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Saturday, August 26, 2006

FREE SPEECH, BUT...

If you were a part of the "Banned From 2 Way" experiment, you know that we tried to run a room that, unlike many others, would play fair and not play favorites. The most important rules that I pushed for, and Mystic agreed with, were that people should feel free to criticize admin decisions, and that admins should not ego trip or retaliate against people they personally disagree with or dislike. As soon as admins start abusing their powers, it casts a pall over the room, and makes chatters fear that, if they are not docile or in the in-crowd, they will be punished.

Some owners and admins act as though any critcism of an admin has to be hushed, that to even breathe a word of rebellion must be silenced, crushed, buried. But what is there to fear if someone wants to know why a particular dot or bounce happened? It's a capital crime to be curious? Let someone ask, "Why dot him?" Then say, "He broke TOS, he went too long, he said XYZ, whatever..." Letting someone question a decision does not mean that decision will change. Plenty of times, I let people question one of my decisions for sometimes half an hour, person after person, on mic and in text, and guess what? Most of the time I didn't change my mind, but sometimes I did. And chatters felt like they had some measure of control in the room, that if they asked, someone would listen and answer. Is that such a crazy idea? I suspect sometimes, when an admin in one of these rooms cuts off debate, and comes down harshly on any hint of dissent, it is because they know that what they did was arbitrary and indefensible, and that they are using the power of their @ to silence any questioning of their actions, lest evidence of their bias come to light.

So what do we see going on in the top room right now but the very powertripping that drove people away the first time. Now, it's not my place or anyone's place to tell the room owner how to conduct his affairs, but just in the past day, I have personally seen admins dotting people they personally dislike, on the dubious excuse that they weren't "on topic." There WAS no particular topic at that moment, the chatter was dotted simply because that admin was annoyed. Is it really desirable that we be subject to the moods and whims of an admin, rather than be as free to speak as is possible?

This is about inconsistent application of the rules. In other rooms, some admins have taken the wording of the PalTalk Terms Of Service and interpreted them so broadly as to allow any insult, any harsh language or nasty comment, to be deemed a TOS violation and subject to sanction. And again, chatters see this behavior and recognize it for what it is: Ego tripping, selective application of the rules. The easiest thing to do when you are an admin is to allow your personal animosities to govern your behavior. When timing speakers on the mic, for example, how easy is it to allow people you approve of a few extra seconds of time, a slight indulgence perhaps? And, by all means, give ALL chatters leeway. I often started my timer program late, for everyone. But within the past day, I saw an admin in the top room dot a chatter she disliked, with virtually no warning at all. And people are not stupid. Especially in PT, chatters are acutely aware of admin bias. And I was not alone in thinking and saying, "This one, because she hates her. That dot, because she wanted her to leave." Be realistic here. You aren't fooling anyone when you try to slap a ridiculous excuse on top of a blatant injustice.

As a room owner, I can well understand feeling that your position allows you to make whatever decisions you choose. And it may well be amusing to see your lieutenants abuse people that you yourself dislike. All I can say is that if you think it's funny for your admins to dot and bounce at a whim, or for the slightest trespass, then at least be honest with yourself: You're not running a Free Speech room.

JC

5 comments:

Jamie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jamie said...

AMEN, CLAUS--VERY WELL PUT-THANK YOU :o)

Michelle said...

JC I agree with you. One thing that really does annoy me about the SI rooms in Paltalk is the fact that room owners are not careful choosing their admins. I have also witnessed room owners/admins purposely choose admins that they know are going to emotionally upset the room. This kind of psychological manipulation to get numbers (in the name of drama) is pathetic. I do not see the point in creating a social issues room so that you can promote social awareness, then choose people that have a reputation of ignorance and disruption of topics. There has been debate on your blog about the rooms you all have created, such as Banned. What I do not understand, knowing that people really do not like Virginia and certain others, they were allowed to be admins. (if my facts are right, if not please feel free to correct me). Even if you let them be an admin for a few hours or a day, right there you lost part of your base and trust people have put in you. It is like self destructive behavior. I know you say the room was an experiment in "free speech", but I think it was also an example of the kind of manipulation we see in politics today. This is dangerous because it does not give people a foundation of trust. If your leaders are untrustworthy and manipulative it will all crumble. If any rooms want to succeed I think the leaders need to quit playing the games of manipulation and dominance, concentrate on issues, and do not be afraid to get rid of an admin that is not effective (even if they are your pals). I could go on and on about my critique of Paltalk rooms, but the mistakes are endless.
Just my thoughts...

FRisson1 said...

Last time I was in 2 was Isabellah, Dusty and High were admins. The only problem was none of them were in the room and music was playing. WE all had to sit there helpless to stop it. Eventually an admin returned an stopped the music player. Then things went from bad to worse for the next hour TOS violations were thrown around unchecked unless you were a Liberal. Finally about half the room left to find more suitable rooms

Livid said...

Friss (or others in need of adult conversation).. If you run into situations when suitable options aren't available and I'm not around, PM gofigure or betty or patty or karl or someone with a hat in "liv" to open the room. BTW, these days you could open your own room(s) if you name it something inclusive that implies freedom of expression and I think people will come, so that's an option as well. It's not a case where you have to run it on a consistent basis. We're all seeing rooms that are set up on a temporary basis lately.

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