Hello everyone!

There is suddenly a lot going on all at once and I am going to attempt to sort it out for you here so that everyone knows what's what.

About a year ago I was appointed Head Moderator of the site and the moderation team, myself and Richard began drafting rules and guidelines for the site as well as moderation guidelines and systems to help us better serve the members. This was not the first experience I have had with moderation. I was a "God" on everything2.com for quite a while and I have had occasion to moderate a number of other online mediums including forums, IRC servers, a MUD (believe it or not,) and a large custom chat site that was hosted where I worked as a network administrator.

Shortly after I took on the job of Head Moderator here, my life regrettably became a bit too busy for me to in good faith continue on pretending that I could juggle everything at once, so I stepped down in the hopes that someone else would be able to pick up where I left off.

Richard has since then been a man of many hats. A hat-rack, really. He is trying his damnedest to grow the site in both users and functionality. He does a podcast, tours the country giving speeches and works tirelessly to advocate for the model of community that we have created here. He's also a father, and a husband and spends a lot of time with his daughters and his wife--as he should.

Besides all that: he has been moderating. He is by no means the only moderator, but in the end, when things get serious, he has been the final word in disputes. With nearly 20,000 users, it has gotten to be too much for him to deal with if he is going to continue to do all of the other things he should be doing to make the site better.

Consequently, he asked me today if I would take over as Community Manager.

I accepted.

What does that mean, exactly?
Well, Richard will be removing himself from the day-to-day moderation of the site completely and focusing on what he should be focusing on: keeping the site alive and, if possible, making it even better. When he does show up here, he'll just be here to hang out with you guys and say hello or to make announcements.

I will be taking over as the oppressive, iron fist of fascism that you rail against.

I kid, I kid.

I'll be handling policy and moderation for the site in the same capacity that Richard used to. I'll also be looking to expand the moderation team to accommodate the size of the user-base a bit better.

My first task will be to re-visit the site rules. The first time around, we tried to keep them as cut-and-dry as possible. Simple. Easy to understand. Or so we hoped. I fear that we may have been vague as there still seems to be disagreement as to what they mean. There also seems to be some philosophical conflicts that have come to a head regarding the direction of the site which we may also be able to rectify along the way.

I have not yet decided quite how I am going to go about it, but I would like to have a transparent discussion regarding the rules of Atheist Nexus and the spirit in which they were written. I will invite commentary and suggestions from the users of this site and, in turn, give commentary of my own.

I don't anticipate this exchange will result in a complete re-writing of the rules, but it is likely some change will be affected from it. We're all on this boat together, we should all pitch in to make it a better place.

But before we get to all that, there is one thing that everyone should know:

If you are having a problem with someone, and you need a moderator, Click the "Report an Issue" link. It is located at the bottom of every page. Please include the nature of your problem as well as links to relevant posts and the names of those involved. If you are determined to lodge a complaint against someone, please refrain from deleting the material you find objectionable. It's your evidence. You may even want to take a screen capture of it and save it just in case.

This is the only appropriate way to deal with the problem because it's really the only fair way to deal with it. Once a discussion has rocketed past the point of no return and reconciliation becomes impossible on your own, simply report it and find something else to do for a while. Trying to sort out a grave disagreement by yourself is often like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. You're likely to get yourself in trouble. Let us help! Hopefully, issues can be resolved without causing further conflict.

That's enough out of me.


(I kid, I kid!)

--Joe Prova

Views: 450

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

moJoe: My first task will be to re-visit the site rules... I don't anticipate this exchange will result in a complete re-writing of the rules, but it is likely some change will be affected from it. We're all on this boat together, we should all pitch in to make it a better place.

I'm sorry moJoe, but this is bullshit. This is just more bureaucratic babble and filibustering and nothing will change. There is nothing wrong with the existing guidelines - other than they ARE NOT being applied with anything even remotely approaching consistency or equity. In fact it is fair to say they are only ever enforced when someones squealing grows too loud, or they threaten to soil our reputation by playing some discrimination card. Aside from that, abuse is happening here every day, and as long as that abuse is targeting the right people, no one lifts a finger about anything.

How about BEFORE re-writing the rules (and the last effort took over a month), you make a genuine effort at applying the existing set just to prove to us there is the will and the intent to have a fair and even playing pitch for ALL the residents here. Until you do, it's just more empty words and I'm sorry but I know longer believe any them, nor do I believe there is any genuine intent behind them. You can of course try and convince yourself I am the only one that feels this way if it comforts you, but that's up to you. But I will not believe anything more that is said until I actually begin to see some evidence of true moderation - doing something about nuisance posting would be a good start; better still is proof that people who make spurious or fraudulent complaints against other members get some proper discipline would be even better.

