View Full Version here: : Posting topics in General Chat

07-11-2009, 07:27 AM
I agree there's been an increasing trend to use the General Chat forum for way off-topic posts. Sometimes they've been ok, other times they do nothing but bring negativity and ill-feeling towards someone or something.

I've been letting a lot of them slide to see what happens but they're starting to get out of hand now - in number and in content. It's also usually only a small number of people contributing in those topics - but they are posting a lot because they have strong opinions on it.

This is an astronomy forum.

"General Chat" is not an "anything goes" forum. It's for general chat that doesn't belong in the other IIS Astronomy sub-forums, but it does not mean every type of topic is welcome.

Of course there is some leeway and we often talk about lots of non-astronomy type things in general chat. And in most cases, that's fine. It helps us to get to know each other better.

But if you want to discuss politics, religion and other general topics that only lead to arguments and negativity, then I'd prefer they were NOT posted on IceInSpace, as there are many other forums out there on the internet where these types of discussions can take place.

If you want to discuss politics, go here: http://www.politicsforum.org/
If you want to post lots of jokes, go here: http://www.jokesforum.com/
If you want to discuss religion, go here: http://www.religionforums.org/
If you want to discuss global warming again and again, go here: http://www.theenvironmentsite.org/forum/global-warming-forum/

It does not mean I'm going to start locking all off-topic threads, but I would definitely like to see them slowing down - especially the pointless ones, or the political or religions ones.

I'd prefer to see people self-moderate and stop posting them because they know it's the wishes of me, and of the majority of the community. If that doesn't happen, then I will have to start locking them.

07-11-2009, 08:47 AM
No problems Mike.:thumbsup:

07-11-2009, 09:28 AM
lets hope the members out there read this post Mike

07-11-2009, 09:53 AM
Well said

07-11-2009, 10:00 AM
What I don't get is how people can label others "dum aussie rednecks" assuming that these have different vues than their own? And this is still going? C'mon? Double standard moderation. :lol:

07-11-2009, 10:29 AM
Well said Mike

07-11-2009, 10:31 AM
Well said Mike.



07-11-2009, 10:57 AM
I will be good :D I promise :P

07-11-2009, 11:11 AM
:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thum bsup:

Terry B
07-11-2009, 11:11 AM
I agree. I think light hearted off topic stuff is OK but there does seem to be lots threads getting very strongly opinionated responses. This is not really appropriate on this site.

07-11-2009, 12:29 PM
Well said Mike.

Also some people think it is okay to bypass the profanity filter, it is not okay to bypass it. Yes, I have edited one post in this thread.

Could we also please request you all familiarise your selves with TOS. (http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=7856)

Thanks for your co-operation.

07-11-2009, 12:42 PM
About time. :)


07-11-2009, 12:51 PM
I personally like Whirlpool forums (http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/) In-The-News section for my argumentative needs.

07-11-2009, 01:17 PM
and theres always talkback radio! ;)

one of the attractions for me still of IIS is the little slices of australiana, the vibe as they say, spending more time on international/US music forums, and generally less time on forums full stop, this is my only aussie content, i used to visit news.com.au a lot more for their readers comments on subjects like moot/OT one's here - which a lot of seem just cut and pasted from btw, but the dominant yell-over-the-top conservative voices broken record style and pithy play on words/names make me want to scream frankly, shame to see it here

07-11-2009, 01:23 PM
Come on if the threads that this new rule was created for is not relevant then I really have to question the reasoning behind a big thread on climate change and a stupid thread on AB machines can possibly be deemed more relevant.
Get real.

07-11-2009, 02:12 PM
If i'm not mistaken, the poll on Global warning is now unlocked. I could have sworn it was locked earlier.
I understand from the above rules for general chat. Global Warming was a no no.
Looks like rules for one and not the other.

07-11-2009, 02:19 PM
I'd venture to suggest that more leeway is given to some than to others. IMO, when the OP of the recently closed "Boat People" thread referred to those who think differently to him as "dumb Aussies", the thread should have been closed immediately on at least two counts. A politically charged and verbally offensive statement like that is deplorable, - yet not a mod raised a voice against it. How can this be? Hmmm ....:shrug:

07-11-2009, 02:21 PM
I made the exact same point Paul and that was rectified swiftly but I totally agree about the "leeway". I've seen posters being shut down for much less offensive comments.

