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PiP
February 3rd, 2020, 02:46 PM
A new year and a new start (where did January go?). We have reviewed WF blogs and as from 1st January 2020 only content which falls within the following categories will be allowed.

Fiction
Poetry
Writing Articles/Essays
Journal - Creative Memoirs, Writing Journal
Book Reviews, Movies & TV
Media: Members' podcasts, audio books and ebooks
Hobbies and Interests

Content which does not fall into the above categories will be removed and the poster asked to move their post to Dante's Inferno, which is a private forum only visible to ticket holders.

Please note WF Blogs are no longer the place for whingefests, open letters, political, religious or other controversial topics etc. These topics may only be discussed in the new, ticket only, Dante's Inferno (https://www.writingforums.com/forums/279-Dante-s-Inferno).

Further information about Dante's Inferno can be viewed >Here (https://www.writingforums.com/threads/186162-New-Forum-Dante-s-Inferno) To request access please contact either, Velo, Darren White, Gumby or PiP

Thanks

escorial
February 3rd, 2020, 07:03 PM
this is worrying....sounds like my days are numbered and you need real people on Facebook...billy no mates me..

Plasticweld
February 3rd, 2020, 07:36 PM
this is worrying....sounds like my days are numbered and you need real people on Facebook...billy no mates me..

Free speech is available as long as you don't say anything that someone does not disagree with. As long as you have nothing important to say, on things that really matter, you can say what you want. The new forum is moderated, the blogs never where, freedom of speech gone

I only have one question. When you have a world wide site, which way does the water in the toilet rotate when you flush?

Your days are longer than mine Escorial, peace brother :}

Gumby
February 3rd, 2020, 07:38 PM
this is worrying....sounds like my days are numbered and you need real people on Facebook...billy no mates me..

From what I've read of your blog it fits nicely into this category, escorial.


Fiction
Poetry
Writing Articles/Essays
Journal - Creative Memoirs, Writing Journal
Book Reviews, Movies & TV
Media: Members' podcasts, audio books and ebooks
Hobbies and Interests

Irwin
February 3rd, 2020, 07:41 PM
What about poetry that is social commentary or political in nature? Where does that go?

Gumby
February 3rd, 2020, 07:45 PM
What about poetry that is social commentary or political in nature? Where does that go?

In the Poetry category.

In my experience almost all poetry is social commentary or political in nature. If you don't wish to post it to the forums and only wish to use your blog, then it goes into the poetry category.

PiP
February 3rd, 2020, 07:48 PM
The new forum is moderated, the blogs never where, freedom of speech gone


The new forum is NOT moderated. And if you take a moment to read the post re Dante's Inferno you'd realise you have more freedom not less.

Irwin
February 3rd, 2020, 07:56 PM
The new forum is NOT moderated. And if you take a moment to read the post re Dante's Inferno you will realise you have more freedom not less.

An unmoderated political forum is just asking for trouble. It will no doubt devolve into an insult-fest.

Gumby
February 3rd, 2020, 07:56 PM
The new forum is unmoderated.

However if someone is only interested in being an ass, then they will find their stay short-lived.

Dante's Inferno is for people who wish to discuss topics that are considered too controversial for the WF public boards. That is why it is hidden away from public view and that is why you must ask for a ticket to post there.

You are responsible for what you say in that forum, not WF. And if you can't accept responsibility for your own words then don't bother to request a ticket. If you are only interested in whinging about what people say and reporting them for 'offending' you or your beliefs, then don't request a ticket. This is for people who can stand the heat and who can discuss controversial topics without resorting to asinine behavior.

velo
February 3rd, 2020, 08:05 PM
freedom of speech gone

Total freedom of speech exists nowhere on the planet except within our own minds. There are always limits on what you can say and where you can say it. Writingforums.com, however, is a private institution and, as with any other website, the owners of the site have every right to limit what you can and can not discuss. This is part of the Terms of Service of every forum on the net.

We struggle very hard to create a free and open forum where everyone is free to come and discuss writing on nearly any topic. There are very few things we actually do not allow on the site, such as illegal content, but also topics that have consistently devolved into debate and personal commentary. This site is a writing site and that is what we are here to discuss. This isn't facebook where any topic is allowed.

Yet we have offered Dante's Inferno as a place where you can have those discussions without concern that otherwise fall outside the rules on debate and politics (illegal content is still illegal and will be removed). This is, in fact, INCREASING your options for discussion/commentary on the forum and not decreasing them.

Gumby
February 3rd, 2020, 08:12 PM
We don't twist anyone's arm to come to our site. We provide a service and we try darn hard to make it a good place for everyone. We are a writing site. We are here for the writing, yet as velo said, we are offering a place for the hard discussions, as a service to our members who want it. WF is not a platform for political debate. There are hundreds if not thousands of places for that, if that is what you are looking for.

Plasticweld
February 3rd, 2020, 08:17 PM
....

velo
February 3rd, 2020, 08:42 PM
My concern is that given the limitations you have placed on the rest of the site, you will have the equivalent of a bland meal.

If the meal is not to your liking, sir, there are other restaurants that may better suit your palate.

escorial
February 3rd, 2020, 09:00 PM
I can smell the perfume from the handbags already

Ma'am
February 3rd, 2020, 09:31 PM
My thoughts: I see hanging out on a forum like being in someone else's house, though a hangout house where people know they're welcome to drop in any time. So you show up and you never know who else will be there. People mostly seem pretty nice but not always. (but if it wasn't well managed, it would be a zoo instead).

The homeowner/host has to hear about the mess way more than anyone else and try to keep things running reasonably smoothly. Their options are to just let people duke it out amongst themselves, take one side or the other, or try in-between solutions. And however they try to handle mess, somebody won't like it.

I have led hobby/social groups online and in person. Each time, of course there was something I wanted out of it, whether to meet certain types of people, get motivation to reach a goal by having others do it with me, or whatever. But each time, after one to four years, I felt like it was too much a thankless task and stepped down. (Now I'd rather take charge of something tightly limited in time and scope instead, or I might start something to make money but that's about it).

So, rambling, but hopefully another perspective fwiw.

