We're removing Political Outsider

Posted:
in Feedback edited October 2017
After a few days of discussion, reading and introspection we have decided to remove the PoliticalOutsider sub-forum from this site.

The truth of the matter is that forum acts like an ever-hanging full moon, emboldening otherwise reasonable people to twist and contort into something else, and as a shining beacon for people who just want to kick up some dirt to laugh at anyone who gets it in their eyes.

The final straw was the advertiser warning we received from Google over the weekend. It referenced a thread from 2007 where people had been discussing terrorism and the images that people thought were appropriate to include were, in a word, appalling. I specifically mention this not because of the advertiser warning (though that is pertinent), but because it highlights that PO has always kind-of been a problem that we've just been ignoring. That path is no longer sustainable.

Removal of this forum has nothing to do with our political leanings or beliefs, and we're not taking anyone's side. It has simply become clear that the benefits do not outweigh the issues it creates. As a small team it has become a large distraction for some, it causes problems with advertisers and indexers (this weekend is not the first time we've received such a warning), and to be completely honest it probably doesn't belong on a site for fans of Apple in the first place.

We are currently not making any other changes to our content policy.
nhughessphericSpamSandwichjony0muppetry
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,316member
    Fair enough.
    jSnively
  • Reply 2 of 21
    nhtnht Posts: 4,005member
    It was always this weird game of some folks trying to get other folks so mad they did something to earn an infraction or ban.
  • Reply 3 of 21
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,447member
    I was wondering when the realisation would hit how damaging the discourse in that place was to the forums. 

    Good call. 
  • Reply 4 of 21
    nhtnht Posts: 4,005member
    The downside is we can't just say "Please take that nonsense to PO" now...
  • Reply 5 of 21
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,853member
    Well, I, for one, think it is unfortunate.  I would guess that I am close to the longest-standing member on AI at this point (pre-blackout, January of 2000).  PO was once bustling with great debates.  I agree it had become pretty bad over the course of the last 5 years.  After election 2012, it was really over.   My real issue, though, is that there is now no opportunity to discuss topics that intersect with Apple and politics (like the DACA legal challenge).  I don't think it's right that comments containing anything political are just turned off.  As for the advertiser warning, that's not surprising to me.  AI has gone corporate over the last few years.  It is no longer worthy of its name.  It is merely another Apple news and review site now.  It used to be packed with rumors, speculation, debate, etc.  Now it's just "leave a comment and move on.  As a certain organ billionaire might say, "#Sad."  
    SpamSandwichtallest skilkingofsomewherehot
  • Reply 6 of 21
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 1,805member
    Although I never went in there, I do know what those places can be like.

    The reasoning behind the decision to close it down seems perfectly sound.
  • Reply 7 of 21
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,853member
    avon b7 said:
    Although I never went in there, I do know what those places can be like.

    The reasoning behind the decision to close it down seems perfectly sound.

    So you never went there, but you "know" what "those places" can be like.  You have absolutely nothing to offer to this discussion if you never participated in the forums.  
    tallest skilSpamSandwich
  • Reply 8 of 21
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 1,805member
    sdw2001 said:
    avon b7 said:
    Although I never went in there, I do know what those places can be like.

    The reasoning behind the decision to close it down seems perfectly sound.

    So you never went there, but you "know" what "those places" can be like.  You have absolutely nothing to offer to this discussion if you never participated in the forums.  
    Yep. Many forums have a zone dedicated to subjects that are likely to result in threads getting difficult to control, users getting problematic, tone being elevated. Usually it is seen as a form of 'containment' but at the same time allows users to speak out with a little more tolerance applied than in the rest of the forums.

    Such areas are largely the same, wherever they are. 

    My contribution to this thread is simply showing support for the reasons the administrators have given to shut it down. Feedback, if you prefer. Those reasons are often the same reasons given on other forums for shutting down equivalent areas.

    Some will complain about the decision or perhaps not understand it. Other may have a different perspective. Comments are open on this thread so I gave my opinion. It's as simple as that.

    If someone takes a decision, and explains it well, I have no need to know first hand what went on. The description is more than enough. In this case, it's crystal clear.

    I deliberately avoided Political Outsider because I knew what to expect there. There was no need to actually go in and see it first hand to understand why this decision was taken or give an opinion on it. It doesn't mean I think they shouldn't exist, I simply understand why this decision was necessary.

    Indirectly, it is also recognising that the moderation and monitoring of such areas (and all forums in general) is more often than not a thankless task and a few supportive words require no effort on my part but are nice to have nevertheless.


