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Tom Neal

What IS an OT?

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A "Topic Title" should not be a dissertation. It should be BRIEF-only a few words that label the topic itself. Only limited space is available to do this.

"Topic Tags" can further define the scope of a Thread. An introductory paragraph should suffice to prevent OT posts.

Frequently OTs occur because we all tend to wander off the topic and this is exacerbated by successive posts. We jump in and comment to the posts appearing on the last page of the thread and innocently join the OT.

However, there are also intentional attempts to derail a thread. e.g. Someone who is dead set against the thread itself, but is unable to counter the specific method utilized to convey the thread starter's message. As examples of motivation for this type of attack: The premise of the thread is perfectly reasonable, and the evidence offered is unassailable. The attacker cannot comprehend the evidence presented within the thread. This could be because due to their unwavering conviction that the thread MUST be wrong, they deem it unnecessary to invest the time required to comprehend the thread. Or an even simpler explanation, due to their own limitations they do not possess the intelligence required for comprehension.

They then resort to an end run around the actual topic. At this point, if the thread starter points out why he personally deems this an OT, and politely requests that a new thread be started, shouldn't we abide by his request? Who knows better what the thread starter intended as limits for HIS thread?

Whoever has OT-ed retains the opportunity to make his point to anyone who is ACTUALLY interested in what he has to say! The thread starter gets to present his idea (which is why he posted in the first place!), which is precisely what attracted the thread readers. If you go to a thread due to its topic, you as a reader have the right to read it without the clutter, distractions, and almost certain labeling (think Donald Trump and his crude method of disparaging an opponent) and name-calling as a substitute for counter-evidence. Those who BLATANTLY refuse to start their own topic reveal that getting their point out there is insufficient. Their actual goal is no less than to HARASS the thread owner and all who are interested in what he has to say, until they stop posting. This to them is a victory.

If we want people to post here, and this site is in desperate need of new threads, why do we create an atmosphere that makes us reluctant to start threads, or to continue them after the never-ceasing attacks commence?

Obviously we must police these OT's without the help of the moderators who remain silent despite past interventions and warnings to those who OT.

If there's ANYONE 'out there' who agrees with this, could they please "Like" this thread?

Tom

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"The premise of the thread is perfectly reasonable, and the evidence offered is unassailable. The attacker cannot comprehend the evidence presented within the thread. This could be because due to their unwavering conviction that the thread MUST be wrong, they deem it unnecessary to invest the time required to comprehend the thread. Or an even simpler explanation, due to their own limitations they do not possess the intelligence required for comprehension."

Or perhaps, the evidence offered is assailable. That's why there are two sides. Some may not agree. We have an area called "JFK online seminars" where one can post his entire presentation. Also, the JFK Research area would be good for this.

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Tom said:

"The premise of the thread is perfectly reasonable, and the evidence offered is unassailable. The attacker cannot comprehend the evidence presented within the thread. This could be because due to their unwavering conviction that the thread MUST be wrong, they deem it unnecessary to invest the time required to comprehend the thread. Or an even simpler explanation, due to their own limitations they do not possess the intelligence required for comprehension."

Or perhaps, the evidence offered is assailable. That's why there are two sides. Some may not agree. We have an area called "JFK online seminars" where one can post his entire presentation. Also, the JFK Research area would be good for this.

You are right Kathy, that the evidence might be assailable. And therefore rebuttals are appropriate.

But I know of which forum topic Tom speaks. And from what I've seen, there is a member there who is disagreeing not with the evidence being presented or analysis thereof, but with the whole line of reasoning. That is to say, the member seems to disagree that the topic should exist at all. From what I've seen, this particular member is engaging in harassment and is serving only to disrupt the thread.

Now, I admit that I don't read that topic daily. I read it one day and coincidentally read it the day that the thread starter asked the disruptive member to start his own thread. I read only the exchanges at around that time. So I should be careful generalizing, and I admit that my limited exposure to the discussion there may have given me the wrong impression.

BUT....

At around that time the disruptive person began posting in a topic I was active in. It was apparent right away that he was against the existence of that thread as well. But he did post some reasonable objections. However, it didn't take long before he began insulting those he disagreed with in the other thread. Personal insults. Using words like "wackos."

Because of this, I'll bet that my snapshot assessment of the activity in the other (first) thread isn't far from reality. And so I am with Tom on this. The thread starter asked the disruptive guy to start his own thread, and he should have. IIRC, he wouldn't comply, noting that the topic title didn't specifically preclude what he was arguing. The thread starter (or maybe it was Tom) said that the thread starter should have the right to clarify what the topic is. Tom correctly notes that the title of the topic is short and one can't possibly spell out precisely what the bounds of the topic are. There is ample space for that in the initial post, but I think it is unreasonable to expect the topic starter to anticipate every direction the discussion might take.

