Administrative Recommendation To Remedy Political Discussion and Ad Hominem Attacks

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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#1
Over the course of the past several weeks there seem to be more and more threads which not only contain posts of a political nature but which also contain replies from members who disagree with said posts. This all too often has resulted in some pretty severe dust-ups, in which ad hominem attacks have occurred.

There have been frequent and kind reminders from Ron that at WBF we do NOT discuss politics. In spite of Ron's admonitions the political posts continued and arguments resulted. This is not what we at WBF foster. We are a very large and daily growing community which has been brought together by a common love — the love of music. Having said that we are all different, including how we hear and how we develop our sound systems. The same analogy exists for everyone here. Simply put, we are all different. We come from every corner of the world and hang out in our little part of the internet to discuss what we love. Every so often a thread is started, which, although not overtly political at the outset, touches upon politics tangentially, and then, later on, directly.

Again members are reminded about NO POLITICS, but too often it is too late as the arguments start and the name calling follows. It is safe to say that we are a diverse community of different beliefs, different religions, different skin colors and different political beliefs. We are not here to discuss any of these topics, but it always seems to be "politics" which can “push the buttons” of many members.

Yesterday and the day before I spent hours dealing with members messaging me about the problems. Some made suggestions as to how to rectify the situation — from straight out banning a member to imposing some sort of sanction.

Our belief is that we are a close knit community the members of which for all intents and purposes get along well with one another. Ron and I have probably allowed too much leeway when it comes to sanctions when political discussions and arguments erupt. As a result, Ron and I have discussed what we feel to be a fair and just way to deal with violations of the ban on politics.

First off it is important to remind everyone who is a registered member here that he/she has agreed to our Terms of Service when he/she joins.

For those who have not read the terms if Service, or who have forgotten them, here is the link to our Terms of Service.

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/terms-of-service.1207/#post-13195. We cannot read every post in every thread so many times we learn of issues

I draw everyone’s attention to Articles 6 and 10.

So here is what we feel to be fair and just . . .

1. Ron and I are going to be stricter when it comes to enforcing our TOS.

2. The forum is very large so it becomes impossible for Ron and I to know about every political thread or political post until after a political post is published.

3. Rather than allowing your “button” to be pushed and reacting in a less than polite fashion by posting an ad hominem attack, we ask that you “think before you post” and think twice before you push the post button. We would rather have you “report the post” that you find objectionable so that the moderators can deal with the issue. This is part of our TOS. We ask everyone not to play moderator, but, rather, to report an objectionable post. Also, we have an “ignore” button which should be considered as another option.

4. The last thing Ron and I ever want to do is to be punitive. We have no desire to ban members. We do, however, want members to understand that we have a Terms of Service here, and discussing politics is taboo.

Further we are we loathe to delete posts. Lately there have seen several posts that were direct ad hominem attacks and should have been removed but they weren't. We don't want to treat the problem once it has happened; we want to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. So we are soliciting every member’s help to keep WBF a fun place at which to hang out. We don't feel that is a lot to ask.

5. We do not want to censor members, but we will take action when posts violate our TOS and Code of Conduct. A gratuitously inflammatory post will be edited or deleted. Even this we find contrary to general principles. We ask you, please, to "challenge the post, not the poster.”

6. There may come a time when a member needs and deserves a “time out.” However the time out will not be our first action.

7. Ron and I have decided to use the “Three Strikes Rule”: If a moderator deems a reported post to be inflammatory, ad hominem or political, the member will be issued a private warning. This will be Strike 1. Once a member receives a third warning a time out is imposed, and that member will be banned from the forum for one week.

8. Once a member is banned for a week that member will no longer benefit from the grace of the Three Strike Rule. A subsequent violation by that member will incur immediately another one week ban.

9. If the moderators deem a post to be extremely egregious we reserve the right to impose a one week ban immediately and without the usual two prior warnings.

In summary we want WBF to be a safe and welcome refuge from anything political. Reminding people about “no politics” at our end has proved ineffective, and we hope to eradicate this problem with this Three Strikes warning system and temporary one week ban policy.

I ask of all of you to please remember these admonitions and to enjoy WBF as a”politics-free zone. I hope that with these issues in mind there will never be a need to issue any temporary bans. We ask for everyone’s help and understanding.

Thank you.

Steve and Ron
 
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BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
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#3
Seems reasonable to me. Sorry you had to type so much.
 
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Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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#4
One of the reasons I chose not to cover CAF 2019 is I just did not feel like defending my opinion of the exhibits. I am not timid nor do I care if someone disagrees with me. I actually enjoyed the show much .more knowing I could keep it to myself.
Hypocrates believed the best way to learn is open debate. There are bound to be differing opinions expressed by those who are either biased,incompetent or both. Pointing that out can be offensive.
Prior restraint means the opinion may never be expressed. That can mean others will never reap the benefits.
Maintaing proper decorum is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.
Being censored (banned)has a chilling effect.
I don't envy the moderators. I hope, myself included, the members will help them out by conducting ourselves with proper decorum. I suggest some political content is appropriate. I hope the admin will be judicious when censorship is unavoidable.
I think you have been so in the past.







defending
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#5
One of the reasons I chose not to cover CAF 2019 is I just did not feel like defending my opinion of the exhibits.

