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Old 6th-January-2017, 06:14 AM   #1
Auburn
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Default Forum Change in Direction

Hey guys,

This is a general announcement to all forumers about a decision I've put forward to the mod team, to shift the forum direction back to the outlined rules, which haven't been properly enforced for ages.

Starting this year, the mod team will re-begin to enforce many of the management decisions previously held.

Err, the simplest way to put it is to say that shitposting on serious threads is no longer allowed..! (it technically hasn't been for years) There are specific places (Fun, The Arena, Chatbox) where we can confine our collective madness. Fluff posts elsewhere* will now either be removed or split off into their own thread.

Note about fluff

Fluff, especially tastelessly done, will be removed, as well as members whose majority contribution to the forum consists of such postings. Kuu did a wonderful job of defining fluff and its various troublesome forms in the link above.

But for the sake of elaborating, "tasteless" is a measure of quality. Humor is a creative art (and carries meaning), so clever one-liners are an examples of a tasteful execution that can be fruitful**. What qualifies as fluff isn't just the post's length or words, but whether it's useful to the discussion and attempting to further it, or take away from it. It's about intent (and while at some level this becomes very subjective, the mods will be the ones to make the call).

Lastly, don't be shy to use the report function. It really helps the mods know when members are being bothered by a certain individual -- and whether a corrective action is needed.
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* - Philosophy, Faith & Spirituality, Science & Technology, Psychology, Politics/History, School/Work, and pretty much most other places except for the Lounge, Esylum of Immortal Threads and Siberia

** - if only you think your fluff is funny, that's not gonna hold up.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 07:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Should we start tagging threads as serious or is that down to forum specifically. Alternatively should we assume serious if in a serious forum unless otherwise tagged Open and vice versa in normally fun forums.

I can gather at least 12 totally unbiased witnesses that will say whatever I tell them to that my one liners are funny.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 11:04 AM   #3
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

{A long post this has turned out to be. I don't expect our overlords to answer all the questions, that choice is yours)


This all seems noble and any attempt at change merits a pat on the head from me, but will this not need almost constant policing?

--How will you measure the efficacy of this re-enforced system?

--How well did the forum function when these concepts were firmly in place

(My memory might be faulty, but since my joining in 2013 fluff was always everywhere, with thread splits only done after derails or illegal boo-boos.)

--Do you think that these systems, once enforced, will attract and make new members feel welcome?

(let's face it, the hourglass is broken and most new members are youngish folk who have not the tales to spurn like that of the more ancient and interesting members, many of whom are now gone. Either some of the golden oldies need to return, or members with new perspectives and a zesty attitude need to be drawn in. Cupcakes?)

--If your enforcement of these systems lead to a definite smothering of forum activity with angry puter nerds no longer given freedom to post funny pictures in a discussion on the ethical validity of having intercourse with a boulder, will you:

1.Do more to draw people into !!!FUN!!!, the coliseum or the complex box 'o chats?(Maybe you can revive clubs? For some reason I want to have clubs in fun. There are probably reasons why clubs were scrapped but damn it, this was before my time and I am entitled to have clubs! Where's mah clubs!)

2.Leave things as be, perhaps trying different measures to attract new members where the older ones float away, their fluff clouds broken.

3. Repeal your changes or modify them.

---How will you keep the common riff-raff and the stench of their half-assed jocular jibes out of the chat box? How will we segregate these malcontents?
(In more seriousness, I hope to hell and back that you don't appoint a mod of the chatbox or some such. Git off our land.)
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Old 6th-January-2017, 01:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

I'm not judging whether this change is right, I'll criticise the specifics of implementing it assuming it is what you try to go for.

I don't see it functioning without some way of explaining the guidelines to every active and new user. There's a small subset of members who'll read this thread and of those there's an even smaller subset of people who will understand and apply those rules. And by understand I mean, understand the way you want it to be understood.