Plasticweld
February 3rd, 2020, 10:07 PM
....

bazz cargo
February 3rd, 2020, 10:16 PM
Freedom is always leavened by responsibility. You want a piece of me then use my inbox. You want to pick over the bones of a perennial carcase and can do so without resorting to flames you are welcome to do so. The food is just as good, the company just as fine, the knives are just as sharp, the smarts are just as challenging. Tanstaffle.

The trouble is that the food here used to be really good, as a matter of fact I loved it better than anything else. I have not changed. I am not new here

mrmustard615
February 3rd, 2020, 10:17 PM
Is there a McDonalds around here?

Plasticweld
February 3rd, 2020, 10:19 PM
...

Gumby
February 3rd, 2020, 10:55 PM
Forums have been around a long time. This one has been around for almost 18 years.

https://web.archive.org/web/20021229095344/http://writingforums.com/

We, like all forums, change. Just as the world around us changes and the mind set of people changes.

I can only assure all of our members that we never stop trying to make this a good place for writers to learn and hone the craft of writing. That is our whole mission.

-xXx-
February 3rd, 2020, 11:09 PM
An unmoderated political forum is just asking for trouble. It will no doubt devolve into an insult-fest.

fiction, poetry, memoir, hobby and free lunch

-u.rang and tang- (orange space drink)

2,11a my mom
2, 2b devolved
1, 1c in <pause, 2 count>
1, 1d to <pause, 2 count>
3, 12e an insult-
1, 1f fest

1, 1f rest,
1, 1f rest
2, 11f AS best

*scans for hibachi*
;)

Phil Istine
February 3rd, 2020, 11:36 PM
Far from being more restrictive, the overall direction is to be less restrictive. Yes, certain subject matter may not be addressed in the blogs, but the areas that may be discussed in Dante's Inferno more than make up for any new blog restrictions. The other big pluses are (1) anyone who is more easily offended needn't ask for a ticket to Dante's Inferno and (2) someone writing their political/religious etc. views may now be challenged, so long as it doesn't get too personal.
I'm at a loss to understand how a greater freedom to say one's piece can be interpreted as a lesser freedom - unless, of course, one is so well balanced that they have chips on both shoulders.

Irwin
February 3rd, 2020, 11:39 PM
The 1st Amendment only guarantees freedom from the government suppressing your speech, except for certain situations where it's in the public interest not to be able to say things like "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater, or make slanderous or libelous statements, or incite violence, and a few other things that I'm too lazy in this context to look up. There is no guarantee of free speech on a private website, private property, or from any non-government entity. It's purely up to them to determine what's allowed, as long as they don't break the law in the enforcement of those rules.

I used to be active in political debates, but after 25 years--actually, I quit about five years ago, so after 20 years I decided that certain people weren't worth my time and energy. One side's idea of "debate" is to lie and insult the other person, and I want no part of that nature of interaction with anyone. I'd prefer not to even share the world with those people, but I have no choice in that matter.

I don't consider myself to be a "whinger," which is a derogatory comment in itself and a term that I had never heard of until reading this thread. So, even in a thread about debate, some people can't abstain from hurling insults. Insulting people is just not my idea of a good time, but having the ability to berate someone without repercussions--an ability afforded through the anonymity of the internet--seems to provide meaning in some people's pathetic lives.

Squalid Glass
February 3rd, 2020, 11:42 PM
Phil said it best. This new option gives more freedom not only for those who wish to discuss controversial things, but also for those who don't wish to see those topics broached. This offers a way for everybody to have a voice without pushing anybody away from the site.

Phil Istine
February 4th, 2020, 12:00 AM
Phil said it best. This new option gives more freedom not only for those who wish to discuss controversial things, but also for those who don't wish to see those topics broached. This offers a way for everybody to have a voice without pushing anybody away from the site.

Indeed, from some of the reactions it might seem like this change in setup was imposed with no thought or discussion. I think some would be surprised at the amount of chat that went on behind the scenes before implementing this. It wasn't done lightly, and it was implemented to increase the topic areas where someone could address the more contentious issues - only in a different place. A place where the more easily offended need not travel. Honestly, if someone tries reporting a post because it's a political rant, allegedly sexist, promotes some religious belief over another or takes a swipe at some belief, they'll get short shrift from me. Don't like such posts? Don't go there then. Of course, legality must always take precedence over any forum's rules, so you can't go around inciting violence etc.

RHPeat
February 4th, 2020, 12:04 AM
* What is Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is the right afforded to a person to be able to speak his or her mind without fear that the government will censor or restrict what they have to say, or will retaliate against them for expressing himself. People are often confused by this concept, however, thinking that they can say anything that pops into their heads without repercussion. Just because you are allowed to say whatever you want does not mean that you will not suffer consequences as a result – it just means that the government cannot violate your right to do so.

The U.S. has many laws that place limits on speech and other forms of expression, which may be seen as harsh restrictions. These include prohibitions against defamation, slander, copyright violations, and trade secrets, amongst others. American philosopher Joel Feinberg posited what is known as the “offense principle,” which works to prohibit speech that is clearly offensive, or which can harm society as a whole, or a group in particular, such as racial hate speech, or hate speech aimed at someone’s religion.

Different countries have different rules insofar as freedom of speech is concerned, with some countries’ governments becoming more involved than other governments in the affairs of their citizens. Communist countries like China are often in the news for blocking their citizens’ access to the internet, and restricting their ability to both read and express ideas and beliefs of which their government does not approve. Here in the United States, examples of freedom of speech include criticisms against the government, and the promotion of ideas or beliefs that others might find to be controversial. In the U.S., these kinds of statements are allowed, within the constraints of the “offense principle,” or the “harm principle.”

