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I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days 
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Post I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
It wasn't because he's a bro. It wasn't because he colorfully disagreed with people. It wasn't because he broke several rules leading up to this banning.

Look, we've all broken the site rules at one time or another. It's just to what extent do we break them.

In my time here, I've tried to be as tolerant as possible to let people be who they are. When MGamesCook was disagreeing with just about every post posted, I didn't ban him. Disagreeing with people isn't an offense worth banning, otherwise we'd have gotten rid of Vexer years ago. This is why I let roastbeef_ajus continue to exist in his little corner of the internet, despite the fact his points-of-view were clearly bringing down the intelligence level of the forum.

I put up with all that until he used the word "raghead". That sent up several flags in my book because I can't tolerate racism. Look, it's one thing to be racist without realizing it. I catch myself doing this on occasion. I think we all do. No one's perfect.

When Sexual Chocolate pointed out that "raghead" was not the preferred nomenclature, he apologized for his mistake in the form of rewording his term: "terrorist" - in bold. That's what sent off the "nope" alarms. The bold was clearly intended to get a rise out of people, and a rise it got out of me. It was as if he was saying, "Go ahead and ban me. I dare you."

I didn't consult, James B, Kunz, or Patrick on this decision. (Frankly, we could have banned him on more than a handful of occasions already.) If I had closed the topic because it got out of hand, no one would have blinked an eye. I felt like this was different and therefore it needed to be addressed differently.

You are welcome to tell me how wrong I am for doing this. I do request to the mods that you let him serve his seven-day ban at the very least. I did consider a permanent ban, but decided against it because I don't know why. I apologize if I made the wrong decision.

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Fri Dec 27, 2013 12:38 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
The only thing I disagree here is that you felt you had to say you didn't consult me. I'm out, how you guys mod is on you and not me.

But if it was me doing the banning, it would've been permanent and I would've done it a couple months ago with the whole Obamacare fiasco but that's just me.


Fri Dec 27, 2013 1:17 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
When I said what I said, it was a backhanded way of saying, "You know, you don't have to be an a-hole all of the time." I wasn't quite trying to provoke him, but it seems I did.

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Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:23 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
I think you absolutely did the right thing as his posts were getting out of hand(not to mention they rarely ever contributed anything to the threads), half of them were sexist and misogynist and the other half were either homophobic or racist, I got so sick of him hearing him brag about "chasing tail" and whatnot.

I agree with Patrick, I would've banned him permanently just for that thread alone and all his posts objectifying women, but hopefully seven days is at least enough for him to get enough common sense to keep his big mouth shut about that sort of thing.


Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:18 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
tl;dr version: banned for dragging down the collective intelligence and civility levels of the entire forum. Can't blame you one bit. They don't call you a moderator for nothing.

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Fri Dec 27, 2013 5:26 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
patrick wrote:
The only thing I disagree here is that you felt you had to say you didn't consult me. I'm out, how you guys mod is on you and not me.

But if it was me doing the banning, it would've been permanent and I would've done it a couple months ago with the whole Obamacare fiasco but that's just me.

I keep forgetting you're not a mod. You're still one in my heart. And brain, apparently.

I'm not opposed to a lifetime ban.

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Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:00 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
I was wondering when this would happen. When roastbeef keeps his thoughts to movies or sports, there's no problem whatsoever. But yeah, the political/social trolling started getting way out of hand. His weird, disturbing reaction to THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, whether joking or serious, pretty much sealed the deal for me. I think you made the right call.

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Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:11 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
His obnoxious bro-titude mostly reminds me of how Barney Stinson (whom I love in the show) would be pretty horrifying if you met him in real life.


Fri Dec 27, 2013 9:47 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
I applaud you for doing so. I'm typically pretty laissez-faire as a mod, deleting things quietly but never banning anyone, so thanks for being the bad cop to my good cop

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Fri Dec 27, 2013 11:45 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
JamesKunz is the best kind of cop. You can tell by the extra-revealing uniform.

