International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum

Feedback => Feedback => Topic started by: roo on October 20, 2009, 08:37:56 PM

Title: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 20, 2009, 08:37:56 PM
The IGKT forum has been around for a while now.  Perhaps it's time for a sticky note that lists rules and guidelines.

UPDATE:  This thread keeps getting a lot of visits, and it's not hard to guess why.  For the newcomers, it appears that no real change in moderation style is coming anytime soon, so don't let this thread get your hopes up.  It reminds me of the line from Dante's Inferno (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_%28Dante%29): "Abandon all hope ye who enter here".
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: squarerigger on October 23, 2009, 01:41:51 AM
Got any suggestions:? ;D
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 23, 2009, 09:35:42 AM
Got any suggestions:? ;D

Yes.

As Roo states, this forum has been going for a while now, and if you look at the posting statistics, it is doing very nicely - running at around two thousand posts a year.  There might even be a hint that it is growing slightly.  Plus, if you look at the content, it is more about 'knots' and less about the politics of running the Guild, which is a great credit to the Officers, the Moderators and the Forum Administrators.

Today, the balance between 'administration' and 'interference' feels about right.  Spam is removed at lightening speed keeping the board usable to its legitimate members, while the content ranges wildly over aspects of knotting we individually might never dream of.

Do we need to formulate and formalise 'Guidance and Rules' for our moderators and administrators?  I would suggest the application of the old addage - 'If it aint broke, don't fix it'.   Any 'Guidance and Rules' that we the forum 'customers' could dream up might be well intentioned, but a) we clearly do not need them, and b) it is unlikely that we could do as good a job as the intelligence and skills of our present set of moderators and administrators are delivering.

So, in response to Roo's suggestion that it is "time for a sticky note that lists rules and guidelines" - NO I do not agree, it is not necessary and hopefully it will never be appropriate.

But hold on -- perhaps Roo you meant rules and guidance for the posters - the Forums customers.  Well, in case you did mean that, then for exactly the same reasons as above I say again - NO I do not agree, it is not necessary and hopefully it will never be appropriate.

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 23, 2009, 04:32:43 PM
Got any suggestions:? ;D

Searching and compiling some common ones:

Rules & Guidelines

Stay on topic.

Messages posted to this board must be polite and free of personal attacks, threats, and crude or sexually-explicit language, rude comments and innuendo.

Personal differences should be handled through email or private messages and not through posts displayed to everyone.

Inappropriate or harassing private messages are not permitted.

Ignore spammers, or report them.

Do not use someone else's thread for a private conversation.  Use private messages or email for private conversations.

Do not comment on moderator disciplinary actions.

In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.

Do not post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.

Write concisely and do not ramble.

Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.

Use a meaningful title for your thread.

Material that violates the rules may be edited or deleted without prior notice.

Users who persistently violate the rules will be banned.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 23, 2009, 04:39:59 PM
NO I do not agree, it is not necessary and hopefully it will never be appropriate.


Derek,

Since you have a tendency to violate common forum rules, I am not surprised that you are opposed.  But it hurts the usability of the forums significantly when one must filter through lengthy portions of off-topic rambling to get to actual knotting content.

Besides, when there are clear rules and guidelines, it prevents recurring, disruptive discussions about what is and is not appropriate.




Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: WebAdmin on October 23, 2009, 05:15:12 PM
Over the last 18 months I have come to consider the Forum as the Guild's only 24-7/8766-365.25 branch meeting.

If there are to be any rules at all, I think the best and simplest one is this: Put a mirror next to your screen; the person you are posting to is this real.  Type appropriately.

Regards

Glenys
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 23, 2009, 05:34:59 PM
I think the best and simplest one is this: Put a mirror next to your screen; the person you are posting to is this real.  Type appropriately.

Hopefully, rule #2 above would cover that. 
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 23, 2009, 08:14:58 PM
Over the last 18 months I have come to consider the Forum as the Guild's only 24-7/8766-365.25 branch meeting.

If there are to be any rules at all, I think the best and simplest one is this: Put a mirror next to your screen; the person you are posting to is this real.  Type appropriately.

Regards

Glenys

Glenys, Props to you - very much with you on this one.

--------------------------

Roo,  That is quite a list you have trawled there.  I presume those which have Do / Don't / Must fall into the Rule category and the rest are either guidelines  or advice of what will happen if you break a rule.  Of course, we could be misled into thinking that the claim that these are 'common' implies that they are either good or required.  A moments thought will demonstrate that neither of these apply to our forum.

I have over time visited quite a number of Forums.  Some have been run by people with a power issue and some have covered topics which have attracted a particularly nasty sort of person, consequently both are festooned with rules and constant moderator intervention.

Our forum in contrast is populated by people I would happily invite to dinner one evening.  Yes there are differences of opinion, but we all tend to be adults and know when to step back from a discussion which is heating up.  Yes we all have differences of opinion, different experiences and different writing styles - thank goodness - if we all shared identical thoughts, there would be little point coming here because we could never learn anything.

So what is the point in having Rules for our Forum - yes they might help prevent "disruptive discussions about what is and is not appropriate" - rules might indeed be of value if that was even remotely commonplace on our forum - happily, that is not the case and when an occasional individual carps about the length of a post or that in their opinion the subject drifted off topic, then we have all learned to cut the winger some slack and just ignore them.

The other serious reason for using common sense instead of Rules is that Rules actually lead to more of the very thing you thing you want to prevent - disruptive discussions about what is or is not appropriate.  By way of example - take your listed rule  "Personal differences should be handled through email or private messages and not through posts displayed to everyone."

