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Spoo

The Banning Of Evenfall

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OK….let me try this out and let’s see what others might think.

 

Max: You jumped in way too soon in trying to defray a situation that really was not there. But I suspect you were baiting evenfall and knew he would take the bait.

 

evenfall: You took the bait. Rather than just ignoring Max or trying to say you meant no harm, you leapt into the fray and went into a tirade.

 

In all fairness to evenfall, I do not see a personal attack against Max, as having taken place, without evenfall stating why it was “good or bad”, as quoted by Max.

 

evenfall: You are a real stickler about the rest of us following the rules. Maybe you should follow the rules of common etiquette?

 

Max: Although this forum is owned and operated by GC.com, isn’t it an open, public forum? I thought this forum was so we could ask questions, get answers, discuss, debate…..and yes….disagree with each other. If not true, something here is wrong. Unless a forum user is using bad language, being racist or sexist, denouncing ones lineage……etc…….is there a real problem?

 

I have had my arguments here in this forum with evenfall………so have others. That does not mean that he is right…..or that I am right. Although I can find you to be irritating at times, evenfall, I will defend to my death, your right to your statements. That is what a FORUM is all about. People…..look up that word!

 

Max: You may have thought you were doing right by banning evenfall. Maybe you were. That is not my call. But maybe you might reconsider?

 

evenfall: You may have thought you were being singled out by Max. Maybe you were. But maybe you might reconsider?

 

As in a family, a Forum does not allow you to pick and choose the people that are in it, EXCEPT that here you are free to just ignore a person. I stubbornly refuse to pick sides with either Max or evenfall but hope that they and the users here, will all continue to debate freely and without fear of retribution…… only then will this forum be of benefit.

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My take:

1) Spoo hit the nail on the head.

2) Lighten up, guys! (both of you)

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Spoo -

 

Good points, all.

 

Max - I agree with Spoo - I think you threw the "play nice" yellow card too soon. Looks like a misunderstanding (of evenfall's post) to me. And it looks like evenfall interpreted the misunderstanding as a provocation. No surprise there, given both history and evenfall's practice of making points, well, pointedly.

 

I think some Spirit of the Season reset would be in order.

 

And to evenfall's main point: new benchmark hunters should know and old benchmark hunters should remember that no benchmkark is worth getting run over by a freight train and few benchmarks are worth getting your name entered into the database of suspicious characters.

 

Will

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Evenfall has not been "banned." His posting abilities have been suspended temporarily due to violating our posted forum guidelines.

 

People are regularly given "time outs" for various guideline violations. These range from two or three days for a second offense up to a month or more for repeat offenses. During the time out period, we hope that the community member will reflect on the forum guidelines, so that they will return at the end of the suspension and once again become a productive member of the forum community.

 

In that vein, I look forward to Evenfall's return to the forums. He is a valuable source of information and expertise.

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Keystone:

 

Fair enough. I used the word 'banned' rather than 'time out'. I stand corrected.

 

It is interesting to note that you did not address any of the issues that led to this time out, or to my thoughts on this matter.

 

Spoo

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I support the action taken, as does Groundspeak. Beyond that, I don't much like debating the merits of a moderator's actions, especially when the other party involved is not able to post. In the vast majority of cases when someone is temporarily suspended, everyone gets over it and moves on. That applies to the moderator and the poster involved, too. :antenna:

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Keystone:

 

Time heals all wounds?

 

OK.......I am not in a position to change your mind or allow evenfall to come to his defense on an open forum. I simply thought that things here might be more open minded.

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Spoo, you have opened a thread which complies with our forum guidelines because you presented your opinions in a constructive fashion. Ditto for the other posts to this thread. And I do thank everyone for that.

 

Do you see me locking the thread? Nope. Did you receive a warning? Nope. Please feel free to continue having a polite and open-minded discussion, as you are doing.

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How long is Evenfall's "timeout"? I have not seen that posted anywhere. I'm hoping it is consistent with the perceived offense.

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As I stated before, posting suspensions typically run from 2 or 3 days for a second violation, up to a month or even longer for repeated violations of the forum guidelines. The specifics of any individual situation are private to that community member, unless he chooses to disclose it upon his return, so out of respect for Evenfall I will not comment further except to say that it fits within that range of 2 to 30 days.

