Pirate Party Discussion Forum - Members Only!

Do the Pirate Party Crew want Joe Public able to join and comment on our discussion forum? I don’t. I think the Pirate Party Discussion Forum should be members only comment. Public only view. If Joe wants to comment, s/he can join. There are plenty of other ways to ask the Pirate Party a question.

I raise this because I was going to give the forums a bit of a plug on social media. Try to get a bit of interest in watching transparent party politics in action. Pull in the punters and get them engaged. But I’ve seen on other forums what offensive arse-water can be spewed by clowns with too much time on their hands. And dumping that bile on a free to join political party forum seems a bit too easy. On second thoughts, perhaps it’s a good thing the forum hasn’t been widely promoted. Yet.

I think only members should be able to comment because, well, we joined. We made the commitment to honor the Pirate Code. This forum is one place where we know everyone else commenting made the same commitment. This forum is our liquid democracy.

This is our ship. This is our forum. Like what you see? Join the Pirate Party! (it’s free)
Authorised by twisty: member for 1 month and 2 days.

Oh yeah … got a question and you’re not a Pirate? Try email, facebook or twitter. The Party is watching.

Ps. Non-members could be added if NC approve. For those special circumstances.

Vote for members only comment, with a “like”. Good on ya mate!

edit: I’ve changed my opinion given points made in the discussion. I no longer support my proposal to restrict access. Thanks to all contributors. I’m glad I asked the question.


If the interest ends up being raised, what about a separate board or even forum for non members to participate in? More engagement with the general public is a good thing, but the existence of organisations like ‘correct the record’ and the disruptive nature of internet trolls (malicious or otherwise) indicates the need for members only posting in the main discussion forum, at least to me.

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I’m not convinced any more access is needed, at the moment, than what we have now. Social media and email. From what I’ve seen the questions on social media are … infrequent, mostly benign and promptly answered. Although I understand this is yet another task for NC members that diverts their energy and attention. That said, I think the NC members are best placed to make those replies. I certainly don’t know enough to. But I’ll pitch in when I can.

I have a dream. A thriving (social media) community, open and honest, sparkles on the facebook horizon (soothing elevator music). Joe Public, weary of “politics as usual” spots a black sail on his twitter treasure map (or google surfing, take your pick). A fresh wind guides Joe to Pirate Party Facebook Cove. “What do we have here?” Joe squeals in childish glee. “Watch and learn my young Pad … Pirate to be.” drones the automated reply bot (brain the size of a planet …). “This is the Pirate Forum where Pirates #talklikeapirate” Joe gazes in wonder as the Pirates divide all wealth and toil fairly and appropriately.

There is a fight. Well, two or three really. But no more. Swear on my Pirate name. Joe Public succumbs to the Pirates lyrical logic and reasoning (and free membership) and sways gently to the Join page, AEC approved and ready to sail. Just like I did.

Our forum is where Joe Public can watch Pirate democracy in action and see it’s true wonder, and then the old Pirates will have to put up with the annoying new Pirate playing with my new toy. Our website where Joe can find everything the Pirate Party has to offer. Everything, also has email.

Oh, and Josh …

Did you vote (like)?

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I don’t like the idea of closing off the forums. It seems the main argument in favour of it is restricting trolling - which so far has not been an issue at all. I don’t see the need to take countermeasures against a problem that doesn’t exist yet and might never be a problem.

In fact, I think that restricting access here would be harmful to the party by showing that we aren’t interested in open debate on our policies. Just because Joe Public is unwilling or unable to commit to joining the party doesn’t mean that he can’t contribute valuable ideas or criticism. There are also people who would prefer to remain anonymous on forums for their own reasons and would be turned off by having to hand over a name and address to post here (as well as formally registering as a Pirate).

We already have a set of social media standards that can easily be adapted to the forums when it becomes necessary to take a more active hand in moderating content. IMO we just need to shore up the existing moderation efforts and make sure there are 2-3 people checking the forums daily who can deal with any problems as they occur.


Thanks Rebecca,

I was hoping to hear a different opinion. I trust you forgive my long reply but you make some good points.

And, I’m not sure it’s the right move either. But I had a thought, and thought I’d ask.

Agreed. If it ain’t broke … but better to prevent polluting the pristine waters than having to clean them up. Let Facebook filter the trolls out.

A concern of mine as well. To be clear, in no way do I advocate members eyes only. To do so would undermine a party foundation. Perhaps an open debate compromise would be a “Visitors Island” (?) sub-discussion. Free for all. The rest, members only comment. What say you?