*(This is taken from notes concerning the 1st amendment of the Constitution.)
==============================
My statement:

Freedom is always relative to what is just (as in justice) for the greater good. Usually determined by a set group. In a democracy it is the checks and balances of the three bodies of the state. Including the executive, legislative and the judicial. In a forum you sign on to the the existing rules set by the owners of the forum. You do not have to participate in the manner they suggest but if you don't; you have to pay their price as consequences. Which would probably be ejection or removal from the forum. It's an idiot that has to say some demeaning thing to another or to the greater number of people thinking it's their right to do so. That doesn't exist anywhere in a democratic state that has freedom of speech. You can't slander people, you can't defame people, you can't steal what others have created with language without quotes and origin of the original or footnotes. It's the "Offense Principle" that restricts the language, to prevent harm to the greater society or group or a body of members. You can always challenge the issue, but at the same time you have to realize that to partition the forum you leave yourself open to dismissal. The same holds true of the state. You can deliberately break a law of the land to seek to change it, but you suffer the consequences of what the court decides, nonetheless. It's not any different in any forum you care to join. Whoever is running the forum will decide, and not the individual that challenges the rule.

a poet friend
RH Peat


For more information:
Origin of freedom of Speech
5th or 6th Century B.C. Ancient Greece

bdcharles
February 4th, 2020, 12:14 AM
Article 19 in the UDHR covers the more general "I can say what I want without inteference" sort of free speech.

Mish
February 4th, 2020, 01:24 AM
Dante's Inferno (https://www.writingforums.com/forums/279-Dante-s-Inferno) says I have to be a member of a secret society and perform a sacred ritual in order to be granted permission to enter. I have placed a couple of candles in a circle and uttered an incantation, but it did not appear to work.

Gumby
February 4th, 2020, 01:37 AM
Did you swing the chicken head above your head in a circular motion while reciting the secret chant?

Kevin
February 4th, 2020, 01:47 AM
The new forum is NOT moderated. And if you take a moment to read the post re Dante's Inferno you'd realise you have more freedom not less. mm... It sorta kinda doesn't sound freer. It sounds like getting sent to detention or put in a restricted room. You have to get special permission to go there, right, just to read things that are no longer allowed to be seen in ... public, so I'm not sure how that's free-er.

i noticed mention of "those more easilly offended." Sigh. Buckling is how I would describe that. The bar is lowered, so to speak. How does one get offended if one does not expose oneself by clicking on said offensive post?

The irony of dantes inferno is not lost. Basically being cast into hell in today's thinking, I'm thinking it will be something like the Tavern. Expell and fade away. Anyway, doesn't matter. Not my site. Do as thou wilt.

Mish
February 4th, 2020, 02:12 AM
Did you swing the chicken head above your head in a circular motion while reciting the secret chant?

I did, but it was a gluten free organic chicken head made out of mushrooms and chia seeds. Do you think that might have been the reason?

Smith
February 4th, 2020, 04:54 AM
I would like to make a recommendation that there is a bias (albeit a humorous one with much truth to it) in the naming of this new section of the forum. It implies that the discussion must necessarily be heated and volatile. This needn't be the case, and in fact from experience I can say this has rarely ever been the case in the comments sections on my blogs. There may have been deep disagreements, but I can barely recall a few times in the 7 years I've been here that something has seriously gone wrong, and I don't feel particular dislike or discomfort with any specific member. May the feeling be mutual.

(A lot of times esc says things that make me scratch my head in more ways than one, but I adore him all the more.)

Perhaps "Dante's Purgatory" would be a more suited name? Inferno may give people the wrong idea that they are actually free to flame, which is the exact opposite of what forum staff have intended with this.

For the time being, I have privately confided some of my thoughts with the individual who kindly reached out to me and told me about Dante's Inferno in the first place. I expressed that I would like this faculty member to share those thoughts and concerns with the rest of the staff in their own time.

---

In short, my minor concern is that, as the name suggests, the writing may find itself frozen from being so segregated from the general readership. I felt that the blogs section succeeded in being out of the way and sufficiently designated as a place separate from the rest of the site, without it being an echo chamber or at risk of being besieged and starved out like an impenetrable stronghold.

Political activists or political-science majors or a "certain class" of citizen are not the only ones who can contribute to political discourse. At least here in the west, we theoretically value the contribution of every individual. Or, at any rate, respect the potential for any given individual to contribute meaningfully. They don't have to share their opinion on everything if they don't want to, much less have an opinion on everything. They don't need to vote on everything, or even anything. But it's their right which can only be revoked by themselves.

My proposition is therefore as follows: I understand that there are some who would like to use the blog section as a place for something entirely other than politics. And that somebody like myself, who tends to post things of a political nature, would be inescapable to people who want to get away from politics. And having those people "block me" would certainly be a solution, but maybe not the best solution.

So, if technically possible by means of the forum software, I think a compromise would be to provide everybody this "ticket" to Dante's Inferno (still maintaining the minimum post count; think of that as "voting age"). People can choose to not use their ticket. If they feel so strongly, they can even contact staff to have their ticket taken from them. Breaking the rules of Dante's Inferno (or Purgatory, should the name be reconsidered) would have your privilege revoked, either temporarily or permanently, by discretion.

The point is that I have learned plenty from people who have only very rarely commented on my blogs. Similarly, I have learned plenty from people who comment routinely on them. But somebody who only comments on them rarely, may not wish to navigate the new red-tape and acquire this ticket, effectively stripping everyone else from the chance to hear what they have to say, however seldom that might be. I would certainly be all the poorer if sealed off from such input.

---

There is a third matter that I brought up privately with a member of the faculty. It would, ironically, be something that would now have to be discussed in the new forum Hell (which hopefully will be remade into a purgatory; a place that acknowledges the great, vast potential for differing outcomes and opinions that shall ultimately be judged by ourselves as well as forces beyond ourselves).

I sincerely asked that this faculty member privately share the issue with the other members of the staff, either one by one or as a whole, however this person sees fit. It doesn't have to be today or tomorrow, but preferably sometime this week so that the discussion can be had. I do not expect any "updates" on the matter, who said what, who disagreed or agreed or abstained, or what have you. I would just like to know that it's been given proper consideration. I'll be able to tell how it played out by simply continuing to use the forum as I normally do, observing the day to day interactions of the townsfolk, as it were. Sounds more sinister than it is, but that's what happens when you move things behind closed-doors; really, all I am asking for is that rules continue to be enforced fairly and justly, not haphazardly.

In other vague terms, what is defined as "political" is partly a matter of who's doing the defining. And part of the matter is also a question: is something only political when somebody "dares" to dissent?

