Discussion guidelines

G

Guest

Guest
This is primarily for Robin but also for the rest of us.

I've been in a number of Internet chat forums, starting back in the days when they were called listservs. I've owned, administered, moderated, flamed, been flamed, and been kicked off. And I've learned a lot in the process.

From that learning I'd like to suggest that we adopt two discussion guidelines:

1. Try to stay away from politics, religion, and other obviously controversial topics. That might include the topic of innie vs. outie, too.

2. If a touchy subject comes up, watch your "tongue."

I could suggest a number of other guidelines, including how a moderator might deal with things that get out of hand. Robin, if you'd like more info on this, e-mail me and I'll show you some stuff that I've found works pretty well. But I see you've taken the bull by the horns and that's likely to be enough. My point here is to offer constructive suggestions. And it's worth every cent you've just paid for it. :)

Thanks for a good site and forthright administration.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
287
Location
Rochester, NY
One of the best forums I participate in has a great way to positively describe interactions even for non-controversial topics. The two oft quoted lines are, "it is not what you say, but how you say it." and "seek a higher level of discourse".
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
The longer I stick around, the more I'm impressed with how important classical manners are. To me, good manners are just like lubrication to a bearing. Without it, things get hot, seize up and valuable things get destroyed.
Another thing I constantly have to work on is to listen to the other guy and give him a chance to make his point. And then think about what he's said. All too often I find myself waiting for a pause so I can say what's really important. Boy, talk about puffed up! It is hard to see this in yourself; spend a little time on some of these news talk shows. They invite some poor guest, allow him three words and then steam-roller him under an avalanche of blab. Now that's not who I want to be like.
(it's time to hush now and give somebody else a chance!)

Rob
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
1,087
Location
central NYS - 10 miles from the Baseball Hall of F
Robin - I'm still a newbie here but please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated. I have no real tech skills but if you need a hand with things I'm sure folks would be willing to assist you where their time & talents allow. Just let us know. Thanks!

That's all for now. Take care, thanks for all you do on our behalf and until next time...Be well.

snapper
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
Yes board/forum rules are almost always a must, even more so as the membership grows. The owner makes the rules and normally has a moderator team that agrees with and will uphold the owners rules. You will always have members pushing, twisting and trying to circumvent the rules.
I've been a member and a moderator of a very large (30K + members) PA hunting based message board for a very long time. We have a Mod only forum where we discuss problems with fellow Mod's, admin's and owner. We also have a ban matrix in place to keep things fair and even. The board is set up so each member has to agree to the forum rules upon registering. The rules are also posted on the home page for anyone to read. It is run as a family friendly board so bad words (and attitudes), graphic pictures, and the like are not allowed.
I was also a admin and mod on another PA based hunting forum that a friend of mine owned and it was ran the total opposite, not really any rules and no filters. That board never really amounted to much with a small active member base. It was mostly just me and a bunch of friends and then a handful of other active members. My friend (the owner) shut it down after 5 or 6 years because he was starting other boards and no longer wanted it. He offered it to me but I didn't want it.

I was a bartender many years ago at a small "beer & shot" bar. The owner always said don't talk politics or religion with the customers, I kept that rule throughout my life.
I treat others the way I want to be treated, in real life and on internet message/forum boards.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,392
Location
Raymond, ME
Moderating is a funny thing.. but often not fun. I have moderated other boards and it's important to distinguish what is being said from the person saying it. I hate banning folks, but sometimes was necessary and the banished sometimes agreed. It gets tough when you identify strongly with the writer such as being friends with them in person.

It would be nice to always be impersonal but it's VERY hard. That said some I have sent packing on forums have turned out to be great Facebook and in person friends.

Sometimes being a cop is pure misery and not an ego trip at all.

As to this group, I think of you all around the campfire with beverage of evening in hand (whatever that is). And conducting our conversations as if in person on a canoe trip. We can have differing opinions without having to feel "right" around the campfire.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
Funny thing, the only problems I have ever had as a mod has been with other mods. We had 1 moderator who would get involved in "heated discussions" and then want to take action against those who disagreed with his side of the fence. Then we had another who would stand up and defend his buddies. Neither sat well with me and I called them out on it in the Mod forum. The owner ended up make a few guidelines for the Mod team and then offered every Mod a chance to read and make a choice to follow them or rejoin the general membership with no hard feelings or judgements.
One of the rules was stay out of hot topics, in a Pennsylvania hunting board the hot topics are Sunday hunting, crossbows, antler restrictions, etc etc. We allow debates as long as they remain civil. For the most part they do but occasionally some resort to personal attacks and that's where we step in. We usually follow the hot threads closely and lock 'em up when we see them starting to head south. Some members do get banned but first they get a warning, 2nd offense is a short ban. Everything is noted in there profile and if they mess up again then the get banned and their IP.
Luckily my forums are easy ones, hunting camp/cabin forum, camping & hiking forum, wilderness survival, etc. I don't have any trouble in my forums (never had to ban anyone) and I like it that way.