True. And Joe does, on Facebook. I take Facebook stats with a grain of salt but what I see is, popular PPAU posts get comments. Good and bad. The last PPAU FB post has 11 comments from all sorts “discussing” the posts merits. PPAU isn’t engaging because: resources.

See my “Visitors” suggestion above. Would this relieve your concern?

I agree. The social media standards should be applied to all Pirate Party social media, this forum included. Restricting comments to members only, except on “Visitors Island”, would reduce moderating burden as “Visitors Island” is where the troll action would be. Don’t have to worry about the troll spamming the Tax and Welfare discussion. Joe Troll can’t.

I’m on the Social Media Team. Because the Pirate Party is my shiny new toy I check Facebook, Twitter and this forum daily. 2 or 3 people already check the forums. It isn’t enough. There are some forum bugs (for me anyway) and the website needs some work. And we haven’t really kicked into election mode yet. Have we? The Pirate Party needs to polish it’s (online) shoes before the party starts.

Making this forum members-comment-only (except “Visitors Island”) would reduce admin time (when the forum is overwhelmed) because admin only has to clean one pond. Good ideas and arguments from “Visitors Island” can be brought to our forum for Pirate talk. Pirates could as easily post on “Visitors Island” seeking Joe’s opinion.

Or, we could talk to Joe Public on Facebook. That’s where s/he is.

I was just thinking … a soc-med campaign

Pirate Politics. Live and Uncut
this thread link

I’m pretty solidly opposed to the forums being members only for the reasons outlined by Rebecca.

If our ideas can’t withstand scrutiny from people outside the Party, then they should probably change. Our platform is pretty good and should be easy to defend. The few times it has been challenged by outsiders we dealt with them and moved on. They were good debates, fun even.

As Rebecca pointed out, some people won’t use Facebook due to the real names policy, Twitter only limits people to 140 char interactions which is too short for real debates and mail isn’t public. The forum fills a niche.

The other issue with Facebook is the limited reach of our posts, they demand cash to get our posts to all our facebook members (or followers or whatever they are called). Whilst it is good to post content there, it is not an alternative to the forums for this reason alone.

How would the forum being members only be enforced? My brain automatically links it to the campaign in the US to make transgender people use the ‘right’ bathroom. Who would check credentials? It could lead to forum policing. ‘You express views I find challenging, are you really a Pirate?’

We need some volunteers to help mod the forum. We haven’t had many volunteers for anything for the last couple of years, so tasks like this have been put in the ‘when we have more active members’ basket.

It is admirable and naive to think trolling wont exist or wont be a problem. The fact that it has not been a problem yet probably speaks more to the level of attention the party has gained on the internet.

Open and transparent communications is THE greatest element of the Pirate Party. It may seem a small thing, but it is massive. Transparency is the only real mechanism that works to fight corruption, special interests, discrimination.

The biggest danger of transparency is self censorship. This is done to address the immediacy of looking “bad”. Commonly a tactic is to used to find snippets of information that is true and recontextualise etc. to change the narrative.

The problem is that only works tactically. People, voters (or a market) develop long term relationships with other people, candidates, companies… eve on the intern - and that look at behaviour over the long term. The “they say some wrong stuff at times, but they get it and I trust them” is a real thing on the internet. This is how Trump can literally say he can shoot someone and still get elected, and then get applauded.

The self censorship approach limits the bad things / cheap shots BUT actually significantly reduces credibility “they are a nothing, just say what they think people want to hear” etc. Vinyl sounds better than CD’s because it is imperfect. It’s authentic. No one trusts someone they don’t have dirt on.

So the challenge is for transparency - IMO the party needs to support complete transparency. This is what makes it great.

Giving voice to everyone - not necessarily in every forum its not the same thing a s transparency. We need to recognise not all voices are equal in all contexts. The ability to get a voice should always be made very clear and not be onerous. The decision to be an Official Pirate Party Member is a distinction that entitles to some rights of voice others do not have.

Having a voice should be about choices IMO. Transparency for all.

This doesn’t really make sense in a Discourse forum. As you’ve noticed, categories are more like tags - while you can go and view just one tag, the default right now is to see all threads in one big stream on the main page. This would be functionally identical to splitting the forums into two barely-distinguishable groups: one with free-for-all posting (perhaps made less visible, or otherwise not as desirable), the other with premium members-only posting. Since you can immediately spin off a whole new thread from any topic, visitors could just make their own threads to reply at any time, cluttering up the interface and making it confusing and difficult to follow.

And if you’re looking to restrict people coming here to troll, this doesn’t achieve anything. People can still post whatever they want, it’s just now tagged as a post by a visitor. Well… yeah, obviously they’re not a forum reg :stuck_out_tongue: It wouldn’t cut down on admin burden; they are still removing X troll posts/day regardless of what they are tagged as.

