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A PUBLIC and Civil Discussion on the Rules


#245

I took a break last night. Now that I have more help, I needed a mental health day and to get some studying done, which has sadly fallen by the wayside in all of this. It’s been a really interesting read this morning (and some of last night, I couldn’t help myself :wink: ).

I’m really glad that this is being discussed and it’s remained generally civil. I’ve lived here coming up on three years and I’ve been a moderator for almost two of them. I love ELR. I have laughed and cried and raged with (and yes, sometimes at or about) the people and situations that have come up here. I’ve done my fair share of virtual hugging, playing, head shaking, eye rolling, and face-palming. I’ve been blessed and I’ve been frustrated. And through it all, my goal here has never wavered…to help. Help new people learn mixing, help old people find a new place, help spammers learn they don’t have a place, help silly people change their titles, help vendors get their “Vendors” thread started or post a giveaway, help people work through their differences. I’m obviously not perfect, and I sincerely apologize to anyone I’ve failed along the way, but my heart has and always will be as a servant of ELR.

Now, I’m a Libertarian in theory. Ideally, people would be capable of governing themselves and police (or politicians or moderators) wouldn’t be needed. But in practice, anarchy typically eventually devolves into chaos. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that some people will never be capable of self-moderation or self-governance. Those people exist in our world and, yes, on our forum—or at least they will. The rules are there because sometimes things need to be spelled out. As an “officer” of ELR, I need to be able to point to “the rules” and say, “This is what we at ELR are about, and this is what our forum looks like. If you are unable or unwilling to remain given this fact, then this is not the place for you.” And that is what has led us to this. We had rules, but they weren’t really rules they were guidelines. That worked three years ago when there were only 20 or so of us and we all kinda just got along and peacefully co-existed. That will never happen in a group of 100s or 1000s, and to hope for or expect it is foolish. Now things need to be a little more solid in order for me (and now the other moderators) to be able to effectively do our jobs.

So where does that leave me? What is my opinion on the matter? It’s this…I. don’t. care. Really, truly, I don’t. And not because I don’t care about you guys; I care more than many of you will likely ever know. This, for me, was never about WHAT the rules were, it was about having them in the first place and me knowing what they were. If the rule is “anything” is permissible (anything in quotes because of what I say in the last paragraph of this now incredibly lengthy post), then anything goes. If the rule is nothing worse than G-rated, then nothing goes. And this is not just for the people who are here now, but for the people who will come here in the future.

For the record, I’m also not suggesting the rules be numerous and every detail strictly defined in the most impressive of legalese. I realize that there will always be some room for interpretation and that aggressive restrictions would be stifling. Contrary to how it might appear sometimes, I am really not an authoritarian tyrant. Shades of grey will exist and where they don’t, people will find a way to blur the line. The problem occurs for me when there is no black or white at all by which to compare—when everything is muddled and indiscernible.

I answer first to Lars, because this is his site and second to the people of ELR, because that is what I chose when I agreed to be moderator and admin. The one thing I cannot and will not do, because I have to answer to myself at some point, too, is exist in chaos. Should the mods be fired and all rules completely thrown out the window (which is highly unlikely, I know, but I’ve seen it before), I would have to walk away. It would rip my heart to pieces to do it, but I’ve watched a similar ship sink once already—I can’t do it again. I care about ELR as a whole too much to hang out while it implodes.

So, whether Lars chooses what the rules are or he allows the majority to set the course, barring a total breakdown of order, I’ll continue doing my job to the utmost of my abilities. While I can’t promise I’ll be perfect, I promise I’ll always try to be open and fair.


#246

That explains a lot. I have great respect for the libertarian mindset. I theory, I prefer it. I think however, if totally unmanaged, a strong flavor of “good ole boys club” becomes predominant and daily activities devolve into something akin to Lord of the Flies. Unfortunate realities.


#247

A few more thoughts more on the topic of suggestions regarding the rules…

Keep in mind as you are discussing what should and should not be allowed in “public areas” that these posts are very much public…meaning they’re indexed by google and often get top rankings when people are searching for vape and DIY related questions. Either Lars as leader or you all as a group, have to decide how the public face of ELR appears.

