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The Fool pulled my post 1133 of 1/26, a short story entitled: "To make a long story short". Some of you may remember it. I received the email announcing as much today.

Here was the reason cited:

You may not use or allow others to use your Fool membership to: / Post or transmit any content that is abusive, vulgar, obscene, hateful, fraudulent, threatening, harassing, defamatory or which discloses private or personal matters concerning any person; / http://www.fool.com/Help/FoolsRules.htm

There were no swearwords in this story. There were no obscene or hateful or fraudulent or threatening or harassing or defamatory matters discussed in this story. There were no real people--not even names--in this story. The story was about sex between two consenting adults.

I think the most risque word in it was "coming".

Of course, when the Fool can unplug stories like this, on a complete whim, you don't feel like contributing to it.

Who FoolAlerted this story? At least you should be able to meet your accusers.

joseph

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The Fool pulled my post 1133 of 1/26, a short story entitled: "To make a long story short".

That does it, now I'm pissed. Who should we complain to first?

Nola
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This is getting rather tiresome, don't you think? I hope you're enjoying yourself, whoever you are. How juvenile.

Does TMF think they can keep good people posting here with policies like this? Oh wait - you can never cancel your user name, so you remain in the tally for their advertising purposes forever, thus making them more money. What do they care? Who needs good posters? Prolific ones will do.

I have taken to emailing myself a copy of good posts which I think are potential alerts. At least I get to reread it if I want to that way, although that's a rather meager incentive for anyone to want to keep contributing and posting here.

Laura
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Who FoolAlerted this story?

Well, it did get passed along to other boards. Perhaps a Nadanian.
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I have taken to emailing myself a copy of good posts which I think are potential alerts. At least I get to reread it if I want to that way...

Good idea, Laura! Wish I had thought of that--it was a good story. Joseph, sorry it got pulled. That really sucks. >:-|

~Zillah
Hmmm...do you think the word "sucks" is acceptable?
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That does it, now I'm pissed. Who should we complain to first?

Nola


Second the Motion... Sorry,J, keep it going, dont give up, let´s have more good stories...

Laura, If you have a copy, please email it. Gracias

Good night Dear Friends, K is sleepless since Saturday and ready for a bed-dive of SuperBowl proportions...
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<<Of course, when the Fool can unplug stories like this, on a complete whim, you don't feel like contributing to it.

Who FoolAlerted this story? At least you should be able to meet your accusers.>>

Okay, folks. I'll come clean (not that I feel that those who report posts need to confess such things).

I don't think I'm the one who reported this particular post. I'm not sure I even read it (as I can't get to all the posts I want to get to). But I do remember that a week or so ago, when people on this board were protesting the pulling of posts by intentionally posting messages with a bunch of foul words, I did report a post or two. And then I gave up -- partly do to lack of energy, partly due to lack of convinction.

From what I understand, it's mostly non-Fool staffers -- ordinary readers -- who report most violations. But some of us staffers report posts, too. I mainly report spamming or solicitation violations, but sometimes profanity, too.

Now -- is this because I'm a prude? Well, I'm certainly more prudish than some, but not *that* prudish. If you all were posting on the Selena.com site's message board, the kinds of posts I've seen here would probably not be problematic (although in a moment of extreme fuddy-duddyism, I might ask myself, "Now is that kind of language really necessary?").

I know that countless wonderful long-term Fool board denizens have at various times been outraged by our policies/our yanking of some posts. I *do* admit that I think our system can probably use some refinement/improvement. I think we're probably overextended and sometimes when there's a flurry of reported posts, perhaps there isn't time to scrutinize each situation enough.

Still, though, I often don't see why people get so upset/frustrated. For better or worse (and I think that overall, it's better), we've got rules. We *do* want to maintain a site that's friendlier than average, with content that's less intimidating or offensive or whatever. So we do have rules, and I assume that whenever a post is pulled, it's because it technically does violate one of the rules. Sometimes somewhat laughable things can happen -- posts that are valuable but which have some obkjectionable word in them can get pulled. But according to the rules, that's the way it goes.

We *do* have kids wandering around here. And people who are easily offended. I know that many would argue that these adults should toughen up. But I think that it's very possible to please most people by just refraining from using problematic language. (Actually, now that I think about it, it could be cool if, instead of pulling the posts with "bad" words, they were just blanked out. Maybe "You $%#!, you" could be replaced by "You XXX, you." I wonder if this is possible -- that way posts would remain -- they'd just be a little tweaked. (I just asked about this and it seems that pulled posts get returned to the author, who is informed that he/she can repost it, without the problematic language.) (And it seems some other solutions/tweaks to the system are being evaluated, fwiw.)

Yes, I understand that this message board isn't the mainstream part of the Fool. But it's still a part of the Fool. And the Fool does have rules. I'd hate to think that we're driving any of you away with these rules, but I do believe that rules are in most of our best interests and are fairly easy to live with. I'm not exactly sure what some people are wishing -- that we do away with the rules? That we make this area a rule-exempt area? We can't really set any kind of precedent like the latter idea.

Also, it might seems like it's just a few people who frequent this board and that they're all cool with the language. But I believe that for every poster, there are many lurkers. And everyone, lurker and poster alike, has the ability to report a post. That might be an annoying fact, but for all we/you know, perhaps there's a beloved member of this community who's somehow uncomfortable with some risque language. If so, the rules protect him/her.

I suspect I've gone on much longer than I should have. And that I've not helped many to see things the way I do -- that our post-pulling is all part of a reasonable (albeit occasionally flawed) system. But I thought I'd speak up anyway -- especially since Joseph wanted to meet an accuser. (I hate to think of myself as an accuser, though -- it's more a matter of flagging things I stumble across in my regular board reading that violate the terms the Fool has set up. It's not that I hang out here looking for posts to report (and I think I've only reported maybe two posts here, total).) I love that this community has found a place (or two) to hang out, and that it's a part of Fooldom. And I hope that you'll continue to find it worth hanging out here, despite occasional aggravations.

Anyway. Cheers!

Selena the longwinded

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Selena says: I don't think I'm the one who reported this particular post. I'm not sure I even read it (as I can't get to all the posts I want to get to). But I do remember that a week or so ago, when people on this board were protesting the pulling of posts by intentionally posting messages with a bunch of foul words, I did report a post or two. And then I gave up -- partly do to lack of energy, partly due to lack of convinction...We *do* have kids wandering around here. And people who are easily offended. I know that many would argue that these adults should toughen up. But I think that it's very possible to please most people by just refraining from using problematic language.

Selena, I think you're missing something, something very big--everything. The post that was pulled--and this happens quite often at the Fool--had no foul language in it whatsoever. Nor did it even make reference to any person. It was simply Fool-Alerted and then pulled, indiscriminate of content. Can you address this, please?

When we put nasty words in posts, we don't expect them to make it through the censor. (And believe me, Serena, I--a guy in marketing who buys web advertising every week, and who has advertised at yahoo, women.com, and redherring.com, as well as your publication--know exactly what the censorship policy is, and exactly what its purpose is). Sometimes so-called "obscene" words happen to make it past the censor, sometimes they don't--everyone can live with the ones that don't.

But when we spend time--say a couple of hours, even longer--contriving posts to entertain other people, and the posts are indeed careful to obey the rules, and they are pulled by the censor anyway, just because someone, anyone, maybe a completely spiteful individual, maybe a complte idiot, maybe even someone from a country with a completely different code of mores than our own, hit the Fool-Alert button, that's the circumstance that makes people want to run away.

My post got pulled because someone out there thought that a "clean", artful, and entirely fictional narrative of pleasurable heterosexual sex between consenting adults was obscene. As even the Supreme Court tells us, and certainly as all religion or spiritual systems do, such acts in and of themselves are not obscene by any definition or stretch, and have common currency in all our lives. They appear on TV all the time, in G rated movies, throughout the Christian Bible, in teen comics, and even on the front page of newspapers. They are a visible part of even Kenneth Starr's and William Bennett's and Patrick Buchanan's lives. They have been indelibly linked to--indeed, part and parcel of--financial life("Foolishness"?) ever since man and women first considered what they might actually be working for.

As these kind of posts are pulled just as frequently as posts which contain foul language are pulled, we who write with both can only conclude the following: Posts that are Fool-Alerted are not given any kind of review whatsoever--they are, for the most part, simply pulled.

If you can demonstrate otherwise, let's see what you got.

I already have a ton of email from TippyK et al., not much of it satisfactory, not much of it ever directly addressing a true issue. Mostly it tells me that some post or other has been pulled because I violated this or that rule, and I can't see the infraction at all.

Someday, for The Censor to gain any credibility whatsoever with me, I want to see a post from a poster who announces that they have received the following email:

Dear Fool: / We are very happy that you care about the quality of the Motley Fool message boards, and would draw to our attention a post which does not comply with our rules. However, upon careful review, we have determined that the post in question indeed complies with our rules. We very much appreciate your interest.

When someone sees that kind of an email from TippyK, we'll know that the Fool is more a place where all kinds of ideas are encouraged, and less a place where Mother Superior reigns supreme.

joseph m
"deSilentio"
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Joseph said:
When someone sees that kind of an email from TippyK, we'll know that the Fool is more a place where all kinds of ideas are encouraged, and less a place where Mother Superior reigns supreme.

If you don't mind, let me just add to this while a sensible TMFer like Selena has an ear to the wall. The general way censoring is carried out at the Fool demonstrates a marked lack of sophistication. That is my chief complaint and The Fool's biggest failure. If TMF is going to censor, and I agree it is necessary, I urge you to put your most mature people on the task. Use your wisest reader, the most perceptive Fool that can be found. It seems to be the most difficult point of contact with a large number of readers, so it makes sense it would be a position of high salary, seniority and value to the company. I suspect that is not the case. Of course, I could be wrong.

Rick
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Joseph --

You said:

<<Selena, I think you're missing something, something very big--everything. >>

Quite possibly. It's happened before. :) I once missed the United Nations building when I walked by it in NYC.

<<The post that was pulled--and this happens quite often at the Fool--had no foul language in it whatsoever. Nor did it even make reference to any person. It was simply Fool-Alerted and then pulled, indiscriminate of content. Can you address this, please?>>

Nope, I can't. I think I remember seeing it, now that you mentioned it. (So I'll confess that I *may* have been the one to report it. Not that I necessarily would have. It would have been a hard call, I think.)

<<When we put nasty words in posts, we don't expect them to make it through the censor. >>

That's good to hear. Because many times people include them in otherwise inoffensive posts and then can't understand why they get yanked.

<<But when we spend time--say a couple of hours, even longer--contriving posts to entertain other people, and the posts are indeed careful to obey the rules, and they are pulled by the censor anyway, just because someone, anyone, maybe a completely spiteful individual, maybe a complete idiot, maybe even someone from a country with a completely different code of mores than our own, hit the Fool-Alert button, that's the circumstance that makes people want to run away.>>

Understood. Good point.
However, I think that once can violate the rules -- or at least the spirit of the rules -- without technically using a four-letter word. I suspect that I wouldn't flag such a post myself, but I'll confess that it *would* make me uneasy, as a TMF staffer, as I'd wonder whether I *should* report it. Why? Well, because to use some not-ideal language, it's perhaps not exactly family fare. I'm not happy with that wording, but I'm trying to convey that it still contained the kind of content that might offend some. (Your points about similarly explicit stuff showing up on TV and elsewhere are well-taken. I'm not sure that that means it should necessarily be okay in Fooldom, though.)

