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Provost
09-10-2009, 06:32 PM
In order to streamline our management of the forums I've instituted a few changes today.

1) As of now, any moderator can work on any forum. They will still have their areas of expertise and will stay mainly in those areas, However, if a problem arises (i.e. an alert) in another area they will have the ability to act on it.

2) I've implemented the "infraction" tool in this software. This means that if someone gets tagged by a moderator enough times, they'll get an automatic three day hiatus from the forum. As it stands right now, each tag is a point and it takes 25 points to earn a hiatus. Each point has a "shelf life" of 10 days, i.e. it drops off your record then. So if you get 25 tags in one day you're out for three days. If you accumulate 24 tags over 11 days you just squeek by. I trust that is clear.

It is my sincere hope that being tagged will invoke a healthy, civil self-analysis to avoid further tags and not become a twisted "badge of honor" among the less restrained members of the community. Our goal is to approximate civil discourse on matters that will enrich us all, not see how much we can get away with. If that is not possible for you, other arrangements will be made. 'Nuff said.

More updates will follow as they are necessary.

Please feel free to answer the poll and discuss your thoughts about these changes on this thread.

Respectfully,

josie wales
09-10-2009, 07:13 PM
Hey, I really enjoy this forum and the majority who chose to govern themselves. Many thanks to the moderators who ride herd on the flow of discourse....with this post, I'll go first. Glad the "teachers are back in the room"....although I enjoy a good natured rib, a well aimed jest and occasionally a Southern biased rebuttal, I am very turned away by those who pride themselves in being di#####ds whose inbreading serves only to discourage the remainder of us....either hardcore, mainstream or absolute inquiring rookies. Somewhat like watching Springer or a close up car wreck , the negative harmful stubbed-up posts of the few are really as cute as some of the 7th grade Phys. Ed. stuff that most of us got over a while back. Mods and Provost.....as Tony Evans said in Dallas: "Take it back....we know they don't give up easily but, take it back. " Ok, group hug, Kumbaya and a bowl of warm hosewater with cardboard cookies to all !!

50th VA Corporal
09-10-2009, 08:18 PM
All I can say is thank you! I look forward to civility returning to the forum.

Mint Julep
09-10-2009, 09:23 PM
I think 25 in ten days is pretty lenient.

Micah Trent
09-10-2009, 09:46 PM
Nice to see some order in place again.

jurgitemvaletem
09-10-2009, 11:26 PM
I think 25 in ten days is pretty lenient.


IMHO, much too lenient.

jthlmnn
09-11-2009, 05:37 PM
Thank you!

Provost
09-11-2009, 06:43 PM
I appreciate the feedback here. Any suggestions on how many "hits" someone should get before they get placed in "time out?"

I also appreciate the words of encouragement. Frankly, they are sorely needed this week. :)

Provost

josie wales
09-11-2009, 07:35 PM
Pro, Most folk on this Forum wouldn't want even one demerit....why give these few disruptive bullies any slack at all ? I suggest the following: First offense, Moderator PM's the perp with warning. Second offense gets you three days in the box.....Third offense, well my friend, you're outa' here for good.....don't come back no mo'....start your own Forum and bi**h all you need to. Three strikes and is good enough for baseball.....baseball been berry berry good to me. Just a thought, JW

Micah Trent
09-11-2009, 10:37 PM
I appreciate the feedback here. Any suggestions on how many "hits" someone should get before they get placed in "time out?"

I also appreciate the words of encouragement. Frankly, they are sorely needed this week. :)

Provost

# of hits:
How about the Lucky 7 or the Bad Luck 13?

Blair
09-12-2009, 08:25 AM
I think if your going to establish a form of punishment for members that misbehave on the forum, you should put some teeth into the punishment.
Suggestion,

First set of 3 Moderator warnings result in a 3 day suspension.

Second set of 3 Moderator warnings result in 30 day suspension.

Third set of 3 Moderator warnings result in the termination of that member account.

You also keep records of the number of postings individual members make in their personal profile. Keep a count also of the number of warnings that member may receive along with any suspensions.
This may offer a bit of a permanent "Shameful Behavior" factor to that members Profile.
Just some ideas.
Thank you,

Opdyke88th
09-12-2009, 05:35 PM
IMHO, much too lenient.