As I was responding to a note from Ken in that other thread, I was reminded that I had this idea last night. An open group can be set up and the Saloon restricted only to members of said group. This would make it crystal clear that everyone who goes there is there by choice (eliminating any accidental stumbling upon topics there) and that subject matter posted is for consenting, non-offendable adults. The con to this is that nothing in there would appear in the “Latest” feed to anyone who is not a member, afaik. I can look more into this to verify if that is the case, should this route be something worth considering. This is mostly a problem for @VapeyMama’s reviews should they be relegated to that area. Their exposure and audience would potentially be significantly lessened.

The rules as they stand don’t specifically mention “no swearing” so unless that’s also on the table as something that needs to be discussed, I think the “Obscenity” in the title should more likely be “the Rules of What is Considered Obscene”.

I’m sure I had other thoughts and ideas as I was reading last night, but I don’t remember what they were right now. :no_mouth:


#248

I think I’ve said more than a lot of you wanted to hear. I have no more, other than to say that with rules enforcement must come less resistance from staff to actually ban repeat offenders. ‘Repeat’ implies that you’ve been told multiple times that you are in violation of an ordinance, yet have chosen to disregard more than once. People like this exist all over, and probably here too. If they are only hand-slapped, not only will they adapt to the fact that they’ll never be truly punished, but that’s also telling everyone else that they can do it, too.

I understand your reluctance to take such measures, but sometimes it becomes necessary. I think everyone understands that.


#249

Understood and agreed. A grand total of two people have been banned since I started as a moderator. More than those two probably should have been, or at least given official warnings. I’ve given one official warning and it was to a Vendor for “spamming” by posting multiple threads…the one rule that has seemed to be solid this entire time. LoL.

My resistance has come from, as you said, a lack of enforcement. Without real rules, there aren’t any repeat offenders. There aren’t any offenders at all. Just people some people find more obnoxious than others. Were I to ban someone for being annoying to someone else, our forum would be empty. Now that rules are being solidified, I can point to one and say, “You’re breaking this rule, you need to stop or these will be the consequences.”


#250

Perfectly put, and exactly what I meant. @daath wouldn’t have elevated each of you if he suspected you would arbitrarily ban people just because they were annoying. He trusts you to do what is right, and the community trusts you as well.

These last few days- with the threads that now clearly define not only the rules, but that they will be enforced, along with inflating the staff roster- have now positioned ELR to right the ship, stabilize, and get all this behind us and grow forward.


#251

I think it is awesome that we at least get a say in how things will progress in the future (regardless of the outcome). Most forums will just inform the people that the rules have been changed**.**

Personally I would say no to that. The title of her reviews says it all and gives people ample warning of content so I don’t think her reviews should be put away in a special naughty corner.

I’ve gotten a headache from all of this and will now :zipper_mouth_face:


#252

Thanks for that :hugs:


#253

I think the same thing, splitting anyones reviews into a sub group wouldnt do anyone any favours, at worst a PG rating could be added to the title but seeing as they really arent obscene I don’t even think that is necessary, there’s a huge difference between VM’s reviews and what has been considered the real problem on ELR.


#254

Hello!
I’ve been reading about a third of this thread so far. I’ve tried to ignore it and let the adults sort it out but here’s my opinion anyway.

First of all, derailing threads can be annoying but I’ve never seen anybody complain or a thread opener to say “back to topic, please”.

Next thing is, there are plenty of vape forums with all kinds of different “cultures”. I think the people who have found ELR and made it their home don’t really seem to be having a problem either.

Censoring a forum because “the children could see things they shouldn’t” is very dangerous in my opinion. Children can’t get an internet connection in their names so everything they can see has been given to them by their parents/guardians. I know this is not very popular with parents but hey, just my opinion, right? Why should a medium be child proved which is legally not available for minors in the first place? Do we have to build child prove cars because it could be dangerous if a child drives?