After that, this thread and others like it will fade into oblivion with only a handful of users ever being cognisant of it. New members will need to be referred back every time this needs to be explained and when this needs to be quoted it will already be after they acted without adhering to it.

This kind of rules should be distributed as a 'welcome' pm to every newly registered account, or under the registration menu (I accept these rules) checkbox.

Even if the information is properly distributed every user is going to interpret the rules in their own way, which means there needs to be some way of conveying the implications of those rules so that the majority will interpret them similarly. By making the rules more precise, by providing a set of examples to act as a learning base, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rook View Post
(let's face it, the hourglass is broken and most new members are youngish folk who have not the tales to spurn like that of the more ancient and interesting members, many of whom are now gone. Either some of the golden oldies need to return, or members with new perspectives and a zesty attitude need to be drawn in. Cupcakes?)
This is an "INTP" forum. There's no way to avoid attracting a very narrow age range and subset of interests of typically young, self-questioning or crazy folk who'll tend to mull over the same kinds of dilemmas until they grow out of that phase when another bunch moves in.

If INTP forum were to transform into a "Rational" forum, change its name and keep INTP forum as a subforum of a bigger realm it would appear in more search engines and would have some marketing potential to attract a more generalised, more broadly experienced and mature kind of participation.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 02:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

The forum needs some sort of a tradition. It's sort of simple as that.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 05:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rook View Post
This all seems noble and any attempt at change merits a pat on the head from me, but will this not need almost constant policing?
It requires earnest mod participation, yes. It has to be tended to like a garden. I'm quite optimistic about this, and have the time for it now. (: I also know a better tended forum attracts more desire to care for it - both from existing mods and any future ones.

Quote:
--How will you measure the efficacy of this re-enforced system?
I suppose for myself, that'd be when I see that formerly quiet/lurking or now-gone members start sharing more meaningfully of themselves -- because they see a different atmosphere present. I have a strong suspicion that this forum has a silent choir behind the wall of jocular jibers, that has grown weary and stopped bothering with the more meaty or personal subjects. Seeing them come out of hiding would be success to me.

Quote:
--How well did the forum function when these concepts were firmly in place
It functioned this way originally with the now-defined rules being understood only implicitly by the admins and community as a whole.

The forum (myself included) didn't know how to articulate the conditions that had given way to its emergence, and consequently it battled for years with the idea of enforcing something that felt it needed to remain organic. In that ignorance we didn't know how to protect it. In 2014 the mods finally posted more detailed rules but by then the forum had dwindled significantly, and even after laying out the rules, the modship had grown quite tired of the toiling.

My memory's hazy but I can't recall these rules being fully enforced since they were definitively written, although they were implicitly adhered to years prior with great success.

Quote:
--Do you think that these systems, once enforced, will attract and make new members feel welcome?
Yes (and no). Yes to some members, no to those who are looking for a new corner of the internet to use as a toilet.

Quote:
(let's face it, the hourglass is broken and most new members are youngish folk who have not the tales to spurn like that of the more ancient and interesting members, many of whom are now gone. Either some of the golden oldies need to return, or members with new perspectives and a zesty attitude need to be drawn in. Cupcakes?)
I think you're right about this. In a sense, it's a collection of circumstances that brings out these changes. For example, modding can only do so much, but the right people have to arrive and fill needed niches; have to offer of themselves -- their time, their intentional thought, their energy.

If it succeeds, it'll succeed because:

1) a space was created in which something could flourish, like an open canvass
2) people decided to use this place to create something in it

I can only control the first circumstance; the second is up to chance, and who happens across this forum, or who circles back around.

Quote:
(My memory might be faulty, but since my joining in 2013 fluff was always everywhere, with thread splits only done after derails or illegal boo-boos.)
That's probably about right. It's been a very long time since this forum had high caliber content. Which brings me to an important point: that my goal isn't to bring back the 'golden' past. The forum has gone through at least 4-5 almost complete cycles of membership now, and time passes on.

