Author Topic: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....  (Read 2262 times)

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Offline bonorules

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2017, 09:12:32 AM »
I find this is interesting coming from an tha, someone who seems at times to be a proud member of the “negative contingent” on this forum. You want people to be allowed to have the chance to continue with respectful and tolerant political discussions, but yet others are not always respectful or tolerant of those of us that choose to always speak positively about the band. The political discussions were getting very toxic with some forum members almost refusing to allow others to have an opinion different from theirs (heck, some even refused to allow band members to have an opinion different from theirs), but I feel those weren’t the only topics to get that way. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only pro-band forum member that has stopped posting as much as we used to. I do sometimes decide to just go with it and post comments or fight back a bit, but generally I just move along and don’t say anything, because I don’t feel like dealing with my positive band comment being belittled or responded to with snark. If the mods agree to a compromise and allow the political discussions to continue with some strict guidelines for respect and tolerance, then I think the “negative contingent” members need to think about adhering to those same guidelines for band discussions as well. Some of you appear to feel that bringing back the Real World section would make the forum better and it might do that, if everyone behaves properly. However, I feel the forum would also be much better if the “negative contingent” backed off from the bashing of comments that are positive about the band. You claim some have gone away or feel intimidated because they can’t speak their mind politically and you miss the activity from those members. Well, if some of us didn’t always have to worry about being belittled for our pro-band positive thinking, we might actually participate more in some discussions around here as well and up the activity level. 

Offline an tha

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2017, 10:29:34 AM »
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I find this is interesting coming from an tha, someone who seems at times to be a proud member of the “negative contingent” on this forum. You want people to be allowed to have the chance to continue with respectful and tolerant political discussions, but yet others are not always respectful or tolerant of those of us that choose to always speak positively about the band. The political discussions were getting very toxic with some forum members almost refusing to allow others to have an opinion different from theirs (heck, some even refused to allow band members to have an opinion different from theirs), but I feel those weren’t the only topics to get that way. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only pro-band forum member that has stopped posting as much as we used to. I do sometimes decide to just go with it and post comments or fight back a bit, but generally I just move along and don’t say anything, because I don’t feel like dealing with my positive band comment being belittled or responded to with snark. If the mods agree to a compromise and allow the political discussions to continue with some strict guidelines for respect and tolerance, then I think the “negative contingent” members need to think about adhering to those same guidelines for band discussions as well. Some of you appear to feel that bringing back the Real World section would make the forum better and it might do that, if everyone behaves properly. However, I feel the forum would also be much better if the “negative contingent” backed off from the bashing of comments that are positive about the band. You claim some have gone away or feel intimidated because they can’t speak their mind politically and you miss the activity from those members. Well, if some of us didn’t always have to worry about being belittled for our pro-band positive thinking, we might actually participate more in some discussions around here as well and up the activity level.

Whilst respecting your view - I do feel the main thrust of what you are saying here is a different albeit related issue and as such whilst not without merit it isn't really fully what this thread is about....

The whole "negative" v "positive" poster thing is an issue that I don't want this thread to become....not to say it isn't a valid debate for another day....although I personally don't like the pigeon holing thing - it runs the risk of being divisive.

Unless people are trashing appreciation threads (which is against the rules) or going into threads that are discussing how "Sexy" Adam is for example and saying he looks terrible etc. then to my mind the stuff you are talking about is just differing opinions and that in my view is all a part of the debate that makes forums.......People should be able to voice opinions about u2 whatever they are (within reason)  that are different without feeling marginalised whether they sit in your "positive" or "negative" box............It's just debate and opinion. If people are crossing lines then I am sure the mods will step in/there is report post functionality.

Anyway - as I say hopefully this thread can stay on the track of the issue it is meant to be about - and maybe as an overall looking to improve our community drive the issue you are troubled by can be addressed as well should it need to be.

For the record I whilst pigeon holed by you above as "negative" always try my best to make my comments respectfully

« Last Edit: January 24, 2017, 10:32:44 AM by an tha »

Offline m2

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2017, 05:06:25 PM »
As I said earlier in the thread, thank you for the thoughtful posts in this thread. It's refreshing to see a desire for mature, productive discussion instead of knee-jerk and counterproductive reactions.

First, I want to begin with this: The mods and I all feel like the forum is a substantially better place to spend time now than it was a month ago. Registrations and posts are way up thanks to the tour announcement, of course, but I'm talking about the overall tone and atmosphere in the forum, the level of discussion, the way members are helping and conversing with one another, etc. Disagreements continue to happen, but we see them being done in a much more mature way. So we all say a big THANK YOU to all who've accepted the changes we put in place and worked to make the forum better.

Because things are going so well, we don't see any benefit in bringing the Real World board back. New behaviors and new habits require more than three weeks to become permanent. Bringing back the Real World now seems similar to taking a gambling addict to a casino three weeks after his/her promise to stop gambling.

Am I saying that I don't trust the forum members to be able to handle the return of the Real World? Yes. That's exactly what I'm saying. Here's why:

We put our current rules in place more than three years ago. Since then, we've issued hundreds of warnings, temporary bans, permanent bans, etc., and every improvement we've seen these past three years has been short-lived. Time and time again, the forum has regressed to a place where very few U2 fans want to visit and participate. There's nothing in the forum's recent history that makes me think the members have made a permanent change yet. It's too early. Maybe a year from now we'll feel otherwise. Maybe two years. Who knows? But none of us feels that three weeks is enough time for habits and behavior to change permanently.

