Open thread: Community guidelines

April 8, 2011 at 7:00 am 132 comments

By Adam Bink

This wonderful community has been here for now over a year, but without a clear set of community guidelines, in part because this became a place for what was principally news. It has evolved into a site with news, action and discussion, and about more than Prop 8. And many of us have noticed that as discussions take flight, and spammers/flame war-starters are now abound, the time has come to develop a set of rules for community dialogue.

Recently some arguments in the comments have spiraled into name-calling and unnecessary attacks, which has driven some community members away. I will write more about that later, but this not a healthy or acceptable environment and one that must change by establishing a set of rules and enforcing them. Community guidelines are essential for any community as popular as this to function.

There are three goals in developing these guidelines:

1) Making sure Prop8TrialTracker.com is a place where commenters can interact with each other, even argue, while ensuring mutual respect and that at the end of the day, we are all community members who are welcome.

2) Making sure Prop8TrialTracker is a place to share actions, information, links, and so forth that are of interest and relevance to the LGBT equality movement and most especially to the Perry/Prop 8 case.

3) Establishing a reporting system for suggested violations, and an enforcement mechanism by moderators, including investigating, warning, and if necessary banning.

I will be developing the core set of guidelines, which will include what is and is not allowed, and posting the guidelines and how situations will be handled in a public, permanent link on the site. What is not allowed we can all agree upon: trolls, sock puppets, those advertising for completely off-topic products like nail salon services, etc. What else is not allowed and what is encouraged will be in part up to you — after all, it’s your community.

Since 153 of you just contributed over $12,000 to make sure this community stays functioning and operating, the time has come to work together to make sure this community is one of mutual respect, information-sharing, and of course, a fun place to interact and be what we are best — a community. There are so many things we all like about Prop8TrialTracker, and it can be even better. So let’s get started!

So, now to you: what guidelines do you want to see for Prop8TrialTracker.com, most particularly in the comments? What do you like and what do you want to improve upon?

Entry filed under: Community/Meta.

With adoption campaign, NOM is now officially an anti-gay group BREAKING: NOM’s Louis comes out for civil marriage equality; credits bus tour for change of heart

132 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ed Cortes  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:03 am

    scribin

    Reply
    • 2. JohnfromNL  |  April 9, 2011 at 12:33 am

      sub

      Reply
  • 3. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:05 am

    watching…pondering…

    Reply
    • 4. Sagesse  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:12 am

      Likewise.

      Reply
      • 5. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

        Communing with Landru.

        Reply
  • 6. Southern Bell  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I think you made all the major points. We need to maintain respect even if someone says something that upsets you. Walk away from the screen & come back to it when you have cooled off so to speak. We can all learn from each others experiences, knowledge, ideas so ensuring an environment where we feel free to express these is essential.

    Perhaps if we have information not ‘particularly’ relevant to the post that we would still like to share, we could e-mail said info to the moderator to post, though I for one do not mind sharing that information in the comments though I also do not always check comments & might miss that information.

    Reply
    • 7. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:38 am

      This brings up another point (thanks, Southern Bell). As a moderator I don’t have a big problem with OT (off-topic) posts, although others do. I also don’t have time to post every single item others do in the comments, and I view news/action items posted by the community — from amicus briefs to news about marriage in other states — as excellent.

      However, we can consider a system of what we called “Quick Hits” at OpenLeft, where others can post information not in the comment thread, but on the sidebar of a page. See http://www.openleft.com at the right side for more details and examples.

      Comments welcome on that.

      Reply
    • 8. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      In general I agree. The major problem with that is that different people have different ideas of what constitutes respect and an attack.

      The big sticking points I see from this community, real life, and other communities are:

      People being unable to distinguish between a personal attack and dismantling an idea. “That idea for a windscreen on a submarine is stupid” isn’t the same thing as “You are a stupid person” for instance. Same thing goes for calling out a behavior. “Your word choice is rude” isn’t the same as “You are rude.”

      People are particularly sensitive on a topic and so see any kind of disagreement as an attack and then use that sensitivity as an excuse for bad grace.

      For example, say a person loves chocolate ice cream. They grew up with lots of people who hated chocolate ice cream and would ridicule this person for liking chocolate ice cream. It got the point that any defense or mention of any other flavor of ice cream reads as an attack on chocolate to this person. So, they defensive to the point of rudeness or name-calling whenever ice cream is brought up at all. So, of course, other people respond in kind and it gets out of control.

      The problem here is that other people don’t understand the history there, and very naturally react to the harsh words or tone. On the one hand, the person who has that history needs to take a step back before entering such a conversation if they enter at all. On the other, the responders could ask where the malice comes from and perhaps start a conversation.

      I also think that it would be wise to delete any comments that only serve to inflame or spam. A few comments in the middle of a heated debate that might go over the line are one thing. Comments that consist entirely of “you expletive” or unrelated spam should just go away. they serve only to annoy, hurt and inflame. i know I won’t go through past entries to share anything because some have those ugly comments there and I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. I also just don’t want to read them again.

      Anyway, this is my three or four cents worth.

      Reply
      • 9. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

        OT I guess but I just want to say, thank you Rhie. (Still don’t know how to pronounce that.) Your examples are really good and they give me ideas on how to address this topic with others in my personal life in the future. I must say I like that fact that this site goes so much farther than just debate or random divergent opinions. There is much here in the way of education etc. in the comments alone.

        Anyway… thanks.

        Reply
        • 10. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm

          Sure. I do need to take my own advice a lot of the time. I can think these things now, when I am calm but in the heat of a debate it goes flying out a window, you know?

          Heh glad liked the examples. I was trying to think of a way to make the point without using an example of something people do fight about because that would just cause more drama llamas.

          It’s Rhie to rhyme with “see”. Short for Maria, my given name :)

          Reply
          • 11. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

            Thanks again, and thanks for the pronunciation guidance. We were saying “Rhee” “Ray-a” “Rhee-a” “Ray” etc. Interesting that you put the ‘h’ in there even though it is silent… my dad does that too!

            Thank,
            Fhie ;)

          • 12. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

            Hehe. :) It’s actually from a nickname from a boyfriend back when we were just friends. He said I was a “little fae-rhie” because i am 5’3″, think faeries are neat, and my name is Maria. Since then, a lot of my friends just started calling me Rhie :).

            What’s your Dad’s name, if you don’t mind my asking? My Uncle is Ty, but his given name is Anthony. He went by Tony for years and then that got shortened again to Ty. I also have a deceased great-uncle who went by Biscuit. As his name was Clarence Dewey I didn’t really blame him :).

          • 13. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  April 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

            His dad’s name is Thom — that’s how he prefers his name to be spelled. He comments here sometimes under the nickname Papa Foma.

          • 14. Felyx  |  April 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

            Interesting how names are becoming more personalized. I chose mine as a right of passage thing.

          • 15. Rhie  |  April 10, 2011 at 3:34 pm

            Yea it is, isn’t it? :)

            Ahhh I know Papa Foma around here. :) he’s cool.

  • 16. rf  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Was this posted here yet? From Louis’ new blog.

