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I recently had two posts flagged

 2:38 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebMasterWorld.com has some of the most knowledgeable people on the Web able to answer questions relating to the Web.

The questions I need the knowledge of members for are of a complexity I need to ask to call on others *experience* as what I am asking is not in any textbox or FAQ file.

I recently had two posts flagged - presumably because I liked to external resources naming other people. I have another question to ask Web experts relating to a problem I am having with an organisation I am having which only web masters could answer, but it looks like there is no point in posting it here, as it will be deleted even though reference to the organisation would be essential to answering the technical question.

I'm a highly published researcher in increasing participation in online communities. I can tell you that deleting or removing posts that are made in good faith will at best lead to lurking, and at worst lead to trolling. I don't think I will be either - I don't see the point in coming back as my tough questions will be deleted before they are answered as questions about the merits or otherwise of Dreamweaver seems about as complex as this site can handle!



 3:10 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm not privy to why your post was put on temporary hold for moderation. No offense intended, but is a temporary hold really all it takes to make you pack up and leave a community?

I would urge a little more dialogue with the moderator in charge of the forum where your post is on hold. Quite likely an admin put it on hold for the moderator to take a look. Because the mods are volunteers, they're not on the forum 24/7. They have wives, children, dogs to walk and businesses to tend. So a little patience and understanding would be much appreciated. ;)

This forum has unique moderation requirements because it's a marketing forum. As such certain forums attract certain kinds of post that are undesirable. Here is a partial list of posts that must be moderated:

Pretty obvious

Business issues gainst third parties
We can't be a dumping ground for personal issues between two parties. These kinds of posts are often derogatory, slanderous and/or one-sided. The third party's point of view is usually missing. It's not this forum's mission to adjudicate squabbles between two parties.

Whisper campaigns
Some people try to use the forum to build momentum against a third party.

Some people believe it's a "win-win" situation to answer questions in forums with links to their own sites.

Too many specifics
Specifics, like URLs, are often a distraction to the heart of a discussion. Words are powerful if properly used. The heart of a discussion is usually the situation, not the specific URL. A discussion framed in this manner will not only satisfy the OP but will become general enough so that it will be helpful to others that come along a month or a year later.

So instead of asking, "How do I build links to my used car website?" it's better to ask, "How do I build links to a B2C consumer site?" People with no experience in car sites will be able to respond, and intelligently too.

Back on topic
Circling back. This is not an issue of this forum not wanting you or appreciating you. Like all forums, it is helpful to familiarize oneself with the posting guidelines. Most importantly, if you have a question about moderation simply ask the moderator or an admin by PM. This is a friendly and welcoming community. They would be more than happy to work with you on issues related to community management and the posting guidelines.

Good luck!


 5:33 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

welcome to WebmasterWorld, jonathanbishop!

in addition to what martinibuster said, you should also note that some forums on WebmasterWorld are premoderated forums and all threads started in those forums go into a queue until a moderator of that forum can approve the thread.

for example, the Search Engine Spider and User Agent Identification forum Charter states:
Every thread must be approved by a moderator before it is published. Please see the guidelines below for reasons why posts may not be approved. We try to make pre-moderation decisions in a timely manner - but because we are a volunteer staff and not always available, a decision can take as long as 12-24 hours.

http://www.webmasterworld.com/search_engine_spiders/charter.htm [webmasterworld.com]

there is similar wording in the Google SEO News and Discussion forum Charter:
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/charter.htm [webmasterworld.com]

it's always a good idea to review the terms of service [webmasterworld.com] and any additional posting guidelines in the Charter for the forum in which you are posting.


 6:44 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebMasterWorld.com has some of the most knowledgeable people on the Web able to answer questions relating to the Web.

This is true. It is also true there are rules of engagement in some of the forums. Work with that and good results will happen.

Links, most times, are not allowed.

Calling out sites/creators, generally is a no-no. This is not a dispute resolution area and most times the battle you fight yourself is the most satisfying.

