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Jasn's Rant for Today -- Volume 2 "Mod Objectivity & ToS Clarification"

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posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 01:31 AM
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There is a very definite policy on ATS regarding profanity, member abuse and other such things.

They are there for a very good reason since this is a forum that dedicates itself to topics that can be quite offensive to some and severe profanity and abuse can run rampant if left unchecked. Very few things can kill a web forum faster than it not being regulated.

However, I feel it's about time those lines that can and cannot be crossed be clearly defined.

As far as member abuse goes, this should be pretty much crystal clear. If you attack any other member directly for their opinion or belief then you should be subject to the warn and possible ban. However, I have seen many times that a post has been mod edited and the "offender" warned when their post IN NO WAY attacked another USER but instead attacked the point another user was making. For example, ATS1 posts in defense of the offical 9/11 story followed by ATS2 attacking the official story because of it's weakness and overall BS rating as far as ATS2 was concerned. Then ATS2 gets warned and his/her post gets wiped.

I have witnessed the above scenario happen several times in my short, but active, time here at ATS. The only thing most of us regular members are left with as a "true" reason the post was removed is because the certain mod who happened to remove the post simply didn't agree with what the poster was saying and used his/her mod powers as a means of censorship since nothing in the post seemed to be against the ATS ToS.

Another time this happens is when it comes to "profanity" in a post. Naturally there are certain words that are clearly profane and DO VERY CLEARLY fall under profanity as described in the ATS ToS. As has been said before, the view of what is uncalled for here on ATS would be to avoid any word that would not be used on regular over the air television.

However, there are some words such as "hell", "ass", "damn" and "bastard" that ARE used in everyday language and on over the air television (even in CHURCH) that we, the lowly normal members, get hit with a warn for from time to time. The problem with this is, there are many many many posts (some even by mods) that contain somewhat heavy usage of these words and not a comment is even made about them being used and then there are times when one usage of "ass" sees a user warned and his/her thread being sent to the trash. Naturally, this leads to the member who got the warn, point deduction and trash relocation wondering what exactly the did wrong.

Most of us would naturally assume that any word that the censor caught would not be an appropriate word and would be subject to warning/post removal. For the most part, this seems to be the case. However, those instances like the one described above leave some of us wondering what exactly is going on. In instances like the one above, it seems more like it's a situation of the mod who removed the post simply deeming it unappropriate to THEM without regards to the ToS and the fact that other members and mods use the word around here on a daily basis.

Though I personally only have one mod around here I feel targets posts that disagree with their beliefs, there are MANY long term and respected members of ATS who feel that certain mods use their powers as a means of censorship by nitpicking reasons in a post they disagree with in order to delete the post and hit the user with a warn. While this may not be the case, when your post gets deleted and you get warned for using the word "ass" and the posts above you and below you also use the word yet, there posts remain.....it makes you have to wonder.


Another profanity related subject that needs to be addressed is censor avoidance. It is quite obvious, if you roam around the forums a bit, that even certain MODS don't get what constitutes censor avoidance.

For most of us who are veterans to the forum game, censor avoidance is, for example, using @55 to say "ass" when the censor catches the word "ass". There are many many many clever ways that certain people use symbols combined with numbers and letters to fit their profanity of choice into a post to AVOID censors.

However, say you try to use the "f-bomb" on a forum that has censors active. In most cases, the censor will replace the word with "f***" as a means of editing out the word. However, on ATS this is considered censor avoidance in the eyes of some mods and will earn you a warning, a 500 point deduction and possibly a visit to the trash bin.

There are a couple of problems with this.

1. In the eyes of a lot of people, using "s***" instead of the actual word is CENSORING the word and NOT censor avoidance. It is, and has been, common practice on most forums and even on "over the air television" to use something along these lines to censor a word that is deemed inappropriate.

2. This form of censoring is a common practice around ATS and you can still find many topics with many replies that implement this form of censorship. There are even quite a few mods that use this form of censoring to censor their posts. Yet, this also frequently gets some users hit with the warn stick and the 500 point deduction coupled with post deletion/removal. It seems that in a lot of cases it's a means for a mod to remove a post they don't like more-so than a means to keep the forum clean and family friendly.


Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling out any mods on this nor am I saying that they are necessarily "wrong". However, it does get a bit confusing and has earned many of us a warn/point deduction/post removal that we didn't find fair and/or justified.

If the above problems do indeed violate ToS they should be more the rule and not the exception as there seems to be far more of those particular "rule violations" floating around in the ATS Universe than those that are sitting in the trash bin/edited.

As I am the moderator on several forums, I can certainly profess that being a mod is NOT an easy job, especially on a forum as large as ATS. However, it does get a bit confusing when you edit words out of your posts only to be hit with a warning because your means of editing the word was considered "censor avoidance".