It is unfortunate that my most major concern cannot be discussed openly here. But that's not really the fault of this change to the forum, so it's neither here nor there.

I hope I've made my case clear. Thanks for reading.

BornForBurning
February 4th, 2020, 05:49 AM
Is there a McDonalds around here?
Writing Discussion.

We, like all forums, change. Just as the world around us changes and the mind set of people changes.
It does suck when the ground is changed underneath you though, especially if you are a longterm member who's contributed alot to the forum and you weren't consulted at all. Speaking as someone who's only been here a year, obviously.

mm... It sorta kinda doesn't sound freer.
I have to agree. And the reason I feel this way is because the banhammer rules seem extremely unspecified. The most concrete thing I could gather from the announcement thread was "don't cuss too much, and probably don't be racist sexist homophobic etc." Discounting the fact that all three of those words are highly nonspecific, political debate has historically raged around all of them, and defining them outside the bounds of acceptable political discussion is objectively arbitrary. I would prefer that you simply said: "Don't cuss, we'll ban you. Don't be racist, we'll ban you." Even if I don't agree with it, at least I know what I can and can't do. I can point to a rule and say, "I didn't do this. You are treating me unfairly."

bdcharles
February 4th, 2020, 06:31 AM
what is defined as "political" is partly a matter of who's doing the defining. And part of the matter is also a question: is something only political when somebody "dares" to dissent?

Sounds like a good topic for the fiery place...

Smith
February 4th, 2020, 07:13 AM
Sounds like a good topic for the fiery place...

Ideally, I was hoping it'd be one that would be addressed in the wake of this change.

I also hope my point would be considered in regards to not naming it the fiery place. Self-fulfilling prophecies and all that. :)

Darren White
February 4th, 2020, 07:15 AM
We're not going to rename the place. The name is fine :)

Phil Istine
February 4th, 2020, 07:20 AM
It must be remembered that this is primarily a writing site rather than a site in which to express views on more controversial topics. I feel the change is, in part, a response to the changing world out there where politics have become more polarised and higher levels of sensitivity abound about all manner of topics relating to gender, race, disability, religion and ethnicity. Although some may regard their content as innocuous, they don't get to see the reports that are made. Those of a more sensitive disposition no longer have to read subjects that they allow to cause them grief, and those who wish to continue posting on such subjects can now do so with greater freedom as a result of the changes.
Don't criticise the choices someone makes unless you know the options they have.

Smith
February 4th, 2020, 07:31 AM
It must be remembered that this is primarily a writing site rather than a site in which to express views on more controversial topics. I feel the change is, in part, a response to the changing world out there where politics have become more polarised and higher levels of sensitivity abound about all manner of topics relating to gender, race, disability, religion and ethnicity. Although some may regard their content as innocuous, they don't get to see the reports that are made. Those of a more sensitive disposition no longer have to read subjects that they allow to cause them grief, and those who wish to continue posting on such subjects can now do so with greater freedom as a result of the changes.
Don't criticise the choices someone makes unless you know the options they have.

Ah, I understand. I was just hoping my points would be given a little more formal consideration. Is there really zero merit to any of the things that I articulated? I mean, it is what it is if you think so, but I'd at least like to know. I spent the better part of 30 minutes writing what I felt was a well thought-out response to a sudden change that fundamentally alters the way I use this forum.

I've always heeded the point that it's a writing site. That's actually why I tried to never stray from the blog section when it came to politics, which for the 7 years I've been here has served as the predecessor to this new addition to the forum. I think in the 7 years I've been here I got out of line once, and promptly apologized for it. The world didn't stop turning. It didn't sour the good relationships I've enjoyed building with the staff. It's inevitable in any community.

And you bring up an excellent point of contention, Phil. Do we enable this notion that people can't handle political discussion? That feelings should silence or continually compartmentalize any political discussion into smaller and smaller spaces to the point of irrelevancy? Of all places, a republic or anything closely resembling democracy is probably the last place you'd want to enable that kind of mindset.

Some of the greatest prose ever written was political. Persuasive or satirical or informative. At the very least it can't be pretended that there's no relevance whatsoever. So the line seems ill-defined. Do people who, in good-faith, are writing political prose for one of the aforementioned purposes, now have to try and find constructive feedback in a debate room? Perhaps I have misunderstood. I acknowledge that I only read the OP and the first page of this thread.

I also admit that I do not see the reports that you get. But I'm speaking for myself here, not anonymous people. Allow me to tell you some anecdotes that you may not have known. I didn't get along with Plasticweld for about the same amount of time that we've since gotten along. We disagreed on a lot of things, and had a lot to learn about one another and ourselves before we found the common ground and mutual understanding and respect.

I don't know where Grayson has went off too. Hopefully things are going well for him. But him and I would have some of the most headache inducing conversations about philosophy and politics (as if the latter needed to be anymore complicated), and at the end of the day we were still cordial with one another. I think him and I definitely grew as a result of the exchanges, and even had a friendship, at least by internet standards.

Esc once said to me that he often does not agree with that I write, but he agrees with my right to say it. As the saying goes.

Disagreement and having your feelings hurt is part and parcel of going outside as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to try to appease and appeal to everybody, you couldn't even have any rules at all.

If my attitude was "I'm going to leave if one person isn't nice to me" or if they say something that indirectly hurts my feelings, I would not have been here for 7 years. And probably would not have been on the internet for 7 minutes.

So why make those people the moral and ethical standard of the forum? Yes, they're people too, and I'm not by any means justifying being outright and overtly rude and bullying. It just makes no sense to me that you would take a belief like that and use it to guide how you operate. Well, more than that; taking that belief and saying that everybody else has to play by those rules. Don't you think it's an unreasonably low standard to set for adults? On the internet of all places, too.

I assume this is all just a part of the major difficulties of trying to run a site like this. Understandably you have a reputation you want to maintain, and some sort of ideal form you want the forum to reach. Part of that ideal shape is a focus on writing. That's cool with me and makes complete sense. (Using "you" to refer to the administrative staff as a whole, not any particular person.) The writing aspect is why I joined in the first place, so it isn't as if this is news to me. It honestly shouldn't be news to anybody. But it also shouldn't be news that this place has also been a community of humans. Not writing robots. And the concept of community tends to encompass a lot, lot more than writing. Even a writing community.

