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Dealing with Flamers

Joe Offer 06 Sep 01 - 03:48 PM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 04:00 PM
radriano 06 Sep 01 - 04:03 PM
Wesley S 06 Sep 01 - 04:06 PM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 04:13 PM
SharonA 06 Sep 01 - 04:16 PM
Clinton Hammond 06 Sep 01 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,Russ 06 Sep 01 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Russ 06 Sep 01 - 04:33 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 01 - 04:43 PM
Naemanson 06 Sep 01 - 04:44 PM
M.Ted 06 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM
GUEST,Katspawlaughing666 06 Sep 01 - 05:21 PM
Bill D 06 Sep 01 - 05:38 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 01 - 05:39 PM
Joe Offer 06 Sep 01 - 05:46 PM
Kernow John 06 Sep 01 - 05:58 PM
katlaughing 06 Sep 01 - 06:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Sep 01 - 06:08 PM
Uncle Jaque 06 Sep 01 - 06:31 PM
Lepus Rex 06 Sep 01 - 06:44 PM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 06 Sep 01 - 06:55 PM
GUEST,Hille 06 Sep 01 - 07:05 PM
wysiwyg 06 Sep 01 - 07:13 PM
Gareth 06 Sep 01 - 07:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Sep 01 - 07:47 PM
Geoff the Duck 06 Sep 01 - 07:49 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 01 - 07:59 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 01 - 08:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Sep 01 - 08:19 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Sep 01 - 08:48 PM
catspaw49 06 Sep 01 - 08:56 PM
AliUK 06 Sep 01 - 09:15 PM
Don Firth 06 Sep 01 - 09:28 PM
Big Mick 06 Sep 01 - 10:11 PM
Uncle Jaque 06 Sep 01 - 10:26 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 01 - 10:36 PM
Justa Picker 06 Sep 01 - 10:47 PM
Rich(bodhránai gan ciall) 06 Sep 01 - 10:50 PM
Allan C. 06 Sep 01 - 11:10 PM
katlaughing 06 Sep 01 - 11:13 PM
Joe Offer 06 Sep 01 - 11:15 PM
Áine 06 Sep 01 - 11:30 PM
Peter Kasin 07 Sep 01 - 02:06 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Sep 01 - 02:26 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Sep 01 - 05:46 AM
catspaw49 07 Sep 01 - 07:58 AM
Wilfried Schaum 07 Sep 01 - 08:11 AM
CarolC 07 Sep 01 - 08:41 AM
catspaw49 07 Sep 01 - 08:51 AM
wysiwyg 07 Sep 01 - 08:58 AM
Cllr 07 Sep 01 - 09:48 AM
Uncle Jaque 07 Sep 01 - 10:29 AM
Skipjack K8 07 Sep 01 - 10:34 AM
Steve in Idaho 07 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM
SharonA 07 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM
catspaw49 07 Sep 01 - 12:16 PM
GUEST 07 Sep 01 - 12:20 PM
CarolC 07 Sep 01 - 12:31 PM
Jack the Sailor 07 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM
Jon Freeman 07 Sep 01 - 12:46 PM
Jack the Sailor 07 Sep 01 - 01:00 PM
Uncle Jaque 07 Sep 01 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Paul Mitchell@work 07 Sep 01 - 01:10 PM
CarolC 07 Sep 01 - 01:24 PM
SharonA 07 Sep 01 - 01:57 PM
Jeri 07 Sep 01 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Shenandoah 07 Sep 01 - 02:34 PM
Jack the Sailor 07 Sep 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST 07 Sep 01 - 03:48 PM
MMario 07 Sep 01 - 04:18 PM
Big Mick 07 Sep 01 - 04:32 PM
GUEST, Dan 07 Sep 01 - 06:06 PM
Morticia 07 Sep 01 - 06:46 PM
Justa Picker 07 Sep 01 - 07:03 PM
Bill D 07 Sep 01 - 07:37 PM
Oversoul 07 Sep 01 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 07 Sep 01 - 11:11 PM
wysiwyg 07 Sep 01 - 11:23 PM
CarolC 07 Sep 01 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 08 Sep 01 - 12:28 AM
gnu 08 Sep 01 - 05:27 AM
CarolC 08 Sep 01 - 05:42 AM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 11:13 AM
Jon Freeman 08 Sep 01 - 11:26 AM
Amos 08 Sep 01 - 12:08 PM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM
Jeri 08 Sep 01 - 12:41 PM
DMcG 08 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM
CarolC 08 Sep 01 - 12:59 PM
wysiwyg 08 Sep 01 - 01:10 PM
catspaw49 08 Sep 01 - 01:21 PM
Sourdough 08 Sep 01 - 02:21 PM
catspaw49 08 Sep 01 - 02:57 PM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 03:12 PM
gnu 08 Sep 01 - 05:26 PM
John P 08 Sep 01 - 07:05 PM
Jon Freeman 08 Sep 01 - 07:16 PM
Peg 08 Sep 01 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Katspawlaughing666 08 Sep 01 - 10:34 PM
Jeri 08 Sep 01 - 10:44 PM
wysiwyg 09 Sep 01 - 12:42 AM
Wyrd Sister 09 Sep 01 - 12:50 PM
CarolC 09 Sep 01 - 01:15 PM
CarolC 09 Sep 01 - 01:23 PM
Wyrd Sister 09 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM
CarolC 09 Sep 01 - 04:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Sep 01 - 06:45 PM
Wyrd Sister 10 Sep 01 - 02:50 PM
CarolC 10 Sep 01 - 03:50 PM
Steve in Idaho 10 Sep 01 - 05:57 PM
Joe Offer 10 Sep 01 - 08:03 PM
GUEST, A Member, being Anon. 30 Sep 01 - 01:52 PM
GUEST 30 Sep 01 - 02:09 PM
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Subject: Dealing with Flamers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 03:48 PM

Pene and I have had a couple of very frustrating weeks, and I'm about ready to give up. Our friendly flamers and trolls have been very active, and we've had a terrible time trying to keep things under control. What's worse, it seems like dozens of regular Mudcatters are jumping in to cheer on the flamers, and that has made an awful mess of things.

The standard Mudcat policy on flamers is this:

Please Don't Respond to Flamers in any way!

If people could just follow this simple rule, Pene and I could tweak a few things quietly here and there, and things would be quite peaceful. That's not what happens, though. Flames generate hundreds of responses from Mudcatters, who seem eager to give flamers all the attention they crave. As a result, the flamers go into a feeding frenzy, and the flame wars last longer and longer. Is that what you want?

Let's take some examples:

  • A few weeks ago, somebody registered with a user name that was very similar to that of a well-known Mudcatter, and the miscreant posted a number of messages intended to embarrass the Mudcatter. I noted the problem and took care of it quietly, and told the Mudcatter what I had done. That would have been the end of it, but the Mudcatter felt compelled to start a thread to tell the world what had happened. Within two minutes of the starting of the thread, the same person or a copycat created another false membership, and the cycle began all over again. Once the problem was broadcast in a thread, I couldn't handle the copycat problem. Luckily, Pene came up with a solution a while later.
  • More recently, there was an "obit" thread about an R&B singer who was killed in a plane wreck. Somebody questioned why this was appropriate for a folk music forum, and a nasty argument ensued. Then, somebody decided to start "obit" threads for Alexander Graham Bell and Marilyn Monroe - obviously a response to the perceived triviality of the thread on the R&B singer. It looked like the Forum was going to be flooded with "obit" threads, so I combined the two threads and hoped that would be the end of it. That caused somebody to start yet another thread to question my combining things. Maybe my combining threads was a bad call - but, as I said in another thread, it's difficult to second-guess an asshole. Whatever the case, it would have been much easier to handle things if Mudcatters had stepped back and said nothing.
  • Over the last couple of days, anonymous people started a couple of threads with some rather nasty anti-Semitic messages. Other anonymous people started threads in the regular forum and the Help Forum, demanding that the offensive messages be deleted - and Mudcatters added dozens of messages to these threads. Not only that, but they also started "answer" threads, like "What Kind of Racist Are You?" and "Mudcat a Tolerant Forum?" – and those threads generated dozens of replies.
    Some people demanded that we delete the offensive messages, and couldn't understand why we left those messages up and yet we deleted a thread that attacked an individual. The reason for that is simple – we edit as little as possible because we want to preserve free and open discussion, but we can't allow attacks or threats against individuals. We also can't allow people to take over the way we operate things, flood Mudcat with threads, or manipulate or deceive – that's why I dealt with the false memberships and combined the obit threads. We also can't handle things the same way every time - because our predictability would give flamers an advantage, and because we're human and sometimes don't always do things the best way.
I'd like to see people follow the basic rule: don't respond to flamers. That means that you should give them no public acknowledgement whatsoever – and you certainly shouldn't start threads in the Forum or Help Forum to call attention to them. If there's a problem, handle it by sending a personal message to Pene or me, or both of us – but don't talk about it publicly. If you can't do that, then I think Pene and I should stop trying to control things, and just let things happen as they will. Without your cooperation, we can do nothing, and we might as well let things run their course.

OK, so that's the situation. Things are a bit messy here. I hate to add another thread to the mess because each thread we create seems to encourage more – but what is it you would like us to do, and what are you willing to do to help us?

Pene and I are independent – we answer to nobody but Max. We'll do what we think is best, and I believe that's the way it should be. However, we're open to suggestions. We can discuss it openly here and now. Ordinarily, though, it's best to discuss these things with us by personal message. We monitor the Forum and adjust things when we can to prevent the worst of problems – but we ordinarily do our best to ignore general nastiness and bigotry. If it's a personal attack against an individual, we want to know about it right away (privately), so we can deal with it quickly. Generally, we're not going to delete or edit flames – that only provokes and encourages flamers. We ask your help in keeping things civil here at Mudcat - please do your best to ignore flamers completely.

OK, so what do you think?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:00 PM

what is it you would like us to do, and what are you willing to do to help us

Joe, this is timely.