It's a start!

billwatson2
09-12-2009, 07:35 PM
I'm not sure it's possible or desirable to have some kind of absolute yardstick by which to measure disruptiveness. Sometimes you can tell when someone is just here to create havoc; why let them push to the 30-day limit every 30 days? Throw them out. Let them come back if they agree to behave. In my experience, which is now considerable since I've had to moderate a newspaper online forum for three years, everyone who regularly visits for the sake of social conversation or getting information "gets it" when you give a cyber bully or troll the heave ho. Throwing them out after one warning, on the second blatant offense, is the "no bs here" announcement. Letting them back in if they outright say "I'll behave" will get 50 percent of them back within a couple of weeks, reincarnated as creatures of civility. The other 50 percent will go someplace where their shortcomings are indulged.

Don't be swayed by all the phoney arguments like "You've abused my First Amendment rights." This is a privately run, privately owned forum just the same as if someone starts a pub or a restaurant; a restaurant owner is under no obligation to allow mean-spirited ranters floor space to have their say. The First Amendment bars the government from interfering; a forum owner or a restaurant owner is making decisions based on the purposes for which the forum or restaurant exists. It is the same as throwing out a drunk or panhandler or someone trying to convert customers to communism, capitalism or a subscription to Playboy: Your customers/clientele are not his captive audience by virtue of the Bill of Rights. Nor are they his flock of sheep to jab with a cattle prod for his own private amusement.

Really, disagreements are common here, differences are rampant, but they are all handled in stride and with relatively good cheer most of the time. Real troublemakers are few and far between. The moderators can be a lot swifter when appropriate, with those few, those awful few, that errant band of bothers, without fear anyone is going to accuse them of abuse of power.

KarinTimour
09-13-2009, 11:16 AM
I second what Bill Watson posted, with an added twist.

We want this forum to be a safe place to post and read for young people, people new to the hobby and people who may have very different ideas of what reenacting is. Some of us are case hardened, have seen it all before (sometimes from the same people on other forums) and know what we're getting into if we wade in once the fur starts flying. But there are people here (some of whom may only be lurking and getting their nerve up to join the conversation) who can be startled or shocked into permanent silence by what is said on this board. And that robs all of us of their perspective/questions/potential contributions.

I'd go for a warning on the first, a 3 day suspension on the second and longer or permanent on the third. I'd also like to build on Bill's recommendation that the Mods reserve to themselves the right to summarily boot someone who has really crossed the line.

In my "real life" I do a fair amount of teaching with some really rough characters (in prisons, or in public forums with active addicts and alcoholics in the group). I love what I do, but I find that some folks just didn't get that "home training" that others of us got early in life. Every so often you get "that one." He/she carefully weighs the options, but then is just too tempted to "go there." Figures you'll be hung up on your own process, and they'll only get a warning since it's their first, or just a 3 day because it's their second. An added enjoyment is watching you be hindered by only being able to give them a warning "because it was only the first offense." They get their enjoyment in taking out their anger and bullying on others.

Just one of these people has the potential to derail my entire training, because I've now got someone who was verbally attacked by this character. Their experience has just turned from "learning and discussion" to "shut up so you don't get attacked again." The rest of the class, having watched it happen are all now deciding it's not safe to open their mouths at all.

When I'm training, my first responsibility is to make it safe for everyone in the room.

To address this kind of behavior before it starts, I also state: "but if what you do is far enough over the line in my judgment, you're out at any point." Again, it tends to be only a handful, but they are out there.

So I'd go with a warning on 1, a 3-day on 2, either 30 day or permanent on 3, with the proviso that there is always the possibility that if a Mod feels what you did was far too far over the line, you're out of here on one.

My two cents,
Karin Timour
Period Knitting -- Socks, Sleeping Hats, Balaclavas
Atlantic Guard Soldiers' Aid Society
Email: Ktimour@aol.com

Pvt Schnapps
09-14-2009, 06:46 AM
Recognizing that I've already earned a time-out or two myself, I agree with Bill and Karen and Pogue.

