Don't take this the wrong way, Blues Man, but in reading your closing announcement, this struck me...
"The signal to noise ratio in L&P has been going in the wrong direction for quite some time and no amount of rule changes, punitive actions or mass bannings will fix the problem permanently."
To me that says one thing, and one thing only... the moderators aren't willing, or able, to devote the time necessary to make an L&P forum work.
If they're not willing, then the forum needs new moderators.
If they're not able, then the forum needs more moderators.
To be perfectly blunt, four moderators for a L&P section on a board as active and as well known as TFL isn't enough. It's especially not enough if life committments keep most of the mods away for large chunks of time.
I'm one of the admins on a board that was spun out of Oleg Volk's The High Road. About a year ago we launched a Politics section, knowing full well the dangers of doing so and the massive amount of baby sitting that would be required.
In doing that, though, we installed a core group of moderators and admins who share similar views on how a forum should be moderated, the commitment it takes, and how to deal with disruptive and/or trollish members. Some emphasis was also placed on breadth of coverage. I'd say it's a pretty good bet that we have moderator/admin coverage close to 18 hours a day, sometimes longer.
A lot of people predicted anarchist riot in the monkey house. I'm sad to say that some of our members even seemed to be making book and rubbing their hands gleefully, waiting for our experiment to fail. I'm happy to say, though, that at this point we've proven them wrong.
A year in, Politics Place is going strong. More than a few of the posters there consider it to be one of the best run politics boards on the net.
Yes, there have been problems. We've banned a number of members permanently, and there have been some dust ups, and we close any number of threads during any given period. But overall, it's been very gratifying and proof that a forum for general politicial discussion can work.
I think a lot of people find it to be a bit shocking that NO subjects are taboo -- religion, abortion, etc. -- NONE are off limits as long as there's no advocating anything illegal and the tone of discussion remains level. Once it becomes too emotional, members get warnings and the thread may, or may not be, closed.
And it is all due in large part to the mods and admins, all of whom are empowered to deal with problems as they happen.
This entire thread is, I think, in some ways indicative of the problems facing L&P. Personally, I'm not one much for making an announcement of the kind that was made, and then inviting everyone (likely including many of the people who were causing the problems in the first place) to "come on in and talk about it."
You're not going to find any solutions from those people. Just vultures waiting to jump on a fresh carcass.
Oh well, my two cents.
"The gift which I am sending you is called a dog, and is in fact the most precious and valuable possession of mankind" -Theodorus Gaza
Baby Jesus cries when the fat redneck doesn't have military-grade firepower.
Last edited by Mike Irwin; September 11, 2008 at 01:26 PM.