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  1. #1
    BigGreen's Avatar
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    My "State of AR" treatise

    EDIT: I have constructed a CLIFF NOTES version of this thread which summarizes the main issues pretty neatly, but does NOT mention specific instances or go into any real depth. Like any cliff notes, it's a poor substitute for the real thing, but sometimes the best you got when you don't want to read someone else's lengthy BS. The cliff notes can be found here: http://67.18.108.244//showthread.php...92#post1402992

    About two months ago, the lounge had some kind of 'roll call' thread asking for active members that had been here for years. Having been hear for about two and a half years (lurking for about two months than posting in the summer of 2002), I've been one of those members that has been here for a fairly long time without any really extended leave (a brief vacation for the LSAT and mini-breaks for finals and midterms along the way). As a result of that thread, I received more than a few PMs and IMs from members asking me "what was it like back...." questions. I had no problem answering them, but, in doing so, realized that I have been here. and active through a great deal of AR's ups and downs, and, in some ways, am uniquely qualified to give a perspective on the place, as I'm one of the few members who has been here and active for an extended time without having become 'part of the system' as a mod or vet (a title and responsibility I would never want for knowledge of the fact that I definitely could NOT deal with that kind of commitment).

    Most of the inquiries I received regarding AR's past had to do with two issues that remain 'hot-button' issues today, and will likely always be a source of controversy here at AR: the way in which the mods and admin handle scammer announcements and the often oscillating level of decorum on the board, and how the mods and admin handle this. I found it interesting that both hot-button issues focused almost exclusively upon how the moderators act as opposed to the members, but that's a discussion for another day. In the meantime, on both of these issues I've had a great deal I've wanted to say for some time, and with some very recent events as well as the events that unfolded over this fall, I think that now is the appropriate time and place to finally voice these concerns....hopefully with some sort of brevity

    With regards to the way in which the 'powers that be' handle allegations and actualities of a scammer, for all of the (somewhat justified) impatience displayed by members during the early stages of a scam coming to light, this is one issue on which the mods can count me as 100% behind them in the way they have historically dealt with them and will continue to do so - and I believe I have earned the right to say so. Some time ago, I was take for about $1,000 in a somewhat well known turn of events that somewhat rivaled our most recent scam. It eventually came to my attention that at least a few mods and vets were aware of the very real *possibility* of this individual having gone scammer at some point before I sent in my cash. Despite the thousand dollar loss and my need to explain to a friend what had happened to his cycle, I don't see how the mods could have handled it any better.

    When you see the impatience with which members (both new and old) voice concerns openly as to a delivery or package just days late, we likely can not begin to imagine the reports given and supsicions collectively raised DAILY, as they can not simply ignore them (or at least, I hope they do not and suspect they do not). At any given time, I'd bet that every source known to anyone on the board has come under scrutiny - however temporary.

    Accordingly, despite the fact that it cost my one thousand bucks and I desperately wanted to find someone to blame, I believe the mods are correct in erring on the side of certainty in this regard, otherwise, the 'business' would become so tumultuous and uncertain that it would be nearly impossible to have any significant window of opportunity to feel relatively assured of the reliability of any source you didn't know VERY personally (and I say VERY because I knew my source gone scammer fairly well in the internet sense, to the point we chatted on xmas morning as 'friends'). It doesn't take an econ degree to realize that this degree of uncertainty would eventually drive ALL of our prices up considerably...by erring on the side of caution, even if it costs the occassional member a grand or two that might have otherwise been prevented, the mods, vets and whomever else is involved in the 'scammer investigation' are creating a stable market - a classic situation of a few sometimes having to suffer, perhaps unfairly, but to the unquestionable value of the whole. So long as they continue to approach it in this manner, they will have my support even if it costs me another chunk of change one day.