By the way, I don't mean to place the blame for the forum's atmosphere solely on your shoulders. We've made mistakes in moderating, too. As some members started to push the limits to see what they could get away with, we didn't act swiftly or strongly enough. We let too many people get away with soiling the atmosphere because they weren't technically breaking any forum rules; they were just breaking the spirit of the rules. We sometimes gave longtime members a break because they'd been around so long; I'm sure some of you reading this right now have been given more than one "final warning." That's why we're pushing back much more strongly now with more warnings and more bans (temporary and permanent). If you got a final warning from us recently, or get one in the future, take my word that we mean it. We're changing our behavior, and we expect forum members to change yours, too. We need a new tone and atmosphere in this forum. We need more of what we've started to see over the past few weeks.

Let me give a couple quotes about the forum from the recent reader survey we did:

"The forum is dominated by people who seem to hate U2 and complain endlessly about everything they do. My favourite albums and songs are constantly slagged off, so it's depressing rather than fun. (It's by far the most negative U2 fan community I've ever seen - I hope the band members don't read it and think it's representative of the fandom as a whole.)"

Here's another:

"Sometimes I don't want to post cause I know I'll get put down."

Another:

"It's something I used to enjoy and want to participate in, but I've found that lately the boards - or at least the news and general discussion sections - seem dominated by people who want to talk about their disappointment in the band, and while I'm not saying people shouldn't criticize the band, I just find it a less interesting place to be when those are the dominant voices."

Another:

"Forum needs to be more inclusive/better controlled. I visit often but wouldn't dare comment due to some very opinionated individuals!!"

Those are very representative of the feedback about this forum. And they're proof that we need to change things permanently. We feel we've started doing that with the recent rule changes and the loss of the Real World.

This is already super long, so thanks to all who've read through it all. If you don't mind a little more, I'll reply to some of the previous posts.

Quote
Edge appearing at a Women’s Right march (which was distinctly partisan) really throws up a challenge for members here who want to respectfully, thoughtfully and intelligently discuss the matter and it is my view that people are caught in a little bit of a grip of fear of doing so in case what they say crosses what is for me a somewhat blurry line.

The rule is this: Talk about U2. Don't talk about politics or other hot-button issues. So if "the matter" you want to talk about is the marches themselves, the messages of the marches, what they're a reaction to, etc. ... nope, that's off-topic. There are hundreds of other places on the web to talk about those things. Interference might have something like the Real World section, or maybe U2.com's Zootopia does -- I have no idea. But if you want to chat about these things with other U2 fans, this isn't the forum for you.

There are several threads where most forum members are successfully discussing U2's comments about the current political climate without adding their own political statements. In cases where someone inserted a political comment, we've taken action. And we'll continue to do so. Talk about U2. Don't talk about politics and other incendiary issues.

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discussions should be able flow freely without fear of banishment without reason.

We've never banned anyone without reason. Never will.

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Perhaps an option could be to 'opt in' to the Real world forum. Software dependant.

That wouldn't change the fact that topics like those have historically brought out the worst in people and that such a board would likely still be as toxic as before. In fact, the knowledge that the board was opt-in would probably create a worse atmosphere. And in either case, it would still require the moderators to have to read through everyone's political posts trying to figure out which ones cross the line into attacks and other things that are against forum rules. Sorry, but we're not interested.

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I think we should make allowances for the fact that humour is easily misinterpreted given how international this forum is.

When we PM a member about something s/he said that we feel was inappropriate or against the rules, humor is almost always the first excuse. You guys and gals are apparently all auditioning for a spot at your local comedy clubs. ;-) (joke!)

Here's the thing, and I said this in one of the threads a week or two ago: Humor and sarcasm don't work well online. Especially with sarcasm -- you think you're being funny, but you usually end up looking like a d**k. My suggestion is for you all to keep in mind that your jokes and sarcasm are very likely to be misunderstood, unless you really make it clear that what you're saying is meant to be laughed at. And even then the risk is that some will try to get away with being disrespectful by calling their comments a joke even though they're really not. Like, if you reply to someone with "You're such an idiot. (I'm kidding!)" -- that's not funny at all and comes across as an attempt to stay within the rules while violating the spirit of the rules. Just don't do it.

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the shutdown/ban on topics seem philosophically at odds with the band who brought us all here

Perhaps, and a few people have suggested that. No one has suggested, though, that the behavior which led to the shutdown was equally -- if not more so -- at odds with the band's philosophies. Surely U2 wouldn't approve of the hate, vitriol and personal attacks that we used to read in Real World, right? Let's not bring U2 in to judge what happens here. I tend to think if any of them ever read this forum, they'd be disappointed (maybe appalled) at a lot of what they'd find here.

Quote
I do feel the main thrust of what you are saying here is a different albeit related issue and as such whilst not without merit it isn't really fully what this thread is about.

I disagree with this. The issue that Bonorules raised is exactly the issue that we're attempting to change. We've had a toxic atmosphere in this forum and it needs to change. It's not just politics and Real World making things toxic, it's the constant negativity from some members and their intolerance for anyone who shares a different opinion. Check out those survey responses (above) again. It's a toxic atmosphere when U2 fans are afraid to say they like a certain song or album because they're afraid of being attacked by those who disagree. This is *exactly* what we're trying to change -- same issue, whether it's politics making things toxic or just a general intolerance for different opinions.

