Rules of Conduct and behaviour on the forum -please read.

overscan (PaulMM)

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Please take a moment to read the forum rules. You will find them here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,7428.0.html

I draw your attention in particular to the items highlighted in bold.

The tone of the forum has become more adversarial recently and I don't like it. Several members have been guilty of being rude towards other members. Rudeness isn't appropriate behaviour on the forum - if you have a problem with a post you should report it to staff, not wade in with size 12 boots and make matters worse. Equally, some more recent users could try for a bit more quality control on their postings.
 

Triton

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The topic "Politics' role in Unbuilt Projects" topic seemed to go off topic almost immediately. I don't understand why this topic was permitted to last for four days until it was finally locked by you overscan and that you have to resort to threatening the banning of members for their adversarial posts, rudeness, and the content of their replies. There are many members with the title of Moderator and Global Moderator. I don't understand why there wasn't pro-action by a Moderator or Global Moderator to keep the replies on topic, remove the trolling responses, and generally maintaining the peace. Is there a Moderator or a Global Moderator who is responsible for "The Bar" and who is responsible for reading the topics and the replies and keeping the responses on topic and civilized? I know that it is impossible for you to read every response overscan, but I don't understand why moderators have not been assigned sections in the forum.

The next issue is that you write that "more recent users could try for a bit more quality control on their postings. Some of you are rapidly heading to 1000+ posts, while respected posters of 3+ years haven't made that many." Are we keeping score now? Why does the quantity of posts that a recent member make matter? Are you discouraging recent members from being active and contributing to the forums or expressing interest in unbuilt projects and prototypes that did not enter series production?

I also don't understand what you mean by "a bit more quality control on their postings." Again you are painting broad strokes here and this can mean anything. It could be as simple as spell checking, writing complete sentences, and grammar in the content of their posts. You are not being specific enough about what your objections are to these posts. As far as I know, the activity in the forums for the past several months adheres to the Forum Rules and things are running fine. Weeks or months will go by and then I will see a post in "Site Feedback" lamenting about the quality of posts and wishing that members would exercise a bit more quality control in their postings. The efficacy of posts is also a Moderator, Global Moderator, and Administrator responsibility. They need to be more pro-active in contacting members who make low quality posts in their estimation and pruning and editing content that is of low quality or in their estimation wastes server bandwidth.

I hope that members who are engaging in objectionable behavior and posts are being notified when they make an infraction and corrective action is taken at the time. Because by leaving these posts in tact, precedent is also being set of what is acceptable content on the forums.
 

Matej

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Triton said:
I don't understand why this topic was permitted to last for four days until it was finally locked by you overscan and that you have to resort to threatening the banning of members for their adversarial posts, rudeness, and the content of their replies. There are many members with the title of Moderator and Global Moderator. I don't understand why there wasn't pro-action by a Moderator or Global Moderator to keep the replies on topic, remove the trolling responses, and generally maintaining the peace.

Triton, did you ever imagine, how many topics stayed intact, because some members discharged their energy in this single senseless topic, that can be *in the right time* locked and deleted? Things are not only black or white. Try to think about it.
 

Triton

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Matej said:
Triton, did you ever imagine, how many topics stayed intact, because some members discharged their energy in this single senseless topic, that can be *in the right time* locked and deleted? Things are not only black or white. Try to think about it.

Correct me if I am wrong here, but it sounds as though you are saying that members should be permitted to rant and troll in "The Bar" to discharge their energy as you put it so that other topics in the forum stay in tact? Is that a correct interpretation of what you are saying? If "The Bar" exists for this energy discharge, then why threaten the participants engaging in such energy discharge with bans?
 

sferrin

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Triton said:
Matej said:
Triton, did you ever imagine, how many topics stayed intact, because some members discharged their energy in this single senseless topic, that can be *in the right time* locked and deleted? Things are not only black or white. Try to think about it.