Your comment to me -

Quote
Since you have a tendency to violate common forum rules, I am not surprised that you are opposed.  But it hurts the usability of the forums significantly when one must filter through lengthy portions of off-topic rambling to get to actual knotting content.

- is, in my opinion, in direct contravention of that rule, so off we go dicking about over the interpretation of the rule and what you meant by your personal criticism of my use of the forum.

Instead, in the civilised world of this forum without rules - just courtesy and adult common sense - I simply accept your dig as being your valued opinion, which differs from my own and several other posters.  It has nothing to do with knots and it would be nice if you kept it to yourself, but you feel strongly about my waffling diatribes and tell me so.  OK, I hear you and if I get similar digs from other people on the forum whom I also respect, then I will seriously consider putting a crimp in my verbosity - SEEMPLES - we don't need rules, just courtesy and considerate conduct all the way round.

Rather than following the examples set by other common and inferior forums, our standards and adult behaviour should be held up as an example to them.

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 23, 2009, 09:18:10 PM

Your comment to me -

Quote
Since you have a tendency to violate common forum rules, I am not surprised that you are opposed.  But it hurts the usability of the forums significantly when one must filter through lengthy portions of off-topic rambling to get to actual knotting content.

- is, in my opinion, in direct contravention of that rule, so off we go dicking about over the interpretation of the rule and what you meant by your personal criticism of my use of the forum.

Instead, in the civilised world of this forum without rules - just courtesy and adult common sense - I simply accept your dig as being your valued opinion, which differs from my own and several other posters.  It has nothing to do with knots and it would be nice if you kept it to yourself, but you feel strongly about my waffling diatribes and tell me so.  OK, I hear you and if I get similar digs from other people on the forum whom I also respect, then I will seriously consider putting a crimp in my verbosity - SEEMPLES - we don't need rules, just courtesy and considerate conduct all the way round.

Rather than following the examples set by other common and inferior forums, our standards and adult behaviour should be held up as an example to them.

Derek

1.  This isn't a knot topic or a knot forum.  It is the Feedback Forum and the topic is Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines.

2.  I have no personal issue that I'm addressing with you here.  As far as I know, your violations of yet-to-be-enacted rules are a result of mere accidents or simply because there are no posted rules or guidelines.   It's nothing personal, although I am aware that some people have different ideas of what "personal" means.


In any event, the rules will help not only users be mindful of their habits, but will help moderators be mindful of their degree of laxity or severity in the control of the forum.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: SS369 on October 23, 2009, 09:45:04 PM
My opinion:
The more rules to be broken, the more they will be broken.
Maybe by accident or not.
I am of the school of thought here that we are people with a common interest, being all things knotting and in the course of discussions we may slip up and be people.

Having just come back from the New Bedford IGKT meeting I found that were actually people, pleasant people,  behind a few of the nicknames.

We're a family of sorts and bickering do happen though very, very infrequently.
But those few times are not worth the efforts to monitor for adherence to a lot of rules. I for one believe the the work done by the moderators has been excellent and we need not add to the burden.
Friendships and common decency are life rules and I think that perhaps is enough.
I vote stay the course.

Scott
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 23, 2009, 09:54:43 PM
But those few times are not worth the efforts to monitor for adherence to a lot of rules. I for one believe the the work done by the moderators has been excellent and we need not add to the burden.

What ends up happening is that the burden is shifted to ordinary users to persuade, convince or otherwise deal with others to keep the forums usable and readable.  The results aren't always successful.  This is a  task they may or may not want to do, and the task itself just adds to the clutter and disruption.

Maybe we could hear from the moderators themselves.  Are they burdened now?  It seems like some don't even visit that often.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: skyout on October 23, 2009, 10:22:59 PM
I agree with Glenys, Derek and Scott.

"Rules? We don't need no stinking rules!" Except maybe the Golden Rule, it doesn't stink. lol

And Derek, keep on telling us what's on your mind, continue like the tumble weed that will always keep on tumbling. Your posts are great and never looked upon as hijacking or off topic to me.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 23, 2009, 10:37:02 PM
Your posts are great and never looked upon as hijacking or off topic to me.

That's nice, but consider that someday you may get tired of your thread being hijacked, disrupted, or buried in a mountain of detours.  What would you prefer?:

Scenario 1

Bob posts 40 lines on transmission repair when the topic is testing knots.

The moderator finds it or is alerted and the post goes away. 

The thread goes on productively.

or

Scenario 2

Bob posts 40 lines on transmission repair when the topic is testing knots.

You try to persuade Bob to focus on the topic.

Bob posts 50 lines in reply on why transmission repair is what he wants to talk about.

You try again.

Bob posts 60 lines in response, similar to before, and adds some insults to boot.

New readers see a mountain of irrelevant verbiage, their eyes gloss over and they leave, not bothering to add their own on-topic contribution.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: skyout on October 23, 2009, 10:41:46 PM
Your posts are great and never looked upon as hijacking or off topic to me.

That's nice,

Thank you.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: WebAdmin on October 24, 2009, 07:29:22 AM
Dear All

I know it may seem like some of us don't often seem to be around, and I admit I can find a few days have passed before I can get back online with enough time to do more than a quick skim of who's posted in which topics, but I also try to let threads develop without jumping in on them.  I don't get to post as often on items I find personally interesting - I have to have lots of free time for that - and when I am able to I often forget to swap login ID to my personal one, so that it doesn't look like the webadmin is butting in.

I think you may find that other moderators are also there in the background, but not necessarily posting.

Regards

Glenys
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: SS369 on October 24, 2009, 01:31:47 PM
Thank you for the > work that you do behind the scenes! I for one appreciate it and look to not increase it. Maybe you'll knot more with less toil.
;-)

Scott
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Sweeney on October 27, 2009, 04:31:02 PM
I spent my working life writing rules (called legislation!) so that somebody could be called to account for breaking them in the interests of society (in the UK at least) as a whole.  These were serious issues - they still are come to that. This forum is a discussion group - no more, no less. If we cannot manage to have a discussion without "rules" then we really are losing the plot.

 

Scenario 1

Bob posts 40 lines on transmission repair when the topic is testing knots.

The moderator finds it or is alerted and the post goes away. 

The thread goes on productively


I feel that this approach is totally wrong - the post may be in the wrong place so a moderator should move it elsewhere "the post goes away" is really "I don't like it so the post goes away" ie it is deleted. If the material is offensive that is quite different but according to an arbitrary subjective decision it is deleted? Sorry, no. Who decides incidentally that a thread is "productive" or not? And are you really saying that a largely irrelevant post is something that you cannot easily ignore? I look at this forum pretty well every day and I read anything which interests me. Derek's I always read because I like his style, others I read depending on the subject and a quick scan of the posting. But please let me, the reader, be the judge of irrelevance and let moderators by all means move material if thought appropriate - but to where I can still read it.

Barry
(personal view)
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 27, 2009, 04:58:21 PM
This forum is a discussion group - no more, no less. If we cannot manage to have a discussion without "rules" then we really are losing the plot.

 

Scenario 1

Bob posts 40 lines on transmission repair when the topic is testing knots.

The moderator finds it or is alerted and the post goes away. 

The thread goes on productively


I feel that this approach is totally wrong - the post may be in the wrong place so a moderator should move it elsewhere "the post goes away" is really "I don't like it so the post goes away" ie it is deleted. If the material is offensive that is quite different but according to an arbitrary subjective decision it is deleted? Sorry, no. Who decides incidentally that a thread is "productive" or not? And are you really saying that a largely irrelevant post is something that you cannot easily ignore? I look at this forum pretty well every day and I read anything which interests me. Derek's I always read because I like his style, others I read depending on the subject and a quick scan of the posting. But please let me, the reader, be the judge of irrelevance and let moderators by all means move material if thought appropriate - but to where I can still read it.

Barry
(personal view)

And yet most such forums do have rules.  Why might that be?  If you really want to read off-topic stuff without disrupting others' on-topic thread posts, are you advocating a forum section dedicated to off-topic items?  Would that be different than the "Chit Chat" section?  Would thread hijacking be OK there?

I have nothing against "unproductive" threads.  I suggested no rules regarding productivity.  Hijacking threads is another issue.  The rules would remove subjectivity to a great degree for moderators.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Dan_Lehman on October 27, 2009, 07:36:01 PM
The IGKT forum has been around for a while now. 

Perhaps it's time for a sticky note that lists rules and guidelines.

One might expect as a rationale for Rules&Guidelines something
other than duration; given the duration, the need should thus
be evident rather than, as it appears to be now, conjectured!?
I.e., as the forum has existed for so long devoid of such things,
what is it after this (we might view it as a ...) trial period that
motivates the establishment of such rules?

Frankly, among those things that irritate me in other forums
-- i.p., rudeness and the stupid, wasteful copying of replied-to
texts (including .sig files and images) -- are pretty much absent
here.  Yea!

So, what is our need?

>> Searching and compiling some common ones:  Rules & Guidelines
>> Stay on topic.

We're pretty good.  Nudges and stronger actions (moderator splitting
to new threads?) might be seen, I guess.

>> Messages posted to this board must be polite and ...

Again, we're largely bereft of this, and it might be even understood
as a common rule of which violations can be enforced, irrespective of
there being some written notice.

> Personal differences should be handled through email or private messages and not through posts displayed to everyone.
> Inappropriate or harassing private messages are not permitted.

Dang, just when I go take my invective to PM and I'm nailed there, too!
Well, again, this sort of thing is not rising to the point of encoding it,
is it?  -- or even needed to be encoded?

> Ignore spammers, or report them.

Ah, which reminds me of how SPAM-free we've been?  I recall remarking
about some SPAM post about 3 months (?) ago, and it was removed; I
trust that other regulars are amply savvy and can smell trouble as it comes
up will act similarly.

>> Do not use someone else's thread for a private conversation.
>>  Use private messages or e-mail for private conversations.

This is redundant of Stay On Topic.
(Btw, a good rule:  keep the hyphen in "e-mail" !)

> Do not comment on moderator disciplinary actions.

This is an unlikely needed "rule".

> In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar
> and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.

The editor should be red-underscoring spelling violations, so one
might say that that part of the rule is established with immediate
enforcement (well, sort of).  Otherwise, I must again wonder at what
of our history suggests that this needs to be elevated to the level of
a Rule?  (I have at times stopped myself from using some shorthand
that is grounded in English, reminding myself that there are many users
who have other languages as their natural one.  OTOH, such commonly
seen acronymic things such as "OTOH" can be seen to have enough
currency to be expected to be understood; and, if need be, explained
anew, too.)

>> Do not post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.

Back to Stay On Topic, again.  But I think we're pretty good on this.
(I recall remarking to someone about posts in Knots In The Wild as being
less *wild* than desired; also about posts finding the wrong forum,
which mod.s should re-locate.)