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I am still trying to determine what caused the caution that Max originally threw up. Was it the interaction between Evenfall and myself? Was Max afraid there were bad vibes there?

 

In defense of Evenfall, he sometimes feels we go places we shouldn't and wants to remind us to be careful. My post back to him, which may have sparked the flag, was my typical "railroad comment" and was meant to stop some of the lengthy threads about railroad trespassing that have occurred on this board. I tried to cover both sides of the issue--the danger and the reason I still choose to do it, so others could read that and make their own decisions. I tried very hard not to condemn either side. Max may not have realize that Evenfall and I have talked at length about a number of topics and I knew he would take no offense at what I said. His response was typical Evenfall--short and to the point. He just wanted newbies to be aware.

 

Could he have been more tactful? Yeah. Most of us could. I have a habit of saying what I think, the way I think it, and that has gotten me in trouble, both on this board and off. Was he baiting Max? Maybe. But in reading the post it is not a flame at all.

 

Evenfall is one of our few surveyors on this board and has provided valuable advice to us numerous times. I think it is a mistake to ban him, especially for the length of the sentence he got. Remember, he really doesn't need to be here. We need this board to support or obsession (hobby? Call it what you want!). He recovers benchmarks as part of his job. By helping us be more aware of what we are doing he helps us help others.

 

The main problem is that the moderator has all the power. Even an appeal such as this gets no action. Did Evenfall really go outside the guidelines of the board? We can debate amongst ourselves forever and it won't really matter.

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Two comments from PFF:

 

First, I'm happy that GEOCACHING.COM runs a tight ship. It is refreshing to find a forum without flame wars, and where newcommers can get a straight answer to a question, rather than sarcasim or insults.

 

Second, Evenfall (as noted by others) is a valuable member of the group. He is willing to share his professional expertise with laypeople like me who are trying to learn. He's helped me greatly though forum posts, and in private communication.

 

If his Time Out is a couple of days, I'm sure he will survive and will return to assist us. If it is longer, I wish to enter a plea for the granting of an early parole.

 

-Paul-

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I will agree with Spoo, Klemmer & TeddyBearMama and the others.

I could discern no reason for Max Cacher to throw out the yellow card warning. The discussion was about benchmarks on railroad rights-of-way. Evenfall was expressing, in his own unusual manner, the warning that searching for them can be dangerous and illegal. I fail to see what else in the discussion might have caused Max Cacher to issue his warning.

The only thing in evenfall's response that I could take issue with was his statement on 'the need to moderate'. I'm not sure how that violates the guidelines.

Evenfall might be highly opinionated. It is the voice of experience that is the reason for discussions in the fora. This is the forum where professional expertise is the valued. Evenfall is one of the experienced surveryors in this forum whose opinions I respect. I have learnt quite a bit from the surveyors here, (as well as from the other participants). Railroad safety is one of the things that I have learned.

Quite frankly, I do not undertand where this 'time out' came from. (Cute phrase. I thought that only small children were give 'time-outs'.) From what I understand, this 'time out' is far longer than 'a few days.'

I am sorry to lose this voice of experience, in this specialized field.

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I've been away for a while, and just returned to notice this situation. I'll keep my public observations very short, I've already sent my detailed view to the appropriate location.

 

Based on the thread I can read, it appears evenfall and Max Cacher have had some sort of previous "run in". This is implied by evenfall's message, but I have no idea what if anything may have happened in the past. That means I (and I suspect maybe many others here) are only dealing with part of the information.

 

I am concered that banning evenfall over that thread is a bit heavy handed, particularly when the forum guidelines talk about how moderators will first try to steer the discussion back on topic, edit posts, and lock threads before resorting to banning people from the forums. Max's yellow card seems quite premature in the thread, and evenfall's response in poor taste.

 

However, there is one sentence from the forum guidelines that seems to resonate here, In general we will leave it to you the community, to police yourselves.. I don't see anyone posting here "thank god he's gone", or "why didn't they ban him sooner", but rather there's an entire thread of support. That leads me to believe the "community" did not think action was necessary. I may be wrong, there may be tons of offended people who aren't posting publically about it, but reporting their disgust to Groundspeak in the background.

