HELP NEEDED! ...to create Guidelines for this forum!

What other authors do Tolkien fans enjoy? Come on in and enter into a broadened conversation on the great literature of this and other times.

Postby Kestrel » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:21 am

The Tolkien Books forum has a good set of guidelines that was created as a sort of group project by the forum regulars. Here's the link:<OL><a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=27&threadid=56280&ann=1">Guidelines for the Books (Tolkien) Forum. PLEASE READ</a></OL>I would like to do something similar here. I think we can use some of their ideas, though not all of them. I'll give some of my own thoughts below - I would greatly appreciate any additions and suggestion you might have. Or challenge me if you think I'm wrong about something.<BR><BR>Here's a "first draft":<BR><BR>====================================================================<BR><BR>This is a forum for discussion of all forms of literature, excluding only the works of JRR Tolkien (because they have their own forum). Here you may discuss anything from the Odyssey to the latest bestseller; from Shakespeare to JK Rowling; from fairy tales to cyberpunk. All we ask is that you observe these simple guidelines:<BR><BR><OL><li>Avoid redundant threads. Please, please, please use the search function before you start (say) another Harry Potter thread -- if an appropriate thread exists, simply add your comments. The front page should never contain more than one thread about a given author, unless they are in-depth discussions of separate books.<BR><BR><b>Search instructions:</b> At the upper right of the board there are a series of tabs labeled my settings, my info, register, search, etcetera. Clicking on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/search.cfm">search</a> takes you to the Search request screen. Enter an author or title under "Search Phrase". Deselect the box next to "Welcome!" by clicking on it. Select the box next to "The Books (Other Authors)" by clicking on <i>it</i>. Then click Search Now.<BR><BR><li>Make sure the name of the author and/or book you are discussing are included in the thread title.<BR><BR><li>Out of courtesy to your fellow posters, PLEASE use standard English spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization. It's much easier to read, and will generally draw more thoughtful responses. Many of us dislike "Netspeak" (u no what i mn) and there are also many here for whom English is a second language, and cryptic abbreviations such as "anyone" for "anyone" can be indecipherable. In any case, it just makes sense to write in a literate manner in a forum devoted to literature, don't you think?<BR><BR><li>Please avoid "spam" type posts, especially when starting a new thread. These are very brief posts that require little thought or effort, such as "I liked this book - what about you?" without any further elaboration. Such posts do nothing to stimulate discussion. Thoughtful posts tend to inspire thoughtful responses.<BR><BR><li>Group reads and book studies are very welcome here as long as they are limited to a single thread and open to anyone who wants to participate.<BR><BR><li>NO TRIVIA THREADS. These are permitted (though limited) in the Tolkien Books forum, but they only have one author to discuss!<BR><BR><li>General discussion threads, such as "What are you reading now?" or "Can someone recommend a good children's book?" are permitted, but let's try to limit them to only one or two at a time.<BR><BR><li>Courtesy to other posters is very important. Also, be aware that this is a message board, not a chat room. You may find yourself in discussions with people on the other side of the world. Be patient when responses are not immediate.</OL>====================================================================<BR><BR>Well, those are some of my thoughts. I would like to hear yours. Please feel free to suggest alternate wording to anything I wrote, too - especially if you can make it clearer or kinder. Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with something?<BR><BR>A final thought: what do you all think about the "bashing" threads? I don't care for them, myself. I would appreciate feedback on that as well.<BR><BR>Thanks!<BR>Kestrel<BR><BR><b>Edited to add guideline about "spam" posting and search instructions</b>
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Postby ccmsOrlilvr » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:27 am

Though a bit of a n00bie I may be, I like your rules, Kestrel! They seem quite reasoable. What is bashing threads?
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Postby Kestrel » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:40 am

Thank you, ccmsOrlilvr. All feedback is appreciated! Bashing threads are threads started specifically for negative comments about an author or book. Here are a few examples:<OL><BR><a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=23&threadid=67783">JkRowling/Harry potter bashing thread!!!!!!</a><BR><BR><a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=23&threadid=22018">David Eddings Bashing Thread</a></OL>Personally, I would prefer that criticisms actually be included in the "regular" discussion threads. For two reasons... 1) it makes discussions more lively to have negative viewpoints as well as positive, and 2) it involves multiple threads where one would do. Your thoughts?
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Postby luthienelflover » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:05 am