07-11-2009, 02:24 PM
Thanks Marc,

or would merci beaucoup be more to your liking. I'm glad it's not just my impression of things :thumbsup:

07-11-2009, 02:51 PM
I'm interested that David singled out the Poll thread re global warming for a special warning this morning. Right from the start people were asked not to offer an opinion about the issue but just vote (anonymously) and as far as threads go it is one of the most well behaved. Not a cross word since its inception a few days ago.

As I understand it the official line is that although “General Chat” is not really meant for non-astronomy subjects, some leeway will be given. Even if its not the intention what happens of course with a policy as arbitrary as “some leeway will be given” is that eventually it is always selectively applied to mean in effect “the subjects that we don’t mind or that are posted by people we don’t mind are ok and the ones that we do mind etc are not OK. And so such non astronomy related threads as “Derivatives – Say What”, did not get a special warning this morning, “CSIRO Gagging Climate Debate”, that was OK, “Telstra Shutting Down Free Website”, OK, “Heads UP Movie Amelia Hits Nov 12”, that was OK too. But a thread that asked people to vote anonymously but not offer an opinion and was extremely well behaved it seems went beyond the pale.

I wonder if the Mods have really sat down and asked themselves would it really be such a bad thing to let people discuss what they want. We are adults and we’re not just one dimensional beings. That discussion on refugees last night. Anyone who saw the title would have known what to expect when they went in. I’m sorry to have to say this but the Mods aren’t our fathers and mothers. Also, personally I think that thread did great credit to this forum. You talk about getting to know each other. Well I felt last night that I learn a lot about the people who come on this forum and they’re a bloody nice bunch of people. Sure there was disagreement and at times things were said that should not have been said but they eventually sorted it out (because were adults) and most importantly, with the smallest exception, everyone it seemed to me showed a genuine great deal of compassion for the plight of the refugees and ultimately would not have denied them a home (although they may have gone about it differently). Shutting down that site this morning was, IMO, ill advised, heavy handed, unnecessary and not done in a very nice, respectful way (yes we can read, we’re not children).

I know we owe a lot to Mike and the Mods for IIS and maybe we can never repay them. But IIS is not just Mike and the Mods. Its us too. Just as Mike and the Mods make IIS possible so do we and maybe what we want should be considered too. You know there are many ways of dealing with this from just letting it go as it has been going (which I personally don’t think is such a bad thing) to appointing a committee of volunteers (and thus taking the pressure off the mods) who would oversee specific sites for decorum etc and subject matter.

If we put our heads together we could come up with an accommodation I’m sure

Regards and the warmest wishes to you all


07-11-2009, 02:53 PM
You guys are just lucky that this is a mostly male site you should see the girley ones go at it :rofl::rofl:

07-11-2009, 03:18 PM

I'd imagine it was my post in this thread that you're referring to that was edited. In my post I quoted, verbatim, what was posted by a longer serving and probably more valued, certainly stronger (clue?) member.

I'd be interested to hear why you didn't edit it in it's original post by said person. My earlier comment stands about selective moderation. But hey, I can live with that. However, it is one of the reasons I don't post all that often.

Just my 2c :thumbsup:

07-11-2009, 04:23 PM
I'd just like to apologise for my sunburnt upper back description in a recent post on a thread created by me :question:.... perhaps it was a bit strong and I will retract it.

Yes it is a topic I have strong views on...plus I guess I work in an environment where there are many people who form opinions based on, well, not much really and as a result really have no idea of the real problems and/or their causes (not that I know it all either of course).

