On the need for yellow and red cards…

It seems that some of our newer commenters may not completely have understood that there are clear boundaries to what can and cannot be said. Broadly speaking, anything that is political (and legal) will pass muster. There is no consensus on what is politically acceptable and what is not. The rule is simple: play the ball and not the man. It is there to aid communication between people who fundamentally disagree with each other. If you’ve not checked them out yet, see the commenting policy here. They are broadly in line with the Guardian’s Community standards and participation guidelines, except here the Yellow (warning) and Red (two week ban) card system is designed to give people a warning and a second chance respectively. As a previous commenter once said: “you don’t have to agree with every decision that’s made but hey, that’s life”. Just remember, a moderator’s decision is final, whatever you think of it.

  • frustrated democrat

    Is this included or not?

    4. We appreciate that we have an international audience, but since we publish content in English, the language of conversation on the site should also be English. As such, contributions that cannot be understood by the majority of participants may be removed.

  • Sean

    Ahhh it took a long time for the first anti-irish dig to be posted

    I can’t understand it either but I think its quite interesting to see it written and try to interpret it

  • Alan Anderson

    I disagree with red bring used because it is a constituent of the union flag and ehhhhhhhhhh yellow a vatican colour damn blasted papist conspiracy agggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • Mick Fealty

    fd,

    No.

  • Firstly, I’m not a “newer commenter” and I’d like M. Fealty’s opinion as to what tenure make’s one a long standing contributor?

    Secondly, you wrote… “…Broadly speaking, anything that is political (and legal) will pass muster….”

    A few weeks ago, posting about the UDR Glennane murder gang, I linked to the legal affidavit / statement by John Weir. I summarized and wrote a list of the murderers mentioned in this affidavit. This list was removed by the Slug mods although the same info is in the linked legal affidavit (easily avail on the ‘net). I don’t see why this list should have been removed; can you explain why? Additionally, most of those listed eg. Robert McConnell, Billy McCaughey etc are now dead and can’t sue so there was no legal exposure to the Slugettes. My apologies if there was a legal issue as I’d never like to subject the site & owners to legal problems but I can’t see what the issue… I listed names from a legal affidavit, this is widely available, most are now dead.

    Thanks

  • jpeters

    anon

    if the document is available on the net and has been already legally disclosed to the public neither you or slugger carry legal liability so long as your post in framed in the same terms ie if it says ‘it is alleged’ then you have to keep it that way. Are you sure it was an affidavit? and did you mention this when it was posted? and also did you mention the author?

  • the document is available on the net: YES

    has been already legally disclosed to the public: YES

    so long as your post in framed in the same terms: YES

    Are you sure it was an affidavit?: YES, THAT WHAT THE LINK / DOCUMENT SAYS AND I COULD POST THE ‘NET LINK AGAIN (IT WAS NEVER REMOVED BY THE SLUG MODS). YOU CAN SEARCH FOR IT YOURSELF BASED ON THE LIMITED INFO I GAVE ABOVE.

    did you mention this when it was posted? YES

    did you mention the author? MOST DEF

  • jpeters

    anon

    dont think you did anything wrong in the strict legal sense then, which is the most important after all

  • Sean

    Since you chose to paraphrase or interpret the document instead of quoting it directly the mods might have felt it contravened the provisions mentioned above and infact it became you making a statement instead of quoting a document where as your legal protection or more importantly sluggers legal liabilities would have changed

  • “Since you chose to paraphrase or interpret the document instead ”

    I don’t think I did. I think I “quot(ed) it directly” by listing the names included in the link which remained.

    either way JPeters & Sean, thanks for your input and legal opinion…. how much to have you on retainer??

  • Mick Fealty

    annon,

    I’ll look into it. Can you remember the name of the thread?

  • Mick Fealty

    Right, I think I have it: http://tinyurl.com/2tq4an.

    There is a link to one affidavit still on there, but I guess it’s not the one you are referring to?

    I will look further into it, but here’s the rub.

    You are ‘anonymous’ when you comment, which is fine. But it puts an onus of care on you to make sure you stay clearly on side with the law, and the rules of the site.

  • hi Mick,
    just as an aside….”…I’d like M. Fealty’s opinion as to what tenure make’s one a long standing contributor? ” LOL

    A mod deleted some of my posting from the following thread …

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/a-special-meeting-of-chairmen-and-secretaries-of-all-clubs-in-the-county-as/P75/

    please see page 4 point 12. Interestingly the names I listed still feature in the linked affadavit so it didn’t make sense. My paranoia led me to believe that a mod didn’t want people named (altho he forgot to remove the link). Can you tell which mod adjusted my posting?

