A non-negotiable group policy about political content?

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  • Last reply 2 months ago
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  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Gentlemen, the ‘custom and practice’ of keeping politics out of posts here on iModeler has been central to its unrivalled success as a social site. We are diverse, but we all share our love of building models, having fun and finding friendship here, and these are the central tenets upon which this wholesome community is founded.

    I would like to ask that all postings from this point forward adhere to that spirit and be written so that they contain no partisan political comment.

    While I am absolutely certain that many members hold robust and wide-ranging political views and that some may be active in the passionate world of party politics, this is simply not the place to express those views.

    To aid those who would choose to debate politics from time to time, rather than engage in the more genteel world of social scale modelling, I can recommend the following forum:

    https://www.debatepolitics.com/

    While I accept that much of the subject matter we research, write about and represent using models, is based on the political world of conflict throughout history, I now have to introduce a protocol for this group build to ensure that we quietly return to the positive culture of our community.

    1. From this point forward please do not make partisan political comment in posts.

    2. Please ensure that any historical political reference you deem appropriate for narrative purposes does not suffer ‘mission creep’ into current issues.

    To return this group build to a politics-free zone I am (unfortunately) going to ask that the following actions are taken:

    1. Please have a brief look back at your posts and edit them to remove any comment that you know to have over-stepped the custom of our community regarding political content.

    2. Please be aware that on the July 15th I will be reviewing all current threads in this GB (including my own) and deleting previous posts containing overt political content. This will be done without comment or judgement on the views being expressed.

    3. Please expect that new posts that make partisan political reference will be immediately deleted in their entirety, again without comment or judgement on the views being expressed.

    This action has been prompted by respectful feedback and concern from a number of members of the iModeler community. While I recognise this raises issues of censorship and free speech, it has become my responsibility, as admin for the group, to draw this to the attention of its members. By having no ‘politics’ we maintain the peace and positivity, and allow the focus to be broadly maintained on our projects.

    I am deliberately avoiding the use of names here, so no-one need take offence. Please understand that I have found this a challenging post to write, and that nothing would make me happier than to have the group return to the laudable haven of self-regulation that it has been before.

    I am very happy to discuss this – but as I believe this to be more appropriate matter for an open forum I do not wish to receive PMs on the process. I would like it to remain entirely transparent. All I would ask is that members reflect upon the spirit of this post before replying. I am equally happy for this ‘editorial approach’ to be adjusted after some healthy, respectfully delivered suggestions. I am confident then, that after some prudent reflective editing of our own posts, I won’t have to act at all.

    In summary, please read your posts back to ensure that nothing in the content is of political nature or will cause offence. If in doubt I’d suggest you don’t post or that you run ideas past someone else before you do. Many posts are diverse in their content and opinion, many head off at a tangent before returning to the build. My own view is that this is the social side of the community, and that sterility would befall us if they didn’t – others will disagree. We are all able to politely work through those differences as we go along.

    A final point that I’d like to make is that feedback is always best when framed so that it is positive, respectful and emotionally intelligent. While nothing deflates us more than a haranguing or being ‘bluntly corrected’, nothing improves us like thoughtfully offered feedback. It is sometimes difficult to achieve the tone we wish to in written form – and it is easy to be misunderstood despite writing with the best intentions. Feedback is a supportive kindness and a gift and is best composed as such!

    Thanks for reading and reflecting upon this and of course for making the RAF100 group build a wonderful tribute to those who have served across the past century. We have heading towards 150 builds between the two inventory categories and as such the final reveal should be brilliant as a result of all of our modelling efforts!

  • Craig Abrahamson said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Thanks for posting this, Paul.

  • George Henderson said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Good stuff. Personally I haven’t seen any and I always thought that this was the best site I am a member of for keeping things off the controversial topics. Maybe I’m not here enough

  • david leigh-smith said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    100% support every point, Paul.

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Paul, though like George Henderson, I haven’t seen much in political statements or references on this site though maybe one swipe of a comment towards Trump on one of my threads, otherwise it has been all about modeling. Right now we live in a very volatile state not only here in the US but it is a worldwide dilemma. See enough of it in the news all day long. I find this site to be a sanctuary and don’t need to have the drama posted here anywhere on current events. Historical view is different and part of a diorama or model that has a story behind it. As long as the facts are given in a way not to offend and create an uncomfortable feeling to someone who lives in a country that may have participated in stuff that happened years ago. As swastikas to this day are banned in Europe and cannot be displayed even on models if that is still the case in public view. This a good point Paul to voice what needs to be said. Be civil to each other, be passionate in your hobby and continue to keep this wonderful site as it has always been, bothers and sisters who share a hobby and are all in one accord to enjoy it.

