Moderator concerns - please be advised


#1

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:

  1. 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:

  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.

  3. 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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Thanks,
Matt


#2

Matt

Your points are well taken. Being one of those members more inclined to tongue-in-cheek comments, I will try to be more careful.

A question - do you really think that BATF&E, TSA, and government in general, are monitoring the Forum and keeping notes on our behavior and attitude?

Ray


#3

Matt: Nicely put, this is not facebook or any social media and should have different standards to hold the aspect of cartridge collecting high! Thanks Vic


#4

[quote=“RayMeketa”]
A question - do you really think that BATF&E, TSA, and government in general, are monitoring the Forum and keeping notes on our behavior and attitude?[/quote]
I don’t think they monitor the forum at all, not at least in terms of security concerns. There is the thought however that should there ever be an issue with a TSA related decision, or anything regulatory that comes along which might hinder or restrict collecting, especially flying or travel, that we would want to have our best foot forward for any exemption consideration. It might sound “out there” but there have been more than a few flirtations with such regulatory issues looking to restrict guns and/or ammo over the past many years, and if it should go through, we would at least want to have exemptions for our members, in the same way that the ECRA has certain exemptions for its members in some European countries.

Being relatively professional, straight-edged, and tame in the forum comes into play when, if we should need to make a plea or claim regarding anything regulatory related, we wouldn’t John-Q-Agent wandering in to see what we are about only to find we are squabbling or knee-slapping yuksters akin to any random gun forum where the members have avatars of bikini models holding machine guns and whatnot. Also, what members we have with links to any government agency we would want to keep around and not consider us to be not worth their time. That and, it’s always best to project an air of professionalism to deny the anti-gun types any fodder to use against the hobby.

Not saying that we should have to be beholden to the potential whims of government or feel we are subject to censure, but it’s good policy to have a friendly, and low-key forum with good tone anyway. I think there are actually instances when some joking makes sense when its relevant to the conversation, but sometimes it just gets out of hand, or taken the wrong way.

Again, there’s not really a big problem, as 99% of the time we have the best forum around, it’s just thoughts & reminders relevant to our uniquely semi-regulated hobby.


#5

Thanks for that explanation Matt. Again, all points worth considering.

Ray


#6

Makes good sense. I’ve cautioned several interested co-workers against posting here, simply because the level of jovialty accepted in my workplace (and our senses of humor) are coarse (and that’s being very generous). I always encourage folks to ‘lurk’, learn and get a feel for any community, online or otherwise, before joining in.

I liken this forum to a museum or library, whereas most firearm/ammunition related online communities are more akin to a flea-market or carnival.

I sincerely like the level of professionalism attained and expected within IAA. As for monitoring…civil cases like divorces and formal criminal charges involving misconduct, etc. are increasingly relying on social media for ‘evidence’ of this or that. Too many people in my profession do not take these concerns seriously, and have paid the price with their jobs or reputations.

I think we either have to be proactive and err on the side of caution, or expect the worst–sooner or later.

Thanks Matt.


#7

There are “bots” constantly on the watch. I often see the “googlebot” watching this site. All of this is PUBLIC and do not think it is not. I post NOTHING on this or any other site which I would not say in open court.

Keep in mind that much in the way of chemical , gas and nuke information which was previosly open has been reclassified.

Example; if you go to the national archives and request any such info including old manuals you are reported to the govt. by regulation.

In addition the civil aspect is a real consideration. Several times over the years I have had demands from lawyers to provide information about items bought or sold by a particular collector. So far none have been in a state where it was convenient for them to press the issue but it could happen. I have always said no and that was the end of it. If that lawyer and action are in your area they could press the issue and have you brought into court to provide information.

“Expect the worst”… yes.


#8

I find it hard to believe that we, or any other Internet Forum, are being monitored by anyone, for any reason. But, just to be safe, I will probably be wearing my tin-foil hat more often than I have in the past.

Ray


#9

What are Google bot and I assume Bing bot??
carolyn


#10

Web spies. They scan for certain words and file the connection in their data base. Many ammo questions which you seach on Google will bring you to this forum. Google keeps checking in to see what is being posted of interest to previous and possibly future inquiries.

