Posted By: tsuwm A petition - 02/23/05 06:31 PM
Dr. Bill and I, through a bit of front-end collusion, have come up with the idea of posting a Petition here which would eventually petition Anu to provide Jackie with enough moderator power to delete patently offensive posts plus any scurrilous responses; i.e., flame wars.

Anyone in support of this petition could then copy that portion of the post, sign it electronically and PM it to me. I would then collate the petition and "signatures" and send them to Anu via email (not PM).

If you have comments in regard to this, make them here and now, not in your "signature" PM. If need be, the petition can be reworded; but I don't want to get too wrapped up in rewording and resigning battles.

The Petition will follow in a separate post, which I will now proceed to wordsmith.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: A petition - 02/23/05 06:39 PM
Have y'all asked Jackie if she wants this, tsuwm?

Posted By: tsuwm Re: A petition - 02/23/05 06:51 PM
We've made an assumption here, all right; based on the fact that she's always said she doesn't feel she can go against Anu's last word on the matter. And she may be just as glad she doesn't have to make those decisions.

On the other hand, as things now stand, she's all we've got.

Posted By: maverick Re: A petition - 02/23/05 10:37 PM
and if Jackie feels it's too onerous a responsibility, the alternative would be ron, obviously ;)

Posted By: Father Steve Re: A petition - 02/23/05 11:04 PM
I knew a Ron Obviously at university. He was a Sigma Chi, I think.

Posted By: Wordwind Re: A petition - 02/23/05 11:10 PM
Waiting...waiting...where's the petition?

For the record, I think it is a very good idea for some moderator to have the power to remove 'patently offensive' posts that lead to flame wars. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I think fights should be handled privately through PMs and not on this board.

Anyway, I'm waiting with both baited and bated breath to read your proposed petition.

Posted By: tsuwm I can't take the bate - 02/23/05 11:27 PM
I floated the first draft to a couple of very interested parties. hang on..

Posted By: Jackie Re: I can't take the bate - 02/24/05 03:40 AM
FWIW, yes, I'll do it unless somebody else wants the job.
Caveat (hi, Dgeigh): this was a verbal instruction so I may be wrong, but as far as I can recall the only thing I was told not to do was edit or delete individuals' posts. I have closed at least one thread, made a couple "sticky", and have not banned anybody, certainly not permanently; there's no real point, even if I'd wanted to, since anybody can sign right back on again with another name.

To be frank, I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of being "The Judge", as it were: I know I wouldn't like having my words interfered with, and so I imagine most people would feel. Plus, although my style of communicating works pretty well for me most of the time, I don't much care for the idea of what might become forcing my style onto others.

But outweighing this is ...well, the enjoyability of this board. Open as it is, any one with any type of personality--to say nothing of mental illness--can post here. I have thought about this quite a bit, and I think this place has a lot in common with other places that people gather voluntarily: as long as it is enjoyable or at least not awful, people tend to stay. But when it gets uncomfortable (and everybody's different as to what this means) or unsatisfactory, most take the easy route and just leave*. For ex., our local PTA clothes closet has been run by one main volunteer and a couple of assistants for something like 12 years, and it was working well. But a new president came in, forced her ideas on how things ought to be done, and the 3 longtime volunteers left.

My point in saying that is that this is an established group, and as such, we have developed norms and expectations. Not so much regarding WHAT people say as to HOW they say it. And it is absolutely too much to expect an established group, us included, to simply accept and welcome a new person who disrupts--consistently, that is--the norm. No, we are not perfect; tempers have flared; I certainly have made posts that I later regretted. Several of us have been here pretty much from the very beginning; and the reason we have lasted this long is the norm that we have established of mostly trying to be polite, and if that slips, we fix it if possible; in other words, overall we have made great efforts to accommodate each others' sensibilities. The only truly major troubles we have had have occurred when someone would decide that things should be done their way, and tried to force the rest of us to change accordingly.

I do realize that some people have gone away unhappy, and I am sorry about that, particularly the ones who got hurt by our being unnecessarily harsh. But I remain steadfast in saying that the vast majority of the time, the only people who have received a great deal of harshness are the ones who tried to insist that things change to be done their way.

No established group can be expected to change in order to accommodate the needs/wishes of every person who comes along to join it. None. And again, I am sorry for hurt feelings, but it is simply a fact that sometimes people are going to try out a group that just plain is not a good "fit" for them. Just because someone doesn't fit in here isn't even necessarily a reflection on them; just as with making new friends and finding a potential mate: you're going to come across some that you just know aren't going to be what you had hoped for. So it can be here, too.

