A little history first:Sugar Magnolia wrote:Hopefully, this won't land me in the FEMA camp myself, but I'm not understanding at all why he got sent here when it was regular members who attacked him. People say offensive things all the time to each other on here and they don't get sent here.Foggy wrote:I admit, it's not really fair to put you in the FEMA camp because others insisted on insulting you. But then again, often life is not fair.
I guess I just don't understand why someone who followed the rules was "punished" while others who obviously didn't give a shit about the rules were left to break them whenever they wanted instead of being shut down immediately.
Life may not be fair, but it doesn't have to be hypocritical either.
Back when Justin and I ran the forum with realist's help, we'd get birthers who joined and tried to post a lot of birther lies. We'd try to bend over backwards to accommodate them - we didn't want to be an echo chamber - but it was always a problem because of the rule against insulting other members of the forum. Some of our members simply could not follow that rule. But they were people who were regulars since almost the beginning of the forum, and they were valuable members. One of them was ducktape, who has since passed away, and who is kind of a revered former member of the forum. Ducky had been everywhere and knew everything and was a wonderful person who always informed us of things that we didn't know. In person she was one of the friendliest and most talkative people I've ever met. But she was simply not going to refrain from insulting birthers and anyone else whose opinion she held in contempt. When someone joined that she didn't like, she became abusive, and nothing I did or said was ever going to get her to lighten up.
So when she broke the rule, what was I supposed to do, punish Ducky? She would have left the forum. There are others, I'm not going to name them because they're not dead. But you've seen it -- somebody posts something that offends people, and suddenly you see people insulting them even if they're members of the forum who haven't done any personal attacks. Read Jeffrey's last 10 posts or so and the replies to them, if you don't know what I'm talking about.
Yeah. It's really hard to enforce a rule when it's your own friends who are breaking the rule. So I invented the FEMA camp, long ago. I don't see the FEMA camp as a "punishment" because guests and everyone in the FEMA Staff & Visitors usergroup can read their posts, but you've seen Jeffrey disagree (for what I think is good reason) and now Sugar M. agrees with him. In fact, I often get people begging me to put people in the FEMA camp in order to "punish" them, when I just never thought it was a punishment.
But we still have the problem of flame wars. I will not allow flame wars on the forum. I've seen and been part of forums that allowed flame wars, and pretty soon all the good people left and there was nobody left but flaming assholes. I've seen entire pages of a thread with just two people taking turns insulting each other back and forth for 30 or more posts in a row. I've seen a guy tell a lady that she had to label all her shoes L and R to get them on the right feet, and that she wouldn't know a fact if it flew into her beard.
I'm pretty good at flaming myself, but it's not something I'm going to allow on the forum, and if people absolutely positively without question demand to be allowed to flame other members of the forum, WHICH THEY ARE GOING TO DO, then how do I handle that?
Let's take Jeffrey as an example. He wasn't insulting anyone personally. He was following the rules here, and the only thing he was doing wrong was, he was posting some thoughts that other people didn't like (maybe because they were or were not stupid thoughts), and so they started in on insulting him. I have a rule here against insulting other members of the forum, but some people are just too important to actually have to follow that rule, if they disagree with someone.
To be honest, I do insult people in the FEMA camp myself after I put them in the FEMA camp, but I could quit any time. Srsly. When Justin was here I went for months without insulting anyone, and I could do that again.
Of course, if someone new starts insulting other members (or the group as a whole), they go right into the FEMA camp. If they threaten us or post the same lie 50 times or more, I have banned people for life. I try to avoid censorship but there are things that I will not tolerate.
So what do I do when someone isn't breaking the rules but other people are flaming them and trying to start flame wars? I'm asking for advice from the boogle here. As I see it, my choices are:
1. Do nothing and allow flame wars on the forum. This will be the death of Fogbow and isn't really an option.
2. Discipline my own friends. Ban people I've met and shared meals with and spent time together. This will cost me lifelong friends and isn't really an option either.
3. Status quo: If people insist on flame wars against an individual, even one who is obeying the rules, I put them in the FEMA camp. They can still talk about any subject they want, and their posts are not deleted or edited. That isn't an optimal solution either, as shown by today's events. I have been persuaded to change my mind and I think Jeffrey and Sugar M. are right, it really IS like a punishment to only be able to post in the FEMA camp.
Is there a Number 4. here?
Howzabout group action? Maybe I should ask the rest of you to tell the offenders to back off? Maybe group pressure will achieve what having the same rule for more than eight years has not been able to achieve. Somehow I've got to get some people to actually think, "No, I can't do personal attacks against this person even if I strongly disagree with their opinions." Did you know you can ignore people?
Howzabout instant action? Maybe I just delete posts that are insulting on a personal level, without disciplining anybody or even announcing it -- no temporary bans, no restrictions on your ability to post, or anything like that, just ZOT your damn post is gone.
Howzabout, somebody give me a creative idea. When I implemented the FEMA camp (actually, originally it was called "under the bridge" where the trolls lived, and was applied only to trolls and other unsavory characters), it was quite popular. But maybe it's time to lose it?