I still hold that the name reflects an incomplete view of what political discussion is. It's not all flames. It never has been, either.

So let me ask then, rather than act on assumption. Why was it named Dante's Inferno?

I should note, for those who don't know, that the sister site already has a system like this. They called it The Debate Room though, and *you don't have to request a ticket for entry*. The name seems a little more representative, although it certainly lacks the wit and divine humor of Dante's Inferno.

Let me finish by saying that I do not know whether it grants more freedom than was had before. I do know that people do not have the same freedom to read what I write as they did before. However, I am appreciative that the staff have sought to find a compromise, when they could've went the easy route, said "screw it" and canned it altogether. Oh, and then said "if you don't like that, you're not welcome here anymore". They could've, but they didn't. So thank-you for seeking an alternative solution. Do not treat my feedback of it as being unappreciative.

But since I didn't get to have any input when this was being deliberated, the result is that you've only delayed the inevitable, even if it should prove futile on my part.

So concludes my long-winded appeal for now. I'd welcome any thoughtful response.

Phil Istine
February 4th, 2020, 08:18 AM
Ah, I understand. I was just hoping my points would be given a little more formal consideration. Is there really zero merit to any of the things that I articulated? I mean, it is what it is if you think so, but I'd at least like to know. I spent the better part of 30 minutes writing what I felt was a well thought-out response to a sudden change that fundamentally changes the way I use this forum.

I've always heeded the point that it's a writing site. That's actually why I tried to never stray from the blog section when it came to politics, which for the 7 years I've been here has served as the predecessor to this new addition to the forum. I think in the 7 years I've been here I got out of line once, and promptly apologized for it. The world didn't stop turning. It didn't sour the good relationships I've enjoyed building with the staff. It's inevitable in any community.

And you bring up an excellent point of contention, Phil. Do we enable this notion that people can't handle political discussion? That feelings should silence or continually compartmentalize any political discussion into smaller and smaller spaces to the point of irrelevancy?

Some of the greatest prose ever written was political. Persuasive or satirical or informative. At the very least it can't be pretended that there's no relevance whatsoever. So the line seems ill-defined. Do people who, in good-faith, are writing political prose for one of the aforementioned purposes, now have to try and find constructive feedback in a debate room? Perhaps I have misunderstood. I acknowledge that I only read the OP and the first page of this thread.

I also admit that I do not see the reports that you get. But I'm speaking for myself here, not anonymous people. I didn't get along with Plasticweld for about the same amount of time that we've since gotten along. We disagreed on a lot of things, and had a lot to learn about one another and ourselves before we found the common ground and mutual understanding and respect.

I don't know where Grayson has went off too. Hopefully things are going well for him. But him and I would have some of the most headache inducing conversations about philosophy and politics (as if the latter needed to be anymore complicated), and at the end of the day we were still cordial with one another. I think him and I definitely grew as a result of the exchanges, and even had a friendship, at least by internet standards.

Disagreement and having your feelings hurt is part and parcel of going outside as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to try to appease and appeal to everybody, you couldn't even have any rules at all.

If my attitude was "I'm going to leave if one person isn't nice to me" or if they say something that indirectly hurts my feelings, I would not have been here for 7 years. And probably would not have been on the internet for 7 minutes.

So why make those people the moral and ethical standard of the forum? Yes, they're people too, and I'm not by any means justifying being outright and overtly rude and bullying. It just makes no sense to me that you would take a belief like that and use it to guide how you operate. Well, more than that; taking that belief and saying that everybody else has to play by those rules. Don't you think it's an unreasonably low standard for adults? Isn't part of acting like an adult knowing how to handle disagreement, both in terms of having thicker skin, in addition to treating each other well?

I assume this is all just a part of the major difficulties of trying to run a site like this. Understandably you have a reputation you want to maintain, and some sort of ideal form you want the forum to reach. Part of that ideal shape is a focus on writing. That's cool with me and makes complete sense. (Using "you" to refer to the administrative staff as a whole, not any particular person.)

I still hold that the name reflects an incomplete view of what political discussion is. It's not all flames. It never has been, either.

So let me ask then, rather than act on assumption. Why was it named Dante's Inferno?

I should note, for those who don't know, that the sister site already has a system like this. They called it The Debate Room though, and *you don't have to request a ticket for entry*. The name seems a little more representative, although it certainly lacks the wit and divine humor of Dante's Inferno.

At the time of responding, I note that the like button has been hit by BornforBurning, which seems to have a degree of irony in view of the name Dante's Inferno being one of the issues you mention.

There is no way of pleasing all the people all of the time, of course - on that there is no argument. If this were primarily a debate/discussion site about current affairs, I would be in agreement with you. On such a site it might even be the case that poetry and semi-fictional stories about politics would be compartmentalised. Also, it's still the case that current affairs may be alluded to in creative works on the general forum.

The changes were discussed thoroughly, including the types of issues you raise, and some concerns were expressed about them. It must be remembered that this site is not a democratic institution, and nor need it be.

Smith
February 4th, 2020, 08:33 AM
At the time of responding, I note that the like button has been hit by BornforBurning, which seems to have a degree of irony in view of the name Dante's Inferno being one of the issues you mention.

There is no way of pleasing all the people all of the time, of course - on that there is no argument. If this were primarily a debate/discussion site about current affairs, I would be in agreement with you. On such a site it might even be the case that poetry and semi-fictional stories about politics would be compartmentalised. Also, it's still the case that current affairs may be alluded to in creative works on the general forum.

The changes were discussed thoroughly, including the types of issues you raise, and some concerns were expressed about them. It must be remembered that this site is not a democratic institution, and nor need it be.

Divinely, ironically comedic. Sure. But I don't know what their username means. I think I have a much better understanding of Dante's Inferno, and how it's being used as the name for a debate room. I think the line being drawn there is pretty clear, but I admit that I'm assuming, so forgive me if I'm off the mark. Believe me, I get the joke. I'm just pointing out that it may give the wrong impression. I don't particularly want to be relegated to some "forum Hell".

