Solved On the Issue of Free Speech

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Rick Ace

Seasoned Veteran
Recently, I have noticed that any discussion leads to complaints about censorship. This is not healthy for a forum, but certainly not uncommonly heard of in today's political atmosphere. The issue of free speech has become a very sensitive one. We all want to live in a free society, but we also don't want to see people being discriminated nor minorities being treated unfairly. This issue is personal to me, because I have always valued free speech on anything that I have worked with. Previously, I have moderated forums, blogs, game servers, Skype chats, and Discord chats. And I have never moderated any community that did not value the ability to speak what's on your mind.

Firstly, I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended that I locked two highly tense Community Matters topics. There seems to be a misunderstanding in intentions. It was a routine action for me on the Community Team and Admin team to archive topics that begin to go off-topic and encourage members to create new topics with relevant titles. It was the same for other CTs and Admins as well the last time I was here. This forum used to be a lot stricter in terms of staying on topic. Nevertheless, I have been informed that lately tense topics have been allowed to continue in name of free speech.

I believe we call all agree that there is a dilemma here. On one hand, we want to maintain free speech. On the other hand, we want to see topics being carried out constructively in an organized way. Every topic is marked Feedback, Suggestion, Bug, Suggestion, or Solved. This helps not just the current staff but also anyone who wishes to read through the history. It would be rather distasteful if members had through shift through 3 pages of "free speech" posts to read about Tapatalk or the forum app. It is also not how a good forum is organized.

Therefore, we would all benefit from a clean thread dedicated to free speech. This thread will compile your suggestions for balancing free speech with protecting against discrimination, trolls, and other problematic types of content.

Your suggestions will be personally compiled on certain intervals and taken to the other team members. Shortly after, you shall receive progress reports on your feedback/suggestions. And eventually, the goal is to one day mark this thread as solved with widespread agreement. :) If this model is successful, it may become a model for how the Community Matters is handled in the future.

Lastly, let's discuss the topic at hand, especially since many people may not be familiar with it entirely. As mentioned before, there have been many legitimate concerns about free speech that have been raised before. What are your own concerns on free speech on Forum Promotion? And how would you resolve it? I look forward to hearing your opinion. Happy Debating!
 

Ajay

I'm The Captain Now
Feb 23, 2011
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My feedback would be to not shut down topics that still have discussion value in them. Happy debating!
Yeah I agree. I was trying to bring up valid points, and they kept getting locked, which led me to become frustrated in the way the forum is moderated. The community matters section shouldn't be heavily moderated in my opinion, unless it becomes a name calling issue like with Carlos the other day.
 

Ajay

I'm The Captain Now
Feb 23, 2011
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My feedback would be to not shut down topics that still have discussion value in them. Happy debating!
Perhaps, we should adopt a policy of splitting those topics from now? As when a topic goes off course, we want to give both the original and new discussions space.
Why can't we continue one topic instead of having to create 5 on the same issue since all of them seem to get locked?
 
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Matthew

Lt. Cmdr. Data
Jun 28, 2010
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My feedback would be to not shut down topics that still have discussion value in them. Happy debating!
Perhaps, we should adopt a policy of splitting those topics from now?
Perhaps you should avoid locking topics that still have discussion value. This seems to be the heart of what's happening right now. Cameron brought you on because he was taking stuff personally (his own words). You come in and shut down constructive discussions that have spurred quite a bit of change or the starts to change. Cameron was doing a good job especially considering the baggage he inherited. I'm disappointed in the way you are handling your first day back on the job.
 

Ajay

I'm The Captain Now
Feb 23, 2011
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My feedback would be to not shut down topics that still have discussion value in them. Happy debating!
Perhaps, we should adopt a policy of splitting those topics from now?
Perhaps you should avoid locking topics that still have discussion value. This seems to be the heart of what's happening right now. Cameron brought you on because he was taking stuff personally (his own words). You come in and shut down constructive discussions that have spurred quite a bit of change or the starts to change. Cameron was doing a good job especially considering the baggage he inherited. I'm disappointed in the way you are handling your first day back on the job.
I've known Rick for awhile, and he's never been someone who silences people on free speech. But I can't really say that anymore. He's literally trying to moderate people and he's trying to guide the conversations into what he sees fit. Everytime a topic gets some momentum, he locks it.
 
