Author Topic: Getting things right on RootsChat  (Read 13964 times)

Offline julianb

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Getting things right on RootsChat
« on: Tuesday 24 April 07 19:11 BST (UK) »
I recognise our Rootschat Moderators have a difficult job, and I have been known to offer messages of support to them (in the knowledge that some will heckle and call me a creep) when I think they have done the right thing. 

But I, and am sure others too, would like to have a better understanding from our Moderators as to what counts as an unacceptable posting, and the criteria used to remove posts/threads.

I’m pretty comfortable about issues relating to identifiable living people, and on copyright issues, but other “unacceptable” posts I am much less clear about.

On the basis that Rootschatters will have opinions (and wit), there will be occasions when the unclear line is crossed.  The difficulty is that what seems acceptable on one thread can appear to be unacceptable on another.  I’ve recently looked at some threads and then gone back to find that they have disappeared. 

On one of these occasions, I could understand that some might have found the subject matter uncomfortable, but there is a choice that us Rootschatters have to go elsewhere.  I don’t agree with some of the opinions expressed on here, but that doesn’t mean that I think those posts should be deleted

On another occasion, what I thought was a perfectly innocent thread appears to have disappeared, ie been deleted.

I have heard from other RootsChatters that some threads and posts are being deleted and those responsible for putting them there in the first place have not received an explanation as to why they have been deleted.

So I guess I’m asking for two things. 

First, can we be clearer about what is “verboten”.  This will make our Moderators job a lot easier.  I could find little advice about this anywhere, apart from the netiquette thread stickied at the top of this board http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,123033.0.html, which focuses on behaviour rather than content.

Second, can there be a protocol in operation where those whose posts have been deleted receive an explanation from our Moderators as to why the post was unsuitable and therefore why it has been quarantined/deleted.

What do others (Moderators and Rootschatters) think?  Are the current guidelines clear enough?  What areas need more clarification?  Does my proposed protocol make sense?

JULIAN
Essex - Carter, Jeffrey, Mason, Middleditch, Pond, Poole, Rose, Sorrell, Surry, Theobald
Hunts - Danns
Kent - Luetchford, Wood
Nottinghamshire - Baker, Dunks, Kemp, Price, Priestley, Swain, Woodward
Suffolk - Rose
Surrey - Bedel, Bransden, Bysh, Coleman, Gibbs, Quinton
Sussex - Gibbs, Spencer
Wiltshire - Brice, Rumble

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Offline kerryb

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 19:52 BST (UK) »
No I don't think the current guidelines are clear enough at all, which is being demonstrated by the confusion and amazement that is being currently felt by some of us.

Who actually decides what is deemed unsuitable for a thread, because whilst some threads have been deleted and I have read them and chuckled, others have been left on the boards and some are even still on the boards that offend me or amaze me that they have been missed.  Now I don't bother to report them because I feel there are going to be things which offend me and I turn away just as something which makes me laugh doesn't make others laugh.

In other words we are all different.

So yes if we were a bit clearer about what is acceptable and what is not, not only would we know what to post and what not to post, we would stop all this confusion.

However I ask again who actually decides what is unsuitable because sometimes they want to get out more!

Sorry Julian this thread will probably be locked or deleted now!

Kerry
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Searching for my family - Baldwin - Sussex, Middlesex, Cork, Pilbeam - Sussex, Harmer - Sussex, Terry - Surrey, Kent, Rhoades - Lincs, Roffey - Surrey, Traies - Devon & Middlesex & many many more to be found on my website ....

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Offline Arranroots

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 20:04 BST (UK) »
I think you are right to raise the issue Julian, and thank you for raising it in a way that promotes discussion.

I think that what needs to be clarified as much as anything is the way in which we should address differences of opinion about what is acceptable.  It will not be possible to write a set of rules that cover every possibility.

If there is something that a Rootschatter finds unacceptable, or a Moderator has questions about, it will sometimes be moved to Quarantine while we think about whether it is Ok to be left, or whether a few changes are needed.  There is not always time in the lives of busy Mods to explain in detail at this stage.

What is not helpful is if this simple action results in a post or posts on the boards questioning what has been done.  Ideally the Mod will have explained, but if not a simple PM to a Mod (any Mod) will result in an explanation - but please give us time to respond - we nearly all work and run households too!

Exceptionally, it might be felt by a group of Mods in discussion that a thread should not be returned to the boards, in which case an explanation will be forthcoming to the person who posted the material which has caused the discussion.  It will not always be possible to PM everyone who contributed, if the thread is very long, but we will do our best!