Isn't this discussion you and I are having here evidence of exactly what I'm talking about? This is a microcosm of all the more political discussions I've been a part of on this forum. This change honestly blind-sided me after 7 years of how things worked before with seemingly very little trouble, outside of the one instance I was rightly reprimanded for.

That's right. It doesn't have to be a democratic institution. It's up to the staff if they want to act democratically. Just know that the manner in which decisions are made will necessarily instill different reactions in the people that are affected. Nobody wants to be a member of any online community where they don't feel heard. Since I didn't get input during deliberation, I'm giving it now. If it's futile, that's fine.

I'll add this here, because I think you read my post before I was done editing it for the billionth time (ironically to prevent upsetting anybody lol). Do not mistake my feedback for me being upset or outraged by this. In the grand scheme of my life this is peanuts (and I'm not allergic to peanuts). I openly recognize that the staff could've taken the easy route and just banned it altogether, and said "tough luck". They didn't. So thanks.

But I'd like to point out that people have less freedom to read what I write than they did before. Which is why I would like to see all members who hit a certain post count, given access to the new debate forum. If not outright given access, then formally offered without exception (barring forum users who are not on good terms with the staff because they've already caused trouble).

Because writing is a two way street. If it's just going to be me talking to myself (or talking to people in an echo chamber), then the extra freedom doesn't really serve me, does it? A writer needs readers.

BornForBurning
February 4th, 2020, 08:39 AM
At the time of responding, I note that the like button has been hit by BornforBurning, which seems to have a degree of irony in view of the name Dante's Inferno being one of the issues you mention.
it's a bathory song what do you want dude

Phil Istine
February 4th, 2020, 09:01 AM
it's a bathory song what do you want dude

I wasn't aware of that but just played it, with lyrics, on youtube. Peace, man.

Moonbeast32
February 4th, 2020, 11:22 AM
Since when is religion controversial? And to what degree is it prohibited? You gotta understand, my religion is at the very forefront of who I am. It weaves itself into everything I do. All my writing is religious. For me, there's no checking it at the door; I'd rather choke to death.

To be quiet about what I believe would be fundamentally at odds with those beliefs. I often express those beliefs through writting. Are you telling me I got to pack up and go elsewhere?

Darkkin
February 4th, 2020, 01:18 PM
So basically, weary parents are asking kids to take the game outside because of a shattered lamp, (which is reasonable), and the kids are mad they have to go outside because the lamp was broken. The game can be played just as well outside, but parents don't have to sit there waiting for another lamp to break. Kids are being trusted to self govern, but they don't seem to want deal with the responsibility their game creates in a regimented space. (Why should they have to listen? It is a free world!) They also don't want to surrender their audience because they like flaunting their skills.

Kids are given a designated space, in which they can exercise their skills and learn to hold themselves and others accountable for their words and actions. But because it is not in the middle of the living room, the kids are convinced they are being punished.

The forum offers a free blog service to its members, something they do not have to do...Because they are the ones offering the service, they have every right to have rules and expectations that accompany that service. They are also offering space for those who do not like those rules. A space for kids who love to play the game. This is also something they do not have to do.

A parent steps up an says: Enough! What are the options, accept the rules and work with the parameters, throw a tantrum, or complain about it endlessly in hopes that put upon whining will take the day?

The forum is a free (donation based) service, decisions rest in the hands of its owners (and rightly so), so just where is the entitlements clause? These folks are donating their time and energy to a forum of strangers, something they do not have to do. Don't like the rules, there are other options that might be a better fit.

Just some thoughts...

- D.

mrmustard615
February 4th, 2020, 02:12 PM
It's interesting to hear the naysayers who worry that the world won't get to see their wisdom. It's like WF is the only public forum in the world. If one really does want to espouse their political or religious views, aren't there other sites that are there just for that? I know there are a number of political forums out there in internet land and, of course, there's always Facebook. If one likes to write essays, start a Wordpress blog. Last I checked, it's still free. Or, if you like debate, join a political forum. I'm grateful PiP took a chance with the All Things Music when I could have easily done the same things on a blog or even in the Lounge. Putting the music related posts in the ATM makes it a lot easier though. I only wish more people had gotten involved.

Anyway, limiting your vitriol, left or right, to a private board (i.e. Dante's Inferno), isn't going to be the end of the world. Those that need political stimulation will have their playground and the rest of us can concentrate on writing and, I guess for some of us, the usual silliness that is the Lounge.


By the way, can the estate of Dante Alighieri sue over the use of the name? :lol:

Gumby
February 4th, 2020, 02:53 PM
Look folks, no one is stopping you from writing creative works (Poetry, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Lyrics, etc) that reflect your religious, political, personal world views, and posting them for critique. For all of us, our writing is a reflection of who we are and that will never change. We have creative forums for that very purpose. If you want to use them, then please do. We are not requesting that you write watered down pablum in these forums. Write from your heart and to the best of your ability. All good writing stirs emotion and reaction. But it is the writing that is critiqued in these creative forums, not the author or the ideas written.

We are simply providing a place for 'human discussions' which would otherwise not be allowed to happen in the open forums. The name is simply tongue in cheek and a reflection of the heat that often develops in unmoderated (and even moderated) discussions between human beings.

The space is what you make it.

The tone is what you make it.


1.The reason you must request a ticket is because you must actively accept responsibility for the words you use there.

2.If it was open for the whole forum we would be inundated with people who clicked on a topic, felt immediately offended or angered by what was said there, and hit the 'report' button.

3. We have a 'Red Light Room' which works on the same principle. You must request access there and confirm your age. The name does not mean that prostitution is offered there.

