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Warning....Slippery Slope Ahead


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<taken from the bowels of another thread>

 

>We volunteers have recommended to Hoo

>that this thread either be

>deleted or locked. He's

>pondering our suggestions.

 

This is why we have moderators? I warned every one when we first started with the moderators that censorship was a slippery slope. Please be careful guys. This site is already strained because of the use of moderators. You are doing a great job but realize that it is an imperfect solution to a difficult problem. I believe your original mandate was to keep people from posting personal information on this site. Once you have control however it is easy to think that you need to impose your ideas, thoughts, and morals on the group. Please resist that temptation.

 

Personally, I too am very tired of the eternal "PC-Police/Dam you" thread but I respect everyone’s right to weigh in and discuss the topic if they wish.

 

Hooboy please don't delete or lock threads unless is absolutely necessary to protect someone’s privacy or safety.

 

Just my 2 cents...we now return you to your regularly scheduled show.

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Nycman:

 

Just a reminder that we moderators have no censorship capabilities whatsoever -- nor do we want any.

 

That doesn't prevent us from expressing our opinions -- just like everyone else here.

 

I personally agree with Bilbo that the "Messy Bottom" thread (at least the subplot part of it) is serving no useful purpose at this point. Rather it is reigniting some of the bitterness we are trying so desperately to distance ourselves from.

 

As usual, Hoo finds himself in the middle of a "messy" situation (no pun intended). Why can't we just behave ourselves and give the man some peace?

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>The goal was to have a

>kinder, gentler message board. That

>has not happened.

 

Really? I'm not so sure.

 

I doubt folks would generally consider me to be an anti-"kindler, gentler message board" kind of guy. In fact, I try to take the "kindler, gentler" approach in my contributions here and elsewhere.

 

But who wants a board where people are afraid to speak openly, or where open disagreement on controversial subjects is suppressed? It's only through these kinds of discussions, really, that we end up learning much.

 

Short of someone openly revealing personal information about other people (real names, addresses, medical history, etc.), I suggest we should err very strongly on the side of openness and not censorship.

 

We're all big boys here and we can all read. And how someone responds to a negative or critical or questioning post can say a great deal about that person.

 

If all the topics are kindler, gentler ones, this place will quickly become so boring it will be a waste of time visiting. As it is, although HB and the moderators are trying their best, watching a conversation unfold here is now somewhat like playing a long-distance game of chess.

 

I'm not being critical, simply pointing out how it appears to me. And I think that is the point: if people fear to post their honest feelings here then we lose something kind of critical. There are many people here that I have disagreed with on one subject or another, sometimes quite strongly. But I sure wouldn't want them silenced.

 

And in terms of the thread in question, I'm not so certain that it isn't serving a useful purpose. Shadow certainly seems to think it's useful and that MUST count for something. If he's the only one who posts, eventually it will go away as he tires of talking to himself. But FFF seems to still have some feelings about that subject as well and, quite honestly, I think the conversations today were the first ones in the entire history of that thread where Shadow and FFF actually started discussing the meat of the subject. So who are the rest of us to say it should be yanked, because it offends our sensibilities or we are tired of it? If we don't like it, we can go right by. But when a small group of people start to decide that a thread should be yanked because they don't like it then, yes, that is a very slippery slope.

 

And, yes, as moderators you have every right to express your opinions as much as anyone else here. We all contribute our time and energies voluntarily here -- and we should try to remember every now and then that this place has value solely because people come here and use their very valuable time to write things down for the benefit of the others here.

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Losgatan:

 

I respect your contributions a great deal. But I think I must disagree with you.

 

>Rather it is reigniting some

>of the bitterness we are

>trying so desperately to distance

>ourselves from.

>

 

It was my understanding that the conversion of the board to moderation was not because of the 'bitterness' here -- rather it was because Billyboy was going to post real-life details about one or more escorts or clients or HB himself.

 

If that is indeed the case, it's fair to take steps to preserve the anonymity that we all take for granted on the Internet.

 

However, if the moderation was intended to fight 'bitterness' -- meaning strong disagreement over one or more topics, expressed in writing -- then I am even more concerned.

 

>As usual, Hoo finds himself in

>the middle of a "messy"

>situation (no pun intended).

>Why can't we just behave

>ourselves and give the man

>some peace?

>

>

 

I think there has been a fair amount of overreacting going on here. Billyboy's threat was an isolated incident, the first real such threat in a long time. As one person pointed out along the way, BB evidently had a brain tumor and we all know that such tumors can dramatically affect personality and judgment; who knows what his reasons were?

