🧙 The Tolkien Forum 🧝

Welcome to our forum! Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox! Plus you won't see ads ;)

Censorship - or "Why Gandalf took the Fellowship to Moria"

Walter

Flamekeeper
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
3
Location
Austria
Recently a whole thread has been deleted by one of the moderators because of some messages that contained personal attacks.

Unfortunately all messages that were on topic and did not contain any personal attacks have been deleted as well... IMO - this is one of the worst forms of abuse of moderator-rights I have come across in this forum so far. I hope that this will be undone and all messages, that did not violate any rules of this forum, will be restored as soon as possible...
 

Tar-Steve

Registered User
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
102
Reaction score
0
Location
Connecticut, USA
So many threads, so little time, it all becomes a blur to me ... meaning I can't remember which threads break out into fights. (It's possible that I never got back to the thread before it became abusive.)

But I do remember liking that thread and the on topic debate therein.

Was that the thread with the "rubbing two thoughts together" comment?
 
R

ReadWryt

Guest
You are of course welcome to your opinion about the quality of service on here, and for that I can and would do nothing, but untill you have some understanding about what is involved in deleting groups of individual posts from a thread, or what a hassle it is in GENERAL when people cannot seem to follow the rules that have been lain out for the use of this FREE SERVICE, I would be apprehensive to leap to conclusions.

The posts cannot be returned, they are gone. Members are of course permitted to repost what they had said, other then the pitifull back biting and finger pointing. Your opinion that this was an "Abuse of Moderator-rights" is inaccurate. Moderators have no "rights", nor do Members. Moderators are responsable to the Webmaster first, and the Members second...Moderators are people who sit and read thread after thread to check for abuses and never get told by the people who are so quick to accuse what a GOOD job they are doing without the benefit of pay for the free service, and in fact untill something happens that annoys some member, their work is almost never even commented on. They do the grunt work that, alas, Artifical Intelegence cannot yet do reasonably like moving threads to the correct locations, delete accounts with objectionable names, remove advertisements and dozens of other things that seem invisible to the members, as well they should, until something happens that offends someone who has no idea about the mechanics of doing what they feel was an injustice and then suddenly it is Abuse of Rights.
 

Tar-Steve

Registered User
Joined
Oct 26, 2001
Messages
102
Reaction score
0
Location
Connecticut, USA
Do you guys (mods) have a function to close threads instead of deleting them? I think sometimes that's a good way to put out a fire without losing good content. The dead thread (for a while at least) also serves the purpose of demonstrating to members where the tolerance ends whereas a deleted thread leaves no trace to learn from. I'm speaking in generalities of course (I never got a last look at the thread in question so I don't know how bad it got.) but I think it's an alternative you should consider in some cases.

Although I KNOW you weren't talking to me ... For the record my willingness to monitor here is still in place (although I don't desire it) ... I think you guys to a great job most of the time and I appreciate the work you do all of the time.
 

Eonwe

Upper Class Twit
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
Messages
543
Reaction score
1
my vote is, from here on out, personal attacks should be made with actual weapons.:eek:
 

Walter

Flamekeeper
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
3
Location
Austria
ReadWryte,

I can understand that You are upset with me, and I do get Your hints that because this is a free service we have no rights other than to gladly accept whatever the webmaster and the moderators are offering and - if possible - without complaining.

Being a software consultant and programmer myself and having moderated one or two BBSes - even though they were much smaller - myself, I do have an idea about the tough job You and the other mods are doing here, but I also know that there exist such things as backups where data can be restored and I would really be taken by surprise if neither the vBulletin nor the server we are running on have no regular backing-up.

On the other hand the members who are contributing to this forum invest a lot of time and thinking to make this forum a good place with lively and interesting discussions - well mostly anyway. And if it turns out that whenever something gets out of hand there will be "group punishment" in form of deleting interesting and meaningful postings together with - a very few that contained personal attacks, the members will realize that writing a meaningful - and sometimes time-consuming post (because of the researches that have been done) might have been just a waste of time they might as well stop posting at all or - even worse - stop making posts that are meaningful and hence time-consuming. But I do agree, if people stop posting at all Your job as mods will be getting easier.

Furthermore I feel, that from the moment on You offer a free service like this one, You should also feel obligued to some democracy and process so that the members can be sure their postings will under no circumstances be deleted without a good reason.