Correct me if I am wrong here, but it sounds as though you are saying that members should be permitted to rant and troll in "The Bar" to discharge their energy as you put it so that other topics in the forum stay in tact? Is that a correct interpretation of what you are saying? If "The Bar" exists for this energy discharge, then why threaten the participants engaging in such energy discharge with bans?

Well the Sprint ABM thread was getting hosed pretty good until the polititcs moved to another thread so I can see his point.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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My comment about "recent users" was not directed at anyone in particular.

The observation was made to me by more than one longstanding member that some more recent users are posting "noise" in the forum, such that the average quality of posts is declined somewhat. I agree partly, but I would say that some users like Mark Nankivil and Bill S with the McDonnell and Vought stuff have brought large quantities of primary source materials and in many respects, overall the forum is very healthy.

However, for most of its existence the amount of policing required on the forum has been minimal. As more members register, it is probably inevitable that this will increase. However, we can all act in ways that minimise the chances of discussions spiralling out of control.

Some key sections from the forum rules:
  • Personal attacks on others are always inappropriate. Disagree all you like with their ideas or opinions, but don't resort to name-calling or flaming.
  • Always be polite, especially to new users, even if they ask questions you find irritating. Nobody was born an expert.
  • If you feel that a post is in the wrong section, is pointlessly stupid, or otherwise obectionable, report it using the "report to moderator" link found in each post and explain what the
  • problem is. Your compaint will be reviewed by a moderator as soon as practicable. "Vigilante" flaming of posts is not good etiquette.
  • New users in return should respect that some of the forum's "grumpy old men" do have years of industry experience. Be respectful and appreciative where appropriate.
  • If you have nothing to add, but you really appreciated something somebody posted, let them know via a personal message.

So, for example, its probably not necessary for multiple users to all say "thanks" in every topic. I could install a "thanks" option into the forum so everyone can express appreciation for posts without making unnecessary posts, if that would be helpful. Because, unlike most forums, we try to act as not just discussion but a kind of database, this creates a tension between the two purposes - discussion and reference.

By quality control I mean situations like where hesham recently posted drawings from vectorsite. These are crude, low detail, user created images, not a company model or drawing. They probably don't need to be uploaded to the forum. Of course, hesham has posted many good images, and we don't want to stop him posting - but perhaps thinking a bit more about what he is posting, before he posts it, might help at times. Just an example.

Its a fine line to walk to keep things nice without getting all interventionist. I am appealing to users to exercise some restraint to avoid getting like some other forums. In the past, this has worked fine with minimal controls, and I'd like to keep it that way.

There is certainly no excuse for rudeness, though knowing some Americans and Australians from work, I can see how one person's 'straight talking' can be another's 'rudeness'. Cultural differences certainly exist even between English speaking countries, to say nothing of the wider world.
 

Matej

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The point was in the "black and white" sentence. Imagine: you are forced to decide - you have the member that have really a lot of valuable stuff, but tend to less or more violate the forum rules from time to time. What is better? Ban him? Let him? Every time to preach him? I agree with the Paul that with the so many new members its harder to keep the original friendly behavior of the forum, but the simple black and white solutions unfortunately does not work as expected. Especially when we have there people with drastically different personalities. So - should the topic you mentioned be locked and deleted immediately? Maybe yes. And maybe no. Its always the matter of specific problem to decide.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Equally, no moderator reads every topic. That's why the "report" button exists, to draw attention to a topic. Also, no-one gets paid from this, and many of us have family responsibilities that take precedence especially at Christmas etc.
 

Bill S

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Overscan,

I appreciate the topic. As a newbie I try to sit back and get used to the
different cutural and writing styles of the membership. An interesting
experience with a group that is not a majority American in makeup.

I am a moderator for several email groups, I know the effort it takes
at times to keep a lid on things, and the spammers out. I appreciate what you, and the
other moderators do. I enjoy the limited time I get to visit the Forum and hope my posts
add value.

