Author Topic: A Letter to the Forum  (Read 2547 times)

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Offline Crow done

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A Letter to the Forum
« on: October 24, 2015, 06:35:43 pm »
Dear Furry Teens,

There’s a lot of unrest going on right now, and while things are getting done (such as the new debate etiquette topic), there are some issues and things that the members would like addressed.

First, there needs to be a change in staff. A lot of us feel like some staff aren’t doing their jobs properly. For example, the topic with the n-word debate should not have been around as long as it was. We were all relieved when it was closed, because a debate on if a slur is acceptable or not is definitely not even a subject that should be spoken about. The only staff who seem to be doing anything about these issues are the Admins, the other moderators leave these issues alone, which does not help us feel the site is being managed properly.

On that note, monitoring people off site is almost an invasion of privacy. Sure, if someone posts a tweet or blog post for the world to see, that’s fine, but there are limits. Private chats, such as skype, those not involved have no right to post about it, and even if they are involved, it’s something not meant to be publicized.

We also feel that there are not enough PoC on staff. A lot of the issues lately involve discussion on topics highly relevant to PoC, and their voice isn’t being heard as much, and the only PoC on staff (to our knowledge) are Natasha and Proto. There seems to be a trend of PoC users having their posts removed and threads locked for pointing out the issues pertaining to them, and then at the same time, people are coddling the racist users who feel hurt at having their opinions debated and corrected. Evidence will be provided to Admins privately, at their request.

That needs to change, especially if we want our community to be inclusive. Issues pertaining to PoC would only be met with racial insensitivity as the majority of the forum is white. Some members use that to say that people are oversensitive, as it’s only a few members being offended. While they might be a small percent of the forum, it’s 100% of the PoC being offended at what’s being said, and that’s singling out a whole group of our members.

 Concepts revolving around homophobia, biphobia, religion, misogyny are commonly understood, but race-based concepts seem to be the ones with the most trouble around them when discussed. A lot of incorrect terminology being used and lack of understanding shows just that. As said before, the n-word thread was up for way longer than it should have and it should’ve been deleted immediately. But when a joke about pronouns is posted it's dealt with immediately. The fact that the n-word thread was not dealt with immediately shows how racially insensitive the staff and the majority of members are.

There were a lot of indirect call out posts and accusations without proof provided, posted publicly on the forum. Those should have been taken down and addressed with the users involved, not left on the forum. That only causes more friction between users, especially to those being accused. For the safety of other members anything sounding similar to a call out should be deleted without hesitation, unless they clarify in the original post that they aren't talking about other members. Accusations of bullying among members should be addressed to staff only and not in public threads, along with that they should only be taken seriously if said evidence of bullying is provided, not on he-said, she-said.

How are we going to resolve these issues? Locking topics has failed to resolve underlying hostility. It often just pushes the anger to other parts of the forum and private chats, as was seen with the many instances of calling out. Some ideas have been put forward, including a topic in which PoC members can, in a civil way, educate the forum on issues concerning PoC, and answer any questions they may have. That way, no one feels attacked. We feel as though when these issues come up in debate topics, no one is willing to listen and learn. They just feel as though their views are being attacked.

It would also be good to look into improvements to post editing, as right now it is too easy to get away with saying offensive things by changing it before they get in trouble. Maybe there is a way to make it so the original post is still available for staff, and a reason for the edit is provided by the user themselves.

Sincerely,

Angelnypr, Artificial Sweetener, Guapo, Krowdon, and Nightingale
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2015, 06:53:42 pm »
I've really ran out of energy for this discussion today, but I just need to note some quick things:

There's more PoC on staff than you've mentioned.

Second, the thread about the n-word was left up for literally the exact same reason the other one was. For education about why it was wrong, not because we thought it was an okay debate topic.

Third, nobody is monitoring anything. I'm sorry we've given off that impression but that is absolutely not true. Maybe you were referring to our off-site bullying policy? If so, that still does not involve monitoring. that involves victim-submitted screenshots. Not us going out of our way.


Thank you.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 06:59:02 pm by Panda »
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2015, 07:02:05 pm »
I for one, am understanding of the current issues and how they are problematic for all of you and all other members of the forum.
However I feel that progress will be slow on working out what we can do better to improve the forum.

We have been trying for so long to make things nicer here, and some things have gotten better.
Although there is always going to be problems.


I would also like to make a point that I know it may seem like only administrators are working on problems, but the moderators work hard as well. A lot happens behind-the-scenes

I've put a lot of work into my staff position and I love helping this forum.
I honestly wish I could do more but being a moderator only allows me to do so much.

