This nested quote pretty much covers both ends of the spectrum: reverence for free speech on one end (Greg's post), and silencing of accused "kooks" on the other end (OP's post). Since the reference to "kooks" was made with regard to the US Hawks Forum, let me open the discussion by describing our policy.OP wrote:Funny how Bob will ban any kook he doesn't agree with on his own forum.mrobin604 wrote:Greg Kendall wrote:I don't approve of most of what he says, but I will defend with 5 minutes of my spare time his right to say it.
First of all, the US Hawks has a main forum (which is overseen by myself and our currently advisory Board of Directors). The US Hawks also has a number of club forums (Torrey Hawks, Southwest Texas Hang Gliders, Rio Grande Soaring Association, South Central New York Hang Gliders, etc). The club forums are completely overseen by their own Boards of Directors, and the US Hawks honors and enforces whatever decisions are made by the leaders of those clubs. So, for example, we have some US Hawks members who are able to post in some sections of our forum, but are banned from particular club forums. While the US Hawks may work to intercede on behalf of banned members from club forums, the final decisions rest 100% with the clubs.
We also have a policy on personal attacks. We don't outlaw personal attacks, but we do not allow them to be made by people who are posting with anonymous or unverified user names. We have felt that criticism is important in our sport, but so is accountability for one's statements. The use of anonymous names decouples criticism from accountability, and that's why we don't allow it. People who make personal attacks, but are unwilling to be positively identified are limited to what we call the "Free Speech Zone" which is similar to the "Basement" in hanggliding.org.
All of this involves a fair amount of work on my part (as forum administrator) to create the proper subforum masks for the different people who might be banned from one club or another. In that regard, I am very sympathetic to Chip's job, and his recent implementation of the "Ignore" feature is a credit to his creativity in solving a similar problem. Fortunately, the US Hawks clubs and members have abided by our guidelines pretty well, and that's made the forum administration job much easier on me.
There's no doubt that free speech is an easier concept to say in a one-liner than to implement in real life. Free speech has been an ongoing struggle throughout the history of humanity, and that includes the present time. I do believe that the anonymity of electronic communication exposes a whole new dimension of that problem and it removes some of the feedback constraints that had worked prior to widespread anonymity.
I opened this topic as a hopefully non-confrontational and objective discussion of the topic any I welcome all constructive thoughts.