Take care.

bill
 

Triton

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I guess expecting moderators to read every topic and reply in a section of the forum is too much to ask. I was hoping that there was someway to be pro-active and prevent posts from escalating to the point where the banning of members is being contemplated. All of us from time to time have said things in the heat of the moment that we later regret. As overscan put it, we wade in with our size twelve boots and make matters worse. So I was hoping that there was some way for someone who didn't have a vested interest in the discussion to intervene before the discussion got out of hand and not rely entirely on self-policing by using the "Report to Moderator" button. I also appreciate the difficulty of moderating a forum in which people from multiple countries actively participate.

I am part of the group of recent members who are past the 1,000 posts mark and so I was concerned that the quality control comment might have been directed at me. It is important to me to be seen as someone who makes a valuable contribution to the forums and is not posting "noise" or drowning out or driving off respected posters. There is information, artwork, and photographs that I think that are cool, interesting, and new to me and I believe that I am making a positive contribution to the forum by sharing them. I don't believe that it is the intention of most of us to make posts that are in the judgment of others to be low quality or are considered to be "ruining the forums." But what I might find interesting might be totally uninteresting or common to others. So it's my hope that if there is an issue with quality, specific posts and replies are identified and fixed or removed based on editorial judgment and we get away from general statements about recent users versus respected posters.
 

Bailey

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So, for example, its probably not necessary for multiple users to all say "thanks" in every topic.

How about saying thanks for something of special interest to you, via a P.M, if all you want to say is thank you, makes it more direct and personal. If you are adding to the subject under discussion then say thank you in your post.

Regards Bailey.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Thats one possibility, yes. I've looked at the forum "thank you" options and it leads to a kind of "who gets the most thanks" competition which might not be helpful.
 

Antonio

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it leads to a kind of "who gets the most thanks" competition which might not be helpful.

I've seen that from other fora. I agree with Bailey about express thanks via PM. However I think most members are not posting "thanks messages" indiscriminately. So that's not the forum's biggest problem.

I also vote for the supression of public access to the forum statistics. Only Overscan should see it in order to avoid competitions about who is the top poster or the top topic starter.


This forum started from an aerospace amateur enthusiast. He pays the money and puts his technical skills to keep it alive. A group of dispersed amateur enthusiasts joined to that early idea and started to contribute and share our knowledge and passion. We enjoy a hobby here. Overscan asked for volunteers to help him in the moderator tasks and some of us accepted it as a honour. Then the foum became a success and the number and heterogeneity (that's important point source for problems) of members increased. Consequently problems arise.

Some quick solutions:

1. Moderator workload has increased -> More moderators could be recruited and organized. (But if I'm not wrong Overscan call for volunteers and... nobody applied?). We need section moderators as Triton said.

2. We have politics -> Moderators had to be more active supressing it. Politics is not the forum subject!

3. We have indiscriminate posters/topic starters -> Moderators and members in general should show that members that we the Forum Database has to be keep clean to be efficient. We should show them how the "search" tool works before posting/starting topic.

4. Agressive members should be banned. We are here to enjoy knowledge, nothing more. Those who want to fight must go to other places.

Just a few opinions to start...
 

lark

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Completely agree with you Antonio !

Let us keep the forum on the highest level...
 

The Artist

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I'm still exploring and learning my way around here and this discussion seems like a good place to say a few things and ask a question.

In reading rules then the initial discussion in the thread, I felt that I may have been guilty of one or two of the minor infractions. Yes. I did post an off topic (joke) entry in the "Politics' role in Unbuilt Projects" thread. I had been following that thread because it contained information that made me think about things. I had refrained from taking serious part in the discussion because I was not sure that I'd have been able to keep from going too far in my replies. The debate became intense and I welcomed the opportunity presented by that ED-209 post to let off some energy in what I felt would have been a non-offensive way. After all, I've seen this done by other - more established - members. If that was inappropriate behavior, let me know.

