case studies

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Zephryus
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Post by Zephryus » Sun May 02, 2004 7:52 pm

Seems to me that there are ways of saying "Gee Rick, you seem to be a very violent man" without invoking a politically charged word usually used to describe those who would like to kill as many people as quickly and messily as possible.

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Post by technopatra » Thu May 06, 2004 2:36 pm

Wow.

OK first thing - I love you all for being concerned with my safety. I did not read BRR's posts as threats of physical violence to me. I am rather doubtful that he has ever given any real info about his profession, and am further doubtful that he would try to Tazer, tackle, or pinch me.

Before he made his claim of being a bounty hunter, he indicated that he leads horse-camping trips, and before that, intimated that he might be a univeristy professor or a high school teacher. He got pissy because after thinking he would have free rein to spew forever, I cut him off. So he mouthed off, that's all.

Stuart - I say he's part of the stopbmorg crew because he posted at least 2 messages to the stopbmorg list, under the wonderfully environmentally-concerned named of "Treecutter" mentioning my name and the fact that I kicked him off the boards, fascism, describing himself as "we" in connection with the stopbmorg group, etc. etc.

That list is monitored by several burners, 2 of whom forwarded the messages to me. The LLC is aware of all the goings on there and no one has any need to be concerned with them as a real threat. The only power they have is to inflict fear with their words, so DON'T GIVE THEM THAT POWER.

Bob and theCryptofishist - Ultimately I agree that folks should just ignore him, but they can't, and both for consistency's sake and the better experience of others on the eplaya, it sounds like I should just keep deleting him. I don't want a future troll to get kicked off later then cite him as defense for being able to stay.

Tancorix - I've already tracked his IP but per the TOS, will not disclose any of that info publically. I've dealt with some dangerous characters in my personal life, and the ones who talk a lot are the ones least likely to take action. Besides, I've got 3 Silician-American uncles in the construction biz, capice?

Jaunicoheal - I like the dartboard idea, but we may as well make sock puppet statues out of sugar then throw water ballons, so we can watch him melt like the Wicked Witch of the Wild West.

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Re: BRR - the soap opera continues...

Post by blyslv » Thu May 06, 2004 2:46 pm

technopatra wrote:
Tell me what you'd like to see happen.

I would like to see less control exercised. It's unhealthy. It leads to passivity and dictatorship.
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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new case study - request to delete

Post by technopatra » Thu May 06, 2004 2:47 pm

Ok this is probably a slam-dunk case study, but I still wanted to run it by you guys.

Someone starts a thread asking relationship advice. Through the course of the thread she reveals the name of the camp. Then maeks a request that nobody tell anyone in that camp about this thread. When others remind her these boards are public, she asks the admin to delete the thread for her.

I did ont honor that request, reiterating that the boards are public, and that once other reply, they "own" the thread as much as she does, so it's ismply not okay to delete a whole conversation based on one person's regret that they posted without thinking about the possible consequences of that post.

Easy-peasy, right? No deletions based on regret.

My question is this - the thread wasn't that long, and while some folks made thoughtful and funny replies, it doesn't, to me, rate as "keeper" - I wouldn't find myself referring to it later.

She should have known better before disclosing presonal info, but we all make mistakes, right? Should we have a provision for helping out a fellow eplayan if they've done something thoughtless? For instance, if she got permission from the other thread contributors, should I go ahead and delete the thread if it will save her some real-life trouble?

Either way, I think she's learned her lesson about disclosure. I'm not inclined to go out of my way to delete anything, but told her I'd bring the question to you.

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Post by blyslv » Thu May 06, 2004 2:54 pm

The "slippery slope" is something to keep in mind. You do one thing because it seems nice, you do another because ... well we can make an exception this one time, pretty soon all norms are gone and you're back to where you started.