. . . I suggest some political content is appropriate.
. . .
All respectful discussions about audio and music and all of our other forum and subforum topics are, of course, welcome.

Our policy has been “no politics” so that means that no political content is appropriate. We have tried to use a light touch in enforcing the “no politics” rule. Of course it is not easy to draw the lines. Inevitably subjective judgment comes into play.

For example, is a discussion of federal tax policy “political”? As long as the posters are careful and the discussion avoids mentioning politicians, political parties, who is good and who is bad, who is at fault for some asserted problem, characterization of some debatable political opinion as a fact, etc., we will let the thread run. But if a post devolves into mentioning politicians, political parties, who is good and who is bad, who is at fault for some asserted problem, characterization of some debatable political opinion as a fact, etc., then we likely will find the post to be political and, therefore, impermissible.

Anyone who questions or wonders whether a proposed post violates the ban on politics should feel completely free to ask Steve or me or the moderators in advance for our thoughts.
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#6
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Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
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#7
I think we all have learned that people here on WBF have different political opinions, but also that these do not have to interfere at all with audio discussions.

The past few years have been for me, like for many others, difficult on a personal level because of political differences. But this is not because of WBF.

Having said that, it is indeed probably best to leave politics aside on this forum.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,212
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940
London
#8
I think we all have learned that people here on WBF have different political opinions, but also that these do not have to interfere at all with audio discussions.

The past few years have been for me, like for many others, difficult on a personal level because of political differences. But this is not because of WBF.

Having said that, it is indeed probably best to leave politics aside on this forum.
Your problem is digital, not political
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
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#9
Your problem is digital, not political
Ha, if that's the "problem", then it is no problem at all ;). Differences in opinion on this topic have been at worst a source of amusement for me, not of real anger.
 
Feb 8, 2011
24,311
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#10
Science of Climate Change, and EV versus ICE are not this crowd's unifying tropic.
Better stick with Porn Audio, Horns, TTs, tubes, music, cars, wines, cigars, food, sports, expensive watches, ultra high end audio cables, isolating feet and platforms, dishwashers, linear tangential tonearms, movies, ... beyond the universe (all galaxies and stars).
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#11
Every so often a thread is started, which, although not overtly political at the outset, touches upon politics tangentially, and then, later on, directly.
Politics is everywhere. I come here to avoid it. It reeks of smug self-righteousness. My sense is almost all come here for audio and music and not politics but a small group cannot help themselves. Aren't there plenty of venues elsewhere that are meant for politics. By its very nature there is no What's Best in politics.

Rather than wait and see, I say stop threads with political or potentially political topics as soon as they spring up. A good example is that recent 15,000 Scientists Warning thread. It was political from the outset and it was overtly political by the 3rd post. Yet it went on and on unchecked.

Focus on thread topics first moreso than people. That should make the moderator's duty much simpler.

Moderators should be aware of their own political views so as not to prejudice assessment or inclination to allow political or potentially political discussions to begin or continue.

If it cannot be controlled, then cordon it off. Have a special forum section for political discussion and allow the option not to see it. If a thread turns political, put it in the politics forum. That will encourage policing by members themselves. "Don't turn this thread political or it will go 'there'."

For example, is a discussion of federal tax policy “political”? As long as the posters are careful and the discussion avoids mentioning politicians, political parties, who is good and who is bad, who is at fault for some asserted problem, etc., we will let the thread run. ...
Wrong. The topic itself is inherently political. Federal... Tax.... Policy.... - don't you see it? Do you want to have a non-political audio forum or do you want to place tolerance for border line political topics as your priority? Focus on thread topics first moreso than people. That should make the moderator's duty much simpler.

I say tolerance in all things but politics. Take it somewhere else.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#12
Thank you, Tim, for this thoughtful and heartfelt post. You know we agree with you. We want WBF literally to be a warm refuge from the political controversies of the day.

However, I do not agree it is “wrong.” I don’t necessarily disagree, either. I can argue the point both ways very easily. These can be fine lines, and they can be difficult to draw.

Presently our inclination is to cut off less of the diseased arm rather than more.

If the policy above fails to curtail politics and political discussion we can revisit it and consider a more aggressive approach.

I think that I personally am very aware of my political views. You are correct to raise this issue and to make sure we act fairly and evenly, with as little personal political bias or prejudice as possible.

If you feel a topic or a post breaches the ban on politics please do not hesitate to let me or Steve or a moderator know.
 