I think that bashing threads can be enjoyable for people, and I don't think it would do any good to eliminate them entirely. If you do, the people that want to bash something will have to do it on a thread full of people who are actually trying to discuss the book/author. I don't participate in them myself, usually, and they can be tasteless (and I believe you or another mod would have to keep a close eye on them), but I don't think it would be good to get rid of them entirely. <BR><BR>Just my suggestions. I like your other guidelines <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby Kestrel » Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:59 am

Thanks for the feedback, luthienelflover. Probably part of my objection is that I don't <i>want</i> to read "bashing" threads to make sure they don't step over the line! Remember, I don't get paid to do this! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Anyone else have thoughts on "bashing" threads?<BR><BR>What do you think about the "spam" caution I added to the guidelines?
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Postby Luthien_elentari » Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:24 pm

These are very good guidelines! It would be a great advantage if these were enforced. (Except maybe rule #6...<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>Right, Kestrel?<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>)<BR><BR>About the "bashing threads" : I really can't say much about them, because I never read those a lot or I get too mad. However, the little I have seen of them displeases me. It's ok to not like an author, and it's okay to have your own opinions, but I really don't see what can be gained by critisizing, other than picking a fight. It's not like your going to convince the author your bashing to change their books because you "hate" them.<BR><BR>About the spam threads: I know this sounds <i>incredibly</i> stupid, but I really have to know. I've the word spam so many times, but I have no idea what it means. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-blush.gif"border=0>.
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Postby Gorhaur » Sat Jul 12, 2003 1:12 pm

<b>Kestrel</b>, I thought those were very good guidelines <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>! Now, about the "bashing" threads...I don't know because I don't frequent this forum (I just about live in the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/categories.cfm?catid=27">Books (Tolkien) Forum</a> <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>). They don't seem too good though, and I think you should limit them, if you don't ban them (which I think you should). They seem like "spamming" threads to me; and what good is it to just cut down other author's works? They don't seem too kind....<BR><BR>Well the guidelines seem well so far <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>! Keep up the good work MODs! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>---------------<BR><BR><b>Luthien_elentari</b>- <i>I've the word spam so many times, but I have no idea what it means.</i><BR><BR>If you read <b>Kestrel</b>'s guidelines one more time (slowly), he/she describes what "spam" is (in number 4):<BR><BR><i>These are very brief posts that require little thought or effort, such as "I liked this book - what about you?" without any further elaboration.</i>
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Postby Muccamukk » Sat Jul 12, 2003 4:55 pm

Good job, Aunt Kestrel<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> I like it, especially rule four.<BR><BR>I would love to see bashing threads banned. They tend to pointlessly negative, immature and distasteful (sometimes to the point of a TOS violation). I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to express their opinions. I just wish they would grow up a bit<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0>
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Postby Phernoviel » Sat Jul 12, 2003 8:22 pm

I happen to like the 'bashing threads,' though I do think maturity would be a plus (not that I'm adult). Otherwise, these people must either keep their opinions off the site (a clear trampling across free speech) or put them where they're really not wanted--in the "i like this book so much" threads. a general discussion thread would be nice, but I don't see any threads that would enjoy the alternate veiwpoints. I think it'd be like intruding into a Republican gathering with a sign that reads, "drop Bush, not bombs!"
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Postby Kestrel » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:08 pm

Now that I've actually read through the "bashing" threads, they don't seem so bad to me. There's a lot of good discussion in the JK Rowling/Harry Potter bashing thread. I guess maybe I just don't like the word "bashing" very much. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>
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Postby laureanna » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:41 pm

