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    GateWorld's Vision Statement .Suggestions welcome

    Hi, everyone!

    The mods have been doing lots of thinking, reflecting, and discussing about where the forum is at heading into 2009 and the Stargate franchise's transition into a new weekly show. We've also been listening to your comments and suggestions about how we do things. We've decided that it is time to make some changes.

    Our long-time members seem to largely agree that GateWorld has grown too negative, particularly in the last year or two. We hear more and more frequently that many people just don't like coming here any more because it is too negative -- or they retreat into their safe and comfortable threads and forsake the rest of the forum. That's what we are out to reform.

    It is difficult to "enforce" such change by simply implementing new rules and policies. That's not what this is about, though there will be new policies to help us out. Really, it's about finding a vision for what we -- all 37,000 of us -- want this forum to be, and then setting out to make it happen. Our community at large has to want this sort of change, and get excited about it.

    We also don't want to make these changes all at once. It would be jarring for you to log in one day and see a new set of rules for behavior on the forum, and suddenly be held by the mods to a different standard. Also, we recognize that Atlantis is coming to an end in just a few weeks. We want to respect the grieving process at losing the show, and give people a place to mourn, and even to yell and scream a bit.

    So this is going to be a gradual change. We'll have the rest of December for everyone to post their thoughts about the vision statement below and suggest changes, and during these final days of 2008 the mods will begin to encourage everyone to change the way we do things. When January arrives, the new policy will be officially "on." But even then, we're going to make the change gradually, start with Stargate Universe. More space, more grace and leniency, will be given to the other areas of the forum. We all need time to get used to the changes, and (I hope) commit ourselves to making the forum what we want it to be. After a few weeks the mods will start to close the few "Anti" threads that we still have for SG-1, and a few months from now for Atlantis, as well.

    I realize this is a lot to read. Members who feel that this is an online home for you should carefully read and reflect on it, and offer a comment if you feel you have something to contribute.

    In the next post, I offer the working draft of our "Vision Statement" for the community's future. The main statement is the paragraph at the top, and the rest provides some background history and explanation. It's not final. Since the community really belongs to all of us, I want to put it out early and let the "family" see it and talk about it. If you just have questions, the mods will do their best to field them.

    Thank you!
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    #2
    The GateWorld Community Vision Statement
    January 2009

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The GateWorld community exists as a place for fans all over the world to enhance their enjoyment of the Stargate franchise by sharing it with others. Our vision for this forum is that it will be a positive place for the enjoyment of Stargate and science fiction, a place to communicate and build friendships, and a home that is open to challenging discussions. While we affirm everyone's right to critique things they do not like, we request that such comments be made with tact and respect for others -- and that after you make it, you move on. Our forum may be large, but it is our home, and we want to spend our time talking about the things we enjoy about our favorite shows.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    WHO ARE WE? (A HISTORY OF GATEWORLD FORUM)
    In its earliest form, GateWorld Forum started in 2000. We quickly built a small, niche community that felt like a family. As GateWorld continued to grow the forum needed a new home with more tools, and so we moved to Delphi Forums. There our little family thrived for four years, and grew into a small town. Communities within that town began to form, as members found friends with common interests who they would never have gotten to know had they first met on the street -- friends from the other side of the country, the other side of the world, or even in a completely different age group.

    We were all brought together by our love for Stargate and its characters. There were storms to weather, for sure. But through it all, we were proud that our community was one of the safest, funnest, most respectful places on the Web for fans to gather.

    In 2004 we left Delphi for the new forum, hosted at GateWorld.net and powered by vBulletin. Along with the premiere of Stargate Atlantis that summer, this move opened the doors to thousands of new people. Our little town swelled to nearly 40,000 members in five years, and of course that gradually brought a change to the tone of the forum. We are now a city, where it is tougher to get to know people, easier for new members to feel lost in the crowd, and easier for long-time members to retreat to their safe threads with their friends.