*I, for one, am very reluctant to give up what I have enjoyed so much for so long because of a "spoiler". But I sure don't want to come here and find a bunch of ugliness. Judging by the departures of some fine, intelligent and wonderful contributors, they don't either. If this board is taken over by people who want to act ugly all the time, so be it; but if I can prevent that by trying to actively moderate, yes, I'll give it a shot.

Posted By: maverick Re: de bate is good - 02/24/05 04:01 AM
Well expressed J. You're right, it has the potential to be an uncomfortable burden in theory, but the alternative has proven worse, here and on most other uncontroll'd forums I have frequented. Thank you for being prepared to take it on. Now we'll have to wait on what say all the contributors here, and then whether that poses any problems for Anu.

Posted By: tsuwm Re: de bate is good - 02/24/05 04:41 AM
okay, here is a proposal for everyone to comment on. I tried to keep it fairly short.

In reply to:

We the undersigned support the notion that the moderator(s) of this public forum should have the power to limit the amount of unsolicited spam and unwarranted flaming to which users are subjected. We support the codifying of this stance via a publicly posted message, appropriately highlighted. Here is an example of such an announcement:

A basic tenet of any public forum should be that the sincerely held opinion of each person is highly valued and therefore should not be silenced. However, moderators of public forums should retain the right to intercede in discussions that have devolved to personal and/or other forms of ad hominem attacks. Such attacks are an infringement on the rights of all to post their own sincerely held opinions in a friendly and open environment.

Moderator intercession may include the locking of threads, deletion of individual posts, or deletion of entire threads -- with the understanding that these actions would only be undertaken when normal communications and especially PMs have failed to resolve a conflict.

Posted By: Wordwind Re: de bate is good - 02/24/05 07:44 AM
Thanks, Jackie, for your willingness, and tsuwm, for your initiative.

Posted By: Capfka Re: de bate is good but will he byte? - 02/24/05 08:14 AM
I agree with tsuwm's basic idea and Jackie's response and thanks to them both. We'd all like to be able to come back to this board to discuss words and associated topics - whatever they may be - without running into constant streams of abuse (both subtle and overt) plus, as Jackie says, individuals who want to remake the board into their own images.

I would also like to see (if Jackie was so inclined) a consistent welcoming process created for new posters. We could class a new poster as someone who has posted more than once. At the moment we're either very good at it or we're not. Some consistency may help to make new posters feel more "at home" and less like to react badly to what appears to be abuse. The process might simply be a standard PM with links to Max's hints page and resource page. Or something.

Posted By: themilum Your petition... - 02/24/05 12:21 PM
Give us an example, tswum...jackie, what application of the authorities
that you have requested in your petition to Anu would you have applied to control
the last and latest so-called flame war?

And if you will, cite examples of personal attacks
that would warrant deletion or reprimand.

It is axiomatic that rules of order have no meaning if
they are not clearly understood by those to whom they apply.

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Your petition... - 02/24/05 02:30 PM
instead, here are some "standard" rules of conduct. I don't think it would be helpful at this juncture to start debating what's happened in the past.


These are explicit and objective for the most part. A couple of them (obscenities, copyrights) are stronger than our norms.

I'd suggest a short list along these lines, to be drawn up by a committee of no more than three -- if we can establish a moderator with the power to do what's outlined in the (sample) petition above.

Posted By: themilum Re: Your petition... - 02/24/05 02:58 PM
Whatever you think tsuwm.

Posted By: Jackie Re: Your petition... - 02/24/05 03:27 PM
First--if I got it right, "have requested" doesn't apply yet.

Secondly: thanks, tsuwm, for the link. The ones I feel strongest about are: Slanderous, defamatory, obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, violent, abusive, insulting, threatening and harassing comments will be removed without comment.

No personal attacks or "flames" are allowed. Flames are defined as comments that reflect upon the person instead of their opinion.

As to Profanity or obscenities of any kind are not permitted, not even if disguised with *asterisks. , by and large we have used the asterisk method. That suits me just fine, though I know some people have no problem reading the "real" thing; and we may have some people who are offended by it.

Two things that haven't particularly bothered me but that others feel strongly about are: No advertising of any kind, including non-profit organizations, is permitted.
No copyrighted material is allowed. Please use links instead of quotes. However, posts containing links to pornographic, racist, violent or offensive sites will be removed.
So as far as I'm concerned we can continue trying to honor these.