I'm not ranting about the mods here, I just think it should be made a bit more clear as to when a rule is a rule since certain rules only seem to apply under certain circumstances.


Jasn

[edit on 7-9-2007 by SimiusDei]




posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 01:56 AM
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Have you reached this conclusion after 2 months of time spent on the board carefully researching all the warns handed out to posters.

Or just because you've scored a warn.

mojo



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 02:13 AM
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Originally posted by mojo4sale
Have you reached this conclusion after 2 months of time spent on the board carefully researching all the warns handed out to posters.

Or just because you've scored a warn.

mojo




It only occurred to me to post this after my warn. However, I have seen many new and longterm members alike post "What happened? why did I get this warning?" posts.

Also, note that I am not talking about the mods as much as I'm talking about clarification. I have pm'ed several mods about this subject with no actual answer to it. The first time I pm'ed one all it resorted in was my post being restored and no explanation as to why it was gone.

I understand and am in agreement with the rules in regards to profanity and attacking other members. However, it's a bit confusing and frustrating when your post gets removed for censor avoidance and you get warned for using asterisks to censor a word, yet 10 other posts remain in the thread that did the same thing (and in some cases on the same word) as you and there posts remain.

I'm more confused than anything and not angry at all. I would have actually posted this thread in another forum but I saved myself and Mirthful the trouble of having to have it moved here by posting it here in the first place haha. (just kiddin with ya mirth...you know you are my favorite thread moving specialist.)

I honestly couldn't care less about the warn and point knock as I know I'll get the points back with a quickness and that warn will be gone in 3 days. It is, however, a bit confusing.

By the way, it was another member who called this to my attention before I even realized I had the warn. See: "Jasn's rant for today, Volume 1."



I'm sorry if it wasn't, but I tried to make it clear that I wasn't trying to attack any mods at all.....I am simply curious and trying to get myself past this ignorance of not understanding why some posts violate rules by using certain words and methods of censorship while others do not for using the exact same words and methods. Hence why I put ToS clarification. Not ToS wrong or stupid or anything like that. I was looking for a bit of clarification.




Jasn


Edit: Mojo, if you don't mind, would you please tell me where I said anything about all warns handed out? Or anywhere I published statistics? I am pretty certain I was only speaking in regards to certain instances and why it was a bit confusing.

Thanks.

[edit on 7-9-2007 by SimiusDei]



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 02:35 AM
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Wasnt havin a dig at you but there's been a heap of these sorts of posts lately.
It seems everytime someone gets in the .... for something they have to start a thread having a go at the rules and regs on a privately run board where basically we are guests.
To be perfectly honest they can do what they bloody well please and dont have to answer to us at all, but inevitably they will have to at some stage as the thread grows, even though this has probably been covered a hundred times.
Sorry if i jumped to any conclusions regarding your post but i'm sure i wont be the only one that see's it that way.
Im just sick of these sorts of threads.

mojo



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 02:38 AM
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As another note in regards to my warning: My warning may well have been justified, the only reason I question IT is because it was read and moved to "Rant" by other moderator that didn't seem to feel that there was anything inappropriate in my thread. That was the only thing I questioned about my thread in particular. Especially since the mod that moved the thread here is one of the most "on the ball" moderators I have ever seen and has always put me in my place when I needed to be there. Yet, they saw nothing in the thread worthy of a warning or even editing.

However, I am referring more to other threads that I have seen edited and the ensuing "hey why was my/his/her thread deleted?

There is obviously SOME confusion around ATS about what constitutes a rule violation and what does not. All I am speaking of here are a few instances that I have witnessed more than a few times.

Look at this more as a member ASKING for clarification than as a member ranting.


Jasn



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 02:57 AM
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originally posted by SimiusDei However, I am referring more to other threads that I have seen edited and the ensuing "hey why was my/his/her thread deleted?


I'd be willing to bet that alot of those are newer members who have joined and not bothered to check out the T&C. I'll be happy to stand corrected if thats not the case.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 07:45 AM
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Good morning Simius!

I for one am very glad for the T&C's of this forum.

Having been a person that floated from site to site in the past, and has seen the lack of proper rule enforcement therein, ATS is a huge breath of fresh air!

I was very discouraged with the other sites for MANY reasons.

I can't speak for our 3 Amigos, but I'm willing to bet that these guys
had 'seen it all', had a 'tete-a-tete', and decided that enough would be enough!

These guys probably thought:"Wouldn't it be great to create a place where people like you and I can go to, without fear of needless reprisal and humiliation, and are able to bring an awareness of the world to others in a 'civil' light?"

