I see disappointingly little that merits the adjective “honest” in what TPTB have, in my view, unwisely, haphazardly, and ever-more-evidently irreversibly forced upon a distressed, anxious, and highly demoralized majority.
It is my opinion that an honest effort would have required openly soliciting public discussion regarding the proposed rule changes before deciding and implementing them. This did not happen, even though various administrators were explicitly asked repeatedly that the membership be shown at least this minimum degree of basic respect and courtesy.
It is my opinion that an honest effort would have required actively participating in such interactive discussions in full good faith, answering questions candidly and earnestly, rather than in what I consider to too often be a dismissive, condescending, or facetious manner. This did not happen.
It is my opinion that an honest effort would have required thoroughly explaining their justifications for the rule changes by providing multiple links to posts or threads that exemplified the problems the rule changes were meant to alleviate, and then set forth at sufficient length and detail just how the proposed changes would be expected to ameliorate the problem. This did not happen.
It is my opinion that an honest effort would have required that the administrators seriously solicit and then implement, on a trial basis, alternative solutions to the stated problems which would begin with the least impactful or drastic alternative and then moving on incrementally to more draconian solutions only if the less severe alternatives fail. Were The Powers That Be to open their minds and reboot their decision-making process – to begin anew and follow a method similar to the one this post describes – and after that process is complete it turns out that the rules as they stand right now (at least rule 2) are shown to be the best or only solution, then I will gladly cease and desist any and all objections. If greater funding is required to accomplish this, I, for one, will gladly contribute more to the cause. Who’s with me?
I think that is exactly right. I can guess at the motivation. Using my guesses I can see several options that I think would work. I think my ideas would not please everybody but they would go over better than the new rules. I’m sure others could come up with even better ideas. But it all starts with answering the the first question. Why? And no vague “raising the tone of the board” answers.
It’s not a bad suggestion at all, but I’m afraid it’s too late for that now. Ed’s probably thinking that yeah, he screwed the pooch on this one, but he doesn’t want to back down…or be seen to “give in” to the protests.
As an alternative, perhaps there could be a committee of mods/admins and posters…and not just the suckup posters…to jointly review board policy every 6 months or so, and make reccomendations. Yeah, that means Ed, Lynn and Gfactor would have to work with people they hate and want to leave…like me, or other vocal opponents of this ridiculous over-reaction.
I will admit that I am curious to know their thinking. I also have to say I liked the Pit exactly as it was, and moreover I really hate it when the community gets all torn apart like this.
But I am inclined to read between the lines. This didn’t occur in a vacuum. Ed had better things to do with his time than babysit the board up until the Chicago Reader was acquired by Creative Loafing which then did an economic faceplant of its own. Suddenly there are Barn House and Chicago Online subsections of the board, and not long after that, new Disneyfication of the Pit. C’mon, don’t you figure it’s a serious (& perhaps desperate) attempt to remake the board as more of an “intentional” reflection of their main branding [Straight Dope, Chi Reader, Creative Loafing]? Let’s face it, the Straight Dope Message Board has historically been a community that grew like weeds in a fertile lot, theoretically inspired by and relevant to the Straight Dope column but in practice “about anything” and they let grow there what will. Yeah, that’s exactly how I like it, but I bet that under economic pressure several heads ended up thinking thoughts like “OK we have this board, how can we make this board tie in with a more focused ‘product line’ that we desperately need to sell? How can it help advertise and/or bolster the other stuff that we do?”
In short, Ed took a gamble and it paid off. He made his changes, people huffed and puffed and kept coming anyway. I don’t like the guy one bit but he played it well and got his desired result. Good for him. You have the right to be outraged but don’t expect that to somehow turn into any kind of results.
That’s a great question. I have one for you: What would have been the perfect elapsed time for him to have bumped it? When was that Goldilocks-esque period where you would have looked at his bump and said “Oooh, perfect. I guess I have nothing to add”?
Although there’s some eye-rolling going on, I have to say in honesty that the SDMB appears to me to be almost no different than it was at any other time in the last 6 months or so. There seems to be the same number of threads, same number of posters, same sorts of questions and answers in GQ, same topics argued in GD, same traffic in Cecil’s forum and in the Staff Reports forum, etc. The only thing which seems to have changed is the Pit seems less active and less rancorous. I guess one can argue whether those observations are accurate or, if they are accurate, if that’s a bad thing.
I have to agree. I’m sure Ed was gambling on this. If so, he got his expected outcome. While there was considerable outrage over the restrictions placed on the Pit, I think that more pain was felt due to the way it was instigated and handled. But he knew that would blow over - as it has.