Kestrel, I have a 4 questions for you -<BR><BR>1. Where should we post discussions of books about Middle Earth? I posted in The Man in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?catid=3&threadid=64478">What is a good biography of Tolkien?</a>, but that forum is rather moribund, and I'm afraid few people, including me, look at it very often. <BR><BR>2. You asked for name/author to appear in the title of the post. Could you suggest some guidelines for the "I'd like to find more authors in the ____ genre" type posts?<BR><BR>3. Would it help to have a few index threads of the highly popular authors, like Rowlings?<BR><BR>4. How do we deal with books that have mature material in them? I realize this forum has mostly teens, but there are a few of us who would like to recommend/discuss books that we wouldn't find appropriate for our teenage children to read.<BR><BR>Thanks for starting the Guidelines. They look great. <BR><BR>Edited because I can never get those links right on the first try!<BR><BR>Laureanna
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Postby NiennaSorrowing » Sat Jul 12, 2003 9:53 pm

I second laureanna's question about books with "mature" content. This is a very strict family freindly site, but it also hosts many thoughtful, erudite, adult posters who may read books that deal with more adult content than, say, Harry Potter. (Most adult books aren't as, er, <i>poetic</i> about adult matters as Tolkien is.) I'm obviously not talking those romance novels that are always next to the mystery section in the bookstore and feature cover art involving half-naked men and women in gauzy dresses, but the kind of literature that posters here would read and enjoy and want to discuss, and may have subject matter that some people wouldn't want their children or teenagers to read about, even in a literary discussion.<BR><BR>I don't believe in having "family freindly" anything, but obviously the administraters of this site do, so I would like to know what the official position is on intellegent, in-depth discussion of literary work that may deal with adult content.
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Postby laureanna » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:23 pm

I think I found the answer to my first question. I finally stumbled on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tolkienonline.com/thewhitecouncil/messageview.cfm?start=100&catid=53&threadid=46812">Tolkien Virtual Library</a>, which is not in any of the forums I expected, but in the Virtual Study Group forum, another forum with less frequent posting.<BR><BR>Laureanna
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Postby meneltarma » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:43 pm

I agree with most of these rules(I like the anti netspeak one, especially) but when you say 'no trivia threads', what about the 'famous first and last lines' or whatever it was called? I think everyone in that thread enjoyed it, and it became a thread for the better read posters to flaunt their brilliance<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>.Please reconsider that point, I can understand you not wanting author-specific trivia threads, but can't general ones stay?<BR><BR>Anyway, I'm giving this my wholehearted support<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby -Rómestámo- » Sat Jul 12, 2003 10:45 pm

Perhaps with regards to (Draft) Guideline 6, it could be amended to read <UL><BR>NO NEW TRIVIA THREADS. These are permitted (though limited) in the Tolkien Books forum, but they only have one author to discuss!</UL><BR>-as the one or two literary trivia threads seem harmless. But I agree that there is no real place for, say, more Harry Potter trivia threads. <BR><BR>The other point is perhaps some help in how to use the search engine? (like restricting your search to the relevant forum, searching first 'titles' then perhaps 'titles and posts' if the initial keyword search fails to find anything and so on). Inability to search or professed failures of 'search' is commonly expressed in the "Books (Tolkien) Forum' when a more experienced searcher can find multiple threads...<BR><BR>Of course the biggest problem with Guidelines is getting people to read them <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>, but I would agree that they are worth having.
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Postby SilverScribe » Sun Jul 13, 2003 7:54 am

<BR>Well, until recently, I have merely lurked in this forum, but I think the Guidelines you have set out are quite reasonable.<BR><BR>I'm rather neutral on the "bashing" threads. Although in my opinion (which is close to Sir Mucca's) they pass awfully close to the "hate propaganda" sort of thing, the flip side is that perhaps it is not so bad a thing to have a separate thread where people can vent all their overt nastiness, and as luthienelflover points out, keeps these hugely negative comments out of a thread where the discussion is more rounded. <BR><BR>As for bleating about "free speech" being an excuse to post excessively hateful remarks, remember that this message board is not your local street corner and is not owned by the public or the posters, but by some very generous people who have the right to set up some "house rules". i.e. We are 'guests' here.<BR><BR>Perhaps, as has been suggested, it is the word "bashing" that carries the negativity. But I am all out of suggestions for a different term . . . <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>As for "more adult" material, well, there are tons of other "more adult" websites and Messageboards with exactly that flavour and level. The "family friendly" atmosphere maintained here at Tolkien Online is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the Professor, and I would hate to see that eroded, especially for "other Authors". <BR><BR>Spam, as always, happens. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> But if possible, it is best kept to a minimum.<BR><BR>And netspeak, definitely curb it, if only for the courtesy of the English as a Second Language posters who visit here. 'Nuff said. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Good job Kestrel. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR>
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Postby Epor » Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:38 pm

