the problem

as an exterior observer, which is what i am nowadays, (and as a result of the fact ben managed to keep things civil between us - cheers) i want to contribute my oppinion on what’s going on lately here.

first off, people dislike people telling them what to do and what not to do. arguably, people interested in philosophy are even less inclined to put up with “bosses”. for sure people on the internet are alot more rebelious than in their normal everyday lives.

moderation becomes then the main issue of administering such a board as ilp. further the problem is compounded by the fact that it, being relatively an old board, it has to accomodate a few generations, and while older handles may drop a post in a blue moon, they still see themselves as high on the alpha pyramid as they were at their peek, and the curent alphas (so to speak) aren’t likely to go digging to find the arguments. thus strife ensues.

ben, confronted with a minor crisis brought on by moderation disputes did the obvious and severely restricted moderation rights of moderators, if i understand correctly the forum leaders concept as it was explained to me.

toqueville said people don’t find opression unbearable, no matter how hard it is. what they find unbearable is the slightest opression left just as soon as any opression at all was removed.

as a result of curtailing moderator’s rights, everyone suddenly is very intolerant of moderation.

the solution, in my eyes, is simple. get rid of it altogether. it serves no real purpose other than annoying the community, and who said YOU MUST HAVE IT ?

let the community ask for it first.

Hey zeno,

In the spirit of openness, here is my take on it.

Agreed. As much as possible we (the staff) try to see ourselves as facilitators. We try to point out politely where people have gone ‘wrong’ and suggest possible changes. Obviously the suggestion turns into a warning for repeat offenders. Every staff member has their own style and we are also susceptible to making mistakes. Certainly the policy is to facilitate and not to ‘boss’.

Yes, this is inevitable I think. It happens on every internet forum perhaps with a different flavour. Our flavour is fueled by intellectualism and philosophical egos because of the nature of the site. I’ve never really found an efficient way of dealing with it. People come and go and the site goes through generations of people. The stance I’ve always taken is that no one person is bigger than the site and that pandering to an individual or a group, just because ‘they were here first’ usually ends in stagnancy. Whether that’s the right way to go is debatable, but that is the way it has done.

It’s impossible to please everyone. Invariably if you ask a group of people what annoys them most about a site, they’ll list 5 things which other people think are the ‘best bits’ about it. The solution for this is to have a site which can accomodate a broad spectrum of tastes, which I think ILP does with the philosophical forums, MB and RH, and also the heavily moderated forum. It’s never going to be perfect, and ultimately some, such as yourself become disaffected. Some of it could be prevented, and some of it is natural evolution.

I wouldn’t see the creation of Forum Leaders as restricting moderators rights. It’s purpose is two-fold. One is to empower committed staff and to give them more responsiblity over a certain part of ILP. It helps with solving disputes within a particular forum and also provides a contact point for individual forum development. The second reason is that up until now, most of the decisions were being made by me. There’d be a discussion in Staff and basically I’d always have to call the shots because there was no-one else really to decide. This way, staff have more responsibility and I don’t have to stick my oar in as much.

I disagree. In the times before the Heavily Moderated Forum, people were crying out for more moderation in the Philosophy section. They said it was being filled with drivel and one-liners. So the HM forum was introduced and drivel was redirected to Mundane Babble. In the past, members have asked for repeat offending posters to be banned. This has happened due to having moderators.

Rules aren’t there to curtail ‘freedom’ they are there to foster it. Without the rules, anything goes and that’s not what ILP is about. OK, you might say that we dont’ have the right balance of rules at the moment but I still believe that rules are necessary in some capacity. If people wanted to talk only about motor racing in Religion would that be ok?

A free for all could possibly work with a very small community. That’s how it was like in the old days of ILP, everything was pretty much allowed because there was only 30 of us anyway. But that is unwieldly in a community of potentially 4000+ and so rules were instated.

As for developing ILP, the staff and I are always open to constructive criticism and ways of ironing out the creases which get in the way of community-spirit and lively philosophical discussion. That’s what this place is for!

Essentially I think ILP is a great resource and is perhaps judged too harshly by some who only see the bad and never see the good.

All the best