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Political Posts in the Message Forum

Forums: General Discussion
Created on: 02/14/17 09:29 PM Views: 1589 Replies: 28
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 9:29 PM

Our message forum has been active since we launched our class creator site about three years ago.

Suddenly, there are posts every day with heated political content. This concerns me, as every post is offensive to someone.

I have been contacted by one classmate active on the reunion committee for years, who told me she will no longer be visiting the forum as she finds it unpleasant.

If the heated political discussion continues, I feel that it will inevitably reduce website participation and reunion attendance.

I have made three posts asking classmates to avoid political posts but a few people disregard that request and others respond to their posts.

The only solution I am aware of is: (a) announce a formal policy that political posts will be deleted; and, (b) delete them as soon as possible after posting.

One person has asked whether we can have two forums: one for general use and one political. I'd rather not go this way, but I feel obligated to ask whether it is possible.

Beyond that, any other comments and suggestions are welcome. In particular, do other class creator sites ban or discourage political content? Or, simply allow it?

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 9:58 PM - Response #1

It is not possible to have two "message forums". You can use the User Forums as you wish.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 1:55 AM - Response #2

I like your idea of a formal announcement about political posts. As the root admin, you have every right to set the policy for the Message Forum.

I would structure your formal announcement something like, "Political posts on the Message Forum are having a demoralizing effect on some classmates and will no longer be tolerated. They detract from the purpose of our site, to give classmates an opportunity to reconnect, reestablish old friendships, and celebrate the memories of our time together. Further political posts may result in revocation of site membership."

Another option is to simply inactivate the Message Forum link: Admin Functions > Message Forum > Edit Link > uncheck Active box > Save.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 8:03 AM - Response #3

I think I would post a general announcement and tell my classmates that if the policy continues to be flaunted I would be forced to shut the forum down. Then I would do it, even if temporarily, to make the point. I'm sick to death of seeing and hearing this vitriol, so I wouldn't want to foist it on anyone else.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 8:42 AM - Response #4

Our web site has a prolific author of political items. My next action (per the advice of Class Creator is to delete him from the site). As an alternative I created a tab to the left labeled (Gary K). I copy and paste his ramblings to his page them delete them from the What's New area. So far it is working. The site is for enjoyment. There are a number of alternatives out there for expressing opinions.

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Edited 02/15/17 9:54 AM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 9:40 AM - Response #5

I had a similar thing happen on my website a couple of years ago about the confederate flag. Note - my school is Robert E. Lee. When classmates started attacking each other I deactivated the Message Forum for about two weeks. I then deleted all political messages. I had no more problems on the flag issue and there have been no posts on the current political topic.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 9:54 AM - Response #6

I have had the same issue, which placed life long Friends against each other. Our Reunion Committee adopted the following statement.

This website is provided by Robert E. Lee Class of 1967. It is not intended to be a political or religious platform. Expressions of condolences or prayers are permitted.

This message is on the bottom of the 'Home Page' as well as the top of the 'Message Forum.'

As the Admin, I was called the "webmaster nazi" and "web god".

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10:05 AM - Response #7

We have inserted this admonishment (see below) at the top of our 'Message Forum'. It seems to have stopped the "stuff" - a member or two have decided to go elsewhere, and that is A-O.K. As Confucius would say "Be sure brain is engaged before mouth is in gear". This should apply, of course, to keyboards and fingertips also.

The message forum is an ongoing dialogue between classmates. There are no items, topics, subtopics, etc. Forums work when people participate - so don't be bashful! Click the "Post Response" button to add your entry to the forum. Nothing should be posted that is: inappropriate; not germane to our Classmates interests; rumors / myths (from e-mails, the internet or any other source); vulgar or unacceptable language; etc. Thank You.

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Edited 02/15/17 9:28 PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10:07 AM - Response #8

We outlawed politics on our site. Any will be deleted immediately. It was tough at first but everyone is going with the program now. Stand your ground. Politics can ruin a good site.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 11:19 AM - Response #9

I have been inactive for a long while. I have Cancer that is slow growing and I plan to be around for a long while. My response to the political chat on our good site is simple. This site is all about our various classes, schools and states where it comes to our received education and the maintaining of a liquid relationship on that subject alone. Our site was design not as an opinion poll but for school reunion discussion as well as a technical adjustment thing. NEVER politics. We violate the agreement and the purpose by political discussion. Let us keep this site clean and friendly. Thank You Kindly.