I had been thinking that there is one thing that would help everyone. If a Permathread could be made that you and Pene edit strongly, and if its opening post could be from Max, titled "FORUM NOTICE." It would say something like:

"There's an upset going on now, please remember that Mudcat policy is....."

and "...remember there has been a consensus expressed many times that the best approach is....."

and

"... so let's get back to discussing music, have fun."

With a link to the FAQ flames and editing policies and a means of contacting Mudcat leadership OFFTHREAD to raise concerns about those policies-- that would help. I think.

The threads become a complaint depratment because people want to make trouble AND because they and others are not of one mind how to give feedback anywhere else.

So a link in the FAQ labeled COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT, that would go to your e-mail or Jeff's, would make a path clearer and would make the trouble-making more discernable when it's NOT used.

Would you be willing to do that-- have your e-mail address linked by you and us as COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT?

Cuz I can say honestly that you have dealt with MY crabby attempts to communicate pretty proferssionally, Joe, and if you can work things out with me-- you oughtta be able to handle anyone who is trying to contribute positively at all, with one hand tied behind your back.

love and growls,

~Susan

PS-- Aan alternative approach-- Ship of Fools moves bad threads to a page there called HELL, and posts the rules for Hell on that page so there will be no question that anyone posting is responsible for whatever hurt feelings they get by participating. No edits, as far as I recall-- just moved over.


There's a problem with a "notice" PermaThread, Susan - especially if it's refreshed whenever there's a flamer around. The only proven cure for flamers is to ignore them and starve them of the attention they crave. Refreshing a thread in their honor is just what they want.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: radriano
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:03 PM

There isn't a simpler way to put it, Joe.

Please, everyone, just ignore offensive threads. Don't post to them.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Wesley S
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:06 PM

I agree Joe - The best way to resond to flamers is to ignore them. But human egos being what they are I find it hard to believe that will happen. That will be my course of action however. It's what they deserve - no response.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:13 PM

... and with my suggestion, it would not be a teal thread-- it would be something anyone could refresh when it seemed like a good idea, and maybe a link that could be pasted in promptly when a flamethread starts.

What would happen? OK, say I refreshed the NOTICE thread. Others would see it and post their agreement. When it all died down you'd knock all those posts back out.

People TRIED to do it with a thread called Mudcat Vow but it needs Max as El Jefe to say it, I think.

Also a linkable disclaimer in fine print at the bottom of the main page and the forum page, "Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the persons posting them and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Mudcat Cafe's owners, operators, or members."

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: SharonA
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:16 PM

I think that I get the message (finally)! I will restrain myself from public response to flamers in the future, and will restrict myself to sending Private Messages instead.

Please don't give up on us.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:19 PM

You can ask people to ignore all you want, but it probably wont help, really... You know the kind of people who frequent this place... hell... some have to be contrary just fot it's own sake...

People are not likley to shut up, even when asked nicely... Best to just let 'em blow steam up each other and ignore the whole mess...

It's the people who find such stuff offencive that have to learn to step off and do the mature thing and walk away from a given thread ot topic... Don't go sucking and blubbering to Mom that so-and-so said a bad word... When I was growing up it was worse to be a whining snitch than to have potty mouth...

So ya... I guess I am agreeing with Joe here, but I think what I'm also trying to say is dont' be surprised when these threads don't go away...


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:28 PM

Joe,
Well said and right on.

Russ (Still a guest after all these years).


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:33 PM

Joe,
By the way. I really like the Mudcat format. It makes it very easy to find the current topics that interest me and very easy to ignore flamethreads.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:43 PM

I don't know how big a problem it is, but surely one factor is that newbies are apt to rise up in arms when they see some Mudcatter get attacked. Worse yet, they feel, is that no one has jumped in to defend the 'Catter, so that they feel compelled to do it themselves. And there goes the thread merrily on.

The reason I know all this is that was my reaction. A newbie does not necessarily know where to go to learn the accepted policy. Might a PermaBanner above the threads list be a good idea?

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:44 PM

Agreed, Joe, I will continue to make no responses to flame threads.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM

I appreciate everything that you have done, both Joe and Pene, and figure it is probably more work than a paying job--and with considerably more animosity directed at you than most workplaces would allow, it certainly is more aggravation than most jobs--

The internet is strewn with the wreckage of USENET groups, Mail lists, and discussion forums, ruined by the sort of stuff that you are fighting--Let no one be deceived, the only way for a forum like Mudcat to survive is to stay on top of it--even if a few mistakes or wrong judgements are made--

It occurs to me that, at least from past and present experience, there is no point in telling people to ignore flamers--even when nearly everyone does, there is always one person who looses control when they reach the submit button--responding is a part of human nature, and the reason that trolls and flames exist at all is because there is always someone who will bite--

I have never understood why Max won't set up the program so that you can't submit unless there is something pasted in the "From" box--it doesn't hurt anyone if a minimum posting requirement is that a "handle" be included--

And it wouldn't restrict anyone's free speech if they had to enter an e-mail address in order to post(The National Forum on People's Differences requires this, and posters may opt not to have the address shown, if they want)--

I am of the opinion that measures like these are like bright lights for walkways and parking lots--they make it harder for the attacker, and reduce the risk for the ordinary person--


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Katspawlaughing666
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:21 PM

One of the reasons that trolling at Mudcat is so much fun is the predictability of the outraged responses from Spaw and his self-righteous buddies in the Mudcat inner clique.

People have been saying for years that if you ignore the trolls, they'll just go away. Thing is though, Mudcatters like Spaw and Mousie and McGrath and Kat and WYSIWYG are so in love with the sight of their names that they just need to respond to everything under the sun. They just can't resist rising to the troll bait. That's why the trolls are here to stay.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:38 PM

Ok, Joe...one more vote to REALLY ignore and not acknowlege flamers, trolls and anonymous cranks. Heated discussions among friends and acquaintences can make a lively, interesting forum, but baiting and personal attacks are not productive. If someone has a specific complaint, let them get a name, a cookie, and respond directly bu private message.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:39 PM

Well posted Joe...How about we keep this one up top for a few days until we all get a chance to see it.....Everyone around the joint is guilty and even the humor end of it has lately gone wrong.....Changing the subject doesn't do it as Sorch found out and as always known, the only thing that does is not responding.

So me and the "Inner Clique" will take the pledge and not post to the SOS threads (kat's "Same Old Shit")......We oughta' have a "Cussin' Can" thing, every post to a troll or flamer costs a buck to the 'Cat..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:46 PM

Yeah, Spaw, the SOS messages in flame threads really puzzled me - they just served to bring the flame thread to the top again. What's the logic in that?

By the way, we know full well that our most prolific flamers are regular Mudcatters who like to cause a little trouble when they feel they haven't been getting enough attention. Sick, isn't it?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Kernow John
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:58 PM

Joe & Pene
Thanks
KJ


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:03 PM

I agree, M. Ted, with your posting suggestions. Maybe someday we'll see that change.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:08 PM

Bill D makes what I see as a very useful distinction - Heated discussions among friends and acquaintences can make a lively, interesting forum, but baiting and personal attacks are not productive.

The tricky thing is avoiding having the one turn into the other, and there are some people out there who do their best to try and get that to happen.

We don't want to find ourselves in situation where, just by a bit of judicious flaming, someone who wants to is able to in effect close off a topic where a useful discussion might otherwise happen.

Anyway, Joe and Pene are doing a great job in trying to contain and clean up this sort of thing, and I promise to try and avoid doing anything that makes it harder.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:31 PM

As I recently mentioned in a PM to those concerned, "There is a downside to inclusivity...". The big tent with the open door can make for an interesting party, but don't be surprised if some unwelcome and unsavory "guests" show up to try and pillage, plunder, and generally spoil the fun for everyone else. "Human nature", I suppose. Shucks, even the lofty ideal of "Freedom" I've been known to spout off about on occasion has it's dark side, don't we know. But I digress...

I heartily concur with WYSIWYG re. a "disclaimer". A question of potential civil liability to both the Mudcat and one of us was raised - and quite rationally so - after another organization mentioned was promtly - and warantlessly - savaged by a flamethrowing "guest" who went so far as to threaten to lodge bogus "complaints" against the organization. A representative of this organization who was invited to participate in the forum, needless to say, was not favorably impressed and much appology, explanation and damage control was required to assure them that this ogre was not, in fact, representative of the average Mudcatter. No doubt some of these lurking deviants are quite skilled at making life miserable for others in order to gratify some perverted pathological "need", and it might behoove us to install some reasonable level of self-protection. As it is, we are pretty vunerable, and that alone is sufficient to attract flocks of sociopaths. Lovely world we live in... but it's the best we've got, eh?

Any 'Catters out there of the Legal proffession? some input might be timely, here.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:44 PM

Well, after this week, I'll promise not to respond to anonymous flamers anymore. Not that this week has been worse than some others I can remember, but it's just getting old. Avoiding these threads might also keep me from acting like a complete bastard. (No, it won't) :)

One thing bothers me, though: Like Joe said, these people are usually members dropping their cookies to act like dicks.

Joe, couldn't you guys just 'out' the members who are doing this?

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 06:55 PM

I agree with Lepus Rex, I think if members are messing about surely they dont deserve to be members.Just my opinion.john


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Hille
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:05 PM

I must apologise - replied to the Gay racist Morris thread without thinking, well, was actually thinking back to the almighty fun we had with "Eminen Rules" thread.

So, I apologise in this instance (and of, course I do ignore the offensive stuff - really depriving them of "the oxygen of publicity" is the only thing that works.)


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:13 PM

What we refer to as trolling and flaming represent distress patterns that are not possible to evaluate, treat, or even respond to accurately in an online medium.

What we realize AFTER the fact has been an unhelpful reaction FEELS, when you are engaged in it, quite logical. There's the rub--

The distress pattern depends on pushing someone's button. The definition of whether a button has been successfully pushed is, did it overwhelm our sense and provoke response? Once that has occurred, what we have is hindsight, to help us try to do better next time the effort has made. I am an example-- it's lots harder to push my buttons now, and I write almost exclsuively now in music threads. But I not only decided it, I had to work through it and work on it.

