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Beginners => How to Use RootsChat (Please don't post requests here) => Topic started by: julianb on Tuesday 24 April 07 19:11 BST (UK)

Title: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: julianb 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
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb 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
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Arranroots 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
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb 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
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Lydart 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.
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Boongie Pam 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
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Cal241 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)




Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: julianb 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
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Cal241 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)
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Boongie Pam on Tuesday 24 April 07 23:19 BST (UK)
Cal,

I agree.  As long as the discussion does not resort to specifics regarding threads or people. This will trigger me to edit the thread.  As previously said, specifics should be taken to the people in question.

Julian,

Your phrase "humble rootschatters" is interesting.  It serves to encourage an Us and Them feeling.  I have less experience, less knowledge about FH, narrower FH skill base than most of the members- if anyone is a humble rootschatter - it is me.

Ok so I get to move posts out of offer boards into requests when required.

Again, happy to take PMs on the matter.

Pam
 :)
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Boongie Pam on Tuesday 24 April 07 23:23 BST (UK)
Kerryb,

Quote
some are even still on the boards that offend me or amaze me that they have been missed

Please use the report to moderator function or let us know.  We cannot read every post, it is physically impossible.

Thanks,
Pam
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: indiapaleale on Wednesday 25 April 07 00:00 BST (UK)
Hi Everyone,

I'm from a different time zone...far...far...away!

This is my 2 pennyworth:

Rootschat is a private web site that Trystan and Sarah have been kind enough to build for the pleasure of us dead people fanatics ...errr genealogy researchers. The moderators have been asked to kindly keep their eye on the boards for infractions that may offend...and to take care of general housekeeping. In my opinion, the mods do a bang up job.

As with any open internet board, there are going to be some things that offend some people.....I am not offended by dirty words...or innuendos...in fact...I was a sailor in a previous life! However, there are a few things that have made me cringe because I know that this is the net and can be seen by anyone...even my own grandchildren.

I believe that if a post...or thread disappears......OH WELL! It must have upset someone..or it must have been out of bounds.

Do the mods need to notify every one of the infraction on the thread?...NO......the fact that the thread is gone is enough to let us know that someone was hurt or offended...and that is good enough for me. If I need to know why the post was deleted  I can send a mod a PM and ask for an explanation.....but I don't blame them if the response is:

"Because I'm the Mother."....(or Father)    ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

Indi....who thinks that TOT should be buried along with Ephraim Bathurst...wherever he is!







Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Springbok on Wednesday 25 April 07 00:05 BST (UK)
What an interesting discussion!

I have always been so impressed by the high standard of Moderating on  Rootschat.

Of course we have all grown up having certain things which offend us.(sometimes age related) and as Boogie Pam says there is the function to report , and that must create a dilemma for Moderators in itself.

The worst site which I use is a Media one which has numerous subjects,including genealogy.To get ones first posting accepted, one may wait and keep posting for many days before it appears.
After that it seems that (unless one complains) anything goes.

Whilst I normally just look to see what comments have been made regarding a certain programme, often many threads deteriorate into thinly veiled near obscene postings.
The same thing happens even on subjects such as art. genealogy and probably all the rest of a vast number of subjects.none of which are actively moderated unless a complaint is registered.
I did this (for the one and only time last week) when a posting referred to a character and and a Decameron Type sexual action. My objection was noted and the e-mail reply stated that the Moderators found that there was nothing objectionable.
I am not a prude and have lived(an still do) in the company of seamen and am not easily offended but somehow it seems that  some pathetic contributers seem to feel that they have an anonymity and can indulge their baser fantasies.

Spring

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: trish251 on Wednesday 25 April 07 03:45 BST (UK)
I really believe Julian should run for Prime Minister (or President). He has a wonderful method of resolving problems without agro &  the world would be a better place if this happened more often. I fear I do not have these skills & many moons ago I was upset by a thread being (I think) locked rather than deleted, but in hindsight it resolved any further issues that may have arisen.

My personal view is, if a thread is gone - we mere mortals have to accept it - or stop posting. I tried the latter  a couple of times but the interest in genealogy brought me back  ;D   ;D 

I have seen other forums where the comments/attacks become very bitter and personal - this has not obviously happened on RC -  the comments on this thread tell us why.

Being interested in things past  :)  :) perhaps the presentation by Lord Moulton on "Law and Manners" - obedience to the unenforceable - explains why it is difficult to have a list of guidelines that cover all the possibilities

http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/13/jun95/silber.htm

Trish





Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Wednesday 25 April 07 04:00 BST (UK)



I'm not going to go into the where's and why-fors of individual threads - or posts - being deleted.   I'm not going to comment on the busy lives moderators have outside RC, we all know about the difficulty they face and appreciate the time and effort they put into looking after the individual boards on RC.

BUT.

It really comes down to percentages.   There are over 40.000 members of RootsChat.  How many of those 40.000 are active.   How many of those who are active use the Lighter Side board and how many use the Totally Of Topic board.  What's the percentage of people who put in complaints regarding a thread ( for whatever reason) to the amount of people contributing to that particular thread.

If there are 20 people contributing and there's one complaint made, for me majority rules .  If there are 3 people contributing and 20 complaints, again the majority rules.   What offends me, will probably not offend another and vice versa.   Remember, we as individuals have the power to read or not read the subject matter.   It's not compulsory to read each and every thread posted.

It's been noted there are youngsters who are members of RC, yes there are, but does that mean we have to bring ourselves down to a 12 year olds level of understanding before we post on a subject?  If we do that, many posts will simply not be presented as it's impossible to know if the 12 year old in question is a worldly wise one or a shy retiring one unfamiliar with the workings of an adults sense of humour.   This is so difficult a question, I honestly don't believe there is an answer to it.

Ultimately, it boils down to the individual and what offends or upsets them.  We're all different and we all have different opinions on what is right or wrong, humorous, obscene or simply objectionable.   And the moderators are NEVER going to please everybody simply because of that difference in us.

May I offer two simple solutions the moderators could use which would cut down on personal PM'ing and the need for explanations going out to all and sundry.

1.   If a thread is deemed to be objectionable (for whatever reason) and locked, a PM is sent to the originator of that thread with a full explanation as to why it has been locked.   A short message on the bottom of the thread could say it has been locked and all queries should be sent to the poster - not the moderator.  That would cut down on a mods need to PM each and every poster to that thread with an explanation.  Then it's up to the originator to explain to whoever contacts them the reason behind the locked topic.  In the event a thread is deleted and not simply locked, the title should remain on the boards with a message from the deleting mod giving an explanation and again directing all queries to the original poster.

2.   When a complaint or complaints are received by a mod, I recommend they look at the total number of complaints versus the total number of posters - the percentages.  Then they can act accordingly.    I certainly don't believe it should be simply up to the moderator to lock or delete a topic based on their own personal opinion of that topic however wrong they feel it is.  That is borderline censorship.

I'm fully aware not everybody will agree with what I've said, but that's what living in a democracy is all about.  We can have our own opinions on a subject and we can air those opinions in a civilised manner . . ... . . .  ..  and I'll now get off my soapbox.


Barbara
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Arranroots on Wednesday 25 April 07 08:02 BST (UK)
Hi Barbara

Your post makes one important assumption: that everyone who contributes to a thread approves of everything that is written after they have posted.

As Pam has described above, threads might start well (and be funny, informative or otherwise valuable) but later posts can be of dubious merit and it is there that the problem can arise.