    My name is Louis J. Marinelli, a conservative-Republican and I now support full civil marriage equality. The constitution calls for nothing less.

    http://louisjmarinelli.com/politics/i-now-support-full-marriage-equality

    Reply
    • 17. Ed  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Damn rf, I was literally just getting to post this LOL.
      If he does indeed now support marriage equality, then lets welcome and congratulate him. If this is a hoax, then I feel deeply sorry are saddened for him.
      Although, I sincerely hope he is being honest, as this will give Maggie and Bryan something to make their heads explode. I can only hope.
      But good call on posting it :)

      Reply
    • 18. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Thanks, I’m posting the news in about 5 mins. Please have comments over on that thread and let’s keep this one to community guidelines from here on in.

      Reply
  • 19. James Tuttle  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:25 am

    OMG HOLY SHEEEIT!!!! I just read this on JoeMyGod.com and I almost spilled coffee in my lap and raced over here to see if anyone had the scoop…i was beaten. Well played rf. =-) What does everyone make of this?

    Reply
    • 20. rf  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:28 am

      I’ve got friends in low places. hehehe. On the internet and in Louis’ family. He just started pushing his brand, launched that website and announced it several times on pm. If this isn’t a hack, then he is clearly distancing himself from Mags and Brian

      Reply
  • 21. James Tuttle  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Thank god. I just posted a comment on his blog and am happy he is on our side. I think gays and lesbians have to give people like this a bit of leeway in the changing of their opinions, and be quick to embrace them and show others that while people may hurt us, extremely so, that there is room for forgiveness. Oh and by the way, I totally live in run on sentence town.

    Reply
  • 22. Alyson  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Good timing on this post. I recently started recieving random emails through threads I was subscribed to at prop8tt (my auto correct tried to turn prop8tt – into prophet – I like that) – anyway, about three times I’ve received either an add or some really nasty gay bash kind of comment. It comes on really old posts so I’m initially confused by the headline – then see it’s a comment from old subscribed thread.

    Anyway for moderators to ID these people so they don’t get to feel anonymous doing that? Should I forward those to anyone? I’m sure other subscribers got the same ones.

    Reply
  • 23. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:05 am

    How about an end to tarring all people of faith with the same brush as NOM? Especially since those who have been attacking people of faith are actually starting to sound like NOM in reverse.

    Reply
    • 24. Sydney  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

      I agree with Richard. And would like to add Republicans to that bunch.

      I’ve been really hurt and embarassed by a lot of the comments that have been made on this site since it began. For a while I just stopped reading because I saw my personal beliefs being trashed by members of a community I had come to looking for acceptance. At the same time, however, it does seem like it would be a bit of a loss to move from a self-moderated system.

      Reply
      • 25. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

        And for those who continue to want to tar all republicans with the same brush, let me remind everyone that the FIRST republican to file his paperwork for a presidential campaign is Fred Karger who is an openly gay, Jewish Republican. Go, Fred! He has already won the NH straw poll, and I am in discussions with folks to help organize his NC campaign.

        Reply
  • 26. Ann S.  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I would hope we could all treat all posters here with respect — people of faith, people of no faith, everyone.

    Even those we disagree with about marriage equality — I wish we could try to engage in civil discourse with even them.

    Maybe it’s too much to hope for in this anonymous world of the internet.

    Reply
    • 27. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

      I think that last sentence brings up the biggest issue of all: People – including myself – forgetting that there are people at the other end of other keyboards. People with feelings, stories, reasons, excuses, beliefs, prejudices, world views that inform how they say things and how they read things others post.

      I tend to forget too much of the time that asking questions tends to be more productive than reacting.

      Reply
  • 28. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:41 am

    sad day for this site, will mean drastic change, in the tone of discourse, enthusiasm, vigorous debate, discourse and open sharing,,,,,

    so much I loved about the site,,,, was that it was self moderated, that was always a feather in our cap,,,,,

    stooping to the level of guidelines, is an indication that this site has changed

    wow, the end of FREE SPEACH on P8TT

    Reply
    • 29. Southern Bell  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

      I sincerely hope some guidelines do not deter people from free speech on this site. I guess I took the guidelines to mean it will be understood that acts like name calling do not help anyone so that comments don’t have to be used to remind people to be respectful and can instead be used for the sharing of ideas and even vigorous debates like you mention.

      Reply
    • 30. adambink  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:34 am

      First, every blog with a reasonable amount of traffic has some level of guidelines. Some are public, some are not. They are meant to help make sure comment threads are not clogged with trolls, spammers, homophobes coming over to call community members “faggots”, and so forth.

      They are also meant to ensure mutual respect and limit personal attacks. Recently there have been attacks that have crossed the line but the ones making them did not know the boundaries. We will now have a set of boundaries. When “self-moderated” does not work, boundaries must be set.

      Second, no one’s saying anything about ending free speech. Which is part of the reason you’re encouraged to suggest guidelines. So, instead of lamenting the destruction of everything, what about suggesting guidelines for commenting?

      Reply
      • 31. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

        Hope this post goes on for a few days and some consensus can be achieved. Brainstorm away everyone! I’m interested learn from all of you. I’m not easily offended so not quite sure what all the fuss is about and why the still-going debate on the “Hispanic Church” thread.

        I tend to side with Bob about free speech but open to learn.

        Reply
      • 32. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

        my post re the site change was exactly that, the lamenting of the end of self moderation,,,,, and it is meant as a stand alone, grieving the loss,,, I think it’s important to take a moment and consider that loss……

        as far as suggestions,,,, I’ll repeat what I’ve always said re the Canadian style,, making a distinction between free speech,, and hate speech,,,,, the first is welcome, the latter is not…..

        Reply
        • 33. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm

          “as far as suggestions,,,, I’ll repeat what I’ve always said re the Canadian style,, making a distinction between free speech,, and hate speech,,,,, the first is welcome, the latter is not…..”

          Which is entirely the point of guidelines. How would you suggest we delineate between speech and hate speech?

          Reply
          • 34. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

            very simple, hate speech does not add anything to the conversation,, it’s sole purpose is to hurt or diminish another

            is it the first amendment that ensures free speech,,,,,, which is so highly valued,?????

            maybe like Louis,(Holy Matrimony vs civil marriage) it’s as simple as making the distinction between free speech and hate speech,,,, and is it possible to curb hate speech while at the same time encouraging freedom of speech.???

            .

          • 35. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

            But what does that look like to you specifically? How do you know someone was saying something with the express intent to cause pain? What about something that could be taken either way? For example, people get offended sometimes when they are told their view is ignorant and shown why. Should they be?

            And the big question: Who’s responsibility is it when someone is offended by something someone else has said? The person offended or the person who said the thing that was taken as offensive? Does it change depending on circumstance and context?

            I am not asking these questions to offend you or necessarily even get an answer to these questions. I am just illustrating that it really is NOT that simple to answer the distinction.

            That’s why the First Amendment is sacred in the US. The Founders and following knew this. All speech is protected until proven that a specific set of words or phrases was not protected for a very good reason. It makes libel hard to prove and people like the Westboro gang impossible to shut up. It also makes revolution possible.

            I am not sure it’s the best way or even the only way. I just understand it and would rather have it this way than otherwise.