Anyway, once we have responded, we are within whatever distress pattern WE have, that makes response seem like SENSE. But this is human nature.

When it was suggested at one point that I do a prayer website, I cruised the Net far and wide looking at forum designs (and sent Max samples of the competition), looking for a spot that might serve. So I saw some neat features. One thing many places do, that we don't, is move threads. Another is, they LOCK threads. They lock them sometimes and leave them viewable, but not postable, so people can see that no censorship of what was said had occurred. But the locked thread makes it clear that it has been decided that additional response, for that thread, is simply beyond the limits of the host's willingness to give space to the event.

And it is entirely within a host's purview to choose what they will host-- to what they will allocate bandwidth.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Gareth
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:14 PM

As one who can be controversial. Though I hope not to the same extent as a napalm pwered flamer, and as one who has difficulty not treading on a trailed coat I have had difficulty followinhg Joes instructions in the last few days.

But joe's right ingnore the buggers and they will disappear.

Gareth - chewing his fingernails in frustration.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:47 PM

But there's still the problem that a stay-away-from-the-garbage policy, if consistently applied, would mean that a couple of well placed anonymous posts could close down a thread.

And that could as easily happen in music threads, which can also turn quite sour sometimes.

We should avoid being provoked into posting by these people.But at the same time we need to avoid being silenced by them. It's a difficult balance, and I know I haven't got it right myself a lot of times.

It seems to come in spats, which are unpleasant, but they pass. Putting up with it is a price for having the Mudcat. Going too far in the direction of active preventive measures would be too high a price for tackling this irritation. And there are always ways for those so minded to sneak round any set of defences anyway.

Good point, Kevin-
I'd say that if a legitimate thread is going and a flamer butts in, the best response is to keep the thread going, but act as if the flamer were invisible. Don't acknowledge a flamer in any way. Catspaw might suggest that you imagine the miscreant let out a very noticeable fart, and act accordingly (I wouldn't say that, but Spaw would...)
Threads started by flamers are another matter. Don't post to them, even if others have posted. Don't try to turn the thread with humor - it rarely works, and it gives the troll/flamer lots of the attention he/she craves. It's easy to identify flame/troll threads. They almost always started by a Guest, and they almost always start out with a nasty tone.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:49 PM

Apologies for responding to some crap on another thread earlier tonight. I'll try to just ignore the bastards!
Geoff!


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:59 PM

Ah, it is so gratifying to see the absolute worst, most duplicitous Mudcat flamers posting here saying they'll never do it again...

And you'll ignore the flamers when pigs fly.

I do get a chuckle out of the lot of you. It really is like shooting fish in a barrel around here.

Hey Joe, since you can't even follow your own good advice, what the hell makes you think you're going to get people to stop behaving badly?

Maybe they will when you will.


Maybe you're right, my friend, but maybe not. There are times when I have to take action, and I usually find it's best to give some explanation. I try to do that without attempting to argue with flamers and trolls, but sometimes I give in to temptation. Still, I think that the flamers and trolls are only part of the problem - the bigger problem is caused by those who respond to them.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:06 PM

Kevin, we all have a bad habit of responding to an obvious troll in an otherwise fine thread.....often they have one legit point and we might respond to that. Don't do it. when you want to carry on with the thread, simply carry on without referencing the flame/troll even if they have a great question in the middle of the bullshit.....skip it. That's tough I know, but it's the way to do it....sad but true.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:19 PM

I suppose the thing to do might be to take the good point, without giving any acknowledgement to where it came from, and use it in a post - "Now it could be suggested that...But..."

I can imagine that might really irritate the attention seeking creeps.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:48 PM

It seems to me that flamers and the people who respond to them have a lot in common.

Just because you know a person's name doesn't mean he isn't a flamer.

Just because a person only posts to threads, but doesn't start them, doesn't mean he isn't a flamer.

Just because a person defends Mudcat, or defends another Mudcatter, doesn't mean he isn't a flamer.

Just because a person stands up for "politically correct" principles doesn't mean he isn't a flamer.

A flame-thrower is still a flame-thrower no matter which direction it is pointed.

What makes a flamer a flamer is the amount of anger that comes out in his messages. It doesn't matter who provokes it, or how it is provoked.

Oddly, SOME trolls/flamers seem to have more self-awareness than the people who respond to them. SOME trolls/flamers admit that they get some satisfaction out of what they're doing. People who respond to flamers seem unaware that they're getting any satisfaction. But what else could explain the fact that they do the same thing over and over? Isn't there something gratifying about getting angry at someone who *really* deserves it?


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 08:56 PM

All good there Jim, but i've admitted repeatedly that I know they may be getting their jollies, but so am I!! The "anger" is never there whereas what I really enjoy and most people dislike is sarcasm and sarcastic humor. I like playing the dozens ya' know? But this thing truly has gotten past the point of doing anything but simply ignoring the whole thing.

I said once that if they were enjoying it, we should too.........mistake. The only thing to do is to ignore them........but I still like the vile, smartassed, sarcasm.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: AliUK
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 09:15 PM

Jim. I don't know how to take your post but... I suppose I must apologise at my conduct in a couple of the threads. I do not in any way consider myself a flamer, just a gbloke who has been around the Mudcat off and on for a few years and who doesn't like to see people that he likes ridiculed. I try to resist, but soemtimes can't stop the response. From now on I will ignore those types of threads. Sorry Joe.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 09:28 PM

It would be impossible to thank Joe and Pene and the various Joe Clones enough for the work they do around here--and Max, et al, for making the whole thing possible.

I don't think it's really possible to get rid of flamers and troublemakers entirely, because they can post to just about any thread -- in fact someone tried it on a couple of threads where serious discussions were going on -- and thereby hangs an object lesson. The participants in the threads were so intent on what they were discussing that the would-be troublemaker was just ignored. Getting no response, he/she/it just went away.

I get steamed and respond to flamers too damned much, even when I know better. But from here on, I take the pledge. No more response to trolls and flamers!

For those who have trouble doing this, maybe there's a 12-step program?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Big Mick
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:11 PM

I am more disgusted by those that respond to these miscreants than I am by the miscreants themselves. Maybe I am getting cranky in my old age, but when I see responses to this shit, I think less of the fools that just have to respond. As if the flamer gives a shit that you are pissed. In fact, they are tickled to death that you are pissed. I have pointed out several times now, that these smart asses just love watching you all dance. The GUEST above just confirmed it when s/he said it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Wise up, Mudcatters.

The other day the GUEST, made a pathetic attempt to draw me back in the other day. It made me laugh. They are so simple.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:26 PM

A few suggestions, for what it's worth;

* A link to submit "concerns" to Admins about a certain thread or posting which seem to meet the criterion for a "flame". When a predetermined number of gripes are registered, said offending posting could be replaced with "Removed by Membership Request" or to a locked limited-access "crypt". Downside: pain in our good Admin's glutes to keep up with, I would suspect, and you guys deserve better. No doubt a hue and cry of "censorship" of be raised.. one person's "censorship" is anothers' hygene and security, and as even the lowest level of Politician knows; ya can't keep 'em all happy!

* Limit access to Member's personal pages, addresses, photos etc.to cookie-holding accountable Members in good standing. A lot of havoc can arise from having that out beyond the perimeter, Mates!

* Probationary period for "Newbies"? Peer evaluation? Ja, I know... can-O-worms potential there, but I'm brainstorming.

* Also concur with the suggestion for selective "locked" or "by invitation only" threads, similar to PalTalk's "Rooms". Participants could PM those invited with password. Paltalk found it neccessary to keep the skunks out and keep things civil, and apparantly many if not most other public forums have had to resort to similar systems just to maintain a semblance of common decency. Is decency still "Common"? God, I hope so...


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:36 PM

What a time to lose your cookie! Honest! I'm not a flamer. I shall immediately go back and retrieve it. *G*

Ebbie


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Justa Picker
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:47 PM

Very likely no one here is going to publicly agree with me on this, but for this "time capsule" called Mudcat, I will go on record and state the oh so painfully obvious, at least to me.

Two words. Moderators and Censorship.

Joe and Pene have proven themselves practical, rational and persons we can trust, who are endowed with an abundance of common sense, and an unflinching dedication of their own time and resources to this forum.

People are NOT going to stop posting to the threads in question no matter how many times you ask, tell, or chastise them from doing it. Perhaps these are idealistic child-like qualities, but something should be done to protect "children" from themselves for the greater good and well being of this place.

Oh...what's this now?
Free speech threatened?
The right to express my opinion?...yatta yatta yatta
Sorry.
Anyone who verbally vandalizes this place with flagrant and obvious racist and/or anti-semitic dogma, or publicly attempts to belittle or shame another member, i.m.o. forfeits these so-called rights.

I am sick to death about perpetrators "rights" whether in a cyber community or criminals or vandals in real life. You cross the line, you relinquish those rights.
So fucking simple it's sickening.
As for the whiners who complain about the deletions and censorship - fuck them. Delete their posts too.

Any clear minded, rational and reasonable person knows which threads and posts I refer to. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
You're damn right I think it's time Big Brother did more than just watch this place. It's going to hell in a hand basket, and there's no Captain at the helm steering the ship. This place is no longer capable of policing itself and is a rudderless boat drifting in the water.

Aren't you glad I'm not Max? :-)


[Rant off.]


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:50 PM

Ok, we're all on the same page. Now let's see how long this lasts!

I've seen threads going awry and screamed at the computer screen "Why are you people buying into this shit!?!?" And then I do the same thing on another thread, because I think I have the perfect answer (even though, in times of clear thought, we all know the perfect answer is silence)
Let's try to cooperate this time around. Thanks, Joe


Rich


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Allan C.
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 11:10 PM

Every time one of those threads appears, the posts that follow remind me of a group of little kids. One says, "The next one who talks is a rotten egg!" "But YOU just talked, that means that YOU'RE a rotten egg!" says another. "Hah! Another voice says YOU are a rotten egg because YOU just talked too! Yet another says "You are ALL rotten eggs!!" And so it goes.