Third: just above are two examples of what I was talking about when I said that we have made great efforts to accommodate each others' sensibilities: I let it be known that I didn't care much for reading curse words, and they mostly vanished; and I saw other people get upset over advertisements and copyright violations, and, although I don't understand their vehemence, have at least tried not to post either of those things. Aside: here, I think, is a good place to point out that I am not well-versed (to put it mildly) in internet protocol. All I know is that it is my core belief that people ought to be nice to each other.

Fourth: I would like to clarify/reiterate something from my long post above. Specifically, the importance I place on the difference between lapses of...good manners, for lack of a better term, and consistence/insistence of going one's own way. Over time, I have gotten many comments along the line of, "Look here, look at this, So-and-So was so mean, right here". Well--to me, there is a HUGE, HUGE difference between people who occasionally* let their tempers get the better of them and people who continue to insist on posting things they have been repeatedly asked and told not to. I consider the former to be more or less mistakes, and the latter deliberate provocation. Most people have a temper, and some are better at controlling it than others. People who post according to their own agendas again and again and again, knowing that that type of post will be unwelcome do so because they choose to do so. And therein lies the difference.
*There are some people who "regularly" lose their tempers, yes. What I would like certain other people to keep in mind is the time frame: I don't consider that losing one's temper ten or even fifteen times in five years is all that bad. They have apologized most of the time, and in the interims probably restrain themselves more than I will ever know. So I'm willing to give them an e for effort.

Fifth: I very much like the idea of consistent welcoming. I used to do it all the time, but that just isn't possible, now. If somebody new posts in a category I don't read, I won't know about it(!); or if I happen to see a new person when my time is very limited, I don't do it then, either.

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Your petition... - 02/24/05 05:52 PM
>I very much like the idea of consistent welcoming.

As a group moderator at yahoo, I joined the yahoo_group_of_groups group. They have a welcoming message, which you can't help but see when you enter; they also have six(6) moderators, and whichever one notices a new member, or someone struggling with the format, leaps to the welcome/rescue. Having multiple moderators may be the only answer to that here, without having access to the board software or the forum banner.

[As sole moderator of the wwftd yahoo group, I don't allow posts to the group without moderator approval, and the moderator always disapproves unless the poster is the moderator. You could say that I'm the least ambivalent of all dictators. It's all just a sham as a group; what I've really established, through these artifices, is a daily newsletter to the members of the group.]

Posted By: Jackie Re: Your petition... - 02/24/05 07:32 PM
group_of_groups group Uh...huh; and this would be located in their Department of Redundancy Department, right?

Posted By: tsuwm Re: Your petition... - 02/24/05 08:37 PM
No copyrighted material is allowed.

I think we go by the "fair use" doctrine. Quote if it seems reasonable, but acknowledge your source. I myself have gotten lax in this area from time to time, but most are familiar with my "OED convention". :}

Posted By: Wordwind Re: Fair Use - 02/24/05 11:55 PM
Yeah, tsuwm, I agree that it's fine to quote a small amount of material as long as it's clearly in quotation marks and the source is cited. It's certainly good advertisement for other sites and it can save having to read through entire pages of of material when a little point will do.

Small amount = not more than a few sentences.

Just my opinion.

Posted By: Faldage Re: Your petition... - 02/25/05 01:58 AM
Regarding copyright:


Posted By: tsuwm Re: fair use - 02/25/05 06:22 AM
everyone who copies stuff to post here should take the time to peruse Faldo's link. I was struck particularly by this item: "Are you reproducing an article from the New York Times because you.. didn't want your readers to have to register at the New York Times web site?" Templeton says that this probably isn't "fair use".

Posted By: Rubrick Re: Your petition... - 02/25/05 08:14 AM
group_of_groups group Uh...huh; and this would be located in their Department of Redundancy Department, right?

Nope, Jackie. This would be endorsed by the Association of Venn Drivers.

Posted By: Faldage Re: A petition - 02/26/05 10:41 PM
So, how do we sign it electronically?

Posted By: Father Steve Re: Your petition... - 02/26/05 11:06 PM
the Association of Venn Drivers.

The big problem, when attempting to drive venns, is to get them through the cattle gate of the corral, once you're home with them. They're so damnably independent -- like us.

Posted By: TEd Remington Venn - 02/27/05 12:12 AM
OK OK! I'll bite. What's a venn?

I know what a venn diagram is, but that doesn't seem to fit the context here.

