Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

In the last week, there have been 8-10 members that have been complaining about each other.  I have removed a couple people from the site, but most of the comments presented seem pretty benign to me.

When I created this site, I had no idea what it would become.  I quickly learned how little I knew about Irish Setters even though I had owned them for 15 years.  I am not a breeder, don't do shows, don't do agility, don't do hunting or field, usually get rescues (exception being my current ones).  I think all of the above are great, I just don't know anything about them nor do I really care to.  It's obvious these are topics that people on this site are passionate about, and that's great, there just not for me.

As I have mentioned before, I left this site because people were rude to me.  There's at least 1 of the 8-10 members that were one of the ones who ran me off so I can understand the complaints against this peson.

It seems like some of these discussion topics are like politics, you aren't going to change people's minds, so why try to?

Have been pondering some options:

A. Ban the other 8-10 members

B. Leave the site as is

C. Remove the discussion forum altogether

D. Transition ownership and moderation to someone else (note annual costs on the site are around $300 USD and those would transfer as well)

E. Ban any discussions on breeding, health issues, or other controversial topics

F. Shut down the site altogether (really don't want to do this)

What are some other ideas?

I want to get feedback on other ideas and then you are going to vote as a community.  Please reply with any suggestions, then will create another thread to vote later this week.



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Susan, as always very sensibly written....I agree with you. :-)

ES is enjoyed by so many setter lovers around the world, not all become members some just want to be spectators, over 2000 wanted to have a page, share their photo’s and their love for the breed, not all of these want to enter into a Forum discussion but take a keen interest. For all of the lovers of the Irish Setter on whatever level, members or not, ES must not be closed and should remain in its current format. Why allow a few to spoil everything for everyone else.

My solution is to have a mediator page/tab where inappropriate activity can be reported for investigation, the mediator marks the offending comment, adding under it ‘reported to mediator’ and at the top in the topic area, is added ‘this discussion is being monitored by the mediator’.  It is a visual warning to all concerned. If the comments by an individual continue to be inappropriate, that member looses their right to take part in Forum & Blog, either temporarily or permanently.  I think this will make everyone think about what they really want to say before they put fingers to keyboard. 

I don’t think anyone needs to be banned from ES, history often influences a person and gives them a less balanced viewpoint which may offend others, we don’t know, but they still love their dogs. Those restricted can still have their page and correspond with their friends, who can block them if it is unwelcome

Several mediators would need to be appointed from the membership so that it’s not always the same person that has the task, perhaps 2 for each day of the week on a rota, they remain anonymous and if a decision needs be made then both must agree on it. They then report their recommendations to Gene for him to action.

Wow. That sounds complicated Rosie. Why not just let the discussions run and if a member feels offended, just stop following that discussion? xx

I cannot understand why ES members set their profiles to private what have they got to hide if a breeder be proud tell us about it as most experienced breeders do together with their website link. Maybe it's the troublemakers who need to hide WHY? We have lost quality breeders with vast experience who in some cases have been bullied off the site and others who wouldn't join because of the experience of others. Gene it's a great site thank you but those that bully should be removed before it's too late

Susan states that ``almost every blog that starts off with excellent input and good discussions ends up becoming very emotional and often personal``. Agree on Susans post. What do you think, is this an agenda or just emotion and ignorance.

I think the visual warning is a good idea Rosie, It is in the open then, I like your idea of also taking this load of Gene until the final decision is to be made.

Firstly, Thank-you Gene for creating this great site.  The knowledge and experience and expertise from members on this site would be hard to beat on many other sites, etc. 

Secondly, let me say how wonderful it was when I first stumbled onto Exclusively Setters about 4 years ago!  I have loved this site and have had such wonderful interactions with so many setter lovers around the world and across Australia too.  People I wouldn’t have known existed without this awesome group. The access to the wonderful photos and stories from everyone is also fantastic.

As we all know there have been a number of discussions which have had members post disrespectful and personal comments.  This is very disappointing and it is challenging when someone does post something personal and you feel the need to respond to defend yourself.  Some members seem to relish in the opportunity to defend friends/ or just respond on behalf of others as well and then we have some two sided heated conversations which are usually “off topic”.  I have no answers how to fix this as I haven’t been involved in other forums where these types of behaviours are exhibited.  I think the model that Nardi has suggested may be a way forward.

My question is how does the current system work?  I understand, Gene, that as the site owner you have the control over any issues which arise. 

I am interested to know if there is a process that you have to determine what action you will take when you do get complaints, etc.  I understand this site is not your passion any longer and therefore you probably don’t visit the site very often (please forgive me if I have assumed this incorrectly).  If this is the case, you possibly won’t know about inappropriate behaviours and/or inappropriate discussion content unless this is flagged to you?

If you are happy to remain as the sole moderator/site owner, I would like to know how you would like to manage these issues?