I wasn't necessarily refering to anyone on this forum as requiring suntan lotion for their necks, I was just exagerating for clarity I guess :shrug:

Again sorry if I offended :confused2: ...am'e luv yu's all :P


07-11-2009, 05:10 PM
I do not find the sometimes (seemingly) varied responses from Mods that surprising in a free to air Forum managed and operated by unsalaried people. Things are rarely B&W, except for mono CCD chips!;)

The man of strength in question, (Mike Sid) is a well respected astro photographer who over the years has contributed much to amateur astronomy in Australia and to this Forum, in a (mostly) likeable manner. Okay, so he might have had a brain snap and blew up for just one post – this is not his usual behaviour so maybe the mods just let it go to avoid the inevitable (groan!) criticism of “too much interference” being leveled at them. Or they didn’t see it? Or no one used the “Report Post” Button? Or no-one was on watch? Or all of the above? Who knows - my guesses entirely.:shrug:

It also might be the case that other posters who may have had their posts locked just do not have an equivalent history of posting and contribution that Mike Sid has, and so the mods might not know if their behaviour is a one off brain explosion or maybe a posting trend? Again, my guess entirely.:shrug:

I suspect that assessing posts culled from the numerous daily post count and trying to weigh up… “is it on topic?”…and if not…”will it go off the rails?” etc… is not an easy or pleasant task, given that they also have full time jobs, families and let’s also not forget, a hobby to get out and enjoy in their spare time.:)

Give the mods a break - this is a fun hobby; the Forum is a free place to meet. It is financed, serviced and supported by Mike and his volunteer team for the amateur astronomy community, for us to share our interest and love for (mainly) astronomy. Let them make their (few) mistakes just as others let us make our mistakes – don’t be in such a hurry to judge or demand justice. No-one is breaking your front door down with an axe trying to steal your telescope!:P

I have problems looking after my own PC, performing backups and installing patches – imagine the work that goes on behind the scenes in managing just those mechanical aspects of this Forum, let alone the personal interactions.:D

Astronomy is fun; the stuff we do is out-of-this-world and inspirational. If you really want to discuss the other stuff that we all know invariably gets locked, just go and join another Forum that provides for that outlet and have your say and fun there, amongst like minded people, but remain here on IIS for the astronomy stuff and general chat stuff that isn’t as controversial.:thumbsup:



07-11-2009, 05:23 PM
...again, sorry for that :ashamed:


07-11-2009, 05:34 PM
I pretty much have to agree with you, Dennis.

At the end of the day the mods have to make judgement calls, very often quickly, about where their instincts tell them a certain thread is going to head.

If sometimes a thread is closed too quickly, well, that's erring on the side of caution. I'm sure Mike or any of the mod crew, if you had a chance to chat with them about a particular thread, might agree that perhaps they could have let this or that thread go a few extra posts, but what for? Yes, it might stay on track and self-moderate...and eventually reach some kind of rational conclusion. But it might also blow up big time. And they are called on to make the decision, in the face of what a blow up might look like...and this site has worked long and hard to appear moderate, and 'family friendly'. So, why risk blowing it for the sake of a circular political or religious stoush which most likely will not resolve anything?

They (the mods) have to make a decision at some point whether to nip something in the bud before it gets silly, and be able to walk away and take care of their own business with family and work as they are entitled to, or sit there....hovering over their laptops....for hours....waiting until someone offends (or not) and then to make a decision, or not!

And let's be honest...this is a very heated issue,based in the socio/political sphere, which is likely to draw some very strong opinion. As others have said, you can express that as forcefully as you like at a myriad of other sites. Not doing so here does not diminish in any way the strength and quality of discussion which takes place on so many other issues across so many broad boundaries.

At the end of the day, it never ceases to amaze and amuse that some members here at IIS have an expectation that the mods should never make mistakes, simply by virtue of their position. These people are human.....they do their best:)

07-11-2009, 06:52 PM
The above couple of posts seem to be of the opinion that this was some sortof knee jerk descision on behalf of the moderators. I doubt that to be the fact considering Mikes post at 7:30 this morning and then the on going edits. The fact that a new set of rules has been created is of course Mikes perogative but should there be an implementation of the said rules then carry it equally across the board.
The rule states quite clearly topics on climate change should be taken up on a listed forum, The thread regarding the politics and belief in climate change still seems to be active.
Mike Sidonio was not out of line in my opinion with any of the comments he made and I doubt he actually called anyone a red neck. He used the description as a graphic generalisation, something that happens regularly on this and every other forum on the net.

It does seem a pitty, with a resource like IIS that w have to take a topic to another forum when we have an Australian site here and cannot bring up items of importance happening in Australia, in a general chat forum.
This section in red is from the TOS and allows such posts and threads in the General chat Forum.

