The tone of the forum

Astronomically-related chat

Moderators: joe, Brian, Guy Fennimore

joe
Site Admin
Posts: 4383
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:24 am
Location: Greenwich, London
Contact:

The tone of the forum

Post by joe »

Recently there have been a few discussions that have, unfortunately, soured some people's view of the forum. Everyone is free to express themselves - positively and negatively - as long as they are on topic, polite and generally respectful of other members' views.

There are some topics where no amount of argument is going to change a person's opinion and, as frustrating as it might be, it's pointless to continually repeat the same statements in the hope that you might "win". Often this leads to bad feeling and the topic ends up being locked or, in extreme cases, being removed altogether.

Forums are always like this so I don't want to exaggerate the issue but when valuable members are abandoning the forum because of apparent "negativity" maybe it's time to take a breath and think about how we reply. The objective really is to keep the forum friendly and welcoming - without it becoming dull, of course.

Please be aware that I am not singling out individuals and I may have been just as guilty as the next person.
200mm Newtonian, OMC140, ETX90, 15x70 Binoculars.
Cliff
Posts: 6623
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Post by Cliff »

Dear Joe
I am interested in your comments.
There seem to be many astronomical chat forums that people can wander off to. I've never found much need to wander myself and from what I vaguely recall reading in the past, the SPA chat forum is, or was then, one of the friendliest astr-forums on the internet.
Without wanting to know any names, I must say I would like to know about some examples of people reasons for people not liking the forum and so abandoning it.
As regards wandering off topic, I'm probably as guilty as anyone for doing it - but I do like to think there is some sort of link to the specific topic supposedly being discussed. Over the years I have had several hobbies\pastimes, as well as astronomy. Despite being on the face of things perhaps having no connection with astronomy, I think there can be some interesting connectios eg say the organisation of astro-societies and other pastime clubs. People may have different specific interests, but at the end of the day we are all people and if we get too narrow in our views I think amateur astronomy will be the loser.
I don't want to get the labelled as being an astronomy-geek.
Best wishes from Cliff
Ender Of Days
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:00 pm
Location: north sheffield
Contact:

Post by Ender Of Days »

I know that recently Im guilty of a few comments that I regret on quite a few forums,
In fact Ive actually pm'd a few people and checked things were still OK between us,

But I will only post something I know is correct (there's no point guessing stuff)
and the whole point of forums like this is to enjoy and to educate,

Personally Id be friends with everybody here given the chance :) ,

JJ.. :)
aint no speed limit where im comin from ..
lets hit the highway doing 69


ETX 125
Meade Series 4000 box set
Brian
Posts: 3702
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Wellingborough
Contact:

Post by Brian »

It's a shame that one topic in particular has been so devisive in our otherwise happy little community. I hope that those who have resolved not to frequent this Forum in future will reconsider in due course. We will miss their input ,

Regards to All,
Brian
52.3N 0.6W
Wellingborough UK.

254mm LX90 on Superwedge, WO ZS66SD, Helios 102mm f5 on EQ1, Hunter 11x80, Pentax 10x50
ASI120MC Toucam Pros 740k/840k/900nc mono, Pentax K110D
Ro-Ro roof shed
Cliff
Posts: 6623
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Post by Cliff »

Dear al(L)
I'll bash my old drum again (dspite there having been warnings not to push controversial topics endlessly).
However, in my opinion, allowing a chat forum to just go onexpanding, is almost inevitably going to lead to some contributors being offended.
In the good old days, in the younger days of forum there were few contributors and they got to know each other (warts and all) thus contributors were able to understand others strengths and failings. Now there are numerous contributors and it is pretty well impossible for them to get a decent understanding of each other. Inevitably frictions will develope and occasionally some contributors drop out - whilst arguably nasty contributors who thrive totally on controversey may flurish.
So if we really do want a very friendly forum I personally don't think ever ongoing expansion is the answer.
Best wishes from Cliff
nealeh
Posts: 552
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:42 am
Location: STAMFORD, United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: The tone of the forum