What happens to this board when technopatra gets bored, or overwhelmed, or moves on to other interests? Will the TOS change? Will we be able to vote on who we silence? Will there be in cliques and out cliques? Seriously, the more you control who posts what, the more this place becomes what we came here to get away from. It's kind of sad.
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Post by angrykittie25 » Thu May 06, 2004 3:39 pm

reguarding the relationship thread technopatra mentioned. I was wondering if it were the "possible akwardness with boyfriend" thread. If so, the boyfriend of the girl already posted saying that he knew nothing about it and had already found out his girlfriend's intentions of dumping him. So what would be the point of deleting it now. Maybe it would be a good post to keep so that newbies will realize not to post "secrets" or info they do not want someone the know to find out. I think it is pretty much a given that if you post on a board that anyone can read, then you run the chance that whoever you are speaking about in your post, may read it. I would leave it rather than start people thinking that if they regret their post they can come running to you to prevent backlash. And then you have the job of figuring out what should and should not be deleted. I never ran to TP when I submited a post that I knew I should not have. I got some flaming, but I learned on my own. I think the same rule applies. regret, IMO does not warrant deletion. If you type out your post, preview your post and reread it, think about the consequences, make any edits, and then post it, you will have a lot less problems.

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Post by blyslv » Thu May 06, 2004 3:41 pm

"I do agree with you, but I will defend to my death your right to speak it."

Voltaire, a french dude and yes I'm paraphrasing.
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Post by DVD Burner » Thu May 06, 2004 3:50 pm

I see it all having the possibillity of turning into a "Jenny Jones" factor.
Be careful.



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Post by admin » Thu May 06, 2004 4:35 pm

blyslv wrote:The "slippery slope" is something to keep in mind. You do one thing because it seems nice, you do another because ... well we can make an exception this one time, pretty soon all norms are gone and you're back to where you started.
I hear you, am inclined to agree. There is a level of subjectivity to all of this that can not be avoided. But I guess that's true for all issues involving 2 or more people and their thoughts.
blyslv wrote:What happens to this board when technopatra gets bored, or overwhelmed, or moves on to other interests? Will the TOS change? Will we be able to vote on who we silence? Will there be in cliques and out cliques?
I'll stick around as long as I can, but the whole idea was not to make it my board - it is to encourage community participation and management. Right now...well, I'm the only person who will give it this kind of time. I try to keep it down to responding to requests and answering questions. I've had a couple of offers for moderators from folks whom I think will do a good job, and am just trying to get the bbs tool in good enough shape to be able to share the responsibility.

The actual bbs - the tool itself, the servers - is hosted by the LLC and the tech dept, but it is adminned by whomever wants to put the time in to maintain it - period. Right now that's paid tech staff like Spanky and eplayan volunteers like Emily Sparkle & me, with notable past and ongoing contributions from Trey, Chai Guy, Tony, & Precip. (Spanky's time is unfortunately taken up with more pressing tech concerns, so we are moving at a snail's pace unless we get a php guru to really dive in.)

The culture of the eplaya - well, that's up to everyone who comes here. First and foremost, by your own example in your posts and replies, second in your willingness to participate in policy discussions.

The Community Guidelines were developed in partnership with the eplaya community and the eplayan admins, with just enough input from the LLC to keep us legal. The original draft was done by an eplayan, and it set the tone.

The TOS was developed in partnership with the eplaya community, the LLC, and the web team (whom I distinguish from the LLC because we are mostly volunteers).

For every person who tells me that they are concerned with the slippery slope (and you are not the first) I have 5 people complaining about BRR and demanding his avatar on a platter.

Remember: I'm just driving. You guys are the navigators.
blyslv wrote:Seriously, the more you control who posts what, the more this place becomes what we came here to get away from. It's kind of sad.
What exactly do you come here to get away from?

This is never going to be a completely unmoderated environment while it is hosted by the LLC. Period. They host, and that makes them legally liable, so they have to maintain some level of oversight to avoid lawsuits. That is a fact and if it is a deterrent to your participation, well, that sucks but there it is.

That's why I was stoked when the Trey and Harriet started their boards - if folks wanted more whatever than they were getting here, they went and made what they wanted for themselves.

This is, imo, the best possible fruition of the eplaya - folks feeling enough connection, trust, and obligation to others they meet here that they will take that relationship outside of the "official" Burning Man realm.

In the meantime, I don't see admin actions in the light of controlling who posts (which indicates much more personal judgement than I feel I've made, but ymmv), but rather as enforcing the rules that everyone agreed to either when they signed up or when they continued posting after being informed of them. Again, we are talking about 5 accounts out of...what are we up to now... I know it's over 3000.

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Post by technopatra » Thu May 06, 2004 4:46 pm

sorry, that was me...forgot to switch back to my own acct.

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Post by blyslv » Fri May 07, 2004 9:27 am

TP, thank you for your thoughtful response to my less then perfect comments.