>> Write concisely and do not ramble.

Now you're going beyond a sensible rule.  We lost Nautile for his flair for
indulging the universe in addressing topics; no extant "rule" I think could
have prevented that, but maybe some different method of urging focus
and presenting background.

> Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.

This is a common rule, commonly ignored.  There can be some help
from the wise users, if the Search function is less than an immediate
hit -- often one sees (elsewhere) laments "and you know how bad
the Search is ..." .  But, egads, yes, just yesterday I came upon the
near bi-monthly rockclimbing query about the "EK"/OffsetRingBend/Overhand
knot on UKclimbing, and I did the Search to find one already-hashed-out
thread on it, with ample information.  -- though by the time I replied,
there were already the typical string of half-baked one-liners in reply
(and, there, esp., anything over three lines garners groans of excess!).
"Where ignorance is bliss, t'is folly to be wise." -- one gets flamed !!

> Use a meaningful title for your thread.

"Knot Question" isn't good enuff?   ;D

>> Material that violates the rules may be edited or deleted without prior notice.
>> Users who persistently violate the rules will be banned.

Eh, mechanics of redress on where need is likely so infrequent that ...
why Rule on it, now?

I did take some time to scan some threads to check on what has been
going on -- i.p., gratuitous copy of texts (nope!).  We seem to adhere
to these suggested rules well enough as is.

--dl*
====
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 27, 2009, 08:04:06 PM
>> Messages posted to this board must be polite and ...

Again, we're largely bereft of this, and it might be even understood
as a common rule of which violations can be enforced, irrespective of
there being some written notice.

To argue against the posting of a particular rule, it'd be better to make the case for why activity X should be allowed, rather than argue based on the perceived incidence of activity X.

After all, if the activity in question is rare, then posting a rule against it won't hurt either.  It's not as if the rules "sticky" of most forums is very lengthy.  It gives fair warning of what is enforced. 
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 27, 2009, 11:41:39 PM
Reading your arguments Roo, perhaps we DO need some rules - but only rules mind you - not guidance, I don't think even you would be so arrogant as to presume to tell members how to think, and that is what guidance amounts to.

Rules like - Don't Troll - Don't swear or be vicious to others - Don't feed the Trolls - Don't Spam - Don't break the law - Don't post Porno or anything that would not be appropriate for children to read...

However, there seems to be a recurring theme to your thrusts...

snip...

And yet most such forums do have rules.  Why might that be?  If you really want to read off-topic stuff without disrupting others' on-topic thread posts, are you advocating a forum section dedicated to off-topic items?  Would that be different than the "Chit Chat" section?  Would thread hijacking be OK there?

I have nothing against "unproductive" threads.  I suggested no rules regarding productivity.  Hijacking threads is another issue.  The rules would remove subjectivity to a great degree for moderators.

Would I be correct in thinking that behind your proposal is a desire to eliminate 'Hijacking'?  You repeatedly feature the activity as reprehensible.

At first I thought maybe someone had 'Hijacked' one of your threads, so I trawled back through all the boards and could not find a single thread that you might consider as being 'yours' to have been hijacked.  One of your threads did have a lengthy reply from me (ca 15 lines on my screen), but I kept fully on topic, and later, Dan made an even lengthier reply but again stayed hard on topic.

From this I had to conclude that you are not aiming to protect your own threads - you are seeking to prevent hijacking of other peoples threads.  This worries me, because it is a form of 'Big Brother', deciding for me what I should and should not want to happen to my threads !!

Two things immediately fall out from that position.

First, is that whenever I have started a thread, I have never thought of them as 'mine' - simply as ideas spawned, then set free onto the Forum to see how they grow and develop - once created, they belong to the Forum and the contributors who make them their own by adding their own thoughts and directions - 'Poo Sticks' cast into the stream of experiences and imagination.

Second, apart from Spamming and Trolling (both of which I think are despicable practices), I find the greatest value in posts which have triggered members into presenting wildly divergent perspectives to the subject that triggered the thread.  For me, the most interesting posts are the ones which range over wild diversifications, triggered by other posters experiences and opinions.

Clearly, what I enjoy reading as content, you see as hijacking.  This I think is a fundamental difference of opinion.  You wish for Rules to prevent and remove such richness, while I would strive to encourage members to let their creativity fly.  Clearly, there is no common ground for agreement on this issue - they are in opposition so no compromise is possible.

Decisions then must be made on rational argument.  I would propose that the case for promoting creativity in posts rests on the fact that this Guild wishes to actively encourage today's (and tomorrows) youth to be attracted to the Guild and to the field of Knotting.  I suggest that while we dusty old farts might enjoy a bit of knotty minutia, younger members (should we continue to attract them) would be more likely to be engaged by less 'dusty' discussions.  'On topic Experts' can be totally foreboding and frighten 'Newbies' out of the discussion and even the board, whereas broadening a discussion gives a greater opportunity for  other, less expert knotters, to join in.

I would strongly suggest that we reject any idea of straight jacketing topics to the subject title, and that we actively promote responses from widely differing perspectives - you never know, the old fogies might just learn something (maybe even enjoy themselves).

PS  - have you played Poo Sticks lately?

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 28, 2009, 12:15:51 AM
Reading your arguments Roo, perhaps we DO need some rules - but only rules mind you - not guidance, I don't think even you would be so arrogant as to presume to tell members how to think, and that is what guidance amounts to.
So suggesting picking a relevant topic name, for example, amounts to telling people how/what to think?  I don't agree.

