Highest Rated Comments

-ah2324 karma

I played around with crowd sourced policy development in a couple of countries a few years ago and ran into a lot of the same sort of problems I see with social media and I wonder how you deal with them in any open, distributed, contributor lead system.. Essentially the core issue I kept running into was that what should have been an open and accessible system, increasing involvement instead saw a growth of 'influencers' or individuals with disproportionate reach (often just as a consequence of having more time..) and in a policy context often then an increased level of input (essentially delegated) that meant that they could more easily set the narriative around any given policy.

So basically I repeatedly ended up with what appeared to be a more democratic system with more input and engagement, but with a small subset of people with more of a say. In that context the engagement became a veneer rather than anything real and people, unsurprisingly slowly felt that they weren't as empowered as they might be.

The second issue was the clustering problem (essentially the creation of bubbles). People would generally only engage in areas they were interested in and you'd end up seeing a consensus created that was hard to challenge, not because it was a minority position across the board, but because unless there was a critical mass at any given moment, it was drowned out by the more continually engaged members..

I sort of get the impression that these are inherent in social media generally, and in any online group (and arguably offline groups..) above a certain size simply as a function of lots of people getting together.

Is there a way to minimise or mitigate those and are you looking to?

TLDR - Assuming you'd see that sort of influencer effect and the formation of bubbles as negatives, and indeed see people having access to accurate information and (especially in a political context) not just views from one outlook, I wonder if there is anything you'd be looking to do to minimise those negatives?

Other than that, I look forward to seeing where this goes! I've used reddit and twitter quite a bit and find both useful albeit I do tend to find I have to curate what I am seeing every few months, but stayed away from facebook (from a privacy perspective largely) and new alternatives are always massively welcome, especially those with privacy built in and where there is anything that mitigates misinformation and outright disinformation.

-ah526 karma

Wow I really hope you'll join the discussion with me on https://wt.social about policy because you totally get it.

I've signed up and I set aside some time to take a proper look so absolutely.

One key to the wiki approach is that creating a subwiki (or for example, a new article at Wikipedia) doesn't give you any special power over it. So you sort of have to find a way to collaborate with people of good will where you may not agree on everything.

I'm always incredibly impressed by how wikipedia manages moderation/admins, the combination of a well understood and open rule set as well as an engaged administrator base seems to work well and creates something of a credibility/trust system (Although my experience of that side of wikipedia is pretty limited it has to be said.. I assume that as with reddit subs it's better or worse depending on subject area). It'll be interesting to see how much of that translates to something more social.

But yes, communities often fall into a kind of conservatism (I don't mean politically) where we do things this way because that's the way we do things. I think you could get an easy win on a vote at Wikipedia that we need to figure out how to make more good people admins, but we have no consensus about how to do it, so that problem stays stuck for years.

I can see that and yeah, it pains me to say that the solutions we arrived at in terms of policy was essentially to throw in a top down layer to administrate and manage the processes and have them less open (although still as transparent as possible). It left me feeling we'd had to revert to traditional control methods and had been hoping for something that would self-organise ad-hoc.

But I've digressed massively.

Cheers for the reply and for what you are doing here!

-ah44 karma

but I'm entitled to express my own personal opinion.

You are, but the moment you do it in the guise of a serving police officer, you create an issue. It's the same reason that any civil servant, serving soldier or anyone whose job involves representing the state has reasonable restrictions on what they can say.

In the context of the police, the responsibility to be politically neutral and indeed appear so should be pretty obvious.

-ah31 karma

But the key word there is 'reasonable'. If you're not disclosing tactics, sensitive data, the force you work for, or information that could only possible be acquired by the police then is it reasonable?

It's not just about secrets and personal data, it's also about public trust. Police officers are obviously allowed to have, and express personal opinions, but they shouldn't be doing it 'as a police officer'. If a police officer in your force had been on TV suggesting that there is an issue with women making false rape accusations, don't you think that might damage public trust? What if this had been a personal opinion that happened to be racist, or say a statement in support of one political party or another? None of those are sensitive, all of them are problematic. I might agree with your view, but that doesn't make it any more reasonable.

All opinions are political in nature but I'm not a member of a political party nor were my words expressly political. I didn't bang on about 'tory cuts' or the 'soft left'. Agree it's a fine line.

I'm ex-Army so I have some experience of the limitations involved, and frankly I find both this post (because you used 'I'm the British Police officer') and the clip really problematic. I agree with your points, but I think you have significantly abused a position of public trust to make a statement that you were likely barred from making by whatever the police equivalent of standing orders are, and now you seem to be pivoting into it (personal gain in terms of fame/notoriety?). Just to be clear, I know enough serving police officers with similar views to yours to know it's not particularly novel, but they tend to understand that discretion is the better part of valour.

I suppose that's why mostly you see massive criticism of government policies from ex-officers (and often very senior ex-officers..) rather than serving ones. Be interesting to see what response you get from your force though.

-ah7 karma

I'm not the guy you've replied to, but: while I do take your point, you have to realise that drug law in this country continues to do great damage and the people trying to change it have not infrequently been campaigning for decades...

It has changed a lot over the decades too, as has enforcement. And I agree that it has done damage and needs changing (I prefer a health policy approach..)..

At some point, people need to start taking new approaches. Maybe "discretion is the better part of valour" just isn't working, and we need a little less discretion?

From serving police officers? I have no issues with political and social campaigning, I have no issues with people making their views known, debating and protesting. I even think that civil disobedience has a role to play in some cases. I do have issues with serving police officers campaigning after pointing out that they are serving police officers. Not because I disagree with them, but because they have a duty to the public not to use their position to push an agenda, moreover they may have to back up a colleague on an issue that they personally disagree with, or end up having to go to court to make the case against someone on an issue that they disagree with.. A public statement linked to their operational role is problematic in that context.

Also - and I do mean this with respect - the Army is especially renowned/notorious for requiring adherence to a particular order and set of principles and going outside that framework can result in death and destruction, so it's pretty natural that you'd see the dangers implicit in this man's willingness to go against official policy.

Absolutely, it's a slightly different kettle of fish, but the need for the armed forces, police and civil service especially to be, and appear apolitical and not pushing individual agendas is really quite important. People have personal opinions (in all of the above..) but they generally do not air them publicly without consent because it is bad for public perception and cohesion..