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Author Topic: Forum Rules
OrneryMod
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Puns are required at all times, with the caveat that any puns or other quips that appear pointedly directed at any particular member in an unkind manner (e.g. to taunt a shunner or shun-ee) will be regarded very dimly.

And I should note that if I am required to take akshun due to an improper pun I shall be most resentful and probably unduly harsh. [Wink]

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kenmeer livermaile
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OM delicately hovers on tiptoe the tightwire between
sins of commishun and ommishun, coyly (if I may apply such a term to one so august as OM) niggling the gravitic center between cryptically implied and ambiguously inferable, which vibrates perpendicularly to a given souls' center of center of gravitas.

As for requiring puns at all times, I think 'akshun' scarcely qualifies here, despite its lovely phonetic crudity and resemblance to Akashic planes and similar exotic terms.

However, this possible ommishun is corrected by the strangeness of "regarded very dimly". Imagine:

'the lamp regarded him dimly'

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Omega M.
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Is there a specific penalty for rickrolling here?
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OrneryMod
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[squints suspiciously]

Not as such. Why do you ask?

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kenmeer livermaile
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What is rickrolling?
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kenmeer livermaile
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Oh. I thought it was something cool.
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Omega M.
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Update: Rickrolling has made it to Time magazine!

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1806818,00.html

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Everard
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Since we have a new mod, maybe some updates to this thread are in order?
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scifibum
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I have some suggestions.

1. Palin-related threads must link to pictures, and/or include some comment on her appearance.

2. No rule shall prohibit resurrection of winkey threads without advance warning

3. Responding to TommySama's autobiographical posts as if they are true gets you a gold star.

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Jesse
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Just for the sake of Clarity...

Have we got another Mod who intends to base responses to complaints on the level of emotional outrage felt by "offended parties" rather than any sort of objective review of facts?

Just a need to know kind of thing.

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Everard
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Well, I was hoping the new mod was going to change some of the idiotic policies of the previous mods, clear up how he's going to enforce the rules and what he interprets the rules to mean... but apparently he's not really interested.
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OrneryMod
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I was planning on making a small post soon to make a few clarifications, however some members have been making a habit of ignoring my warnings and making my life a bit busier lately so it has gone to the backburner. I've also been looking for additional help and have decided it might be better to wait until I get feedback from that help before posting here. Don't expect any major changes but if some things have seemed a bit unclear in the past perhaps I can soon help clear things up.
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Everard
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I have a specific rule question.

public shunning was encouraged by the first moderator, and discouraged by... one of the intervening moderators.

how does the present moderator feel about public shunning of ill-behaved trolls, er, members.

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KnightEnder
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quote:
I was asked to provide some clarity on the matter of public shunning of members.

For those who didn't see or read the thread that sparked the question, one member started a thread to state his intention to "shun" another member and invited others to do so as well. After a couple of dozen responses, some serious and some not, I locked the thread, adding the comment "Show, don't tell." The action was based on both a concern that the thread not degenerate into mockery of either the subject or the originator of the thread, and on my admittedly personal mislike for the public nature of the announcement and particularly the invitation. It was not intended as a rebuke to the thread originator.

While there is some precedent for the practice of shunning on this board (as well as on Hatrack), I do have some concerns about it. In particular, it is very easy for something like this to become a mode of bullying and a way to single an individual out for mass criticism, which is counter to both the notion of civility and to the purpose of the board. It is also arguably too much about personalities and not enough about arguments.

I'm aware of the idea that shunning is one of the mechanisms of "shaming," and I'm not insensitive to the power of shame as a social regulator, but of course it's only effective when the party in question cares what the group thinks. It can backfire with a certain personality type, too, if it becomes merely another vehicle for drama and/or attention.

However, I will say that I view the decision of any poster to cease engaging another with whom he or she cannot converse productively with heartfelt joy. I further think it's probably a good idea to make a public statement to that effect; i.e., that you will not post on that person's threads or respond to his or her posts, even if personally addressed, because that way it is clear to all that you're purposefully disengaging, not just missing the call-out, avoiding issues, etc.

