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Different rules for different members

Travel Forums System Talk Different rules for different members

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1. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

I've just had a right earful from a Moderator for a few comments I made on a certain post. What I said was just a joke in jest - but the Mod'r took the view that it was somehow offensive and flagged it into space.
Interesting point I wanna raise here. The Mod'r and Forum will remain unmentioned (to be fair), but it does seem that there is one rule for Mod'r's and Gurus - and another for the remaining members.
I've been slagged down so much since joining T/P a few months ago, in many of my posts - yet nothing's been said about the criticism I've received - and I've taken it all without complaining. I did speak to a Mod'r - via PM - once about certain comments I was getting and was basically told to drop it.
It also seems that Mod'r's and Gurus can splurt out websites and product names whenever they like, but if other (lower ranking) members do the same, they're immediately spammed for doing so.
As I said to the Mod'r who P.M.'d me to say my Post had been flagged, I really don't give give a monkey's if a Post of mine is zapped. I just write what I feel and share my experiences openly with whoever wishes to read and comment on them. What I find odd, is that I make a trivial remark - it's wiped off and I get an epic P.M. grilling me from a Mod'r, but that at the same time Gurus can tell filthy jokes and have a go at other members openly and regularly, Mod'r's can advertise products as often as they like and that's the norm in T/P.
Your comments??

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 7y

I'm the moderator in question here, though I acted as just a regular member, as I don't actually have any moderating powers in the forum in question. (Any respected member or travel guru could've done the same: flagging the post as inflammatory and sending you a courtesy PM to explain their reasons for flagging it.) The flag was justified, or at least the admin who deleted the post was of the same opinion I was that the post was insulting and inflammatory.

I was intending to send you a PM with some explanations and clarifications. I can do that in PM as originally intended, or here on the forum, your call. (For the moment, due to this thread, I'm guessing you'd prefer to hash this out in public; if you change your mind on that, I could even still delete this entire thread.) Either way, I won't write my reply for another ~2 hours yet, as I want to finish a batch of work here first.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jul-2009, at 08:49 by Sander ]

3. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Take your time - I ain't holding my breath for an exciting outcome.

4. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

So do you accept that Gurus can get away with more than Respected Members??
In what way was my post insulting?? Certainly nowhere near some of the things that the moderators have laughed at when theyve been sent to me.
Still - that'll be T/P to a tee.

5. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 7y

Redpaddy,

I don't know exactly what has transpired between you and the moderators (it appears to me that there are more than one involved here), so I'm not going to comment on the specific issues that you have there with them. For other issues you brought up, here's what I have to say.

Basically, there's only one set of forum rules. And then there's also the Terms and Conditions of this website. The ways the rules are applied differ at times, with a few factors taking into account. The main thing moderators look at when determining if the rules are broken is the context of the message itself.

For example, when somebody swears in a post, we don't simply delete or edit the post because of that. If the swearing is used against another member, then yes, clearly a rule has been broken. Otherwise, if it's said in jest, or a way of 'expression' that many people seem to like using nowadays, we would usually cut a bit of slack there. However, there have been times where what may appear as a comment in jest to the poster do not appear the same in the eyes of others. This can be a very subjective matter for the moderator to decide. This could further involve referring to the past records of the poster.

As for advertising, having links in a reply to a thread does not mean promotional. Again, the context is to be determined here. If the links are given to help the original poster, no rules are broken. However, if the links are external (non-TP) and the site is owned by the member, then it is usually seen as promotional. For example, until a week ago, a member had been actively helping others going to Thailand, but at the same time, promoting his own website which contains the information requested by the original poster. His account has now been inactivated.

About the filthy jokes, I must admit some slacks have been cut there, again because of the context. If you want to strictly apply rules there, I probably will have to delete almost the entire 55 pages worth of them.

So, as you can see here, there's only one set of rules, but applied differently in different situations.

6. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

So its OK for people to insult me - and have the moderators laughing when they do, but not for me to do it back.
Oh - I get it.... You've been been trained by a politician to dodge the answer. Thats all I want - just why they can do it to me and the moderators approve wholeheartedly, but I'm not allowed to have a go.
Just an answer - as easy as that. If you can manage that - that is.
I thank you.
Oh - and as for your last sentence.... No - I don't see.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jul-2009, at 12:53 by Redpaddy ]

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 7y

Quoting Redpaddy

It also seems that Mod'r's and Gurus can splurt out websites and product names whenever they like, but if other (lower ranking) members do the same, they're immediately spammed for doing so.

