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Twins Daily Comment Policy - latest revision September 2013

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#1 glunn

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 10:30 PM

This thread includes comments and elaboration from the TD moderators. TD members are welcome to comment by posting here.

Twins Daily Comment Policy

 

 

Twins Daily prides itself on the community of fans it serves, and understands that the forums, comment sections and blogs are central to many members’ enjoyment of the site. We strive for civil, insightful, friendly discourse that welcomes and challenges all our passionate readers. Please understand and follow these rules when posting, and consult the more detailed explanations in the comments section below if you require further guidance:
 

  • Respect for others is expected in everything we write, and personal attacks are not allowed.
  • Do not be disruptive through trolling, flame-baiting, and thread-jacking.
  • A minimal level of grammar and spell-checking is required.
  • Avoid inappropriate language.
  • Do not copy entire stories from elsewhere on the internet.
  • Commercial spam will be deleted on sight and the poster will be banned.



  • If you see a posting that violates these guidelines, do not attempt to police the thread yourself with a complaint there in the thread, and most definitely do not respond with a post of your own in a similar offensive style; either approach may draw moderator actions toward yourself instead of your intended target. If it is a minor violation, it is usually better to just ignore it.  However, if you believe it is a serious violation, flag the offending post to the attention of the moderators by clicking the "Report" link found at the bottom of each post (to the left of "Quote"). Appropriate action by the moderators in response to a flagged post may take some time; meanwhile just ignore the post in question, as well as anyone else’s ill-considered responses to it. And remember that an unchecked violation of TD policies does not mean it is suddenly open season.


  • Moderators have the capability and authority to edit or delete offending posts, and issue warnings which are sent via the site’s Private Messages (PM) system, and when necessary Infraction points may be recorded at that time. If you have received multiple infractions, then any moderator will have discretion to issue a ban, meaning that your posting privileges will be suspended for a period of time; additional infractions (including attempts to circumvent a ban, such as alternate accounts and IP proxies) may subject you to longer bans or a permanent ban. We always prefer to work with members to avoid bans, but will act when the best interests of the site are at stake.


  • If you have a question or concerns about these policies, feel free to PM a moderator, and we'll do our best to respond quickly.

glunn, Head Moderator
snepp
ashburyjohn
Riverbrian
USAFChief
ChiTownTwinsFan
diehardtwinsfan
twinsnorth49

 

Thank you for your understanding and commitment to Twins Daily.

Edited by ashburyjohn, 28 August 2014 - 12:51 PM.
Make the intro less time-specific


#2 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 09:59 PM

(Note: this and the comments that follow elaborate on each of the items in the Comment Policy. The intent is to help clarify the meaning - NOT to try and define exactly where the boundaries are. When in doubt, stick with the simple statements in the main policy statement, and try very hard to avoid probing the limits.)

1. Respect for others is expected in everything we write, and personal attacks are not allowed.

This means respect for fellow TD members. It means also showing respect for players, team staff and ownership, journalists, the other teams and their players, player agents, players’ wives… everybody!

It means giving others the benefit of the doubt; it means not being combative, nor looking to take offense at someone else's supposed "tone"; it means not labeling other posters or groups of people; it means turning the other cheek even when we feel we’re not being treated with respect ourselves. If your purpose in posting is to belittle someone, think twice.

We talk about what has occurred with our favorite team and players, we debate past moves and speculate on future actions, we dissect ideas, we sometimes make jokes and kid each other. But it crosses a line when it becomes overly personal - questioning manhood, courage, honesty or intelligence, or pretending you know how another person’s mind works, or telling somebody to learn baseball. Again, the line is crossed whether it is about a fellow TD member, or about someone in the public eye.

It's much easier to be accidentally disrespectful to other members (or unnamed groups of members) when you make it be *about* them. That doesn't mean it's always wrong to address someone else personally; part of the fun of the site is the sense of community, and we can also joke with each other if it's not likely to be misinterpreted. But when in doubt or when it's contentious - especially if you somehow think you can correct someone else's behavior or change their opinion - just stick to the topic under discussion.  Again: the single biggest way posters run afoul of posting respectfully is when they start worrying as much about whom they are responding to as about the topic being discussed.

And sometimes it is difficult to separate the person from the subject being discussed. Maybe someone's opinion is truly stupid or laughable; it's still better to say "I disagree because..." rather than "that's stupid/laughable because...". Trying to maintain that "I said the idea was idiotic, not that you are idiotic" is too fine a distinction to maintain in a thread with multiple posters and hundreds of readers.  Words like "silly" and "ridiculous" are likewise going to catch a moderator's eye. Explain why an idea is mistaken, don't just lazily attach an adjective to the idea.

Affecting an air of superiority when you are certain that the other party is incorrect is not only contrary to TD policy, it rarely has the desired persuasive effect anyway.  Keep the discussion to the facts as you see them, and avoid being dismissive, when you feel the urge to assert your superior analytical powers.

