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Old 04-28-2004, 08:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Censorship of TFP?

I'm curious as to what the "unwritten rules" are around here as pertaining to what is and is not appropriate. I ask this because I recently had a post of mine relocating because the content brought about a "bad air" in the words of the moderator. While I hold no ire towards the moderator, I'm still curious as to the reasons behind the act of censorship.

Now I know TFP is heavily moderated to ensure mature discussion, and for the most part I find that to be a positive thing. The typical response to questions regarding policy are either "Read the FAQ" or "If you don't like it, leave."

Well, I've read the Guidelines and I'd rather not leave, so I'm in a bit of a conundrum. What are the unwritten rules of TFP content, and why are those rules the way they are?
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Old 04-28-2004, 08:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't think there are truely any unwritten rules. I think alot of it has to do with is manors and consideration. If it seems offensive to the moderator then they have the power and right to remove it from the board. You might ask the specific moderator to elaborate on what he/she meant by "bad air"
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Old 04-28-2004, 09:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have. I'm just wondering what the general attitude about the policies are from the rest of the forum.
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Old 04-28-2004, 11:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmm...if you've posted enough to earn your avatar, you've obviously read (and penned) quite a few posts.

Was your post deleted or just moved to a different forum?

Without more specific info (which may not be appropriate to share) we probably can't really help you too much...most of the forums have a thourough enough set of written rules that there isn't much need for unwritten ones.
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What was your post about? was it in politics? was it deleted, or just moved?

The job of a moderator is to keep the peace, and that includes keeping the inflammatory posts to a minimum. If a moderator saw your post as creating a "bad air," he/she probably thought it was in bad taste or potentially inviting inflammatory responses. It's a judgment call, and that's the job of moderators.

I'm almost tempted to move this to tilted newbies, but i won't be moving this thread.
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Why didn't you ask the moderator who moved your post this question via a PM?
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Old 04-29-2004, 12:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There are no "unwritten rules" of the TFP. Everything is spelled out quite clearly and easily for everyone to understand.

Everything in life has grey areas. That's why we have the word "judgement" in our vocabulary, and that's why there are moderators (and Super Moderators, and Administrators) to use their judgement and act accordingly.

The rules cover as much as humanly possible, and much of what cannot be covered is context. You can't write rules to govern context.

If you find issue with something a moderator (or SuperMod/Admin) has done, PM that moderator to inquire why. If this does not satisfy you, PM a different moderator. We work as a team, and we uphold the rules and ideals this site stands for.

Censorship is not the issue. We have to make decisions based on what we feel is inappropriate, based on the rules.

Please PM me to discuss your personal situation further, as the general-knowledge question you posed has now been answered and left for others to see.

EDIT- turns out it was a simple mistake over vague semantics. Sometimes you have to make a temporary decision to be sure your permanent one is correct. We are human, after all.

Last edited by analog; 04-29-2004 at 12:49 AM..
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Old 04-29-2004, 05:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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There are unwritten rules. I've tripped over several of them.
  • Know who is who, and who is married (or whatever they want to call it) to whom so as to avoid stepping on TPTB's toes
  • Don't bring up bad issues. What are these issues? If you bring one up, they'll let you know. I mention "tshirt hell" as an example.
  • Certain websites are too naughty even for TFP. When you find out which they are, take the advice given to avoid them or pay the price you'll know of for sure only after seeing them.

The rest are all written down already, I think.
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Old 04-29-2004, 07:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i have asked all moderators to PM the members when action has been taken regarding their threads...

this isn't censorship - it's a question of taste and respect
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Old 04-29-2004, 07:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by denim
There are unwritten rules. I've tripped over several of them.
  • Know who is who, and who is married (or whatever they want to call it) to whom so as to avoid stepping on TPTB's toes
  • Don't bring up bad issues. What are these issues? If you bring one up, they'll let you know. I mention "tshirt hell" as an example.
  • Certain websites are too naughty even for TFP. When you find out which they are, take the advice given to avoid them or pay the price you'll know of for sure only after seeing them.

The rest are all written down already, I think.
ok....I KNOW this isn't the place....but, what's wrong with tshirt hell??? I own damn dear every shirt they offer..... (wtf?)
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Old 04-29-2004, 08:11 AM   #11 (permalink)
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what's a TPTB?
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Old 04-29-2004, 08:42 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Midnight_Son
ok....I KNOW this isn't the place....but, what's wrong with tshirt hell??? I own damn dear every shirt they offer..... (wtf?)
I'll PM ya.


Quote:
Originally posted by moonstrucksoul

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Old 04-29-2004, 09:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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^^^ Grassy-ass , amigo!^^^
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Old 04-29-2004, 09:12 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Listen, all "unwritten rules" are very simple matters of respect. I couldn't even say any exist, but I suspect sometimes when something falls under a matter of the general "common sense and courtesy" rule, some users may perceive that as an "unwriten rule." Sorry, but we can't make an explicit rule for every imaginable circumstance on the board

To use a few examples (and I'm not picking on you denim, you just mentioned them)...