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Edited 02/15/17 11:20 AM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 11:58 AM - Response #10

Papa, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you battle this terrible disease. Never give up.

I guess I'm fortunate that I haven't had to deal with any political discussions on our site but I would have no problem deleting the post and/or calling the person to ask them to take that back to their Facebook page. I have a statement on the Home Page that reminds members that "one's rights end where another's begin." I'm sure I got that from one of you here in the forums.

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Edited 02/15/17 12:26 PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 12:09 PM - Response #11

We 'nipped it in the bud' early on with our site.

We have a 'Purpose Statement' on our Home Page.

Since then, we have had absolutely NO issues.

[I admit to 'stealing' some of the phrases from other sites, and customized it for our own.]

Hope this helps.

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Edited 02/15/17 12:11 PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 4:20 PM - Response #13

Just like Steve said..we nipped it in the bud early. We have a disclaimer and policy statement posted as a page on our website. We did ban one classmate because of offensive stuff on his profile. He has since been reinstated after a 5 yr hiatus. We do not allow any accusations of a sexual nature either. We just had that...the classmate was deleted from the site and will not be allowed back. If you want drama go to FB. We do give them the chance to take the offensive stuff down...if they don't we delete it.
You are welcome to use our statement.
Here's the link. Policies and Disclaimer
I hope this helps.

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Edited 02/15/17 4:21 PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 4:22 PM - Response #14

STEVE STEIN wrote:

We 'nipped it in the bud' early on with our site.

We have a 'Purpose Statement' on our Home Page.

Since then, we have had absolutely NO issues.

[I admit to 'stealing' some of the phrases from other sites, and customized it for our own.]

Hope this helps.

I think there were quite a few of us in on the purpose statement stuff years ago. Rolling Eyes

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 4:48 PM - Response #15

Debbie,
Thank you for those prayers. I am reminded of that foundation statement in the Bible which asks, "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31KJV

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 4:48 PM - Response #16

This message is posted on our Message Forum:
The Message Forum is an ongoing dialogue between classmates. There are no items, topics, subtopics, etc.

Forums work when people participate - so don't be bashful! Click the "Post Response" button to add your entry to the forum.

Etiquette

Our North Quincy User and Classmate Forums and messages to classmates are intended for reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. All of us on the Reunion Committee welcome and encourage your use of these sites to share memories and stories as well as providing updates on our lives since leaving North Quincy High School.

If you are including the name of another classmate, be sure that you are not infringing on their privacy.

Please use good judgment when posting messages. Personal attacks, political and religious messages, as well as inappropriate language will be removed immediately.

The last paragraph is in red. I've only had one political message, but a few others that bordered on being inappropriate language. I removed them immediately and sent a private message to admonish the guilty party.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 11:37 PM - Response #17

Hmmm...

We just created a separate User Forum Called 'Politial Free for All' and noted: Enter at your risk' and asked our classmates to take ALL political posts to that User Forum.

We've had 100% compliance with an occasional gentle reminder.

It's been so successful, we're going to start separate forums for those who want to share travel experiences and advice, and another specifically for our vets.

Within each Forum, people can start their own threads/topics and the general classmate population never sees any of it unless they specifically go to that forum, and then they can pick the thread they want to rant...er, participate in.

Has worked for over a year before the election...

Ed

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Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 9:10 AM - Response #18

Directed in particular to new Admin: when building our website, our vision was to create a happy online community for our classmates to land on the web. Our classmates continue to expect reading fun and positive posts. Living in Philadelphia, intentionally, there was never any discussion of the DNC convention, presidential election and aftermath. I'm certain our classmates are equally divided politically. No classmate has posted provocative political comments or any political comments. Admin lead by example from day One.

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Edited 02/19/17 10:36 AM
Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 7:36 PM - Response #19

Debbie,

I've thought long and hard on how to keep political/religious zealots from infecting our website and FB page, and will probably post something now to combat this. Fortunately, we haven't been bombarded too much with the vitriol, but once or twice have had to delete a post.

You mentioned that ones rights end where another's begins, and I'm reminded of a discussion in class around 7th or 8th grade. We were asked how far our rights went, and remember distinctly thinking, "only as far as far as someone else." This has been with me ever since, and have always been mindful of it. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could practice this?

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Monday, August 13, 2018 at 7:10 PM - Response #21

I want to thank the many people who replied to my post on this topic with suggestions.

Here is the way we eventually solved this problem for our website, more or less.