            One quick correction while we are on the subject: The First Amendment does not apply to boards such as this. It applies to the inability of the government, government officials etc to restrict the right of individuals or groups to speak on public land or in the privacy of their own homes in person.

            How this applies to the internet is currently under much debate but one thing is clear: Board moderators and owners have a right to declare any standard of speech they want. Most leave is at loose as possible for other reasons, but not because of the legal application of the First Amendment.

          • 36. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            Rhie, tough questions, not an easy thing setting guidlines,,, and just for clarification, I’m opposed to them,,,,

            obviously there is a need felt for their implementation by some on this site,

            and if the moderators wish to proceed with implementation, all of those tricky questions you raised will be at issue

            I’m in disagreement with the notion that free speech makes revolution possible,,,,, many times it’s the absence of those freedoms that force people to respond by revolting..

            holy cow this is a loaded subject, just for clairification I have no personal interest in winning a debate about the hate speech thing, so just take that out of the equation,,,,

            I’ll step back and let people sort it out,,,,, with hopes that it just fades into the background and we all bend our shoulders to the DOMA task…… keeping our eye on the prize,,,,,, and our energy free for more worthy tasks,,,,,,,,,.

          • 37. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm

            Bob

            I am not trying to debate hate speech. Just pointing out that the question is more complicated than it appears.

            I do find it puzzling that you don’t think words spark revolution after what you’ve seen on this site. Revolution doesn’t always mean war or blood or even violence. There’s a revolution going on in the hearts of people in the US precisely because people are speaking up.

            There is a majority of people who support marriage equality because people challenged the speech in the Prop 8 ads with more, better speech. The Wisconsin union support has been spurred by words. The revolutions in Iran were sparked by words in other places. On and on.

            Words have power. It’s why there is no such thing as just the internet, and the sticks and stones rhyme is probably the cruelest, most ignorant advice ever.

          • 38. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm

            Rhie, we witnessed the revolution in hearts and minds, across Canada,, to gain equality here,

            I am glad that you are witnessing it too,,,, most countries who have achieved equality for LGBT’s also have hate speech legislation,,,,, I think the U.S. is unique in that sense…

            So what I meant was when it comes to guidelines, draw them around whatever limits you feel comfortable with, and define the goals and objectives you wish to accomplish if it is necessary,,,,,,, but on with the revolution EQUALITY NOW

          • 39. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm

            Yes, and positive speech had an impact in Canada and elsewhere. What does that have to do with hate speech? I was answering your observation that free speech doesn’t cause revolution.

            I don’t think the US defining hate speech as we do had much if anything to do with the US falling behind the rest of the first world in gay rights. That was the Religious Right – the whole other side of the First Amendment argument, heh.

          • 40. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:56 pm

            what it has to do with hate speech is that other countries were able to have postive speech, that changed hearts and minds while hate speech legislation was in place,,,,, it did not curtail our success at promoting dialog that created change,,,,

            one does not have to protect hate speech in order to have a vigorous debate, to change hearts and minds,,,,,,,

            I think both factors play a part in your struggle for equality,,, protecting hate speech, which provides cover for the religiious right,,,,,,,,

          • 41. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm

            And the point I am making is that you don’t have to curtail hate speech to have positive speech.

            The US also does have hate speech law. It just doesn’t draw the line the same way you do. I also suspect that not all Canadians draw the line the same place you do, or the same place the government does.

            My main point, especially with the questions, was just to get across the idea that drawing that line is not at all a simple matter. Everyone thinks they know where it should be drawn but actually doing it in fact is nearly impossible. Legally, unless you live in a dictatorship, it isn’t possible. No matter what you do, one of two things with happen: Speech that should be spoken can’t be or speech that shouldn’t be spoken can be. Personally, I’d err on the latter side.

      • 42. Peterplumber  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

        But I LIKE being a faggot….

        Reply
  • 43. Kathleen  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Reply
  • 44. DaveP  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I try to apply a few personal guidelines for my own behavior here at P8TT. I think the most relevant to this discussion is the concept of ‘restraint of pen and tongue’. Before posting something, I pause and ask myself, for example, would I be uncomfortable saying that to someone face to face and then spending the next six hours in a car with them on a long-distance drive? If so, maybe I need to either reword it before posting to avoid being a jerk, or drop it and move on without posting. It’s just what works for me, I offer it as a suggestion.

    Reply
    • 45. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      And a good suggestion.

      I do much the same. There have been more than a few times I’ve been in the middle of composing a comment where I stop and just say “Nah…” and cancel it :)

      I’m kind of like Gregory above – It takes a bit for me to start feeling attacked or insulted – I have a somewhat thicker skin I guess.

      One of the issues though is that it is sometimes very easy to insult someone without intending too.

      I can think of a few threads where I said something, and it was completely misinterpreted. I think the general restraint we’ve had here has worked pretty well.

      The “Hispanic thread” was the exception and not the norm. That’s actually pretty impressive considering the open commenting capability and the number of people who participate.

      I do ignore comments that seem insulting, or expound upon concepts I do not believe in nor care about.

      Sometimes I just can’t resist jumping in :)

      So I have no real specific suggestions other than what we know are the obvious ones. No name calling, threats, or generally what you would not say to someone were they standing in front of you.

      And if a particular commenter has views that you generally disagree with or that piss you off, IGNORE them.

      Reply
    • 46. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

      LOL! thanks for that! You made my day Kathleen! I don’t seem to be very sensitive so I’ve been puzzling over the recent “uproar” …since I don’t usually get hurt by words, how do I gauge if my comments might offend?

      @ would I be uncomfortable saying that to someone face to face and then spending the next six hours in a car with them on a long-distance drive

      Reply
      • 47. Kathleen  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:47 am

        That was DaveP. Me: If I’m that angry with them, I’d cancel the trip or find another way to get there.

        Reply
        • 48. Kate  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

          Amen. Why give them the opportunity to corner and attack you without an escape route?

          Reply
          • 49. Kate  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:55 am

            Besides, witnesses are always good.

      • 50. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 10:22 am

        Tx Dave, Kathleen and Kate : D

        Reply
  • 51. Ronnie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Subscribing & sharing a few videos….

    Chef Mario Batali is a New Yorker who support Marriage Equality…..<3…Ronnie:

    Reply
    • 52. Ronnie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:30 am

      & Chef David Chang is a New Yorker who supports Marriage Equality…..<3….Ronnie:

      Reply
      • 53. Ronnie  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

        “Top Chef ” host, Tom Colicchio, is a New Yorker who supports Marriage Equality as well…..<3…Ronnie:

        Reply
  • 54. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I was hoping the fifty state approach to ending DOMA would bring a new focus , take us to task, and renergize us,,,,

    what’s happened to that??? is there any work that can be done there to get us out of this pit ????

    a hefty project creates it’s own guidelines,,,,,,,,,,,

    Reply
    • 55. adambink  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:36 am

      The field team has reached out to the first wave of states. Did you sign up?

      Reply
  • 56. Shannon  |  April 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I’d like a way for people to subscribe to comments without having to leave dummy messages. Nothing personal to anyone, these just annoy the heck out of me!

    Reply
    • 57. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      Hey, I would love that as well. If I could, I would auto-subscribe to all comments, like I already do to all ‘top level’ posts.

