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View Poll Results: Should Moderators have the power to post PMs?
Yes! It is in the interests of forum moderation! 3 20.00%
No! It is an invasion of privacy! 11 73.33%
Don't know! It is a difficult question! 1 6.67%
Don't Care! 0 0%
Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 29-10-2006, 12:18 AM
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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,

Old 29-10-2006, 12:26 AM
daisy daisy is offline
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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.
Old 29-10-2006, 01:12 AM
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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!

Old 29-10-2006, 01:24 AM
Posts: n/a
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.
Old 29-10-2006, 01:40 AM
Posts: n/a
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.

Old 29-10-2006, 02:04 AM
Posts: n/a
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.
Old 29-10-2006, 01:50 PM
Posts: n/a
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.

Old 29-10-2006, 02:25 PM
Posts: n/a
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!
Old 29-10-2006, 02:54 PM
Posts: n/a
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.

Old 29-10-2006, 04:06 PM
Posts: n/a
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.

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