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In our I've been told my question is better suited to a forum, but where should I go?”, an answer was posted recently suggesting people might find 8chan a useful discussion site. The usual notes and warnings about *chans were given — radical anonymity is both a pro and a con, frothing creativity of all kinds, “lax” to non-existent moderation, illegal content, etc. — and some noises of distaste were made and downvotes cast, but on the whole it's a legitimate choice to spend one's time there.

Later, two issues of concern were brought up that brought into question — not the issue of personal choice — but of whether our community should be curating 8chan for our users:

  • Child pornography is apparently a thing there
  • GamerGate discussion is pervasive, due to it being founded as the place to go when GG discussion was banned at 4chan

Among these two things, the moderation team is vastly more concerned with the kiddie porn issue — among illegal things that can be “laxly” permitted in an online community, that's one of the worst, and I put that mildly.

Due to these concerns the answer was deleted pending discussions. After consultations with SE staff, we were informed that we have no legal requirement to ban linking to 8chan in general. That leaves whether we curate it or not up to us. We need to form a policy position on this matter.

(NB that linking directly to sexual content is still an insta-suspension violation of the ToS, regardless. Direct linking is not at issue here.)

Now, granted that adults spending their time on any site is their free choice:

  1. The individual right to choose doesn't require that we as a community must advertise/endorse all and every choice
  2. Not all our users are adults

… what then is our position, as a community, on whether we should be including 8chan in a curated list of places we suggest people visit to have discussions about RPGs?

The community has the floor to speak on the matter.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As of right now, I do not see the 8chan suggestion as an answer to that meta post. \$\endgroup\$ – Axoren Nov 10 '15 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ SSD deleted it pending this discussion. Not sure the contents are super relevant, it links to 8chan's RPG section and has some predictable pros (is fun!) and cons (full of gamergate and kiddie porn!) listed. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Nov 10 '15 at 18:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ So this is looking unanimous. The answer that inspired this is likely staying deleted then, barring a compelling argument that turns the consensus on its head. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 12 '15 at 20:44
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I completely disagree with the notion that the list is “just a list” and that voting has no meaning there.

The list is not just a list of random websites; it is a list of our suggestions. Voting indicates (or should indicate) how much we, as a community, recommend a given website. Obviously, issues of differing topics mean that higher votes don’t strictly mean a better choice, or even a more-recommended choice for a particular purpose, but nonetheless a site with a decent number of upvotes should be one that we, as a community, feel is a good place to seek discussion of the topics the site covers.

As such, a negative-vote suggestion is one that the community recommends against. An entry saying “8chan exists, and we as a community recommend against going there,” is a reasonable judgment for us to make. Someone who chooses to go there anyway is not, I think, unduly attacked or judged by our recommendation against doing so. Statements about why we have recommended against it are not an attack on someone who chooses to go there anyway.

On the other hand, I don’t really see much advantage in doing so. Personally, for a place like 8chan, I feel that there’s a risk of there being “no such thing as bad publicity,” and my preference would be to give them none. Our list is not in any way intended to be exhaustive. It’s clearly informal and subjective. We have no need to include 8chan on the list, and I don’t think we should.

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    \$\begingroup\$ " ... it is a list of our suggestions." This nails it. Do we really suggest that site? Well, this one small cog in the wheel of we would not, and does not. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 10 '15 at 21:41
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I think that we should not link to sites like 8chan.

SE is intended to be a SFW atmosphere, and on sites of that sort it's not like the bad content is truly restricted to areas outside the RPG sections we'd be linking to. The ToC directly bans linking to such content, but I think linking to pages where such content is likely to appear at some point is like unto it enough that it's imprudent. The SE Content Policy says:

Sexually Explicit Material. Accounts that use Stack Exchange to post sexually explicit or pornographic material, or links to it, will be suspended.