My suggestion for this forum: Use the pub / saloon a bit more for chit chat and get a rating system for the vape related topics so people can rate a thread. If too many people mark it as “off topic” or “worthless/ not helping the original poster’s problem” then nobody would have to read all this off topic nonsense. Perhaps badly rated threads could be excluded from particular search terms.
If it could be rated as “valuable info which helped me answer my questions” the problem would at least be limited to a level where nobody gets the urge to start a discussion about forum culture all together.
Moderators could split threads if necessary, move the rubbish part to that corner of the forum where nobody would look for real answers anyway.

Just my opinion…


#255

I stand by what I said earlier, I don’t have a dog in this fight and so I’m not saying this with any kind of judgement whatsoever. If I’m way off base in any of this, feel free to correct me. We all know what happens when you make assumptions and I’m gonna do more of that than I probably should in hopes of simplifying and clarifying what I’m hearing is being said.

Pugs, I think you saying this is having the opposite effect of what you’re intending. Which is, I’m assuming, to defend @VapeyMama and her ability to freely post her reviews here. And rightly so, you are her friend and she’s a member of the Steampugs team. But I think you’re actually reinforcing the idea that it’s favoritism to allow them to be posted freely because you’re minimizing the issue people are saying they have with them.

VapeyMama does use some phrases that paint graphic mental images for anyone who gets the double entendre. It’s her thing, it’s what people like, and it’s what they’re expecting from her reviews. That’s not what is being debated here. I think what is really being debated in regards to the reviews is volume, intention, and location.

The question is not “Are her reviews bad?” The answer to that is wildly subjective and it isn’t really the issue at hand. Some might say “They’re totally nasty, but that’s why I love them and they should stay.” While others might think “They’re really quite tame and I have no problem with them, but they should be removed because it’s not fair.” The issue with the reviews is should they be removed, should they be sin binned, should they be allowed to be posted in public but tagged with some sort of warning, or should they be allowed to remain as-is without issue?

Some say it’s unfair and shows favoritism that she’s able to post a review in public that contains similar phrases to what is said in threads that have been sin binned or removed. Some say that her reviews are fine, but they should be tagged so people know right away and can avoid them if they want. Some say that they already do say “Naughty Reviews” on them and so people have been fairly warned and can walk away if they don’t want that.

The biggest difference I’m seeing repeated, and what I see as the heart of this entire issue, is does the fact that the reviews give the viewer a choice at the onset, while the thread derails are sudden, unexpected, and more lengthy mean there’s a double standard or does it make a genuine difference in how the two should be treated? And either way, what should be done about it?

What’s fair here? And I’m not answering that question, you guys are.

Not aimed solely at you Bad_Influence, just want to point out one more time (and likely many times after this) there is a rating system—flags and likes. One of the flags is “Off topic” and another is “inappropriate.” If a post is flagged 3 times, it’s automatically hidden and along with alerting a moderator, the person is sent a message. If posts in a topic are a flagged 12 times from 5 different people, the topic is automatically closed so staff can intervene. If a new user is flagged enough times by enough different people, they’re automatically silenced until a staff member reviews the situation. To avoid abuse of the flags, users are limited to 20 flags a day. In addition to affecting a user’s reputation in regards to user levels, likes are used in calculating a post’s position in searches, summaries, and “top” topics.


#256

Im sharing your thoughts, i have 3 grand kids that just cant leave my screen, often when im reading on elr, never happen to me that i got an image out of the safety range, im young on this place but the way it is taking care of shows the quality’s of the place! As for derailling i have seen a few an what you are suggesting is pretty nice way to vote strait up as in or out of topic… i did saw peoples trying to get it back on tracks whit little effects, again a remarquable tendancy of this place is the opend mind & good will, and for what it’s worth im going to stick to those principles…


#257

I’d like to touch on just a few things that have been brought up here-

1- Thread derailment is an issue. Recently there was a thread started about peoples favorite MF concentrates. Things started out fine but things went off the tracks and the OP did ask people to get back on track but he was generally ignored. Sometimes threads will get started, good conversation is initiated, but things get so out of whack that the end result had nothing to do with the OP.