One of the reasons I come here to get away from group-think and excessive "me-too-ism." I've made many good friends from this board and appreciate the amount of work and effort it takes to make it a reality.

I would like the ethos of the eplaya to track as much as possible the ethos of the real life event. And a bedrock principle is "figure it out yourself." In my two years of attending the event (i.e. I'm not a noob, nor a jaded old timer) I've been part of or witnessed friction between neighbors. And I've seen solutions created. Sometimes cooperatively, other times with a little more direct action. But nobody ran yelling to an administrator, or a problem solver, or any type of third party authority to get them to solve the problem. But that is what is happening here. And little by little, one's sense of perosnal responsibility is eroded. And more and more conformity will be produced and anything that makes us the slightest bit uuncomfortable banished. It is the ascendancy of groupthink so prevlelant in our culture, and perhaps human nature.

You mentioned fear of "legal action" as one thing that prompted moderation of the board. As far as I can tell, it was not the threat of potential liability that caused the user's accounts to be deleted. It was simply that people found their sensabilities offended, their sacred cows gored and wanted to punish the loudmouth. That is bad, and it will lead to greater abuses.

I spent a lot of time on the old eplaya. With this new one I've pretty much abandoned it, neither one of us has much problem with that. Nothing stays the same.

Thank you for your hard work.
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Post by stuart » Fri May 07, 2004 10:26 am

Will there be in cliques and out cliques?
I would say that you must be new around here but I know it not to be true.

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Post by theCryptofishist » Fri May 07, 2004 1:02 pm

Technopatria wrote:
blyslv wrote:Seriously, the more you control who posts what, the more this place becomes what we came here to get away from. It's kind of sad.
What exactly do you come here to get away from?

This is never going to be a completely unmoderated environment while it is hosted by the LLC. Period. They host, and that makes them legally liable, so they have to maintain some level of oversight to avoid lawsuits. That is a fact and if it is a deterrent to your participation, well, that sucks but there it is.
The problem with the Black Rock Grinch is that he essentially ends up being a dog in the manger. I've stopped going to various e-groups in the past when the ad hominum attacks just got too much to bear--when I felt I was fighting and breaking my heart more than having a good time and making connections. At some point you have to draw a social line. No, I do not allow anyone to take a crap on my dining table. It's that simple. Technopatria ends up being a focus for the negative energy that was spewing all over when she enforces the rules. The rules have to be enforced. Otherwise it'll just be the Grinch and rexanon ranting about BM, because everyone else will leave. Hardly a reason for the LLC to spend the money.

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Post by technopatra » Sun May 09, 2004 12:16 am

blyslv wrote:
I would like the ethos of the eplaya to track as much as possible the ethos of the real life event. And a bedrock principle is "figure it out yourself." In my two years of attending the event (i.e. I'm not a noob, nor a jaded old timer) I've been part of or witnessed friction between neighbors. And I've seen solutions created. Sometimes cooperatively, other times with a little more direct action. But nobody ran yelling to an administrator, or a problem solver, or any type of third party authority to get them to solve the problem. But that is what is happening here. And little by little, one's sense of perosnal responsibility is eroded. And more and more conformity will be produced and anything that makes us the slightest bit uuncomfortable banished. It is the ascendancy of groupthink so prevlelant in our culture, and perhaps human nature.
Overall, I agree. I would still like folks to just tune out the folks who bother them and focus on more productive, or at least entertaining, discussions.

The big difference tho, is that one person in a real-life crowd can only be so loud and persistent - other folks can walk away, or drown them out, or in some cases run them off. It is a momentary irritation that has a finite impact. If it is a more serious violation, there is generally some kind of greater authority to take it to.

On the eplaya, one person is heard by just about everybody, and their words become a historical record and a lasting presence. Even those who do ignore the stuff that binds their panties are still exposed to it every time it justs to the top of a page. In that context, the admin is the only one who can do anything to tip the scales back to a more positive experience.

Well...only until we get the more empowering tools of "ignore thread" and plonk in place. I do hope and expect to see admin requests drop after that.

blyslv wrote: Thank you for your hard work.
I should be thanking you. Being a part of the eplaya and hearing your and other folks' perspectives on what it is about is not only fun and helping me further develop my own people and writing skills, but is also constantly challenging me to revisit the sometimes stale attitudes I've had for years about human nature, storytelling, emotional expression, the role of the internet in our lives, and informed debate.