 

But it was still an isolated case. And I suggest that HB should simply let the various threads take their normal course. There are a lot of very bright guys here and a lot of very interesting points of view that are definitly to clash a lot on a lot of different subjects. But we're adults and we'll all grow through this process.

 

Give HB some piece? I'm all for it: as I said earlier, if I were him I'd either stop the moderation altogether for the time being as a test to see if everything is ok or appoint about ten new moderators so posts can move as quickly as possible.

 

And then I he should just sit back and let the opinion threads take their normal course. I even think he should post new reviews about five times a week instead of seven -- why in the world should we expect him to be working on reviews every night of the week? Everyone deserves a weekend, HB included.

 

From time to time there might a random post or thread that should be edited or thrown out; there are always a few bad apples here and there.

 

But I think the people here at M4M have shown themselves pretty good at resolving their differences and pretty good at policing themselves, and that's how it should be.

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Boston Guy,

 

You are one of the most eloquent posters here -- and I genuinely appreciate the fact that you took the time to put this situation into perspective.

 

Yes, disagreement, however heated, is natural and should always be respected. But, visceral pain, as expressed in shadow's posts, is something I personally find very hard to take.

 

I guess it's another instance of "if you can stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

 

On a lighter note, check out the last couple of posts on the thread. It turns out that FFF's "big messy bottom" opener was right on the mark.

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Guest trekker

Well said, BG. I agree 100% with everything you have said. And thanks for saving me the time of having to write it all myself.

 

>But who wants a board where people are afraid to speak openly,

>or where open disagreement on controversial subjects is suppressed?

 

Right. That's what will lead to "The Death of This Board," not the fact that it takes a little while for posts to come up.

 

>We're all big boys here and we can all read.

>And how someone responds to a negative or critical or

>questioning post can say a great deal about that person.

 

And that's exactly what everyone here always says about the reviews and the escorts' responses. So why shouldn't the same thing apply to the Message Center?

 

>And I think that is the point: if people fear to post

>their honest feelings here then we lose something kind of

>critical. There are many people here that I have

>disagreed with on one subject or another, sometimes quite

>strongly. But I sure wouldn't want them silenced.

 

I'll second that. As the phrase goes, "I may disagree strongly with what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it."

 

>If we don't like it, we can go right by. But when a small group of

>people start to decide that a thread should be yanked because

>they don't like it then, yes, that is a very slippery slope.

 

Right. If you don't want to read it, don't. Nobody is forcing you. Just skip to the next one.

 

>And, yes, as moderators you have every right to express your

>opinions as much as anyone else here.

 

Yes, even moderators are on my list of protected speakers. As long as they are expressing their opinions, and not suppressing someone else's. ;-)

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>

>On a lighter note, check out

>the last couple of posts

>on the thread. It

>turns out that FFF's "big

>messy bottom" opener was right

>on the mark.

 

 

And, gosh, it's almost worth the whole thing just to have Butterfly McQueen make an appearance at M4M! :-)

 

I think you, Trekker and I might be the only ones up this late -- and I'm going to bed! Good night to both of you.

 

PS: Thanks for the nice compliment. I really do appreciate that.

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Guest trekker

Once again I have to second what Boston has said.

 

Los, you said

 

>Just a reminder that we moderators have no censorship

>capabilities whatsoever -- nor do we want any.

 

You don't have the charge for censorship, but you do have the capability. And that in itself, even if it is not exercised, has (can have?) a stifling effect on the discourse in general, to say nothing of the paranoia that it may foster in the minds of some people.

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Trekker,

 

Not to drive this into the ground, but I personally released virtually all of the new posts (about 8 of them) that went into the Messy Bottom thread today. I did so as soon as I found them and without any hesitation.

 

I also spent about 5 hours checking into this board today. And I'm still here at 12:20 am Pacific.

 

So, please, don't start using the "P" word. I think we're all doing the best we can.

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Guest trekker

>Give HB some piece? I'm

>all for it:

 

Boston,

that may have been deliberate, but in the serious context it's in, I doubt it. That one ranks with "Julie Andrews' beasts" and "gay-fiendly." :D

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<<But it was still an isolated case. And I suggest that HB should simply let the various threads take their normal course. There are a lot of very bright guys here and a lot of very interesting points of view that are definitly to clash a lot on a lot of different subjects. But we're adults and we'll all grow through this process.

