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GoldRiver

Why are the Mods here so uptight

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I've been reading this site for quite a while now, but I rarely post. I've noticed that the rules here seem awfully tight. Why is that? What's the fun in a message board if you always have to worry about breaking the rules. I saw a thread about the forum members meeting like they do every now and then, and the mods told them not to post about it there.....where else do you post it? What's up with this place? There's an eery feeling on this board, like you're being watched all the time. Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe I can get a response before I get hauled away to to that palce they take all of the erant posters!

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I teach internet law at a small college.

Copyright seems to be the main concern on this board. The owners of the board can be personally liable for copyright violations unless they police the board to ensure that copyrighted material is removed. And that liability is set by statute at $10,000 per violation. I think that is the main concern.

Most boards don't seem to be concerned about this--even boards run by newspapers--but if I owned a board I certainly would.

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I understand that it may be hard for you to understand why the rules are the way they are. When this site was first started we had no rules. They slowly grew into the rules that you see today, but it was because of trial and error. The rules are there to protect both you and us.

UrbanPlanet.org is part of UrbanPlanet Institute LLC, a company established for the purpose of driving change in communities. Anytime something of substance is created for public consumption, such as this site, someone must be held responsible for it. For nearly two years I took on that risk by running the site under my name. With that risk I took chances as our users were posting copyrighted material. Material that I could be sued for, or at least taken to court for (regardless, this is a MAJOR disconvenience to me, especially since I make no money off of this site). Because of this I decided to put a barrier of protection between me and the site, therefor I formed an LLC to run the site under. The site is supported by mostly advertisements now.

Because of this great liability, we have had to enforce rules that we wish we didn't have to. Certain rules protect advertisers from competition when they have paid to get full attention to their company/organization. For instance, if a realtor decided to pay us to advertise in the Providence section and we allowed free will of realtors to post contact information in that section, where is the benefit to the advertiser? We lose that money which means we lose the ability to serve our users (which I would like to point out do not have to pay a dime to participate).

I just recently moved this site to its very own dedicated server. Go ahead, do a search for dedicated servers and see how much they cost. We want to provide all users with as much benefit as possible at no charge and we simply cannot do that if we do not enforce certain rules to protect the site from liabilities and otherwise.

We currently have nearly 7500 users and well over 1/4 million posts. Our averages are roughly 1500 new posts each day and we gain around 300 new members each month at the current pace. I encourage you to find a website with such stats that is operated under United States laws that do not enforce rules on their users.

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With that risk I took chances as our users were posting copyrighted material. Material that I could be sued for, or at least taken to court for (regardless, this is a MAJOR disconvenience to me, especially since I make no money off of this site). Because of this I decided to put a barrier of protection between me and the site, therefor I formed an LLC to run the site under. The site is supported by mostly advertisements now.

While you obviously have legal counsel and should do what they say, it's legal under fair-use to post a sentence or two of copyrighted material with a link. But, hey, that's just the lawyer in me--gotta get in an argument. :P

Also, US govt. publications are not copyrighted at all, so any census maps or articles are fair game.

But it is amazing that many, many sites, including those run by major newspapers that ought to know better apparently don't police their sites at all for copyright violations.

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While you obviously have legal counsel and should do what they say, it's legal under fair-use to post a sentence or two of copyrighted material with a link. But, hey, that's just the lawyer in me--gotta get in an argument. :P

Also, US govt. publications are not copyrighted at all, so any census maps or articles are fair game.

But it is amazing that many, many sites, including those run by major newspapers that ought to know better apparently don't police their sites at all for copyright violations.

You are correct, and I should have been more specific in my previous post. We do allow a sentence or two which is, like you said, fair use. Government material is obviously fair use and we definately make our rounds in publishing census data, etc. :P

I am speaking directly to those who believe it to be ok to post copyrighted photos and even entire articles that are indeed copyrighted.

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You are correct, and I should have been more specific in my previous post. We do allow a sentence or two which is, like you said, fair use. Government material is obviously fair use and we definately make our rounds in publishing census data, etc. :P

I am speaking directly to those who believe it to be ok to post copyrighted photos and even entire articles that are indeed copyrighted.

Oh, I wasn't really trying to get into criticism. Just had my teacher/lawyer hat on for a moment--looking for some legal angle! :lol:

But you certainly don't want a judge--$50,000 in legal fees later--deciding that yes, Neo, it was fair-use so you win. Better safe than sorry.