All but the very newest of us know that simply not posting is the thing to do and yet there are always some who continue to post and to bring these embarrasments to the Mudcat to the top of the pile where they are the first thing a visitor will see. Hell! It is just like trashing your front walkway while swearing to all that the house is just wonderful inside.

I don't know why folks can't understand that there are no clever words, there are no clever comebacks, there is NOTHING you can say that will get rid of the nastiness faster than ignoring the offending thread and thus damn it to oblivion as it drifts off the thread list.

I am sick of having to wade through the trash to get to the good stuff that I know is still here.

Hey, if "Killing the Thread" can finally drift off the main page, surely some of this crap can as well - IF WE LET IT!!!!!

Joe, Jeff, thank you for your many efforts toward making this a better place. I hope we can find ways to make your tasks easier.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 11:13 PM

I totally agree with you JP.

If the main flamers are members as has been said, they ought to get their privileges yanked. They are destroying this site.

kat


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 11:15 PM

A few people have raised the question, If Joe responds to flamers, why shouldn't I? I guess it's a legitimate question. My answer is that I do it very sparingly and I try to do it dispassionately - and I also do it as an addendum to a previous message, so my message does not bring the thread to the top of the menu again. There are times when a brief remark might be an effective way to respond to a flamer - but that's something for Pene and me to decide on. With all these Mudcatters jumping in to try to save the day, Pene and I feel like paramedics who have to fight off the onlookers before we can get to the scene of the accident. If people were silent in response to flames, there's very little "fixing" we'd have to do. It's the Mudcatters who respond who are most of the problem, not the flamers.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Áine
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 11:30 PM

I'm with Justa Picker, too. Seems to me that we have encountered the ignoble impasse of 'too many (silly) little indians, and not enough chiefs' -- that is to say, when the kiddies (of whatever age, but of the same immature emotional state) can (1) target, and (2) take over, a site like the Mudcat, it's time for someone to act like an adult and send the children to their rooms with no supper.

The toll of valued and respected 'Catters who have left this community as a result of trolls, flamers, etc., has become too high to tolerate any longer. Freedom has now become chaos . . . We don't need a 'Big Brother' or a 'benevolent dictator'; we need someone to enact some level-headedness around here.

When the Mudcat was smaller, the 'no rules is good rules' philosophy worked; however, now we're just exposing our weak flank to the cretinous lambastings of congenital sociopathic wannabes and pimply-faced 'net vandals'. Let's rein these ponies in before the barn burns down while we're not looking.

-- Áine


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 02:06 AM

As you know, Joe, I took the "no response to flamers, except in very rare, extreme cases" pledge in a PM to you. I'll just repeat that pledge here. An extreme case could be a slanderous statement aimed at a specific member, or some other nasty comment that might need a short, tempered response. I would emphasize rare, though, and will follow the general principle of no response.

I used to advocate turning the subject around in a flame thread, but don't anymore. It just prolongs the thread title and initial flame, keeping it high on the column.

-chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 02:26 AM

JOE - MAX

Take TIGHT control....return to the roots.

If it ain't MUSIC...it ain't M.C....and it certainly isn't DT....

I can sincerely say that the vast majority of my personal "Trolling" has come from a sincere attempt to "scare/humiliate/belittle/squelch" (a.k.a be a Gargoyle) those (cats, wiccans, and critters) who strayed from my view of Dick and Susan's original vision. (To hell with Max...he was a Johnny come lately.)

Your only other alternative, is to let ALL chaos break loose. It should be stated UP FRONT...that this is a "Moderated Discussion Board" the option to edit and delete threads and postings is maintained by the managment.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 05:46 AM

Maybe if there was some kind of mechanism by which it was possible for the rest of us to have the option of posting to a thread without refreshing it that might help. It would stop the process by which the threads that have gone wrong get repeatedly refreshed by people saying "stop posting to this thread" and so forth.

Whether that's possible I don't know.

I suppose this process of achieving the opposite of what you are doing is similar to the way in which you can get people demanding that there should only be music threades, and doing this by posting repeatedly to non-music threads. Or trying to defend the Mudcat in ways that damage it and drive good people away.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 07:58 AM

Refresh in light of a couple of new threads and older ones still being stirred.....

Please try to avoid them folks!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 08:11 AM

Dear Joe,

surely it's difficult to keep out flamers in such an open electronic medium; I often was annoyed finding mails in the threads which had nothing to do with the themes about music and singing. The best way, as so many have proposed, is: IGNORE!

The stronger form, and this is a contribution to the litotes-debate, is found in the German expression: Garnet ignorieren = never ignore, in which case the double negation means a stronger negation, composed of "never mind" and "ignore". This expression is well known in my county.

Don't give up, Joe, and continue your work I appreciate so much!

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 08:41 AM

Oops. I just posted a joke to the veggie/prat thread which, after thinking about it for a bit, I realize is probably a troll thread. Sorry. Won't do it again.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 08:51 AM

Yeah Carol....Good catch. I saw that one and that was when I refreshed this, but perhaps a bit late. "Whippet" has started an couple of at least "bigoted and controversial" threads, if not outright trolls. Glad you picked up on it, better late than never.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 08:58 AM

Here's a thought-- do a quick Usersearch on new members you see posting when you get that "uh-oh" feeling that it might not be quite a nice post. Out of five or six posts so far, only one of Whippet's is a positive, helpful contribution about music.

Re-usable copy from a Mudcat official is needed to send them in a PM, and a designated volunteer to do it-- a friendly word of advice, then if it persists a copy of a cease-and-desist notice, then a stern last-chance warning, then loss of membership.

Membership has its privileges, and also IS a privilege.

In e-mailed acknowledgments of membership, to activate passwords and memberships at other websites, there is sometimes a "Terms of Membership" included.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Cllr
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 09:48 AM

"Dont feed the Trolls" It says it all really, I have tried to make some wise cracks in some of the threads and I have found some of the thread drift entertaining but in future I will ignore trolls and flamers

Cllr


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 10:29 AM

Hmm.. now I didn't see that "Veggies" thread at all "flameish", since it is (if you are familiar with "Veggie Tales") a musical topic, and the contributor seems to want to confirm if she is the only one who finds their music "prattish" or if others concur. Now I'm not just what "Prattish" means exactly, but it does not strike me as being particulary obscene, inflamatory or degrading. Critical perhaps, but not (since the "Veggies" are fictional cartoon carachters) rising to the level of a "personal attack".

It seems that all of us are not using the same definitions or criterion for appplication of the terms "Flame", "Troll", and the like.

I have noticed on some web-based mail servers that acceptable vs. non-acceptable conduct and content is pretty specifically spelled out in the "terms of use" or "licensure" agreement which users are required to indicate acceptance of prior to using the service.

Although I haven't really seen it happening here much, one form of content that should never, IMHO, be tolerated, is any direct or implied personal threat against any person or organization. It came really close, if not putting some toes over the line, just recently here, and that is something that can get way out of hand really fast, with serious destructive potential.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 10:34 AM

Sounds very Richard Thompson.

"Dealing with flamers, and losers in love"

Skipjack


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM

I agree with WYSIWYG - terms of membership and keep it safe and sane. The editors do a fine job of keeping this forum open and removing the really nasty items.

The other side of this is that Folk music comes from flamers and trolls. People that raised the hackles on various items indigenous to people. And nearly always not popular!

I occasionally respond to flamers, probably have been a troll (though not conciously), and thoroughly enjoy the open piece of this forum.

Peace - Steve


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: SharonA
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:43 AM

I like the ideas proposed in WYSIWYG's 07-Sep-01 - 08:58 AM post and in Uncle Jaque's 07-Sep-01 - 10:29 AM post. I also like the idea of locking flame-threads so that they cannot be refreshed and brought to the top ot the Forum's thread list.

I'm with Big Mick: I'm going to just sit back and laugh at the pathetic attempts of flamers to make us post anything in reaction to their antics. We've been their entertainment, by the admission of at least some of them; it's about time they entertained us.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:16 PM

I agree that there can be a fine line between a troll and a good controversial topic.....Susan's point is well taken regarding the history of a particular poster. Sometimes it pays to check and you'll see that what sounds like troll is just a hot topic.....and vice versa!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:20 PM

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." -- Shakespeare, Hamlet, act ii, Scene 2

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." -- Schoolyard comeback

An excerpt from a speech by John F. Kennedy also seems apropos to Mudcat:

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolph Hitler

"Judge a post on the merit of the words it contains. -- Anonymous


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:31 PM

GUEST, I think you bring up a good point. In the veggies/prat thread, I could have assumed that because the person who started it is a member, s/he is therefore not trolling.

Conversely, there are plenty of posts from GUESTS that are helpful and constructive. So I think you're right that the content of the post is important, whether it comes from a member, or a GUEST.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:42 PM

I'm not really sure what you all mean by troll. If people get entertainment from discussing one another's personality flaws. That is their business. I realize that I am not forced to participate. However, I don't like to see abusive, condesending language like the following (see appendix 1). This individual was obviously baiting Joe. Joe answered in a patient clinical amnner. But the indidual's point was made by the fact that Joe answered at all. Since by my estimation, more than 1/2 of the abusive language on this forum comes from Anon. Guests like this one I'd like to see them forced to register so that they can be dealt with as individuals. Max et. al. have stated that they believe this would be too much of a burdenon legitimate Anon. posters. I think, that in excange for the service rendered by mudcat it be a small price to pay.

Appendix 1

Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers From: GUEST Date: 06-Sep-01 - 07:59 PM

Ah, it is so gratifying to see the absolute worst, most duplicitous Mudcat flamers posting here saying they'll never do it again. And you'll ignore the flamers when pigs fly.

I do get a chuckle out of the lot of you. It really is like shooting fish in a barrel around here.

Hey Joe, since you can't even follow your own good advice, what the hell makes you think you're going to get people to stop behaving badly?

