The Manwe Forum - Do Not Take It For Granted - All Read!!

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The Manwe Forum - Do Not Take It For Granted - All Read!!

Postby SeverusSnape » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:32 am

The Manwe Forum - Do Not Take It For Granted

TORC has been around for over ten years now and the Manwe forum itself has been in existence in some form for quite a large chunk of that time. On the whole, it has been a place for intelligent debate and well-informed discussion of a level that leaves most internet message boards far behind. On the flip side, I think we can all agree that at times Manwe has been lacking in the politeness and general good humour of the rest of TORC.

This does not come as a huge surprise in a forum which regularly discusses topics which many feel passionate about. Therefore the Moderator team has been happy to keep an eye on it to ensure that whilst good discussion is encouraged, the forum remains as close as possible to the same vision for the message board which TORC’s creators had in mind from day one.

However, there is a limit to how much sniping, bickering and childish name-calling anyone should have to deal with and we are now at a stage where the Moderators are increasingly reluctant to do so.

What will happen, do you think, when Moderators no longer wish to moderate Manwe? It certainly will not be left open for posters to do as they wish. That would in no way be in keeping with the ethos of TORC.

No. What will happen is that Manwe will be removed completely from TORC. What will happen is that if posters are unable to discuss serious, political, philosophical or controversial subjects in a mature and polite manner, then there will simply be no place for such discussions on this website.

This is not meant as a threat, this is simply the way things are and the way things will go if posters do not learn to think more about the way in which they post.

This letter has been approved by the site owner Jonathan. From this point forward, all available moderators will be looking into Manwe and taking appropriate action for those who skirt or willfully abuse the TOS.

Your team of Moderators
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Postby wilko185 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:38 am

The forum is really misnamed. In my experience, Manwe has never really been about "philosophy", the love of learning, it is just about politics or whatever "heavier" topics don't fit in Talk. Which is fine, and in fact I'd always be more likely to get into a science or sociology discussion than daring to espouse on pure philosophy.

I've not bothered posting for ages, but have read along. I've lately sensed that the discussions here have increasingly tended to follow US politcal talking points on one or another partisan view. That's quite boring to me. Now I know that this forum is not here for my amusement, and if that's what people want then I have no cause to complain. However, given the nature of the internet now, I can easily see forums such as this being overtaken by fruitless turf wars.

What I think was the intent of Manwe, and what should be fostered, is a healthy debate on current issues and topics of deeper interest. Some posters do really try to broaden the scope here, and I'm grateful for that. I myself should commit to trying to post topics that are more in line with what I think this place should be about (Be the change you want to see in the world, etc). I guess that's my main message: Post something interesting please, not just a view based on US party politics. As it stands, I can guess 90% of of who authored a post without even looking.

I should note that my posting experience here includes some previous time moderating this forum under the guise of Blackwood. However, I've not been involved with that for years, my concerns now are as someone who might like to post here. The mods have suggested the forum be closed for reasons of rudeness, I'm just trying to suggest here what might be the underlying cause of that.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:01 am

I agree with much of what Wilko posted. If the American political topics disappeared, I wouldn't specifically miss them. I remember the days when discussions of philosophical issues was more common... I think some of those topics have been discussed to death at this point, especially since the amount of Manwe vets vs influx of new posters is staggeringly disproportionate.

Funny enough, this isn't the first time Manwe has been close to being locked for good.
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Postby heliona » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:33 am

I also agree. I have practically no interest in Amercan politics - at least discussing them on this forum, and thus tend not to spend much time in Manwe. When other topics come up, I read and sometimes post, however half of the time, I feel like my post is completely ignored by quite a few of the regular posters of Manwe. It's almost as though if there isn't a chance to snipe at each other, they're not interested.

I've had interesting, polite debates about some serious, controversial topics on TORC, but they have mostly been in threads in Talk, not in Manwe.

The Manwe vets, as TED puts it, I believe put off not only new posters to TORC from posting in this forum, but also those of us who have been posting on TORC for a while and perhaps would like to post in Manwe but who feel that if they do they'll either be ignored or they will be sniped at and jumped on and made to feel small. That's not what debating and discussion is about and is frankly rather uncivilised, as far as I'm concerned.

