Well hello! I've cleared all the unnecessary responses to this thread. I know it's a little sad considering the subject, but some of the flaming going on really has no place here.
So, my views on censorship? It's quite simple really, if everyone sticks to the rules, there should be no need for censorship. Well, there are also the terms and conditions, but most issues that would be relevant to the forum are taken care of in the simpler forum rules.
I fully agree that the spam button should be used with caution. We have attempted to make this easier for people by adding a dropdown list of reasons why you are flagging it. Put quite simply, if you can't find the reason in that dropdown, then it shouldn't be flagged. As for the trolls who appeared last week, these are usually best dealt with by contacting Sam or myself. Such situations are unfortunate, but hey, what can we do?
Ev is quite right in suggesting that the spam reporting feature is on shaky ground after the recent problems. It has great value for us in keeping the place clean, but it is proving to be somewhat of a double edged sword.
And again, I'd like to make a plea to contact Sam or myself regarding bad behaviour instead of having flaming wars in the forum.
I would have to agree with Jeff - the SPAM button should be used with caution. In fact, considering the recent spate of trigger-happy spamming, I wouldnt be surprised if Sam and Peter felt the need to withdraw the right from most people, and allow just a few select balanced individuals to take care of this from now on.
How about if the Spam button was restricted to 24 hours and an additional button was put in placed that triggers a PM to the relevant Moderator/Admin?
I think most obvious spam (Email addresses, websites) is discovered within a day by any member with the Spam reporting privilegies and anything after that would be detected by a much smaller group (eg. offensive comments). So by sending a PM to the Moderator/Admin the person in question would have the option to clearly state why he/she thinks the post is offensive and the Moderator would have a better idea on how to deal with it. And also, having to think why something is offensive people might realise that it's maybe not that bad or if it is it would give Admin a clearer understanding of the issues on the site. And the posts would not be marked as spam and the Poster would not get upset because he/she can't understand why this should be spam.
I don't know if this is technically possible or feasible, but maybe this sparks another idea.
Maybe only certain people have the spam button? Or if there is abuse, the individual would lose their spam button?
Seems like the spam button is causing more problems than the actual spam.
Spammed if you do, spammed if you don't
I think if people, who have earned the privilege to have a spam button, would simply follow the simple guidelines, that if the post does not fit into any of the 3 catagories in the "why is it spam" dropdown menu, then it should NOT be flagged as spam. Just because a person may not like what is contained in a post is NOT reason to flag it as spam.
Would all seem pretty simple. Now we'll see how well people can follow a simple guideline.
I'd also say, when in doubt, don't flag it. It should CLEARLY be a promotional post, duplicate entry, or inflammatory post. Not a post you don't like or agree with, etc.
Once again Jeffrey - you are right on the money with your comments.
If the entry falls under one of the three catagories, then by all means - use the button. If not - leave it alone. In all honesty, not many posts go unseen by a Moderator or S&P. If it is in such a gray area that several members feel it needs attention - PM one of us. Otherwise, use your common sense. We all say that in the travel threads - so, applying it to the spam issue is really no different.
Please stop making people's jobs more difficult because of personal opinion differences. The guidelines are simple and easy to follow.
Thanks for keeping things in perspective!
I, for one, like our nifty "Spam" button for one big reason: spammers know almost IMMEDIATELY that they aren't welcome here. I've seen spam posts spotted (and happily spotted a few myself!) within 5 minutes of appearing on TP. That, to me, says a lot about our sense of community and mutual respect.
However, we also have to respect that S&P have given us the privelege of said Spam button (it's their site, after all!). Personally, I'd vote that anyone abusing that privelege lose the right to use the dang button at all. Censorship is an ugly, ugly slippery slope. Taking away someone's right to speak is, for me anyway, utterly unforgivable.
And I second Eve's comment that this is all terribly juvenile and transparent. Good lord, we can all add 2 and 2 together!
- Passing soapbox on to the next in line.*
Just one thought that occured to me while I was reading through the latest replies.
It has been mentioned to PM the moderators, but it's not always apparent who the Moderators are unless you look at the posts and the User titels. Maybe there should be a button somewhere on top of the page called 'Inform Moderator' which would route to the Moderators or Admin.
Or on top of the page it should tell you who the moderator is for that particular forum so that people know who to contact.
With 35'000+ Members I am sure there are a lot of people who only occassionally visit the site and don't know who to contact with issues.