<<My post got pulled because someone out there thought that a "clean", artful, and entirely fictional narrative of pleasurable heterosexual sex between consenting adults was obscene.>>

Two things. Perhaps we're being a little extra conservative here because of the impression/fear that many people have about sex content on the web? I'm not at all sure about this, but perhaps that's what's in the back of the minds of people like me -- I'd hate for anyone to stumble upon such a post and then think badly/incorrectly about the Fool. (And it might be simply that the offended person didn't read closely enough, or wasn't sophisticated enough to think through it... who knows. Regardless, some damage would be done.) And people might indeed stumble upon it -- because it's very conceivable that a well-written unusual post might get enough recommendations to put it in the top recommended posts area. That might attract a wider, unprepared audience.

Next. I don't see the situation being that any time any one reports any post, it gets pulled. I have *no* evidence one way or the other, but I trust our staffers enough to believe that whenever possible, they do examine each post before pulling. It could be that for some reason Tippy (or whoever) was swamped and pulled too hastily on some occasions -- or that the post was indeed examined, but half an hour or more wasn't taken to determine the full context.

This *is* murky stuff, on occasion. It's a hard job. And we al just don't see things the same way. I know I've disagreed with some calls. I also know that some days are much busier than others. In the last 24 hours or so, for example, we had a lot of spam posts that to be pulled -- much more than usual. So I wouldn't be surprised to see some flagged posts getting less than usual attention.

<<As these kind of posts are pulled just as frequently as posts which contain foul language are pulled, we who write with both can only conclude the following: Posts that are Fool-Alerted are not given any kind of review whatsoever--they are, for the most part, simply pulled.

If you can demonstrate otherwise, let's see what you got.>>

I can't demonstrate anything. But I don't agree with your conclusion. (Although I can see how you think that.)

<<I already have a ton of email from TippyK et al., not much of it satisfactory, not much of it ever directly addressing a true issue. Mostly it tells me that some post or other has been pulled because I violated this or that rule, and I can't see the infraction at all.>>

Hmm... I assume that she has to resport to some form letters of sorts. I guess all I can recommend is that if you truly don't see what the problem was, you might write her back, and ask for a clearer explanation. Or perhaps try her associate, [email protected]

<<Someday, for The Censor to gain any credibility whatsoever with me, I want to see a post from a poster who announces that they have received the following email:
Dear Fool: / We are very happy that you care about the quality of the Motley Fool message boards, and would draw to our attention a post which does not comply with our rules. However, upon careful review, we have determined that the post in question indeed complies with our rules. We very much appreciate your interest.>>

I agree -- it would be nice if this existed. And perhaps it does. I don't know.

<< When someone sees that kind of an email from TippyK, we'll know that the Fool is more a place where all kinds of ideas are encouraged, and less a place where Mother Superior reigns supreme.>>

Well, with some smallish exceptions, I do think that Fooldom is a place that does encourage all kinds of ideas. (Admittedly, we're less friendly toward some, such as day-trading, penny stocks, etc.) And I think that this board and some others are great examples of like-minded people (in some senses) coming together to enjoy conversing -- despite perhaps, yes, some aggravation from Fool HQ in the form of occasional inexplicable pulled posts. (And in those cases, I'd urge you to follow up with [email protected] or [email protected] If you have the energy. If not, I understand.)

It's my understanding that we're aware of these kinds of frustrations and that we're looking into ways to improve our systems.

So... sorry for the aggravations, and to anyone who's amazingly still reading, thanks!

Selena
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Dear Fool: / We are very happy that you care about the quality of the Motley Fool message boards, and would draw to our attention a post which does not comply with our rules. However, upon careful review, we have determined that the post in question indeed complies with our rules. We very much appreciate your interest.

When someone sees that kind of an email from TippyK, we'll know that the Fool is more a place where all kinds of ideas are encouraged, and less a place where Mother Superior reigns supreme.

deSilentio,

That process occurs all day long, we just don't invite arguments by telling the reporting person that their claim is denied. That's a never-win situation.

Cheers,
Richard

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deSilentio, / That process occurs all day long, we just don't invite arguments by telling the reporting person that their claim is denied. That's a never-win situation.

And you think you have a sometimes-win policy in effect now? What topic stimulates more angry discussion on the Fool boards than any other, especially among its most dedicated contributors? What other policy punishes the people who are the biggest community stakeholders to protect the incidental users and strays who stumble into the place?

The Fool is kind of like an online community I remember from the early-nineties, based out here in California: The Well. I won't draw extensive comparisons other than to say that The Well was a content-driven community which thrived at a time when there were lots of hardline tech web communities--"user groups"--who turned their back on content, achieved a critical mass of about twenty members, and then disappeared into ether. The Well was not a cumbersome "user group"--it was a place--and so it thrived. Other sites had better information. (There was no censorship at The Well, either--its citizens policed themselves). It was an alternative site for those who wanted to exchange information on tech, but also, and ultimately in the main, on life. It was the premiere online community of the early nineties.

I think similarly that the Fool, as its users perceive it, is really more a content-driven community like The Well, and less a hardline financial user group like the Yahoo boards or Raging Bull. It's difference from The Well is that it is overtly commercial; but hey, commercialization, that makes it even more successful than The Well. But this is also why random censure inspires such rage here: here the emphasis, now unto the general purpose of commercial gain, is on quality content, and the community has responded by providing it.

The common complaint one hears in the financial community about the Fool--that it's a financial site of English majors, by English majors, for English majors--I disagree with as a complaint; I think this quality is The Fool's greatest asset. The Fool distinguishes itself among other "commercial user groups" (I would lump Yahoo and AOL and all portals into that ungainly category) by nurturing content. And that is precisely why censorship--often random--is more painful here than it is in other places. At the other places, censorship is expected--they are wildly bloated mainstream places proferring a mix of jittery employee rumor and obnoxious yodelling. Here, where vibrant content is nurtured--indeed, it is part of the value proposition ("to inform, enrich, amuse")--we also expect more vibrancy and balance in content/censorship decisions.

I could link you to fifty boards that have been through this, and all of them get angry about this one particular subject: the randomness of censorship. Does that tell you anything? If it were my business, it would tell me this: The Fool needs to be in better touch with what its community of users thinks the Fool should be. Haven't you heard enough plaintive moaning by now? Is it getting through at all? Or are you going to continue to tromp down the path towards pablum portal-dom? It's not just me, and you know it. Almost all of your most visible and active community members are telling you: you need to better balance not just what your advertisers, but also what your community, tells you The Fool should be.

deSilentio
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The Fool needs to be in better touch with what its community of users thinks the Fool should be.

I agree with this to a large extent. The Fool has prided itself on its community and it is lauded as one of the most successful.

Many of the staff are recruited from the community - we as community members are encouraged to join.

It is wonderful that it has grown so much, but there are problems starting to show. So perhaps we do need some sort of think tank, made up from key community members and senior staff, to address these issues. Perhaps these people could be elected - I'm sure that people like Simbob, laopera and IFindKarma would be popular candiates for their contrasting opinions and their attuned sensiblities.

Perhaps there needs to be another level of personalisation - having certain boards for long standing community members.

Z
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"Here, where vibrant content is nurtured--indeed, it is part of the
value proposition ("to inform, enrich, amuse")--we also expect more vibrancy
and balance in content/censorship decisions"

I think the above proposition by DeSilentio ought to cap this debate as to encourage a revision of censorship rules and praxis. I would like to stress, however, after reviewing (by instant replay) the Story, first that I agree fully with Zoe´s opinion that "it's sensual, and sexy. But not graphic. Erotic but not pornographic" ... ; adding what to me is very obvious: that the Story is above all good literature and that such trait is what should matter most... If asked to set any exclusive limits I would propose a) personal insult and b) coarse or vulgar or unartistic obscenity or profanity. None is ever present in my definition of good literature.

Konfell ( Citizen of Museums and Airports)



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"Here, where vibrant content is nurtured--indeed, it is part of the
value proposition ("to inform, enrich, amuse")--we also expect more vibrancy
and balance in content/censorship decisions"
<<<<<<<<<<<<
I think the above proposition by DeSilentio ought to cap this debate as to encourage a revision of censorship rules and praxis.



yup.

the Rules (paraphrased from a similar discussion on Improve da Fool w/ some TMFxxx moons ago)--
if you can imagine a person who would think what you wrote is unsuitable for his 12-yr-old daughter... you've violated the Rules.
ie, TMF is "child-friendly" in the broadest possible interpretation....

is that a stupid rule? yes.

is it going to change? never. TMF is a business and for every "customer" who might leave because the rules are too stringent , there's probably two who would leave if the rules were relaxed.



JT
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The idea of marking some boards as having mature content is a double-edged sword, in that it will attract those seeking cheap thrills. No sense, really, in placing a billboard on them, so I don't much care for that idea.

And only allowing longer-term posters on certain boards? Sorry Zoe, but no thank you. That's much too discriminatory for me.

TMF set up the Speaker's Corner with the idea that anyone could open a board to talk about what they wanted to talk about. (I know this board isn't technically in the SC, but it certainly is in the spirit of it.) Why not let the person who requested the board be opened help set the tone for it? Make that person a moderator of sorts. Perhaps alerted posts could go to both the moderator and the TMF censor, with the moderator giving the TMF staffer an idea of whether that sort of post fits the general community profile of that particular board. The TMF would, of course, have the final say, but it might help the censor do his or her job with more sensitivity without having to follow hundreds of different boards to know what would be generally acceptable or not. It would slow down the process, but that seems inevitable if TMF indeed wants a more sophisticated and thoughtful system for removing (or not removing) offensive posts.

One censor or even two can't be everywhere at once or know the community spirit of all the many off-topic boards. Doesn't it make sense then to get some help and input from the people who are there and who do know about and *care* about these small individual communities?

Laura

PS One more idea - how about different buttons for alerting spam and alerting an offensive post?
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PS One more idea - how about different buttons for alerting spam and alerting an offensive post?

curious... why?


JT
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And only allowing longer-term posters on certain boards? Sorry Zoe, but no thank you. That's much too discriminatory for me.

No need to apologise ;) Actually in hindsight I agree. Was trying to think of a way of getting around it. We just prove what brainstorming is about.

The idea of marking some boards as having mature content is a double-edged sword, in that it will attract those seeking cheap thrills.

I do agree with this too - once you do that then you are opening yourself to more subservient content.

Make that person a moderator of sorts. Perhaps alerted posts could go to both the moderator and the TMF censor, with the moderator giving the TMF staffer an idea of whether that sort of post fits the general community profile of that particular board.

I think that putting responsibility to the owner is good, but dangerous. Some are more responsible than others. But a good example of the nasty stuff that can happen is on Lisa6's board. It was her board and she was harassed there. Surely she should have had some support in controling. Instead she was penalised.

PS One more idea - how about different buttons for alerting spam and alerting an offensive post?

Very very good idea - this would be a simple process and could automatically distingish the difference to the Community Fools. Think this would save a lot of time.
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ie, TMF is "child-friendly" in the broadest possible interpretation....

is that a stupid rule? yes.

is it going to change? never. TMF is a business and for every "customer" who might leave because the rules are too stringent , there's probably two who would leave if the rules were relaxed.


I think you are way way wrong. There's a disconnect here because the Fool as a business emphasizes content. In print media, the rules are relaxed at all the places that emphasize content: The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's. These places all print stuff we might call "salacious" from time to time. The WSJ even has an opera critic who loves voyeurist, fellatio-riddled 20th cent opera more than Verdi. The photo of Èlodie Bouchez in the Sunday NYT--which twice a year prints a children's books section--was far hotter than anything that has appeared on this board. And I am under the impression that any kid who has $4 can walk right up and buy any one of these publications with impunity, including a New Yorker (first use of "F" word: 1976) as well.