So let me respond to this comment first, since it's a misunderstanding I've seen you complain about before (I responded to it at that point, but maybe you never saw that reply).
It is perfectly okay on this forum to link to other websites or name specific products, as long as it is clear that the intent of the member doing this has not been to join the forum predominantly for the goal of promoting that website or those products. Intent is a hard thing to measure, and through sad experience we have taken pretty much a zero tolerance policy when it's is in doubt (mostly because 99% of the time it's indeed promotional), but as we get to know members better (e.g. as they participate on the forum, or post photos, or blog, or are otherwise active on the site), we'll very swiftly step away from that and allow anything which isn't clearly promotional. (That is, no one could get away with starting to post amazon.com urls with a referral string which would be earning them money, but any links to genuinely helpful resources would be absolutely fine.)
I suspect you posted some URLs early on which were in the grey zone, and were thus snipped from your posts, which might've left a bad impression with you, but please believe me when I say that no one here at this point thinks the purpose of your presence is primarily to promote something, and so you can post all the helpful URLs you want.

Yes, it sucks for the few new members who're innocently posting a URL purely with the intent to be helpful when that URL is removed, but honestly, the amount of promotional posts which are attempted on this forum on a daily basis is immense. There's the regular nike shoes spammers, the Chinese travel agency guides, the Nigerian scammers, the bastards who copy/paste a genuine question from a different forum and stuff a keyword loaded URL at the bottom, the astroturfers (frequently for some big companies which should know better), the nice people who post here "come take a look at my blog about my RTW to countries x, y and z" (but half the time those blogs are chock-full of advertising and money-making content, and if we'd allow the other half, spammers would immediately begin emulating their posts as a sure-fire way to get their links allowed on the forum), etc, etc. Most of it is flagged within minutes and deleted within hours, but sometimes we notice a weird pattern in old posts a year or two later, and when Sam or Peter looks up the ip addresses of the posters, they'll see that wow, that member really wasn't the American he said he was, but instead posting from the company office, and we shake our heads at humanity and add another trick in our book of things we won't fall for a second time.
If we'd stop our strict rules for just one week, and leniently allow anything, I can guarantee you that the forum would be overrun by spammers, and would be unusable by regular members, who'd all abandon it in droves.


Now, you also make the distinction between moderators/travel gurus and everyone else. "Usually" (whenever the topic of member ranks comes up, which is about twice a year) the boundary is put to group travel gurus and respected members together. That's pretty just, as the code assigns completely equal trust to both groups. As a respected member you don't have quite as much monthly bandwidth for uploading photos, nor can you start as many blogs, but you can report the same posts, have full "admin" rights in the wiki, and so there's nothing as "travel guru" can do that a "respected member" can't do.
I've personally never been a proponent of the member ranks as they're implemented here on travellerspoint. I've grudgingly come to accept them as a not too broken guide to how "trusted" someone is, mostly designed to help first time visitors see that someone who gives them advice is someone who has done this more often, but what you have to realize is that it's an attempt to mimic in code the opinions held by everyone here. We don't respect people because they have a "travel guru" or "respected member" string underneath their name. Instead we respect them for the hard work they've put in the site, and Peter's algorithm assigning those titles is trying to reflect that. And sometimes the code gets it completely wrong. There's quite a few budding members who've earned our respect and who can post URLs without them ever getting flagged as promotional, because we know that the title is faulty.
Moderators are people (mostly carrying the respected member or travel guru title, but not exclusively, and this is again an effect of the code trying to mimic the trust and respect gained in the real world, albeit then only in the eyes of Sam and Peter) who're asked by the Admins to perform janitorial duties for one or more specific forums (e.g. cleaning up spam, moving threads to different forums as needed), and generally keep an eye on things to keep the atmosphere friendly. Our judgment in keeping the forums the place we all like it to be is trusted, but unless we're clearly stepping in as "as" Moderator, mostly we're just posting as regular members.


I hope this clears up the way things work here in this regard. Now for the rest of your post:

Quoting Redpaddy

I've just had a right earful from a Moderator for a few comments I made on a certain post. What I said was just a joke in jest - but the Mod'r took the view that it was somehow offensive and flagged it into space.