We cannot assume that all those who have posted on a thread agree with everything on it.  Far less can we assume that the other 40,000 (less 20) who have not posted agree with the Moderators' decision or with the person whose post is removed - we plain don't know!  :-\

All we can do is to act in good faith to do what we believe is the best/ right thing.  :)

In general
It is a fact of life that sometimes Mods will sometimes make mistakes.   :-[

There is a suggested approach when this happens and/ or a poster disagrees with an action a Moderator has taken.  Please contact that Mod (or another) to discuss.  Locking your own thread because it has been "unfairly" edited; resigning or posting "It's not fair" objections on the boards are all quite understandable reactions - but they do not help in the long run.  Many other Rootschatters find themselves as puzzled and distressed by this sort of activity as by whatever the Moderator did.  ???

I am not saying that a protest by PM to the Mods will reverse whatever decision has been taken.  It is difficult to quantify the opinions of the silent majority of Rootschatters and the only way the Moderating team can gauge what they might be thinking is to listen to the Reports to Moderator that have been made and then discuss among themselves.

Please bear in mind that Moderators are not all made out of a single mould - we vary enormously in our sense of humour, political allegiance, bedtime etc!!  The one thing we have in common is that we have been asked by T&S to give up a little of our time to help run Rootschat. 

Thank you all for your comments: it has helped me personally to get a clearer picture of how Rootschatters are thinking - obviously there is a variety of opinion, which is exactly what the Moderating team are trying to reflect.

Remember - we are here for you - use us, don't abuse us!  ;D

Arranroots
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Wednesday 25 April 07 08:29 BST (UK)
Hi Barbara

Your post makes one important assumption: that everyone who contributes to a thread approves of everything that is written after they have posted.
As Pam has described above, threads might start well (and be funny, informative or otherwise valuable) but later posts can be of dubious merit and it is there that the problem can arise.


Arranroots

Hi Arranroots

And therein lies the problem.   I do understand and appreciate what you are saying.  It makes perfect sense.   But I still believe there should be a way whereby a particular thread can continue on the boards and not have the whole lot deleted.

If a particular post on a thread is objected to, then the poster should be given the opportunity to delete it themselves.   Very often, the poster would not be aware they had made a blunder and would more than likely delete it once it was brought to their notice.   The one thing I have noticed with RC'ers is their sense of fairness and empathy towards other members.   I do believe that once they were made aware of the situation, they would do something about it.   

The upset occurs when a topic or post is arbitrarily removed without explanation.   Perhaps an 'objectionable' post could be temporarily deleted with the mod saying it is only temporary and requesting the poster contacts the mod in question.

It seems a shame to me that whole topics are locked, deleted or quarantined depriving many posters the opportunity to continue posting for the sake of perhaps - and this is an assumption - a couple of 'bad' posts on the thread.   

To sum up . . . If it started out good, why not find a way to keep it.

Getting down off soapbox again     :-\ :-\

Barbara
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: bigcol on Wednesday 25 April 07 10:16 BST (UK)
Hi, everyone!

What type of community is Rootschat?

It is a family oriented site - yes, I agree! Do you never have fallings-out and disagreements in your family?

The problem seems to be, in my opinion, that some people are unable to accept that someone else may have a different opinion to themselves. They are not confident in their own beliefs and values, therefore they believe that they must attack the beliefs and values of others.

There was plenty of good-natured banter, criticism, comment and nationalistic tub-thumping on the Australia v England cricketing threads, some of it quite strong, yet it wasn't pulled by the Mods. I suggest that the spirit of the comments was recognised by the Mods and the comments were not seen as inflammatory. (Isn't nationalism political?).

Unless comments are unpleasantly racist or perhaps slanderous (ie breaking the law) then surely the family of Rootschatters can accept the fact that someone else may think differently without entering into violent argument or villification.

After all, isn't freedom of speech the opportunity to say something that nobody else likes?

Colin
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb on Wednesday 25 April 07 11:26 BST (UK)
Kerryb,

Quote
some are even still on the boards that offend me or amaze me that they have been missed

Please use the report to moderator function or let us know.  We cannot read every post, it is physically impossible.

Thanks,
Pam
Will do in future Pam, but I tend not to take life that seriously and as I say other people have other views to me and I acknowledge that and accept it.  We are all different and are all influenced in our lives by different internal and external influences.  Therefore a lot of what might offend me might just be offensive due a particular mood or internal feeling.

Kerry
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Wednesday 25 April 07 12:06 BST (UK)
I'm sure that we are all grateful to the moderators and that we all recognize, and thank them for, the time which they voluntarily devote to RootsChat.

However, it seems to me that the most significant problem, and the one which is currently concerning all thoughtful RootsChatters, is the lack of consistency in actions taken by Moderators and Copyright Editors.

It is obvious from many posts that it is very disheartening (and sometimes even hurtful) to RootsChatters to have posts or threads deleted for an unstated (or even a stated) reason, or to have information removed from posts on the basis of copyright, when they/we have no idea whatsoever how the material 'offended' in nature or content or format compared with  what they/we themselves/ourselves have posted previously and/or what remains unmoderated/unexpurgated elsewhere on RC.

The question of consistency can only be resolved by the Moderators and Copyright Editors themselves ('Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?', eh!).

So, over to you mods  ;) 

Best regards to all,

JAP
PS: Pam, yes there are times when my eyebrows lift at what I perceive as political, religious, racist, smutty or otherwise inappropriate posts here.  But I just drop the eyebrows and move on.  I certainly wouldn't go "dobbing" posters to moderators - it's all just part of the rich tapestry of life (as the cliche has it)  8) 
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: bigcol on Wednesday 25 April 07 13:19 BST (UK)
Upon reading my earlier posting (No. 55, above), I realise that it is possible to read it as an attack on the Moderators - not so!

I am referring to the occasional Rootschatter who enters into online arguments over politics, religion, race etc in the most disgraceful terms. It is these comments that the Mods have to delete.

I was simply appealing for tolerance and acceptance that, although a comment may be unpopular, or even perhaps couched in "unsavoury" terms, reasonable people will read it, ignore it and move on without feeling the need to attack the commentator or villify his/her views.

The Moderators do a difficult job, but a necessary one, and I had no intention of attacking them as a group or individually.

My apologies!
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Llwyd on Wednesday 25 April 07 13:44 BST (UK)
I think some people get confused between what is offensive and what they hold opposing views on or disapprove of.

 A comment or point of view with which one disagrees or disapproves of does not necessarily make that comment offensive.

Consequently complainants should ask themselves a simple question, "Do I genuinely find this offensive or do I just disagree with it?."

I think the test, for the Mods at least, is, "Would the ordinary, reasonable person in the street find this offensive?".

I appreciate that what I may find offensive would not cause another person to even blink, or vice versa, but throughout society today there does seem to be  the overriding belief that if one does not agree with a certain point of view, then it is, of necessity,  offensive; even to the extent that it is possible to be offended vicariously.

However, the Mods do a fine job and need the wisdom of Solomon. A task I would not relish.

From a not easily offended,
Llwyd.
 :)




Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: pjbuk007 on Wednesday 25 April 07 14:45 BST (UK)
I tend towards the Arranroots and indiapaleale view of this issue.

