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kundalini
29-10-2006, 12:18 AM
Hi all,

In light of recent events, I have been speaking with members of this forum and it has come to my attention that some people feel it is wrong of me, in my position as moderator to post PM's publicly or parts of PM's publicly with my intention of bringing light to disputes. I can truly understand this viewpoint and yet I also acknowledge why I do it too. What I would really like some insight to, is whether Moderators should be allowed the power to do this and so, having said that, what are your comments, members of SF?

I have also provided a poll and when the time is right, the results will be acknowledged and the power shall be given or taken away accordingly. I look forward to hearing your responses.

Many thanks for reading,

Kundalini.

daisy
29-10-2006, 12:26 AM
i can see both sides of this but as a fellow moderator i don't think i'm in a position to comment, as the outcome of this affects us both.

Pounamu
29-10-2006, 01:12 AM
Kundalini, Daisy...

As I voted, its a difficult question. If people think their PMs may be revealed, it will likely cause them to think more carefully what they say - which could have the effect of their not expressing what they truly feel in case it is misinterpreted... this could be good, in that people might think twice about posting an otherwise rude comment; but could also be stultifying.

On the other hand, if someone is being really "over the top" obnoxious, or being an absolute pest... it might be salutary for their PM to be revealed. It also helps to publicly back up a Moderator's position on a post. I think overall, a Moderator should have the power to reveal such a PM, but perhaps it should be subject to having warned the offender that this may be the outcome if they persist.

It is certainly sad that such an action should ever be contemplated as called for - but such is the way of the world... Even in Parliament, the Speaker has to have his powers to moderate what is said, and take corrective action if things get too disrespectful!

Pounamu

Fiona
29-10-2006, 01:24 AM
I deal a lot with protection of information, data protection and personal information at my work place and I also inspect systems for this.

I think there should be a protocol known by all forum members governing the publication of PM's. This should detail the types of situations in which a PM could be published (I would suggest such situations should be rare), who by, whether any other agreement would need to be sought (for example, one moderator might need to seek the agreement of another moderator to go ahead), whether or not authors are to be named, and what steps should be followed prior to doing so, for example, consulting with or notifying the author. I believe this to be a professional and courteous system and one in which all members and moderators would know exactly where they stand. If the correct protocol is followed each time, there should be no need for criticism of the moderator or surprise on behalf of the author of the PM. In addition, if a robust system is imposed in such cases it should always ensure that the correct considerations are made before taking such a step, and that a judgement has been made about the reasons for it, and how the forum benefits from it.

tiltjlp
29-10-2006, 01:40 AM
No, PM stands for Private Message, and they should stay private, unless you receive permission to post them. As for staff actions and decisions, while it would be nice sometimes to know what caused some problem, it's not really the business of forum members. Curiousity isn't a good enough reason to make a private message public knowledge.

John

Fiona
29-10-2006, 01:04 AM
tiltjlp - a protocol could simply say that Private Messages are never to be publicised under any circumstances except by the author themselves or with the author's permission. This would be the policy, and would satisfy your point.

I also agree that if there is the possibility of any exceptions being made the name 'private' message should be changed - as it is not an appropriate description - how can something be a private message if someone else has the right to publish it? This does not make sense.

kundalini
29-10-2006, 12:50 PM
Ah, excellent. Some very good viewpoints from tiltjlp, Fiona and pounamu there. Certainly a protocol should be established. I believe it should be based on the outcome of the poll above and the contemplation of members comments. This poll and thread will be in operation until next Saturday, at which point the thread will be closed for posting. I really look forward to other people's views on this matter.

Kundalini.

~Jay~
29-10-2006, 01:25 PM
Hmmm, I voted 'No' as I do see it as an invasion of privacy unless permission is given by the author beforehand, and even then, I would hope it was for rare occasions only.

But in certain situations, I would think it was OK to give an overview of what someone has written in a PM - so long as the author's name isn't revealed - if you are trying to highlight a point. Like, for example, if someone is harrassing you via the PM system, and you wanted to ask other people's advice as to what action or reaction to make in order to make sure you were being fair.

Not sure if I've explained that very well, as my eldest son is playing his keyboard loudly in my ear, but I've done my best!

kundalini
29-10-2006, 01:54 PM
Hi Jaycee, you have raised a valid point but there is one big problem with a moderator asking for permission from a member to publicly post a PM and that is that for selfish reasons, the author could refuse and then the moderator would not be able to prove their point. Of course, maybe that is the author's right but it would put a moderator in a more powerless position or indeed even back them into a corner, forcing them to make more harsh decisions. This needs to be thought about.