      But I think Adam is looking for guidelines.

      I suspect *many* of us would like a better commenting system:

      – forum like, with no nesting limits

      – registration, therefore allowing people to edit/correct or delete their posts, and making it harder for someone to impersonate someone else.

      – ability to embed a pic or other media

      – ability for registered users to start their own threads.

      – ability to subscribe to all posts/threads via email

      etc. etc. etc.

      Reply
      • 58. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:04 am

        AND LIKE / DISAGREE (thumbs up/thumbs down) buttons

        Reply
      • 59. adambink  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:38 am

        All of these are helpful. Some are possible, some are not, but thanks for making them. We are transitioning to a different platform that will make many things better for the front page/blogging end (like embedding videos I can’t embed right now) and I’m looking into the commenter end as well.

        Reply
        • 60. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 10:26 am

          sweet!

          Reply
  • 61. StraightGrandmother  |  April 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    This is the first time I have looked at P8TT since the one year anniversary. I only feel safe now commenting because Louis Marinelli has had a change of heart, today. It is a complete coincidence that the same exact date I read about Louis and feel safe to come here (and I came only to look back at the topics on the summer Tour starting with Atlanta and working backwords) , that I see this topic. In responding to the topic I would offer the following:

    It is NEVER okay to “forcibly out” anybody who posts here.
    If that attempt is made the owners of this website should delete those posts, right away. Not everyone lives in a State that provides work protections from being fired simply because you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender. The owners of this website, and members need to be sensitive to this fact.

    There should be a way to complain if you feel the conversation has moved from debate on the issues into personal attacks, especially stalking attacks. People do not come here to read that kind of trash talking. It debases the website and will insure that no new visitors will likely bother posting or come back when reading those types of comments. It is not what people conme here for.

    I never EVER would have posted again, except for the fact that Louis Marinelli has had a change of heart.

    You are doing the right thing Adam, Eden, Rick, Arisha & Team. This is one place people should feel “safe.” If comments are putting people in an “unsafe” condition, and they communicate that to you, you should address that.

    Reply
    • 62. Ed Cortes  |  April 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm

      I, for one, have missed you! Welcome back.

      Reply
    • 63. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      cheers to you Straightgrandmother, good to hear from you, I well remember the threats that where made to out you and your business,,,,,,, in order to stop you from posting,,,,,,

      Reply
      • 64. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

        Oh please bob. Re-read the ancient threads. Nobody threatened anything.

        Reply
    • 65. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      I am curious what you would consider safe. I think that’s pat of the issue on any board. Words like “safe” “respect” “hate speech” all mean different things to different people.

      For me, I don’t feel safe in a place where I feel pressured to do something like donate money or talk to people or tell people I’m bisexual when I feel that I can’t. A general appeal for outing or money or whatever is one thing. A “you personally must do it because that’s what a good ally does” is quite another.

      I also don’t feel comfortable with old drama being dragged back up in public. Or for that matter, personal drama between members drawn out on the boards. I think moderators should maybe suggest that such things be taken to personal messages or e-mail.

      I also wonder if it would be a good idea to have personal moderators elected or appointed from within the boards. Someone or several someones that everyone or close to everyone respects to help send people to separate corners to cool off, helps with personal friction, etc.

      Reply
      • 66. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm

        great points Rhie, how do define “safe”,,,, I often felt the opposite when posting personal thoughts and ideas, and opening myself up,,,, I actually took comfort in knowing that I could take risks here, say provocative things, ask questions,

        if we went back to the early days of this site, there was a lot of angry discourse,,,,, somehow we used to help each other, many many times people came to my assistance and called me out, and cooled off debates,,, I thanked Mark I don’t know how many times,

        the type of learning sharing that has taken place here over the past took great courage, and risk, much of that came from having the guts to venture into unsafe territory, and confront uncomfortable topics,,,

        many people gave of themselves without reservation, even trolls who came on, in the early days I remember Melissa, who was very caustic, but very real,,, she said what she really thought and felt, and I think that was important,,,,

        we won’t get where we’re going if we worry too much about safety,,,,, we need to continue taking risks,,,,,,

        Reply
      • 67. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm

        I also don’t feel comfortable with old drama being dragged back up in public.

        This, +1000.

        Please.

        Reply
    • 68. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

      Ma Chère Grandmere!

      Thank you for coming back! I hope you will stay and keep us company from time to time.

      Love,
      Felyx

      Reply
      • 69. StraightGrandmother  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        Bisous mes amies, bisous! How is my favorite spy Krill? You just know I had to write “Krill” ha-ha.

        Reply
        • 70. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm

          Hold your breath Grandma! (That’s all I am saying but you can email me for more.)

          Reply
    • 71. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:08 am

      Hi SG! : D

      Reply
  • 72. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Goodbye! It has been nice, but I can no longer be a regular member of this post until the attacks on our people of faith have ended, and those people of faith are allowed to point out inaccurate information being posted about their faith. Those who have my email address and other forms of communication know how to get in touch with me, and are invited to do so.

    Reply
    • 73. anonymous sockpuppet  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      First I will admit I am sockpuppetting just like it says not to. I suppose I should be unapologetic and not defend it but I will. I want to speak freely on this and this is the way I am going to do it because I am a regular poster and don’t want to be thought of poorly when I actually like all of you and Richard.

      Richard please stop. Even if there are others who really are attacking you still please stop. This is the internet. There are no pickforks and no house burnings online like what happened to the Fayetteville couple, your hometown. Please stop and find some forgiveness. What little I know of Judeism I know there is forgiveness. Please continue to tell your story and explain your religious views and please learn the art of ignoring other peoples crap. If you leave then it is on you. I am hurt by others devisiveness and I am hurt by yours to. (Fess up it is true.) I want you to stay but if you go then goodriddence to someone who wants to be a problem and not a solution. (Please stay though and just be part of the solution.)

      Sorry for the sockpuppeting but Richard is important to me and I want him to stay on friendly terms so this is how I am doing it. (If it is really bad that I do this then I will accept being moderated out.)

      Reply
      • 74. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

        I understand what you are trying to do, but I think this is the wrong way to go about it. Here’s why:

        In almost every instance where someone feels attacked or feels the need to attack there is a reason for it. Absolutely nothing is gained by telling people to stop. They’ll hear it as you saying they should stop feeling what they feel, and no one likes that.

        What does get some really surprising results is asking questions and honestly listening to the answers: Why? What did Richard read that bothered him so much? How come he feels that no one is listening or paying attention?

        Pick out specific things in his post to respond to. He said that people of faith should be allowed to respond to misinformation. When did he feel that happened?

        And, when someone attacks do the same thing. What happened that made them feel this way about people of faith? What do they mean by ignorant or uninformed? What was said specifically that got them upset?

        There is no such thing as “just” the internet or “just” words. Words hurt. Words can also heal. And yes, I know I need to take my own advice. It is difficult. It is also so, so worth it.

        And Richard, I am honestly interested in the answers to these questions. If you want to e-mail or talk on Facebook that would be awesome. If you don’t want to I also understand.