As I have said before, there are many sites on the net where you can have no-hold-barred political discussions, but in my view rootschat is NOT that place.  The atmosphere is mainly terrific, and members are SO helpful.  I have found some threads upsetting and offensive, and I use the word advisedly.  The offensive ones have assumed a world-view very different to my own, I can live with that, but have also contained propaganda and incorrect facts to back up their arguments.  Some of these have been from sources which have been discredited or are known to be funded by partisan and biased interest groups.  So what do I do?  Correct/question the data and get involved in an acrimonious argument?  Or just ignore the discussion and allow rootschat to become a medium for propounding misinformation?  Nowadays I try not read anything posted in "Lighter Side" for this reason, but thereby miss much that is interesting.

The family analogy does not hold.  If we are having a family party to celebrate Aunt Agnes' 100th, we do not have in-depth discussions about political issues because some of us hold opposing views, and in fact have stood for Parliament/campaigned on opposite sides of some issues.  We do not want to detract from the reason for the occasion and upset the other guests, some of whom are ranged on our sides, and some of whom do not care.  We may well talk these topics over between ourselves in the Pub, or at each others' houses.  But we do not try to drag everyone in to our arguments.

I belong to another message board partly devoted to controversial topics, and I know when I am on there I can be "flamed" and that I have to hold my ground and argue my case coherently and with proper citations of backup facts which I use.  This is quite a different experience to Rootschat, and populated by experienced campaigners with differing viewpoints and agendas.   
 
I find that the Mods do a great job.  I am only too happy that they delete inappropriate threads.  The Ts & Cs allow the Mods to do what they think appropriate, and I hope they continue to do so.  As for explaining or PMing about what they have done, this seems to be a time-consuming proposal which will lead to more ill-feeling and argument.  Why not just leave politics and controversy out of Rootschat?  Why not keep it as a Family History site?  Fine, in the Lighter Side, folk can post about their own experiences, but please can we keep it more like Aunt Agnes' birthday party and less like the saloon bar of the Rabid Duck?


 
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: liverpool lass on Wednesday 25 April 07 18:15 BST (UK)
I tend towards the Arranroots and indiapaleale view of this issue. 
I find that the Mods do a great job.  I am only too happy that they delete inappropriate threads.  The Ts & Cs allow the Mods to do what they think appropriate, and I hope they continue to do so.  As for explaining or PMing about what they have done, this seems to be a time-consuming proposal which will lead to more ill-feeling and argument.  Why not just leave politics and controversy out of Rootschat?  Why not keep it as a Family History site?  Fine, in the Lighter Side, folk can post about their own experiences, but please can we keep it more like Aunt Agnes' birthday party and less like the saloon bar of the Rabid Duck?


HEAR, HEAR!! Well done mods! I for one am happy to let them decide. If I read something I don't like I don't go back to that thread  ??? Like the off button on the TV!


 
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Boongie Pam on Wednesday 25 April 07 20:02 BST (UK)
Quote
Consequently complainants should ask themselves a simple question, "Do I genuinely find this offensive or do I just disagree with it?."

I think the test, for the Mods at least, is, "Would the ordinary, reasonable person in the street find this offensive?".

Llwyd,

There is one added aspect I think is missing here which I tried to illustrate.  The question I have asked myself when reading some threads is

"Where do I think this is going?"

There may of been a percieved tighter control on moderating than previously but this has been triggered by something.  Is it easy to put my finger on what?  No it isn't.

If I think a "PC type" thread is meandering into territory I think is becoming unsavoury then I make take action earlier.  In my case that action is likely to be a post to divert the thread back to a less inflammatory course.

Discussions like this are good and do help shape the way we moderate.

What is particularly negative and unconstructive is a peppering of public outrage and crying foul over "big brother" censorship.  This often misrepresents the situation and creates a bad feeling across a wider audience than even read the original threads.  And we do remove these threads as they are personal and hurtful - I would (and have) remove the same kind of thread where one user slates another user.

Fact is we do have the right to remove content - it's a legal measure.  In my time as moderator, 3 years and fast running to an end, I have removed rape jokes, racist, anti-gay, anti-women, threads.  So do I think every user of RC is a sensible poster - well let's just say, I don't assume.
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Barbara F on Thursday 26 April 07 10:53 BST (UK)
I was travelling from Cornwall to Buckinghamshire yesterday and spent quite a bit of the time thinking about this thread and whether I should contribute – well, it is a very long journey :)

I am assuming that the problems have come from postings on the Lighter Side or TOTB Boards. I am not a regular on these boards although I join in occasionally and have a laugh at some of the postings and the banter.
.
I suppose what really concerns me is that these boards, which are not at the heart of the Rootschat forum, should be causing so much upset and taking up so much moderator time. I joined Rootschat because it is a family history forum.  I have had help from lots of people here and hope I have been able to help others with their family history. When I look at my unread posts I don’t want to see grievances about deleted threads on non family history subjects. I don’t want the mods to feel they are being attacked - I want them to be able to spend their time sharing their expertise and keeping the main forum boards running smoothly 

The off topic boards do serve a purpose – they have, I believe, increased the sense of community; they enable us to have a laugh; and they present opportunities to support fellow Rootschatters at times of distress.

If the mods consider a posting on one of these boards is inappropriate then I think it should be deleted and an explanation sent to the person who initiated the thread. And that should be the end of it.  If this is not acceptable then perhaps we should get rid of these boards entirely so that we can concentrate on what we do best – helping each other with our Family History.

Barbara

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Lydart on Thursday 26 April 07 12:18 BST (UK)
While I to some small extent agree with Barbara's view and ideas, I think it is the non-family history boards which help to build up the RootsChat family ... we can get straight family history advice and help elsewhere on other sites, but it is the friendly, family atmosphere of RC that makes it so special, and its why I joined.   

I have had enormous help and advice on FH matters from the kindly and knowledgeable people on RC, but its the fun pages that make us friends.  You cant have a plain pudding without the cream to help it along, and so it is with RC .. the FH advice is the pud; the fun boards are the cream, and each benefits the other !

Lets keep it as it is; keep certain standards always before us, and enjoy each others company and knowledge. 
Long live RootsChat !!   
[/size]
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Thursday 26 April 07 13:22 BST (UK)
I don't know whether the OP, JulianB, would agree, but - to my mind - this thread seems to have gone somewhat awry.

And many posters are addressing points which are not remotely at issue.

Could we all agree
a) that RootsChat is absolutely wonderful (please, please, Trystan & Sarah don't let this current discussion upset you at all - it's just a little family tiff among a generally loving family!)
b) that Moderators (and Copyright Editors) are needed
c) that (overall) they do a fine job
d) that we thank them for all the time they voluntarily spend on this
e) that we recognize that, being human, they may make mistakes and won't always get things right
f) that we readily forgive them if they make mistakes or don't get thing right.

So let's not debate, or discuss, further any of those points.

None of the above is, I believe, what has produced this current thread (and other similar threads).

As I've said earlier, I think the question is one of inconsistency.

Please moderators, get together and see where things have gone off course.

And off course they certainly seem to have gone.

There surely is a problem (possibly easily resolved?) when so many RootsChatters who are generally acknowledged as great supporters of RC, as friendly, and as extremely reasonable express concern at recent actions of their Moderators which they cannot begin to understand, and cannot relate to non-action on other threads.

Over to you mods,

JAP
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Thursday 26 April 07 13:28 BST (UK)

And many posters are addressing points which are not remotely at issue.


JAP



It would appear they are or they wouldn't be raised.


Barbara
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: RonnieG on Thursday 26 April 07 13:29 BST (UK)
I agree with Tephra.