I seem to have had one of two of my comments in other threads dismissed as attempts to derail the topic when in fact those comments were meant as serious observations. Let me say that my background is mainly in the arts. I'm not in a position to debate things like launch vehicle payload potentials or wing loading characteristics but I think I should be okay calling attention to things that don't look right to me. Maybe there is a good reason for it looking the way it does and I just need to have it explained.

Now to my question. I think my main contribution here could be with artwork. For example. I'm finishing up an acrylic painting of the McDonnell Douglas model 225 VFX submission with the intent of displaying it with the manufacturer model in the collection of the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum. I'd like to share that image here but I'm not sure which category would be correct. Do acrylic and oil paintings belong in Scale Modelling, CGI and Profiles? Or, should they be placed somewhere else?

Mike
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Generally, Scale Modelling, CGI and Profiles is the right place for anything user-created. Stuff posted in "Postwar Secret Projects" should be mainly manufacturer drawings, photos and the like.
 

Abraham Gubler

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The Artist said:
I'm not in a position to debate things like launch vehicle payload potentials or wing loading characteristics but I think I should be okay calling attention to things that don't look right to me. Maybe there is a good reason for it looking the way it does and I just need to have it explained.

I think this is a key issue and in particular the opposite approach taken by many of the so-called ‘junior’ members or opinion posters.

That is as a forum dedicated to 'secret' or more accurately unrealised defence and aerospace projects we have lots and lots of equipment to archive, detail and discuss which is different. Unfortunately many people think different is bad and are more than willing to declare their opinion as such with little or no knowledge or understanding of the operational practise and engineering behind such a difference. Rather than respond to difference with a question seeking explanation or some analysis as to why the difference.

This kind of simplistic and knowledge poor opinion posting is what this forum had managed to avoid for much of its existence before Google and Bill Sweetman’s references to it in AvWeek made it such a popular stop on the information superhighway. Then of course people like myself try to correct this opinion in a way that others find offensive and battle is declared. Because for some reason the same type of person who is willing to make an absolute comment about something’s validity when they know little or nothing about it is also willing to defend that comment to the death…

If only the preferred approach was to ask “why does that thing look different to all the others” and then the various opinions as to why can be assessed in a rational and logical manner.

So what’s the solution to the problem? Is it ‘encouraging’ first responders like myself to do so gently or to refrain? From my experience it is the very existence of opposition to opinion and the rational quality of it that enrages the opinionated not the manner of its presentation.

Or is it to shut down the opinion posters? Considering most of those don’t bring anything of value to the forum (like new information about projects) and a scaled response approach can be utilised I would suggest the later.

I would suggest that every post that does not contain some kind of new information, rational assessment or polite discourse between posters (ie thankyous and requests) result in an automatic one day suspension from posting on the forum. The second such post after the suspension should receive a one week suspension and the third banning. Each strike against an inappropriate poster would expire after one month of good behaviour.

Of course this would probably create a lot of work for the moderators so maybe we’re all just better letting the community work it self out…
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I am not sure I want to go quite so draconian, but there are now many appropriate areas on the forum where fan art, speculation and off-topic banter can go. If we can keep the core "Projects" sections more focused on projects and prototypes, and put the other things where they belong, that would be helpful.

Regarding the issue of exercising politeness and restraint - whether it affects the offending user's behaviour or not is irrelevant in my opinion. Diplomacy and tact are the fluffy cushions on the bedrock of society, online and offline. I regularly get better results at work in dealing with people than my team colleague who is confrontational and gets angry with them. It creates a bad climate.

Several British retired engineers who visited the forum were put off from joining by the lack of politeness in some posts. Perhaps its a British thing?
 

Tailspin Turtle

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Once upon a time, someone who had worked on an airplane or engine project team made up of Brits and Germans and headed by an American described the experience to me. The Brits supposedly thought that the American was rude, loud, and dictatorial while the Germans thought he was excessively courteous and deferential, beating around the bush rather than speaking up and being explicit about what needed to be done. It was probably an exaggerated or even apocryphal description of the situation, but my own experience in industry suggests that the same sort of cultural misperception of communication styles exists, even within countries, say between Texans and South Philadelphians. It will be ever so...