 

Give HB some piece? I'm all for it: as I said earlier, if I were him I'd either stop the moderation altogether for the time being as a test to see if everything is ok or appoint about ten new moderators so posts can move as quickly as possible. >>

 

 

So if a normal thread is hurtful to a member of our community it's OK, and should be allowed? Encouraged, even? Is a reasonable level of mutual respect too much to ask? (The keyword there is MUTUAL.)

 

For what it's worth, I'm the one that recommended locking that thread, mostly because I'm tired of downloading a discourse that long since left it's stated topic and long since became unwieldy. The discussion going on there belongs in a separate thread. I happen to agree with HooBoy's reason for not locking it (let the boneheads bash each other) but I don't have to (and won't) read it or contribute to it.

 

I don't think 10 new moderators would help. I just checked the queue (at 2am CST) and there was exactly one message pending. That is my average finding, and I check the queue often throughout the day. I was once ASTOUNDED to find 8 messages in one swell foop, but many of them turned out to be duplicates.

 

Frankly, we're tripping over each other as it is. ;-)

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>So if a normal thread is

>hurtful to a member of

>our community it's OK, and

>should be allowed? Encouraged, even?

>Is a reasonable level of

>mutual respect too much to

>ask? (The keyword there is

>MUTUAL.)

>

 

OK, so I didn't go to bed yet. :-)

 

To answer the question you posed above, yes, the thread should be allowed (IMHO). When the choice is freedom of speech and opinion vs. hurtful speech, freedom of speech should win in virtually all circumstances. HB has established a resonable policy that says essentially "No real names or real info." I've suggested strongly here in the last day or two that no real medical info should be allowed to be posted either. HB's standard is a good one and a reasonable one and one I suspect almost everyone here would agree with.

 

But beyond that, freedom of expression is too important to compromise. Even if it means allowing hurtful speech through. This community is made up of adults.

 

>For what it's worth, I'm the

>one that recommended locking that

>thread, mostly because I'm tired

>of downloading a discourse that

>long since left it's stated

>topic and long since became

>unwieldy. The discussion going on

>there belongs in a separate

>thread. I happen to agree

>with HooBoy's reason for not

>locking it (let the boneheads

>bash each other) but I

>don't have to (and won't)

>read it or contribute to

>it.

>

 

Exactly. And that's a good and proper approach for anyone who feels the same way.

 

>I don't think 10 new moderators

>would help. I just checked

>the queue (at 2am CST)

>and there was exactly one

>message pending. That is my

>average finding, and I check

>the queue often throughout the

>day. I was once ASTOUNDED

>to find 8 messages in

>one swell foop, but many

>of them turned out to

>be duplicates.

>

>Frankly, we're tripping over each other

>as it is. ;-)

 

I'm not surprised. As someone whose business website includes a message center, I've assumed that the problem wasn't in the volume of messages coming through -- just the fact that they can show up at any time. My suggestion to create lots of new moderators was actually to address that problem -- with sufficient numbers of moderators, then someone would be checking so frequently at any time that most messages would end up being released rapidly.

 

This evening, things seemed to move very much faster than in the last few days -- and it felt sort of like the board used to. I appreciate very much that you were checking so often. Thanks.

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<<But beyond that, freedom of expression is too important to compromise. Even if it means allowing hurtful speech through. >>

 

So standing up in a crowded theatre and yelling "FIRE!" is OK?

 

Blowing up a building in Oklahoma City is OK because it's a form of freedom of expression?

 

Be careful where you go here. Hate, in the name of freedom of expression, TRULY is a slippery slope.

 

I don't much like the KKK but I'll admit their right to hold meetings. I don't much like the anti-gay protesters we see at every gay pride parade, but I agree they have a right to be there. That doesn't make either of them *right*. When they cause harm (bashings, murders, fires, general mayhem), they are wrong.

 

The internet equivalent to not being wrong is simple self-restraint.

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Guest trekker

Los,

I think you may have misinterpreted what I said. Maybe it wasn't clear enough or the reference was ambiguous. I wasn't at all faulting the moderators or how they are doing their job; I have no reason to complain about that. And I do appreciate the amount of time that it takes them; for that reason alone I would not want to be a moderator.

 

>So, please, don't start using the "P" word. I think

>we're all doing the best we can.

 

I was not referring to paranoia on the part of moderators (who might be feeling put upon), but rather to paranoia in the minds of some posters, who think/fear that some posts will be/may be censored (and it doesn't make any difference if they are right or wrong; if that's what they think, that's what they think). We have already seen several expressions of that in various posts.