It must surely be possible to allow an otherwise healthy Thread to continue, by removing only the offensive post(s).

RonnieG
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Arranroots on Thursday 26 April 07 13:38 BST (UK)
I suppose it depends what sort of "consumer" you are - if I can use a shopping analogy.

If you receive what seems to you to be poor service in a shop - do you shout from the rooftops and refuse ever to go there again - or do you return to the shop and ask the customer service team to consider your complaint?

The Moderators could be seen as a Virtual Customer Service Team - we mop up the spills, keep things in order and remedy mistakes.

We don;t have the ability to meet and discuss in real life, so we act as cohesively as we can, given the limitations of e-working.

There cannot be a Fixed Set of Rules (please, please read Pams very valuable posts above) BUT this is an advantage - it means that we consider each case individually and do not generalise.

We also respond as quickly as we can.

Please remember - just becuase you feel slighted, does not mean that the Mods will agree with you all the time - occasionally they might stick to their original decision.  That does not necessarily make them wrong!

Have a peaceful and constuctive afternoon

kind regards, Arranroots  ;)

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Thursday 26 April 07 13:55 BST (UK)
And many posters are addressing points which are not remotely at issue.
JAP

It would appear they are or they wouldn't be raised.
Barbara

It ain't necessarily so!  (As we all sing along  ;D )

Just because a point is mentioned, does not mean that it is at issue.  That was precisely what I was trying to say i.e. that people are debating points which are most definitely not at issue - points on which there is no disagreement.  And which were certainly not what started this thread.

Let's try to concentrate on the real point - which I see as being that very recent decisions/actions by moderators have upset very reasonable people who have never been upset at all before.

And how that problem can be resolved.

Which, I think, is a matter for the moderators to discuss and resolve among themselves.

JAP

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: dennford on Thursday 26 April 07 14:25 BST (UK)
Two threads have dominated rootschat for the past couple of days. First the very public thank you to Paul, and secondly this one.

Now let’s get down to the very basics of this discussion/argument (I purposely used both words because it doesn’t matter one iota what we call it) and keep everything simple (I like things simple – it suits me)

No one on here wants rootschat to degenerate into an aggressive forum (let’s pretend it hasn’t done so yet).

I am sure that we as adults all agree that we don’t always agree. That is proven by the previously posted comments on this thread.

Mod’s have a job to do and without finite rules it is sometimes difficult to know what is the right way of doing things.

With the above in mind we should also take into consideration that no matter how impartial a mod’ tries to be, it is rarely practical to expect this to be so.

Contributors do (in my opinion) have a right to an explanation when a post is (tampered with)

No one (ABSOLUTELY NO ONE) wants wants rootschat to suffer when we can do something about it.


NOW! The question is, what can be done to improve the situation – NOT who is right and who is wrong, or who has done or said whatsoever.

The priority now is to see where we are going – not where we have been.



                                                 Denn
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: behindthefrogs on Thursday 26 April 07 14:26 BST (UK)
May I just defend the moderators by saying that in the very few cases where I have been offended by something on rootschat but not bothered to complain, the moderators have removed the offending item either independently or as a result of someone else complaining.

These removals seem to have upset other people but in most cases including the one which occurred recently were entirely justified.

David
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Thursday 26 April 07 14:35 BST (UK)
And many posters are addressing points which are not remotely at issue.
JAP

It would appear they are or they wouldn't be raised.
Barbara

It ain't necessarily so!  (As we all sing along  ;D )


JAP


To the people who posted, they obviously are an issue or they wouldn't have felt a need to post.

Whilst I agree with you, consistency is necessary, communication is vital.  Without communication people are left in the dark regarding the locking/deletion/quarantine of a thread.


Barbara
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Thursday 26 April 07 14:38 BST (UK)
The priority now is to see where we are going – not where we have been.

Very well said Denn - though I've turned down your volume  ;)

And that's why I've been saying that it's up to the mods to get together and work through what is obviously a very real current problem.

JAP
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: RonnieG on Thursday 26 April 07 14:42 BST (UK)
Are we allowed to elect moderators?

I vote for Tephra ! (oooops is that political?)

RonnieG
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Thursday 26 April 07 15:09 BST (UK)



Thank you for that vote of confidence Ronnie, but there are far far more knowlegable people on Rootschat that I am.   I am a (less than ) basic learner where genealogy is concerned.  I do recognise my limitations.

Besides, you might be surprised at what I would delete and what I would leave on the boards . ..     ;D ;D ;D


Barbara                      8)
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: wrjones on Thursday 26 April 07 15:17 BST (UK)
You're far too modest Barbara!

Regards
William Russell Jones
Cefn Mawr
Wrexham.
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Thursday 26 April 07 15:25 BST (UK)



Modesty doesn't come into it William.  While I could quite easily be the 'Man in the Street' and keep people and posts n line, my lack of genealogy knowledge would severely handicap the good people of RC.   And I couldn't - and wouldn't allow that to happen.   But thank you, it means a lot.


Barbara                       8)
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: mshrmh on Thursday 26 April 07 17:10 BST (UK)
As my experience of the Moderators is only that of seeing "MOVED" in front of some of my own & other's postings may I ask some basics, please?

I'm confused about what is meant by locking/deletion/quarantine in this regard. Can anyone explain the differences, please? Also when a particular reply or original message is deemed inappropriate, does the action against it affect other messages on the same thread?

Reading between the lines of previous messages I can guess some answers, but not having seen direct results, I'd appreciate a definitive answer.

I can only comment on the experience I have had, which is that the regular moving of posts must alone be a time-consuming job, but is a valuable service in trying to give original posters the best chance of a response.
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Arranroots on Thursday 26 April 07 19:31 BST (UK)
Hi mshrmh

Locking is done when a thread reaches 20 pages, when it is an offer (replies should be on a separate thread), or occassionally when a thread has become contentious - i think I have done that once during my time as a Mod.

Deletion is sometimes done at the request of the person who posted (eg if they made a mistake), but we try to avoid doing this as it is time-consuming!  We do not delete completed threads, as they might be useful to others later.

Quarantine is a "holding board" where threads or individual posts that need discussion can be moved to.  They can then be discussed, edited or returned to the board.  This will be done in consultation with the originator where possible, except in the case of spam (when the originator is banned and the post deleted permanently).

It is possible to move part of a thread to Q - yes.  See Pam's posts above.

Did I miss anything?

kind regards, Arranroots  ;)
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: julianb on Thursday 26 April 07 20:34 BST (UK)
Did I miss anything?

Only thing I'd add to a very helpful reply is that the person who started a thread can lock it themselves.  This is usually in anticipation of filling up the twenty pages (and starting a new, continuation thread).

I've known moderators lock a thread when clearly it has got to the point that there is nothing more to say.  On one occasion this happened to a thread I was involved in, and we negotiated  it's reopening - the mod had misundersood something and graciously accepted that that is what they had done.  :)

So back to the substantive point (after a useful diversion), among the many excellent and well considered posts here, I thought JAP hit the nail on the head very well (slightly abridged by me):


Could we all agree
a) that RootsChat is absolutely wonderful (please, please, Trystan & Sarah don't let this current discussion upset you at all - it's just a little family tiff among a generally loving family!)
b) that Moderators (and Copyright Editors) are needed
c) that (overall) they do a fine job
d) that we thank them for all the time they voluntarily spend on this
e) that we recognize that, being human, they may make mistakes and won't always get things right
f) that we readily forgive them if they make mistakes or don't get thing right.