Re-phrase your queries and I suspect there will be all kinds of useful answers!

Hang in there, kiddo! There's magic in there hills...


 9:32 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

on a side note... whilst i understand and agree with the moderation rules here, i think that they could sometimes be loosened a little bit to help the people answering the questions.

im talking specifically about the CSS forum. People quite often post a link to a page, and ask why something looks the way it does, and how can they fix it. those links always get deleted, and they get told to post the actual code instead.
...but its a lot harder for us to answer the question then. you cant see how the page looks just by looking at the code on its own. if you want to help the guy out properly, then you invariably have to enter the code into a file and open it in your browser. how many times are you going to bother doing that? most of the time it wont even look the same because all the images are missing. you need to see the actual page.

i used to help people in the CSS forum but i hardly ever bother now, because unless the mistake in the code is obvious its too much hassle. im sure im not the only person who thinks that.


 9:59 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

People quite often post a link to a page...they get told to post the actual code instead

I can see both sides of that argument, but I'm swaying towards not having links.

Having the ability to point to your own site and say 'why doesn't this work' will usually be useful only to that one user - it's much more helpful to the community for the issue to be boiled down to a simple case which, when solved, will be applicable to more than that one person. Like what martinibuster said about 'Too many specifics', if the user can present their problem succinctly, it will be much more useful than a mass of code which is a nightmare to work through.

And I've often found that complexity has masked the solution for me, and once I've taken the problem back to its root, the solution is actually really obvious, so then I can build the complexity back up. But that takes effort!

I do agree completely though that seeing the code is nothing compared to seeing it rendered. Maybe there can be something developed that opens a code block in a new window so it can be seen what the problem is.

(Also, just realised, that if the site linked is a user's live (or even a development) site, then as soon as the answer is provided, it is likely that the site will be updated, rendering the whole thread useless for future users since the original problem cannot be seen!)


 10:12 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

its like having an art forum where people discuss great works of art -- only you're not allowed to see them. no one can look -- it's against the rules!


 10:26 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

you need to see the actual page.

... and then the person with the problem will change their code in response to your answer, and someone else will come along the next day, read the original question, look at the site and won't have any idea what's going on because they can't reproduce the problem :(

CSS really is a no-win, though. There was one recently where the code only misbehaved* if a particular element had content-- which it would no longer have if you cut-and-pasted only the CSS. But if you ask people to post their CSS they invariably dump the entire stylesheet, because you never know if the background color of the footer might have something to do with the horizontal alignment of the sidebar.

Sometimes people post screenshots. But those tend to disappear eventually.

* Where "misbehave" = "does what you tell it to do, not what you want it to do".


 10:39 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

the real value in a post, though, is to the person who made it. they are the ones who want the answers. if they leave happy then they will probably come back and post more stuff on webmasterworld in the future -- it's a win-win for everyone.

the idea that each post in the CSS forum is going to have some value to future users is a bit overblown, i think. if i was running a forum, i would much rather do all i can to please the original poster, so he keeps coming back and posting more stuff. that is of much more value to future users, because it keeps the forum busy.

the original poster of this thread bears that out -- he says he's unhappy so he's not posting any more stuff. what has webmasterworld gained from that?


 11:14 am on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

There are also supporters forums where rules are a bit more relaxed with regards to posting URLs / other specifics. I am wondering whether jonathanbishop could get his questions answered there instead.


 12:23 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the comments everyone :-)

@aakk9999: That sounds a good idea regarding the supporters forums. That might help me access the expertise I need, without my request being fully public?

@tangor: The questions I need expertise on often relate to conflicts I am having which having the opinion of a 'techie' could help resolve. One long-standing one for instance I need to ask whether the contents of certain emails imply fault of the other person and not me in relation to a domain issue. One cannot typically get help with this from household legal providers, whereas members of WebMasterWorld would be able to perfectly answer this!