In addition it is always true that feeding bears makes them come back for more, and I'm all in favor of members disengaging from discussions and persons who don't seem to be here to argue and discuss in good faith. Letting such people simply talk to themselves usually leads to a solution--either they acclimate themselves to the culture there, keep upping the ante till they step over the line and are banned, or get bored when they don't get gratifying conflagrations and they leave.

For the most part, though, I think that when there is general agreement that another member is not participating in good faith, or expresses views that are inimical to the majority of the members, the "shunning" happens naturally and no one has to suggest to everyone that they avoid engaging the person--they already do.

I'm not going to categorically disallow exhortations for "group shunning;" I'll evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. Singling someone out and setting up a thread for the purpose of ridiculing or humiliating another member won't be tolerated, of course. Serious statements of personal policy, even normative ones, may in some cases be appropriate. On the whole, I think that careful consideration will reveal that the occasions when public exhortations to shun a particular member are both necessary and positive are rare indeed.

Is this (from the top of this page) the New Mod or one of the Old Mods?

KE

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OrneryMod
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Hey, sorry I didn't catch this sooner. That post is not from me but a past moderator although it is in line with my feelings. I have no problem with someone publicly stating that because of past problems they are no longer debating a particular member and explaining why in a civil manner. Although I would also likely lock a thread that had turned into a fight club of a dozen people hurling epithets on why everyone should or shouldn't shun person x, y, and z.

My concerns are much the same as the past moderator. How is the shunning being used? Setting up a thread to ridicule someone? Again, I'd agree with the past mod. I wouldn't tolerate that. Serious statement of personal policy? For instance, "I refuse to debate with people that equate whole groups of ordinary people with murderers, rapists and the like. If you wish to debate with me, don't compare democrats to Hitler. Don't compare republicans to Bundy. Those of you who have done this already, I've brought this up with you in the past and you refused to back down. Those of you who haven't yet, you're on notice. Please don't or I can no longer debate with you in good faith." I think I'd let something like that stand as long as it didn't throw in anything else (e.g. "you were a pigheaded #$@-#$%@ and refused to back down").

The point is, just because you decide to shun someone and point that out publicly does not give you the right to break the rules (including personal attacks, motive speculation, etc.) and people often walk a very fine line when explaining why they want to shun someone in avoiding breaking those rules. In addition, it can quickly turn into a whole group of people dogpiling on and all breaking the rules as I warned people against in one of my earliest posts as moderator. Just because you feel someone isn't worth debating with doesn't justify doing that and I won't allow it even if I personally don't feel that member is the best contributing one.

Another thing: Group shunning tends to "work" best when everyone agrees and follows suit. But I will not allow people heckling someone that doesn't agree with the your personally posted shunning policy. Does that weaken your shunning? Tough luck.

So if someone decides that Everard is no longer worth debating with for some reason and convinces a large number of people to go along with them, but KE continues to "feed the troll" I don't want everyone getting on his case every time KE opens his mouth. If KnightEnder politely disagrees with you guys and thinks Everard is worth debating then that's his prerogative. (I only used KE and Everard as examples because they were the ones that brought up the issue, not because of anything against them.)

Finally, the previous moderator's final comment I think is worth repeating:

quote:
On the whole, I think that careful consideration will reveal that the occasions when public exhortations to shun a particular member are both necessary and positive are rare indeed.
MOSTLY, I think it's best to state your own personal policy and leave it at that. Chances are, if it's a good enough one, others will follow suit. Mostly, you don't need everyone to systematically anyway.

In those rare cases when there is a need, please make sure the rules are still followed. It IS possible to complain of behavior without making personal attacks. It is possible to express feelings of frustration without speculating on motives. It is possible to state your intention to discontinue debate while remaining civil. But it can be very difficult when you are already very upset to hold your tongue and not say a few extra things that aren't really necessary (but might feel good to you). This is especially so when you are in a thread with a half dozen other people me-too-ing you.