If I'm at the Fool, selling content, and I've got to choose between "protecting" a twelve-year-old kid (baffled by sex because of parental shrouding, with a weekly discretionary income $31.78), and letting a thirtysomething product manager (sex glands funcitioning normally, weekly income $1,000) say what she wants to say, I'm going to vote for holding onto the customer that more advertisers want to reach. And when you add that I'm not even certain that "protecting" the kid's eyes from certain words and ideas works in her interest anyway, I'm going to vote twice.

deSilentio
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Anyway, I'm working on some suggestions for "Improve the Fool."

I'm glad to hear it, Tony. Tony, I was worried about you. I thought you got a pair of the Fool's concrete kimonos for telling one of the *s to * * again.

(By the way, how was the Mustang Ranch, Tony? Did you have enough quarters left over to buy yourself a clean *?)

DeSilentio is not a * name. DeSilentio is a Danish name. The name appears in Kierkegaard anyway. Or maybe you're right, maybe it's Kierkegaard who appears in DeSilentio. You can never be sure with those 19th century existential doppelgangers.

jds
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<<<<<<<<<<
me:
ie, TMF is "child-friendly" in the broadest possible interpretation....

is that a stupid rule? yes.

is it going to change? never. TMF is a business and for every "customer" who might leave because the rules are too stringent , there's probably two who would leave if the rules were relaxed.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
I think you are way way wrong.


not clear to me in what way you think i'm wrong.... you think the Fools-Rules are more liberal? we can 'agree to disagree' on that.

you think enough complaints from dissatisfied customers will change things? i could be wrong about that... but i've seen at least a dozen of these discussions since i starting lurking TMF. not only have things not gotten better. i've seen no indication from TMF that they see a problem.

you think the Rules as i characterize them would be a poor business choice? i agree. but it wasn't my choice to make. my only choice is whether there's enough Content and whatever to keep hangin' around despite the Rules. (and i think your post that started this is one of the most egregious examples of the idiocy of the Rules; i rec'd it when i first read it)

If I'm at the Fool, selling content, and I've got to choose between "protecting" a twelve-year-old kid
<big snip>
I'm going to vote twice.


same way i'd vote. but no one's asking US for our opinion. we can get angry enough to stop visiting (one can never really leave)or we can live with it.... or we can Rail against the Wind. [my choice: mostly (b), with rec's for every anti-censorship post i see, and every now and then i point out that converting TMF on this one is akin to converting the Pope to Islam.]


rgds,

JT
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Just recently, in this little backwater there was a huge debate as Toyota released an award winning ad. It had a farmer in different disasterous scenarios, and the only dialogue was the word, and please excuse me here, "bugger" at the end of each scene.

It is very funny. Of course the moral minority complained and it reached parliament. Here, at least, Bugger (oops) is now seen as a standard word that is used on prime time TV. Even MacDonalds have used it in a rip-off.

Mind you they are still not using the F word, though many of the radio stations allow it, ESPECIALLY the youth orientated ones. Also it is now not illegal to tell some to F off. It used to be until recently, and the law of obscenity was used mainly against Aborginies as an excuse to arrest them.

Of course this IS freely used after the 9.30 watershed - Sex and the City use it, and the C word. I was more shocked about that - it's on free-to-air here, not cable.

And of course MANY texts used in High School have 'bad' language - look at Shakespere and Chaucer.

Z
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Ox6a74:
ie, TMF is "child-friendly" in the broadest possible interpretation....

is that a stupid rule? yes.

is it going to change? never. TMF is a business and for every "customer" who might leave because the rules are too stringent , there's probably two who would leave if the rules were relaxed.

diSelentio:

I think you are way way wrong.


Actually I think Ox6a74 is on to something. For all those who are outraged by posts that are pulled and post numerous messages to that effect I think many people are relieved they have been pulled and even may go so far as to send email (not posted messages) to TMF staffers to that effect. While I don't fool alert (except obvious commercial spam) I am essentially a "prude" and I see many posts that I find offensive. I simply skip over them when I see the direction they are taking, and don't think about them one way or the other. But there are children who access this page, and we are not talking about adolescents. I am aware of a 7 year old with excellent reading skills who is allowed to read posts to her 5 year old sister from selected boards (it goes without saying that NADA and Martini are not on the list of selected boards!). I can't believe that I am that unique. That is to say, I believe that there might be many parents or grandparents out there who are uncomfortable with the realization that their children/grandchildren may stumble across material they deem unsuitable. While I sympathize with diSelentio and do understand his frustraton with the capriciousness (sp?) of the censoring fool-hand I think Ox6a74 may have hit the nail on the head with his observation about the Fool striving for a "child friendly" milieu.
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diSelentio

Apologies for my pathetic spelling.
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Folks --

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've shared your frustration on many occasions, and still do -- right now it frustrates me that many valued (and often longtime) Fools are not having an optimal experience here.

I'm fairly powerless in this arena, but I'll invite a few of the powers that be to visit and at least read and consider your thoughts and suggestions. I fear that in many cases, seemingly good ideas might remain sort of unworkable because they won't work well enough in every situation. As was pointed out, for example, although it's a cool idea to have monitors/board founders who could receive copies of reported posts and weigh in with feedback to the "censors," I think that this might work well on some boards, it might not on many other boards. For example, as was pointed out, some monitors might not go for this and some would be better at it than others. Some may be too biased in one direction -- yes, you may have created a board -- but if there are occasional outbreaks between two sides and you always side with one side, perhaps unfairly on occasion, then your feedback to the "censor" might not be too helpful. Some board creators fade away -- dealing with succession or abdication would add another administrative layer. Delays are often far from ideal. If you don't pull a problematic post soon (once you've determined that it's in violation), then you'll end up offending more people and more people will keep reporting it, until it disappears. So although I see merit in the general idea, I see problems with it, too. (Laura -- perhaps here I'm doing as others in your philosophy class do? Thinking of extreme situations? :))

But maybe there are ways to work around it. I *do* think that we need to pay more attention to this topic and perhaps improve our system. (I'm not completely familiar enough with the system to know for sure, though.) So I'll remain the gadfly that I often am, and will bring these thoughts of yours to the attention of others.

One last thought... I think that several of you made great points in bringing up the content of the New Yorker, and other periodicals. Those are some of my favorite magazines to read -- yet I don't think that the Fool's content belongs in quite the same category. I think we're trying to have a broader reach. The New Yorker isn't for everyone -- but we'd like the Fool to be for everyone, at least as much as possible, at least without significantly watering down what we have to say. Why do I think this? Is it so that we can achieve maximum profits? Well, no, not really. Yes, we are aiming to profit, to keep afloat and even to grow. But for many, if not most of us staffers (and many of our readers out there), Foolishness is more of a MISSION than anything else. We want to reach as many people as we can so that we can make a difference in as many lives as possible.

So anyway. I hope that lively conversation will continue in nooks like this. I hope that we'll stumble upon or develop less controversial content control/"censorship" procedures, and that Fool board denizens will eventually have their frustrations dissipate. In the meantime, I thank you for sharing your thoughts instead of pouting in silence or simply griping unconstructively.

Selena
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"And you think you have a sometimes-win policy in effect now? What topic stimulates more angry discussion on the Fool boards than any other, especially among its most dedicated contributors? What other policy punishes the people who are the biggest community stakeholders to protect the incidental users and strays who stumble into the place?"

Right, this topic, and it's twin on the stock boards (bear/short trolling) generate the most anger. You seem to be saying that seniority and local community standards should be the metrics that carry the most weight. There is a lot of merit to that argument. There is also an element of mob rule I'm not comfortable with.

"The Fool is kind of like an online community I remember from the early-nineties, based out here in California: The Well"

An insightful comparison, for just the reasons you mention. A cookie-cutter sports bar may have more traffic, but you feel at home in a place where "Everyone knows your name". The self-policing aspects The Well had are reflected here too, but as you note, that's not always a good thing. I think some people have nothing better to do than perform a search on naughty words and report any they find.

"The Fool needs to be in better touch with what its community of users thinks the Fool should be. Haven't you heard enough plaintive moaning by now?"

Oh Lord, yes. It's not a matter of being in touch, but a sometimes difference of opinion. We are not all adults here, and we encourage participation by whole families. That has to guide our judgement on material that may not be appropriate, since at the present time, there are no private areas.

I realize that this response may have minimal value to you. Just bear in mind we are listening, and policy decisions are not made lightly, nor without regard to the people who really built this business. That's you.

Best,
Richard
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But maybe there are ways to work around it.

You bet your sweet bippy there is!

I post on the Improve the Fool board now and again and have *yet* to have any feedback from the PTB. I've posted some thoughtful and intelligent suggestions, too. (And no, I'm not just being my usual know-it-all self.)

We have a "recommend it button". We could ALSO have a "Dump it button". Users could set their individual tolerance for 'Dump it counts' to their own prudishly comfortable level.

OR... how about self-censorship?

At the posting of each message, a rating 'peg board' appears, and the user must select the appropriate categories. Posters who violate the system are warned and/or punished by banishment. Other readers set their personal prude tolerances and messages with an "Adult Content" rating are never sen by them.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, yano. (Warning: Anyone that gets close to Igmu or Paka with a knife faces my wrath. Capice?)

Another thing that would make a lot of improvement is to have more than one 'censor'. Tippy is severely overworked. The volume here is way too intense for one person. I talked to Richard via email on this subect, and even offered myself up as a possibility. His response? This position will be non-telecommute.

Right. See there's the problem. Try finding a reasonable mind in the beltway.

- Tera.
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Joseph,

I read the post just now and if I was presented with it as a Fool Alert, I think I might have removed it as well. This is a financial forum. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether your post was fine art or soft-porn. I'm not labeling it either and it doesn't matter. The reality is that it's not appropriate for the Fool's forum.

Truth is, I think your prose was tasteful. But, it dealt with a subject that was so far outside what we do here, and it may definitely be considered "vulgar" by some people. My biggest problem with the post is that leaving it alone then lays the groundwork for more stories of its kind. Are we about to become Penthouse Letters?

For better or worse, this is a family show and we do our best to make for a friendly environment for everyone who comes here. We're not perfect in our administration, but we do our best. I don't think your post was appropriate content for this particular forum and support the decision to remove it.

Please drop me a note in e-mail (I don't always have time to check the board)if you want to talk more about this. I'd be happy to discuss it with you.

Best,

Bogey

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Bogey said This is a financial forum. and of Joseph's post, But, it dealt with a subject that was so far outside what we do here,

If this is true, if we must limit our discussion to financial matters, why set up a Speakers Corner at all? Or the Fool Cafe, for that matter? Why allow boards dedicated to pet care? Or health and nutrition? Or gardening, cooking or music? Or art? Oh wait, TMF wouldn't let us have one of those.

If you want to use this argument as a reason for censorship, fine - but TMF will have a lot of housecleaning and deleting of boards and entire folders to do before it holds *any* water. TMF has deliberately facilitated and even encouraged "off-topic" discussions in this community - and until they stop doing that, it's really hard to argue that this is a financials-only forum.

Laura
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read the post just now and if I was presented with it as a Fool Alert, I think I might have removed it as well. This is a financial forum. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether your post was fine art or soft-porn. I'm not labeling it either and it doesn't matter. The reality is that it's not appropriate for the Fool's forum.