Provost
09-14-2009, 02:57 PM
I seem to see a developing consensus to be tougher. Who knew I was such a softie? (You'd never know it from my email today. ;)

Bill, your insight and experience are invaluable, as always. The legality of it we watched get hammered out years ago as the relevant case law got sorted out. We held our breath on a few of those... Our working metaphor of a dinner party in a private home seems to give most folks the right idea of how to behave.

Karin, I especially appreciate your insight on the experience of a training session. I think it's all the more important to foster that "safe place" mentality in an online forum where we can't see faces nor hear voices. Pardoxically, from my experience, the online environment lowers some folk's inhibitions but it raises others. The opportunity for a potential audience of thousands, not just a few dozen, seems to have that effect. I agree completely about not wanting to silence/intimidate those who are just starting out or may be new to the hobby.

Mike, your honesty is admirable, as always.

By the way, as far as banning members, it should be noted that some folks have been banned and snuck back on here for -years- under a whole host of false names. It's not as easy as it sounds to ban someone who is knowledgable and determined. Fortunately, it's also not as easy to stay hidden as they would like to believe.

Anyone have a different opinion? Please, speak up. That's why we're here.

Provost

Provost
09-14-2009, 03:01 PM
Gentleman, thanks for your perspective. Reading your comments and combining that with the poll above leads me in the direction of being stricter on "infractions". It also gives me some numbers to look at adjusting. That helps a lot.

I don't know if it shows up on profiles "member to member" but mods can see the list of current infractions. I don't know if the old ones stay on the list or not, have to ding someone and wait to see if it still shows up after the "expiration date."

Provost

Provost
09-14-2009, 03:16 PM
Just did some poking around and it seems as though there is a long term record kept of infractions, not just the current ones. When issuing an infraction on a post it also adds a little yellow or red "card" image on the bottom right of the post in question. Not sure if it stays there forever or just until the infraction "expires" but it's a visual cue that there's been a reprimand made.

I'll have to log out to test out the other part, more later.

Provost

Infraction Dummy
09-14-2009, 03:33 PM
All this infraction business makes me nervious. I just want to say what I want, when and where I want, and the rest of you have to listen to me, no matter what. But I don't have to listen to anyone. Yeah, that's the ticket. :)

"Ok, now let's see how this works..." <evil cackle from Provost's secret lair>

Scooby_308
09-14-2009, 03:47 PM
All this infraction business makes me nervious. I just want to say what I want, when and where I want, and the rest of you have to listen to me, no matter what. But I don't have to listen to anyone. Yeah, that's the ticket. :)

"Ok, now let's see how this works..." <evil cackle from Provost's secret lair>

Hey Dummy,

Watch out, the Provost will get you for your veiled impersonation of the Provost! Should someone hit the alert button on this Dummy?

:)

Provost
09-14-2009, 05:29 PM
He served his purpose though.

Spinster
09-14-2009, 05:30 PM
They already have.

I can see the red card.


Now, what's going to be interesting is my goofs and gaffs while I'm learning a new piece of technology for me--an Iphone.

Since I'm spending so much time in AlzheimersDaddyLand, in a rural area, I was going stir crazy and often could not even get to town to an internet wireless cafe. Once I weighed the cost of technology and service at his house, I opted for the Iphone. Nice toy. Steep learning curve.

And thus, on another forum with different software, paging through with stubby fingers, I did a number of 'hide post' before another moderator even newer to the board than I was, figured out the problem and began to 'unhide' those items. Played hob with the forum there for awhile, especially in one where quick wit and quick reply is the order of the day.

So, I'll certainly slow down and try not to cause havoc here, as we're a wee bit understaffed.

tompritchett
09-15-2009, 08:46 PM
Correct me if I am wrong on this, Provost, but doesn't the infraction function allow for different points to be assigned for different types of offenses. If that is the case, then part of the solution would be have certain offenses carry different weights. For example, slipping up on language might be worth one point, name calling - 3 points, deliberately trying to start a fight - 5 points, etc.

Provost
09-16-2009, 11:28 PM
You are correct. As usual. :) I'm open to suggestions on that aspect as well.

Provost
09-17-2009, 12:20 AM
Due to an oversight when we upgraded the software at the beginning of the summer the "picture albums" feature wasn't turned off.

I've just corrected that oversight.

If you have pictures that you only had in there, please let me know and we'll try to get them back out for you.

