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Monday, January 30, 2006

Numfar Lays It Out 

Numfar, one of the long-time, now dispossessed, posters at Jokers Updates makes a visit to Reality TV Gossip (click here to read the whole thread) and pretty much lays it on the line:

Though this may prove a bad idea, the recent goings on at and around JU.com have me reading JU's boards again. Hardly an enriching endeavour, except possilby for my therapist. Through this reading, I found this place again, and found myself reading this thread.

Anyway folks - I just want to say that I come in peace.

I also come to clarify a little point - Stark and I (Numfar) were both stripped of Admin status simultaneously. I agree with Rosey - it was handled poorly. But to be fair, I believe most top-level decisions at JU.com were and continue to be handled poorly.

The irony is that while Stark and I were having a very public argument over the amount of respect owed to posters by Admin/Mods (he'd called a newbie poster 'stupid' on the open board, and though I pleaded with Ette to at least do something, she refused, so I posted in defence of the newbie - anyway long story)... And while all that was going on in the open, we were having a very interesting - and civil - discussion of his impending deployment to Iraq, and his unit and the combat capabilities of the self-propelled artillery vehicles he commanded. In short, we disagreed on the board, but were still very much on talking/civil terms. Where ever he is, I hope he's doing well, and made it home safe from Iraq. Also, I think he owes me a beer. ;)

Anyway, Ette de-Admin'd both of us claiming that we were disrupting the board - but the fact was, there was a disagreement on both our parts, and she should have stepped in to resolve (she was asked to do so numerous times), but she did not.

I share this partly to present my view of history, partly b/c I too miss those times/debates with Stark and others, and partly b/c I think it highlights an ongoing problem at Jokers that the recent hubub has again brought to light - that the problem is not with Mommamia, Rockey, Deb, Twisted, Stark, Numfar or any of the others down the line who've been singled out at the reason for the problem. The argument always goes, 'this or these bad apples are ruining the CA barrel...just get rid of them and things will be better'. But it never gets better. There was a time when getting rid of Stark was the answer. Then Numfar. Now Mommamia. Who's next?

No, there will always be people with strong opinions. That's pretty much a given, isn't it? So when a board undertakes to start a political discussion forum, it's got to anticipate that it will attract folks with those beliefs. I'd gone a long time at Jokers (even before Jokerette owned the place) without getting into any real heated political debates. And even after those forums opened, I tried to see both sides of the debate. Of course, it was the run up to the Iraq war and my specific opinions on that topic which prompted me to stop trying to paddle on both sides of the boat. That said, Iraq just happened to be 'my' issue. A lot of people have different 'trigger issues', but no matter what it is, it's going to come up from time to time in those forums, and they're going to hunker down.

And yet, Ette makes out like it's the posters' who are at fault for things getting too heated or nasty, and acts like she is shocked that it happens.

I believe that the real problem at Jokers is the inability of the board leader to set down and enforce a standard of conduct equally on all posters. Each side believes that they get the short end of the mod stick - but both sides are wrong. Or, looking at it another way - both sides are right.

See, Ette plays favourites, ignores issues, makes arbitrary decisions and only mildly focusses her attention on things most of the time. She makes out like the all-seeing matriach O_O, but in reality, she rarely pays enough attention to detail or nuance to know what is happening. Too often she ignores mods, leaves them hanging, and then, when the pressure boils over, she'll respond to a PM from a few posters in a severe and unpredictable way. Too often she leaves her mods directionless and unsupported, and then, occassionally, demands an over-enforcement. There is just no rhyme nor reason to the rules or enforcement at JU.com. So if it feels like you or your side gets deleted while the other side gets away with the same thing - chances are that at any given moment, you're probably right.

The whole problem is compounded by the refusal of mods (at the direction of Ette, no doubt) to respond or give reasons why they do what they do. Even if you PM, you're unlikely to get a response. "We're too busy" "Too much goes on" "It would take all day" are the replies. Well guess what - if it's too hard to communicate, things will be misunderstood. Clearly, the structure they've set up is incapable of responding to the demands placed on it. And most of the time, those demands are not too strenuous.

It's like a game where the refs change the way they call the game every quarter. That's worse than always calling it strict, or always being lax, b/c neither team knows the boundaries, and when those boundaries shift, it seems very personal.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this perspective. Maybe you agree, and maybe you disagree - and that's okay. Either way, it gave me the opportunity to say hello to everyone, respected allies and adversaries in debate alike. No matter which side of this or any other debate you were on, I really do hope you're doing well.


dash eN