    Thanks

  • “…of care on you to make sure you stay clearly on side with the law, and the rules of the site. ”

    agreed.

    and as a avowed supporter of this site, in posting the affadavit (and more importantly the deleted list of those mentioned in the affadavit), I was aware of this onus and tried to thread lightly / cautiously.

    My point is … the mod failed in preventing me posting the names as they are in the linked (public) affadavit. So why the hell did he delete some of my posting w the implication that I’d foolishly almost put SlugOT in danger of lawsuits?

  • A N Other

    “some of our newer commenters may not completely have understood that there are clear boundaries to what can and cannot be said. ”

    Think I may be one of the people you are referring to Mick.

    I know I was fairly childish towards Páid on the “Football Update” from yesterday, but if you re-read my posts, I felt he got a bit to personal in his abuse of one of the players.

    But I’m actually not a so-called “new” contributor – used to post under a different pen-name, but Pat McClarnon & Co. didn’t appreciate the points I was making!!

  • Mick Fealty

    anony:

    “…why the hell did he delete some of my posting w the implication that I’d foolishly almost put SlugOT in danger of lawsuits?”

    I’ve had a look at what was removed. It was a list of names, quite a lengthy and detailed one, which would have lumber the moderator with the task of checking each one was genuine. The removal was done in lieu of having to fact check that detail.

    The bottom line: “Invisible people have invisible rights”.

    He did do you the courtesy (which I might not have) of preserving your point, and the evidence was left ‘get-at-able’ on the other site.

    That thread started off relatively civilly, but quickly descended in to a humourless round of whataboutery. It’s not outlawed on Slugger, but it is a sure sign that a given topic is not being addressed consistently or honestly. Indeed Cathal Daly once referred to it as “the commonest form of moral evasion in Ireland today”.

    You certainly weren’t first to play whataboutery on that thread (our now absent friend ‘cruimh’ probably provoked it, and others obliged him), but you were first to blatantly ‘play the man’:

    “Your four points about what you’d like for the GAA to do would be given credence if you were anything but an obviously anti-GAA poster.”

    Under the ‘play the ball, not the man’ rule you credit your opponent with integrity as a default, and deal with or dismiss the points they raise. On this occasion you gave the distinct impression you agreed with him, but didn’t like it coming from the person who said it.

    The thread went steadily downhill from there. Had it been me, I might have Yellow carded you. If it happens again, I certainly will.

  • Outsider

    [you’ve been red carded – take the hint and leave it for a fortnight – moderator]

  • that’s rubbish, you’re grasping for straws after your mod CENSORED my post but foolishly left the link behind.

    Consider me to have yellow carded you and this site.

    See you in a few weeks; you’re not worth the hassle.

  • Sean

    well you have been put in your place havent you mick LMAO

    Its nice to know we havent met his high standards by allowing him free reign so hes taking his marbles and going home (insert appropriate snit noise here)

  • páid

    This play the ball and not the man stuff is fine except when it comes to man plays ball games.

    If David Beckham skies a penalty out of the stadium as he did in Portugal a few years ago, what do we say?

    Jeez, those balls are way too light these days, they must be putting helium in them.

    OR

    Beckham – what a plonker.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Just as a rule of thumb, there isn’t a whole lot of point at sniping at Mick or any of the mods — the disparity in power alone should discourage that sort of foolishness.

  • snakebrain

    Another handy rule of thumb for newbies is never to get into a debate with Dread unless you have intravenously supplied caffeine and a good library to hand.

  • The Dubliner

    Mick, here’s a solution straight from the Celtic Tiger:

    The problem is that your service as it is presently constituted can enable others to abuse or libel other posters or individuals without fear of sanction or censor. This leaves you vulnerable to suffer the consequences in law for the actions of others, and requires a great deal of your time and attention in providing moderation service at your own expense. The other detrimental outcome is that your service will inevitably suffer a decline in the quality of both its posters and its posts if you do not provide the time-consuming moderation service. A free service, unfortunately, is a fatally flawed concept for a quality format, since human practice is to attach zero ‘other’ value to that which has a zero monetary value.

    I suggest that restrict the comment facility to a member group that is qualified by a paid subscription. This expedient will remove that element which invariably abuses free services and will also offer you a financial incentive to moderate the remaining group with appropriate diligence.

