The Jury System In Depth

Discussionist members do not need to know all of the information provided on this page in order to participate on our discussion forums. This information is provided in the interests of transparency, so any member who is interested can learn more about how our system works.

At Discussionist we eschew rules and regulations in favor of community standards which are determined by members serving on juries. Whenever a post is alerted as potentially problematic, our software selects a jury of seven randomly-selected, eligible members. Each juror then individually reviews the alerted post and casts a vote to either hide it (if they believe it is inappropriate) or leave it alone (if they believe it is within the bounds of acceptable discourse). There is no list of rules to cross-reference -- jurors simply use their own best judgment and common sense to decide whether an alerted post should be hidden or not.

Jury FAQ

The selection process

How do I get to serve on a jury?

If you are logged in to Discussionist, there is a chance you may be asked to serve on a jury as you browse between pages.

What happens when I'm asked to serve on a jury?

A notification will appear at the top of the page asking if you can serve now, at which point you will have a five minute window to decide whether to accept or refuse the request.

Is there some kind of penalty if I don't accept jury service when asked?

No. Regardless of whether you refuse the request, miss the five minute window, or cancel at any point during the jury process, you will not be penalized in any way. The software will simply select another juror to take your place.

What are my chances of being asked to serve?

Your chance of being seated on a jury depends on a number of factors, and you can see what your current chance is by looking at the Statistics and Information section on your Profile page. In simple terms, long-term members with high post counts and no hidden posts have a much higher chance of being seated than new members, members with low post counts, or members with a history of hidden posts. There is a detailed explanation of how our software selects jurors below this FAQ for those who are interested in the technical aspects.

Am I going to be constantly bugged by requests to serve on a jury?

You will not be asked to serve more than once every 18 hours even if you have a 100% chance.

When serving on a jury

If I'm selected to serve on a jury, what do I have to do?

It's pretty simple -- all you have to do is decide whether or not the post you're adjudicating is within the bounds of acceptable discourse. There is no list of rules to cross-reference -- you simply use your own best judgment and common sense to decide whether or not an alerted post should be hidden or not.

Are you telling me that there are no rules I'm supposed to enforce?

Correct. We are not asking you to enforce a pre-determined list of rules. We are asking you to use your own judgment and common sense.

Can you at least give me a clue about what you consider to within the bounds of acceptable discourse?

We prefer stimulating, thought-provoking discussions. We like it when people are having fun. We don't mind heated discussions as long as they are passionate and lively, not mean-spirited and ugly. And we don't think quality discussions can be had if people are posting personal attacks, bigotry, threats, violent or pornographic imagery, people's private or personal information, commercial spam, or messages advocating violence or illegal activity. Like we said, this is really just common sense. If you need examples of potentially problematic behavior, visit the "How To Participate" section on our About page.

When I'm on a jury, how long do I have to cast my vote?

Once you've accepted a request to serve on a jury, you have 30 minutes to cast your vote. If you have not completed the process after 30 minutes, your jury service will end and the software will select another juror to replace you. (You will not be otherwise penalized if you don't complete your jury service within 30 minutes.)

Can I deliberate with other jurors while adjudicating a post?

No. While decisions are rendered based on the final vote tally, each juror acts alone. During the jury service process you are not able to post messages anywhere on Discussionist, nor are you able to send Discussionist Mail to other members.

Will other members know who I am?

Not unless you tell them after you complete your jury service. Jurors are anonymous to other members of the disucssion forum. Jurors are not provided with the usernames of the other members serving on their jury. Neither the alerter, nor the member who was alerted on, is provided with the usernames of the jurors who are reviewing the alerted post. Jurors' usernames are not made public at any point in the process.

Can my jury privileges be revoked?

Yes. Discussionist Administrators have full access to all jury decisions (including usernames of alerters, jurors, jury comments, and votes cast). The Administrators may revoke the jury privileges of members who leave rude or abusive feedback when serving on a jury.

The consequences of jury decisions

How are posts hidden?

If four or more of the seven jurors vote to hide an alerted post, it's hidden. If four or more of the jurors vote to leave the post alone, it's left alone.

Can any of my posts be hidden at any time?

Posts are eligible to be reviewed by jury for 24 hours from the time they are posted. After the 24 hour window has passed, alerts are not sent to a jury but to the Discussionist Administrators.

What happens if one of my posts gets hidden by jury?

  • The post will be hidden from public view (logged-in members may opt to view hidden posts).
  • You will be blocked from making further replies in that discussion thread.
  • You will be blocked from starting a new thread for one hour.
  • You will have a link to the hidden post added to your Transparency page.
  • If the post is an OP (Original Post -- the post which begins a thread), the thread will be locked.
  • Your chance of being seated on a jury will decrease by 20%.
What happens if I get too many posts hidden?

If one of your posts is hidden it will be listed on your Transparency page for 90 days. If the number of posts on your Transparency page reaches five or more, you will be automatically blocked from posting until the number is below five again. If you get two posts hidden in a 12 hours period, you will be automatically blocked from posting while the Discussionist Administrators review your account (account reviews can take up to 48 hours).

Is there a penalty for "frivolous alerting"?

Juries determine whether alerts are frivolous or whether they have merit. If a jury votes unanimously to leave a post alone (a vote of 0-7) the alerter will be blocked from alerting again for 24 hours.

Opting in or out of jury service

I don't ever want to serve on a jury. What do I do?

Either wait until you are asked to serve and select the "Don't ask me again" option, or go to the Preferences section on your Account page and change the "Willingness to serve on a jury" option from "Willing" to "Unwilling."

I selected "Don't ask me again" when I was asked to serve on a jury, but now I want to serve again. What do I do?

Go to the Preferences section on your Account page and change the "Willingness to serve on a jury" option from "Unwilling" to "Willing."

Detailed Explanation of the Jury Selection Process

For those who are interested, this section provides a detailed breakdown of the jury selection process.

Immediately after an alert is sent our software begins to seat a jury by randomly flagging members who are currently browsing Discussionist. Members are excluded from serving if:

After checking to see if a potential juror is not excluded, the software then does a virtual "dice roll" against the member's chance of serving. Every member's chance of serving is represented as a percentage and is publicly displayed on their Profile page. A member's maximum possible chance of serving is 100%, and their lowest possible chance of serving is 0%. All new Discussionist members start out with a chance of 40%.

Things that increase a member's chance of serving:

Things that decrease a member's chance of serving:

Once a member is selected to serve, they will be sent a request which they can either accept or refuse. If the member does not accept the request within five minutes the software will cancel the request and search for another juror. If the member accepts the request within five minutes, they are seated on the jury and can immediately begin to review the alerted post. The software continues to search for jurors until six members have been seated. If any juror does not complete their review of the alerted post within 30 minutes, their jury service will end and the software will search for another juror to replace them.