Freedom of information and freedom of speech on this site

Since there have been some recent accusations of "censoring" on this site...

Why control site content in any way at all?

I believe the Group has three primary purposes:

1. Work for return of our deposits.
2. Provide support, communication, information and help to our members.
3. Work to right the wrong that has been done, and try to ensure that it never happens again.

Put simply, if the content of posts are consistent with one or more of those aims, that is good. But if inconsistent or damaging, that is not good, and such content may need to be changed or even removed. Some examples:

  • If the site included illegal material it could be forcibly shut down by the authorities. Communication and information would be shut off - that would clearly not help with (1) and (2) above.

  • If posts are derogatory to other members, that does not work towards purpose (2) above.

  • Since (3) above implies that the Group would need to be taken seriously and respected by the media, MPs and other bodies, anything which is childish, pointless or clearly erroneous could be a problem.

What happens in practice?

Usually members point out to other members when there's a potential problem. They may ask them to refrain from posting, withdraw a comment, provide more complete or correct information and so on.

Very occasionally a post may be edited by one of the site team. In those cases, the reasons the edit was made will be given. The original text will normally be kept, i.e. edits will be additions to the original, unless the resulting edited version would still fail to meet the requirements implied by 1-3 above.

If a site member consistently posts unsuitable material, that member may be denied ability to post further material, or even denied access to the site. To date neither of these actions have ever been taken, although a few warnings have been given.

Who has the ability to edit or remove others' posts?

Previously the moderator role provided this functionality. That has now been changed and now only the admin role has this ability. Currently the only person with access to the admin role is ng but this may change in the future.

"I would like to propose some changes to this policy"

Please go ahead, either in the forum or by direct contact.

"I refuse to accept this, I demand complete freedom of speech"

There are places on the internet where you are catered for. This is not one of them.

Access to this site and the ability to post here is a privilege, not a right.

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Role of Moderator in the Forum

We already have a Post on this topic & the Forum was moderated in line with these 'Notes of Guidance for moderators' before the original Forum was split into 2. It works very well in most forums & would work just as well in this one.

Here it is:

Introduction

Like most forums this Forum has aims, objectives and a Mission

Members are expected to make contributions in conformity with the Forum's aims, objectives & Mission.

-- the Forum is not a 'free for all' place where 'anything goes'
-- the Forum is regulated by commonly accepted forum etiquette
-- the Forum has moderators to ensure that Forum etiquette is followed

Forum etiquette

(1) Posts are about, & in support of, the Forum's aims, objectives & mission
(2) comments to Posts are in response to the Post & address the issues therein
(3) comments under a Post that are not about or related to the Post are not acceptable
'(4) trolling' is not allowed (see definition below)
(5) 'flaming' is not allowed (see definition below)
(6) the use of vulgar/obscene/offensive/racist or insulting language is not allowed

Definitions

A 'troll' is invariably someone with 'a chip on their shoulder' or with 'an axe to grind'. 'Trolls' are a disruptive & divisive influence in a forum.
'Trolls' seduce forum members into responding angrily to their contributions by using subtle, but controversial language.
Trolls' will often divert a discussion off track in order to impose their own separate agenda.

To 'flame' another forum member is to attack them or their ideas which they have posted in a hostile and rantish fashion.

Role of moderator

Essentially the moderator guards the Forum to:
(1) see that forum etiquette is observed
(2) deal with incidents of 'trolling' & 'flaming'
(3) edit/modify or delete offending material & breaches of etiquette
(4) respond to any post or comment that a member has flagged as offensive

Unless any member can suggest improvements to these Notes of Guidance I suggest that they be accepted as the basis of good moderation in the Forum, and that Forum Editors have this role restored to them

Posted by Lucky Jim on Thu, 29/01/2009 - 17:30
Moderating

Hi LJ, everything you say is valid, and I would suggest that a moderator is a bit like a "chairman" in a meeting ... the role is not to delete what was said, but add to it, and so direct the discussion towards its objectives.

Posted by ng on Thu, 29/01/2009 - 17:42
Forum etiquette - not a problem

ng -- in an ideal world, yes. but if a moderator had a 'Mr. Speaker' role we would need an army of moderators!

What we need to keep in mind is the Forum can not be a 'free-for-all' place where 'anything goes'. Freedom of speach brings with it responsibility. We may not agree with what someone says but we don't deny them the right to say it, providing it is within the procedural rules of the Forum.

The unacceptable which you have rightly idenified must be binned. 'Flaming' (the use of Insulting, crude, provocative, abusive 'put-downs' of members) is not acceptable forum etiquette and calls for the intervention of a moderator. Not an easy role but a necessary one.

A forum soon becomes self-moderating when its members voluntarily accept & abide by the rules of forum etiquette.. Quite simple really...

Posted by Lucky Jim on Thu, 29/01/2009 - 19:47
It's only fair to add after

It's only fair to add after your point:-

"Usually members point out to other members when there's a potential problem. They may ask them to refrain from posting, withdraw a comment, provide more complete or correct information and so on."

Or they could attempt to sue your harris off.

Apart from that, let's keep free speech free, and avoid too many profanities.

Posted by Captain Mainwaring on Thu, 29/01/2009 - 13:40
captain mainwaring free speech

Captian Mainwaring
You posted another snide remark against elgee this morning. It was not even in response to a post by elgee.

I have asked you to desist. You refuse. I object to your comment. I hate to read your messages bullying another member - who is also in distress.

Put downs are not only unpleasant for the target, they detract from the site. Your comment had nothing to do with getting our money back. Way out of line. I note that you are now posting in favour of free speech. If your comment is indicative of the freedom of speech: I propose moderation. It is most unfortunate that we need moderation when we are all victims.

Posted by Anonymous on Fri, 30/01/2009 - 06:20
Did you mean the one where we

Did you mean the one where we can get 100% back, but only if we are nice about it? Some sort of moral code we are supposed to follow while getting our money back? Yep, that makes sense, don't expose anyone and settle for 65%.

And I'll post what I damned well like about elgee and his campaign - that is while it is my opinion, and not libelous, know what I mean?

I don't do desisting - my money like many others here came from being just a little bit individual and retaining my rights and view, I have always been self employed, have no right to any state benefits from the UK if it all goes wrong, that includes child benefits, and therefore I intend to continue to retain my personal integrity and my right to express my own views.

You have the right to complain, and the moderator has the right to delete what I say, you also have the right to ignore what I write, as does any other poster, or perhaps you can request an "ignore user" button.

As for put downs - there have been a few here doing a bloody hatchet job on a few members who chose a slightly different course from party policy - get off your moral high ground and go and deal with those miscreants.

Posted by Captain Mainwaring on Fri, 30/01/2009 - 07:20
nice in theory...doesn't work in practice

Hi capt'n.... nice in theory...doesn't work in practice !
Better NOT to respond to abuse, insults & provocative 'flaming'....back off, don't
respond, flag as 'offensive' & let a mod deal with it.(:

Posted by Lucky Jim on Fri, 30/01/2009 - 04:39
Wrong way around Jim, the

Wrong way around Jim, the Captain has been refusing to desist, or is that desisting to refuse? no matter in any case.

Posted by Captain Mainwaring on Fri, 30/01/2009 - 07:21