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  • What is Negative? Rule 2.

    Hello all

    This is an attempt to get some consensus on the community view of Rule 2. Much the same as we did in this thread: http://www.propertytalk.com/forum/sh...highlight=Rule

    in regards to 2.B

    Originally posted by Rules
    2) Negative comments about ANY company (including PT) or individual may be allowed so long as;

    2.a) The comments are not hear say (i.e. comments must be first hand experience)

    2.b) The poster gives their real name. (This, even if they represent a company, should be the writer's own individual name)

    2.c) There is an understanding that, if a thread becomes heated, PT reserves the right at their discretion, to either edit or remove any post that the Moderators may deem destructive, and/or as a last resort, lock the thread.

    2.d) If there was any question as to the authenticity of the person posting the message/thread, the company or individual may question this. Any benefit of a doubt would be given to the company or individual if it was suspected that the negative comments were purely malicious.
    Rule 2 and in particular 2.B generates most of the moderating work on this forum.

    However some are currently suggesting that the moderators are over zealous in their interpretation of it.

    In particular several people have recently protested or supported the notion that the moderators are wrongly viewing some posts as negative.

    Instead it is claimed that those posts are critical and /or a public service since some people claim they are unmasking villainous behaviour.

    Likewise some have suggested that if comments are true then they cannot be negative.

    (I apologise if I am not quite stating these positions right, and please do correct me if you feel that I am portraying something wrongly.)

    And as Cube points out there is a difficulty in determining exactly what counts as a negative comment, sometimes things may be taken as negative by someone simply because it offends them, even if their offence is based on a misunderstanding.

    The view of the moderators is that it doesn't matter whether comments are true or false, nor whether they may be public service or not, if they are broadly viewable from an outsiders position as critical of a specific company or individual then they are negative and trigger rule 2

    Note of course this doesn't mean criticism can't be made, all it means is that when it is made it must be signed with the poster's full name.

    However we would welcome the thoughts of the PT community on this.

    I have set this up as a poll, but, as I am sure you will recognise, it is hard to capture what the different possible positions on this may be in a poll format. So I have only allowed for a broad expression of your view in the poll. As such directed comments here will be much more useful so please let us know what you think.

    David Hunter
    PT Moderator
    19
    The moderators are misinterpreting Rule 2. They should be moderating far more on these grounds
    26.32%
    5
    The moderators have roughly the right interpretation
    57.89%
    11
    The moderators are misinterpreting Rule 2. They should be moderating far less on these grounds
    15.79%
    3
    New to property investing? See: Best PropertyTalk Threads for New and Old Investors And/Or:Propertytalk Wiki


  • #2
    My concerns are similar to cube's, in that 'negative' comment needs to be more clearly defined.

    An example perhaps might be:

    "Would this comment be deemed as libellous by a court".

    That may be a little excessive but raising the bar in some way might be useful.

    xris
    Last edited by xris; 29-06-2007, 08:41 AM. Reason: slander to libel

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by xris View Post
      My concerns are similar to cube's, in that 'negative' comment needs to be more clearly defined.

      An example perhaps might be:

      "Would this comment be deemed as slanderous by a court".

      That may be a little excessive but raising the bar in some way might be useful.

      xris
      Nothing every written on PT, or to be written in the future, could be considered slanderous by a NZ court of law.

      It might be considered libelous, and so leave the author open to an action under the Defamation Act 1992.

      There are, as I see it, two problems with a criterion of negativity tied to the Defamation Act 1992.

      The first is that it would require the moderators to do the work of the courts, in determining whether or not a comment would be deemed libelous/defamatory. It takes the courts a lot of effort to decide this - the moderators need an easier method for determining the negativity of a comment.

      The second problem is that tying the criterion of negativity to the Defamation Act 1992 might be too weak, in that it will allow many negative posts that should probably be moderated. Why? Well, Section 9 of the Defamation Act 1992 allows for a defence of "Honest Opinion" - if the defendant can establish that the purportedly defamatory statement was his or her honest opinion, then he or she has a defence against the charge of defamation. I suggest that most of the posts causing problems under rule 2b are the honest opinions of the authors of those posts. So the problem is not that the posts might be cause for legal action, but rather that they detract from the "harmonious functioning of the online community". (I made this last bit up.)

      I guess that the idea behind 2b is that people will be less willing to post negative comments if doing so as publicly identifiable figures. This stops anonymous troublemakers from making negative posts with impunity, and helps maintain the "harmonious functioning of the online community".