Bogey,

Your statement is unmitigated bull -- well, you get the idea.

The Fool limited to a "financial forum?" Who do you think you are kidding?

What does "Martini Club" have to do with finances? Or "Lou2's Life?" Was Lou appointed to the Fed recently?

Or how about "Amanda's house of buttocks." Was that a "financial forum?" Or "Lisa's House of Tushy?"

The Fool has intentionally expanded its focus to non-financial matters, in order to increase page views. Does the term, "Speaker's corner" ring a bell?

For you to now suggest that the at times infantile and incompetent censorship practiced at the Fool is defensible on the basis that the Fool is a "financial forum" is nothing more than hypocritical tripe.

I don't know if you were trying to be intentionally dishonest in suggesting that a connection to financial issues is a content criteria the Fool actually uses anymore, but I hope you can appreciate how vacuous and deceitful your words ring.

JJ
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JJsaid:
For you to now suggest that the at times infantile and incompetent censorship practiced at the Fool is defensible on the basis that the Fool is a "financial forum" is nothing more than hypocritical tripe.

Hooboy!

I'd like to buy you a drink, JJ. Sometime, someplace.

It is too much to expect a straightforward response that says simply, "It's my call, and I don't like to read about sexual things here at the Fool."

Really David, that would have handled it. Just say it. We want real answers and real discussion.

Rick
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TMFBogey: I read the post just now and if I was presented with it as a Fool Alert, I think I might have removed it as well. This is a financial forum. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether your post was fine art or soft-porn. I'm not labeling it either and it doesn't matter. The reality is that it's not appropriate for the Fool's forum.

Ah. This is a financial forum. I have heard this one before, a year-and-a-half ago, when I tried to set up an art board. The answer came back from Arlington: No. That proved to be a short-sighted answer. Within a month, not only was there a top-25 board devoted to arts, but there were also boards devoted to women, recipes, beer, horticulture. And then came the BuildYourOwnBoard (BYOB) venture, which also has worked out pretty well. (Now, where's Cheese to pop in and say, well, actually, folks, the Fool, incredibly, began its life as a general interest forum, so we know these issues, blahblahblah...) Bogey, if you are trying to step in at this dramatic juncture and pull the rug on non-financial posting, I would liken your position to the position of those few unenlightened mandarins in East Germany in 1989 who were sweating with each breath of freedom, hoping to keep the Wall erect. Tear the Wall down, Mr. Bogeyman--that's the winning ticket.

My biggest problem with the post is that leaving it alone then lays the groundwork for more stories of its kind. Are we about to become Penthouse Letters?

Penthouse letters? You've got to be kidding. Let's not overstate it. I don't feel like either explaining or defending my story--it is what it is. And I can't control what everyone else writes--that's your job. But I will take issue with the general idea that because something is about sex it must necessarily be divorced from financial content. In fact, I believe quite the opposite is true. As is said in Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, a book I am wont to quote: "It may turn out that all sexual matters are a matter of economy."

Have you ever known anyone who brightened their financial picture through sex? Committed hypergamy to get a cushier financial arrangement for themselves? Got a job through sex or sex appeal? Made some money and began to look at the opposite sex in a refreshing way? The Fool should be so lucky as to be vibrant and honest enough of a financial forum to explore these issues in a meaningful way. I'm just trying to help people become Foolish, just like you.

deSilentio
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But for many, if not most of us staffers (and many of our readers out there), Foolishness is more of a MISSION than anything else. We want to reach as many people as we can so that we can make a difference in as many lives as possible.

<sniff>Kinda brings a tear to my eye. Screw Mother Theresa, let's put the Fool up for sainthood.</sniff>

We are not all adults here, and we encourage participation by whole families. That has to guide our judgement on material that may not be appropriate, since at the present time, there are no private areas.

So once again, the community as a whole is made responsible for the behavior of the few. If children want to read this site, they should be monitored by their parents. Perhaps you should start a "Fool, Jr." for the younguns. Right now, if I went on a prime time commercial network TV show, I could get away with more than I can here.

OR... how about self-censorship?

At the posting of each message, a rating 'peg board' appears, and the user must select the appropriate categories. Posters who violate the system are warned and/or punished by banishment. Other readers set their personal prude tolerances and messages with an "Adult Content" rating are never sen by them.

Lovely idea. Those of us who are not uncomfortable with words that are not in the accepted Sunday School dictionary would not offend those who do not wish to see such content.

Joseph,

I read the post just now and if I was presented with it as a Fool Alert, I think I might have removed it as well. This is a financial forum. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether your post was fine art or soft-porn. I'm not labeling it either and it doesn't matter. The reality is that it's not appropriate for the Fool's forum.


That whole post was the biggest pile of steaming road apples I have read on this community in a long time. It can be, and has been, refuted on too many levels to count.

I have run afoul of the little 70 year old lady from Topeka who seems to set the censorship standards at this site. I have seen an entire thread pulled, because I said that I would fool alert anyone using "booger" in a post, as I found that word to be offensive. When everyone used "booger" in their posts, I encouraged fool alerting of the posts. The entire thread was listed as being offensive, because too many fool alerts had been received.

I have frequently had posts pulled that contained naughty language, I have less problem with that than I do with posts being pulled for an unknown reason. I have had more posts pulled without notice than I have had pulled with notice. I think, based on my experience with the censors, that I should have a basis upon which to build an understanding of the rules of the boards. Unfortunatly, I don't. I have seen things posted and pulled, and then reposted and left on. I have had someone attack me (a not uncommon thing, and not often an undeserved thing) and have seen their posts pulled. When I e-mail them to ask why, they reply that they were told it was for a personal attack. I do not need the Fool defending me.

I can read a post, see if it has worhtwhile content, and if not move on. I personally wasn't overly fond of the post that started this thread. Oh well, reading it cost me about 20 seconds of my life. Big deal, move on to the next. Someone else may enjoy that post, let them make up their own mind. Of course, this can't be done if the post is pulled.

Maybe the Fool can start a "Post Graveyard," where those with strong constitutions and moral fiber can go, after signing a waiver that they will not sue the Fool for the shocking things they see there, and read the posts pulled from a board.
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The reality is that it's not appropriate for the Fool's forum.
How does this statement fit with the Fool offering "speakers boards" to all comes?




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I have taken to emailing myself a copy of good posts which I think are potential alerts.

Oh god, please tell me you saved that post. I rec'ed it, linked it, e-mailed it, all but slept with it, but I don't have it anymore... sigh.





cmonkey, hopeful
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Perhaps a Nadanian.

Only a lurker. Posters at NADA are not FA-type folks.
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Why am I continuing? I'm not sure, but...

<<Ah. This is a financial forum. I have heard this one before, a year-and-a-half ago, when I tried to set up an art board. >>

I think that Bogey simply picked some regrettable wording, perhaps without giving it much thought. (I'll admit that I've chosen my words on this thread VERY carefully, lest someone jump and misunderstand something I intended or didn't intend to say.)

Yes, it's a financial forum, and yes, it's more than that. I don't think Bogey meant that only financial stuff is allowed. He couldn't have meant that. He's not *that* crazy. :)

I feel your pain regarding the art board that didn't materialize. I myself have requested certain kinds of message boards, and they didn't materialize, either. The Fools in charge sometimes have their own plans/thoughts, which can be frustrating. But even when I disagree, I usually see at least a grain of reason in their positions. :) At least now we can set up our own boards via Speaker's Corner.

Part of the problem might be simply that Fool HQ, even though we keep doubling our staff every year or so, is perpetually flooded with more ideas and suggestions than we can execute. We're doing as much as we can, and are always trying to do more. But we don't get to everything. At least not when some people (often, me) wish we would.

Joseph pointed to a post on Lou2's board that was problematic and asked why I or my colleagues hadn't reported it. Well, please -- I'm not a patrol person around here. I hadn't seen it, actually, and if I had, I don't know that it would have occurred to me to report it or not. Why wasn't it removed? Probably because no one reported it. And if it offended you, you could report it and it would be looked at and possibly removed. (I know, you're not inclined to do such things.)

Are those enough excuses/explanations? Probably. I'll try to back out now, as I suspect that we've gotten to the point of diminishing returns here.

Selena

P.S.
Ah -- now I see that someone called "StandardsPolice" is going around to various boards telling people to stop discussing things that aren't financial. Well geez... this is kind of cruel -- and obnoxious -- twisting someone's words (at least intentions) and running around trying to turn people against him/us. I'm not exactly sure what desirable end this will bring. I think I now give up. I'm not clever enough for all this. And my heart is too warmed by all this goodwill.
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eswan said:
How does this statement fit with the Fool offering "speakers boards" to all comers?

I too, thought all were welcome until TMF declined my request to open up a new board, I called "Gimme My Off Topic Posts." They said no. Boohoo.

Rick
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Excuse if this posts twice. Blame the server.

Selena said:
I think that Bogey simply picked some regrettable wording, perhaps without giving it much thought.

Yes, I'm sure he didn't give it much thought. That seems to be the complaint.

On the other hand, Selena, I appreciate your discussion. I also realize it won't go anywhere, but I do appreciate the time. Ever since Bogey and the censors chose to ignore threats made against me by another poster, even after that poster admitted as much on line, I lost my hope in ever figuring things out here. I do hope the powers that be have seen how much things have improved since that threatening poster left.

This stuff matters.

Rick
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I agree to a point. I guess I can see if it were "vulger, obscence, etc" so I won't argue about that. If you're going to cry about "censorship", there are Millions & MILLIONS of boards to post on on other sites.

My Fool Rules are simple:
a. I don't like something/someone, put them on the "pay no mind list" (e.g., the penalty box).
b. I miss something in a thread, either catch up or get out of the way.
c. Have something to say? Then start your OWN board. As host to "77's Foolish House of Pigskin", I thought it would give other fans a shot to talk football & NOT clutter other peoples board.
d. Take a drive down Know Your Role Blvd. Know the rules of the game. In other words, you know what Fool expects from its users. Don't like it, leave.

Pure & simple.

77
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Part of the problem might be simply that Fool HQ, even though we keep doubling our staff every year or so, is perpetually flooded with more ideas and suggestions than we can execute. We're doing as much as we can, and are always trying to do more. But we don't get to everything. At least not when some people (often, me) wish we would.


just my opinion of course... but were i in charge:

the Censorship problem* would be Number Three on my list of things to do.... way Way above st**f like "Now index", "lucky charms" ( to name just two fairly large expenditures of resource that i find utterly worthless ).

you can't do everything. you have to decide what's important. (of course, you, Selena, are not in charge either... who the H**k is?)


JT

* but then, i think "lack of P***d off customers" should be a goal for every business, silly me.
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Oh god, please tell me you saved that post.

Yes! The Pulled Post Underground is hard at work!

Vive la Resistance!

Laura
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More travels and travails with Selena (with a better way in sight):

I feel your pain regarding the art board that didn't materialize.

Actually, it did. To the tune of 11,000 posts, most of them brimming with some of the best content at the Fool. The fact that it was on Tag Heuer, rather than a Fool-sanctioned place, only made it all the more popular.

Joseph pointed to a post on Lou2's board that was problematic and asked why I or my colleagues hadn't reported it. Well, please -- I'm not a patrol person around here. I hadn't seen it, actually, and if I had, I don't know that it would have occurred to me to report it or not. Why wasn't it removed? Probably because no one reported it. And if it offended you, you could report it and it would be looked at and possibly removed. (I know, you're not inclined to do such things.)