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Post by Bob » Sun May 09, 2004 10:31 pm

I don't know if this is too far afield of anything the web team has discussed as yet, but here goes:

The main website was recently (the last year or two) reorganized more along the lines of serving your average person's needs and expectations of how things should be organized. However, it's organized more for servicing top-down dissemination of information than for anything from the ground up -- such as on the eplaya.

IMO all the public websites should logically use the same organizational model. Currently, there's an unresolved overlap btwn Newbie and 2004 topics on the eplaya. Newbie and General Discussion are dumping grounds for subtopics people can't seem to find a slot for -- similar to the old eplaya.

If you want this BBS to have legs, and not have to babysit the thing too much, the topic organization needs some attention ASAP, and should by rights have some similarity to what's being done on the other websites.

The participation of BRR et al in the overall public discourse should not be a problem. If the main website dealt with an honest (& succinct) presentation of the natural history of the event, there would be a place for such online content. Granted, a very tiny place, but a place nonetheless.
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Post by Bob » Sun May 09, 2004 10:53 pm

Of course you'd also have to make room on the main web site for video artists looking for subjects, -b-a-r-, er, art-car owners looking for designated drivers, psycho chicks/dudes looking for reality, etc., etc.

Good luck...
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Post by Ivy » Tue May 11, 2004 1:07 pm

I hate to be a sore, but what about this post:

http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... 9676#49676
?

It would seem to me that if it had maybe been placed under regional events announcing the party, it might have flown...? What is the standpoint on that (events that charge money)? And this post in particular?

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Post by Ranger Genius » Tue May 11, 2004 1:17 pm

I just sauntered over to this board to post the same thing. Smacks of 'commerce' to me. Would it be appropriate even for it to be under the 'regional events' forum, as posted? or would the emphasis have to be shifted to the party? Or is it even appropriate then? Thanks, Ivy.
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Post by Bob » Tue May 11, 2004 10:48 pm

I'm not sure where it belongs, but if I were King of the Admins, I'd have no conniptions over deleting anything I thought might attract too many similarly off-topic threads, and asking the OP to repost to a more appropriate area.
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Post by technopatra » Wed May 12, 2004 2:09 pm

Bob wrote:I don't know if this is too far afield of anything the web team has discussed as yet, but here goes:

The main website was recently (the last year or two) reorganized more along the lines of serving your average person's needs and expectations of how things should be organized. However, it's organized more for servicing top-down dissemination of information than for anything from the ground up -- such as on the eplaya.
Yep, that is its purpose. The main website is the voice of the Project to participants, newbies, media, law enforcement, and the generally curious. THe content on the main site is held to standards that we did not want to impose on participants speaking their own mind, hence the eplaya.

And actually, only the homepage was reorganized. The site received a new graphic treatment, and the global nav was reordered, not reorg'd. The main site is, imo, still difficult to navigate and wayfind. Fortunately our search is working better.

Bob wrote: IMO all the public websites should logically use the same organizational model. Currently, there's an unresolved overlap btwn Newbie and 2004 topics on the eplaya. Newbie and General Discussion are dumping grounds for subtopics people can't seem to find a slot for -- similar to the old eplaya.
Maintaining some level of consistency of experience across the BM web offerings is definitely a good idea. I don't know that we would want to emulate the current structure. However, we have a longer-term vision for revisiting the structure of each section of the main site, defining places & rules for contextual linking - e.g. when we post a news item, inviting folks to discuss on in the eplaya. We have some technical issues to hammer out.

If we can get the main site structure in better shape, I'd be completely down with this idea.
Bob wrote: If you want this BBS to have legs, and not have to babysit the thing too much, the topic organization needs some attention ASAP, and should by rights have some similarity to what's being done on the other websites.
I agree with the part about it needing to be addressed soon. We've got a new approved folder structure, am trying to figure out how long it will take to actually move the threads. We'll have to close the eplaya for maintenance, and it'll take several hours of work. The desire & plan is there, the rest is about time & resources.
Bob wrote: The participation of BRR et al in the overall public discourse should not be a problem. If the main website dealt with an honest (& succinct) presentation of the natural history of the event, there would be a place for such online content. Granted, a very tiny place, but a place nonetheless.
Well..if you are talking about just his environmental accusations, then yes. If you are talking about the constant personal insults, then no.

