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Changes to forums
#1
I have considered some changes recently to this forum. There has been one thread in particular, Hey bigdog.., that is dominating the HS Wrestling forum and has probably run its course. I have received numerous complaints about it. There are now 20 pages of non-productive insults being traded. I was hoping that the users involved would eventually get bored or simply ignore each other and move on to something else but that has not yet happened yet so I am opening discussion with the forum about how to handle this type of issue.

My goal when starting this forum was to give everybody a voice to everybody who wanted to discuss wrestling without fear of being censored or deleted. I still want to maintain that standard. I do not want to determine the value of anyone's speech but I also do not want these forums to be dragged into the gutter where nobody enjoys participating. My goal as administrator is to get as many people involved in these forums as possible.

Initially I had briefly closed the thread to further discussion but then changed my mind as I worried that it may be construed as censorship even though I left the conversation up. Then I had an idea to create a new forum that I called Mud Wrestling where we could move threads that had lost their way. I wasn't sure if I should simply make that call myself or not so I created a process where users could vote whether to move the thread to Mud Wrestling where the conversation could continue yet be out of the way of other pertinent topics. I took it down as I worried that this process could be abused by a small group of people who could control the vote and the conversations.

Ideally I would like the community to police itself so I do not have to get involved so I finally decided that I would leave it up to the forum users to provide suggestions here about how to best deal with these types of threads. Ultimately I will choose and implement the suggestion I find to be most fair and practical yet does not stifle anyone's voice unnecessarily.
[-] The following 5 users Like admin's post:
  • ChaSimpson, CoachSingles, Get it told Wrastle, quitter, redstepchild
#2
(02-26-2012, 11:28 AM)admin Wrote: I have considered some changes recently to this forum. There has been one thread in particular, Hey bigdog.., that is dominating the HS Wrestling forum and has probably run its course. I have received numerous complaints about it. There are now 20 pages of non-productive insults being traded. I was hoping that the users involved would eventually get bored or simply ignore each other and move on to something else but that has not yet happened yet so I am opening discussion with the forum about how to handle this type of issue.
Wishful thinking on your part, but I appreciate your optimism. I can only imagine how many 'Report this post' messages you've received already. Big Grin LOL!! My how it has mutated. What started out as a gripe directed to one individual -- regarding his opinion -- has changed direction a few times and now become something entirely different. I gave up on it a few days ago (it became boring and redundant) but checked back in this weekend. It has gotten crazy. It would be well more than 20 pages if acapulco and BayBeeDoll (or BayBeeTroll?) hadn't gone back and deleted several of their posts fearing the threatened reveal to those who know them personally...or worse.......the threat of litigation. HAHA! Give me a break.

(02-26-2012, 11:28 AM)admin Wrote: My goal when starting this forum was to give everybody a voice to everybody who wanted to discuss wrestling without fear of being censored or deleted. I still want to maintain that standard. I do not want to determine the value of anyone's speech but I also do not want these forums to be dragged into the gutter where nobody enjoys participating. My goal as administrator is to get as many people involved in these forums as possible.
I, for one, appreciate your efforts. We tried forums a couple of times at .com and at .net, but with limited success as it never would draw much activity. I suspected users were hesitant because there was no 'complete anonymity' like there was with the al.com board, but kudos to you as you've found something that has worked as it appears the al.com board is essentially dead now. My opinion -- stay the course.

(02-26-2012, 11:28 AM)admin Wrote: Initially I had briefly closed the thread to further discussion but then changed my mind as I worried that it may be construed as censorship even though I left the conversation up. Then I had an idea to create a new forum that I called Mud Wrestling where we could move threads that had lost their way. I wasn't sure if I should simply make that call myself or not so I created a process where users could vote whether to move the thread to Mud Wrestling where the conversation could continue yet be out of the way of other pertinent topics. I took it down as I worried that this process could be abused by a small group of people who could control the vote and the conversations.
Thanks for the clarification. That explains some of the comments I was seeing when drudging through that garbage today. I suspected that's what happened but had completely missed all of that. As far as another forum, I don't have a problem with 'Mud Wrestling', but I would probably rename it to 'Smack Talk' as that's essentially what it is.....and anyone surfing wouldn't get the wrong idea when a search comes back as 'Mud Wrestling'. That may certainly draw an unsolicited (or unintentionally solicited) crowd. However, even that wouldn't be a true fix as the thread began with someone seeking to ruffle feathers and intentionally took the 'in your face' approach by putting it in the 'HS Wrestling' forum rather than the 'General Discussion' forum to begin with. At least you can move threads from one forum to the other.

