View Full Version : Closed Thread...moderating Or Censoring?

01-23-2006, 10:00 AM
Recently I started a thread about a renewal letter I received from the AMC that I found manipulative and insulting, ie...that if I cared about the environmentally destructive results of mass mailings then I should sign up pronto or else "I" (not them) would be part of the problem and not the solution. OK, so I post this little piece of info to see how others think and feel about it. Two posts later the moderator gives a warning to those who might be thinking of responding that "No AMC bashing would be tolerated", fair enough if maybe a little premature. Of the twenty posts that ended up being made the last few slid slightly off topic by talking about phone solicitations and not mailings. The next thing you know the moderator states that the thread has gone way off topic and decides to "lock" the thread.
Am I off the mark here in thinking that maybe the moderator did'nt want this topic even discussed. Could there be a conflict between moderating this site and AMC public relations?
This of course is not my site so I have no say in how it's run but I think being able to criticize the actions of the AMC or any other organization should be allowed so long as people are being civil.

01-23-2006, 10:45 AM
I doubt it.

What you need to know aobut this board is that its moderators want to make sure that it remain tightly focused. It is not trying to be a site for all things hikers want to talk about, but focused on a tight set of interests and activities shared by those who hike.

While each of us may have gotten frustrated at times by our desire to discuss topics that we're told are out of scope, I personally find I can understand the desire for focus, that such a line is always likely to be blury, and is highly subjective. Therefore, I deal with my frustration and remain appreciative that there are many topics of interest to me that are considered part of the desired focus.

Sometimes I personally wish the site could be more even more focused (I have very little interest in the Dacs)...but again, the moderators/hosters pick what they are interested in and we choose whether to accept it or move on.

Many members have created boards for the discussion of their interests (I can think of one focused on all things BC skiing).

I advise that you will likely find that expressing your frustration by criticizing the choices of people spending their free time moderating this board to be self defeating.

David Metsky
01-23-2006, 10:59 AM
First, it's not censorship. This is a privately run site, with rules to follow. You are always free to set up another site if you don't agree with things here.

Clearly, we want everyone to feel welcome here and to post relevant information, but we've had some difficulty in the past with threads going off topic and into more animated discussion modes than we are comfortable with. AMC bashing has been one of those topics, but not the only one. I stated clearly in the thread in question that you can talk about fund raising methods, but not to use this forum as a place to bash anyone.

I am an active member of the AMC and involved in many activities within the club. But that had no impact on my decision as a moderator here. I'd have done the same if the subject of the thread was the Sierra Club, the USFS, or another website.

Civil criticism is welcome. Bashing of any kind is not. Off topic discussions, such as how to play games with telemarketers, is not. It was my call that we'd passed that line. That decision was based on the rules of this site and our history with this topic.

I hope this helps you understand my decision.


01-23-2006, 11:07 AM
Ditto, I wouldn't take it personal. It was determined a long time ago that many discussions related to AMC, ADK or any other advocacy agency and the various tactics used or stances they take in the course of doing what they do fall under POLITICAL DISCUSSION, which is not allowed in the -RULES AND REGULATIONS- (http://www.vftt.org/rules.html) of this site.

In my experience, thread of this nature, while they feel good in the moment of writing them, rapidly descend into an ugly discourse that will advance nothing and create ugliness within the forum. Neither of which is good for the board, as judged by Darren (and his moderators), who have been doing this for years and has been able to successfully maintained this wonderful site.

It's not personal, many of us (including myself) have been "moderated" in the past. It's all good

** NOTE*** Whoooops, Dave was answering at the same time I was writing my response. It says the same thing essentially, but I'll leanve mine up too.

01-23-2006, 11:25 AM
I think sites should not try to be all things to all people. I don't think anyone wants to prevent what seems to be a valid discussion - perhaps there are other places to continue it. To quote one vision of an old truth:

"Dirt is matter out of place. Weed is a plant out of place. Nuisance is action out of place. Even those things, acts or words which are normally good and useful become bad, useless and even harmful when they are out of place, time and circumstance. A knowledge of this fact is an essential part of wisdom." (Swami Krishnananda)

There are lots of other outdoor oriented sites. You might try backpacker.com's forums (they have a Northeast Board and a "Trailhead Register" - which is open to any topic at all) or see if anyone has tackled the issue at amcoutdoors.org's bulletin boards.

01-23-2006, 11:34 AM
There are lots of other outdoor oriented sites. You might try backpacker.com's forums (they have a Northeast Board and a "Trailhead Register" - which is open to any topic at all) or see if anyone has tackled the issue at amcoutdoors.org's bulletin boards.

I totally understand the need for moderation and I can totally understand wanting to post thoughts on this board instead of going to perhaps a more appropriate board.

I kind of consider the people on this board as "family" in a sort of strange way I suppose. Even though I've only met a handful of you, you kind of feel like you know people a little bit after reading hundreds of posts and trip reports. If I went to another board like backpacker.com I wouldn't have that sort of feeling.

If we didn't keep the board on track it would be chaos though.


01-23-2006, 12:23 PM
I thought meta-discussions like this were forbidden by Darren.

A few months ago I asked Darren (in the Feedback Forum) if comments and questions about how the site is run or moderated should be discussed in the open in the Feedback Forum or handled behind the scenes in e-mail to the moderator. As best I can recall, he stated that they should be handled in private e-mail to a moderator, not out in the open forums.

That guidance did not get replicated to the Site Rules. Nor is it available in the current Site Help forum.

In any event, this current thread seems to be counter to Darren's past dictate to stop the meta discussions.

Darren, Dave or Peakbgr, could you clarify if meta-discussion threads like this one are allowed and if so, in which forum they should be held?

If they are not to be allowed, could you post some more permenant guidance on this so we don't have to reinvent decisions among old timers and re-educate new comers?

01-23-2006, 12:33 PM
Many members have created boards for the discussion of their interests (I can think of one focused on all things BC skiing).

Which forum are you refering to? I would love to see a bc skiing forum but am not famiiar with any (other than TTips).

01-23-2006, 05:02 PM
The site owner(Darren) stated that debates over how the forum is moderated are no longer tolerated. It came to this point as there were too many threads quite similar to this one.