 

However, my biggest concern is that we all get over this incident. I've been on many message boards that fell apart, and in almost every case it was due to questionable moderation. It only takes a few moderator actions that the community doesn't agree with for them to fragment and find other homes. If I can offer advice, it's that we all need to be on our best behavior for a while, and the moderators need to be a little more leaniant for a while to insure that we heal and continue to operate as a functioning, thriving benchmarking discussion forum.

 

And that, my friends, is my first and last post on the subject.

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It would be helpful if we knew just what it was that caused the warning in the first place. After all, if we don't know, how can we learn what is acceptable?

 

I have asked Max Cacher privately for an explanation and have gotten no reply.

 

Max, or Keystone, please explain.

 

GH

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It was my thread that led to this, and I had no problem with anything said in the posts that were dealing with the topic and with safety. I don't have enough history here to know what came before, but can see how somewhat more constrained posts by either party involved would have averted the whole thing. My hope is that this situation can be ironed out in a reasonably rapid manner, and in such a way that those involved can reach a working relationship where the problem doesn't arise again.

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I am glad for each and every one of you here.

This shows we do have some type of communication in a resonable manner.

 

I personally think that we should discuss this in detail when both parties can defend themselves in this forum.

 

I myself have made mistakes in my postings,I apologize and go on.

I have not been warned and have posted many times.

Even when we had that little bar graph at the bottom of our names.

 

I hate to see things ever go in this direction and will wait to post more later.

 

Thank you all for your participation...and non participation for a short whlle.

 

It is like finding that elusive benchmark we all have looked for.

There is times of frustration and there is a time of happiness.

 

Let the Yin pull the Yang and it will all work out.

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It would be helpful if we knew just what it was that caused the warning in the first place. After all, if we don't know, how can we learn what is acceptable?

 

I have asked Max Cacher privately for an explanation and have gotten no reply.

 

Max, or Keystone, please explain.

 

GH

The basis for the suspension is articulated in Max Cacher's second post to the thread in question. Beyond that, and as stated above, it is generally not my practice to comment publicly on the details of a particular situation.

 

My advice is simply to follow the Forum Guidelines as best you can. If you step over the line, a moderator will let you know. The first few times that happens, the moderator action will not include a posting suspension unless the violation is serious. Ninety something percent of all forum posters never receive warnings and never have their posting rights suspended for repeat violations. So, enjoy the forums!

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I have to agree with most of the other posters on this topic. I felt that Max's reaction to all of this was a bit heavy-handed and over-reactive. I saw nothing in the thread that needed moderated, until Evenfall responded to Max, with a post that seemed to have a slight attitude tone. I dont think "an attitude" warrants a time-out.

 

The reason I still frequent the Benchmark / NGS / National Map forums is that there is much less angst / attitude / what-have-you present here, than in the "geocaching" forums. Fewer arguments & disagreements seem to happen here. Those very things have caused me to give up on the geocaching forums, and stick with the technical forums. These technical forums seem to have a much more adult level of conversation.

 

The need for moderation has been very low in these forums. Why Max felt the need to jump in here, and suddenly create a scene, I do not understand. (I am a person who tries to view things from all angles, and I still dont see his "angle".) I am a bit troubled, as to why Keystone is responding to this, and not Max. I'll try to assume he is busy with "life" and not being "yellow". Still, Keystone should not have to respond to something that Max should be commenting on.

 

I can understand Keystone's points on this. Keystone is my area's cache reviewer, and even as a forum moderator, I have felt he has been fair in his actions. I can understand his position. I have a personal respect for Keystone, as I felt he's generally done a good job in what is a usually a thankless job.

 

Without having done a search for past posts concerning Max & Evenfall, I do seem to vaguely recall some friction between the two of them, some time back. It does seem to me that the two of them provoked one another, and this entire thing blew out of proportion.

 

I could understand a day or two, for a time-out... A week, might be a bit long, but also understandable. A month? I dont think that is at all appropriate for the situation.

Edited by Crystal Sound

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Crystal Sound,

 

Keystone is the head moderator and has probably asked Max to restrain his posts concerning this incident.

 

We don't know the time period for the suspension so it is only speculation concerning the time frame. Guidelines suggest it will be anywhere from 2 days up to a month depending on previous behaviour.

 

It appears as though Evenfall made a post that appeared to be 'approaching' that line that should not be crossed. Evenfall knew where that line is drawn from past experience. When Max made the "play fair" comment, Evenfall should have just PM'd Max and not posted in the forum. Since he chose to respond in the forum, everyone got to see how the moderators deal with questionable comments about them and others. In this case, Max decided not to continue the "debate" with Evenfall and put a quick end to what he saw as a problem that could develop into something that might get real nasty.

 

Without more info, we just have to accept that the "Head Moderator" knows what the situation is and knows the appropriate manner in which it needs to be handled.

 

John

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Crystal Sound,

 

Keystone is the head moderator and has probably asked Max to restrain his posts concerning this incident.

 

We don't know the time period for the suspension so it is only speculation concerning the time frame. Guidelines suggest it will be anywhere from 2 days up to a month depending on previous behaviour.

 

It appears as though Evenfall made a post that appeared to be 'approaching' that line that should not be crossed. Evenfall knew where that line is drawn from past experience. When Max made the "play fair" comment, Evenfall should have just PM'd Max and not posted in the forum. Since he chose to respond in the forum, everyone got to see how the moderators deal with questionable comments about them and others. In this case, Max decided not to continue the "debate" with Evenfall and put a quick end to what he saw as a problem that could develop into something that might get real nasty.

 

Without more info, we just have to accept that the "Head Moderator" knows what the situation is and knows the appropriate manner in which it needs to be handled.

 

John

Thank you for your comments and perspective. I missed and/or didnt think of a few of the points you made.

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A month is my understanding.

 

Probably won't see him again...?

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His sentence got cut down considerably, but only bread and water and no TV. He will return.

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2oldfarts,

 

How do you know Evenfall had past experience in being suspended? He never mentioned it here.

Edited by mloser

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For mloser:

It was in the thread, just before they pulled the plug on him.

 

From Evenfall (Dec 28th, 12:12PM)

 

That last time you gave me a week off sure showed me... I'll be a good boy!

 

Looks like Evenfall was trying to avoid having it happen again.

 

-Paul-

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For those who want to look at the thread in question, click here. If you don't want to read the full text, I've included evenfall's offending post below, in red.

 

Evenfall's suspension was for a month. If it has been reduced, as mloser points out, it would be good news.

 

I'll echo what seems to be the unanimous view here: Evenfall didn't deserve this suspension. He and the moderator have a contentious history, and Max probably should have recused himself from this decision. I can understand why Keystone would back up his moderator, but I think most objective readers of that thread might wonder whether evenfall's temporary banishment was an appropriate response to the alleged offense.

 

Recall that what really seems to have gotten evenfall bounced was what Max considered a personal attack against the moderator for a disagreement with the moderator's action. I think the bar for discipline against the authorities should be much higher than for peers in the forum.

 

Consider this civic analogy: the First Amendment gives me broad rights to criticize my government; saying the same thing against my neighbors may provoke a suit for libel or slander.

 

I believe moderators should accept that they may be criticized for the performance of their duties. To say the moderator is [insert personal attack here] might be actionable; to criticize, even strongly, the moderator's moderation activities should be protected speech.

 

And finally, to echo what others have said, as a professional surveyor (his personal email address is grademan@...), evenfall's contribution here has been tremendous. His presentation may not be everyone's cup of tea, but his knowledge, real-world experience, and willingness to share make him a real asset to this forum.

 

-ArtMan-

 

Now, here's the post that got evenfall bounced ...

Am Playing Nice Max, Said nothing Inappropriate. Even meant it in a good natured way. If you want to advocate that Geocachers Illegally enter Railroad Rights Of Way when you know it is dangerous and illegal, be my Guest. I would have thought an official Moderator would caution Players away from Danger and Trespassing. But Instead you caution us to play nice for speaking of this?

 

Interesting.

 

I figure You are just Laying For Me Max. Looking for a reason to School Me. Again. Looks like I am probably right. That last time you gave me a week off sure showed me... I'll be a good boy!

