Where is it going....Part 2...

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Bigman

Full Member
May 28, 2006
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Wayne said:
This threads focus is not to be negitive but to look forward and see how the forum can improve its service to new and longer serving members. Between the combined experience of 4000 odd members a solution should be possible to most difficuties.
A very true statement, sadly not always achieved.
 

Wayne

BCUK Welfare Officer
Mod
Dec 7, 2003
3,460
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www.forestknights.co.uk
well i have been losing weight so I will take it as a compliment.

Martyn I understand your sentiments about needing to be flexible. However I think Wolfies idea has merit. You can be flexible within a framework.

When you are passing judgement on people eg Mod. You Must be seen to be consistant and open. Every judgement in law is followed by detailed report. Im not asking for you to write a report everytime a mod makes a alteration to a post.

As far as I am aware I have not had a post moderated. Told off occasionally but I try and be careful to conform to the rules.

I do find the lack of consistancy very annoying. I am a firm believer that rules need to be appiled evenly and with discreation.

Are the two compatiable I think so. If the forum breathes as begins to overly use XXXX then a stern Yellow card warning should be appiled. this would send the message to the membership to watch the language.

If the same member continues to exercise poor choices then ban the sorry behind. The point is it must be done openly and without hint of favouritism.
 
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Phil562

Settler
Jul 15, 2005
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I have been watching this thread grow with interest. Sorry Adi however I think Andy has approached this delicate subject from a better angle.

Wayne - rep to you totally agree.
 

Martyn

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Aug 7, 2003
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Wayne said:
If the same member continues to exercise poor choices then ban the sorry behind. The point is it must be done openly and without hint of favouritism.
Well, that's another problem. I like openness too, I think everybody does. But we dont do it in all cases.

I hate to cite an exact example, because it isnt entirely fair to him but it's fresh and I can think of no better off the top of my head.

I banned Adi Fiddler the other day for his comments in that thread. It was pretty transparent why, but it's still clear there is not 100% agreement. Although Bam is really the only one to see it that way, he thinks Adi was pushed into being objectionable and abussive. I dont, I think he started the thread with that intention and was given yards of rope, remiders and such to play fair, which he ignored. My point is, that moderating decisions will never achieve 100% support - even the ones that are "no brainers", let alone the borderline decisions. Some of the decisions we make, are borderline. Sometimes they fall one side of line, sometimes the other - sometimes in response to the breathing of the forum, and unfortunately, sometimes because one of us has a bad hair day - it happens, we are human.

If we open up all of our reasons for moderation, particularly the borderline ones, there will always be people who dont agree, and will voice their disagreement. If we revert to a moderation policy where only massive public agreement gets things done, then many, many things that have been moderated in the past, would have to pass unmoderated. The standards on the forum would fall. In addition, this site has several "sub groups" or people who belong to outside groups. As has been pointed out, they can act like unions and would place a significant group pressure on moderator decisions to fall in their favour. Bam has said that his affiliations to these groups dont influence him, could we expect the same degree of high impartiality from all these groups members? I'm sure as individuals, they would say we could. But It's a moot point, it's already been demonstrated it doesnt happen on numerous occasions. It's naive to think a group of buddy's wont act as one voice, or at the very least influence each other.

This is a forum of 4000 people, consensus is impossible. On BB I very nearly had WWIII over what colour to pick for the site when I offered it up for public vote. :D

Basically, offering up moderator decisions for public scrutiny, would require the full disclose of all the reasons and information (much of which is best kept private), it would result in a lot of argument, bias from certain groups and ultimately less fairness and a drop in standards.

You may not like being kept in the dark, but that doesnt mean it's not the right thing to do.

You speak of laws and such, they are made by countries and governments. This is a privately owned website and as I've tried to explain, it's not democratic. The owner is privvy to all the decisions and all the information, at the moment he feels we are moderating with the right level of public disclosure - and I agree with him.
 

Bigman

Full Member
May 28, 2006
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Newton Abbot, Devon.
It's not an easy task to moderate with a membership of some 4000 people, there will obviously be upsets.

Trying to maintain a happy medium is a difficult task, I know from my own experiences as a moderator on another forum.