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Princess MeowsePad

Chocolate Foot Princess
My feedback would be to not shut down topics that still have discussion value in them. Happy debating!
Perhaps, we should adopt a policy of splitting those topics from now? As when a topic goes off course, we want to give both the original and new discussions space.
I think splitting topics is only necessary when a user tries to make the topic more about himself or herself than anything constructive. I think it is okay for feedback topics to veer slightly off the original course of the topic as long as posts are still constructive. Locking topics would probably best be reserved for when the topic hasn't had any post at all in, say, a week or two and seems to have run its course. Topics tend to do that naturally.
 

Ajay

I'm The Captain Now
Feb 23, 2011
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My feedback would be to not shut down topics that still have discussion value in them. Happy debating!
Perhaps, we should adopt a policy of splitting those topics from now? As when a topic goes off course, we want to give both the original and new discussions space.
I think splitting topics is only necessary when a user tries to make the topic more about himself or herself than anything constructive. I think it is okay for feedback topics to veer slightly off the original course of the topic as long as posts are still constructive. Locking topics would probably best be reserved for when the topic hasn't had any post at all in, say, a week or two and seems to have run its course. Topics tend to do that naturally.
I'd like to propose that we give topics more time than an 2-3 hours before they're archived and considered "dead"
 
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Princess MeowsePad

Chocolate Foot Princess
I think it says a lot that Bryn's topic about an FP Bank (which is far less important than the issues that have been brought up in other topics) is still open despite not getting a response since January 10th. One of my topics had gotten a response just a couple of hours before it was vaulted. It seems that there is always more of a hurry to hide controversial topics. I'm not saying that was your intent, @Rick Ace, but it is certainly something to keep in mind.
 
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Ajay

I'm The Captain Now
Feb 23, 2011
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I think it says a lot that Bryn's topic about an FP Bank (which is far less important than the issues that have been brought up in other topics) is still open despite not getting a response since January 10th. One of my topics had gotten a response just a couple of hours before it was vaulted. It seems that there is always more of a hurry to hide controversial topics. I'm not saying that was your intent, @Rick Ace, but it is certainly something to keep in mind.
Or I’m just being targeted lol.
 

DylRicho

#ForThePeople
Jan 30, 2012
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Your suggestions will be personally compiled on certain intervals and taken to the other team members.
Now, see, when I was a part of the Community Team, I made a post with a message very similar to this (with no negative intentions), and was unfairly called out by all the administrators for making it look as though the other staff members are not actively looking through the forum. Cameron even claimed that I made everyone else look like dicks.

But because an administrator said it, I guess that makes it alright?


It would be rather distasteful if members had through shift through 3 pages of "free speech" posts to read about Tapatalk or the forum app. It is also not how a good forum is organized.
And also, since you got me posting again, wouldn't it also be distasteful for said members to have to read through 10 different threads on the same subject? Surely one thread per subject would be easier to follow, no? The search feature exists for a reason.
 
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Ajay

I'm The Captain Now
Feb 23, 2011
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And also, since you got me posting again, wouldn't it also be distasteful for said members to have to read through 10 different threads on the same subject? Surely one thread per subject would be easier to follow, no? The search feature exists for a reason.
Yes. We literally have had 5 threads on the same topic, and the last one that I created was moving along great, yet it was locked for this.
 
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Princess MeowsePad

Chocolate Foot Princess
@Rick Ace I think what we're hearing here is that now is the wrong time to crack down. You were brought on as an administrator to calm the community down and preserve the harmony, and being stringent on rules that, in the grand scheme of things, aren't that important probably won't calm the community down. Talking to community members like human beings and making them feel like someone is listening will calm the community down and preserve the harmony.
 

Rick Ace

Seasoned Veteran
@Rick Ace I think what we're hearing here is that now is the wrong time to crack down. You were brought on as an administrator to calm the community down and preserve the harmony, and being stringent on rules that, in the grand scheme of things, aren't that important probably won't calm the community down. Talking to community members like human beings and making them feel like someone is listening will calm the community down and preserve the harmony.
You have my feelings on the issue of those locked threads in the first post. :) I apologized if my intent wasn't clear. But we have never had so many off-topic posts nor posts bashing other members. And we need to maintain some organization in this forum, wouldn't you agree? Nevertheless, this conversation gives everyone a chance to sound off for the future.
 