 

Now, Please envision me looking over the tops of my sunglasses at you Max. Because I am. (Nicely) Please Don't allow your personality differences with me and dislike for me affect the way you do your Job, Max. I am playing by the rules and I expect you to moderate by them. So far there is nothing we needed a moderator for here. From the outside looking in you have a problem and are taking this way to serious. It should be fun and not a job. Remember?

 

Most people say Yadda Yadda as a Joke, Is this serious where you live??

 

Your Presence around here pretty much settles that. A few of us here know you have an over-spirited interest in us.

 

Relax. We are having Fun. Well were having fun. Matt and I know... We the trouble causers. We know you are the Sheriff around here. Your Bosses know my opinion of that too.

 

I am just saying that there is nothing I say that you need to moderate. Nothing has been said in or out of context that requires your Moderation. Never has been, not really. Trust Me, If I want to pull the trigger on Nasty, I wont do it here. Not because of you or rules but because of my respect for others here. But you and I differ on the need to Moderate, Don't we Max? Since I am nearly the only one you ever have publicly tried to direct in the history of this Forum. You have your Pets, I understand. I am in compliance with the rules and don't need a reminder. Please don't ruin the fun for me, and a few of your other favorites, Ok?

 

Oh, I liked the UNK1 Moniker. Glad they could help out.

 

Merry Christmas Max, Oh, Happy New year too.

 

Rob

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Artman,

 

Consider this civic analogy - You have been before a judge for drunk driving a couple of times. The last time you see the judge he gives you a warning about your driving.

 

What is the best thing to do in this situation?

 

What do you think the judge would do if you exercise your 1st amendment rights & start a rant about him and how he does his job?

 

Will he look at your file, then throw you in jail for the maximum possible sentence?

 

It is a two way street here & Evenfall didn't help his own case with his response to the "Play Nice" notice.

 

When you insist on walking that fine line don't cry foul when you get caught crossing it.

 

John

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John -

 

Interesting analogy, but not on point in my (not an attorney) opinion.

 

Evenfall's post was not, by the terms of the analogy, equivalent to driving under the influence, and he did nothing substantive or material to create probable cause to be hauled before the judge.

 

ArtMan is correct: evenfall did not deserve this suspension.

 

Will

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Well, even though Evenfall could have taken a more deferential tone with Max, I think Max misread both posts. It's easy to do with online message exchanges, hence the way exchanges tend to escalate into flaming. There are even some people who like to goad others into heated responses, and can become quite adept at pushing hot buttons without overtly "stepping over the line."

 

This has become about as exciting as the great WGS84 vs. NAD83 debates, or the "bench mark" vs. "benchmark" debate. Hopefully Evenfall will return, and hopefully the moderator(s?) can overcome their own tendency to rise too quickly in public defense of their own authority. They already have the authority, such as it is, but there's rarely a need to emphasize that fact in public. It's good to know that moderators are on duty, but it's also good to know that discussion isn't too overtly controlled, and when action needs to be taken, it is taken without bias.

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John -

 

Interesting analogy, but not on point in my (not an attorney) opinion.

 

Evenfall's post was not, by the terms of the analogy, equivalent to driving under the influence, and he did nothing substantive or material to create probable cause to be hauled before the judge.

 

ArtMan is correct: evenfall did not deserve this suspension.

 

Will

 

;) Isn't that what they all say to the judge when the judge asks 'How do you plead?' ? :);)

 

How about this analogy?

 

A Highway Patrolman pulls you over and you start arguing with him. What do you think will happen? He WILL find something to arrest you up for!

 

Whether the "Play Nice" was right or wrong is not what got Evenfall in hot water, it was the way he responded to it.

 

John

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Come on guys....Spoo's original point was correct.

 

The "highway patrolman" in this instance pulled you over and deliberately goaded you into saying something stupid.

 

BOTH parties are at fault here, Max for instigating, and Rob for falling for it.

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Wow a lot can happen around here when you are out of internet range for a few days. I think that Spoo did an excellent analysis of the situation. Both parties REACTED to each other.

 

I believe that there have been a few times in the past where Evenfall went over the line, but this was not one of them; that is until he started responding to Max.

 

Too harsh of a reaction for this instance, but probably some background between the two that none of us knows.

 

Lighten the sentence, learn on both sides and move on.

 

CallawayMT

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Artman, WELL PUT!

