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Sirius

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In two recent threads, the "free speech" policy has become an issue, as well as the unspoken policy regarding a self-imposed lack of editorial interference by the administration of this board. So, let me remind everyone about one of our forum rules. This is not a new rule, it has been in place for quite a while.

6. When you post to the forum, be kind. Don't act conceited, brag, lie or in any way attempt to discredit someone else unless you have verifiable proof to back up your claim. Truth matters here.

I wish I could say that the board has been true to rule #6. Truth obviously doesn't matter here. Back when Peter Croezen started tossing around rumour as fact, and refusing to provide proof implying that people could be killed if he did, we started our first downward slide.

Now I see people like Sanderianum laying out these wild tales of orchid espionage without actually proving that any of it is true, and I get the same sense that we are headed down a black hole. We also have Pandora, who joined with the sole purpose of trying to accuse another member of illegal activity, without proof. And in each case, members actually support this kind of behavior, and become angry at any attempt to point out the falsehoods.

These types of events turn board member against board member, and have yet to produce any positive result. And yet, the administration of this board is basically powerless to stop any of it. If we interfere, cries of censorship ring out. If we stand idly by, members may begin to leave to escape the drama.

There is no easy fix to this problem. I for one, am sick to death of people being able to post information with no proof to back up their claims. I am interested to see what other people have to say about this matter. Some of you complain to us in private, but I think this matter needs to be made public.

Change is gonna come, I can promise you that.
 

Rick

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I agree with you Phrag. I'm here for science and learning. Courts are around for what often turns into personal smear campaigns and vendettas. We want to be legal growers and do good for the environment, but the personal attacks often end up as "tit for tat" distractions, and we never really learn how the real world is operating.

Obviously the line between censorship and civil etiquette management is vague, and will need to be handled on a case by case basis, but if a thread can't be steered back to science and learning from a course if personal attacks I think its time to shut it down.

I don't watch Jerry Springer either, and I don't want to see this forum turn into an orchid version of it.
 
M

MoreWater

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Initially I was going to suggest moving such threads to a dedicated section of the forum and removing it from the "unread posts" listing (if that is technically possible). But now that's I've looked at the thread, there is too much good info in the thread for that treatment. Perhaps just locking the thread is sufficient.

Personally, I find 2 or 3 derailing/derailed posts in a thread to be not much of a distraction. After that, it gets annoying. As Rick said, tit for tat type of exchanges are really off-putting.

On the "verifiable proof" term, there are plenty of situations where that level of proof could not be produced, even in court. My reading of the forum rule is that such proof is not required if you post to discredit the subject matter of someone's post; it is, however, required if you post to discredit a that poster him/herself. Am I reading it right?

What about having an explicit forum rule about posters who sign up only to post attacks on other forumites?

One more comment. I must be blind or something. I just clicked around looking for the forum rules and I can't find them. I don't see a link on this "reply to thread" page, and I don't see a link in the FAQ....
 
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MoreWater

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Thanks Heather!

Just re-read the rules and I like them a lot! Rule 7 is also important ;)

I suggest including a link to it in the FAQ and in the grey bar at the bottom of the page...
 

Sirius

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On the "verifiable proof" term, there are plenty of situations where that level of proof could not be produced, even in court. My reading of the forum rule is that such proof is not required if you post to discredit the subject matter of someone's post; it is, however, required if you post to discredit a that poster him/herself. Am I reading it right?
The rules do state that proof is needed if you are attempting to discredit someone. That is really the core problem here. I don't think anyone should post something about someone as fact, unless they can back it up with some sort of proof. It leaves too much room for abuse. In every case of this so far Ki, the poster claims to have tangible, hard copy proof to back up what they are saying, but refuses to post it to "protect the source." This is not a media outlet. You don't have the right to protect your source here. This is a private forum, and the rules of the forum state that you can't post something without proof just to protect a source. Post proof, or be warned and possibly banned for breaking the rules. I think that is only fair.

Even if I wasn't a moderator, you can count on me to point this out each and every time it happens. If you aren't brave enough to follow through with the proof you claim you have, don't post personal attacks in the first place.

What about having an explicit forum rule about posters who sign up only to post attacks on other forumites?
If this is something the forum members think should happen, I encourage them to send a private message or email to the administration requesting that this addition to the rules be made.
 
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MoreWater

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Thanks for clarifying on the proof point. I initially thought maybe the rules required proof if you posted to discredit - for example - a theory. (I'd consider that overbroad.)

I'm fine with the rules as is, and implementation seems to be working well now - at least, as far as I've seen.
 

Sirius

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If I remember correctly, rule 6 was created because Peter Croezen came on the forum talking about other growers and their kovachii hybrid plants. He claimed that he had sources of information in other countries, but refused to provide any factual data because he said that his sources would possibly be injured or murdered. While I truly do not want to see anyone murdered over something as petty as an orchid feud, I think it was Peter's responsibility to avoid claiming anything in the first place.

