What has happened in the past
Except for the last three months, this forum has always been moderated. Moderation has included variously vetting accounts, talking to people privately, sometimes intervening publicly, sometimes closing accounts, and so forth. The methodology has varied, but the goal has always been the same: to encourage a certain kind of interaction.
So a few months ago, after lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth -- from me and others on the forum -- concerning accounts being banned in full view, or behind the scenes, or some combination of the two, I somehow figured maybe I could just ask people to leave. Imagine standing in your living room, and asking someone, "Hey, I think you're out of line and this is my house. Would you please go away?" Now imagine that person replying, "No. You're going to have to throw me out." What kind of house was that?
So I closed my own account, and opened everyone else's account, and decided to abandon the whole idea of this being my house for a while. It would be the house of anyone who wanted to come into it. It would belong equally to the guys who've been here all along, to the guy who refused to leave, to the guys who had been thrown out earlier, and to whichever new guys just strolled in.
That was Qt3's forum for the last three months. As the admin, I still saw all the reported posts, some valid, some specious. But beyond deleting spam, I let things run their course. Mostly, everything was pleasant. But the things that weren't pleasant were extremely unpleasant. Things happened that I don't want happening on my site. And I'm convinced those things will continue to happen. So I had to make a choice, which brings us to what is happening today.
What is happening today
Quarter to Three is once again a moderated forum. New accounts will be vetted. The rules for participating are posted here. Unfortunately, several accounts have been closed. The following message was sent to Abilio Carvalho, Adree, Blackadar, BobJustBob, Brandon Clements, Charles, Cubit, Damien Neil, Frank Austin, Hans Lauring, James Johnson, Kalle, Matthew Gallant, quatoria, Raife, Sebmojo, Therlun*, and ZekeDMS.
I have also PMed several other posters, and the contents of those PMs are between me and the person in question. My hope in each instance is that the person I've PMed will stay. But I expect that there will be other accounts closed, mostly by mutual agreement. We're probably going to lose at least 20 and maybe as many as 50 frequent posters. I'm not happy about that because I know many of these people are good people, and I even like some of them. Almost all of them can make valuable contributions to the forum. But there's a point where irreconcilable differences are, well, irreconcilable. If you're interested in staying in touch with any of the people Quarter to Three has lost -- and I encourage you to do so -- you can find many of them at this forum.Apologies for the impersonal nature of this message, but I've attempted to work directly with almost every one of you. It hasn't ended well. I consider that my failing as much as yours and I wish it could have turned out differently. Since you're one of the folks who is unhappy enough with how I've run the forum, I'm going to save you the gesture of quitting. I think you'll agree that we have what could be called irreconcilable differences. Therefore, it's best we go our separate ways. As of today, you won't have posting privileges. You have a week to send out PMs if you want to grouse, commiserate, or just let folks know how to reach you. Your account will be completely closed a week from today. I wish you the best.
Why this is happening
Here is something I've never articulated because I thought, perhaps naively, it was understood:
The priority for participating on this forum is not the quality of the content. I ultimately don't care how smart or funny or observant you are. Those are plusses, but they're never prerequisites. The priority is on how you treat each other. I expect spats, arguments, occasional insults, and even inevitable grudges. We've all done that. But in the end, I expect you to act like a group of friends who care about each other, no matter how dumb some of us might be, no matter what political opinions some of us hold, no matter what games some of us like or dislike. This community is small enough, intimate enough, that I feel it's a reasonable expectation.
Furthermore, if you're unhappy with how I run the forum, there are plenty of other communities available to you. You have no right to be here. You furthermore have no right to use this forum to frequently air your disagreements. If you can't get along with everyone -- and that includes getting along with me -- then you're not welcome here. And there is therefore no reason you can't go to Facebook, IRC, Google Plus, Neogaf, or some other place. Those are all fine places, and many of them will offer what you want. But here, on the Quarter to Three forum, you get the community I want. Not the community you want. You can do that somewhere else.
What's going to happen after today
* We are going back to the old rules about the forum being safe for browsing in the same room as your daughter, grandmother, or coworkers. You might not mind hawt gifs of bouncing breasts, but please be considerate of other people's browsing habits.
* I will not tolerate compromising someone else's anonymity. Many of us are open about who we are with each other. But everyone else is welcome to be as anonymous as they like, and I will not have their real identities (photographs, real names, job histories, etc.) used against them.
* Multiple accounts are no longer allowed. If you're using multiple accounts, let me know now so we can settle on which account you'd like to keep. If you have a good reason for needing multiple accounts, I'll happily work with you. Otherwise, anyone caught using alts will have all of his or her accounts closed.
* I hate the spoiler tags and how they affect the flow of conversations. But I'm in the minority, so they're here to stay.
* As much as I'm loathe to do this -- it just seems so silly -- I'm implementing an infraction system. See the updated rules post for more information about how this will work.
I hope we'll eventually go back to the policy of each banning being a mostly private matter between me and the closed account. But for the time being, I'll try to keep everything above-board and transparent, so long as it doesn't violate anyone's privacy. This thread is the place to discuss forum moderation stuff, past, present, and future. I'll try to answer any questions, address any concerns, and so forth. Some of you might be tempted to jump in here with Hurt Locker hur hur hur, tapir this, cunt that, how dare you condone child abuse, here's a picture of a skateboarder wiping out that represents you, etc. Spare me. I can tell the folks who want to have a discussion from the folks who want to heckle or cajole. This thread, although I expect it will get messy, is for the former. So yenta away and I'll try to keep pace with you. If you'd rather contact me directly, send me a PM or email me at [email protected].
I expect some of you will want to leave, and I respect that. But I mostly hope you'll stay. This is going to be tough for a few weeks, but I'm convinced it's necessary. 2012 could be very interesting for Quarter to Three for reasons that I can't talk about yet. And as things change on the front page, I want this forum to continue to be a certain kind of place. This is a place for you. You should feel welcome, safe, and like a full participant. I intend to do everything I can to make that happen for the greatest number of you.
* account reactivated