<i>As for "more adult" material, well, there are tons of other "more adult" websites and Messageboards with exactly that flavour and level. The "family friendly" atmosphere maintained here at Tolkien Online is perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the Professor, and I would hate to see that eroded, especially for "other Authors".</i><BR><BR>Are you suggesting that all references to books containing "adult" material should be forbidden? If so, then surely, for the sake of consistency at least, references to movies of R and NC17 ratings in the Movies-Other and to music containing explicit lyrics in Choirs of Eru should equally be forbidden. Such overkill censorship would make discussion rather difficult.<BR><BR>I think the current system where it's ok to talk about a work containing "adult" content as long as the posts themselves do not is much better for all concerned. <BR><BR>-------------------------<BR>Bite the sacred apple<BR>suck the poison<BR>enjoy the taste<BR>
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Postby Phernoviel » Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:55 pm

Bashing is indeed a bad term. I would certainly prefer it if the threads could be given a less vigorous term for discussing mutual dislike of certain authors and books, but I, much to my regret, don't have a better term. Dang.
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Postby rowanberry » Sun Jul 13, 2003 1:53 pm

I wholeheartedly second Epor's opinion about discussing books with "adult" contents. Why couldn't they be discussed here, as long as the posts are kept "clean"?<BR><BR>And, I honestly don't wholly understand why some people seem to be so worried about teenagers reading "adult" material. My parents didn't forbid such books from me when I was in my teens, and I don't think reading them harmed me in any way. Could it be that, those people just feel awkward to read and discuss such literature themselves? But, I think I'm getting off topic already...
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Postby SilverScribe » Sun Jul 13, 2003 5:04 pm

<BR>Epor, I am not suggest "forbidding" anything. Anything that is clearly "out of bounds" is looked after by the current TOS quite efficiently.<BR><BR>So, if the 'adult' material is discussed in a "clean" manner, what could possibly be wrong with that? But therin lies the rub. What is perfectly acceptable to one person may be quite offensive to another. For example, some parents have no objections to letting their teenage sons have their teenage girlfriends "sleep over" (and yes, in the same room, etc.) while other parents would not hear of any such thing. So the definition of what is acceptably "clean" will inevitably vary from person to person.<BR><BR>Perhaps comfort level does have something to do with it. However, if a person is uncomfortable with such material and the discussion thereof, they simply don't visit those threads. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>But the decision ultimately rests with the Admin and the Moderators. Whatever they decide is fine with me.<BR><BR><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>
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Postby ccmsOrlilvr » Sun Jul 13, 2003 6:26 pm

I see, Kestrel. Well, I myself haven't ever been into one of the bashing threads. I see your point about keeping them in the regular discussion threads, but let me explain a reason for not doing so: If you have the 'bashings' kept in regular threads the subject is likely to turn at one point or another to some different topic, therefore making the bashers angry because they are being tuned out and their bashing is being stopped (or someone is interupting their bashing). So either someone will come in and change the subject in the middle of a bash session, or a basher will come in to some thread and ruin a perfectly good, fun, insightful (and not to mention positive) conversation on some book.<BR><BR>I would also like to comment on the "Adult Content" situation, if I may. Someone said that there are other sites and messageboards for those things. My opinion is that people who want to discuss such things shouldn't have to go to another site for it if they want to do it on this one (meaning in the appropriate forum, of course). I agree with the family friendly attitude, but I also think that it is unfair to force the adults out to another site entirely to discuss more "grown-up" books. This may be far out there, but I shall just pitch it to you anyway, Kestrel: Could you start another forum just for the grown-up sorts of books so that the adults can just go straight there? *I know, I know . . . I don't know how you'll keep youngins' out either . . .*<BR><BR>Anyhow, hope this was helpful, Kestrel. How did YOU get stuck with this, anyway? <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>CC
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Postby Kestrel » Sun Jul 13, 2003 7:07 pm