I personally feel that as bad as Ornery can feel around election time, it will only get worse if people start having rallying calls to shun person X Y and Z. It will have a very chilling effect on the type of people we attract here. You may be unpleasantly surprised at who else leaves the forum besides the one shunned. So I generally discourage it on a personal level even if I technically don't ban it.

Everard, if you were to post one and to be entirely civil in your manner you would have nothing to worry about from me. However, if you have a list of 12 people that you plan to call everyone against, I'd give it a second thought. [Smile] I could probably come up with a list of 12 people I think the forum could do without as well, but I don't think it would be healthy for the forum in the long term to either ban them or shun them off in that way.

{edited to fix the quote tag}

[ October 07, 2008, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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OrneryMod
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In the Rules, Policies and Disclaimers you agree to when you join Ornery's forums (found here) it states:
quote:
You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you or by this BB.
Now that's pretty extreme. Technically, we may have a lot of rule breakers here. My standard procedure is that it's okay to post limited copyright material so long as it is clearly quoted AND cited (or linked). I've been lenient with people when they've accidentally forgotten or their intent's been clear (often someone on the board asks where they got that and the person quickly puts up a link and no harm is done).

What I won't accept is people publishing full chapters in the book club forum. I won't accept people posting links to free downloads to wares. I won't accept people posting other people's writings off as their own.

It's not that hard to paste a link. If you're struggling with the ubb code just paste it in the best you can. I, or another member, will likely be happy to help format it if you ask. Putting something in a blockquote or simply "like this" works fine. We all understand what that means.

I'm not asking for thesis quality APA style citations (although that would be wonderful). Just any citation that would clearly point us to who authored the material would probably be sufficient (where to find it would be especially helpful).

I know it can be frustrating when it feels like others don't even bother to go to your links. Realize that for every 5 weak counter arguments (maybe even more) there may be only one strong one. Don't lose hope just because many don't bother. Don't assume no one reads. Oftentimes I don't read the links initially but when I find the topic is interesting enough to me I go back and read up more fully. You have to convince us it's worth our time. By making a strong argument, responding to other people's questions and concerns, and otherwise showing that you are in this thread for the long haul you prove to the readers of your thread that your topic is worth delving into beyond a cursory glance. When you show you are fully invested in the topic, you help your readers become more invested in it as well.

Going the extra mile to polish your arguments and add a few references can actually make a difference in the kind of responses you'll get. Don't expect a dissertation. Likely no one will be quite as interested in your pet topic as you are. But the more you bring to the table the more you will draw people in and the more people will have to work with and add to or counter what you say.

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OrneryMod
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I hadn't thought this necessary to post, but apparently it wasn't obvious. It is unacceptable to post other people's private emails publicly on the board without their permission. This is akin to posting copyrighted material that isn't owned by you.

You can post your own emails if it just includes your own words (not if it includes someone's previous email that you are replying to at the bottom) and you can ask the person if it is okay to post the email they sent to you.

In general, I won't be checking up to verify if you got permission, but you will be in trouble if the person tells me you didn't. If the email paints the person in a bad light, that person should already have given permission or you better have some really good explanation at hand (I can't imagine any I'd accept at the moment).

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TommySama
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"3. Responding to TommySama's autobiographical posts as if they are true gets you a gold star. "

I cannot tell a lie...

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ken_in_sc
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Hello all, I am posting this just to see if everything works as it should. I plan to make more meaningful comments later elsewhere in the forum.
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Kuato
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Yep, yer comment pooped out right at the top of my screen.

ya did it!

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Clark
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Yikes! Ken, the rest of us would appreciate it if you could refrain from pooping on our screens. Kuato seemed to like it, which is strange, but then again, she is a strange one.
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Kuato
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How deftly you remove the possiblity of my using my normal retort of "stinker!"
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KE
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In the spirit of Funean taking my welcome to newbies and making it the "Official Ornery Greeting", I would like to propose we take a phrase by another of our old-timers, Viking Longship, and make it our "Official Ornery Motto":

"Here at Ornery we play to learn!"

