It must be nice to be able to be an "armchair moderator"
We do appreciate the input but as anyone who has been a member of this board for any length of time knows, we don't take public discussion of board policy seriously. Most times, such discussions are generated by trolls or someone with an axe to grind. We generally only take privately communicated "constructive criticism" under advisement because that gives us the assurance that the concern is genuine and not just an attempt to stir the pot.
But I am in a generous mood today
I've been doing this for 8 years now. We've tried the "locking out" tactic (aka suspensions or banning) before (several times, in fact). It almost never works. The offender just comes back under another ID. Or the offender who gets a warning/suspension feels they've been wronged and make it their mission to make life miserable for the admins. See the aforementioned "axe grinding". The biggest flareups of discontent and anger amongst PEIinfo members that have occured over the last 8 years are after someone gets a slap on the wrist that they don't feel they deserved (in my experience, most people never feel they deserve the punishment they got ... "how dare you?").
The tactic of locking a thread to put a lid on contentious discussions for a cooling down period before opening it up again for discussion is a proven successful moderation tactic. I can't take credit for it because it is a tactic successfully used for years by other discussion boards. It doesn't assign blame, so no one feels a need to get revenge against the board administration. It also acknowledges that we give board members credit for their intelligence ... the guilty parties are intelligent enough to know that they are guilty, the innocent parties are intelligent enough to know that they are innocent and the bystanders to the argument are intelligent enough to evaluate the situation. And if someone really feels the need to add a point of fact or reasoned opinion to the contentious discussion, they can do so after the thread is unlocked.
After some expressed their displeasure with the thread locking system recently, we tried to give the old methods a try. That didn't go over very well, did it?
Let me ask the "armchair moderators" how they would have judged the thread that lead to this discussion.
Who would you
have assigned "blame" to in that thread and sent to the sidelines with a slap on the wrist?
Would you blame FoxRun for "baiting" the readers by saying that he found amusement in a comment that the majority of people would find offensive? Or would you blame Manzig for calling FoxRun a racist because he found humour in a racist comment. What about EunoiaBeauregard and jlyman.1970 for saying the same thing as Manzig but in a nicer way? Mulligan for inferring an agenda behind Manzig's reasons for creating the thread? Manzig's response to that accusation? Raider's response to Mulligan's accusation? Could we blame Ex-Racer for baiting since his comments drew an angry response from ajc and jlyman.1970? Maybe we should have banned everyone, eh? I got complaints about all but two of the members named above.
Not as easy as it looks in assigning blame, is it? Hard when you respect most of them for their previous contributions to the board and harder still, when you know some of them personally.
The above question is, of course, rhetorical. No answer necessary because the "discussion" ends here. Now.
We are never going to be able to satisfy everyone's opinion on how to run the board, so it is going to just have to come down to how we, the board owner and the board administration, want to run the board. However, as always, we will try to address any privately communicated concerns as best we can.