So let's not debate, or discuss, further any of those points.

None of the above is, I believe, what has produced this current thread (and other similar threads).

As I've said earlier, I think the question is one of inconsistency.

Please moderators, get together and see where things have gone off course.

...  and then Denn helpfully said (lower volume this time  ;D)


The priority now is to see where we are going – not where we have been


There is one further issue relating to all this (and I know the thread has done a bit of a slalom around the subject, so I don't see any harm in another slight diversion). 

In the light of earlier comments (that Moderators have jobs, homes, families and even lives to run and their own FH research to do, as well as managing our environment on here), someone asked me the question "have we enough moderators?".  They haven't got round to posting that, so I've stolen their question.

Given the extensive views already expressed here (for which many thanks to you all), I thought it would make sense to drive all this out to some kind of conclusion - hopefully a bit of "time out" for the Moderators as a group to reflect on what has been said.

So, taking into account this new question, I seek further comments from my esteemed colleague Rootschatters  (with a view to concluding the thread within the next few days before it gets to twenty pages/runs out of steam). 

So take a deep breath, think about it a second time, and please post your considered thoughts on what I've tried to sum up here  :)

Thanks for listening.

JULIAN
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: pjbuk007 on Thursday 26 April 07 21:19 BST (UK)
I think that only a very few people have "been upset" by "inconsistency" in the way the Mods have acted.

This thread has been viewed 1209 times but there are only 42 posts, some of which argue for the status quo.  Some of us have posted more than once.

I have re-read the whole lot, and I think the "way forward" is to leave the Mods to operate as they have.

Perhaps all should read the T&Cs.  Here is an extract:-

You agree, through your use of this RootsChat forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a living person's privacy, or otherwise contrary to law. Legal actions can be taken against you. ......   Spam, flooding, advertisements except in the "For Sale/Wanted/Events" Forum, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also inappropriate to this RootsChat forum.

Some posts of mine were in threads which ended up deleted.  But this is just part of joining a forum.  One has to accept the way in which it is run.  Some of you seem to want to be even more prescriptive as to what is "allowed" and what is not.  I think that the ethos of the forum is pretty clear, and would not like even more rules to be set out. 

My own view is that there is no need for the Mods to change their modus operandi and that those of you who do are in a tiny minority of rootschatters.
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Gadget on Thursday 26 April 07 21:32 BST (UK)
Julian  :)


I'm glad that you've moved the discussion on. I think that most that can be said has been said.

You ask if we need more Mods. Let us first examine their role.

1. To examine threads and move them as appropriately.

2. To guard against spammers and delete/ arrange for those persons to be removed as members.

3. To resize image files

4. Probably other 'routine housekeeping' functions.

These functions could be done by a range of people.

Then there are the more thought provoking/sensitive/decision making functions:

1. Examining messages and threads for appropriateness of content in a more value judgemental way (as Pam has described) and acting on this

2. To communicate with members about the above.

3. To answer a wide variety of members queries and messages via PM

4. To check on their own areas of expertise to see if members questions have been answered or if more information might be useful which means reading the whole thread in context and having good memories or using searches to see if a similar query has been answered


I think these latter tasks  are more difficult and need a careful, considered and sensitive approach. This is the real core of Moderation.

These all have to be carried out 24/7.

Not sure if this answers your question or if I've missed anything but whereas the first group would be fairly straight forward but time consuming, the last group are difficult functions.

Gadget
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb on Thursday 26 April 07 21:47 BST (UK)
May I be permitted to say then my reaction to your post Gadget is that there are two distinct groups needed?

Administrators and Moderators.

Kerry
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Lydart on Thursday 26 April 07 21:50 BST (UK)
Are we starting to go round in circles here ? 

We've had lots of things explained; we've aired our views; apologies have been made and understanding reached.

Maybe its time for Julian to sum up and close the topic now ? 
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Gadget on Thursday 26 April 07 21:52 BST (UK)
Hi Kerry

Iwas just going to add a Post Script to my posting saying that it seemed to me that we might have a system of Mods and sub-Mods - a bit like in school  - Prefects and sub-prefects. If the Mods are feeling overloaded, it would be one solution.

Gadget

Added - Lydart - Julian has done that above and moved the discussion on
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: julianb on Thursday 26 April 07 21:56 BST (UK)
I think that only a very few people have "been upset" by "inconsistency" in the way the Mods have acted.

This thread has been viewed 1209 times but there are only 42 posts, some of which argue for the status quo.

...................

 My own view is that there is no need for the Mods to change their modus operandi and that those of you who do are in a tiny minority of rootschatters.

This is your view, and you are right to express it.

But I think the ripples arising from this of all this are greater than you have assessed them to be.  That's my view  :)

And, I'm glad I've asked for more contributions because Gadget has just set out a very sensible analysis of the different components of the moderators role.

Are we starting to go round in circles here ?

We've had lots of things explained; we've aired our views; apologies have been made and understanding reached.

Maybe its time for Julian to sum up and close the topic now ?

Sorry, Lydart, if this appears to be me getting tetchy  :o.  But I have sought more contributions in my very recent post, and am very glad I have.   I don't think an understanding has been reached   :-\
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: peterbennett on Thursday 26 April 07 23:04 BST (UK)
Hi

      Just a couple of observation on what as been added over the last few posts.

       It is a fact that some moderators do feel under pressure, but not by the fact that we are overworked, most days it is an absolute joy to sign on and get stuck in to our hobby and "work" with no problems. Then there are the days when things do not go according to plan as as been the case recently it is then that we feel the pressure, it would not matter how many mods there were these situations will crop up from time to time.

     Another fact I would like to throw in is that there are very few problems in the genealogy based boards of Rootschat, except for odd copyright ones.I would be very interested in what the membership think is the reason for this, and why do the off topic boards seem to need more moderating.

Hopefully this request will not exceed the original intention of of the thread.
     
Thanks for your time

peterbennett
   
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Friday 27 April 07 06:20 BST (UK)
Hi

          Another fact I would like to throw in is that there are very few problems in the genealogy based boards of Rootschat, except for odd copyright ones.I would be very interested in what the membership think is the reason for this, and why do the off topic boards seem to need more moderating.

Hopefully this request will not exceed the original intention of of the thread.
     
Thanks for your time

peterbennett
   



Excellent question Peter . ..  .. Now if you could also find the location of the Holy Grail we'd all be happy!!


Sorry, I digress.

It really is an excellent question and one I'm not sure any one person could answer - but I'll give it a bash. And this is purely from my perspective.

I think there are two distinct groups of people here on RC, one group which hardly ever strays out of the genealogy side of RC and another group who use not only the whole of RC as a learning and teaching facility, but also as a friendship 'club' - if I may put it that way.  This is very noticeable on the L.S and ToT.

My sense of humour is  . .. .  shall I say weird!!    Gadget's got used to it, Pels has got used to Gadget's sense of humour, Julian is used to Pels sense of humour and on and on we go.    Perhaps if someone who is not used to our way of posting suddenly comes across one of our threads, to them, it may appear we are straying into forbidden territory.   But that's all it is, a group of friends coming together to discuss various topics on ToT and those topics are of a lighter and perhaps more personal nature than say the London board or the 'How To' boards.  I've noticed the same kind of camaraderie on the Photographic Restoration board - everyone does a marvelous job there, but they also have a laugh . . .. that's great.