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I've been reading this site for quite a while now, but I rarely post. I've noticed that the rules here seem awfully tight. Why is that? What's the fun in a message board if you always have to worry about breaking the rules. I saw a thread about the forum members meeting like they do every now and then, and the mods told them not to post about it there.....where else do you post it? What's up with this place? There's an eery feeling on this board, like you're being watched all the time. Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe I can get a response before I get hauled away to to that palce they take all of the erant posters!

well if you don't like it..............

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well if you don't like it..............

It's a fair question as to why we run this forum as we do. Aside from the issue of keeping ourselves out of the position of getting sued we also don't want to be a news clipping service. Long posts of news articles do little to add to the discussions at UrbanPlanet, and often go without any discussion. Hence our position on not even allowing the link to be posted unless there are a few comments on why the link was pasted into a thread.

Many of us here also remember being on much more poorly operated forums where fights, bashing, and boosterism make up a the majority of the topics. We decided we didn't want that here which is why there is a fairly strict amount of moderation to keep eveyone on topic and make this a place where people can post on urban topics and not be attacked for it. This means that some people that thrive on other forums will not be welcome here because they are unable to follow the rules and show respect from others. Every single rule that you see on the rules link is there because someone made us have to put it there.

Considering UrbanPlanet's continued growth, Neo, the staff, certain others and myself do spend a significant amount of time these days keeping troublemakers off the site and we keep most of this out of the eyes of our good and regular forumers. Just this past week we got rid of a forumer than made more than a dozen posts attacking southerners as being stupid and backward, an admin whose name starts with J from another site made a nasty post here, we are at the moment under fairly regular attack from another underhanded forum that is attempting to get people to leave UP for their site, and we have probably banned and and suspended about a dozen people for breaking rules, bashing people and starting fights. All of this in one week. And this is just what I remember from the Southern part of the forum.

I am very happy for every forumer that does join our site to make a positive contribution and wants to be here for the reasons that we exist. Finally, my hats off to Neo for making this place possible. :yahoo:

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There's another reason for not posting articles in their entirety. Just as UrbanPlanet makes it's money through advertisement, so to do the news sites. Your local paper is losing ad revenue if their articles are reproduced here. Linking to articles drives traffic to the news outlet's site, adding to their ad revenue, and allowing them to continue to offer a free service.

As far as being watched, you are. But for 99% of the people who join and participate here, there is no need for us to moderate them at all. As Admins, monsoon and Neo get the bulk of the emails on moderation issues, I on the other hand can go weeks and weeks without having to put my mod hat on, and I go months at a time without have to suspend or ban anyone.

Most of our members are happy when disruptive members are moderated.

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I can certainly understand the reasons for some tight moderation and I for one appreciate the attention paid to make sure our time here is well spent.

I don't participate often on any of the other forums because of many of the reasons monsoon stated. Times there were often marred by arguments and bashing based on nothing more than to get people upset and defensive. Sometimes it does seem that things are moderated to a degree more than they should, but someone has to make line item call decisions to keep the experiences on target here. So be it.

Those of you who've participated in forums for a long time, as I have, you know this is a good place and much of it because of our moderation.

Thanks guys.

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Moderation on this site isn't perfect. It would probably make things a lot easier if it were though. There are always going to be disagreements between users and moderators but our primary job is keeping those to a minimal. If less than 1% of our users have a suspension/ban then I consider it quite good for a forum as large as this one. Do we make mistakes sometimes? We're all human, I know that. We may not know the whole story but we work very hard at piecing together as much of it as possible so that we can make an educated decision as quick as possible to cause minimal distraction for our other users.

The problem is that many of our users only see a snippet of the problem instead of the entire issue and based on what they see they make their own call in public view. We have a current average of 1500 posts per day and for one or two users to call our moderating team out on a decision that was made isn't the best choice as they may have not read the entire story. Perhaps a piece of it was moved to the trash before they saw it.

I assure you that our entire moderating team here at UrbanPlanet.org is devoted to creating community amongst their city and region. We are all dedicated to doing the best we can at keeping this site healthy and growing while creating a sense of community.

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I've noticed too on other related sites that the bullies, punks and smart-asses rule. Thanks but no thanks. Hello fellow ADULTS! :D

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I think this is a great forum... despite the occasional argument that comes up.