    Now, moving on to the second, and maybe more pressing issue (moreso only because there has not been a terribly recent scam to have 'the citizenry' whipped up into a frenzy over that issue) - the matter of a board decorum, sense of manners and overall 'culture'. I think what we often tend to forget is that bodybuilding and weight training cuts across demographics like few other endeavors. On this board at any given moment we have ivy league scholars posting alongside ex-cons posting alongside officers of the law posting alongside middle-aged professionals. You would be VERY hard pressed to find another type of board which so attracts a diverse and variegated crowd as does a bodybuilding board. I am, in addition to AR, a member of a law school board, a literature discussion board, and an ancient philosophy board. On these other three boards, the topic at hand tends to prescreen for a somewhat homegenous demographic - as is the case, based on what I've heard, for a performance vehicle board, computer graphics board, or most other boards on the net.

    This diversity (more diverse than any actual physical community I'd wager) gives the mods an incredibly difficult task. Whereas most boards self-select for homogeneity, and, in turn, tend to self police QUITE easily because of shared values and norms, a bodybuilding board is a PRIME example of one that does not. Therefore, it is up to the mods to attempt to manage a 'civilization' literally as disparate as a cross section of the entire world. We've seen how difficult it can be to please within an entire country (see US election and the days of discussion following it)...imagine how exponentially more difficult it becomes when you're dealing with a *global* cross section (which we truly are here...anyone who doubts that should wander into the politics forum).

    Nope, I can certainly say I wouldn't want the task of managing and establishing forum 'boundaries' with that many variables to contend with. That being said, it is my firm belief that those who agree to take up such a task (for whatever reason) become immediately obligated to do so as equitably as possible. And, of late, it has appeared to me that this equity (notice I'm not saying equality) is imbalanced and more than slightly skewed - leaving a great deal of the membership uncertain as to what is acceptable and what is not.

    Granted, an incredible portion of that uncertainty lies in the inability of a board to self-police when it draws from every imaginable facet of cultures, morals, religions and ideologoies, but I would go so far as to respectfully suggest that there have been instances where the powers that be tend to exacerbate that dilemma with their own inconsistencies (in a perfect world us members would check our inconsistincies at the door - we don't - but in an imperfect world, I don't think it is too much to ask that the mods ascribe to a higher level of consistency by virtue of their having earned the title and accepted that role. For anyone that doubts that it can be done, simply look to Bouncer and Cycleon in the politics forum. Both of them can grate on my nerves to no end, and I'm sure I do the same in turn to them, but I can't argue against their consistency in the way in which they manage the forum. It is far and away the place with the most potential for ugly and heated blowups, and the two of them (I don't suggest that other mods are not active in the forum, but they are far and awy the most visible) manage to keep it smoothly running. It actually is somewhat remarkable.

    This, however, makes it all the more frustrating to see how inconsistency has permeated in other forums, most notably and particularly the lounge. It is extremely hard to gauge, on a day-to-day basis, what will be considered acceptable and what will not - what will generate member dissaproval and what will not - what will result in formal, administrative warning and what will not. Logging on after a prolonged thanksgiving trip, I was somewhat surprised to see the suspension of an established member (since lifted) for comments that, by most estimations, paled in comparison to not only other comments in that very thread, but the titles, postings and general attitude of scores of other threads in the same forum.

    When a poster traverses from a dislike for officers of the law (something I share in many instances in the interest of full disclosure) to some NOT so thinly veiled threats (however empty as a result of our anonymity) towards actual members of the board and a suspension is either not carried out or subject to great delay before it is (i must confess to not having followed the thread to its conclusion) while an established member is given a comparably instantaneous suspension for something not remotely approaching that degree of hostility, I think we can all agree that we have not only a serious inequity and inconsistency issue, but one ridiculously long sentence on my part (sorry).

    Further, when these inconsistencies arise, it appears as though few are openly willing to discuss them - with notable exceptions of course. I believe it was Vette who came out in the past fully confessing that an action he took as a mod was unnecessary and apologized accordingly (if it wasn't vette, i apologize to the individual deserving of the credit). But a trend of late seems to be that any perceived indiscretions are to be ignored at worst and taken to PM at best, when I would fully contend that an OPEN discourse is necessary if any of us are to truly begin to form a concept of what constitutes acceptable behavior here at our second home.

    Will we ever agree? Not likely, but I'd implore many who believe it impossible to reach some level of consistency to check out the politics forum, where, while not purely equitable, there is a degree of equity that is in fact amazing given the HUGE level of disagreement.