On that one we encouraged people to use the emoticons to express the way they felt rather than doing it in writing, one symbol can represent a whole line of text and save a lot of unnecessary upset.
 

andyn

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 15, 2005
2,392
29
Hampshire
www.naturescraft.co.uk
Martyn said:
This is a forum of 4000 people, consensus is impossible. On BB I very nearly had WWIII over what colour to pick for the site when I offered it up for public vote. :D
I'd have gone for something lighter myself :p :rolleyes:

Martyn, I think it was either yourself or stuart that said it before but i argee its not a good idea to air all the dirty laundry in public. I also agree that there are border line cases of moderation that you need to use a bit of individual thought on the best method to deal with each case and no two cases are rarely the same so a defined set of rule just cannot be applied.

I think its great how everyone has posted their answers on here in a clear and concise format and from what I can see there has been little bickering or arguing over disagreement but good clear discussion and openess towards what i always knew was going to be a difficult and sensitive subject.

I still belive though that you are kinda skipping around the subject that a lot of negativity is being shown by the moderators to constructive criticism. I totally understand that this forum is run under Tony's rules and decisons and you guys are here to do his work for him. But if BCUK is going to maximise on what it can offer to its community, when people come forward with concerns over how they are precieving how they are being treated it must surely concern you guys.

There have been numerous mentionings about under-hand tatics and hidden motives in response to these concerns but I cannot see how you can see it like that, or why you would choose to. Are your feelings of the community here really like stained? (Again rhetorical and not aimed at anyone in particular)

Martyn you said before that BCUK isn't a service and several times raised points that it owes nothing to the community here. Ok fair enough but can I persuade you to see it like this?...BCUK offers a place for people to come and to utilise what it has to offer. If BCUK (The admin), its mods and its members want that to remain and for as many people that visit to enjoy their experience and maybe come back and maybe even help contribute to the running costs of BCUK then surely not only does BCUK and its mod team BUT also the rest of the community need to ensure that they can come forward and offer the best service they can to its members (that includes you mods ;) , as I think you get a tough time of things sometimes)

Yes there probably are trouble makers on here that want nothing more than to see BCUK's servers turn off and for it to dwindle into nothingness. But personally I wouldn't like to see that day...and so I came forward with a concern. In someways I feel my concern was immediately categorised as "trouble making" and it took a lot of explaining for it to be seen as anything else.

There have been some very good imput from the members here with some amazing thoughts, insights and suggestions, that if everyone who has read this transcript all the way through learns something from then It has been a good thread and hopefully one that will enlighten a new level of enthusiasm towards both current and new members. Something which seems to have been partially lost over recent months.

Martyn you said to me in the last PM you sent me
Go for it Andy, there will be no issues so long as people are fair, open minded and willing to debate in a mature and reasonable way. <snip>...</snip>. If it stays mature and intelligent, then we can probably all learn from it. I'll look forward to reading the comments
 

Martyn

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Aug 7, 2003
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andyn said:
I think its great how everyone has posted their answers on here in a clear and concise format and from what I can see there has been little bickering or arguing over disagreement but good clear discussion and openess towards what i always knew was going to be a difficult and sensitive subject.
The difference with this thread Andy, is that the questions have been asked with courtesy and consideration and that demands respect and tolerance, no matter how sensitive or difficult the issue. You can ask pretty much anything and if it is asked in the right way, it will (or it should) get handled with tolerance and courtesy in return.

If the questions are asked, wrapped in spin and insult, they will almost certainly get handled with intolerance. If you want a decent answer, you gotta ask a decent question. It's a double edged sword. You cant just demand the moderators be more tolerant, while at the same time wrapping those demand in insults (as Adi did), and expect anything other than a curt and dismissive reply. If the question is polite, the answer will be. This thread is an excellent example of how sensitive questions should be asked, you should be commended for it. Well done.

