Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: Mark D Segal on October 03, 2005, 09:43:40 pm

Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Mark D Segal on October 03, 2005, 09:43:40 pm

I'm responding to your last post on the Howard Smith episode. I agree with you fully that other thread is not about Howard. Actually, it is not my intention that this one should be about Howard either. As the title of the topic implies, it is more generic. I thought it useful to initiate such a topic, because a couple of members have already expressed concern about the episode. I believe any such concerns could be put to rest if all members knew and observed "the rules of the game". I imagine these rules would exist somewhere, and would most likely consist of applied common sense, courtesy and respect. So if the ground rules do exist, I recommend that you point us to them. If they do not exist, it would be a good idea to develop several generic guidelines and the consequences of not respecting them. That way every one knows what to expect and there will be no surprises.


Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 03, 2005, 11:08:15 pm
Well put, Mark. I agree that what was upsetting to some of us was the sense that one could be terminated from the forum for violating some standard that had never been expressed publicly.

Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on October 04, 2005, 01:04:32 am
As another individual who has been "warned" I would be interested in finding out exacty what the rules of the road might be as well.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: boku on October 04, 2005, 03:24:33 am
Well I've been warned as well. I can clearly state that I was told in no uncertain terms that defending one's country after being insulted by another forum member is considered politically incorrect and will not be tolerated. I'll not be making that mistake here anymore.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: John Camp on October 04, 2005, 12:00:41 pm
I've never been warned, which leaves me feeling a little left out...

If you live in Canada, Western Europe or the U.S., there's an instinctive distaste for warnings about what we say, because of our tradition of wide and free-ranging speech. The warnings become somewhat more problematic if there are no guidelines as to what is permitted and what isn't.

However, as you can see by trying to make sense of a thread on DP Review, where you spend half your time opening messages that turn out of be trolls, or time-wasting assaults on somebody else, etc., and where even the simplest questions are often answered with insults, there is much to be said for civility and some kind of enforcement of it. There's a lot of good information on DP Review, but sometimes getting to it can be too much trouble. I wouldn't like to see that happen here.
So let me suggest some guidelines.

-Act like an adult. It's not that hard.
-If somebody insults you, turn the other cheek. It's the other guy who's the dimwit, or the hormone-inflicted adolescent.

-If you're writing a post and realize that you're geeking out, stop and rewrite.

-Don't embellish technical arguments or debates with invidious characterizations of your opponent's intelligence.

-Be careful with humor; what's funny to some people isn't to others. Doesn't mean you can't attempt humor, but be careful with it.

-Recognize the point when a discussion becomes a yes it is, no it isn't affair (also called a he said/she said argument.) At that point, nobody's mind's going to change, and that's where the insults often start.

At the same time, I don't think it hurts to be vigorous in your positions; extremely vigorous. But it you keep the argments on a technical level, or make clear that aesthetic arguments are personal points of  view, and that contrary opinions don't necessary mean that you think those opinions are held by morons, then we should be all right.

I personally will say that I am extremely tired of Internet BS. All I want is a little interesting discussion/conversation from people who have interests that are similar to mine, without getting into the childish name-calling crap.

Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Sheldon N on October 04, 2005, 11:29:59 pm
While not a frequent poster here or at Rob Galbraith, I do read both regularly. I think that the Rob Galbraith method of moderation (Rob himself and Mike Sturk) seems to be fairly effective.

Rob or Mike simply delete the posts that they find to be troublesome or offensive, and a message is left stating "Post deleted by Moderator Mike Sturk". No one really gets to know what was said, but it's a visible reminder to keep it civil. They also rarely, if ever, will enter into the discussion to chastise a poster or explain their reason for deleting a post. It's assumed that it's their forum, so they can censor it as they see fit.

I'd suggest the same for Neil, who seems to be tasked with helping Michael keep it civil here. He can delete as he sees fit, and if a poster has concerns they could discuss it with him in a private email.

The idea that long time posters will be "warned" or have a check mark put next to their name does not seem to me to be an effective way to manage the forum. People like Bob, Jonathan and Howard (and others) are who who make this forum what it is - a great place to learn. To chastise them is simply not a fair recognition of who they are and what they've done for this place.

I say to delete the message and let that speak for itself as a reminder to keep it civil. If someone is doing something extreme, that could be handled on a case by case basis.

Title: Rules of the game
Post by: neil on October 05, 2005, 01:01:20 am
The forum rules state 'respect other members'.

The only warning I have done is to people who have shown little respect to other members in their posts.  The primary reason I use it is because it is a way for me to have a record on here for Michael to oversee.

