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Forum Mission Statement - Feedback Welcome!

Started by Tinkergirl, May 10, 2007, 07:40:18 PM

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Welcome to the new Forum Affairs board, as our first thread here, we'd like to present something we've been working on to help people understand what our aims and expectations (of ourselves, mostly) for the forum is.  Below, is what we have, but please use this thread to offer feedback on this, positive or critical, so that we can come to something that people feel is fair and level.

The Steampunk Forum Mission Statement

Overall Aim:
The Steampunk Forum's overriding aim is to allow Steampunk fans of all sorts to discuss, share and enjoy things to do with Steampunk in a friendly, welcoming environment.  Whether a member is a long-term living-Steampunk who eats, sleeps and breathes Steampunk, or just a curious visitor who likes things made of brass or the occasional Jules Verne romp (and anywhere in between), the forum should be a neutral place where they can meet and enjoy each others company on a shared topic of interest.
Civility, and a welcoming atmosphere, are the two things most hoped for.

The Steampunk Forum...

...  Is hosted and paid for by Tinkergirl, one of the two Administrators, who also runs Brass Goggles blog.  Dohicky is the name of the other Administrator, owner of Aether Emporium.  There is a small group of valued volunteer moderators who assist in the day to day running of the site.

...  Is an independent forum, not created to forward any private interests, commercial money making schemes or world domination plans.  (As tempting as world domination is.)

...  Is open to anyone with an interest in any of the aspects of Steampunk, who abides by the requirements given in the registration agreement, and accepts and abides by the posting guidelines.

...  Aims to be both neutral and civil and as such does not allow political or religious themed discussion due to the passionate and irreconcilable flamewars that this can cause.  Much as you would not bring up politics or religion at a Victorian dinner party unless you knew well the temperaments and openness of your companions, you should not broach these subjects on this public forum where civility between strangers is sought.

...  Cannot be everything to everyone.

...  Focuses on long term stability and predictability for the benefit of our membership.

Posts and Threads...

...  Are the lifeblood of the forum.

...  May be moved to a more appropriate board if it is accidentally misplaced initially.

...  Will seldom be locked or stickied, but it can happen.

...  Will not be edited to misrepresent what a poster wrote, though in extremis portions of, or entire posts, may be deleted by a Moderator if guidelines aren't kept to, or flames violently erupt.  Such actions from Moderators will include a comment to explain the edit.

...  Naturally wander in their topics, much as conversations do.  It is considered impolite, however, to 'threadjack' someone Else's thread by willfully diverting a thread to something unrelated that should really warrant a separate thread, especially if the thread being 'threadjacked' was yet to fulfill its purpose.  (A question not yet answered, advice being sought, etc.)  That said, conversations do wander, particularly when the subject is lighthearted.

The Moderating Team...

...  Are guaranteed at least* 90% human at last testing.  They may be volunteer Moderators, but they're still fans of aspects of Steampunk.  They cherish the wild mixture of thread topics mixed with one-liners and levity, with mild topic gyrations and undulations as much as the next member.  They also have sleeping patterns and daily-non-forum activities, and will not individually be present at all times.

...  Aim to facilitate friendly, interesting discourse between the members, not flamewars and abusive behavior.

...  Favor the careful and steady method of forum change, and promote forum stability instead of a moving target.  That means that many suggestions for dramatic changes will be either slow in appearing, or will not appear at all.  Major changes will be considered deeply before action is taken, and will endeavor to seek feedback on proposed changes from interested parties beforehand.

...  Will attempt to keep the interests of the majority of forum members foremost, understanding that the Forum cannot be everything to everyone, and that changes that please a particular minority, may alienate the previously content majority.

...  Do communicate with each other, especially when dealing with anything unusual or unpleasant.  In extreme cases, a seriously problematic thread may be moved out of the public eye while Moderators discuss it as a Moderating case.  This will not be done without informing the thread owner.  (As such, if your thread dissapears without notice, it may be a rare forum error, and you should contact an Admin.)

