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post #341 of 348
Sorry Daryl, I was asking you and Ard since you both addressed the issue of 'selective' enforcement of the UA. As you know, it is obviously hard for me, personally, to never use sexual innuendo. But, I am not posting threads along that line or felt it was offensive. So, I guess I am trying to figure this out for myself. When you say, "I saw this post...blah, blah, blah...", it sounds like you are looking for violations. If I see a little inuendo in a post, and I of course, do, it doesn't bother me. I choose to respond to the thread, or not.
post #342 of 348
Profanity and Sexual Innuendo
Hello everyone,

Though our User Agreement asks members to refrain from profane language in posting, we have long followed an unwritten policy of enforcement regarding profanity in that occasional expressions in a post is acceptable but excess would be addressed. This has never been an issue but it seems to have become one now. So I would like to ask that members avoid using profanity. Some use astericks or other characters to try to temper any offense or violation but we'd prefer that this be avoided as well as much as possible. In particular let's please not place profanity in thread titles.

I'm aware that what is profane to some is not to others and vice versa. But let's step on the side of caution here. If other words can be used, use them. When the discussion is a parenting issue that involves profanity then its expression can be appropriate of course.

As for sexual innuendo I think we need to tone that down as well. Again, the 'occasional' rule can be used . But when entire threads take such a focus we need to draw a line and ask that it be taken private or to some other online communication forum such as chat or a private community that is open to hosting such discussions.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.
This is the announcement posted on every page,which DaryLLL is referring to.

Just so my suggestion isn't missed,I would like to again mention the possiblity of placing a filter in the software that would replace a word that is profanity or would stand in the place of profanity with :,for example. Just a thought. Unfortunately,words like that do slip out from time to time(just because as mentioned, people have different comfort levels,and some people may cuss every other word,and some may think that "heck" is a bad word),and to save whining and moderators having to close threads or ask someone to edit,why not just filter them out? Then,no one can complain. Just my take on the situation...

post #343 of 348
OK, I read aaaalllll the posts and now I can respond!

Some suggestions I've had:
- Create a forum where "adult stuff" can be discussed, a forum that could be accessed only by senior members. If necessary, have these members prove they are adults by submitting a credit card number.
- Have clear, concise written rules and inform members of changes or updates. If decisions are to be made based on subjective criteria - such as, what is considered innuendo - PM members and ask them to edit posts before just removing them, closing threads, or suspending privileges.

Some questions: does there need to be a list of words that can't be said here? I know we can't use the conventional "swear" words, but I see words like "butt," "boobs," and "crap." Are they OK or not OK, and why? And of course, there is the dancing butt smilie...

I have seen links to penis photos in the circ forum. A child could click on those. Yet I've not been aware of threads there being closed or anyone asked to stop posting such links. (Maybe it's happened and I was just not aware.) What about birth photos?

I also think we need to drop the attitude of "beggars can't be choosers" and "love it or leave it." I see a lot of threads where moms complain about WIC, public schools, and other things they are getting for free. Usually, people don't tell them "Well what do you expect, it's free, no one is forcing you to be there, why don't you just leave?" Not everyone has the option of leaving. Not all moms are able to homeschool or send their child to private school; they have to use public school.

This board is not a luxury for me. It's not some kind of fluffy thing I do "just for fun." It is my only way to socialize with other adults, since I will not leave my kids with anyone. It is the only chance I have to talk with people who understand why I won't "just get a babysitter." It is a real need. I've tried other boards, and they did not do it for me. Leaving is not an option for me, so I do try to follow the rules, but it troubles me that someone can make new rules and not inform the members, and then not give members any warnings when they break the rules. I don't think it's right to tell me, or anyone else, that since it's free there is nothing I should be able to say about the rules and that if I don't like it I can just get out. Suppose everyone who didn't like it did just leave? You would be left with a whole board of people who like to follow rules and never have questions. Would that be very interesting?
post #344 of 348
LittleBearsMom, that is exactly what I am referring to.
post #345 of 348
I would be totally in support of an adult only area where sensitive issues could be discussed but I would ask that it please please not be linked to senior member status. I have been around here for a fairly long time and this place is important to me but I type REALLY slowly so I respond only to posts where I feel very strongly or if I think I have something valuable to contribute. It will probably take me 5 years to get to senior member status and I would hate to be excluded from what I think would be a great source of support for me. Surely some other criterion could be used...length of membership perhaps. Just had to speak out on behalf of us pathetic hunt n' peckers out here.
post #346 of 348
Ok, I dont go into TAO much, so alot of this is going over my head. However, I really like MDC and want to follow all this and know where this is leading. Something this big is certainly changing the feel of the whole place, IMHO.

