Author Topic: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines  (Read 56364 times)

SS369

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #15 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

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #16 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)

roo

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #17 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.
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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #18 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*
====

roo

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #19 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. 
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DerekSmith

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #20 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

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #21 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.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 12:27:57 AM by roo »
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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #22 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 ...

 ;)

DerekSmith

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #23 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

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #24 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
Lesley
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DerekSmith

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #25 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

roo

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #26 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.
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roo

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #27 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.
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Dan_Lehman

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #28 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*
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DerekSmith

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Re: Composing Forum Rules & Guidelines
« Reply #29 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