If, after discussion, we feel that a mistake has been made, the thread will be returned to the boards in its entirety.

I hope that this process is acceptable, but I can only say - as has been said before - Rootschat is free, it is run by volunteers who do their best and we will sometimes make mistakes.  However, we do have feelings too and we would rather resolve things that have upset our members through discussion than by cross words on the boards (and indeed elsewhere on the internet).

I hope this helps to explain, but if not, please feel free to Pm any Mod at any time

kind regards, Arranroots  ;)

p.s. Hi Kerry - sorry I wrote this as you were posting.

I hope it won't be deleted or modified, otherwise I have wasted my time!  ;D
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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HEF: BAUGH, LATHAM, CARTER, PRITCHARD
GLS: WEBB, WORKMAN, LATHAM, MALPUS
WIL: WEBB, SALTER
RAD: PRITCHARD, WILLIAMS
GLA: RYAN, KEARNEY, JONES, HARRY
MON: WEBB, MORGAN, WILLIAMS, JONES, BIRD
SCOTLAND: HASTINGS, CAMERON, KELSO, BUCHANAN, BETHUNE/ BEATON
IRELAND: RYAN (WATERFORD), KEARNEY (DUBLIN), BOYLE(DUNDALK)

Offline kerryb

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 20:16 BST (UK) »
I hope not too Arranroots  ;D ;D

It's always better to discuss than to fester

Kerry
Census information Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Searching for my family - Baldwin - Sussex, Middlesex, Cork, Pilbeam - Sussex, Harmer - Sussex, Terry - Surrey, Kent, Rhoades - Lincs, Roffey - Surrey, Traies - Devon & Middlesex & many many more to be found on my website ....

Offline Lydart

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 20:16 BST (UK) »
Julian (and Arranroots) ... I think you have set out the case very calmly and fairly.  

I completely agree that if a thread, or part of one, has to be deleted, it is another form of 'netiquette' to put an explanation, simply and clearly ... and also at the same time to politely inform the transgressor via a PM ... otherwise how can we all learn ?

I'm aware that certain unacceptable words, such as the 'lady dog' word get automatically altered, and we are all aware that if we feel the need to use a dodgy word, we use lots of *****  - I myself started a thread a while back about the date of the F word coming into common useage ... no-one complained or deleted anything, and it was an interesting discussion.  

There have been under-currents of acrimony between some people and on some threads in the last week or so ... I had been away for 10 days, and sensed it at once on my return, yet couldnt put my finger on it.  This is NOT acceptable ... we are a 'family' site, in both meanings of the word, and it should be the duty of all of us to use it sensibly, politely, kindly and courteously.  Goodness me, RootsChat is the best site for family history discussion there is; the added 'fun' bits make it all the more valuable and wonderful to use.  

I have no idea why, but I get the feeling that there should be a bit of 'kiss and make up' between some people ... you know who you are, 99% of us have no idea, and don't want to know ... BUT DO IT PLEASE, for the sake of the continuation of RootsChat.  

Thanks again Julian, for bringing this up ... it took courage.
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Offline Boongie Pam

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 20:56 BST (UK) »
If I can add a few words.

There is good reason why there is not a prescriptive list of content.  The world is a varied and Technicolor place there are many different discussions we can have and many different ways of expressing ourselves.

A moderator has to use judgment as to the appropriateness of content.  Not always for the content itself but the likely direction a thread may take.

This is never personal.

If I can illustrate a typical grey area - now please be aware I am making this up and am not referring to any specific thread - past, present or future (and any likeness to the living or dead is coincidental).

Example:
Post 1:     School bans mobile phones.
Post 2-7:  Discussion on where's and why fors.
Post 8:     Side track onto religious objects (eg headscarves)
Post 9:     Comment on PC brigade
Post 10:   Comment on "britishness"
Post 11:   Comment on asylum seekers
Post 12:   Comment on get back where they came from...
Post 13:   Comment on outrageousness of previous comment...
Post 14:   All out cyber war between those who agree and those who don't.

Question, when is the appropriate place for me as a mod to split, edit, delete, remove?

We see quite a few posts degrade into argument - I'm even guilty of taking part on occasion.  The prime focus is for RC to be a pleasant place to be.  No personal attacks, no hatred etc.  Now for me personally I would split that thread at post 7 and post a note explaining why I'd locked the thread - because I would lock it.

Why would I lock it?  Because I see no value in discussing my judgment publicly.  I can never please everyone so I'm not willing to spend the precious minutes I have to help people debating.