I still belive though that you are kinda skipping around the subject that a lot of negativity is being shown by the moderators to constructive criticism.
Constructive is the key word here. The criticism often isnt very constructive Andy. Do you think Adi's criticism was constructive? Or was it a belligerant attack? You tell me.
I totally understand that this forum is run under Tony's rules and decisons and you guys are here to do his work for him. But if BCUK is going to maximise on what it can offer to its community, when people come forward with concerns over how they are precieving how they are being treated it must surely concern you guys.
Of course it does. The problems are multiple here. First of all, it's time. I have a day off today, and I have decided to spend a big chunk of it addressing your concerns. I dont begrudge that, because they have been aired in such a mature way. But I'm a registered nurse and I often work 50 hour weeks. I also have another webiste to run and a relationship and a life. All need to be considered and I'm sure you can appreciate, I cant often give huge chunks of my time over to addressing issues like this in such a comprehensive way. So, while a more detailed explanation is often merited, time constraints mean that we often cant do anything but give brief answers and be dismissive if people persist with a point. It's not ideal, but untill Tony can pay me £30k a year for moderating this site, all he'll get is the best voluntary contributions I can offer under the circumstances.

So time limts on moderators has an impact on how we handle situations. Often we cant put as much into something as we like. Sometimes we get tired and dont have the patience for it. So yes, sometimes people get less than ideal.

Secondly, a lot depends on how these issues are raised. If they are raised in a manner that is cvonfrontational and abussive, as has happened a lot recently, our tolerance is diminished significantly. We are moderators, but we are not punchbags. If someone insults us, they will get an intolerant reply. It's the basic rules of human interaction and they dont get re-written just because we are on a forum. We insist on courtesy. If people dont show it, then they cannot expect it in return, because we are people first and moderators second.

Thirdly, some of the criticism seems to always come from the same groups. They are the same issues, re-voiced, over and over, in spite of long winded explanations, surrounding commercialism, thier lack of rights to promote thier own ventures and businesses and sour grapes over being banned. Criticism from these quarters, is peurile, childish and to be expected. It is almost always wrapped in insult and deserves nothing more than contempt. It's not in the least constructive and entirely to do with thiose people "wanting more" out of BcUK.

There have been numerous mentionings about under-hand tatics and hidden motives in response to these concerns but I cannot see how you can see it like that, or why you would choose to. Are your feelings of the community here really like stained? (Again rhetorical and not aimed at anyone in particular)
It's a small minority Andy, but a small minority with a loud and angry voice. It shouts the same thing, over and over again and as BogFlogger said, it's boring. It's way, way past rational debate. I'm surprised you cant see it, most others can.

Martyn you said before that BCUK isn't a service and several times raised points that it owes nothing to the community here. Ok fair enough but can I persuade you to see it like this?...BCUK offers a place for people to come and to utilise what it has to offer. If BCUK (The admin), its mods and its members want that to remain and for as many people that visit to enjoy their experience and maybe come back and maybe even help contribute to the running costs of BCUK then surely not only does BCUK and its mod team BUT also the rest of the community need to ensure that they can come forward and offer the best service they can to its members (that includes you mods ;) , as I think you get a tough time of things sometimes)

Yes there probably are trouble makers on here that want nothing more than to see BCUK's servers turn off and for it to dwindle into nothingness. But personally I wouldn't like to see that day...and so I came forward with a concern. In someways I feel my concern was immediately categorised as "trouble making" and it took a lot of explaining for it to be seen as anything else.
We all have to work at that mate, it's not just the responsibility of the mods to deliver a service, it's the responsibility of the community to use it properly and treat each other with respect - including the mods.

I'm a bit lost though now Andy, I'm not really sure what you main point is. I think we may be running the risk of debating for debatings sake. I know you think the moderators need to have a change of attitude - perhaps that's something we can consider, but it's a little non-specific. Can I ask you for a few specific, short points for us to consider. How would you like our attitudes to change? What exactly do you think is wrong? What do you think we can change to make it better?