Perhaps some of the more regular Manwe posters should take a step back and read some of their posts from someone else's point of view.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:54 am

Wilko.. I loved your post. Well said.

I especially agree with this sentence:
Wilko wrote:However, given the nature of the internet now, I can easily see forums such as this being overtaken by fruitless turf wars.


Unfortunately I see a break down in polite, respectful discourse not just on this board, but running rampant everywhere. In Journalism, political figures (especially politicians), even religious figures etc.. Everyone it seems, wants to 'get down in the dirt' and play to the lowest common denominator. It is most unfortunate.

What originally attracted me to Manwe was the intelligent, high level of discussion. While there are certain subjects I have opinions about.. there are many others I do not know enough about to have an opinion.. so I would come to Manwe and read posts on the subject, and I found it interesting to read about a topic from several different viewpoints and form my opinions.
HOWEVER .. when the conversation is reduced to snark, hatred, and pettiness. It is not intelligent or informative. It is not, I would think, what Tolkien envisioned a 'Council of Manwe' to be.
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Postby MithLuin » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:21 am

If Manwe is closed, I imagine the posters/threads commonly found here would simply invade Talk. Not sure, but that's where Manwe came from in the first place (it was split out of the Talk forum, which was created for off-topic conversations that were cropping up in other forums.) It wasn't always called 'Manwe'; I forget when it was renamed that. It's always been for religion, politics, economics, legal issues current events, and similar topics, I think. And yes, debate rather than simply discussion.

Certainly, I think it unreasonable to ask the moderators to have to step in to sooooo many threads and have to tell everyone to play nicely....so often. If a conversation gets heated occasionally, that's the nature of these debates. But when posters have axes to grind against one another, civil discourse grinds to a halt. It puzzles me why people return again and again to read the thoughts of someone they disagree with so passionately. In real life...wouldn't you just avoid the person? (Or avoid the topics when talking to the person?) Or maybe it's just that the people who famously contended with loyal opposition had more wit than we possess. [I'm thinking of G. K. Chesterton vs G. B. Shaw and that ilk.]

It would make sense to me to simply ban posters from Manwe who cannot write their arguments in a civil manner. No need to ban them from TORc at large, but that would be another way to keep the atmosphere here in keeping with the goals of the site. Don't know the logistics of that from the technical side of things, but I imagine you can grant/deny permission to post in certain places on a user account?

Just a suggestion. I've certainly enjoyed posting in Manwe from time to time since it was created. Sometimes, it gets tiresome and I leave it be for awhile. Sometimes I post everywhere on TORc but Manwe; sometimes I only post on Manwe and nowhere else. It would be a shame to lose the forum, but if it gets to the point that there is nothing here worth saving, then...maybe I won't mind so much. I don't need a soapbox. I'd miss talking to people, but perhaps I could find them elsewhere. And, to be honest...I've seen a lot of posters come and go, so once you are as ancient as the elves, you get used to losses of that sort.
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Postby portia » Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:11 am

C'mon, people, we are all adults, or near-adults, and can do this.

The fact that someone else has another opinion, different from yours, does not imply that the other person thinks you are stupid, etc. It is nothing to be defensive about. If you try to persuade the other, and can't do it, forget it. It is not like we are arguing in the US SUpreme Court; no professional reputations, large amounts of money, or election results will be decided by who gives up last, around here.

I do NOT WANT TO LOSE MANWE!!
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:25 am

To echo portia, I too don't want to lose Manwe. I only come to TORC for Manwe, so I probably won't migrate anywhere. I've actually contracted my presence on TORC solely to Manwe in the 9 years I've been a member.

With all that said, I think infrequent posters shouldn't have to feel unwelcome to post new topics. That can only be fixed by either current posters taking a step back and reflecting on their posting style, as well as those infrequent posters rallying up some courage to post regardless of what comes of it. Trial by fire.

Perhaps some moderator involvement is necessary in the future to deal with problematic posters, but that always ends with that particular poster feeling he or she is being punished for his or her beliefs. I should be careful, I'm probably not innocent of being problematic myself once in a while. Sometimes it's a no-win. I don't envy the mods.

