On Having a right, and Being right

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Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 12:55 pm
An example:

Justin has just banned a member. Now, without discussing the particular merits or demerits of the particular banning, Justin, and others argued that Justin had the right to ban the member in support of his having done so. But isn't it clear that argument is a non sequitur? No one (at least in his right mind) would argue that Justin or other moderators, did not have the right to ban whom they thought it was appropriate to ban. As, someone said. It was Justin's house, so he had the right to deny entry to whomever he wished. No argument there. But that is not the issue. The issue is not whether Justin had the right to ban the member, but whether he was right to do so. I suppose it is easy to confuse having a right to do X, and being right to do X, because they look and sound alike. But they are very different issues. A person may have the right to do something (the authority, that is) and still, it may be wrong for him to exercise that right, that authority. District Attorneys, for instance, often have the authority to arrest or to prosecute someone, but choose not to do so because the special circumstances of the case would make it wrong to do so. A teacher may have the authority to grade very harshly, but not do it because it would be wrong to do so. Having authority is one thing, judging when and how to exercise that authority is quite a different thing.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:03 pm
@kennethamy,
Justin was in the right for banning the member, and he was not alone with his desire to do so. Violent Meme was a troll that was causing problems. He was a new member and continuously broke the forum guidelines for appropriate behavior. As a moderator I get sick of dealing with trolls, and the faster we get rid of them, the better off the forum will be as a whole. The community will be better off without Violent Meme floating around attracting flies to his sh!t.
 
Justin
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:06 pm
@kennethamy,
The battle is won. I was wrong for banning him. I'll admit to being wrong as well. On the positive side of things, I have eliminated the need for multiple PMs sent arguing the with member as I simply closed the door. I may actually be wrong for banning anyone which could also be the case.

This is not 'my house'. It is a large investment of time and money and it is an even larger investment of energy and one has to choose his battles. Two years ago I'd have been more reluctant to ban him but today it's different. I've become sort of numb due to the countless emails and PM communication with people who want to argue with me about what I will and will not allow on this forum. I don't have the time, energy, nor do I have the desire to argue with people about what they've posted on the forum.

To make things right though, I will prepare a welcome post that will outline why a person may be banned. This could eliminate some of these folks registering to begin with which may be a good solution.

So to argue here whether I was right or wrong is a mute point. I was wrong and I'll admit it and I'll admit that I'll be wrong again in the future and hopefully learn from my mistakes. So there we have it.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:07 pm
@kennethamy,
Having moderated a few forums myself I think it's imperative that those who spend their time and money administering it are supported by those who appreciate their boards. I ran a forum for a company and occasionally banned people who broke our terms or were rudely critical of our staff - and every time I had to do so it was a hard decision and I recieved similar "abuse of authority" arguments from some members of the community.

As this is Justin's house (EDIT - I see he doesn't agree, but it's how I tend to view it nevertheless) I think he does have the right to tell people to leave, if I came over to your house and spoke in a way that offended you and yours would you be happy to remain my host - or would you abuse your authority and ask me to go home?

Justin's rules really, and whilst he hits the target more often than he misses I think this is a pretty sensibly adjudicated forum.

Not that I think you shouldn't constructively criticise - but when I was in Justin's position I theorised that if the obnoxious thick-skins were given a free run of the place they would soon be the only ones left, and the fact that other posters acted up in the face of bannings resulted more from lack of empathy with me, rather than empathy for the trolls.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:09 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;74038 wrote:
Justin was in the right for banning the member, and he was not alone with his desire to do so. Violent Meme was a troll that was causing problems. He was a new member and continuously broke the forum guidelines for appropriate behavior. As a moderator I get sick of dealing with trolls, and the faster we get rid of them, the better off the forum will be as a whole. The community will be better off without Violent Meme floating around attracting flies to his sh!t.


But who was arguing that Justin was not right to ban Violent Meme? I wasn't in the post I initiated (although I happen to think that Justin was wrong to do so). But that has nothing to do with what my post was about. By the way, what does, "in the right" mean? That Justin had the right to ban VM, or that Justin was right to ban VM? "In the right" seems to mean both. But I don't know.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:14 pm
@kennethamy,
It's a statement of support surely, rather than some sort of tautological axiom.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:26 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;74042 wrote:
Having moderated a few forums myself I think it's imperative that those who spend their time and money administering it are supported by those who appreciate their boards. I ran a forum for a company and occasionally banned people who broke our terms or were rudely critical of our staff - and every time I had to do so it was a hard decision and I recieved similar "abuse of authority" arguments from some members of the community.