FWIW, I like the idea for a seperate forum, (though for obvious reasons don't think it should be senior members only )a place where people could go to blow off a little steam, or maybe ask a ? about something sexual.
post #347 of 348
Originally Posted by absinthe
Just had to speak out on behalf of us pathetic hunt n' peckers out here.
post #348 of 348
I will not address everything that has been posted here but I will do what I can to make some clarifications and address those things that can be explained.
I'd also like to know if there is any forum in which it is appropriate to have an open discussion about the User Agreement.
The Questions and Suggestions forum is fine for general questioning or discussion of the User Agreement. But if you have an angry message that you'd like to blast at a moderator then that sort of thing will get you a reminder that we ask you to take your issues to us directly.

I'm not advocating unmoderation, or violating the user agreement, but I have seen many things lately that have been moved unneccesarily, IMO. I think that either the user agreement should change, because it seems that this place is getting VERY controlling. Or the "offending parties" (and I mean from the MODs point of view, because I certainly was not offended), should go start their own forum. And then PM me here when you do.
Moved unnecessarily *in your opinion*. But your opinion is not the one called into moderation decisions and you really can't appreciate the reasoning behind every move. If it's your thread and you want to understand the reason then PM the mod. And as a way of addressing this in a more community beneficial way I'm asking the moderators to post to a thread when they move it to explain the reason for the move. I hope that helps but please, if you still have an issue or disagreement about such things, take it to the mod or to me privately. Don't post to the thread in question to complain about it. And if a concern about moving of theads in general is of issue to you it can be brought up as a general discussion here in Q&S.

We/they want to know if you as mods feel that teh moving of threads is getting to be excessive and annoying(as I'm sure it is).Also there are several threads here in Q&A are asking questions that the member reallyw ants answered but instead hey are just getting told not to discuss it here but it's confusing cause we/me thought that was what q&A is for.
So now with teh closing of TAO and the thread moving excess we/me/they are just wondering what we can do or needs to be done by us and teh mods to make this place happy and healthy again.
The NEED to move threads is getting to be excessive and annoying for sure. The refusal of members to honor and comply with requests to post to the topic appropriate forum is frustrating and creates constant and additional problems for the mods. So there you can please heed our requests. The mods have told members to post in the appropriate forum and if they feel they need TAO attention they can post a "please visit my thread here" in TAO. Or use their signature to draw attention.

I think the closed threads here in Q&A have been addressed. But sometimes issues are private and we refuse to make them public. And we would also appreciate the request that you contact us first to discuss something. If a mod does not respond to you, contact me.

I believe part of this site's mission is to be 'family friendly'
This is true and it is also true that we all have different comfort levels of what is acceptable for public statement and discussion and what is not. So the decision lies with Peggy as to what she wants to host and what she doesn't. Though *you* may feel like you're being slapped on the hand and not treated as an adult it's really more an issue of what is necessary for discussion and what isn't and how we can help everyone discuss their Mothering stuff while upholding the integrity of a comfortable posting and reading atmosphere. Asking you to not tell us about your crotch and what you do with it at night alone, or whose boobs you'd like to snuggle up with, is not, as far as I can see, an unreasonable request. You can certainly share those statements elsewhere in a forum of discussion where you know members will enjoy such conversation.

I think a lot of confusion comes from the "innuendo" rule. Most of those things I think would go way over kids' heads. Also, it's not at all clear what is and isn't crossing the line. Plus I really feel that the definition of not allowed is growing by the day.
The innuendo issue is not just one of concern for children reading. It is also along the lines of what I explained above.