      I personally think that we should leave it to the moderators to determine whether a post is negative. I for one have faith that the moderators are capable of doing this.

      Paul.

      Comment


      • #4
        For those confused by Paul's quote of my post and the original post above it, which differ, I have changed libel for slander and blame the early morning semi-sleep condition for my unforgiveable error.

        xris
        Last edited by xris; 29-06-2007, 10:19 AM. Reason: typos

        Comment


        • #5
          bad boy poormastery

          The humble poormastery thinks the "negativity" rule is complete and utter drivel, but this might be because poormastery has the dubious honour of being the most censored poster on the site!

          Imagine this thread was about the Nazi Concentration Camps. What could we allowably say, using this positive thinking mantra? I suppose you could say on the “positive” side that the camps were a model of efficiency? Yet the humble poormastery would think that a comment like this would miss something important – such as the fact that these camps were the amongst the most unspeakably reprehensible acts recorded in human history.

          In other words, why shouldn’t poormastery be “negative” or critical when negativity is justified by the facts? I suppose I could give the my name (or my number on my arm per the example), but why should poormastery have to?

          Irrespectively, poormastery does much appreciate the job the monitors do under trying circumstances (poormastery's posts!), and I unreservedly thank you for a job well done.

          Keep up the good work!

          Regards,
          *bad boy poormastery*
          Last edited by poormastery; 29-06-2007, 09:22 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            sensitive wee petals or hard as nails????

            Originally posted by Monid View Post
            ........
            The view of the moderators is that it doesn't matter whether comments are true or false, nor whether they may be public service or not, if they are broadly viewable from an outsiders position as critical of a specific company or individual then they are negative and trigger rule 2 .....

            I have set this up as a poll, but, as I am sure you will recognise, it is hard to capture what the different possible positions on this may be in a poll format. So I have only allowed for a broad expression of your view in the poll. As such directed comments here will be much more useful so please let us know what you think

            David Hunter
            PT Moderator
            second part of the quote first..... you've admitted it yourself that your poll might be dodgey..... I think it's unworkable in it's current form......why
            Many people don't actually know how much moderation goes on......so I think more people who are unhappy about an apparent lack of moderation would vote rather than people who think it is over-moderated....for unless I see both the original post and the moderated one how can I tell to what extent posts are being moderated???

            now back to the top ....negative schmegative......it's just to much of an airy fairy term...for example I had a post moderated that said " hooray for boobies".........how that can be regarded in anyway as a negative comment I don't know ....childish, immature, asinine, certainly.........truth shouldn't be a escape clause IMHO for example if I called a certain person we all know a "big fat slob"...it's true but probably not all that relevant.

            I didn't find anything wrong with PM's "list of shame" and didn't think it deserved moderation

            I'm more thickskinned than perhaps a lot of people, and because of this I think these threads are probably overmoderated.

            I will say though that the mod's have a tricky job to do and as far as I'm concerned they are doing a bang up job.

            Cheers
            Spaceman
            Last edited by spaceman; 30-06-2007, 03:19 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Superdad
              I agree with what you are saying the legal standard is too high a bar to set.

              Originally posted by Superdad
              I guess that the idea behind 2b is that people will be less willing to post negative comments if doing so as publicly identifiable figures. This stops anonymous troublemakers from making negative posts with impunity, and helps maintain the "harmonious functioning of the online community".
              I think that it also does more than this. for example one of the things important to assessing how seriously a criticism should be taken is whether the criticiser has any reason to be biased. Imagine for a moment that Poormastery was revealed as David Hows (Which is definitely not the case I will hasten to add) then that would affect at least my judgement about the impartiality of his claims.

              Hi Poormastery having had a quick look at the moderators forum, while I am not going to name names you definitely are neither our most troublesome customer, nor the most moderated of them all, even I think recently. Sorry to disappoint

              In regards to why you should have to reveal your name... Well I guess the reason is as Superdad put it. It is thought that this leads to less off the cuff negative comments, and supports the spirit of this online community. We hope that being forced to sign their names to negative comments will make people not just shoot off, but to think about what they are saying and to make as strong a case as possible.

              Since there are no gas chambers anywhere I have looked on Propertytalk (Though I am still always finding new functions) I don't think the risks of signing your name are too high. There have been legal threats against members in the past who have signed their names, but these have come to nothing for the reasons Superdad gives above. And I don't think signing with your name really increases your risk since if a legal case was found against you I am guessing we could be legally forced to reveal your identity (Though I am certainly not a lawyer)

              Hi Spaceman
              I just want to agree that it is a fair point, a fair amount of the moderating is reasonably invisible, except to those who have been moderated... So it is harder to see that enough moderating has taken place than too much.