You're right. I chose one post of recent memory, I could have chosen hundreds, including many of my own. What I can't understand is everyone descending on the obscure Martini Club and flagging posts here (now I have it that two TMFers are flagging my posts) while there are so many better-publicized, higher profile boards with much further reach, and that nobody seems to patrol at all.

Are those enough excuses/explanations? Probably. I'll try to back out now, as I suspect that we've gotten to the point of diminishing returns here.

You shouldn't back out. It my life experience that just as one feels they're reaching the point of diminishing returns, something happens that pleases everyone.

I'm not much into more controls, more buttons, more java aps. More java is not the solution for a highly subjective issue. What I would like to see optimally is the Fool try to replicate the FCC standards when bringing censure to people. In short, what is OK on radio is OK at the Fool. All successful boards are like radio shows with DJs--some you don't want your kids listening to, some you really want them to, but you can only blame yourself if you tune into the frequency. (Nobody's "happening" upon MartiniClub", accidentally discovering anything here--the newest posters from the last few days here are among the oldest in Fooldom, or TMFers themselves).

I, unlike almost everyone else, am not cynical or shopworn on this issue. I believe the Fool will change and loosen up a bit. I've seen the Fool change its mind twice on things before, and I've seen two people I knew back when become Fool staffers, and...well, I've seen a lot of things. For now, I just want to make sure while talking to anyone TMF, that they think about this: the Fool distinguishes itself in the page-view financial marketplace by being content-driven and by being an inclusive forum, especially for those with quirky points of view. Therefore, discouraging the content drivers, or those with any particular stripe of quirk, cannot possibly help the Fool pursue its particular market niche.

deSilentio
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77: Take a drive down Know Your Role Blvd. Know the rules of the game. In other words, you know what Fool expects from its users. Don't like it, leave.

RaiderFan, you have your role, I mine. My role as a lifelong wordsmith (or at very least since I first walked into in Fred Friendly's First Amendment class twenty-three years ago) is to be vigilant and protective of the freedoms surrounding our expression, and especially when filtered through the dark glass of commercial enterprises (which most of most popular enterprises on radio, TV, as well as on the internet, are). My role in this case is to be as vigilant regarding these as you are to the memory of Lyle Alzado. Occasionally, what the Fool expects from its users today is not what it expects of its users tomorrow. Because the instant matter herein is the censorship of relatively tame expression, I'm not inclined to leave.

deSilentio
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I too, thought all were welcome until TMF declined my request to open up a new board, I called "Gimme My Off Topic Posts." They said no. Boohoo.

Wonder what the rationale was for that one. Gimmie My Stars thrives. Land of off-topic Posts thrives. Even Lisa's House O'Tushy thrives. I guess the language-sensitive specialists at the Fool simply found Gimme my Off Topic Posts too derivative.

deSilentio

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I guess the language-sensitive specialists at the Fool simply found Gimme my Off Topic Posts too derivative.

But... the day before, they opened up a board called "Land of Off Topic Posts II."

Nope, not a joke.

Rick
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I guess the language-sensitive specialists at the Fool simply found Gimme my Off Topic Posts too derivative.

But... the day before, they opened up a board called "Land of Off Topic Posts II."

Nope, not a joke.


But indeed...a farce.

This is why I am always optimistic regarding policy changes at the Fool. The Fool is so mercurial on the application of policy that sometimes if you just give a TMFer a whisper of a credible argument on which to cement a policy, they will take the very same language you use back to Arlington and all of a sudden a vaguely coherent policy emerges, where once there was none. Don't forget that the average age at the Fool is...well, what is it? It can't be over 35, can it?

jds
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I think that Bogey simply picked some regrettable wording

Awful is more like it. I am not trying to imply that only financial discussions can happen here. I was the biggest supporter of both Fools of a Feather and Speaker's Corner.

I'm saying that there are boundaries on things we'll allow and those boundaries are defined by the rules that we've all agreed to. Almost any of the rules can be construed as subjective by those that have their posts pulled. What is solicitaion? How do you define advertising? What do you mean by "obscene?"

All of these can fall into long subjective discussions. At the end of the day, we have the job of deciding what we do and don't think violates our rules. Some people will agree with us, some won't. Some will be mad at us, some will praise us. But, in the end, we have to make the call.

Rick wrote: It is too much to expect a straightforward response that says simply, "It's my call, and I don't like to read about sexual things here at the Fool."

Rick, I won't get into personal preferences for reading material here. As I said earlier, I thought Joseph's post was tasteful. That said, we have a rule that says the following:

You may not use your membership to:

1. Post, transmit or link to sexually explicit material.

After reading Joseph's story, I think it's reasonable, regardless of my personal preferences, to label it sexually explicit. Because of that, it violates our rules, and I support its removal. Plain and simple.

Does everyone here at least acknowledge the possibility that Joseph's post may have violated our rules and that it may have well been a good decision to remove it? Is there anyone that considers it an impossibility that this was objectionable? I ask because it seems, by the outcry, that folks generally can't fathom that something might violate the rules.

The community is growing quickly, and our goal is to be able to administer to it as best possible. Can we do better? Yes. We're hiring two more full-time people to help do a better job, to give more time and care to given situations. What won't change, however, is the fact that if a post violates our rules, as we interpret the post, then it will be removed. My biggest concern, as a leader on this cruise ship, is to make sure that posts that violate the rules go and posts that don't stay. If we can achieve that, we're in good shape.

Best,

Bogey


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Does everyone here at least acknowledge the possibility that Joseph's post may have violated our rules and that it may have well been a good decision to remove it? Is there anyone that considers it an impossibility that this was objectionable?

And as deSilentio has said, Let's have FCC Standards apply to what is sexually explicit material. To make it easy on TMFers, Let's have Fool Censors use what is permitted on radio as their guidelines. On radio, if you hear the F word, the C word, or the long CS word, unmitigated gratuitous reference to sex glands, your station is off the air for the time--for being sexually explicit. If you have moaning, petting, touching, innuendo, that is not explicit, though it may be suggestive, and your station beams brightly.

This is so much easier in France, where everyone has sex with everyone else.

jeanpaulsartre
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After reading Joseph's story, I think it's reasonable, regardless of my personal preferences, to label it sexually explicit
I didn't know Mother Theresa had any children.
Bogey, maybe it would be a good idea to stick to financial content.
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I didn't know Mother Theresa had any children.
Bogey, maybe it would be a good idea to stick to financial content.


Huh? What does that mean?

You know it has to be some uptight lurker. Look at the non-regulars that have replied since this happened. This board was created where we could gather together without prying eyes and limited imaginations. You don't like it, don't look. You don't like the song, change the station. Are you going to call the radio station and complain about the song they're playing? Probably, after what I've read here by those book burners.
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I didn't know Mother Theresa had any children

Well, I'm happy we're going to engage in intelligent conversation Swanny. :)

Bogus
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Huh? What does that mean?

You know it has to be some uptight lurker. Look at the non-regulars that have replied since this happened. This board was created where we could gather together without prying eyes and limited imaginations. You don't like it, don't look. You don't like the song, change the station. Are you going to call the radio station and complain about the song they're playing? Probably, after what I've read here by those book burners.

You are one of my favorite posters, except when you do your whinning bit.
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I actually thought it was funny. It implied that considering Bogey's tolerance for the risque, he could be Mother Theresa's child. It wasn't as elliptical as it seemed.

jds
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Speaking of funny, what about Bogey's defense of the fool censorship policy?
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Bogey:
That said, we have a rule that says the following:

You may not use your membership to:

1. Post, transmit or link to sexually explicit material.

After reading Joseph's story, I think it's reasonable, regardless of my personal preferences, to label it sexually explicit.
Because of that, it violates our rules, and I support its removal. Plain and simple.

Does everyone here at least acknowledge the possibility that Joseph's post may have violated our rules and that it may have well been a good decision to remove it?


not the rule as stated. the story was not "explicit", it was, as another poster mentioned, "suggestive"


the following rule, however, makes it clear

Is there anyone that considers it an impossibility that this was objectionable?

..if it's possible that anyone ,anywhere Might find something objectionable. it is.

a link to pretty much any newspaper article concernting the Presidents impeachment would have been a violation.

a mention of the title of a certain Dylan song would be a violation (i can't, of course, actually mention it... sufficient perhaps to say that (i'm told) in parts of Wales it's a phrase for (hoping one's allowed to say) a particular bit of anatomy)

that, apparently, is the rule: the "community standard" of the most repressed, prudish, unenlightened, out-of-touch, irritable individual on the planet.


i can live with that.
but i can understand how others might find such a standard astounding.



JT
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Joseph --

<<I feel your pain regarding the art board that didn't materialize.

Actually, it did. To the tune of 11,000 posts, most of them brimming with some of the best content at
the Fool. The fact that it was on Tag Heuer, rather than a Fool-sanctioned place, only made it all the
more popular.>>

I realize that Tag Heuer thrived. And in a way, it *was* Fool-sanctioned. As far as I know, the powers that be knew of its existence and were completely cool with it. I was referring to our not setting up an official "Art" board -- which would seem like a good idea to me, as it would help those interested in art, not watches, find what they were looking for.

<< What I can't understand is everyone descending on the obscure Martini Club and flagging
posts here (now I have it that two TMFers are flagging my posts) while there are so many
better-publicized, higher profile boards with much further reach, and that nobody seems to patrol at
all.>>

I think you're jumping to some conclusions here. There are still only about 250 TMFers, and I suspect that at this point, the majority of them spend very little time on the boards. Meanwhile, there are hundreds of thousands of Fool board readers/participants. It's more likely than not a non-TMFer who flags a post.

You say that now you know that two TMFers are flagging your posts. Not fair. I've probably, at most, only flagged one or possibly two of your posts in my life. (In fact, regarding one of your recent posts which at the moment is still unpulled... I saw it and have somewhat mixed feelings about it, but have not reported it. I can completely see why someone *would* report it, though.) I have 100+ boards that I visit/lurk/participate at, and when I happen to see something flag-worthy, I flag. Simple as that.

Why do some boards seem to get away with no one flagging anything? Well, with several of the boards that have been mentioned, I myself can't keep up with them, so I never or rarely go there. So I'm not very likely to stumble upon anything to flag. (NOT that I'm going anywhere *looking* for stuff to flag.)

<< You shouldn't back out. It my life experience that just as one feels they're reaching the point of
diminishing returns, something happens that pleases everyone.>>

That would be great, but I've entered the fray on this topic before, many times, and little seems to have changed. Even TMFs can get discouraged. :) Partly by TMF's inner workings sometimes, partly by community members who do things like spamming boards with anti-TMF rabble-rousing content.

Bogey did say that they're/we're hiring two more people to attend to this stuff, so perhaps that will help the situation.

I do appreciate that some thoughtful people on this board have articulated some of my concerns about how we handle post removals in a more eloquent way than I would have. I do see the value in the discussion. But after a while, it begins to drain the spirit. (Mine, at least.)

<< I'm not much into more controls, more buttons, more java aps. More java is not the solution for a
highly subjective issue. What I would like to see optimally is the Fool try to replicate the FCC
standards when bringing censure to people. In short, what is OK on radio is OK at the Fool. >>

Hmm... well, I'm not an expert on radio... the only show I listen to with any regularity is Garrison Keillor's and I don't think that he's pushing the censorship envelope too often. But... I think there *is* a distinction to be made. Yes, maybe the Fool could adopt rules which sort of mirror what you find on TV, on the airwaves, in magazines. But I think that we are choosing to be *more* prudish than that -- as a deliberate choice.