That simply and concisely encapsulates what makes OA unique on the Web. Our goal isn't just just to win. Rather we play, or engage each other, in order to educate ourselves and challenge our own preconceived thoughts and beliefs. To explore why we think and believe as we do and to get other perspectives from honorable intelligent people who are doing the same thing.

If it is a semantic debate that one is looking for there are thousands of places on the Web for that. But there are precious few places where knowledge and courtesy are more important than winning. As a long-time member, what Funean oh so ungraciously refers to as an "old-timer", I am very proud that Ornery at its best is one of those places.

Knight Ender

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kenmeer livermaile
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You're a goldang tradition monger, you are.
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remlind
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HELP! How does one cancel their membership in this insanity club?

Or do I just need to be rude, vulgar and insultive and you will remove me?

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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by remlind:
HELP! How does one cancel their membership in this insanity club?

Or do I just need to be rude, vulgar and insultive and you will remove me?

You could be rude, vulgar and insultive, but probably an email to ornerymod@hotmail.com would be more efficient. But you just got here, lurk for a while and enjoy the ambience [Smile]
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OrneryMod
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Some concrete action.

As you may have noticed, we have a new stickied thread (Moderator Edits) at the top of the board. I will use this thread to communicate about any moderator edits that have been made, and about any bans or suspensions which have taken place.

Each post in that thread will contain the offending text and what caused it to be moderated.


I don't think that we have gotten any closer to clarifying the rules in a way which will make them less subjective. Given this lack of consensus, we are still left with the status quo as to what gets moderated. If you don't feel that something has been addressed which should be, please email OrneryMod@hotmail.com. If you see a post that you feel needs moderation, please use the Report Post button at the bottom of that post.


I wanted to highlight four posts that I felt provided guidance for posters on how they can better communicate, not just on Ornery, but in all of their interactions.

quote:
Originally posted by Viking_Longship:
Wrong is wrong and "they can take care of themselves, I have to look after my side" is not a sentiment I believe in.

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Let me point out that if your dark sarcasm comes across more harshly than you intended, apologizing for it and clarifying your meaning is a good way to pave over the misunderstanding.

quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
I think making the effort to phrase views and disagreements respectfully (and that includes trying to be mindful of where you're tempted to be backhanded or otherwise snide) is a mental exercise that has benefits beyond just the immediate conversation in a Ben Franklin-effect sort of way by actually encouraging more honest consideration of the other person's position rather than simply resorting to rote defensiveness that short circuits and actual consideration of the matter.

quote:
Originally posted by Mynnion:
Another thought-It should be the readers responsibility to carefully read the thread where he/she feels they have been offended. I don't believe that offense is meant in many circumstances. If the insulting behavior is not clear the reader should give the righter the benefit of the doubt unless as I stated previously a pattern of subtle insults develop.



[ April 15, 2012, 10:31 PM: Message edited by: OrneryMod ]

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AI Wessex
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Removing the word ridiculous is going too far. Now you're sanitizing.
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OrneryMod
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Removing the word ridiculous is going too far. Now you're sanitizing.

If that had been the only bordeline comment on the thread it would have stayed. The poster who made that comment made several posts which were borderline and a couple which were clearly over the line. Because of the posts which were over the line, I moderated the borderline posts as well. The violating poster showed a clear pattern of aggressive behavior towards another Ornery member. I don't find that to be acceptable.
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AI Wessex
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In that case rather than redact words used in ordinary discourse I think it would have made more sense for you to have instead posted a comment pointing out your discomfort with the trend and warning that you would take action if it continued. I don't even know what thread that happened in (because you don't identify where it happened!), but if someone hypothetically refers to an argument as junk or ridiculous or illogical that doesn't deserve censure. You're on the cusp of limiting expression of ideas and opinions.
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OrneryMod
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That poster has received four emails from me in the last four days, identifying six instances of problematic behavior. How much more warning should they receive?