So if it were possible to get the advice of members in a closed forum that might be helpful. As many have said the openness of WebMasterWorld is what it is here for - the current resolution being to allow search engine indexing I think.

The inclusionist-deletionist debate will always go on however, regardless of technology platform, as being human we will always want the world to reflect as much as possible how we have skewed it in our minds, and ensure other access that point of view! :-)


 12:45 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Someone may correct me but believe that legal disputes are not allowed in supporters section either.

As for emails, you will need to paraphrase the part of email you are uncertain what it says.

What I would do in your case is to sticky the Mod who put your original post on temporary hold and clarify whether it would "pass" in the supporters area and if not, what part should be "tonned down".

Then you can decide if you wish to become supporter or not.


 1:50 pm on Jul 10, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks @aakk9999 - seems the most sensible thing to do.

Robert Charlton

 2:23 am on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Regarding quotations from emails, I've just dealt with a post that contained extensive quotes from email correspondence. I needed to delete the post, but I also sent the following explanation to the poster, along with a copy of his post, and I suggested that he paraphrase the quoted passages.

The Terms of Service [webmasterworld.com] for WebmasterWorld explains:

9. Email excerpts of ANY type or length are not allowed on WebmasterWorld. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Here's a link where you can learn more about the reasons for our policy [webmasterworld.com].

Though none of the examples precisely applied to his email, the member understood that there were legal reasons for the policy. He was very gracious about the matter, grateful for the alert, and he did paraphrase the post and has reposted.

In the process, the member and I came to know each other a bit better. When you're in a community, that kind of process is helpful in the long run; and this is a community... it's not an online help desk.

I'm guessing that email quotations aren't allowed even in Supporters, so you will need to paraphrase. You will probably also hear "IANAL" (I am not a lawyer) if you post there. We could advise you about the issues involved if they're within our areas of expertise, but I don't think we could or would do anything except offer personal opinions (with disclaimers) about issues of blame. There are some lawyers among us who probably would be among those least willing to give legal advice online. ;)

Nowhere on the forum would we allow identities of the people involved to be revealed, nor links to material naming them. This, again, is for the protection of all members of the community.


 12:18 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

A PM I had from an admin in relation to the removed post said one of my claims could not be substantiated and my homepage could not be linked to.

I can understand the point of view if one copies and pastes the emails onto the forum, but what about if I link to copies of them I have uploaded to Scribd?

Should it not be fine to discuss such complex issues if one links to a website like Scribd or docstoc, which could be considered 'passported websites' - if they think it is fine for content to be hosted, then there is little risk to WebMasterWorld - if Scribd/docstoc then take them down, the link will go dead in any case.

It makes sense about not liking to one's own website, but third party and well established sites should be fine I think.


 2:17 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

I can understand the point of view if one copies and pastes the emails onto the forum, but what about if I link to copies

it's not just the email - it's all the other Terms of Service as well.
for example #12.
http://www.webmasterworld.com/help.cgi?cat=tos [webmasterworld.com]:
This forum system is not a venue for personal or private vendetta's. Keep your personal business as just that - personal. This forum is not a venue for the resolution of personal disputes with members or companies.

the link will go dead in any case

at which point the thread is useful for you alone.


 2:35 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hmm. I also already addressed that point as well.

Business issues against third parties
We can't be a dumping ground for personal issues between two parties. These kinds of posts are often derogatory, slanderous and/or one-sided. The third party's point of view is usually missing. It's not this forum's mission to adjudicate squabbles between two parties.

IF you remove the details then it becomes a discussion about an issue. The discussion is useful for many, including yourself. There's a saying, "Talk about the symptoms, not the patient" that applies in online discussions. It's about the issues, not the specifics. Distill the problem down to the issues and discuss it in that manner.