Quote
However, there seems to be a recurring theme to your thrusts...

Would I be correct in thinking that behind your proposal is a desire to eliminate 'Hijacking'?  You repeatedly feature the activity as reprehensible.

At first I thought maybe someone had 'Hijacked' one of your threads, so I trawled back through all the boards and could not find a single thread that you might consider as being 'yours' to have been hijacked.  One of your threads did have a lengthy reply from me (ca 15 lines on my screen), but I kept fully on topic, and later, Dan made an even lengthier reply but again stayed hard on topic.

From this I had to conclude that.... [snipped long histrionic rambling based on a false presumption]
I'm just using a clear example.  You're trying far too hard to read into things.  It's OK to ask a question and wait for a response rather than inventing an answer and running 10 miles on it.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Dan_Lehman on October 28, 2009, 05:58:29 AM
...
From this I had to conclude that.... [snipped long histrionic rambling based on a false presumption]
AH, we need some Rules of Order, here!
>>> Messages posted to this board must be polite and free of personal attacks, threats, and ... rude comments and innuendo.

I sense a rude personal innuendo just uttered, above!
Unless I'm missing the point that had there been a rule about Stay On Topic
then those long histrionic ramblings would've been "snipped" by a Moderator
and not have wasted my time!!
And yet, suddenly, an almost irresistable urge comes over me to digress
into discussion of rulers, and have they always been 12 inches long?
As for Guidelines, how about waist lines:  obesity from the modern diet?
But now I'm just wasting lines ...

 ;)
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 28, 2009, 10:57:22 AM
snip...
From this I had to conclude that.... [snipped long histrionic rambling based on a false presumption]
I'm just using a clear example.  You're trying far too hard to read into things.  It's OK to ask a question and wait for a response rather than inventing an answer and running 10 miles on it.

Would this be the basis for yet another rule to add to the list? Rule No. xxx - There will be no rhetorical questions, only proper questions (authorised by a moderator) which must then wait for a reply.

I feel that there are no rational arguments now being put forward as to why we need rules, other than the dogma that 'Most Forums have Rules' and the inverted argument that 'If they are not broken, then they won't be an issue'.  Against this is a consensus that the other posters do not want rules, do not want the Forums vibrancy to be muted by well intentioned interventions, but perhaps most importantly,  there is no value in wasting time creating and implementing rules that we neither need nor want.

Perhaps in the future, if the nature of the Forums members changes, there might be value in revisiting a need for rules and making some up then if there is a real value to be had.

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: WebAdmin on October 28, 2009, 02:13:32 PM
Dear All

I am a little bit fuzzy on dates, but I have an idea that the Registration Agreement below is something which came in around the same time that Lesley handed over to me (which was a process of several months).  I seem to think that solely because I can't remember reading it when I joined.  But then again - because I always intend to use a forum or other agreement-required facility with the very best of intentions and courtesy, I don't always consider it necessary to read all the way through an agreement before I sign it.  I trust my own integrity that it will cover all the expectations, and I will simply be guilty of unpardonable ignorance if I make some mistake (such as in subject heading formats for the Freecycle Group).

Registration Agreement:

"You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, adult material, or otherwise in violation of any International or United States Federal law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum.

Note that it is impossible for the staff or the owners of this forum to confirm the validity of posts. Please remember that we do not actively monitor the posted messages, and as such, are not responsible for the content contained within. We do not warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The posted messages express the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of this forum, its staff, its subsidiaries, or this forum's owner. Anyone who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to notify an administrator or moderator of this forum immediately. The staff and the owner of this forum reserve the right to remove objectionable content, within a reasonable time frame, if they determine that removal is necessary. This is a manual process, however, please realize that they may not be able to remove or edit particular messages immediately. This policy applies to member profile information as well.

You remain solely responsible for the content of your posted messages. Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries. The owners of this forum also reserve the right to reveal your identity (or any other related information collected on this service) in the event of a formal complaint or legal action arising from any situation caused by your use of this forum.

You have the ability, as you register, to choose your username. We advise that you keep the name appropriate. With this user account you are about to register, you agree to never give your password out to another person except an administrator, for your protection and for validity reasons. You also agree to NEVER use another person's account for any reason.  We also HIGHLY recommend you use a complex and unique password for your account, to prevent account theft.

After you register and login to this forum, you will be able to fill out a detailed profile. It is your responsibility to present clean and accurate information. Any information the forum owner or staff determines to be inaccurate or vulgar in nature will be removed, with or without prior notice. Appropriate sanctions may be applicable.

Please note that with each post, your IP address is recorded, in the event that you need to be banned from this forum or your ISP contacted. This will only happen in the event of a major violation of this agreement.

Also note that the software places a cookie, a text file containing bits of information (such as your username and password), in your browser's cache. This is ONLY used to keep you logged in/out. The software does not collect or send any other form of information to your computer."

These are 'the rules of the Forum' as they stand at present.  And the option of putting them as a sticky at the top of each board is open to us, but who would actually go and read them regularly?  If the contributors to this topic agree, I can certainly do that for a trial period (say 1 month) and if they garner a significant number more views than the number of contributors on this topic, then it can be said that, yes, people look at them.  I can check this easily, I keep a simple table log which I update each time, of when a board was last posted on.  It helps if I know I don't have to look at a board which hasn't been posted on recently.  I'll just add another line for that topic, and track how many views it had on which dates.  There will probably be a flurry of views immediately, which can be somewhat discounted, but it's what happens after that which will really show up the response to having 'the rules' available all the time.