If I can do anything it's help a new story (or stories) to unfold, and aide new members in (re)discovering who they are, and each other -- as well as commune with older versions of themselves who have something to share with them.

Quote:
--If your enforcement of these systems lead to a definite smothering of forum activity with angry puter nerds no longer given freedom to post funny pictures in a discussion on the ethical validity of having intercourse with a boulder, will you:

1.Do more to draw people into !!!FUN!!!, the coliseum or the complex box 'o chats?(Maybe you can revive clubs? For some reason I want to have clubs in fun. There are probably reasons why clubs were scrapped but damn it, this was before my time and I am entitled to have clubs! Where's mah clubs!)

2.Leave things as be, perhaps trying different measures to attract new members where the older ones float away, their fluff clouds broken.

3. Repeal your changes or modify them.
We'll play it by ear. But this will spell a transition, which will cause friction we're prepared to handle. I'm not gonna buckle on the principles laid out. And I'll be active for the foreseeable future.

And it'll take more than just removal of bad content. It'll take creation of better content, new traditions or a new mentality toward this place.

Quote:
---How will you keep the common riff-raff and the stench of their half-assed jocular jibes out of the chat box? How will we segregate these malcontents?
(In more seriousness, I hope to hell and back that you don't appoint a mod of the chatbox or some such. Git off our land.)
As far as I know there's no problems with the chat, since chat is meant to be impermanent and offhanded. I'm not aware of any modding of it.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 06:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

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Originally Posted by Blarraun View Post
I don't see it functioning without some way of explaining the guidelines to every active and new user. (...) This kind of rules should be distributed as a 'welcome' pm to every newly registered account, or under the registration menu (I accept these rules) checkbox.
I like this suggestion. I'm not familiar with the technical side of it atm, but I'll run it by the admins.

Quote:
Even if the information is properly distributed every user is going to interpret the rules in their own way, which means there needs to be some way of conveying the implications of those rules so that the majority will interpret them similarly. By making the rules more precise, by providing a set of examples to act as a learning base, etc.
I'd welcome any such compilations!
Though my suspicion is that no matter how hard we try, we can't always precisely delineate where the lines are and if they've crossed them... because their definition is not static, but organic and very circumstantial.

I don't think any amount of rule-explaining could make up for the fact that engaging in a community requires an at least minimal level of social skills. And that includes understanding via exposure the atmosphere of a place, its traditions, when a boundary's been crossed, when it hasn't, etc.

For those who remember Noddy, he's a testament to how flexible these things are. Several hundreds of his posts would have been grounds for banning -- i.e. for sexual harassment, foul language, frivolity, etc -- were he not elegantly understanding the overall context, the members (who were consenting), the crowd, and doing it in good spirit (going back to the "intent" point).

As soon as you over-delineate, in an attempt to contain things too rigidly, you disallow that type of creativity from thriving; which is a life-fire of a forum as well. A forum needs not to be smothered.

But if a member's warned about their conduct being inappropriate on the forum, and they want to debate semantics and ask for spelled-out rulebreakings they've done, that's exactly the sort of trap the previous modship fell to. They understood the subtle toxicities in their behaviors that can hardly be articulated without seeming like an arbitrary and tyrannical decision. But for not wanting to appear unfair, they let it pass.

They wanted each decision to be entirely rational, and that is a very troll-able stance, because flaws in rules/principles allow for bad members to slip through the cracks. More robust bureaucracy and technicality is one direction to take. But I favor the direction of having a greater appreciation and in-tune-ness with forum sensitivities. To select/have as mods the members who understand this subtlety and the atmosphere of the forum, and can make calls that might not seem justified on paper, but which feel entirely correct.

I feel it takes more than just 'reason' to make an ethical call related to a community. And reason isn't the only tool we have to decide the best course for the forum -- nor does each decision require an explanation (as Ragnar and others have repeatedly noted; this forum isn't democratic).

