Proposal of New Thread Design

Discussion in 'Forum Help & Suggestions' started by safe, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. safe

    safe Active Member

    Proposal of New Thread Design

    I've been posting on forums like this since 2006. Over time I've observed that conflicts develop because certain people do not get along well with other people.

    Person A might like Person B... but not like Person C

    Person B might like Person C, but not Person A

    ...and so on.

    Most forums end up having moderators that take sides (we are all human) and in the end someone gets banned.


    What I propose is the idea that new threads are created so that the owner of the thread takes responsibility for moderating it himself. What this might translate to is some kind of "Friend List" or "Enemy List" for the thread where only certain people (based on the filtering rules) are allowed to post. Everyone can read the thread, but those that are "undesireable" based on the thread owner get excluded.

    This is in essence like a "free market" idea rather than the present "top down" moderator concept.

    This forum already has a thread that is "invitation only"... I wonder how hard this would be to apply universally to all threads?

    Think of it this way... if the thread owner restricts a thread too much then they might not get anyone to post on it. So there is a benefit for the thread owner to be as open as possible, while still keeping in reserve the ability to protect the thread from abuse.


    With this it might be possible to more or less do away with the "infractions" process.

    It might mean that people are never again banned... they might be "shunned" by most, but never completely banned. The offensive person is simply forced to stay within their own threads and out of others if they can't get anyone to let them in.

    If someone starts creating too many threads then the moderator could step in and put a stop to that. (spam) There could even be a rule that says only one thread per day is allowed because too many threads are a problem.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009

  2. safe

    safe Active Member

    How The Obnoxious Person Would Feel

    Trying to take things from the perspective of the "offender" they will find themselves posting what they see as their rightful opinion on a thread where they will get as a response that they are filtered out of that thread so that they can no longer post.

    They react:

    "That darn person... why his wrongness is just sooooo wrong."

    ...and the "offender" will then go to the next innocent thread and "dump" an emotional load on them:

    "You know about so and so? Yeah, well that guy just filtered me out of his thread and blah, blah, blah."

    ...and again the "offender" gets filtered from that thread. Eventually the "offender" either gets tired of it or something else needs to happen. I can see that it's possible that an "offender" could haunt the place for a long time just causing trouble and forcing a response. In a perverse way I can imagine that the most perverse would start to enjoy the negative reaction and would do it more and more while laughing about it.

    So the "pure free market" approach is not perfect either... however, for the majority of incidents it could. "Infractions" are in some ways not a bad idea because they pile up over time with the "offenders" and that rap sheet eventually gets them banned if only for a time. (more like law enforcement where there are misdemeners and felonies)

    It's not that bad as it is now I guess... (police serve a valauble purpose)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  3. Tom

    Tom Active Member

    You can actually add people to an ignore list so that you never see their posts.

    But also, what about the newbie that posts, how does s/he know who to allow in their thread and who to block?
  4. safe

    safe Active Member

    I would think that most people would just start off a thread with the hope that nothing will go wrong. (no filter at all) If an obnoxious person shows up then the thread owner (who we would assume has some interest in their own thread) would make the decision to place the "offender" into their "Blocked On This Thread" list.

    There might even be times when the "offender" later behaves well with the same person that had blocked them previously but on a later thread... sometimes people actually realize their "sins" and reform. Most probably do not... but with an "all or nothing" banning the person never learns. With "all or nothing" the person builds up their frame of reference over many posts and when the sudden realization of being banned occurs it comes as a shock.

    By making it a "per thread" blocking action it's using a more precise instrument to get at the person who is likely spinning out of control.

    Very often people degenerate gradually as emotions build on past emotions. The "per thread" approach starts to give the immediate feedback that actually is beneficial to the "offending" poster.

    Being "blocked" for just one thread allows someone to think about what happened and be able to possibly reform their behavior... it's "feedback" that the banning process lacks.

    However, there is the possibility that the "offender" really does freak out and becomes like a predator jumping into every innocent thread just to make a stink. At that point the person is "lost" and probably banning is the best action to take.

    The advantage of the "Per Thread Blocking" action is that it provides a first line of defense against predatory posters... but the moderators still need to be there in the background to identify those that have gone into full assault mode and it would only be the more hardcore types that would get banned.


