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  • Rules and Moderation

    The Scouter forums are a place to meet other folks, ask questions, exchange information, ideas, and resources, and to experience a sense of camaraderie with one another. Were guided by the Scout Law; ideally, additional rules should not be necessary. Indeed, the forums have prospered for many years with very little in the way of rules. Formal rules should not be needed if we can all remember two guidelines:

    1. Keep It Scout-like

    Play fair.
    Treat other forum members with respect.
    Keep the tone civil. Dont disparage another person or use personal insults.
    Be careful about sounding condescending or patronizing.
    Have patience with others that dont understand your point of view.
    Make an effort to understand the points of view of others.
    Consider if your post adds to the value of the forums, or just wastes other folks time. Avoid pointless chatter.
    Keep your post readable. Give some attention to grammar, spelling, and basic sentence structure.
    Your post is going to be read by thousands of others and becomes a permanent part of the Scouter.com Scouting resource. Put some thoughtfulness in your message.
    2. Keep It Honest

    Express your opinion, but explain WHY you hold the opinion.
    Dont fabricate data to support your position.
    Dont claim to speak for BSA, or another group, or the majority, unless based on fact.
    Support your statements of fact with a source.
    Dont rephrase or restate the position of another person in a way that could be misleading.
    When quoting another person or source of information, be careful what you quote is not taken out of context.
    Dont misstate your identity, your role in Scouting, or your background.
    Frank
    FScouter
    Member of the moderator team

  • #2
    FScouter, please answer the questions in the other topic on this subject - the new topic that I started on YOUR suggestion.

    Comment


    • #3
      No individual moderator sets forum policy. That is reserved to Terry Howerton, the site owner. While I will admit to word-smithing everything in the opening post above, the two guidelines come from Terrys past postings in the forums, as well as most if not all of the examples. I agree with all of it and do think it needs to be brought up again from time to time.

      As Eamonn stated elsewhere, the moderators were selected and recruited by Terry. We were told, and I believe he made a general announcement, that those selected were chosen because they represent a cross-section of the membership. We have different points of view. We do not agree on everything.

      Terry has suggested to us that moderation should ideally be kept to a minimum. In fact it is so minimal that when it does occur it seems to be a major event. Moderation is about as even-handed as it could be, given the number of moderators. Each moderator has his own techniques and threshold for action. We dont always agree with the form of moderation taken by another. I do tend to moderate more than the others, and some topics I moderate may be handled differently by another moderator, if at all.

      Moderators are not expected to remain silent, and have been encouraged by Terry to participate in the discussions. There is bound to be disagreement and different points of view amongst forum members. That does make it somewhat difficult for a moderator to participate in a discussion, and then to moderate the same discussion. Thus its not surprising that the moderators get accused of being unfair, or editing/deleting posts with different opinions. The truth is, all points of view are welcome as long as they are presented in a Scout-like manner. Moderation never happens to squelch a point of view.

      There is no special significance to serving as a moderator. We all have the capability to move topics into different forums. We delete duplicate posts. We have the capability to edit and delete posts, and to lock a topic to further discussion. That is it.

      Posts that are edited are signed (This message has been edited by a moderator). The placement of that wording is done automatically by the forum software and was designed to operate in that manner by Terry. It cannot be altered or removed by a moderator. Obviously, deleted posts cannot be signed, nor can locked topics or moved topics, unless the moderator adds a separate post to that effect. Since the moderation system was not designed to identify specific moderators, and since Terry has not suggested or encouraged the practice, I generally dont choose to do so.

      When the moderators were selected by Terry, he chose to not reveal the identities, but left it to the individuals to reveal themselves if desired.. All of us have since outed ourselves. It really is no secret.

      The moderators are:
      OldGreyEagle
      Acco40
      Eamonn
      hops_scout
      FScouter
      The owner of Scouter.com is SCOUTER-Terry

      All of us can be contacted by PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        While all that is nice to know, the questions resulting from the deletions remain unanswered. The topic on moderators that you invited is still waiting. Why are you avoiding this?

        Comment


        • #5
          Kudo's to you and your colleagues for keeping this forum on the straight and narrow.