Still I'm really only talking about that small, problematic 1%-5% of cases. The other 95% of offensive cases should be perfectly spelled-out by the rules, especially with the addendums by Anthile/Kuu.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 07:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Cool I mean modship here was always about flexibility and case by case solution, but then what's exactly the point of reinforcing the rules and properly enforcing the policies if all that you're really emphasizing is to be a socially aware, adaptive person if you want to be welcome here.

Most people here already know how to fit in without the need to hear about the rules of this place, most likely because it's not much different from any other social situation they've encountered.

I'm not sure what is it exactly that you're trying to start enforcing that wasn't, or what's the new thing that's going to change from now on.

What I take from the OP is that there's going to be a finer line between solid posts and fluff and that there's going to be some effort to encourage thoughtful / topical exchange in subforums designed for it or conversely by encouraging fluff in places like arena/fun where you say it's supposed to happen.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 07:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Yep ^^
Simple, right?

Maybe this thread's just more of an "FYI... someone's at the helm again!"
Not suggesting revolutionary ideas, but letting members know so they don't get too shocked when they see their precious fluff piled outside the forum dumpster bin.
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Old 6th-January-2017, 07:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

The announcement itself is ambiguous. We'll have to see what changes are made in the future. So far, it foreshadows that things will be different and not much besides that.

Don't take my comment negatively though. It seems you're thinking about the situation and possible solutions and this thread is an extension of your thought process, attempting to improve is a good thing, let's hope there will be useful results to all that.

I'm pretty sure you can tweak the admin cp/ vbulletin options to alter the registration messages. You can definitely send mass pm's to every user in case you need to update them on forum policies. (Mass pm leaves the problem of informing the new members who register after it's been sent)
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Old 10th-January-2017, 06:33 AM   #11
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Default Re: Le forum's Secret Tapes

muh shitposts

"there's been a lot of chat filler the last weeks"
"this is why ive been holding back too. but the spam's way too much now, it's offputting"
"People have more difficulty posting when threads turn into chats."
"Quality over quantity"
"If a few posts a lot, this will attract people similar to them. Whether that is a good thing depends on what you want the forum to be. But it will quickly alienate people who are not."
"Such life posers and much flirt fest. Eww."
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Old 10th-January-2017, 07:36 AM   #12
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Default Re: Le forum's Secret Tapes

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muh shitposts

"there's been a lot of chat filler the last weeks"
"this is why ive been holding back too. but the spam's way too much now, it's offputting"
"People have more difficulty posting when threads turn into chats."
"Quality over quantity"
"If a few posts a lot, this will attract people similar to them. Whether that is a good thing depends on what you want the forum to be. But it will quickly alienate people who are not."
"Such life posers and much flirt fest. Eww."
Well at least all these threads are in their respective forums. There is plenty of serious discussion going on in the serious sub forums. The fun sections are thriving now which is a good thing and possibly a result of moving the fun out of serious threads. The issue is when you have fun posts killing discussion threads and discussion entering and killing fun.... OMG WE HAVE A PROBLEM QUICK TO THE MURDER MOBILE SERIOUS PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE POSTS ARE INVADING THE CRYPT! IS THIS MORE FAKE NEWS OR THE TRUTH?
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Old 10th-January-2017, 09:38 AM   #13
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Quote:
Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
muh shitposts
"there's been a lot of chat filler the last weeks"
"this is why ive been holding back too. but the spam's way too much now, it's offputting"
"People have more difficulty posting when threads turn into chats."
"Quality over quantity"
"If a few posts a lot, this will attract people similar to them. Whether that is a good thing depends on what you want the forum to be. But it will quickly alienate people who are not."
"Such life posers and much flirt fest. Eww."
I wanted to continue this tangent too,
so I hope it's ok to move this bit into this thread. (:

Are those quotes you've written previously?
Oh it's a collection of quotes by various members. And a rather succinct compilation of the soft protesting which the more serious members have made. I think my sentiment echoes all of those quotes as well, and has for a while. Which was part of the inspiration for this new direction.