4. If you want to use the forum, then please request a ticket. If you do not, then don't request a ticket. It is that simple.

clark
February 4th, 2020, 05:59 PM
I guess I'm still a newcomer in WF. Certainly I'm unaware (blissfully, I might add) of the musty caves and forlorn shores that partially comprise the evolution of this site. So you'll forgive me if what I have to say considers only the immediate situation, hence is simplistic.
It's a WRITING site. That's what the original owners wanted. That's how they set it up. Scroll through the menu to the end, every group pertains to some aspect of writing or publishing. And often, many of us deflect away from those fixed-arena activities into bodies of thought upon which a poem or story is built, and suddenly we're talking vigorously about Descartes as the founding father of Empiricism. . .three posts. . .four posts. . .the poem, which was exploring Perception, has now disappeared utterly. With Inferno in place, the poets who want to stay with poetics, could (respectfully) ask those of philosophic bent if they'd like to take those four posts over to Inferno? One more scenario. I've spent a lot of time in Canada's north. At 2:00am I finish an article on a proposed pipeline through an Inuit traditional hunting territory. I'm incensed and want to talk about government usurping Native rights. I initiate a thread on Inferno before I go to bed.

Goddamn! boys and girls . . .organizationally, the hodge-podge drawer in the kitchen is a prerequisite to keeping everything else neat and tidy. Blogs are too idiosyncratic and personal to serve such a holistic need. And that's all Inferno does: within WF it provides a

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPLACE . . . that's all

Now, the name. We seem to have forgotten the structure of Inferno. The word through usage has come, in our era, to denote hideous flame and bone-melting heat. Yes, it is all of that. . .lots of ghastly heat lots of the time. Souls in unspeakable torment . . .and we descend, layer after horrible layer , the sinners aflame getting worse and worse as we go down, down, down. And the final layer, the Hell of Hells, is encased in ICE

So Dante and the Tradition have solved our problem. Smith's concern, with some legitimacy, that the name might strongly suggest The Inferno was ONLY for fired-up rants, might be assuaged somewhat if it was described something like this:

THE INFERNO
Need to blow off a little steam? From the fire and passion of your favorite rant to the cold, icy logic of that Argument you've just gotta get off your chest . . .and whatever in between. . .set writing aside for awhile in THE INFERNO and just BLOW!

\

Ralph Rotten
February 4th, 2020, 06:02 PM
Pip: In the original post you used the term BLOG. Did you mean threads?
Or does WF have a blog section I didn't see?

mrmustard615
February 4th, 2020, 06:06 PM
Check the green menu bar on the top of the page.

PiP
February 4th, 2020, 06:16 PM
Pip: In the original post you used the term BLOG. Did you mean threads?
Or does WF have a blog section I didn't see?

No, I meant BLOG, Ralph. WF has a blog plugin so each member can create their own blog.

https://www.writingforums.com/blog.php

:)

Apologies, I wrongly assumed everyone was aware we had a blog attached to WF.

Does everyone know what blog categories are?
https://www.bloggingbasics101.com/what-is-the-difference-between-blog-categories-and-blog-tags/

I ask because when you create a blog post it is wise to assign a category.

Phil Istine
February 4th, 2020, 06:55 PM
I've spent a lot of time in Canada's north. At 2:00am I finish an article on a proposed pipeline through an Inuit traditional hunting territory. I'm incensed and want to talk about government usurping Native rights. I initiate a thread on Inferno before I go to bed.



I look forward to reading that.

Mish
February 4th, 2020, 11:54 PM
So, on the subject of 'Dante's Inferno' it says it's a "ticket only private forum" and I do not have permission to enter it. Is there a certain alignment of stars that needs to occur in order to gain access?

You see, until I witness it with my own eyes, Dante's Inferno in my mind will forever remain a place of debauchery and wild orgies instead of a couple of people saying "hello", which is what it probably is.

Gumby
February 5th, 2020, 12:02 AM
Anyone who has 100 posts just needs to pm one of us and request a ticket. That way we know that you are agreeing to the terms of admittance and are aware of them. Shoot me a quick pm and I will take care of it for you

Smith
February 5th, 2020, 12:32 AM
So basically, weary parents are asking kids to take the game outside because of a shattered lamp, (which is reasonable), and the kids are mad they have to go outside because the lamp was broken.


It's interesting to hear the naysayers who worry that the world won't get to see their wisdom.

Well, these were some pretty unfair, snide characterizations. They don't represent *anything* that I said, at all, at any rate.

---

Since the effort I was putting into having a mature conversation about this isn't going to be reciprocated, nor is a conversational tone going to be reciprocated, then it would appear I've said all that needs to be said and anything beyond that would be a waste of time. My thanks to the few who gave me their attention and were willing to have a discussion.

I've listened to the points made by the staff. I have time and time again acknowledged the ones that I agree with. But none of my points have received much of the same treatment.

So I guess there's no other choice but to head on over to the new forum Hell, where apparently "the children" play at sharing their "wisdom" with the world.

Darkkin
February 5th, 2020, 12:45 AM
Well, this was a pretty unfair, snide characterization.

---

Characterisation, meaning fictional construct of a simple, accurate analogy...how is that snide? As it is being aimed at no one, merely an observation of the situation. Want to make it all about inidividuals take it to a PM.

Smith
February 5th, 2020, 12:46 AM
Characterisation, meaning fictional construct of a simple, accurate analogy...how is that snide, being aimed at no one, merely an observation of the situation. Make it all about inidividuals take it to a PM.

Maybe it was the equating people to children, part? And that such a shoe was intended for me, among others, as the structure of your analogy makes clear?

Just seems like a disingenuous and flippant "fictional construct" of what has actually been happening ever since I joined the forum. Shouldn't the adults be the ones who can, God forbid, have a political discussion in public without crying, or trying to leverage people in positions of power to punish those we disagree with?

Wasn't "the game" already taking place outside? Wouldn't "moving it to the basement" make more sense?

That seems like a much more fitting and accurate portrayal of events, wouldn't you agree?

Darkkin
February 5th, 2020, 12:50 AM
Maybe it was the equating people to children, part? And that such a shoe was intended for me, among others, as the structure of your analogy suggests?

Just seems like a disingenuous and flippant "fictional construct" of what has actually been happening ever since I joined the forum.

You decide put a shoe on and kick youself with, that is your choice. I made an analogy, you are the one making it about you. Don't like the post report it.

Edit: Find another target. I am not getting into debate about what you find offensive...

Smith
February 5th, 2020, 12:58 AM
You decide put a shoe on and kick youself with, that is your choice...You are just looking for a target to vent on, I'm not it. I made an analogy, you are the one making it about you. Don't like the post report it.

