Friday, February 09, 2007

Message board Nazis

You know, I really enjoy writing my opinions on the internet and reading other people's opinions too. Before I ever blogged I was an active member in a few message boards and I am still a moderator on one.

In 2005, at one particular board, where I had an account that I rarely used, I posted a video that I had created to fire Gator fans up for the Florida State game. At the end of the video I had put up a slate with the URL of Zook Free Zone, the board I help moderate.

This was after Zook had been fired. Somebody in the thread picked up on the slate and started slamming the apparently unmentionable web site that spawned Zook Free Zone. But since they were attacking the site it was OK. When I defended the point of view of the unmentionable web site my account was terminated with no warning.

I sent an email to the administrator asking why I had been banned. I was not confrontational. I wanted to understand. What I received was rude response saying:

We allow no references to fireronzook web site. We think the site a terrible idea and we deleted all references to the site while Zook was the coach and will continue to do so.
That was it. No appeal to rationality worked. We exchanged a couple nasty emails which ended with me telling him he should have been a propaganda minister in the old USSR.

For more than a year I didn't think about that board until I started this blog. Then I started thinking of ways to promote the blog I decided to rejoin it. It's not hard to rejoin a message board that you've been banned from, and my intent was never to stir it up in the first place. I was a new user that didn't know the rules. A warning would have been nice. While I was joining to promote the blog I also wanted to give that board a second chance because it has a large membership (a lot of smart posters) and honestly message boards are addictive.

When I began reading the threads it was apparent that some of the old debates were still being waged. There were a couple of posters that insisted on defending Zook and even wanting to give him credit for the Gators MNC.

Sure enough, any time the discussion would turn to Zook or some other possibly controversial topic, the heavy handed moderation would begin. First the thread would be locked so that nobody could post anymore comments then after the thread would drop to the 2nd page it would vanish. I tried very hard to make my points without offending.

The mentality I encountered there was almost indescribable. There were posters that would actually lobby the moderators to lock or delete threads. If you started a thread in the "wrong" forum it was immediately moved.

I started a thread about missing threads and got the "lock and disappear" treatment after a mod posted some lame excuse about "weird things going on before sigining day."

In short, there's a lot of people that take themselves way too seriously at some of these message boards. The levels of orthodoxy that are required of the members are almost cult-like.

Most recently all of the archived pages of threads at the board I'm talking about (except the 3 most recent) disappeared with no explanation given.

Message board Nazis, who needs them?

I don't. I'm still a member there but I'm sure that after I post this, I won't be.

I want to thank all of those readers from that board that find the time to stop by here daily. Hopefully by now you have bookmarked the page.


Kenny said...

I was wondering about the missing threads myself... I enjoy that board usually, but I'd have to agree with the level of moderation on some topics. FWIW, I enjoy your blog and read it daily prior to ZFZ and the not-to-be-mentioned board. Keep on rockin!

ashepeaks said...

Can't be the board I frequent since moderators there rarely ban flamers from other schools (unlike wh*rechant)...

CTG8R said...

Good post, and a good topic.

One question: Why not identify the offending message board? If they know who they are anyway, maybe some of us could benefit from the knowledge

Teufelhundengator said...

On the day that Zook got hired, I got banned from the site...I guess I was a bit too negative. I then took about a year hiatus, but I came back after asking "pretty please."

Swamp Gas does have some things I don't like, but, overall, it's my favorite. You just gotta watch your step and you have to know the "taboos."

All that said, I, too, was wondering about all the archived threads. What happened to them and why haven't the mods posted something about it?

CTG8R said...

Thanks, Henry.

While it may have been gratuitous, I'm grateful for the information.