    Since we "live" in a city now, there are also more thugs and bullies. There are more who don't feel they need to treat others with respect because they are shouting into a large crowd rather than chatting with a handful of friends. What was once a family, and then a bustling town, has become a full-blown metropolis, with all the joys and pitfalls that brings.


    WHO DO WE WANT TO BE? (OUR PHILOSOPHY)
    This history of our community has led to a point where, for many, GateWorld is no longer a fun place to play, no longer that safe and respectful home for Stargate fans. But our fundamental desire is to be that place, and so with a "big city" to manage, we need to set forth our vision for what we want GateWorld to be. It will be up to the moderators to enforce the rules -- but it's up to each and every member of the forum to own that vision and make it happen.

    In our long history we have sought to maintain a healthy balance between two, somewhat disparate values:
    (1) GateWorld should be a place that is fun to visit, to celebrate what we love about Stargate.

    (2) GateWorld should provide a platform for people to voice their opinions, so we should censor those voices absolutely as little as possible.

    For many years we have deliberately erred on the side of the second of these values -- the freedom of speech. And as SG-1 went through major changes, then was cancelled, as beloved characters were killed off or otherwise written out of Atlantis, there have been plenty of opportunities for hurt and angry fans to express themselves. Members of the Stargate production team do read these forums, and we are proud to have given these fans a place to be heard.

    The net result after these several years, however, is a prevailing negativity (suggested to replace negativity with hostility) on this site. Other GateWorld readers, fans on other sites, and even the show's cast and crew have expressed with increasing frequency that GateWorld has become too full of vitriol to be worth visiting any more. And so ironically, our ability to give those critics a voice has diminished -- along with our long-time members' joy at coming here. Something must change.

    And so our vision for the future of this community is to reform it, to recover something of the joy and friendliness that have been lost. While we are certainly not going to ban negative criticisms of the shows, we do ask that you state such comments in a respectful way, and then not dwell on them. It can be fun to diss stuff, and for that there are sites (like "Television Without Pity") where members are invited to diss to their heart's content. GateWorld is not one of those sites. Here, find those positive elements of Stargate that you like. Our mission, remember, is to give you a place "to enhance your enjoyment of the Stargate franchise by sharing it with others."

    If you aren't excited about what is going on in the world of Stargate right now, this is also a place to talk about other things! Head over to the Firefly or Sanctuary folders, or maybe reminisce with several members about Star Trek. Or shoot the breeze in Off-Topic. Maybe one day, when Stargate does something that you will enjoy, you can venture into those threads and talk about something you do like about the show.


    WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? (THE PRACTICAL)
    Our online community includes news comment threads, GateWorld Forum, and the GateWorld Podcast. While each of these provides a forum for you to share your ideas and opinions, your participation is at the discretion of the moderators. We will edit or delete posts and threads which we feel violates the spirit of our forum, and we will moderate members who persist in doing so.

    Freedom of speech is still one of our core values. But we are no longer willing to allow those who have nothing positive to say run roughshod over our home. You may express a criticism of the show if you can do it in a respectful and constructive way, and then let it go. Don't let your hatred of a character, a writer, or a storyline become the thing that defines you. Likewise, treat your fellow forum members with respect: Allow them to hold and to voice their opinions, too.[insert comment about hostile reponses, or hostile attitudes]

    If you can do that -- if you can find ways to share your enjoyment of Stargate with your fellow fans -- we would love to have you as part of our family.

    The last word: This is not something that I or the mods can "enforce" from the top-down. At the end of the day, YOU are the community and so it's up to all of us to set the tone, to make this the place we all want it to be. We may be a big city now, but we can still season our conversations with grace and love.
    Last edited by Skydiver; 19 December 2008, 05:16 PM.
    GateWorld Podcast - Info - iTunes - Google
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    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by AlbinoMonkeyC
      Question for you mods: You do realize that by banning the Anti threads, you violate just about every country between North America and Europe "Freedom Of Speech law"? Just wondering.
      Do you realize that they're banning "Pro" threads as well?

      Do you realize that you can still post criticisms?

      All the Mods are asking is that you do it in a respectful manner.
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        #4
        There was also a time when Anti threads didn't exist.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AlbinoMonkeyC
          Question for you mods: You do realize that by banning the Anti threads, you violate just about every country between North America and Europe "Freedom Of Speech law"? Just wondering.
          Firstly, the Gateworld site is private property and its management can disallow or allow anything that they wish. That's something that we all agreed to when we created our accounts.

          Secondly, I didn't read this as banning Anti threads as much as I read it as, "oppose something, state your opinion, but do it respectfully and don't harp on it ad nauseum."

          Comment


            #6
            I would have thought that "respectful and constructive" criticism was the only type ever allowed on Gateworld. Certainly when fans have gotten nasty stuff has been snipped and the guilty party/parties encouraged to stay on topic and to remember the rules about respecting others.

            I'm also interested in this "have your say and let it drop" policy. You make it sound very easy and maybe it will be, but I can't help remembering all the times someone has voiced a criticism only to have others rebuff them and/or demand that they explain themselves. And then rebuff/demand explanations of the explanations. And so on and so forth. Will those rebuttals be allowed as "having your say" or will they now count as the nattering on that you're trying to eliminate?

            I am also personally uncomfortable with the implication that the "overly negative" people on Gateworld are the only "thugs and bullies" in this community. There are bullies everywhere and just because some of them support the show doesn't mean that their behavior is acceptable. Not in my book, anyway. If you're going to crack down on the excessive negativity are you also going to crack down on those who belittle and goad any form of criticism, even when it's "respectful and constructive?"

            You say you've been receiving a lot of complaints about all the negativity and how it's driving people away, but I know of people who've left Gateworld because they were sick of dealing with the proponents of the show hammering away at any post that was perceived as less than wholly positive. I know that's one of the reasons I've curbed my involvement in the SG-relevant sections of the forum. Guess I'll be curbing myself even more in the future. Maybe it'll be my New Year's Resolution. Doing my part to make the world (or this part of it) a better place.

            Doctor Horrible would be so disgusted with me- helping to maintain the status quo?? I'd be out of the ELE for sure...

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by AlbinoMonkeyC
              Question for you mods: You do realize that by banning the Anti threads, you violate just about every country between North America and Europe "Freedom Of Speech law"? Just wondering.
              the way i read it gw not banning threads people just need to write out opinions in a more thought out manner. instead of just saying "this sucks" or 'the writers are jumping the shark" in every post gw is promoting more thought out opinions that encourage you to express your posts in a way that promotes discussion and not pure hate.
              https://twitter.com/#!/Solar_wind84

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                #8
                Originally posted by Pandora's_Box View Post
                Do you realize that they're banning "Pro" threads as well?

                Do you realize that you can still post criticisms?

                All the Mods are asking is that you do it in a respectful manner.

                There's going to be a lot of deleted posts/ threads around the place
                Go home aliens, go home!!!!

                Comment


                  #9
                  No, we don't.

                  You can still say 'i don't like the show'....it's just in HOW you say it. All too often, what we're seeing is little more than 'well, that sux' 'yeah, it sux' 'you're right, it's horrible'....there's no discussion, no open mindedness. Just one sided declarations.

                  That's what we're tired of. We're tired of petty insults and cruel comments. we're tired of some posters spending more time picking at 'the other side' than they do discussing the show.

                  The goal is....find something you like and revel in that enjoyment. Don't obsess over some element that you don't like, don't waste your time railing over things you can't change. Find something you like and immerse yourself in it.

                  And then i say, this is Darren's playground. He pays the bills, he makes the rules. You wanna play here, follow the rules. They're not hard and they're not onerous. They're actually quite simple.

                  But if following the basic rules of respect and tolerance isn't quite your cup of tea, you may wish to explore other places to spend your time.
                  Where in the World is George Hammond?


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                    #10
                    Please read the full Mission statement

                    It in no way says that any member is restricted from posting a negative opinion about anything. All we ask is that it be done *respectively and constructively* and then we ask that you move on into more discussion and not harp on it.

                    Many already do this daily in the Episode discussion threads, as an example, and many other areas of the forum. So there is no restriction on a negative opinion, only a thread dedicated to negativity. Something we no longer wish to promote here
                    Life is short, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And live out loud with no regrets..

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by ShadowMaat View Post
                      I am also personally uncomfortable with the implication that the "overly negative" people on Gateworld are the only "thugs and bullies" in this community. There are bullies everywhere and just because some of them support the show doesn't mean that their behavior is acceptable. Not in my book, anyway. If you're going to crack down on the excessive negativity are you also going to crack down on those who belittle and goad any form of criticism, even when it's "respectful and constructive?"
                      Tolerance and respect is something that'll need to be seen on ALL sides. If you love the show to a level of 10, you simply cannot rag on those that only love it to an 8. Accept the difference. Respect each other.

                      Along the same vein, if you love a character to a level of 10 and someone else says 'gee, i don't like him/her'...it's not a mortal insult to you. It's a difference of opinion. Accept it, get over it and move on.

                      FIgure out and accept that with over 37,000 members there is NOTHING you all will agree on. So don't take it personally, simply concentrate on enjoying what you enjoy, let others do the same and don't fuss over it.
                      Where in the World is George Hammond?


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                        #12
                        I'm with what ShadowMaat said. Proponents of the show (a select few in particular) seem to have more slack than those of us who used to enjoy SGA but no longer do or those of us with a "air of negativity" about us.

                        We're here to enjoy the show, but I think we should have a voice when something the producers do hamper our enjoyment.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by AlbinoMonkeyC
                          Question for you mods: You do realize that by banning the Anti threads, you violate just about every country between North America and Europe "Freedom Of Speech law"? Just wondering.
                          I would counter that this is NOT a democracy. An online community is not bound to "freedom of speech" legalities. Darren makes the rules here.
                          Fortunately he's a nice guy and everyone is allowed to express their opinion, but not when it fosters hatred and negativity and makes this an unpleasant place for the other 37,000 members...

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Reiko View Post
                            I'm with what ShadowMaat said. Proponents of the show (a select few in particular) seem to have more slack than those of us who used to enjoy SGA but no longer do or those of us with a "air of negativity" about us.

                            We're here to enjoy the show, but I think we should have a voice when something the producers do hamper our enjoyment.
                            Can I just say something and I really do mean no offense.

                            From what I gathered in this mission statement, Darren and the Mods are not looking to silence anyone. They're not saying, "You there with a criticism, post that negative thought and DIE!!!"

                            They've simply decided to do away with threads that serve no purpose other than to foster ill will and negativity. Those happen to be the majority of the Anti threads.

                            And from what I gather, if there are no more Anti threads then it stands to reason that there will be no more Pro threads either and that every thread, character ones included, will be general discussion threads where all viewpoints (positive and negative) will be welcome.

                            The only caveat seems to be that any and all comments need to be respectful and have a purpose beyond pointless ranting or obscene squeeing. Is that really so hard to do?
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                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jeffala
                              Firstly, the Gateworld site is private property and its management can disallow or allow anything that they wish. That's something that we all agreed to when we created our accounts.
                              Thanks, I figured someone would get to this before me...


                              Spoiler:
                              Originally posted by ShadowMaat
                              I am also personally uncomfortable with the implication that the "overly negative" people on Gateworld are the only "thugs and bullies" in this community. There are bullies everywhere and just because some of them support the show doesn't mean that their behavior is acceptable. Not in my book, anyway. If you're going to crack down on the excessive negativity are you also going to crack down on those who belittle and goad any form of criticism, even when it's "respectful and constructive?"

                              Shut up bully!

                              Originally posted by Darren
                              We hear more and more frequently that many people just don't like coming here any more because it is too negative -- or they retreat into their safe and comfortable threads and forsake the rest of the forum.
                              Hahaha! You're suggesting that there's more to the forum than the RP section! What a jo-...oh.
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