I liked your point about maybe posting an overview of a PM in certain situations Jaycee. That sounds like a good idea.

Kundalini.

Disa
29-10-2006, 03:06 PM
Well, I'm so new to this site so not very sure of how your Moderator/Staff structure is set up. It would seem to me that you should be able to discuss the issues with the other moderators and staff and come to a conclusion as to how the situation should be handled.(And I have no idea what issues you are even addressing as I assume all this commotion started before I joined) I'm just not sure why all the members are being included in the discussions as to the outcome of such issues? As far as posting a person's private messages- I don't think it's appropriate to do on the forum and can't think of what point it would prove. Moderators/Staff have the right to do what's necessary- members don't always have to know what lead to it.

Just my little take on it.

Disa

kundalini
29-10-2006, 03:24 PM
That is an interesting point Disa. The reason why this discussion is being raised on the open forum is a way of demonstrating that the 'power is given to the people'. It would be easy for the moderators to reach a decision and leave it at that. This way everybody gets the chance to voice their views and have a say in the decision.

Kundalini.

lumas
29-10-2006, 07:48 PM
there is no reason why an overview of a dispute or description of bad comments left in a pm shouldnt be published to the forum (afterall no one should have to endure personal attacks on this forum) but ultimitly a private messages should stay as that a private message otherwise whats the point to them you might as well turn it into another thread for people to leave comments to...

kundalini
29-10-2006, 09:00 PM
Good point Lumas.

Kundalini.

daisy
29-10-2006, 09:20 PM
hmmm i've refrained from commenting so far on this matter, but now i feel i should, abusive pms to anyone should not be tolerated i think a very generous three strikes and you're out policy should be put in place, it should also be made clear that the moderators and/or site admins decision is final. and if moderators cannot not agree on a course of action(highly unlikely) the admin should be approached to make the final decision.
nuisance pm's perhaps shouldn't be posted but that said they shouldn't have been sent in the first place either, air you views by all means but respectfully i also think there should be a 'sticky' thread up for complaints so members may air these in a dignified manner. i will install this new thread myself as soon as i have the nod from my fellow mod

daisy
29-10-2006, 09:24 PM
by the way on some sites pm's can be disabled i don't know if that is an option here or not but this is another alternative to this problem but i feel it just sweeps it under the carpet rather than dealing with it properly

tiltjlp
29-10-2006, 09:47 PM
I don't think moderation by committee is ever a good idea, and seldom results in the best decisions being made. The whole idea behind having moderators is so that they maintain peace, and take disciplinary actions. A standard of conduct/forum rules should be posted, after being drawn up by the site owner and the moderators, and that should be followed.

Many forums will have several stages of discipline, with 1 week Read/Only for the first offense, working up to a possible ban. A member who stays in line after any Disciplinary Action for three months would have one D/A marker removed. This is the model used on a forum I was involved with for 6 years, and it worked with few problems. Just something to think about.

John

daisy
29-10-2006, 09:52 PM
that sounds good john thank you

GoldChord
30-10-2006, 01:33 AM
Hi,

This is a really tricky issue and I have avoided weighing in on the debate. But I now cannot help myself. Here's what I think:

1. Moderators should not have to put up with any form of abuse or harassment via the private messaging system.

2. Private messages should not be published without permission of the author - under any circumstances.

3. It seems to me that the purpose of publishing any of this material (this seems to be the implication behind this thread) is that it will in some way name and shame the perpetrator so they refrain from this activity and will prevent others. I am not in favour in naming and shaming anyone for any reason. It seems totally contrary to the nature of this forum where love and support must prevail even in the face of bad behaviour.

4. I do believe that in the forum rules section that members agree to when they sign up there should be a section addressing the place and role of moderators that affirms that while moderators are there to facilitate us in concerns and issues through private messaging that might not be for discussion on the forum they must be treated (and posted) in the same manner as any public post.

5. I am in favour of a scale of limitations for anyone breaking these rules determined by collaboration between moderators.

I'm sure this doesn't solve anything. But I'm sure it will give some food for thought.