I have to say, one guy notwithstanding, we still have an overall pretty good crew here. It's easy to get spoiled and forget, but spend five minutes on just about any other forum and you'll find that most of them are awful. Very little constructive discussion, plenty of self-centered people whose bitterness is infectious if you're not careful. Phooey on them.

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Sat Dec 28, 2013 12:35 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Ken wrote:
JamesKunz is the best kind of cop. You can tell by the extra-revealing uniform.

I have to say, one guy notwithstanding, we still have an overall pretty good crew here. It's easy to get spoiled and forget, but spend five minutes on just about any other forum and you'll find that most of them are awful. Very little constructive discussion, plenty of self-centered people whose bitterness is infectious if you're not careful. Phooey on them.


Much agreed. This is the only forum I've ever been inclined to join. Its civility and intelligence is unlike any other forum I've ever visited and I'm happy to be a part of it.

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Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:48 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Ken wrote:
I have to say, one guy notwithstanding, we still have an overall pretty good crew here. It's easy to get spoiled and forget, but spend five minutes on just about any other forum and you'll find that most of them are awful. Very little constructive discussion, plenty of self-centered people whose bitterness is infectious if you're not careful. Phooey on them.


This.

I'm a member of a fair number of forums, most of them vehicle-specific related with a few hobby sites. This forum has been the most civil for the longest I've seen in what seems to be the evolution of boards from enthusiastic exchange to dickeshness and attacks. I still am not sure what drives people to troll. Is this really that fun? I don't get it.

The bulk of my contribution is absorption. For that I apologize., but, life... well... busy... You guys are busy as well, no doubt, but forum-posting has been one of my "cuts". I enjoy the bulk of what is posted here and am happy the when d-baggery can be nipped before it permeates and taints the whole population.

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Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:32 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
I just want to share this story, from personal experience:

I'm a student at a pretty elite school that has a rather large number of its students as members of Greek organizations. Some shit has hit the fan over the hazing the frats do, and one of the things that was revealed from one of the investigated frats was how one of the members was in charge of getting women to come to the frat on party nights so the brothers could get them drunk and have sex with them.

His official title in the frat? "Director of Bro-gramming." Seriously, that's just embarrassing.

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Sun Dec 29, 2013 9:39 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
I haven't read the offensive post in question and certainly not all of roastbeef_ajus's posts, which led up to the banning, but I wonder whether you mods have issued some sort of warning beforehand. I think that a temporary ban as a preceding measure for a possible permanent ban is a good idea to give the offender a chance to change his or her behaviour. Likewise, I think that posters, who regularly violate the rules of the forum, should first receive a word of warning before any further measures are taken.


Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:32 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
As an administrator of a soccer forum who let a single user bring down the intelligence level of the place, I completely agree with this decision and your other decisions in general. I also agree with Ken that the relative intelligence of this place and the content of the discussions are among the best I've seen in over a decade and a half of being part of internet forums.

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Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:40 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Balaji Sivaraman wrote:
As an administrator of a soccer forum who let a single user bring down the intelligence level of the place, I completely agree with this decision and your other decisions in general. I also agree with Ken that the relative intelligence of this place and the content of the discussions are among the best I've seen in over a decade and a half of being part of internet forums.


Sorry for being a bit of a stickler about procedure (must be my legal background), but I don't like the argument that someone should be banned because he or she "brings down the intelligence level" of a forum. To me, this sounds like an arbitrary criterion for a banning. In effect, it's like saying "your contributions aren't good enough for us" or "you're too dumb for us". I understand that roastbeef_ajus has been temporarily banned for making a racist and/or offensive post, which is a clear violation of forum rules and sufficient justification for a cautioning or ban. Whether his other contributions are intelligent or not and up to the level of other contributors is besides the point and shouldn't be an auxiliary argument for a ban.


Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:20 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Unke wrote:
Sorry for being a bit of a stickler about procedure (must be my legal background), but I don't like the argument that someone should be banned because he or she "brings down the intelligence level" of a forum. To me, this sounds like an arbitrary criterion for a banning. In effect, it's like saying "your contributions aren't good enough for us" or "you're too dumb for us". I understand that roastbeef_ajus has been temporarily banned for making a racist and/or offensive post, which is a clear violation of forum rules and sufficient justification for a cautioning or ban. Whether his other contributions are intelligent or not and up to the level of other contributors is besides the point and shouldn't be an auxiliary argument for a ban.