Here is the board.... http://www.huntingpa.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=cfrm My user name is Tracker.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Messages
924
Location
Red Lake, Ontario
I try not to offend anyone. I have strong opinions and eventually I do manage to offend somebody, but everybody is so damn easily offended these days that I find it offensive.

I've been a member of many boards, some are free-for-alls and while it was nice to call out somebody if I saw fit,the site itself was wrought with nastiness. Got tired of it and left. Another board I was on I got booted (suspended) for posting a link to a youtube video of a Dad shooting his daughters laptop for her poor behaviour. He used the odd cuss in the video that was linked. I thought that was over the top so I never bothered going back.

Here we talk about canoeing mostly, and I am learning the "other" stuff I don't need to talk about on a medium where it is difficult to convey exactly what you want to express and you will never see anybody's opinion change only become more heavily entrenched. So I enjoy this atmosphere here. It's a good group and I know at least two or three know me from the other place for a long time and can attest to the ups and downs of forum life.

Robin, you are doing a great job. And you probably don't hear this enough, but Thank You!
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
2,002
Location
Connecticut
everybody is so damn easily offended these days that I find it offensive.

Perhaps you were being sarcastic, but I seriously agree with this.

On many boards, perhaps including this one and the ancestor solotripping, some people get whined at or even banned if they say something politically incorrect or a little off color. That's never been my style, but most of that stuff when said by others doesn't bother me at all. I like "characters", and that's how people talk in the real world.

I think its the whiners and complainers, at least sometimes, who should be told to grow a thicker skin or find another forum. Otherwise, they may shape the entire forum culture into one of constant complaining and boring sterility.

I finally read that locked global warming thread. To me, it was extremely mild, moderate, inoffensive and polite. Most of the posts ignored the topic. Rippy made a one sentence statement of fact, which all sides of the AGW debate agree on, and he ends up apologizing just in case stating that uncontested fact offended someone. I find it offensive that anyone could be offended at such an innocuous thing, even though I'm not interested in discussing AGW here, and I'm not convinced anyone was offended.

Being polite, civil, respectful, non-insulting and non-personal attacking should be absolute requirements on any forum. But I'm not interested in one where everyone acts like a programmed Stepford wife. Spirited discussion, debate and reasoned argument is how science, philosophy, government, culture and even paddling all advance. (I'd add religion and politics, too, but now I'm afraid to even use the words.)

Meanwhile, I'll remain sterile and boring here, whatever the supposed rules are, because that's how my grandfather trained me . . . in that old Grumman canoe in Maine . . . while he engaged in that most sterile, boring and offensive activity of all: fishing.
 
Joined
Oct 12, 2012
Messages
1,189
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Alburnett Iowa
Rippy made a one sentence statement of fact, which all sides of the AGW debate agree on, and he ends up apologizing just in case stating that uncontested fact offended someone. I find it offensive that anyone could be offended at such an innocuous thing, even though I'm not interested in discussing AGW here, and I'm not convinced anyone was offended.

Glenn, I'm sorry that I apologized. I didn't mean to offend you. Darn, I just did it again. Just kidding Glenn, I hear what you are saying.

I apologized in the other thread just in case. Some people are easily hurt and I don't wish to hurt people. In real life I am often times blunt and to the point and even a little out spoken. However I try to chose words carefully and not to hurt people. Some times the truth does hurt. Some times my perception turns out to be false and I will go back and humbly apologize. Some people find me intimidating. Some people appreciate me.

When I am in my home I am in the one place on earth were I demand respect. I will not be under any circumstances be disrespected in my own home. I am not talking about playful banter between me and my friends. There is a lot of that going on at my home at times. I am talking about blatant disrespect. This is Robbin's site and we are guests. What ever he decides is "the house rules". I have no problem with him governing as he see's fit. If we don't like it we have the choice to leave. Robbin I do think it would be good to post your guide lines for this site. Then hopefully this thread will die out and we'll go watch some boats be built and repaired. Some trip reports from those that found a winter place to paddle. And maybe some helpful hints on gear and things.
 

Glenn MacGrady

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
2,002
Location
Connecticut
This is Robbin's site and we are guests.

I don't think that's a good analogy for any forum, especially given the history of this one, except in a narrow legalistic sense.

The members make a forum. Without a sufficient core of members who contribute interesting subject matter (and maybe a little support money), a discussion site is just an empty link in cyberspace.