So, again, I agree with Tom, that it is reasonable for the topic starter to clarify what the bounds of the topic are as necessary, and to ask others to start their own topics if they wish to pursue their off-topic discussions.

P.S. As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that I have seen many instances of a topic-owner asking people to remain on topic or take it elsewhere. And there have been no problems. So why has this become an issue now? It is because the disruptive member I spoke of apparently refused to take his off-topic discussion elsewhere. That's offense number one. And, from reading a number of Tom's recent posts, it appears that he has reported this problem to the moderators, but got no resolution. That is presumptive offense number two. (I say "presumptive" because I have no idea what is going on with the moderators. I'll have to go back and see if those posts with personal attacks have been removed or not.)

Edited by Sandy Larsen

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I don't think any of the Admin staff knew about it until I got a PM, and shared it with the others. A lot of times, we don't read the threads, and hollering at us in all caps, no less, in a thread we haven't even read, certainly doesn't help, now does it?. We took corrective action, and then we see this thread. So.......

The correct way to handle something like this is to get a hold of an Admin.

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I don't think any of the Admin staff knew about it until I got a PM, and shared it with the others. A lot of times, we don't read the threads, and hollering at us in all caps, no less, in a thread we haven't even read, certainly doesn't help, now does it?. We took corrective action, and then we see this thread. So.......

The correct way to handle something like this is to get a hold of an Admin.

Thanks Sandy.

Kathy,

You state that none of the mods were aware of this until "someone" PM'd - that was me was it not? As Sandy has said, this behavior had gone on unnoticed for a considerable length of time, so I brought up the word "moderator." The caps were not yelling at mods, it was an attempt to focus the two posters on the fact that they were breaking a rule - and "severely" according to Mr. Gordon. Although it was not my intent at the time, caps are used to attract attention - so what is wrong with using them to get a mod's attention that something important is going on? When the behavior continued and one of the "severe" OT-ers stated that ANY comments regarding the Z-film were not OT, I PM'd a mod. This is the approved procedure you state above. Since Mr. Gordon has not explained what I did that "irritated" the moderators and by locking the thread and deleting my request to respond to his post I had no idea what I had done wrong.

In my initial post I specifically *asked* if I had done anything wrong in my posts. You responded that you would look into it. I never heard a single word from you or Gordon in response. Apparently, Gordon feels anyone who in his opinion has misbehaved is unworthy of ANY response, but had he simply stated that "appropriate action" had been taken I wouldn't have posted the thread that was deleted - again without comment. In this case I still would not know what I did wrong because despite asking if I had done anything wrong, I received total silence. This repeated unwillingness to communicate is the *root* cause of this issue.

Additionally, had any mod explained that you believed I was yelling at you, I could have explained. But again, no communication resulted in more problems.

I had to ask 'why' on the forum. The response made no sense to me at all, and was unable to ask because the thread was locked, and Gordon does NOT respond to questions via PM. Communication is the path to understanding but when this path is closed misunderstanding is the result.

I then asked if asking to be allowed to respond was considered "further irritating" the mods. This post was deleted without comment. Perhaps Gordon took this as sarcasm - but again there's little room in the title to explain. I certainly couldn't put anything in the body of the post or Gordon would undoubtedly deem it "further irritation."

My post that was deleted - again without comment - was a REQUEST that members abide by a request from the thread starter to take their OT to a new thread. The starter knows what he intended as limits, and no one wants their thread hijacked. Gordon stated that I was redefining OTs. I vehemently disagree.

No one has stated that within this post my comment that "the mods have remained silent" irritated the mods. Because it has been repeatedly demonstrated that no one communicates with me, I can only assume. In response to my PM I received silence. Despite a "severe" OT, not a word was stated on the hijacked thread. This is the silence I referred to. I also wanted any readers to know that no Mod had explained anything to me, and that no ruling had been made CONTRARY to my request.

While we are on that subject, IMO I was clearly called a L*I*A*R by a poster on this thread. I called "moderator"; again to alert him to the fact that if a mod didn't respond I would take it to you, which I did. My intent was to provide an opportunity for him to respond that he was not calling me a L*I*A*R. He did not respond. Judging from the total silence I have received regarding this I don't know if in your opinion he lied or not. How am I and others to know what is outside accepted limits when this passed without comment?

As far as yelling on the forum, everyone has an opinion as Kathy states. Considering how much yelling takes place on this forum I doesn't "put me in a bad mood" anymore than underling, bolding, or adding multiple exclamation points. I'd like to point that no one commented on my caps within that post or in my public flogging by Gordon. How am I supposed to know that capping is so offensive to SOME? Not only does this occur on a daily basis, I have never heard anyone chastised for doing this, and there is no mention of rule discouraging or prohibiting this action.

Tom

PS When this post is deleted, no one has to tell me WHY...

