Originally Posted by David Spiegel
I am curious though, who actually does own the buzz? What is the structure of management/ownership/moderators etc?
I acquired Mountain Buzz from Frenchy 6 years 11 months ago. For the most part the site has stayed the same. We get these heated debates every so often about moderation and "censorship" when someone pushes too far and we have to step in and do some house cleaning. They are almost always in the winter when people are sick of being indoors and anxious to get back on the water.
As I mentioned previously in this discussion, we do have some rules and they are very reasonable. PLEASE READ THEM, HERE IS THE LINK:
In the thread that started this all, I want everyone to know that we simply deleted about a dozen posts which were nasty insults (and responses to them) which were not inline with the type of respectful community we are trying to foster. AFAIK, no select editing took place.
As for claims of censorship, I think it's important for everyone to understand exactly what censorship is. No private citizen is capable of "censoring" anybody. A forum who rejects somebody's post is fully within their free-speech rights to manage their community however they like, including the rejection of submitted content.
Censorship happens when a person is denied the ability to self-publish. Posting to someone else's forum is not self-publishing, the same thing as submitting a letter to the editor of a newspaper is not self-publishing. If a newspaper declines to publish some letter to the editor, that isn't "censorship." It's the editor's right. The person who wrote that letter has the ability to publish it by other means, first and foremost by starting their own newspaper.
It's the same thing online. A person isn't "censored" online unless they are denied the ability to put up their *own* site, blog, forum, whatever... and no private citizen can stop another from doing that. Everybody in the U.S. has the right to freedom of speech, but that right doesn't go to the extent of forcing a website to carry on their servers everyone's opinions no matter how crass, rude or distasteful they are.
We intentionally have a very balanced team who provide perspectives inline with many of our members. This was done intentionally because we want to be able to bounce ideas off each other on how to handle these situations. If it was our intent to sterilize the Buzz then that would have been done a long time ago.
Look, nothing in life is perfect and getting a bunch of people with strong, and sometimes opposing, opinions to agree on how to manage an online community probably has the same chance of success as getting the fuckers in Washington to sing kumbaya and work together. I understand we have members who would like no rules but keep in mind the majority of our members don't even need to read our rules because they would never break them.
It's kind of like a bar. If you have a few patron who come in and start a scuffle, most places are going to ask you to take it outside. If you constantly get a client who comes in with the intent of starting fights and causing commotion which in turns creates an ambiance the other patrons don't like at some point you gotta tell that guy he's no longer welcome.
It's hard to manage a site like this and as I stated earlier we're not perfect. We do try to do our best but unfortunately that won't be good enough for everyone all the time.