I don't leverage people in positions of authority to try and take out opinions that I don't like. It doesn't make for good character.

You designed the shoe for me, and I said no thanks. Or - instead of ignoring it or confronting it - would you rather me call the gestapo every time something "offends" me, which is part of the behavior that led to this change?

I have better things to do than tattle and be some sort of forum informant.

At this rate people won't even be allowed to respond to critique that they disagree with.

velo
February 5th, 2020, 12:59 AM
SUPERVISOR NOTE

This 'conversation' is becoming argumentative and uncivil. If you don't like the idea of the new area of the forum, don't use it. Period. If you do, go use it. Simple. This thread is not the place for debates on the greater moral implications of the matter whether pro or con. Any further argumentative posts will be removed.

This thread IS the place for respectful questions on the how, why, and what of Dante's Inferno. Please feel free to return to civil, on-topic conversation.

Ibb
February 5th, 2020, 01:48 AM
There I was, little ol' Ibb, an intermittent peruser of WritingForums whose sole joy in the world was his monthly partakings of and/or reading of Literary Maneuver stories. When suddenly, logging in, I was whisked away to this exciting thread, awash in the insinuation that people have been at each other's necks so often to the point that there now exists an entirely separate chunk of the forum for their perusal.

Personally, I dig it. WritingForums meets 4chan. I had no idea this place was so colorful outside the little niche of it I like to visit. Yes, YES, I will take a ticket!

Phil Istine
February 5th, 2020, 04:07 AM
There I was, little ol' Ibb, an intermittent peruser of WritingForums whose sole joy in the world was his monthly partakings of and/or reading of Literary Maneuver stories. When suddenly, logging in, I was whisked away to this exciting thread, awash in the insinuation that people have been at each other's necks so often to the point that there now exists an entirely separate chunk of the forum for their perusal.




Be careful of your popcorn bill.

BornForBurning
February 5th, 2020, 05:11 AM
WritingForums meets 4chan
hitler memes or we riot
I also expect a daily thread debating whether Trump is a Jewish agent or the next Fuhrer.

Candervalle
February 5th, 2020, 07:48 AM
A ticket should only be provided if the requester uses the specific phrase, "One ticket to hell, please."

Sam
February 5th, 2020, 09:25 AM
Freedom of expression has been around since the 5th Century. It is a recognised human right in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recognised even as far as human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Both of these hold that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference", and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either verbally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

The "offence principal", that is to say the idea that speech should be limited to avoid potentially offending someone, has no bearing on anything. It's not a law. It's not a human right. So this new forum seems to be, to my mind at least, an embodiment of the above freedom of expression, in the sense that it offers everything that proponents of freedom of expression could ever desire: a place to post material that may, to some, come across as offensive; the elimination of arguments of offence, i.e. "this shouldn't be allowed because I'm offended"; and a place where clearly people who may be offended at such content have been told, in the most polite terms, that they should stay out if they can't handle the heat.

I'm not sure what the problem is.

bdcharles
February 5th, 2020, 10:53 AM
THE INFERNO
Need to blow off a little steam? From the fire and passion of your favorite rant to the cold, icy logic of that Argument you've just gotta get off your chest . . .and whatever in between. . .set writing aside for awhile in THE INFERNO and just BLOW!

\


"The Fire Place."

Can denote either a comforting place to chinwag, or the old Down-Below. Genius if I may say so. That'll be $500,000 US please.

;)

bdcharles
February 5th, 2020, 03:39 PM
Actually, no. Let's call it Satan's Blowhole: Vile Toxic Sludge, End-Of-The-World Corrosive Vapours and other Unholy Wafts of Opinion

Pretty catchy, eh? No charge

;) j/k

PiP
February 5th, 2020, 04:01 PM
You're on a roll now, BD :)

ppsage
February 9th, 2020, 05:48 AM
Wow. That "read this first or else" link was totally gangster. Had me convinced WF had got itself thoroughly hacked and I was about to get identity shredded. Now that I'm at the end, I hope I can find my way back without slipping into the abyss.

TL Murphy
February 9th, 2020, 06:25 AM
I'll just report here that since Dante's Inferno opened 6 days ago; in 6 threads and 130-odd posts, no one has insulted anyone, no one has said they were offended, no one has gotten angry or unreasonable or picked up their marbles and gone home. There have been strong opinions expressed and there has been some interesting and even heated debate. But so far it seems like a place where those who wish to explore rational discussion on difficult topics are finding like minds. I don't expect it to always be like that but let's just say that nobody has their shirt in a knot and no one seems to want to leave. I'd say it has been pretty civil, but no one is pulling any punches either.

James Hercules Sutton
February 14th, 2020, 01:28 AM
In the Poetry category.

In my experience almost all poetry is social commentary or political in nature. If you don't wish to post it to the forums and only wish to use your blog, then it goes into the poetry category.

Your experience is limited, Gumby.

Gumby
February 14th, 2020, 01:50 AM
No doubt, James.

clark
February 18th, 2020, 11:24 AM
So is yours, James.

Stygian
February 20th, 2020, 02:51 AM
Looks like I decided to come back at an interesting time. I can understand the rules imposed on the forms as it's logical to keep structure, but the blogs should be for free expression. Sometimes life sucks and you need an outlet. I've never met someone who reads blogs that is adamantly opposed to all forms of whinging or people sharing frustrations. Either way, I'm not a paying member, so I will follow the rules.

Neetu
March 6th, 2020, 01:07 PM
Hi Carole, since you’re on the topic of blogs, I have a question. In the privacy settings, I’ve set mine to only “contacts” with the understanding that only people on my contacts list can view what I post there. Is my understanding correct? I keep work there which I do not wish to share either with the public or search engines of any kind.
Thanks.

MzSnowleopard
March 22nd, 2020, 02:42 PM
First a comment and then a legitimate question-

Well over 15 years ago I started a forum community of a different nature. The other admins and I agreed that a secured section would be needed for political and religious content. We called it "The Firing Range". We also created sections for adults, men, and ladies.

I can tell you from the experience- having these sections do work.

My questions- with regards to the categories on the blogs. Does this mean that I need to move my old posts to the new categories? Can I move my custom categories to be sub-categories in the new ones?