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Passions in Poetry

Welcome to the New and Improved Alley

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Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9817
Michigan, US


0 posted 09-02-2010 01:51 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

As most already know, The Alley has been closed for most of the last two weeks. I was forced to shut it down as the only viable response to a long-running series of contentious political threads. I have spent a good portion of the past two weeks rewriting much of our software in hopes of discovering and implementing OTHER viable responses to what has become a reoccurring problem in our community.

In the past, we've only had two ways to respond to posts that fell outside our Guidelines.

At the gentle side of the spectrum, we could edit or delete posts, both to help preserve the integrity of the forums and as a reminder to those involved that we do have rules we expect everyone to follow. Most of the time, this was all that was ever needed.

At the less gentle side of the spectrum, our software allowed us to ban people who simply refused to follow our rules. Banning is not something we have ever done lightly, in large part because reversing a ban is not something done lightly. Kicking people out of the community is serious stuff. There have been exceptions (we pride ourselves on our exceptions), but banning is generally a permanent solution to a serious problem.

Essentially, our software allowed us to issue traffic citations or to throw someone in prison for the rest of their life, with no viable response between those two extremes. In particular, we've never had a good way to deal with people who kept running the same red light over and over and over again. When prison was too extreme a response and continued traffic citations were utterly ignored, we became helpless to enforce our rules.

We needed more options.

The first of two changes to our software is cosmetic and you've already seen it. This thread is "sticky" and will remain at the top of every forum page in the Alley, at least until I decide to remove it. You won't see a lot of sticky threads in any of the forums, because they're kludgy and not without side-effects, but they do provide the best opportunity I could find to REMIND people what our expectations are.

The second change to the software is one that most people will never see. I hope.

We now have the ability to constrain people from posting in specific forums. There are already a handful of people who will discover they are not able to post in The Alley. They are free to participate anywhere else in pipTalk they like, but not here. They have simply run too many red lights, repeatedly demonstrating an inability to follow our rules. They are all good people, valuable people, but for the time being their posts will not be welcome in The Alley.

My intention right now is to reset all Forum Constraints on a monthly basis. Those Constrained in September will again be given the chance to show they can follow our rules come October. Repeated Constraints will likely last longer down the road. Our schedule will be pretty flexible while we experiment to find what works. If we do this right, it might open the door to restoring other similarly contentious forums to an active status. We'll have to see, together, what works and what doesn't.

The Importance of The Alley

There has been a lot of speculation in the past two weeks, virtually all of it unfounded, and I think it's important to take just a minute to talk about why The Alley, and indeed most of our other discussion forums, exist.

PipTalk is a writing community. Some want to put the emphasis on writing, while others want to put it on community, but the reality is that those two words can't ever be realistically separated. I'm not just talking about at pipTalk, either. The indivisibility of those words is the very foundation of effective communication. William Shakespeare knew how to string words together in a pleasant enough fashion and that made him a pretty good writer. It was, however, his understanding of the human condition that made Shakespeare a great writer. The only thing any writer EVER writes about is people. If you don't know people, you don't know how to write.

Our discussion forums, and the rules that make them work, are here so that we can better learn to understand those with whom we share this Earth. It's an incredibly diverse Earth we share and there isn't a single one of us who will ever live long enough to see and understand more than a small slice of it. The Internet gives us an unprecedented opportunity to expand that slice. Unfortunately, diversity too often leads to contention. We don't like different and that, too, is part of understanding who we are. We need rules if different is to coexist beside different.

It's easy to conflate writing with talking.  It's easy to think of writing as an expression of what we think and feel, as a persuasion to get others to think and feel similarly. It's easy to see writing as a stage, as a podium, as a soapbox where we can show everyone how clever and witty we are, engaging in verbal sparring and one-upmanship.

Writing, however, is none of those things. Writing, rather, is understanding our own humanity and then helping others to better understand it, too. And understanding doesn't come from talking. It comes from listening.

I sincerely hope we still have a few people here willing to listen.


Nan
Administrator
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24463
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


1 posted 09-02-2010 02:07 PM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

Well done, Ron.  I'm very optimistic about this new program.  I expect that our Alley folks will be happy to see its return, and in turn be more attentive to our guidelines.  

And I'll order you a plethora of sticky notes in anticipation, OK?

Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23005


2 posted 09-02-2010 03:18 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Sounds good! Thanks Ron!
moonbeam
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 12-24-2005
Posts 2038


3 posted 09-02-2010 04:21 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

~sigh~ Yes, well Ron it may make for less policing work putting certain members in the classroom corner for a while - but it does start to make the site look a little like school.  Oh, I know what you are going to say: "behave like kids, get treated like kids", or some such. We'll have to agree to disagree again.

And I think, more than ever, that closing the Alley without a word of explanation or, even a hint that it might be reopened at some point was a little disrespectful to the membership.

Anyway, never mind.
Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


4 posted 09-02-2010 04:50 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well this is great... not like I'd have time to participate right now with my 18 hour days -- but -- if the software allows -- it would be great to see the balls and strikes too Ron -- just like the little moderator stars -- maybe a little demerit badge or something.  

Kudos to all -- think about you often.  One day I'll be back.

