r/Mormon was just a small sub for a long time. We saw very little content and were dwarfed by the faithful and disbelieving subs. Content was so scarce you could go days at a time before seeing a new post. Because of this, moderation was fairly light. The moderators had an understanding that we shouldn’t restrict discussion, shouldn’t allow doxxing or spamming, and beyond that, there wasn’t much in the way of rules. If we weren’t sure about something, we would talk about it as a mod team and go forward with the decision of those conversations as the policy for the sub. They were simpler times.
However, r/Mormon is rapidly growing in size. In 2019 r/Mormon doubled in subscribers. The sub is actively seeing content from across the Mormon spectrum posted everyday. The workload became too much for us to handle, and so the r/Mormon mods brought on /u/Fuzzy_Thoughts, /u/JawnZ, and /u/StevenRushing. They’ve been a god-send to the moderation crew.
One thing that we as a mod team realized is that it’s not fair to have the details of how the sub operates hidden from the community in modmail. It worked well in the past, but moving forward we want to be more transparent as to how the community operates. Our central goal has been to keep the community a place that fosters valuable discussion. We have spent the last several months re-discussing and consolidating all of the policies that we’ve made over the years to create our new rules. Those rules can be found here. They can be easily accessed from the wiki tab for the community.
These new rules will go into effect on 01/01/2020. I would STRONGLY encourage you to read all of the new rules, but the most notable changes to the rules are:
Flairs have been around for a while, but they were the first step to creating our new rules. The flair system took a while to work out the bugs, and we still need feedback. We want to keep the flairs relatively few, so there aren’t a zillion flairs, but we also want to be able to look at the flairs and have a decent idea of the type of discussion that is expected. We recently added the “Spiritual” flair to fill a need. Feedback would be appreciated.
2. The “gotcha” rule
We have seen many posts and comments that derail the conversation at hand to talk about how the BoM isn’t historical, Joseph Smith married a 14 year old, or tons of stuff like that. Their goal is really to dismiss, silence, or convert. Starting a conversation like this is a poor foundation for respect and civility. It ultimately leads to the conclusion that there are no alternatives, and thus, there is nothing to discuss. The goal for our subreddit is to foster a community that seeks to understand and be understood through valuable discussion. This requires a willingness to accept that other people will come to conclusions and hold beliefs that are different than our own. We encourage debate and discussion over these different points of view, but we should not seek out to needlessly dismiss, silence, or convert others. This comment by /u/Bow-Of-Fine-Steel perfectly sums up our goal with this rule:
The mods aren’t trying to favor believers with these rules, they’re just trying to keep the sub from turning into a superficial r/exmormon lite.90% of believers that frequent this sub are already generally familiar with the issues being discussed. As I understand the mods, the rules such as the ban on drive-by “gotcha” comments are not meant to coddle believers, it’s just that there are some comments that are irrelevant and annoying to everyone trying to actually have a deeper, grown up discussion.If I’m in a thread discussing the current honor code policies at BYU and someone says “yeah but Brigham was a racisssst!!!” it doesn’t hurt my feelings, I don’t feel “persecuted,” I don’t feel like I need to beg the mods for protection, but it gets annoying after a while. Not because I’m a believer, but because commenters who think they are lobbing bombs to completely “pwn” us idiot believers are such a distraction. I’d wager that exmos are just as often annoyed by this type of stuff as I am.
During the great Jesus H. Christ Brigading of 2019, the mods of the faithful subs (LDS and LatterDaySaints) asked if we would ban linking to their subs in both cross posting and direct linking (using r/LatterDaySaints is direct linking). They have their space and we have ours. We want to be good neighbors and have honored their wishes. Over the last couple months we have also found that when something is crossposted from r/Exmormon, the discussions tend to be much less civil. We are also enacting a ban on cross posting from r/Exmormon, but will continue to allow direct linking. That being said, we recognize that there are topics from those other subs that our community would enjoy discussing. If you feel you have found something like that, feel free to copy and paste into our sub. But again, please no more cross posting. To summarize:
- Direct linking to r/Exmormon
- Commenting with links to r/ExmormonWhats not ok
- Direct linking to the LDS or LatterDaySaints subreddits
- Crossposting from the LDS or LatterDaySaints subreddits
- Crossposting from r/Exmormon
4. Clarification of civility
Our goal on this sub is to stimulate productive and thoughtful conversation. This will include challenging personal beliefs. Having your ideas and beliefs challenged can make you uncomfortable, but being uncomfortable does not mean that someone has been uncivil. Our sub welcomes challenging the worth of ideas, but not challenging the worth of people. For example, you can say “Gileriodekel has some shitty ideas like X, Y, and Z”, but you can’t say “Gileriodekel is a shitty person”. This also applies to more public figures. In addition we want to avoid using terms like “cult” and “brainwashed”. They aren’t very nice and stops any discussion. If you want to discuss the merits of what does and does not qualify as a cult, you can feel free to make your own post about the topic.
We really want to emphasize that reporting is not to be used as a super-downvote or simply because you feel uncomfortable. If you feel a rule is broken, and you want to tell us specifically which one, write a custom report and leave your username with it as well.
This community belongs to all of us. The mods have done everything we can to help foster valuable discussions here, but we need feedback from you.
Is there something you especially like? Why?
Is there something you especially don’t like? Why?
How would you improve the rules?
What do you guys think of creating a “Satire Sunday” where we could allow memes and satire and stuff? We could do it on Fast Sunday to keep things interesting!
Any rule changes will be discussed here and notifications of major changes will be edited into this post.
01/12/2020: Added examples to 3.4 and 4.4
02/22/2020: Edited 0.1 to bar tagging suspected rulebreakers in this discussion thread.
03/17/20: Implemented the meme ban that the community agreed upon into rule 4 and clarified rule 3.2