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Censorship

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by MrsPepper, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Kevin and Count, you know that I love you guys and nothing but respect and thanks for you, but why are posts/threads always being deleted and edited constantly, without any notice or warnings? Rather than threads being locked or posters being warned, posts just disappear entirely. I have some serious issues with this policy.

    I understand that there is an image that needs to be upheld and there needs to be some sort of peace on the forum, but I've noticed this for months upon months now, and I'm starting to feel as if you don't trust us. I've been a member for over 3 years and I feel as if I've more than proved that I know how to debate and conduct myself in a respectful manner, for the most part. Have I not earned the right to (respectfully, as usual) express myself? The last time I checked, a mere disagreement was no reason to lower my post count.

    I understand that some of us, myself included, may cross the invisible line when it comes to issues we are passionate about, and an occasional warning to keep conversations in check is absolutely necessary in those situations. But it's starting to remind me of 1984, where the government changes facts about the past to make the present look better to the unsuspecting citizens. When did MC stop being a democracy?

    Just for the record, this isn't about any specific incident. This has finally happened enough times that I'm fed up, and feel that this is a serious injustice to the members of the forum.

    (For the record, if this post gets edited/deleted, I will be deeply disappointed.)
  2. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I've noticed a few times things have been closed when they really didn't need to be, like there was nothing seriously wrong and the mod just said "well the conversation is over, move on" or in one thread a Muppeteers contact details were pretty much let onto the forum and then someone wanting to contact some obscure Henson worker looking for help was basically told it was against forum policy to even enquire ... just needs consistency maybe. Overall though it has been very good indeed, a lot of stuff and a lot of people who shouldn't have been on this forum have been dealt with quickly and efficiently over the last few months and any queries ive raised have been answered quickly and dealt with.
  3. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I have noticed a few threads prematurely closed in the past, but not so much lately. The moderators do have a tough job. I wore that hat once and never want to do that again. I'm sure there are others pleased about that too.

    I have noted that usually General Discussion threads receive the most editing. I comfortably talk war, politics (decipher my signature), religion, philosophy and social issues quite a bit off the forum.

    There's just something about when those things are typed out on a forum that causes turmoil. That seems to be why Muppet Central tries to keep things more Muppety. Makes sense, but I sometimes wish that the conversation could open more.

    Passions tend to run high on forums. I am the same here as I am in person but many people take advantage of the anonymity and say things they shouldn't or in ways they shouldn't. It can be challenging to decipher an intended tone when reading posts and knee-jerk reactions run wild. I had difficulty in the past with someone I actually agreed with, but was being disrespectful to me and others anyway.

    :search: I'll keep my eye out for censored bits, but I do know from experience that most of what is done around these parts is necessary and not done lightly. ;)
  4. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    I haven't really had an issue with this, other than the occasional thread being closed before it really had to be... but last night I posted a joke in the "Your Thoughts: Studio DC: Almost Live" thread. I jokingly stated, before the special was on, that I was going to "vote now since I won't be around tonight." My post got deleted. Why? There was nothing wrong with my joke. Sure, it wasn't that funny, but there was nothing wrong with it! I don't understand why it was deleted. I wasn't technically muffining the thread. My comment was on topic. It was a comment on how people frequently rate things before they actually see them.

    Anyway, if it seems like I'm angry about it, I'm not really. Just confused. I don't get it. No one told me what was wrong with what I said, so what's to keep me from doing it again in the future?
  5. rtgentry

    rtgentry Member

    Maybe the mods need to review a list of who is deleteing what and how often and deal with the offender in a positive way or correcting and teaching.
  6. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    I've had a few issues going maybe 6-12 months back where lines were edited out of a few of my posts, it was a games thing so not really any reason to. Not sure whether it was intentional or if a mod just hit edit instead of reply.
  7. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Well... There are these little things known as form field boxes for a mod to state the reason why a post is being merged or deleted, or why threads are being deleted. After a bit of initial trial, I fill them out every time I do anything now. Perhaps one of the problems is that those boxes are labeled as "Optional" instead of made mandatory which is what they rully are.
    Also, the Report Post feature gets some usage in alerting mods to a problem post/thread or if there's something odd going on. That option should be saved for when rully needed, just contact a mod personally if you believe there's something you noticed that you want to ask about.