As far as emails, please step into our shoes and see this from OUR perspective:

1. Emails are generally sent in confidence and not for public view
2. You may not have permission to publish someone else's words,
3. We have no way to assure that the email is legitimate
4. It's burdensome to have to make a judgment, post after post, whether an email is actual or not.
5. It's unfair to the third party to drag them into a public forum
6. Squabbles have two sides. Hearing one side of a squabble is generally not useful because often details are withheld that can substantially alter opinions to favor one party over another.

Do I really have to list more reasons why publishing emails is full of pitfalls? Step into our shoes and view it rationally and reasonably. You will see that these are valid and reasonable reasons for the prohibitions. Many of the terms of service were well thought out, based on something like a couple decades of personal experience in online communities by the founder of WebmasterWorld. There is a lot of wisdom from personal experience behind our terms of service.


 4:18 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@martinibuster, @phranque - Ok, so if one asks a 'hypothetical' question where one says what the symptoms (i.e. facts) could be and what people's views would be if that hypothetical situation were to arise, then that might be okay?


 10:42 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

if you're asking about email - it may be paraphrased but not quoted.
if you're asking about specific facts (names of people and organizations, for example) - you can use generic descriptions (government agency, widget distributor, etc)


 11:32 pm on Jul 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

@phranque - got it! :-)

Robert Charlton

 1:51 am on Jul 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

hypothetical situation

Yes... in many discussions on WebmasterWorld, we add layers of abstraction to avoid revealing specifics.

While this creates certain difficulties, to be sure... as martinibuster explains above, this also protects us all from potential abuses... and the abstraction makes our discussions more universal and, ultimately, more valuable to the community.


 6:43 am on Jul 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

When reading questions posted here, I rarely take note of who is asking the question.

When I started reading this thread I merely assumed it was posted by someone who has joined in recent weeks and not up to speed on how things work. I was somewhat shocked when I glanced to the left and realised you joined almost nine years ago. With 13 posts before this thread was started, that's a serious amount of lurking. :)

I'm itching to ask what's stopped you participating in the community in all that time.


 10:07 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

9. Email excerpts of ANY type or length are not allowed on WebmasterWorld. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Really ?

So why are Google emails allowed - and have been for a year or so now.

I've stopped posting and reporting spam for a while now. This will be my last message. One of the reasons was because of a word looked like a swear word. Yet, no-one has explained to me yet as to why F@ck, F'ck, F**k and berk are allowed.

Inconsistency between the mods, ignorance, and bowing down to the puritans killed it for me. I don't blame people for not wanting to post.

Once before, I was told off and the reason was because of 13 year olds. Correct me if I am wrong, but how many 13 year olds have an adsense account? So, why are they visiting an adsense forum.

Last time, they said it was because of office workers. Well, in that case WebmasterWorld only cares for USA/Canadian office workers. The word "piss" for example, is still frowned upon in some countries. Do you not care of those office workers then?

I won't be replying to this message, so do not expect a reply.


 11:51 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

> People quite often post a link to a page
> ask why something looks the way it does,
> and how can they fix it. those links always get deleted,

We want to education and not "to do peoples homework".
Yes, the CSS forum is notorious for link dropping (probably worse than the Google forum and one of the hardest to moderate)
There is no inbetween. If you allow X-link, then you have to allow Y-link. Trying to get everyone on board with the subtle differences that would be involved is next to impossible. Then comes along the newbie and starts posting links to example searches and wondering why they are deleted. "If Bob can post can post example css links, then why can't I post example Google searches and ask how they got their rankings?". There is no line we can walk, other than "do no linking".

> So why are Google emails allowed

That is on a case-by-case basis. Emails that are widely distributed and posted on multiple sites (including by Google), are generally allowed because they are not private emails. If 10k people get an email - that is not an email, it is a newsletters. Posts of specific problems in confidential information - are not. If there is redeeming value to an email exchange, we ask that emails be paraphrased and not quoted.


 11:53 am on Jul 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

btw: the original poster is "an Internet trolling and cyberbullying expert". So why did we leave this post to start with?

A trolling experiment Jonathan?

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