Stifled Voices, Disillusioned Posters and the Death of a Community

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by ly_yng, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    What happened to the Nets forum?

    GMJ is banned.

    Pegs is banned.

    War Poet is banned.

    Kid Chocolate is banned. (OK, I can kind of see where you're coming from with that one. That kid needs a lobotomy, fast.)

    Cpaw doesn't post any more. Ghoti barely posts. Dumpy seems confused and lonely, yearning for meaning.

    Countless others seem to have abandoned the site. Gone are the days when I could count on 5, 6, sometimes 10 intelligent responses to every post. It feels like a ghost town.

    Now, I don't know the details of what happened. From what I can tell, there was some sort of power struggle - some of the mods put their weight behind a decision, and those that didn't like it were effectively exiled. I don't know if that's the case, but that's the whole point - I don't know, and I'm assuming the worst, because what else am I supposed to think?

    Here's what I've seen from Denny Crane:

    And

    I haven't seen the public discussion. I'm not sure where it is. It's certainly not posted in any obvious, easy to find location belying the (whether you'd like to admit it or not) crisis that's hit the Nets board. And I'd like one, beyond "they broke the rules."

    I'm just not sure you guys realize how precious a commodity intelligent, engaging posters are. All due respect, but there's nothing that makes S2 all that special of a board. The technology isn't that complicated - you press a button and text shows up. People have been doing it for two decades. The reason I found the site was through the link on NetsDaily, but the reason I stayed was the incredible level of user-generated content on the Nets board. And I'd like to know (1) why we just lost a good portion of that content and (2) why I shouldn't just pick up and follow them to a board that actually values their content.

    I understand what we've lost as a result of this decision. I don't know what we've gained.
     
  2. adisodes

    adisodes Member

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    This is about the third or fourth thread I've seen about this. I'm still not sure what happened and why everyone was banned. But is anyone ever going to own up to it and give us an explanation? As a proud member of the Nets board, I would hate to see the Blazers board take over as the most popular forum when we don't even know why some of our best posters were banned.
     
  3. Hudge

    Hudge Active Member

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    I've never been on the Nets section in my life, however, I know all 7 (not personally) people mentioned, they were integral members of the OT section, and some in the Football/ Soccer/ GFX sections. Where/ Why did they go?
     
  4. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    If you want to make assumptions:

    1) We don't like to ban people at all. The list of people who've been banned here is quite short after 2 years when you don't count the outright spammers (for shoes and that sort of thing).

    2) We're actually respecting the banned posters by not dragging their specific activities in public. For one, they're not going to get the chance to respond here, and otherwise we're not a court with judge, jury, rules of evidence and that sort of thing. Much of the evidence has been edited away by the moderators over the course of time, too. No matter what the verdict, some people will be happy and others not. It's not a viable situation.

    3) Our rules are incredibly lax. For the longest time, we didn't even need to have any posted because people actually acted like adults and didn't abuse the freedom we wish for every poster. They are posted because some of those you named, ly_yng, demanded them so they could know the limits of what they could get away with. But the bottom line is that we want S2 to be an open site, anyone who wants to be a good member of the community is allowed, and the core principle is that people respect one another and fun isn't about having it at someone else's expense.

    4) What I wrote twice now is the absolute truth. We gave these posters a huge amount of leeway and looked the other way while they violated each and every one of our site rules (1-7, specifically). When their actions became worse and worse over time, and no matter who tried or how many attempts to communicate with them to ask them to respect other people failed, something had to be done.

    5) Behavior you see in one forum is not necessarily true of what has been going on throughout the site/elsewhere. What do you expect us to do when a poster goes into another forum and posts that all the posters there are assholes, when the mods there edit that, and the response is "butthurt moderator" ? Look at the rules: violates rule 1: not honorable intent; rule 2: respect other posters, rule 3: respect the staff, rule 4: provoking flame war, rule 5: calling a board's fans "idiots" (assholes)... Not once, but repeatedly.