Post by nealeh »

joe wrote:Recently there have been a few discussions that have, unfortunately, soured some people's view of the forum. Everyone is free to express themselves - positively and negatively
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether a comment is considered positive or negative is down to the personal viewpoint of the moderator. Without clear rules and explanation of why a post was considered unsuitable the forum becomes the play toy of a small non-accountable group.
joe wrote:the topic ends up being locked or, in extreme cases, being removed altogether.
Creeping invisible censorship is (in my opinion and not necessarily that of others) a dreadful way to move forward. I see from a comment in another discussion that an entire thread has been removed. Why? Why couldn't the offending post have been edited to remove comments that I'm guessing either triggered a solicitors letter or an old buddy calling in a favour. The remainder of the thread could have remained and the edited post would state which of the forum terms/conditions was violated.
joe wrote: Forums are always like this so I don't want to exaggerate the issue but when valuable members are abandoning the forum ...
Change is the nature of life. Who decides whether or not a member is valuable? The very nature of your comment means that you consider some members valuable and therefore, by inference, some not so valuable. Does this not in some way denigrate those who remain?

Perhaps, on a constructive note, now might be the time to implement a suggestion someone made a long time ago that there should be a 'chat about anything you like' board. Like general but without the stipulation that it be astronomically related.
Cheers,
--
Neale
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
Paul Sutherland
Site Admin
Posts: 917
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 6:06 pm
Location: Walmer, Kent
Contact:

Post by Paul Sutherland »

I've found this forum to be one of the most friendly and relaxed around, notable for its lack of censorship. The only people I've seen banned are the pornographers and spammers who have tried to slip in to post material, but who are kept out by one of our diligent helpers in particular.

Contrast this with other forums I could name where I've seen members banned for the slightest of transgressions and one is not even allowed to question a moderator's decision.

We are very lucky in having Joe performing the main moderating task on our forum and he does so with an admirable light touch, I'm sure most people would agree. I know he wasn't suggesting that any members were not valuable. Like me, he was sad that a former webmaster who has worked hard and given much time to the society has decided to make the break because of the negative or aggressive attitude of a few.

Paul
mike a feist
Posts: 3303
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Contact:

Re: The tone of the forum

Post by mike a feist »

Re

Perhaps, on a constructive note, now might be the time to implement a suggestion someone made a long time ago that there should be a 'chat about anything you like' board. Like general but without the stipulation that it be astronomically related.


I think that this would make things worse. maf
Last edited by mike a feist on Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
maurice
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:34 pm
Contact:

Post by maurice »

I suggest less use of quote. Especialy, quote on top of quote on top of quote. When I read/see this I feal angry and aggresive. Even when I am not taking any part in the thread. It is like being in a very fractious court room. So less use of quote and more use of emotions perhaps?
All the best Maurice. ps How do I use quote and emotions?
Deimos
Posts: 496
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 9:08 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Deimos »

maurice wrote:I suggest less use of quote. Especialy, quote on top of quote on top of quote. When I read/see this I feal angry and aggresive. Even when I am not taking any part in the thread. It is like being in a very fractious court room. So less use of quote and more use of emotions perhaps?
All the best Maurice. ps How do I use quote and emotions?
(and my use of quote is not to annoy), but quote should be taken as a reference back to what is being discussed. any subject has many different aspects. Some posts to a thread will be to bring in new aspects or raise new points, other posts will be to discuss specific points somebody else has raised. Use of quotes allows a reference back to the point something is referring to. In quite a few posts people raise a number of different points and somebody answering of discussing the different points raised needs to refer to each point and quotes are the tool to do this. Even if you could add e.g. some sort of bookmark, people would be scrolling up and down, etc.

In this post for example, had I not quoted what you had written then people would have no idea if I was raising a new point about quotes, referring back to some point somebody made some way back in the thread (in many threads maybe even on a different page).

On occasions it is helpful to nest quotes when the quoted text does not make sense on its own.

I don't see the use of quotes as aggressive but rather allowing a post to stand alone and make sense without having to guess what it might be referring to and exactly what was said back there.

e.g. suppose my post here had not quoted what you said and there were 10 posts between your point and my comments, maybe even a page break.

