[For anyone in the future reading this, this situation has been resolved, and though here you can see how frustrated I was with the new crackdown, I've accepted it. There are many good benefits to monitoring the chat environment on a learning site, and while it makes it very hard for some things, if the guardians keep up their jobs so no one chats in the first place, it won't be as hard for anyone more. I'm leaving this post here for future reference for everyone else, but I don't agree with it any longer, and I wanted to make sure people knew that. Follow the rules! =)]
Hello, Khan Academy,
As I think everyone knows, recently people have been warned, or even banned from KhanAcademy, simply for chatting. I, and many, many others, disagree that it chatting should be illegal. So, in an attempt to reverse the rule, I'm writing an essay as to why chatting should be legal. I do believe I am in the right place on Khan for this, but if not, please be sure to let me know! We would greatly appreciate it if whoever has the authority to change this would read it all the way through and seriously think about it before making a decision.
Chatting on Khan Academy has never been banned before. I've never heard of anyone for at least the past three years of getting banned for chatting. Also, through talking with some more senior Khan users, it appears as if people were not banned for chatting at all or very often since the beginning of Khan Academy. Why is it starting now? Evan Lewis declares, "It's actually always been in the guidelines," but if that is the case, then what was edited in the guidelines 13 days ago? (About when this started.) This sudden crackdown has startled all, and frustrated many, as it seems to have no use, and was randomly targeted.
So, what is the reason behind the rule? Guardians have disclosed the reason to be because chatting distracting to learning. And yet, somehow, I've learned nearly as much through chatting as I have through KA courses. Without having chatted, I would have given up on learning PJS. Though our chats did go to some side topics, we often talked about programming, and that's what helped me learn when I couldn't find the answer in the course, or wasn't motivated to work on learning it. I never would have discovered my talent for artistic works. And I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Have you ever tried to talk about one, shallow topic for an extended period of time? It's probably unlikely. The reason is because relationships can not be held up by one thing you talk about. You might say that you don't need relationships to learn. To that I say, whatever happened to the hand tree? And we’re not talking about the literal logo, we’re talking about the concept, one of the original intentions of KhanAcademy. The symbol of joint effort, people working together, and helping one another up. Have you ever worked with a colleague? Probably most have. Something intriguing about colleagues is that they often become friends. For good reason. They spend time together, work on the same things, and both have times when they need support. Everyone has someone they learn from. Usually they are close to those people. Relationships help build motivation, as well as provide a basis for learning, teaching, and advancing. And you can't keep one by only talking about code.
Also, where will you draw the line? If you outlaw anything besides speech about code, then how will someone give a review on a game, animation, graphic, or story? And if you allow talk about the product, as well as the code, how will you prevent users from making the program about the "off-topic" concepts. In order to completely ban off-topic chat, you must ban so many great, harmless projects, like stories. And even if you do, people will still find a way around it.
This is one rule that I can assure you, people will keep breaking or twisting. Even those who don't normally break rules. I'm struggling to stay within the boundaries of this rule myself, and I never want to break rules. I assure you. This will not be easily vanquished. And I'm not trying to say anyone will, or should rebel directly, although that is likely to happen. People will keep finding ways to get through. Not too long ago, speaking about Google Fonts in programs, Evan clarified that they were not allowed in PJS programs, but, he honestly "has bigger fish to fry." If this is something he's skimming over because he has more important things to deal with, then why are comments different? Just recently, I heard Evan's answer. He explains, "Pretty much all of the comments in those threads end up in our moderation queues, so these threads are creating a lot more work for our moderation staff, so this is something I'm trying to crack down on." My question now is, why are they appearing in the moderation logs? Very, very few comments have I seen using even the mildest language, or anything inappropriate on any level. I will admit, there are some more violent roleplays that could end up in there, but "most?"
So, after all has been considered, is enforcing this rule benefiting KhanAcademy? Is it worth it to continue doing so? Which is better to deal with? Excess comments in mod queues, or tracking down every lengthy offtopic thread and banning/warning people? Please consider carefully about this decision. Many would appreciate, even if you still decide against it, a full-length final explanation on your decision, and why it is more important than the points mentioned here.
Thank you for reading!
His Love Studios, speaking for the KACS community.