I think you were gone for a week, but as Gopher said, things are slowly changing, I suspect. Still, if you have further suggestions for how we can improve the forum atmosphere, feel free to PM Hadoblado or me, or post them here too.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 12:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Well my post makes no sense outside the context and I'm not sure how you removed fluff from a fluff thread. I appreciate your vigilant moderation though.

It hasn't been two weeks since Sinny's ban yet I see the same tendencies being promoted here that caused herself to be persecuted. The forum says they don't want dialogues and vain fluffery because it alienates, but what persists on these boards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Gopher View Post
Well at least all these threads are in their respective forums. There is plenty of serious discussion going on in the serious sub forums. The fun sections are thriving now which is a good thing and possibly a result of moving the fun out of serious threads. The issue is when you have fun posts killing discussion threads and discussion entering and killing fun.... OMG WE HAVE A PROBLEM QUICK TO THE MURDER MOBILE SERIOUS PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE POSTS ARE INVADING THE CRYPT! IS THIS MORE FAKE NEWS OR THE TRUTH?
Not PA at all, but thank you Gopher for trying to lighten up the situation or make it worse? I know you are one for subtlety and uncertainty.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 02:21 PM   #15
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

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Well my post makes no sense outside the context and I'm not sure how you removed fluff from a fluff thread. I appreciate your vigilant moderation though.

It hasn't been two weeks since Sinny's ban yet I see the same tendencies being promoted here that caused herself to be persecuted. The forum says they don't want dialogues and vain fluffery because it alienates, but what persists on these boards?

Not PA at all, but thank you Gopher for trying to lighten up the situation or make it worse? I know you are one for subtlety and uncertainty.
Well the attempt was to lighten the situation since it was a fluffy thread from the beginning I didn't want dying. Maybe I misinterpreted you but either way figured it could only help. Doesn't matter now it's moved.

They don't want dialogues and vain fluffery in serious threads. The forum seems more positive and active, maybe it's just rose colored glasses though.

For example "there has been a lot of chat filler in the last few weeks"
"this is why ive been holding back too. but the spam's way too much now, it's offputting"
"People have more difficulty posting when threads turn into chats."

Now the chat filler is in the threads and forums designed for that.

"Quality over quantity"

Why not quality and quantity? It seems we've gone from quantity over quality to quality and quantity (in it's appropriate place, which I guess in turn makes it quality for that place...). Again I could be biased.

"If a few posts a lot, this will attract people similar to them. Whether that is a good thing depends on what you want the forum to be. But it will quickly alienate people who are not."

Now we have places for every type of poster to attract!

"Such life posers and much flirt fest. Eww."

Oh my god the flirting don't remind me. Although it's not so much the what it's the how which is why Sinny caused a stir.

I mean maybe it's because RB is banned as well and there are literally no inflammatory members left but I haven't seen one insult or argument. Just fun threads and serious discussion. Even typology has come back as a discussion piece. The forum is the same as before, but better. Things take time to change but as far as I've seen they already have. The issue wasn't with fluff it was with fluff everywhere derailing threads and causing arguments over discussions. It's like equating apples to oranges, just because they're both fruit doesn't mean it's the same.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 04:47 PM   #16
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Quote:
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Well my post makes no sense outside the context and I'm not sure how you removed fluff from a fluff thread. I appreciate your vigilant moderation though.

It hasn't been two weeks since Sinny's ban yet I see the same tendencies being promoted here that caused herself to be persecuted. The forum says they don't want dialogues and vain fluffery because it alienates, but what persists on these boards?

Not PA at all, but thank you Gopher for trying to lighten up the situation or make it worse? I know you are one for subtlety and uncertainty.
How active were you the days/ weeks before The Event?