 

John,

 

If only we knew where that "fine line" was. I think that is the crux of a lot of posts here. Where did the original "play nice" warning come from, as that question has never been answered? Have you ever been reprimanded for something you did, but nobody told you what you had done to deserve that reprimand? How can you modify your behavior under that situation?

 

One thing that keeps coming to mind as I read these posts and try to figure out what is going on behind the scenes is that on this board First Amendment rights do not apply. This board never promised it, nor, as a private business, does it need to offer it. There are rules of conduct, and as always, rules are open to interpretation. Unlike a civic body, we have no court to go to when we feel we have been wronged--just the court of public opinion. If we do not like the way the board is being managed, we can either put up with it or leave. I suspect that in the past both paths have been followed.

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A Highway Patrolman pulls you over and you start arguing with him. What do you think will happen? He WILL find something to arrest you up for!

 

And you feel because this happens that it is RIGHT? Or a valid use of the policeman's power? Might makes right I guess.

 

Hardly.

Edited by mloser

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Artman, WELL PUT!

 

John,

 

If only we knew where that "fine line" was. I think that is the crux of a lot of posts here. Where did the original "play nice" warning come from, as that question has never been answered? Have you ever been reprimanded for something you did, but nobody told you what you had done to deserve that reprimand? How can you modify your behavior under that situation?

 

One thing that keeps coming to mind as I read these posts and try to figure out what is going on behind the scenes is that on this board First Amendment rights do not apply. This board never promised it, nor, as a private business, does it need to offer it. There are rules of conduct, and as always, rules are open to interpretation. Unlike a civic body, we have no court to go to when we feel we have been wronged--just the court of public opinion. If we do not like the way the board is being managed, we can either put up with it or leave. I suspect that in the past both paths have been followed.

 

It appears to me that Max felt that Evenfall's comment was a prelude to the escalation of tensions in that thread.

 

Quote " As a Rule, One should be really careful on Railroad Right Of Ways, Blah, Blah, Blah, Yadda, Yadda...

 

Either no one "gets it" or cares... " End Quote. Color added.

 

Hence the play nice warning.

 

Regardless of whether it was the correct thing to do, Evenfall should have known that there would be repercussions to his response to said warning, yet he made them anyways.

 

I know it is politically correct to blame others for the problem and not the person who did the deed.

 

All Evenfall needed in response to Max was either say nothing and let it go, or a simple "OK Max" and let it go with that and he would still be posting here, now.

 

As to the cop comment, you think it doesn't happen in real life? At the time a cop pulls you over he has choices as to how the stop will be handled. If you try giving him a hard time, guess what?

 

John

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John,

 

It appears to me also that Max thought that Rob's comment was a prelude to something. What that particular something was going to be, nobody knows. I think that is exactly the point that many here are trying to make--we have no idea what was seen in Rob's post that caused the reprimand.

 

I am not known for being politically correct and moreover haven't blamed anyone for anything. What I am still trying to do, and others here have indicated the are also trying to do, is learn what caused the original "play fair" statement.

 

As for the police situation, you missed my point. I am going to quote myself to remake it:

And you feel because this happens that it is RIGHT? Or a valid use of the policeman's power? Might makes right I guess.

 

Hardly.

 

Just because something happens, even frequently, does not mean it is right.

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Looks kinda like an iffy time out to me. But that is going only on the original thread and comments in here.

 

2 things I wonder about- 1: Max Cachers original warning was edited fairly quickly after it was posted- what did it say originally?; 2: were there some behind the scenes messaging that contributed to the time out?

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Seeing as this:

 

But you did attack a Moderator, from the guidelines: Personal Attacks and Flames will not be tolerated. If you want to praise or criticize, give examples as to why it is good or bad, general attacks on a person or idea will not be tolerated.

 

is the reason Max gave for the suspension, I went and looked for such a personal attack or flame. Didn't find one that I could tell. I will grant that Rob comes across a little abrasive, that seems to be just his typing style. Take that into consideration along with Max jumping in where I don't see any need for moderation (what was the 'play nice' for?) and you seem to have ended up with an unfair action by a moderator.

 

It's easy enough to undo.

 

-Matt

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It has now been about two weeks since evenfall was given his 'time out'. Does anyone have any updates or news on this situation?

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