  • Michel Verschuere said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    I agree, this is no political forum. I don’t think I did ever but let me know in case you find some comments away from the neutral! Thanks Paul.

  • David Mills said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Thanks Paul for taking the time and effort,and care that you have on this post.I agree with George’s comments and you have my full support

  • James B Robinson said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Well put Paul. I am in total agreement!

  • Louis Gardner said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    One thing that has always drawn me to this website (besides the great people I have had the opportunity to become friends with, AND some fantastic model building talent displayed here), is the lack of political statements and generally good camaraderie among the members. If I wanted to view or participate in such political activities, I would search for things like that at another location, not here on Imodeler.

    Imodeler is definitely not the place for this type of behavior. It is uncalled for. As grown adults we should continue to self police ourselves as we have in the past. It should never have been necessary for Paul to have written a journal entry such as this one.

    We are supposed to be civilized adults and we should act like we are. If anything, we should try to follow the “Golden Rule” and treat others like we would want to be treated ourselves.

    Paul,
    Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to address this problem. As moderator of this Group Build it shows that you take your duties seriously, and you should.

    Hopefully this will serve as an eye opener for the few who have conducted themselves in such a negative manner, and they will refrain from such behavior in the future.

    Thanks again everyone for not condoning such behavior. We are all better than this, and Imodeler is still the best website ever ………..

    Now let’s get back to business. I have a few Hurricane kits calling my name. 🙂

  • Stephen W Towle said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Clauseitwitz “”War is the continuation of politics by other means.”
    If your modeling objects of war you are a practitioner.
    Its a oxymoron like in Strange Love ” Gentile men there will be no fighting in the War Room” to be afraid of another mans opinions and not to have a discourse because, you might get into a argument is based on fear. If you don’t like another mans opinion you can filter his or her’s posts, close your eyes, cover your mouth and put your fingers in your ears. We have the technology on this site which is designed for people who can’t stand see no,speak no and hear no.

    There have been posts that I have disagreed and have commented to the editor…offered an opinion …like writing to the editor in a paper but, I have never advocated a policy of censor ship of freedom of speech. Which this statement is all about.

    Play the ball and not the man. Tolerance and patience and don’t be afraid to go into the night because, of free speech. You can always block it.

    Scrubbing political comments because, of folks beliefs or politics of not having politics, on a forum that models the tip of the spear of politics is a asymmetrical attack on democracy.

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Coming late to this due to continued ISP problems hopefully now resolved, I looked through this thread and the closest thing I see to “politics” are memories of childhood experiences in the educational system, good and bad. The only way I see that as “upsetting” is if it triggered some bad memories for someone. Other than that, my experience of participating in those discussions is that I have a deeper and better understanding of my fellow members of our great club. The discussion has even led to my sharing my experiences of being an undiagnosed Aspergian in the educational system with another member whose day job involves understanding that problem, and I think I have improved things for him by providing him more information, which we’re now doing off the board. That would never have happened without the “political” discussion that came up here – and lots of young undiagnosed Aspergians in that school system are only going to benefit.

    So far as anything else, I think Steve Towle has covered everything well and see no need to “reinvent the wheel.”

    Respectful discussions never hurt anyone and generally improve things.

  • Stephen W Towle said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Respectful discussions never hurt anyone and generally improve things.

    Amen.

  • John Healy said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Sorry it came to this, Paul. I personally haven’t seen any political comment, but I’m not reading every comment. Back to Victors and Defiants!

  • Tom Cleaver said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Before people go around making unilateral decisions for everyone else, I suggest you remember (if you were around at the time) back to 2004, when “The Web’s Leading Modeling Site” had a few “patriotic individuals” decide that the discussion group there needed ideological cleansing. Prior to that summer, one needed to go to that discussion site every couple of hours, or all the thousands of posts would cycle past and be gone. The site died as what it was as people left for friendlier climes. Today, when you go there, if there are 10 new posts in 24 hours it’s a “wave.”

    The exclusionists who seem to think their experience will be better if they exclude what bothers them are wrong. I have yet to have a discussion with anyone here with whom I know I do not share a worldview, where something useful doesn’t come along. Those with small minds who can’t take the challenge of knowing someone else thinks differently are missing most of the good stuff of life.