  • Reply 9 of 21
    sphericspheric Posts: 1,447member
    avon b7 said:

    I deliberately avoided Political Outsider because I knew what to expect there. There was no need to actually go in and see it first hand to understand why this decision was taken or give an opinion on it. It doesn't mean I think they shouldn't exist, I simply understand why this decision was necessary.

    FWIW, I frequent other forums that have a political corner, and while it gets vitriolic and unfair, I have never, on any forum that wasn't expressly free-for-all, but tied to a certain main topic (as is this one), experienced unchecked the rampant racism and outright Nazi propaganda that was frequently and freely posted here. 
    brbr
  • Reply 10 of 21
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,853member
    avon b7 said:
    sdw2001 said:
    avon b7 said:
    Although I never went in there, I do know what those places can be like.

    The reasoning behind the decision to close it down seems perfectly sound.

    So you never went there, but you "know" what "those places" can be like.  You have absolutely nothing to offer to this discussion if you never participated in the forums.  
    Yep. Many forums have a zone dedicated to subjects that are likely to result in threads getting difficult to control, users getting problematic, tone being elevated. Usually it is seen as a form of 'containment' but at the same time allows users to speak out with a little more tolerance applied than in the rest of the forums.

    Such areas are largely the same, wherever they are. 

    My contribution to this thread is simply showing support for the reasons the administrators have given to shut it down. Feedback, if you prefer. Those reasons are often the same reasons given on other forums for shutting down equivalent areas.

    Some will complain about the decision or perhaps not understand it. Other may have a different perspective. Comments are open on this thread so I gave my opinion. It's as simple as that.

    If someone takes a decision, and explains it well, I have no need to know first hand what went on. The description is more than enough. In this case, it's crystal clear.

    I deliberately avoided Political Outsider because I knew what to expect there. There was no need to actually go in and see it first hand to understand why this decision was taken or give an opinion on it. It doesn't mean I think they shouldn't exist, I simply understand why this decision was necessary.

    Indirectly, it is also recognising that the moderation and monitoring of such areas (and all forums in general) is more often than not a thankless task and a few supportive words require no effort on my part but are nice to have nevertheless.



    Beging ignorant is one thing.  Being proud of it is another.  
    tallest skil
  • Reply 11 of 21
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,853member

    spheric said:
    avon b7 said:

    I deliberately avoided Political Outsider because I knew what to expect there. There was no need to actually go in and see it first hand to understand why this decision was taken or give an opinion on it. It doesn't mean I think they shouldn't exist, I simply understand why this decision was necessary.

    FWIW, I frequent other forums that have a political corner, and while it gets vitriolic and unfair, I have never, on any forum that wasn't expressly free-for-all, but tied to a certain main topic (as is this one), experienced unchecked the rampant racism and outright Nazi propaganda that was frequently and freely posted here. 
    Come on.  Nazi propaganda?  You know that's not true.  
    SpamSandwichtallest skil
  • Reply 12 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 1,922administrator
    Don't escalate past this point, please.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,853member
    Don't escalate past this point, please.
    Yeah I figured this was the line honestly. No worries.   Otherwise it will be a stealth re-open of PO.   :D  
  • Reply 14 of 21
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 3,904member

    Let me getting this straight.

    Google comes under fire because they really have no good way of making sure ads which are geared at the individuals do not shows up along side content the individual is viewing or reading which an advertiser does not agree with and Google decides websites like AI are at fault and AI must now police its own users and tell us we all need to behavior better so advertiser do not get upset. This is kind of like Advertisers telling roadside Billboard owners they only want their ads only seen by drivers of cars whole share the same values as the advertisers. Forget about the government controlling your thoughts watch out for advertisers, (sorry for the political comment)

    Sorry AI had to make this decision, I agree the conversation did get out of control sometimes, but some people take things too seriously, however, it also allowed me to see how others see the world. This decision is happening elsewhere as well.

    tallest skilSpamSandwich
  • Reply 15 of 21
    maestro64 said:
    Forget about the government controlling your thoughts watch out for advertisers
    Well, they’re not so far separated.
    SpamSandwichcgWerks
  • Reply 16 of 21
    maestro64 said:

    Let me getting this straight.