The opposite of respect might be "contempt". Here is an illuminating 3+ minute audio essay by a relationship counselor on that topic. While it is aimed toward helping couples, the overlap to posting in a public forum like TD should be evident:
http://www.kunr.org/...ng/episode/1392

Here is another essay by this counselor, on "emotional intimidation". It too is aimed toward couples, and is aimed even more toward the physical cues in interactions, but the part about bullying contains several nuggets that also apply surprisingly well to a written forum, such as getting caught up in the intensity:
http://www.kunr.org/...ng/episode/1393

The hard part is recognizing yourself in these descriptions; as this counselor states at one point, "who ever calms down when they're told to calm down?"

Edited by ashburyjohn, Today, 12:53 PM.


#3 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:00 PM

2. Do not be disruptive through trolling, flame-baiting, and thread-jacking.

A good forum thread often contains digressions, indeed they may be the most interesting or illuminating parts of a given discussion. And a negative opinion is not necessarily more disruptive than a positive one.

But...

  • inserting a pet idea into thread after thread, or
  • casting in a negative light everything someone says and does, or
  • making comments destined to revisit standard arguments, or
  • contributing one-line comments that add nothing but question everything, or
  • making excessive use of sarcasm to slam anyone or to overstate their position, or
  • posting that the subject of the thread itself is not worth discussing, or
  • making an extreme case for your side and/or putting up a straw man for the other side and/or putting words in someone else's mouth, or
  • harping about one small point, or
  • turning a small-scale discussion into an overly broad one, or
  • aggressively defending against a perceived slight, or
  • getting in someone's face about something, or
  • making it your mission in life to educate your inferiors, or
  • reminding readers that you correctly predicted some outcome, months ago, and others happened to disagree, or
  • bringing up someone’s words from another thread as though a judge and jury were weighing your evidence about this other poster

...these do not contribute to a lively discussion and instead cause participants to at best tune out or in many cases bicker pointlessly, often talking past one another.

If your post is becoming more about another TD member than about the topic, consider using the Private Messaging feature of TD instead - or better still, consider it a good point to stop bickering and just let it go. When in doubt about introducing a tangent, consider instead starting a new blog entry or thread topic, and invite readers of the current thread to come discuss your tangent over there. Or, if the topic of the discussion doesn't appeal to you, or you think it is irrelevant until all other larger issues have been resolved - well, life is short! Just move on to something you consider more constructive.

Interrupting a thread with discussion of forum moderation also constitutes thread-jacking. If you have specific concerns about moderator actions, PM one of the moderators civilly instead, as we are more than willing to discuss this with you. Or if you wish to publicly discuss the moderation at Twins Daily and help us improve the site, feel free to create a thread in the "Questions About MinnCentric" forum and open a discussion. This policy is not an attempt to stifle conversation about moderation; its purpose is to improve baseball-related discussion and prevent thread-jacking.

We remind you to try to ignore what you find distasteful and if you can't, then report it. Please do not try to police offenders yourselves or respond to them publicly. Actions the moderators take in response to reports are sometimes not apparent to the readership at large, but we do take all reports seriously and do our best to take action in an appropriate manner considering all the variables of content, intent and poster history, and not just a single word here and there. In the end you may not agree with or like our actions, or think them 'fair.' At such a point, please, just move on.

Again, feel free to contact any of the moderators should you wish to have a private conversation.

Edited by ashburyjohn, 28 August 2014 - 04:41 PM.


#4 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:00 PM

3. A minimal level of grammar and spell-checking is required.

No, we ain't no Grammar Nazis here. And nobody's going to hassle you about a tpyo (unless it's inadvertently fanny). But if it's not worth your time to at least do a proof-reading pass of what you're about to submit, maybe it's not worth your readers' time either. If it looks like it was typed on your phone keypad after one too many adult beverages, it stands a chance of being deleted by the moderators, lol.

Edited by ashburyjohn, 28 August 2014 - 04:46 PM.


#5 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:01 PM

4. Avoid inappropriate language.

This includes swearing, lewdness, and crude terms for body parts, bodily functions, and physical acts. This also includes visuals such as avatars and linked images. Certain terms (you can probably guess which) are automatically removed by the posting software - censor-bypass attempts are grounds for moderator action. Please be sensitive to the fact that comments relating to race, gender and sexual identity can be offensive, even when there is no pejorative intent. TD encourages humor, but please consider how someone who doesn’t know you might interpret your post. Overall, we don’t want content that the FCC wouldn’t approve for broadcast - keep it family-friendly.

#6 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:02 PM

5. Do not copy entire stories from elsewhere on the internet.

Copyright law gives broad protection to content, and we want to respect that. Be particularly wary of posting more than very short excerpts from pay sites. The TD site software allows you to easily insert, into your post, a link to an article’s URL. If you're pulling a quote or an example to give people a taste of a story, or relaying a short Twins-specific note found in a long article about a broader topic, then it is likely “Fair Use” and it's fine to insert the words directly; indeed the author or organization may appreciate the publicity via the URL link. But if you're copying everything because you're too lazy to summarize yourself, then that's not fine.