Is it reasonable to say that if you don't like a discussion you should not read it? For discussions that are of Mothering essence and purpose, yes. There are certainly things here that offend some but are not topics that we are going to refuse to host. Yet there are others that are not necessary and do offend and give our guests and visitors an opinion of MDC and Mothering that is really not something we aim to convey, nor are they discussions that all members feel comfortable with. So we do have to draw lines when we feel excesses are present.

We have long tolerated profanity and sexual innuendo and our general policy has been that a bit here and there is not something we want to make an issue of but when it gets excessive and out of hand then we must ask for it to stop.

When the profanity increased and the innuendo in TAO got to be pretty heavy in some threads we asked for it to stop. Some members ignored those requests, even those who were contacted privately. As the mods tried to handle things the cutting remarks against them, the innuendo tried to fly under and way above "radar" and signatures and locations were used to further make statements about issues such as threads moved (aka "voed" to some) and more and more the issue got out of hand.

When we ask for something to stop it may not always be clear to you why we are asking what we do. And it is not always appropriate for us to point our finger at this member or those threads or that post to prove to you that we have a concern that needs to be resolved and that is why we are asking what we are. Whether or not you trust us with the jobs we have in our hands you really need to do so and respect and comply with what we request. If you feel we are not deserving of that authority or are misusing it you can most certainly bring that to peggy. I have had my actions thoroughly investigated by her many times.

But getting an attitude about our actions and posting to be irritating or silly or reactionary or intentionally undermining is not helpful and further feeds the issues at hand that you may not be aware of. Or that you may be a very large part of the initiating and feeding though not intending it.

We don't have lines about innuendo as a part of our policy that I can clearly lay out in black and white. As you've all seen and stated, it's a very grey isue. But you CAN refrain when we ask you to do so and avoid even those things that you're not sure of, as a help to us and an honor of our request. If you're not sure of something you can ask.

About "voed" and "voe":
I don't think it was meant to be mocking...it's was just a word that got misspelled and then got picked up and well, everyone just got a little silly. No harm intended. I'll pm you.
It didn't start out with any untoward meaning. But it turned into it. Maybe *you* didn't do anything inappropriate in using it but that doesn't mean others were not trying to rock the boat with their use of it. We don't usually make a public issue of something that involves specific members and their behavior. Unfortunately we are not treated with the same courtesy and issues people have with us are carried to others and to blogs and other online communities and things get out of hand and distorted. Not much we can do about that but we will also not engage in the public confrontation approach that is being asked for in detailing every reason for everything.

I do admit to having a HUGE problem with the profanity and sexual restrictions mostly because I have a very free mind and will have no idea how to determine what someoen else may be insulted or offended by.
Under normal circumstances we would contact you if we felt your posting is of issue. But what has occurred lately has been beyond the norm and needed more direct and immediate resolution. It was and is meant to be a temporary situation, to bring the issue to light so that everyone is aware that while we can accept occasional profanity and sexual references as part of the expressive, and fun and silly nature of mamas and good discussion we do have to step in when it gets out of hand and we do expect, with full right, that our requests be appreciated and heeded. The farking and astericks and such are also things we would normally not have an issue with. But in light of our clear request to stop the profanity such disguises are no more appropriate than the full profanity and do little to help the situation. Similarly a post that uses nonsensical words of no comprehensive meaning to insult someone is merely a veiled personal attack. Is it any less so because the words are disguised or nonsensical? Of course not.

I have been under the impression that MDC was the sort of shopowner who would be interested in what its loyal customers have to say, and that would strive to live up to its own ideals. The name MotheringDotCommune suggests to me something about respecting and listening to input from everybody. I guess we'll see how things unfold. I hope it feels like a dialogue and not a dictatorship.
It is and we do. But you'll have to accept that things may not be exactly as *you* feel they should be and that if we take input and make decisions that do not conform to what *you* would like to see it is not because we do not care or are ignoring our "loyal customers". A good chunk of the input we receive is not voiced here because members who feel differently don't want to be fingered as an enemy or flamed in discussion, which does happen. I've had two recent incidents of members change their usernames due to harassment they have received off the boards and even in real life from members here who did not like their differing views expressed in discussion here. And we've seen a fair share of our members bashed by other MDC members in blogs and other communities. So we do look at whole pictures and beyond what you might personally be aware of when decisions are made.