Anyway, thanks again to all who've commented here thoughtfully. Thanks for the changes you've all made in the last couple weeks to improve the atmosphere. Let's keep it going and see how great/fun we can make this place.

Offline ShankAsu

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2017, 10:27:24 PM »
Thank you for the detailed reply and by sharing the voices of the people who go unheard on the threads.  I guess i never saw the negativity that had permeated through to all of the discussions.  I remember when i first joined the forum after already coming to the website for years, i was a upset to see political talk on musical threads and then i discovered the real world section.  i suspect its the the musical threads that bring people here and the other topics secondary and where members who have been here a while gravitate to.  my recent concerns weren't for the loss of the real world section or the outright ban on politics, but the fear i would find myself banned for posting something that was inadvertently political and in no way disrespectful. politics in general have gotten ugly and i think we all agree we don't want that ugliness here.  thanks for taking a stand and taking the steps to make that happen, and thanks again for taking the time to elaborate on your decisions.

Offline MASTER YODA

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2017, 10:59:56 PM »
Matt,

I was disappointed to see political post about the Edge at the Woman's March. Let me be clear, it's not that it was reported. It's definitely something to report about. It was how it was reported with colorful commentary. Yes, it's a great cause; but it would have broke the rules on this forum.

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Offline briscoetheque

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2017, 12:07:42 AM »
Disappointing but a clear and understandable response.

This thread is a great example though of the benefits of discussing a big decision with a cross section of posters before making it.

It's not a democracy, there's no obligation to do so, but it helps.

Offline robgalloway

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2017, 01:33:31 AM »
I personally feel that U2 and Politics go hand in hand. At times the politics are as important as the music. U2 by their actions wish to create that discussion. Then one of their biggest forums ban that discussion. It is possible to discuss politics without getting personal. Personal attacks should always be dealt with.


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Offline an tha

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2017, 03:21:24 AM »
As the person who kicked off this discussion I'd like to say thanks for the reply.

I am not going to pick over all the details of it - it is what it is.

I would however like to raise and hopefully have open and mature discussion about two things raised in it - I feel that the fact we are having these kind of discussions is as big a help to improving the atmosphere around here as there is, so whilst on a roll and with the positive respectful tone the conversations are setting let's get what I believe are the two fundamental things that really underpin things and are actually at the heart of what is going on/has been going on:

1. Humour - The comments from forum admin worry me greatly...it feels a little like what is being said is that the only kind of humour allowed is like what I find the really cringey type you find at works conferences for example where the CEO stands up and makes a completely vapid and unfunny joke in the eyes of some but others laugh their heads off.....I have always held the view those who laugh do so because it is the boss and it is the "right" thing to do and that they wouldn't laugh if it wasn't him/her...

Am I right about why they are laughing....well there is no way of proving it is there! But I will stand by my belief....it is subjective - and that is the point

There are a lot of people from very different backgrounds, with very different beliefs brought up and living in very different "worlds" to give a very rudimentary example (it is of course in reality nowhere near just this simple, but it is an example) a lot of British/Irish humour and American humour here is quite different.... One person may think I for example am being a 'd**k' when using what is natural to me dry humour. I may think (well actually I don't because I try to not be as judgemental on the matter but I could easily be) they are being a 'd**k' for not getting it and making an issue out of it.....it is SO subjective and SO affected by background, beliefs etc........Our diversity here as a community is great but this is a big area where it throws up challenges.

More in my view should be done to understand that senses of humour are different and unless the humour is very clearly unacceptable within the bounds of decency then in my view more understanding about context etc should be shown by site admin...and more effort made to understand relationships between members for example when making calls on humour.

All I can do is ask you to consider this - I feel it is important, humour is always tricky when written...for obvious reasons - I'll be mindful of that going forward, in return I ask you to be mindful of what I have said here - not just for me but for all of us.

2. "Negative v Positive" posters - In site admins reply a particular quote was referred to which was my reply to comments made by user Bonorules.

"Quote
I do feel the main thrust of what you are saying here is a different albeit related issue and as such whilst not without merit it isn't really fully what this thread is about"

Site admin replied:

"I disagree with this. The issue that Bonorules raised is exactly the issue that we're attempting to change. We've had a toxic atmosphere in this forum and it needs to change. It's not just politics and Real World making things toxic, it's the constant negativity from some members and their intolerance for anyone who shares a different opinion. Check out those survey responses (above) again. It's a toxic atmosphere when U2 fans are afraid to say they like a certain song or album because they're afraid of being attacked by those who disagree. This is *exactly* what we're trying to change -- same issue, whether it's politics making things toxic or just a general intolerance for different opinions."

I actually agree that this is indeed the REAL issue - although I stand by what I said about it not being what I was trying to talk about in this thread......but at the heart of the REAL things that cause problems here is this whole issue - the quoting by site admin of comments in the user survey - Bonorules raising it in this thread etc and the amount of time it comes up on the forum point to this being the case.

It is in my view running the risk of becoming a very one sided issue.