Sincere thanks to ccmsOrlilvr, luthienelflover, Luthien_elentari, Gorhaur, Muccamukk, Phernoviel, laureanna, NiennaSorrowing, meneltarma, -Rómestámo-, SilverScribe, Epor and rowanberry for taking the time to share your thoughts. I truly appreciate it.<BR><BR><BR>As I said above, I feel quite a bit better about the "bashing" threads now that I've read through them - the JK Rowling one in particular has some very thoughtful discussion. I also changed the titles so they don't include the "B" word. I guess that word is just a little too vividly metaphorical for me. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR><BR>I thought <b>-Rómestámo-</b>'s suggestion about instructions on using search was excellent, and have added a section on that to the guidelines. What do you think? Is it clear enough? Thoughts about how to make it better?<BR><BR><BR>In response to <b>laureanna</b>'s questions -- and thank you for answering #1 yourself!<BR><BR><i>2. You asked for name/author to appear in the title of the post. Could you suggest some guidelines for the "I'd like to find more authors in the ____ genre" type posts?</i><BR><BR>I don't think such threads really need title guidelines. The point of having the author/title in the thread title is to: 1) make it easy for someone visiting the forum to decide if the thread would be of interest to them, and 2) make them searchable. In my experience, threads asking for recommendations tend to be pretty decipherable.<BR><BR><i>3. Would it help to have a few index threads of the highly popular authors, like Rowlings?</i><BR><BR>It might. Are you volunteering to create and maintain them? <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR><i>4. How do we deal with books that have mature material in them? I realize this forum has mostly teens, but there are a few of us who would like to recommend/discuss books that we wouldn't find appropriate for our teenage children to read.</i><BR><BR>Good question, and mentioned by several others as well. First of all, don't expect to see an "adults only" forum here at TORC. That won't happen. (And isn't it funny how the word "adult" has come to mean obscene?) But... there's adult and adult, I think. I don't think a discussion of The Story of O would be very appropriate here, for instance. I would worry that a discussion of Lady Chatterley's Lover would wander into dangerous territory because, as a book, it's so very much "about" sex. But discussions of Madame Bovary, or Anna Karenina, or The Son Also Rises - all of which deal with some very adult themes - would be fine in my opinion. It's all how it's done. As long as the interest is serious, not salacious (no dirty jokes or "tittering" ), and as long as the Terms of Service are observed, I don't see a problem.<BR><BR><b>Silverscribe</b>, as you seemed to be the most concerned about sensitivity regarding adult material, I would appreciate feedback from you on what I said above. My own feeling is that plenty of classic literature addresses "adult" themes, and that discussion of such works in and of itself should not prove offensive even to younger board members - as long as it is thoughtful, respectful, and observes the TOS. R-rated movies are often discussed in the Other Movies forum, after all. I would genuinely appreciate your thoughts.<BR><BR><BR><b>meneltarma</b> and <b>-Rómestámo-</b> ... your comments about trivia threads are a bit of a poser for me. I am opposed to them. I saw how they, and similar one-liner games, took over Tom's House. (I was involved in the "cleanup".) I don't want that to happen here. If we can have a "first and last line" trivia thread, why <i>not</i> a Harry Potter trivia thread? And if a Harry Potter trivia thread, why not a Susan Cooper or Philip Pullman or David Eddings trivia thread? Where do you draw the line? Would it be possible to say... only one active trivia thread at a time? I think that might feel rather unfair. Likewise "no NEW trivia threads". Doesn't that seem to favor whoever started the first one? I appeal to your ingenuity. Is there a way to do this fairly that doesn't tie the mods' hands?<BR><BR>I don't want to be in the position of coming into the forum, seeing three trivia threads, and having to decide which shall live and which shall die. And I'm afraid that's exactly where I'll end up if we open the door at all. Your thoughts much appreciated!<BR><BR><BR>Again, thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. It's people like you who make TORC such a wonderful place!<BR><BR><BR><b>Edited to add:</b> We cross-posted, ccmsOrlilvr. As you see, I have changed my mind about (and the title of!) the "bashing" threads. Also, see above for my thoughts on "adult" material. As for your question: <BR><BR><i>"How did YOU get stuck with this, anyway?"</i><BR><BR>Oh, I stuck myself with it, idiot that I am. That's the way it works around here, you know. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> I'm very fond of this forum, and I want to continue to see interesting literary discussions here. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>
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Postby SilverScribe » Sun Jul 13, 2003 8:58 pm