I repeated my request — to avoid political content — a few times, allowing a week to lapse between each request.

When there were a few people still making political posts, one of my colleagues on the reunion committee made her own request, worded very gently, a few times.

Then she got another classmate, a close friend of hers, to do the same thing.

Hearing the same thing from three different people — along with the repetition — seemed to do the trick.

In addition, someone in the class started a facebook page for political discussions among the classmates. So, those who want to sound off politically have a forum and those who would rather not hear it don’t join that Facebook page.

There is still one guy who sometimes slips indirect political digs into his messages, but no one has responded to him with a political message for over a year.

So, friendly repetition with the message coming from three different people, has seemed to work at least so far.

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Monday, August 13, 2018 at 8:54 PM - Response #22

Subsequent to my earlier post, a male classmate posted a long tirade of his opinion re: NFL:Nat’l anthem.
I immediately deleted that post & sent the classmate a private email telling him I deleted his comment, why & included our website’s member disclaimer which clearly states posts containing discussion of politics & religion will not be tolerated on our website. The classmate never replied and continues to remain an active poster, refraining from any further discussion. The classmate & I share admiration for a specific college sports team and continue to exchange friendly emails regarding college basketball.

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Edited 08/13/18 10:41 PM
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 at 4:51 PM - Response #23

Very interesting to hear the different approaches used. I forgot to mention that, early on, we admins did delete a few posts that were not just political, but were outright offensive.

I think this problem is likely to surface again around this year’s election. Thanks to the many responses here, I know how to escalate if our current approach isn’t enough in the future.

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Friday, April 26, 2019 at 8:28 PM - Response #24

What about Personal Profile Pictures? An issue just came up- one classmate emailed me to take down pictures on another classmate's personal profile because of what they were wearing. (T-shirts with political messages & signs at a rally they attended) I can see policing Message Forum posts that contain political, offensive or controversial subjects, but isn't it an invasion of privacy/freedom of speech issue to tell someone what to wear? I would no sooner ask someone to delete pictures of themselves in MAGA hats/gear as I would if they were wearing a "Lock Him Up" shirt. This isn't a polling place or school for that matter - aren't we all adults? No matter what I do, one of these classmates will be offended & alienated from the site (can't afford that, since we only have 1/3 of our class registered & struggle to keep up interest/traffic, including myself these days!).

Knowing the simplest thing to do is delete/notify classmates that they are "not allowed" /restricted/ censored - but is it the right thing to do? Can't believe this has even become an issue. What the heck happened to "Land of the Free"?

Thoughts anyone?

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Friday, April 26, 2019 at 11:30 PM - Response #25

Since this is on a profile, I would let it stay. The idea is to have people express who they are in a profile. To moderate that will for sure cause more issues, not that you can't.

I started my own "uncensored" FB page for our area since I got sick of being "censored" for my views Twisted Evil

Yes, someone will get offended. I say tough. Grow up.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 11:07 AM - Response #26

I agree with Jack. We do include a statement on our home page which translates to "Be Nice". If some of the Q/A answers in a profile mention political work done over the years I have no problem as long as they don't include an attack on any candidate or political party. Profiles, like many news outlets, may voice opinions - but nobody forces you to go there if you don't want to see it. I would step in though, if some profile post started a series of negative comments or political arguments.

As far as photos, I have no problem with someone posting a photo showing them attending a political rally. It's their profile, and profiles are there to share who we are and who we have become over the years. I would, however, delete a potentially controversial photo posted in a profile from the What's New page or if it was posted in the Message Forum.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 12:32 PM - Response #27

I agree with Jack & John Ralph. Let it stay.
Does your website have a disclaimer for political and/or religion posts?
Finally, in the nicest way possible, I would contact the classmate who complained about the photo, stating
you as the Administrator, cannot censor what any classmate wears. A Profile belongs to each classmate.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 1:55 PM - Response #28

Thank you! That's exactly how I was leaning - and good to have confirmation (that I'm not crazy or being subjective on personal choice)! Now, to compose a "politically correct" email response to the disgruntled... and to compose more specific "Guidelines" (I have "general" netiquette's, but will add some [political/religious] specifics I saw in another post above) I miss the good ol' days of common sense & decency and hope we can somehow, someday, all get back to being able to discuss anything & everything civilly without the awful polarization caused by hate, fear & retaliation!

p.s. John Ralph, I like YOUR t-shirt = finally, something we can ALL agree on. Laughing

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