Maybe they will when you will.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe you're right, my friend, but maybe not. There are times when I have to take action, and I usually find it's best to give some explanation. I try to do that without attempting to argue with flamers and trolls, but sometimes I give in to temptation. Still, I think that the flamers and trolls are only part of the problem - the bigger problem is caused by those who respond to them. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 12:46 PM

A correction to UJ's second post: While Paltalk does provide locked and private rooms, most of the music rooms (I don't go elsewhere) are open and retain a freindly atmosphere. In fact some previously locked rooms went open with no problems when Paltalk started to charge for the "private functions" without problems. Paltalk do of course provide a bounce facility to get rid of trouble makers and, overall, they soon learn.

Paltalk does however present a different problem to Mudcat as it involves live chat in real time. If the majority of room owners and admins manage to operate happily in an open environment and deal with the occasional real time interuption on a microphone, one would have thought it would be a rather more simple matter for people to skip over a post or a thread here.

Justa Picker said:

People are NOT going to stop posting to the threads in question no matter how many times you ask, tell, or chastise them from doing it.

They seem to manage to do just that in other unmoderated music newsgroups I read. The level of trolling in this place is at high at a moment and I can't help but think a big part of the reason is that people are so easy to bait round here - this place must be a trolls paradise.

Many newsgroups have no one to turn to (except maybe complain to an ISP when there is repeated spam) and people seem to have learned the art of ignoring threads. Perhaps some people thinking "Max should do this", others thinking "Joe should do that", etc. is part of the problem - perhaps in the absence of a "father figure", people have succesfully learned to grow up more quickly.

There is of course the question of members posting as guests for reasons other than simple trolling here but I still see ignoring as the best policy. If it came to the push, the only sure way I can see of tightening up round here would involve a member only posting system which at least would allow the removal of a troublesome members but I feel we would lose out on a lot of good material if such a policy was adopted.

It would IMO be a tragedy to see that openness lost for what is probably mostly caused by and certainly not helped by inability of members to ignore posts they don't like.

Can't people at least try the ignoring policy which works elsewhere and is documented in many places on the internet as being the solution for a while before screaming for control measures?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 01:00 PM

On the subject of flaming per se.... Lets look at the number of insults in one short post by a regular mudcatter. Even discounting the foul language don't you think this is flaming. The pity is, I agree with many of his points but that insulting, condescending attitude is quite grating. If I leave MudCat, it will be because of behavior like this.

Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers From: Big Mick Date: 06-Sep-01 - 10:11 PM Shop: O Death I am more
disgusted by
those that respond to these
miscreants
than I am by the
miscreants
themselves. Maybe I am getting cranky in my old age, but when I see responses to
this shit
, I think less of the
fools
that just have to respond. As if the flamer gives a shit that you are pissed. In fact, they are tickled to death that you are pissed. I have pointed out several times now, that these
smart asses
just love watching you all dance. The GUEST above just confirmed it when s/he said it was like shooting fish in a barrel.
Wise up, Mudcatters.

The other day the GUEST, made a pathetic attempt to draw me back in the other day.
It made me laugh
. They are
so simple
.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 01:02 PM

We note that on this thread already, we have the dictum that anyone who dares dissent from this Guest's particular opinion, position, vision or "view" instantly becomes fair game for attack, intimidation, embarrassment, and who-knows-what else, no holds barred. Now does this meet the criterion for "flame", and qualify the "contributor" for the "pretend-he's-not-there" treatment?

Just wondering.

By the way, Amigos; we (regular Mudcatters) are not the only ones who browse this forum, many anonymously, and form lasting impressions of it - and us - on the basis of what they read. Are they going to "ignore" our detractors/flamers as well? When we step in the dog doo-doo, do we just ignore it, hoping others will as well, until it wears off and goes away, or do we hobble over to the hose and try to clean our sneakers?

Far be it from me to whine over "controversial" or passionate, sometimes contentious topics; those of you who are familiar with this old Yankee "Uncle" know that there are certain donnybrooks which I just can't seem to resist pitching into, despite the probability of getting lugged back out on a stretcher before the last table tips over. That's not, it seems, what most of us are concerned with here (although many I know wish we'd take it out back by the dumpster), and I thinks most of us knows about where the line is.

What I see a need for is community dialouge (like what is happening here) leading to a modicum of consensus, followed by appropriate, reasonable, consistant standards.

The future of this valued community may well rely on it.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Paul Mitchell@work
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 01:10 PM

I don't contribute a lot to Mudcat, but it is the only place on the internet I do add stuff. I'm just brain storming here too, perhaps a thread that is a flame war, troll pit or the like could have it's title presented in a different colour? Like red or something. That might stop poor saps like me feeling obliged to read something 'cause of our right on views.. then fighting ourselves to stop responding..

Just a thought.

Thanks muchly to ALL who keep the cat going.

Paul.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 01:24 PM

Problem is, U.J, that we don't know how many different GUESTS we are dealing with here. Could be one, could be several. So I guess we just have to respond, or not respond, to each GUEST post according to what is contained within that particular post.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: SharonA
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 01:57 PM

Jack the Sailor (re Big Mick's post): The Jargon Dictionary's definition of "flame" (linked from the Mudcat FAQ) is as follows. 1. vi. To post [a] message intended to insult and provoke. 2. vi. To speak incessantly and/or rabidly on some relatively uninteresting subject or with a patently ridiculous attitude. 3. vt. Either of senses 1 or 2, directed with hostility at a particular person or people. 4. n. An instance of flaming.

Definition 1: The only insults I see in Big Mick's post are directed toward the flamers (who will ignore them anyway, no doubt). His reference to those of us who have responded to flamers as "fools" is, alas, all too true and is descriptive rather than insulting.

Definition 2: The subject of his post is obviously relevant. I think his attitude, rather than "patently ridiculous", is as he put it "cranky", and angry and disgusted.

Definition 3: I did not think he displayed hostility toward Mudcat members, just anger and disgust as I've said.

Definition 4: Is Big Mick's post an instance of flaming? I don't think so.

Some final thoughts for this post: To refer to the content of a flame-post within one's own post, or to quote the flamer's words directly, is in my opinion a form of responding to that flamer. It demonstrates not only that he has captured your attention but that you are considering what he has to say. Please, everyone, follow Joe's advice and don't respond to flamers IN ANY WAY on the Forum.

If you're not sure that a post is a flame, send a PM to Joe or Pene and ask. Wait for an answer before you respond to the post. If the post is a flame that Joe, Pene and Max feel should be deleted, then it won't be there to respond to! (...and you will have done us all a favor by pointing it out to them!)

Sharon (who's learned the hard way)


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 02:00 PM

Unc, as far as people who don't respond appearing to support or condone someone else's words, guilt is one of the things a troll can rely upon here to guarantee people bite.

It doesn't happen often in the groups Jon mentioned, and if it does it usually gets only a small handful of replies before everyone realises the poster is a plonker, then the plonker comes on over to Mudcat. At least If someone asked why no one was stand up and be counted in the fight against an offensive post, I think the reply might be "because it's a troll/flame-bait/windup" or "if you'd like to, feel free."

Having said that, flame wars do frequently happen in newsgroups, but they typically involve an actual subject and not how/why/why not people post. Folks either join in or stay out of the discussions.

Before someone thinks I want to see Mudcat be the same as any newsgroup - I don't. I used to think we had far less anger around this place, and far more respect for others. It doesn't seem like it these days. There is at least as much anger in Mudcat as in newsgroups, and a lot less attempted self control. The flaming is far worse in here, and it hurts a lot more to see someone I think of as a friend doing it than someone I don't know. It hurts a lot worse to hear my friends here calling someone an asshole, no matter who is on the receiving end.

Jack the Sailor, I agree 100% with Mick. The attitude I imagine is that he was pissed off. I don't see any insults, but then, we're different people with different imaginations.

I apologise for the "same shit/different day" nature of this post. I'm not sure anyone read this opinion the first time I posted it, nor the tenth. I'm also not sure how many of the people I think of as friends understand or ever care about what I have to say.

I don't want daddy to make the bad people go away. I don't want to hear "post here" or "don't post there." I'd love it if we could just ignore the things we don't like and lavish our time and attention on the things we do. I'd love it if we learned the simple thing almost all children learn, and quit playing with the bad influences and bullies.

A final thought, from Babylon 5 (and quoted there from someone who's name I can't remember): the first rule of fanaticism is, when you're obsessed with something, you eventually become that thing. Many of us seem obsessed with flamers.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Shenandoah
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 02:34 PM

To me, the problem isn't with the few troll/flamer anonymous guests. As Jon Freeman pointed out, a number of Usenet folk music (and other) newsgroups, have learned to largely ignore those messages. As some of us have pointed out before, other forums which are unmoderated, open discussion groups are self-policing in this regard, and usually do just fine.

But that means regulars come down on one another (the only ones you can hope to have any influence over on-line) for showing poor judgment or lack of restraint re: responding to trolls/escalating vitriol/flaming those they disagree with. What is happening here is the members regularly flame anonymous guests for entertainment. Which gets the ball rolling every time. As long as you have members flaming guests with impunity, it ain't gonna get better folks. Because flaming is flaming, no matter who is doing it. And a lot of regulars admit to doing this and enjoying doing this in this thread.

It seems to me, the real issue is a whole lot of Mudcat regulars (both guest and member users)have problems with self-control, AND problems accepting they have no control over what others say about them.

And please, can someone explain to me why so many people posting in an unmoderated discussion forum on the Internet believe that some big daddy should come to their rescue when they are personally attacked/flamed, and make that mean man go away and leave them alone?

Bizarre stalking claims are increasingly being made by some obviously very paranoid individuals whenever someone makes a rude or insulting remark about them, or some one of their Mudcat buddies.

Pardon my blasphemy but, deleting that Morticia thread--what the hell was that all about anyway?

I read it, wasn't offended--there were no really abusive obscentities, nada. Totally a non-issue. Yet, the minute it appeared, we had the usual suspects and their Joe Clones tripping over each other, screaming "sexist stalking"--same things as virtually yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. The stampede to censorship took on a life of it's own.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I see this sort of "defending members against personal attacks" forms of censorship to be incredibly insidious, and increasing at a frightening rate, while the worst sort of offensive, hateful stuff is tolerated, condoned, and rewarded by the Mudcat community and the site maintainers. Its a damn slippery slope. And as the recent racist trolling shows, if you don't stand for something, you'll end up standing for anything. Mudcat is a really poisonous environment this week. Really poisonous.