I am learning from this, but I need to get to the root of your complaint.
 

jdlenton

Full Member
Dec 14, 2004
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well before i go offline for the weekend i thought that i would just say that today this thread has gone amazingly well and there has been a very constructive and worthwhile debate with the contributors conducting them selves admirably

:35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35: :35::35::35::35::35::35::35::35::35::35::35::35:

well done to all i hope you all have a great weekend, leave your pc alone and go out and enjoy our wonderful countryside and maybe even do some bushcraft :eek:

Have a good one I'm off for a beer in the sunshine:beerchug:

:You_Rock_

James
 

andyn

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 15, 2005
2,392
29
Hampshire
www.naturescraft.co.uk
Martyn i think a lot of my concerns (Not complaints :D) have been answered by yourself and the other contributors, I think that if some of the advice that has been GIVEN TO and MADE BY the moderating team if taken on board, then there will be a lot of happier bunnies on here.

but as you asked specifically these were my main points

1. Moderators ask people to not do something, then do it themselves.
2. People are far to quick to jump to their guns and assume the worst in something
3. The welcoming and helpful enviroment to both new members and inexperianced forum users seems to be becoming a thing of the past. (A lot of posts have been made on what can be physically done to help new members, but I think its just a case of attitude and being a bit more guiding and paitent with them)

To be honest Martyn, I don't expect things to change over-night, and to be doublely honest I feel I have learnt a lot from what has been said by people. But if people can just take on board the comments that have been said by the contributers then perhaps things can begin to change and the outbursts that have been occuring might just cease.


Oh and James....enjoy the beer mate! :D
 
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Martyn

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andyn said:
Martyn i think a lot of my concerns (Not complaints :D) have been answered by yourself and the other contributors, I think that if some of the advice that has been GIVEN TO and MADE BY the moderating team if taken on board, then there will be a lot of happier bunnies on here.

but as you asked specifically these were my main points

1. Moderators ask people to not do something, then do it themselves.
2. People are far to quick to jump to their guns and assume the worst in something
3. The welcoming and helpful enviroment to both new members and inexperianced forum users seems to be becoming a thing of the past. (A lot of posts have been made on what can be physically done to help new members, but I think its just a case of attitude and being a bit more guiding and paitent with them)

To be honest Martyn, I don't expect things to change over-night, and to be doublely honest I feel I have learnt a lot from what has been said by people. But if people can just take on board the comments that have been said by the contributers then perhaps things can begin to change and the outbursts that have been occuring might just cease.


Oh and James....enjoy the beer mate! :D
They are good comments, fair and balanced and I promise you we will take them on board. Thankyou for a good thread and for keeping it as it should be.

Enjoy the weekend mate. :)
 

Pappa

Need to contact Admin...
May 27, 2005
264
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www.plot55.com
Pappa said:
I think there's a little I can add here.

I have crossed paths with the moderating team on three occasions:
  • One of my posts was removed as it mentioned that part of a certain common plant was psychoactive.
  • Over commercial links in my signature.
  • Over an argumentative thread which eventually became quite personal.
At the time, I felt that the first decision was unfair as other similar posts were often left in. With hindsight, I feel it was a good decision (as this is a family site), and that other similar post that have been left in are probably just missed by moderators.

The second occasion was entirely fair and dealt with very well.

On the third occasion, particularly after hearing how draconian the moderators can be, I was expecting some form of warning, but the thread was locked an no further action was taken (except perhaps that the moderator invloved made a mental note of my name :D ).

My perception of the moderating team is mixed. On the one hand, I've seen (or more often heared about) justice being dished out (without always knowing the reasons why) in what appears to be a heavy-handed manner. Also, the comments of a minority of members who complain about the supposed heavy-handedness have (I suspect) had a large impact on my own perception. On the other hand, my own direct experience of the moderators has always been positive and fair.

Essentially, as has been mentioned previously, I think the problem is basically one of perception. The limited view of events some users get of disagreements, coupled with reading negative comments about the mods that are made by a small minority of users, creates the perception of unfairness.

The only way I could see an improvement is if, particularly when users are banned, but also when other big moderating decisions are made, time is taken to explain to the members what action was taken and the reasons for this (although I know this often occurs already). I don't thing this is necessary because we have some kind of democratic right to know, but just to prevent members from gaining the perception that decisions are unfairly meted out.

Anayway, there's my ha'porth.

Pappa
When I posted the above, I was being intentionally positive. At the time, I didn't realise Adi Fiddler had been banned over his thread. I think that sort of judgement by a moderator is unfair and childish. I won't be using this forum again. Could someone please close my account.