    Think back to something like High School. If someone attempts to join into a "clique" and behaves outside the norms expected in that "clique" then the person will be rejected by them. That same person might then turn to another "clique" and be able to adhere to their rules. This allows people to group themselves in accordance with their own tastes and at the same time it does not require that action be taken against an "offender" in any absolute sense. It would be as though if someone tried to join a "clique" in High School and if they failed the student would be expelled... that's a rather extreme penalty for not fitting in.

    As Darwin would say:

    "Survival of the Fitting"

    ...those that do not "fit the clique" are blocked from it.

    (but they are free to search elsewhere)
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  5. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Personally I don't think it is a good idea. If this was implemented, the thread starter could block people out just because of a difference in opinion, and nothing more. The (many) lurkers in the forum will not be able to form a well rounded opinion based on seeing all sides of a particular subject.
  6. Tom

    Tom Active Member

    Exactly. I could stat a thread saying "Arceeguy Is a jerk!, who else agrees with me?" and block Arceeguy and friends. I would imagine that would really tick him off too!
  7. safe

    safe Active Member

    In the "real world" (High School for instance) this is what happens. The "clique" (the "thread") decides who or what is cool and what is not. Within the "clique" the people decide who they don't like and they are spoken of negatively.

    But the person that is disliked in one "clique" might be highly valued in another.

    ...that's the point.

    Allow "natural selection" to take it's course and people to freely migrate to their natural places.

    It's really somewhat unnatural for everyone to share the same thoughts about everything... people naturally group themselves, naturally diverge. Freedom of thought and the liberty to pursue those ideas are natural urges for all of us and it's a shame if "group think" overtakes the process.

    Without thread level blocking (like "private property") what happens is that the "clique" becomes the forum itself... if you don't fit into the "larger clique" of the moderator influenced forum (no value judgement in this) then you get banned. This added tool would in a sense create freedoms of subcultures within the larger culture. The moderators would pull back and only enforce cases where people started to show predatory behavior. Subcultures might develop in opposition to each other. (for example the "legal machine" vs the "outlaw machine" subcultures)

    There are no subcultures in North Korea:


    ...and people generally consider that a bad thing.

    Again... the role of the moderator would be to spot those "predatory" characters that did not find their way into a stable equilibrium. The person that is entering threads just to cause trouble would still need to be banned.

    But on the thread level even the "predatory" character is only going to be able to post a few times before being blocked, so the damage is less severe even before (and if) the "predator" gets banned.

    Adding thread level blocking does not have any negatives that I can see... you still maintain the overall rules and the moderators still watch for problems, but you now have another tool to help smooth things out. It's adding rather than subtracting to the process of allowing people to find their place in the order of things.

    The moderators still retain ultimate control of the forum.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  8. safe

    safe Active Member

    A Statistical Request

    Here's the hypothesis:

    Run a statistical analysis of the number of posts that people make on threads they created themselves verses the number of posts on threads that they did not create.

    My "hunch" is that if you plot the past histories of people that got "banned" into this analysis you would find that most of the more serious offenders produced very few of their own threads and mostly posted onto others.

    The people that become forum "predators" tend to have no real ongoing interest in the technology and have shifted to "predatory" internet posting as a way to occupy themselves. would be interesting to see how tight of a match you might get.

    If the statistics prove to be valid then this is a strong argument for thread level blocking because it goes directly after the type of behavior that is not wanted. It's like a profile of the behavior... people that create few threads (have no ideas) tend to be the ones that want to just dump garbage onto the one's that do.

    If there is no clear correlation (or it's negative) then my hypothesis is wrong...
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  9. Reid

    Reid Member

    Have not read the thread in its entirety...too much to do today

    This is not a very good day for "SLE" coper, me.

    I have skim-read this thread only. I will read it in more depth later.

    Must go atop the roof and pressure clean. Later I will read this thread in great detail and with circumspection.

    Have been online every day since 1994 or thereabouts, first starting in the year 1983 with Viewtron.

    I can't keep count of the number of forums where my quirky, talkative, personality had not eventually rubbed administrators and moderators to can me.

    It's my own fault, many of those bannings. I am a bit of a "live wire" by nature.

    Each forum has been "owned" or controlled by a Grand Vizier type, and that's not bad, imo.