All those in favour, please signify....  all those against, please be brief ;)

Regards

Glenys
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 28, 2009, 03:51:30 PM
Hi Glenys,

Could they not be posted in the 'Announcements' board only.

There are only 30 posts in there, and it is the place for 'Important announcements', so it could be put at the top should anyone want to go read it.

I have to admit, that I had not spotted the bit about indemnifying the 'owner'.  I would not be able to do that, so I guess that I will have to cease posting.

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 28, 2009, 03:59:05 PM


All those in favour, please signify....  all those against, please be brief ;)

Regards

Glenys

Ah, so we DO have rules like other forums.  The only difference is that ours are not accessible and condensed.  A condensed "sticky post" in a prominent place (not the Announcement Board) would do it.  I'm in favor.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on October 28, 2009, 04:06:19 PM
snip...
From this I had to conclude that.... [snipped long histrionic rambling based on a false presumption]
I'm just using a clear example.  You're trying far too hard to read into things.  It's OK to ask a question and wait for a response rather than inventing an answer and running 10 miles on it.

Would this be the basis for yet another rule to add to the list? Rule No. xxx - There will be no rhetorical questions, only proper questions (authorised by a moderator) which must then wait for a reply.

Derek, if you think that inventing answers for others is equivalent to a rhetorical question, I'm not going to be able to help you.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Dan_Lehman on October 28, 2009, 05:36:35 PM
I have to admit, that I had not spotted the bit about indemnifying the 'owner'.  I would not be able to do that, so I guess that I will have to cease posting.
Derek

>>> you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners  ...

Ah, the lovely task of trying to figure sense of legalese.
I take this to be typical redundant talk, and an expresssion
that says as much and no more than its "hold harmless" part.
-- i.e., it implies nothing about "indemnify" in the sense of
compensation (and esp. that sense seems to require a preposition
"for/against/from").

--dl*
====
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 28, 2009, 07:21:34 PM
Barry, as the one with legal experience, what is your take on this statement from the Registration Agreement -

"Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries."

If it doesn't mean anything as Dan suggests, then why is it there?

Thanks
Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Sweeney on October 28, 2009, 11:39:35 PM
This seems to be a way of saying that if you cause loss or damage in the future to the forum owners through what you have done then you promise to make good their loss (ie to indemnify them). This might arise if as a result of your posting a libelous statement the forum owners become liable as the owners of the vehicle used to publish the statement - but note that earlier this set of rules says that use of the forum is governed by International and US law which may be significantly different from UK law - the phrase "hold harmless" is one I have not come across in the UK but it may be common in US legal agreements and "harmless" here means free from harm ie undamaged; in the UK the word is used to indicate someone or something not capable of causing harm which is somewhat different.

Barry
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: capt larry on October 29, 2009, 01:42:01 PM
In the US Hold harmless refers to accepting liability for ones actions which cause claims for damages to be brought on another person or entity.  Indemnify refers to paying for any damages awarded to that other party. It may seem redundant but it merely reflects the two prongs of the issue, liability and paying for it.  As noted in my prior post, I think it is remote from a practical stand point for anyone using the forum for its legitimate purposes.

CL
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: SS369 on October 29, 2009, 02:04:00 PM
My Vote > No rules need be be posted. I think this thread has opened enough eyes to the subject.

And if you can't seem to remember to be civil, please keep your eyes closed and stay home.

Scott
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: WebAdmin on October 29, 2009, 06:48:35 PM
And if you can't seem to remember to be civil, please keep your eyes closed and stay home.

...or more preferably get a good knotting book and keep your fingers busy doing something other than posting?

I don't know where the format for the registration came from.  Possibly it was suggested by the forum hosts, who are probably American, and that's why it has the slight US slant to the law clause, rather than a UK slant.  I suppose, in addition to being the Guild's longest running branch meeting, we are also the most non-geographical, suspended out there, amongst the satellite waves and the ether particles, just held together by a few busy electrons.... am I digressing?

So far we appear to have two ayes and 1 no.  Voting concludes Monday evening :)  For the trial run I would simply sticky it to all boards, and count the views.

Regards

Glenys
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 30, 2009, 12:16:35 AM
Glenys,

Just in case you counted me as a yes, my vote is NO.

The rider was, if the yes's won, then could it go to the Announcements board.

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Sweeney on October 30, 2009, 12:48:40 AM
My vote is No
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: skyout on October 30, 2009, 03:00:44 AM
"Rules? We don't need no stinking rules!" Except maybe the Golden Rule, it doesn't stink. lol

Just repeating my no.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: admin on October 30, 2009, 02:57:12 PM
Forum Registration Agreement
Just to clarify, there has always been a registration agreement in place on this forum and its previous incarnation. New forum members must signify their agreement to this document as part of the registration process. To the best of my knowledge, the agreement has not been altered since this forum's inception. If it was, I would personally recommend that the updated version was posted on the Announcements board.

Forum Mods
It has been suggested that the current mods have a less than high profile. I hope they accept this for the compliment that it is. Good moderators don't need to draw attention to themselves. They work quietly - often in the background - to try and ensure that most forum users are able to continue their discussions without unwanted distractions. They only intervene when they consider it to be absolutely necessary. Over-zealous intervention only provokes bad feeling, in my experience.

