QUOTE(TheWhiteBuffalo @ Jan 12 2008, 04:56 AM) [snapback]374468[/snapback]
The extreme moderating continues and had nothing to do with B-talk or Leon. That is where everyone went and I have always said that. I support FightHype but always wish that the boards were regulated by the users, or someone else. It always seems that the "webmasters" don't have time for the board and run it like a dictatorship just for fun. These forums are generally visited by adults, and adults will act like fools sometimes. You cannot have a message board and expect that everything will always be peaches and cream. Sure, no one wants to be harassed and we certainly don't want anyone to be profane, but this whole "I don't like you so you are banned" mentality sucks.
Some of the "jerks" that used to post on the boards were entertaining at the very least. Heck, I am sure that I am one of the jerks. But much like myself, I have seen guys get banned or suspended for absolutely nothing. Who wants to post in a message board when conflicting views will get you banned? Who wants to post in a message board with "cookie cutter" members who are are not allowed to be passionate, funny, or downright free to say just about anything? Moderation is great and is definitely needed, but let the boards be free. The whole point of a message board is to talk about boxing AND interact with other fans. Some of these fans may be off color, or downright idiots, but as long as they exhibit respect it should all be fair game.
Suck it and they will come.
A couple of points,
I believe in community input and reflecting on that community in a positive way. In the years and years that I have been here doing this, I seriously can count the number of people that I have needed to ban on one hand. Very, very rarely have I banned anyone. The exceptions are obvious trolls who spam the board by hurting the community. However, the trolling has been reduced to almost nothing. I don't think our rules/guidelines ask much of our users. What's important is showing respect, don't name-call, no racist or threating posts or porn. We keep these guidelines in accordance with our host server company, Invision. (Recommending keeping it PG/PG-13.) These elements were studied by us for months, (in many cases years) to create the best user-friendly experience. NO ONE, AND I REPEAT NO ONE JUST GETS BANNED FOR HAVING A DISSENTING OPINION. If that ever happened, I am not aware of this.
Anyone that knows me, Ben, our entire staff, and this great community knows that we don't ban people unless it is for obvious and overt reasons. People mentioned posters of the past in above threads. Guys like Lefthook, left completely on their own. They were not forced out by anyone. At the time, Lefty had some personal issues going on and just decided to leave the board. People complained to us about guys like Sukapunch, or Mike Ravens. Based on complaints from our users over extended time, study, and screening, of their posting behaviors, the community recommended that they go. The only real bad guy we had was Jermaine. He started cluttering the board with 800 threads and posts about Whitaker per day and engaged in some of the most overt, racist discriminating actions imaginable. He would send PM's to people threatening to hurt them or their families. This went on for 4 years, and we had to bring in outside security help because he would troll behind proxy servers like AOL, it was a nightmare.
But I have to respectfully disagree about the example that WhiteBuffallo believes that people are banned for having dissenting opinions. I really can't recall that being a problem and I am sure that we have asked staff in the past not to ban for dissenting opinions. In fact, we probably have the friendliest, most respected, most professional boxing forum on the Internet. It has survived all these years because of positive community input and moderation. We encourage diverse views on any topics. We encourage disagreement on topics and views. But we don't want our staffers and posters disrespected with name-calling, racist, threatening, or discriminating posts/thread. If the posters mentioned above did not leave on their own, they were required to be banned by us because of excessive issues with those four reasons after being repeatedly told to stop and ignoring our mods/admins warnings to do so. Other than trolls/spammers, no one gets banned "on the fly."
I think one of the reasons why there isn't a lot of action on the boards outside of the General Boxing Section is because there has not been a lot of mainstream interest in boxing except to its die-hard fans for several years. I believe that this is due to too many undeserved fights on PPV, the high cost of these fights, the lack of quality undercards, and the lack of a big money superstar who can draw interest and excitement to and for the general public. Boxing hasn't been mainstream to the General Public for years, and the way that it has been marketed exclusively to PPV and Premium cable leaves a lot of standard cable users and General Public interest out in the cold. Many of these professional athletes (especially boxers) are over-estimating their marquee value and demanding so much money, that in today's economic times, people can't afford to shell out $50-$60 for PPV to bank on one fight with a shitty undercard.
In contrast, we have seen an emergence of MMA as a very popular sport in recent years, with much stronger undercards and people who pack the arenas from first bout to last. (For boxing, everyone is at the Casino or the buffet before the main event.) It appears that we don't see the demands of outrageous purses from MMA combatants compared to boxers. MMA PPV's run at least $10 cheaper per card, and in general the MMA cards, based on users who follow them, seem to be better quality from top to bottom compared to boxing cards that bank everything on the main event, put so much into advertising the main event, that promoters refuse to budget for a strong undercard in most cases.
The point is fewer interest in boxing outside of mainstream regulars will draw less people to ANY FORUMS. It is the way that the fight game is structured, the political flaws in the system that it is only marketed to the rich and/or powerful who can afford to take chances on overpriced PPV's, mandating HBO/Showtime to have access to any decent boxing. This has nothing to do with how our staff regulates or moderates the forums and site. Get the next Louis, Ali, Leonard, Tyson, Hagler or Hearns out there to the general public, and any boxing forums will rise to the occasion. But you have to have those types of boxers in the game that people want to discuss.
For the non-boxing forums, less traffic is to be expected. But I think that is due to people being so busy with school, work, and family issues, that they don't have time to post, or sometimes there just isn't a lot of general conversation to talk about. Things always pick up, sometimes exponentially when interesting topics arise. But I think the focus should be on what can get the general public interested in boxing again. I think that if boxing had a marque fighter that could get the mainstream public interested again you would see even more users coming to the board. But the lack of interest has nothing to do with any of us over-banning or over-moderating our users. I see no evidence of that at all.