        Reply
        • 75. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

          I have often wondered what made the militant atheists who attacked me do bitter against all religions so that they attack all of our people of faith and refuse to let them explain things that have been mistranslated, misquoted, taken out of context, redacted, and so forth down through the millennia. As for the final straw with me, it was when I tried to explain that what was mistranslated as “Slavery” was actually indentured servitude, and was attacked and accused of sugarcoating things, as well as having my religious beliefs and practices compared to the Romans, who were one of our oppressors, and then finally being accused of changing my core beliefs the way people change underwear. All of these let me know that these people were intractable in their thought patterns and will attack me for anything I post here, even when they are not originally the ones being addressed. It actually got to where I thought I was dealing with a group of NOM’s planted people. And that is why I am going into lurker mode. After I finish with this post, I will watch the threads, but I will not subscribe for now, and I will rarely comment. But I really felt as if I had to further explain the basis for my decisions, even if there are some who think that my decision is part of the problem. That is their opinion, but I know what I need to do in order to preserve my sanity, my emotional well-being, and my ability to continue being an activist for the cause of full equality.

          Reply
          • 76. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm

            Ah I see. I am totally with you on your reasons for backing away for now. I have to do that sometimes too.

            Thanks for explaining. I do appreciate that. It is more than just curiosity. I hope the questions didn’t come across as defensive or anything. I do want to know.

            I think I missed that thing about slavery vs indentured servitude but I can guess. Just because you pointed out that slavery meant something different in the OT and even NT to what it meant in, say, the American south doesn’t mean you approve of either. It’s just an example of translation telephone getting meanings garbled. Like how homosexual wasn’t the translation til the 40s.

          • 77. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

            Richard,

            I don’t recall addressing you directy in this traumatic event, but I can sense that you are deeply affected and you are trying to get some sense of a perspective… keep in mind that here, there are people here who are “OF A FAITH” and are “OF THEIR OWN FAITH”.

            You cannot have a monopoly on “faith’.

            Both sides have their sensitivities that can be triggered into something unbecoming.

            I hope the opportunity of this thread from Adam can help everyone’s need for healing.

      • 78. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

        Actually, I never said that I did not contribute to the divisiveness. However, I am feeling that I am no longer allowed to point out inaccuracies without being accused of sugarcoating or worse. And when I am attacked for trying to straighten out those inaccuracies, and am expected to just let them slide, that is unacceptable to me. The main reason I am taking a break is so that I can become part of the solution, rather than be part of the problem. And anyone who cannot accept that as my particular method of becoming part of the solution, well that is on you. I am doing what I feel I need to do in order to maintain my own emotional stability and remain on good terms with those I have come to consider friends. Anyone who chooses to see that as being part of the problem, well maybe that is part of the problem itself. And especially when someone accuses me of changing my core beliefs like some people change underwear, that is VERY hard to ignore because it shows just how militant this person is about not learning anything about any system that does not align with his. And I refuse to walk in lockstep with someone who wants to browbeat me into submission. No, I don’t think it is you, Anonymous Sockpuppet, and in the interest of not stirring it any deeper, I will not name the individual who continues to attack me. I will just go into lurker mode temporarily until things become a bit more stable and the nerves of the few militants who oppose any form of faith system have calmed down and they are no longer in attack mode.

        Reply
        • 79. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm

          Richard, you should always feel free to say what you think.

          But you should not be surprised if someone who feels just as strongly and disagrees with you does the same thing.

          But, when a thread has finally entered “Godwin’s Law”(*) territory, it’s time to move on to a different thread, because all it’s become is a flamewar.

          * Godwin’s Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

          Reply
          • 80. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

            The point is that when someone accuses me of sugarcoating when I point out inaccuracies that is telling me that I am not allow to say anything about my beliefs and education about them at all. It is telling me that my faith system and my core beliefs are unacceptable and unwanted. And that is what Steve and lone ranger have done.

          • 81. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

            The point is that when someone accuses me of sugarcoating when I point out inaccuracies that is telling me that I am not allow to say anything about my beliefs and education about them at all. It is telling me that my faith system and my core beliefs are unacceptable and unwanted. And that is what Steve and lone ranger have done.

            Well, at least from my view, it’s them saying they simply do not agree with you and never will. You do not agree with them, and never will. You cannot prove them wrong, and they cannot prove you wrong.

            It is not a threat to you. As I think Ann or Rhie pointed out above:

            When it becomes clear during a discussion or argument that you cannot win them over, and they will not win you over, it’s just time to stop and move on.

            Please forgive that horrible run-on sentence.

          • 82. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

            Actually JonT I think you are missing the core point and conflating several ideas at the same time. Let me see if I can untangle it.

            Richard is saying that he feels like he was getting attacked because he was pointing out that Scriptural interpretation has been convoluted at best in the history of Judaism and Christianity. This is a factual disagreement, first of all, so there can be a right and wrong side. As it happens Richard is right.

            There is also such a thing as a wrong opinion. Usually this is because a person has facts wrong – like you have believe that homosexuality is wrong and slavery is right to believe in the truth of the Bible. That’s factually inaccurate. So, the opinion that follows from that premise is naturally wrong as well.

            Whether it is wise or useful to keep arguing with people who simply won’t accept that they have it wrong is a completely different discussion. The answer usually is no. The other two options are ask questions and figure out why they hold onto factually disprovable ideas or just simply walk away.

            Also, Godwin’s is an inappropriate comparison to Hitler or the Third Reich or, more broadly, one’s enemy. Saying that Obama is Hitler because large crowds cheer him is Godwin’s. Pointing out the similarity between a person or a groups arguments to one’s enemies is not necessarily Godwin if the person can make a good case for it.

          • 83. Kathleen  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

            Actually, Godwin’s Law says nothing about the reference or comparison’s appropriateness. It only states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” That is, given enough time, every discussion is likely to arrive there.

          • 84. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm

            Kathleen —

            Heh you’re right. I just usually see it called because someone has made a hyperbolic reference to Hitler. And Godwin was positing this because he didn’t want Hitler comparisons over used. I just took that to mean that It’s not a problem to compare if you can make a case for it, just don’t over use it. But that’s just me :)

          • 85. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm

            That’s something I enjoy about this site… learning things… i hadn’t heard of this theory! It definitely has some applicablitiy to our online discussions. (IMO, amazingly so)

          • 86. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            I can’t recall any discussion here ever evolving to this, until very recently. Very explicity. Amazingly explicitly.

          • 87. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm

            @Rhie: ‘Actually JonT I think you are missing the core point and conflating several ideas at the same time. Let me see if I can untangle it.

            Actually, I do not believe I am :) If you want to discuss it offline, feel free to email me at catissad@gmail.com .

          • 88. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm

            Yea I shouldn’t have started what I said off like that. It’s condescending and I apologize.

            The rest of what I said is what I think about all this we’re talking about here.

            I think we agree on the main point — that sometimes it is best to walk away whether you are right or they are right or not. Because, sometimes it just doesn’t matter if you’ve got absolute proof on your side if the other person won’t listen – and vice versa of course.

