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Meditation Grove Moderation
 PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:00 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Joined: 02 Feb 2008
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Location: New York, USA

Per OMB's request I've created this thread to discuss my decision in the homosexuality thread and a subsequent PM Autobon sent to myself and OMB regarding that decision.

Autobon had two main points to his e-mail which I have included below:

Quote:
I understand that a moderator may determine subject matter, there is no argument there. What upset me was the fact you took a major argument of the pro-homosexual marriage side (homosexuals are identical to oppressed African Americans) and then essentially validated it by proposing to stop discussions on legal issues.

You did this on your authority as a moderator, as is evident by you asking others to contact you by PM with questions and concerns. This is what upset me. You should not have taken a side in the argument as a moderator in order to shut down an extremely important part of the discussion.


Quote:
I would appreciate if you would post an apology in the thread for comparing homosexuals to oppressed African Americans, which in turn falsely portrayed me and others as hateful racists that want to take rights away from people.


As this whole thing hinges on my initial decision I feel it is important for me to explain my thought process that led to my decision and my my feelings towards fulfilling Autobon's request for an apology.

It is my understanding that the homosexual community isn't seeking to alter the any specific religion's definition of marriage. They are seeking to alter how the secular state defines marriage legally. Since supposedly the U.S. does not favor one religion it is therefore reasonable to assume that the State can redefine its laws in such a way that breaks with the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. To me that makes it an issue of legal equality and thus a civil rights issue (as it seems the majority of the legal argument revolves around the U.S. policies I felt it was permissible to focus on this country in my understanding of the issue).

I read the article Autobon posted in response and I didn't see anything regarding specific discussion of whether or not it was a civil rights issue. I think it would be unjust for me to make such an interpretation based on the assumption that race indicates an individual's unstated opinion on whether something is or is not a civil rights issue. To many of us the same statements by white people or Asians (as quoted in the article) might be stretch in claiming that it isn't a civil rights issue since we associate that primarily with blacks; it also requires the assumption that all blacks over a certain age were involved in the Civil Rights Movement and that all younger blacks today have the same appreciation for the impact of the Civil Rights Movement and never take those rights for granted. Furthermore that article had a clear slant as it only quoted black ministers who I would naturally expect to be inclined against it for religious reasons.

For these reasons I believe that my assessment was not in error. My actions were done in a good faith desire to do what is best for the community, I had no malicious intent behind them. On that note I am perfectly willing to admit that I made a mistake if it is the belief of the admins that community opionion and/or their own interpretation of the purpose of the thread indicates that I made a mistake in prohibiting discussion of gay marriage.

Since making my decision Corellia's Dream made a post that has made me think that I took too narrow view towards the gay marriage issue in seeing it strictly under its legal terms. Looking back I see that Corellia's Dreams is correct that there can be a good discussion on the morality of marriage without explicitly discussing it in a legal framework. As he noted in places like the UK the legal changes have already been made so it becomes a primarily an issue of morality.

Based on that new perspective I have been considering modifying my earlier statement to permit discussion of gay marriage can occur as part of the broader context of the question "is homosexuality moral?". I would suggest giving limited permission for the legal aspects so people wouldn't have to be very creative in their writing to address moral issues in such a way that avoids any legal context/reference and so new news can be discussed/incorporated (recent court cases, laws passed etc.)

I still stand by my original assessment that a comparison between gays and blacks is valid so I would suggest maintaining prohibitions on discussion or statements that explicitly champion either that gay marriage should be approved as a matter of legal equality or questions whether gays have a case in arguing it is a matter of equality under the law. At least It is my understanding that the legal debate breaks down along the lines of the pro-gay marriage group arguing that it is a matter of legal equality while those against it argue that it is not a matter of legal equality. I believe that in this case a discussion for or against legal rights will do more harm to the community bond than good.

As for Autobon's request for an apology I would hesitate to make a formal statement that it is not an issue over equality as very clearly some EUCers have expressed that it is their belief that it is. One of Autobon's criticisms was that I had used my position as a mod to formally choose a side in the debate and validate their claim with my decision. I believe that if I apologize that I was in error, that the comparison was not valid (implying that it is not an issue of equality either) it will recreate this exact same criticism only instead I would be siding with Autobon on the matter and validating his claim that it is not a matter of equality.
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 PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:52 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Honestly, Autobon has been acting trollishly in my opinion. I'm not really happy with his posts.
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 PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:47 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Joined: 02 Feb 2008
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Location: New York, USA

So I recently received a PM from Autobon. He had apparently edited out a portion of the message with the explanation that OMB had replied to him. what remained of his PM was the following

Quote:
I would appreciate if I could be part of the discussions. I do not feel comfortable with people saying whatever they feel like about me (good or bad) and not being able to address it in a fair manner.


