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Philip Hind

Editor
Staff member
Member
Sep 1, 1996
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I have removed the offending post from Mr Nielson. Something should have been done much earlier since it clearly contravened the rule regarding personalised attacks but circumstances and tempers made this difficult at the time. For this, I feel, the honours (for want of a better expression) are shared but I am very sorry for the upset caused, particularly to Bill but also to those others who were singled out albeit not by name. For me at least private coaxing works far better than a public grilling but I accept that blatant intransigence did not help.

So let's try to get over the mistakes of the past; I therefore hope that this new thread won't become a source for further mud-slinging.

I am very keen that the members do feel that they have a say in the way the site is run, especially the message board since this is the 'community' section as such.

What might be discussed?

Well there is the matter of membership and whether it is a good or bad thing to ask for real names and whether these should be shown.
How are moderators appointed, should they serve for a fixed term, who moderates *them* [it's a valid question!]?
How should disputes be resolved? and so on.
What should become of posts or posters that contravene rules. What sanctions exist and what sanctions should exist.

It's all open for discussion, how we actually decide might be more tricky. A survey of the members? I don't know.

Anyway I'm opening this discussion now because I'm away on the 20th which was our date fixed for this. Hopefully we can now make some progress and move on.
 
Jul 11, 2001
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quote:

Well there is the matter of membership and whether it is a good or bad thing to ask for real names and whether these should be shown.
How are moderators appointed, should they serve for a fixed term, who moderates *them* [it's a valid question!]?
How should disputes be resolved? and so on.
What should become of posts or posters that contravene rules. What sanctions exist and what sanctions should exist.

It's all open for discussion, how we actually decide might be more tricky. A survey of the members? I don't know.

Ok, I'll start.
One: Real names? Why not? We are like a family. I think I write to you all more than my own!
Two: Fixed term? I don't think that is needed.
Three: Disputes? It would be nice if the Moderator could pull the posts and let the parties involved resolve the issue and then repost the edited (polite) versions. If it's possible at all.
Four: Sanctions? How about the "Three strikes and you're out" rule?

Thanks Phil for addressing this and letting us participate.

Signed,
David Smith​
 
Dec 6, 2000
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Thanks for taking care of this, Phil.

Real names? Definitely yes.
Three strikes and you're out? Depends. Depending on the magnitude of the offense, maybe once is all it takes.
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 27, 2000
1,277
5
0
Well, this is just my opinion here:

Real names - definitely. If they won't give their real names how can we be sure that such information as they might offer would be true?

Not much for the three strikes part. In the way of a compromise, though, I would suggest, one infraction the offender is suspended one week, two infractions, a month. However, if the second infraction is consecutive to the first, and the first been given warning, total exile from the board.

However, if someone openly insults another member that person should be excised immediately. There should be no reason for name-calling in any case. If this insult is somehow overlooked and cannot be excised later, as happened before, I would heartily suggest the entire topic be deleted. If it has taken such a turn as shown by insults, it has ceased to be of any value in any case.

Again, just my thoughts here.

Best regards, all around,
Cook
 

Vicki Logan

Member
May 15, 2003
52
0
86
I think using real names is good policy for the board. We are all interested in Titanic research, biographies etc. and have become vicariously a family via the Internet. As with all families there are spats, but I for one vote real names.

The three strikes policy I think I agree with Cook, unless someone directly insults another member. Then I think the passage should be deleted and the offending person suspended or probational use for a time period.

Term limits on the Moderators? Only if they want it. I've enjoyed all the moderators and respect the time and effort they take to help keep the board running.

Thanks for setting up the new area to discuss options Phil.

Sincerely,
Vicki Logan
 

George Behe

Member
Dec 11, 1999
1,280
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0
1. Real names - yes,

2. Three strikes - definitely. I agree with Pat Cook's suggested suspensions of one week for a first offense (accompanied by a *public* warning), one month for a second offense (accompanied by a *final* public warning), and -- for a third offense -- *permanent* exile without any further messing around.

>However, if someone openly insults another member >that person should be excised immediately.

Absolutely.

>If this insult is somehow overlooked and cannot >be excised later, as happened before, I would >heartily suggest the entire topic be deleted.

I agree. There is no discussion on this board that is of such great importance that the entire thread cannot be dispensed with if insulting messages are allowed to remain embedded in the thread. If individual insulting messages cannot be deleted, it's time to chop the entire thread *permanently.*

I would also suggest that deletion of messages not be confined to posts that contain just blatant insults like name-calling. (E.g. Not long ago a female ET member was advised by another member to "Run along now -- there's a good girl.") This kind of stupidity should automatically earn an offender the initial one week suspension along with the initial public warning.

I also think that disciplinary warnings etc. should be posted *publicly* on this bulletin board, since private, behind-the-scenes finagling by the moderators does not serve as a cautionary lesson to other members who are contemplating hurling future insults. (Private finagling by the moderators also gives the rest of us the impression that no disciplinary measures are being taken at all.) IMO a little public humiliation is sometimes the only thing that will cause some offenders to alter their own unacceptable behavior. (Those offenders who do *not* alter their behavior will - hopefully -- soon find themselves on the outside looking in.)