    We have as our commonality bodybuilding, and, as a collective group, not much else that truly cuts across the whole, and, even in the lounge, I think we as well as the mods need to remain aware of that fact. If ever a group needed standards and norms to become at least slightly defined, a bodybuilding discussion board is one of them. I'm certainly not suggesting an AR constitution or anything to that effect, but I know I am not the only longstanding member who feels that the mods, for all the truly good work they do in keeping this place up and running (and the best on the net as well) owe AR (not "us", but "AR", there's a slight but significant difference) that equity and consistency. I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying I'd want to be charged with implementing it, but I do see it as a necessity - there's just too much grey area when suspensions and other admonishments are viewed (and justifiably so in some instances) as arbitrary and capricious.

    That all being said, however, there's a reason this board is the best on the web, and we'd be fooling ourselves if we didn't think the mods had a tremendous hand in building that. But, with this success, in my opinion, comes an ever greater obligation on the part of the membership and the administration to establish and observe boundaries, however official or unofficial, so long as those boundaries do not change or waiver daily.

    Congrats to all those that actually read through this...my fingers hurt and my eyes are bleeding.
    Last edited by BigGreen; 11-26-2004 at 11:17 PM.

  2. #2
    P Rock's Avatar
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    so what exactly are you saying?

  3. #3
    BigGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P Rock
    so what exactly are you saying?
    Well, this theme tends to come up or be elaborated upon in virtually every paragraph: "If ever a group needed standards and norms to become at least slightly defined, a bodybuilding discussion board is one of them. I'm certainly not suggesting an AR constitution or anything to that effect, but I know I am not the only longstanding member who feels that the mods, for all the truly good work they do in keeping this place up and running (and the best on the net as well) owe AR (not "us", but "AR", there's a slight but significant difference) that equity and consistency."

  4. #4
    P Rock's Avatar
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    i have to agree with you my brother.preach on!

  5. #5
    palme's Avatar
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    How many will acctualy read that post? Seriusly bro?

    I will read it tomorrow, i need to sleep.

  6. #6
    Maraxus's Avatar
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    tl;dr

  7. #7
    BigMike J's Avatar
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    I read it all. great post by the way.

    I must say i agree but unfortunately i don't see what you are saying as going to be a reality anytime soon.

    You have noticed that some members gang up on other members for really dumbazz reasons and when that memeber tried to defend they are ripped even further which sometimes results in their banning.

    I may be guilty of this myself.

  8. #8
    BigGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palme
    How many will acctualy read that post? Seriusly bro?

    I will read it tomorrow, i need to sleep.
    I agree 100%. I'll have to release a cliff notes version and I think I'll do that right now.

  9. #9
    mass junkie's Avatar
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    You miss Rambo that much huh?

  10. #10
    workdude's Avatar
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    I read the whole thing...I thought it was a good post...

  11. #11
    BigGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mass junkie
    You miss Rambo that much huh?
    Truthfully, that incident did finally motivate me to post that...it struck me, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, that if Rambo were to make the same quip to a run-of-the-mill member, no disciplinary action would be brought. If true, and I suspect this is the case, that means that we as members are held to a different standard when dealing with an administrative member than we are in dealing with one another; mods, vets, etc are in fact elevated to an *explicitly* higher status *IF* (and that's a big "if") that is in fact that case. I tend to think it is the case, but can allow for the fact I'm wrong. It's just that inconsistency that scares me a little bit.

  12. #12
    LeanMeOut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGreen
    Truthfully, that incident did finally motivate me to post that...it struck me, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, that if Rambo were to make the same quip to a run-of-the-mill member, no disciplinary action would be brought. If true, and I suspect this is the case, that means that we as members are held to a different standard when dealing with an administrative member than we are in dealing with one another; mods, vets, etc are in fact elevated to an *explicitly* higher status *IF* (and that's a big "if") that is in fact that case. I tend to think it is the case, but can allow for the fact I'm wrong. It's just that inconsistency that scares me a little bit.


    Yes I agree, I felt bad for Rambo with that whole ordeal. All he wanted was for someone to own up to deleting his thread. I didn't understand why no one would just say they did it being as he is a long time member and contributed a lot to the site; I felt he was entitled to an explanation.


    Anyways, great post BG

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