3. Posting Topics

Avoid topics about race, politics or religion. These can be very sensitive topics and it can be very easy to take things the wrong way, creating arguments.
Please keep threads on-topic and avoid spam or "chit-chat" within the specialised forums. The "General Chat" forum should be used for all off-topic posts that don't belong in the specialised forums. Off-topic means posts about stuff that isn't related to astronomy.
"Spam" is a post with no useful content, no purpose except to get other people to reply with spam, and to increase your post count. Spam is not welcome anywhere on the forum.
When creating a new thread, please ensure the thread title is descriptive of the content of the post.

Some topics will always become heated on all forums, this is the reason Mike chooses to moderate the forum and not leave himself open to legal intervention.

This thread has been going for quite some time without any explanation from Mike or the moderators concerned. Their absence is very visible and I am surprised this has not been locked.
Respect is something earned not given and as such some explanation as to why the new rules have been applied to one and not to another thread which quite obviously is in breach of the rules would help to earn that respect.

07-11-2009, 07:26 PM
I certainly wasn't implying there was any sort of knee-jerk reaction, Doug, if you're refering to my post? It certainly wasn't my intent...and I think I went to some lengths to make it clear I believe their decisions are quite considered...if not always correct, in my humble opinion. But that's the nature of the beast, as I've also already said.

And as far as respect goes...I think that's been earnt over a long time of largely even-handed moderation. Not just from Mike, but the larger team, current and prior.

I don't expect the mods to pop up on the forum and explain/justify every action they take, even if those decisions seem perplexing at times. I'm not nearly so self-involved to demand an explanation for the actions they've been appointed to take/make:) Although, I have on occasion sought a clarification, if only for my own enlightenment.

I just let it roll off me, and accept it as the umpire's decision whether I like it or not.

Cheers ...and clear skies, which is really what we're here for:thumbsup:

07-11-2009, 07:28 PM
Hi Doug

If you are referring to my previous post, and as we’re not chatting face to face, having to use just the written word can lead to misunderstanding. So just for the record, no where did I use the term knee jerk reaction, nor was that meaning intended.:)

I’m not sure why you read that into my words, granted you used the term “seeming”, but I was not suggesting that was the modus operandi of the mods.:)

In terms of their absence, perhaps they are attending to the long list of weekend chores that face most working families?:shrug:



PS – Also, in my interpretation of Matt’s post, I did not consider that he was also implying a knee jerk response from the mods.:shrug:

07-11-2009, 07:30 PM
I reckon all the mods are out setting up their scopes.

07-11-2009, 07:39 PM
LOL :rofl::rofl::rofl:
Wish the clouds here would go away so we al could too

07-11-2009, 07:42 PM
Cause when you get right down to it, astronomy is what this forum is all about.

07-11-2009, 08:00 PM
Schturm und Drang, Ja Ja :eyepop:

07-11-2009, 08:03 PM
Well said :thumbsup:


07-11-2009, 08:05 PM
If this is not knee jerk then what constitutes a reaction without knowing the facts.

The fact is the rules were changed without being implemented across the site. A reaction to one thread while leaving the gate open to stop others. No wonder I don't usually post in General Chat. It is often full of pure dribble (Check out the AB Machines post) Comedy maybe but I doubt that was the intention.
Anyway I have had my rant, Falls on deaf ears anyway.

Lismore Bloke
07-11-2009, 08:19 PM
I could not agree more. I for one would not like to see this great community spoiled by heated reactions and negativity.

We cannot say "just what we like". The internet is a part of the mass media, just as the print media, radio and TV, and the owners and moderators have a perfect right to step in when they think fit.

07-11-2009, 08:34 PM
Read the words 'very often quickly'...Doug.

And 'if sometimes a thread is closed too quickly....'.

They are qualified statements, Doug. And look at the rest of the post in which I qualify almost everything I say. It's not black and white, and I don't appreciate my comments being taken out of context. That's what causes arguments.

Don't misrepresent me. That's percisely why mods shut down some threads sooner than others. They make a judgement call on individuals and personalities, as well as the direction a thread is likely to take.

Anyway...I'm wasting my time too:P;)

07-11-2009, 08:51 PM
Bah, so much drama.

Well, not only, its a social gathering too. I love a few sparks on occassion, in fact I look forward to it :D.

Mike locks when appropriate, leave it the way it is :thumbsup:.

