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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2012
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    Default COTH, civility & censorship

    We've had some extremely well-attended, highly topical and controversial threads lately on topics of concern to virtually everyone, active rider and competitor or not. Some of these concerned widely recognized social ills, and some concerned pathologies within the horse industry.

    There will always be a multitude of perspectives on any issue capable of getting people riled up; the interesting thing is, I see some threads on these boards devolve into pages-long ad hominem insults and name calling which stay open endlessly, and others where nothing new is said for gigabytes, yet the mods let these run as they will.

    Others, where no incivility was seen upon the page, have been shut down for seemingly no reason better than that the topic seemed too hot to touch for some--an issue of personal taste at the most, in which case the option is not to read it.

    The United States press, of which the Internet and BB's such as this are now arguably an evolving part, has long held free exchange as a cornerstone of the necessary shuffling of the marketplace of ideas. The 1st Amendment stops us short of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, or legally actionable slander, but seriously--discussing the published NEWS?

    Is "political incorrectness," often expressed here rabidly as "judgementalism," even when expressed without rancor, now cause for actual censorship by our Moderators?

    Please discuss.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2000
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    NY
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    14,984

    Default

    No one is forced to participate on this BB.

    Anyone who doesn't care for the content or moderation is perfectly free to go post elsewhere. Or start their own BB, which has happened in the past.

    I think people forget that the mods don't read every thread. If nobody alerts them to rudeness or other objectionable behavior, they have no way of knowing about it.

    Also, if a discussion causes a giant lawsuit which wipes The Chronicle out of existence, then nobody will be able to post here.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2011
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    1,096

    Default

    I'm glad that you bring this up, SY. I assume it's brought up because of the AT thread being closed.

    I think that some were too affected by that particular thread. I read the entire thing, and didn't see any posts that trashed the woman. The Mods shut it down because it ceased to be horse related. I disagree. Throughout the thread, we discussed an equestrian superstar, her untimely death, and even riders in chronic pain. There certainly were some posts that weren't directly HR, but I believe that the thread as a whole was.
    "A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character." - Tesio



  4. #4

    Default

    ummm, a privately held website does not really have to grant any "freedom of speech" guarantees to any one that they have allowed on their site...

    follow their rules or kick the can down the road baby

    Tamara
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  5. #5
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    May. 5, 2000
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    Aiken, SC
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    2,371

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    ummm, a privately held website does not really have to grant any "freedom of speech" guarantees to any one that they have allowed on their site...

    follow their rules or kick the can down the road baby

    Tamara
    True but COTH makes advertising $ on the backs of the posters here. No user traffic = no advertisers. If the moderation becomes heavy handed or guided by advertisers the BB will die.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
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    6,657

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pds View Post
    True but COTH makes advertising $ on the backs of the posters here. No user traffic = no advertisers. If the moderation becomes heavy handed or guided by advertisers the BB will die.
    Yeah, what's your point? It will be no sweat off their back...it's been stated time and time again that this board COSTS the magazine money to run, and the advertising does go a bit towards helping but not entirely.

    What the posters of this board, most of whom are NOT subscribers of the actual magazine, forget is that the magazine is what is truly "COTH", not the free boards that they offer here.

    Feel free to move onto some other board if you want less moderation. I hate to break it to you all though, there's moderation on any board, and the moderation here is fair almost to a default.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
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    Massachusetts
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    6,657

    Default

    Also, do we need to have one of these threads on a bi-monthly basis?

    If you don't like it, leave.

    If you have an issue with something being shut down, talk to the mods about it.

    Many times the threads that disappear with a poof are the ones that can get messy legally....Fat Palamino's thread, for example, as well as a few others.

    The ones that are shut down for non-legal reasons usually have some sort of explanation in the last post...usually the poor Mod saying "Do we have to hash out this exact same topic for yet ANOTHER 20 pages?! We just did it last week!"