Discussion is discussion - people will have different views and people complaining that their favourite song is "getting trashed" are in my view adding nothing to discussion/debate - instead of complaining about it/saying they don't want to post because of it etc and for me just displaying a victim mentality - why not get stuck in to the discussion using cogent arguments as to why you hold a different view to someone else - IF that other person insults you or is rude to you then I am sure the mods will deal with it - holding different views and expressing them is not a crime - either way.

Here is a quote from site admin from the reply above:

" it's the constant negativity from some members and their intolerance for anyone who shares a different opinion"

I actually think that there is more "intolerance" thrown around by people who call themselves "positive" towards those they call "negative" than the other way around - it is like the people smashing up limousines etc. at Trumps inauguration, it is OK to vandalise and start fires because "you are right" is it?.....that isn't on in my book and the pendulum has swung too far this way here in my book - People have different opinions and people should be able to express them and as long as they do so respectfully what is the problem? Of course if there is genuine nastiness shown when voicing them we have mods etc to deal with things.

Unless people are trashing appreciation threads (which is against the rules) or going into threads that are discussing how "Sexy" Adam is for example and saying he looks terrible etc. then to my mind the stuff people are getting upset about is just differing opinions and that in my view is all a part of the debate that makes forums.......People should be able to voice opinions about u2 whatever they are (within reason)  that are different without feeling marginalised whether they sit in your "positive" or "negative" box, we really should get rid of those labels, they are divisive............It's just debate and opinion. If people are crossing lines then I am sure the mods will step in/there is report post functionality for people to use if they wish and mods can make a call on what has been said. The key thing for me is to maintain respect and when disagreeing, disagree and respect the other person - if they are saying ATYCLB is a dull, boring album they are not attacking YOU personally, debate the point they are making with a counter point of your own as to what you feel differently....time and time again we don't see that we just see "people taking their ball home" and calling people negative.

This works two ways of course and criticism has to be balanced and reasoned and as someone who is vocal about a certain time period of u2's work I'll be mindful when being critical of how I may be doing so and how it may be seen.

Surely though we don't want to "rid the room of the argument"

Here is another comment highlighted by site admin:

"It's something I used to enjoy and want to participate in, but I've found that lately the boards - or at least the news and general discussion sections - seem dominated by people who want to talk about their disappointment in the band, and while I'm not saying people shouldn't criticize the band, I just find it a less interesting place to be when those are the dominant voices."

I say this!...Make your points and join in the debate - provide the counter view, add balance - suddenly those voices you complain about being dominant aren't dominant because you have added to the debate and that makes the place more interesting and more balanced....!

Anyway - maybe as an overall looking to improve our community drive the issue being discussed like this can be worked through for the good of all - discussing things like this is for me the most positive thing I have see here for ages and I personally think it will be a great aid to what the admin and mod team are looking to achieve and a great thing for the community who ultimately make this forum to be able to get things out in the open and increase understanding and improve the atmosphere.

« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 05:10:01 AM by an tha »

Offline il_capo

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2017, 01:38:20 PM »
Thanks m2 for such a considered and detailed response.  I am glad everyone on this thread who has contributed their thoughts has shown respect for one another and spoken openly and without fear – a sign of a healthy forum.

I have to agree that the place has been better since the Real World section was shut and understand the reluctance to risk re-opening it so soon.  It seems wise to keep it closed for now; as m2 says, why risk it?  We can discuss politics and other “real world” matters on many other internet forums.  I still see plenty of disagreement on the board but less pointless and rude put-downs than before, and I welcome that too.  It’s clear the mods carefully thought through their decision, and I thank them for the improvements it has brought to the forum.

I also think the reader survey highlights something important: that those who like certain U2 records and albums feel derided for doing so, and some may not be posting for that reason.  For a long time I’ve been troubled by the inference that U2 have become 4 cynical men trying to make lowest common-denominator pop records for the brainless masses out there.  How is someone who likes “Song for Someone” or “Crazy”, or “California” meant to feel if we say such records are crap, cynical efforts?  I notice that people who say they like these records often have to qualify “although not as much as I like their 90s records”.  If we think the records are bad that is surely okay, but please could we give more interesting criticisms, and show more respect to those who like these records?  We shouldn’t put anyone down for liking any particular record.

Thanks, m2, for clarifying the no-politics rule.  If I’ve interpreted correctly we can discuss that U2 are appearing at a rally, or have written a political song, but we should not then veer off into discussing partisan politics – e.g. saying we agree or disagree with the purpose of the rally.  That seems fair enough as if we start criticising or applauding the political actions of the band we’ll quickly end up in the poisonous atmosphere of last year again.

On the issue of humour I think an tha has raised some important points.  Many of the relationships we have on this forum are based on jokes and humorous interaction and I don’t want to see that completely go away.  However, m2 is right that it is easy for people from different cultures and backgrounds to misinterpret jokes and humour, so we have to be careful when speaking to people not from our country.  I get an tha’s humour and he *usually* gets mine because we’re both British.  Same with other Brit users like April Shack and Canadanne.  But if I made the comments I make to a British user to a Portuguese or Mexican user, it could come across as offensive, so I don’t.  Yet a forum without a bit of lightness and humour between users who’ve known one another a while and may be going to concerts together, would lose something important.  Therefore I’d prefer there were no hard and unbending rules on the use of humour, and that discretion is shown with gentle warnings where necessary.