            My Facebook is linked behind my name. You are welcome to ping me there about this or anything else. Heck, even to send lolcats :)

          • 89. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm

            My Facebook is linked behind my name. You are welcome to ping me there about this or anything else. Heck, even to send lolcats :)

            Alas, I do not have a facebook account, which means I cannot access most of the P8TTrs facebook accounts who link them here :(

            But that’s ok – you know where to reach me if you want.

            As for lolcats … The Daily Squee is one of my ‘regular’ blog checks: http://squee.icanhascheezburger.com/

            :)

          • 90. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm

            Oh I love that site! :) Heck, I love all the Cheesburger sites.

    • 91. Chris in Lathrop  |  April 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Richard, I’ve been thinking a lot over the last 24-ish hours since I saw your post, trying to find the words to express how I feel. I hope you reconsider leaving your prominent role here, but I understand your reasons.

      I have looked up to you from almost your very first post, and it would be a shame to lose you. You, along with others here, go to show that not all people of religious faith are cast in the same mold and give me hope that the vocal minority within the various churches, synagogues, mosques, and other temples are not actually winning in the end. You are a strong voice for reason a lot of the time, I love your passion and your humor, and I am saddened that you feel you must stand back.

      I also hope I have not offended you with any of my posts, and I am sorry if I have.

      Reply
  • 92. Elizabeth Oakes  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    An ignore function would probably solve most these problems. Moderation is a lot of work, a full-time job on an active site like this; Ignore puts the responsibility on the user and allows each person to moderate and eliminate whatever persons or forms of speech they feel are offensive.

    Also, could you throw in an Edit button, just for laughs?

    Reply
    • 93. Felyx  |  April 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      An ignore function would be awesome! (That way I could ignore my own comments all the time! LOL!)

      Humor everyone… I take it all seriously and I also see the humor in it.

      Reply
      • 94. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm

        :)

        Another push for a ‘forum’ like architecture :)

        Reply
  • 95. Ann S.  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I think that at times we all need to remember that no matter how vigorously we disagree with someone, after a certain amount of discussion there is nothing substantive that remains to be said. If neither person will back away then it tends to quickly devolve into personal attacks.

    I would remind everyone that it is NOT required that you respond to every comment someone may address to you. At some point, especially if you’ve already made the substantive points that you feel need to be made, the best course is to take a time out from the discussion or walk away entirely.

    Reply
    • 96. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm

      Seconded! I had to learn this the hard way. I hope someone can learn it the easy way :)

      Reply
      • 97. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        Thirded.

        Reply
        • 98. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:40 am

          4th!
          @ it is NOT required that you respond to every comment someone may address to you.

          Reply
  • 99. Bob  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    I agree with Elizabeth , moderation is a lot of work,,,

    personallly the ignore button is available to all of us at any time, however it takes real work and personal commitment,,,, it means just not looking at this site for a while, try it, really , I found it very hard and have personally monitored myself at least two times know,,,,, I have been able to go up to two weeks at a time,,,, and I know many people are happy about that,,,

    really P8TT lives and thrives in my absence,,,

    there is no need for drama, storming off, telling people you;re leaving,,,, just stop and check in later,,,,,

    Reply
  • 100. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I posted this on an old thread before I found this topic.

    I slightly “self moderated” it after reading this topic, given the appeal by P8TT.

    I offer it, here again, only as some insight into what has gone down.

    In this topic, Adam has proposed remedy to some the issues I mentioned.

    ==================
    …Except for the subscibers, we’re in a somewhat sheltered area here… not everyone follows old threads. I won’t resume or cause to start a new religious conflict here. I’m not sorry for anything I’ve posted, but it’s been a learning experience.

    If I follow the flow, I could now say that “I am offended by being called “faithless”.

    I have LOTS of faith…. in MYSELF!

    I have FAITH in myself that I have the ability to use the education and knowledge and experience that I have accumulated as a 50+ year old human being on this planet.

    Using my education and knowledge and experience I have FAITH in my decision that a belief in a diety which has never been proven to be real is not a path that is logical for me.

    I was raised Catholic, I was an altar boy, the nuns loved me as a student in catholic school. I now have no desire to ever set foot in any church ever again.

    Any religion that claims to know how their diety views human beings makes no sense to me.

    To put a human perspective on a deity that is not human does not makes sense to me.

    To live a life based on an unproven belief makes no sense to me.

    I feel no comfort in being associated with theisms that have an abhorent history.

    So, should I ask for an apology for being called “faithless”?

    We actually have people here who are “OF A FAITH” and are “OF THEIR OWN FAITH”. Big difference!

    I could declare, based on wgat others have posted, that I am not a “faithless animal wandering this earth” AND I have never suggested that anyone stop following their beliefs.

    Do all theists take the opinion of an atheist as a threat?

    Am I to hide and cower with my own views of religion so that I don’t “offend” and “threaten” others?

    Who is really responsible for the feelings of offense and threat. It may not be obvious!

    In Catholic school, we had a category on our report cards designated as “Accepts Correction”. Nothing in the observations that I have expressed made any suggestion that one should make corrections or change. I challenge anyone to find one.

    Saying that I feel something is rediculous is me being honest and assuming that a person (at least) has the ability to accept “constructive criticism” and take it or LEAVE it. There is no need for a hostile response. Knowing ‘whys’ of the custom in question will not affect my view. If a person’s FAITH is as secure as they claim, it should not be an issue.

    If you look at the recent Post Topic:

    “Keeping our community healthy, vibrant and accountable”

    In the examples given, I could not find one forum where people got as personal with each other as they do here.

    This personal level may be a good thing, maybe not.

    Is it possible for such diverse personalities to maintain a consistent ability to hold back defensive personality traits for the benefit the community?

    Reply
    • 101. StraightGrandmother  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Ray, I was not here for the religion discussion you and Richard are talking about so I can’t comment specifically.

      You wrote, “Is it possible for such diverse personalities to maintain a consistent ability to hold back defensive personality traits for the benefit the community?”

      I think some people can, but not everybody, or even most people. I think most people can do it, most of the time. but not all of the time.

      Reply
      • 102. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm

        Blast from the past!

        Hello out there in cyber space.

        I hope you got my main point…

        We actually have people here who are “OF A FAITH” and are “OF THEIR OWN FAITH”.

        Each side has their own sensitiivities of worth.

        (but here we go again… making a personal connection in front of everyone… part of the predicament here)

        Reply
  • 103. StraightGrandmother  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    On further reflection perhaps we just need a few buttons. My suggestions are
    Thumbs Up,
    Thumbs down,
    JPS (Just Plain Stupid)
    LMAO

    Reply
  • 104. Ronnie  |  April 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    New video roadmap from Freedom to Marry….<3…Ronnie:

    Reply
  • 105. StraightGrandmother  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Another suggestion is if there was some way to e-mail a person, that way you could address your concerns with them off line instead of having to do it publically. YouTube has that, you can send a message through YouTube. But not here, you either have to remain silent or put it out there publically. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could read a comment that said, “Let’s take this off line I have sent you a private message.” This gets to Ann S’s point.
    If the person stil wants to go round and round with you when no new points are being made, you can let them know on the forum that you have private messaged them and continue off the board.

    Reply
    • 106. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      Well, a forum-like architecture would allow that capability.

