

@ithaca, thank you for that extensive, thoughtful and well-written post!

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Sally
On 10/27/2019 at 9:37 AM, MichaelTannock said:

 I had the choice of posting this in either Site Comments or Census, and I ultimately chose to post in Census because I plan to create a poll later.

 

Why not just do a poll  now?  By the time you do one later, everyone who  wants to reply will have done so, and your poll will be irrelevant.  

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MichaelTannock

@Sally I'm not going to leave it any longer.

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MichaelTannock

I'm now polling the concerns that have been given.

 

I also added the "Not concerned." option so that people without concerns can use it to see the current results from others who are, until I close the poll.

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Whore*of*Mensa
13 hours ago, anisotrophic said:

@FaerieFate I appreciate these posts, I think it helps to clarify how communication is hoped to occur.

As @Snao van der Cone observed, I think people who've been around the bend can have trouble communicating experiences, observations, opinions, and definitions in ways that aren't – one way or another – experienced as invalidating. It's a tough issue, because when those experiences do seem to contradict someone, feeling invalidated may be inevitable. It helps to have clarification on how those experiences should be appropriately communicated – especially useful to have statements that are, essentially, "this way is good" and "this way is bad’

I hope you don’t mind me giving a suggestion here, as a new member and also mother of a teenager! 

 

1. As a new member having observed some of the discussions, I would be reluctant to share any of my experiences and draw conclusions from them, in case I was wrong 

2. Some people who post here probably are teenagers. They don’t learn by having the law laid down - I hear my daughter discussing stuff with her friends and I know to gently guide or suggest ideas where possible but never to just crash in with my superior knowledge- that would be completely counter productive.

 

Sometimes education is about allowing people to stumble toward their own conclusions in their own way and their own time, it can be about holding back and resisting the temptation to come crashing in with your own experience/knowledge when people are just not ready to hear it.

* sorry am going to try to take my own advice about resisting the temptation to go crashing in..

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KYON.

Apparently mods have a lot to do. Stuff like reports/warnings are taking weeks (according to some posts in the other recent thread in SC). 
 

No one else wants to be a mod. 
 

Mods now have to deal with a vague new bit of policy which they may or may not agree with. I read that long announcement and I can’t even tell you what it’s about, because it bored me TBH. 
 

It’s going to cause a load of reports, warnings, appeals and discussion (I’ve already seen at least 709 threads about it), so everything else will take even longer (or just get forgotten). 
 

The whole thing is super vague and people are gonna interpret it differently.
 

It’s in danger of being Brexit 2.0, where everything else just gets neglected while one thing gets debated every waking hour, with no real satisfactory outcome for the membership. 
 

I’m sure the announcement was made with good intentions, but the whole thing comes across as a half baked mess, with the overworked mods scrambling to control the damage. 
 

Can someone just delete it all and pretend it never happened?

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ithaca
8 hours ago, Whore*of*Mensa said:

I hope you don’t mind me giving a suggestion here, as a new member and also mother of a teenager! 

 

1. As a new member having observed some of the discussions, I would be reluctant to share any of my experiences and draw conclusions from them, in case I was wrong 

2. Some people who post here probably are teenagers. They don’t learn by having the law laid down - I hear my daughter discussing stuff with her friends and I know to gently guide or suggest ideas where possible but never to just crash in with my superior knowledge- that would be completely counter productive.

 

Sometimes education is about allowing people to stumble toward their own conclusions in their own way and their own time, it can be about holding back and resisting the temptation to come crashing in with your own experience/knowledge when people are just not ready to hear it.

* sorry am going to try to take my own advice about resisting the temptation to go crashing in..

This! So many times this! Thank you for posting this ❤️ 

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Karret

My main concern is if people are misinformed about something regarding asexuality and won't take into consideration information at least a more experienced member tells them, instead doggedly clinging to their preconceived notions, which might be based on faulty information, and screaming "invalidation!" and that behavior is left unchecked, then they could turn around and spread their misinformation to countless others. This would result in a bunch of people running around with incorrect information in their heads about what it means to be asexual, and they'll regurgitate their faulty knowledge to others etc etc, and this is likely to result in many normal, sexual people mistakenly believing they're ace.

I think this would hurt AVEN because AVEN's supposed to be the place you go to learn about asexuality, and part of LEARNING about something is finding out what it IS and what it IS NOT. All jaguars ARE big yellow cats with black spots, but NOT all big yellow cats with black spots are jaguars. If it can't be exclusionary to some degree - if there's no limit on what it is - then it can't be anything specific because it's simply anything. I don't believe asexuality can be whatever. If it can't be "whatever", then there must be some things that it IS and some things that it IS NOT.
If people aren't around to tell others what asexuality IS NOT, then no one will know what it IS NOT, and they'll run around thinking all sorts of things count as asexuality and no one is around to tell them "actually, that's faulty information." If no one is around to correct people, they won't know if what they're identifying with is truly asexuality or some misinformation mistakenly thought of as asexuality. There will be no distinction between the two categories, and before you know it, there'll be hundreds of thousands of sexuals claiming the ace identity and no one can tell them they're wrong and the original meaning of asexuality gets flushed down the toilet. And suddenly the people who are ace by the original definition are being marginalized in "their own" group.
The problem with letting misinformation go unchallenged is that it very likely COULD change the public perception or beliefs. If you've ever heard of the factoid "you swallow an average of 8 spiders a year in your sleep" well .. "Columnist Lisa Holst wrote about the ubiquitous lists of “facts” that were circulating via e-mail and how readily they were accepted as truthful by gullible recipients. To demonstrate her point, Holst offered her own made-up list of equally ridiculous “facts,” among which was the statistic cited above about the average person’s swallowing eight spiders per year, which she took from a collection of common misbeliefs printed in a 1954 book on insect folklore. In a delicious irony, Holst’s propagation of this false “fact” has spurred it into becoming one of the most widely-circulated bits of misinformation to be found on the Internet."
People WILL believe misinformation and when you combine that with the Primacy Bias, the bias toward the information that is presented first, you've got a recipe for disaster regarding Asexual Visibility and Education.