As this is Justin's house (EDIT - I see he doesn't agree, but it's how I tend to view it nevertheless) I think he does have the right to suggest people to leave, if I came over to your house and spoke in a way that offended you and yours would you be happy to remain my host - or would you abuse your authority and ask me to go home?

Justin's rules really, and whilst he hits the target more often than he misses I think this is a pretty sensibly adjudicated forum.

Not that I think you shouldn't constructively criticise - but when I was in Justin's position I theorised that if the obnoxious thick-skins were given a free run of the place they would soon be the only ones left, and the fact that other posters acted up in the face of bannings resulted more from lack of empathy with me, rather than empathy for the trolls.


Who argued, or did not think, that Justin had the right to ban VM, or whomever he decided it was appropriate to ban? Certainly, I did not. And it would be very ignorant to argue that way, for clearly Justin has the authority to ban whomever he pleases, for the reason you gave. So you are arguing about what is not even at issue.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:30 pm
@kennethamy,
I didn't really think I was arguing at all, but if you wish to parse it that way I don't mind.

I was offering an explantion of my opinion as to why an 'abuse' (or use, as I see in this case) of authority isn't always a bad thing - together with some proofing - as far as I saw it.
 
Justin
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:35 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;74037 wrote:
But that is not the issue. The issue is not whether Justin had the right to ban the member, but whether he was right to do so. I suppose it is easy to confuse having a right to do X, and being right to do X, because they look and sound alike. But they are very different issues. A person may have the right to do something (the authority, that is) and still, it may be wrong for him to exercise that right, that authority. District Attorneys, for instance, often have the authority to arrest or to prosecute someone, but choose not to do so because the special circumstances of the case would make it wrong to do so. A teacher may have the authority to grade very harshly, but not do it because it would be wrong to do so. Having authority is one thing, judging when and how to exercise that authority is quite a different thing.

So what's the issue? I admitted to my wrong doings why are we going to continue going back and forth on all this? If there's another issue than the one you stated above, let me know so we can clear that one up as well.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:46 pm
@kennethamy,
VM came across as extremely racist.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 01:49 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;74037 wrote:
The issue is not whether Justin had the right to ban the member, but whether he was right to do so.
Without being privy to our staff-level policies, our discussions about other parallel situations, our scrutiny of that member's entire opus of posts, and our general charge to maintain the quality and mission of this community, I respectfully submit that you are not in the position to judge this decision with all the facts and considerations at hand.

Secondly, in a mere thirty posts this member espoused 1) violence against children, 2) racism, 3) antisemitism, 4) misogyny, 5) vulgarity, and 6) banal and unfettered arrogance. That's quite an accomplishment on his part -- at least to get all that in without getting banned earlier.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 02:34 pm
@Aedes,
Justin you are a fair minded individual and by questioning your judgement i never doubted your right or your intentions to keep this a valued forum.I just wanted the opportunity to question what to me appeared to be too extreme to be serious ,so had to be sick humour.I have read the support for murder here in real terms in the last week, now that really hissed me of and it was definitely not intended as being humorous.Thanks xris..
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 03:00 pm
@kennethamy,
Xris, please report posts like that when you see them!
 
Catchabula
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 03:42 pm
@Aedes,
[Retracted as rather stupid and irrelevant. Sorry folks]
 
jgweed
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 04:02 pm
@kennethamy,
Being a moderator and an administrator for other forums, I fully support any action an owner, administrator, or moderator takes in banning Members for violation of published community/forum rules.
But it is my experience that actions removing a Member are not taken lightly nor are they made arbitrarily; usually the removal is made only after an attempt is made to bring the infraction (s) to the Member's attention and provide him an opportunity to remedy his own actions, and if that fails, only after discussion and consensus by staff members.
Cheers,
John
 
manored
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 04:37 pm
@kennethamy,
I suppose that certain rights are actually limited in a complex manner. Like a policeman has the right to drag people to the police-station, but will quickly lose it if he does so wrongly. So I suppose that besides a difference between having a right and being right, there is also a difference between having a limited right and one you can exercise freely Smile

Oh, and despite the fact that his sense of fairness will massacre him later, this is Justin's forum, so he can do whatever he wants here Smile
 
Justin
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 05:01 pm
@manored,
jgweed;74091 wrote:
But it is my experience that actions removing a Member are not taken lightly nor are they made arbitrarily; usually the removal is made only after an attempt is made to bring the infraction (s) to the Member's attention and provide him an opportunity to remedy his own actions, and if that fails, only after discussion and consensus by staff members.