    Another thing is that people's post totals will be affected when we go in and deal with a banned member's posts. Since we wish to have no record of the offending party, at least as so far as possible, we mods go back and exponge the posts related to that person unintentionally wiping out others' remarks. So you know, it's happend to me too, so noone's immune from post total droppage, not even the mods.

    Hope that answers a few questions.
    *Flees off back into the sanctuary of the shadows.
  8. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you asked the question. Some of the posts above have already answered why things are moderated the way they are.

    Really, we shouldn't HAVE to censor, edit or delete anything. It's a message board for Muppet fans, and it's just sad to me that there ever is any in-fighting or negativity. I doubt seriously that it's something we, as fans, learned from anything we're here to celebrate. But, it happens way more often than folks notice, I think.

    If there are posts that bring about a feeling of negativity or the possibility of in-fighting then those posts need to be dealt with. WAY too often I've seen non-diplomatic posts made that incite flaming or arguing on the message boards. I REALLY don't want to see that happening, regardless how nicely folks try to stick it to one another (and even though the 'nice-stick-it-to-'em' has been delivered, it has still led to in-fighting). By the way, even nice jabbing is considered "baiting."

    Seeing or leaving a negative post on the boards tend to send some people away and it's been my position that removing them makes for a better reading experience later--especially while we're visited by folks from JHC, SW, or Diz, and negative posts could likely run away possible new members or those folks from the companies.

    I come here to visit and have fun, find out more about other members and their fandom, and learn new and upcoming things about Muppets and products we associate with them. While reading through threads, even if there are 3 or 4 problematic posts you have to sift through to get the jest of the whole thread, it's too many. Am I wrong and alone in that? Do people enjoy reading those posts?

    Instead, when there are posts that are even nice about the way they are jabbing at each other, then it's distracting, ruins the fun of why I (and I'm sure others) come to the message board. I have visited some message boards of other things I'm a fan of, and I've never signed up, or left soon after signing on, because of the negativity of the membership. After all, the real world just stinks and is too stressful, and this is my refuge to come play and goof off with folks about something we all love. Isn't it for everyone? I would hope so and that others would want rid of negative posts, too.

    I still have yet to understand why folks make jabs at each other on a message board that celebrates everything Jim worked on, but it happens. And, there's no answer why it happens.

    Still, each day in my inbox there can be up to 5 reported posts, and I don't act on all of them because some of them might be fair opinions (even if I don't agree) or even folks wanting their own thread closed down. Moderating is a cumbersome job to preserve the sanctity of the forum.

    Really, I don't have time to send out warnings to people everytime something goes on. I really don't get to spend a lot of time posting like I used to due to moderating and trying to help keep it a clean, fun, positive place. Still, MC is my very first forum experience having joined in the late 90's and is kind of an internet home to me. Nowadays, it's really the only forum I post on actively anymore.

    So, maybe I'm over-protective, trying to keep it all fun and positive for the oldies and newbies? I suppose my question back should be: Do I, as a moderator, leave the negative posts or argumentative threads open and visible? Is that what we're all about here? I don't think it's what we're about, but golly it sure does happen enough. Usually moreso in the fall, close to winter, I've noticed.

    As far as thread closures or disappearances, I've no answer. I've merged several threads with the same topic and maybe that's what's going on? Any joke posts disappearing are beyond me. I would welcome a joke post--after all, look at my screen name!

    I do know that on the Star Wars Fan Force boards a moderator there can delete, edit, close, and ban at will without ever having to give an answer, reason, or respond back. Talking to a friend of mine about moderating that message board, such a thread as this would be deleted without any response. However, everyone here will have to admit that, since MC started, one thing you've never been without is a caring, responding moderator always willing to help anyway he or she could. I've always hoped I was one of those moderators...