1.  Do you wish to receive complaints or just let the discussions run?  If you wish to receive complaints, what criteria could be set up so that a couple of complaints don’t mean the removal of valued members, because of personality and/or opinions clash?

2.  How do you determine whether the member being complained about is, indeed, posting inappropriately or is it a group of members (like in the school ground) ganging up on a member with the pure intent to have them removed? 

3.  If someone complains are they deemed to be the troublemaker because they are flagging an issue, that you would not have necessarily had the opportunity to view?

4.  If a number of complaints are made about a specific member because of their behavior, should a warning/suspension be more appropriate before consideration of removal?  This should be a set criteria rather than a kneejerk reaction by members.  I do think Nardi’s suggestion of the level system would work well.  I think a lot of schools use that process.

In response to your questions/options:

a. Ban the other 8-10 members – banning members needs to be a measured approach.  With all due respect, I think in the past, it appears that some members have been unfairly banned where a suspension may have been more appropriate.  Putting in a process can alleviate some of this angst.

B. Leave the site as is –Left as is, with a set criteria in place to handle complaints you may receive.  I think this may assist you in this unpleasant task when complaints come to you?

C. Remove the discussion forum altogether – This would be a terrible disservice to the breed.

D. Transition ownership and moderation to someone else (note annual costs on the site are around $300 USD and those would transfer as well) – This is your decision, Gene and one only you can make.  Obviously need to err on the side of conservatism to ensure the right person becomes the owner??  As I mentioned above, if you wish to remain as owner, then a process on how you want to deal with issues needs to be put in place to assist both you and the site.

E. Ban any discussions on breeding, health issues, or other controversial topics -  Again, this would be a terrible disservice to the breed.  I wouldn’t know about some of the health issues in the breed without these discussions.  This, I think is one of the most important features of this site.

F. Shut down the site altogether (really don't want to do) – Definitely Not

Thanks for all the responses. Great discussion and ideas here.

First things first.  No reason to feel sorry for me.  It is not that big a deal.

Second, I don't want to close the entire site down.  Closing discussion forum, which is where most all of the complaints surface, is still a possible change, especially if we don't, as a community, get it under control.  For those who suggest closing down the site, I agree with the members that say it may be easier for you to discontinue your membership.  If you need help, let me know.

Third, several people have brought up a code of ethics over the last several months to a year.  While this is well-intentioned, it reads basically like you should treat people in a civil manner and treat people like they would want to be treated.  It's common sense, yet still falls on deaf ears with a lot of people.  You can tell people 'don't text and drive', they'll agree they shouldn't, and then they'll continue to do it.

Fourth, there are a couple options for removing members.  One removes the member but lets them rejoin and one removes the member and prevents them from rejoining.  I will look into if there are more temporary bans.

Fifth, even though most members are not anonymous, people can be more rude online than in person.  Plus, written communication can be misinterpreted in the wrong way.  This makes it even more important to not only consider what you say but also how you say it.

Sixth, some of the programmatic solutions suggested are great, but don't work with the Ning platform out of the box.  Unfortunately, I am not a developer/programmer and can't do any site customizations that Ning does not allow for.

Seventh, not sure if reputation points or up-voting/down-voting would work or not, but it does seem like it could provide trending on who the trolls are.  Yes, you are out there.  I have asked Ning for this capability for at least a year and a half.  With the number of sites that have something like it, I am surprised it is not even on their road map.

Eighth, I am open to the idea of moderators but not sure who/how to appoint them.  We may do something where people nominate others and if they are willing to participate, get on a ballot.  Then, maybe use something like SurveyMonkey to vote on the finalists.

Ninth, I realize some, maybe many people have left ES over the years.  You would have that with any community that has been around 5+ years.  I would bet we even have deceased members.  It's the course of life, both social network and human.

Tenth, I would prefer to let discussions run their course as long as people aren't rude to each other.  People need to realize, some things are like politics, or your view on gun control, or your view on abortion....in 99.9% of the cases, there's absolutely nothing you say that is going to convince someone to change their mind who is on the other side of the fence.  There's no sense being mad or rude to them, they are entitled to their opinion just like you are.

Thankyou Gene.

I have been a member of ES for a long time and there is no doubt that the problems come from the forum discussions. I have said more than once that the only reason ES has not gone downhill like most internet forums is because of Gene. Maybe the forum discussions should be put on hold for a trial period. This might be the best motivation for members to behave themselves. In the meantime members can still start a blog and each member will be the moderator of their blog. 

ES is not only about forum discussions. My photos, my videos, my blogs about my English Setters and their family members which I display on my ES page are important to me, and I know many other ES members feel the same way.

It would be a sad day for us and our setters if you close the site. It so special to see Setters all over the world and their families. Please, can't everybody put this whole thing behind them and continue with this special place. I vote for not closing ES! Thank you Gene for your input into this. Kind regards, Phil.

I am with you Phil!

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