Respectfully, Walter
 
Last edited:

Beorn

In the shadows
Staff member
Joined
Aug 18, 2001
Messages
1,655
Reaction score
3
Location
Houston, TX
That was sarcasm...I hope...

It's perfectly understandable deleting the thread as opposed to removing the objectionable posts. RW would have to re-read the whole entire thread, and every time he found an objectionable post, he'd have to goto the bottom, select the right function, type in or check off the thread, hit ok. The, read some more. Scroll to the bottom, et al.

Would anyone care to do that?

Locking the thread only shows people that the Mods have authority to stop something, but it still doesn't help keep away what was said. I'm sure in the future it would have been referenced, and have people read it, bringing up the old wounds.
 
R

ReadWryt

Guest
Actually, democracy does exist. And soon everyone will have a chance to have a say in the Tolkien Forum as they would like it to be. ***Edited by request from the Webmaster***

Until then though, as I have demonstrated with the personal attack from Harad, who's account is about to dissapear, there is, thankfully, no democracy on THIS forum. ***Edited by request from the Webmaster*** (Yes, even I am not impervious to the powerfull command of Mr. Pence!:D )
 

Walter

Flamekeeper
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
3
Location
Austria
Originally posted by ReadWryt
Until then though, as I have demonstrated with the personal attack from Harad, who's account is about to dissapear, there is, thankfully, no democracy on THIS forum. ***Edited by request from the Webmaster*** (Yes, even I am not impervious to the powerfull command of Mr. Pence! )
Hmmm... I wonder why these words somehow sound awfully familiar and leave a bad taste in my mouth...

-----

I don't quite understand what to make of the first part of Your message, does it mean we are "invited" to pay a fee, but You guys (webmaster & moderators) will go on with the dictatorship? I wouldn't mind paying a fee for the use of this forum as long as it's a moderate amount, but only if it is made sure that there actually is some defined democratic process...

----
P.S.: As much as I have been annoyed by some postings of Harad as much am I - for the sake of democracy - saddened by the fact that he is removed rather than going of his own free will, I mean after all he was just going for - negative, unfortunately - attention and I feel that he would've realized sooner or later that with his attitude towards others there is not much to gain...

----
P.P.S.: All the BBSs I have seen going down the drain so far, went down because of their lack of democracy and because of a more or less despotic behaviour of the moderators or owners - yes, I have been guilty of that too -, maybe this will give You something to think about, but then again maybe not...
----
ATT.: Some parts of this posting are obsolete because the text-passages of the original posting I was referring to have been removed!
 
Last edited:
R

ReadWryt

Guest
I must admit that I was overly hasty in my posting about any future projects of the Webmaster's, but in the matter of Harad, who has seen the many postings by staff about Personal Attacks, who saw the announcement about the thread that was deleted because of personal attacks and then came into the thread inspired by the fact that a thread was deleted due to personal attacks, for Harad to come in here and start calling people names in a blatant barage of personal attacks seemed more like a plea to be removed then anything else...*Shrug*

Look, if it comes down to a bunch of people complaining that I am overstepping myself repeatedly then I will simply step down...simple. But I really don't see where a free service owes a great deal to the people who elect to use it outside of not abusing any personal information they collect. If Yahoo suddenly made their service harder to use it would be to their folly because they would loose viewers to their advertisements, something that this service has a noticable dearth of. If a Television Network begins airing shows that nobody wants to see, the same thing happens. Free publications like regional "Newspapers" that are fairly common in small communities depend completely on either some person spending money out of pocket to keep them afloat or advertisers to pay for it and once more, no advertising in fact is permitted here.

It is not necessarily the opinion of the Webmaster, so this is just me talking and not as a Moderator I might add, but you do indeed get what you pay for. And it seems that a democracy of people with no practical investment in a service is a practice in eventual anarchy because the few who do vote (See the pitifully small percentage of members that actually bothered to vote in the Moderator Elections) will have total controll over what the MAJORITY have to endour anyways, and so it no longer is really a democracy at all. If you want to come by my house and sit on my yard, enjoy the view and eat your lunch, do not complain of the ants...this seems like a very harsh view of things, and you refer to it as "despotic behaviour", but where it applies to upholding posted rules about the despotic behaviour of members then it seem, to me anyways, not so much horrible an action as it is an unfortunate and sadly avoidable. But I digress, back to Moderator Mode...