Quote:
[*]Know who is who, and who is married (or whatever they want to call it) to whom so as to avoid stepping on TPTB's toes
This is not some unwritten rule. If you want to address specifics about this, PM me, but the only time I could see something like this ever becoming an issue is if, say, something inappropriate was said to one person in which case their spouse might do something about it.

For example, onodrim - another super-moderator here - has been my girlfriend for 4 1/2 years. If someone were to say something inappropriate to her on TFP, you're damn right I'll take action on it. However, action would have been taken anyway, the only difference is that perhaps I would be the one taking action. Point being, if ANYONE is made uncomfortable by something someone says to them and they approach a moderator about it, action will be taken as necessary. The only difference when two people might be involved is in WHO takes the action, not the fact that action is taken.

So, in other words, it doesn't matter if you know who's involved in who, it only matters that you are courteous to fellow members.

Like I said, if you want clarification regarding specific circumstances, then feel free to PM me.

Quote:
[*]Don't bring up bad issues. What are these issues? If you bring one up, they'll let you know. I mention "tshirt hell" as an example.
Another instance where this is not an "unwritten rule." An "unwritten rule" implies you'll get in trouble if you bring it up, but that is not the case here. There are VERY VERY VERY few things that are "bad issues" - in fact, I can't think of any - even TShirtHell has been discussed a few times when the thread had actual substance, despite our issue with them. But, if something is a problem, we'll let you know that we've removed it, and we can all just go on our way. There's no official warning for something that is not in the rules and, thus, it generally has no effect on your standing in our eyes. If you bitch about a simple request we make, then perhaps it would be a different story.


Quote:
[*]Certain websites are too naughty even for TFP. When you find out which they are, take the advice given to avoid them or pay the price you'll know of for sure only after seeing them.
Those websites are 1) common internet courtesy and 2) stated in the rules. Goatse, tubgirl, and anything involving something illegal, beastiality, or fecal matter are not allowed. Besides for that, the only other time I can think of when something has been "too naughty for TFP" was in the case of an EXTREME body mutilation post in Off the Wayside. The person was not warned, the thread was simply removed and a PM was sent explaining that the post went a bit beyond the boundaries of the board. Nice and simple, no hard feelings, no reason to not move on.

So, in closing, my point is that, yes there are times (very rarely) when action might be taken on something that is not explicitly forbidden in some way or another in the rules. In those instances, a simple request or explanation of action is sent and there are no hard feelings.

And then, as was the case with the instance that motivated this thread, sometimes it's just a simple matter of a misunderstanding by a mod. We all do it. The thread in question that was removed previously has already been moved back and the situation is rectified. It was off the board for less than 24 hours.

I hope this makes things clear.
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Old 04-29-2004, 09:49 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Midnight_Son
ok....I KNOW this isn't the place....but, what's wrong with tshirt hell??? I own damn dear every shirt they offer..... (wtf?)
Quote:
Originally posted by SecretMethod70 even TShirtHell has been discussed a few times when the thread had actual substance, despite our issue with them.
Discussion is often at the heart of the issue here. In the years (several) that I've been here, I have yet to see more than 1 or 2 threads on that place that were actually a discussion- and that's what the boards are for, discussion.

99% of the time, the thread is like,

Quote:
hey all, check out these offensive t-shirts! I'm so cool! fuck "the man"!
or something very similar. If there's no discussion on something questionable, there's no reason to keep that up here, and that's the same with anything on the boards.
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Old 04-29-2004, 09:50 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by SecretMethod70
Listen, all "unwritten rules" are very simple matters of respect.
Does anyone believe we would be having this open and honest discussion about censorship in an environment where censorship existed?

The first rule of real censorship is don't talk about censorship.
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:06 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peetster
The first rule of real censorship is don't talk about censorship.
That's all true. The main issue about yelling "censorship!" is that it's only censorship if the government does it. For anyone else, it's "editing".

There's an important difference here. Halx et al are not bound to allow anything at all. They're perfectly welcome, this being a private system, to withdraw and/or kick out anything and anyone for any reason at all, such as "It's Thursday" or "That shirt is NASTY!" or even "I like that shirt, so I'll remove it since I'm not worthy." That's the way life works in private life.

The reason it's really only bad/nasty/evil/wrong for The Government to do similar things is that the government is supposed to be there for us. We pay for it, its purpose is, at least in theory, to do our will. For it to censor is a way for it to gain the upper hand, which would not be a good thing.

I'm not explaining this well.

