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Forum behavior and penalties

Discussion in 'SAOCA Members and Discussion Forum' started by Alpine 1789, Oct 7, 2019.

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  1. Alpine 1789

    Alpine 1789 SAOCA President Platinum Level Sponsor

    For the past 20 years, accessing the SAOCA forum has been one of the highlights of my day. I checked it multiple times a day and always looked forward to hearing from other members and learning more about my car. The diversity of the members and the depth of member knowledge is an incredible asset and I have made many life-long friends with people I would never have met without the Club.

    Lately, though, I have found myself checking the forum less and less and rather than looking forward to it, I am dreading it. That is not healthy for any Sunbeam owner, let alone the Club’s President! The source of my dread is the online behavior of some of our members. We have a few members who, in direct violation of our bylaws, seem determined to use the forum to express their political views and/or attempt to show their expertise by demeaning the knowledge – or motivations – of others. And, unfortunately, some of us seem unable to resist taking the bait and responding in kind, resulting in tit for tat exchanges that do nothing to further the mission of the SAOCA.

    Least anyone here forget, here is the relevant section of our bylaws, with a few key phrases highlighted:

    Profanity/swearing is not allowed, and under no circumstances will any profanity be allowed on the forum.
    Messages personally attacking, calling names, or otherwise harassing, being condescending or sarcastically responding to another forum member.
    Sexually explicit messages or images.
    Messages attacking another person’s religion and political views.

    Our forum software allows us to easily edit or hide individual posts and the Board made the decision early on that we would allow individual administrators to unilaterally edit as needed to keep the peace. Our mantra has been to ‘edit first and seek consensus later.’ That has helped, but recent events demonstrate that this isn’t enough and our bylaws are clear on how this should be handled:

    Penalties for Infraction
    The following penalties will is they are felt appropriate by the SAOCA governing board (note: the typos here and below are in the official bylaws, which the Board recognizes need to be edited and cleaned up):
    First Offence, official warning from the SAOCA President
    Second Offence, 1 Month ban
    Third offence, lifetime ban.

    The Governing Board will maintain the responsibility for ensuring the forum is maintained and used in a responsible manner. In the event of inappropriate posts the governing body will decide on the appropriate action to take in accordance with the policies above.

    While the bylaws are clear about what should be done, we held off taking action on recent behaviors until all Board members were able to weigh in. That has now been completed. The vast majority of the recent problem discussions have been instigated by Bob Webb/65beam and the Board has suspended Bob from the club for the next 30 days. We did not do this lightly and take no satisfaction from the action. Bob is one of the Charter Members of the SAOCA, a wealth of Sunbeam knowledge and one of our most reliable attendees at Club events. But his online behavior has generated multiple complaints from fellow members and he has been officially warned in the past, leaving us no choice but to invoke the second level of the above penalties.

    Our note to Bob informing him of the decision is also clear about what lies ahead if he chooses to continue ignoring our forum rules when his one month suspension is over, although we sincerely hope it won’t come to that. As we told Bob in his suspension notice, he "will be welcomed back into the club one month from today and nothing would make us happier than to have this incident fade completely from our collective memory.” We hope all members will help make this a reality when the time comes.

    While this is the only action the Board is taking at this time, please also keep in mind that those who have engaged in, but not initiated, inappropriate forum discussions will receive formal warnings the next time they engage in the kinds of comments and discussions that our bylaws were written to prevent, whether they are the initiators or not. Quite simply, this Club is nothing without this forum and the Board must do everything it can to protect its integrity. We may not be able to move as quickly as some of us would like, but we will continue to do all we can to keep this a place where anyone can come to acquire and share information about Alpines and help keep our cars on the road.
    puff4, Jimjordan2, Limey and 3 others like this.
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