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 19, 2011
    Posts
    2,991

    Default

    A White Horse was once a thriving forum with thousands of posts, many passionate and many off topic

    Moderators became heavy handed and started banning posters..One of the moderators founded A Black Horse..it had a good run for a couple of years until the owner turned it into his own blog and banned those who disagreed with him...he also tried to use it to over throw a registration and promotion group for a breed.

    He had charged $9,95 to keep the idiots away...just before he turned it into his personal blog..and posters quit renewing.

    Now he is thinking of going free again however there is not much interest...

    ABN was already running at that time...it too started to ban and censor. Topics are generally pretty diluite and boring..more and more have migrated to "special" facebook groups"

    This is sad..as isolation occurs and it blocks an exchange of views..like attracks like.

    Many times moderators will state they are fearful of lawsuits. I am sure there have been some...however I am not away of any "winning" lawsuits. The laws do appreciate the owner of the forum should not be held responsible for the views and postings of participants.

    Many activities have forums. The most consistant format is: if it is negative and names someone you must post your name in full. Therefore you take responsibility.

    There are always threats of lawsuits...there is a big bruhaha with a rowing team and the downgrade of a coach...yikes...names accusations short of child abuse...and they don't censor it..may shut it down for six hours for everyone to cool their jets...and then let them came back on line..

    Don't believe in censorship nor banning. Never have and never will.

    Leo



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,332

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    ummm, a privately held website does not really have to grant any "freedom of speech" guarantees to any one that they have allowed on their site...

    follow their rules or kick the can down the road baby

    Tamara
    Have to say I agree with Tamara!

    This Forum is much less moderated than many, though it sometimes does seem to close threads for reasons we don't comprehend. However it is a place you don't have to come to if you don't like how things are done! Moderating in the past was often MUCH tighter, and there have been quite a few "contentious" folks removed over the years. Some I miss, others needed to be halted.

    Just like anything, if you don't like how things are done, go play elsewhere.

    We are never all going to agree with what we "should" be able to say or see regarding the DETAILS of an incident. I think the Mods do a pretty good job in keeping things smooth and not letting folks go crazy on here. We don't always have the RIGHT to know EVERYTHING about someone or some incident., naming names and pointing fingers!!

    I don't think the Chronicle has to worry about losing advertising because we are not going to visit these lightly moderated Forums, while having a temper tantrum on closing threads. I think it is one of the best Forums around, usually knowledgable in covering all things Horse. I would feel quite deprived if I couldn't get my "horse fix" here on a daily basis!!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2008
    Posts
    4,586

    Default

    I used to have a boss that said "You can do whatever the hell you want on your last day of work.".

    That kind of holds true here too. You can do post whatever you'd like on your last day posting. Or you could start your own board and moderate it as you see fit.

    I've been feeling for the mods these past few weeks. The boards have been a mine field of very hot topics. I think they've done the best job they can with that.
    "Aye God, Woodrow..."



  11. #11
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    Jun. 19, 2011
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    Default

    I would like to add there is a forum that has never censored. And strange...because of that they have never had to ban anyone nor shut anything down. They seem to catch the idea that passion runs deep but is a short race.

    It shuts itself down. People have lives..go on holidays...have to work...go to shows and the thread collapses.



  12. #12
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    Dec. 25, 2011
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    32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfax View Post
    I would like to add there is a forum that has never censored. And strange...because of that they have never had to ban anyone nor shut anything down. They seem to catch the idea that passion runs deep but is a short race.

    It shuts itself down. People have lives..go on holidays...have to work...go to shows and the thread collapses.
    Yeah, but your board was boring as heck and only talked about what was going on here and on other boards.



  13. #13
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    Feb. 23, 2005
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    Spotsylvania, VA
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    13,220

    Default

    I believe that the moderation is sometimes a it heavy handed. Two years ago I posted how excited I was to be getting a new broodmare, Sophie's dam. Yes she was in foal. Mod 1 did not simply close the thread, she deleted it because she said it promoted my breeding program. Um Hello, have you seen the Oh breed to MY stallion posts? Or the My 2 YO....... threads????

