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  1. #1
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    Question Will a rink forum get out of control?

    We are trying to build an unofficial skating school forum not affiliated with rink / club management, but not too sure about handling over-the-top anger like strong negative opinions about specific coaches / skaters, or nasty complaints instead of constructive criticism. Ideas on policies would be truly appreciated!

  2. #2

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    I would not presume to advise you to do it or not to do it. I do know that crazy rink politics makes crazy fan politics look like a gentile Sunday afternoon tea. Rink politics are up close and personal, and bring out (from what I've seen and heard) some of the worst behavior in figure skating. If one could have a forum to discuss rinks/schools/training programs with all of the vitriol and negativity taken out that would be terrific, interesting and helpful. But is it really possible to open that kind of forum without facing libel law infractions on a daily basis? That's the question.

    My one little piece of advice and I'm perfectly serious here - have a good lawyer who understands libel (maybe a friend who is a lawyer and skating fan who can help for free) around to advise you on what to delete because you are going to have to be very careful as some of your posters may not understand when they go over the line. It would have to be carefully moderated, I imagine. Completely reserve your option to take anything down and moderate closely.
    Last edited by Willowway; 02-17-2011 at 07:02 PM.

  3. #3
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    Also to add, if anyone posting on the board is a member of the club executive, and it's the club that employs the coaches or has contracts with the coaches, there could be some really serious employment issues if that poster is dissing the coaches. that could be interpreted as discipline against employees, and that can get really nasty if it isn't handled appropriately. I agree with the lawyer advice.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

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    Set guidelines and apply them. And keep it heavily monitored. Warn people upfront that anyone stepping over the line will be banned.

    People have to be very careful using a forum. I learnt because a couple of negative comments I made about a rink here got back to the manager (and who would have thought that being in Australia). Even though the things I said were true, he didn't like them. I am extremely careful now because you never know who is reading these. There can be lots of lurkers who never post anything.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  5. #5
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    Is the Pope Catholic?

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    I would just start with the minimum, like a striclty training time/organizations section, a "shopping" (skates, tickets for shows,...) topic, a general OT section. So, you might be able to avoid to much discussion and keep it useful. I know perhaps it's not just what you're thinking, but maybe could be a start. Then, you also look how it goes, and you could add a discussion section about programs, trainings and all this stuff, always warning the users to be careful using it.

  7. #7

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    And what about a kind of blog, instead of a forum ?!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjane45 View Post
    We are trying to build an unofficial skating school forum not affiliated with rink / club management, but not too sure about handling over-the-top anger like strong negative opinions about specific coaches / skaters, or nasty complaints instead of constructive criticism. Ideas on policies would be truly appreciated!
    Why would there be over-the-top anger, are you at a really angry skating club? Can't you just make a rule that says "be nice or be banned"? I think the local-ness of your forum would make it too easy for people to be "found out" if they try to start drama. And I don't think it would ever lead to you being sued. JMO.

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    Sigh, I've experienced some drama and heard horror stories about the dark side of rink politics (posts above give a really good hint too).

    A blog is not an option. Right now our policy is "no reference to specific coaches due to ethical concerns" and see how it goes from there. Ideas are still highly appreciated!

  10. #10

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    jjane45 : in fact, I wasn't thinking about a blog for "blogging", but using the interface and the possibilities given to make a kind of forum... Arf, it's difficult to explain in English

  11. #11
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    Is there any way as owner of the forum to block certain words? You could put in coaches names so they couldn't be posted. This would make it better than having to constantly monitor and delete stuff.

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    If you block their names, you can't refer people to them in announcements or to organize volunteers.

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    Thank you for your tips. Our site's is 80% built and it's not possible to change the fundamental format at this point. It has limited admin features and we rely on manual moderation based on explicit discussion policies. I hope it will not be hectic, preparing for the worst case scenario anyways.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    If you block their names, you can't refer people to them in announcements or to organize volunteers.
    True but which is more important - blocking malicious comments or allowing announcements? The OP is more concerned about the former...

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    I think the most important thing would be to make sure that no one is posting anonymously. Maybe in order to post, you must be registered member of the club or skate-school and posting under your real name. Since it's a rink where everyone skates together in real-life, and it seems like you don't want anything said on the forum that couldn't be said in real-life, I think stripping it of any anonymity would be the easiest way to keep it controlled. That way it's less likely to devolve into any gossip or name-calling.

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