    6) We're agnostic about the "most popular board" kind of thing. It's not our intent to have any one "most popular board" - quite the opposite. There's no reason we can't have 100 very popular team forums if that's how the posters decide to use the site. We appreciate that there are a lot of people in the Nets forum who know each other, go out for drinks, go to games together and that kind of thing. The same is true for the Blazers board, and the Lakers board, and ... If we're facilitating these things, then the community extends beyond S2 proper which is pretty awesome.
     
  5. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    So, for reference:

    My emphasis.

    So, I think when I read these rules, two things jump out at me. The first is that the majority of them are very, very vague. I don't really what it means for someone to have "honorable intentions." I mean, did peg and GMJ suddenly no longer have honorable intentions? Is that why they're banned?

    As far as "respect" goes - well, to be completely honest, those are a couple of stupid rules. I don't respect certain people on this board. I get annoyed with some of the reactionary BS that I have to wade through to read intelligent posts here. I'm not saying those people should be banned, or even punished, but you're asking me to RESPECT them, which is really just not something I'm ready to sign up for. I'm generally of the opinion that respect needs to be earned, not demanded.

    Either way, a loss of respect is absolutely not justification for banning someone. If someone acts inappropriately based on this lack of respect, that's fine, but that's not what the rule says. Thus, I tend to think it's vague, and a really bad rationale to use for someone's banning.

    I tend to think terms like "flame wars" and "hateful posts" are similarly ill-defined. You're going to tell me that cpaw's (totally on point and cutting) replies to less intelligent posts didn't DRIP with disdain? At what point does a heated argument between two posters officially turn into a flame war? To cap it all off, you've got TWO rules basically giving the staff the leeway to do whatever they want, in Rules 6 and 9.

    Now, by contrast, I think rules 5 and 7 are very clear. Attack points, not people. This rule, I think, is much more easily enforcible.
     
  6. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    So, just to be clear:

    Let's say that tomorrow these posters came back to you, said they're willing to play by the rules (as far as I can tell, that just means attacking posts, not posters) and said that any moderator-specific issues are behind them. Let's say that they're not going to go around picking fights and calling people assholes, and will generally play within the spirit of the law (although, as I wrote above, even I'm not really sure where those lines are, and I have yet to be banned). Obviously, I can understand why you wouldn't be interested in keeping them on as mods. But would they be allowed back as posters?
     
  7. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    Well, to be clear, the issue isn't really one of a popularity contest - members come and go all the time. It's an issue over a loss of content.

    I agree that it's an awesome thing when a board can form a community, and I really do think that this exodus from the Nets board is both harming the community, and S2's role in it. I understand that that's not necessarily the point - the way I read your post, this is something you find cool, but are agnostic to as a mod. I think this is a foolish position. If you're not aiming to be the board with the best content, then what exactly ARE you aiming for?

    I just think a lot of these posters are a really valuable resource. I understand you guys don't ban a lot of people, but it seems crazy to me that whatever these guys did was intractable.
     
  8. MikeDC

    MikeDC Member

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    Well, this has been a problem with every message board, ever. Every community is going to have key posters. And it's human nature, I guess, to overlook the faults of your friends. So guys in the Nets community look at this and say what the fuck?

    But should being a big fish in one pond give you the freedom to do whatever the fuck you want, and to blatantly disrespect the site in general, the guys who've worked hard to make it, and the other communities?

    As Denny said, we don't like to ban anyone. This is pretty much a no win situation for us. Like you said, those guys were capable of contributing, and by banning them we run the risk of alienating people and having the banned people actively skulking around and trying to sew dissension. We might not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but even we recognize this.

    So if everyone understands this reality, doesn't it sort of go hand in hand to say we don't undertake banning people lightly? Obviously we don't, and we wouldn't do it unless we thought the risks of them staying outweighed the risk of them going.

    Especially so when the people acting poorly know that they'll be missed for the good things they did in the past. There's a tendency for these folks to look at that as license to do whatever. It's not just a matter of those guys deciding to break the rules, it's a matter of them saying "hey, we're big shots so we'll break whatever rules we feel like, and you'll put up with it because we're bigshots".