 

And when I said "And that in itself, even if it is not exercised, has (can have?) a stifling effect on the discourse in general, to say nothing of the paranoia that it may foster in the minds of some people," I was referring to the fact of moderation and the possibility of censorship, not to anything that the moderators do or did. Please note that I said "even if it is not exercised."

 

You must have had the experience of driving down the road, and all of a sudden you noticed that there was a cop car behind you tailing you for several miles. You're not doing anything wrong, and he doesn't pull you over, but it makes you nervous as hell. Not through any fault of their own, moderators are looking over the shoulders of posters; after all, that's what the job is. And that fact alone, even if the moderators pass everything without looking at it, tends to inhibit free discourse. Nobody wants to think that his post is being checked over to see if it will pass muster. So some thoughts or opinions will be watered down; some posts will be stillborn and not sent in; some people won't post at all or will post less; ..... Sometimes it's necessary to do that for a greater good, but even if it's for a greater good it has a stifling effect on free discourse.

 

But please don't think that I was faulting the moderators.

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Guest bottomboykk

If for no other reason than that the thread has become completely unwieldy (sp?), it should be locked. If the discussion has to continue, it can in a new thread. I'm on other message boards that lock threads when they become too big; usually the owner of the boards then start a new thread for the discussion to continue.

 

I have mixed feelings about all this. The discussion has gotten out of hand, and shadow just won't let it go, but at the same time, even the appearance of censorship bothers me.

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Guest regulation

><<But beyond that, freedom of expression is too important to compromise. Even if it means allowing hurtful speech through. >>

>

>So standing up in a crowded

>theatre and yelling "FIRE!" is

>OK?

>

>Blowing up a building in Oklahoma

>City is OK because it's

>a form of freedom of

>expression?

>

 

The distinction Holmes made in the "Fire!" hypothetical is easy enough for anyone to grasp. Speech that is intended to and does result in physical harm to others is not protected. There's no danger of that here.

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Even the appearance of censorship bothers me, too.

 

Just while this thread was forming, I was adding my own 2 cents to the Billy Brandt one. But I now see that the proper place for my post is right here, so I'll repeat the relevant part:

 

>We volunteers have recommended to Hoo

>that this thread either be

>deleted or locked. He's

>pondering our suggestions.

 

Love the image of Hooboy 'pondering' your suggestion!

 

Last week it took him about a nanosecond to decide whether to lock the "Matt replies" thread--and just when Rastignac & I were narrowing in on the truth about how he had handled it. Apparently in a panic, he then pretended to suspect R & I were one in the same poster (another bit of dishonesty on his part--and irrelevant even if it had been true), then promptly cut off all further discussion.

 

When I cried foul (and 'coverup!')in my next post, that post was deleted. I haven't posted since, and as far as I know, neither has Rastignac. But that's OK: unless he gets a lot better at covering up his tracks, Hoo will inevitably expose his own shenanigans again, and without the help of his critics.

 

________

 

Postcript for this thread:

 

The greatest irony, of course, is that moderation of boards was started to prevent violations of the privacy of others in posts that were either deliberately or accidentally indiscreet.

 

The real import of the "Matt Replies" flap (or whatever that thread was called) was the revelation that Matt had been allowed just such an indiscretion by a very complicit Hooboy--and deliberately--in the Review section, with later attempts at coverup (the belated quote marks), followed by a coverup of the coverup, and, when all else failed, the silencing of Hooboy's critics.

 

Bump!

 

I'd say the bottom of the slope has already been reached.

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Guest Tampa Yankee

Boston Guy

 

I must finally take you to task...

 

I find that your posts in this thread (as in several others) leave nothing for me with which to take exception or even to add... I have become the fifth wheel... :-)

 

I won’t complain about your eloquence but it does cast a long shadow...

 

:-)

 

 

trekker,

 

I appreciate your concerns regarding moderation but think they are misplaced. The time delay in the response of the message board has been a minor burden but only minor and worth the cost considering the circiumstance. The moderators have done a great job (as you have pointed out) without overstepping bounds and I have confidence that Hoo wouldn’t permit any abuse by moderation, as evidenced by whom he selected to moderate. And I’m even more convinced that if there were abuse we wouldn’t stand idly by as our posts were moderated to another plane...

 

As for those to paranoid to post their thoughts, well ... one has to stand up for his rights and his views and I’d think these individuals would be more concerned with a contentious poster taking exception to their position that one of the moderators -- far more likely to occurr in my view.

