How do we want to flag negative behavior in Genesis?

I’m starting this discussion to bring up a topic that has been coming up within the ATF recently, as well as other contexts, which is how to flag negative behavior in the GenDAO in a way that has a contained social cost to all parties involved.

Interestingly, until now, we have a lot of areas identified that can potentially flagged (check out the ATF flagging & certifying policy for instance):

  • proposals being delivered late
  • not delivered at all
  • badly delivered.

In addition there may be cases where we might want to signal to the community a problem with someone’s behavior, regarding how they treat others, communicate etc (which I don’t actually see as falling directly into the responsibility area of an accountability working group). However, there is no clear guideline yet for how this flagging is done, apart from a vague statement that it will be communicated on Genesis communication channels.

Until now, we have one mechanism that we have successfully used once, which is the Hourglass proposals to draw the attention of the community to a certain proposal. Does it make sense to use this for all kinds of flagging?

So my question: what are good ways of flagging behavior in all the various scenarios? If you put yourself into the shoes of a person that is being flagged, how would you want this to be communicated to you? When does a flag need to be announced publicly, and when is it better to have a direct conversation with the person concerned?

One reason why I am raising this is that both the flagger (if they are a human and not a bot doing it, which may be a useful solution here) and the flagged person are vulnerable in this situation and I am concerned about doing damage that is not necessary to both parties.

I’d love to hear what everyone thinks about this, because it’s a critical element for ensuring the health of this community and will be a great input for the future Accountability Working Group.

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Fascinating / Ironic because the whole idea of “REP” is that it flags your reputation. However, at this time we have such a small community that we have limited the amount of REP people could have. Conceptually, the way to flag someone as worth boosting or not would be by their level of REP. In other words, if they do a proposal in which they ask for 80 REP, and they fail, they should not get the REP, and maybe they should lose even more than the 80 (like staking). Theoretically, you could say that someone would have negative REP which would warn us they are bad actor. Zero rep would represent n00b. Anyway, that’s my conceptual sense of how REP would make sense.

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Although related, I think that we may be mixing 2 topics here:

  • proposal quality (low quality in that case)
  • misbehavior (violent communication)

As in, someone may deliver fantastic proposals but still misbehave every now & then (i.e. very unstable personality). I’ve actually seen this happening in a community I’m part of: a very active member keeps misbehaving, regularly & with different members of the community. It got to a point where he’s burnt the majority of the relationships he has in the organization.

Seeing the damage this one person has done to that community, I can think it’s important to address the misbehavior topic first. Low quality work is not nice, but the behavior described previously is unacceptable.

To address that issue, we might want to start looking into what other online & offline communities came up with. Trolls & moderators are on every single quality forum for instance.


Here is a summary from some research done on the “Troll topic”.

How to handle trolls

  • Be prepared
    • You should know what’s a troll, how to recognise it, how to handle trolls, etc
  • Learn to Separate Constructive Criticism from Trolling
    • there are some cases in which someone may be rude or put you down, but they’re just tactless. If you can extract any constructive criticism or valid arguments out of someone—even if it means sending them an automated response telling them to be nicer—it can be worth your while
  • Don’t feed the troll
    • Trolling is one of those rare problems best handled by ignoring it – if you do, it usually goes away. Trolls want your attention and discomfiture; they feed on your impotent rage. The secret to withholding attention is consistency: never respond. That way, the trolls can’t even be sure you’ve read their abuse.
  • Unmask your troll
    • A little digging will usually shows that the person trolling has a long history of trolling: series of burnt relationships, fall outs on regular basis, verbal fights on daily basis, etc.
  • Talk it out
    • You don’t have to go through this alone. You can talk about the fact that you are being targeted for abuse, a trusted person first to double check you’re correctly interpreting situation.
  • Report the troll
    • Trolling is unwelcome on most moderated sites, bullying & making threats is a violation of many communities. Ignore the trolls, but don’t just ignore them. Report the troll.
  • If you chose to fight back, be the adult & the example
    • don’t get emotions take over you
    • acknowledge, apologize & correct mistakes if you made one
    • take this as an exercise, it is an opportunity for you to shine
  • If you chose to fight back, facts are king
    • If you chose to fight back, do it with facts
    • Ask for source - trolls always claim facts without source
  • If you chose to fight back, keep the conversation focus as narrow as possible
    • Re-focus the discussion on the actual topic, say something like “we’re going off topic” or “this is out of scope”

You can be the troll

  • Everyone can be a troll
    • Anyone can cross lines if given specific circumstance. For instance: if debating with someone close to us (we know you’ve bullied your sibling in the past, stop lying! ;]), or if very tired, or if having a very emotional day
  • If you did that: apologize
    • Sometimes it’s too late to fix - you’re downvote is on the chain - but you can always say “hey I’d remove my downvote if I could”



Thanks a lot Adrien, I think this differentiation is very helpful and super relevant for us, since so much of interaction is centered around proposal making.