You directly and personally insulted a relatively new member who was making a general remark not personally directed to you. This was my interpretation, Peter (the admin who deleted it) agreed with, and I've even conferred with another Moderator, who also agreed with it. Doing that will never be okay on this forum.
I'm sorry if you intended your remark to be funny: Text is a notoriously difficult medium to express humor through. However, given that three of us didn't see it as humorous, chances are that a lot of other people reading the comment also wouldn't have seen it as such, and would thus be getting the impression that we'd condone insulting behaviour.

Interesting point I wanna raise here. The Mod'r and Forum will remain unmentioned (to be fair), but it does seem that there is one rule for Mod'r's and Gurus - and another for the remaining members.

There is one set of rules, and various ways they are interpreted and acted upon. For first time posters, they're really strict (especially the promotional purposes one), and for regulars, "they're more like guidelines". Mostly because we mostly trust the regulars to know and adhere to them. And I'm explicitly using the word "regulars" here, because that, far more than the silly member titles, determines how we look upon people. Think of the people who're around at least once a week. If you can do that and come up with a long list of names, you're one of us regulars. :) However, as a regular, I also know that you haven't been a regular for that long yet, and have a few points where you're still unclear on how things really work here. I'm hoping this post is helping clear those up.

I've been slagged down so much since joining T/P a few months ago, in many of my posts - yet nothing's been said about the criticism I've received - and I've taken it all without complaining. I did speak to a Mod'r - via PM - once about certain comments I was getting and was basically told to drop it.

I can't really comment much on this as I don't know the details. I do remember that when you just arrived here, you had some epic back and forths with Blinq, and that the both of you were told off. I have seen you complain a bit on the topic of European transport, where I told you not to take things too personal: When things are said which are factually wrong, that should be pointed out, but beyond that it's perfectly okay to have multiple people give answers to a question (including answers which are completely different). Everyone travels in a different way, and you're only helping the original poster get a fuller understanding of the possibilities.
From what I've personally seen, I do think you're letting friendly warnings and pointers and other things get to you which I think you should just shrug off (e.g. you call my PM to you a "right earful", "epic" and "grilling you" where it was just four paragraphs (now this post is getting epic-y) ;) and I don't see how I could've been any friendlier while still managing to actually let you know that you post was not okay. (And seriously, I mean my last paragraph from that PM where I say that I really appreciate all the hard work you've been putting into the forum.)
However, it's quite possible that I'm not having the complete picture and that you get an unacceptable amount of undeserved criticism directed personally at you. If that's the case, I'd recommend you collect the posts where that's happened, and ask Sam or Peter to ask the members in question to tone it down.

Your Reply is too long. It must be no more than 10000 characters.

Yup. Epic-y.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Jul-2009, at 13:00 by Sander ]

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 7y

Part two:

at the same time Gurus can tell filthy jokes and have a go at other members openly and regularly

I don't know what in particular this is referring to. (Reloading the thread, I'm guessing Hien does?) I don't think we have a rule against filthy jokes, though. If you are certain that things are crossing the line based on your understanding of the forum rules, you have the power to flag the post. If you're not certain, but would still like a Moderator or Admin to take a look at it, you can PM them and explain that it's making you feel uncomfortable. Same if they're insulting non-regular members. (If they're insulting regulars, you probably don't know the entire history behind it yet, so should just sit back and enjoy the show. Do realize that a lot of regulars have known each other for years upon years, and that there are a lot of strong ties and bonds of trust and friendship between individual members. Many of us have met each other at meetups and keep in touch outside of the forum, and as long as it doesn't hamper the primary purpose of the forum, which is to help people with travel questions in a friendly atmosphere, we'll allow quite a lot of behaviour from these people.)

9. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Much appreciated. Still waiting for a direct answer though. Is it that diifficult??

10. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Why don't you put up the post that you're so proud of flagging, of mine - and if you're so happy that you made the right decision, let the members have a vote on it, on whether or not it's infammatory and insulting (as you insist it was) - and at the same time I'll post previous ones sent to me that you and other Mod'r's have taken no notice of. How's that?? Can't be fairer than that - surely.
A fair point - or you gonna dodge the issue again??

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