07-11-2009, 10:43 PM
That's about the size of it, Fred:thumbsup:

07-11-2009, 10:47 PM
So...what part of that don't you understand, Doug?

I would have thought a discussion about boat people and our immigration policy falls irrefutably under the 'political' banner? Afterall, policy is set by governments. Governments are political by nature.

It seems obvious to me:shrug:

Anyway. It's not worth any of us getting too seriously bent out of shape over. Do we really have so few other outlets for discussion that we need to bring these sorts of debates to an astro forum?

08-11-2009, 07:23 AM
Doug, for someone who admits it doesn't affect you, because you don't usually post in General Chat, it's strange that you're the most vocal about it.

You keep saying "rules were changed" and "new rule".

Read my post again. It's very clear. There is no new rule. There are no rule changes.

It was simply a request for people to stop posting so many off-topic threads that push the boundaries of the TOS, as has been happening over the past few weeks.

Nothing more, nothing less.

08-11-2009, 11:00 AM

It wasn't your post that I edited but yes, I can see that it had been.

As for selective moderation, that is utter tripe. We are human and do make mistakes just like you do. Sometimes it would be nice if the few of you who like to criticize gave us a bit of slack.

I'll re emphasise we do not make, "Fish of one and fowl of another"!

08-11-2009, 12:33 PM
I think the moderators do a great job around here. You don't know they are around 99% of the time. It is only when these inflamatory threads are locked and usually after a warning is given that you know they are here at all. If a thread is getting people hot under the collar it should be locked if a resolution is not found quickly. Around here that equates to anything involving politics, religion, racism and it seems global warming.


08-11-2009, 02:22 PM
Well from what I’ve seen in the last 6 months and earlier when I was a member in 2006, it was never the case that “general chat” was limited to astronomy related matters. Indeed out of the top 30 topics on today’s list, this is 19 (two thirds) of them.

Dangers in doing the right thing
I sure miss Australia...
Happy Bithday Quark
Just a Poll but no Posts on Global Warming
My new offroader
Who wants to know what there last name means?
Collecting Fossils
Hi all
Derivatives- say what?
AB gadgets ....
CSIRO Gagging Climate Debate
Bird (Australian edition)
ABC1 Sunday 8th Nov 7:30pm – Darwin’s Brave New World
ffloods again
Should we allow the greedy to rule the earth
Boat Refugees
Heads up: Movie "Amelia" hits Nov 12th
What is the best and worst employment you ever had
Spontaneously Combusting Elephants

In theory General Chat may be exclusively about astronomy related stuff but that’s not what it is in practice (as the above list demonstrates) and it never will be. Sure maybe in the next few days the “non-astronomy” related stuff will fall off a bit but soon it will revert back. Because at the end of the day its like Fred (Bassnut) said. This forum isn’t just about astronomy, its a social gathering as well and people like to talk about what they want at social gatherings and not just look on with obedient admiration at what the clique wants to talk about. And if you think that’s an exaggeration, what’s really irksome about the above list is that two of the topics were started by a favoured member of the forum who at the same time angrily complained that someone else’s thread was not astronomy related.

08-11-2009, 03:02 PM
Its not the range of topics its the ones that are going to bring out strong feelings that are bound to morph into heated debate that causes arguments and bad feeling. I just looked through the TOS and it says:

Posting Topics

Avoid topics about race, politics or religion. These can be very sensitive topics and it can be very easy to take things the wrong way, creating arguments.
Please keep threads on-topic and avoid spam or "chit-chat" within the specialised forums. The "General Chat" forum should be used for all off-topic posts that don't belong in the specialised forums. Off-topic means posts about stuff that isn't related to astronomy.
"Spam" is a post with no useful content, no purpose except to get other people to reply with spam, and to increase your post count. Spam is not welcome anywhere on the forum.
When creating a new thread, please ensure the thread title is descriptive of the content of the post.

08-11-2009, 03:09 PM
Well jeepers, one point stands out there - "avoid spam or chit chat".

I have noticed that very many posts on this forum would probably count as spam or chit chat.

OK that's it - you're all banned :P:thumbsup:

In fact, I'd be so bold as to suggest that one or two quite popular people pretty much only ever post spam or chit chat. Yet I can't recall seeing any warnings telling them to take it more seriously and improve their content.

