Brookmans Park Newsletter Community Discussion Forum

Using This Forum => Forum agreement, guidelines, moderation & features => Topic started by: Editor on January 05, 2018, 12:00:34 pm

Title: Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...
Post by: Editor on January 05, 2018, 12:00:34 pm
Thanks again to all the 100 people who took part in our site survey. Not all respondents answered all questions, and all responses were anonymous so there is no knowing if people completed the survey more than once, but the findings are interesting.
The comments were informative. Thanks to all those who added their feedback. I have gone through the comments and grouped them in topics in order to try to address the issues raised.

Moderation, local issues, and the site's editorial guidelines
The issue of moderation has been raised many times over the years. We have a small team of volunteer moderators who try to keep an eye on what is posted. Together we try to uphold the site's editorial guidelines (http://www.brookmans.com/guidelines.shtml) and check whether forum members are keeping to the site's registration agreement (http://www.brookmans.com/agreement.shtml), and we discuss any issues raised in an admin section of the forum.

We have tried to widen the scope of debate many times, and we do have an 'Off Topic' section of the site. That section is currently archived because a small number of contributors abused the situation and posted racist and offensive rants which were not only legally dangerous, but also put others off commenting.

In all cases we write to the contributor explaining why their post had been edited or removed. In cases, where the moderators fail to agree on an issue, I take the final decision.

The survey respondent who claimed: "you are not held responsible for others comments" is correct to a point, but it's a complex issue, and, rather than have to go through the hoops set out in the Defamation Act (https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/21/uk_defamation_law_reforms_take_effect_from_start_of_2014/), it's easier to try to avoid defamatory comments in the first place.

Forum scope and participation
I suppose the answer to all these comments is to log on and post about what concerns you and widen that debate. If the forum is dominated by the same contributors it's because those who use it regularly - but don't post - allow that to happen. 54 forum users (57% of respondents) answered: "I prefer to watch discussions and not take part". It seems this issue can be solved easily. Any registered forum member can post about any local issue that they are concerned about.

Youth
It would be be great to widen the debate to issues concerning local younger residents. And this has happened in the past. We have a Youth section of the forum (http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php/board,5.0.html), and it was active for a time. However young people move on to other things and it needs revisiting.

Perhaps we could have some volunteers to take on to revive the section? I have written to the local youth club suggesting they keep an eye on the section and, perhaps, publish a weekly youth-focused roundup of local news and events.

Events and local businesses
Regarding local events, we do have a site calendar (http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php?action=calendar) where local residents can post about non-commercial events such as jumble sales, village day etc. Perhaps we should widen the scope to allow people to list local classes taking place in local halls. I will discuss this with the moderators and report back. Thanks for the suggestion.

We do have a business directory (http://www.brookmans.com/business/add.php) where local businesses can list their services. That is free to use. However we don't allow reviews of local businesses or the promotion of local businesses in the community discussion forum because we can't vouch for the validity of what is posted. It would be too easy for a local business to be praised or rubbished for commercial gain. We just don't have the resources to keep across this and there are other channels better placed to provide this service.

Registration
The registration process (http://www.brookmans.com/forum/index.php?action=register) is actually fairly quick, and I don't think it's more onerous than the initial sign up process for any social media. Perhaps there is a slight delay while we check the new member isn't a known spammer. You simply:
I suppose the difference might be that new members have to wait for the registration confirmation email because we do check for spammers before completing the process - and that has to be done by a human being. But we are fairly fast.
Once again, thanks for the feedback. All issues raised will be discussed with the moderators.
Title: Re: Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...
Post by: Nobby on January 05, 2018, 07:55:07 pm
A recurring theme appears to be heavy-handed moderation. I would say in the Editor's defence that in a world where "hate crimes" and the promulgation of extreme views via Facebook, YouTube and similar media are coming under increasing scrutiny and criticism (and may lead to litigation), one has to tread very carefully these days. We don't want David banged up, do we.
Title: Re: Thanks for the feedback from the site survey - issues raised...
Post by: larrylamb on January 05, 2018, 08:23:30 pm
Perhaps we should have a survey on that Nobby :icon_jokercolor: