After a recent comment thread degenerated into an argument about trolling, moderation, and meta discussions, I came to the following conclusions:
- Meta conversations are annoying to stumble across, I'd rather not see them unless I think it's important, and I think other people mostly feel the same way. Moreover, moderators can't easily ignore those conversations when they encounter them, because they're usually attacks on the moderators themselves; and people can't simply avoid encountering them on a regular basis without avoiding LW altogether. This is a perfect recipe for a flamewar taking over Top Comments even when most people don't care that much.
- Officially banning all meta conversations, however, is a bad precedent, and I don't want LW to do that.
Ideally, Less Wrong would implement a separate "META" area (so that people can read the regular area for all the object-level discussions, and then sally into the meta area only when they're ready). After talking to Luke (who also wants this), though, it seems clear that nobody is able to implement it very soon. So as a stopgap measure, I'm personally going to start doing the following, and I hope you join me:
Whenever a conversation starts getting bitterly meta in a thread that's not originally about a LW site meta issue, I'm going to tell people to start a thread on the LW Uncensored Reddit Thread instead. Then I'm going to downvote anyone who continues the meta war on the original thread.
I know it's annoying to send people somewhere that has a different login system, but it's as far as I can tell the best fix we currently have. Since some meta conversations are important, I'm not going to punish people for linking to meta thread discussions that they think are significant, and the relevant place for those links is usually the Open Thread. I don't want LessWrong to be a community devoted to arguing about the mechanics of LessWrong, so that's my suggestion.
Thoughts? (And yes, this thread is obviously open to meta discussion. I'm hopefully doing something constructive about the problem, instead of just complaining about it, though.)
EDIT: Changed the link to the uncensored thread more specifically, at Luke's request; originally I linked to the general LW subreddit, which is more heavily moderated.