(02-26-2012, 11:28 AM)admin Wrote: Ideally I would like the community to police itself so I do not have to get involved so I finally decided that I would leave it up to the forum users to provide suggestions here about how to best deal with these types of threads. Ultimately I will choose and implement the suggestion I find to be most fair and practical yet does not stifle anyone's voice unnecessarily.
Fair enough. I'm interested in hearing other opinions too. But no community -- even policing itself -- will ever completely eliminate that element entirely. It's just human nature and will be around as long as we are.
#3
Create a new forum titled "mat smack". Move topics there if you feel compelled to do so.

With 8666 views, it was clearly popular entertainment.

Heck, sell some advertisements out on that page. Make you some money.


I can appreciate you for allowing it to run its course. Really, there was no distraction to anyone in the title and the only ones who were aware of its content were those that chose to read it. Chose being the key word.

There are a lot of different big personalities that come here. It would be boring with out them.


That thread went viral, to a certain extent.

People found out about this board because other people were talking about that thread. You got a lot of new visitors from that thread.

Theres plenty of quality conversations across this board to keep em coming back.

The awesome thing about that one thread was it stayed in one thread and didnt spill into multiple or bleed into other, serious topics.


From start to finish, that thread was about calling someone out.







#4
I like the Mud Wrestling scenario. Bull$h@+ would be appropriate also

You have done a Stellar Job with this Forum. Keep it Up!

You really need to let this kind of stuff play out - Some People need to be checked and I say "Let It Roll". Drama Mamas or Wee Men alike.

Exposure can help check some the Rumors and False information being put out there by individuals not having the Fiber to sign a name by their Junk.

I really hope this one goes Legal - But I'm quote sure it's wishful thinking.

#5
Oh, and thank you for not censoring the topic.

Thank you for asking for feedback. You dont have to, but I appreciate that you did.

I come here to find out rankings, ask questions, read about tournaments,talk about a concern, congradulate a team, and read a little heckling between the mens. They do it so well.

Some discussions get lively. The Hannah discussion, the rankings rant from another smaller A division. But the quality conversations seem to still flow without interruption.
#6
(02-26-2012, 05:53 PM)redstepchild Wrote: People found out about this board because other people were talking about that thread. You got a lot of new visitors from that thread.

Hey, that's great! Let's all be proud now of our new Jerry Springer status among forums.
Gary Litzinger
#7
Maybe you call the new forum The Trailer Park or Time Out.
#8
(02-26-2012, 11:28 AM)admin Wrote: Ideally I would like the community to police itself so I do not have to get involved so I finally decided that I would leave it up to the forum users to provide suggestions here about how to best deal with these types of threads. Ultimately I will choose and implement the suggestion I find to be most fair and practical yet does not stifle anyone's voice unnecessarily.

A not too unexpected dilemma... from zax's post back on 10-5-11...
"If you are going to have anonymous posters you need to try and prevent personal attacks..etc. That can only be effective if you have a few moderators that make judgement calls on enforcing a code of conduct.
If you are not going to allow anonymous users, you normally don't need very much moderation because it removes the anonymous internet tough guys who attack kids, parents, coaches, and want to pick fights.
This forum seems to have taken both approaches. Allow everyone to be anonymous if they choose, and very little to any moderation. I would like to see a few moderators on her that enforce a more strict code of content. Brian brought this up a few times, he would probably be a good choice."
Gary Litzinger
#9
(02-26-2012, 07:09 PM)focus2win Wrote: A not too unexpected dilemma... from zax's post back on 10-5-11...
"If you are going to have anonymous posters you need to try and prevent personal attacks..etc. That can only be effective if you have a few moderators that make judgement calls on enforcing a code of conduct.

There is a danger in letting several different people have control over the content and I don't want to give the impression that any one faction in this state has any control over the content. It is very difficult to know where to draw the line and each moderator may do so differently, especially if one moderator is aligned with or has an interest in a particular side of the argument. What may seem like valid criticism to one person may be deemed offensive by another. We do not want posts censored simply because we do not agree with or like someone's opinion. At AL.com, nobody's opinion was respected and virtually any post with any controversial point of view was deleted. Slowly but surely political correctness would start to take hold and that would certainly drive people away from participating. Up to this point, I have only banned one user and issued very few warnings for content and only when they undeniably violated our Terms of Service. For the most part, our users are very well behaved and manage themselves appropriately. I do not consider hurt feelings to be a valid reason to silence someone. This is wrestling after all, not baseball or golf. Wrestling is not for the meek, but it also not for bullies.