In any case, I hope that Phil H. will *publicly* advise the ET membership of any changes he decides to make re: the moderator guidelines so as to remove all doubt about what kinds of behavior will (and will not) be tolerated on the bulletin board in the future.

My two cents, for whatever they're worth.

All my best,

George
 

Beth Barber

Member
Jun 7, 2001
275
6
171
Hey All - I would have to agree with all that using Real names should not be a problem. I am all for that. There shouldn't be anything to hide.

There should be some consequences when people misbehave on the site. State what they are and if people violate them anyway well then they deserve to be off the board. One question I have about that is - if you ban someone permanently from the board - what stops them if they just create another username and all? Can you block their ISP from their computer? I also think public admonishments should be made for all to see - the offending people aren't concerned about their bad behavoir to whom they are attacking.

I think that there should be term to being a moderator only if thats what the moderators want (and/or Phil) - I think they have been doing a great job.

- Beth
happy.gif
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
6,292
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what stops them if they just create another username and all?
Nothing really, unless there's something in the registration data or their subsequent postings that gives them away. We do a variety of checks before approving registration requests, but there's no foolproof way to prevent a banned member from returning under a different name.

Can you block their ISP from their computer?
No. Actually, yes, we can block IP addresses but blocking a particular IP will often also block everyone else using the same ISP. This happened once before, when one of us tried banning an IP that turned out to be one of AOL's; the effect was to ban ALL AOL users. That's probably a bit too severe to be an effective remedy.

;-)
 

Jason D. Tiller

Moderator
Member
Dec 3, 2000
8,243
24
308
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Real names - Absolutely, as it's good to know who is posting information and as David and Vicki said, we are very much like a family.

I'm also in support of the three strikes policy. If a member repeatedly attacks and insults other members, and there is no success after three attempts to stop it, then they should be permanently banned.

Posts that have attacks and insults in them should be deleted, but as George stated there shouldn't be a restriction on that.

As for a term on being a moderator, I personally don't think it's necessary. I'm very happy with the moderators and appreciate what they do for this board.

Thank you Phil for wanting to hear our ideas and input.

Best regards,

Jason
happy.gif
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
9
171
The other problem with banning IP (Internet Protocol) addresses is that many cable companies use what is known as a "floating" IP address - it changes at irregular intervals within a pool of defined IPs in order to foil hackers intent on just one. I think that the people here know one another well enough - and we all have our own "voices" when writing - that anyone trying to sneak back in after being banned would be identified rather quickly if he or she tried it. But yes, banning, especially for those who have been insulting to others on a routine basis. I have always been astonished that a forum of this stature allowed this in the first place.
 
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Alicia Coors

Guest
Requiring real names is totally absurd, since there is absolutely no way (short of a blood test) to verify that any name is authentic.

Anyone should be allowed to say anything about anybody on any topic. If what is said is socially unacceptable, the poster can be ostracized simply by not responding. If a post is merely controversial (or in flagrant opposition to the majority view), it should be permitted.

When a post (or poster) is attacked, any riposte should not be censored. I have seen numerous instances of a moderator whose sacred cow (or professional failure) has been desecrated responding by banishing the poster. This not only constitutes a suppression of Free Speech (which we Yanks are big on), it also contravenes the spirit of fair play, or tit for tat, or quid pro quo, or whatever you wish to call it. Let this board be a knock-down, drag-out free-for-all. The truth will out. And the trolls will be discouraged by consensus.

I regard the British spelling (by Americans) I see here as a quaint affectation. It's as if the poster is saying "Look at me: I am so worldly and urbane, I know how 'colour' is spelled"). Listen up: the medium of this board is a global communications network in which the sense of "place" has been absent for over ten years, rendering the physical location of the server irrelevant. I would never attempt to display a British accent in society (although I do a smashing Cornwall, a passing fair Yorkshireman, and a devastating Glaswegian), and I would not do it here.

The Forum Rules (as promulgated by the Forum Ruler) dictate that the level of decorum should approximate that of a face-to-face discussion. Fair enough. Let the standard of discourse be that embraced by the House of Commons, where Honorable Members have been questioning the intelligence, integrity (and even paternity) of their counterparts for hundreds of years.

Reinstate all "banished" posters, and let the chips fall. As monica ahll so succintly put it, "Lighten UP!" You're taking yourselves far too seriously.
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 27, 2000
1,277
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"Anyone should be allowed to say anything about anybody on any topic."

Actually, no. There are statutes in America, and I'm guessing in other countries as well, called Libel laws (Slander if spoken), which quite literally govern just what anybody CAN say and CANNOT say about anybody else.
 
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Guest (R17)

Guest
>>>Requiring real names is totally absurd, since there is absolutely no way (short of a blood test) to verify that any name is authentic.<<<<

How about everyone has to pay to join ? $12 is hardly going to break the bank. It would also mean that people who want to offend would prob not bother going through all the filling out of online forms and paying.