Ian
joe
Site Admin
Posts: 4383
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:24 am
Location: Greenwich, London
Contact:

Re: The tone of the forum

Post by joe »

nealeh wrote:Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether a comment is considered positive or negative is down to the personal viewpoint of the moderator.
It's the personal viewpoint of anyone who reads it.
nealeh wrote: Change is the nature of life. Who decides whether or not a member is valuable? The very nature of your comment means that you consider some members valuable and therefore, by inference, some not so valuable. Does this not in some way denigrate those who remain?
I don't think it denigrates those who remain - it's not what I intended anyway. There are members who have been here for years, answering people's questions almost on a daily basis as well as offering advice and tips with decades of observing experience behind them. Two have just left. I felt it was important enough to make a general comment.

Most people are sensible enough to moderate their own comments. I can't remember the last time I asked someone to edit their post or had to edit one myself. I certainly don't have the time to run all over the forum reminding people of the "rules" (which are here, by the way).

We will carry on, of course. It's not the end of the world. The forum is a very relaxed place. I visit as a user first and foremost and my moderating duties are generally of the housekeeping variety.
200mm Newtonian, OMC140, ETX90, 15x70 Binoculars.
nealeh
Posts: 552
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 11:42 am
Location: STAMFORD, United Kingdom
Contact:

Post by nealeh »

Several methods:
  • Click the Quote button on the specific post that you want to quote. Delete material you do not want included in the quote.
  • Enter the text you want to quote, highlight that text and click the Quote button.
  • Go hardcore and type {Quote} (using square rather than curly brackets) at the beginning of the quote and {/quote} (again with square brackets) at the end of the quote.
For emoticons ensure that the "Disable Smilies ..." check box below the entry screen is clear and then click the emoticon, at the left of the entry box, you want to include.

At the bottom left of the entry screen is a highlighted option "BBCode is ON". Click that for fuller instructions on using the board features.
Cheers,
--
Neale
Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children
mike a feist
Posts: 3303
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 6:11 pm
Location: Portslade, Sussex Lat 50deg 51min Long 0deg 13mins West
Contact:

Post by mike a feist »

To be honest the important part of this site for me is to report and receive info on what you or I might otherwise miss and where and with what it can be seen. And being able to do this straight away. Along the way you build up a network of sharing with people who you can relate too. maf
Cliff
Posts: 6623
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 8:18 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Post by Cliff »

Dear al(L)
I go along with Mike's comments to a point.
However, being me perhaps inevitably I want to make things more complicated. As far as I'm concerned I am happy forum chatting to other SPA members. I personally do not go along with every other Tom, Dick and Harriet being able to join the forum.
Of course many of these others might be very nice people and arguably there are possibly some SPA members I might not want to know, and some members who might not want to know me. However, having an open forum membership open leads to the possibilty of all sorts of things I might not want to get involved with.
Some of the problems might relate to my limitations using computers and the Internet. However, that does not necessarily mean my fears have no foundation.
I gather the SPA now has connections wth "Twitter" which is another unknown to me (except I gather Twittering or tweeting is limited to 140 words. However, I cannot help being concerned that I recently heard that Facebook sells on details of its contributors to any commercial enterprises prepared to pay. I donot know what the score might be with Twitter but I don't like the idea of SPA members background being potentially available to any such money spinning lot.
Ironically as I see it if there is any such danger it seems to me SPA members might be sufferers of unscrupulous commercial scrutinity and ironically non SPA members contributing to this chat forum might escape free.
Best wishes from Cliff
PS I've experienced several potential frauds recently (though not specifically internet related). This modern world is getting an ever scarrier place.
David Frydman
Posts: 5363
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:25 am
Contact:

Post by David Frydman »

Cliff,
Unfortunately some of the scams are so elaborate that even the most sophisticated can be caught out. And for lesser mortals, especially those not computer literate great caution is needed.
It can be telephone, newspaper ads, internet, or just being caught out in the street.

The argument is that in the past it was highwaymen or old time muggers.

But one should not live in fear just because there are rogues out there.

We have it pretty safe here.
And yes there have been astro scams as well, it must be said.

Regards, David
Post Reply