      As it is now, someone either has to post their email or make it available on a page that can be reached by following their ‘linked’ name if they have one.

      Reply
    • 107. adambink  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

      Actually, you could very well take the discussion offline. Have an e-mail account for that purpose and tell the participant what it is. There are other ways, as well.

      The suggestion is good because too often religious discussions go far off-topic and damage community dialogue.

      Reply
  • 108. the lone ranger  |  April 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Adam, I’d like to see this website focus just on bringing the community news on P8, DOMA, DADT, and ENDA, specifically news on trial developments and congressional action. That’s how it started out. Off-topic posts are fine, but off-topic threads should be avoided. There are other sites that cover general gay news and NOM-tracking (as is evidenced by the frequent disclaimer “cross-posted at…”). Once this site lost focus and started delving into incendiary topics, drawing connections between religion and politics with pro- and anti-gay rights groups (particularly explicit in threads over the last few days), it brought out the deep passions on all sides. What was remarkable was that exchange of obscenities was so limited.

    Rather than censor comments here (because it’s unlikely to be done in an unbiased way, and one person’s innocuous opinion is another person’s call to war), it might be preferable to more carefully select the topics of the threads to better reflect the original intent of this site: P8, DOMA, DADT, ENDA and comparable state-level news. If there’s nothing new to report, there’s no harm in not updating the site for a few days or weeks. In contrast, threading controversial topics and then hoping everyone plays nice has obviously proven to not work.

    Reply
    • 109. the lone ranger  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      In reading the above posts, I notice that a few posters continue to insist on wanting to proselytize. That’s what should not be allowed on this website, and it’s that debate that seems to have necessitated P8TT starting this guideline thread.

      When one says, “You’re misinterpreting my faith… let me explain it to you”, or “…let me correct your misunderstanding of my beliefs”, that’s proselytizing. Of course, it’s much more subtle than being accosted on the street, but to those who don’t want to hear it, it’s really no different.

      So why do I consider it proselytizing? Because even two people of the same faith aren’t going to necessarily agree on every interpretation of some religious text… I doubt anyone here would disagree with that premise. So how is person A’s interpretation of some passage any more or less correct than person B’s? Who’s right? It’s not clear. So, ultimately, that seemingly thoughtful (although patronizing) “let me point out your inaccuracies about my faith” is really “let me point out your inaccuracies about MY INTERPRETATION of my faith”. I’m sorry, but that is ABSOLUTELY not appropriate for this website!

      If all religious scholars agreed on some particular interpretation of some text, then maybe such a sentiment on “pointing out inaccuracies” would be less offensive and could indeed be considered educational. But the reality of it is that it comes across as “you’re wrong because you don’t interpret these passages the same way I do”. Excuses about “wrong translations” and such are thus immaterial; undoubtedly there are people of your same faith, even scholars perhaps, that will not agree with your interpretations. And you are no more correct than they are.

      OK, I don’t really want to belabor this or drag this debate onto this thread. But amidst all the generally amicable statements from a host of posters on this site, from both sides of the debate, one poster continues to feel the need to use inflammatory terms like “militant” under the guise of defending the faith. And while I’m sure no one here agrees with me, and I’m not apologetic about it, but I’d personally not be unhappy if he indeed kept his word and stopped posting on this site.

      Really, I just want to see the proselytizing on this website stop. That should be one of the guidelines.

      Reply
      • 110. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm

        And while I’m sure no one here agrees with me, …

        I wouldn’t make that assumption.

        I just do not see any point in continuing to stir the pot.

        The soup is done, let’s eat!

        Reply
      • 111. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:00 pm

        It sounds like you have a personal issue with a specific poster. I think the better answer is to take it up with that poster and not in public.

        Even assuming your definition of proselytize is correct, you’re missing a key point: You ask for the response. A person on the street just minding their own business doesn’t ask for someone to step in front of them with a tract. However, a person who walks up to that person holding tracts and says something – anything – to that person about their faith IS asking for the response.

        To put it simply, If you don’t want to hear about people talking about their faith, don’t engage them on it. In a public forum, you are engaging anyone and everyone when you post publicly. Even saying something innocuous about faith invites a response from someone.

        What are you actually asking for is the ability to say what you like about faith and people of faith and not have to deal with the response. It’s the equivalent of accosting someone on the street and then crying foul when they pull your hands off of them.

        Reply
        • 112. Ann S.  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm

          Rhie and JonT, I agree. I for one do not need that pot stirred any further.

          Don’t make me stop this car!

          Reply
        • 113. the lone ranger  |  April 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

          Well Rhie, I don’t think we agree on this (although let me say that your idea on a hard-hitting marriage equality video was brilliant, so we can certainly agree on some things).

          This is a public forum, but we’re something of a captive audience. So I see this problem more akin to a street preacher standing in front of the only open benches in the park. You either sit there and listen, or you don’t get to sit out and enjoy the park. I don’t think that’s fair. I enjoy this website for topics related to marriage equality and other gay rights issues… this is P8TT, after all.

          I suppose the suggestion of an “ignore” button that someone made earlier is appropriate. I also like the idea that someone suggested earlier of “like” and “dislike” buttons. If someone’s post gets a disproportionate number of one or the other, it might send a message to them about the appropriateness of their post. Of course, even a lot of dislikes is no guarantee it would prevent future similar ones.

          I’m wary of the idea of encouraging even drawn-out disagreements to take place outside of the sunshine of public scrutiny… public scrutiny discourages the most truly offensive statements (although obviously not all). I can understand that most visitors might not be interested in reading those mini-threads, but as you say, those posts can just be passed over.

          Reply
          • 114. Rhie  |  April 9, 2011 at 12:07 am

            I am just going to agree to disagree with you on the matter of religion and leave it at that :)

            I also want to apologize for my earlier (days ago now) rudeness. I forgot what I try to always remember: there is another person on the other end of the keyboard who has reasons and feelings that are just as valid as mine. My behavior was wrong, and I am sorry.

            I do see your point about the fights happening in public as much as possible. Sunlight being the best disinfectant, etc.

            I do think there is a line where it stops being useful and just makes people uncomfortable more than is necessary. I’ve found that sometimes a person who is just impossible to talk to in a forum is more amiable in an e-mail. Obviously – and i do mean this sincerely – it’s up to you and the person you were disagreeing with to figure that out. :)

            Thanks for encouragement about being tougher in ads. We do have to stop being so…nice.

      • 115. JohnfromNL  |  April 9, 2011 at 2:13 am

        Very well said, thank you.

        Reply
    • 116. the lone ranger  |  April 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      let me add, though, more light-heartedly, that when I’m accosted on the street by two cute young Mormon boys, I’ll generally stick around to hear their spiel. But it’s purely the messenger, not the message.

      Reply
    • 117. Richard A. Jernigan  |  April 9, 2011 at 4:18 am

      And Lone Ranger, there is a difference between proseletyzing and pointing out inaccuracies. The fact that you considering the latter to be the first proves that you are nothing more than an inconsiderate, intransigent militant who has to be correct no matter who wrong you are. You are the one who has tried to proseletyze on here, and you are still trying to act very much like NOM in refusing to allow anyone other than yourself to have any divergence in viewpoint. You are a very large part of why this post is on here, but you want to blame those who are trying to correct incorrect assumptions directed at those of us who believe in a higher divine. You are so pathetic in your hatred of anything that is not atheistic.