(SecretMethod70: hey, my post could be used as a strawman, sure. No biggie.)
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:17 AM   #18 (permalink)
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If I didn't have a thread deleted here once in a while I would know I was getting too soft. Occasionally I put up something I know has a 50-50 chance of surviving over an hour. I don't do it to piss off admins or mods or even posters, but to push the boundaries a little of what is acceptable. This is the most conservative forum I come to, and I know certain things just *can't* be posted period. But occasionally I'll try to sneak in something that may end up in the mod queue or in dev/null.

Since it was made clear a while back you wouldn't be banned without several warnings within reason I'll throw something in here that I know may be a bit too sensitive to see if it will take off. So far I haven't hit the sweet spot and had one of those controversial threads remain but like I said, if my threads weren't deleted once in a while I'd be getting soft.
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:32 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Holo
Since it was made clear a while back you wouldn't be banned without several warnings within reason I'll throw something in here that I know may be a bit too sensitive to see if it will take off. So far I haven't hit the sweet spot and had one of those controversial threads remain but like I said, if my threads weren't deleted once in a while I'd be getting soft.

I wasn't going to post (since the important points have been adequately covered), but this caught my eye.

Folks, we're just a group of people trying to make the board run smoothly.

So think what you would do in our shoes if ANY member continually pushed the boundries.

What we do is we tell each other and start to watch that member to see if they are really a trouble maker, and if we have to spend a lot of time watching them, we start to ask, "Is this guy/girl really worth all the time we are spending on them?"

(Remember, we are volunteers and aren't paid for the time it takes to moderate posts).

So I really don't recommend this line of reasoning, because the truth is, we HAVE banned people when it just got to be too much to deal with them.

The "sweet-spot" you hit might get you knocked out right out of the forum.
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:33 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Holo
This is the most conservative forum I come to, and I know certain things just *can't* be posted period.
if that were the case we wouldn't have boobies - ref: the meese commision and ashcroft's sculpture cloaking incedent
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:35 AM   #21 (permalink)
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hmm... let's look at Holo's other posts....
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:45 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by denim
That's all true. The main issue about yelling "censorship!" is that it's only censorship if the government does it. For anyone else, it's "editing".

There's an important difference here. Halx et al are not bound to allow anything at all. They're perfectly welcome, this being a private system, to withdraw and/or kick out anything and anyone for any reason at all, such as "It's Thursday" or "That shirt is NASTY!" or even "I like that shirt, so I'll remove it since I'm not worthy." That's the way life works in private life.

The reason it's really only bad/nasty/evil/wrong for The Government to do similar things is that the government is supposed to be there for us. We pay for it, its purpose is, at least in theory, to do our will. For it to censor is a way for it to gain the upper hand, which would not be a good thing.

I'm not explaining this well.

(SecretMethod70: hey, my post could be used as a strawman, sure. No biggie.)
The government can censor stuff. Just, the government promises not to. =) Well, except for... yada yada.

Same general idea in most other forums of discussion. However, unlike the government, the hosts of these forums often don't have as their professed ethical cause those doing the discussion. This changes it from a question of ethics to one of taste or preferences.

People still dislike arbitrary censorship. At the same time, there is a clear right to censor on the part of the forum hosts. What is permitted is not that which is not forbidden: while a forum you post on is not forbidden to arbitrarally censor your posts, you don't have to permit it by continueing to visit.

In other words, I agree completely, and here is a bunch of other words strung together that might make it make sense to someone!
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:05 AM   #23 (permalink)
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*rolls his eyes* THIS discussion again.

As always, if you have a problem, come to me. Not enough people utilize this open door.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:11 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Newbies don't realize that, Hal. Takes a while to realize that you're approachable.

Honest! Approach.


Not like that, on your KNEES, cretin! (slap)
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:18 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
I wasn't going to post (since the important points have been adequately covered), but this caught my eye.

Folks, we're just a group of people trying to make the board run smoothly.

So think what you would do in our shoes if ANY member continually pushed the boundries.

What we do is we tell each other and start to watch that member to see if they are really a trouble maker, and if we have to spend a lot of time watching them, we start to ask, "Is this guy/girl really worth all the time we are spending on them?"

(Remember, we are volunteers and aren't paid for the time it takes to moderate posts).

So I really don't recommend this line of reasoning, because the truth is, we HAVE banned people when it just got to be too much to deal with them.

The "sweet-spot" you hit might get you knocked out right out of the forum.

I save some of the PMs I receive for deleted threads. I did a deleted thread yesterday, then I last did one back in November, then a couple in Wayside some time before that. I don't post anything I know for sure will get the axe , and rarely post things that have a 50-50 chance of living. I've been a member since v.3 and I've done maybe 6 deleted threads since joining. A couple were porn that could be led to warez (bittorrent and emule links) so discussion topics are even less. Most of the time I post things to see what ppl in this climate have to say about it.