    Just a few days ago I was following a post about an old stallion who is not even standing at public stud. He happens to be Sophie's sire and believe me if he was available I WOULD be breeding to him. The thread wasn't started by his owner who doesn't seem to be a member here. One morning it was simply gone

    I started reading the AT thread on eventing and didn't get far but I don't think the thread on Off Course should have been locked.

    Oh well
    I wasn't always a Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  14. #14
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    Jul. 14, 2000
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    midwest
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    10,363

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SwampYankee View Post
    Is "political incorrectness," often expressed here rabidly as "judgementalism," even when expressed without rancor, now cause for actual censorship by our Moderators?

    Please discuss.
    It is as simple as we are guest on the COTH site. Their site, their rules.



  15. #15
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    Jun. 19, 2011
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    2,991

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BlissTate View Post
    Yeah, but your board was boring as heck and only talked about what was going on here and on other boards.
    It is not my board...never was...Romney founded it a couple of years ago. It was quite specialized and also political. I don't post there that often..however what was interesting...it did complete the discussions that other boards shut down...it did and does serve a purpose...and he doesn't go after any advertising because it is not very expensive to operate a board.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 22, 2000
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    NY
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    14,984

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fairfax View Post
    Many times moderators will state they are fearful of lawsuits. I am sure there have been some...however I am not away of any "winning" lawsuits. The laws do appreciate the owner of the forum should not be held responsible....
    I'm pretty sure defending a lawsuit can be very expensive, long before it gets to the point of "winning" or "losing" for either side.

    Considering it already costs The Chronicle money to run this BB, I can't blame them for a desire to avoid lawsuits, frivolous or otherwise.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Location
    Connecticut
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    7,948

    Default

    I read through many of the posts on the AT thread on the eventing forum today, and I have to admit thinking that if I were her parents I would have asked the Chronicle to shut it down or withdraw the thread. Sometimes, I think some threads sometimes go beyond what should have been their expiration dates. Sometimes it's for the best that they do, and sometimes it serves no good purpose to anyone to let them continue, and that's the stage I think the AT thread was at. It would not surprise me if a family member simply and civilly requested the magazine to end the speculation. Had I been a mod, I would have complied. Some of the responses in that thread were in poor taste, and for that reason I refused to post on it. Just an opinion.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

    http://s1098.photobucket.com/albums/...2011%20Photos/



  18. #18
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    Sep. 18, 2008
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    231

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    ummm, a privately held website does not really have to grant any "freedom of speech" guarantees to any one that they have allowed on their site...

    follow their rules or kick the can down the road baby
    Indeed.

    I loathe the implicit sense of entitlement that "I should be able to say what I want when I want, how I want (on a site I don't pay for) waaah" Typical these days.



  19. #19
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    Oct. 21, 1999
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    Rochester, NY
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    Default

    No moderation is going to please everyone, 100% of the time. There is going to be disagreement with decisions in many cases. I think that the current moderators are doing a good job. They're fair, pretty impartial and they usually give a good reason why they are shutting down a thread. They're also human, possibly with a different perspective from another person's. And, a lot more knowledge of what may be going on behind the scenes that those of us who are merely posting.

    But, yes, it all comes down to the fact that this is a forum belonging to the Chronicle of the Horse and if you don't like it, you're free to leave. And, if you do leave, I'd be willing to bet that it's not going to affect the forum one way or the other.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
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    Actually I like the way this board is run. In 2008, a cother referenced the old coth threads before my time when mods were involved in the fray. Those were pretty rough fights.

    I don't have a problem with banning as so far, I think those who were banned deserved banning. (One was a friend of mine.)

    As for the thread that we're all talking about, I didn't think that people were trashing the deceased. I was concerned about why people who did not know her were very defensive and over-reached when they had no dog-in-that-fight.

    So I like the way the mods moderate, and I have no problem with them closing some threads when things get too hot. Afterall, we'll start other threads.

    I just wish that the demerits we get were not lifetime. I got one on the horse molester thread a few yeas ago, and it never expires! Even parole after a "life" sentence in my state is only one year long after release. (and points on driving licenses expire as well.)



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