Big brother is looking at you.


#11

dl


#12

A car forum that I regularly read and occasionally post on has these warnings. Apparently if these bots see certain words, they categorise the site as adult content. This means that the site is filtered out of search results if those settings are enabled.

The car forum ended up being blacklisted as adult content, and once a site is on these lists it is very difficult to get it removed. They eventually managed to get it removed, and now warn posters to be careful about what they post for this reason.

Web filters can also blacklist sites based on words, which may make it difficult to view the forum from public or work computers. It could also be a problem if you have kids and have any sort of web filters on a home computer.


#13

So, assuming the Federales are watching, they are not actually reading the Forum posts, but scanning the Google/Bing/Yahoo bot data bases ??

(Now there’s a sentence I never thought I would write. Good Grief!!)


#14

To clarify, both Bing(Bot) from Microsoft and Google(Bot) scan internet pages to build the directories that allow us to go search the internet. These search engines are the way many of our Forum members find us in the first place. And the way people find the IAA home page. Without them there would be far fewer people on the Forum and in the IAA. They are not “Web Spies” because there is nothing on the forum that we are trying to keep from being public. Anyone who finds this site can read it and that was the original intent of the Forum, to make cartridge information, and the hobby of cartridge collecting available to more people.

The IAA provides this Forum as part of the IAA purpose for existence as defined in the Bylaws.

[quote]The following are the purposes for which the IAA has been organized:
a. To promote the study of ammunition of all types and forms by providing for the collection and dissemination of information on a global level. This exchange of information is accomplished primarily by the IAA Journal and by the IAA web site.
b. To promote the legal exchange of ammunition specimens among members. This is accomplished primarily by offering classified advertising in the IAA Journal and the IAA web site.
c. To promote the positive image of ammunition study and collecting to the public and to national and international law enforcement and security organizations.
d. To encourage other national or state organizations with similar purposes.[/quote]

The purpose, as stated in the bylaws, is the reason the moderators work hard to maintain the professional standard of the Forum. It is not a social networking site, or a site for political commentary. It is a site for polite discourse and professional discussion.

The bylaws are also the reason we want the site to be as accessible as possible so that people can find us with their questions and can learn more about cartridge collecting. Often these people decide to become members of the IAA, even if their circumstances prevent them from actually collecting ammunition.

Bing(Bot) and Google(Bot) and the other software programs that stitch together the internet’s ability to guide people to information are good for this Forum and for the IAA.

Falcon gives us a good warning. The use of the wrong words or phrases on this site can get us put in the wrong category and prevent us showing up on the kind of searches where we want to rank high. This is another reason the moderators need to be strict with the content of the posts.

I’m not the person who spends hours making sure the Forum posts meet the standards that have been established, and delete posts that don’t measure up. However, I do think that parts of this thread that worry about the site being monitored tread pretty close to the line-only my opinion.

If you have a question to ask an individual or discuss with an individual, and it isn’t ammunition related, use a PM instead of a post. What you put in a PM is between you and the addressee and doesn’t come to the attention of anyone else unless the addressee complains.

Matt & Aaron, keep up the good work. I think you are doing an excellent job.

Thanks for all the time and effort you spend, and the occasional things you put up with. Well Done!

Lew


#15

I agree 100% with Lew, you guys are doing an excellent Job!!!
I also wanted to clarify my remarks above. I was not trying to scare anyone with the watch dog comment, that was merely a fact in todays world. Computers are highly vulnerable to watch dogs and for good reason they should be. I gave an example of how I know it is true and my personal experience, but as Lew also states, this forum is for professional exchange of polite and constructive information amongst people with similar interests. Therefore I also have nothing to hide so anyone who wants to read or watch my posts…go ahead…watch away. I don’t think any of us on this forum are law breakers or threats to anyone so am not worried in any way. My point was that in todays world, yes anything “Gun” or “Ammo” related is watched…if you are one who strays from the law…than you should be worried regardless of internet postings.
So Lets keep this foum a great place which all The IAA admins and all the users have made it!!!