Now that there is a way to freeze threads that have become uncontrollable that is going to be the perscribed method for handling these matters, and in fact the Webmaster and I JUST discussed looking into a way for Moderators to be able to "Move" posts to a folder instead of simply deleting them so that they can be reviewed if necessary, so it's not like there is nothing being done to rectify situations from the Staff's end of the bargain.

It is indeed a thin line between scaring everybody away because of cruel and draconian actions and keeping the rules that maintain the enjoyable use of the forum and sustaining a free and open forum, within reason, for the exchange of ideas. But I actually recieved not ONE report on any of the postings in the thread in question, and from what I found there the thing had been going on for a couple of days. I have not the time to read every post made every day on every thread, and I really thought that with four moderators and a "Report this post" button on every posting that I would not have to, but from the two hours I spent last night trying to sort out a couple of other threads where people could not refrain from lowering themselves to petty fingerpointing and name calling, I am really starting to be of the opinion that a three strikes rule is in order...two written warnings and the third offence is the last...

Anyways, No more threads will go the way of this one, and in retrospect I am very sorry that I had not been able to freeze it or make a snapshot of it that I could edit later...or even better that I could not have deleted only posts by particular members from that thread, but now I can freeze posts and get things straightened out without having to take such drastic measures. With luck, aside from the unfortunately lost conversation, there will be a reticence on the part of people to try to start up a flame war in the future.
 

Walter

Flamekeeper
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
3
Location
Austria
ReadWryte,

If things like the deletion of a whole active thread won't happen again, then at least something good will come out of this and that is for the benefit of ALL users...

It sure is not my place to tell You and/or the Webmaster how You should run this forum and I am sorry if You are getting this impression. But still, if You insist on claiming that "a free service is a free service and if You pay nothing this is exactly what You get for Your money", You are IMO making one mistake: An idealistic forum like this one has an immense positive energy and due to the contribution of so many members also creates a lot of synergy and it would be sad if the members get the feeling the "mighty ones" don't mind pissing those members off who actually contribute in a positive way.

Last not least I have to say I am sorry You - evidently had to - remove that part were You mentioned there are plans for a small fee in exchange for a - if I got You right - a parallel forum with some "increased member rights". I found this a very good idea, for a lot of reasons. After all this forum is also sort of a huge knowledgebase about Tolkien's work and there are quite some postings/threads that contain information that - in a somewhat "refined" state - would be worth being kept for longer if not forever. Furthermore a - however small - fee would sure be able to keep at least some of the notorious troublemakers away...

P.S. Sorry no, a moderate fee would not be the method of choice to get rid of me, but if You really want that, I am sure You will find a suitable way...
 
R

ReadWryt

Guest
I'm not looking to get rid of ANYBODY who is intelegent, contributes and doesn't make trouble. The ultimate goal I have in mind is to be able to take threads here and eventually freeze them in a "Snapshot" and develop them into a F.A.Q. that lets people use this marvelous resource to easily find answers to niggling questions, while somehow keeping the humor and friendly feel of the commeraderie. This would require a fairly substantial development in Search Engine design and the Front End would have to be well crafted for ease of use, but that has been my intention for quite some time.

The ability to freeze threads is indeed a great step forward in that, not only does it solve THIS particular problem, but I also will be able to save threads from deletion when we do cleanups (Deleting threads and member accounts that have been inactive for a substatial amount of time). I value threads even if they have not been contributed to in a while for their intrinsic value as references, and the hard work that the members put into the research and writing.
 

daisy

Registered User
Joined
Jan 4, 2002
Messages
163
Reaction score
0
Location
canada
Readwryt, Walter etc.

I did not get a chance to read the original thread containing these personal attacks that had to be deleted, but I have read the postings since and my observations are that the two of you are successfully disagreeing and debating issues which you feel fairly strongly about humanely, maturely and without any personal insults. So it can be done! As someone who has had to deal with personal slags while attempting to be part of this forum, I feel that of course it is a more successful, welcoming place without having to worry about being called names. Readwryt, I kind-of like your three strikes idea, as long as the parameters of acceptable behvaviour were clear and had latitude.

I think you do a fine job, Readwryt and hope you do not entertain any further ideas about leaving your post.