Dictatorship? I can see how it may appear that way at times. But I hope you can appreciate that that's not the case, that things are often beyond what the surface issue presents and it's for us to make decisions based on so many other things that we cannot possibly lay out for everyone to be aware of. Though I can appreciate that those who love the mama drama might want to see that happen.

Perhaps it would make sense to remove the "Commune" part from the title that is displayed prominently on each page, since the word commune implies community ownership and governance.
*Implies*. But not necessarily *means*
The meaning extends beyond that and can certainly be appropriate for our purpose and intentions:

[Middle English comunen, to have common dealings with, converse, from Old French communer, to make common, share (from commun, common. See common), and perhaps from Old French communier, to share in the Communion (from Late Latin commnicre, from Latin, to communicate. See communicate).]

I read a lot of sex talk in Parents as Partners. Most of it is relevant to the discussion, but some isn't. Even if the sex talk is relevant, it's still not something I'd want my kids to see. In fact, if I had to choose, I'd rather have my child read a car parking thread.

It seems that it's ok to talk about sex in PasP, but not in TAO. I think PasP is a valuable forum, and I'd hate to see it closed, or the rules enforced strictly, making the forum much less useful. I just couldn't help noticing the inconsistency in enforcement of posting rules.
Again it is not entirely an issue of family friendliness. What is appropriate and necessary for Mothering's inherent purposes here can be accommodated.
We may indeed have some posting in that forum (and maybe others) that is beyond what MDC wishes to host. That's something for me to review and discuss with Peggy and possibly address.

okay, so could i say...

I do not care for Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh and those of the ilk who appear with their words and passion to be ___________________________ (fill it in with adverbs that I opine of them?)

Is it a matter of how we say things?
Yes. It's a matter of how you say it.

That brings up the PM issue. IMO it is similar to customer service. If you do not have time to respond to a PM soon after you receive (particularly if a Mod or if it regards a serious subject) a quick PM saying "I can't respond right now but I will get back to you as soon as I have an anser or time permits" is better than none at all. I have had many a PM ignored and GENERALLY left it be in the past but I always wondered WHY noone responded if it was a serious isus
I agree. We acknowledge that PMs should be responded to within a reasonable amount of time, even if just to say that it's been read and will be addressed.

Arbitrary and INCONSISTENT being the key words.
Sometimes things do feel arbitrary and we have to live with that as an accusation of being unfair. It can't always be explained to your satisfaction. Sometimes we close a thread or issue a warning for something that someone else has similarly posted and not had closed or received a warning for. And it is not unreasonable to *assume* we are bring arbitrary or inconsistent. We have the task of moderating. It is not an easy one. Sometimes we don't see what you have seen. Sometimes we do but we have different takes on it and different info that feed into the circumstance. Or the particular member has been warned repeatedly while another is a first offense. Sometimes we HAVE handled it behind the scenes. Sometimes we FORGET to move or close and just issue the alert or warning and move on absentmindly thinking we have addressed it. Sometimes we even POST to a thread that is inappropriate and that is seen as a validation of the inappropriateness. Not necessarily true. There are so many things that go on here day in and day out, mostly minor but sometimes major and of community shaking importance. At times we handle things directly, quickly and forcefully. At other times we'll feel a different approach is necessary. We do try to be consistent as much as we can. And actually that has brought us a lot of the recent grief about the innuendo and profanity and thread moving. If we act on one thing, a member who was involved in that issue carries a "well if you did it to MY thread you better do it to every body else's thread" and then every single little "inconsistency" is made an issue of, reported, PMed, commented on and thrown up as example of our "bias" or "friendships with some members". So it's an extremely difficult thing and not as simple as "be consistent!".

