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Thread: TLR Genesis

  1. #1
    Fluff n Stuff's Avatar
    Fluff n Stuff is offline ♫♪♫♪♪♫♪♫♫♪♫♪♪♫♪♫♪♪
    May 2001
    South Seattle, Wa

    TLR Genesis

    Get comfy in your chair, boys and girls, and I'll tell you a story about a wonderful place called.... The Lightning Round!

    [Cheap wavy screen effect; and a slow fade to a green meadow scene, replete with blooming wildflowers...]

    Once upon a time, in a place near, near to here... There was a AMD based PC enthusiasts' forum called forums. It was the place to go, I was told by I forget whom now, if you had a question about your AMD based computer. I had screwed up my A7V, so off I go to the AMDMB.COM ASUS forum, where in roughly three posts Klondikekit had diagnosed my problem, and told me how to fix it.

    Cool. I was a techie now; I'd fixed my computer! This was in May, 2001.

    After a bit (okay, two days) I joined the AMDMB.COM Seti team. Ten months later I was roped into being the Seti Mod. Naturally, my first act was to ask the Mod staff what the heck I was supposed to do. The second thing was to ask if swearing in a Forum Member's Siggy was something we as Moderators should address.

    Some things are just core traits, I guess! I've admitted it: I'm a prude.

    Speed forward, SETI 1 was supposed to be ending, and I could see no reason for me to be a Mod in Seti, Dave and JCB had the situation well in hand and I was feeling useless as a Moderator in there. When I mentioned the idea of me stepping down, Ryan took advantage of my weakened state, and offered me his Mod Spot in the General Forum... this was January this year. Ryan said he wanted me to keep a lookout for swearing and such. Cool, I thought, this will be a breeze... nobody in here swears that much, and personal insults just don't exist, outside of the Video Card Forum at least.

    Then came the more... emotional threads. I'm not sure where it started, but we seemed to get a bunch of emotionally charged threads about the time I started Modding the General Forum. Maybe I somehow encouraged them, maybe it was coincidence, I don't know. All I'm sure about is that there were three sides to every arguement: 1) I'm right. 2) No, I'M right. 3) Stop posting these kinds of threads!!!

    There was a suggestion from a few folks that we create a new Forum where members could debate these emotionally charged issues... and you know what? I was against it. I felt that they could be dealt with in the General Forum just fine, if we would just stick to the rules, perhaps a little more closely. In time I was convinced that a separate forum with special rules would be a better idea... But getting it done at that time was difficult. You see, the Staff at AMDForums is always looking for some way to make the forums better. As we've seen before, change can be hard, and we were in the process of some changes which were harder than most. But the Staff (and especially the Admins and SuperMods) worked their tails off to improve the communication around here, and the vast majority of the problems were ironed out... an exasperating process, but one of which we can be proud. Especially as a little time has passed, and we can see that it worked!

    So it was agreed that a new forum would be created, and then there was just some minor discussion on what to name the new forum; and as you know we decided on TLR (Tig's idea). We also discussed whether it would be it's own forum or a sub-forum... being a sub won out because we had too many forums on the front page as it was! Then to pick the Mods, and set it up.

    Now, as I said, I had been convinced by this time that a separate forum was needed and I was of the opinion that it could work; but only under certain conditions... I didn't think a free-for-all would be useful; unregulated flame fests can be found elsewhere, we didn't need to create one here. I thought that a few basic rules, fairly and evenly enforced could allow all ideas to be heard and discussed in a way that would actually help folks to not only understand the ideas and feelings of others... it would give 'em a chance to understand their own! Not everybody has had the luxury of analysing their own beliefs, and it's a good idea for us all to do that. I offered up some ideas on how I thought it could work, tried to not look too craven as I lobbyed for the Moderator position with JimZ, and we suprised just about everybody.

    Why were they suprised? Because against the predictions to the contrary, the dang thing worked. After a few weeks, Ryan came down on the swearing issue, proclaiming that y'all had to just deal with it sometimes, and we (well, I) had to back off a bit on that score... and the personal abuse problems which we were warned about to no end just did not manifest. The guidelines work, the rules are fairly enforced. We have had better discussions in here than ANYBODY ever thought we could. The flaming just plain stopped... Sure we had to ban a few members for being idiotically out of control, but they would have frankly done that in the other forums, too... in fact, a quick review of thier history would probably show that most of their infractions happened in other forums. Once everybody KNEW that we would punish bad behavior by anybody, not just our friends or those we agreed with (or not), it started to all come together.

    JimZ likes to praise folks for doing a good job with this, and likes to single me out. I'll take some credit for helping to foster this forum's birth, but not all of it by any means... all of the Staff worked to develop it as a team. I'll never take credit for it's content, THAT is all you guys. You've noticed that I do not enter the fray with my opinions? This is because I saw other Mods get into trouble doing that... and I am a devisive figure to some extent. I've earned it by handing out infractions to folks who don't think they've deserved them. (Tough! LOL) But in order to create a venue for discussion where there is not one 'approved' opinion or one 'punished' opinion, I've held back. As far as I'm concerned, it has worked: I've been accused of being both a Right Wing Idealogue and a Socialist Defender. I think that's cool; it means my personal, strong opinions have not seeped out and colored my decisions, and I was afraid that for a while there I was being harder on those I agreed with, and over-cheering as it were those with whom I personally disagree... and I assure you, I do have strong opinions on most of the issues raised in TLR. Some of your proclamations make me cheer, some make me just grind my teeth in the frustration of not being able to reply...

    Yet, the personality of the site has been very positive... this is where all that hard work by JimZ just shines. I swear, that guy can take two little boys flinging poo at each other, tell a joke, and have them discussing intelligent subjects like adults... and get it done in maybe three posts. Where I can get people upset, Jim has this uncanny ability to get them happy. This forum is forever shaped by his work in this manner. Not enough to let me have my say on some of the more interesting issues...But if it means having a place to see the discussions I see in here on a daily basis, I can hold my peace. You guys are worth it! Nowhere else on the web is there a place like this, where folks of truly differing views can have such an open conversation or debate on nearly any issue. We've opened a lot of eyes in here. You guys make me proud, and everything we went through was worth it to watch you all prove them all wrong 'nStuff!

  2. #2
    Aug 2001
    Lots of good stuff there Fluff. Early on...I admit to being abit squimish about the adventure. Matter of fact I said so here...that it felt like our necks were on the line. But little by little...things a community developed. Got so we had regulars here...that in very great ways into self-moderation. I cant say enough about the folks that come here to TLR and discuss issues in a tough(sometimes) but civilized manner. And that some funny threads have found their way in is a bonus!! JimZ

  3. #3
    Jul 2001
    Give them a ring.
    Give them gloves and a set of enforceable rules.
    Gave some fun and kick out those who bite off ears.

    TLR has worked. Gen Forum itself has never been cleaner and friendlier. It's hard to imagine that a seemingly simple idea can be so effective. I guess the moral of the story is to never be afraid to try something new and never assume the outcome of something that was never tried.

    - Jerky.
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