Posting Guidelines
Some online communities do have formal posting guidelines but this is most commonly seen in forums with a very high turnover. In comparison, this forum has a low turnover and a well-established core community. That said, publishing, guidelines does nothing. At the end of the day, it is the social pressures within a community that determines what is, and what is not, acceptable. Formal guidelines are rarely read by newcomers - not even if you make the post sticky and decorate it with flashing lights that spell "Please read first". Frequently, the only time a Posting Guidelines document comes in useful is when it's used to hit someone over the head during an argument and that rarely works out well, in my experience.

If there were frequent and ongoing problems with behaviour on the forum, then, yes, I think there might be a case for publically clarifying what is, or isn't allowed. But I've not seen any evidence of such problems. What I have seen is people sorting out their own problems and disagreements in a fairly reasonable and mature manner. Should that change in the future, perhaps I might revise my opinion but, for now, I think that the forum's users are adult enough to control their own posting behaviour.

Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Dan_Lehman on October 30, 2009, 06:15:22 PM
In the US Hold harmless refers to accepting liability for ones actions which cause claims for damages to be brought on another person or entity.

  Indemnify refers to paying for any damages awarded to that other party.

It may seem redundant but it merely reflects the two prongs of the issue, liability and paying for it.

But the dictionaries -- and here I'm referring to Garner's A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage
and Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.) -- give these BUT ALSO purely redundant
definitions.  Actually, the former gives "hold harmless;" as one, among several; the latter
is what says that a preposition "for/against" is called for.  But note that the clause at issue
here had no indemnify from/for particulars, and so IMO is overly vague.

In the situation here, I might post something that causes offense to some
third party, who sues IGKT.net:
1) by agreement does the clause say that I will recompense IGKT.net
for any losses;
1b) does it suggest that (all) other users should contribute, too?

2) or does it say rather that the suit is wrongly aimed by the third
party, who is part of the agreement, and must not seek redress
vs. IGKT.net, only (somehow) against me, the poster?

I agree that in practicality all of the above seems beyond the realm
of possibility (though, egads, wild lawsuits are surely not -- I'm not
sure e.g. of the status of the some-time "judge" who sued a cleaners
for some $50million (10^^6) over lost or botched pants (which sadly
got into court system and though overruled did put the Korean cleaners
out of business).

--dl*
====
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Sweeney on October 31, 2009, 09:55:00 AM
I think there is an unanswered question here - who does own the forum? Presumably the owners of the software have no reponsibility for its usage? If, as I suspect, the IGKT as a body owns the forum (as it, as far as I know, owns the domain name igkt.net) then it is for the Council to decide whether to have rules and what they should be - and as the IGKT is a UK based charity those rules should presumably be governed by UK and where appropriate Internstionsl law. I am still not in favour of rules of etiquette (the basics that govern joining and using the forum along the lines of the registration agreement - and I agree with Dan here - should be written in plain English and not simply lifted from elsewhere).

Barry
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: DerekSmith on October 31, 2009, 01:51:30 PM
Barry, that looks perfectly right and reasonable - The Council own the Forum and the liabilities around its use, so the Council should decide if and what should be published.

I look forward to reading the decisions of our shiny 'new blood' Council.

PS.  As it is an 'International' Guild and an international forum, what would be the consequence of say a States side litigation lawyer chasing a 'No Win, No Fee' claim for damages in the US courts ???

Derek
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Sweeney on October 31, 2009, 03:09:40 PM
Derek

There is an outside chance that our insurance would cover the Guild (if indeed the Guild were to be held liable) but it will not cover an individual who is not a Guild member or a member expressing a personal view. That said a lawyer would want a cast iron case as they might have to commit a lot of cash to taking on such a case which would be expensive to enforce against a non-US citizen. I don't have any experience of defamation case law - if anyone does perhaps they would comment?

Barry
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: capt larry on October 31, 2009, 03:43:57 PM
Barry,
I agree and hence my "remote" position.

As to "defamation" or "libel" - difference being written or spoken words, there are some important general concepts.  First, the statement must be patently FALSE and the speaker/writer knows this and still publishes it.  Therefore, "the truth is an absolute defense".  To constitute actionable claims, the words must be directed toward a person's character, business or profession.

CL
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Sweeney on October 31, 2009, 06:25:31 PM
That's an interesting distinction - in the UK spoken defamation is "slander", written is "libel", both come under the umbrella heading of defamation. The defences of the statement being true or "fair comment" are to my mind a bit late - though not a rule I suggest that everyone should avoid any comment about a person as an individual - we can disagree, we can offer comment on eg a piece of work as long as that opinion is truly held but I cannot envisage any circumstances where a comment about an individual is justified on this forum other than perhaps a compliment. Any other comments should be restricted to the arguments etc postulated not the person who posted them. That said if anyone feels that a remark posted on here was defamatory to them (whether legally they appear to have a case or not) it should be removed immediately it is brought to a moderator's attention - to delay could mean the difference between the forum owners being culpable or not (Demon Internet had this problem in 1997 when they took 10 days to remove material after it was brought to their attention and the courts held that that was too slow).

Barry
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: skyout on November 01, 2009, 03:50:00 AM
...I think that the forum's users ...

Mel called us all "users" this time.

http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=1154.msg8045#msg8045 (http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=1154.msg8045#msg8045)
Good morning, people.

One of the forum users ...
As I was the one that sent you that PM, not to get touchy here, but calling me a "user" just sounds bad to me. I may not be a member of the IGKT right now for personal reasons, but I still consider myself a member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum. This forum I feel is great and has helped me in numerous ways and I have returned the favor with contributing posts hopefully that have helped others as well. Possibly you can find another term than "users" to describe myself and others. JMO

The Great Magnificent Contributor would work for me. Just kidding but user sounds like someone that only takes without giving in return or something. Thanks.