2- Today being my one year on ELR, I remember having started at other forums and no matter what question I asked, I got the “check this thread” or “use the search bar. That’s already been covered.”, etc. Those responses always made me feel like an ass and quickly I left those sights. ELR was completely different. I could ask a question and get an answer while I was still trying to figure out how to navigate the site. I think with new people coming here, redirecting them to some old thread is a bad way to get someone started here and will cause growth to slow and/or stop, which would ultimately lead to the death of this site.

As far as “who’s gonna save the children”, I don’t know how to feel about that one. I don’t want my children coming behind me and seeing something that they shouldn’t. However, I also have no problem with throwing an f-bomb out in the right context. This is an adult sight that should have a place for adult things, but probably should be kept in the Saloon.
As far as @Steampugs and @VapeyMama reviews, please, I hear worse things in Disney movies.


#258

That’s because those complaints mostly ended up on the moderators plates.
As @MysticRose so aptly said, we all fucked up in that respect.


#259

I’m quoting myself here…LoL. One more thing about the flags. From this point forward, if I catch someone publicly bashing another member about flagging a post, it will be dealt with, and likely severely. That is one of the reasons why this great system has been abandoned. People are scared to flag posts because they don’t want to be seen as party poopers or tattle tales. So instead people generally just duke it out in public or leave. If your post gets flagged it is an invitation to reflect on what you said and not an invitation to run the flagger into the ground. If you’re really upset about your post being flagged, politely ask the person, preferably in a PM, why they felt the need to flag your post or ask a staff member to help.


Kumbaya ELR
#260

If there is a choice at onset then I personally think it does make a genuine difference.

If I go into VM’s Naughty Review I am doing so knowing the content has a naughty aspect. My choice to go in or not.

If I open a thread asking a question about FA Cream, I don’t expect to see 40k retorts about members sexual “preferences” when I start reading.

I don’t think that’s favouritism, I think that’s common sense?


#261

But common sense is in short supply these days!


#262

I want to point out to those that push for the “what’s wrong with fun? I want to make this a fun place. Derailing threads with pointless off topic banter is fun, so let’s all relax and have fun or we will loose our beautiful place blaa…blaa…”

There is an enormous downside to the “derailing mindset”. I am a member that posts and corresponds with folks here that are interested in the same topic material I am interested in. We discuss many interesting and in some cases highly technical topics i.e.solvent NET extraction technology., perfume and aroma chemistry, pharmacological and safety consequences of WTA etc. etc.

  • ALL of that interaction is done in PM. We exchange a tremendous amount of very interesting technical information on these PM threads.

  • Would that content of those PMs be of interest and value to others here in ELR? Most certainly yes it would.

  • Would we consider cross posting or starting an open thread with that PM content? Most certainly NOT !

The reason we don’t post PM content publicly? We don’t want what is highly topic specific discussions derailed,.

So the bottom, line for those of you to consider that want this to be a “fun” place, is that there is a cost to dropping to the lowest common denominator. That cost is that you and your fellow members here are not seeing a lot of interesting and valuable thread topics because they never get posted in the first place. The folks that could post those high value content threads choose not to in the face a potential barrage of noise. What you call “fun” is just noise that drowns out real content.

If the software can be modified to support a “serious” button where the OP can be given the software power to delete off topic noise that might appear in the thread that he/she starts, then I will be all for posting some of our PM topics as an experiment to see if this creates an un-disturbed “safe zone” for those that want to be left alone to discussions that are 100% on-topic.

I think a “serious” button is a WIN / WIN. The “fun makers” can go play where they are invited, and, in turn, the more serious folks can get on with what they want to do


#263

Sorry for the slight derail…

Why the hell not??? :crazy_face:


#264

I have been sitting here reading this thread, and got to thinking how this site has changed my life. I reed that here quite often, but in my case it would not be for the reason you might think. I have added a post to the introduce yourself thread to not derail this thread.

I must say though I am not a vocal member I am an active member, and it saddens me to see so much angst here is at this time. Things have most defiantly changed over the past few years, some for the better some for the worse. I surely hope we all can get to the point where we can all co-exist and keep breathing life into this forum.