Amaryllis
Senior Member
since 05-20-2010
Posts 1325
Mi now


5 posted 09-02-2010 07:12 PM       View Profile for Amaryllis   Email Amaryllis   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Amaryllis

Mm! Smells like new paint and carpet in here!  
.
Thanks, Ron...
~Amaryllis
Nan
Administrator
Member Seraphic
since 05-20-99
Posts 24463
Cape Cod Massachusetts USA


6 posted 09-02-2010 07:56 PM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

Nice new and improved picture!  And some great photographic work as well..

A googol of sticky notes is on order - (just to stay on topic.. )

rwood
Member Elite
since 02-29-2000
Posts 3797
Tennessee


7 posted 09-02-2010 09:19 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Awesome. Awesome write. Awesome job.
Sunshine
Administrator
Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67984
Listening to every heart


8 posted 09-02-2010 09:21 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

quote:
Writing, however, is none of those things. Writing, rather, is understanding our own humanity and then helping others to better understand it, too. And understanding doesn't come from talking. It comes from listening.

Only one thing my mind added to this, were the words, "and sharing."

As I see it, and I for one have no idea how anyone in any one part of the world can read all of the rest of the world's papers or know of the rest of the world's status in any given day's time...so I have always viewed the Alley not only as a pressure-release on those who begin a thread, but also as a way that I could learn something new from another part of our country, let alone our world's members.

I can say that my view has been broadened not only by topics and its subsequent diversity, but also as to how views are shaped. And every time I would open an Alley topic, I would shake my head and once again admire with great esteem the men that came together to form a Constitution, a Declaration, and subsequent Amendments. Can anyone imagine what would have occurred back then if women had more of a say?

And does anyone think for a moment that some of those very same men might have taken their wives' thoughts into those manly meetings...

I think some did.

That aside, I believe the "sticky note" is a very wise, wizardly idea for this particular forum, Ron. As new members come in, chances are that the "back to the top" icon won't need to be used.

You will definitely have those who maintain such ideas as "too much governing" but when they cannot govern themselves accordingly...and it's your world, anyway...they all know how to leave. As I believe you once told me..."they can always click out."

I'm glad you're giving our members another chance, Ron. Not only does it show your openness to NOT just shut down, but it also shows your willingness to allow people to be people...

respectfully.


Mysteria
Deputy Moderator 10 ToursDeputy Moderator 10 ToursDeputy Moderator 10 ToursDeputy Moderator 10 ToursDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Laureate
since 03-07-2001
Posts 19686
British Columbia, Canada


9 posted 09-03-2010 01:56 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

Through some magic we have a new improved Alley, and I sure applaud your efforts Ron.  I know it was no easy feat re-writing that software, but thank goodness you have.  You can learn a lot in the Alley, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with a "time-out" corner until some folks learn to be respectful to one another, and abide by the site's rules.  Well done Mr. Magic!  

p.s. Love the sticky note and tack
Kit McCallum
Administrator
Member Laureate
since 04-30-2000
Posts 16971
Ontario, Canada


10 posted 09-03-2010 02:21 PM       View Profile for Kit McCallum   Email Kit McCallum   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Kit McCallum

Sounds good Ron.

You are appreciated.
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


11 posted 09-04-2010 01:05 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Um...I'm just checking in to see if I can.



and Thanks Ron.
vlraynes
Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


12 posted 09-07-2010 06:35 PM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes

I know I haven't been around in awhile,
but just wanted to say this sounds
like a positive move.  

Thanks for the work you do, Ron.
Titia Geertman
Member Ascendant
since 05-07-2001
Posts 5300
Netherlands


13 posted 09-08-2010 10:05 PM       View Profile for Titia Geertman   Email Titia Geertman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Titia Geertman's Home Page   View IP for Titia Geertman

Ha ha, governments should do that too sometimes Ron, puting sticky notes up, just as a reminder to play by the rules and respect all people.

I wasn't participating in here, just reading and amazing myself once in a while.

Great job!

Like scattered leaves...my words will flow

ThisDiamond
Member Rara Avis
since 02-22-2002
Posts 9507
Michigan, USA


14 posted 09-18-2010 10:31 AM       View Profile for ThisDiamond   Email ThisDiamond   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit ThisDiamond's Home Page   View IP for ThisDiamond

Thank you Ron.  I had to step away over the last year, because I have become so frustrated with this very thing.  Thanks for the thoughtful improvements.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


15 posted 09-21-2010 04:20 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know, Ron.

I get the headaches, I get the frustration (and I mean I got them), but the Alley was one of the few places where both sides did talk to each other -- sometimes.

There were even points of agreement now and then.

Oh well, I guess I'll just say thanks for providing a civic service.

oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


16 posted 12-15-2010 05:01 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Too bad CA was deemed beyond redemption.

Jimbeaux
P.U Stinkenbaum
Member
since 03-09-2017
Posts 284
A Not So Stealthy Bomber


17 posted 05-10-2017 09:25 PM       View Profile for P.U Stinkenbaum   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for P.U Stinkenbaum

quote:
"understanding doesn't come from talking. It comes from listening".
Yes...and when does the one "talking" stop long enough to "listen"?

The chicken and the egg.

Just out looking for the real me...

 
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