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Thread: The Reason For Forum Mods and Censorship

  1. #1
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    Default The Reason For Forum Mods and Censorship

    Some thoughts. Use 'em for discussion or not

    One should perhaps understand that the biggest reason for there BEING censorship here on this Forum - is not because of 'concern over peoples feelings' (or possible legal issues)- but because it then justifies the existence of these 'Moderators' in the first place.

    No censorship = No Need For Mods

    which in turn means there's NO power structure into which those who think its 'important', will try to climb somehow.

    Removing all censoring = removing the need and the lure of 'power' from those forumites who want it.

    I would assume that those who have been made 'Mods' - feel somehow better or superior, to those who haven't. Indeed, some of the Mods may have actively pursued the idea of - for instance - 'behaving well enough' ('social engineering') for the site owner to graciously bestow the honour of being a Mod upon them.

    The existence of Mods requires the existence of humans who believe that the extra powers and tools which they can use on Forum, is somehow 'important'.

    Like anyone who's been in the Army can tell you, there's a whole unofficial structure in place for new arrivals - who are considered less important than the exact same people who've been there for longer. (The 'roerfs' and the 'oumanne' syndrome) Not because the longer serving people are better in any way - but because it suits the Powers Higher Up, to have the slaves squabbling and fighting and believing there's some sort of 'status' which can be attained.

    Same here on Forum. I see very few instances where anyone says. 'Get rid of all Mods' - why? Because of the niggling lure and dangling carrot of a 'higher status' being possible at some point for them. All the more reason to consider removing this fake 'status'.

    I personally would turn down the offer of being made a Moderator, because I'm not power-hungry, and have no desire to be given any extra authority - and also because I'm aware that I'll delude and fool myself into saying "Oh well, whatever I do, it's for the 'good of the Forum'.

    Meantime, the truth deep down is: I've been manipulated into playing the same old self-deluding game that all slaves get offered.

    "Here, have some power - no, don't tell yourself that it makes you feel stronger or higher status - just lie to yourself and pretend that what you're doing is to serve a Higher Purpose."
    (In this case, the bogus illusion and lie that I'd imagine most current and potential Mods use is:"I'll be a mod and er enjoy the authority and status in order to protect the Forum, look after the feelings of individuals using it, and make sure there's nothing that could be legally acted upon - and thus damage the Forum.")

    Yeah right.

    So instead of the Forum being anything like a haven for free speech, and a yardstick to force its users to learn tolerance (or not) - it becomes a message board that reflects the fears, predjudices and status-seeking, of those slaves who've shown that they want/need some power.

    (I forget who it was, but someone once said - the mere idea of someone saying they want to become a politician, or have some power, should immediately prevent them from ever being allowed to go into politics in the first place.)

    Would it not be more useful and educational all round, for there to be no censorship and no Mods on this Forum - so that users are forced to learn what its like to have to deal with each other and cope (or not) with each others probably stupid idea's and beliefs?

    Or - if that idea is too scary to those who currently like their Mod ahem 'status' and self-delusions for their reasons and powers - and in order to retain the focus of this broadband site:

    *Remove ALL censorship and Mod powers from the Off Topic section, and add a simple clickthrough warning, that clicking into Off Topic means you agree you're an adult and you accept that you may encounter material that you find offensive and which the site accepts no responsibility for.*

    I think this would be a very useful and educational step, for the Forum as a whole - for there to be a deliberate 'untouchable and uncensorable' section - to remove the whole parental babysitting approach that users are currently
    operating under.

    It's not democratic, it's not productive and it's creating a whole genre of users who think that whining like little babies whenever someone says something 'mean', and running to percieved 'authority figures' to help make the unpalatable words go away' is an adult form of behaviour - and as for the Mods - the current situation means they're allowed to believe that 'looking after other peoples feelings' and acting as pseudo parents to grown adult humans online, is somehow 'productive' on any level - and going to make users learn tolerance and other democratic values.

    It's not - and it can't cause anything that's even close to democracy or tolerance, as long as there are parental figures on forum who can 'make all the naughty words/idea's/thoughts go away' - for anyone who complains.

    What this means in reality is: the Forum itself becomes censored down to a nice Disneyfied worldview where the lowest common denominator is the norm. In other words, the Forum is reduced to content which has been deleted, censored and controlled down into a bland non-offensive form that is designed to be acceptable to a young child.
    But for the most part - we're not children here.

    So why tolerate structures which are clearly anti-democratic and designed for children's young tender minds?

    Make the OFF TOPIC section 'Mod' and censorship free, so that we learn how to operate as adults, and not as whiney easily-frightened, easily-offended users who are being taught how to use their individual supposed 'sensitivities', to have material they don't like, censored.