Peace,
daisy.
 

Thorin

LOTR Purist to the end
Joined
Aug 20, 2001
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
15
:eek:

What?? Could it be?? Harad is getting the boot??? WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Can Foe-Hammer and markrob be next? Maybe I'll even go back to the movie forum after that! :D

Just kidding guys.....RW, please don't drop the axe, or worse, use Grond on me (no, not the member).

I think you are doing a fine job, RW. And Walter, as difficult as it may be, try not to put meaningful, thought out posts with the idiots. And direct them from that thread by starting another idiot thread where they will flock like bees to honey to post their idiot threads that will bring the wrath of ReadWryt down upon them. :D
 

daisy

Registered User
Joined
Jan 4, 2002
Messages
163
Reaction score
0
Location
canada
teachers unite!

Hey Thorin, fellow teacher, (birthday four months to the day from mine, too!) i just escaped a scathing anti-teacher attack from little Joe in another thread so you may want to keep your evil profession under wraps.

I never thought about the strategy of not responding for paragraphs and paragraphs to mean people. I just can't help myself, I go on and on and on. Must stop.

Anyway, keep the faith out there, wherever you are imparting wisdom.
Peace,
daisy
 

Grond

Morgoth's Mace
Joined
Oct 31, 2001
Messages
3,040
Reaction score
37
Location
Somewhere in a Tolkien story.
I would just like to apologize to everyone for having been involved in the debacle. I let Harad get to me and responded in kind (of course Harad would say that I started it). Anyone who has known me at all will tell you that I am opinionated and maybe even head strong. But I also try very hard to be open minded and more importantly, friendly. It is only when I see my friends ideas being referred to as imbecilic or idiotic that I take exception.

I'll try harder to be more understanding and civil but I am fully supportive of taking punitive actions on offenders..... even if one of them happens to me. The forum must be kept .....nice.... and by nice, I mean friendly to all because regardless of your level of Tolkien interest or knowledge, all people interested in his works, should be welcome here.
 
R

ReadWryt

Guest
Just to let you all know, I will be announcing shortly that we are instituting the afore mentioned three strikes law. It's going to be a pain in the butt because I will have to be actively keeping a manual record that only the moderators can see of the offenders and the number of counts against them, and I had to devise a method of notification so some poor member who lets their emotions get the better of them doesn't end up with a letter from each moderator and think that their account is more then dead by the FOURTH strike, but I think it will be workable.

Details to be posted as an announcement shortly.

Oh, and we are reinstating Harad on the condition that he and everyone else involved mind their manners. With luck everyone will be able to see that the privelege of using this site is more like a right when handled in a reasonable manner.
 

Walter

Flamekeeper
Joined
Nov 20, 2001
Messages
1,766
Reaction score
3
Location
Austria
Originally posted by ReadWryt
Oh, and we are reinstating Harad on the condition that he and everyone else involved mind their manners.
I appreciate this decision, even though I look at it with one eye smiling and the other one crying (for all the obvious reasons)...
 

Eonwe

Upper Class Twit
Joined
Dec 24, 2001
Messages
543
Reaction score
1
you all know who the real loser is in all of this don't you??

I started the thread in hopes of getting some smart minds to clear up something I thought was important in LOTR. And I went to great lengths (means I posted on my lunch half-hour at work :)) to try to show EVIDENCE for my thoughts. And now I look at the thread started by lilhobo that was supposed to continue the discussion, all of my arguments are gone, and the same thoughts I felt like I had given good evidence against are being stated. Frustrating.

But I have a sense of humor (thank God), and I have enough in me to realize this forum isn't as important as I sometimes think. So I will move on and let it go (yes it can be done).

I won't participate in the thread, and I won't ask about this passage in the book again, its too much work and bother. So while we have a three-strikes rule, everyone is back on the forum, the moderator is being beaten for trying to respond to user's statements of "personal attack" (You know I have been on many BBSs and forums in my life, and conversation always gets heated, used to be you just sluffed it off and went on with your business, you know no blood no foul) and there are young skulls full of mush that could benefit from this discussion, I sit here watching all this going on and wonder why the heck I even bother to post here.

Please all apologize to ME, because I lost out. Everyone else's loss in this discussion is IMHO tiny.

(Can't wait to see the responses to this :) )
 

Thread suggestions

Top