My apologies. In my line of work there are usually 2 groups - developers who make stuff and the people wot use the stuff (usually referred to as "the users"). I'll try to remember to use 'forum member' in future.


No worries Mel. I'm sure it is as you say, lingo of the trade, so no class action suit will follow. LOL

Happy Halloween to all!

The Great Magnificent Contributor
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: Mrs Glenys Chew on November 02, 2009, 11:06:57 PM
It's looking like a majority of no's for posting rules, whether for a trial or permanent period, then.

So, may we conclude that those who have taken part in this post, at least, will go back into the greater forum determined to stamp out discourtesy by overwhelming it with greater courtesy, and thereby lead by example?

Regards

Glenys
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: SpitfireTriple on February 16, 2010, 02:51:40 PM
I don't greatly disagree with any of Roo's suggested rules per se.  But I agree with virtually everyone else who thinks it better to have any such rules, as far as possible, left unsaid. Two reasons:

1.  Anyone inclined to break rules like this will do so irrespective of rules.

2.  If one of the first things people see when clicking on a web-site is a long list of rules, most of those people will think "bossy bunch" and go elsewhere.  Okay, maybe that's just how I'd react!

The knotting world is inevitably not the most dynamic world.  I'm a mere newbie, but my input would be to suggest it is made no more stuffy than it is already.

As for Glenys's point, "...stamp out discourtesy by overwhelming it with greater courtesy, and thereby leading by example?", I couldn't agree more.  One place where this could start is when newbies make mistakes, including spelling mistakes - eg "Bitter End" for "Working End", or "Bite" for "Bight".  Rather than publicly pointing out their error to them, schoolmarm fashion, it has to be better simply to use the correct term "Working End" or the correct spelling "Bight" several times in our responses to such posts (not too many times though, they don't need a sledge-hammer!).  The newbie will get the message, without being humiliated.  Humiliated people don't learn, they leave.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: roo on March 05, 2012, 08:48:48 PM
Got any suggestions:? ;D

Searching and compiling some common ones:

Rules & Guidelines

Stay on topic.

Messages posted to this board must be polite and free of personal attacks, threats, and crude or sexually-explicit language, rude comments and innuendo.

Personal differences should be handled through email or private messages and not through posts displayed to everyone.

Inappropriate or harassing private messages are not permitted.

Ignore spammers, or report them.

Do not use someone else's thread for a private conversation.  Use private messages or email for private conversations.

Do not comment on moderator disciplinary actions.

In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.

Do not post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.

Write concisely and do not ramble.

Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.

Use a meaningful title for your thread.

Material that violates the rules may be edited or deleted without prior notice.

Users who persistently violate the rules will be banned.

Long ago, I got a private message that some form of rules would be composed into an official list.  Letting "sea-salts be sea-salts" was an obvious failure, in addition to being an insult to seamen regarding their self-control.  As time goes on, it's apparent that this isn't happening.

But, just in case someday things change, and some rules are composed and enforced (beyond mere spam-blocking), I'd like to add a suggestion:

Do not bump (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bump_%28Internet%29) topics as an alternative to linking to them in relevant discussions.
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: SS369 on March 05, 2012, 09:21:18 PM
Got any suggestions:? ;D

Searching and compiling some common ones:

Rules & Guidelines

Stay on topic.

Messages posted to this board must be polite and free of personal attacks, threats, and crude or sexually-explicit language, rude comments and innuendo.

Personal differences should be handled through email or private messages and not through posts displayed to everyone.

Inappropriate or harassing private messages are not permitted.

Ignore spammers, or report them.

Do not use someone else's thread for a private conversation.  Use private messages or email for private conversations.

Do not comment on moderator disciplinary actions.

In order to be understood by most people, use correct spelling, grammar and avoid slang unless you know the word or phrase will be understood by other members.

Do not post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion.

Write concisely and do not ramble.

Search the other posts to see if your topic is already covered.

Use a meaningful title for your thread.

Material that violates the rules may be edited or deleted without prior notice.

Users who persistently violate the rules will be banned.

Long ago, I got a private message that some form of rules would be composed into an official list.  Letting "sea-salts be sea-salts" was an obvious failure, in addition to being an insult to seamen regarding their self-control.  As time goes on, it's apparent that this isn't happening.

But, just in case someday things change, and some rules are composed and enforced (beyond mere spam-blocking), I'd like to add a suggestion:

Do not bump (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bump_%28Internet%29) topics as an alternative to linking to them in relevant discussions.

Thank you roo.

I believe that some of these are common decency issues and they have been addressed behind the scenes with limited progress. I know that I will personally try my best to use these suggestions to moderate the forum, regardless of them being "officially posted".

Mere Spam blocking is important as you must know and it is not the only action taken by the Administration.

We could all work together on the linking to relevant topic discussions.

SS
Title: Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
Post by: WebAdmin on March 06, 2012, 05:54:05 AM
Hi Roo,

Just a clarification.  Yes, I did send you that intention about a list of forum rules.  Circumstances in my life prevented me from being in the forum as much as I wanted then, and when I came back to it I realised that in actual fact the very great majority of contributors do keep to the unwritten rules of courtesy, and it is only a minority who display discourtesy in their posts.

It seemed to me then that it would be better to deal as well as we could with incidents as they arose using other communications than a list of rules.

I should have communicated better to you my change of mind on that score, and I apologise that I didn't.

If you would direct me to the offended sailor, I'll be happy to message him or her about the offence caused.

Regards

Glenys