Also could an identification not be made by visa card and the name on the card ? Everyone has to use the same name on the visa-card they choose to join with.... Maybe this is not possible with the paypal system at the moment. Wonder if something like this could be set up ? Then if people whom are banned wanted to keep re-joining they would have to keep getting visa cards with different names on, in the end it would not be worth their while ! Would be good if when someone joined with a false name a little message would come up (after processing) saying - sorry the name on the card is not the same as your user name entered - please try again !

.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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"Also could an identification not be made by visa card and the name on the card ?"
Possible, I suppose, but it does seem like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut (sometimes literally...). Speaking as someone who has not managed to pay her subscription yet due to Paypal demanding an ID number which, allegedly, appeared on a bank statement some two years ago, and which I can't find, I would welcome a less rigorous way of paying.
Generally, I must say I agree with Alicia, but I realize there are people around somewhat less robust in their approach. If only we could resist replying to rogue posters ....
Recently, for a brief hour or so until Phil H. cottoned on to what he'd accidentally done, there appeared a voting system for posts - rating 0 - 5 stars. Phil removed it as he didn't think it would improve discussion, and I did understand his reasoning, but I'm not so sure now. It'd be pretty dispiriting to be totally ignored, get no replies, and zero star ratings from everybody else.
Re the libel laws, yes Cook, of course they do exist, but I'm not sure anyone here has ever really fallen foul of them - if you come down to it. Calling people idiots, in one way or another, doesn't really qualify. Nor does advising (however misguidedly) on health and exercise, or railing against racism, no matter how superciliously. It's more complex than it seems, I think. Perhaps one of our lawyers (if there are any left, they do seem to be the most disputatious of our membership!) can advise? Overall, I do think "lightening up" is a better idea, though, otherwise the 'bad guys' win, don't they? Or the 'bad gals'.
 

Pat Cook

Member
Apr 27, 2000
1,277
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0
The 'bad guys' win automatically once they post outrageous insults and these insults stand! Ignoring them (in fact, ignoring ANYthing) never solved anything. Over here we ALSO have a law about inciting a riot - and such insults do just that.

Lighten up? Fine. let's go all the way with this line of thinking, shall we? We call everybody everything in the world, right? Well, well, well, let's not stop there. Why not let everyone DO everything they want as well? We can drive as fast as we want, take anything we want, I mean after all we don't want to censor anyone, now do we?

Freedom is not a license for chaos.

And following the example set by politicians is REALLY taking the wrong road. You'll find more manners and decorum in a 3rd grade spontaneous dodgeball tournament.

Every board MUST have regulations. I, myself, have seen several discussion groups and chat rooms ruined simply because no one thought about having rules. These same chatrooms soon degenerated into nothing but name calling and foul language and soon vanished completely.
 
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Guest (R17)

Guest
Maybe the idea of a visa card identification is a bit over the top then. Btw I also had the problem with paypal and the numbers on the statement ! All is sorted now :)

Most people here are decent - no ? I have not come across anyone nasty. I don't know the history of Titanica so I have no idea what things have been said over the years - I may be wrong. It seems to me that there are very few people here who are not nice, so maybe with so few offenders all of this is a mountain being made out of a mole hill ?
 
Jul 11, 2001
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I agree with Miles that a Verification by Payment could solve the identity issue and discourage rouges as they will not want to keep paying to insult people.

Freedom of Speech doesn't apply on private property. You can't step on my lawn and offend myself and guests without being removed. No more than can you walk into a police department and start firing a weapon nilly willy in their lobby. People think it is their constitutional right to say and do as they please, but they really don't. You can say anything you want on your own property (your own website too) but if you are on somebody elses property (or website) you must abide by their rules.

Without rules and Laws there would be chaos. Why not just go outside and take down stop signs? Let the good times roll!

Signed David Smith

PS: I don't believe there is a spell check on this site. Plus some of us don't type 100 words per minute with skill, so expect to see a few misstypings. I was actually thinking of adding additional vowels too. Some Brits and Canadians actually live in the States, so the added "U"s should not surprise anybody, let alone fall into this message thread.
 

Mark Baber

Moderator
Member
Dec 29, 2000
6,292
307
353
I don't believe there is a spell check on this site

Actually, there is, David. Use the "Edit Profile" link at the top of this page, and then in the "Preferences" section of the profile settings page, there's a box called "Spell check my posts" or something like that. Activate that, and then all questionable spellings will be highlighted on the preview of your messages.
 

Lee Gilliland

Member
Feb 14, 2003
511
9
171
I fail to see how any direct insult, such as the one that produced this discussion, in any way adds anything to said discussion, and in fact side tracks us from the central issues being debated. And ignoring such attacks encourages them - I have noticed that people who do this, when others have been unresponsive, simply turn up the heat until they do get a response.

I have no problem with only admitting people if they pay a subscription fee, but only if we can then set up a scholarship fund for those worthies out there who can't afford it.
 

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