The reason we do this is two fold. 1) Pictures take up a LOT of storage space and we don't have unlimited storage. 2) Pictures can be used as a backdoor for hackers to gain access to the system.

I regret the inconvenience, but unless things have changed (and I'll ask Bob) picture albums will have to be hosted elsewhere and you can link to them here.

Provost

Provost
09-17-2009, 08:49 PM
Well, it seems that my concerns were outdated. We've got the room for judicious use of albums and safeguards are in place to prevent hacking. :)

Albums have been re-enabled. Please let me know if you experience any troubles.

Provost

Provost
09-17-2009, 09:22 PM
Changes Sept 24 or so?

So far the trend seems to be for less leniency and tougher infractions. I'll chat it over with the other mods and see what looks reasonable to enforce and we'll make some changes Sept 24 or so. That will give everyone two weeks to weigh in with thier thoughts.

By the way, if you would rather not air your thoughts publicly, feel free to email me and that way it will be private and I'll still get to hear what you think.

Provost

Provost
09-29-2009, 11:19 PM
I finally found the magic switch to flick that allows social group messages to only be viewed by group members. I think.

Social group creators should now have the option to take their group private if they wish.

Please contact me if you have trouble enabling with this feature with your group. I'm not sure if it will work for existing groups or not.

It should still allow the moderators to view the messages, so be nice. :)

Provost

cookiemom
09-30-2009, 07:35 AM
I finally found the magic switch to flick that allows social group messages to only be viewed by group members. I think.

Social group creators should now have the option to take their group private if they wish.

Please contact me if you have trouble enabling with this feature with your group. I'm not sure if it will work for existing groups or not.

It should still allow the moderators to view the messages, so be nice. :)

Provost

Dear Sir,
Does this mean that "ThunderBunny" might be able to conduct her reeenactor singles group on this forum without always being in the snipers' sights? Or Mrs. Peebles meet with her lady friends in similar peaceful circumstances? " 'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished..."


Ma
OnceBurnedTwiceShy Mess

Spinster
09-30-2009, 11:38 AM
That's the theory Ma.

Now, if you will help us test it..... click on the "Community' tab, click on "Social Groups" . Pick one that you are not a member of. Click on it. You may be able to see categories of posts inside it. What we want to know is: Can you read the individual posts in a social group without joining that group?

If you can't, then the Provost has flipped the right switch, and the Social Groups are 'private'--not viewable for non-members, with the exception of moderators. We still can see inside the groups, and will receive alerts if someone mashes that button on a social group post.

Right now, I've tested the system when completely logged out and viewing as a 'guest'. Not only can I not see inside--the tab to get me to social groups is not even present. We do still need to know what a typical user sees when properly logged in.

And yes please, lets get the Singles Out Looking and the Portly Old Gals Just Like Me Exercising threads off the main boards. Nobody sees me in those clothes :p. The phrase 'get a room' applies quite nicely here, and they are easy to set up.

Provost
09-30-2009, 03:53 PM
Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for the 99% of members who operate within the forum guidelines of "respectful but vigorous debate" more than 99% of the time. You make it all worthwhile.

It is my sincere hope that no one will ever "earn" one of these infractions, but we all have our down days. The system outlined below allows for that without being overbearing, I believe.

However, we know that some folks just don't like the guidelines and want to do things their way. Therefore, to give an incentive to operate within them, I've done two things.

First was to "turn on" the infraction tool for moderators here. This allows them to flag a post as inappropriate and, in turn, the member gets a brief written explanation of what as wrong and what might be improved.

Second, today, based in large part on the feedback on this thread, I've increased the consequences for accumulating too many of these infractions. Below is a list of said infractions, some explanation of them, the number of points they render and the length of time they last.

Like points on your driving record, they can add up over time, but also have a "sunset" where they drop off your total after a certain time. That time here is two weeks, for now.

Say a member called someone else a name, thereby belittling them. It gets flagged by a moderator. They have ten points on their account for the next 14 days. If they don't repeat the problem, the total drops to zero after 14 days. All is well.

But if they then pick a fight with someone, and get flagged, their total jumps to 20 and they have earned a three day suspension to cool off. If it's all in one day, it will be 14 days before their point total drops below 20, another three days before they're allowed back on.