...  Understand that the posting guidelines are not legalese documents of 14 pages, but expressions of the intent of the forum to maintain civility and a welcoming atmosphere.  As such, the intent, not the letter, of the guidelines should be their guiding light.

The Forum Members...

...  Are each one welcomed voice, no greater or lesser than the other.  Post count, title, or starting date make no difference to their words.  Many among our members choose not to partake in the public debates on forum policies and Steampunk philosophy, and for whatever reason they, as well as the more chatty members, still have an equal stake in the membership of the forum.

...  Should understand that moderator time is a limited resource and the forum a busy place.  Monopolizing a Moderators time in one thread can unfairly deny other parts of the forum.  Also, the forum has many more members than Moderators, and as such reporting a post of interest to a moderator rather than waiting for it to be found, is an appreciated shortcut.

...  Must be aware the Moderating team realizes that the posting guidelines does not have absolute and well defined borders.  As such, purposely pushing the boundaries to see where they break, or exploiting any loophole will be looked at quite unfavorably as not keeping to the spirit of the guidelines, even if it is keeping to the words.


Great! I can't say i disagree with any of it.

I think this board deserves a news post.
"There will always be a lost world for you here..." - Atterton

Your reality sir, is lies and balderdash and i am delighted to say i have no grasp of it whatsoever!


" 'I' Is For 'Infamy' "


Fairly good overall, especially good are the sections outlining the roles of moderators and forum members. Putting something like this up is a great step against elitism and fourm conflict.
My blog, The Llama's Lair

Mr. Fish

I just managed to delete a very wordy post which would have taken altogether too long to read anyway, -here is the condensed version.

1. Thread ownership.
What exactly does "thread ownership" mean? what rights does it grant the Owner, can they direct the thread contrary to what seems to be the natural course of conversation? Do they necessarily have the ear of the moderator when it comes to decisions concerning the splitting/locking/moving of the thread?

2. Liability.
No disclaimer of liability is made in the mission statement,
The fear of liability is easily overcome, simply post this at the start of every Tactile/Invention thread "You may get hurt/injured/killed trying to copy this" after all Youtube seems to have hundreds of videos on how to make Molotov's and CO2 bombs, yet they haven't been sued for their content or even taken said videos down.

3. Dissallowed topics.
I agree with the stipulation that religion/politics should not be allowed in the forum, waay too contentious. Perhaps a hotlink to the additional notes re. modern firearms is in order as well?

Quote from: Tinkergirl on May 10, 2007, 07:40:18 PM
.......the posting guidelines does not have absolute and well defined borders.  As such, purposely pushing the boundaries to see where they break, or exploiting any loophole will be looked at quite unfavorably as not keeping to the spirit of the guidelines, even if it is keeping to the words.

While seeking clarification of the guidelines, especially regarding potentially contentious issues, these guidelines may be stretched somewhat.
I do NOT think that this should be perceived as a personal attack on the forum moderator, nor should the moderator respond in a personal fashion.
This is more often than not an honest search for clarification.

5.Personal messages
Personal messages to boardstaff/admin/moderators should always be responded to. Even just an acknowledgment of receipt would be nice, just so that we don't feel as though we're howling into the abyss. (as has happened with myself)

To summarise,
Overall, yes, it looks good, but a number of the questions which I think were raised over the last few weeks still need to be addressed. Better that they are addressed here rather than on a forum by forum system (or worse, a thread-by-thread basis) where policy descisions might be unclear or contradictory.

Yrs. Mr Fish

Ps. aren't you glad I deleted the wordy version? more thoughts to discuss but no time, I have to go and party.

Copper Sulphate

Mr. Fish,

Do you ever read cartoons?

It seems your only function here at TSF is to perpetuate misunderstandings and attempt to spread discontent among the members. How about spending some of your time actually contributing to the Steampunk side of the forum instead? Then the other members are much more likely to want to listen to what you have to say re. forum policy suggestions.