    We all must somehow get along.
    It is a fact that humans are of such wildly (WILDLY) varying temperaments and personality disorders and likes and hates and passions, that bottom line:

    I do feel now that it is VITAL that a forum have head honcho, period.
    I think that "Tom" is the head-most man here? Lou, too? Good. Thank you for your letter, Lou!

    This forum is clearly popular and growing and does OK.
    It can get along without any particular one of us.

    My differences with forum management in general, is that I would like to
    a forum that is basically, nearly, "libertarian".

    But, oh, that is surely going to bring in all sorts of Wild West-type internet trolls and cowboys; bullies and drunks, so to speak.

    Have made one forum in the past. Freewrights Peer Review. It is for amateur writers.
    I created the forum and hand-picked a half dozen ADMINISTRATORS.
    Not moderators, those men and women, but each had the master "keys" to the forum.
    Any one of them could have "stolen" Freewrights from founder-me. None do so, though.

    It worked and works fine. So far as I know FreeWrights is humming along just fine enough.
    I resigned as soon as I'd gotten the place going, so to speak.
    I am only a member there. Am not a power-wanting person.
    But, to envision and the implement, one needs a master architect.

    I realize now after a recent spate of unpleasantness at another ebike forum,
    one that I helped to found, but never wanted to "moderate",
    that I am not wanted there at all. New people came aboard and kicked me off.

    So I resign and shall make my own ebike-based forum, very small and hopefully it will stay small.

    I like this forum very much. One admin (he know who he is) was very patient and kind in a PM answer of yesterday, explaining what might and might not be "good" for me to do during my tenure here.

    Perhaps I'll stay on indefinitely. One personal sore point, and that is MY problem, not Admin: the word filter does not allow any sort of "vulgar" word,
    not even the biblical "d" word, found in the Holy Bible.

    Well, that may strike me as being a bit over-conservative, BUT, this is THEIR place.

    I look at the guidelines. They are numerous and specific and could be termed "strict but fair". No beef with them.

    I just wonder whether my proposed baby ebike forum can be run without going wild. Overgrowth, too much, too many personalities in clash...require real, active moderation.

    I would hope that if my nascent place works at all, it can be run with a very light touch. I would almost sooner cut off another toe of my own, than to ever ban a member. Yet, there are times when absolutely malevolent entities come to a forum with Destruction in mind; they have nothing better to do but to vandalize and corrupt and make tsunami waves: it's their lives' goals, it seems.

    But at, say, PC (Poety Critical) there is very little moderation, a great deal of foul language exchanged between some of the most difficult personalities (poet-types are generally neurotic and emo-unstable, or they would not be grinding out woe-is-my-toe, "poor-re-try".

    Much more interesting to myself are ICE Bikes, regular bikes, and ebikes and special DIY bikes and their problems. I put in some verse at times, into my posts. People must hate that, but verse used to be the seasoning in all of the cycling magazines.

    Bottom line: I will need to learn how to set up various panels and allow YT embeds and...YES, there is at that PHHB forum, it is like this: a FOE button:

    if Reid-posts annoy, press the button. You don't see "Reid" posts anymore.

    So, as long as my administration there does not decay into my becoming some sort of power monster (am not made that way), I see no problem.

    I see no problem here. It's just a bit large and complex because this establishment is popular.
    It, perforce, probably requires pretty much the kind of moderation that it lives so well with. No "instabans" as happens elsewhere, yet, a clear system of infraction points, so a potential transgressor HAS a chance to self-redeem, or just go away.

    Pardon my long posting? It's my bad, bad habit.
    I must go atop the roof now and not fall down.

    In closing, meet me, people, as I was yesterday, a RARE good day:
    I was able to ride my manual bike. I took along a camera, in the drenching rain.
    It is merely tropical and shows you all a bit more of my true self.
    The opening thunder is ominous in a wierdly-dangerous poetical-figurative way.

    Kind regards to all here,
    Reid, the expert failure at most everything.:ack2:
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  10. safe

    safe Active Member

    Reid... your posting exposes some problems...

    In this case this "thread" was created for a specific purpose to discuss a specific topic. Rather than make a contribution to the topic you went off on a tangent.

    Imagine that we were in a big room with a bunch of people. Let's say that I start a conversation about "Apples" and you (Reid) decide to join in. The first thing you do is start to discuss "Oranges".