Repeated problems of the same type have an added bad consequence, the sunset is extended. For instance, if someone made two posts where they called someone names, on the same day, and both got flagged, they have earned 10 points for 28 days, not just 14 days. Two more like that in close succession and they've given themselves a rather long "time out." It'll be almost two months before their point total drops below 20 and they're allowed back on again.

To be clear:

As long as there are 20 points on your record it will be three days before you get back in.

As long as there are 25 points on your record it will be a minimum of two weeks and possibly permanent suspension.

So, forthwith, the list of infractions:

Insulted Other Member(s).. 5pts -- Expires after 14 Days
Insults can take manifold forms, but the mods are all folks whose judgement I have come to trust. Remember the Golden Rule, the real one, and you'll be fine.

Inappropriate Language.. 5pts -- Expires after 14 Days
Things that would have gotten a kid's mouth washed out with soap in "our era." It was also not acceptable around the dinner table. Doesn't matter if the software filter puts those little asterisks in there or you try to do it yourself to evade the filter. Let's aim a little higher.

Name calling.. 10pts -- Expires after 14 Days
Doesn't contribute anything substantive to a debate and usually is seen as a tactic of someone who has run out of ideas but wants to silence the other side. Don't go there.

Deliberately trying to pick a fight.. 15pts -- Expires after 14 Days
This would be a serious problem and put someone on notice that they're way over the line, but the mod thinks there's hope they can control themselves.

Serious breach of forum guidelines -
about to be banned... 25pts -- Never expires
Someone needs to be excluded from the forum immediately, perhaps permanently, subject to the Provost's review.

Spammed Advertisements.. 25pts -- Never expires
Allows the mods to close off the access of a spambot. Not intended for use against humans.

You can look at your infractions on your user profile under the "User" CP tab at the top of your forum list.

I hope this note lays out the boundaries clearly but concisely. It is a work in progress and may be updated, changed or adjusted as time goes by and needs arise.

Please feel free to discuss the above set up on this thread.

Respectfully,
Provost

Provost
09-30-2009, 04:01 PM
I think the only fly still in the ointment (i.e. unknown variable in the equation) is that the owner of that group has to turn on the privacy feature. I think.

Non-members viewing the forums would not see the social groups since they're not logged in as members, even if the groups were viewable to members. I think.

Further research will be conducted. :) All observations and data points welcome.

Provost

yerbyray
09-30-2009, 04:26 PM
I like the idea as it would act as a "caution flag" for me and educate me when I unknowingly did something wrong. I am not the most active poster and there is long periods of time between when I do go active so I forget what the rules are.

All forums are different so people do make honest mistakes.

I think it will be hard to enforce the flaming or picking fight issues. Not to mention name calling if you do not know the relationship between the two parties or history.

cookiemom
09-30-2009, 07:38 PM
That's the theory Ma.

Now, if you will help us test it..... click on the "Community' tab, click on "Social Groups" . Pick one that you are not a member of. Click on it. You may be able to see categories of posts inside it. What we want to know is: Can you read the individual posts in a social group without joining that group?

If you can't, then the Provost has flipped the right switch, and the Social Groups are 'private'--not viewable for non-members, with the exception of moderators. We still can see inside the groups, and will receive alerts if someone mashes that button on a social group post.

Right now, I've tested the system when completely logged out and viewing as a 'guest'. Not only can I not see inside--the tab to get me to social groups is not even present. We do still need to know what a typical user sees when properly logged in.

And yes please, lets get the Singles Out Looking and the Portly Old Gals Just Like Me Exercising threads off the main boards. Nobody sees me in those clothes :p. The phrase 'get a room' applies quite nicely here, and they are easy to set up.

As you requested, Mrs. Lawson, I went to the social groups page a few minutes ago, and, although I am not a member of any of those groups, I could indeed read the individual messages [with the exception of the Mid-Atlantic Campaigners group, which had a note stating that only group members can view its contents.]

Please let me know if I can be of further service.
Ma

Spinster
09-30-2009, 10:35 PM
Thank you Ma.

That tells us that the privacy filter is in place and working properly, as the Mid-Atlantic is not viewable, and sends the proper notice.

For any other groups, the group owner will need to set the options to make the group posts 'private'--viewable by members only.

