I’ve lost something great today. I’ve lost respect for a place that I’d long placed on a pedestal. That I held up as a shining example of how a forum should be and interact with it’s members.
It was bound to happen eventually. It always does. Someone always, eventually, crosses a line. It’s human nature. I had just hoped it would be later rather than sooner.
I made myself a promise, once upon a time, that the minute that any forum I was ever a part of started to delete it’s members’ posts or threads willy-nilly, without logical justification and without that said post flagrantly violating pre-agreed upon forum rules, that I would no longer actively participate in it.
Eventually, unless they are very well organized and professional IT people with prior forum experience, most forum mods or administrators will end up deleting posts and/or threads without warning and without provocation or reason, in violation of their own rules. I’ve seen it happen a hundred times.
(And no, waking up on the wrong side of the bed and deciding as an administrator/moderator to delete an entire multi-page thread is no legitimate excuse and simply cannot be tolerated.)
I’ve owned and operated and admined and moderated far too many forums in my life to tolerate this kind of behavior, under any guise or excuse. I don’t care what your justification is. Wrong action, is wrong action. And you, are dead wrong.
It’s totalitarianism by incrementalism. And I simply can’t abide it. Even if it’s done with the best of intentions, the act is still the same. It’s a very slippery slope. If done once, it’ll happen again. And then again. And then again. Until it becomes the norm to just delete whatever the moderator feels like for any reason or no reason at all. They put themselves beyond and above the scope of the forum. One set of rules for the rulers, one set of rules for the ruled, so to speak. Now it’s not as draconian as all that at the moment, but the potential is there.
You cannot own or operate a forum and do things outside of the scope of the agreed upon forum rules because you ‘feel like it’.
It is my personal and professional opinion as an ex career IT geek, that unless they can disconnect themselves from it, someone who owns a forum should NOT moderate or admin it, beyond the simple tasks of joining threads, approving members, simple mod stuff. They simply end up fucking things up. They should delegate critical mod fuctions like forum and post deletion to another impartial party and divorce themselves from the controls. And any such deletions MUST be due to an actual violation of the forum rules. Not just because someone gets a hair up their ass.
They should deny themselves the power and ability to delete whole threads, and stick with simple and basic moderation. Because if they have that ‘god’ power, they eventually WILL use it. And it won’t be anything legitimate either. They’ll wake up one day with a hair up their ass, and delete a thread that has been bothering them, with no explanation. Just because they can. And since they’re the owner of the forum, it’s their way or the highway. You don’t like it, hit the road jack, because it’s MY forum. Lovely.
That is not a productive or professional forum environment.
Oh well. I’m hitting the road, Jack. One less place that I’ll be frequenting and posting on. It was the last great place for me, forum wise. And there’s still some great folks there.
But as always the conformist ninny minority have to run things into the ground. They can’t just let things just BE. They don’t understand the concept of rightful liberty, nor what live and let live means.
They SAY that they want freedom, and liberty and justice…but in the end what they really want is justice for ‘just us’. They want everyone else to toe the line to what they think should occur, and cannot just leave things alone or ignore things they are disinterested in.
Any time someone tries to get you to conform to their way of thinking and does so heavy-handedly, even though you are keeping up your end of the bargain by following all of the agreed upon rules, it’s time to move on. It’s only going to go downhill from there. It’s nothing personal. I love the owner of the forum. They’re a wonderful human and have done much to further the understanding and education of mankind as a whole.
They have my love and continued support for what they do.
I’ve supported and promoted that place by word of mouth for years and sent them more traffic and references than you can shake a stick at. And I’ll still continue to do so. I just can’t be an active part of it anymore, forum-wise. It goes against my gut instinct in these matters.
In the end, it comes down to principles. I can’t sit there and be told that I HAVE to talk about XYZ and if I do not then all other discussions, no matter how civil or informative, will be deleted, without warning, even and especially in an ‘off topic’ board. How can anyone possibly rationalize or defend such behavior?
But answer me this… if you have an ‘off topic’ area, does it not ring true that people will post ‘off topic’ subjects in said ‘off topic’ area? I mean, that’s what it’s FOR, yes?
What has occurred is akin to the following example. Say you have a forum on cars. In that forum in the off topic area, people are talking about cats. Cats have nothing to do with cars, but it’s in the off topic board. A place where the forum members chat with each other, get to know each other better, and make small talk. It helps folks connect and realize that they are talking to real PEOPLE on the other end of the keyboard, and it adds a social and interactive level that simply CANNOT be achieved if every topic is hard line on-topic, static, regimented, and ‘professional’.
Then, the guy in charge of moderating the off topic forum decides he doesn’t like cats being discussed and deletes the entire cat thread. I mean.. .what the fuck do you say to something like that?
And the only thing they can say is something like “Yea, I thought that we should get back to discussing cars, so I deleted the cat thread.” Umm… wait… excuse me?
No forum rules were broken, or even bent. Nothing nasty was said. Just people who weren’t IN the discussion (other than to chime in that you should get back to talking about on topic stuff), all of a sudden start whining and complaining that you aren’t talking about what they want to talk about, so they have to hijack and destroy the thread you were chatting in. It wasn’t even my thread. But I go there the next morning, and POOF! It’s gone. And people are like.. WTF…
I’ll tolerate that once, and only once. And then I’m gone.
I’d almost like to just sweep it under the rug and ignore it. But I won’t. It’ll just happen again. And again. And again.
But ’tis too late for that… the damage is done. Respect and trust cannot be regained once certain lines are crossed.
I may stop by time to time to say hello to old friends, but my days of actively posting there are done.
Will I be missed? Who knows. Maybe, maybe not. It’ll likely chug along just fine without me. I’m expendable. I tend to cause people to rethink their pre-defined paradigms, and most folks don’t quite know how to handle that. They come in with a rigid set of views and are doggedly determined to not waiver from them. Even if, and especially if, they are proven to be wrong. 😉
But… if nothing else the forum threads there should be much more ‘on topic’ and anally tidy now without my contributions. If a bit more bland, droll, and boring. That’s at least got to be worth something right? 😉
I return you now to your regularly scheduled Daucus carota. Have a nice and boring day.