Some of this difference exists in law. I was interested to read recently that in England there is a duty to withdraw from a prospective fight in some circumstances, whereas in the US in some localities and situations, there is not only no such duty, but an explicit right to confrontation and the use of force. That's an oversimplification but it pertains to some of what happens here. For example, we've seen what happens when one member tries to chastise another for an arguably inane and certainly non-value-added opinion posting. I suggest that it's better not to (although I have to admit that my first reaction was that I was very pleased that somebody did so), as it is very unlikely to curb the originator's enthusiasm for such posts. It also clutters up the recent posts page so that the substantive contributions drop off the bottom of the page all the sooner before the daily visitor has a chance to peruse it.

I agree with Bailey that PMs are underutilized, not only for thanks (they also have a deleterious impact on the recent posts page) but to resolve misunderstandings and ask a question about a contribution that might not be of general interest. I'd prefer that exchanges between two individuals that deteriorate into I-know-what-I'm talking-about-and-you-don't go off line as well, but that's not likely to happen since each is trying to enlist support from the rest of us for his or her position and/or trying to make the other admit error. Please let me know by PM if you see me headed that way...
 

Stargazer2006

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The last point of a private message I sent overscan a few days ago was exactly along that train of thought, and I think I ought to share it with you all:

"one thing to bear in mind: I once lived in Britain and was quite happy to be there and mingle with the population (kept away from the French as best as I could!). I can even say that after a year I'd managed to be pretty integrated, at least inasmuch as a Frenchman can... I know from experience there is a huge gap between our nations, much wider and deeper than the Channel... What you folks consider polite and diplomatic we often see as hypocrisy... what you consider blunt and rude we actually deem as straightforwardness. This is a cultural divide that cannot easily be bridged. I am an honest and straightforward person, I do speak my mind quite easily and on many subjects, I do not fear to be impopular in voicing opinions that do not necessarily please the majority... this is all way too Latin for an Englishman! Please do not take offense from this. If I have spoken more than in my turn it's because I enjoyed the place. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered... Now if you're telling me I speak too much and my contribution is not welcome beyond the confines of pure informative posts, I will abide by your rules."

It would be naive to undermine the importance of culture in such a multicultural place. Things that seem very important to some might not matter to others, and reversely. What I said about the French vs. the English could also be said about the Polish vs. the Czechs, the Canadians vs. the Americans, and probably any other pair of countries which are sufficiently close to share common values and sufficiently different to have problems coping with it.
 

Steve Pace

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Stargazer2006 said:
The last point of a private message I sent overscan a few days ago was exactly along that train of thought, and I think I ought to share it with you all:

"one thing to bear in mind: I once lived in Britain and was quite happy to be there and mingle with the population (kept away from the French as best as I could!). I can even say that after a year I'd managed to be pretty integrated, at least inasmuch as a Frenchman can... I know from experience there is a huge gap between our nations, much wider and deeper than the Channel... What you folks consider polite and diplomatic we often see as hypocrisy... what you consider blunt and rude we actually deem as straightforwardness. This is a cultural divide that cannot easily be bridged. I am an honest and straightforward person, I do speak my mind quite easily and on many subjects, I do not fear to be impopular in voicing opinions that do not necessarily please the majority... this is all way too Latin for an Englishman! Please do not take offense from this. If I have spoken more than in my turn it's because I enjoyed the place. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered... Now if you're telling me I speak too much and my contribution is not welcome beyond the confines of pure informative posts, I will abide by your rules."For a Frenchman, you have great command of the English language!

It would be naive to undermine the importance of culture in such a multicultural place. Things that seem very important to some might not matter to others, and reversely. What I said about the French vs. the English could also be said about the Polish vs. the Czechs, the Canadians vs. the Americans, and probably any other pair of countries which are sufficiently close to share common values and sufficiently different to have problems coping with it.
For a Frenchman you have great command of the English language.
 

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