I just want everyone to know that I care for the safety of all of our members and I hope that you can understand that we try our hardest to be there.
And I'm sure I speak for the rest of the staff as well when I say this.
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Offline Angelnypr

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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2015, 07:22:27 pm »
Second, the thread about the n-word was left up for literally the exact same reason the other one was. For education about why it was wrong, not because we thought it was an okay debate topic.
Even if it was left for education, it was still a harmful and racially insensitive debate. The fact that it had a poll was even more appalling. I think it should've just been locked with a small explanation asap because it only ended with people getting pissed at the threads existence, especially when someone voted yes.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2015, 07:28:01 pm »
First off I want to say I'm sorry to stress out the staff, I realize a lot of you are trying to figure out what to do in these situations. Although it was dealt with slowly it was still dealt with so I am glad to see many of the mods are trying their best and taking into consideration the feelings of members. I don't want this to be seen so much as an attack but we want to help the mods in figuring out ways these situations can be dealt with.

I would also like to make a point that I know it may seem like only administrators are working on problems, but the moderators work hard as well. A lot happens behind-the-scenes

I've put a lot of work into my staff position and I love helping this forum.
I honestly wish I could do more but being a moderator only allows me to do so much.

We realize that most of the moderators and admins are doing their job to the best of their ability, and that some have limited power. However, issues such as the racism threads are still dealt with very slowly and that is not the fault of anyone in particular. It still cannot be excused and must be addressed immediately. One idea we had was the possibility of having more sitewide moderators, since they have the ability to do more than mods. That way when issues similar to this do pop up again they can be dealt with quicker.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 07:30:39 pm by ArtificialSweetener »
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2015, 07:33:07 pm »
Second, the thread about the n-word was left up for literally the exact same reason the other one was. For education about why it was wrong, not because we thought it was an okay debate topic.
Even if it was left for education, it was still a harmful and racially insensitive debate. The fact that it had a poll was even more appalling. I think it should've just been locked with a small explanation asap because it only ended with people getting pissed at the threads existence, especially when someone voted yes.
Just an fyi the staff isn't on 24/7 to lock threads asap, they have a personal life too. They're trying their best.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2015, 07:40:27 pm »
First off I want to say I'm sorry to stress out the staff, I realize a lot of you are trying to figure out what to do in these situations. Although it was dealt with slowly it was still dealt with so I am glad to see many of the mods are trying their best and taking into consideration the feelings of members. I don't want this to be seen so much as an attack but we want to help the mods in figuring out ways these situations can be dealt with.

I would also like to make a point that I know it may seem like only administrators are working on problems, but the moderators work hard as well. A lot happens behind-the-scenes

I've put a lot of work into my staff position and I love helping this forum.
I honestly wish I could do more but being a moderator only allows me to do so much.

We realize that most of the moderators and admins are doing their job to the best of their ability, and that some have limited power. However, issues such as the racism threads are still dealt with very slowly and that is not the fault of anyone in particular. It still cannot be excused and must be addressed immediately. One idea we had was the possibility of having more sitewide moderators, since they have the ability to do more than mods. That way when issues similar to this do pop up again they can be dealt with quicker.
But not only will things be dealt with quicker, you all will have some weight lifted off of your backs too. We all understand that you can't be there all the time and most of the time issues happen outside of your areas thus making you all more stressed, and honestly I really hate seeing you all so stressed too.

And please don't think that this is us not appreciating the things you do, we're glad that "N-word" thread was locked, things could flow a lot faster at the pace of having more sitewide mods

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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2015, 07:42:21 pm »
Second, the thread about the n-word was left up for literally the exact same reason the other one was. For education about why it was wrong, not because we thought it was an okay debate topic.
Even if it was left for education, it was still a harmful and racially insensitive debate. The fact that it had a poll was even more appalling. I think it should've just been locked with a small explanation asap because it only ended with people getting pissed at the threads existence, especially when someone voted yes.
Just an fyi the staff isn't on 24/7 to lock threads asap, they have a personal life too. They're trying their best.
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The staff can't monitor the forum all the time so just give them a break

we're not asking for constant monitoring. there were staff active and online when it was posted and when it was receiving replies. it's not like it was something that required a discussion on whether it was alright to post or not, it was quite blatantly racist and bothering/hurting members.

we aren't meaning to imply that all staff members are slacking off, but there are certainly some more inactive members we need to do their jobs. one of the requirements of being a mod is to be active, is it not? i'm not suggesting that you force said members online, but if they aren't doing their part, maybe they aren't the best staff members. i understand that the forums may be understaffed, but a staff that doesn't do it's part is no different than not having that staff in the first place.