Many disagreed with me then, because they felt Peter was a stand-up enough guy that he should be allowed to post whatever he wanted to post without proof. That, and I think some of them enjoyed seeing people they disliked get bad publicity. That was part of the reason I left the forum for a while.

Things aren't so different this time around. Sanderianum has made some people very angry over incidents that happened away from this board. I don't think it's any more fair for them to come here and attack his character without proving what they are saying any more than I thought it was fair in the other case of this type of behavior. I think this time it is much more obvious that the behavior is purposely designed to discredit someone.

I just want people to see it for themselves, and develop their own opinion. Personally, if I have a problem with someone, I am going to tell them directly. I don't like a couple of people on this forum, but for the most part I just ignore them. They know that I don't like them, because I have told them so, so there is no doubt that we should just avoid each other. I think some on this forum should learn to do the same.
 

Sirius

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Heck, it would be great if someone could post proof about theories, but many times it just isn't available. For a prime example, check out the free roses thread. :)
 

gonewild

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In the past I argued to keep freedom of speech in the forum. I may have even argued with John (Phrag) about what admins should do. In this case John is correct, NO one should join this forum with the sole intention of attacking another member. This type of behavior is why most countries in the world do not enjoy free speech.

Maybe it is time the forum stops allowing anonymous registration?
Maybe we all should use our real names?

Freedom of speech should come with responsibilities and obligations. Posting with a secret identity to expose someone else is not very "brave" nor responsible.

Now we know who Sanderianum is "supposed" to be but who is the attacker, Pandora?

Without going back and reading Sanderianum's posts I seem to remember him writing most of them as his own experience which would make him an "eye" witness. For many juries this would be proof.
 

kentuckiense

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IIn this case John is correct, NO one should join this forum with the sole intention of attacking another member. This type of behavior is why most countries in the world do not enjoy free speech.
I'm going to go on a bit of a tangent.

Most countries in the world that don't have free speech lack it because of totalitarian/autocratic/theocratic leaders or governments. In virtually every such country the leaderships display incredible corruption and virtual disregard for anything other than maintaining hegemony. To suggest that people in, say, Burma or Saudi Arabia do not enjoy freedom of speech because their "behavior" precludes it is to put forth a downright incorrect assessment of this incredibly important human rights issue.
 

Tom499

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I know I'm very new here, and I haven't read up on the past stories, but on a carnivorous plant forum, a similiar problem came up. If your wondering, it was that someone was trying to prove Sarracenia didn't need a dormancy.

People joined sides giving what they thought was proof. Most of it being either their own experiences, or other peoples. Yes this would hold up as evidence in a Court, but when we're dealing with plant cultivation, as Phrag was saying, you need solid evidence, papers written up from scientific experiments.

Its fine to talk about your own experiences, but to use them to influence someone else is not good practise, and should be very clear what is solid universal evidence, and what is personal experience.

(I understand I'm going out on a limb here, but that appears to be the problem in question and the last forum this happened to many great mods/growers left, and it wasnt nice atall)
 
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MoreWater

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... I seem to remember him writing most of them as his own experience which would make him an "eye" witness. For many juries this would be proof.
In the US, it would be evidence admissible (and not kicked out as hearsay) - made under oath, subject to cross examination, and weighed for its credibility by the judge/jury. In other words, it could be offered as proof, but need not be accepted as proof, truth, fact, or deemed to be more likely than not evidence, or unclear but convincing evidence, or blah blah blah.

Thank goodness this isn't a lawyers' forum.

I also didn't think we talked about roses here :confused:

:p
 
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MoreWater

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now I think I may just have to go look at this free roses thread....
 

gonewild

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I'm going to go on a bit of a tangent.

Most countries in the world that don't have free speech lack it because of totalitarian/autocratic/theocratic leaders or governments. In virtually every such country the leaderships display incredible corruption and virtual disregard for anything other than maintaining hegemony. To suggest that people in, say, Burma or Saudi Arabia do not enjoy freedom of speech because their "behavior" precludes it is to put forth a downright incorrect assessment of this incredibly important human rights issue.

Did I suggest that?
I'm not sure why you quoted me to suggest I was talking about oppressed people? The behavior I referred to was that of being disguised and suddenly jumping out and attacking someone all while hiding under a false name. What does that have to do with the people of Burma who openly and bravely speak out? We have free speech (USA) because people stepped out into the open and died in order to end totalitarian/autocratic/theocratic leaders or governments.
The behavior I referred to would be what a bad government or bad leader would do to keep people silent.
 

li'l frog

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Is this perhaps, something that should be moved to 'out back'? If it gets to a point where there is inuendo and name-calling, it shouldn't be in the main forum. Isn't that why that was created?
 

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