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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.


WHY GUIDELINES NOT RULES

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.


WHAT WE WANT, AND DON’T WANT

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.


DEBATE AND DISAGREEMENT - LESS TOLERANCE FOR FLAME-WARS

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.


NEW MODERATOR PRACTICES - OLD AND NEW GUIDELINES

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.


RACISM POLICY - THE TIGHTEST GUIDELINE ON FR

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.


NOT ACCEPTABLE

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.


RACE ACCEPTABLE

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."


NEEDLESS DUPLICATES

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.


COMMENTS

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
KEYWORDS:
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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.

JMNSHO.

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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To: Admin Moderator
Stop whining! Your job sounds like FUN!

Sort of like refereeing a six-team battle royal in a cage. Wheeeeeee! LOL!

Thanks for dumping the creeps that crawl in here!

21 posted on 09/21/2001 8:11:12 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: Tall_Texan
"..the exact same screed (sometimes complete with pictures) over and over on thread after thread?.."

That is considered 'spamming' by many here, and is discouraged for the most part. However there are exceptions that are allowed, among them are the need to point to general efforts of a majority of FreeRepublic users in activism, events etc. A note to abuse may help.

22 posted on 09/21/2001 8:11:58 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator, sirgawain, dubyaismypresident, Roebucks, Argh
This is one of the nicest threads I've seen in a long time. I'm reading it while watching night of 1,000 stars on the television.

I was totally out of line for posting the spin-off thread called "Dumb Argyll Thread Go Bye-Bye." That was right out. Argyll's thread was atrocious (I saved it off-line in case anyone wants it for entertainment purposes) but my vanity thread was uncalled for. If I see Argyll (No Current FReeper by that name) in Union Square holding a bloody nose and picking up pieces of his cello, I will apologize.

I was NOT responsible for Roebucks' spin-off of my spin-off. I support FR's decision to pull this thread, posted under Breaking News, if you can believe it.

I promise not to post military movements, even if I see them on national television, marching through Times Square on bicycles and squawking like chickens. Broadway is entertaining enough.

I love FreeRepublic, I love America, and I love Corona with a wedge of lime.

Still in Manhattan, wearing my new porkpie hat, and just being,

23 posted on 09/21/2001 8:12:04 PM PDT by Silly
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To: Admin Moderator
Does this mean you're going to let Demidog back?
24 posted on 09/21/2001 8:14:17 PM PDT by nunya bidness
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
LOL - this newbie has been around since almost day one, just a new login for the purpose at hand (-:

The newbie date is always good for a laugh though!

25 posted on 09/21/2001 8:14:57 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator

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.

International Security, U.S. Department of State is one good source to control rumor and confirm info that would not be classified.

26 posted on 09/21/2001 8:16:59 PM PDT by Manny Festo
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To: Admin Moderator
Thanks for the info. I've been here for four years and it's high time we had somebody other than Jim Robinson handling the day-to-day policing of this forum. Now maybe Jim can finally get some sleep!

In the four years I've been here, I've never once complained about a post or hit the abuse button. I got a thick skin and can deal with anything anybody wants to throw at me. But the guidelines are here for a reason and they ought to be enforced if they are to be taken seriously by the rest of us.

The only suggestion I would make, if it can be done, is to have the option to "take back" a hasty post or reply. More than once, in the heat of the moment, I have hit the POST button and then thought immediately afterwards: "Oh crap! What the hell did I post that for!"

27 posted on 09/21/2001 8:17:27 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: headsonpikes
How can anyone complain about vanities when the site is awash in multi-threads that go well into the hundreds including:

For YOU PEOPLE
Never-Ending Christian Chronicles
Pray For Bush Day xxx
Another Day In The Life Of George W. Bush (with photos)
Predestination

If you can't make your point in under a hundred threads, give it a FREAKING rest, will ya??? These threads are what dominate when I refresh "Latest Posts". At least you have an option to opt out of vanities in your preferences. I can't opt out of these.

28 posted on 09/21/2001 8:17:36 PM PDT by Tall_Texan
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To: Conservobabe
Perhaps John will program a function to allow the yanking of all posts after the article, when they run out of control. Not an option at the moment though. Many may agree that is better option than removing a perfectly good and informative post due to a senseless flame-war.
29 posted on 09/21/2001 8:17:41 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
Glad you liked the laugh. I am a newbie every day :)
30 posted on 09/21/2001 8:17:43 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: Admin Moderator
Thanks so much for all you do to keep FR up & running. It's NOT a job I'd want. You're ALL doing an excellent job.
31 posted on 09/21/2001 8:19:06 PM PDT by Bradís Gramma
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To: Admin Moderator
Seriously,

What is "Extended News"? I don't get it.

32 posted on 09/21/2001 8:19:16 PM PDT by Silly
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To: Admin Moderator
These are very reasonable guidelines. My only concern is that they may unintentionally give a free pass to anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism has been so universally unacceptable since WWII that its proponents have become very adept at the arts of indirection. No crude Jew-baiting but a constant drip-drip of insinuation about "Zionism" and the like.