    What do I do?

    The old way would involve completely removing you from the room. (or at the lessor level to hide you from sight with the "ignore" button)

    The "per thread" approach would just block your ability to speak on that thread, which might be the equivalent of excluding you from the "clique" of people I'm talking with.

    ...the subtle blockage on the thread level would "sting" a bit (you would assume the thread owner was mad at you) but you would get over it and move onto another thread.

    The question is whether someone like yourself (Reid) ever learns anything... the tendency within these forums is to do nothing at all and give no feedback in the form of blocking someone from a thread and then finally the moderators cross the tipping point and bring about a ban.

    Now the question is... did you just read and comprehend anything I just posted and does any of it make sense?

    How do you get the "misaligned" poster to fall in line?


    I have two brothers and a nephew with various levels of ADD, so I know how frustrated people get when you enter something as "input" to one of them and you get complete random garbage in return. They don't see their own thinking as disorganized and so they are surprised when people become upset.

    There is a category of "predatory" posters that get a thrill out of outrage, but you (Reid) are not of that type... you have the problem of disorganized thinking that people have troubles with. (so you're not a bad guy, but your lack of focus is a problem)

    But again... if you (Reid) found a "clique" of people that had ADD type behavior then you could post with them and they would be okay with it. Also, if you created your own thread and posted to it no one would care. It's only when you post to anothers thread that you are responsible to be "aligned" with the topic and to obey the subtle rules of the "clique".

    Apples and Oranges I guess... :whistling:
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  11. Reid

    Reid Member

    Well, I tried


    I am sorry if my gentle posting above annoyed you because, at root,
    I disagree with your premise.

    I'll let you castigate me as you like, and I shall stay out of any threads you author.

    Fair enough?

    ADD? Garbage? Those are rather unfriendly-sounding words, indirectly applied, it would seem, to my feeler-posting above.

    Tangent? No. Summary: I'll go my way and you go your way.
    We agree to disagree. So long. No foe buttons are being pressed here.

    Thank you, Safe, good day to you.

  12. safe

    safe Active Member

    That's actually constructive... to stay on track with the topic and to disagree is perfectly okay. You might then have made some statement about "why" such an idea would not work and that could then have opened up other constructive paths of discussion.

    Reid, you "own" a forum all by yourself and that means you can literally be "king of your castle" . If people are attracted to your forum then you can go about filtering them to your liking so as to build up your own "clique". People you like get to stay, people you don't have to leave... sort of like "thread level blocking" only it's for a full forum.

    Everyone has a preference... we all develop into "cliques" but we are just not always aware of it. Thread level blocking would be like having subforums within the larger forum. This particular forum already does specialized threads... there are private areas that are off limits to the general public. I was just proposing to expand their use to make it a more universal feature.
  13. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    I remember someone started a poll a little while back that had a very similar theme - I'm sure glad me and my friends weren't shut out from participating! ;)

    I'll admit I can be a pain in the butt, but you gotta admit that I'm good for a few forum laughs here and there. Gotta break up the monotony. :whistling: :jester:
  14. safe

    safe Active Member

    Are we men conducting business or girls making gossip?

    (no offense to any women if there are any here)

    What should matter is that if there is a technical discussion is that it isn't derailed by someone "just because they can". If it's a political discussion (related to motorized bikes somehow) then as long as someone stays on topic and furthers the dialog then it should be okay.

    Where the problems come in is when we allow our emotions to take a higher position than the topic. We are all human and can lose it at times. However, some people are just not very good at staying focused and for people who want to keep a topic focused that's a problem. This is when a "Per Thread Block" would be an easy way to solve that problem. The "Ignore" list might allow someone to not be bothered while in a thread, but it doesn't stop others from being effected.

    What happens is Person A gets "Ignored" by Person B

    Person C reads the posting of Person A and makes a diversionary comment.

    Now Person B is stuck seeing what Person A wrote second hand.

    Then Persons D, E and F all side with Person A and Persons G, H and I all side against Person A.

    ...pretty soon the thread is trash.

    With "Per Thread Blocking" you nip the problem in the bud. The offender gets blocked and the discussion moves on. The thread owner isn't going to block someone who they perceive as having some value for his discussion, so there is no motivation to block needlessly.