Hopefully, this topic serves its purpose in quashing some of the sniping. I'm guilty of being party to it myself, but I try.
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Postby IrisBrandybuck » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:08 am

I'm enjoying this discussion and appreciate what everyone has said thus far.

I'm one who rarely reads Manwe anymore and hardly posts for a couple of reasons...one is, I have been jumped on by posters for simply stating something that was a fact, and being told I didn't know what I was talking about (I was there when a certain event happened, so I know it did). At that point I understood that Manwe wasn't a place for discussion, it was a place to put people down when you didn't agree with them, to call them a liar and say, "I don't believe you, therefore it isn't so." I don't have the thick skin some people have, and decided it wasn't worth the bother.

I have tried to encourage good discussion when I see it, but since it happens rarely, and since I avoid Manwe most of the time...

One thing Wilko and Heliona pointed out that I think needs thought through by others...US Political Debate. We're not all from the US here, so it's not really fair for everyone else for there to be so many threads devoted to the debate (or sniping, whatever you want to call it.) I'm from the US, I have my opinions, I occasionally voice them in Talk, but I figure it's not worth making someone else mad, or hurt, when there are so many other things we could talk about. But then, we can't talk about those things either without people getting mean in Manwe.

Maybe shutting down Manwe temporarilywould be an option...a cooling off period of a few months to a year, time to ask people to sit back and consider if the sniping, meanness, poisoned remarks, etc. have really been worth it. Do you want to discuss, or do you want to yell? Do you want to acknowledge that not everyone sees the world the same way you do, or do you want to emphasize how stupid they are because they don't see the world your way?

I'd hate to think TORc needs a time-out chair...but maybe it wouldn't hurt.
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Postby truehobbit » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:17 am

I agree with Mith, in that I understand that moderators wouldn't want to face the current continuous personal sniping in Manwe but don't quite see why posters who don't change their posting style after having been repeatedly asked to don't simply get stopped from posting. Why is it a problem for the whole community?

I'm afraid I don't agree that simply posting about non-US-centric topics would do any good, as there simply doesn't seem to be enough interest in such topics to keep threads alive. If even the "what's up where you live"-thread, which allows to combine all non-US topics in one thread can't engender enough posts to stay on the firsts page, this can hardly encourage many to start a separate thread on a non-US-centric topic.
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Postby Dave_LF » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:27 pm

I'd think it would make moderation much more difficult if you ditched Manwe and instead tried to enforce "no discussions of religion or politics anywhere on the board". Having a forum designated for that purpose at least keeps the hot stuff confined to one area. I agree with others who think it would be more effective to block the small number of individual posters who repeatedly violate the TOS and show no desire to change.
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Postby Rosie~HobbitLass » Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:51 pm

I think part of the problem is that some people then cry 'foul' as if they and their point of view (only) is being silenced/persecuted. Then too are those who just come back under a different screen name. And the process begins all over again. *sigh*


Oh.. this is RoseMorninStar, btw. :D
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Postby Aravar » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:25 am

truehobbit wrote:I agree with Mith, in that I understand that moderators wouldn't want to face the current continuous personal sniping in Manwe but don't quite see why posters who don't change their posting style after having been repeatedly asked to don't simply get stopped from posting. Why is it a problem for the whole community?



I entirely agree. Collective punishment is never a good thing.
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Postby Cerin » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:06 am

I agree with those who've said, why not just restrict the access to Manwe for those who refuse to abide by the standard after say, three specific warnings? Is that too much trouble to administrate? It makes more sense than ditching the entire forum because of a handful of troublemakers.
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Postby Alys » Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:53 pm

This is a mod's point of view, even though I've not been 'working' as one for some time now. I'll apologise in advance to my colleagues who have been dealing with the brunt of all this!

Moderating a forum like this takes a great deal of time and gives very little return in the way of 'fun' for the mods. We do not ban lightly on this forum, and each incident means a combination of editing, warning, emailing, logging and discussion. (And don't forget the almost inevitable carping about bias and favouritism, unpleasant emails and insults.) Most of these incidents are not worthy in themselves of a banning and I'm pretty sure no one wants to see people banned as a result of a string of fairly minor things? We do not want to censor you, we do not want to nursemaid you and we most certainly do not want to get rid of you. What we want is for the forum and it's posters to take some of responsibility for the feel of the place on themselves.