I like what Drift Wood said when (I thought) the administrative paddle had been passed to him: "The respect that you show for one another is one of the main reasons I chose to take on this responsibility. I feel it is just that; a responsibility to you the members. I am a member of another forum not related to canoeing and the owner/manager believes that all are in debt to him for creating his forum and allowing them to participate and for just being such a swell guy. I want you all to know that I know that Canoetripping only exists because of each and every one of you, the members."

I've still never heard what happened to Drift Wood as administrator. Is it some sort of secret?
 
Joined
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Messages
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Eastern PA
I finally read that locked global warming thread. To me, it was extremely mild, moderate, inoffensive and polite. Most of the posts ignored the topic. Rippy made a one sentence statement of fact, which all sides of the AGW debate agree on, and he ends up apologizing just in case stating that uncontested fact offended someone. I find it offensive that anyone could be offended at such an innocuous thing, even though I'm not interested in discussing AGW here, and I'm not convinced anyone was offended.

I skimmed through the GW thread a little after it was locked and didn't see anything that bad or offensive either, I was actually kind of confused as to why it was locked.
I did not look at the thread before it was locked. I'm here to talk and learn about canoes, canoe tripping and camping. I generally do not go in threads I don't think will interest me unless they are very active. Sometimes titles are deceiving or threads get off topic and become interesting.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I have been as guilty as anyone of engaging in exchanges at or beyond the edge of civil discourse on paddling boards past.

Each of us evolves their own personal guidelines within the tone and tenor of a board, hopefully refined over time and experience.

I can only strive my personal best to avoid hot-button political or religious issues on paddling boards. There exist fora for just such discussions, and I wouldn’t go to those boards and argue the benefits of a ground cloth or an outer layer of S-glass in composite construction.

I understand that it is hard to resist debating or defending deeply held beliefs, whatever the venue. But when my finger wavers over the post button my conscious is usually trying to tell me something.

Robin, you are doing a great job. And you probably don't hear this enough, but Thank You!

From me as well, thank you Robin. The generally rancor-free tone and tenor of Canoe Tripping is what keeps me coming back. I’ve sorely missed CT when it has been hacked, and hope to have a comfortable home here long into the future.

BTW – If you want to observe the worst of message board behavior check out your local high school sports forums. Sports dad’s from rival schools calling each other out for parking lot fisticuffs is an everyday occurrence. It’s comical as hell, especially when you begin to recognize the extra special nutjobs and their cross-town counterparts.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,670
Location
Appleton, Maine
Just 3 things:
1. Glenn, some things just need to be left alone, like Drift Wood's term as Admin. Please stop asking.

2. What is so complicated about understanding the rules on a Canoe web site? Keep it friendly and about canoes. If you don't like that, don't come here. You want stimulation, go to a site that stimulates you and isn't stale like some here state they find this site.
It must be working, the site went no where the first two years under the previous administrator and has grown 200% in one year after I took it over. I have gotten so many PM's supporting my efforts, I feel I have taken it in the right direction. Thanks too all those who have expresed support, very much appreciated.


3. If I where to come up with a set of guidelines, it will then have to be discussed ad nauseam....that's just the way some folks are. So guidelines might never come, I'm serious, just keep it friendly and about canoes. If a subject is con-traversal, take it to a site where they have "bicker and banter". If someone takes a cheap shot or treats you unfairly, take the high road and let it be.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
91
Location
Eastern PA
3. If I where to come up with a set of guidelines, it will then have to be discussed ad nauseam....that's just the way some folks are. So guidelines might never come, I'm serious, just keep it friendly and about canoes. If a subject is con-traversal, take it to a site where they have "bicker and banter". If someone takes a cheap shot or treats you unfairly, take the high road and let it be.

"just keep it friendly and about canoes"
"If someone takes a cheap shot or treats you unfairly, take the high road and let it be."

Sounds like a good rule and guideline right there.
 
G

Guest

Guest
I'm perched on my fence, and can't for the life of me make up my mind on which side to stand. Maybe because there needn't be one. As much as I like and respect rules for protection and decorum, I also find overly politically correct pillow protected POVs stifling. An earlier poster's quip reminded me of a cartoon I saw years ago. The character said "I'm offended that you're offended!" I found it so funny, because rather than defuse a flammable situation, the joker instead continued it. The competitive argument winners became competitive argument victims! There needn't be winners, nor losers, nor victims. Civil discussion is easy if no-one needs to "win". I'm liking Robin's approach of keeping a hands off and trusting kinda place. It feels right to me. Friends know how to treat friends. If a friend tells me I've put a word out of place, performed a skill unskilfully, or worn mismatched socks; I'm small enough to accept this and big enough to accept it with grace. I've already gained so much from this place and these people, I only have hope and good thoughts for this forum's future. I'm stepping away from this thread, cause I've no good sense to give. I wish I could do more, but it's already in very good hands.
Take care,
Brad
 
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