Posted By: Father Steve Re: Venn - 02/27/05 12:35 AM
What's a venn?

Ask Rubrick.

Posted By: Rubrick Re: Venn - 02/28/05 02:37 PM
A play on words, gentlemen, which seems to have gone over everybody's head and wasn't that funny anyway.

A group of groups can be considered using a Venn diagram (hence the reply to Jackie's post above). The play on words was to compare this to a van (or small truck to someuvyou), add driver and turn it into a union (or group).

As I said, not very funny and even less so now that it has had to be splained.........

Posted By: Capfka Re: Venn - 02/28/05 09:30 PM
Oh! There's a psychoanalyst out there somewhere with his retirement riding on you, John.

Posted By: Rubrick Re: Venn - 03/01/05 06:28 AM
If his "retirement" is a big, buxom, blonde then that's okay with me......

Posted By: vanguard Re: Petition - 03/02/05 05:23 PM
I've been lurking for a long time now. Actually quit even that some months ago when the vituperation started (and Please Don't Ask me to explain/pinpoint that time!).

I got very tired of the (to me) incomprehensible posts by some, and the angry tone and "flaming" of same and others. I never was very active here anyway, so I don't imagine that my two cents is of great influence. I missed this site, but I have enough on my plate that emotionally-charged, internal fighting on boards just is not worth any time for me. I want this place to be a source of enlightenment, education, intelligent communing about words (and even food is OK with me!) and fun. Lighthearted, ya know? There is enough anger, violence and bad news out here.

So my vote is for the moderator to be able to effect some change when things get out of hand. It's too bad that we seem to need some "stinkin' roolz" here, and I admit that while I know people will misbehave in all walks of life, I don't understand why, or how they think they can get away with it. The fact that some DO get away with it dismays me no end - I'm always the first to get caught doing wrong, it seems (so maybe I'm a little jealous?).

I'll keep checking in to read, and hope that the tone gets easier to take.

Posted By: Father Steve Re: Petition - 03/02/05 09:12 PM
I want to be Vanguard's sponsor because, in addition to liking words, he/she likes to talk about food ... which occasionally gets me in a bit of trouble around here, so I appreciate having a fellow foodster on the board.

Posted By: Sparteye Re: Petition - 03/02/05 10:46 PM
Welcome, vanguard.

With Father Steve as your Board Big Brother, you are in great hands.

Now, recite the Greek alphabet and the House Credo.

Posted By: vanguard Re: Petition - 03/03/05 04:59 PM
Well, I know that the response to "What's new?" is "The thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet." Is that enough? As far as the House Credo goes, I think it has something to do with "Roolz? What roolz? We don't need no stinkin' roolz!"

I've been around here for a couple of years, but it sure is nice to be welcomed "back" and to get a big brother at the same time! I only have younger brothers in "real life", and I'm guessing from other threads/posts that Steve might be older than I.

Thanks, Fr. Steve. I can't tell you now many of your posts I've enjoyed - someone has said here that you've done everything, and I think they might be right.

Now, don't anybody take that last sentence wrong! I enjoy almost everyone here, almost all the time - only picking out FS because he volunteered to "sponser" me. BTW, I am a female person, and if you saw me you'd know that I enjoy food far too much! Music is good, too, but the math stuff leaves me in the dark most of the time. Anyway, thanks again for the comments.

Posted By: Father Steve Re: Petition - 03/03/05 08:12 PM
Dear Vanguard ~

You are correct. I am older than everybody on the Board except Doctor Bill, and probably older than several mountains in a range near you.

Because I love to cook and to serve food to others, that part of my vocabulary expands to meet my interest. I read rather extensively in the culinary and gastronomic arts, which means that I come upon interesting "food words" more often than I come across, say, mechanical engineering words or cross-stitch words or diseases of the pancreas words. Hence, the number of posts from me concerning good things to chew and swallow.

I don't know enough of the "rules" on this board to know when I am violating some of them. For example, I have experienced people shouting "YART" at me, from time to time, without fully understanding it to be a reference to pre-masticated topics.

And I'm delighted that you're here.

The Old Padre

Posted By: TEd Remington Re: Petition - 03/03/05 08:38 PM
>I am older than everybody on the Board

Hmm. I wonder about that one, Fr. Steve.

I'm pretty old. Well, I;m old but I'm not pretty. Wow, now, is pretty and has a few more years of experience than I have.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: Petition - 03/03/05 09:53 PM
Faldage is delighted because he's now beginning to qualify for geezer discounts at certain venues.