I post at a few other forums where much worse is allowed and even encouraged, but many members there dont' have the scope and insight many members here have. I don't see anything wrong with pushing boundaries occasionally as I have. I don't do it very often at all unless I really want to see what posters will say agbout the topic. I dont' just post "OMFG LooK At THIS!!@!@@#$" and post up something like tubgirl. It's always something that can be discussed. Discussing certain things that may offend or disturb others can be a good thing IMO.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:34 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I don't disagree Holo, but we have had people come to TFP with the sole purpose of seeing how far they could "push the envelope" without getting axed.

Those are the ones that give us the most headaches.
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Old 04-29-2004, 11:48 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lebell
I don't disagree Holo, but we have had people come to TFP with the sole purpose of seeing how far they could "push the envelope" without getting axed.

Those are the ones that give us the most headaches.


Indeed. As a mod/admin of several forums past and present I've gotten to know trolls very well. I know what it means to have to track a user to see what they pulled while you were afk and watch for alters and crap like that. It's annoying and takes away from the fun of being a member of the board. I could post a lot more iffy things here but I know the differnece between a push and a shove so I keep it down for the most part. Looking back I've had two thread survive that I thought might be deleted, the Swastika Fonts one and the one with the cutters gallery. So yeah I pushed something sensitive that did get discussed a couple of times, and it was worth it. That's my aim if you see a thread of mine that cause you go down to Thread Options.
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:16 PM   #28 (permalink)
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All of the moderators seem to me to be people who's outlook is quite strongly to the political right, I don't necessarily think that people are intentionally bias, but you have to bare in mind that the social perspective that informs some people's world view may be a lot different to that held by the politically conscious working class.
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:38 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
All of the moderators seem to me to be people who's outlook is quite strongly to the political right,
Wow, does that say something about your political position! I've always seen them as seriously Left. As in, the main board I've used for well over 15 years now would not mix well with these people 'cause they're too wishy-washy.
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:40 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
All of the moderators seem to me to be people who's outlook is quite strongly to the political right...
What?!?

To the political right of you, maybe...But other than that, I hardly consider myself " strongly to the political right". I lean rather far to the left side of politicaly moderate, as a matter of fact, given my age, and social strata.
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:48 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:49 PM   #32 (permalink)
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But pretty much everyone is to the right of me politically!
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:51 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Yeah.. really.. what the fuck are you talking about, SF?

I'm about as liberal as they come in most categories.
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Old 04-29-2004, 01:52 PM   #34 (permalink)
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SF, sometimes I think that Marx himself was to the political right of you.
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Old 04-29-2004, 02:19 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I guess all the mods are conservative because I am.... How stupid.
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Old 04-29-2004, 04:42 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
All of the moderators seem to me to be people who's outlook is quite strongly to the political right
Dude, that's a big paintbrush you're painting us with. I'm so fricking left I'm gonna fall over one of these days. Sheesh.
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Old 04-29-2004, 04:47 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Seems like we have one of these threads about once a month. Yeah, people get moderated, but such is life. This is the one forum Ive ever been to that didnt degenerate into a flame war, and Im willing to accept that people, myself included, are going to be moderated.
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Old 04-29-2004, 05:46 PM   #38 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: Toronto
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill O'Rights
I'll PM ya.
(regarding t-shirt hell..)

Can you hit me up too? I'm just curious.
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Old 04-29-2004, 06:54 PM   #39 (permalink)
MSD
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Location: CT
Quote:
Originally posted by Strange Famous
All of the moderators seem to me to be people who's outlook is quite strongly to the political right, I don't necessarily think that people are intentionally bias, but you have to bare in mind that the social perspective that informs some people's world view may be a lot different to that held by the politically conscious working class.
I am politically conscious, I am in the working class, and I am left of all but two people on this board, one of who is you. Trust me, our only concerns are to keep this board civil, not to censor you. If we wanted to censor you, we would have banned you as soon as you acknowledged that you are a Communist. We respect the right of everyone to hold an opinion, and we respect the right of everyone to express those opinions, but only when expressed in a civil and respectful manner.
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Old 04-29-2004, 10:09 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Location: University of Maryland
Okay, pretty much everything has been settled so I'll explain what happened. I posted a link to a website that was recently mentioned on SlashDot. The website was an MP3 service located in Russia, and I was curious as to what people thought about it since there are some legal ramifications to what they are doing.

The thread is now located here.

A moderator temporarily deleted the thread after believing the thread was a form of site plugging. He/She/It also mentioned that MP3 and filesharing discussion brought about a "bad air" in the forums. I was curious as to what brought about this decision, and figured posting the question would bring about an interesting discussion.

The moderator returned the post and apologized (which wasn't necessary, but appreciated nevertheless), and I managed to gain more insight into this community. So everybody wins.

Thanks to everyone for being so helpful.
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