What I mean by that is that you don't respond to unpleasant posts from other posters, you don't say whatever you feel like because 'he started it', you don't dismiss other posters or rely on snark and insults instead of reasoned arguments because it's easier to score points that way. You take your time, consider the other posters viewpoints and then debate them if you disagree. It is more than possible to make strong arguments that do not stray from passionate into rude and unpleasant.

The mods are largely burnt out when it comes to this forum. We're all volunteers who want to have some time to enjoy the rest of the board instead of slogging through Manwe whenever we get a chance to post on TORc. Speaking only for myself, I'm just not prepared to spend very much more of my time dealing with people who are not willing to put in any effort themselves. Modding Manwe used to be a source of great satisfaction to me but now it's just dull, tiresome hardwork and not something any volunteer in their right mind would be keen to do

The simple fact is, that if there aren't any mods who are prepared to work this fourm then there just won't be any forum. This really isn't a threat or an intended punishment for the posters, it's a statement of fact and I'm really, really hoping that a solution can be found before it comes to that.
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Postby Cerin » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:41 am

Alys wrote:Most of these incidents are not worthy in themselves of a banning and I'm pretty sure no one wants to see people banned as a result of a string of fairly minor things?

I wouldn't mind seeing people banned as a result of a string of fairly minor things, if the alternative is closing the forum.


Speaking only for myself, I'm just not prepared to spend very much more of my time dealing with people who are not willing to put in any effort themselves.

That, again, would seem to recommend the solution of banning those who prove, through repeated warnings for the same kind of offense, that they are not willing to put in any effort themselves.


The simple fact is, that if there aren't any mods who are prepared to work this fourm then there just won't be any forum.

I wonder if any one from administration would be willing to try and explain why closing the forum is seen as a better solution than banning those who continue to misbehave after repeated warnings.


This really isn't a threat or an intended punishment for the posters, it's a statement of fact and I'm really, really hoping that a solution can be found before it comes to that.

Whether it's intended as punishment or not, it is punishment for all those who behave, to close the forum because you (collective 'you') aren't willing, for whatever reason, to deal with those who refuse to behave.
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Postby MithLuin » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:27 pm

IrisBrandybuck wrote:

Maybe shutting down Manwe temporarilywould be an option...a cooling off period of a few months to a year, time to ask people to sit back and consider if the sniping, meanness, poisoned remarks, etc. have really been worth it. Do you want to discuss, or do you want to yell? Do you want to acknowledge that not everyone sees the world the same way you do, or do you want to emphasize how stupid they are because they don't see the world your way?

I'd hate to think TORc needs a time-out chair...but maybe it wouldn't hurt.


Do it.

Even just a week should be enough to force people to take a step away from these conversations. It would give the mods a break, too! 'Temporarily Out of Service' isn't a punishment. Think of it...as a mental health day. Unpaid vacation. Whatever.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:20 am

I've been away from the boards for a while, and posted very little in this particular forum even before that, so what I have to say may be disregarded, but I feel I must say it.

I noticed that many of our friends from the other side of the pond (I'm a proud, loud American) don't care to discuss or are particularly interesting in American political discussions. I'm with them. Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than a spouting, missinformed political rant, and frankly, I deal with enough of those on a daily basis.

I come here to get AWAY from the worries and blood-pressure raising issues of "real life", not to indulge in further bickering, hence my rare posts to this forum. I rarely even read beond the first posts of one or two of the threads, if I looked further than the titles.

I am not opposed to deeper discussions on any number of subjects, but I have witnessed how quickly these discussions can (and usually do) dissentigrate into little more than spiteful (sometimes even hurtful) shouting matches. This is not healthy for anyone.

If asked, I will share my beliefs, but please remember, you asked for it! Trying to argue me out of the beliefs you asked me to share, or worse, trying to belittle me into thinking like you do, is wrong. If you ask, you have a right to share your beliefs as well, just don't expect everyone to agree because you said so.