I'm afraid I don't hold out much hope for Mudcat at this point. Too many regulars lack the necessary self-control, self-awareness, and personal maturity it takes to maintain a good on-line forum.

Which does make it something of a magnet for Usenet kooks masquerading as members and guests. How else can you explain the way so many problem members get away with behaving badly with impunity from both the community and the site maintainers? If you are a member, well, one of the privleges apparently is to be able to engage in troll/flamewar behavior and suffer no repercussions for it because Mudcat membership has it's privleges, after all...


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 03:25 PM

Disclaimer: Big Mick is simply being used as an example because of his post on this thread. Nothing personal is intended and my points are being made about certain behaviors. not about any individuals.

Insults are still insults even when they are not aimed at us. But if insult is not the proper word here how about "derogatory language"? If we insult, we are giving tacit approval to others to do the same. A LOT of the problem is registered users insulting unregistered GUESTs. I assume that they have feelings to hurt even though they are hiding. They are probably more sensitive than most. Hence the hiding.

So are you saying it is good manners in MudCat to call others, "miscreants", "fools", "asses", to call their opinions "This shit" to say that people are so bad that they "disgust" him? I don't think so. Such talk is inflammatory. Are you saying it is OK for Big Mick to do it because as a "MudCatter in good Standing" he has earned his curmudgeon licence? I think not. If you tolerate it for one then that is the standard of behavior that you set.

I agree with what Mick has said. In that I do not believe in encouraging childish behavior. But calling people names isn't the best example to set. It is just rising to the same bait. GUEST's have spoken about double standards here. Am I to understand that rude behavior is OK on MudCat as long as it is someone you know. Or is it just OK to be rude to GUESTs?

I am not so sure that solution is so much whether we respond to Trolls but how. God bless you Joe, I don't envy you your job at all. But I promise that when the trolling is obvious, I'll ignore it. And I don't plan to egg people on with insults.

SharonA, thanks for the definition. I don't know about flamers. I know that if someone is rude to me and I am rude in return, Whether I am justified or not, trouble will ensue!

Jeri: I agree with Mick 100% as well. And on the whole he seems like an amusing and interesting man. But his behavior, when he starts name calling, tends to aggravate the problem rather than alleviate it. I can't imagine calling someone a "smart ass" or a "fool" with out insulting them. Can you?


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 03:48 PM

I agree Jack the Sailor, and I'm a guest who has been on the receiving end of the abuse, simply because I choose to post anonymously, and sometimes contribute in controversial threads.

The double standard (one for member/regulars another for guests) is a problem which, as Shenandoah points out, is resulting in problem members's abuse and vitriol being tolerated and often rewarded (especially when so many mindlessly follow the lead).

Abusive language towards anonymous guests in particular is sanctioned not just by the Mudcat membership, but by Joe Clones and Joe Offer too. So what do we do? How can those of us who would really like to see the abuse stop, do any self-policing when it is officially and unofficially sanctioned behavior for members?


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: MMario
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 04:18 PM

Part of the problem is the volume - many forums if you display 100 messages you are back several MONTHS. At the mudcat - that could easily be a few hours.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Big Mick
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 04:32 PM

First off, I am not at crossed swords with Jack the Sailor.

If you want to know where I was coming from, SharonA and Jeri hit it on the head. The posting came from two places. The first was that I was pissed off to see people for whom I have respect fall into the trap laid by these miscreants. Name calling??? Nope. "Miscreant" is defined in the Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary as " n. An unscrupulous wretch, evildoer. --adj. Villainous; vile." I think my description is spot on. These folks are even worse than earlier incarnations of flamers, such as Gargoyle. At least Greg/Gargoyle and others had as their intent to improve the Mudcat. While I disagreed then and now with trying to make this place over, I respect that their intent was to improve or save Mudcat. But these people, with racist and inflammatory postings, could care less about this place. Their motive is selfish and sick. They do it because they can. They do it for perverse pleasure. Or they do it because they have issues with any structure. Whatever the reason, they could care less if this place survives in any form. As long as they can get their "kicks" by getting a response they go about their twisted way. This truly does "disgust" me and I don't apologize for that. And most Mudcatters know this, and yet post anyway. That "disgusts" me as well, and I don't apologize for that either. One of Funk & Wagnall's definitions for "fool" is "a person lacking understanding, judgement, or common sense". An "ass" is defined as "a stupid person, fool". Both appropriate here.

I remember when the debate was whether or not there should be any discussion that wasn't strictly about music. My opinion then and now, is that this isn't strictly a music site. It is about music, AND the issues that spawn it, AND the people who make it. It is a community of performers, fans, devotees, just plain folks with music as the glue. I didn't mind the debate over that. But to waste space debating about miscreants whose purpose has nothing to do with the direction of The Mudcat, and everything to do with selfserving posts designed to help them get their jollies is IMHO disgusting. And I don't care who knows it.

And Jack..............as far as me being "amusing and interesting".........I think you are cute, too......................LOL.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST, Dan
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 06:06 PM

Even though I am a Guest, I will contribute two cents instead of working. I will do this because you have an excellent site here and I hate to see the HARD work of the site maintainers be so frustrating with these growing pains.

I am an "insider" in a different internet community, and we do much the same as the insiders here do. (The lamest crap is praised, only because of its origin; outside provocateurs stir up our primitive tribalistic instincts.) Because the layout for the interactions is entirely different, though, there is a different dynamic. A guest who gets "the treatment" (not guaranteed, but often enough; more than here) has two obvious choices: sink or swim (flight or fight.) Vandals flame out in short order. Then it's done. Gang mentality for internet nerds? Pathetically, yes, I think that's what it is.

Without being too long-winded (I couldn't state it as well as Shenandoah), my bottom line advice to Joe Offer is: step back and objectively apply chaos theory to the management. You cannot control people's behavior. There will be vandal flamers, and there will be knee jerk responses, just as there will be all those other interesting social phenomona. There will be people who stir up the pot with admirable intentions. This thread provides vivid proof that people are offended by different things and could never agree on applying the definition of a flame to any one item.

I don't know the technology, but if I were you, and could do it: I would change it so that the top threads don't consist of the most recent posts, but with the threads that have had the most posts in the past x hours. I think that would go a long way in solving your problems here.

Dan


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Morticia
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 06:46 PM

Shenandoah, may I state for the record that I was not the person that asked to have that thread pulled, but I was relieved.
You didn't see anything offensive in it, well, okay but how about if that was your sister, mother, daughter that was being discussed in those terms?Would you find it offensive then?
Having a swipe at me for opinions held or views aired is legitimate in my book, this is a public forum, I expect as much... but making salacious comments based purely on my or anyone else's physical appearance isn't appropriate or flattering,just creepy.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Justa Picker
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 07:03 PM

Anyone ever had the misfortune of driving in a downtown core of a major city, when there was a massive power failure due to a power grid overloading, and all the traffic lights were out?

If not...well take a moment and imagine what it would be like to live in a metropolitan community with no stop signs, no stop lights, no sidewalks, no police, no jails or holding cells, no enforced rules and no consequences for any actions.

Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 07:37 PM

I know of one chat room where you can read all day, but you can't post without choosing a name...then when you DO, there is a box beside the name which allows other posters to check it and no longer see posts from that name. ....of course, Mudcat is really a 'forum', not a running chat room like the other place...(in a chat room, you see all posts on any subject in order, much like the 'messages since last visit' feature here), so that technology might be trickier here...but wow, what a wish!...Imagine trolls & flamers busily typing away and no one even seeing them!


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Oversoul
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 10:27 PM

I used to "flame" here quite a bit. I know now that I was transposing my hatred for the local "folkies" in my community, to this site. I never used a "guest" identity, however. I don't care if my posts are ignored either. Taking good advice, I stay out of threads which will piss me off.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:11 PM

Flippin "A" Susan....M.H.I.P....give me a break!!!!

The only reason TROLLS ..... MUST be allowed "membership" is so the "battles and flames" take place in PRIVATE...and NOT...within a public discussion board....

As it is.....I can ONLY contact the "giggling-kitty" through the forum...and its the only way she can contact ME...."denial of service" demands that TROLLS make public postings.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:23 PM


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Sep 01 - 11:57 PM

While a member here at the Mudcat, I've been in an unusual situation of recieving training in psychotherapy and counseling at the same time. So, along with being a participant, I've also been an observer. I've been watching the behavioral dynamics at play here, and I see a lot of areas where (in my opinion) commonly accepted dynamics of relationship and family counseling apply and could be used with success.

One of the important goals of relationship and family counseling is to promote harmony between members of the family, couple, or group.

In order to do this, one of the things that needs to be looked at is what behaviors being engaged in are contributing to disharmony. I look at flaming as being a form of behavior that contributes to disharmony.

I can see that there isn't much consensus on what constitutes 'flaming'. To me, flaming is any behavior that generates, contributes to, increases, or escalates tension, bad feelings, or anger, and that stimulates responses that are not harmonious in nature. By harmonious, I don't mean that people should agree all the time, but that it is possible to disagree without escalating tension and disharmony.

I think it is possible to communicate with others here, and to state opinions here in a way that is not inflamatory (in a way that doesn't increase tension and disharmony).

Some very important guidelines for increasing harmony and decreasing disharmony that are commonly found in relationship and group counseling contexts are:

Use "I" messages, rather than "You" messages...

"I appreciate it when people show consideration for others in the forum."

--rather than--

"You're rude and obnoxious."

The use of adjectives can often have the effect of escalating bad feelings...

"Trolls are people who use the internet to satisfy emotional needs at the expense of others who use the internet."

--as opposed to--

"Trolls are assholes."

Making value judgements rather than looking at behaviors from the perspective of what works and what doesn't seems to have the effect of escalating tension and bad feelings...

"Trolling and flaming behavior creates problems for the people who are responsible for this forum. We can contribute to the smooth functioning of this forum if we avoid engaging in it."