      Reply
      • 118. the lone ranger  |  April 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

        And in addition to being a proselytizing militant fundamentalist, you’re also a liar because you said you were leaving and here you are, still posting the same hateful garbage.

        Reply
        • 119. Sagesse  |  April 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

          Enough.

          Reply
          • 120. Ann S.  |  April 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

            What Sagesse said.

            If you (lone ranger and Richard, both of you) were my kids, and thank goodness you’re not, I’d send you both to your rooms until you figured out how to behave and speak civilly.

            The rest of us are sick of your bickering.

            Shut it already.

          • 121. the lone ranger  |  April 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

            Sagesse, I’m disappointed that you wouldn’t comment “enough” on the prior post, but then would wait for mine to say that. It seems to demonstrate what I’ve increasingly noticed, that some people here get a free pass to say whatever they want, no matter how hateful and personally-directed (read Dick’s text again if you missed it), while other posters get immediately chastised. You might have missed that Rhie and I, who clearly don’t agree on this topic, had a civil conversation about it. Then this particular militant fundamentalist troll who said “good-bye” yesterday had to come back and start again, threatening to turn this thread into another “Catholics and pro-homosexuals” (where he fought with other posters) or “Hispanic Church” (where he fought with me and other posters) battle-zone. He even had the audacity to spout the same offensive garbage on this thread (a thread about good behavior!) earlier yesterday, eliciting much misplaced sympathy from other posters here. Nonetheless, I held my tongue until late in the day when I’d finally had enough. I couldn’t believe that post after post, no one else called him out… I was disappointed but perhaps not surprised. If one belongs to the in-clique here, one can pretty much post with impunity.

            Although the theists have lamented that this is an unwelcoming site, it’s obvious they have a major sympathetic advantage here. What’s surprising though is that there aren’t more moderate theists here that would pull back the reins on their own more offensive posters. No one else here even seemed to care about Dick’s offensive Hitler comparison to another poster… not a peep from the crowd; I’m curious what admonishments an atheist would have gotten for a similar comment?

            P8TT desperately needs better moderation, and the “ignore”, “like” and “dislike” buttons seem almost a minimum requirement.

  • 122. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Something to keep in mind…

    We can’t have the incredibly talented folks at P8TT babysitting us.

    1. It’s very expensive.

    2. It takes time away from doing what they do best: engaging the real enemy and keeping us informed.

    We need creative technology to keeps things in check.

    Technology is expensive. There has been a substantial investment in the technical architiecture of this SITE, and as with any softwarem it has it’s limitations.

    The solution may be a combination of available software features, community self control*, and a willingness to suck it up and get on to more worthy discourse.

    * for example, I never engage a troll, no matter how virilent and hateful their spew. Engaging a troll = “more troll”. This has some paralells to how we could have behaved differently in recent events.

    And we are all grown-ups here. If you see someone in a dispute, let them fight their onw battle, if they feel the need to do so. Ganging up FOR someone is a juvenile tactic.

    I’m getting paranoid here… I honestly tried to express everything here without pizzing anyone off.

    Reply
    • 123. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      Eh, you’re juvenile tactic is my simple loyalty :). I do see your point, though. Dogpiling is rarely productive. It’s also really human so I doubt it will stop.

      I do think controls like registration that would allow people to cool off or talk it out in private would be helpful in this regard as well. It would allow people to show loyalty and encouragement without also piling on another person.

      I think those things are out of the control of the P8TT. The long and short of it is WordPress absolutely sucks. I’ve seen several other blogs I follow switch to another free blog set up that has a way better set up.

      Moving house is a pain, and as a reaction to recent events, a total over-reaction. But, in general I think it would serve the community well.

      Reply
      • 124. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

        Loyalty is very admirable. But the potential for further incitement (in aplace like this) may not be worth it.

        … hard to know when hindsight “will be” a 20/20 thing.

        Reply
        • 125. Rhie  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm

          Yup. I agree with you on that point. :)

          Reply
    • 126. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm

      * for example, I never engage a troll, no matter how virilent and hateful their spew. Engaging a troll = “more troll”.

      For me it depends on the troll. I know I’ve annoyed a few people by engaging some of them. My apologies now and for the future :)

      For the trolls who just drop in and say ‘i hate fags’, etc – yeah those I’ll ignore. They are irrelevant and there’s no point in talking to them.

      For others – the ones that come in here speaking in complete sentences and trying to argue from a logical standpoint — I usually will try to engage them, unless someone else beats me to it.

      Trolls like Karen Grube (and her sock puppet ‘Kay’). They usually start with a ‘logical’ argument as to why they are correct, and all of us are wrong.

      I think it is worth debating these kinds of trolls.

      Usually (always) the logical arguments on their side crumble, to be replaced with hand waving and other pointless nonsense. The underlying anger and bigotry on their side finally reveals itself at this point.

      Then I stop, because once that level has been reached there’s no point in going further.

      Erjicito (sp?) is another example. He does not come across as hateful, but as he is simply copying and pasting what others say, and therefore contributing nothing, I ignore him.

      YMMV.

      I’m getting paranoid here… I honestly tried to express everything here without pizzing anyone off.

      I’m not pizzed off! :)

      Reply
      • 127. Ray in MA  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

        Hey JT… Karen Grube was beyond TROLL…I don’t know if there is really an official term for the likes of her.

        Reply
        • 128. JonT  |  April 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm

          hehe.

          Oh, she was not a fan, that’s for sure. But she at least started with complete sentences and tried to propose her argument from a logical perspective.

          Of course her logic was crap and rapidly fell apart – but that was my intent in attempting to engage her.

          Sure enough, by the end it was the same old shit – just hate and bigotry. But we all knew that from the beginning – I (and others) were successful in pulling off her rational-appearing mask and exposing her for what she really was.

          I confess – I enjoy doing that :)

          And again, I apologize to those who are irritated by that.

          Reply
          • 129. Kate  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:29 am

            And at least she could spell, which most of her ilk appear unable to do.

      • 130. Chris in Lathrop  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:23 am

        I won’t beat up on the common, garden-variety trolls–I usually observe the “don’t feed the trolls” signs–but I can’t apologize for beating up on the likes of texas joe, because his rhetoric is actually part of the problem on NOM’s side of the debate. Simple inaccuracies were refuted simply, and he had no comebacks aside from more simple inaccuracies. Not to mention all the lies he spewed. I won’t let out-and-out lies stand unchallenged, here or anywhere.

        And that’s where I’m tending to agree with Bob, lamenting the possibility of losing the self-moderation aspect of P8TT. Most often we are able to avoid a flame war, and it tends to be enlightening when we can stand and refute troll-like posts. I have learned plenty here just from such threads, both in how to do so calmly and what tactics do and do not work.

        Reply
    • 131. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  April 9, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Ray – I like the way you express. straight forward….and I also appreciate your attempts of not “pizzing anyone off. I try to evaluate by intent of the messenger…

      Reply
    • 132. adambink  |  April 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

      This is a very important comment.

      Reply

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