The overall tone of the MB is important to me and thus I welcomed Bonorules’ contribution – I am encouraged to see that we all agree on the importance of having a positive and welcoming atmosphere.  I, too, am tired of repetitive and rather uninformative negative comments, but neither do I want a place where everyone simply lauds everything U2 does.  Disagreement is important but let’s make divergent views feel listened to and valued.  We have to understand that not everyone has the same amount of confidence to speak up and get involved in a discussion.  If we make all voices feel listened to and respected, perhaps more people will get involved in discussions and more interesting views will be expressed.  This has to go both ways: those who are disappointed with U2 records and want to complain about something they’ve done (e.g. I wanted to complain that the 2 different setlist idea was ditched after I’d bought tickets to 2 consecutive concerts) should be given space to do so in a mature and respectful way.

On final point, I know m2 has said there are technical issues, but it would really be helpful if the profile page of a user shows their status re. a ban or not.  I always get worried when people go quiet and I want to know it’s just they’re busy with real life rather than that they’re not around due to a ban.  E.g. I haven't seen tigerfan41 on here the last few days - I can't PM her so I can't find out if she is she okay or not, or banned?

Thanks to an tha, and all the posers for this interesting discussion and thanks to m2 for your full and considered response.  I am hoping for a happier, more interesting and less toxic MB in 2017.  But a forum is only as good as its posters so let’s all stay involved in making this a great place to talk.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 03:19:58 PM by il_capo »

Offline Canadanne

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2017, 02:55:15 PM »
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Discussion is discussion - people will have different views and people complaining that their favourite song is "getting trashed" are in my view adding nothing to discussion/debate - instead of complaining about it/saying they don't want to post because of it etc and for me just displaying a victim mentality - why not get stuck in to the discussion using cogent arguments as to why you hold a different view to someone else - IF that other person insults you or is rude to you then I am sure the mods will deal with it - holding different views and expressing them is not a crime - either way.

[...]

I say this!...Make your points and join in the debate - provide the counter view, add balance - suddenly those voices you complain about being dominant aren't dominant because you have added to the debate and that makes the place more interesting and more balanced....!

I've tried in the past to counter all the negativity on here, but most of the time it feels utterly hopeless and a waste of energy. At best, my positive comments are just ignored and drowned out by the majority who post on this forum. At other times, I get told that my opinion made someone "laugh non-stop for about five minutes", or that "I am right and you are very very wrong :)", or someone asks "Sorry, but are you being serious?" when I describe a song as perfect and underrated. As if it's universally accepted that some things are rubbish, and my praise is so absurd that it can't possibly be genuine. What's the point of trying to offer different opinions when you get dismissive responses like that? I don't get the sense that anyone is interested in why I love the things I love. (I've also seen fans basically accused of being mindless sheep if they dare to defend something the band have done.)

These days I try to avoid clicking on any threads that are likely to be full of the usual criticism, but even when someone tries to start a celebratory thread ("Isn't X a brilliant song?"), it almost inevitably gets derailed by people saying things like "Yeah, X is great - shame they only write crap like Y these days". I don't see how it "adds to the discussion" when the same posters feel the need to repeat like a broken record how much they hate U2's post-2000 output, even in threads that are wholly unrelated to that subject. It just drags down the whole atmosphere and is incredibly predictable and boring. (I don't love every U2 song either, but I start to annoy *myself* if I notice I'm picking on the same thing too frequently!) I would love to hear more about what people *do* like, without it becoming an excuse to have a dig at their other work.

I've been active in different U2 communities since the late '90s. There were always fans who preferred different things and expressed a variety of opinions - which I welcomed because it's interesting - but overall it was positive, enthusiastic and fun. I joined this forum hoping for more of the same, but the tone here is completely different and it's rarely enjoyable for me. I really hope something can be done to improve that.

Offline briscoetheque

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2017, 03:00:31 PM »
An Tha and Il Capo your points on humour are spot on.

Something written or intended as a joke is interpreted differently, and is reported so as to be interpreted again.

We as posters need to remember that not everyone likes Monty Python or The Young Ones. Some people like Two and a Half Men and Full House.

Whilst there should be responsibility on the poster, there must remain some onus on the reader too... One always has two choices - to choose to be offended, or to choose not to be.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 03:02:13 PM by briscoetheque »

Offline m2

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2017, 12:36:56 AM »
Let me start by saying I'm replying now individually; i.e. - I haven't asked the other mods to review this reply to make sure they agree with it, etc. If they disagree or feel the need to clarify, I'm sure one or both will chime in as needed.

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There are a lot of people from very different backgrounds, with very different beliefs brought up and living in very different "worlds" to give a very rudimentary example (it is of course in reality nowhere near just this simple, but it is an example) a lot of British/Irish humour and American humour here is quite different.... One person may think I for example am being a 'd**k' when using what is natural to me dry humour. I may think (well actually I don't because I try to not be as judgemental on the matter but I could easily be) they are being a 'd**k' for not getting it and making an issue out of it.....it is SO subjective and SO affected by background, beliefs etc.

An Tha, you're right that we're a diverse group of fans, but it sounds like you're basically asking for permission to say whatever you want to whomever you want because we all have different senses of humor. I mean, if putting someone else down or personally attacking them with a joke or a wink is okay in your neighborhood, go for it -- have fun. But this isn't your neighborhood. This is our neighborhood and it's made up of U2 fans from all over the world.