--rather than--

"Trolls and flamers are bad people."

These points are generic in nature, and are not directed at any particular indivuals or their behavior. They are accepted practices used in many contexts in which the goal is the promotion of harmony, and creating a more effective social dynamic within and between individuals and groups of people.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:28 AM

OK...Mr. JOE.....

You have got it...By Jove...You've really got it!!!

Spinning through the past week...some...WRETCHEDLY HORID POSTS post appeared....each more reprehensible than the next.

Cut it!

BKill It !!!

Let its "life" be short!!!

The ONLY one that knows it "DIED" is the poster

You are learning....there are some pieces of "sh----t" that ONLY deserve to be "flushed down the toilet" FOREVER!!!!......don't live them "live" on the site for even a "Google-Go-Bot" to "cache" them.

The world has changed sooner than even I expected!

Awaken Brave New World!


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: gnu
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 05:27 AM

CarolC... can I send you my posts for editing prior to posting ? Those examples show true tact and wisdom which I could never achieve. I sometimes lapse into my more coarse side and exhibit foul behaviour and language, regretting it a milisecond after hitting submit. Then again, I yam what I yam and I make no apologies for that. Just don't take me seriously, unless I'm serious, of course.

Flamers ? Some of them are fun, like the Eminem thread. Some of them could be flushed, but I wouldn't want to have the responsibilty of deciding... I didn't think Eminem was a flame, just someone who wandered into the wrong pub and ordered the wrong drink.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 05:42 AM

hahahaha...

Sure gnu. Send 'em on over. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:13 AM

Many message boards require "registration" before you can post; that is, you must choose a screenname and add a bit of information (usually your email address, full name, and city of origin at minimum). Having that sort of requirement here would at least remove the guessing game of which and how many "GUESTS" are causing trouble...and force Mudcatter regulars to be more forthcoming and upfront with their opinions instead of using the GUEST handle to hide behind. This would not help those who post as "GUEST" to get help with a sensitive issue like infidelity or incontinence, but such posts probably do not belong on this forum, anyway.

Oh, and while i don;t know as i would want to sit down and discuss politics with him, I think Jack the sailor has made some excellent points re: what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 11:26 AM

Peg, membership only options have been mentioned here and elsewhere. The question that remains unanswered is what the loss would be in terms of useful music related guest posts (and there are many) if such a system was adopted here.

My feeling remains that the losses would far outweigh the annoyances we get with an open system and that most, if not all of these annoyances can be dealt with (and are elsewhere) simply by ignoring posts and threads we don't like.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:08 PM

I must say I admire the altruistic frankness from gargoyle, considering that at one time he was the entire embodiment of the "Flames on the Cat" problem.

For my part, I aspire to learning better ways of handling these things and agree wholly with the general principle of not encouraging assholes. But I do need to add that as a human being I wish to completely reserve my right to say what I thinkl when and where I wish so to do, and that I will of course exercise my very best communication skills in so doing.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. I am more than willing to accept Jeff and Joe and Max as vigilantes, and if they get out of hand, well, we can flame THEM!! Better than deciding to constrain and filter all our communications through the problematic mesh of political and psychological correctitude. I do not want standards of correct communication enforced on me not because I wish to flame, but because I wish to reserve the right to do so when in my own judgement I have something to say in that mode. But I will always sign what I write and make it real clear where it is coming from.

Joe Offer and Jeff and Max are excellent people and marshals-elect and I will support their decisions because I have grown to trust them. I think it unwise, however, to agree to any permanent constraints on the right to communicate.

Of course, some kinds of shit are not really communication, as garg so adroitly points out!

A


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:33 PM

if they get out of hand, well, we can flame THEM!

Amos, I hope you were kidding. While you were out of town, that is exactly what happened, but not via open, name-attached posts. Anonymous mess.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:41 PM

A problem for me is sometimes I like a good argument. It's when it becomes pointless (often circular), illogical or abusive (and it's just my definition of these things) that I bugger off. Sometimes I bugger off because other people get upset at the fact the argument is taking place at all, but I don't know that I should. I'm sitting here very calmly typing, and others seem to envision me in their mind's eye red-faced, raving and foaming at the mouth. I can't remember the last time I got like that, but I think it involved my mother trying to spoon feed me creamed asparagus.

As far as wanting people to tone down their anger into something bland and PC, sorry, but I'd rather have some clue as to if they actually are foaming at the mouth! The only thing we have to communicate with here is words.

I also don't trust people who feel like they have to hide their anger with me or mince words. I don't like the disruption that a display of passion will cause, but it's not the same thing as wanting the passion to go away. We wouldn't get so angry if we didn't care, and we care intensly about a lot of things both good and bad. We express that passion. Maybe that's one big reason why we sing.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: DMcG
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:53 PM

One more suggestion on dealing with flamers. The 'racist and Gay Morris' thread has altered into a more interesting discussion. This gave me a minor dilemma on whether to continue the new discussion while not wanting to encourage the flame.

It would be useful to preserve this part of the thread, even if the rest were to be wiped. Is that possible? Renaming the thread without altering the contents might also be useful in this case, even though a new reader might find the starting entries a bit surprising!


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 12:59 PM

I don't know whether or not anyone is construing my input in my post about non-inflamatory communication as being PC. But in case anyone is, the things I mentioned are hardly that.

They are just some considerations that have been found to be effective in helping communication take place somewhat more harmoniously than what might otherwise be the case. I offer them as only that... things to consider. Or not.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 01:10 PM

IMO, FWIW, YMMV, usual disclaimers....

Another set of guidelines proven over time is this-- simplified-- if you have an issue with a brother, you go to the brother privately and try to resolve the problem. If the brother will not help resolve the issue, you go again, privately, with someone wiser along to help resolve it. If the brother will still not resolve it, you take it to the wider group.

These work well with what CarolC has described. They work especially well over time with a group that has an intention of BEING a group. (Not all Mudcatters would agree that there is a group, I am sure.)

The Mudcat application would be, PM first, and if that does not work, e-mail with someone else now in on the dialog, and if that does not work, then maybe take it to the group and say your piece in a thread.

It's partly due to Max's fast design that we fall into these problems-- our threads are SO EASY to use, we often go to them FIRST when we get riled up. (I just did, above, with my post to Amos. It IS hard to remember.)

Does it follow logically that if someone is NOT a member, we go to the public route? No... we can offer e-mail. I have, and have had good discussions. (*G* You know who you are!)

But it means that if one cannot PM or e-mail, it is possible that one will NOT be able to resolve the issue, and that the public attempt to do it will cause unanticipated upsets that then need resolution... cascading upsets like open Windows screens gone cattywampus on auto-open! It is possible that the best course is to not attempt to do so if the public means is the only means available. If you try it in a thread and it only creates more upset-- then that's a signal that the open forum may not be the best place to have what might actually have worked in a private conversation.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 01:21 PM

Jeri said:

I'm sitting here very calmly typing, and others seem to envision me in their mind's eye red-faced, raving and foaming at the mouth. I can't remember the last time I got like that, but I think it involved my mother trying to spoon feed me creamed asparagus.

Yep........And that's one of the things that I think about too. Fact is I am doing the same as Jeri and I LIKE capping on someone, playing the dozens, sarcastic humor........It may not be in good taste, but frankly, I just like it.....I grew up with it. I get messages saying, "I hope you're not too upset".......I'm hardly ever upset, I just enjoy the "style."

AND THAT is what makes it so hard not to respond. Fact is though, not responding is the only thing proven to work. The other fact is that I seriously doubt that this joint can pull it off. On THIS THREAD it proves the troll/flame point that getting a rise around here is like shooting fish in a barrel. Maybe it's time we go JP's route. Maybe it's not..........I don't care one way or the other, but the whole thing is getting boring as hell.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Sourdough
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:21 PM

Boring is the word.

As our anonymous saddle burr tells us, it is too easy to get us riled up. After all, rightous indignation does feel so good.

I no longer look at the threads that seem to be provocative, that way I avoid getting dragged into them. If I see a thread started by an anonymous poster, I read a couple of posts (if they are interesting). If it looks as though we are descending into Troll Hell, I get off the elevator. If someone I know (a non-anonymous poster whom I have come to know through his or her posts, tells me that a Troll Thread has tuned into something interesting, then I'll check it out.

Sourdough


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 02:57 PM

LMAO!!!!!!!!!

If it looks as though we are descending into Troll Hell, I get off the elevator.

You really come off with some great lines 'Dough!!!

"Troll Hell"......LOL

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 03:12 PM

Jon Freeman;

yes I had thought of that. It seems to depend on everyone's assessment of the situation: i.e. whether the loss of posts is more significant than the irritation of anonymous flamers. I can see why you would regret the loss of musical content, as I would...except registration really IS an accepted part of internet usage now and maybe that is the sacrifice (of privacy and convenience) we all must acknowledge.

Of course I also agree the best solution is for everyone to just, oh, behave! Sadly we all have different definitions of that, too!


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: gnu
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 05:26 PM

Amos said ... Joe Offer and Jeff and Max are excellent people and marshals-elect and I will support their decisions because I have grown to trust them.

As I understand it, the decision has been not to interfere, for the most part (obviously, sometimes interference is not only warranted but, actually required by mannerly, rational people), and that is the worst reason to trust any interference. Of course, their interference is entirely up to them. However, if they did compromise the status quo, Mudcat, as we know it, would die a sudden death, if only philosophically.

Alternatively, I suggest that we "trust" Max et al, including the "regulars", because we adhere to the ideals that Max et al set forth... watch your own mouth.

I was just in a pub where someone didn't comply to good manners. It's a nice, small pub with a lot of regulars. This "gentleman" suddenly found himself seated beside a half dozen regulars who, more or less, ignored him and made him feel uncomfortable (read "scared shitless"). He left. Same as the 'Cat... majority rules. But, for the bouncer to start throwing people out ??? You don't really want that, do you ?

I know I don't. I'm a Bodhran player and I need a drink. Fireball Whiskey shooter, please... I feel a dirge coming on... is it OK with YOU if I sing a dirge ? OOOOhhhh, ye mourners allllll, as you pass byyyy...