The lack of empathy and 'rule-bending' of other sites escalated into 'melees' between mods and members. Situations got way out of hand, and when rules were circumvented to appease 'the one', 'the many' started an uprising. "Why should you treat that person that way and not me? Why did you change that rule for a few others and slap my wrist? etc etc etc.

What a bloody catastrophe after awhile.

If you're not sure of how a 'word' will affect others: "When in doubt, back yourself out..." ~ Common Courtesy ~

It is because there are many 'like-minded individuals' in this forum that we tend to take for granted what is acceptable typing. So as not to offend the opposite end of 'our spectrum', we need to curb our enthusiasm for the other ones that may not take our wordings in the same context as us.

"Do unto others..."

We All make mistakes from time to time, and when another member or perhaps a mod has us feeling like our backs our against the wall, instead of retaliating in small or bigger fashions, we should honestly take a step back from the situation and render this as an 'eye-opener' for our own better behavior. For our own good and others as well.

It's not so much 'conformity' for the sake of conformity, it's called Respect for others Can't get anymore plain and simple as that.

For example: When I visit someones home, I don't rule their roost, and dictate to them 'what is'. These kind folk have invited me in (to which I'm fore-most greatful) and I will abide by their standards. If there is a bit of a problem with any of their issues, I will quietly take them aside and discuss them. If I don't see eye to eye with them, or can't get them to 'bend' a few rules, then so what? C'est la vie! My name isn't on their mortgage, I don't pay their bills, I don't run the show.

My folks had this saying: "When you leave our home and start your own, THEN you can make all the rules you want, but until then, you are under our roof, and will abide by what we say."

The tail doesn't wag the dog

Respectfully,

~Ducky~






[edit on 7-9-2007 by TheDuckster]



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 07:53 AM
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Yes, I believe there is some inconsistency among the Mods, but I believe they try very hard to speak with one voice, more or less.

Though it's good to have passion, it's not so good to combine that with ire. Stay intense, but be cool.


I would like to see more 'practice what you preach', and less pettiness and favortism. But whatcha gonna do. Just blow it off and move on.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 08:05 AM
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reply to post by Badge01
 


I agree with you badge!

Like I said previously, we ALL make mistakes.

I want to clarify something. I'm not advocating a total 'put up or shut up' attitude. This is why we have U2U's and Complaint/Suggestion buttons.

We need to exhaust ALL avenues to bring our situations to light.

There are many rungs on a ladder, and many moderators on each rung. If we have to climb a few rungs, so be it. Though I haven't gone over anyones head ever; as I've had my complaints/suggestions answered in a timely fashion.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 09:08 AM
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As in all things where people and personalities are involved, every one of them has a seperate opinion which surfaces and the moderating staff is no different in that regard.

The Terms and Conditions are very clear, but, as the Ten Commandments will show, there is always that 'interpretation' by individuals which muddies the waters.

The rule that says "Thou shalt not kill" does not seem to carry much weight when it comes to war, self-defence, death penalties or even mercy killings, does it? Interpretations abound when it gets down to the nit-picky bits.

And so it is with the topic here. A profanity to me is a common term to another. Take for instance the word 'damn'. In most cases, this would be passed over by the majority since it is considered mild as far as profanities are concerned and yet, there have been complaints sent in over its usage. There are those who feel it deserves a warn.

The English language is full of even more subtle ways of delivering a profane insult hidden in common language. 'Dick' comes to mind and I'm not talking about an ex-president here. It's all about the context. It's nuance and sly intent that successfully evades censors every time and drives mods mad trying to curtail such attacks. Take another word... 'ignorant'. If I were to call someone ignorant, it's a personal attack but, if I were to say that a statement is ignorant, it's not. A fine line, imo.

And that's what the problem is. It's a case of an 'opinion' when a moderator decides to act or not act on a statement made in a post. This is the human potential for error at play. We could, of course, have bots loaded with every derogatory slang word issuing warnings and point deductions for word like 'dork' for example, but that would be a ridiculously huge program, not only to construct but also to manipulate so that when you're talking about Dick Cheney, you won't wind up with a red flag.

I'm a huge enemy of censor circumvention and act on it wherever I see it. I also dislike the use of foul language, especially when directed at a particular member, but I judge the occurances according to the member's time on ATS. A newer member will get an edit and a link to the T&C's, but an older member, who I consider should know better gets a warn and a points deduction.

Once again, it's a personal opinion and one that is shared by other moderators in varying degrees. It's the best we can do and I think we're pretty good at keeping a reasonable semblance of decorum on this website.

Just try to understand the immense number of ways in which to insult someone using only Americanised terms (let alone Canadian, Aussie or British slang), without triggering the censors here and you can see how personal opinions can have an effect on a moderator's judgement.

You should hear me swear in Dutch.



(we try our best, though)



[edit on 7/9/07 by masqua]




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