          Comment


          • #6
            All moderators are just human and as such will upset some people at times. You occasionally may disagree with what they did but it is done. Let them know your point of view as a chance to improve (a gift as mentioned by many) then let it go. Trying to drag out your anger just upsets a lot of people.  Let other moderators and Terry deal with it. State your point and move on.
            Moderators have a hard job and I think these have done good jobs. If you wish to know who is a moderator, just look next to their name and you will find * means they are a moderator. No secret. Thank y'all for your work!!

            Comment


            • #7
              What many may not realize is that the moderators, for the most part, do not confer with each other. Sometimes I wince when I see what other moderators have done to posts. I'm sure some wince when I go and edit posts simply for grammar and spelling (I'll do that just to make the posts more clear).

              At summer camp, I taught a little about sharpening an axe using a bastard file (Firem'n Chit fodder). I teased one of the Scouts (around 14) that this was the only context that they could used the word bastard in Scouts. Yes, I have a weird sense of humor and some may feel it is necessary to edit this post while others may not. C'est la vie.

              The placement of that wording is done automatically by the forum software and was designed to operate in that manner by Terry. It cannot be altered or removed by a moderator. While true in some sense, as a moderator, I can edit a post and delete anything that is currently in the post - including previous tag lines (message has been edited by ... message has been edited by moderator, etc.). The only thing that is automatic is the last tag line.

              Comment


              • #8
                Acco40, just testing the 'off-topic' rule here. At least I know that YOU most likely won't be the one to delete it.

                But in reference to your training session on how to sharpen an axe, I think I sharpened my carving tool a bit too much recently. At camp I used the wheel to produce a mirror-finish edge, even sharper than a razor, I think. And then yesterday, sure enough - it slipped and penetrated the tip of my index finger, slicing through a portion of the fingernail and then past that and up underneath it right to the bone. It was so sharp that it didn't even hurt that much at first. Nothing like the time I accidentally jammed an ice pick under a thumbnail and out the other side of the thumb. Bled like everything, but a really neat, clean wound.
                It did remind me, however, of every slice of a finger I've ever felt from really sharp steel. It is a special sensation, almost electric, and savored even better when done slowly during an unexpected action like turning and resting a hand on a razor-sharp axe blade, perhaps skinning off the tip of a finger with an incredibly sharp knife, or sliding a hand over a freshly cut can lid. Mmmmmm.

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK. A question has been posed, though in a bit of a roundabout way.
                  Should interjecting into an established topic be an acceptable or encouraged practice? Or more generally, is the Scout Law enough of a guide, or should there be clarification?
                  Thoughts?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm not sure what others expect from the forum?
                    I tend to look at it much the same way as the Parking Lot Meeting, which seems to happen after most Scout-type meetings or a gathering of Scouter's who get together to shoot the breeze around a dying camp fire.
                    I don't see this as the place to visit for chapter and verse of what the BSA rules, guidelines and policy is.
                    I would hope that we all would treat each other with respect and do our best to be kind to each other.
                    Conversations do tend to take on a life of their own. A chat about the price of gas becomes a chat about the good old days, the good old days brings up the old guy from Troop 666 which leads to the kid who fell in the creek, which leads to the conversation being about BSA Lifeguard. - You get my drift!!
                    At times someone will say something that is totally daffy! What we choose to do is up to each of us. We can gang up and beat the heck out of him!! We can take plenty of NO notice. Or maybe in a kind and polite way point out that maybe he is just wrong.
                    I do think the key word is Respect.
                    Eamonn.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well Frank I think after following the other thread you started about you I think many here feel you do not follow the scout law in your role as moderator. Except for your friend Bob White and Eamonn, to a small degree, there seemed to be little support of your actions in this forum. So without belaboring the point your course of action seems perfectly clear, you should step down as a moderator and that would level the playing field in your interaction with others. I think it is the best solution for all concerned. Now the question remains Frank are you man enough to do it?
                      (This message has been edited by BadenP)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        So now this has become a matter of manhood has it?

                        That's fascinating. And by what blessing of authority was that judgemental crown bestowed upon you BadenP?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          BP,

                          With all due respect, grow up.