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: John P
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 07:05 PM

Imagine the Mudcat as a local folk club in the real world. If a person who is a member, and whom we all know, starts acting like a jerk, we would tell them to stop being a jerk, but would put up with them. They are a friend or an acquaintance and we all know that normally nice people can lose control sometimes. It usually means that they are under some kind of stress and we make offers of help or support. A member who is a jerk all the time would get ignored, and, if it gets bad enough, asked to leave. But a complete stranger who shows up at the folk club, starts insulting people and refuses to give their name would be shown the door in short order. A stranger who shows up, says "hi", introduces themselves, joins the conversation, and sings a song would be welcomed and encouraged to join the club.

What I'm trying to say is that I don't mind occasional flames from regulars at Mudcat, if those people are normally not flaming. I hate the anonymous guests that only come by to stir up trouble, like the one with the racist thread and the one who castigated Joe for not deleting the racist thread. If we met these people in real life we would ignore them and maybe even cross the street to avoid them. They deserve the same respect as an obscene phone caller. I would have no problem with Joe deleting their threads immediately. I would have a problem with threads from members being deleted, even if they are flames or trolls. A member who does nothing but flame or troll could eventually be shown the door, after due consideration.

I know no one wants to hear more about stalking, but as a person who was stalked on the newsgroups for a number of years, I have acquired a strong distaste for anonymous people with strong opinions voiced in harsh language. Delete them, please.

John Peekstok


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 07:16 PM

Peg, behaviour, sure we all have our different standards and some like me can't always behave as we believe we should. I'm baised of course but even though perhaps they shouldn't happen, the odd angry post is going to slip out and I don't see any long term harm in that.

Where I see things going wrong here is rather that people letting one another battle it out or perhaps a rational general call for calm, round here we tend to get the "how dare you say that to him", "well he said that...", they often involve side taking etc. and we create our own flame wars.

The other problem which IMO is the biggest round here is the troll who's sole aim is to start some form of flame war and that is where many of us bite too easily. I can't help feeling many of us could do better at recognising that type of post and ignoring it.

Of course, our judgements vary and what one person sees as a troll, another may see as a good topic and rational discussion may happen. It really is something we all have to play by ear but I think the golden rule when considering whether someone is trolling or not is "if in doubt, stay out" - protesting will do no good.

Coming back to your other point, registration is common in internet forums, that is true but the fact remains that many places do operate successfully without any registration procedures. There are other factors in this though that may not have been considered. Here are a few:

Some groups or organisations already have an existing Membership and want to keep within their established ways. An example of that is the Annexe I started. It is a facility I made for the use of members of the Mudcat forum - I couldn't hope to keep it that way if there wasn't a registration.

People starting forums may be unused to the Internet community and be too scared to try open formats as they have heard about all the nasty people (not saying they don't exist) and are too scared to try more open formats.

Some people who start forums are little more than control freaks who don't want to see opinions that differ from theirs or views expressed in ways that they don't approve of. It might lead to a nice friendly forum but it also leads to nothing but a bunch of sycophants posting. On that one, all I can say is thank God (or whatever) we have Max here.

Not everone has the ability or desire to design thier own forum and there are other aspects such as cost and what can be run where to consider. In these cases, I would presume the organisers are generally making the best of what they can find/afford. e.g The best (IMO) free ASP based forum I could find for my purposes hapened to have a member only feature but being able to code, I would have re-worked it if it hadn't - not everyone can do that.

I believe the most difficult situation for a site admin to deal with is the Mudcat type of situation where a minimuim level of censorhip is applied, e.g. where individuals are threatend but the forum is kept open, largely asking people to police themselves. Unwillingness to take this on is likely to be a big reason for forums to go other ways in spite of loss of posters and content.

There are of course inconsistencies here (and I don't agree with every descision made here) but overall, I believe Joe, Jeff and Max do a great job in trying to play this minimal role.

Much of these rounds of troubles and long debates have, I believe to do with the responses and attitudes of regulars (not to say there may not be reason for annoyance in some instances). I would suggest that Mudcat can be special and a place that really does open its arms to others (whether they join or not) if we make that special effort and try to follow Joe's suggestion.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Peg
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 09:47 PM

good comments, Jon.

Especially your illuminating of the fact that Joe, Max and Jeff expect us to act like adults...who don't need Mommy and Daddy to tell them how to behave, or the police to arrest them when they do so...


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST,Katspawlaughing666
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 10:34 PM

Ah, I claim the honor of message #100 in this thread.

You "members" can all vow to in this thread to ignore the flamers. For a week or so, you may even do that (although I'm sure total idiots like Clinton Hammond and Lepus Rex won't last that long). But sure as Spaw scratches his balls every morning while Susan prays for his soul, pretty soon you'll all be back to business as usual insulting the "guests" and getting into flame wars.

And sure as Big Mick will still be working on learning that D chord, Joe Offer will be tearing the last of his hair out because you Muddies can't control yourselves.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Jeri
Date: 08 Sep 01 - 10:44 PM

Jon and Peg, yeah. The forum isn't going to be moderated - Max has said a few times. I think the only moderation that can be done is each of us moderating ourselves. Either we'll learn to do that (a new trick), or we'll just continue the same repetitive, pointless arguments.

(Is "continue the same repetitive" overly redundant?)


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 12:42 AM

In my little fantasy world, there are THREE clickies in every post by a member. One of course does a Usersearch. Another takes you to whatever info they have decided to make public as a profile (not necessarily everything they registered with.)

The third one takes you straight to composing a PM from you to them, with the URL of the post that caused you to click to their personal page, optional as a subject line. If there was a technical alternative that made PM's as fast as thread posting, it would make a big difference.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 12:50 PM

thanks to DMcG 08-Sep-01 - 12:53 PM As a "newbie" I'm still learning what's what & was feeling embarassed (not feeling guilty tho) that I'd added to a thread which it appears is just 'not on'. You'll see I made the same suggestion regarding re-naming. Not sure who did it first cos I didn't read this thread til today, but happy about the synchronicity.(Am I allowed to say that on a Sunday?) And I sympathise with catspaw about the sarcasm. I was brought up, as my children by default have been too, having ding-dong slanging matches within a framework of great love and respect. No, I'm not suggesting we should love and respect troublemakers, just reinforcing one man's insult is another's friendly riposte...


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 01:15 PM

Ok. I've been thinking about this one for a bit.

This is how my posts might look if I'm feeling somewhat annoyed. (I don't get genuinely angry very often.)

Re: Anger, sarcasm, and whether or not people ought to be injecting that sort of thing into the forum...

Sometimes it feels good to pee in the pool, too. Do you like swimming in other people's pee? This forum is a bit like a public swimming pool. Maybe a lot of people don't enjoy having to contend with other peoples waste products in this public place.

Rant off.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 01:23 PM

...and one might say, "Just avoid the ones that you don't like". But I say, when anger starts to spread around here, sometimes it's impossible to avoid.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 04:49 PM

Oh-oh Is this how it starts? You see, my point is that anger and sarcasm to me are two definitely distinct entities, never used in conjunction. Just the opposite in fact. And I have NEVER peed in a swimming pool!


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 04:57 PM

Sorry Wyrd Sister.

My post was not directed at you. It was a general post for anyone who likes to use the forum as a place to dump negative emotions.

However, re: sarcasm... by definition, sarcasm is a form of aggression. Not as overt as anger, but my dictionary defines sarcasm as being "designed to cut or give pain". Sarcasm shouldn't be confused with irony or facetiousness, which are defined differently.


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 06:45 PM

Take a moment and imagine what it would be like to live in a metropolitan community with no stop signs, no stop lights, no sidewalks, no police, no jails or holding cells, no enforced rules and no consequences for any actions. Justa Picker up above.

Well, the thing is (at this point in history anyway - the technology advances at a frightening rate) there's no physical contact here on the Mudcat, noone gets run over or stabbed or mugged or whatever. If they are sensitive they can get their feelings hurt, and I don't underestimate that.

But, if the only damage from having nine of those things that Justa Picker mentioned in real towns and cities was hurt feelings, I personally would be happy to do without those things. (Apart from consequences for actions maybe.)

As I said earlier, the irritation when miscreants (good word) sneak up and mess things up is the price we pay for the good stuff. Fencing us in with a load of well intentioned protective apparatus would be too high a price to avoid that irritation. A bit like using a blowtorch to get rid of fleas.

And one thing that still puzzles me - the assumption that the intentions of the person who starts a thread are any more significant than those of anyone else. So far as I can see, it doesn't matter if the motive of the person starting a thread is to stir things up, we don't need to get stirred up, even if we decide that the topic raised is one where we feel we have something to say. Though in practice it's probably a better idea to leave it alone, ands start another thread later, because that way there is a better chance that people whose opinions you'd value might be likely to respond.

(And I still find it strange how you get people who make a great song and dance about how they don't like non music threads waste their time posting to non-music threads, such as this one.)


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Wyrd Sister
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 02:50 PM

Aaargh! Mea Culpa! Over-touchiness I never knew I had!

My Lord Pratchett has something about the Patrician "getting sarcastic, and might even employ irony" but can I hell as find it when I want it.

Heigh ho. One day I'll look at getting my tongue surgically removed from my cheek.

In (potential) friendship


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:50 PM

That happens to all of us at some point or another.

And I'd forgo the surgery if I were you. If you can't keep your tongue in your cheek, where can you keep it, eh?


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 05:57 PM

Is this a Flame Thread? And should I be posting to it? Choices - oh the struggle -


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 08:03 PM

Well, there's some flaming in it, Norton - but it didn't start out as a flame thread. Ideally, everybody should just know not to respond to flamers, talk about them, or acknowledge them. Trouble is, how do you get that message out unless you talk about it?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST, A Member, being Anon.
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 01:52 PM

Right, sorry for falling into the trap


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Subject: RE: Dealing with Flamers
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Sep 01 - 02:09 PM

A fish trap?

You are all fish in a barrel.

Will you learn?

(No)


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