    The advantages of subscription to members are that it gives them ownership of their user name, removing the concern that it could be abused by anonymous posters to impersonate them, and that they need fear less that they will experience personal abuse from other posters without recourse to moderation. This should encourage a ‘hardcore’ membership of serious debaters on the forum which is ideally positioned to move NI debate to that next level (straying into marketing-speak there).

    Whether or not Slugger O’Toole or interest in NI politics is large enough to sustain a subscription model will be a matter for your own research, of course. But if I was you, I’d do it anyway – just on the basis of not having to waste so much time moderating, removing spam, and watching whole threads go off track due to irrepressible trolls and private agendas.

  • you can’t buy good conversation… lol
    Dubliner wants to turn the site into an online version of the House of Lords.. what next eh? cash for honours, speaking rights and privileges to titled bloggers. LMAO!
    The beggars banquet not good enough for you?

  • Sean

    If you own a subscription would that give you the right to post any nonsense you want?

  • The Dubliner

    You missed the crux point: subscription will cut out all of the anonymous trolls, libellers, transient propagandists, spammers, private agendas, sockpuppets, impersonators, and assorted troublemakers by the simple expedient of removing the anonymity that they hide behind (credit payment obviously requires validation of identity). Since they are paying a subscription, they are also less like to breach rules where a violation would lead to forfeiture. It also generates income for the site owners. Everyone wins – except the freeloaders and the drive-by gombeens, of course.

  • Sean

    no it wont dubliner what it will do is give the trolls and ne’er do wells legal protections under the consumer rights legislation and infact add another layer of red tape to micks day

  • Dread Cthulhu

    snakebrain: “Another handy rule of thumb for newbies is never to get into a debate with Dread unless you have intravenously supplied caffeine and a good library to hand. ”

    Flattery will get you nowhere… but thanks 🙂

  • DK

    Dubliner – sounds good in theory…. In practice sluggers strength is the variety of its contributors – many a thread is enhanced by someone with intimate knowledge of the subject coming by and commenting. If they had to register and pay first then they would not be here. The site would be gradually reduced to a few hard-core fans and become stale as the same arguements are re-hashed with no fresh blood.

    Here is a useful parable. Once there were two search engines: altavista and google. Altavista was the better of the two – it had cleverer search options and more web pages covered. One day, altavista decided that it should have a subscription only service… overnight their customer base switched to google, which was still free. Altavista had to change back, but it was too late. Google is now so popular that it has become a verb. Altavista is a footnote example of early internet pioneers.

    Bottom line: Slugger is one of many Northern Ireland blogs. Can you name one that is subscription only and remotely cutting edge or popular?

  • The Dubliner

    “In practice sluggers strength is the variety of its contributors – many a thread is enhanced by someone with intimate knowledge of the subject coming by and commenting. If they had to register and pay first then they would not be here. The site would be gradually reduced to a few hard-core fans and become stale as the same arguements are re-hashed with no fresh blood.” – DK

    The ‘variety of its contributors’ won’t be affected by subscription. Yes, subscription will prevent drive-by posters, full stop – some with worthwhile contributions, no doubt. The site’s owner is in a better position to judge whether the contribution of drive-by posters is worth the time and hassle it takes him to sort the good from the bad.

    The other question for the site’s owner is “whether or not Slugger O’Toole or interest in NI politics is large enough to sustain a subscription model.” It could be the case, of course, that a subscription model attracts many more regular posters than post now. In addition, posters who are determined to ‘get their money’s worth’ from Slugger, making it a very vibrant and dynamic forum. I suspect that many people are deterred from posting at all due to all user names being in the public domain.

    “Here is a useful parable…” – DK

    Great, but that example isn’t relevant to wether or not a subscription model for a forum is a viable option. Google simply had a better business model than its rival (which required a fee from those seeking to have their web sites indexed)… but it had a business model (means of generating revenue – pay-per-click from advertisers, incidentally) and that is why it is still here.

    “Bottom line: Slugger is one of many Northern Ireland blogs. Can you name one that is subscription only and remotely cutting edge or popular?” – DK

    I can’t name any that are subscription only, but that isn’t to say that there are none. But nor does it say that they are unpopular because they use a subscription model. The ‘premier’ NI Blog (and it is fair, I assume, to describe Slugger as such) will be in a better position to innovate than its rivals, so direct comparisons to ‘lesser’ Blogs aren’t necessarily applicable.

    Anyway, I’m dropping this topic. ‘Tis a tad rude to be discussing another person’s business!