                          All of this wailing and gnashing of teeth over the "heavy handed" moderation here by some is laughable. If you want to see heavy handed moderation, go to Hannity.com and visit the talk to the moderator forum where the mod staff has been painted into a PC corner with all sorts of arcane rules brought on by the need to protect Hannity from the same kind of guilt by association attacks he employees as well as all of the whining by thin skinned posters. For gosh sakes folks, it is just the internet. Take a break and go for a walk. Cool off.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OK, it was me who deleted My Boyce's threadin the Uniform section. Interested people can PM me and I will explain why. I would post in the Uniform section but I can't seem to get a new topic to stick(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OGE, as long as we're in the confessional, I admit it...it was me - I was in the kitchen with Dinah.

                              BadenP, I am disappointed with the way you were just treated by other respondents in reply to what I think were your heartfelt thoughts. Given the origin of this thread, perhaps you might have expected their remarks to go unmoderated. I would like to respond differently.

                              I have not called for FScouter to step down. I hope someone else has noticed this. I have refrained from such a call because although he may act unfairly, capriciously, and with great bias, this is less a problem with him than with the basic design behind the 'moderation' process.
                              When I started the other thread, it was not about FScouter, although he certainly was the one who invited that thread to be created. I started the other topic because of a single event and my interest in understanding how and why a moderator can get it so wrong.
                              The moderators are human. They bring to the forums all of their personality quirks (sorry OGE, it had to be said ) and those are sometimes reflected in the way they censor the rest of us. Let's be open about this. 'Moderation' is a PC term for 'censorship'.
                              If you give an opinionated and biased person the absolute power to make the expressions of others disappear, how can anyone be surprised when such a person exercises this power, running roughshod over the expressions of others?
                              To me this is an inevitability. Ironically, considering a common viewpoint I detect in these forums, it is the very thing so many seem to fear from any authority with absolute power...and yet we embrace it here.
                              If FScouter hadn't precipitated the topic, it is likely that someone else would have. The old adage about absolute power seems to apply but the corruption is not so much a problem of the corrupt, but of the absolute power.

                              The problem is not FScouter (although he could be part of the solution). No, the problem is how to censor any discourse in a manner that is fair, and without suppressing the free exchange of ideas. I am heartened by what I have recently read in another forum.
                              In that thread, Gonzo1, Merlyn, and Rooster7 have actually come close to engaging in a real discussion of what it means to 'believe'. This, after literally years of unproductive verbal conflict. I actually look forward to the further development of that thread, even if it is somewhat off-topic.
                              In that case they have 'moderated' themselves very nicely. (or course, by the time this is posted, I could be completely wrong about this. )
                              If the problem is how to fairly censor the respondents in these forums, the answer, I think, lies somewhere between one extreme of self-moderation at the moment of hitting the 'submit' button ...and the other extreme of having some petty tyrant exercising absolute power over expression, neither of which have been demonstrated to work well. (personally, I am OK with self-moderation, but I recognize that mine is a 'liberal' viewpoint and that the majority seems to embrace the 'tyrant' approach)

                              The concept of applying the scout law is OK but how many times have we disagreed on what that means in application? If it is left to individual interpretation we're still left with self-moderation, in essence. And BadenP, I submit that unless I interpret your thoughts in error, you wish that the moderators would actually apply the points of the law during the moderation process. Am I wrong? You might be shocked to learn that they may actually think that they do.

                              Perhaps the process can be 'tweaked' a bit to avoid the tyrranical approach. Nope, I fear that is unavoidable - a tyrant is always going to be a tyrant. However, I suggest that it would help, if during the process of censoring a post, the censor would make the action known to the forum, including his identity. Anonymously exercising absolute power to delete someone's expression is, of course, discourteous (5th point). But it is also an expression of cowardice (10th point). Of course, with absolute power, the censor need not worry about such frivolities (a whole bunch of other points).

                              Another approach might be for the censor to first ask the person who originated the thread for his opinion, prior to the censorship. This would allow some modicum of additional guidance prior to the deed. The originator could then be part of the process, providing at least one additional potential light in the darkness.

                              BadenP, I am still trying to think of other ways that this flawed approach can work better. But again, I consider FScouter to be symptomatic of the problem, rather than BEING the problem. To me the solution is an improved process. Without that, unfair censorship is likely merely to be repeated, if not by him then by some other censor.

                              Comment

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