I don't know the procedure the mods use here. But in my forum, the guy was dragging everyone down with him, and we let him continue unchecked for far too long. It is not so much about this one person not contributing anything intelligent, but when he keeps the rest of the forum from doing the same, then that's a serious red flag for me. That's why I said the guy in my forum was bringing down the collective intelligence. That has nothing to do with the case here because Pedro has already explained his reasons. I am just making my point clear.

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Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:31 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Unke wrote:
Sorry for being a bit of a stickler about procedure (must be my legal background), but I don't like the argument that someone should be banned because he or she "brings down the intelligence level" of a forum. To me, this sounds like an arbitrary criterion for a banning. In effect, it's like saying "your contributions aren't good enough for us" or "you're too dumb for us". I understand that roastbeef_ajus has been temporarily banned for making a racist and/or offensive post, which is a clear violation of forum rules and sufficient justification for a cautioning or ban. Whether his other contributions are intelligent or not and up to the level of other contributors is besides the point and shouldn't be an auxiliary argument for a ban.

I understand that argument, but I'm going to be devil's advocate here and point out that this forum is private property, and the people in charge of the place are within their right to ban anybody for any reason. That they rarely do that (in fact, I don't remember anyone ever being banned here before this) is an indication that they handle their job with an exceptional level of deliberation and restraint.

There are rules that are surefire grounds for banning if they're broken, but I don't think that should be confused for the rules being the only grounds for banning. Moderators need a certain level of discretion, because moderation--the act of regulating an exchange among human beings--ultimately needs human judgment more than it needs rules. That's why Internet forums have moderators. People who interact with members and stay on top of current events, who have the information to make an executive decision when the time comes, are far more valuable than a list of dos and don'ts.

To put it another way, it's moderators, not rules, who keep things civil and intelligent. Someone who's really hellbent on causing trouble is going to find a way to do it in a way that technically fits within the rules. And if you think the Internet isn't full of those people and/or that some of them aren't going to occasionally find their way here, good luck with that. Anton Chigurh's going to be asking us all, "If the rule you followed brought you to this, what good was the rule?"

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Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:45 am
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Ken wrote:
Unke wrote:
Sorry for being a bit of a stickler about procedure (must be my legal background), but I don't like the argument that someone should be banned because he or she "brings down the intelligence level" of a forum. To me, this sounds like an arbitrary criterion for a banning. In effect, it's like saying "your contributions aren't good enough for us" or "you're too dumb for us". I understand that roastbeef_ajus has been temporarily banned for making a racist and/or offensive post, which is a clear violation of forum rules and sufficient justification for a cautioning or ban. Whether his other contributions are intelligent or not and up to the level of other contributors is besides the point and shouldn't be an auxiliary argument for a ban.

I understand that argument, but I'm going to be devil's advocate here and point out that this forum is private property, and the people in charge of the place are within their right to ban anybody for any reason. That they rarely do that (in fact, I don't remember anyone ever being banned here before this) is an indication that they handle their job with an exceptional level of deliberation and restraint.

There are rules that are surefire grounds for banning if they're broken, but I don't think that should be confused for the rules being the only grounds for banning. Moderators need a certain level of discretion, because moderation--the act of regulating an exchange among human beings--ultimately needs human judgment more than it needs rules. That's why Internet forums have moderators. People who interact with members and stay on top of current events, who have the information to make an executive decision when the time comes, are far more valuable than a list of dos and don'ts.

To put it another way, it's moderators, not rules, who keep things civil and intelligent. Someone who's really hellbent on causing trouble is going to find a way to do it in a way that technically fits within the rules. And if you think the Internet isn't full of those people and/or that some of them aren't going to occasionally find their way here, good luck with that. Anton Chigurh's going to be asking us all, "If the rule you followed brought you to this, what good was the rule?"