 

 

deej,

 

I have to disagree on this one:

 

“So if a normal thread is hurtful to a member of our community it's OK, and should be allowed?”

 

It should be allowed, of course, that is free speech. It is OK? Not with me, and I’ve gotten into more than one tiff on this board taking exception to others engaging in what I thought to be such practices.

 

“Encouraged, even? “

 

Permitting it should not be equated with encouraging it...

 

“Is a reasonable level of mutual respect too much to ask? “

 

No it isn’t, but it cannot be legislated.

 

Finally, a belated thanks to you and the other moderators for stepping in to help this board operate through an unfortunate interval.

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I have tried several times to bring the discussion back to Billy Brandt, without much success. So I am frustrated by what's going on, but THAT IS NO REASON TO FREEZE OR ELIMINATE THE SUBJECT. If

Brandt had been the only subject, you might have receive 10-15 postings at most. What's happened is interesting, even when I am

unhappy with it. I am absolutely against censorship, which would be the case here.

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Amen!

 

There are bound to be disagreements when any community forum consisting of so many people from so many different backgrounds and experiences converge. For crying out load, that's what makes it interesting (and educational)!

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Hooboy! Help!!

 

This is getting very unnerving. The following are some comments that three of your new moderators have posted in this very thread. Although I feel they have the same right to post their opinions as ANYONE else, we have to keep in mind that they have also been given authority that NO ONE ELSE has! Luckily, they haven't abused it. Yet. But their comments appear to indicate they are close to or contemplating it.

 

I respectfully ask that you insure that their opinions stay as just that -- opinions. This is a fantastic site and these message boards are fantastic. But if these guys start censoring postings that they feel are "hurtful" or "gotten out of hand" or "hard to take" -- all wording taken from their posts, this message board will become the pits.

 

 

Deej:

 

>> So standing up in a crowded theatre and yelling

>> "FIRE!" is OK?

>> Blowing up a building in Oklahoma City is OK

>> because it's a form of freedom of expression?

 

Are you serious? You are comparing comments posted on this message board to someone yelling in a crowded theater in an attempt to start a stampede that could seriously/physically hurt (or worse kill) someone? And I can't even respond to the comparison to blowing up the building in Oklahoma.

 

 

>> So if a normal thread is hurtful to a

>> member of our community it's OK, and

>> should be allowed? Encouraged, even?

 

Although it is unfortunate anytime a poster finds a thread hurtful -- YES, it is OK. I've been offended by responses to my own postings. But hey, shit happens. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

 

Furthermore, are you wanting to be in the position to define what is a normal thread? So it is your view that any time a poster claims a thread "is hurtful," it should be taken down? Yikes!

 

>> Is a reasonable level of mutual respect

>> too much to ask? (The keyword there is MUTUAL.)

 

No, it's not. But who are you to require it? And who are you to "define" it? Just how would you determine what is respectful and what is an expression of disagreement? And further, who are you to define what is reasonable? Double Yikes!!

 

 

>> I happen to agree with HooBoy's reason for not

>> locking it (let the boneheads bash each other)

>> but I don't have to (and won't) read it or

>> contribute to it.

 

That's great!! That's your right! Maybe we're seeing the light? Hooboy's obviously got it goin' on.

 

 

Losgatan:

 

>> Yes, disagreement, however heated, is natural

>> and should always be respected. But, visceral

>> pain, as expressed in shadow's posts, is something

>> I personally find very hard to take.

 

Then stop reading the thread. And if it's too painful for you to moderate it, then ask one of the other moderators to take over or trade them.

 

>> I guess it's another instance of "if you

>> can(sic) stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

 

The irony in that statement is truly amazing. Please reread your own statement 10 times (10 more if necessary).

 

>> I personally agree with Bilbo that the "Messy Bottom"

>> thread (at least the subplot part of it) is serving no

>> useful purpose at this point.

 

And who are you to define that? If that's just your opinion, then great. But please leave it as an opinion.

 

Bottomboykk:

 

>> I have mixed feelings about all this.

>> The discussion has gotten out of hand,

>> and shadow just won't let it go, but at

>> the same time, even the appearance of

>> censorship bothers me.

 

"The discussion has gotten out of hand" HOW? According to who!? You? Look at the subject of your sentence. It says "discussion" which means an exchange of ideas and thoughts. Who are you to determine that it has "gotten out of hand"?

 

 

To all you moderators: I think it was great that you all offered to help Hooboy with this. He needed your help. And although all of your hearts are definitely in the right place, you'll do this site much more harm than good if you resort to censoring it.

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