My personal feeling is that since his criticism is of my actions as a mod this is a purely mod/admin staff issue and he has no part in the final determination or the discussion that leads to that determination. To be honest the reason I initially opened up communication with OMB and IR2 via PM was because I was concerned that Autobon still had staff forum privileges and would be privy to the discussion.

In any event I've not responded to him since I don't want to make things more difficult by acting on my own. I will post any future PMs I receive from Autobon however I am very hesitant to reply to any PMs as I am not sure it is appropriate for the mod whose actions he questioned to unilaterally write and send a response.
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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 7:42 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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Quote:
I am very hesitant to reply to any PMs as I am not sure it is appropriate for the mod whose actions he questioned to unilaterally write and send a response.


That is a good point.

I haven't paid to close attention to autoban's posts so I'm going to go back and read them.
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 8:38 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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I've read over all of autobon's replies. I fully support the replies you made, Salaris. There is absolutely zero reason for you to apologize.

As far as autobon being "part of the discussion" that is a decision that is up to us. If we feel there is a need for him to see our reasoning, we will make sure those reasons are sent to him in a PM.

I understand your hesitancy to reply to him. If you want, I can reply to him, or you can post your reply here, we can give it a once over and make sure we're okay with it, then one of us can send it to autobon.

Regardless, Autobon is taking statistics and biased sources to support his extreme views. It's certainly a pain in the ass to deal with someone like that. I'll try and keep a closer eye on this thread from now on.
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 11:02 am Reply with quote  
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  DannikJerriko
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Jeez, how can he say that we can't compare African Americans and homosexuals (a perfectly valid argument; to sets of peoples routinely and historically suppressed by society) and then compare them to paedophiles? He said African Americans have fought for ages for their rights, and is insulting to them, but homosexuals (and people in favour of freedom) are just starting their fight. Actually, this fight has been going on since the 60's.

I can't be bothered to talk to him. Not worth the trouble.
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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 1:04 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Thanks Skuls for the support.

Darth Skuldren wrote:

I understand your hesitancy to reply to him. If you want, I can reply to him, or you can post your reply here, we can give it a once over and make sure we're okay with it, then one of us can send it to autobon.


I think in this case I'd prefer to let you or one of the admins handle replying to Autobon. This is just my gut feeling but I think if he only gets replies from me if he doesn't like the response he'll dismiss it as bias on my part that doesn't reflect the whole mod/admin staff's opinion. Whereas if someone else is contacting him it is without a doubt the opinion of the mod/admin staff and not just me.

I believe this would be the wisest course of action both in response to his request to become involved in the discussion and the final decision when it is reached (I'm at least assuming the jury is still out since neither IR2 or OMB have posted here; although I'm totally fine if they elected to have their discussion via PM).

EDIT: I believe that when the final decision is reached we'll need to make a public clarification on whether we are maintaining that debate of the legal rights of gays is off limits and whether things like gay marriage can still be discussed provided the debate is about the moral issues not the legal ones. It is my impression anyway that the community is unsure where the mod/admin staff stands on these points.
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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 2:08 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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As is, are these the three PM's from Autobon that need to be replied to? Or have any of them been addressed already?

Quote:
I understand that a moderator may determine subject matter, there is no argument there. What upset me was the fact you took a major argument of the pro-homosexual marriage side (homosexuals are identical to oppressed African Americans) and then essentially validated it by proposing to stop discussions on legal issues.

You did this on your authority as a moderator, as is evident by you asking others to contact you by PM with questions and concerns. This is what upset me. You should not have taken a side in the argument as a moderator in order to shut down an extremely important part of the discussion.


Quote:
I would appreciate if you would post an apology in the thread for comparing homosexuals to oppressed African Americans, which in turn falsely portrayed me and others as hateful racists that want to take rights away from people.


Quote:
I would appreciate if I could be part of the discussions. I do not feel comfortable with people saying whatever they feel like about me (good or bad) and not being able to address it in a fair manner.
_________________

"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 2:19 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Darth Skuldren wrote:
As is, are these the three PM's from Autobon that need to be replied to? Or have any of them been addressed already?

Quote:
I understand that a moderator may determine subject matter, there is no argument there. What upset me was the fact you took a major argument of the pro-homosexual marriage side (homosexuals are identical to oppressed African Americans) and then essentially validated it by proposing to stop discussions on legal issues.

You did this on your authority as a moderator, as is evident by you asking others to contact you by PM with questions and concerns. This is what upset me. You should not have taken a side in the argument as a moderator in order to shut down an extremely important part of the discussion.


Quote:
I would appreciate if you would post an apology in the thread for comparing homosexuals to oppressed African Americans, which in turn falsely portrayed me and others as hateful racists that want to take rights away from people.


these first two came in a single PM. To my knowledge OMB received a similar PM and informed Autobon that he received them and would look into it. (I am unsure what specifically OMB wrote but I gather he sent a reply along those lines).