I disagree with your argument.

This is James Berardinelli's forum, not the moderators'. He has set rules and guidelines on behaviour on these pages and he has installed moderators to oversee the forum and counteract violations of the guidelines. He hasn't installed moderators to make arbirary decisions at their discretion.It goes without saying that some guidelines and rules are open to interpretation and that it is the moderators' job to construe these rules and apply them to specific cases. Yet, their decision must be based on the set rules and guidelines.

My apologies for getting grandiose about it, but you wouldn't accept a social order, which would be based on the rule of judges rather than the rule of law, in real life. Why here?

I'll get more specific: Another poster (who and in what context doesn't matter) once responded to arguments, which I had worded civilly, by writing "Fuck you". There was no reaction by any moderator despite of an infringement of forum rule #1, which actually provides for sanctions in case of a violation:

"Be civil. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. This forum has a zero-tolerance policy on personal attacks toward forum users. A certain amount of criticism of James Berardinelli or other public personalities is allowed as long as it does not become a personal attack. Anyone engaging in personal attacks will be moderated (meaning that a moderator will have to approve each post) or banned from the system."

(To clarify, I don't mean for someone to take retroactive action.) Now consider the hypothetic situation, in which I respond similarly to a moderator's post (i.e. calling Pedro or JamesKunz to "Fuck off") and get banned for it. Wouldn't you call this double standards. Would you be happy about moderators allowing insults, unless they are directed at them or the more respected members of this forum?

Concerning Anton Chigurgh, you know just as well as I do that he would toss a coin irespective of your answer to his question ;-)


Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:00 pm
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Post Re: I banned roastbeef_ajus for seven days
Unke, I'm a loose constructionist. Maybe too loose. From what I've observed, Kunz is, too. I think this is important to keeping the forum the way it is. If we were to step in and enforce every single rule every single time it was broken, most of us would've been banned by now. James B has given us a lot of discretion to mod the way we do and it's worked out pretty well, or: he's never sent me a message saying, "Hey, can you, like, mod better? Because you kind of suck at it." I once explained it to Vexer this way, "Y'all are in control of how you want to be viewed by the rest of us, which can be punishment enough at times." Usually after a period of dickheadery, the offender realizes that courteous, respectful conduct is the way we go about things here.

So no, I never warned him. Maybe my book's outdated and unworthy of legal grounds, but if my response to your transgression is something like "n-n-no NO NO don't fucking NO don't do that come on dude" then you probably don't need a warning.

Furthermore, I didn't think I needed to threaten him to conform to my expectation of him; I thought poor public opinion of his image would encourage him to do that. It didn't seem like roastbeef_ajus was ever going to conform to that, though, and goddamn it if we didn't give him enough chances. I could have banned him permanently months ago, but I put up with his bullshit in hopes of us burgeoning a more diverse online community. If my goal was misguided, I apologize. I really do.

However, I don't think I did anything wrong. You're welcome to disagree with me. Furthermore, you're welcome to say "fuck you" to me as much as you want. I don't think "fuck you" is necessarily a personal attack. Sometimes it's an expression of frustration. Shit, sometimes a "fuck you" is warranted. Context IS important, or it is to me, anyway. I'm sorry I didn't mod that particular example, but I guess there's nothing I can do about it now. No one's perfect.

TL;DR: Do I need to send people messages saying "stop being a dick" before I take further action? Come on, you're all adults here.

Shit, man, I banned him for seven days. Seven. I think that's pretty generous. What happens after that is... I don't know. Maybe I'll ban him for longer. Maybe not. I haven't decided. If I don't, maybe he won't post again on his own accord. He might post obscenities. He might keep his #BAUCEing to a minimum. He'll be moderated with a firmer hand, though, and I don't think that's unfair. He had every opportunity to be respectful and cool, but no. He took advantage of our endless patience without realizing there was, indeed, an end to it.

I think it's a testament to what we've created here that we can cycle through the roastbeef_ajuses of the world and still have the perception that our forum is among the best out there. I'm proud of that.

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Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:06 pm
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