Since my name has been brought into the conversation, I wish to add / ask some things.
I know that wounds are still raw over the recent fracas. As Lisa said, my immediate response was to ban those causing a nuisance, and, as I said elsewhere, I believe that I have banned most of them.
However, before I had even opened up my computer, and found the moderator alerts, I had already received a private message asking me if the forum even mattered to me and suggesting that we tolerated garbage, etc, etc. What am I supposed to do? I am just an ordinary person, who enjoys discussions and likes to conduct them on a clean and friendly forum. I cannot be on the board 24/7. I cannot read every single post. I cannot guess who will be offended by what. I cannot second-guess who will be a site-stirrer, so I cannot prevent people coming on here to cause uproar.
As I said, wounds are raw over the latest debacle, so, for now, I wish to leave that discussion alone, because the accusations seem to go further back.
Since I spend a huge amount of time sorting things out on here, I am just bewildered by this. I cannot please everyone all of the time. And, with my moderator hat on, I cannot have favourites. Just because I have had a dispute with one person, but have got on famously well with another, does not mean that I can never agree with the one, or disagree with the other; nor does it mean that I can accept rule-breaks more happily from one than from the other. This sort of goes with the assumption that some members deserve more respect than others. I agree that those who come on here simply to cause trouble do not deserve respect for their behaviour, but I think that some members may sometimes be too quick to assume that someone else is 'a troll'. In some cases, it is obvious; in other cases less so.
Like everyone else on here, I conduct many conversations in PMs.
Again, this can cause problems.
If I 'reprimand' someone for their behaviour on the public forum, then I am told that this is rude and inappropriate, because everyone can see it.
If I 'reprimand' someone for their behaviour in a PM, then I am told that I am doing nothing about it, because it has been done without 'public' knowledge.
I receive lots of alerts and PMs from members, complaining about bad behaviour, and I can guess that PMs fly around saying that I have / have not dealt with those complaints. What many members do not realise is that I often receive an equal numbers of messages complaining about the complainers, as I do about the people who are supposedly 'trolls'. Sometimes one person's 'troll' is simply someone unused to the way the forum works, and, I agree with Lisa on this, that it is better to work with that person than to ban him or her. Of course, I am not talking about people who deliberately swear, post porn, etc, etc, I am just talking about those who need time to adjust to rules, etc.
I have said a number of times ~ and I mean it quite seriously ~ that if I were to ban everyone whom others had complained about, then there would be very few people left. You might say that, because I haven't banned everyone whom others have felt unhappy with, then people are leaving anyway, but I simply cannot ban someone because a few members find him / her irritating.
We have very heated conversations & debates, on very controversial subjects, in the 'Religion' & 'Politics' sections. That is often the nature of those subject areas. Lisa has put up a notice advising members of this and stating that they should not post personal insults and neither should they take things personally.
But people do. I don't think that it is possible not to, when things are close to one's heart. So people can get hurt & angry.
I notice, though, that there are flare-ups in the budgie section too, so maybe it's just life.
This is an international forum.
People come on here when they are lonely, happy, sad, talkative, angry, bored, etc,.
We cannot always tell peoples' moods and we do not always know how they will react.
I go on other forums; some are great ~ really friendly ~ but many I simply will not join, because, on those, argumentative and rude behaviour and bad language, etc, etc, are ignored or even encouraged. Alternatively some will censor and ban, with no logic or explanation. It is not like that here, but we cannot expect complete perfection, on an Internet forum, all the time. You cannot please everyone always, you can only aim to do so.
People stay; people leave; people return.
I have often thought of leaving ~ I do my best, but receive a lot of criticism for it.
On the other hand, I love interesting discussions and I feel that I have made friends here. I also receive some lovely messages of support and thanks, which make everything worthwhile.
So that's it.
I try to do my best. I am not perfect. I am not an automaton. I cannot please everyone always. I am very grateful for all the friendly messages & support I get on here. I enjoy most of the debates & conversations and the friendships.
I investigate all complaints at such length that it sometimes interferes with my family life.
I go with my conscience ~ which is clear.
I am often bewildered by what I am supposed to have done wrong, but, this is a public forum and I cannot expect everyone everywhere to agree with me always.
What more can I do?
But back to the recent uproar for a moment.
Some young people came on here for a bit of sport.
They caused me to waste a fair amount of my time; they upset some people; they had their fun.
It was a prank, as far as I can tell.
But, if members are going to spread alarmist rumours, about it being more than a prank, then isn't this causing every bit as much unnecessary fuss as that caused by these young people???
Yes, some people have left over all this, but some people who have asked to be deleted, have done so because they think that their personal details are at risk. One, who I didn't immediately delete, but, first, asked about the decision, has decided that she will stay, as long as she is sure that her account is secure here. Lisa has made a thread on Internet security, which should help to alleviate worries.
And I don't think that I have ever attacked anyone ~ even if provoked.
Last edited by PDM; 11/06/09 02:56 PM.