    People "should" start behaving in a more civil way because they know that being blocked is easier to happen than banning which they know is a long process.

    Blocking is a precision instrument.... not a sledge hammer.


    The idea is no big deal really... but it is something that I've come to realize as a potentially good solution that isn't normally used. (at this time) It would be interesting to try it in some sort of pilot program and see if it works well or if it creates some new problem yet unseen...
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  15. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    That was uncalled for. Maybe you should block yourself from your thread. :goofy:

    I keed, I keed!
  16. safe

    safe Active Member

    Unless the software prevents it "Murphy's Law" says that someone will manage to do it eventually. :dunce:
  17. safe

    safe Active Member

    Sex verses Rape

    Sex is classified as when two adults consent to be together.

    Rape is when a non-consensual act takes place.


    The idea of thread level blocking is to prevent the "rape" of an innocent thread by allowing the thread owner to block the attacker directly.

    The traditional method requires that many repeated rapes occur before the law enforcement finally gets around to banning the attacker... who very well might have no idea he's being tracked.

    Thread level blocking gives the immediate feedback that the infraction and banning process does not... people might actually learn to be more civil if they know that their consensual status of communication on a thread can become non-consensual very easily. You would get a lot less dumping of emotional loads on offending posts.

    ...that's just another metaphor for the idea. :whistling:
  18. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    IMO it is a pretty horrible metaphor. I'm pretty sure if you asked a rape victim, she would probably agree. However it does illustrate your extreme view on this subject.

    So before I get accused of "raping" your thread, I will quietly go away since I've already voiced my opinion.
  19. safe

    safe Active Member

    Rape is an "opinion" based on the receiver of the act.

    That's why thread level blocking makes the most sense... if someone really feels so personally violated by a poster they should be the one able to restore their own peace of mind by blocking them from further posts on that thread. It's more like a restraining order that prevents the "ex" from coming back rather than throwing the "ex" in jail.

    There was a recent case where a guy in Australia who goes by the name AussieJester got banned and he made what many thought was an offensive post on one of my threads. I've known AussieJester for some time over the internet and if it were up to me I would have not banned him because I'm used to his salty language and attitude.

    Everyone has their own sense of what is acceptable and what is not.


    I've actually had few (if any) problems on this forum because people tend to be very civil here. On other forums that I've been on the behavior is much, much worse, so in the larger scheme of things this place is actually just fine.

    Sometimes "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

    ...but it is an interesting idea to be able to block just a thread rather than ban people entirely.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  20. Reid

    Reid Member

    again, a late reply, and no...

    ...mea culpa again. I have not read carefully, but only skimmed,
    quickly, the latest inputs to safe's thread.

    A) safe, thank you for forgiving me.
    I would not harm you or your thread-intentions, not for the world.

    B) Forum management, thank you for letting me be here.
    I am, in my way, as polarizing a personality as is safe.

    C) He was knocked off of E.S. So was I. Different people, but we are both
    "difficult" in our oddly-different ways.

    D) All people think and react differently.

    E) The dialog can only continue if we allow others to speak out, without fear.
    TOLERANCE is the old golden rule.

    F) I have that little nothing forum, all of five days old now, it is.
    It has no members, really, and that's just fine for me.
    It is MY safe haven. safe could go there and join, but he, too, has his own forums.
    My place costs nothing to join, just like here.
    My place is nothing at all; it will never be ICE oriented, not much.
    I won't push it...don't go there unless you guys like to cuss and cajole in humane ways.

    G) Management here has the perfect and correct right to edit, remove,
    or to infract-point me for even this posting; it is THEIR forum, not mine.

    H) I talk too much. I write too much. I I I I IIIII...(that's a terrible word!)
    ...I had better shut up now! PM me, safe? I will join up in your forums in time,
    and maybe some of you will try "my" place...but no! This place is "free" enough,
    and all the big boys in the ICE expertise field are here!

    Let us now return this thread to safe's keeping.
    I've made my point. He is my friend, virtual.
    We are "bonded" by this mutual personality defect
    of polarizing too many people the wrong way.

    Long life wished to all,

    Reid Welch
    (I use my full name these days for a number of moral and self-morale reasons)

    ___________remember Edison?
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009