When we writers write articles for the website, we tend to use words like "heck" and "darn" and "yick-yack" instead of their harsher counterparts. This is a choice, and I don't think our material suffers for it. I remember many times some new writer here would ask his or her neighboring Fools if saying [such-and-such] was okay. We would frequently explain that if it would offend so-and-so's mother, then we shouldn't go with it.

You can do SO much without using harsh language, or sexually explicit (or even suggestive) content. Part of what makes Fooldom charming to me is that we do without that stuff. It's nice, I think, that we try to make our entire forum mom-friendly. We're not trying to please the absolutely most prudish person on the planet -- we're just keeping things fairly clean (to use what might be a poor word for what I mean).

Back to TV and radio and magazines. Yes, "NYPD Blue" can't seem to let an episode go by without showing someone's derriere or some steamy scene. But I know of many of our moms would be offended or uncomfortable by that -- so if it was "NYPD Fool," I think that stuff just wouldn't be allowed. It would be against the rules.

Not everywhere operates with the same rules. In the Disney dimension, for example, things are fairly cleaned up. Despite some lapses or dilemmas (such as ABC's "Ellen"), it aims to keep its world fairly clean. To many, it goes too far, and creates a boring, antiseptic world. Well, I think that we can shoot for being clean and yet not antiseptic. I think many of us are clever enough and creative enough to remain Foolish and still be full of surprises.

(If Disney was the wrong example, forgive me. If "clean" isn't a good word, forgive me. I think you know what I'm trying to say. Please don't get hung up on the example or the word.)

<< (Nobody's
"happening" upon MartiniClub", accidentally discovering anything here--the newest posters from the
last few days here are among the oldest in Fooldom, or TMFers themselves).>>

Sure they are. There are ways to find it. And people do find it. Word of mouth. Checking to see where else an interesting poster posts. Most recommended posts. Etc. I'm sure that many more people hang out here than post. I myself have been around a long time -- but this board and Tag Heuer have been boards where I've felt a little intimidated to post. I know I'd have been welcome to post -- which is why I did jump in when I did.

<< I, unlike almost everyone else, am not cynical or shopworn on this issue. >>

Well, some of us *are* shopworn on it. :)

<<I believe the Fool will
change and loosen up a bit. I've seen the Fool change its mind twice on things before, and I've seen
two people I knew back when become Fool staffers, and...well, I've seen a lot of things.>>

It's encouraging to see some hope and optimism. :)

<< For now, I
just want to make sure while talking to anyone TMF, that they think about this: the Fool distinguishes
itself in the page-view financial marketplace by being content-driven and by being an inclusive
forum, especially for those with quirky points of view. Therefore, discouraging the content
drivers, or those with any particular stripe of quirk, cannot possibly help the Fool pursue its
particular market niche.>>

Well said. You're preaching to the choir with me (although some of our conclusions may differ), but I know that others are seeing what you're saying, too.

Anyway. Trying to get back to work now... :)

Selena
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Hmm... well, I'm not an expert on radio... the only show I listen to with any regularity is Garrison Keillor's

Answers my questions as to why anything more risque than saying someone "has a bun in the oven" doesn't last long.
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It's nice, I think, that we try to make our entire forum mom-friendly.

I feel compelled to speak up here, as I am a mom and all. I like the fact that there is adult conversation here - in fact, that's why I come here at all. I know you've been very careful with your words, Selena, but please don't use "mom" as an euphemism for "prude." (Hey - it offends me! Maybe I should alert your post! ;-) ) There are moms out there who don't feel that it's necessary to purge a site of all content unsuitable for a 6 year old in order to patronize it themselves. I'm one. I'm guessing there are many, many others.

I am bombarded by pablum all day in the forms of PBS and Raffi and Dr. Suess - all very appropriate for my children, but not so interesting to me. I read this site specifically because thoughtful, *adult* conversation has been encouraged. I don't want this site reduced to pablum, and that's what I'm afraid the current censorship policies will do.

Laura
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<<...Selena, but please don't use "mom" as an euphemism for "prude." (Hey - it offends me! Maybe I should alert your post! ;-) ) There are moms out there who don't feel that it's necessary to purge a site of all content unsuitable for a 6 year old in order to patronize it themselves. I'm one. I'm guessing there are many, many others. >>

Yikes. Of course there are moms of all kinds. My own mom is much more liberal and open-minded than many of her friends, also moms. I didn't mean to refer to all moms. In fact, in the example I used, we'd ask the TMF writer to imagine whether it would offend so-and-so's mom -- a specific mom. Because some other moms wouldn't be offended.

I still don't think that our "censorship" policies are so bad. I agree that sometimes perhaps a post is interpreted a certain way and pulled, when someone else might have interpreted it differently and not pulled it. The system isn't perfect. It appears that *some* efforts are underway to improve it. That's encouraging to me.

But I also think you sell yourself and your neighbors here on this board and elsewhere short, if you think that our rules need to be relaxed in order to allow for an entirely adult (meaning mature, not XXX) experience. I think we can easily live with the modest restrictions we have and still derive great pleasure from our time here.

Anyway. I'm sorry that my using the word "mom" offended you. (See here's an example of how are system *isn't* so ridiculously extreme. I can't imagine that my post using the word "mom" would ever be pulled because it offended a mom. Is that good or bad? Well, I think that it shows that we're not about to pull absolutely any post that could conceivably offend anyone. We're not trying to make this a ridiculously strict place. We're not shooting to be a forum for pablum, and I don't think we are one. Haven't the Tag Heuer and Martini boards demonstrated how thoughtful people can be *without* using some objectionable content? It's just that there are a few don't-go-there subjects -- to make it a more comfortable place for more people.)

Selena
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Yikes. Of course there are moms of all kinds. My own mom is much more liberal and open-minded than many of her
friends, also moms. I didn't mean to refer to all moms. In fact, in the example I used, we'd ask the TMF writer to
imagine whether it would offend so-and-so's mom -- a specific mom. Because some other moms wouldn't be offended.


except that As Applied, its more like "any imaginable mom", (rather than a specific mom)

I still don't think that our "censorship" policies are so bad. I agree that sometimes perhaps a post is interpreted a certain
way and pulled, when someone else might have interpreted it differently and not pulled it. The system isn't perfect. It
appears that *some* efforts are underway to improve it. That's encouraging to me.


ha ha. "efforts" have been underway for at least a year.
you're being snowed on like the rest of us.


But I also think you sell yourself and your neighbors here on this board and elsewhere short, if you think that our rules
need to be relaxed in order to allow for an entirely adult (meaning mature, not XXX) experience. I think we can easily
live with the modest restrictions we have and still derive great pleasure from our time here.


yes. one of my life's little pleasures is reading these
censorship 'wars' (:




JT
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Selena

P.S.
Ah -- now I see that someone called "StandardsPolice" is going around to various boards telling people to stop discussing things that aren't financial. Well geez... this is kind of cruel -- and obnoxious -- twisting someone's words (at least intentions) and running around trying to turn people against him/us. I'm not exactly sure what desirable end this will bring. I think I now give up. I'm not clever enough for all this. And my heart is too warmed by all this goodwill.


As those who have run across me on other boards can testify, I occasionally have too much time on my hands for my own good, plus I am prone to being a rectum (will that word get past Ma?). So I decided to look up the profile on StandardsPolice in an effort to figure out who it was (no, it wasn't me). I had run across several of his posts, and recall nothing profane,personally attacking another poster, etc that normally gets me yanked. I was truly amazed that every single one of the posts by this person was yanked.

What was the crime? Is ridiculing the fool now a reason to have your posts yanked?
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<<What was the crime? Is ridiculing the fool now a reason to have your posts yanked?>>

I didn't FA SP, but I wasn't sad to see his post on my board die, either.
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I didn't FA SP, but I wasn't sad to see his post on my board die, either.

Wasn't defending him, just curious to see how many boards he hit and if I could figure out who it was. I am just curious why he got pulled. Usually just being an idiot isn't enough, he said, leaving an opening large enough to drive a truck though.

By the way, Al, congrats on the increased activity on your board. See, sometimes a little nastiness can go along way when the love dies down.
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<<By the way, Al, congrats on the increased activity on your board. See, sometimes a little nastiness
can go along way when the love dies down.>>

Yo, thanks for the favor. See, I never griped about it. Feel free to start a snowball fight any time.
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<<What was the crime? Is ridiculing the fool now a reason to have your posts yanked?>>

This is really discouraging, that you'd assume the worst like that. Even if our system isn't perfect, I would hope that you see that we *are* doing some things right -- and pulling some posts logically.

I suspect that the violation was spamming.

Selena
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Selena,would the fool let me open a speakers board titled, "ridicule the fool"?
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This is really discouraging, that you'd assume the worst like that.

Sorry, but based upon past performance of the Fool, I really don't think it was that great a leap on my part.
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Sorry, but based upon past performance of the Fool, I really don't think it was that great a leap on my part.

Would you like to know exactly how bad it is?

Not only were all of my StandardsPolice posts pulled, but the account has been locked out.

I never received any sort of email regarding it either.

So, Nedludd, if you think you've been spanked or punished, think how harshly I am being treated! It is deplorable.

The powers that be here on the Fool can not stand to be criticised! We now have irrefutable proof. All fifteen of my posts were pulled without explanation.

They were not spam. There was no commercial content.

Each of the messages was different.

All of them were pulled and now the account is blocked.

If I could imitate Dana Carvey's Church Lady...
Isn't that special!

I suppose that this post will not last very long either here on the board. As we all know, the powers that be at Motley Fool do not like to be criticized.

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But for you to denigrate lou2's board....

Hmm.

Just my opinion, but I think you've kind of missed the point.

~Zillah
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Well, I won't tolerate it. I won't tolerate him dragging down my friends' reputations in his own sick attempt to do so. If I have to drive to Old Town and park my derriere in Bogey's office until he enforces his own rules, I will..../...The day when deSilentio is gone is the day I get uninvolved.

Sounds like another completely tiresome celebrity death match percolating, but this one with abundant doppelgangers on either side.

Gosh. If they ever pulled the plug on deSilentio, how would he ever find a way to express himself?

jps
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<<but this one with
abundant doppelgangers on either side.>>

Incorrect. I have only one active ID, and that's Al.

You are the multiple ID Fool Rule violator, not me.
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You are the multiple ID Fool Rule violator, not me.

Ay, ay, ay!!!

jds
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The day he dragged my board and lou2's board into this is the day I got involved. The day when deSilentio is gone is the day I get uninvolved.

Well, old boy.

I don't think that deSilentio is condemning anyone or anything, least of all your board (I have to admit I'm not sure which board that might be -- I lurk considerably, but have found no baord dedicated to AlCoholics :-O), Lou2's board, or her ta-ta's or even the suggestively monikered "Mr. Big." He's merely pointing out that suggestive writings and double entendre is rampant and seemingly endorsed by the Fool as a means to obtain page views. He merely is expressing his desire that the Fool conduct itself with some impartiality, and not be used as a tool by some malignancy who seeks out his posts merely in order to be offended by them.

Granted, in his self-absorbed (some would say arrogant) way, deSilentio implicitly posits that his own type of semi-lewd yet more literary commentary is superior to the quips and flirtations of his Atlantean cousins. But his beef is with the Fool, not with the content of any other board. He isn't seeking to limit or curb content; in truth, he is perfectly content to feel superior about his own without recourse to quashing others.

