In retrospect I should have made sure that it was properly announced that Roan joined to moderate the whole board before I left. I should also have discussed moderating on OCMB in more detail with him to share my opinions on the subject. I should also have made it clearer to him that on OCMB we don't delete messages except in extraordinary situations (illegal or offensive content, certain personal attacks, violent threats, etc) and when we do delete anything it is clearly marked so people know what is going on. All this is my bad, not his.
A moderator can try to talk people into complying with the rules of the board, ban people or stop/remove posts or threads. When to do what is not a simple science, I can assure you! OCMB is not here to secure freedom for everybody to speak about anything they please, that's what The Internet
is for. Some seem to mix the two. OCMB is only trying to fill a very small and specific niche
here in the outskirts of the Internet. Many who have been granted access here over the last 7 months have had a hard time grasping and accepting this. I'll blame that on me too, maybe my English in the FAQ is difficult to understand. While most other message boards practice lifetime banning (I understand EO does), OCMB has so far used 14 days temporary removal of posting privileges. Less than a handful visitors have been long time banned during all these years, and then only for repeated serious breaches of OCMB rules. That is IMHO quite remarkable. They have never been banned for their opinions or for similar reasons given on some neighbouring boards. And I don't just delete posts (see exceptions above or in FAQ). While opinions of course are divided, many still recognize OCMB as an above average friendly and fair board with a lot of value.
I've had my lonesome way of moderating OCMB based on the time I had available (remember that when OCMB was started it was unique and filled a void for many). As I have said repeatedly I have not been able to withstand every huge wave of unreason or attack. My way of moderating included trying to talk to people off channel to get them to see my concern when they went astray and remind them why OCMB is here - and usually that worked. People only see the mess that I didn't manage to handle, they don't see the rest of course. Roan was tasked to handle one of the longer and noisier periods and I don't envy him.
Many are of the opinion that Roan was partial the way he locked and dustbinned a limited number of threads. I've tried to go through the posts people have sent me and, while I wouldn't necessary have dustbinned exactly what he did, I still understand his frustration and reasoning while trying to moderate the whole board. There are valid reasons why most threads were dustbinned and I understand why he under the worst storm locked some threads to protect them. They are unlocked now. I am willing to allow him slack to learn from the reactions received. It's not like he's killing people, he's just been moderating a little message board. That's something that can be fixed and none were seriously hurt. Some need to fine-tune their view on reality now and again. And why don't more dare to stand up publicly and try to raise the flag of reason when emotions, drama and provocateurs take over?
Things I noticed in the locked/moved threads are:
Big retrospect picture:
- Threads going in a downward spiral or getting ugly. Dustbinning it is often an effective tool for the moderator and I've done it many times.
- What is okay to debate isn't necessary okay to debate on OCMB. Dislike of other critics is such a thing. We've been here hundred times before, we know where these threads end up and the mess they cause. Roan did let some threads go on longer than I would have if I had been there too.
- Some also misunderstand the situation and jump to conclusions. The same tend to have a hard time change or double check, like assuming things were deleted when it was only moved. Do some basic research before firing the gun, the posts are still there.
- People were given plenty of time to add their 2 cents before the threads were locked, but they fail to take that into consideration. None who complained to me now have pointed out any place where someone were not given reasonable chance to contribute. Only one person lost his posting privileges.
- Many of the threads were in the wrong forum. While people are instructed to read the OCMB FAQ before they post here they still don't and then get angry when they are corrected or warned. It's very frustrating to witness attacks from people showing such laziness and ignorance. At least here we do not close the door forever like they do on other boards. How come so many totally fail to see that? Why is that hypocrisy to them just fine?
- Some threads were getting personal. That's a very good time to dustbin it, especially when the topic also is partly off topic and it has run long enough for most to add their opinions. I allowed Roan to help moderate because the abuse of OCMB was not reducing and I was travelling a lot. Stopping bad threads early is important to turn the trend and a lot of pointless drama was also created over it. The debate isn't necessary dead if a thread is dustbinned, we've just closed one bad track.
- I see Roan also is a witness and part in the whole controversy over "TB vs OG". He is a moderator here and this turn of events wasn't possible to foresee. Looking back I probably would have advised him then to either reveal himself as a moderator for those threads or not get too involved in that debate if we had had the chance to discuss it. It is hard to do that and I was also difficult to get hold of urgently at that point. I don't think this was his finest moment and I have told him so. I also got personally involved in the same way long before Anonymous entered the scene and got my fingers slapped a few times - I had to learn it on my own too.
Could it have been handled better? Of course, with the luxury of looking back and knowing the effect that is easy to say. Could it have been handled perfectly? No. Was the attacks on OCMB warranted? No, and they destroyed so much more than they can ever understand. Adult dialogue, involving me, taking time to listen and understand would have actually solved something. This retribution and attack shit just hurt everybody but the cult and ruined a lot. For me and for many others.
None of the ones trying to make a big drama out of this now bothered to put some effort into contacting me so that we could try to solve it earlier. It's not like I'm hiding behind a mask and hard to find! I've posted my picture, my phone numbers, my address and my e-mail on every post and web page I've made the last 20 years! Then (not unexpected) some former disgruntled OCMB posters saw the uprising of controversy here and came like moths to the flame. The fact that they have access here is worth noticing, people aren't just banned here because they don't like me. All this wasted energy on this drama instead of on the cult - that's why OCMB isn't for debating each other.
I've asked Roan if he did delete the post in question and he has confirmed this. However, many other posts assumed deleted were not so, they were only moved to the Dustbin. I made the decision long time ago to make the Dustbin only visible to registered users, so that was my call alone. His deletion was very sensitive as it is easy to assume he did it to cover his ass. He had posted an image that some would say contradicts his enforcements of the rules here. I'm not repeating the details, just concluding for my part that both sides have reasonable arguments. What matters to me now is that I've talked to him about the episode and we are now more in sync on how such matters should be handled. As none were fatally hurt it is in my opinion safe to put this in the basket with the other hard earned lessons and move on.
I'm not a guy known to quote the Christian bible, but there's as usual a lot of people mixed up in this noise who are capable of making a lot
of drama about the speck in their brother's eye but fail to notice the beam in their own. You should of course always question my and my moderators motivation for what we do, and help correct us when you suspect we have erred, but be fair and also look at the ones attacking us with canons. I repeat: On OCMB the way to do this is to be politely. And of course try to look at yourself too once in a while, it might actually be that you don't appear as consistent and fair as you feel you are either.
OCMB moves on, we'll try to focus the debate on what OCMB is here for, and we'll also debate its moderation, its FAQ and its purpose on the side forum. Please stay if this sounds like your thing, or take your shoes and go somewhere else. No hard feelings.
Please keep this discussion here. I'm working a lot these days but will try my best to reply to all.