You live in Saudi Arabia. Are you being blocked from MDC by the Internet censors that I have heard about from collegues who have worked there?
No. That's never been a problem or concern of mine nor an issue that has played into any of our standards or rules or enforcement of them. Even if MDC were to be blocked I can get proxy bypassing or satellite internet connection that supercedes the government blocks.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we should have input. Not because it is our right......but because MDC is committed to serving their customers/community. If it wasn't for MDC, I would have never heard about Mothering Mag. Now I am getting a subscription. Not just for myself, but to have at the academy for other parents to read. Perhaps they too will subscribe!!!
We have never said we do not want or welcome input. What we have done is outline the appropriate channels for it to be expressed and it has always been Peggy's preference that we handle it that way, asking that anyone with concerns contact us privately. Whenever there is a community issue to discuss it can be done here in Questions and Suggestions but within limits and under the same guidelines for posting everywhere else. I have left this thread open in spite of several very rude and insulting comments that have been made. Posts of that nature serve only the poster's interest and those who support and applaud them in such words. But for the most part those posts will pretty much be ignored. I will not respond them. As kama said somewhere so well, "would you prefer that anyone ... who has a concern bring it up in front everyone in such a way as to try to polarize the others into either "supporting you" or "supporting them" or would you prefer they discussed their problems with you privately?"

Moving threads like that is very odd to me, and to me, it seems unnecessarily and arbitrarily controlling.
The issue is mostly that of a large number of threads posted to TAO that do not belong there and that have specific topic devoted forums for them here at MDC where they *should* be posted. Why do we move them? Organization, to keep TAO from being overrun, because if we don't keep things where they belong we have great discussions get missed by those who are searching for them in the topic appropriate forum. If the topic specific forums are not frequented and posted to then there's no point to them. So we must channel topics to where they belong.

We have organization and devoted forums for a purpose. It's not unreasonable for us to expect members to abide by our needs in this regard and to post on topic. And we have pointed out ways to get your thread noticed rather than intentionally posting it to TAO or OT for the forum you want it seen in.

And I'm still perplexed about the changes to the User Agreement...some of which I don't remember seeing announced.

When I joined, it said that the posts I made were my responsibilty. Now it is theirs and their property (and, yes, sorry, I do feel like using "their").
As abimommy said somewhere in the thread there have actually been very few changes to the UA over the past several years since it was revised and put in place. In this that you have pointed to you are still responsible for your posts and if a legal issue arises you carry that responsibility. But you no longer have a copyright claim to them. By submitting them to MDC you are agreeing to our publication of them, current and ongoing, and that makes them the property of Mothering to make decisions about. You do not hold a right to have your posts deleted upon your demand. Nor do you have the right to delete your posts out entirely in large number in a manner that would destroy discussions you have posted to. And as many of you are aware, this clarification came about as a result of a few members doing just that for whatever reason that compelled them to expect that or do it. So the responsibility is yours to post only that which you are willing to leave behind.

And, YES, I have wondered where and how MDC family values are defined. I have wondered about SA but then again I would probl ask the same question if the admin/mods were from a highly conservative US state or culture or religion.
I look at it as erring on the side of caution. We can all be comfortable and participate in discussions that do not use profanity and do not bring your latest sexual excitement into the conversation. But by permitting you profane and sexual expressions *some* will not be comfortable. We would rather provide a comfortable environment for as many as possible as we can. It's the same in the mag. You don't find articles in mothering where a woman discusses her personal day and states something like "That bitch that lives next door!" or "What the fuck! I can always use my B.O.B. if my Daddyboy can't get it up tonight".

This seems to be more of a desire for some but not a necessity for discussion. I don't doubt that for some of you it is an enjoyable mode and focus of conversation, a way to have fun and relax. But it need not be here where it will touch the comfort levels of some members unnecessarily when you can take it elsewhere for your own specific needs and where it will be welcomed by everyone. If it can be posted here appropriately, without the language or unnecessary graphic info or innuendo, then we certainly welcome it. But we need not welcome anything and everything, and to offer one of Peggy's ever clarifying statements - while we try to listen to the needs of the community and provide what we feel we can within the scope of Mothering advocacy and purpose, we cannot be everything to everyone and certainly don't profess to be.

Thank you all for your input and concern. I hope there is a feeling that we have listened and that my explanations have clarified at least some of your concerns and questions.

I'm closing this thread as I think input has been grand and as comprehensive as it will ever be. Your complaints have been presented to Peggy. If she has any ideas, additions, or changes she or I will post to offer that. My post is to respond to the things raised as concerns and is based on our current policy and procedures which do not change without her direction. So my advice to you is to take what you can from what I have tried to explain here and await any change she may agree to, if she sees change necessary. Should that come about it will most certainly be announced and policy revised.

Peace mamas.
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