Princess MeowsePad

Chocolate Foot Princess
But we have never had so many off-topic posts nor posts bashing other members.
Truly spoken by someone who wasn't around much in 2009 and 2010. ;) I digress, though.

Aside from the obvious troll who was engaging in name-calling and baseless personal attacks, I have not seen anybody bashing specific members. Have you?
 
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Cosmic

Manners maketh man
Jul 5, 2009
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Thanks for opening the discussion.

So that we are all on the same page, here is a rough list of the misteps that I believe have been made over the past few weeks in regard to open and civil discussion. I do not mean to rag on staff for prior mistakes, but to make clear the issues that we are seeing so that they can be properly addressed. I'm taking basic steps to hide the names of the admins making the mistakes, because this is about the entire staff's reactions to these situations, not individual ones.
  1. Ajay made a few profile comments that were vaguely critical of staff decisions. This resulted in a profile comment restriction, which was given silently without a friendly reminder. https://imgur.com/a/gI6EBnt
  2. When I asked about the issue, an admin told me that they would look into the issue, implying that they did not know the cause: https://imgur.com/a/LMYwNnz . Later that same admin admitted that they were the one who made the restriction themself. https://imgur.com/a/lQXZiun
  3. I created a thread with concerned about this, which was quickly locked by an administrator without a full response being given. https://imgur.com/a/IFDIbKm
  4. I posted a vague comment on my profile, which was quickly deleted: https://imgur.com/a/JCj6qux
  5. When asking about the deletion, this was the only response I got. The admin then left the PM conversation: https://imgur.com/a/oE9xZ8E
  6. Still having received no reason, I created this topic, which was quickly locked: https://forumpromotion.net/forum/threads/question-concerns-about-content-being-deleted.160085/
  7. Meowsepad created a topic about Censorship on FP. The topic was then derailed by a troll, but instead of it being given opportunity for the discussion to continue, the topic was deleted completely. This stopped the discussion on FP censorship that needed to occur.
  8. The following topics were archived prematurely before proper discussion could be made:
  9. When Ajay was given a restriction from replying to a thread, he was not given a reason, only a single sentence in confirmation: https://imgur.com/a/alnVo1D
This is the broad overall trend of recent events. FP staff take moderator action against discussions and members who criticize them. They do not provide proper justification or reasoning for the decisions. Even when we use inappropriate tone in our responses, we still do not get specific feedback in how to properly carry out the discussion. Our content is just shut down and deleted, which ultimately does not work because new threads get created anyway. This shows a serious failure to communicate on part of staff. Staff are not communicating the standards that are expected for discourse, or the reasons for moderator actions. At multiple times, they made decisions which were clearly outside the rules, but have given no clear indication that there will be an improvement.

Yes, there has been failure in these areas. But yes, there can also be improvement. If FP staff would like to restore the confidence of members, they need to improve their communication and take steps to foster civil, open discussion. Notice that I am not using "free speech" here, because free speech has political connotations. There is no right to free speech on FP. But that's not what we are asking for. We want to participate in an environment that allows civil, open discussion. Civil because there is mututal respect provided by us, and yes, by staff. Open because it allows for the exchange of new ideas. This isn't about politics, this is about bringing new ideas to the table on FP. Civil and open discussion is what everyone wants here. Let's work together to create such an environment.

  • Members: give the staff some slack. Give Rick a chance. Give them an opportunity to make us happy if they do the right things. Actually consider what they do and tell them what we want.
  • Staff: Help us help you. Don't shut us up when we criticize your decisions. Create an optimal environment where we are happy and want to be civil. Where we want to give you our ideas. An environment where we aren't too afraid of the stick to engage you with respect.
This is a two way street. If we want to improve the state of discourse here we all are going to have to improve. Yes, that means you, @Lucky!, @Ajay, @Matthew, @Bluezone777, @DylRicho . Yes, that means you, @Cameron Taylor, @Jerlene, @Rick Ace. All of you. And me too. Let's be excellent to each other.

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