TNZ Changes

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by T'Bonz, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

    Apr 1, 2000
    Across the Neutral Zone
    Last night, a thread started with a rather controversial topic turned very, very ugly and very, very personal. It has put me in the unfortunate position of having to make my planned changes there, a bit earlier than I would have liked to have done so. I had hoped to wait until after the election. Such is life.

    First, I want to call your attention to this paragraph at the top of the forum:

    Please note: The Neutral Zone is a forum for debate and exchange of ideas on politics, issues of life, religion and morals, and major world views. This hot topic nature means that tempers will fray, but please remember to always be respectful to other BBS members. Warnings will be issued for extremely offensive or threatening material, as well as spamming, trolling and personal insults.

    Unfortunately, it has been a custom here for a long time that personal insults, trolling, etc. have been allowed to stand. TNZ has been a forum somewhat apart from the rest of the board. In previous times, rules were almost nil there and it was pretty much “anything goes.” The transition to a forum that was inline with the rest of the board has not quite been fully realized.

    It will be realized, if TNZ is to survive. The changes start tonight at midnight my time. (US, E.S.T.)

    First of all, TNZ is a place for discussion on potential controversial and hot topics. Note the end of the sentence. TNZ is not the place for only views with which the majority agrees.

    This means that sometimes there will be topics that may upset some posters. The moderators in there are well able to determine if a topic is legit. If they feel that a topic is only there for purposes of trolling, or is inappropriate, they will take the necessary steps and shut it down.

    It is not the job of the posters to do this, other than to hit the notify moderator button if they feel that a topic is inappropriate and if they don’t see a moderator stepping in. If the moderator deems the thread appropriate, he or she will explain that to the poster.

    IF a topic is deemed appropriate AND you hate it, you may do one of two things and ONLY one of two things:

    1. Avoid the thread.
    2. Demolish the argument logically.

    You may NOT insult the poster. It is unacceptable to mock, troll or flame the thread originator. IF you can’t refrain from doing so because of your feelings about the thread, then you should stay out of the thread.

    Henceforth, personal attacks and trolling will be warned. Not liking either the poster or the topic is NOT adequate grounds for the following:

    Taking the thread off subject, in hopes of getting it closed. Trolling the thread starter or flaming him or her. Getting personal and/or making snide comments.

    All are unacceptable and will be warned.

    No mocking names or titles will be permitted. Goodbye to Dumbya and Keria.

    This begins tonight, as I said.

    Furthermore, any sigs or avatars that are making fun of another poster will be warned, either by a mod, administrator or myself. No more clever jibes at others. Sigs and avatars are meant to express oneself, not to troll, flame or insult.

    I will be reviewing the 50 posts to post rule for TNZ. It should be no different than any other forum.

    Finally, Enterpriser will be sitting out for a month, not the one day that he has currently. His return will be up to me, after discussion with him and further thought on my part. I cannot tell you right now if this is a permanent ban or not, because I have not made up my mind on this. I have given him the ban because it is my opinion that he has not done what I desired him to do, namely to post without making trouble. His actions regarding a female poster have earned him the month while I decide his future position on this BBS.

    Now for what I would consider potential questions or comments and my responses.

    1. Unfair! TNZ should be open and free! You’re making it more restrictive. This sucks!

    TNZ was more open back in the days when we had far fewer posters. It appears to be a fact that the more posters a place gets, the harder it is to maintain almost total freedom. A subset of posters always appears to be unable to control themselves.

    2. Unfair! Most of us are good in there! Why are we being punished for those who have too much fun making trouble?

    I am well-aware that the majority in there can and do behave. I have been trying to read as much as possible in there lately. The changes will only benefit you. You are free to post on controversial topics, but you should be expected to be challenged and to defend your position. You will no longer have to worry about being attacked for unpopular positions. But don’t be surprised to have the floor wiped with yourself if you can’t defend a position.

    3. You have no sense of humor! You’re a Nazi-moderator.

    No. I’m just tired of seeing personal attacks. What you may find as fun, trolling and flaming, sucks from a moderator/admin/manager/owner viewpoint. I understand that many come online to relax and have fun and some even consider trolling and flaming to be part of their fun, or picking on posters that they deem unacceptable. Trekbbs is not the place to express that part of your personality, if you absolutely need to do that, there are other outlets on the Internet for it.

    4. What about your hard-working moderators in there? What does this mean for them?

    It means that for a while, it may be a bit more difficult for them. In the future, it should make their moderating easier. I have every faith that the moderators in there are up to handling this, anyone who moderates a forum like TNZ has my utmost respect. It has been and continues to be one of the most challenging forums to moderate.

    5. Why now? Who the hell are you to do this to TNZ? Everything was fine before! We liked it this way!

    Everything wasn’t fine. But no one wanted to touch it with a barge pole. Heck, bringing TNZ into line with the rest of the BBS was the LAST thing on my originally very long to-do list and I dreaded it. But it needs to be fixed, in my opinion, because problems from TNZ consume more than a fair share of the time that should have been alloted to it.

    6. I hate this, just hate this. I’m outta here.

    I’m sorry to see anyone leave on account of this, but just as I am doing what I feel is right, you will make your own decision. Before you go, think about this. TNZ will still be TNZ, just minus the unpleasant faults.

    7. This is Enterpriser’s fault. GRR!

    While he may have exacerbated matters, he is by no means the author of all of the problems in TNZ. The problem is lack of respect and lack of tolerance (on both the right and the left ends of the political spectrum). These lacks lead to bad behaviors.

    8. What about Enterpriser?

    This was another thorny problem area which I inherited. I cannot make up my mind whether he truly believes this stuff, or likes taunting (trolling) or both. I have enough significant doubt that I couldn’t justify a permaban. Furthermore, it appears to me that there is a subset of posters who gun for him, and on reviewing many threads, they have been able to troll and flame him almost without consequences. Bearing that in mind, even though I don’t feel that he lived up to his agreement to behave when he returned, the mitigating circumstances were that he has been personally attacked, again and again, without consequences. Quite frankly, if I had had some of the things said to me that some have said to him (without being warned), “I” might be sitting out a ban for retaliation.

    So bearing all of the factors in mind, he is on 30 day ban.

    9. That’s arbitrary or You’re treating him special!

    No. I treat everyone the same, regardless of my personal opinions, what everyone else thinks of him or her (popular or disliked), etc. My concerns running this board are a) fairness b) the good of the BBS and c) the good of the moderators.


    So to sum up, TNZ will now be run like the rest of the BBS. Flaming and trolling will not be tolerated in posts in TNZ (and it will also not be tolerated in sigs and avatars.) Derisive names and titles are no longer permitted. Moderators will determine if a topic is suitable. If you feel they have missed something, by all means hit the “notify moderator” button. Do not take it on yourself to “punish” a poster by derailing his or her thread, mocking him or her or engaging in trolling or flaming.

    It is my hope that TNZ will truly become the debate forum that it could be. Your cooperation in this is essential.

    Any discussion (and I’m sure there will be some!) may be directed here.