    If these guys were nobodies, then nobody would give a shit if we'd banned them. Because everyone knew them, it makes us harder to do the right thing. But it's still the right thing. Like I said, it's a no win situation, but if we're going to lose either way, we might as well lose in the way that we're not actively getting treated by people who know better, in a way that we keep posters in our other communities from being targeted for harrassment, and in a way that we tell off people who are attempting to capitalize on their status to break the rules. In those circumstances, banning someone is at the same time very hard but very easy. In a no win situation, you pick the option where you lose the least.

    Our rules are lax because we recognize that enforcing the rules is extremely hard. Perhaps they're vague, but I think the basic point comes accross pretty well. Maybe we should shorten it to Google's simple "Don't be evil". At every other message board I've ever been at, a whole set of specific things are posted, and they inevitably suck. They're thrown out the window the minute a difficult decision has to be made. I'd like to think we're at least not making false pretenses.
     
  9. lukewarmplay

    lukewarmplay Hired Goons

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    Where in your rules does it say that if a poster makes a deal that "if another poster gets banned, then he gets banned as well" is valid or enforceable?
     
  10. Jurassic

    Jurassic Trend Setter

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    Daaaang, is that really what went down?

    Here are my thoughts on the whole thing. Some people got banned, we miss them, and it won't be as fun anymore but its time to move on.

    The problem I have with S2 right now it that it is going downhill. It seems there is a lot more fighting and childish behavior, from staff as well as regular posters. I also don't believe a lot of what MikeDC was saying in his post, particularly about how hard it is for you guys to ban people. I don't want to re-open this can of worms, but there was an incident were the admins openly admitted that they made a mistake in a previous banning. I could go on, there have been other acts hypocrisy in my opinion from S2 staff. I'll leave it at that, I'm not the type to try and cause trouble and "e-drama".

    Bottom line people, if you're in the workplace and have you a disagreement with someone do you call them a cunt, asshole, or make fun of their mom? Nope, you'd resolve it in a mature way, or agree to disagree. Sure we are all anonymous on here, but it shouldn't be any different.
     
  11. DaRizzle

    DaRizzle BLAKER

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    My e-penis is HUGE...Im taking over this site with a vengeance! You cant hold me down!

    But yeah, this conversation thats going on here is along the lines of what happened at bbf and why now you have 50 regular POR posters
     
  12. CelticKing

    CelticKing The Green Monster

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    It's very easy to understand why those guys were banned. They tried, with their way of posting, acting, etc. to bring the whole posting quality of S2 down, and they were allowed to do this for weeks, with being warned, etc, and then being banned, and then letting them come back, and yet again they acted like jackasses, thinking like they're some kind of outlaws in a western movie with their I don't give a fuck about anyone attitude, and I'm bringing this whole site down by posting crap, bullcrap, and on top of that lots more crap.

    Like Jurassic said, it's time to move on, there is no damn reason why we cannot continue without those kids, we have lots of knowledgeable posters, even in the Nets forum, so lets move on, continue on building the rest of the site (teams that not that much activity at this point), and also feel free to talk about anything.

    We haven't banned anyone that didn't deserve to get banned, I personally have never edited a post of a fellow member, as well as I have never reported a post of being bad, or even attacking me, that's the kind of attitude majority of the staff has, if not 100% it.
     
  13. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    So here's what I'm hearing. A group of posters (including some mods) found a subset of the rules they disagreed with, and generally ignored them or their enforcement. The main moderation staff of the site pushed back, saying that the rules were there for a reason. This seems to have escalated, and in their frustration, the group of posters started outrageously acting out, leading to the main admins having no choice but to ban them, lest the site devolve into total anarchy.

    So, with that in mind, their banning seems appropriate. Even if you disagree with some of them, it's good to have some rules to keep everything from turning into a huge flame war.