Your statement about parking yourself in Bogey's office until deSilentio is silenced, ironically underscores the perception of some that the Fool is playing favorites where a small contingent of Fools who have socialized with its HQ personnel is concerned.

Frank
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And here I'd been patting myself on the back for having shut up for several hours...

<<I'm going to police every post on this board forever. And if I hear you've moved, I'll police those boards too. This isn't ever going to end. No, I don't have anything better to do with my time than eradicate this plague from TMF.>>

You know, Al, this kind of extreme response seems too... extreme. (I know, I'm a magical wordsmith, eh?) I see too much of this happening: people assuming the worst about each other, or just focusing on faults. I myself have been very frustrated by some people I've run across in Fooldom, enough to want to just ignore them from now on. But (with possibly an exception or two), I'll remind myself that they *do* make sense some of the time. and even if I disagree with some of what they say, I probably would agree with other things.

Basically, most of us are complex entities, and it's not productive to only see things in black and white. I've often been guilty of this myself when I think of things in political terms. It's often been surprising to me to run into Republicans with hearts. It shouldn't be.

I guess I'm just hoping that you might consider toning down your jihad. If you succeed in killing the spirit of this board (and any successor), that won't really be a good thing. Warfare is rarely a good solution.

I *am* impressed with your chivalry, though! :)

Selena
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<<Your statement about parking yourself in Bogey's office until deSilentio is silenced, ironically
underscores the perception of some that the Fool is playing favorites where a small contingent of
Fools who have socialized with its HQ personnel is concerned.>>

Dude, that's the Fool's problem, not mine. I'm interested in defending my friends by any means necessary.
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<<You know, Al, this kind of extreme response seems too... extreme.>>

Well, y'know Selena, when I called him on it in the first place, he could have simply apologized to lou2. Yeah, we're polarized now. So be it.

<<I guess I'm just hoping that you might consider toning down your jihad.>>

I'm sorry, I can't do that.
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Dude, that's the Fool's problem, not mine. I'm interested in defending my friends by any means necessary

Well, granted that you view the Fool's rules as an unprincipled mechanism for gaining your own ends, rather than as an institutional procedure for imposing consistency.

I am uncertain, to be sure, as to your reference to these attacks on your friends, and your insistence that your conduct is required to defend them from the scurrilous deSilentio. Were these "attacks" as you describe them really so awful as to engender your extreme reaction?

I am not arguing with you, surely, it is just that I do not believe I read such an attack. It is possible that I have missed something and my perception is distorted. Were the cause celebre posts on this board? Were they deleted? In all honesty, I have not seen any so wicked as your conduct suggests.

Frank
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laowhomeverheistoday said:
"Martini Club" is suggestive of exactly what we who patronize it are suggestive of: cigar-chomping, gin swilling, art-loving, liberal-leaning cynical letches, attracted to the prospect of quick and effortless dollars, the siren lure of imaginative sex, and the artifice of German Luxury Automobiles.

German Luxury Automobiles and Cigars don't really appeal to me, but I'll double up on imaginative sex if you absolutely require. May I stay awhile anyway?

Rick
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Well, y'know Selena, when I called him on it in the first place, he could have simply apologized to lou2.

You may think yourself chivalrous, but I think you're underestimating the capacity of women to speak for themselves. If Lou2 feels the need for some apology from me, she can certainly seek it herself if she wishes.

And if she did, it would be easy for Lou to come in here and say, "Well, we speak all the time of libertarian this and Ayn Rand that, and it was really a cheap shot for you to suggest that the board is all about my ta-tas." And you know what? I would agree, she'd be right, it was a completely cheap shot. And? So?

Expression is full of cheap shots, and you yourself are consistent living proof of that. Is it cheap shot for you to come in here, read one post, and call what I write "filth", when I've had--excluding my newspaper and magazine articles, excluding my novels, excluding the ad copy and brochureware I write daily--about a half-dozen POTDs and a Fribble here at the Fool? (Wow!) It was the cheapest shot I've seen in a long time. And it doesn't offend me in the least. I took a cheap shot, you took a cheap shot, Lou takes cheap shots, Tom Gardner, perpetually mocking "The Wise", takes cheap shots. These cheap shots all entertain. Cheese took a cheap shot at me twice, implying I look like Gene Rayburn--a rather worse slander than the implication that people at Lou's board obsess over nice ta-tas. I didn't cry. I didn't demand retraction. You shouldn't either, especially for someone capable of expressing herself. Get over it, and don't prove your fealty to Lou by presuming to speak for her.

deSilentio
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Selena said:
I guess I'm just hoping that you might consider toning down your jihad.

I must do the rare deed and love a TMFer who implies a fellow named AlCoholic is engaged in jihad. Too wonderful and thanks for the smile. (Limited time loving only, of course. I get the idea at times you really believe the TMF position on AMZN.)

Rick
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The guy with the board said:
And it doesn't offend me in the least. I took a cheap shot, you took a cheap shot, Lou takes cheap shots, Tom Gardner, perpetually mocking "The Wise", takes cheap shots.

No, "The Wise", are currently hyping AMZN, so TMF Parlay, TMF Spirit and others are now quoting them as knowing the truth. I guess they've been upgraded.

Rick
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This is so absurd it's almost beyond belief. It's as if all the over-inflated egos in the world have descended on TMF, falling all over themselves to play out this completely pointless battle on this marginally important issue. It seems to be much more about ego than prinicple. If you really think that this is some kind of inspired war over free speech, I really think you need to get out more.

If you think that your words are so precious that for them to be indiscriminately censored is a crime against your person, I have a tip: MS Word. Cut and paste to the board. If it gets pulled, post it again. Put it on another site, use e-mail. It's not like a TMF demon is going to show up in the middle of the night and drag you out of your home. We're not talking about political tyranny here.

It's just not that big a deal. "Book Burning?" Give me a break. TMF can't take criticism? Apparently, you've never really dealt with an entity that can't take criticism. They are out there, in need of our attention. But we're all caught up in this non-controversy, too busy defending our damaged egos to care. If people were really being hurt, they'd leave. The ones that stay to obsess over their "rights" are just playing a counter-productive, resource-draining game.

As for the business, my guess is that the overwhelming majority of TMF members would rather see precious over-worked staff resources devoted to anything but the endless bottomless pit of whining about censorship, split personalities and my board vs yours. To suggest that it is more important than the NOW index is to completely miss the TMF mission.

If you've ever worked for an office that administrates anything, you quickly learn to spot a "no-win" and this is clearly one of 'em. How many people think that TMFTippy, Bogey and Twitty are worn to the point of despair trying to please everyone on this one? How many people think that anti-censorship spamming and forcing TMFTippy to write lengthy replies to soothe individual damaged egos is a good use of TMF resources? How many would rather see Selena devote her time and energy to teaching people how to manage their money, then to drain her soul on this hopeless front? Anyone think we ought to post suggestions for improvement in the censorship policy when we have them and follow-up periodically to keep the topic warm and to push for progress and then get on with our freaking lives?

I've been reading a lot of the "offending" boards for months and even posting to some of them recently. I agree that the content is hard to beat. There are some really gifted people around here. I really hope that they don't go away. Sometimes something gets pulled that shouldn't have been pulled and I'm annoyed by it. It's not so bad, though, really. Somehow, I pull myself together and move on. Once I've scrolled past all these inane censorship rants. First amendment rights? You can't really be serious? Sometimes I think a little honest-to-gosh tyranny would do us all some good.

.....Man, that felt good. Glad I got that off my chest. Now, let's see if I can get my inflated ego out the door here and get on with my life....

Guilty as the rest of 'em,
Paul
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Laopera, do you have title for this work "in process"?
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This is so absurd it's almost beyond belief. It's as if all the over-inflated egos in the world have descended on TMF, falling all over themselves to play out this completely pointless battle on this marginally important issue. It seems to be much more about ego than prinicple. If you really think that this is some kind of inspired war over free speech, I really think you need to get out more.

I, for one, get out plenty, and getting out teaches me the value of keeping any environment in which I happen to find myself as open and tolerant as possible. I know this debate offends/bores a lot of people--just got an email from one, tuning it all out, whom I consider a good friend. I think, however, that freedom of expression is indeed precious, and it is indeed fragile, and I like to try to preserve it as best I can, wherever I can. I hope you'll forgive the overblown expressions. It's easy to tune it out, though. Try the board when things calm down.

I have a feeling that what really rankles you is you would prefer the Fool to be free and open too, even to occasionally suggestive material, but you have a strong distaste for becoming a proselyte. That's fine--it's not you.

I've been reading a lot of the "offending" boards for months and even posting to some of them recently. I agree that the content is hard to beat. There are some really gifted people around here. I really hope that they don't go away. Sometimes something gets pulled that shouldn't have been pulled and I'm annoyed by it. It's not so bad, though, really. Somehow, I pull myself together and move on. Once I've scrolled past all these inane censorship rants. First amendment rights? You can't really be serious? Sometimes I think a little honest-to-gosh tyranny would do us all some good.

And you probably like a free lunch too. Enjoy the content, but ignore the battle for it, and trivialize it, and find it all unnecessary and dull. There was a time when the Fool discouraged all non-financial content. That changed, and in a hurry, and not because people elected to "scroll past inane censorship rants".

deSilentio
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Laopera, do you have title for this work "in process"?

laopera/deSilentio: The Completely Expurgated and Entirely Abridged Correspondence?

jds/laop
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<<and don't prove your fealty to Lou by presuming to speak
for her.>>

I'm comfortable that my friends support my efforts on their behalf.
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the only show I listen to with any regularity is Garrison Keillor's

What you don't listen to the Fool Show? LOL! I'll tell Mac on you ;)

Z
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I'm comfortable that my friends support my efforts on their behalf.

Da-aamnnnn! I missed this whole melee.

Is this going to turn into an East Coast/West Coast thing, like the rappers?

Yo: Word to the wise. I ain't gonna end up like no mutha-fing Tupac Shakur. Just don't think you can jack me.

JJ, West Coast, bay-beeee
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Is this going to turn into an East Coast/West Coast thing, like the rappers?

I hope not. My friends are fighting. And I hate it.

Z
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<<I hope not. My friends are fighting. And I hate it.>>

Well, Zoe, judge for yourself:

<<that board that is almost exclusively devoted to the worship of
Lou2's ta-tas.>>

<<it would be easy for Lou to come in here and say, "Well, we speak all the time of
libertarian this and Ayn Rand that, and it was really a cheap shot for you to suggest that the
board is all about my ta-tas." And you know what? I would agree, she'd be right, it was a
completely cheap shot. And? So?>>

<<Expression is full of cheap shots . . . These cheap shots all entertain.>>

Perhaps you can persuade him to abandon his bankrupt "blame the victim" philosophy, do the right thing, and apologize.
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Is this going to turn into an East Coast/West Coast thing, like the rappers?

I think Selena is WC. Other than that, it looks split pretty split WC/EC. And Motown wants no part of either of us, of course.

It could also turn into Lou2 v. Ina, depending on what dimension the debate takes on next.

jds
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Selena is EC.

It could also turn into Lou2 v. Ina, depending on what dimension the debate takes on next.

Well it was Ina and me and we've made up ;)

Z
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SIGH. I really don'twant to get involved, because both Lou and Joseph are people I care a lot about.

However. I do take issue with the remarks about Lou's board. It WAS a cheap shot and uncalled for. A lot of us flirt around here, and for most of us that do, it doesn't matter which board we are on. And actually I seem to remember that the breast conversations stemmed from Amanda's board and UK LOOTP - and much of it was my fault (i'm not going to repeat what I said, but it was about my own body no one elses!). It was the confession thread. Mind you those posts didn't get pulled, so in a way Joseph has a point, albeit misdirected.