              However we don't just moderate on the basis of 2. there is 1. as well.

              Originally posted by spaceman
              for example I had a post moderated that said " hooray for boobies".........how that can be regarded in anyway as a negative comment I don't know ....childish, immature, asinine, certainly
              If I recall rightly, this was part of a small chain of posts commenting on Phil's wife. It was thought I believe that the chain probably broke rule 1.
              Originally posted by Rules
              1.b) upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any Postings or other materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, vulgar, obscene, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, religiously, sexually or otherwise objectionable
              So it wasn't a negative comment persay.

              Cheers
              David
              New to property investing? See: Best PropertyTalk Threads for New and Old Investors And/Or:Propertytalk Wiki

              Comment


              • #8
                I guess that when the rule was written (and although it was adopted by PT, I don't think we can claim original authorship ), the author was thinking 'negative' in terms of

                Originally posted by nobody in particular
                xyz company is cr*p. They said they would do such-and-such, but didn't. Avoid this company at all costs
                What has happened of late, and is continuing to happen, are comments that are demeaning coming under the 'negative' banner for moderation, because we don't have another rule to apply.

                Comments along the lines of

                Originally posted by misquoted, but you get the gist!
                "If you go to a seminar, you're a loser"
                "Why should anyone listen to you, you've only got x properties"
                "Why should we believe you, you work for/with/alongside/in the same town as THEM"
                Some comments made in jest can be demeaning, and its getting a bit like the comment to the cheekiest disruptive kid in the class - "They're not laughing with you, they're laughing at you" (something which is usually only partially true, IMHO!).

                Maybe we should add 'demeaning' to the list in Rule 1b., which, incidently, does NOT allow the defense of 'signing the post' to prevent moderation.

                The moderators can then determine that a post, or part of a post, is demeaning, and take appropriate action.

                Would the poster and the 'victim' agree on demeaning - probably not, but I think the moderators are able to take a mature stance and argue with the poster that 'can you see how it would appear demeaning to x?'.

                With less posts falling under moderation for being negative, and more use of 'threatening, abusive or demeaning', the debate of what is 'negative' may be less important.

                cube

                PT Moderator
                DFTBA

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cube
                  Maybe we should add 'demeaning' to the list in Rule 1b., which, incidently, does NOT allow the defense of 'signing the post' to prevent moderation.
                  I like Cube's suggestion.
                  I think some posters of late are very clever in their choice of words in order to hurl an insult and not break the existing rules.
                  It would appear the purpose of their post is not to contribute to our property knowledge but to demean another person or organisation.
                  I vote to include 'demeaning' (or another similar word) into the rules.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is "negative" ACTUALLY the issue?

                    Originally posted by Monid View Post
                    Since there are no gas chambers anywhere I have looked on Propertytalk (Though I am still always finding new functions)
                    Absolutely brilliant joke! Ghastly. Made me LOL.
                    Originally posted by Monid View Post
                    I don't think the risks of signing your name are too high. There have been legal threats against members in the past who have signed their names, but these have come to nothing ...
                    On the contrary, I've found one of the benefits of using my name (and business name) openly is the non-forum feedback I receive -- positive and negative. I remember a client of ours rang me to say he was offended by one of my posts, (he'd misunderstood my comment about someone else). "Crumbs, that's not what I meant!" I said, and tweaked it to clarify immediately. If I'd been posting as 'Groove Armada', I wouldn't have got that offline feedback.

                    I've had PMs and phonecalls from all sorts of people giving me extremely useful information about past and current happenings (thank you again) which would never have reached me if I'd been posting anonymously.

                    The downside is, I'm open to the 'you're just running down the competition' smear... which I try not to do, honestly ... and once someone's said that, they can stop thinking about what I'm actually saying or objecting to.

                    On the other hand, there was a time in PT's recent past when legal threats were flying around ... if I recall correctly, even a post from a certain party that "our lawyers are monitoring this thread". (Intimidating, and designed to be.) Having read reports of very real legal and other actions undertaken by that party at great expense over considerable time, I can understand why people would feel they should keep their heads down. It's not whether the threatened legal action 'comes to something' ...it's the cost/hassle of dealing with it. Why risk it?

                    I've copped it (in a small way) from anonymous posters impugning my motives, my judgement, my actions, my choice of laundry (but never my abs!) While it doesn't feel good not knowing who's actually saying those things about you and it's impossible to hold them accountable about their own motives etc ... so what? Life goes on.

