ChiefDelphi: good or bad?

I don’t think it’s going to be particularly controversial if I said that ChiefDelphi has gotten substantially worse over the past year. Maybe it was the coronavirus, maybe it was just the natural state of things.

Point is, time and time again, this forum seems completely incapable of dealing with delicate yet important issues in this program. From blatant homophobia in the LGBTQ+ inclusion thread, the disgusting ways the things like the BLM or sexual assault threads were handled, to the hushed discussions around the sins of the programs vendors, and far more than I could possibly care to know or remember, it’s kind of concerning that this forum brings such confidence in people to bring such things out of the woodwork.

I’d like to believe that the FIRST community is a good one, but ChiefDelphi makes me question that assumption. As Discord draws off a lot of technical discussion, it makes me wonder if eventually this place will eventually only be a place to laugh, point, and rage at the bigoted mentors who still have the confidence to post online.

Maybe people will even start screencapping this forum and posting snippets offsite to places like /r/hobbydrama, exposing general audiences to a side of the program that isn’t just what FIRST throws at them, one that seems far less inclusive or healthy. Maybe people will treat this place as a flytrap of sorts, to identify the exact people and teams to avoid. Maybe this is just a representative reflection of the program, and my faith in it is misplaced. Maybe that’s the value of ChiefDelphi has to FIRST – a monument to its shortcomings.

I really hope that there is still value in this forum.

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I think one thing that separates Discord from this forum is public accountability. The FRC Discord requires a team number to be specified. Chief Delphi does not, it is possible to be completely anonymous on Chief Delphi.

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The world is a decisive place where people are quick to jump to one side or another.

To get value out of this thread I would recommend proposing direct changes to the behaviour terms and conditions of CD as opposed to (what seems like) saying it’s either good or beyond hope.

I would also be interested to see if others have ideas on how to make moderation a stronger form of enforcement - I’ll say I think slow mode is definitely something I’ve mostly seen recently that I think has had some positive change, to what is definitely not an easy job (yay mods!).

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Counter point - that keeps some of us who are not really involved with a team these days from being involved at all.

And I’d hardly call my profile on here anonymous in the least.

Edit: Also, frankly Discord confuses me. Discourse confused me for the first year too.

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I’ve been pretty outspoken about not tolerating harmful attitudes and stances. But there’s a difference between not tolerating them, and pretending they don’t exist. I actually think the CD community, broadly speaking, has handled most of these issues well. If you look at where the consensus lands in these threads, and the tone and type of responses involved, broadly it’s been positive.

No community is perfect. FRC Discord(s), Slacks, and Reddit have had plenty of under moderation issues in the past as well. The chat-like format of Discord is also not conducive to long-form posts, discussion, or guides.

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IMO: Your faith in the people in the program is not misplaced. They are good people, who genuinely mean well.

The internet, in general, is a very degenerate community. The anonymity (real or presumed) and lack of tonal, facial, and body language clues robs us humans of so much of the empathy our species has evolved to rely upon in social situations. Things get weird, and get weird fast.

Is there value here? For sure, that’s why I stick around. Do you have to take everything you see here with a sedan-sized block of salt? You betcha.

Due to that lack of interpersonal connection - Discussions evolving emotions will likely go poorly. Discussions involving only facts (ex: my code is broken why) have a much better chance of success.

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This is The Greater Internet Theory postulated by the modern philosophers and artists Gabriel and Tycho. Truly insightful wisdom for the modern age.

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I do tend to think a lot of this comes from the speed of discussion - Discord seem to fly past a lot faster. Lots of individuals making quick statements, and short groups of related topics, but rarely 100-post-streams of discussion. I think there’s a lot less “surface area” there for drama to take hold and perpetuate.

I honestly do think not-a-season-season was a big cause of the things we’re seeing. Not having nearly as much high-speed technical problem solving flowing heavily skewed the balance of content posted. While I don’t disagree, I’m personally reserving any real judgement till we get through April 2022.

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I would tend to agree that its been bad, I would say that this is mostly due to there truly being nothing new really to discuss (not a LOT of new products, not a new game), so everyone loops back onto the same 5 tired discussions that nobody really will learn anything from, with the added covid stuff this year. I know I haven’t really been active since I realized CD was just feeling like a broken record.

This is my general thought as well.