Personally I have learnt a lot from all the boards that I post on and many that I lurk at. At lou's I have learnt a huge amount about US politics and policy, which has actually been invaluable information.

At TWH and here I've enjoyed discussions about all sorts of wonderful things, seen some amazing art and writing and importantly been encouraged to stretch my own skills.

This is too personal. I'm sorry but Joseph, I thought that you were better than that. I love you, but you are taking shots at someone who has no involvement in this argument, except that she now works at the Fool.

Z
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I hope not. My friends are fighting. And I hate it.


I dunno, Zoe. At least there is something vaguely amusing about AlCoholic aka MayaButtreeks trying to silence diSilentio for indecorous behaviour.

I suppose deuls have been fought and persons killed for less.

JJ
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My friends are fighting. And I hate it.

Oh gawd, what's next? "Can't we all just get along?" I thought we were below that here.

L
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Best guess: Censorship theater by Laopera/Alhgren
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Oh gawd, what's next? "Can't we all just get along?" I thought we were below that here.

You know me, I normally enjoy a good celeb death match. Especially when lime jello is involved. :)

Z

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I have a feeling that what really rankles you is you would prefer the Fool to be free and open too, even to occasionally suggestive material, but you have a strong distaste for becoming a proselyte. That's fine--it's not you

deSilentio,

Close! Your a good judge of character, or lack thereof. What I really want is what everybody really wants - only posts that appeal to my own particular interests, be they investing, off-color humor, social commentary, etc. And, moreover, I don't want to read anything that bores me, offends me or wastes my time. Easy enough, eh? Now, if TMF could just figure out a way to deliver this to each and every one of us, this debate would be history.

I'm afraid this'll be a little tougher than putting in a new router though. It's going to take some time and it's dead obvious that the resources and ideas to deliver all of this aren't available right now (although things have improved gradually). To protect the core business, then, TMF has to go for squeaky clean, and alas do it haphazardly, for now. And the financial stuff really isn't all that white-bread, is it? Compared to, say, the daily bond market report on marketwatch.com?

I don't see it as an issue of principle, but one of plain old everyday compromise. No business can do everything at once, especially not a rapidly growing one like TMF, and priorities have to be set or the whole thing unravels. Clearly, the priorities at the moment center on the core mission and not a censorship-free Speakers Corner. Like everyone else, I want both, and I hope they find a way to implement both, soon. But I can wait.

I'm sure that Tippy, Twitty and Bogey (man was this ever an unfortunate collection of screen names to dispatch for crowd control) get as many gripes from the pro post-pulling side as the anti-censorship side. They'd have to be real zealots to take all this abuse if everyone agreed.

Regards,
Paul
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What I really want is what everybody really wants - only posts that appeal to my own particular interests, be they investing, off-color humor, social commentary, etc. And, moreover, I don't want to read anything that bores me, offends me or wastes my time. Easy enough, eh? Now, if TMF could just figure out a way to deliver this to each and every one of us, this debate would be history.

Speak for yourself. <glare>

Some of us constantly seek out new thought, new ideas, new concepts and new experiences. I have four boards which I check every day. I then spend way too much time checking other boards, most of which I never post on. I just read and read and read and read.

I *adore* being offended. It's relatively difficult to offend me. Call me a mick to my face. Go ahead. I'll buy you a drink. You're going to have to explain to me though why you think I deserve the term besides being of mostly Irish extraction. When something offends me I have to seriously pause and decide WHY it offends me. LOOK! You made me THINK! Of course, there's the simple kind of offenses which are borne of ignorance, race baiting, and other such plebian entrapments. And those are no challenge at all.

Did you see the Nuveen commercial on the Superbowl? That commercial offended me to the core and it took me *days* to work out on which levels & exactly why.

Of course, MOST people like to hide from offense. Most people want to avoid conflict.

And they're pansies.

- Tera.
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Tera,

Good points. Just one thing I'm wondering about. Did I offend you? Because I could really use a drink right now.

Paul, pansy
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<<the only show I listen to with any regularity is Garrison Keillor's

What you don't listen to the Fool Show? LOL! I'll tell Mac on you ;)>>

Ouch! Touche! :)

I do listen fairly regularly to the Fool radio show -- but since it's not broadcast by any local radio stations here in our own back yard, I do so over the Internet. So my feeble mind didn't think of it when I imagined my home radio, which is pretty much always left tuned to the local public radio station, for my doses of Praire Home Companion.

Selena
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Moderator: Any of a class of jobs that is judged complete when the job-doer is hated equally by both sides of a polarizing issue.

Paul, done
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Forgot the clarifying examples:

Moderator: Any of a class of jobs that is judged successful when the job-doer is hated equally by both sides of a polarizing issue (see, e.g., Alan Greenspan, TMFTippy).

Paul, really done, butting out
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D.S.,

For starters, I'm impressed you caught the reference to Alzado.....mabye we've discussed things before. Thats not why I did this reply.

"Freedom" of speech isn't as "free" as you may think. I can only say (regarding Fools stance) goes like this:

1. Who run's Fool? Silleto??? Kierkegaard?? (Yes, I am aware they are the same person). Nope. The name on the Fool silver mountain is Gardner. They set the rules for "better or worse".

2. I look at it this way. If X works for Y, Y can make certain rules regarding conduct during work hours/ events & so on (e.g., don't swear to the customer, don't come to work drunk, don't use company e-mail for "inappropriate conduct", etc.). Break the rules... gone.....outta here. Any questions, read Fridays "Wall St Journal" & flip to the story on the DOZENS fired by the Times. Y has the authority to put such restrictions in that situation. Fool has the same right to do that to any given user.

3. Why would Fool do such a thing, control conduct/posts, etc? In three very simple words.....dollars and cents. The G-men won't even try to hear your cry of "let me post what I want", if Datech, Lynch, etc., quit plunking the dollars for the nice banners we see. Hey, Fool is fun for us, but it is a BUSINESS for the G-men. They can't pay the car note, mortgage, & whatever, you "freedom" may take money out of their pockets.

4. Tame for one is wild for the other. That we all agree w/. However, certain issues of content NEVER changed from one day to the next (e.g., profanity, violence of threats to another Fool, etc.). I should know if you check my profile (e.g., member since AT LEAST Dec., 1997). I don't see any real wind-socking on the Fools stance on content.

I never said you don't have the right to do as you see fit. I'll say it once more, don't like it leave. This is the G-mens house & we're just welcome guests. Start your own site & do w/ it as you see fit. Then none of this would even be an issue. You're an S.K. fan so you can't be ALL bad.

77

On an unrelated note, I noticed you profile & thought you might like the following sites (if you are unaware of them currently):

www-personal.monash.edu.au/~dey/phil/
or...................................
www.udel.edu/apa/index.html


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1. Who run's Fool? Silleto??? Kierkegaard?? (Yes, I am aware they are the same person). Nope. The name on the Fool silver mountain is Gardner. They set the rules for "better or worse".

RaiderFan, I am aware. You have jumped in late, and everyone else wants this dialog to end, but I'll respond anyway because:

1) I came to Martini Club, entirely selfishly, to write whatever I wanted (typically bagatelles of fast money, German Luxury Automobiles, Sturdy Swedish Automobiles, snooty art, weapons-grade gin and imaginative sex); and
2) The issue, I believe, is more important than we might want to admit, and bears exposure. We generally don't like to own up to the amount of time we spend on the web. It's newfangled, and it's a bit embarrassing to spend a whole lot of time on the newfangled, it's like owning up to a fad. I admit this much: I'm on the Fool/the net much more than I watch television these days. There are whole weeks that go by when I don't see a TV. There is scarcely a day that go by that I don't check into the Fool.

I don't have any objections to the rules themselves. What I have been calling for is some kind of clarity in enforcing the rules, because I don't think there is any, for even those who enforce them. I think the Fool says, "read the rules, gang, and enforce 'em," and then Tippy is overwhelmed and yanks everything that has a probative gerund in it.

The rules here call for no explicit sexual material. I am contending that much of what gets yanked is not explicit at all, it is merely suggestive. And also contending that if every TMFer pulling a post merely thought, when evaluating the post for explicit content--"would this be OK to say on radio?"--they would be able to distinguish the difference between explicit and suggestive really easily.

As to why this remains important, well, first, it is very hard to let go of the desire to maintain free expression in any environment, even in a business environment. But beyond this, I think it makes pure business sense to cultivate a reasonably permissive censure apparatus. The person running the business makes the rules, we know that. But the clients are immense stakeholders in any business venture. I believe many more of them are not offended by suggestive content than are. You are claiming, "It's their business, they can do what they want." That is true enough. I am saying, "It's your business, I think you should do this if you want to keep being perceived by your clients as a vibrant, content-driven, contributor-driven forum." I believe--and you can call this explicit if you want--that the degree that the Fool neuters its content is the degree to which it renders its stated mission/value prop--to inform, entertain, amuse--impotent.

deSilentio ad nauseum
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weapons-grade gin

i DO love a well-turned phrase....

otoh,

I don't have any objections to the rules themselves. What I have been calling for is some kind of clarity in enforcing
the rules, because I don't think there is any, for even those who enforce them. I think the Fool says, "read the rules,
gang, and enforce 'em," and then Tippy is overwhelmed and yanks everything that has a probative gerund in it.

The rules here call for no explicit sexual material.


as i've said, after watching many of these battles over the past years, i don't think "clarity" is the issue any longer. Consistency remains an issue, but it seems clear, esp from TMF contributions to this thread that TMF is striving for far-cleaner than Disney... rather than radio, they seem to ask, "would this be OK on the Barney show?" unfortuneately, with such strict standards and so many posts, too much falls through the cracks and (perhaps too much) time is spent (but not wasted) arguing the issue.

"It's your business, I think you should do this if you want to keep being perceived by your clients as a vibrant,
content-driven, contributor-driven forum." I believe--and you can call this explicit if you want--that the degree that the
Fool neuters its content is the degree to which it renders its stated mission/value prop--to inform, entertain, amuse--impotent.


they've made the business decision. *i* find it hard to believe that your story would bother advertisers. nearly as hard to believe that it could really offend ANYone... but most likely someone FA'd it. So, one must assume that it did somehow find at least one easily offended moron.

like any good marketing slogan, "inform, entertain, and amuse" captures the imagination, but is pretty much b**s**. (like "Ultimate Driving Machine"... bs, but don't ask my to give up my bimmer)



deSilentio ad nauseum

keep up the good fight,


JT
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I in no way mean to imply that we shouldn't discuss censorship on this board, but in case you hadn't heard, a new board has been opened where you will supposedly have the ear of many of the Fool Community staffers, should you want to talk to them about it.

Enjoy:
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1010033000001000&sort=postdate

Laura
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Laura said:

<<I in no way mean to imply that we shouldn't discuss censorship on this board, but in case you hadn't heard, a new board has been opened where you will supposedly have the ear of many of the Fool Community staffers, should you want to talk to them about it.>>

There's another, even more pertinent, board:

Censorship
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?id=1380220000030015

And there's even a hardly-visited Speaker's Corner board, called "Bash the Fool Censors."
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?id=1380056000003000

I suspect you might find more "official" participation on the former than the latter, but that might just be due to a lack of traffic on the latter.

Cheers! (and Happy Birthday, Laura!)

Selena
(Glad to see some regrowth here, after the recent frost.)
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