    Anyway, I don't know if I've answered anything or not. I've been working in the yard today, it's been really hot outside, and that's my answer. I've probably contradicted myself a lot, too, and painted myself in a corner with some sort of Seussian answer.
  9. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Some thoughts on your post, Kevin:

    I understand your horror on how there could ever be fighting on a Jim Henson forum, but I think I know how it is possible: It's because we all care so much. It's the same reason why I started this thread. We all share the same passion but with differing opinions.

    Normally this is a good environment to share those differing opinions but one of my issues was that it seems like there are so many things that aren't allowed to be said. Jim Henson wasn't Jesus, and it isn't blasphemy to have a negative opinion. I feel like some mods just nip posts/discussions/"problems" in the bud in case it turns out bad, instead of allowing discussion to unfold. It's like a panic reflex for crowd control, rather than actual moderating, and it's insulting.

    I realise some of the reasoning behind this is because Diz and JH people look at these forums. But honestly? Who are these forums for in the first place? We can all walk on eggshells just because Big Brother might be watching, but then what we're doing here isn't honest and real anymore, and that's one of the reasons why I've always like Muppet Central so much.

    I absolutely appreciate you taking so much time to answer me with such deep thought, Kevin. You've been really good to me personally in the past when it comes to moderating and I've always appreciated it. And I do realise that MC is unique in that a thread like this would even be considered, so thank you.
  10. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    :attitude: You're Censored! Just kiddin' ;)

    I see your point. I have seen a few preemptive strikes that I felt were unnecessary over the past couple years, but a mod's job is a hard one. Some forums have moderators who are too aloof when there’s a problem. Some forums are rather snarky and cliquey with odd initial rules that make them not worth joining. At Muppet Central you can pick your name, respectfully post an opinion or ask a question without feeling silly or singled out. Because it is a place for everyone the moderators take on a challenging balancing act that isn’t attempted on other less friendly/more iron-fisted forums.

    I actually like this thread and hope it is kept up as a dialogue for people who get frustrated about censored threads. I believe that MC is just the place where all that can go on in the open.
  11. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I'm just asking a question because Ms. P makes a good point; how much influence does Disney and other property owners have over MC? I'd be really interested hearing some behind the scenes stories (I've said that a thousand times before).

    I think mods and Phil are doing a great job. I've been a member of some forums that deleted entire sections of forums because they didn't feel like dealing with it and never even acknowledged it. I'm just back so I haven't had a chance to notice anything myself. There's a member or two here that just get me so angry I just try and avoid them all together, but like Mrs. P said, it's easy to get riled up over something you're so passionate about.
  12. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Ms. P - It isn't blasphemy to have opinions about any products or projects that the Big 3put out for us. The problem isn't in diplomatic sharing of opinions--that's more than welcome.

    -----------

    I think that this thread came about because my OWN editing in someone's post (that I feel prompted this thread, which is okay), is because the problem comes not in sharing of opinions, but polite snips at one another which is called 'baiting,' which leads to flaming and more problems on the forum. I apologize to the entire community of MC, then, if trying to nip that in the bud (because I've seen the pattern more times than I care to count in the past) is considered censorship. For too many years as a fan-member and then a moderator I've seen the pattern, and anybody who moderates a message board will likely see that pattern, too.

    Still, there are rules that are on the forum that we have to abide by. This forum is started and paid for by Phil, as is Muppet Central, and by signing onto a privately paid-for forum or website, those doing so are therefore subject to those rules. Democracy and freedom of speech are also subject to those rules. He didn't say that, but my friend who moderates another message board suggested that. I think that, compared to other message boards, members at MC are allowed a lot more freedom than acknowledged--of course, as long as it is positive and clean.

    And, at the same time, if I am doing a bad job moderating the members of the forum has someone above me to report me to, and I'm okay with that. I would like to think that I've done a great job moderating and still be even a greater friend to people here. Maybe some see that I have, others may think not. It's fair opinion and I'm okay with that, too.

    One thing that would definitely help is for members to place each other on 'ignore' when they have problems with someone or their posts, or if they feel that every post deserves nice-snippy responses. If it's a member who feels they are being baited by other replies, they can put that person on ignore. But, nobody uses that option and it would help a WHOLE LOT if folks would. I think it would stop a lot of problems.