    This isn't adult, or mature or democratic, or productive to the Forum, or the country as a whole..

    ================================================
    Last edited by LoneGunman; 08-02-2006 at 09:43 AM.

  2. #2

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    I have given this some thought, if the Forumite that starts the thread feels at some point that the thread has “gone to far” or that it serves no purpose any more, can he or she be given the option of “killing” the thread. In this way it will be up to the “Thread Starter” to be (so to speak in charge) of his/her thread. If at any point things get out of hand the mods will then send that individual a pm explaining why he /she must push the kill button. Does this sound stupid or what?

    LG,the clicktru warning sounds a very good idea, we are all grownups here on this forum, like in a real life conversation, if you get tiered of what peeps are saying, you walk away, and on the forum, just stop posting.
    The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."Hoka Hey

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thats why I suggested a 'mod and censor free zone' in Off Topic - so that the primary focus of this site doesnt degenerate into trolling and flaming - but that the Off Topic section, with a clickthrough warning, then becomes an area where people have to learn to cope with things they may not like.
    Thus everyone gets to learn a little.

    re the OP (original poster) having the power to kill threads, hmm. Might not be a good thing - as I'm guilty myself of freaking out, and going and deleting en masse my posts - which messes up the flow of the Forum. Again, handing that kind of power to individuals, I think, shouldn't happen. It allows the users themselves to perhaps censor material which comes later in a thread they started..
    "One of the penalties for not taking an interest in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors" Plato

  4. #4

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    Or better yet why dont the mods just limit the number of posts that can go into a thread. I visit some boards where the post limit on any thread is 250 posts.

  5. #5
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    Default

    re thread post limits - surely if there's stuff going on, then it lasts as long as it lasts, and the thread'll die naturally (or not) of its own accord.
    Thats the thing about putting structures in place to allow 'freedom' - you don't generally have to artificially constrain anything - as users and threads will contribute or walk away of their own accord. (Either because 'its boring', or because its 'too offensive'..either way, the users themselves decide naturally)
    Again, I'm suggesting a 'No Mod No Censoring' Zone in Off Topic ONLY - thus keeping the main focus of this site, firmly on track..

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajak
    LG,the clicktru warning sounds a very good idea, we are all grownups here on this forum, like in a real life conversation, if you get tiered of what peeps are saying, you walk away, and on the forum, just stop posting.
    No ajak - we are not all grownups here. There are large numbers of kids roaming around

    I for one am against the idea of turning the off-topic section into a grade-A cluster-**** and would sooner see it disbanded.

    EDIT - The SA bill of rights does not extend freedom of speech to include advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
    Last edited by bwana; 08-02-2006 at 10:16 AM.
    "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." FM Arouet
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  7. #7
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    bwana v.8 - I hear what you're saying, but surely its not the business of the Forum, to be 'protecting kids' - and thus watering down content continually, in order to make sure there's nothing that 'might offend little kiddies'?

    What kind of operating approach is that - when instead of freedom of speech - along with a clearly visible WARNING sign that has to be clicked through - you and I and all of us who ARE adults, have to operate as if there are a row of impressionable little children watching, who might get upset/warped at whatever we discuss?
    We don't operate like that in the real world (unless there ARE kids around) so why carry this into the online world, and end up behaving as if there 'might' be children around.
    Its not our business to worry about other parents who are not policing their children, and we shouldn't even be contemplating doing this..

    It's the problem of parents to police their children effectively online, it's utterly NOT our business to assume the responsibility of 'watching what we say' at every turn, because of children who aren't being correctly policed by their parents..
    Again, that's not democracy. And it reduces us to having to behave in utterly non-mature and non-adult ways, if you're suggesting that everything we do or say online, must be considered/censored and watched over - 'in case' of children being here.
    That's taking on totally unnecessary responsibility. And again, how does this promote tolerance or democratic free speech, if we're censoring ourselves on the offchance we give some kiddies a glimpse of adults talking..
    It's not our problem. And we shouldn't try to make it our problem.
    Last edited by LoneGunman; 08-02-2006 at 10:22 AM.

  8. #8

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    Hi LoneGunman and others

    An interesting discussion indeed.

    I have obviously given this matter a lot of thought in the past, and must disagree with your argument regarding an open discussion board without any moderation etc. The idea of mods being somehow superior or power hungry is not accurate. What can however be said is that moderation has some ‘higher’ purpose…whether it is to protect the integrity of MyADSL or to further broadband in South Africa. Whatever the case might be, censorship is applied.

