The TrekEarth Forums - View Single Post - Clearing the air...
View Single Post
Old 11-15-2010, 12:01 PM
macondo macondo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 3,466

Originally Posted by Dashab View Post
Hello everyone,
This site functions as a community, which is one of the reasons we are drawn to it, but this fact has to be taken into account in the rules that govern it / the administration of it. In this case, I am afraid, answering the questions of individual members by e-mail will not suffice to put things on the right track. A public explanation of the issues that Anghsu named, as to why critiques were altered, threads deleted etc., is needed to calm heated tempers and bring in fresh air.

Please let us all endeavour in good faith to rescue as many of them as possible and try to bring them back by showing them that the things that bothered them are being worked on.
I'd agree with all of that, Dasha! Fair points. Moderators have been bothered by a few things too!

I think Viviane and Keith should have some support in what they have been doing. Paulo, Angshu, Romana, Iain, Dasha and others deserve support too, and thanks for their very helpful contributions. I think the tone of the dialogue is changing, n'est-ce-pas?

First, let me explain that I have no idea why I am now a 'Super Moderator'! Whatever that means. It makes me cringe. I thought I was just a humble 'TE Moderator' until a few days ago. I'm certainly not 'Super' in any way, and my position amongst the Moderators is a 'junior' position, if you ask me! I was asked to give it a try several months ago. Since then I have found the other Moderators to be very reasonable and fair people who are as dedicated to TE as anyone else, and want it to work according to the original vision, not some intoxication with 'power'. Where doubt exists, we must give the member the benefit of that doubt, Viviane always reminds us. I think the suggestion that Moderators are consumed by 'power' is absurd. No one, absolutely no one, wants to 'destroy' Trek Earth! But I can imagine how anger or a sense of injustice might lead to those thoughts.

Second, I am the only moderator living in Australia at the moment. Which means that everything has already passed by when I get to my computer. There are 10 hours between Western Europe and Melbourne during our Summer time period, and nearly everything seems to happen on TE while I'm asleep or at work! Often it's hard to work out what has been going on, even through the Moderators' forum. This last weekend I never really did find out exactly what happened with Marine, although I could see the reaction developing later among some members, of course. I could see how matters were getting out of control and facts were getting lost. Yes, we Moderators may have acted too hastily; members may have been provocative in their anger. I was rather shocked by the jigsaw puzzle I was able to (almost) put together on Saturday afternoon in Melbourne.

It's very difficult, as people have recognised, to implement a set of rules ('Terms of Service') for a huge membership. Members draw different things from TE and enjoy it in different ways. Each person has his or her own interests and styles of photography, reasons for being here, and so on, despite the essential Travel orientation of the site. There are bound to be some disputes when the TOS are implemented, and moderators are bound to make mistakes. Members are bound to forget the TOS, if they know them. Misunderstandings can arise when the Moderators' communication is by means of their forum, and there are so many different photos and notes passing by in the gallery that it can be almost impossible interpreting the TOS with 100% consistency or 100% correctness. There's no point in pretending. But Keith is right, we have been deliberately trying to be more consistent, which means much more observation of photos in the gallery. And why not? After all, one of the most common complaints about photo removals has been that the moderators allowed similar or 'worse' examples of something to stay on the site. The only reply to that has been that the moderators can't possibly view every photo that is uploaded, and that individuals may not use inconsistency as a justification for breaking rules. We have been trying to view more photos and to interpret the current TOS faithfully.

So, we have tried to be more consistent, believing that is what members want. We've also tried to achieve better note-writing by imposing a minimum of 40 characters. To be honest, this may not have worked very well, as enforcing it has become quite difficult. Thousands of new members have joined this year and it seems many have not read or understood the TOS - that may be partly the fault of the TOS or the way they are displayed! Thus, we see 40 character notes stating only the same things that you can read in the title or the photo information box. We also see many dashes and other non-alphabetic characters. Some experienced members also write notes that say virtually nothing. The notes are as important as the photos to many of us. It's not an unreasonable obligation upon a member, since languages other than English, French and Spanish are acceptable.

The other thing that has angered some is the removal of a photo because it 'should be on Trek Lens or Trek Nature'. Perhaps the existence of other Trek sites for close-ups of common objects and flowers and all other kinds of photos both creative and experimental, even heavily processed or elaborately framed, should be publicised better on the site. On TE, some close-ups and exotic flowers are accepted if shown within a wider context and/or accompanied by an informative note about the subject and the location.

I can see that I've rambled on too much already. I know I haven't contributed anything to an understanding of the current 'disturbance', I've merely mentioned it in passing. I mainly wished to say that I don't want TE to become another Flickr, a repository for millions of family snaps. TE isn't a repository, it's a trek. Even the other good quality photo sites have a different purpose and a different modus operandi from TE. This is the only one of its kind; it's unique. It's photographs that were taken by travellers, and photos that allow one to 'travel' while sitting in front of one's computer screen. I think everyone can see the value of Adam's original vision and the Terms of Service that try to preserve that vision as a thread that ties together 100,000 members and 1 million photos. Sure, the TOS are imperfect; let's hope they are adaptable and that we are adaptable. I also hope that those who stated their intention to leave reconsider it.

Meanwhile, the photos are still floating past in the moving gallery.
By the way, how many have seen the first photo uploaded by Adam when he started the site in 2002?
Now, I wonder if it's within the TOS...... ?
Reply With Quote