                    I think "you're being negative, you're bashing, that's bad" is a criticism that's overused. It's sometimes used as a smokescreen and refuge for the indefensible. It's not about "the negative". Negative things will always, always need to be spoken about. Loudly. In my view it's part of this community's 'soul purpose' to issue the warnings that need to be issued. More strength to you!

                    In my view the real issue is ugly, insulting behaviour and language, as I've posted elsewhere. Mild insults and put-downs (mea culpa, occasionally, sure. PM or call me if I ever hurt your feelings - seriously) can quickly turn ugly when someone gets stung. If they react badly (names withheld to protect the guilty) the boards can turn septic pretty quick.

                    Physician heal thyself... I say, "Poster, moderate thyself."

                    The moderators (blessings be upon them them) should be a LAST resort, not a continuous filter, in my opinion. (Personally, I didn't see anything wrong with poormastery's 13 point list, but they are the mods, they did what they do. Their call.)

                    Tweaking the rules:
                    My hardest course at varsity (besides, gulp, statistics) was a philosophy paper on medical ethics. I loved it. Brain-fryingly hard questions on moral issues with real bite! My conclusion then was you can never get 'the rules' right. Why?
                    Because you can't legislate for righteousness.

                    Best wishes to all,
                    Peter Aranyi
                    Blog: www.ThePaepae.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think that this discussion is meaningful and needed from time to time. However I've missed something. Where can I find the fill list of rules? Someone please post a link to it.
                      The Son of Glenn

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Son of G
                        the rules can be found at the top of every forum or here:
                        http://www.propertytalk.com/forum/sh...highlight=Rule

                        Cheers
                        David
                        New to property investing? See: Best PropertyTalk Threads for New and Old Investors And/Or:Propertytalk Wiki

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks David. Reading the rules has given me a wider view of the discussion.

                          I've just relized that I do not normally browse PT by forum. I enter via a bookmark to the new posts search. Thus not knowing where to find the rules.

                          Keith
                          The Son of Glenn

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for that Peter I think you make some excellent points.

                            I think we are perhaps now talking about two different topics which have been conflated. The first is about what rule 2 means in terms of a statement being negative. It is at least thus far looking like on the whole the community supports the moderators view on this. Though I'd appreciate further input and guidance from the PT community.

                            The second point which you make well, is a growing sense of uncivil behaviour and indeed petty name calling on occasion.

                            I think Cube's suggestion is good on this front. Adding demeaning would strengthen our abilities to use rule 1. B to uphold community standards. I often hesitate myself to moderate on the grounds of 1.B because abusive or harassing is a very strong claim to make about a post.

                            Another suggestion borrowed from Somersoft by Muppet and modified a bit by Busy Lizzy is adding to the end of rule 1.B
                            Originally posted by Suggestion
                            Instead, be civil in your posts and be respectful of others views, irrespective of your opinion of those views
                            So the rule may now read:
                            Originally posted by modified rule?
                            1.b) upload, post, email or otherwise transmit any Postings or other materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, demeaning, vulgar, obscene, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically, religiously, sexually or otherwise objectionable. Instead, be civil in your posts and be respectful of others views, irrespective of your opinion of those views.
                            (New content is in bold)

                            Obviously it is early days in terms of deciding to actually modify the rules in this regard and Peter is right ideally it shouldn't need the moderators to keep things civil. But comments and suggestions as always are welcome.

                            Cheers
                            David
                            New to property investing? See: Best PropertyTalk Threads for New and Old Investors And/Or:Propertytalk Wiki

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Son of G View Post
                              Thanks David. Reading the rules has given me a wider view of the discussion.

                              I've just relized that I do not normally browse PT by forum. I enter via a bookmark to the new posts search. Thus not knowing where to find the rules.

                              Keith
                              Hi Keith
                              I actually do much the same myself and so do many posters I believe. Which may mean people do miss the rules. (Although I think it is suggested that you read them in the sign up process?)

                              This maybe means that we need to see if there is a way to put the rules somewhere where they are clearly visible from the new post search page, for the same reason the rules are embedded at the top of each forum, to remind people they exist and to provide easy access to them.

                              Technical Consult: Marc/SarahK am I again suggesting something that is technically very difficult? Or would this be rather easy?

                              Cheers
                              David
                              New to property investing? See: Best PropertyTalk Threads for New and Old Investors And/Or:Propertytalk Wiki

                              Comment

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