At this point I will most likely continue to moderate the forums on my own using the reported postings and my own judgement to be my guide. If in the future I feel a need to enlist other moderators, I will screen them very carefully and ensure that we all have an understanding about what is considered acceptable moderation.

Please continue to offer your suggestions on how we can make the forums a more enjoyable place to discuss Alabama wrestling. I definitely appreciate your input.
#10
I had to study on this a little while to conjure up what I really think about it. I guess this is like a wrestling match to some degree. As a rule, you don't put a 120 pound wrestler on the mat with a heavy weight and expect an even outcome. This is what I liken it to when people sign on with a screen names concealing their identity for the sole purpose of launching personal attacks on other members who actually do identify themselves. (Those identities represent many things- like family members and their kids who are at the forefront of my mind.) Or, pursue assaults on the integrity of wrestling clubs, coaches or really anyone in the greater wrestling community. This amounts to calling people out by their name, using real life circumstances as their material and playing out their personal/private vendettas from a protected position of anonymity. Some may not mind this, but my guess is, there are many who do and as a result they do not welcome such an opportunity availing itself to them or upon them. When gone unchecked, it is the best way to thwart any kind of open discussion in a forum such as this because by in large, people do not want to endure the public ridicule of having their personal, family, work, or any other circumstance drug through a public ringer. When faced with the current option, the only recourse is to meet them on the mat in an even match and take them on barb for barb letting the cards fall where they may Not only does it play itself out but it gets the perpetrator off the backs of the people they showed up to bash in the first place. Yes, this would be my reasoning behind the creation of this screen name and the only value I find in any of it, while disliking all of it. The "Hey Bigdawg" thread serves as a pretty good example of this. It became "screen name" versus "screen name" as opposed to a sharp shooter taking protected aim at wide open targets. (Except for Bigdawg himself who handled the circumstances better than anyone else I know of could have or would have.)
There are "open discussions" where people can disagree on many things to the point of calling each other names or whatever while making a case for why they think something is wrong or right and express their opinions candidly and openly. Due to the political nature of the beast, screen names with no real identities attached don't seem all that unreasonable and personally, I have appreciated your leaving this up to discretion of the individual. The problem with AL.COM was that a dissenting opinion of any variety was deleted because certain individuals did not agree with it or they did not want to allow for an honest discussion on a non-favoring topic. Then, there is this other. It is not about open discussion, but, rather a vehicle being used to destroy the reputation or perception of real life people. This is a completely different matter and one I find despicable on a great many levels. Personally, I was happy when I saw you closed the thread the first time. It only took you stopping one individual to bring the whole thing to a screeching halt. While it might have been titillating for the viewers it served no purpose whatsoever for the spirit of the incredible forum you have put together as evidenced by the number of complaints you probably received.

My Suggestions to solve the issue:
1. Use the private message feature to recruit 4 of 5 "members" to help you monitor the site if you feel this would help from a time management standpoint. Not for the purpose of censoring the political stuff or most any of it but for eliminating the unabashed, meritless personal attacks on people or clubs, etc at large. These "members" can alert you when things have "crossed the line" from anything remotely wrestling related and turn solely to nothing more than unadulterated character assassinations, sexual misconduct or blatantly breach any other of the guidelines you set up for the site. You can be alerted by other eyes watching and make the call based on your final opinion of judgement.
2. Warn the person(s) as you did a certain woman from Prattville. I believe her screen name was MattMaid. If this does not work, kick em off with no apology. It is, after all, your site. Her dismissal did nothing to lesson its relevance.
3. Moving "the trash topic of personal destruction" to another place does nothing more than move it to another place. What difference does the Subject Heading or location make when the outcome is just the same? The trash is still associated with the forum and becomes part of its core existence. As RedStep pointed out, it is still only a click away.
Personally, I do not know many of these who have been attacked or have any personal interest in their well being. However, I have found it hard to sit by and watch it happen without evening up the playing field knowing I was capable of doing it. It is nothing I am proud of and to you, I apologize for my participation in all of it. I hope, whatever you come up with stays within the vision of what you wanted this forum to be. All the while, finding a way to maintain some level of decorum as required by keeping it "just somewhat" regulated. This will result in defending it against becoming cheap entertainment in a quest of personal destruction inspired by those who "have no name." Thanks for all you have done in regard to all of it. Your efforts are completely commended and most definitely appreciated.


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