    Still, I'd like to know about the original disagreement, before it really escalated. GMJ and pegs seem like totally reasonable people to me, and for them to get that frustrated would likely have taken a pretty big dose of disillusionment. So something doesn't smell right to me - I don't seem how a minor rules misinterpretation could cause this big a blowout.

    What was the big debate that caused such a ruckus in the first place?
     
  14. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    Wow, seriously? You just deleted Tim's post? You didn't even red it out?

    I think he's got some legitimate points, and you're really hurting your case by censoring him so obviously. I understand there's some prior history there, but judge the content, not the poster. Seriously, follow your own rules...
     
  15. CelticKing

    CelticKing The Green Monster

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    Nope, he brought something that was said in a private forum here, knowing that he's violating a rule by doing so.


    Also Tim, that was uncalled for, you know you can PM me or any other staff member and let us know whats your problem.
     
  16. Jurassic

    Jurassic Trend Setter

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    I saw Tim's post as well, I wasn't going to say anything, but wanted to see Denny's response.

    Someone calls you a liar so you delete is so that nobody can see it Denny? Really? Is that how things work around here? Makes me wonder if Tim was telling the truth. Makes me question the board's direction even more. :sigh:
     
  17. tim

    tim Respect JPJ

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    That's not in a private forum, not one that I know of anyway. It's in the feedback forum. The one DaBullz started. I'm not quite sure what I did wrong.

    -edit:http://sportstwo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131727

    He says it in here.
     
  18. ly_yng

    ly_yng Active Member

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    What is it that you guys can discuss in private that you can't talk about in public? I don't recall hearing about any rules about not posting information from private conversations. Is that something the banned posters did wrong? What else aren't you telling us?

    I understand that this was a controversial decision, but I get the distinct feeling that there's a lot of site-directed criticism that's been censored thus far. Am I wrong?
     
  19. Denny Crane

    Denny Crane It's not even loaded! Staff Member Administrator

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    His intent isn't to contribute anything positive here. He's a troll, and he proves it over and over again, including last night to me on AIM.

    To answer your basic question... It seems to stem from S2 having mods from several other forums, each with their own rules. Some of those sites were like S2 is now - a few big forums. Others were highly administered by the staff - they'd move a post about LeBron out of the Nets forum into the Cavs' forum, merge consecutive short posts together, and even edit or delete one line posts.

    Both schools of thought have their merit, but we've chosen to let the posters decide what and where they want to post.

    There was a time when the nets' mods tried to appease those who want the posting spread out and tried to coax the nets posters to post all over the site. My inclination was to back the nets mods who should be closest to the community, though I was dubious about it being a good thing and made that known. It was a miserable failure of an experiment and now that we're not going to make that mistake again (that was over a year ago, and lasted about a week... FWIW), we get accused of not treating other forums like we did the Nets. Doing that to the Nets forum was the mistake and we'll freely admit it and we're quite sorry about it.

    A few people lament that S2 isn't as small/intimate as it was in the early days. Nothing we can do about that if we intend to be an open site, people with honorable intent welcome.

    To answer your other questions about the rules:

    Show respect to the posters you may not in fact respect. It's pretty clear. This covers things like stalking another poster, personal insults and that sort of thing. The rules are intended to be clear that WE (S2, staff) desire to respect every poster who is honorable.

    "Honorable" means to participate as a good "actor" among all the people who make up S2, intent being to be a member of the community vs. posting spam (shoes/meds/site URLs) or otherwise purposefully stirring up shit.

    We are asked about baiting and taunting - things other sites have rules about. Our rules are that it's OK to talk trash ("the nets are going to kick your team's ass tonight!") or that players and other public personalities are fair game (Kobe, Vince, etc., say anything you want about them no matter how popular/unpopular that might be).
     
  20. tim

    tim Respect JPJ

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    Please Denny, for your own sake, don't make me post our convo from AIM last night. I don't want to. You know I'm not a troll, all you are doing here is lying about me and trying to make me look foolish.
     

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