I try to do here, as I feel he would.  He's very tolerant and pretty much lets you say anything you like, but when it comes to starting spats - or even responding in kind to someone who's trying to start a fight simply isn't productive or respectful.  I'm here to keep things this side of meltdown, its up to you to make it valuable, interesting, encouraging and anything else.  You all know about the 'seberri' topic and while I came in slightly late to see all that was going on, I warned several of our regular members because it is just as important to NOT RESPOND to INCITEMENT as it is not to incite.  As I looked over that thread I felt that both sides were grevous and should cool off.  We regularly delete posts and ban e-mail and IP addresses when necessary.

Let me just say that if you're feeling urgent need to 'blast' off a post - just wait an hour and your perspective will probably change.

I'm not in any way upset or angry with Mr. Howard Smith.  I felt his language was both sarcastic and disrespectful in addressing me, and his continued behavior bore out my judgement.  He's still welcome here, nonetheless.  I'm not here to have pretty things said about me ???  If you're a parent you know what its like to be in charge of discipline :laugh:  Hope that clarifies things.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: paulbk on October 05, 2005, 01:13:13 am
You are wise beyond your years. Well done.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: neil on October 05, 2005, 01:13:28 am
Let me post an example by Johnathan Weinke that I consider typical of 'what can go wrong':

The forum members here have a fairly long and distinguished history of delivering blunt and (most of the time) constructive and useful image critiques going back as long as I've participated here, even though the designated forum for such discussions is new. So your experiences elsewhere aren't particularly meaningful or relevant to what has ever gone on here, or is likely to anytime soon. Who appointed you to be the Ultimate Arbiter Of The Practical Relevance Of Critique Forums?

Johnathan was fine until he asked the sarcasm laced question "Who appointed you...."  Now from my (trying to be unobtrusive and unbiased) moderator POV, I either have to go in and edit out the offending line, delete the whole post (two clicks), or warn Johnathan of the problems sarcasm and whit can cause.  So when necessary, I'll try to point out exactly what the offense is.  I personally will only warn members, and let Michael decide if they should be banned.

But really, just save your fingers the typing of these last-ditch quasi-insults as it seems to come out a lot and is what causes most of the problems.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on October 05, 2005, 09:19:37 am
I find it a bit troubling that my question was in response to leonvick's asking me "When did you get appointed as Champion of the Realm and Keeper of the Keys to the Chastity Belts of the Virgins of Hypocrisy?" and he was not warned and I was. If I deserve a warning, he certainly does as well.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Robert Roaldi on October 05, 2005, 10:02:19 am

Just my 2 cents about rule-making.

I agree with the methods that you (and MR) have adopted to regulate what happens on the forum. Decide on a case by case basis what is over the top and privately tell people that you are trying to avoid that. Whether by warning or private email is up to you; the specific method does not really matter.

If you adopted a strict set of posting rules, I think that what would happen is that eventually some incident would expose a grey area in the rules, not previously forseen, and you'd end up with long legalistic threads of semantic analyses of what exactly the rules said or did not say. That's ok for lawyers pleading cases before the Supreme Court but out of place here, I would say.

I understand the point that Jonathan made in his last post here because fairness of treatment is always an issue. The trouble is that no matter what system you adopt, something will slip through the cracks and someone will feel hard done by. It's at the same both annoying and a waste of time and energy to dwell on.

The HAM radio world has long had a problem with illegal broadcasters horning in on legitimate communications. The tradition there is to NEVER respond to taunts, personal or otherwise. Treat it as interference, noise.

I like the advice about cooling off for a bit before responding too.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Mark D Segal on October 05, 2005, 11:13:27 am
Anybody looking for perfection just isn't going to get it - that doesn't mean there isn't a good reason to have several explicit guidelines on the kinds of contributions that are considered OK and those that are not. Moderators' judgment is will be sometimes needed regardless, but having some guidelines just helps to make it all explicit and generally known. Guidelines don't have to be legalistic. It is really a matter a of making a few statements involving applied common sense, respect and decency.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Jonathan Wienke on October 05, 2005, 04:41:43 pm
I'd like to thank Neil publicly for addressing my concern re warnings.
Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Mark D Segal on October 05, 2005, 05:59:39 pm
Neil, thanks alot for posting those clarifications. Actually, for some strange reason the Discussion Board is not tracking and notifying me about some of the stuff I ask to be tracked, so I did not see your post previous to the one I made responding to Robert Roaldi (it was on the page before). Had I seen it, I think my post would have been unnecessary. I don't know whether I am the only one missing tracked items, or whether there is a functional problem on the Board itself.


Title: Rules of the game
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on October 05, 2005, 11:33:12 pm
Let me add my thanks to Neil for the clarification, and to Mark for pointing out that it was there on the previous page (which I, too, had missed.) Now maybe we can all be friends again? I must add that I owe a great debt to Michael, Neil, Jonathan, Mark, Howard, Ray, Lisa, and many others who have taught me so many valuable lessons here on the forum.