Goodbye.
 

Martyn

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Pappa said:
When I posted the above, I was being intentionally positive. At the time, I didn't realise Adi Fiddler had been banned over his thread. I think that sort of judgement by a moderator is unfair and childish. I won't be using this forum again. Could someone please close my account.

Goodbye.
That's a shame Pappa. But it is your choice and it is your right to look for somewhere you feel is more suitable for you.
Goodbye and good luck with whatever you choose to do.

You'll have to wait for Tony to close your account as only Admins can do that.
 

Wayne

BCUK Welfare Officer
Mod
Dec 7, 2003
3,460
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West Sussex
www.forestknights.co.uk
Pappa.

I was about to post how well this thread had gone. Please do not get stressed over Adi being banned. He wasn't at his best that evening and I have spoken with him several times since. He understands the Moderators postition with regards to his posting.

One member losing posting rights is a shame do not compound the unpleasantness by with drawing from the forum.

Martyn.

Thank for the time and effort you have put into this thread. I have come to a greater understanding of your position and i hope you can see that rather than trying to be a disrubtive influence on the forum I have been hoping to improve what is esstentially a great forum. I spend far too much time here for my own good. when i should be in the woods.

I would ask the admin to take a futher look into my earlier comments on the commerical forum and nature of perceived advantage. I really think that something like the makers status would be a good idea so people can be clear about motive.

Once again Thanks to the team for allowing this thread to continue. Hopefully together all the members and the admin team can discuss issues like this in the same warm and respectful nature.
 

spamel

Banned
Feb 15, 2005
6,833
21
44
Silkstone, Blighty!
There does seem to be a bit of discontent at the moment. I do hope this is a passing phase. I've only just learned that ScanDgrind was banned, a long standing member for me, and a few others have gone that way recently. Also, a lot of people tend to be threatening or actually leaving. Again, this is their decision, although I don't see the point, and it is a bit saddening.

Gary was banned a long time ago, and I had built up a rapport with him, and regardless of the reasons for him being banned, it wasn't nice to see an online friend dissapear (I know where I can still find him!). The Mods had their reasons though, and we have to respect that, sometimes we will disagree with their actions, but nobody is infallible. It seems that the discussions about banning people is turning folk off, and I don't know why this seems to be discussed so much at the moment.

I've tried to read this whole thread from start to finish, but it is massive and not yet 24 hours old! I'm sorry if I've missed anything, but I agree with what was said by someone earlier. If the mods could post a bit more info as to why someone has been banned it would let people know where they stand with regards to certain language and tone in a post.

For instance, to just say:

You're out of order.

Banned.

Doesn't let people know at a glance why they were sent into the ether.

How about:

Contrary to rule X in the forums rule posted at this link, (this would be a link to the forum rules!) you have posted X, you are therefore banned.

Now, people can see exactly what was done by the member, why it was wrong, and why they have been banned. I know, this isn't a democracy, the site isn't mine for me to say do it this way, this is just a suggestion that I think would be beneficial to all.

I hope that this thread is a success, but I also hope this one and any others like it end soon and the site can go back to the way I used to enjoy it. I also hope nobody else throws their membership away so easily, because I actually think that you're all a good bunch of people and I've enjoyed my time here, for the most part.

And no, I'm not a wuss!
 

Martyn

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spamel said:
There does seem to be a bit of discontent at the moment. I do hope this is a passing phase. I've only just learned that ScanDgrind was banned, a long standing member for me, and a few others have gone that way recently. Also, a lot of people tend to be threatening or actually leaving. Again, this is their decision, although I don't see the point, and it is a bit saddening.

Gary was banned a long time ago, and I had built up a rapport with him, and regardless of the reasons for him being banned, it wasn't nice to see an online friend dissapear (I know where I can still find him!). The Mods had their reasons though, and we have to respect that, sometimes we will disagree with their actions, but nobody is infallible. It seems that the discussions about banning people is turning folk off, and I don't know why this seems to be discussed so much at the moment.

I've tried to read this whole thread from start to finish, but it is massive and not yet 24 hours old! I'm sorry if I've missed anything, but I agree with what was said by someone earlier. If the mods could post a bit more info as to why someone has been banned it would let people know where they stand with regards to certain language and tone in a post.