I've seen threads on Lighter Side and Totally of Topic, where I wasn't particularly enamoured of the content, but I don't jump up and down and complain about it.    I might not like what has been said, but as long as what they say is within the rules I'll fight to the death - with sword raised, shield polished and banner flying - for the right of that person to say it.

If I may end on a funny note (I hope!! )   It's  not all that long since table and chair legs were covered for modesty's sake . .. . I think we've come a long way since then    ;)

I do hope I've explained myself fully . ..  .. probably not, ah well!!


Barbara
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: trish251 on Friday 27 April 07 06:54 BST (UK)

     Another fact I would like to throw in is that there are very few problems in the genealogy based boards of Rootschat, except for odd copyright ones.I would be very interested in what the membership think is the reason for this, and why do the off topic boards seem to need more moderating.

peterbennett


Apart from agreeing with all that Barbara has said (apart from the "weird" sense of humour - it is a most amusing/entertaining sense of humour that she has)  I would add

There is really nothing that is said that is likely to cause stress or upset  on the genealogy boards - except perhaps for those of us who discover that our ancestors are not the "lily white" souls that we thought they were   :o  :o  - if items are mentioned that do not directly relate to genealogy they are quickly moved to the "off topic" boards, thus there will be a 99.9 % chance that any contentious  issues will end up on said boards.

Trish



Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tephra on Friday 27 April 07 08:10 BST (UK)




Thank you Trish, both for the sense of humour bit - but you have to admit, it is a bit weird!! - and for clarifying the ToT side of things.   I've come to regard RC members as family, and as with all families there are bound to be contentious issues from time to time.   But we have to remember we're not all the same, wouldn't it be boring if we were     :D


Barbara
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Gadget on Friday 27 April 07 08:13 BST (UK)
Quote from: Julian
In the light of earlier comments (that Moderators have jobs, homes, families and even lives to run and their own FH research to do, as well as managing our environment on here), someone asked me the question "have we enough moderators?".  They haven't got round to posting that, so I've stolen their question.

Given the extensive views already expressed here (for which many thanks to you all), I thought it would make sense to drive all this out to some kind of conclusion - hopefully a bit of "time out" for the Moderators as a group to reflect on what has been said.

So, taking into account this new question, I seek further comments from my esteemed colleague Rootschatters  (with a view to concluding the thread within the next few days before it gets to twenty pages/runs out of steam).
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb on Friday 27 April 07 08:19 BST (UK)
Well I for one don't think the answer is to do away with the TOT and the Lighter Side, I think despite the problems of the last few days/weeks or whatever they are part of what makes Rootschat special for a lot of people.  

I respect people who don't visit those boards, I don't actually post to them much myself these days but I like to have a look, yes I've been watching the cricket thread  ::) ;) I get fed up of the pages of show new replies to your posts when I post to them a lot!  ::)

However a group of people has been built up on Rootschat that have become friends and I don't feel it's not a cliche because people drift in and out of that group depending on the thread and subject and it would be a shame to stop that.  Who would I send my Christmas cards to!  ::)

Besides which where the mods send posts that have drifted without the lighter side!

Well that my tuppence worth anyway!

Kerry

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: trish251 on Friday 27 April 07 08:32 BST (UK)
Hello Kerry

I hope you didn't think that I was vaguely suggesting we get rid of the "off topic" boards -  :(  :( - perish the thought - I was simply replying to Peter's query - of course the non genealogical stuff will generate a few more  minor discords   than genealogy - goes with the WIDE variety of ideas we all have.

The only thing I have ever complained about on roots chat was being invisible  ;D  ;D  and that thread got deleted (or expired).   :)  :)   I find voluntary "time out" resolves most issues even invisible ones

Trish
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Gadget on Friday 27 April 07 08:44 BST (UK)
What is concerning me is the Time out issue Trish. Specifically of this thread.

Julian put this up because there were issues that needed airing and hopeful resolved. We are now at a stage that many - or most who will contribute - have had their say. Has this had any effect whatsoever? Will it solve any underlying niggles? I don't think so.

My fear is that this thread will live it's natural life or whatever and things will 'get back to normal' until there is another flare up.

We seem to have one of two options - either get on with it or leave.

Gadget
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: trish251 on Friday 27 April 07 08:51 BST (UK)

We seem to have one of two options - either get on with it or leave.

Gadget

This is what I found Gadget in recent times past.  I doubt another solution will appear. While the issue is discussed, threads are still deleted or moved, so folks are probably still complaining. It doesn't matter how many times I complain or discuss being invisible, I still am - I've learned to live with it, being the alternative is to live without alot of what I enjoy.

Trish
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: dennford on Friday 27 April 07 08:54 BST (UK)
Of coarse there are few problems with the genealogy based boards. After all a dead person is a dead person and if bits of paper refer to events and dates - what can we argue about.
I agree with Gadget, let's get on with things and realise that the very nature of off topic boards will create problems again and again, I don't think that there is anything we can do  or change to stop it happening, yet each time it does maybe we will each and everyone of us learn from it.

                                          Denn
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb on Friday 27 April 07 08:58 BST (UK)
Trish

No I wasn't referring to your post at all, I just read Peter's and I could see the conversation drifting towards the option of ditching TOT and the Lighter Side and wanted to have my say!

Denn

I kinda agree with you, there are worse things going on out there and we should just get on with it, however a lot of shrapnel has been flying and a lot of people are getting hurt in the background and that is unacceptable and a solution should be found! even if it proves to be unpopular with some.

Kerry
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Paul E on Friday 27 April 07 10:35 BST (UK)

This thread has been viewed 1209 times but there are only 42 posts, some of which argue for the status quo.  Some of us have posted more than once.


I'm afraid that the number of views, the number of posts,  the number of contributors and the proportion of agreers / disagreers isn't the issue here, pjbuk007.

The July 2005 Censuswhack (http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,62599.0.html) thread, for example, has attracted 24,200+ views and 1254 postings.

I'm pleased that julianb has started this discussion, and there have been some excellent points made along the way by members and Moderators alike.

Re the Rootschat Terms & Conditions:

Quote
You agree, through your use of this RootsChat forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a living person's privacy, or otherwise contrary to law. Legal actions can be taken against you.

This is standard fare for most forums, and I don't think there's a Rootschatter amongst us who would disagree.  But we live (we hope) in a reasonably tolerant society. 

When I received the original notification that my thread regarding Tony Blair possibly making an announcement of his resignation it was (in my opinion) curt.
I actually agreed with very few of the anti-TB posts that were made to the thread, but I consider myself tolerant enough to understand that people have diverse views.  It is neither false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a living person's privacy, or otherwise contrary to law
for people to express those views.

But, let's imagine that those terms are interpreted to say 'No politics on the Totally Off Topic Board' - or anywhere on Rootschat (and I can read that nowhere in those terms, by the way).  And let's imagine a new Rootschat member (still less one, like myself, who has been a regular poster for some years) were to accidentally make a posting deemed 'political'.   What would we expect / like to happen?

Personally, I think a standardised PM from a Moderator (a range of templates could be produced, I suppose) might help.

The key thing is that any such PMs should be friendly in tone, and explain where the poster has breached the T&C of their membership.  It should also explain that the post or thread has been quarantined, and that the member is invited to PM back to explain why they think the post or topic should be kept.