Take care

Pounamu
30-10-2006, 02:30 AM
I must say I'm inclined more and more to the idea that Private Messages are meant to be private, and should not be revealed. I think really the main reason to do so is to "back up" a moderator's view or determination of a case; and I believe that moderators should have vested in them the right to make decisions as they in their wisdom and responsibility see fit, with that decision accepted by all as being under the rules, with no arguments allowed, no back-up evidence needed. And if the rules are detailed and explicit, I don't see that there could be any argument.

A moderator is essentially "holding the boundaries" of the forum; to facilitate this process, we should all get behind the moderators and accept that "what they say, goes". Only if a large number of obviously wonky decisions are made, should the suitability of the moderator be questioned; they have been honoured with that job for their observed fairness, integrity and suitability, and in my opinion they should be assisted by our co-operation as much as we can.

Mother Goose
30-10-2006, 03:47 AM
I believe that moderators should have vested in them the right to make decisions as they in their wisdom and responsibility see fit, with that decision accepted by all as being under the rules, with no arguments allowed, no back-up evidence needed.

This is how I see it too!

I'd just like to add that in my experience as a moderator and administrator, the posting of PM's has rarely lead to anything other than more drama. It's a practice that I do not condone, but I will say that Fiona made excellent points about establishing a policy regarding this issue! If you feel that there will be times when it's absolutely necessary to post PM's then there should definitely be guidelines that everyone is aware of and accept as policy. :smile:

dreamer
30-10-2006, 11:32 AM
I don't see the point in moderators to be honest, we are all moderators in truth anyway aren't we? Why bother having PMs if they are gonna be posted and looked at by moderators anyway, its like the CIA or something. I don't care either way really, it is funny though (if i'm allowed to say that?)

Mother Goose
30-10-2006, 11:46 AM
hehehe, the CIA? :D

You make a good point about how we are all moderators....or SHOULD be. I do see the need for moderators though. It's good to have someone with the authority to make decisions regarding disputes between members and someone to deal with trolls as they pop up. It IS possible to have a decent board without official moderators, but in light of recent events I too believe it was/is time for this board to have moderators. And I think kundalini is doing a fine job and daisy will be of great help as well. :color:

daisy
30-10-2006, 11:48 AM
I don't see the point in moderators to be honest, we are all moderators in truth anyway aren't we? Why bother having PMs if they are gonna be posted and looked at by moderators anyway, its like the CIA or something. I don't care either way really, it is funny though (if i'm allowed to say that?)
Dreamer, the pms in question were sent to a moderator, and just so everyone knows moderators do not have access to pms:smile:

daisy
30-10-2006, 11:51 AM
moderators keep the boards 'tidy' too, deleting duplicated posts and the like, we are also here to protect you from 'false' members who prey on sites leaving links and downloads containing viruses and such

dreamer
30-10-2006, 12:16 PM
[QUOTE=daisy]Dreamer, the pms in question were sent to a moderator, and just so everyone knows moderators do not have access to pms:smile:[/QUOTE

oops, not meaning to get at you or kundalini you both do a very valuable job - guess i'm a bit of an anarchist at heart.

daisy
30-10-2006, 12:19 PM
[QUOTE=daisy]Dreamer, the pms in question were sent to a moderator, and just so everyone knows moderators do not have access to pms:smile:[/QUOTE

oops, not meaning to get at you or kundalini you both do a very valuable job - guess i'm a bit of an anarchist at heart.


hey it wasn't a go at you either dreamer, just thought i ought to make it clear for all thats all:wink:

cweiters
30-10-2006, 02:24 PM
Yes, if what is being said privately has the potential of being toxic to all members of SF. Yes, show the message, but not the messenger. Prior to the public post give the messenger a warning that what he or she is doing is unacceptable. If it get to the point where a mederator review this as continuious then Yes, most definately you have forfit your preveledge for privacy. Example is the best teacher.

Love to all.......
cw

dreamer
30-10-2006, 03:31 PM
[QUOTE=dreamer]


hey it wasn't a go at you either dreamer, just thought i ought to make it clear for all thats all:wink:

hee, hee, hee thats okay then, thanks Daisy.

cweiters
30-10-2006, 04:49 PM
Im sorry, I thought you did. Now that is clear to me. Yes!
[quote=daisy]Dreamer, the pms in question were sent to a moderator, and just so everyone knows moderators do not have access to pms:smile:[/QUOTE

oops, not meaning to get at you or kundalini you both do a very valuable job - guess i'm a bit of an anarchist at heart.