#7 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 10:06 PM

6. Commercial spam will be deleted on sight and the poster will be banned.

To be clear, cross-promotion of baseball blogs and so forth always has been strongly encouraged. Just make sure your posts contain content of interest to Twins followers, and don't consist merely of "click this link to see my site". Here is a post from one of the site owners explaining more to a fellow blogger:

Welcome to the blogging community.

By all means, if you have a post that you think our community would enjoy, post it here. I think you're much more likely to get feedback on a specific topic than just a general "look at my blog" post. And maybe even better response if you only do so with a post that you're especially proud of.

I'd also encourage you, if you have a post you really like, to consider double-posting it on your blog here at TwinsDaily. If it's really good, we'll promote it to the front page, including any links back to your site that you include in the story. Thousands of people will see it on the front page and it might really help people find/bookmark your blog. You can find your blog here by clicking on "Blogs" and then "My Blog".

We want people to find you. And we want to serve our readers by helping them find great Twins content. Keep it up, and welcome.




On a totally separate topic, here is a writeup pertaining to a type of forum thread that differs greatly from the others.

Game Threads

We believe the daily game threads during the season should be a little more relaxed than the normal thread. Think of sitting in the left-field bleachers with a few friends and acquaintances - people have a tendency to just chat and crack jokes during boring games or down times, and that's okay - we want you to stick around, even if you really have nothing to say. Deep discussions and extended back-and-forths may get made fun of here. Civility is still the rule, but a little more is tolerated. Okay: short posts, off-topic conversation, PG-rated joking with one another. Not Okay: hurtful posts, blatant rule violations, or being a grouch.

Edited by ashburyjohn, 15 August 2014 - 12:24 PM.


#8 ashburyjohn

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:13 AM

A post from June 2013:

I'm often asked by people who have been banned or whose posts have been deleted "I just want to know where the line is." Or "I just want to know what the limits are." Here is the answer:

We are working in a very nebulous and dynamic environment. We are figuring out our policy for maintaining civil discussion as we go along. There are [several] moderators with different opinions. Every time each of those moderators checks in, they're in a different state of mind. And finally, we all have limits to the time we can donate to these forums.

So there is no line. There is no limit. There are a lot of them, and they're always changing and that's the way it has to be. So just stay the hell away from it.

And frankly, that shouldn't be so hard. In fact, I can objectively PROVE it isn't that hard. Here you go:
- We have 2757 users right now on Twins Daily.
- Every day, we have about 300 active posters.
- We keep needing to delete stuff or warn about 5 to 10 members.

When about 97% or our community can consistently stay away from the line, I'm confident that the other 3% can figure out a way to, too.

And if you are unfairly penalized - deal with it like a grown up. Re-do your deleted post in a more civil manner so you can still make the point. Sit out of the forum for three days (or seven days) and just read things. Maybe see how others stay away from the line. Or enjoy another site. Or do something else. You'll live.

Let me share one last thing. I've talked to several people who run national sites much bigger that TD and here's how they do things - they see a post that makes them think they probably don't want that guy on the board and they just block the IP address. They do not think twice about it. No deleted post. No warning. No temporary ban. This is common, because they just don't have the time (or, frankly, the incentive) to rehabilitate anyone who looks like a moron.

When they told me that a year ago, I was aghast. It seemed arbitrary and unfair. Now, with as much time as I find having to moderate or explain the process of moderation to others, I'm a lot more sympathetic. To be exceptionally candid, my life would be a lot easier with permanent bans on about seven members. And as stretched as we are right now with time, that might be enough reason. That might be the new line.

Again - this isn't that hard. Be civil. Leave your ego out of it. Don't try to "win". Stay away from the line.


#9 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 09:37 PM

TD moderators sometimes invest considerable time composing messages to fellow site members. Here are a few recent ones, edited slightly into short essays, on the subject of contributing respectfully. They seemed worth sharing more widely.

[QUOTE]I wish you could just make your point without characterizing the other poster in the process. [/QUOTE]

[QUOTE]
  • Report,
  • ignore,
  • walk away,
  • or respectfully rebut.
There are many people on here who will, intentionally or unintentionally, push your buttons. Above are your four options. I know you can 'take care of yourself' in such instances, but doing so creates the problem of 'unenjoyable' reading for others. So, refrain! Be the hero, and let it be.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE]It isn't constructive to argue about whether or not a TD poster's personal opinion trumps that of the Twins. This is an internet site where everyone is entitled to an opinion as long as they are respectful; people are well within their rights to have differing opinions. Arguing that someone's opinion doesn't matter because they aren't a member of the Twins front office is inherently disrespectful, and isn't a good place to go given that this board has only 1 confirmed member of the Twins front office posting here and this forum is open to the public. [/QUOTE]

[QUOTE]Worry about yourself, and less about other posters.[/QUOTE]

Edited by ashburyjohn, 19 December 2013 - 09:55 PM.