All we were doing was offering advice that everyone should be careful when cracking jokes, being sarcastic, etc., for the exact reasons you pointed out -- we're all different.

Each one of you is responsible for what you post. So the burden is on you to be aware that others may not think you're funny. They may react negatively to your joke. If they do, and they report it to us -- or if we come across it ourselves -- then we have to review what's going on. Maybe we'll decide that the other forum member is overreacting and you'll be understood as being funny. Maybe you won't. Who knows? You have to decide if that sarcastic crack is worth the risk. And like I said, in my experience sarcasm usually doesn't work well online. Too easy to misunderstand.

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people will have different views and people complaining that their favourite song is "getting trashed" are in my view adding nothing to discussion/debate - instead of complaining about it/saying they don't want to post because of it etc and for me just displaying a victim mentality

So the forum members who've been attacked for liking an album or song and decided to lurk or leave altogether are just playing the victim? Or am I misunderstanding you? I think I'm pretty good at seeing when someone is just trying to play the victim. But I'm also someone who's been mocked and put down in this forum more than once for loving "California," and I can tell you the desire to stop posting is real, not just a case of playing the victim. It would be great if you (and everyone) could try to see it from the others' viewpoint and show some respect for how they feel after being slagged off just because they like a certain song/album/whatever.

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I actually think that there is more "intolerance" thrown around by people who call themselves "positive" towards those they call "negative" than the other way around

I don't. Consider the fact that we had to create a specific forum rule to tell people that they're not allowed to post negative messages in "appreciation" threads. Think about that! Like, in what kind of community do you need to point out to people that it's wrong to pee on other people's corn flakes???!!

To this day, it blows my mind that we need such a rule. We had to make a rule to stop certain members from being intolerant and negative towards U2 fans expressing opinions that were positive and different than theirs. Unbelievable.

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if they are saying ATYCLB is a dull, boring album they are not attacking YOU personally, debate the point they are making with a counter point of your own as to what you feel differently

The problem we have in this forum is that far too often the comments about ATYCLB (or any album/song) actually are an attack on the individual. That's exactly what those quotes I shared yesterday are saying. This is a simplification, but too many of our discussions go like this:

Fan 1: ATYCLB is my favorite album.
Fan 2: That album is absolute sh**e and I don't understand how anyone can like it.

You think fan 1 really wants to continue having a conversation at this point? Of course not. The conversation is over, and it was ended by fan 2's condescending, all-knowing declaration. Fan 2 doesn't want to have a discussion, s/he is only interested in putting out his/her opinion as the unchallengeable TRUTH. Waaaay too much of that in this forum.

We have a bit in the forum rules that says this:

Understand that how you say something is often as important, and sometimes more important than what you say. Posting your opinion as if it's an inarguable fact is sure to incite others and lower the quality and civility of the discussion.

So if fan 2 is really interested in having a discussion, a better way to reply would be something like this:

Fan 1: ATYCLB is my favorite album.
Fan 2: That's interesting. Why do you like it so much? It's never been a favorite of mine because....... (etc. etc.)

Like I said above, the few times I've mentioned how much I love "California," I've been made to feel like an idiot for liking it. So I try not to mention it anymore. Like Canadanne said, it usually feels hopeless and a big waste of time to try to fight against the tide of negativity.

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Thanks, m2, for clarifying the no-politics rule.  If I’ve interpreted correctly we can discuss that U2 are appearing at a rally, or have written a political song, but we should not then veer off into discussing partisan politics – e.g. saying we agree or disagree with the purpose of the rally. That seems fair enough as if we start criticising or applauding the political actions of the band we’ll quickly end up in the poisonous atmosphere of last year again.

You're welcome, il_capo, and yes, I'd say that's the correct interpretation.

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I get an tha’s humour and he *usually* gets mine because we’re both British.  Same with other Brit users like April Shack and Canadanne.  But if I made the comments I make to a British user to a Portuguese or Mexican user, it could come across as offensive, so I don’t.  Yet a forum without a bit of lightness and humour between users who’ve known one another a while and may be going to concerts together, would lose something important.  Therefore I’d prefer there were no hard and unbending rules on the use of humour, and that discretion is shown with gentle warnings where necessary.

Right, as I said above, last night's comments were meant as advice. We're not going to put in a "no humor" rule. But you guys have to be careful, which is what you're suggesting above, because everyone's different.

At the same time, I'll remind you that the mods generally have no idea who's friendly with whom, and I don't feel that's our responsibility to try to track or know. It's not like we have time to keep a database or list of who each of you are friendly with, and therefore more likely to be joking with.

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On final point, I know m2 has said there are technical issues, but it would really be helpful if the profile page of a user shows their status re. a ban or not.

Yep, we looked into that and the forum software doesn't support it.

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I don't see how it "adds to the discussion" when the same posters feel the need to repeat like a broken record how much they hate U2's post-2000 output, even in threads that are wholly unrelated to that subject. It just drags down the whole atmosphere and is incredibly predictable and boring.

Personally, I agree with Canadanne 100% here -- a big part of the problem is that some forum members feel the need to remind us 10x every month how bad some song or album is.

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Whilst there should be responsibility on the poster, there must remain some onus on the reader too... One always has two choices - to choose to be offended, or to choose not to be.