I have seen a considerable number of threads where "members since September 15" converge and totally distract serious posters with a stream of Big Lie progaganda blaming Israel for 9-11, talking about the captivity of American policy to the "Israel lobby," insinuating when challenged that Jews and their allies are victimizing honest speakers like the poster.

All this stuff is classic and identifiable anti-Semitic disinformation, but an "anti-racism" guideline won't catch it.

There may be nothing to be done about it, and I am grateful for the good sense that guides the moderation of this forum. But I do believe that there are anti-Semitic disruptors here.

33 posted on 09/21/2001 8:20:07 PM PDT by Southern Federalist
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
LOL - everyone always brings that up. I guess that new policy is sort-of 'breaking.' Besides - it's where Jim always says to put it (-:
34 posted on 09/21/2001 8:20:43 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: JeepInMazar
Probably not. Won't they (ex-Muslims) then be targets? Islam isn't a religion you can 'get out of'; as I understand their rules. Denounce their Big-A, and you're a heretic.
35 posted on 09/21/2001 8:21:31 PM PDT by packrat01
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To: Admin Moderator
To coin a phrase "Let's Roll". You people do a fine job, keep up the good work.

FRgards Paul

36 posted on 09/21/2001 8:22:24 PM PDT by The Real Deal
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To: headsonpikes
"Stop whining! Your job sounds like FUN!"

Well, lol - sometimes (-:

Thanks for the comments *bg*

37 posted on 09/21/2001 8:22:39 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
Thank you very much for putting this out. Right after the attack I told my neighbor (who is black conservative) to check out freerepublic. Needless to say I've been embarassed by a lot of the posts and regretted recommending the site to him and just hoped he didn't see some of the threads I saw. I'm glad to see that the flaming and name calling is history (I pray so anyway).

Thanks so very very much for keeping on top of things and making freerepublic a great place to be.

38 posted on 09/21/2001 8:25:35 PM PDT by tutstar
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To: SamAdams76, John Robinson
"Jim can finally get some sleep!"

That is the biggest motivation that keeps me here, I think. Can't speak for all, but I know that helping him live a bit more normal life gives me my greatest satisfaction.

Love that 'take it back' idea - but not sure how easy it would be to program. John??

39 posted on 09/21/2001 8:27:37 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
Bet this thread won't get pulled. But, it's still early.

Good job and thanks.

40 posted on 09/21/2001 8:27:44 PM PDT by socal_parrot
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To: Admin Moderator
Chalk me up with those who aren't too sure about someone other than Jim deciding who stays and who goes. I say this, because it came as a bit of a shock to those of us in Puget Sound to find our local get-together was cancelled when our host was suddenly banned from FR a week before our scheduled hog roast. Rather a brutal way to throw the monkey wrench in chapter plans. Still don't know what he (our host) said, but can't imagine him saying anything offensive enough to be kicked off FreeRepublic. At the very least, our local officers should have been notified first.
41 posted on 09/21/2001 8:29:55 PM PDT by holyscroller
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To: Admin Moderator
Keep up the good work. It may appear thankless, but it is appreciated.
42 posted on 09/21/2001 8:34:25 PM PDT by Storm Orphan
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To: Tall_Texan
"If you can't make your point in under a hundred threads, give it a FREAKING rest, will ya???"

ROTFLMAO!!!

Exception made for FReepathon threads, however!

43 posted on 09/21/2001 8:34:57 PM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: Southern Federalist
anti-Semitism is indeed something we look at as part of the overall bigotry problem. We pull much that is reported to us, and find a few on our own. If you see it, report it. Note that sometimes we don’t always agree with the abuse reporter, but I would say that in the majority of cases we do. FReepers are smart people - and we depend a great deal on them.
44 posted on 09/21/2001 8:35:50 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: Admin Moderator
PS - Another vote for Demidog to return.
45 posted on 09/21/2001 8:36:17 PM PDT by Storm Orphan
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To: The Real Deal
Thanks, Paul (-:
46 posted on 09/21/2001 8:36:32 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: All
I always go to "Latest Posts" first rather than articles, because that gets me to the "meat" first, what people are finding interesting or vital. Try that, and you'll skip the vanities.
47 posted on 09/21/2001 8:41:49 PM PDT by Quietly
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To: packrat01
Denounce their Big-A, and you're a heretic.

Renounce the big A and you're dead. It's an obligation, read their comic book...

48 posted on 09/21/2001 8:41:51 PM PDT by Publius6961
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To: Admin Moderator
Thank you.
49 posted on 09/21/2001 8:41:53 PM PDT by Ms. AntiFeminazi
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To: Silly
Extended news means news that has reached a maximum state of arousal.

I hope this helps you out.

50 posted on 09/21/2001 8:42:37 PM PDT by Sidebar Moderator (The Unknown Moderator)
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