i appreciate all that staff does for this site, but y'all (both staff and users) need to rework and think about a lot of things. i agree that we need more staff members, or at the very least more moderators. if you are all interested in more staff, i'm sure making it clear that staff applications are always open would help bring in more apps. a lot of people don't know that applications are open, or even a thing. ;;
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2015, 07:47:08 pm »
Not trying to sound mean but stuff would be dealt with a lot faster if you guys just reported stuff/contacted an admin instead of attacking people and starting flame wars. Just saying, like nobody has contacted the staff besides a few people, a lot if members just make things worse
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2015, 07:49:00 pm »
Not trying to sound mean but stuff would be dealt with a lot faster if you guys just reported stuff/contacted an admin instead of attacking people and starting flame wars. Just saying, like nobody has contacted the staff besides a few people, a lot if members just make things worse

I know that myself and many others did report a lot of the topics and message staff! Since there is no exact policy on how to deal with these situations that is why this was written. To share with the rest of FT how we feel and how everyone's experience on FT can be improved.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2015, 07:53:43 pm »
Not trying to sound mean but stuff would be dealt with a lot faster if you guys just reported stuff/contacted an admin instead of attacking people and starting flame wars. Just saying, like nobody has contacted the staff besides a few people, a lot if members just make things worse

we actually do report all of this! not only that, but we try to actively communicate with staff during these events. i'm a little dissapointed because i know that if krowdon alone had posted this and hadn't added us as contributors you likely wouldn't be saying this.

we posted this because just reporting this to staff isn't working as a system. i've been here a while, krowdon's been here a while, nightingale's been here a while, artificial has been here a while. we know that throughout our time here, this system has not worked.

we want to improve this site, fair and simple. we are getting upset because we want to help and seeing this happen here hurts us.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2015, 07:53:57 pm »
I understand your points. As Panda said, the threads weren't left up because we condone it, but because we saw some educational value in it and believed that it could be discussed maturely. I agree that the poll shouldn't have been left up and that's my fault; especially seeing as it was originally only directed towards white people. I also agree that the posts making accusations should have been deleted. Although we did message members to provide us evidence and we've seen evidence of people doing this sort of thing before back in the New Policy thread. I get extremely concerned when multiple members complain about bullying. I still don't like how that erupted into a flamewar, and I agree that the thread probably shouldn't have been reopened.

I appreciate you being sympathetic towards us. It's been a hard situation to handle because we've had accusations of being racist for both opening and locking the thread, which I think is partly why the thread was hastily reopened. And although there's more PoC staff members that you've neglected mention, some of us aren't as familiar with the issues that concern PoC -- myself included. I haven't heard of PoC feeling marginalized here before but we're always willing to hear your concerns and complaints. I also appreciate that you think we do a good job of handling things like gender and sexuality issues, and I hope we can improve things concerning race and ethnic groups. We've actually closed applications but we're looking to reopen them once a load of stuff has been sorted out.

Thank you.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2015, 07:59:34 pm »
Not trying to sound mean but stuff would be dealt with a lot faster if you guys just reported stuff/contacted an admin instead of attacking people and starting flame wars. Just saying, like nobody has contacted the staff besides a few people, a lot if members just make things worse

we actually do report all of this! not only that, but we try to actively communicate with staff during these events. i'm a little dissapointed because i know that if krowdon alone had posted this and hadn't added us as contributors you likely wouldn't be saying this.

we posted this because just reporting this to staff isn't working as a system. i've been here a while, krowdon's been here a while, nightingale's been here a while, artificial has been here a while. we know that throughout our time here, this system has not worked.

we want to improve this site, fair and simple. we are getting upset because we want to help and seeing this happen here hurts us.
Well still if the staff doesn't respond right away it doesn't mean automatically attack the person that made the thread and/or start a flame war
This is what the site has come too apparently
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2015, 08:05:51 pm »
I would like to add that while we were writing the letter, we did mention that Natasha and Proto were the only PoC staff that we are aware of. Thank you for mentioning there are more, that is a good thing to hear. I'm sorry to anyone we left out, we didn't mean to.

I do agree with Artificial Sweetener. We want to share with the rest of FT how we feel. I'm sure a few other people feel the same and have not said anything, which is why we did this.

The best way to take action I've found is to open it for everyone and see what the issues are and how people want them fixed.

Quote
I haven't heard of PoC feeling marginalized here before but we're always willing to hear your concerns and complaints.

Daimhín's comment here is something I'd like to address too. Like I've said before there's a lack of communication, and I really do think it comes from people not trusting staff. I don't know how to fix that. It seems like people are talking to staff more, so that's good but at the same time I know there are still staff that aren't liked/trusted/respected. So on top of all of this, I'd like to see something done about that too.

Ah Awkward Rage posted before my reply got out so I'm going to address them too.