    JHC, Diz and SW don't really post, but they read. Everyone I ever met who said they read the forums are very, very nice people. The 3 companies have been more than gracious to the fan community by allowing Muppet Central to post freely. I don't think they've ever submitted any request to Phil to remove anything from the website (that I know of). I know one performer whose spouse had a thread removed because she didn't appreciate it and, looking back now, I don't blame her. That was before I was moderating and I was a part of that silliness that prompted her request. The most effect the Big 3 have on MC is whether or not they are doing a project and what that project is, and whether or not they green-light it or say they're going to do it and don't. :)

    Definitely, there are other forums on the 'net that I tried to be a part of and was basically run off by the clique-ness of it, or because the owner of the forum just didn't want to like me or give me a chance, some I left because I didn't have time to go back anymore (a lot of them for this reason, actually) and some just because there was so much in-fighting (a Ghostbusters' fan board). I know there will one day come a time when even the one forum (this 'un) will be too hard to come to because of time--'til then, though, I'm here. The bear is stayin'! You hear that New York? The bear is here and he's stayin'! ... Wait, that isn't a proper quote ...

    I agree, Jim wasn't Jesus, but he was a philosopher in every ounce of who he was, how he worked, and the thoughts he wrote. Some folks have their Ghandi or Buddah, and while I have my Jesus, I lean a little on Jim's philosophies, too. It's a fair thing to have--not that I'm making a religion out of it, but it's all good philosophies to lean on and I suggest it constantly to people. I even bought copies of "It's Not Easy Bein' Green and Other Things to Consider" because it's full of philosophy and other good advice for the day to give people. Of course, from what I know of Jim's personality, he might not like the fact that I put him on such a philosopher's pedestal. I do the same thing with Charles Schulz (Hey, I'm a geek!).

    -------

    By the way, Ms. P, it's funny you mention the "Jim isn't Jesus" thing: I was at a music store last year and they had a 13" tall talking Jesus doll. I call him Jesus Henson because he's a white Jesus (not Jewish), and he reminds me of Jim Henson in a Jesus costume when I put the Starbuck's Kermit finger puppet on his hand. I should post a picture of it somewhere someday.
  13. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    Thanks for the replies Kev and Count. I think you do a great job moderating the forums, and a lot of people don't realise a lot of what goes on (which is good) because its subtle, like the thread renaming and merging, which i think makes a lot of sense or the member approvals. Maybe the issue is just people being made aware when things are edited or deleted that stops any confusion - as Count said, using the footer in the posts for edits or PM'ing people who are genuine forum members who have something deleted. I agree it should be fairly positive "in the spirit of the Muppets" type atmosphere - kinda criticism ok as long as its constructive.
  14. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I agree. Constructive criticism can help a LOT, and it's welcome. It's why I'm not upset about anything and glad to share information and help as much as possible.
  15. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    I've always thought if there wasn't Christianity, I'd worship Jim. :)
  16. ISNorden

    ISNorden Active Member

    At the risk of hijacking this thread, I agree that Jim Henson (despite his human limits and flaws) had the right attitude towards many things in life. I won't describe my religious beliefs, since they're irrelevant here. However, trying to keep a Muppet fan forum peaceful and clean definitely sounds like something Jim would support.
  17. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    I did not even know we could block seeing certain members posts :confused:
    Thank you, my life is so much less ranty now *lol* :)
  18. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    I actually just started using that. I have a nice little ignore list goin'. :p I even expect I'm on a few from other people. ;) And, yes, it does help... except for when you get so curious about what someone has posted. But, then, I'm just a naturally curious person.

    F:oz, I think you've done a good job as moderator. Much "huzzah" and "hooplah" to you.
  19. Katzi428

    Katzi428 Well-Known Member

    Same with me,Super Scooter!
    And Kev/Foz...I agree that you do a great job as mod! What da hey...all the mods do great!
  20. Redsonga

    Redsonga Active Member

    I know, it's like you wonder if they are saying something bad about you the moment you decide it's best to stop listening :sympathy:. It's not that I think the worst of people but sometimes the need to know overrides my better judgement:p. Because I have a very strong need to be right even if I'm wrong *lol*


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