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Events-driven Moderator activities - another look at guidelines
9/21/01 | Lead Moderator

Posted on 09/21/2001 7:49:05 PM PDT by Admin Moderator

Users of FreeRepublic deserve an explanation of recent moderator activities. By signing up to be a user of the forum, everyone agrees to abide by the posted guidelines. This is another look at those guidelines, the intent behind them - and some new guideline enhancements that are being incorporated that need the attention of everyone.


Let’s begin first by hearing from Jim Robinson about the difference between guidelines and rules, and why FR has guidelines.

One thing I've always resisted on FR is having a lot of rules. Especially if they have to be strictly enforced. We've always had our general posting guidelines, but we like to leave a lot of latitude so as not to stifle debate.

It is our desire to keep out clearly inappropriate material, while allowing as much room as possible for debate.

Guidelines, rather than hard and fast rules presupposes that the success or failure of them rests with the users of FR. If there is a breakdown, the intent of the forum is compromised. Jim puts it this way.
We are a news and current events discussion site. We are conservatives. We are adults. The FR forum is a working forum where we are not only discussing news and issues that are important to us, but we are also planning and engaging in political activism projects. We do not appreciate being interrupted by people who want to post insults or smear attacks or personal attacks or otherwise try to disrupt our activities, etc.


We are looking for news articles, well written and well informed opinion, facts and usable information and certainly having some fun now and then while we pursue the goals of keeping our government as servant of the people - and not allowing it to make us more its servants.

In short, as the lead moderator, I don’t like having to wipe up after the children here. I don’t enjoy, nor do I or any of those who work with Jim, “want to be posting police or thought police and we also do not want to be referees or judges.” (The reason that is in quotes is because Jim said it as we talked about the focus of this post.) He also said:

Posters should strive to avoid flame-wars and feuds and/or avoid posting materials that are clearly not welcome here, and then we can all enjoy the forum much more and we will not need as much moderation.
Interruption and disruption, in a nutshell, angers many - and causes them to hit the abuse button. That button has been hit far too often of late - creating a higher number of abuse complaints than ever before seen on FR, averaging some 300-500 per day (multiple complaints on between 100 to 200 articles per day.) Needless to say, many of these posts were pulled - many of them due to some of the most vicious and ridiculous flame-wars ever witnessed on FR - along with every sort of violation of posting guidelines. Unfortunately causing otherwise perfectly good articles to disappear in the process.
Such flame-wars brought John Robinson to suggest, “outright prohibiting”of them - and to say, “These types of posts detract from the FR message, people don't come here [for them.] People should have the good sense not to start these threads. Unfortunately everything needs to be spelled out in clear lettering or somebody is going to miss the point.”
John is right. Personally, I enjoy what we call ‘freeping’ - reading the news, commenting on articles and keeping up with events. I don’t enjoy having to stop and handle abuse complaints, and neither does anyone who works to assist Jim in maintaining order here. That has led to the following.


Disagreement is part of debate, of that there is no question. But too often debate ends with someone calling someone else stupid, or using vulgar names. Moderators review posts and abuse reports received, and keep an eye out for those posts and users that we feel cross the line into racism, profanity and personal attacks. When that happens, we have no choice but to act.

We attempt to be as flexible as we can in allowing reasoned and temperate disagreement, but you can indeed look for less tolerance now for flame-wars on FR. We have been, and will continue to pull posts that are obviously, or thoughtlessly designed to start flame-wars.

In addition to that strengthening of our intent to keep the forum less combative and focused more on our goals, there are additional clarifications and additions to posting guidelines which follow.


Because we are ‘at war’ with terrorism, you may already have seen the old WWII policy of ‘loose-lips sink ships’ stated in posts here - something Jim began here, and has recently been followed and resurrected by major media outlets.

The policy is simple. If you have information about military movement that has not been published in major media, and is not considered ‘public knowledge’ it may be inappropriate or unwise to post it on FR. In short, use the question-gauge of, ‘does this come from major media?’ If so, and if it has not already been posted before, the information will not violate the ‘loose-lips’ policy.

The following is not new to FR, but this policy has been tightened and will continue as needed.


It is probably best to outline what is, and what is not acceptable where the subject of race is concerned - since first and foremost, race has been used by the enemies of Constitutional limits on government to force the removal of many of our freedoms.


Blatant racism is indeed an ugly thing - and all material that is blatantly racist will be pulled when it is found or reported. Posts that express open hatred of any race, including Arabs - particularly Americans of Arab descent - are candidates for removal, and the expulsion of the poster from FR.

I suggest keeping your anger focused on those who use race to divide and conquer, i.e., the hypocritical socialists in the U.S. who needlessly fan the fires of racism to their advantage. Bigotry is part of racism, and part of religious persecution in the United States and elsewhere.

We know that, but keep your eye on where most of this comes from. Flatly stated, it is not from mainstream Americans, although many have fallen prey to it. The prostitution of major media in support of the socialist elite in academia and government should be slapped down hard with prime examples of the lack of racism right here on FreeRepublic - we have many of all colors and race among us. Let use that, not fall prey to the guile and habits of our real enemies.


News and articles that discuss racial issues such as quotas, immigration, education and hiring practices in rational ways aimed at problems and redress are permitted.

News and articles and replies which discuss events, identified terrorists and those nations that harbor them are certainly permitted - along with appropriate comments, including outrage that does not include vulgarity, profanity, advocacy of killing of innocents, and ‘nuke-em-all’ sentiments, etc.

Posts and discussion of the religious beliefs of the various sects of Islam (there are several) are also allowed, but are limited to absence of the inappropriate content noted prior in this section.