Tom

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Tom,

An all-capped post is generally perceived -- in internet etiquette -- as shouting. Though clearly not everybody knows that. Not long ago Jim Hargrove wrote to me a long all-capped response. When I told him that his yelling wasn't appreciated, his response to me was that he was merely emphasizing every word in his post. I took him at his word and concluded that he was unaware of internet etiquette regarding all-caps.

I've never once seen an all-capped post made by you. What I have seen are posts with several capitalized words. This is NOT generally recognized as yelling, but rather as emphasizing the capped words. Back in the old days capitalizing was the only way of emphasizing a word. Later, someone came up with the idea of emphasizing a word by surrounding it with asterisks. But capitalizing individual words has always been acceptable. Capitalizing a whole sentence can be taken either as emphasizing or shouting, and so should be used cautiously.

Kathy,

If the PM you received from Tom wasn't truly all-capped, but contained several capitalized words, I can assure you that that is just the way Tom writes. He is sensitive to people taking his meaning the wrong way, and he tries to prevent that by capitalizing key words. At least that is my impression based upon reading numerous posts from Tom.

I believe that Tom has a valid point about COMMUNICATION. Some people, like me and Tom, want to hear back after we requested something. If we don't, we wonder if we are being ignored or not being taken seriously.

Another thing that Tom wants is CONSISTENCY. On a number of occasions we have seen Jim Gordon post warnings when members get out of line, particularly in cases of personal attacks. My understanding is that Tom pointed out the personal attacks that I also witnessed. But nothing happened. At least that is how Tom perceived it. Because there was no warning posted by Gordon or any of the other moderators, AND because there was no communication to Tom that anything was taking place.

Of course, it is the Admins prerogative as to whether or not they choose to be consistent, and whether or not they choose to communicate with members making complaints. But if they choose neither, they shouldn't be surprised if a member reacts the way Tom did.

My 2 cents.

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One other thing I wanted to mention....

In that locked topic where Jim Gordon responded to Tom, he made some some serious misstatements that I'm sure didn't help. He talked to Tom as though HE (Tom) was the person in the Z-film thread who was being disruptive and not contributing. Or a least that is the way it sounded. When I read it, it was like Jim was admonishing the disruptive, off-topic, person. But yet he directed these statement to Tom. Very, very strange.

I can see how Tom would get the impression that his complaints weren't being taken seriously.

It appears that thread is gone now.

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One other thing I wanted to mention....

In that locked topic where Jim Gordon responded to Tom, he made some some serious misstatements that I'm sure didn't help. He talked to Tom as though HE (Tom) was the person in the Z-film thread who was being disruptive and not contributing. Or a least that is the way it sounded. When I read it, it was like Jim was admonishing the disruptive, off-topic, person. But yet he directed these statement to Tom. Very, very strange.

I can see how Tom would get the impression that his complaints weren't being taken seriously.

It appears that thread is gone now.

THANK YOU, SANDY!!! This time I am shouting, and you have more than earned it.

When I have made a point several times and the person intentionally ignores it but continues to state that I "can't answer him" I do post a sentence in caps. I am shouting for the stated reason. Am I the only one who RAISES his voice in a face-to-face argument when the other person is using UNACCEPTABLE tactics? Where in any rules on any forum including this one, is SHOUTING prohibited. It is done regularly on this forum. I broke no rule, but you'd think *I* was on the GK...

Once again I will say that I was NOT shouting at the Mods. I was shouting at the guy who I believe called me a *L*I*A*R* and the guy who backed him up on it. IMO, this was more than justified.

If I had been shouting at the Mods in PUBLIC, posted a thread telling the members to ignore the current definition of an OT as the Mods tell me I did, then explain to me WHY I didn't yell at Mods who had still failed to respond, as far as I knew, when I PM'd a Mod? Was I afraid to do PRIVATELY what I am accused of doing PUBLICLY?

The mods are also CONVINCED that I unfairly criticized them when I stated that "...the mods were silent." Not a word was said to me, and no warning to stop the OT was posted. Does this not fit the definition of SILENCE from the mods?

I DID NOT WANT to get Mods involved because my Mod sole experience was with MR. JAMES GORDON [shouting] which I found exceptionally distasteful. I was suspended without allowing to comment, and he ignored my emails requesting to state my case. Guess what happened next. Gordon lifted my suspension because "several members" defended me (10 members emailed me stating that they had contacted Gordon) and 'now that he had read the posts' he realized that I shouldn't have been suspended. He then admonished me as though I were a child, and suggested that I stay out of these type or arguments. No admission of error on his part by suspending me without reading the post. No explanation why *I* was singled out. No other participant received a warning or any contact regarding this incident. The guy who started all the problems MAY have gotten a time out.

This is the SECOND time I've been treated like this.

Being treated like Lee Harvey Oswald (another voice in the wilderness) is kind of ironic on the JFK Assassination Forum...

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