    But from everything that I have read on this subject good moderation makes for a good forum. An open forum where everything goes is an interesting concept, but what to do if it becomes an international spam area for advertisers? And can one then allow people to post viruses on the forum as attachments or links to viruses under false headings or links? Should there be zero moderation? If so, are there any examples of successful boards where zero moderation is applied?

    Regards,

    RPM

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneGunman
    bwana v.8 - I hear what you're saying, but surely its not the business of the Forum, to be 'protecting kids' - and thus watering down content continually, in order to make sure there's nothing that 'might offend little kiddies'?
    Simple, have a disclaimer at the top of the forum, or on an entrance page which warns that the content is unmoderated and is not suitable for people under 18.

  10. #10
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    Hi RPM,
    good points you raise re links to virii..

    I have to say that - okay, strike the whole power-hungry Mod stuff - which was just me thinking out loud and writing - and focus in instead on the 'off topic' as a censor/mod free zone..

    Again, one can have Mods there, but they're only to prevent the spread of trojans, virii and spam - nothing else. No content censoring at all.
    Also, I'm talking only about the 'Off Topic' section - unless an Off Topic ADULTS ONLY zone is made..?
    - so I'm not arguing for a total free-for-all across the entire site, because the main thrust of this forum is obviously clearly defined, just for a tiny NO CENSOR/NO MOD zone where total free speech is allowed, and people can post there or not, as they choose..

    Off the top of my head, a messy example of an almost Mod free forum in action- Its one of those 'conspiracy' type forums - but its very very big.. http://www.godlikeproductions.com/index.php

    (it gets messy, and gets spammed, and theres major warfare at times, but the Mods generally remove the spam and attachement/avatar trolling as it happens, and leave everything else as is.)
    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by LoneGunman; 08-02-2006 at 10:32 AM.

  11. #11

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    i know there is a certain mod who i just hate!!

  12. #12
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    RPM ?
    All it takes - to create a very useful section, is an OFF TOPIC ADULT ZONE.

    One 'warning' clickthrough disclaimer, absolving the site of any responsibility,

    and instructions to Mods that they cannot censor any content, or touch any threads except for spam, and virii/trojan links - and to ignore all private messages from users complaining about posts in this section.

    And an interesting process is under way - to force users to deal with whatever is said or discussed, all by themselves - and to participate or avoid as they choose.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneGunman
    What this means in reality is: the Forum itself becomes censored down to a nice Disneyfied worldview where the lowest common denominator is the norm. In other words, the Forum is reduced to content which has been deleted, censored and controlled down into a bland non-offensive form that is designed to be acceptable to a young child.
    But for the most part - we're not children here.
    I am not entirely in agreement with your "we are all being good because we aspire to mod-status" argument - the last thing I would want to be is a forum mod! But I do agree with the results you come up with. I think we are all being "good little forumites" because if you aren't, your posts get censored to hell. And bland inoffensive mush is exactly what we find ourselves with. The moment you think of lighting a match - let alone starting a nice little flame war - the posts are deleted and the thread locked. No rubust debate, no digging deeper than skin level, no criticism of the "favoured few". Just mush.

    I do disagree about the "children" - there appear to be MANY juveniles on these boards, many of whom think they know everything too. Sad.

    But I strongly support a big reduction in the censorship levels, which to my mind are currently pathetically high. And if a mod intends locking a "hot" thread he should post a message announcing his intention to do so, and allow 24 hours for any last debate. If the site won't allow such a reduction, then a free-for-all zone is a good compromise.

    One wonders if it comes from good white South African Calvinist attitudes - do what you are told, behave yourself, do not rock the ox-wagon??

  14. #14

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    Hi LoneGunman

    Thanks for the response…

    I will wait for the other mods to give feedback on the issue and also see what members feel about this (democracy and all ). There are obvious legal concerns and will wait for feedback from some legal eagles on the liability of the forum regarding hate speech etc.

    I agree that it will be interesting to have such a section, but unless it ads value to MyADSL and our aims it should maybe be hosted under a different domain. Any takers?

    (Have to go to work meeting soon, so will pick up on this again later)

    Regards,

    RPM

  15. #15

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    LG, this post is as lengthy as your articles normally are.. I wish I had the time and talent to churn out so much copy

    As for the mods - I surely would never want to be a mod, they get endless amounts of flack. This is one of the main reasons why Hellkom has never had a forum.. politics amongs the forumites, and power struggles for want of a better description. Personally I have other things to do rather than discuss semantics all day. Life is short and I'm not going to spend it in a forum all day.. a large part of it maybe, but not all of it
    Telkom go google go!

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