I feel that this line of thought is encouaging of helpful, healthy debate.

I've said my say, and in doing so, i think I've made clear why, should this forum be closed, I wouldn't miss it. But at the same time, I do feel the need of it's existance if everyone is of the same understanding on how it is to be run, regulated, and the level of decorum that is expected of it's posters made quite clear.
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Postby Cerin » Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:21 am

Would it help anything to make a separate forum for political discussion? That would separate out the cause for most of the nastiness that goes on in Manwe, and would also address the problem of the forum being dominated by a subject that many aren't that interested in.
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Postby LadyElbereth » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:04 pm

Cerin wrote:Would it help anything to make a separate forum for political discussion? That would separate out the cause for most of the nastiness that goes on in Manwe, and would also address the problem of the forum being dominated by a subject that many aren't that interested in.


I don't see how that would make any difference... It would just move the "nastiness" to another place. Do you think that it would stop political ideology spilling into the "philosophical" threads ?.
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Postby TheEllipticalDisillusion » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:15 am

The answer to this issue is really in having more philosophical threads than political threads, not necessarily moving or shutting down the forum. You can't stop political ideology spilling into philosophical threads except by picking topics that are not contemporary political concerns--even then it won't stop anything, but might mediate it.
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Postby portia » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:00 am

This may not be completely consistent with my earlier post, but since when Have I been completely consistent?

I, personally, do not care in the least if people get personally insulting of me or anyone else. It is only hot electrons, after all, and means nothing in the "real world."
I just scroll on past. But Jonathan has the right to make rules for his site, and if we want the benefit of his efforts, we should abide by the rules.

I do not see the point of banning, esp. if people can come back under other names and do the same things that got them banned.

I guess I come back to the same comment: Grow UP, folks!
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Postby IrisBrandybuck » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:56 am

I just read on the Kim Komando site that a messageboard can use IP addresses to ban posters. I don't know that TORc has that capability, but I thought I would throw that out there. :)
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Postby LalaithUrwen » Sun Dec 19, 2010 12:19 pm

I didn't think we could have multiple usernames here on TORC.

I used to be a Manwe regular, as some of you may remember (or not). I come back every so often, hoping to get back involved in the discussions (philosophical or religious). But I rarely do due to the atmosphere of the place.

I would hate to see Manwe closed, though. I'd rather see Cerin's suggestion implemented--ban those members who can't seem to be civil to anyone.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:47 pm

LalaithUrwen, as long as you have multiple valid e-mail accounts, you can have multiple user names and TORC accounts.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:49 pm

PatriotBlade wrote:LalaithUrwen, as long as you have multiple valid e-mail accounts, you can have multiple user names and TORC accounts.
I do NOT believe you can post on the boards under another name pretending to be someone else. I tried to find the 'Terms of Service' but I couldn't find it. I am sure one of the mods can come in & state the rules.
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Postby PatriotBlade » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:23 pm

I don't mean that I condone such action, just saying that it's possible. Many of the big time RPrs have more than one account for their various characters.
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Postby RoseMorninStar » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:43 pm

PatriotBlade wrote:I don't mean that I condone such action, just saying that it's possible. Many of the big time RPrs have more than one account for their various characters.
Yes, that is true.. I have an 'alter ego' myself, but I had to tell a moderator 'who' I was and I could not pretend to be someone else and post at large on the boards pretending to be a new/different person.
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Postby jadeval » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:12 am

I didn't even know this thread was here until just now.

I don't think Manwe is nasty at all. I've said it before... I see no problem as long as common sense prevails and doofuses like xfrodo are booted promptly and without fanfare.

It will not be because we are nasty. It will be because there just is no one to moderate and simple as that. You can't convince me that we are that bad...
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Postby LalaithUrwen » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:09 am

I know you can have multiple accounts for RP. (I should've said that.) But I didn't think you could use those accounts to come in and post in threads to either avoid identification or to "bolster" your case.

jadeval, I disagree with you. This place has always been not for the faint of heart, but it has declined overall in its tone. (I say "overall" and I do mean that. I don't mean every single person or every single post or thread. It's just a general sense and, of course, my opinion.)
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