True briscoe, but you can't use that attitude to give yourself carte blanche to say whatever you want, however you want. The ultimate responsibility for your words falls on you, and no one else.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 12:40:04 AM by m2 »

Offline an tha

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2017, 02:21:03 AM »
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Let me start by saying I'm replying now individually; i.e. - I haven't asked the other mods to review this reply to make sure they agree with it, etc. If they disagree or feel the need to clarify, I'm sure one or both will chime in as needed.

Quote
There are a lot of people from very different backgrounds, with very different beliefs brought up and living in very different "worlds" to give a very rudimentary example (it is of course in reality nowhere near just this simple, but it is an example) a lot of British/Irish humour and American humour here is quite different.... One person may think I for example am being a 'd**k' when using what is natural to me dry humour. I may think (well actually I don't because I try to not be as judgemental on the matter but I could easily be) they are being a 'd**k' for not getting it and making an issue out of it.....it is SO subjective and SO affected by background, beliefs etc.

An Tha, you're right that we're a diverse group of fans, but it sounds like you're basically asking for permission to say whatever you want to whomever you want because we all have different senses of humor. I mean, if putting someone else down or personally attacking them with a joke or a wink is okay in your neighborhood, go for it -- have fun. But this isn't your neighborhood. This is our neighborhood and it's made up of U2 fans from all over the world.

All we were doing was offering advice that everyone should be careful when cracking jokes, being sarcastic, etc., for the exact reasons you pointed out -- we're all different.

Each one of you is responsible for what you post. So the burden is on you to be aware that others may not think you're funny. They may react negatively to your joke. If they do, and they report it to us -- or if we come across it ourselves -- then we have to review what's going on. Maybe we'll decide that the other forum member is overreacting and you'll be understood as being funny. Maybe you won't. Who knows? You have to decide if that sarcastic crack is worth the risk. And like I said, in my experience sarcasm usually doesn't work well online. Too easy to misunderstand.

Quote
people will have different views and people complaining that their favourite song is "getting trashed" are in my view adding nothing to discussion/debate - instead of complaining about it/saying they don't want to post because of it etc and for me just displaying a victim mentality

So the forum members who've been attacked for liking an album or song and decided to lurk or leave altogether are just playing the victim? Or am I misunderstanding you? I think I'm pretty good at seeing when someone is just trying to play the victim. But I'm also someone who's been mocked and put down in this forum more than once for loving "California," and I can tell you the desire to stop posting is real, not just a case of playing the victim. It would be great if you (and everyone) could try to see it from the others' viewpoint and show some respect for how they feel after being slagged off just because they like a certain song/album/whatever.

Quote
I actually think that there is more "intolerance" thrown around by people who call themselves "positive" towards those they call "negative" than the other way around

I don't. Consider the fact that we had to create a specific forum rule to tell people that they're not allowed to post negative messages in "appreciation" threads. Think about that! Like, in what kind of community do you need to point out to people that it's wrong to pee on other people's corn flakes???!!

To this day, it blows my mind that we need such a rule. We had to make a rule to stop certain members from being intolerant and negative towards U2 fans expressing opinions that were positive and different than theirs. Unbelievable.

Quote
if they are saying ATYCLB is a dull, boring album they are not attacking YOU personally, debate the point they are making with a counter point of your own as to what you feel differently

The problem we have in this forum is that far too often the comments about ATYCLB (or any album/song) actually are an attack on the individual. That's exactly what those quotes I shared yesterday are saying. This is a simplification, but too many of our discussions go like this:

Fan 1: ATYCLB is my favorite album.
Fan 2: That album is absolute sh**e and I don't understand how anyone can like it.

You think fan 1 really wants to continue having a conversation at this point? Of course not. The conversation is over, and it was ended by fan 2's condescending, all-knowing declaration. Fan 2 doesn't want to have a discussion, s/he is only interested in putting out his/her opinion as the unchallengeable TRUTH. Waaaay too much of that in this forum.

We have a bit in the forum rules that says this:

Understand that how you say something is often as important, and sometimes more important than what you say. Posting your opinion as if it's an inarguable fact is sure to incite others and lower the quality and civility of the discussion.

So if fan 2 is really interested in having a discussion, a better way to reply would be something like this:

Fan 1: ATYCLB is my favorite album.
Fan 2: That's interesting. Why do you like it so much? It's never been a favorite of mine because....... (etc. etc.)

Like I said above, the few times I've mentioned how much I love "California," I've been made to feel like an idiot for liking it. So I try not to mention it anymore. Like Canadanne said, it usually feels hopeless and a big waste of time to try to fight against the tide of negativity.

Quote
Thanks, m2, for clarifying the no-politics rule.  If I’ve interpreted correctly we can discuss that U2 are appearing at a rally, or have written a political song, but we should not then veer off into discussing partisan politics – e.g. saying we agree or disagree with the purpose of the rally. That seems fair enough as if we start criticising or applauding the political actions of the band we’ll quickly end up in the poisonous atmosphere of last year again.

You're welcome, il_capo, and yes, I'd say that's the correct interpretation.

Quote
I get an tha’s humour and he *usually* gets mine because we’re both British.  Same with other Brit users like April Shack and Canadanne.  But if I made the comments I make to a British user to a Portuguese or Mexican user, it could come across as offensive, so I don’t.  Yet a forum without a bit of lightness and humour between users who’ve known one another a while and may be going to concerts together, would lose something important.  Therefore I’d prefer there were no hard and unbending rules on the use of humour, and that discretion is shown with gentle warnings where necessary.