You are right jg. What I didn't do was attempt to curb or contact the member or issue infractions. This is something that we really need to set up so people know their limits and can push as far as they want but know that there will be reprimands for doing so. However, we did have staff member consensus and discussion along with several reported posts by this member.

After a few years of admin experience and learning to deal with people in the forums there are flags and as these flags pop up, it's much easier to close that door quickly then to deal with it by communicating. The way I see it, is if people come right into this forum and start right away with the crap, then it's a flag. Then we have to decide whether or not it's beneficial or detrimental to the community. This process has become easier as time goes on.

We all have our days where we say things we don't mean or we act in ways we wouldn't have acted had we given it a bit of thought. I'm as guilty as anyone here when it comes to that. Setting up a system of infractions based on actions and having it in black and white would be beneficial to all though so lets work on that portion of it.

JG, as we discussed, you have resumed your position as global moderator of this forum and I'm open to any and all suggestions you have for improvement.

manored;74096 wrote:
I suppose that certain rights are actually limited in a complex manner. Like a policeman has the right to drag people to the police-station, but will quickly lose it if he does so wrongly. So I suppose that besides a difference between having a right and being right, there is also a difference between having a limited right and one you can exercise freely Smile

Oh, and despite the fact that his sense of fairness will massacre him later, this is Justin's forum, so he can do whatever he wants here Smile

Technically it may be my forum but theoretically this forum is ours. When I say ours, I'm including the members that have been here and have posted to and donated and contributed to this community as a whole. I don't want to be a loose cannon admin that bans people in ways I've seen on other forums but I do want to keep things here respectful and peaceful with room for error.

Thank you all for responding as this is a legit concern and I appreciate Kennethamy's post and hope I've done my best to respond. Understand that I'm not here to govern a forum with an iron fist and don't want to. I was raised under an authoritarian stepfather which I may have acquired a bit of that personality but as a whole, fairness and open mindedness is what I'm after. A place where one can come and participate and not be ridiculed or beaten down with words.

Anyway, I've been wrong many times in my life and have learned from mistakes in the past. However, when it all comes down to it, I would hope we can have a peaceful and enlightening forum where ANYONE can discuss philosophy and topics that will raise the consciousness of all and at the same time provide an environment to agree to disagree and quite possibly make this place a home for the members here who are like minded in the sense of pursuing peaceful communication in a social environment which enriches us all.

Again, thank you for expressing your concerns and thank you for the supportive comments as well.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 05:02 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;74056 wrote:
Without being privy to our staff-level policies, our discussions about other parallel situations, our scrutiny of that member's entire opus of posts, and our general charge to maintain the quality and mission of this community, I respectfully submit that you are not in the position to judge this decision with all the facts and considerations at hand.

Secondly, in a mere thirty posts this member espoused 1) violence against children, 2) racism, 3) antisemitism, 4) misogyny, 5) vulgarity, and 6) banal and unfettered arrogance. That's quite an accomplishment on his part -- at least to get all that in without getting banned earlier.


I am not in a position to judge this decision, and I did not judge this decision. I simply pointed out that it does not follow from the fact that Justin has the right to ban the member, that he was right to ban the member. I did say that I thought that Justin was wrong to ban the member on the ground that the member advocated violence, since it is untrue that the member advocated violence. But this is not about whether Justin was right to ban the member, nor whether he had the right to ban the member. It is about the argument that since he had the right to ban the member, he was right to ban the member. That argument is clearly fallacious. I am sure you agree.
 
Justin
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 05:05 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;74105 wrote:
I am not in a position to judge this decision, and I did not judge this decision. I simply pointed out that it does not follow from the fact that Justin has the right to ban the member, that he was right to ban the member. I did say that I thought that Justin was wrong to ban the member on the ground that the member advocated violence, since it is untrue that the member advocated violence. But this is not about whether Justin was right to ban the member, nor whether he had the right to ban the member. It is about the argument that since he had the right to ban the member, he was right to ban the member.

Oh geez, why are we arguing the semantics of it. I banned the member and admit to being wrong in the way it was done... but it's done and it's just one less thing I have to deal with at the moment.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 1 Jul, 2009 05:44 pm
@Justin,
Justin;74108 wrote:
Oh geez, why are we arguing the semantics of it. I banned the member and admit to being wrong in the way it was done... but it's done and it's just one less thing I have to deal with at the moment.


We are not arguing "semantics" whatever that means. I was making a distinction between having a right to do something, and its being right to do that things. I also pointed out that it does not follow from the fact that you have a right to do X, that you are right to do X. It is a matter of logic, not of "semantics". But, I think it is a good thing to hold that distinction in mind. Don't you?
 
 

 
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