The US has declared ‘war on terrorism' and those who support it - but all Arabs and Arab nations are not included in the definition of ‘the enemy.' Remember that, and that President Bush said, "In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect."


We have a lot of duplication. Part of the guidelines are that users seek to avoid needless duplication or multiple posts of the same article from the same source. That includes an effort to do a search on the headline of the article to see if it has already been posted - before posting.

Note carefully, the success or failure of preventing needless duplication is predicated on the use of the original source document headline at all times, so that searches on that headline will be successful if it was posted prior. Posts that do not use the original headline may be removed.

Understandably, many times there are two or more people preparing the same post at the same time, having done a search and not found the article posted. Many times people ask moderators to remove a post they found to be a duplicate.

In addition, moderators also remove duplicate posts that are placed in the forum at approximately the same time. This is not to say that important news items can not be re-posted on the forum at some number of hours after an original post was posted. Some of these are appropriate, and moderators are urged to weigh the significance of such duplicates and allow them where appropriate.


We are, as always, open to your comments on moderator activities. Some have made what I feel are good suggestions, some of which have been incorporated into the practices of moderators.

Once again though, we are not open to suggestions that moderators be identified - our anonymity will remain the policy of FR.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Free Republic; Miscellaneous
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1 posted on 09/21/2001 7:49:05 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
Thanks for the info. You guys (girls?) do a great job!
2 posted on 09/21/2001 7:53:59 PM PDT by Fury
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To: Admin Moderator, Sidebar Moderator, Jim Robinson, John Robinson

3 posted on 09/21/2001 7:54:23 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Fury
Thanks, Fury. That kind of support helps, because it's not exactly a fun or easy job.
4 posted on 09/21/2001 7:56:42 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
Thanks! I think you are failing to address a major problem - the absolute explosion of vanity posts. It is very difficult to freep when hitting "latest articles" brings up 10-20 extraordinarily stupid vanity posts.
5 posted on 09/21/2001 7:57:01 PM PDT by Rodney King
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To: Admin Moderator
Bump for clarity
6 posted on 09/21/2001 7:58:01 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: Admin Moderator
These guidelines look good. I've always abided by them and yet have had some things pulled.

Is it acceptable to report about former Muslims who have become Christians or not?

7 posted on 09/21/2001 8:00:17 PM PDT by JeepInMazar
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To: Admin Moderator
The guidlines are fine, and this is a great web site, but could we PLEASE be warned BEFORE a thread is deleted just in case those of us who followed the rules on a rogue thread actually had some little thing worth keeping rather than being deleted never to be seen again??
8 posted on 09/21/2001 8:00:51 PM PDT by Southack
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To: Admin Moderator
Good work - it's a tough job!
9 posted on 09/21/2001 8:02:34 PM PDT by technochick99
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To: Rodney King
Seems the vanities explode during big stories/crises: Elian, Broward Co. voting, etc.
10 posted on 09/21/2001 8:02:55 PM PDT by Huck
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To: Admin Moderator
Good to have these clarifications. I'm sure I've stepped over the line a few times but I don't get mad about having anything pulled.

Can anything be done about folks who post the exact same screed (sometimes complete with pictures) over and over on thread after thread? I could cite examples but I'm sure you can come up with them yourself. Such repetitive posts are highly annoying.

11 posted on 09/21/2001 8:03:18 PM PDT by Tall_Texan
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To: Admin Moderator
this (Posting Guidelines) might be a good 1st link in the Post Article (catagory selection) screen.
...sort of a read this first. keep up the good work and thanks.
12 posted on 09/21/2001 8:03:41 PM PDT by glock rocks
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To: Admin Moderator, lazamataz
Thanks, newbie.

Admin Moderator member since September 3rd, 2001

My two cents? Way too many "vanity posts", it takes a long time to sift through the threads to find the "meat".

I'll be right back, going to ask Laz how to runthis place ;)

13 posted on 09/21/2001 8:04:20 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican (hey laz.....!!)
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To: Admin Moderator
May you consider, in the event of a flame war, that the otherwise good article remain...and just the posts pulled?
14 posted on 09/21/2001 8:04:50 PM PDT by Conservababe
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To: Rodney King
Vanities are permitted, in the questions/opinion forum, others are being deleted. If you find one that is objectionable and posted outside the permitted forum, it has to pass muster as being worthy of consideration outside that forum. If you see one you think is misplaced, tell us about it via the abuse button - but, understand we do allow them to gain status in the editorial and extended sections. In fact, we 'promote' the best to those sections when we find exceptional writing. We also drop many out of those sections put there by the writers.
15 posted on 09/21/2001 8:05:28 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: technochick99
Tough job? Try using a braille monitor!
16 posted on 09/21/2001 8:05:44 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican (tought job...yea right... ;))
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To: JeepInMazar
"Is it acceptable to report about former Muslims who have become Christians or not?"

I see no problem with that.

17 posted on 09/21/2001 8:06:28 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
So, is this Breaking News, Editorial or Extended News? LOL.
18 posted on 09/21/2001 8:06:57 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican (please have mercy on me!!!)
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To: Huck
The increase in vanities is related to some narcissistic folk's insatiable craving for attention.

When 'events are in the saddle', they momentarily feel small and relatively unimportant.

Their 'therapy' is vanity posting, to put themselves back in the center of things.


19 posted on 09/21/2001 8:08:08 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: Admin Moderator
"advocacy of killing of innocents, and ‘nuke-em-all’ sentiments, etc."

That's something that definetely puts a black stain on the ethos of FR.

20 posted on 09/21/2001 8:08:22 PM PDT by spunkets
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