It doesn't bother me at all I must say, and I welcome all posts, but all I'm pointing out is that if we have to follow rules, they should be uniformly applied to all who post here. And John (Xstream) the point I made in my last post in this thread is not tripe. A mistake or 'bad day' is where you miss something once. Selective moderation is where you don't 'see' it every time it happens over a period spanning months, as the point made here should have demonstrated ! :thumbsup:

Buy hey, none of this is a biggie to me, I just think I'm right on this point.


08-11-2009, 03:18 PM
Wow! Then we'd really be living in Stalinist Russia:rofl:


08-11-2009, 03:19 PM
avoid spam or chit chat within the specialised forums

08-11-2009, 04:10 PM
Some interesting tactics being employed here it seems! A bloke builds a nice house and invites some friends to a party and later issues a general invite for like minded others to come and have fun too. He built and furnished the house from his own pocket.:)

After the party has been going for a while, a minority turns up, for free, and wants to redecorate the house (not their house) and at the same time demand what music should be played at the party (not their music system) and then heckles the DJ.:eyepop:

The house builder and owner clearly expresses what will go on in his house, what décor he likes and what music he and his friends prefer to listen too!;)

I admire the patience and humor of the house owner – if it were my house, by now, I’d probably be escorting a few people to the door, suggesting they start their own party, elsewhere!:lol:



08-11-2009, 04:18 PM
Nice analogy, Dennis. And very true.

And it's interesting to see those that get escorted to the door return time and time again... :D. You gotta laugh.

Ah well...such is life.

08-11-2009, 04:39 PM
It is amazing how two of the loudest voices on this thread had nothing to do with the original thread in question. You have to question if they are just here to stir the Pie.

Keep escorting the minority and very soon it becomes the majority and you don't have a party anymore.

Some balance and equality required.

08-11-2009, 04:42 PM
I can only speak for myself, but I chose nothing to do with it for the very obvious reasons which have unfolded since.

And no, I'm not here to stir the pot.....Mr Kettle Black:lol:

By the way, what minority/majority? You gotta rid yourself of this persecution complex, Dougie. It's killing ya!!!!!


08-11-2009, 05:14 PM
A pitty you didn't do the same with this thread and mind your own business.
Myself and others see your comments as inflamatory and an attempt to keep it going.

I'm finished wasting my time with you anyway.

08-11-2009, 05:16 PM
How is this thread any more your 'business' than anyone else's...including mine? Who are you to tell me or anyone else which threads we can or can't post in?

Mate....as for what you and 'others' think about my comments? Speak only for yourself. The arrogance is blinding, otherwise, and it looks a little sad if you need to refer to 'others' to bolster your own argument. I'm man enough to keep what 'others' say about you to me to myself.

See ya....:hi:Myself 'and others' would like to wish you well in having nothing more to do with me.:lol: :rofl:

08-11-2009, 05:40 PM
tick tick tick... BOOM!
It had to happen eventually.

08-11-2009, 06:39 PM

In your signature you have the words, in red, “Feel free to comment” and I took you at your written word.:)

But, as you have correctly written, the specifics of your grievance have little to do with me, so thank you for pointing this out – I do appreciate these mid course corrections.:)

Whilst I am a member of this community and post accordingly, I have nothing to do with the management and running of the Forum. Equally well, I have little to do with what seems to have aggrieved you and if my posts have trivialized what is concerning you and others, then please accept my apologies.:(

Mike and mods – please also accept my apologies for contributing to a thread that has little to do with me other than exercising my perceived sense of responsibility for wanting to keep our sand pit a happy place to visit and play in.:)

I hope that everyone manages to sort everything out and can start the new week ahead a little fresher and more inspired.:thumbsup:



08-11-2009, 06:45 PM
All this over a simple request to post less controversial topics in General Chat?

Seems that more is being made of this than there needs to be. Honestly guys, there are bigger issues to worry about.

The majority of our members simply don't care about the opinions of the vocal minority on either side of the fence.

They're just here to enjoy the community, and enjoy talking about Astronomy.

There's been no change of rules, no introduction of new rules, no change in the TOS or what can or can't be talked about. It was a simple request, really nothing can be read into it.