<BR>First off I'd like to say that I found all the opinions and insights very interesting, and very positive. And to thank Kestrel for opening up a thread for this type of discussion. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Second off, I'd like to say "be careful what you ask for Kestrel." LOLOL. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Well, I too have no great concerns with some 'adult' themes. I have recommended several "classics", such as Madame Bovary, Great Expectations, Jane Eyre, Hamlet, The Marble Faun etc. to many readers of all ages. What is commonly referred to as 'adult' themes in the literary and film industries encompasses more than just issues of a sexual nature, but include things like death, imprisonment, suicide, substance abuse, slavery, murder, the occult, large scale theft, blackmail, extortion, war, mental abuse, political scandal, etc., etc. The scope is rather large.<BR><BR>"Adult" themes in literature are as old as literature itself - heck, William Shakespeare wrote some of the most brilliant plays around such themes as adultery, incest, blackmail and murder. However, it is the "treatment" of these themes that separates them from your garden variety soft porn or shock fiction, which is where my main concern lies.<BR><BR>This is a family board, after all. If the discussions remain literate, intelligent and focused without violating the Terms of Service, then fine. However, it has been my experience that this is an extremely difficult thing to judge, simply because of the widely varying opinions of what is acceptable and what is not. <BR><BR>Though, having said that, I do think that the general level of poster that frequents the Book forums, as well as the very capable moderators at this site would likely ensure that obviously inappropriate material would not be introduced, and that the discussions on whatever *is* introduced will maintain an acceptable level of intelligence. (as Kestrel mentions, no tittering or dirty jokes) <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>And ccmsOrlilvr makes her own valid point: Even if you could create an "adult only" forum, how do you lock out the minors? I think inviting that sort of 'exclusiveness' is in direct opposition to the general spirit of Tolkien Online, which is that everyone of any age is welcome to every forum.<BR><BR><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Epor » Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:38 am

SilverScribe,<BR>What's a classic to one is trash to another. I believe any attempt to moderate based on the content of a subject being discussed, rather than the content of that discussion, is doomed to fail.<BR><BR>-------------------------<BR>Bite the sacred apple<BR>suck the poison<BR>enjoy the taste
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Postby SilverScribe » Mon Jul 14, 2003 6:57 am

<BR>Exactly.<BR><BR>I do not envy the Moderators their job.<BR><BR><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
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Postby Durin VIII » Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:24 am

This is one forum that really has done very well with lack of moderator influence over the years. The traffic has never been very high. Recently with all the HP threads the fact some were locked to limit the number of them has been a good thing. I fear that someone is trying to look for a problem that is really not there. In fact the guidelines seem to reflect what is already being done. The trivia threads while certainly not being one of my favorites have never gotten out of hand. The bashing threads another of my least favorites have always seemed to just hang on the side of acceptable both in terms of content and the # of them. As pointed out the HP bashing thread actually has some good discussion in it, but that clearly is the exception. If people want to have their little fun with the bashing threads I say let them until the day when 25% of all active threads are bashing ones then it should not be an issue. The point of the bashing threads has not been one of intelligent discussion and I am glad they are there for that. Often the posters in those do post in other threads and their negative views and that is a good thing. The only time it's not is when it overwhelms and turns the discussion downhill and the thread becomes another bashing one which seems to happen with a lot of the Robert Jordan threads.<BR><BR>Any concern over “adult” books is also not warranted. Once again the discussion has stayed clean. We have even talked about Anne Rice's Beauty books without going into unnecessary detail.<BR><BR>Sometimes a newbie is attacked for bringing up a topic that has been discussed before, but the threads are long and old ones. If I see a old thread that has 200 replies that someone has dragged up I am less likely to look at it, and even less likely to reply if I had already done so in the thread a year ago. If someone asks about Asimov and the countless Asimov threads have lain dormant for a few months then why not let them start a new one? <BR><BR>Okay I have rambled long enough. This forum gets too little traffic as it is without coming up with ways to limit the number of threads.
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Postby Kestrel » Mon Jul 14, 2003 2:09 pm

