Banned Topics and General Behaviour

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Banned Topics and General Behaviour

Postby Burnaby49 » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:07 am

Time to dust off an old perennial. In the past few weeks I've threatened to lock one discussion because of banned political discussion, stopped a line of discussion because it was veering too far into NSFW territory, and been admonished myself for inane babbling about British ales. So I think a review of our general philosophy and our few rules is in order.

Quatloos is a very free-wheeling website that allows opinions and arguments that would be subject to moderator action elsewhere. For example how many Quatloos members reading this have been banned from sites like GOODF and their ilk? Not here. This is an American site which holds an avid first amendment viewpoint so posters are, within very reasonable limits, free to say what they like.

These are the limits, an informal set of guidelines we moderators follow when trying to keep some order in the chaos.

- No political discussions.
- No religious discussions
- No commercial advertising
- No misquoting people
- No racist or sexist comments
-No accusing another memberof lying without providing proof at time of accusation
- No temper tantrums
- No changing history (editing your posts for anything other than grammar, punctuation or formatting

Or any other damn thing we feel like dumping on at the moment. There's no way of knowing what you posters are going to throw at us until you do it.

For a bit of background on the politics and religion ban I'll take the lazy route and re-post an entry I made on a UK discussion a couple of years back;

A little background for you UK contributors who weren't here for the great purge of 2012. I joined up in late 2011 and Quatloos was largely focused on its mission exposing of scams, tax fraud, sovereigns, freemen etc. We even allowed flame wars, some of which got quite vile. One contributor, in particular, seemed to post here for no other purpose than to be grossly offensive. When arguments got out of hand they were transferred to a specific section called "Flame Wars and Other Pissing Contests". Great fun I suppose, I didn't participate in them.

But it all went to hell with the 2012 American presidential election. Things just somehow blew up into one partisan acrimonious argument after another about Obama and Romney, some of it very offensive. Political squabbling overwhelmed the site and threatened to destroy Quatloos's reputation as an objective investigative source of information on it's primary goals. A lot of previous followers just stopped reading it. So Jay, the site's founder and owner, took action and had a purge. All the political postings were deleted and many contributors who participated here for no other purpose than to argue about issues irrelevant to Quatloos's purpose were banned and all their postings, on any topics, deleted. I'd say over half of the listed contributors were purged. The individual I noted above was one of them. Along with that Jay did some housekeeping and deleted the mass of casual posters who had just dabbled a few times but had contributed nothing.

Then the moderators (I wasn't one at the time) got together and set up some firm rules about allowed topics and contributor conduct to get things back on track. No flame wars, no politics, no religion are the primary ones. Topics are expected to stick to the intent of the site. In my opinion entirely beneficial. I pretty much dropped out of the site in mid 2012 because of all the pointless arguing and political ranting. None of it had anything to do with why I'd been contributing. Also offensive racial, sexual and religious comments are right out and can get you banned entirely if egregious enough.

Religion, as a general topic, is out for the same reason as politics. Again, in 2012, posters started totally pointless religious squabbles. They often got quite heated and were irrelevant to the site's purpose. However religion is an acceptable topic in the context of scams and Freemen discussion but only in respect to how religion is an integral part of the scam. If you read my Ed Belanger postings it is all about Christianity and the King James bible because these are the foundations of Belanger's ploys to entice suckers to follow his scams. I don't given my opinion of Christianity or any other religion but I discuss how Belanger uses it to manipulate people like the Volks into screwing up their lives.

One issue that has divided the moderators is the banning of certain contributors. Philosophically we are against it, the site welcomes diverse opinions. You won't get banned here for arguing in favour of scammers like Ceylon or disagreeing with other posters as long as you keep it civil. The relatively few posters who have been banned after the Great Purge were not kicked out because of their opinions but because of their conduct or because they were just trolls. Even those were the subject of much moderator discussion and warnings first.

As you can tell from my postings some laxity is allowed as long as it doesn't touch banned topics. I'm often off topic babbling on about beer or aircraft, or my recent New York trip, but just as aside, not as a primary discussion. I try to add value rather than give my opinions.

So those are the basics. As you British posters are aware we moderators take a very light hand on policing opinions and behaviour which is why many of you probably post here. I've only used my moderator powers three times, this one, a flame war I deleted, and a third deletion of postings at the poster's own requests. But I'm lurking in the background watching.

We mods have, in the past, had informal discussions on religion and political topics and this is my interpretation of how we moderators (or at least me) view regulating them,


- No discussion about any religious figure. This includes heads of religion all the way down to the local minister UNLESS the official is engaging in acts typically covered by this forum.
-No discussion about religious groups.
-No derogatory comments about any religion or religious figure.


- No discussion about any elected official. This includes every elected official, regardless of party or political persuasion, from the POTUS down to your local dogcatcher UNLESS the official is engaging in acts typically covered by this forum.
-No discussion about political parties, the political process, or the political direction of the country.
-No derogatory comments about any elected or appointed public official.
- No derogatory comments about any political party or political belief system.

This is not all-inclusive. The recent comments about the root cause of the Grenfell Tower fire did not fit neatly into the above categories but were nonetheless political.

While I'm being free and easy about Quatloos trivia I'll revisit a comment I made earlier where I noted that wserra is an administrator while I'm just a lowly moderator. Since most of you don't know the distinctions here I'll review the pecking order. Right at the top is the Most Majestic Czar of All Quatloosia, sooltauq, our Supreme Leader. He owns the site but rarely posts or visits. He has posted only 40 times in total and most of those were in the moderator's forum which you can't access. He is formally just an administrator, an equal to the other administrators, but since he's the guy who instigated and conducted the Great Purge of 2012 you don't want to get on his bad side.

The role of the administrators is described as;

[b]What are Administrators?
Administrators are members assigned with the highest level of control over the entire board. These members can control all facets of board operation, including setting permissions, banning users, creating usergroups or moderators, etc., dependent upon the board founder and what permissions he or she has given the other administrators. They may also have full moderator capabilities in all forums, depending on the settings put forth by the board founder.[/b]

While we mods are described as;

What are Moderators?
Moderators are individuals (or groups of individuals) who look after the forums from day to day. They have the authority to edit or delete posts and lock, unlock, move, delete and split topics in the forum they moderate. Generally, moderators are present to prevent users from going off-topic or posting abusive or offensive material.

As you've noted that "prevent users from going off-topic" comment is generally honoured in the breach.

A warning note, don't expect rigid consistancy. We don't have a detailed rule book on how to handle every contingency. Mods just act on their own volition when they see a need to step in. For example I generally don't consult other mods before I start getting intolerably heavy-handed, generally at 2AM with a bottle of wine in me.

If you have any questions on the above feel free to ask and receive my standard sympathetic, empathetic response "Tough, that's how it is."
"Yes Burnaby49, I do in fact believe all process servers are peace officers. I've good reason to believe so." Robert Menard in his May 28, 2015 video "Process Servers".

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