I have added my comments in the earlier post about why this borderline instance was moderated to the Moderator Edits thread.

I don't identify where the infraction occurred, because it isn't the business of anyone who wasn't already participating in that thread. Those who were participating in that thread can see that moderation occurred, and if they want to know what happened and why, they can go to the Moderator Edits thread. For everyone else, the Moderator Edits thread is intended to provide examples of what has been found to be in violation in the past.

Just so you know, I will be deleting this exchange in a week or so. I think that it should have taken place via email. I will copy and paste it to OrneryMod@hotmail.com so that it is recorded, but will remove it from this thread.

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AI Wessex
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Since we are discussing this in the thread, let's continue here for now. I'm very uncomfortable with the new moderating style, even though on the surface it appears to meet what most people were asking for. You post a message where you eliminated what most of us would consider a fairly innocuous word (ridiculous) because there is a history of "borderline" inflammatory posts in that thread by that user. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the history when reading this thread, which means by example we are supposed to understand that using the word ridiculous makes one liable to censure. Frankly, doing edits this way without context doesn't make sense. Are we going to find out one day that using all caps or smiley's repeatedly is borderline or worse?
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OrneryMod
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Since we are discussing this in the thread, let's continue here for now. I'm very uncomfortable with the new moderating style, even though on the surface it appears to meet what most people were asking for. You post a message where you eliminated what most of us would consider a fairly innocuous word (ridiculous) because there is a history of "borderline" inflammatory posts in that thread by that user. Unfortunately, we don't get to see the history when reading this thread, which means by example we are supposed to understand that using the word ridiculous makes one liable to censure. Frankly, doing edits this way without context doesn't make sense. Are we going to find out one day that using all caps or smiley's repeatedly is borderline or worse?

The poster who used "ridiculous" received four emails from me about six posts over four days. If something that you do is borderline or worse, you will get an email from me.
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AI Wessex
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You're missing my point.
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OrneryMod
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
You're missing my point.

I agree. Will you restate it for me using different words?
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AI Wessex
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My point is basically that *we* don't know that you went through that process out of our sight. All we see is that you edited a post *because* it used the word "ridiculous". We need *context* so that it is clear why something provoked an action on your part. It wasn't altogether clear to me that you had taken such strong action before this "ridiculous" post (there is no mention of those actions in the moderated edits thread). As a result, it appeared to me that you felt the word itself was borderline or out of bounds. So, given what you wrote editing that word seemed excessive. You don't have to give a blow by blow, but if you had originally written (using your own words):
quote:
quote:
As I've already explained, I'm not using either of your ridiculous definitions.

Insult, removed "ridiculous".

If that had been the only borderline comment on the thread it would have stayed. The poster who used "ridiculous" received four emails from me about six posts over four days. Because of the posts which were over the line, I moderated the borderline posts as well. The violating poster showed a clear pattern of aggressive behavior towards another Ornery member. I don't find that to be acceptable.
Still lacking precision, but I find that to be much more clear about both the pattern and the steps that you took to remediate the problem.
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OrneryMod
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So you want more information to be included in the Moderator Edits thread?
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JoshuaD
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As I've said numerous times, I tend to trust the Mod's judgement. That being said, since we're discussing it here, I would tend to err on the side of inaction rather than action, when it comes to moderation.
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AI Wessex
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"So you want more information to be included in the Moderator Edits thread?"

Yes, more context.

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PSRT
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The last moderator edit is absolutely not a personal attack. Its an attack on the form of argument being used. No where is anything like "you are being an idiot," removed. Rather, the removed statements say exactly why the poster is engaging in questionable argumentation.

Based on this precedent, a post of "You are using post hoc ergo propter hoc argumentation, which is a logical fallacy," could be edited out. Its exactly as much of a personal attack.

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