Monzo forum - Opt-in categories for general debates?


(Chris Beach) #1

I’ve spotted a few people here (possibly a majority) that would prefer general interest topics like politics or ethics, for example, were limited/avoided in order that we can focus specifically on Monzo-related chat (which is obviously what this forum was designed for).

On the forums I run (built using the same software), I created “opt in” categories for general interest discussion - things like politics, for example. This means that political chat doesn’t appear on the homepage unless a user has specifically chosen to opt in to see it.

Setup-wise, I used publicly-joinable groups to allow users to opt in, and then security settings to make certain categories visible to those users.

If @admins are interested in setting this up here, I’d be happy to help out in any way I can.


(Graham - Mental health professional) #2

Agreed that non-specific topics shouldn’t skew dedicated chat, but isn’t that covered below?


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #3

I don’t want to discuss politics at all on the Monzo forum , there are plenty of outlets for angst on other sites and all it does bringing them on to the Monzo forum is create tensions between posters - as can be seen from Twitter etc people tend to have entrenched political views and it mostly ends in a slanging match, with absolutely no outcome worthy of note :slight_smile:

for me if you want to discuss politics go elsewhere on all the other available outlets for angst :slight_smile:


(Chris Beach) #4

The category you referred to is publicly visible, from what I can see.

For those of us who view the forum in “Latest” mode (as opposed to “Categories” mode) - we’ll see a busy political debate sticking around at the top of the forum homepage, which is not good for all the users who’d rather avoid political debate altogether.

The problem comes when mods have to respond to someone starting a political discussion on the Monzo forum, or when a non-political discussion starting to crossing the line into politics. If politics is banned, then mods would have to be very heavy-handed, deleting topics, or closing down discussion. Mods may be accused of being politically biased if they shut down certain posts (even if they explain that all political posts are modded in the same way).

I think it’s easier to have an opt-in category that’s well defined and where mods can shepherd conversation into, getting it out of the publicly-facing areas of the forum, but allowing people to continue participating in it if they want to.


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #5

As I said I don’t think it serves any useful purpose except to further entrench peoples views and lead to a slanging match - if you feel the need to create a “politics discussion thread” feel free , I would mute the thread so it wouldn’t appear on my feed in “latest” mode at all :slight_smile:

  • In fact thats probably the better option, create your thread on political discussion and I can mute it , absolutely nothing stopping you from creating it , and at the top of the thread a link on how to mute the thread :slight_smile: - we’re both happy :slight_smile:

(Change Works) #6

I think the point of an opt in category would be that you wouldn’t need to mute it. You wouldn’t even see it unless you’d made an effort to see it.


(Chris Beach) #7

One thread to cover all possible political discussions? I think that could get messy, in terms of coherent conversation.


( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #8

why stop at Politics for an opt in category , Apple pay - no interest, Film reviews - no interest etc etc - easier to just mute if you’re not interested having seen the initial post


(Chris Beach) #9

Some problems with that approach -

  • not all users will discover the “topic mute” feature.
  • only users who are signed in are able to mute topics.
  • casual and new users will see all discussions.

( related to Monzo CEO, Investor in Monzo ) #10

interesting thread …and…muted :slight_smile:


(Leonard) #11

Why do you want to discuss politics (which always turns into a heated discussion) on here, a forum for a bank? Why don’t you just post your views on twitter then anyone who wants to can reply in agreement or disagreement.


(Chris Beach) #12

I suppose I’m more interested in ethics, broadly, and I can tell a lot of people are.

Look at the Monzo diversity policy topic, or the topic about transparency of Monzo CEO salary, for example.

These topics do create disagreement, I admit.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realise that topics of disagreement are often the most important topics to discuss.

Many people prefer to avoid discussions where there might be disagreement — that’s fine too, and it’s why I proposed having the opt-in categories.


(Alex Sherwood) #13

It isn’t. The problem is that someone like yourself would probably be more at home on the Breitbart forums whereas the majority of Monzo users (judging by the diversity debate) wouldn’t & that’s going to create a lot of arguments. That’s going to create a lot of work for moderators & there’s almost no benefit for Monzo as a business.


(Chris Beach) #14

The other benefit of a dedicated politics category is that we can be firmer about civilised discourse there, and if people break the guidelines they can be opted out of that category, but not banned from the forum.

The problems we typically see in our politics categories are

  • discussions of the people not the points
  • straw-man arguments (including pigeon-holing other participants and their views)
  • dog-piling
  • knee-jerk contrarianism

All of these potential problems can be better handled if the discussions happen in a segregated area of the site where members have to agree to a stricter code of conduct.

We also make sure that the “leaders” (trust level 4 users) all behave according to the guidelines and set a good example to others.

For the forums I run, we have group owners of the politics categories (and the owners are a mixture of lefties and right-wingers). When opting in to political chat, the user requests access to the politics group, and there is a pre-filled message stating “I agree to the following guidelines… etc”.


(Alex Sherwood) #15

Perhaps you could share links to those forums with us so that we can get a better sense of how they work?

Also, you didn’t address the concerns I raised.


(Chris Beach) #16

Sure. https://se23.life is my main focus. I also run similar forums for other parts of South London.


(Alex Sherwood) #17

Those..don’t look like political debates like the one we had the other night to me.


(Chris Beach) #18

Your concerns were based on a faulty premise about me personally, and I try to not to respond and encourage personal comments because they don’t improve the conversation.

“People like you are better off on Breitbart” is not the kind of comment that trust-level-4 members of my forums would deploy.


(Chris Beach) #19

Precisely. All political conversations on https://se23.life are in the opt-in “General Politics” category in order that the site retains its primary focus (the local area of Forest Hill and Honor Oak) to new and casual users.


(Alex Sherwood) #20

Ok let’s say it’s not you but it’s another user that has controversial views (because yours definitely weren’t), we’d still have the same problem wouldn’t we?


I didn’t say that. Also, could please stop editing your posts long after discussion’s moved on - which means my comments are no longer addressing what you originally said.