Okay, I feel it is necessary to open a discussion about how we handle 'situations' here.
This is from me to you. I didn't even discuss this with the mods because I want them to get upset with me for 10 seconds, then we can talk about why I do the things I do without them knowing, and I will just say, probably the same reason you do things without telling me.
When arguments or fighting break out, everyone is affected by it. Even if they choose not to read about it, they most likely hear about it. These situations often cost the mods, and me, a lot of time and energy to sort out. It seems that, for whatever reason, some are insistent that we have some secret agenda to treat people unfairly. That if mods take action, they are 'targeting'. The truth is, we have many safeguards against this sort of unfairness.
I'm familiar with the feeling, and the result, of being moderated. I don't like it either. Especially if I think the world needs to know what I think and believe. However, it's important that we all realize we share the same space here and we are all different. Our differences will clash, our perceptions will not line up, and sometimes the facts are not understood, misinterpreted, hidden, ignored or simply not apparent. This causes some problems. It can cause embarrassment, hurt ego, etc. Then the situation gets personal. So we need some order, and fall back to a mediator - like rules.
All forums need rules. Without a system of order, the community will divide and scatter and become pointless.
Our Guidelines are posted on the Main Menu. Our procedures of enforcement are not. That is, not specifically. After many discussions, the moderators as a group have always resisted a line-by-line sectional 'rule book' for moderation. They have always felt that it made them seem cold and disconnected, mechanical, automated. They don't want that kind of relationship with the members. The moderators really care a lot about the members here - and I mean, A LOT.
So we do actually have procedures, albeit, they are loose and exist between us as a sort of familial contract. It's like family rules - wash your hands before dinner and take off your shoes in the living room. Call it your mama's common sense management 101.
Basically, that is our guideline and procedure of enforcement - common sense. When we get emotional, common sense seems like jailtime, and that's kinda the point.
Anyway, let me just clarify some rule enforcement and why we do them, in case you're wondering...
1) Moderators lock topics to stop posting when posting starts getting personal so the personal posts stop.
2) Moderators manage topics that go off topic because that is why we have topics, to stay on topic because if you want to talk about another topic, just make it or ask a moderator to split an existing topic to continue your topic on another topic.
3) Moderators are people just like you. They have opinions and beliefs, just like you. If you don't like something a moderator did or said, DO NOT complain about them on the forum, report the post or PM an Administrator. If this doesn't make sense to you, then you must be the type of person that enjoys making trouble. (admit it...uh huh, yes)
4) Administrators are people just like you. They have opinions and beliefs, just like you. If you don't like something an Administrator did or said, DO NOT complain about them on the forum, report the post or PM another Administrator (we always have at least two for this reason). If this doesn't make sense to you, then you must be the type of person that really enjoys making trouble.
5) If you want to leave the forum, just leave. If you want to come back, welcome back.
6) If you want to leave the forum because of something that happened, DO NOT complain about it on the forum without ever contacting the Admins. Your posts will be removed. Why? Because you're doing it to cause trouble, and the admins are here for everyone, not just your 'enemy', and it's their job to stop trouble, even if you are causing it. If you really feel compelled to say goodbye because you want to move on, then create a Status Update.
7) If you don't think you're causing trouble - then please explain your position to the admins. We'll be happy to listen to your story. But if you complain to all the members, copy and paste stuff on other forums, and never ever contact us, we kinda don't believe you when you claim you're not being a troublemaker. So for every rumor, perhaps we should all ask - did you talk to Greg or Brian about this? I know I talk to Brian when I'm not sure what to do or when I'm upset. Give him a try, he's a really nice guy.
8 ) Posting PMs on the forum is not allowed. Ever. If it's useful information, fine. But beware, we will remove posted PMs if we don't appreciate the intent. Use Common Sense. Also, The Guidelines apply to PMs as well. Anyone can report a PM message just like a post on the forum.
9) There's a difference between getting upset and complaining, and getting upset and causing trouble. It's actually okay to let off some steam, we get it. BUT. We do not want trouble. We stop it the troubles - That's what the members expect from us.
10) If you are ever treated unfairly, if someone says something that offends you, if you get pissed off about anything that happens here, if someone does something illegal here, etc - report it to me or Brian! You don't even have to be nice. Just lay it out. Even if I can't or don't want to handle it, I'll delegate it. But please, give me a chance to help you before you try something rash!
11) About posts that are removed. They are either hidden or deleted. No Moderator or Admin can secretly snipe your post. All mods and admins can see who hid or deleted anything. They can still see hidden posts. It's no secret to us. Typically, we never delete posts though. We remove them. Every Mod, and every Admin, has to explain why they removed a post to the other mods and admins. We are not allowed to act as lone wolves out here in these parts...
12) If there is ever anything you need help with on the forum, please contact any mod or admin. We are here to help you!
13) It's true! We are actually here to help you. No other member has the responsibility the mods have - when you take an issue to a moderator, they must do something about it. So, please use the effectiveness of the mods. They are the ones who can make the trouble go away.
14) And when all reason and serenity has escaped you, and you just can't deal with things as an adult, we offer you The Thunderdome Forum. It's under the Jibber-Jabber Category. Posts there will not show up in the Topic Feed. However, The Thunderdome is NOT MODERATED. You can say whatever you want and deal with the blow back, however anyone else wants. But if any of the shit in the Thunderdome gets on the Main Site, you will be BANNED by the Master Blaster. You have been warned.
15) If I forgot something, let me know.
So have fun everyone!