Posted By: Father Steve Re: Petition - 03/04/05 01:03 AM
he's now beginning to qualify for geezer discounts at certain venues.

That's MISTER Geezer to you.

Posted By: Jackie Re: geezer discounts - 03/04/05 02:04 AM

Vanguard, may I say that I too am delighted to see your lovely presence again!

Posted By: Faldage Re: Petition - 03/04/05 11:39 AM
MISTER Geezer to you

The lovely AnnaS does not have to call me MISTER.

Posted By: Father Steve Re: Petition - 03/04/05 01:33 PM
The lovely AnnaS does not have to call me MISTER.

It is always within the senior's largesse to grant certain privileges of address to familiars.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic What's good for the sheep... - 03/04/05 01:46 PM
It is always within the senior's largesse to grant certain privileges of address to familiars.

Ha! ...as well as pastoral rights to shepherds in the fiefdom (in Faldage's case).

Posted By: Faldage Re: Petition - 03/04/05 02:58 PM
grant certain privileges

Nuh-unh. We a team.

Posted By: dxb Re: What's good for the sheep... - 03/04/05 03:11 PM
A kind of 'droit du shearer'?

Posted By: Father Steve Re: What's good for the sheep... - 03/04/05 07:28 PM
pastoral rights to shepherds in the fiefdom

... as well as shepherdesses.

Posted By: Sparteye Re: Petition - 03/05/05 12:48 AM

Shhhhh ... you're giving away all our secrets!

Posted By: belMarduk Re: Petition - 03/20/05 08:37 PM
YART / pre-masticated topics.

I love that play on words FS

Without disrespect to anyone, I doubt the fairness of a petition advertised in ‘Information and Announcements’ as a method to change the essential nature or rules of the Board. Systemic not intended discrimination - I seriously doubt that all members regularly look at I&A, and I believe all members should be informed/ given equal opportunities to offer input into such major changes.
I would prefer either
a) a public announcement, including email to all members (Or all active in last 12 months) from Anu, where he sets standards/rules. Same info to be sent in email to every new member and to be posted clearly as a topline menu option rather than ‘buried’ in a forum.
This is autocracy. Anu has the right as he pays all the bills! No one else does.
b) a survey, once again via email to all members, with options, allowing all to vote or not as they choose. This is democracy. I’m willing to do my bit in designing survey/compiling results.
Once again, outcome to be clearly posted and emailed to all new members.

Either option requires Anu to do the mailout, but if we asked him nicely it might be less hassle for him than lots of petitions and so on.

Questions/issues to cover (suggestions only):
- purpose(s)/aim(s) of the Board
- is there a need for guidelines / rules? Proposals for any such, to be voted on one by one.
- is there a need for moderator(s)? Preferred methods of choosing, nominations, powers.
- what you like/dislike about Board?
- Long list of possible others, if it gets that far…
- (free text) other comments/suggestions

Out of courtesy, since I am suggesting work for Anu, I am also sending this to him.
As mentioned, Anu is the one who set up and maintains this Board for all our benefit. He bears server costs, data serving costs, any time costs relating to software issues / improvements, answering petitions etc.
I don't know why he does it - I'm grateful he does! But I think it's worth asking what he gets/wants out of the Board and making sure any proposed changes fit with that.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: the bills - 03/21/05 12:30 PM
Actually, Bridget, many of us are paying members. Anu often solicits contributions in his AWADs, as well he should. I'm glad you brought that aspect up, though, as it might encourage more folks to make contributions.

Posted By: Bridget Re: the bills - 03/22/05 05:55 AM

thanks for this info. I don't subscribe to AWAD and never have - I've only ever used the Board, and was unaware that Anu solicited contributions. Maybe I'd better go do something about it!

...all the same in the end he gets the bills. I well remember living in a shared house with the phone in my name and how much that cost me even when everyone insisted they had paid for ALL their own calls...

Posted By: dodyskin Re: de bate is good but will he byte? - 03/29/05 11:23 AM
Oh, man. Grapho/Moss/Wordwhatever is still trolling this board?

What is that, three years now? That is just disturbing; that's like seventy-five years in netspace.

I guess I'll pop in in another year or so. Toodles. Love to all.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: come back, dody! - 03/29/05 01:21 PM
"They" haven't posted in about a week. Doesn't mean "they" won't return, but.... I didn't realize you were yet another one who left the board because of the troll. Please stick around; I miss you.

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