You may also want to try and be a forum moderator someplace, which may want you. It would appear you obviously have little grasp of the realities of being a volunteer moderator. I don't know who you may have PM'ed and who did not reply, but you in particular are in no position to demand anything from anyone as far as I am concerned. Your goodwill account has a serious overdraft in my little branch at the very least.

Be aware that everyone can see the list of your postings, including content, from your profile page. It makes for quite interesting reading.

July 19th, 02009: Lab project delayed. Local home 'improvement' stores have apparently stopped carrying any kind of quality DIY materials... ???
July 15th, 02009: Much progress was made today on clearing out my future laboratory, yet there is a ways to go still.


Now now copper sulphate, there is nothing wrong with criticism. Though i would with that the person in question would offer more suggestions instead of just complain.
"There will always be a lost world for you here..." - Atterton

Your reality sir, is lies and balderdash and i am delighted to say i have no grasp of it whatsoever!


Thread Ownership: Despite my immense fondness for Jimmy Stewart's films, I am fully aware that we do not live in the world of Mr Smith Goes to Washington. None of us here are politicians, at least not of any import. None of us here are discussing politics.
Therefore none of us should attempt to hold the floor through a filibuster, nor should any of us feel the need to steal it from another. Beyond that, one should rely upon nature and nurture to determine what is proper, and what is unmannerly or rude. A complete  inability to do that would suggest that one do one's self and the world a favor by avoiding any conversations at all.
Hopefully, we have no one of that deficient social sense currently on these boards.  ;D

If thread drift, by natural procession, leads to a disparate topic, the moderators have shown themselves to be adept at thread splitting.
"Time hasn't stopped for any troubles, heartaches, or any other malfunctions of this world, so please don't tell me it will stop for you." - C.S. Lewis
"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." - C.S. Lewis


As regarding thread ownership - Daeudi_454 has the right of it.  It generally means that the reason that the person created the thread for, will generally be the subject topics relevant.  If someone asks for the answer to a question, but someone else chooses to ask an unrelated question instead (while the original question still stands) then it seems somewhat impolite to do that, rather than start their own thread.  If the thread owner feels that the reason for the thread has been usurped, then they are quite within their rights to politely ask to the second poster to create their own specialized thread.  Working with a moderator, both of them could get the thread split.

Regarding liability - the agreement on the forum signup form indemnifies the forum owners (myself) from legal repercussions from what people post.  That doesn't mean that I personally don't care what people post.  If someone were to die from information posted on this forum, I'd be beside myself with sorrow - such an event would probably mean the closure of the forum.  I actually do care about the wellbeing of the members of the forum, and while there are other sites that will give you all manner of information that will aid you in blowing up, electrifying or poisoning yourself or others, they are not sites that I am responsible for.  So, you can blame me for the reluctance to allow dangerous information being posted here - I'd rather a few people were grumpy about it than having someone's mutilation or death on my conscience.

I'd like to say, also - thank you, Mr Fish for your feedback - I hope I've addressed some of those with this reply.  I know that personally I've on occasion not responded directly to a PM, but I do read every single one and give them thought.

There are other things in this thread that I am still considering, and need to give thought to before acting on.  I hope you understand.

Mr. Fish

Quote from: Tinkergirl on May 10, 2007, 07:40:18 PM
please use this thread to offer feedback on this, positive or critical, so that we can come to something that people feel is fair and level.

I was asking questions, not complaining, and I do not appreciate personal attacks from moderators.
I invite anyone who cares to view my postings, all 14 of them, at least half are direct contributions to the topics in hand.
The other half are attempts to seek clarification on forum policies in the face of increasingly offensive responses from Mr. Copper Sulfate.

Once these requests for clarification have in some way been adressed I feel that I will be able to more actively contribute, without the fear of inadvertently breaching forum guidelines.

To Daeudi_454,
Thank you for actually reading and responding to my questions,
I appreciate it.

Mr. F

Mr. Fish