But... I believe the whole reason this thread was posted (please correct me if i'm wrong) was because a new user posted a thread asking for suggestions/ideas for relocating to the Nashville area, and the thread was mistaken (in my opinion) for asking for real estate assistance. It sounded to me that he/she was just wanting a general discussion about the different areas to live in the Nashville area... not actual links to real estate sites, etc. Because of this... I thought I would post a new thread related to the topic (not that it did any good) that was hopefully more appropriate.

The other thing mentioned in the initial post of this thread.. was deleting a thread related to a monthly meeting of forumers. The problem with it was a certain developers name was mentioned in the title (TG). This one, I agree could have been a problem... and was right to be deleted. However, the relocation thread I didn't see the problem with. I guess we are all entitled to our opinion though, and that's part of the reason for a forum like this anyway... plus, as Neo mentioned, we are all human as well.

Having said all that... I do think the moderators overall do a good job.... and want to thank Neo as well for making this all possible :thumbsup:

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I'm a little unclear of the article posting policy, I typically link to stories without putting any part of them in my post. But sometimes, artcles are only temporary, so I post them in their entirety, these are "midday updates" from my local paper, and some articles from TV news stations. I usually link the full article the next day when it comes out, is this OK? (I keep the author's name and newspaper's name in these articles)

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I'm a little unclear of the article posting policy, I typically link to stories without putting any part of them in my post. But sometimes, artcles are only temporary, so I post them in their entirety, these are "midday updates" from my local paper, and some articles from TV news stations. I usually link the full article the next day when it comes out, is this OK? (I keep the author's name and newspaper's name in these articles)

This is probably not ok to do. Regardless if the content is temporary or not on their site, it is still copyrighted by the author and/or newspaper organization and are subject to copyright law.

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Haha, but you can work around it: re-write the article in your own words and cite it. but that can be time-consuming.

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I've been reading this site for quite a while now, but I rarely post. I've noticed that the rules here seem awfully tight. Why is that? What's the fun in a message board if you always have to worry about breaking the rules. I saw a thread about the forum members meeting like they do every now and then, and the mods told them not to post about it there.....where else do you post it? What's up with this place? There's an eery feeling on this board, like you're being watched all the time. Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe I can get a response before I get hauled away to to that palce they take all of the erant posters!

Hmmm. Don't get this feeling at all

Goldriver, I can

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You can certainly post your opinions. You can do it without slandering, name calling, or attacking someone else.

I find the moderation here to be a little strict sometimes. I see people that have made great posts and contributions to the forum int he past with the little "banned" up by their name.. and it disappoints me.

But I trust that there was a good reason.

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But I trust that there was a good reason.

Our trash section at the moment has 8409 posts in it. (these don't add to our post count BTW) Every single one took a manual deletion to get there.

There is always a good reason.

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This is probably the most tightly run board I post on, but the mods here aren't bad. On some boards the mods are power hungry nazis and there end up being big "wars" between groups of posters and trolls and the mods. I'm glad that isn't a problem here. Now as much as I wish I was able to speak my mind a little more on here, I would gladly give that up to know that there aren't trolls on this board. Some of the other boards I post on (sports...) have MAJOR problems with people using personal attacks and really just taking things too far. As fun as it is to goof off and just post a lot of nonsense, I can understand the admins not wanting so much of this site to be wasted on topics other than what it is meant for.

That's all I have to say. :blink:

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What's stopping you from speaking your mind? Unless it's something personal and derogatory there's no problem.

There's definitely a difference between people who speak their mind and trolls.. and I think I'd trust the mods to know the difference on this forum.

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What's stopping you from speaking your mind? Unless it's something personal and derogatory there's no problem.

There's definitely a difference between people who speak their mind and trolls.. and I think I'd trust the mods to know the difference on this forum.

"speaking my mind" = trash talking and having a sailor's mouth

that's why I usually try to leave it out here. If I don't agree with someone I tend to call them inappropriate names. :whistling:

I don't troll people...that usually implies following them around and posting on every thread they are on to piss them off. No one pisses me off enough for me to do that...especially here. Most of the posters on here are extremely nice and civil (me excluded) and I enjoy their input on topics (usually).

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lol.. maybe I should have been more specific.

Sharing your opinions.. rather than speaking your mind.

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I don't even mind the occasional profanity. What we are trying to stop are posts that are designed specifically to piss off people here. There is no science to determining this and some of it is left to an interpretation of the rules that we have posted. We have tried to make them as clear as possible so I hope that helps. Basically it really boils down to being nice and respectful to others and if one makes an attempt to do that, the rest works out in the long run. We don't have any issues at all with 95% or more of all the forumers here so it can't be that hard to do.

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