Some groups will choose to remain publically viewable, and that's just fine

Provost
10-01-2009, 09:40 PM
It will have it's tough moments, I'm sure, but the mods here are all hand picked for being pretty wise ol' birds. :) Most of us can read a thread and get the drift if something is mean or nasty or lighthearted. And if we make a mistake, it can be undone. Posts that are 'deleted' are only screened from users view. I can reinstate them if needed.

So relax, enjoy the forums and have a good time here. I'm working on trying to find a template that will change our "look" to something more 'wood and iron' and less '1990's techno pizzazz.' I hope that will visually set us apart from the at least two other CW sites I know that use this same software. :)

Thanks for the feedback!

Provost

Provost
10-01-2009, 09:44 PM
Just for the sheer thrill of experimentation I've turned on the "reputation" feature. That means that if you like a post, you can click on the little scales in the top bar of that message and let them know that. I don't know all the ins and outs of the system, but it looks like it might be a way to affirm someone who is posting good material, which is why I turned it on.

To my understanding everyone starts out with 10 points and the more clicks they get the higher their reputation level. No prizes will be awarded other than the esteem of your fellow men (& women!).

Provost

josie wales
10-02-2009, 06:29 AM
Just for the sheer thrill of experimentation I've turned on the "reputation" feature. That means that if you like a post, you can click on the little scales in the top bar of that message and let them know that. I don't know all the ins and outs of the system, but it looks like it might be a way to affirm someone who is posting good material, which is why I turned it on.

To my understanding everyone starts out with 10 points and the more clicks they get the higher their reputation level. No prizes will be awarded other than the esteem of your fellow men (& women!).

Provost
PRO, Thanks and keep up the good fight to guide the Forum in an even better direction.....I believe this to be a very positive idea with a small caveat......would the person posting the scaley thing be identified ? To discourage more of the recent unpleasantness on the Forum, I propose full disclosure of Feedback....this works well in eBay.....especially to those of us with Perfect Feedback. Perhaps some of the more timid posters would feel inclined to participate in Feedback if the person leaving said feedback was in public sight......just a thought, JW

Provost
10-07-2009, 11:58 AM
JW,

So far as I can see, there have been only three reputation "awards" made, all by me, and one of those was to test what could be seen by a regular user and what they can't see. :)

It seems that the recipient doesn't see who the reputation was given by, only the date, time and comments.

However, in my admin pages I can see all the reputation "events" and who they came from, who they go to, plus the comments. I can sift out of those events only the ones to or from a particular member and a time period, as well.

So there is some accountability for what's said/done by/to whom, but the recipient doesn't seem to get all that info, alas.

Provost

josie wales
10-07-2009, 12:18 PM
JW,

So far as I can see, there have been only three reputation "awards" made, all by me, and one of those was to test what could be seen by a regular user and what they can't see. :)

It seems that the recipient doesn't see who the reputation was given by, only the date, time and comments.

However, in my admin pages I can see all the reputation "events" and who they came from, who they go to, plus the comments. I can sift out of those events only the ones to or from a particular member and a time period, as well.

So there is some accountability for what's said/done by/to whom, but the recipient doesn't seem to get all that info, alas.

Provost

Pro, Though somewhat limited in reach, your solution is a positive step towards more civility here. The newbies, outside gazers and the 95% of the Forum folks who enjoy the normal give-and-take of this place should benefit. Go for it and thanks for the continued good efforts ! JW

huntdaw
10-07-2009, 01:07 PM
I don't see a little set of scales anywhere.

Well, I do know after I posted this but I didn't see it on the posts immediately preceding mine. Moot point now I suppose.

Provost
10-07-2009, 02:01 PM
JW, thanks! I know the mods here all appreciate the odd good word now and then. :)

MC, I think it might be a screen update issue. I know I often have to refresh my screen to get a "current" view of things as they are online. My browser seems to want to use the view it stored in my computer instead of what's really online. Next time you don't see it, hit refresh and see if it pops up.

Glad you can see it now.

Provost

GaWildcat
11-20-2009, 02:08 PM
Trying to figure out if I'm in trouble or not.

5strings
11-22-2009, 11:02 PM
Your reputation looks alright GaWildcat. I see no infractions at this time.