See, I was not directly involved in any of these threads. I am an outside observer.

From my standpoint, nothing I saw was a flame war. Not in the thread. It was all debate. What was more of a "flame war" was when people were calling each other out indirectly outside that thread after it got locked and that is unacceptable. Being uncomfortable with how people respond is not a "flame war". Debating ideas is not a "flame war". Complaining about forum members indirectly outside of the topic where it isn't even relevant is wrong, and should not be tolerated.

Edit: whoops fixed pronouns. sorry.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 08:08:41 pm by Krowdon »
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Offline The Woolly One

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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2015, 08:06:09 pm »
Not trying to sound mean but stuff would be dealt with a lot faster if you guys just reported stuff/contacted an admin instead of attacking people and starting flame wars. Just saying, like nobody has contacted the staff besides a few people, a lot if members just make things worse

we actually do report all of this! not only that, but we try to actively communicate with staff during these events. i'm a little dissapointed because i know that if krowdon alone had posted this and hadn't added us as contributors you likely wouldn't be saying this.

we posted this because just reporting this to staff isn't working as a system. i've been here a while, krowdon's been here a while, nightingale's been here a while, artificial has been here a while. we know that throughout our time here, this system has not worked.

we want to improve this site, fair and simple. we are getting upset because we want to help and seeing this happen here hurts us.
Well still if the staff doesn't respond right away it doesn't mean automatically attack the person that made the thread and/or start a flame war
This is what the site has come too apparently
The flamewarring isn't okay. But people have been making reports.

I'd like to remind people to stop calling people out publicly. If you have any concerns with the conduct of users, just report their posts or contact us.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2015, 08:06:25 pm »
I wasn't planning on coming out of the woodwork for any of this, but as one of the older members on this forum, I feel I should adress one of the ideas that's been brought up.

While the idea to promote and recruit more staff is a good idea, with the current state of the forum I'm not convinced it will work. With the recent occurences over the past year a lot of the veteran members have permamently left the forum. As a result I feel that even though they have been replaced by an increase in newer members, said newer members either leave after a few weeks, or don't post frequently enough to give an impression of how suitable they would be if placed in a position of authority.
This means that the most suitable candidates would be we older and/or more active members and yet there aren't many of us that aren't already on the staff and most of those who aren't on the staff simply don't want to be.

So while I personally agree with the idea, there appears to be no current way of carrying it out but please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2015, 08:08:50 pm »
Dude I apologized for that call out post no need to point it out. Look here http://www.furryteens.org/forum/index.php?topic=23700.0

[Admin Edit: Please remain civil. I understand that a lot of users are feeling wronged and offended, but please try not to turn this personal.]
« Last Edit: October 24, 2015, 08:19:00 pm by Daimhín »
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2015, 08:12:38 pm »
Dude I apologized for that call out post no need to point it out. Now you've really pissed me off, you should do more research =)))))
Look here http://www.furryteens.org/forum/index.php?topic=23700.0
Oh wow krowdon look at that... An apology now better keep your mouth shut

I was not directly addressing you as calling people out. I saw more than one person do it, and I have seen your apology before today. I do not appreciate the tone you have used with me, and will not discuss this issue with you any further, unless you can be polite to me.

Thank you.
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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2015, 08:12:44 pm »
I'd also like to mention that even though we try to handle everything in a timely manner, things are going be left up that are not appropriate. We cannot shield anyone completely from homophobic/racist/etc. posts, it's out there. Things are going to slide through, but we do our best to take down those posts.
As I see mentioned a lot here, report it, rather than reply to it. That way we can handle it without anyone starting flame wars.
It's okay to state your opinion, but attacking someone (especially off-site as well) just because they have differenting opinions from you does not mean you should start a flame war over it. Take the time to CALMLY educate others on your perspective rather than "oh no. You're wrong. You're a bad person, etc. etc.". We all have different backgrounds here. We are taught different things. No one is going to have the same ideas/opinions as you. Let's try to remain calm and neutral when debating iffy topics.
Sorry for the rant.

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Re: A Letter to the Forum
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2015, 08:15:47 pm »
Dude I apologized for that call out post no need to point it out. Now you've really pissed me off, you should do more research =)))))
Look here http://www.furryteens.org/forum/index.php?topic=23700.0
Oh wow krowdon look at that... An apology now better keep your mouth shut
Are you going to apologize for that? Because you should.

Back on topic Aika does have a point. Most of the long term members are already staff or they don't want to be a part of it, or some have been denied too. However you don't need to be on staff to make others feel safe and keep order on the site. I'm not taking sides for any of what has happened these past two days and I will even admit that both were in the wrong for their behaviors. But come on people, that's in the past so please let us move on from this and work together without fighting