    Google comes under fire because they really have no good way of making sure ads which are geared at the individuals do not shows up along side content the individual is viewing or reading which an advertiser does not agree with and Google decides websites like AI are at fault and AI must now police its own users and tell us we all need to behavior better so advertiser do not get upset. This is kind of like Advertisers telling roadside Billboard owners they only want their ads only seen by drivers of cars whole share the same values as the advertisers. Forget about the government controlling your thoughts watch out for advertisers, (sorry for the political comment)

    Sorry AI had to make this decision, I agree the conversation did get out of control sometimes, but some people take things too seriously, however, it also allowed me to see how others see the world. This decision is happening elsewhere as well.

    I think it was more along the lines that A.I. was under threat of being blackballed by Google as "fake news" or whatever nonsense is fashionable this year. Interestingly enough, the 2007 thread that was the alleged problem for Google (or the advertisers) could have been permanently deleted instead of locking down the entire P.O.... But hey, not my web site. I've only been coming here for something like 12 years and have 27,400+ comments to my name (some 4,800+ of which have gotten "likes"). What do I know?
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 17 of 21
    maestro64 said:

    Let me getting this straight.

    Google comes under fire because they really have no good way of making sure ads which are geared at the individuals do not shows up along side content the individual is viewing or reading which an advertiser does not agree with and Google decides websites like AI are at fault and AI must now police its own users and tell us we all need to behavior better so advertiser do not get upset. This is kind of like Advertisers telling roadside Billboard owners they only want their ads only seen by drivers of cars whole share the same values as the advertisers. Forget about the government controlling your thoughts watch out for advertisers, (sorry for the political comment)

    Sorry AI had to make this decision, I agree the conversation did get out of control sometimes, but some people take things too seriously, however, it also allowed me to see how others see the world. This decision is happening elsewhere as well.

    I think it was more along the lines that A.I. was under threat of being blackballed by Google as "fake news" or whatever nonsense is fashionable this year. Interestingly enough, the 2007 thread that was the alleged problem for Google (or the advertisers) could have been permanently deleted instead of locking down the entire P.O.... But hey, not my web site. I've only been coming here for something like 12 years and have 27,400+ comments to my name (some 4,800+ of which have gotten "likes"). What do I know?

    The problem with that solution, the PC police can at anytime decide some new word, thought or view point is no long acceptable, what was once okay, is not longer okay since it could offend someone. I read yesterday a new set of advertisers were boycotting YouTube, not because the content but who the content attracted as commenters. It was a video of kids but there were pedophile type comments being made and advertise got upset their ads were shown with the video which appear to attach pedophiles

    That's because you have more time than the rest of us.

  • Reply 18 of 21
    maestro64 said:
    maestro64 said:

    Let me getting this straight.

    Google comes under fire because they really have no good way of making sure ads which are geared at the individuals do not shows up along side content the individual is viewing or reading which an advertiser does not agree with and Google decides websites like AI are at fault and AI must now police its own users and tell us we all need to behavior better so advertiser do not get upset. This is kind of like Advertisers telling roadside Billboard owners they only want their ads only seen by drivers of cars whole share the same values as the advertisers. Forget about the government controlling your thoughts watch out for advertisers, (sorry for the political comment)

    Sorry AI had to make this decision, I agree the conversation did get out of control sometimes, but some people take things too seriously, however, it also allowed me to see how others see the world. This decision is happening elsewhere as well.

    I think it was more along the lines that A.I. was under threat of being blackballed by Google as "fake news" or whatever nonsense is fashionable this year. Interestingly enough, the 2007 thread that was the alleged problem for Google (or the advertisers) could have been permanently deleted instead of locking down the entire P.O.... But hey, not my web site. I've only been coming here for something like 12 years and have 27,400+ comments to my name (some 4,800+ of which have gotten "likes"). What do I know?

    The problem with that solution, the PC police can at anytime decide some new word, thought or view point is no long acceptable, what was once okay, is not longer okay since it could offend someone. I read yesterday a new set of advertisers were boycotting YouTube, not because the content but who the content attracted as commenters. It was a video of kids but there were pedophile type comments being made and advertise got upset their ads were shown with the video which appear to attach pedophiles

    That's because you have more time than the rest of us.

    Are you saying eliminating a portion of a thread isn't preferable to restricting the entire discussion? I fail to see the reasoning and besides, this is a thread on a private for-profit web site, not one run by the government, so the issue isn't one of "censorship" it's a matter of dictating policy to the users of the site, instead of involving members in the discussion and trying to improve things.

    And the personal jab was needless, unless it was meant to make you feel better about yourself by insulting me?
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 20 of 21
    When will AI be updated for the iPhone X?
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