Onto the second posting of mine that was deleted, along with others, on the Caption Competition thread.  On this occasion I received no notification whatsoever.  Not even a curt one.  I don't know who was responsible for deleting those posts, and I don't know on what grounds they were deleted.

Was my own post considered by someone to be "false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a living person's privacy"?   I hope not.  It was instead designed to highlight, using humour, the very point that JAP has made on this thread: the inconsistency of some decisions that have been made to remove posts and threads.

Moderators, we need you. 

There are many posts on Rootschat I have found personally "false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a living person's privacy".   I personally don't much enjoy jokes that poke fun at people's nationality (even if I may have strayed there myself occasionally).  But I know some people don't mind that.  Also, I'm not a nationalist, but if people want to have a discussion about whether or not they should fly the flag of St George on 23rd April - let them get on with it, although it's hard to see why that might not be considered a political issue (it clearly isn't seen as such by the Moderators since, as a little experiment, I tried reporting it as a 'political' discussion, but it's still there ... and I'm pleased that it is in a way).

Denn's right, too, though.   This is small beer in the scheme of things.  I guess it's all about a little tweaking, here and there... that's all.  A little more courtesy, dare I say? ;D

cheers

Paul















Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Aussie Karrob Robert on Friday 27 April 07 10:35 BST (UK)
Good points made in this thread, but many of you worry me the way you seemingly chase your tail making little sub-points.  This is serious business it seems to me.

Seems to me several things
1) Great beginning :) 10/10
2) Good arguments for and against :) 10/10
3) Then argument goes round in circles like a dog chasing it tail and achieving so little.  Good grief people, build a bridge and get over it please. ??? :( no marks 0/10
4) FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH, I THINK THE MODERATORS DO A FANTASTIC JOB IN VERY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES.  Especially as the moderators are volunteering their expertise and love for OUR benefit.  Thank you, you are excellent Moderators :)  200/100 

Keep doing what you have been doing.  It is good.  No one betters RootsChat in any measurable way.   8)

So all RootsChat Moderators get this Aussies tick of approval  ;D 8)

Kind regards
Robert
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Copyright_editor. on Friday 27 April 07 11:06 BST (UK)
Hi,

I would like to mention that as you all know, RootsChat does not tolerate any breaches of copyright on these boards. From a copyright point of view I would like to point out that it is my responsibility to remove any infringements I may see.

For future reference you cannot post anything to any board on RootsChat, be it information, images or PM’s that you do not hold copyright to - or have the written consent of the copyright holder to post it. Should I see any such infringements I shall have no choice but to remove them.

Thank You

Copyright_editor
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: mshrmh on Friday 27 April 07 11:32 BST (UK)
Arranroots, thank you for the explanations, I'm a little more enlightened now.
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: trish251 on Friday 27 April 07 11:37 BST (UK)
Hi,

For future reference you cannot post anything to any board on RootsChat, be it information, images or PM’s that you do not hold copyright to - or have the written consent of the copyright holder to post it. Should I see any such infringements I shall have no choice but to remove them.

Thank You

Copyright_editor

I'm not sure if this is meant to stop ALL posting on RC but I have to ask

What is a PM (apart from a personal message)

How does one define information that is copyright -
If I quote from a book & provide the source - as one does for private study purposes - is this information I can no longer post.

Information is sometimes held in my head (that which I can still remember). Much of it, I have no idea of the source - I probably learned it as a child. Is this copyright

I accept that any moderator has the ability to delete a thread without reason, but this post from the CE, I do not understand at all

How does one define Information that is copyright  ???  ???  ???

I'm almost speechless (unless the post was a joke - I am very slow at understanding jokes - innocent upbringing I fear)

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Sisterjane on Friday 27 April 07 11:48 BST (UK)
And......just out of curiosity how would anyone know what I send in a PM...or am I just being naive here.. :o :D


Jane
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Tati on Friday 27 April 07 11:50 BST (UK)
And......just out of curiosity how would anyone know what I send in a PM...or am I just being naive here.. :o :D

Don't you scare us  ;D  ;D
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb on Friday 27 April 07 11:52 BST (UK)
You made me reread that!  That is scary, PM's are not private!

Kerry :o
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Alangeo1 on Friday 27 April 07 12:07 BST (UK)
I have read through this thread with interest and some confusion and a touch of sorrow.

I am a relative Newbie, not to genealogy but to the site, I have spent the majority of time in the Chat room and a little perusing the boards. I have seen absolutely wonderful people almost competing to help each and every enquiry for help of a genealogical nature throughout the main boards. But most of all I have felt that I am part of a worldwide family of diverse and interesting people.

Reading this thread I have seen the originator and many people within it trying to evolve a system whereby ordinary members, and people less used to this community like myself, understand what and why somethings happen. The Moderators do a great job of managing a difficult area, it requires considerable commitment of time and energy, and generally they do it very well. But from my reading it has been asked several times in this thread, and elsewhere, why is there not a consistancy within the ranks of the Moderators.

From my little experience here I have seen people ranting about questionable theory's on Global warming and local councils, these threads stand to this day, but simple passing humour that involvs a political figure is banished without explanation.

So having ranted let me ask some simple questions. If debate on issues other than Genealogy is the not a desired objective of some people why do we have a Lighter Side board, if contentious issues are not desirable why do we have a ToT board. Surely if a subject is not acceptable on the Lighter Side board it can be moved into the ToT and a warning put on that board that some subject matter may be contentious.

With regard to unacceptable matter that has to be removed surely a simple reason, even a stock phrase, could be inserted where it is removed from and the members name left for questions to be asked. If a topic is straying surely just locking the Thread would suffice.

But please let us the ordinary member be able to feel these are the rules and NOBODY will be treated differently from another.

Alangeo1
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Friday 27 April 07 12:12 BST (UK)
Very well said, Alangeo1!  Who could not agree with your sensible, careful, considered and so courteous post.

My comment is not a general one but just a specific one which I was typing as you posted.

Of course PMs are not private - in the sense that nobody other than the sender and the recipient could read them.

For example, Trystan - I am sure - could access EVERYTHING on this site.  And I, for one, would trust him implicitly.

And I suspect - though who knows - that nobody else would have that degree of overall access.

But yes, people who think anything on the Internet is private are being naive.  And I certainly never write anything in a PM that I would not be prepared to have made public (though I might well wish to re-word some PMs in order to protect people's sensitivities).  Then again, that probably reflects my approach in life overall  8)

And I can only echo Trish's question:
Quote
How does one define information that is copyright

All the best,

JAP
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Lydart on Friday 27 April 07 12:39 BST (UK)
Quote
Julian put this up because there were issues that needed airing and hopeful resolved. We are now at a stage that many - or most who will contribute - have had their say. Has this had any effect whatsoever? Will it solve any underlying niggles? I don't think so.


(My italics ...)

Get real, folks !  We're all adults, some older, some younger ... we have all gone round and round this thread for several days now ... WHY, in the name of all thats wonderful about RootsChat, don't we just drop this, get on with life, stop getting hot under the collar, and just say a huge thank you to Trystan and Sarah, AND to the moderators who must feel they have had a bit of a lashing in the last week. 

THANK YOU, T & S; THANK YOU MODS;THANK YOU COPYRIGHT CHECKER ... YOU ARE ALL DOING A GREAT JOB ... I FOR ONE THINK YOU ARE ALL WONDERFUL !