Another mod may see it and say whoops no time to edit/split etc as I 'm flying through before going the laundry so I'll quarantine the whole thread, intending to review later what can be returned.

Am I just rambling now?  Probably!  ;D

The example above only shows my judgment.  Other individuals will have different opinions - other mods will have different opinions.  That's why we discuss.

There has been a lot of chat recently regarding PMs from mods to explain an action.  In the past I quarantined a thread with 15 different contributors - 15 PMs, x% of replies to read and respond to.  Cor blimey, - bear in mind I'm writing this message in work after 14 hour shift.  No lunch no dinner  :'(  POOR ME!  ;D ;D ;D

We do our best and will continue to (hopefully) keep our judgment on the side of peace and equality.

I will try to write a full guidance post but in my simple mind it is quite simple.

This is a family website we have young members.
Everything you post can be read publicly.

Think - is it appropriate for a child to read?
Can what I write be seen as inflammatory?

I am not going to provide a list of what can and can't be posted as that removes the posters judgment.  Think of the principle and spirit of the website.  Family History ROCKS!  Let's not forget that is why we want to be here.

I'm happy to discuss any of the points by PM in relation to specifics but I will not discuss another person's judgment.  That would be unfair.

All the best,
Pam
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Midlothian: Linn/d, Aitken, Martin
North Wales: Robins(on), Hughes, Parry, Jones
Cumberland: Lowther, Young, Steward, Miller
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Offline Cal241

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 21:15 BST (UK) »
Yes I agree with Lydart ...... a very calm and fair discussion from all sides.

We are all only human and we make mistakes/ errors of judgment (hands up who has never made a mistake???)

As members of RC we forget, as Arranroots points out, that the Mods are everyday folk like us all and they have other stuff on as well as moderating......... on the other hand the Mods must understand that this site does also hold out a life line/ company/ friendship to many as well as a vital research help

I have had a post deleted but had a nice PM attached others I know have had difference experiences

What is needed is a big intake of breath and consideration from all sides ...... If am offended by something I either don't go back there or make a comment (hey I am an adult ok ok I don't always behave like one  :P), if someone is going to interfer with what I have written then I would expect a courteous PM ...... seems simple to me  :-\

The key to this is consideration for others/ effective communication & less knee jerk reactions (please)

I would like RC to continue as it has done...... also I  would welcome a comment from Sarah & /or Trystan regarding this

Cal  8)




UK Census Transcriptions are Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk                Bigg-Sheppey/West Ham
Dodd - Cheshire
Ingram - Dorset, London, Morlaix, Australia, California
Kerfoot - Warrington, Pemberton, St Asaph
McKinneley - N Ireland, Liverpool
Marshall - Midlothian, Cheshire
Morrish-Chelsea
Shiel - Melrose
Woodhall- Liverpool, Shropshire/Staffordshire
Dagliesh- Melrose
Stevenson - Melrose
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Offline julianb

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 22:45 BST (UK) »
Thanks to all who have contributed so far.

Very reasoned discussion, and some really useful insights from Arranroots and Boongie Pam about what a moderator has to handle. 

The humble rootschatters (Thanks Kerry, Lydart and Cal) are keen on two way communications with our Moderators.

I look forward to more contributions from Rootschatters in different timezones  :)

JULIAN
Essex - Carter, Jeffrey, Mason, Middleditch, Pond, Poole, Rose, Sorrell, Surry, Theobald
Hunts - Danns
Kent - Luetchford, Wood
Nottinghamshire - Baker, Dunks, Kemp, Price, Priestley, Swain, Woodward
Suffolk - Rose
Surrey - Bedel, Bransden, Bysh, Coleman, Gibbs, Quinton
Sussex - Gibbs, Spencer
Wiltshire - Brice, Rumble

Any census info in this post is Crown Copyright - http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline Cal241

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Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 24 April 07 23:07 BST (UK) »
Julian

I think those who have been upset (etc) should post here too... but constructive!

Better out than in.... in my book  ;D

It should be aired


Cal  8)
UK Census Transcriptions are Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk                Bigg-Sheppey/West Ham
Dodd - Cheshire
Ingram - Dorset, London, Morlaix, Australia, California
Kerfoot - Warrington, Pemberton, St Asaph
McKinneley - N Ireland, Liverpool
Marshall - Midlothian, Cheshire
Morrish-Chelsea
Shiel - Melrose
Woodhall- Liverpool, Shropshire/Staffordshire
Dagliesh- Melrose
Stevenson - Melrose
Smith & Jones! Scotland & Wales