For instance, to just say:

You're out of order.

Banned.

Doesn't let people know at a glance why they were sent into the ether.

How about:

Contrary to rule X in the forums rule posted at this link, (this would be a link to the forum rules!) you have posted X, you are therefore banned.

Now, people can see exactly what was done by the member, why it was wrong, and why they have been banned. I know, this isn't a democracy, the site isn't mine for me to say do it this way, this is just a suggestion that I think would be beneficial to all.
[Paragraph deleted by request of Paganwolf - it was pointed out that opening this wound was unfair and that is reasonable ~ Martyn]

Not all circumstances are so controversial, but some are and we often feel it's just inappropriate to share the details. We know members are curious and we know without detailed explanation, they may start to see conspiracies, but we just have to wear it.

I honestly dont know a better way of dealing with it.

However, I do appreciate that often we could give you more than we actually do, without causing too much harm. We will try to do what we can, but please remember, we have lives, this job is unpiad and there is a limited amout of time we can spend discussing these issues. We've already lost one excellent admin because of the workload and anti-staff attitude and if you place too many demands on your moderators, you might start to loose some of them, if it breaks down, possibly even loose the community altogether.

Yes the mods do seem to be getting a bit more abrupt recently, but we are tired, stressed and fed up of being used as verbal punchbags. The change of attitude goes both ways. :)
 

Wayne

BCUK Welfare Officer
Mod
Dec 7, 2003
3,460
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www.forestknights.co.uk
It is a shame that Gary got himself banned. He is a very popular character and runs some good courses. However I think the Mods had no choice but ban him. he left himself and the forum down.

Thats all ancient history now. Hopefully we are all older and wiser. I think the mods had to post a fairly detailed explanation of their reasons for banning such a major figure. people I respected at the time were making outrageous allegations that simply bore no relation to the facts of the situation.

Martyn is right we lost a valued member from his own misdeeds. Which must have hurt personally and professionally.

We sadly lost Adi and Kath, admin team through over work and a very unpleasant whispering campaign. Hopefully we will see them back to share our campfire again in the future. BCUK wouldn't be the place it is now without their extremely hard work in the early days of the forum.
 

spamel

Banned
Feb 15, 2005
6,833
21
44
Silkstone, Blighty!
Oh, I didn't mention Gary to pick holes in how things are done, don't get me wrong. He broke the rules unfortunately, and you did what you had to do. I just think if something seems obvious, it may not be so to some people. Then maybe you could post immediately why they have gone. Of course, if it is something that isn't so obvious to all, (Garys' situation, and I seem to remember somebody abusing the PM system and of course the chatroom that was once here) then there would certainly be no need to explain the reason.

I don't envy any of the mods their jobs here. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a Mod, but then again, I don't know if I'd like to do it myself!!
 

Martyn

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Aug 7, 2003
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Wayne said:
It is a shame that Gary got himself banned. He is a very popular character and runs some good courses. However I think the Mods had no choice but ban him. he left himself and the forum down.

Thats all ancient history now. Hopefully we are all older and wiser. I think the mods had to post a fairly detailed explanation of their reasons for banning such a major figure. people I respected at the time were making outrageous allegations that simply bore no relation to the facts of the situation.
That was the problem Wayne. We had two choices, ban him, or bury it. If you are an honest person, it doesnt take long to work out what you have to do. The problem was how do we explain it. What we would've liked to of done, was ban him and then hope no one noticed. Obviously that wasnt going to happen, and at first we were very reluctant to explain. He has a lot of loyal friends and the flak became intense, so we had to explain in detail. I would've liked that the members trusted us a bit more and had a bit more faith in us and given us the space to minimise the fallout, but it was not to be. Since then, we have been a lot less forthcomming with explanations, perhaps too much so, I dunno.
We sadly lost Adi and Kath, admin team through over work and a very unpleasant whispering campaign. Hopefully we will see them back to share our campfire again in the future. BCUK wouldn't be the place it is now without their extremely hard work in the early days of the forum.
...and more recently, we lost Ed. Three down, all for the same reasons.
 
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