Right, as I said above, last night's comments were meant as advice. We're not going to put in a "no humor" rule. But you guys have to be careful, which is what you're suggesting above, because everyone's different.

At the same time, I'll remind you that the mods generally have no idea who's friendly with whom, and I don't feel that's our responsibility to try to track or know. It's not like we have time to keep a database or list of who each of you are friendly with, and therefore more likely to be joking with.

Quote
On final point, I know m2 has said there are technical issues, but it would really be helpful if the profile page of a user shows their status re. a ban or not.

Yep, we looked into that and the forum software doesn't support it.

Quote
I don't see how it "adds to the discussion" when the same posters feel the need to repeat like a broken record how much they hate U2's post-2000 output, even in threads that are wholly unrelated to that subject. It just drags down the whole atmosphere and is incredibly predictable and boring.

Personally, I agree with Canadanne 100% here -- a big part of the problem is that some forum members feel the need to remind us 10x every month how bad some song or album is.

Quote
Whilst there should be responsibility on the poster, there must remain some onus on the reader too... One always has two choices - to choose to be offended, or to choose not to be.

True briscoe, but you can't use that attitude to give yourself carte blanche to say whatever you want, however you want. The ultimate responsibility for your words falls on you, and no one else.

To address the points directly made to me:

This is your forum, you make the rules - you also have (as I know from being told it) a very 'if you don't like it, leave' attitude towards people who question/challenge how those rules are applied, so the fact you have at least taken the time to engage in this thread is a credit to you and indeed to myself for starting a tone that made you want to engage and of course a credit to others feeling like they wanted to too and doing so respectfully and insightfully - that in itself is progress and healthy.

Whilst all that is true and as I say positive we are in a couple of key areas quite a long way apart in how we see things - that is the way it is and that is fine.......for example I found it incredibly draconian that (keep in mind I had never been banned before or warned about being banned) that I copped a 7 day ban with a warning that the next would be permanent for my comments to forum user 'Thrillho' to 'listen to some new music for a change and stop living in the past' in what was a totally tongue in cheek comment.....

But it was interpreted by either that user or you or both differently to how it was intended and you acted as you acted - nothing I could do about it after.......maybe a better way to handle it would have been to remove the comment and have a polite quiet word with me via PM explaining the clampdown that is in place and advising me that in your view if I continued to make those sort of cracks I would likely fall foul of the rules and be vulnerable to the consequences......if I then carried on in that vein I could have no complaints.....but what happened was it went from seemingly ok (as that joke had been a running one) to not ok without warning....

When I challenged you your reply was "You seem to think that "fair" means treating everyone the same. That's wrong. Fair means treating everyone how they deserve.".....

I have a problem with that - it is way too subjective, loaded and smacks of an agenda....

All I ask is that attitude does not continue to prevail and you are mindful of how that made me feel (you talk above about respect etc) it works two ways - You sending PM's consisting of two words "Grow Up" in response to jokes on the forum do not foster a healthy respectful relationship and atmosphere and can easily be seen as "baiting" - you talk above about using respectful tones etc. modifying how we disagree - again that works two ways........a polite "An Tha, you made a joke about Bono getting banned if he posted here about politics - We feel that is not helpful in terms of the atmosphere we are working to foster here, please don't do it again"......would be so much better than "Grow up"......see how it works two ways, in the same way you talk about disagreeing on the forum about ATYCLB for example.

We also have a different view of the whole "negative v positive" thing but I have read what you have to say and I understand the main thrust of it so I I’ll keep that in mind going forward - despite having some reservations about how it all is interpreted....

You wrore to me above:

"So the forum members who've been attacked for liking an album or song and decided to lurk or leave altogether are just playing the victim? Or am I misunderstanding you?"

The answer is yes I think you are misunderstanding me, but I feel that even though all this discussion is positive that in this area we are too far apart to find any real middle ground so I'll have to accept that - as long as we are both able to act agreeably whilst disagreeing on this point then I am sure I can live with it....I won't let it cloud how I behave here and towards you - I assume you are willing/able to do the same?

All in all I would like to say thanks for engaging - I hope it has been positive for you as site admin and all involved whether they have contributed as some have so well or just read.

All I can ask is you keep in mind this whole discussion going forward as I will and use it to inform things going forward as again I will.

I have taken on board what you have to say and the context of it and again appreciate your time and thought in replying.

If you want to give it a day or so to allow any further comments and then lock the thread I won't have any objections.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2017, 06:47:23 AM by an tha »

Offline riffraff

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2017, 04:56:57 AM »
I think RESPECT is the main concept, and the most important word used here. Let's all follow up on an tha's suggestion, and respect each other...including our hard working mods.

Offline briscoetheque

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Re: Dear Forum Admin and Moderators - A request for possible compromise....
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2017, 07:42:54 AM »
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Whilst there should be responsibility on the poster, there must remain some onus on the reader too... One always has two choices - to choose to be offended, or to choose not to be.

True briscoe, but you can't use that attitude to give yourself carte blanche to say whatever you want, however you want. The ultimate responsibility for your words falls on you, and no one else.

Correct. It's an attitude to be used when reading, not writing.

There's a different attitude to be used when writing, that's covered in the rules.