The original stopbmorg furor made the need for our enviro record to be made public abundantly clear. I proposed creating a meaty enviro section (or subsection, not sure yet) to a couple members of the LLC in...I think it was back in February?...so that we would not be reactive to such bs accusations in the future, and also to help with recruitment and they agreed, provided me with some BLM documentation, and got me in touch with the Earth Guardians.

I am currently leading a collaboration with the Earth Guardians, the LLC board, and a few interested members of the web team on this. We just finished defining the overall structure of the current & future content architecture, planning on getting the basic outline and current content in place before the event, then we'll expand the section post-playa.

I am SUPER excited about this project. I need to thank you all who came back at those guys with examples of what we are doing right - it was discovering the breadth and depth of our commitment to the environment that spurred me to make this happen.

All of which, in a way, argues for the BRRs of the world to be let loose among us, as this section probably wouldn't have happened for some time if he & his cohorts hadn't been so caustic and prolific on the eplaya. But that doesn't change the fact that they have to adhere to the same TOS & CG that they and everyone else agreed to.

[/list]

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Post by technopatra » Wed May 12, 2004 2:30 pm

btw - i just got a call from Harley leaning on me (in her very nice, Harley way) to get the new folder structure done so that the themecamps folks can start directing folks to discuss their needs/ideas there.

I'll make a plan with Spanky at tonight's webteam meeting about the timing and procedure for closing the eplaya for maintenance. At this point it looks like Ill be spending Saturday doing it.

Don't worry, you all will be warned ahead of time.

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Post by Alpha » Wed May 12, 2004 3:55 pm

technopatra wrote: At this point it looks like Ill be spending Saturday doing it.
OMG, does this mean I have to walk away from the computer and go out into the sunshine? what if I melt?

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Post by technopatra » Thu May 13, 2004 10:53 am

Just get your woof on and go mark you some territory.

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Post by technopatra » Sat May 15, 2004 11:32 am

ok we're having a couple of technical difficulties, shooting for the doing the forum folder reorg work on Sunday (tomorrow). I will send out the announcement just as soon as we've got the last glitch worked out.

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Post by Bob » Sat May 15, 2004 1:08 pm

Hope the theme camp thing includes some sort of header or sticky post w/ a brief list of frequently needed theme camp & other links back to the main site.

Re: what I posted earlier re: BRR -- I was mostly kidding about giving anyone in particular any sort of forum, other than what's afforded us all on the eplaya.

Good to hear the EGs might want to work on more public web content, and I think the basics of what Burning Man does year-round to get its permits and of the efforts made to support good stewardship, neighborliness, etc. should rate its own page(s), but maybe this could be done just by borrowing from the Afterburn site w/ heavy editing and directing it to a broader audience. Just a thought, but the EGs are a little on the rah-rah side.
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Post by technopatra » Mon May 17, 2004 3:57 pm

The Enviro site in well underway, and there is a lot of new and not-so-new-but-previously-buried-so-far-down-in-the-subnav-as-to-be-invisible content that will go in there. If you are interested, Bob, I can send you the current content outline.

As for the themcamp sticky, I was going to put links to main themecamps page: http://www.burningman.com/themecamps_in ... index.html

with a note to check out the right nav for specific preparation questions.

Anything else you think should be there?

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ok not so much a case study, as a check in:

Post by technopatra » Wed May 26, 2004 6:38 pm

I've been actively dealing with crossposts for a while. My take is to keep the one with responses, move it intot he correct category (if it's not there already) and delete the other,. In the event the dupe threads have replies (other than "don't crosspost, ya wanker") then I post one last message linking them to the main thread, and lock the dupe.

Anyone have any objections to this? I haven't made the crossposting actions known because they seemed undebatable. I just wanted to check in on the methodology.

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Post by angrykittie25 » Wed May 26, 2004 6:52 pm

Sounds good to me. Its really annoying the hit the View Post Since Last Visit and see multiple identical posts from the same person. You think people would figure out that if you post anywhere on the board, everyone will see it.

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Post by Zephryus » Wed May 26, 2004 8:31 pm

That's only the case if everybody uses the "view posts since last visit" feature.

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Post by pheonixphire000 » Wed May 26, 2004 8:56 pm

Not really, you still click on a folder and see a certain thread. Then click another folder and see it again. Either way it is still an annoyance and a waste of the space. You don't need to post twice. If you post in the appropriate area, the group you are trying to reach will see it.

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