    And given there is no way of enforcing your views on anyone else here, the entire discussion is pointless. There’s nothing to negotiate when you’re dealing with stupidity. I have yet to find a way to control anyone else’s thinking and I doubt anyone here has learned the secret. For those who still don’t “get it,” that’s what the “mute” button is for. It will be your loss.

    Why is it 5% of the world’s modeler population is 98% of the white noise? That’s what I came here to get away from.

  • Paul Barber said 2 months, 1 week ago:

    Firstly, thanks for all of the responses thus far. I am respectful all points of view. In order to avoid mis-interpretation or worse misrepresentation I’ll clarify parts of my post:

    “While I accept that much of the subject matter we research, write about and represent using models, is based on the political world of conflict throughout history, I now have to introduce a protocol for this group build to ensure that we quietly return to the positive culture of our community.”

    So, as admin it was brought to my attention that party politics, sometimes in the form of name-calling was creeping into discussions and creating a negative atmosphere. As can be seen above I already agree entirely that we write about and build models of ‘the political’ – it goes with the turf! And when we do it through serious and ‘respectful’ discussion the culture and custom of the forum is retained. The issues drawn to my attention were about a lack of respect. In this forum, no good comes from that.

    My intent is not an attack on free speech or democracy, see below:

    “While I recognise this raises issues of censorship and free speech, it has become my responsibility, as admin for the group, to draw this to the attention of its members. By having no ‘politics’ we maintain the peace and positivity, and allow the focus to be broadly maintained on our projects.”

    This statement should have referred to explicitly to ‘no party politics’ – because the messages I received simply stated that many people come here as a haven from party politics, the vitriol that is too often associated with it, and whatever they see on CNN/Fox/Sky/BBC etc. Those outlets we can choose to switch off as we see fit. Others (myself included) choose to tune in to the channel that least represents their views. The reality is that people do disrespect the party political views of others. I disrespect the ‘party political’ views of certain ‘extremists’ on a daily basis! But not on here, because if that disrespect exists here then the whole culture of respect has gone.

    In short – the firestorm that could be caused by a throw-away emotive comment along the lines of ‘Bernie Sanders is an commie i***t and so are his supporters’ and, for balance ‘Rudi Giuliani is Trump’s lapdog’ or even as simple as ‘Brexit is great/sucks’ is what I am trying to get the group to self-manage. It is important to take up partisan political positions in life, but the message I am getting is that it is equally important to have place to divorce yourself from it. While I would never seek to apply that standard ‘unilaterally’ to the whole forum (that thankfully will never be my role or my wish), I believe it is what the majority of members of this particular group build would prefer.

    To start a debate like this from the position of ‘what should we do about party political comment in this group build?’ would get a different response to taking a position that can be adjusted as the members of the group see fit (see below). So I started from a position and invited discussion!

    “All I would ask is that members reflect upon the spirit of this post before replying. I am equally happy for this ‘editorial approach’ to be adjusted after some healthy, respectfully delivered suggestions. I am confident then, that after some prudent reflective editing of our own posts, I won’t have to act at all.”

    So I am happy to be getting a baseline for how the people here ‘feel’ and to apply the will of the majority of RAF100 iModelers, but would hope that people now know that one of the issues I refer to is the more emotive/provocative/crass comment, not the thoughtful and respectful one.

    The last part of the original post is also important to me and was based on messages of concern and feedback I’d received, but also one of my own core values:

    “feedback is always best when framed so that it is positive, respectful and emotionally intelligent. While nothing deflates us more than a haranguing or being ‘bluntly corrected’, nothing improves us like thoughtfully offered feedback and empathy. It is sometimes difficult to achieve the tone we wish to in written form – and it is easy to be misunderstood despite writing with the best intentions. Feedback is a supportive kindness and a gift and is best composed as such!’

    This thread might actually make that point for me! I can see already that it could descend into a shouting match. Choice of language sets the tone of respect. Showing kindness of thought and word as points are made, such that one would rarely if ever need a mute button, would make this a better place. Group administrators have kept the peace since online forums began, this is as much a forum mechanism as the mute button. To those who say it shouldn’t have come to this I agree. It may be too late to say that I don’t want to open Pandora’s box, but the spirit of this post is ‘sweet moderation’ for those quiet guys who come here to share what they have made without having it roughly pulled apart, or having posts spoiled by uninvited and overt party politics.

    In terms of their models, iModelers often share them with self-criticism, with enough bravery to ‘go public’ and with a little pride at having accomplished their current best. I’ll borrow from that highly political poet W.B.Yeats (my own personal favourite) to remind us all that each new wonderful thread says ‘I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’.

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