Scribbles,<BR>It seems to me that we are basically in agreement with respect to adult material in this forum - that any problems would likely arise from inappropriate posts, not from the material itself. Truthfully, I see the Harry Potter juggernaut and the tendency towards spammy, chatty threads as more of a threat to this forum. It's easy enough to keep an eye on a handful of "mature themed" threads.<BR><BR><BR>Durin,<BR>I agree with the comment that this forum has done well without much moderation in the past. I'm not doing this because I'm a crazed bureaucrat who loves rules, but because I see some problems developing and I want to head them off at the pass.<BR><BR>Here's what I have noticed: a proliferation of Harry Potter threads, a proliferation of trivia threads, and a proliferation of chat/spam threads consisting of this type of post:<OL>Title: Has anyone read the Prydain Chronicles?<BR>Post #1: I really like them. What do you think?<BR>Post #2: I like them too.<BR>Post #3: I don't think they are so great.<BR>Post #4: I thought they were good.</OL>I locked five threads the other day, and received a number of protests along the lines of, "There's no rule against it so why did you lock my thread?" I am trying to create a set of forum guidelines so that when I take moderator actions, people will have been fairly warned in advance on what the rules are. If this seems too officious to you, well, I'm sorry you feel that way.
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Postby Durin VIII » Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:11 pm

I agree with a increase in “chat” threads being a concern. Along with the “suggest a book” for me thread that seems like a new one is created each month since this forum was first created. The increase in HP threads seems logical just like traffic picks up in other forums when a LotR movie comes out in theaters or DVD, but if we can keep it like in the movies (other) forum to one or two threads then should be no big deal. Besides that will quickly die off as people read the books and the initial hype settles down.<BR><BR>I have nothing against guidelines, and if they help increase the number and quality of threads going then they can be a very good thing. For the past few years the only moderator influence I have seen in this forum is them posting and participating in discussions, and I hope that continues.<BR>
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Postby Blackwood » Mon Jul 14, 2003 3:20 pm

# 1: <BR>The general policy in the past has been to usually allow new threads on a topic as long as there wasn't one currently "active". This seems to work quite well. It would usually be preferable that <u>short</u> previous threads be bumped if they exist, hence the emphasis on Search. Even if people are pointed to the search function they don't always manage that though.<BR><BR># 6:<BR>The trivia threads about literature in general seem in keeping with this forum. Those on individual authors might more properly belong on a Harry Potter (or whatever) site. What about allowing one "general lit quiz", one "identify the book from the quote" game, and whatever other generic quiz-types crop up, but no book/author-specific ones?<BR><BR><BR>I'd like it clear what is to be a "rule", eg <i>no Harry Potter trivia threads</i> (sorry Luthien <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>), and what is to be a "guideline" eg <i>please try and bump old threads rather than start new ones so we don't have 20 5-post threads on Douglas Adams</i>, or whatever. <BR>The anti-spam "rule" isn't a bad idea. In fact it might be good to have it in certain other forums... but that's another discussion <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>.<BR><BR>JMHOs <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR>
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Postby SilverScribe » Mon Jul 14, 2003 5:16 pm

<BR>Kestrel: Um, I think so. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0><BR><BR>I guess my basic concern is that blatantly inappropriate books not be offered for discussion, since this basically is a family friendly Tolkien site and not Playboy Unchained. However, since, as was mentioned, one person's classic is another person's trash, I have no idea how one would identify 'blatantly inappropriate' without riling up all the "freedom of speech" advocates.<BR><BR>Like I said, I sure don't envy the Mods their jobs. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>
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