Here is the report card to date -

Rule 1. - good faith, impossible to apply

Rule 2. - No known instances of being applied, but known instances of it *not* being applied.

Rule 3. - Extremely selectively applied. Gross abuse ignored for some, whilst every tiny piece of trivia drilled to death in others.

Rule 4. - No real instances occurring.

Rule 5. - You jest?

Rule 6. - Not applied. Pointing it out incurs a spanking.

Rule 7. - Not applied. Identified abuses ignored.

Rule 8. - Nonsense is perfectly ok, as long as it's not religious.

Rule 9. - Never, EVER applied. NOT ONCE. EVER. Special bonus salt in wound - the swiftness of the reprimand should you voice your displeasure at the relentless crap.

Rule 10. - No necessity seen.

As they say, it's not all bad. It would take a lot of doing to make it any worse, so the only way is up.
The fact that no one in "management" has replied to this speaks volumes to the actual problem.
A lot of the rules are really not open for discussion, or at least should not be. They are, effectively, a reiteration of Ning's Terms of Service policies. Let's take the extreme case. Say the community wanted to allow stalking or kiddie porn. They still couldn't do it because Ning says no.

Actually, that's not such an extreme case. Rule 5, which is not enforced (or to quote Felch, "you jest") says that you may not make available any content that infringes, violates or misappropriates any third party's intellectual property rights. In other words, people should really brush up on their fair use laws before posting the latest funny video or favorite song.

But what I find most ironic is that the basic premise of this website could be perceived as a violation of Ning's Terms of Service. To wit, the first term is:

You agree that you will not post, email or make available any content or use this Network:
* in a manner that is hateful or discriminatory based on race, color, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic or national origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or age or is otherwise objectionable;

The very fact that the site does not allow contributions from theists could be perceived as a violation of "You will not post, email or make available any content or use this Network in a manner that is discriminatory based on religion." Say what you will (and I have no problem with the A|N policy), it is a violation of Ning's Terms of Service.

All of which leads me to question the seriousness with which rules in general are taken here. Are they enforced? Are they enforceable? Or are they simply cosmetic, and a means of denying accountability in the event that someone really attempted to challenge the website?
The fact that no one in "management" has replied to this speaks volumes to the actual problem.

Or, it could mean that it's only been a day and "management" being spread wildly thin, in a time of reorganization, with other issue-threads and posts to deal with, and presumably a life outside of A/N, hasn't gotten to this side of the sandbox yet.

Or, it could mean that "management" is only listening to those using their grown-up, indoor voices.

Or, it could mean Felch's points have been addressed elsewhere and "management" is tired of repeating itself.

Or, it could mean it's being dealt with privately.



Actually, Rule 9(d/e) has been applied pretty quickly and drastically in the one case I was the initial witness to. The offender was gone within the hour, as I remember.

Thanks for taking on this difficult and important task. It may be thankless, but by taking on thankless tasks on earth, your heavenly rewards will be so much the sweeter.
I personally stand closer to Felch on this issue and question this whole process, despite all the good intentions with which this road is paved. I'll explain.

One of my favorite quotes is from Christopher Hitchens, speaking about the death of Jerry Falwell on Hannity: "If you gave Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox." (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrFgX83OsEY at the very end). I don't think anyone here would complain about a statement like that, because it was about a religious buffoon. My question is, would a similar comment here be tolerated, or would it only be tolerated about a religious person, but not an atheist? Do atheists get carte blanche to promote stupidity, simply because they have the self-designation "atheist"? Would a 9/11 Truther be able to get away with his nonsense simply because he is an atheist?

In an interview the same day on CNN (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIviufQ4APo), Hitchens said, "The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you'll just get yourself called 'Reverend'"--another sentiment I doubt anyone here would challenge. I do begin to wonder, however, if the same is not emerging as true for this site, only that we change the word "reverend" for "atheist."
My two cents.

First, thanks to Joe for taking this over. He's right, I am spread quite thin. And I must confess I have not been able to moderate like I should. My apologies to Grundgetta. She has almost singlehandedly tried to take up my slack.

Second, I really appreciate everyone's patience. I know we all have a lot of complaints, and I hope most of us will now be a part of the solution. I know that Joe will be open to opinions before decisions are made.

I'll second that kudos to Grundgetta.

And I for one welcome our new iron-fisted overlord.

I smell an avatar change coming on...
I'm never sure, but isn't this an infraction against the very first Ning ToS?

You agree that you will not post, email or make available any content or use this Network: In a manner that infringes, violates or misappropriates any third party's intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights or contractual rights;

Has the site gotten permission from Cartoon Network to use this "intellectual property"? Is it required? Was it John's responsibility? I'm just looking for clarification for my own sake in posting things. I certainly don't want to break the rules.


© 2019   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service