I am unaware of any additional follow up being sent either letting him know that things are progressing or what the final decision is. As I said I'm unsure if there has been a final decision since no admin has posted here.

Quote:
Quote:
I would appreciate if I could be part of the discussions. I do not feel comfortable with people saying whatever they feel like about me (good or bad) and not being able to address it in a fair manner.


this PM has not been replied to.
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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 3:48 pm Reply with quote  
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  DannikJerriko
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[quote=Autobon]"personal [and] opinionated"[/quote]

Ooooooh, he went for the grammar shot.

(I know I'm not helping, I'm sorry Wink He just annoys me so much)
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Last edited by DannikJerriko on Sat May 26, 2012 5:08 pm; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 4:55 pm Reply with quote  
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  VileZero
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DannikJerriko wrote:
[quote=Autobon]"personal [and] opinionated"[/url]

Ooooooh, he went for the grammar shot.

(I know I'm not helping, I'm sorry Wink He just annoys me so much)


No, that's not a grammar shot. He's just quoting him for context and correctly used brackets. He's someone that edits a post and then adds, "EDIT: placed the word "the" in a sentence" to make perfectly clear what he's changed in his post.

I'm not a moderator, but I've been following this thread since its inception and thought I might offer my own thoughts into the debate based on how I've been reading it as an outsider looking in.

Judging from Autobon's posts, I think he feels like he's being backed into a corner. Here's someone with a much different viewpoint on a debate topic than everyone else, but he comes to the game armed with his facts and an eagerness to push back on things that the other members agree with. He hasn't gone out of his way to actively antagonize the other members in the debate, although clearly other members have felt insulted by his viewpoints in this debate. Something that he clearly doesn't seem to understand, because at various points he goes out of his way to tell other members that he's just debating and isn't personally attacking anyone. But at the same time, he's now got two different moderators engaging him in a debate that is now quickly becoming personal with this latest volley today. If I were in his shoes, I'd feel a little persecuted too.

Salaris - I think you've been acting very admirable in this entire situation! And you definitely have nothing to apologize for. This seems to be Autobon feeling embarrassed, but a public apology isn't going to do anything to change... well, anything. He's got extreme views, and he knows it. The flack that comes with it just comes with the territory.

That said, I think limiting what can be debated isn't the right way to go about debating. Once you start to limit a debate, it ceases to become a debate. It's better to let him offer his point, and then to simply ignore points he raises if you strongly disagree with him. By continuing to engage him, you're just giving him more space to debate. You'll never change his mind, and he'll never change yours. But if you ignore him, or certain parts of his posts when responding, you can still direct the conversation in whatever way you'd like.

Again, just my two cents!


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 PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 8:13 am Reply with quote  
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  Old Master Ben
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I agree with Vile. I don't enjoy limiting the specifics of a debate. But you don't owe him an apology. We need to have a solution that is fair, because I don't think anyone did anything that is really wrong here. Just a few choices that might have been handled differently.

In my opinion, the whole thread just needs to be canned. It hasn't produced anything productive for the forums.


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 PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 11:24 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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would an acceptable compromise be to give limited allowance to discussing specific legal issues? Basically allow for debate of current events be it recent court cases, legislation, or standard newspaper articles.

As it stands I'm perfectly fine with giving the green light to debate of gay marriage within the frame work of moral issues and/or questions related to "what is the purpose of marriage" (seeing as we have a thread devoted to the purpose of marriage I don't see why nearly identical debate wouldn't be permissible in the homosexuality thread).

I do think debate (particularly legal ones) that is in the abstract just tends to result in ideological trench warfare. I'll grant that it is possible such debate could be productive but I'm a tad skeptical that the benefits of allowing it outweigh the division it might create.

I may just be overly optimistic but I think it might be possible to save the thread if we give some clear direction to it. Granted limiting what can be debate isn't ideal but in my opinion it is preferable to prohibiting debate of an entire subject. I can certainly see the argument for closing it however so I will fully support that action if that is the decision of the mod/admin staff.
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 PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 12:27 pm Reply with quote  
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  Old Master Ben
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We'll put it to a vote, then. Mods/Admins only.

Vote to keep the thread open and establish rules limiting the debate topics, or vote to close the thread.


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 PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 10:46 pm Reply with quote  
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  VileZero
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Ooooh, I'm a site admin! I get a vote! Yes!

I vote close it.

If you're going to limit debate topics, you might as well just close it. Perhaps with a caveat that, when something involving gay marriage makes headlines again, it can be reopened for discussion at that time. Autobon seems to post almost exclusively in The Meditation Grove, so he's someone that enjoys debating and articulating his viewpoints. If he's approaching the forums as a place to debate serious topics, that's not good for him or the community. And let's be honest - if you tell him you're going to limit the debate then he's going to publicly rage against the decision as he already did at the mere suggestion of limiting the debate.

Better to just close the thread and be done with it, in my opinion.


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