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Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:00 pm
by uberdoc
Hi,
I am a member of surgical online community. Recently there have been a lot of discussion about politics resulting in banning of some posts and members. Now some surgeons are raising issues like free speech and first amendment.
How do moderators on BH forum avoid these issues and run the forum according to the rules?
Thank you.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:11 pm
by Quirkz
They don't allow it here. They are quick to lock threads that go into off-topic territory.

There is ZERO first-amendment/free speech applicability to an online forum. That only applies to government, not at the business or personal level.

But only the forum management/moderation has the ability to control the discussion.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:14 pm
by exigent
They should probably look into what the First Amendment actually protects, and the context in which it actually applies.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:19 pm
by ccf
I've been involved in moderation of online communities for a long time and the Bogleheads rules are very well designed, thoughtful, and set the moderation team up for success.

suggest that your community takes a look at them !

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:26 pm
by runner3081
ccf wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:19 pm I've been involved in moderation of online communities for a long time and the Bogleheads rules are very well designed, thoughtful, and set the moderation team up for success.

suggest that your community takes a look at them !
Agree, the minute this becomes another political soapbox is the minute that many of us leave.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:34 pm
by adamthesmythe
The nature of the free speech guarantee in the Bill of Rights is very widely misunderstood.

It does not mean that a publication or forum is required to disseminate your opinion.

It means that you are allowed to express your opinion publicly and that you are allowed to publish it yourself.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:56 pm
by J295
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

There is no law of congress involved with the forums.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:47 pm
by Dottie57
Quirkz wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:11 pm They don't allow it here. They are quick to lock threads that go into off-topic territory.

There is ZERO first-amendment/free speech applicability to an online forum. That only applies to government, not at the business or personal level.

But only the forum management/moderation has the ability to control the discussion.
Freedom of speech in the constitution refers to political speech being repressed by government. Not an issue on a non governmental board.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:52 pm
by delamer
Dottie57 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:47 pm
Quirkz wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:11 pm They don't allow it here. They are quick to lock threads that go into off-topic territory.

There is ZERO first-amendment/free speech applicability to an online forum. That only applies to government, not at the business or personal level.

But only the forum management/moderation has the ability to control the discussion.
Freedom of speech in the constitution refers to political speech being repressed by government. Not an issue on a non governmental board.
Absolutely. Personally, I find the prohibition on political commentary on Bogleheads a welcome relief. (And I have strong opinions on politics.)

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:54 pm
by Dottie57
delamer wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:52 pm
Dottie57 wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:47 pm
Quirkz wrote: Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:11 pm They don't allow it here. They are quick to lock threads that go into off-topic territory.

There is ZERO first-amendment/free speech applicability to an online forum. That only applies to government, not at the business or personal level.

But only the forum management/moderation has the ability to control the discussion.
Freedom of speech in the constitution refers to political speech being repressed by government. Not an issue on a non governmental board.
+1. I enjoy talking politics. But this is a nice relief.
Absolutely. Personally, I find the prohibition on political commentary on Bogleheads a welcome relief. (And I’m have strong opinions on politics.)

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:58 pm
by Normchad
I am so very grateful for the boglehead forum policies, and the enforcement of them provided by the moderators.

The rules are pretty clear, and so we all have a good feel for where the boundaries are.

All of that other stuff is interesting, and can be discussed some place else. A lot of it though has become all-consuming, and tends to drown absolutely everything else out. This forum would not be very useful if it didn’t stay focused like it currently is.

Again, thank you to the moderators, and to Alex F.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:01 pm
by Doctor Rhythm
I have to give kudos to the moderators and regulars on this forum. This is possibly the least contentious, most on-topic, and friendliest discussion forums I’ve ever visited. The tightness of the moderation (eg, locking threads) is part of the success. As others have said, there are no free speech issues involved in this private, voluntary forum.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:05 pm
by tibbitts
Well, in fairness to the OP there is obviously examination of "online forum" activities occurring on both sides of the political aisle, but we can't get into the topic of proposed or pending regulations. Probably some of these forum members you're describing are extrapolating from the experiences FB, Twitter, etc. are encountering to these smaller forums they're participating in. I think it's a little simplistic to imply that "private" forums could never be regulated in any manner.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:14 pm
by whomever
A couple of thoughts:

1)As mentioned, the 1st is about the government penalizing speech, not what gets discussed around my dinner table :-)

2)I am one of the moderator/owners of a forum dedicated to a particular topic. Our loosely written rule is positive rather than negative: we generally expect discussions to be about the specific topic. When a thread wanders completely off topic (say, 'Wasn't last night's game awesome!', I will post a gentle reminder something along the lines of 'nice discussion, but let's let it run its course and then stay on topic'). IMHO, it's reasonable to restrict discussions to whatever your target topic happens to be (gardening, 3D printing, travel in Uzbekistan, whatever). If you want to discuss something else, there are better places (e.g. bogleheads for investing, candlepowerforums for flashlights, ad infinitum). And Lord knows there is no shortage of places to argue about politics.

To be blunt, as far as I am concerned, people can like it or lump it. I don't want to have to moderate a bunch of political arguments, or name calling, etc, etc, etc. People who have different priorities can start their own forum :-).

3)If whatever software you are using allows subforums, one option is to create an 'anything goes' subforum and just move all the off topic stuff there.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:22 pm
by softwaregeek
Things that are toxic to online communities:
Religion
Politics
Sex

With politics, you are guaranteed to piss off 50% of your community. And 100% of the community when it starts going back and forth.

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:29 pm
by bottlecap
The Bill of Rights only applies to state action. Bogleheads is not a state.

No one does anything perfect. But the moderators around here do a pretty [expletive removed to save the mods trouble] good job.

JT

Re: Online discussion community issues

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:10 pm
by LadyGeek
Thanks for the compliments. This thread is now in the Forum Issues and Administration forum (policy enforcement).

See: Introduction
Welcome to the Bogleheads forum. Anyone can read and search the forums, but you must be a registered member to post. By posting on this forum, you agree to observe the following guidelines. If you find them unduly onerous, please seek an alternative forum that better suits your needs.
If there are any further questions, feel free to PM me.

(Thread locked to end the discussion.)

Update: You agree to these rules at the time of registration (click to proceed). Otherwise, the account will not be created.