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Author Topic: Rules on Profanity & Personal Attacks  (Read 2893 times)

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Rules on Profanity & Personal Attacks
« on: January 01, 2013, 08:44:42 AM »

Some have recently suggested that the matter of profanity and personal attacks needs to be clarified.  Currently forum rules address these issues.  Below are excerpts directly from those rules. There are some bold and underlines added for emphasis.
2. Gratuitous vulgar profanity will not be allowed on the Peyronies Disease Patient’s Forum.  Peyronies Disease is a frustrating disease.  Occasionally as patients we vent, sometimes we need to cut through poetic prose and bluntly express our point.  That will not be hindered, but we do need to police ourselves to have a forum where all feel welcome.

4. Open attacks and threats will not be allowed.  If we think an idea is stupid we can find a gentleman’s way of saying so.  This is not just a gentleman’s club however. If we are not gentlemen, then we can say, “I think that is a stupid idea”.  We can not however, disrupt this board in an exchange of personal attacks or threats.  A personal attack is one that is directed at a person rather than at an idea.

Forum Member Rights

Patients on this forum have the right to free speech within the framework of “A Few Simple Rules” posted above. That free speech will not be restricted. 

We think of it as a sacred trust, that members of a forum have a right to know they are reading the actual comments of others and not reading censored or modified remarks.  If violations occur, usually the entire post will be removed until it is resolved (this has only occurred twice).  Minor changes such as repairing a posted link, or deleting accidental double posts, or removing repetitious quotes, will be done prior to notification.  The forum also has automatic word substitution on some words such as abbreviations that may not be understood by new members and a few profanity substitutions.  The body of every post will remain unaltered by administrators or moderators.

It speaks not only to our policies but to our community that out of tens of thousands of posts, to date, we have never edited a single word of any member's post. 

While "personal attacks" and Gratuitous are pretty clear to anyone with access to a dictionary, someone has to be the final arbiter when a question arises.  That falls to the administrator, moderators, and board members.  It is not negotiable.  I think it is a rarity that someone can demonstrate a need for most 4 letter profanity if they have a vocabulary.  The same goes for profane insults and personal attacks which have no place on this forum under rule #4.

With thousands of members it is no surprise that a few individuals don't seem to understand what I consider to be clear language in the rules.  This language has governed us for 7 years and 40 thousand posts with no more than a hand full of issues.  If there are those that think this needs further clarification then here is where you can explain what it is you do not understand.

Let me be clear, I have no expectation that we can get thousands of members to all agree on anything.  That has never been our goal.  I am not looking for agreement.  My goal is to have even the less educated person, or the person with some comprehension problems be able to understand what the rules are.  Whether they agree or disagree is not a concern to me since the rules have brought us light-years beyond where any other Peyronies Disease forum has ever gone.  These rules were discussed and overwhelmingly accepted by a vote of the membership many years ago.

I will briefly explain the reason for these specific rules:
Our goal is to have a forum where a wide range of decent people feel comfortable educating themselves and getting support.  A wife coming here or a doctor checking out the forum will never feel comfortable or take us serious if we engage in personal attacks, implied violence, and sexual slurs.  We cannot help those with serious problems when we make the forum so offensive that people with standards of decency are repulsed by dialog that doesn't even serve a point or add to the discussion.  It makes us look ignorant, hostile, juvenile, and frankly not like serious rational adults addressing serious issues.

Other forums on the internet have disappeared or sat dead and stinking because they either had no regulation or because they censored members posts and would only allow statements that they though doctors would embrace.  We alone filled the need that gave a sane voice to patients and spouses.  That formula enabled us to grow to support tens of thousands while the other forums withered and were left incapable of providing this needed support.

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