That means that if that /tg (or whatever it is on 8chan, I try not to visit the chan sites) suddenly has bad stuff in it, and you've posted a link to a page that contains it, your account is at risk. So I'd recommend not doing it and that we the community remove links to 8chan and sites of its nature as they come up.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed; /tg/ is massively better-moderated than 4chan’s usual, and 4chan does better than 8chan, but overall it’s still much too likely to be, well, awful, so I haven’t recommended /tg/ even though I have a somewhat favorable opinion of them. 8chan is just... several layers removed from that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 10 '15 at 21:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for the "SFW" point. Hadn't realized that an inadvertent SE policy foul could arise, so that bit of info is very useful in forming my opinion: 8chan need not be on our list. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 10 '15 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I think Be Nice would cover 'people replaced a webpage that I linked to with good cause with porn, please don't ban me'. I mean, theoretically any offsite resource might suddenly be replaced with a redirect to porn or something, illegally or otherwise, so there's a limit to how much we as well-intentioned users can do there. Nonetheless, I think we should super oppose this site, just I don't think that makes sense as a reason. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 13 '15 at 3:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer Any site can be hacked to suddenly serve images that are illegal to access. If that were the issue this question wouldn't exist. The distinction here, and the reason the question exists, is that we already know that the site is a bad actor that harbors such images by choice. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '15 at 1:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie For sure, I was just saying that mxyzplk's reasoning seemed, to me, to be arguing otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Nov 14 '15 at 4:14
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I think we ought to let the list and users' votes speak for themselves. In a list curated by users for users with a strict voting system, I think potentially any website is fair game. If the community agrees that 8chan is not place we want to link to, the votes should reflect that. KRyan put it well:

The list is not just a list of random websites; it is a list of our suggestions. Voting indicates (or should indicate) how much we, as a community, recommend a given website...As such, a negative-vote suggestion is one that the community recommends against.

So, given that information, it shouldn't really matter what we link them to, the votes will reflect the community's general attitude to both the site and the answer that contains the site (your suggestion should include reasons why 8chan is good, why it is bad, and especially mention the risks of child pornography). We can always remove largely negative suggestions.

Without the concern for child pornography, I think your question is moot. Whatever we vote here will be largely the same of what's voted on the list. But, there IS the concern there, so lets dive into that. As others have noted, it's not necessarily illegal or against TOS to link to 8chan. Potentially dangerous, but a valid entry. In the interest of fairness and objectivity, we can't in good conscience eliminate a list item if the community thinks it's a valid list item. If the community feels like linking to potential CP is not what it wants to suggest, let the vote reflect that. If you disagree, well......vote! We need not make this more convoluted for the sake of it

So, given that, let's look at the guidelines for a list item

Write answers with an eye to redirecting an off-topic question asker. The answers should quickly help someone decide where to take their closed question. Focus on creating a collection of signposts to help them choose the best site for their current question.

As you've mentioned, complete anonymity has it's risks and rewards, as does the lack of moderation. Sometimes people make long questions that are really just rants or just a means to really explain what this issue is to themselves, and there are several good websites for that behavior, one of which is 8chan.

Avoid answers that focus on suggesting a forum for its own sake, or just exist because you think it's a good site.

This is a valid complaint against 8chan. We shouldn't list it as an option for the sake of it. Why is it good? why is it bad?

Not all playstyles and personality types are good fits for every one of these forums; try to indicate the kind of player they cater to without being hostile/judgemental if that's not your cup of tea.

This is the key, here. If SE isn't the website for this person, we ought to direct them to a potential site that is, or a website that can answer their specific question. 8chan is for sure a website where you can vent your frustrations in whatever language you please, and I'm personally an advocate for letting steam out in the right places.

So, yes, we ought to allow that entry as a valid option.

Whether or not the community thinks so is up to the community.