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Janus DarkFox

Is that poll even necessary? All options are accurate and it’s not going to be a one true fix for an issue that stems from multiple issues.

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MichaelTannock
12 minutes ago, Janus DarkFox said:

Is that poll even necessary? All options are accurate and it’s not going to be a one true fix for an issue that stems from multiple issues.

The purpose of the poll is to paint a picture of where people stand, not to whittle down the concerns to focus on one.

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KrysLost

ooo this thread is just what i need. 

 

 

I recently got an official warning for telling someone they weren't ace (there was more for a different subject so it's not like it was entirely undeserved). Said person thought that it was gate-keeping to not allow those who rarely felt sexual attraction to ID as ace. This person is grey-ace (grey-sexual is the better and more accurate term however I  understand the dislike of the emphasis on sexual). I even suggested another "label". Yet I got a warning for telling the truth. Because there is a difference between sexuality (no matter how low on the spec) and asexuality and it's important to draw the line. Because if we fight over that in this community, then how the hell is the outside world supposed to take that seriously? Yes I'm not happy about that part of the warning but this is not meant to be demeaning to anyone. Just my point of view. 

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Guest
4 hours ago, Janus DarkFox said:

Is that poll even necessary? All options are accurate and it’s not going to be a one true fix for an issue that stems from multiple issues.

I vote all except the last one (though some of those I clicked are far more important to me than others).

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Blaiddmelyn

I have no particular concerns as long as the policy is applied consistently. I don't think the general concept is difficult to grasp. Maybe I'm just too laid back about letting people call themselves whatever they want since how someone else identifies has yet to have much impact on my life. As you may gather from the fact I cba to update my own A/sexuality status in my profile which I wrote in when I first joined the site and was questioning. And there is a difference between actually invalidating someone, and someone feeling invalidated, and that can be a difficult judgment call to make, but similar judgment calls get made by UK employers (read: line managers and members of HR) every day due to S.26 EqA 2010 so I don't see that it's suddenly impossible because we're on a site on about asexuality.

 

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Saphoune

The invalidation concern is legitimate but discussions are what allow us to form our opinions.

My main concern is about the strenght of the policy: I will soon need an university degree in psychology and a certificate in English language to dare post in the "Welcome" and in the "Questions" section. I'm kidding here but... In some sections of the policy constructive criticism is fine yet it can be shot down no matter how. We will see how far the moderation team will enforce this. If the Moderators would be the ones answering the touchy topics we would reach the limits of the policy.

 

Respectful wording can get the message accross

(...) If you wish to challenge some term or definition, we strongly encourage phrasing of the form “personally I don’t find definition X useful because ...” or “I think notion Y is problematic for this reason”. (...)

Yet it may not be enough?

(...) Invalidation is not allowed on AVEN, either implicitly or explicitly, and no amount of rewording will make an invalidating statement OK.(...)

 

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Philip027
Quote

A lot of what I thought asexuality was when I was newb is 100% different than I think it is today. My knowledge has grown by an unquantifiable amount. I admit, when I was newb, I was on the, "I'm asexual because I don't want to jump someone's bones when I first meet them" train (please don't look at my first posts on AVEN, it's embarrassing.) I was having A SHITTON of self-doubt. I had a lot of self-hate because I thought I was just saying this to be a special snowflake. I know, you wouldn't believe it, seeing the smartass I am now, but it's true. If I was met with people telling me I'm wrong or I'm not really asexual, I'd have left, hated myself, and I'd still think I'm broken years later. Instead, I was welcomed with open arms, resources to label myself, and the push to go explore, learn more about asexuality, and figure it out on my own. And, look where I am now!

 

However, with the culture on AVEN these days and what I've learned about my sexuality since then, I 100% believe I'd be told I'm not asexual and run off if I was a new member here now.

Why?  I personally don't see anything outright wrong with what you wrote in terms of self-identity.  Even if it's not 100% comprehensive of what asexuality/sexuality is, none of it really flies in the face of asexuality.  There's surely a lot of asexuals who think they're asexual for pretty much the exact reason you wrote way back then.  At best, you'd maybe get some people trying to correct you on the whole "sexuals want to sex on the first meeting" thing, but I really don't think anyone nowadays would go as far as to say you weren't asexual just based on that.

 

What does fly in the face of asexuality are the people who claim things like outright desiring sex with others despite supposedly being asexual.  That's a waaaaaaaay different sort of thing from what you first posted on the forum, yet in the eyes of the staff, these should be equally unchallengeable, and I feel that simply does not jive well with the V and E of AVEN's name.

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