The Sakinorva Databank “Ruleset”
Hello! If you’ve been using the databank for a while now, you may have realized by now that I haven’t actually established a clear ruleset for my site. The truth is that I’ve been actively avoiding doing so, because it requires confronting a question that I have trouble answering: how could I bear the burden and responsibility of restricting others’ freedom using arbitrary criteria when I couldn’t possibly handle being restricted myself? But there’s much more to it than just that—
For context’s sake: most of my active users – myself included, of course – have been part of the typology databank scene since segovois created obscure French MBTI site Personality-Databank, and segovois promptly abandoned his website about a year? (I wasn’t there that early on so correct me on this if you were) later along with his French moderators, leaving the website in its eccentric users’ hands. I would be lying if I said that I used that website because I wanted to type people and characters, because I really just enjoyed that wicked game of balancing truth, lies, and the relationships caught between them in an anarchic “society” where pointing fingers and playing detective prevailed over the typology-related discussions we would have on the site. My voting percentage (vote count / total # of entries) never surpassed an infinitesimal 0.5% because I was just extremely caught up in either commenting on the drama, indulging in the drama, or posting mini-essays about type theory; with an absence of moderation, I found excitement in interaction, presentation, and everything in between on a fantastical website like Personality-Databank. It was definitely the most consistent source of fun I’d ever had on the Internet, and I loved telling stories about the wild happenings there.
But with the website’s demise (which is honestly an amazing other story in itself, even though we’ll just have to keep that one a secret!) our userbase migrated to MBTIbase, a website erected by P-D user PROgrammer, who I suspect had been behind the alphabetized crawling of the site’s entries to import them into his own site. His insistence on changing sites didn’t work while P-D was still active (I think my reasoning on the entry advertising his site was that I would stick around where the community stuck around and that until then I would have no reason to switch) but when segovois’ site finally disappeared, we chose to go with MBTIbase instead of “The MBTI database,” which actually had a great system for averaging out votes but fell short with an absence of Enneagram voting. Our very own MBTI averaging system is inspired by that website!
MBTIbase was casually abandoned by its already inactive administrator soon after problems like “the voting bug” surfaced, so we once again found ourselves using an absolutely unmoderated website except that this time, the entertainment factor was gone. I don’t really definitively know why MBTIbase was so unusable, chaotic, and boring at the same time. It even had an anonymous chatbox on its front page. But to most of us active Personality-Databank migrants, MBTIbase did a wonderful job of being extremely drab while also harboring the nastiness that surrounded the detective culture on P-D.
And it’s this very nastiness that I want to talk about. Though things were certainly exciting and unpredictable on these former unmoderated sites, our free environment was nurtured by a precedent defined by a willingness our community collectively shared in engaging with its anomic side. Many accounts, alts, and entries roaming about on the site were created solely to kindle the growing hostility between users, however, others leaned more into a parodical direction—my own alt Vermeil was an exaggerated caricature of indulgees in magical typology i.e. visual typing, functions, and the like—and various other expressions that established the chaotic atmosphere. I would like to think it all contributed to a sense of entertainment, a positive in my eyes, that forced our community to stay despite how awful things would get, and I am fairly confident that MBTIbase (with all its drabness) was put up with because its community was a tight-knit product of its predecessor.
Now with our context aside: my website would the first moderated databank since Personality-Databank was hacked near its demise. With nothing to necessarily “uphold,” the responsibility that befalls on me extends to creating a standard that others should follow. But note the wording: a standard, not a ruleset.
I am going to avoid making rules because, being someone who finds herself often circumventing them to achieve outcomes that aren’t intended to be allowed, I concern myself instead with following up intentions with results that mirror my intentions rather than allowing intentions to be filtered through wording and interpretation and achieving results that may or may not align with my intentions. Problems are not always solved by creating rules, and rules themselves may create problems; problem-solving has always been an administrator’s responsibility and rules have only existed to standardize and simplify that process. Judicature should be a subjective process which adheres to whatever “justice” should mean, and using rules that exist outside myself and my intentions would only disempower my ability to sort out problems like I believe they should be sorted out.
And yes, thinking like this can be a mark of authoritarianism, but there isn’t anything definitively authoritarian about autocracy; after all, the objective middleman (rules) is often abused in actual government through things like wording to achieve authoritarian results.
Now, the important bits:
An intention is an intention. It’s just my intention to do something.
A ruling intention is a ruling standard I’ve set, so I totally lied about not having rules, but it’s stuff you would expect to be a rule. Sorta.
Intention #1: I intend to uphold the general idea of free speech. This means a lot of things, and this doesn’t mean a lot of things. Think of it as a hangout with your friends—what would get you kicked out? So, as someone graciously pointed out, it's not really free speech, but I'm very lenient. I care about sharing ideas, but I'm not keen on behavioral issues. That's all!
Intention 1b: I intend to allow criticism in moderation. You can criticize anything you want, but when it comes to people, keep the following in mind: is it constructive? is it relevant? is it careful? is it not excessively hostile? I wouldn’t ban you if “no” is the answer to any of those, but if “no” seems to consistently be your answer for those comments as you post more, consider that you may just not be allowed to post anymore.
Intention #1c: I intend to nurture a comfortable environment. With confrontation, hostility, and excessive openness often comes discomfort, and I want to avoid letting anything by that discourages people from interacting with others on the site.
Intention #1d: I intend to keep unrelated, personal drama off the site. If you want to fight to the death with somebody about why Stanislav Sakinorva is really an ILI, by all means, go ahead. But if you start bringing your personal drama with them to the website, I’ll have to call it there. Nobody wants to hear it. But if you really do want to hear it, talk to them privately about it.
Intention #2: I intend for the website to be usable. Anything that directly hinders others’ ability to actually use the website the way it’s intended (and I mean intention #5 specifically) isn’t okay.
Intention #2b: I intend for each user to have one vote—and one vote only—for each voting column in any given entry to ensure fair consensuses for entries. Voting in one column twice isn’t okay.
Intention #2c: I intend for our entries to be categorizable in accordance with my designated categories. If there’s a “hole” of entries that should be categorized into something but aren’t, I’ll consider adding a category to sort it out. And that also means that you shouldn’t make dumb entries like we were flooded with on MBTIbase. I thought Personality-Databank was bad, but a very different kind of bad popped up on that website.
Intention #3: I intend to protect my users’ privacy. This usually means protecting everything about a person, but for your sake, I will clarify that the ruling intention here is protecting your very personal information, and not necessarily anything you give to Sakinorva. I probably won’t compromise anything you give to the website, but my Extremely Strict Standard extends to your personal information and that only. Your Sakinorva stuff (except for your actual non-encoded password) isn’t under that protection.
Ruling intention #4: I intend to nurture, or at the very least, protect entertainment. You wish I were kidding, but my lenience so far has been all about the entertainment. You might or might not like this part, but I’ll totally let things go that I’m entertained by. It’s when I get bored of it that you might want to worry. And you’ll only need to worry if you’re conflicting with any of my other intentions. Boredom is unfortunately implicitly protected, but I think I’d have to protect it if I wanted a website to begin with.
Ruling intention #5: I intend for index.sakinorva.net (or db.sakinorva.net, databank.sakinorva.net, or whatever else that’s active that I’ve forgotten about and directs to index.sakinorva.net) to be used as a website for cataloguing, typing, and discussing entries.
I reserve the right to moderate this website like I please, intentions followed or not followed.
And with that, I think my vision should be clear. But if you need clarification, please contact me – there should be plenty of ways to do that, but firstname.lastname@example.org exists, and you should use it when you’re out of options.
lily ives gossamer
administrator of sakinorva.net