Discourse already limits what brand-new members can do through the trust system. You can’t join and immediately spam images of Goatse, for example. I don’t know what the levels are configured at here, but I’m sure that can be discussed and changed if people feel they need to be more strict.
(as a sidenote, there actually is a system already in Discourse to allow Regular posters access to a hidden subforum! Not sure if that’s enabled, but either way, for reasons already outlined above I don’t think it should be used here.)

I’ve moderated forums with 5-10K active members in the past. A team of like 10 mods was massive overkill most of the time. I don’t think we’re going to reach that activity level for a long while. I haven’t used Discourse much before but I’d put my hand up for moderation - I already get every single new post emailed to me as they happen so it’s not much trouble from my end.

Of course it could be a problem. In the future. We already get troll comments on Facebook and those are dealt with speedily. It doesn’t exist now and we don’t know what scale it might reach in the future so my point was that “shut down the forums and make sure trolls don’t get in” is alarmist and an inappropriate response at this point in time.

This is why voting on things like Congress motions and constitutional amendments are restricted to members only. The voices of non-members are irrelevant when the party is choosing how to govern itself or whether new policies etc should be adopted. Outside of party organisation and internal voting, I don’t see why non-members have voices that are less valid than ours. In this context of a discussion forum about our policy and politics in general, why would you say “I only want to hear the opinions of people who are card-carrying Pirates”? Isn’t that going to create the same insular policies and circlejerking you see in other less-open parties?


^ This wins it for me. @Rebecca, thanks for making your points. I’ve changed my mind.

Ah! gotcha. Access restrictions aren’t practical then, even if I still though restriction was appropriate.

Thanks for the link. Bookmarked and reading.

I was a bit surprised to learn that about Facebook only a few weeks ago. Another good reason to leave forum access as is.

Email sent to the NC.

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At first I agreed with twisty but I’ve had time to consider the other arguments and have changed my opinion.

It’ll set us apart from every other Australian political party, if we open it to the Public. The primary online forum for political parties is ozpolitic - registration required. Very few offer a place where they even openly discuss issues/policies/campaigns etc… let alone have a discussion forum. I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t require registration. It would start the really separate us from the masses of other Parties and show that we’re not some fringe left-wing loony hacker (really should be cracker actually) party.
How about this:
The only Party in Australia willing to give you, the Public, a voice in our discussions. Listening isn’t some PR rhetoric to us, it’s real!

Also, as for trolls, they’re more likely these days to be floating around the more popular Social Media sites - rather than a semi-obscure Political party’s discussion forum. The small number of nbobs (aka Nasty Bit of Business) that do surface can easily be challenged and bundled off by our mature audience.

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Or so I hear.


Before we introduce moderators it’s probably worth looking at the utility of the flag/report button. Unless we get an explosion of new discourse members I doubt those already able to respond to flags will be overwhelmed.

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This appears largely settled but I thought I have something valuable to contribute.

I have donated to two PPAU Kickstarters - helped set one up (the counterstrike one) and supported most PPAU views online.

I’m still not a Pirate party member.

There are other things that my quick scan of this thread hasn’t pointed out.

The minute that you join any party, people call you partisan and can discount your point of view. Hell on twitter it’s worse but it’s been this way for a very long time. My parents in the 80s and i think 90s were members of the Labor party. Their views were well known but this fact of membership was a well kept secret - it turns out that if you have conservative friends and you declare a party affiliation that didn’t always go over well. My parents described this as ‘this seemed to change the relationship with some people, they get ‘funny’ about it’. Political association for some is seen as a well kept secret. I don’t subscribe to that point of view, but I understand it. Hell, Australians are well associated with the secret ballot - it used to be called the Australian vote in the US. source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_ballot

Some paperwork that governments require also list ‘associated groups’ and I like to keep my life as paperwork free as possible as I get enough already.

I get email updates from the labor party as I’ve signed petitions to save medicare before
I get email updates from the greens because I’ve also signed data retention petitions (:sob:)
I also get PPAU updates.

Heck I even got signed up to malcolm turnbulls newsletter once because I left a comment.

dont tie me down. :smiley:

Actions speak louder than membership lists.

If this went members only, this would lock me and people like me out.


In the interest of finishing the thread somewhat:

While the potential for a members only thing is always there the current NC has no plans to lock down the discourse instance.

You’ve convinced me at least. I suppose the success of our forums could rely just as well on good moderation as opposed to locking out the potential contributors with the trolls