This forum is one of the best moderated and unbiasly moderated forums I've ever been on, and the standards are clearly higher than most. Kudos for
As a parent, I would approach this problem from a similar perspective. Sure, you could implement more rules about behavior and responses, and
even delete posts based on required criteria, but it would tax your staff and limit the natural flow of the community. I think approaching this from
the opposite standpoint would not only be creative, but far more effective. Instead of dealing with the offense by lumping everyone together, groom
the overwhelming majority to tackle the problem in a better way.
For instance, ENCOURAGE respectful responses, regardless of how silly a post may seem. I can't count how many times I've witnessed general,
overall rudeness just because they feel like it. It's as if they are LOOKING for an argument, and it doesn't matter what they argue about as long
as they get it. Personally, I respond to what floats my boat. If it's a silly post, I move on. Plain and simple. If no one is responding to a
certain line of posts from a particular poster, then that poster will do one of two things: a. give up and leave, b. reach down and tap into his/her
normal human behavior of wanting to be accepted, and thus reevaluate the quality of their posts. Responses are an affirmation that says "hey,
you're not alone". Replying to a poster just to argue, flame, or criticize because they disagree, is not a good reason in my mind to give attention
to it. Instead of replying to people you disagree with, ignore it....reply to those you DO agree with. Just a like raising children, you give more
attention to the good things you want, rather than the bad things. It's no different here.
Everyone has hot "buttons", in which a topic hits a little too close to home, but if the majority were to exercise more restraint in replying
to ANYTHING negetive, the problem will go away, or at the very least, will diminish. This may seem like an impossible task, but no more impossible
than approaching it from the other way of stepping on roaches every time you see them enter the room....you know the problem is still there and will
never go away unless you address the source and clean up your own behaviors (don't leave crumbs to feed the roaches). I'm not equating members to
roaches, only the behavior that all of us are succeptable to unless we use restraint.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that we have an atmosphere where no one gets to disagree, but there should be a respectful way of going
about it. What I'm suggesting is, if that is the sole reason for a response, then don't do it. This forum is like a microcosm of what is going on
in the world, where everyone is pushing, pushing, pushing their beliefs and ideas on everyone else, rather than allowing each and every person their
freedom to evolve their own thinking without conflict. Everyone can find a niche without conflict, and there is a very wide spectrum of people here
with which to do that! The lack of response should send a clear message that either the topic is boring, absurd, or the readers disagree and choose
to move on to something else that interests them. Is it really necessary to injure feelings and create more of a negetive atmosphere by stating that
you disagree for no other reason than to just be disagreable? However, if a reader finds at least one aspect that they do agree with, it is far more
productive to say, "while I don't agree with everything, I like your view on....."
If this were implemented, the absurd posts would manage themselves without any effort on the part of the staff, and the mindset of the group as a
whole would start to change by adopting a "reply to what interests you, not what you disagree with" mentality. "Maintenance" will be all that is
required after that.
Just my two cents worth!