Starting to slide....?
Alrighty then, the heavy handed management is already starting to take its toll. Its only been a few days, and good threads are getting shutdown before they even have a chance. More than half the reason so many of us boaters come on this site regularly is to read the crazy non-boating related posts that crack us up. Get rid of them, and you might just get rid of the community.
I've been boating for 7 years now and check in on the buzz nearly every day in the summer and probably 1-2 times a week in the winter. And the main reason for it is to socialize with other boaters, whether the conversation is about boating or politics or the chunderposse beating down on the Vail crowd (Vail sucks), and then read the heated replies. Kayakers are a unique breed of people as they are either out boating, thinking about boating, or at work or with the girlfriend or skiing in wintertime and still thinking about boating. Paddling is a team sport, and what's emerged from it is a very tight knit community that takes care of its own. There's rally crews based out of every locale in Colorado, and this site is probably the main interaction between them. Kayakers, regardless of political persuasion, are generally very independent minded people and as such we prefer to self-regulate. People push the boundaries both on the river and in the social arena and when they go too far, "karma" beats them down, both on forum like wholesurfer the other day, or I get my butt kicked in rigor mortis. This tends to keep things from getting too far out of line on the forum and on the water. There's only been one occasion that I can think of where Frenchy had to step in to keep things civil on the buzz (although it was the Texas vs. Colorado thing, incidentally). We really don't need censorship except the occasional time that some non-kayaking scumbag tries to post porn on the site.
However, I fear that if the fun leaves this forum, the community will leave with it. If it becomes strictly boating only, a lot of interest is going to get lost, or move elsewhere. Half of paddling is about bullshitting about how manly you are for running some heinous gnar, and then getting ragged on by your buddies when the shit hits the fan. The buzz is the excellent source of river information it is because it is fun and thus so well traveled by such a diverse community that includes both sick bird experts as well as newbies. I boat mostly IV+ and generally don't get very much out of giving out beta on class II runs to beginners on this forum, other than maybe some good karma. It's because the Buzz is fun that I visit, and while I'm visiting, I figure I might as well throw my 2 cents in on any post that catches my attention, even simple requests for information. I'm sure its the same way with class V+ boaters that reply to my questions about runs. If the forum isn't as fun because the entertaining posts get shutdown, then I probably won't visit as often, and others like me probably won't either. The quality of the posts will fade as a result, even the newbie posts. My guess is the community would move elsewhere.
A similar thing seems to have happened to Boof.com, a forum out in California. It used to be a happening place when it was still wide open to anyone. Although the anonymous postings did get to be excessive from time to time, when they got rid of the most entertaining posts, the readership dropped off. There are still a number of people there, but its nowhere near as much fun and the circulation of their posts is much smaller. I hardly ever visit it as a result.
Andy R - please don't take anything about this in a personal way. I realize you have your own concerns as a moderator, and you seem very interested in being involved. But it's best not to have a heavy handed presence in a forum like this. People get frustrated trying to socialize if they feel like they are being watched or censored. It's just the way this community tends to work. I should really be writing a report right now, rather than screwing around on the buzz, but I come in when I'm bored and want something interesting to read.