The atmosphere is already quite different. I was on here a lot during Christmas and so. Whenever I checked latest posts the writer was 1 of 2 (maybe 3) users. The same users wrote back and forth in most threads. They didn't just contain their conversations to one thread, they brought it to a lot of the threads they replied in. I mean, even people I like, I don't want to read 6 posts from them in every single thread in every single newly started topic.

The occasional fluff is ok (I assume), spamming every thread with personal convos is not.

One thing I noticed a few times is when a few (2-3) members are having a back and forth convo that is not on-topic, whenever a random member suddenly answers to the topic it's almost amusing how they "interrupt" and disregard the conversation. Meaning, it doesn't feel natural or follow the "social flow". I think there are other people who notice this as well, and they wont post because they think they are interrupting a convo.

Anyway, I'm not sure what you are criticizing exactly. In the case of sinny I know some people were put off from all the conspiracy threads. She also tended to be disrespectful towards other people and refused to consider other people's perspectives. I guess it's kinda petty to talk about her when she's banned, though, so.

Lastly, about alienation. Yes, I do remember vaguely some people tended to feel left out due to things like the arena or banter between members (like several years ago). If you have more input on that, feel free to write a thing or two. I'm not sure how to balance connecting between members and alienation to newbies. When I was "outside" in the beginning, I tended to just stick my nose in fun/ arena threads anyway and write awkward messages on people's profiles. 8/10 success.
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Old 10th-January-2017, 11:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

Just as a footnote for moderators: I used to have to moderate a daily newspaper Web site's discussion forum. One of the concepts I found useful and easily understood was "tiresome." I'd always announce when someone got bounced and it took no time at all for the community to grasp and appreciate the words "because he was being tiresome." It covers a multitude of situations but essentially boils down to someone relentlessly repeating a point or a theme or a point of view or an argument or an observation after everyone has exhausted the topic, along with the hectoring of forum members (and moderators!).

"Tiresome" and "hectoring." Two useful concepts.

Good luck with this. I applaud your initiative; moderating forums took a lot out of me (who wants to be judgmental, anyway?) and whatever you can do to make the process more palatable is worth a try.
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Old 18th-January-2017, 04:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

I'm just trying to imagine what style of boot you'll be wearing when you stamp on a human face forever, Mr Auburn. Probably something small and girly, right?

I will never use the report function! I will exercise my right to invoke anarchy!
Up with the proles!

Still, I'll be interested to see if you can 'turn the forum around' as such. Honestly I think what made the forum once so treasured to me was it's people, the small number of them, and their warmth and enthusiasm.
As many of them have departed, never to return, I can't see it ever being the same as it was for myself, but surely it can fulfil the same purpose for someone else.
Perhaps another jaded and lonely 17 year old will stumble across it, consuming mountains of brain food he can barely digest, finding help and companionship in equal measure.
Perhaps he'll find no small form of escapism in the spasmodically typed prose of a Butterfly, a Cyborg, and a BIG BLUE BASTARD.

Perhaps.
Perhaps, we can only hope.
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Old 18th-January-2017, 05:55 AM   #19
Grayman
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

I always pictured her as miss Auburn instead of mr.



At some point I lost respect for this forum, shat on it, and then took off fo a month or two. I am back now and I apologize but I will say that the lack of enforcement and the acceptance of aggressive behaviour was a contributor to my lack of respect. I turned this place into my little social experiment.



The mods dont have the time to moderate to the extent that Auburn proposes. They moderate to the barest of levels because some of their passion for this forum has been lost and also because their personalities are not in the businesses of creating and enforcing strict standards and rules.

This new years attempt at suddenly doing things right seems no different to me than past times to change after past forum explosions. Another worn out mod disappears from everywhere but the mod box never to speak and the next one takes the front seat energetic and sure to change the continued and never ending cycle.

We are who we are.
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Old 18th-January-2017, 09:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: Forum Change in Direction

I've been checking the forum every day.

What has gone unmoderated?
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