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Kingsrule

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2011
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#13
Steve

This is all well and good or is it boilerplate rhetoric?

U called me out publicly here, not via a private communication which was not cool.

It seems you always favor the "inner circle" members and let these members say whatever they want.

I get it that it's your forum and that u seem to be keeping an eye on it more than Ron but from what I've seen over the years there is no way you will be able to abide to the OP, being completely objective is just not you..

I hate the political innuendos and digs some members think are cute and smart and laud what u are trying to accomplish here but its on u Steve and that won't come easy.......
 
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Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
#14
I can promise you this is not boiler plate rhetoric

I’ve asked for everyone’s help. That’s not too much to ask.

Like you I worry about being able to enforce this. Our biggest hope is that it becomes a non issue and members let it go

We have no desire to censor or ban anyone. or to delete anything. We asked for everyone’s help and understanding and with that we are hoping that we can put an end to these mindless arguments and name calling. I believe we are all better than that. As for me paying more attention to the issue than Ron I would disagree as it is always Ron who is interjecting NO POLITICS in many of the threads. It comes to my attention when finally the posts are reported.

As for an inner circle of members with whom I always agree that just isn’t the case. Many of the members however are personal friends who I have known for 20 years or more and helped with the launch of WBF and are Founding Members”

So with everyone’s help and understanding we are hoping this whole issue will become a non issue. Wouldn’t you agree that we are all better than that and can make this happen
 
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Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
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#15
Steve

This is all well and good or is it boilerplate rhetoric?

U called me out publicly here, not via a private communication which was not cool.
Huh? Am I missing something? I don't see where you have been publicly called out here (?!).
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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#16
It often comes back to the notion of introspection. There was a recent denial by a poster that his comments were political. He claimed they were facts. Why argue with the moderators? I understand the desire to have a "soft touch", but the key to all of this, it seems to me, is enforcement by the moderators and introspection from the members. I hope it works out and I commend Steve and Ron for their efforts.
 
May 30, 2010
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#17
Politics is everywhere. I come here to avoid it. It reeks of smug self-righteousness. My sense is almost all come here for audio and music and not politics but a small group cannot help themselves. Aren't there plenty of venues elsewhere that are meant for politics. By its very nature there is no What's Best in politics.

Rather than wait and see, I say stop threads with political or potentially political topics as soon as they spring up. A good example is that recent 15,000 Scientists Warning thread. It was political from the outset and it was overtly political by the 3rd post. Yet it went on and on unchecked.

Focus on thread topics first moreso than people. That should make the moderator's duty much simpler.

Moderators should be aware of their own political views so as not to prejudice assessment or inclination to allow political or potentially political discussions to begin or continue.

If it cannot be controlled, then cordon it off. Have a special forum section for political discussion and allow the option not to see it. If a thread turns political, put it in the politics forum. That will encourage policing by members themselves. "Don't turn this thread political or it will go 'there'."



Wrong. The topic itself is inherently political. Federal... Tax.... Policy.... - don't you see it? Do you want to have a non-political audio forum or do you want to place tolerance for border line political topics as your priority? Focus on thread topics first moreso than people. That should make the moderator's duty much simpler.

I say tolerance in all things but politics. Take it somewhere else.
Happy to see someone agrees with me ... The topic is essentially political as soon as you leave organic chemistry.

BTW, the decision on what is or is not politics in this thread is essentially political ...
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#18
Steve

This is all well and good or is it boilerplate rhetoric?

U called me out publicly here, not via a private communication which was not cool.

It seems you always favor the "inner circle" members and let these members say whatever they want.

I get it that it's your forum and that u seem to be keeping an eye on it more than Ron but from what I've seen over the years there is no way you will be able to abide to the OP, being completely objective is just not you..

I hate the political innuendos and digs some members think are cute and smart and laud what u are trying to accomplish here but its on u Steve and that won't come easy.......
Of course each of Steve and I know personally some members better than others. We would like to get to know all members well!

But we do our best not to play favorites. In this last politics episode personal friends of ours were involved, and Steve did not hesitate to take strong action to enforce the ban on politics.

I have a background, if stale, in American political science and politics, and I assure you there is no one here who seeks to expunge politics from WBF more than I.

Please report to Steve or me or a moderator any comment you find to be a political innuendo or a personal dig at a member.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
8,207
2,633
730
Beverly Hills, CA
#19
. . .

If it cannot be controlled, then cordon it off. Have a special forum section for political discussion and allow the option not to see it. . . .
I appreciate the thought but I would veto this myself. I feel very strongly that such a forum would achieve nothing other than the unnecessary destruction of high-end audio and music friendships.
 

djsina2

Well-Known Member
May 31, 2019
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#20
I appreciate the thought but I would veto this myself. I feel very strongly that such a forum would achieve nothing other than the unnecessary destruction of high-end audio and music friendships.
Fake music friendships if you cannot tolerate someone else's political views.
 
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