And now I'm going to unsubscribe to this thread (if I can find out how to do so !)
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Alangeo1 on Friday 27 April 07 13:01 BST (UK)
I am sorry Lydart I only stumbled across this thread today. If my views seem to be repeating others then I apologise.

Yes I am an Adult, of the older variety, I have seen absolutely no complaint against Trystan and Sarah I for one thank thenk them for rootchat from the bottom of my heart.

But you seem to be saying that if you disagree with something or you feel maybe something could be done better or you just want to say thank you, we are wasting our and your time posting here. That's life I guess, don't cry you will rock the boat.

Alangeo1
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Friday 27 April 07 13:15 BST (UK)
Well said yet again Alangeo1.

Lydart, as I far as I know you can't 'unsubscribe to' this thread.  And posting views which have already been expressed time and time again, and doing so very loudly - in terms of print size, colour, and movement - adds nothing to what is a serious discussion.

julianb, many thanks for your serious and thoughtful efforts to engage folk in a rational discussion on what is, indeed, a current problem on RC.  You have tried but ...

JAP
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: trish251 on Friday 27 April 07 13:18 BST (UK)
Hi Lydart

I was perfectly happy to accept what you are saying UNTIL the CE came along with his/her post. It is unintelligible and irrelevant to this discussion and if the comment made is to be believed, I have  serious concerns about the future of Sarah's dream site.

You cannot unsubscribe to a thread, but if you want no further notification to appear in "new replies" the TOT board allows you to delete all your responses and voila - no notification.

Trish

Hi Alangeo1 - and welcome to RC where most of the time is spent enjoying the trek into the past finding our families and friends of long ago. No apology is necessary - an extremely good post

Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: JAP on Friday 27 April 07 13:33 BST (UK)
Trish,

I too am utterly puzzled by the post from Copyright_editor.  Especially as inconsistency in posts/actions by Copyright_editor (which I take to be a generic term covering a number of people) has been a major concern.  It would certainly be useful for C_e to let us know which actual information (not format etc) is regarded as copyright; this surely cannot apply to anything which is in the public domain such as census and bdm information, etc, etc ...

Can one really re-write history by deleting one's own posts and thus get off the 'new replies' treadmill.  Fascinating  ;)

Regards,

JAP
PS: I'd like to second Trish's welcome to Alangeo1.  Alangeo1, your very thoughtful and sensible posts can only make one look forward to many future such posts from you on specific genealogical topics  :D
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Alangeo1 on Friday 27 April 07 18:21 BST (UK)
Thank you for your welcomes, and comments. Hope to be of some help in the future but not sure could compete :)
 :D
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Ann Baker on Friday 27 April 07 18:26 BST (UK)
Hi all

I have been watching this thread over last few days with interest. I think it fair to say that we all agree that Rootschat is a marvellous site and that the Moderators do have a difficult job. I don't know how many Mods we have and givrn most do have day jobs and households to run it would be unfair to expect 24x7 coverage. Do we need more Mods ? I don't know but worth considering.

The main issue that strikes me is the inconsistency referred to in the posts above. If that could be resolved then I think would go a long way to smoothing ruffled feathers.

I don't use the boards that much but that's because I'm lining up my brick wall queries in readiness! I do however use the chatroom and I fully understand what a difficult job it must be to Moderate and my hat goes off to Grub.

We are all indeed different and what upsets one person won't another so it can be a very difficult balance to strike. However if a thread is locked or deleted I do feel that there should be an explanation given. The recipient might not agree or like what's said but should be adult enough to accept it.

That's my tuppence worth!

Thanks to Trsytan & Sarah for the best genealogy site on the web!

Ann
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: Arranroots on Friday 27 April 07 18:59 BST (UK)
Just in from real worki!!

A couple of things

The Copyright Ed have the legal advice about what is and is not acceptable (so I am told).

It is never acceptable, legally or morally, to repeat the content of PMs (personal messages) on the open boards, unless you wrote them yourself.  That is what I believe the CEd was referring to.

PMs are not available for anyone but the originator or the recipient to read - unless one or other copies them elsewhere.  Even Trystan has assured me that he cannot see mine (so my discussions about my ailments remain forever a mystery to him!!)  ;D

I hope that clarifies the PM issue for everyone - your secrets are safe!

kind regards, Arranroots  ;)


Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: kerryb on Friday 27 April 07 22:00 BST (UK)
Thanks Arranroots for clearing up, my ailments will remain a mystery too - thank goodness for that  ::) ::) ::)

Can I just say after feeling quite upset earlier today by some of what has been going on on this thread today, yes I know I'm quite a sensitive soul, but I just don't like the harping and sarky snipes, it was lovely to come on and read two frienly and clearly put bits from Ann B and Arranroots, if only we could all be as nice. 

Oh and Alangeo, welcome and most of the time we are really nice to each other on rootschat, I don't really know what has happened the last few days, yes there are clearly issues that need to be addressed and resolved but please can we do it in a nice friendly adult manner, not like a bunch of kids in the playground.

Kerry
Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: RonnieG on Saturday 28 April 07 00:00 BST (UK)
 
Quote
I don't really know what has happened the last few days, yes there are clearly issues that need to be addressed and resolved but please can we do it in a nice friendly adult manner, not like a bunch of kids in the playground.

Kerry,

I and a lot of others, judging by the stats, have been watching this discussion as it has developed over the last day or so. I've even ventured the occasional contribution.

What I have been struck by most, is the genuine sense of caring that comes through in all the posts.

I have never witnessed such a lengthy and passionately fought argument conducted in such a restrained and dignified manner. Every contributor has striven to present their argument as forcefully as possible but without disparaging or seeking to offend their opponent.

In fact I don't believe there are any opponents.

You are all without question on the same side and I can't imagine any moderator making a decision of any importance in the future that will not be informed by the views raised here.

RonnieG





Title: Re: Getting things right on RootsChat
Post by: julianb on Monday 30 April 07 21:01 BST (UK)
I am closing/locking this topic on the basis that RonnieG’s very nice post sets the tone of how I hope we’re all going to behave now  :)

This is a difficult subject and I hesitated before opening it – primarily because I think RootsChat is a wonderful place – I’ve said that before  http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hk/  (http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hk/)  and I still stand by what I said then. 

Some things to reflect on:

There are days when our Moderator colleagues are under pressure and I’d like to ask Sarah and Trystan if they need to consider whether to appoint more, even if only on the basis of picking up on Gadget’s distinction between the different roles they play. http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hl/  (http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hl/)


A number of people have said they are sure that the Moderators as a group are reflecting on how they could be more consistent.  My key message for our tireless Moderators is “please communicate your actions”.

All RootsChatters have a responsibility to be patient and let due process take its course where moderators feel they have to intervene.  If someone complains to a Mod about a post or a thread, a Mod is duty-bound surely to investigate (that’s what you would want them to do if you complained). 

We are privileged to have the Lighter Side and Totally Off Topic Boards.  It reflects the wit (and sometimes the non-genealogical expertise) of RootsChatters.  But let’s take a deep breath occasionally when something rubs us up the wrong way.  Ask yourself “what will my comments look like in a week/month’s time?”  Especially on Google! ::)

Thanks again to all who have contributed to this thread – most  contributions seem to have been well thought through and sincere.  What more could I have asked?

I leave anyone who has had the patience to read this far with a suggestion to read these comments by Liverpool Annie.  http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hm/  The personal context for what she said was something much more real and dramatic than the stimulus for this thread could ever be – but the sentiments are very appropriate.  :)

JULIAN