On a personal note, I don't know what 8chan can offer than 4chan can't, besides a particularly different set of people, and 4chan is closely moderated for illegal activity. As someone that has spent a significant amount of time there since 2009, it has its drawbacks and its benefits. If I want unfiltered opinions, that's a good place to ask an opinionated question. If I want any given question I have to be measured by its attention and not its score (every post bumps, so even a community that largely disagrees with you pushes the question to the top with every post, so you can garner a lot of opinions as long as people are talking, versus a site like reddit, where dissenting opinions can often get lost or deleted), I can post there. If I want broader guidelines of what constitutes an RPG question, I can go there. I would upvote a suggestion for 4chan's /tg/ on certain grounds, but personally not 8chan. That does not change the fact that I think we can suggest 8chan if the community wants to.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think proceeds from a mistaken premise. Downvotes are not for indicating that the community thinks we should not be linking to something. If we should not be linking to something, the correct tool to use is delete votes, to remove the link. As most of the community does not have access to delete votes, but the mods do, this question has been raised to deal with this exceptional circumstance. Downvotes can also have multiple confounding meanings. So this is where “if the community wants to” is being decided clearly, rather than with ineffective/amgibuous downvotes on the post itself. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '15 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aside, we do have a boardgames se: Board & Card Games \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '15 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Downvotes can at least suggest we shouldn't be linking to something; deletion is just carrying out the community's executive request. Or, alternately, it is for the "ABORT!! ABORT!!" reaction which I think was very appropriately triggered in this scenario. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 14 '15 at 1:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Downvotes can mean that, yeah, they're just not reliably so. The downvotes were already going in that direction, granted. But from the mods' perspective the question isn't “should this be greyed out and have a big negative score, maybe leading to deletion”, it's “should this even exist on our site as a matter of policy.” Downvotes can't clearly answer that question, and we weren't interested in leaving something like that up long enough to gather that many votes. This meta is the proxy votes location, and policy question, without having the questionable content stay live. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '15 at 1:12
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I would say No, but not for the reasons listed. I frequent 8chan's /tg/ (Traditional Games) board, which covers roleplaying games. And while there is plenty of enjoyment to be had there, it is not the most optimal place to ask your in-depth questions. Sure, there are topics for questions but a good number of them are ignored or are given conflicting or incorrect answers (or you get called slang for a cigarette).

I am aware of 8chan's polarizing nature and the controversy surrounding it. This can result in people downvoting anything that contains a link to it. I do not believe that "people do not like this place" is a valid reason to not link to a website. By that logic, we should not link to forums over at Giant in the Playground because there are quite a few people who do not like Order of the Stick, or not allow links to the Brilliant Gameologists boards because people do not like character optimization. Regarding the two posts in the question however:

  • Child pornography is a very serious issue and deleted on sight by the staff of both the boards themselves and the global staff.
  • GamerGate has nothing to do with the subject of roleplaying games. While there are other boards than /tg/ that discus the subject in depth, aside from the occational mentioning by users in a number of topics this is not the main subject of discussion.

So these two have no bearing on the descision whether to link to 8chan. However, it is true that there are topics that include images of a graphic (sexual) nature. Board policy is that these are behind spoilers, so a user has to click a spoiler image (which is marked as such) to see the image. Unless the name of the image is an accurate description of what is behind the spoiler (or is false) this can end up with the reader get a screen full of genetalia. It is also correct that there are topics that share illegal copies of a variety of games and other sources.

While the last two reasons are valid reasons to not link to 8chan as a place to discus things because of the rules and the spirit of Stack Exchange, I believe that the issue of the quality of the discussions on there an the focus on the questions at hand is a reason not to send people to 8chan. As such, I believe that asking questions that cannot be answered here should be asked somewhere else than 8chan.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "So these two have no bearing on the descision whether to link to 8chan." - They do still have a bearing actually. The fact CP gets posted there at all is a big deal, whether or not it gets deleted however fast. I'm not likely to point people to a place they have any likelihood of seeing it, when so much of the rest of the resources we can link to have a roughly zero chance of ever seeing it - or close enough to zero there's no practical difference. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 17 '15 at 0:56

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