Lately a few issues came to my attention (Matt) in the forum and I have spoken with the other new moderator (Aaron) about them.
I just wanted to give everyone a friendly reminder about tone, word choice, and attitude in the forum. The basic issue is that all posts need to adhere to the standards which are laid out on the forum intro page here: http://www.cartridgecollectors.org/forumintro.htm. When they are not adhered to, Aaron and I will now more aggressively take action with warnings and bans. I think being new moderators we were hesitant to “jump down people’s throats” so to speak on issues of tone and we have been very lenient, but now it needs to change.
My personal interpretation of how there are different attitudes towards tone in the forum are a few points:
Some members are used to a much more liberal atmosphere (from other gun & ammo forums) when it comes to sarcastic remarks, poking fun, shining-on of other members, and even coarse language. Indeed, in some forums it is even the expected form of tone, with much sarcasm. This is understandable since almost every other forum I have been in about guns & ammo is less mature than our forum here, so it probably seems to some like we are needlessly strict or overly straight-edge. There is a reason for this, which partly leads to reason 2:
English is not the first language of all members here (more so than other English-text gun/ordnance forums). As such, some members who are used to sarcasm interpretation as primary English speakers don’t see the harm in some of their snarky banter. This is not always acceptable since some members do not understand or see the relevance of personal remarks or whether or not someone is being serious. I even have a hard time interpreting when a member is being sarcastic or serious sometimes, and the implications of how that might be interpreted can be hurtful / serious to some.
Some members know their tone is off and they just don’t care. Well like I said; Aaron and I will see to that, and for reasons relating to maintaining a professional atmosphere for all IAA members who speak English as a first, second, or third language, and for reasons related to having a mature atmosphere for the purposes of our relationship to organizations like the BATFE, TSA, and the government in general (who are very good to us thus far) - we need to be clear on these basic rules.
A few specific reminders:
Don’t make inside jokes as side-comments even when you and the recipient know it is just a joke. To some others, especially non primary English speakers, it might seem like you are being serious and give the impression that you or the forum in general is hostile.
Don’t challenge someone’s knowledge or statement in a negative way. For instance if a member makes a statement about a cartridge and you disagree, don’t say “you are obviously wrong” , or “you are way, way off buddy”, or some such challenge implicating the degree of their error. Just propose your view politely and seek verification from others.
Don’t use all-caps. WHEN THE CAP-LOCK IS USED IT OFTEN SEEMS LIKE SCREAMING. Partial cap-locks in a message can also seem like you are implying something that should be obvious, or a point that is being made in “duh, why didn’t you know that?” sort of way. Use the underline function when you want to emphasize importance as an alternative to cap-locks.
This might seem silly, but not being able to see each others faces when communicating leaves much open to interpretation, and some people are more sensitive than others. I think 99% of the time, 99% of the members are fine with this and this whole reminder is not necessary for those members. But it only takes a very few instances to turn off long time members and friends. I also realize that some members have a more Libertarian view, or even Anarchic view of how the forum should be left to however it might be used by whomever, but we have rules. Every member might have an off-day and make an occasional remark or two that, in hind-sight seems out of place, but this whole concern is more about the ongoing repeat offenses or potential for repeat offenses.
If anyone has concerns or finds any inconsistency in enforcement then just let us know. The moderators sometimes have a hard time reading every single post every day in a timely manner.