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To be fair, as much as I like to trash on Chief Delphi, it’s honestly not that bad as far as online forums go… There’s almost always a handful of people who derail every thread, but the majority of discussion is better than that, and it’s helped keep me connected to robots since losing two seasons. It’s also a lot easier to read back through discussions and get caught up than discord is.

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True at one point Chief Delphi was a place where regardless of views on a specific topic people could go to share their views and be heard and the other side would reciprocate. It’s not that the forum has become more divisive but people have lost the will to hear the other side out. One person can now throw a whole thread off topic because people would rather hurl insults than try to understand why the person holds those views and try to change them. As a society we have began to encourage group think and FIRST is one of the last places where creativity and individual is almost a requirement.

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Old CD had its share of trolling, discrimination, and general creepiness. I think it’s actually better than it has ever been. Serious discussions that would have simply not happened or only happened in private in the past are now happening in public and the overall response has been pretty good by online standards.

My observation over the years has been that the group of people participating in FIRST is not nearly as diverse as the general population. My other observation has been that someone who is engineering-smart does not necessarily form morally or ethically reasonable opinions. I don’t think CD is the only place where the ugliness comes out. We could try to discourage the ugliness by adopting stronger moderation policies, prohibiting anonymous accounts, etc. I also see the value of addressing it directly as it appears and making teachable moments out of it. Either way, I don’t think CD will become the wretched hive of scum and villainy that some might make it out to be.

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To be honest, I don’t think the underlying discourse/discussion matters much for those of us who are here to talk robots. As long as the mods are fine with it, you guys can talk about whatever you want, but on my end, I prefer to discuss non-robot-related stuff on other platforms.

It’s a choice I suppose, but I don’t really think the current conflicts on this site matter that much, when it’s needed for FRC, it’ll be used, we’ve just seen what amounts to a 2 year CD summer in some sense haha.

To be clear, I’m not supporting people saying dumb/hateful things, however, I don’t personally see this as being a long-term issue, assuming the discussion doesn’t move to discord, which I don’t think it will, as they serve different niches.

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But is this chief Delphi, or is this a shifting culture that we have seen in the public over the last 20 years?
For example US politics is incredible decisive, with neither side giving hardly any crediance to the other. People aren’t willing to listen and empathize what others have to say, but rather yell out their opinion immediately and adamantly defend it.

Is this because we are awful people? No. Its because in a sense, we feel attacked. We feel we need to adamantly defend our positions by any means possible, or we validate our attacker.

The best way to convience someone is by listening to their thoughts and concerns. Then understand their position. Truly try to see why they have come to the conclusion they have. Then either work to change it, or realize that maybe you are wrong.

“I will never understand my enemy” - Simplicious
“Then you will never be able to change their mind” - Socretes

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Yes and yes.

My general take has been that if someone comes to the internet without explicitly asking a question, well… they’re not here to learn.

Not that there aren’t exceptions. CD is a rare spot where people frequently seek to both understand and be understood.

But not always. And, it feels like decreasingly so. To the point where I’m not usually willing to assume a questionless post is intended for learning.

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That makes sense.

So how can I work to make a difference?

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The million dollar question indeed.

My opinion is to let the online interaction simply be for building up trust and conveying simple, non-emotional ideas. Let people know they’re trusted, valued, and part of a community that cares, even if there’s differences of opinions. Gently and appropriately warn folks who aren’t onboard with this. Ostracize folks who won’t get on board with it.

Let the deeper conversations and problem resolution happen in person.

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Yeah, nothing provocative here…

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See I view this as part of the issue. It seems a lot of folks want to isolate FIRST and technical questions from societal/social ones. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that the goals of FIRST (culture change) are more social/societal than technical.

Why are there more teams in suburban regions than urban or rural regions? Why are teams more white and Asian than regional demographics would lend you to believe? Why are they more male?

These are all social questions that are critical to teams. They are important questions to the larger goals of FIRST, and the smaller goals of running a successful FRC program.

Yes there’s no need to talk about the long history of inequality in schooling in a discussion about PID controllers but it’s important to acknowledge that while some schools have calculus others don’t and you’re audience is starting from different places.

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Imagine I entered a thread about religious diversity on teams and told everyone how glad I was that I didn’t have any Christian mentors as a kid, because I was “religiously confused” and might have ended up becoming a Christian.

Further imagine that I posted again in this thread, letting the Christians know that while I think their beliefs are destructive to themselves and others, I still “love them” and “care for their best interests.”

Would I be given the courtesy of being “heard out?” Should I?

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