ECF Code of Conduct

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:02 am

Chris Rice wrote: Clearly this is a more significant issue than name calling and ECF Codes of Conduct, what was I thinking?
The standards appropriate to a forum run on behalf of the ECF would differ from those of a forum for discussion of English chess. Any ECF Code of Conduct is potentially enforceable on the former, but not on the latter, so if the forum owner chooses to refer to a notorious blogger in less than complimentary terms, the ECF's Code of Conduct is not relevant.

(edit) The complainant had a point in a roundabout way. The ECF directors were keen to propose a code of conduct which could have protected them and the ECF from hostile criticism, but didn't appear to appreciate that it applied to them as well. The robust manner used by at least some of them and other ECF officers to meet critics potentially fell foul of the code as worded.(/edit)

Ernie Lazenby
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Ernie Lazenby » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:41 am

Codes of conduct are meaningless unless they have clearly defined penalties and a very clear statement as to who is responsible for imposing those penalties. Nationally there have been many examples of codes of practice being ignored in a number of organisations and that's because human beings will always push the boundaries in the knowledge that there will be no retribution.
The principle of what the ECF was trying to achieve seems quite reasonable however what was produced failed to address fundamental requirements.

As for Seans actions well he's not alone in sometimes forgetting his manners on a forum, I include myself , Martin Regan and others. Of course I feel manners, good taste and good behaviour need to be set aside in special cases and the blogger to whom I refer is obviously one. He hides behind a blog not allowing any form of reply and indeed he never posts on this forum because he lacks the fortitude to take the replies he would attract.

Returning to the core matter, I don't think that what took place warrants a hanging offence, two people having a go is perhaps not unique on this forum. Sean is a director but he is also human and thus not perfect. A formal complaint to the ECF seems very much like using a sledge hammer to crack an egg.

I shall now return to my slumber in the knowledge that Mr Giddins will receive his Christmas present.
Last edited by Carl Hibbard on Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Some Moderation

Chris Rice
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Chris Rice » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:07 pm

OK I really don't want to drag this out any further but I will return to Roger's last post as he is getting a bit confused.

Let me try and explain this one more time.

Carl took down Martin Regan's post because Martin was mocking Alan Burke's name. Nothing at all to do with the ECF Code of Conduct.

My point was that it was a bit rich of Carl to do this while at the same time feeling it was OK to call Steve Giddins a "pipsqueak" in the same thread. Again ECF Code of Conduct not involved.

I did make comments on the Sean Hewitt/Alan Burke situation earlier which did involve the ECF Code of Conduct. You've mixed these two issues up.

As for Ernie Lazenby's comments I'm not sure he doesn't owe Steve Giddins a vote of thanks as his spelling seems to have improved dramatically!

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:19 pm

Have to disagree with Chris - Giddins fully deserves such a moniker, for various reasons.

(a shame, because he can write well when he feels like it)
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Dec 18, 2012 12:33 pm

Chris Rice wrote:OK I really don't want to drag this out any further but I will return to Roger's last post as he is getting a bit confused.

Let me try and explain this one more time.

Carl took down Martin Regan's post because Martin was mocking Alan Burke's name. Nothing at all to do with the ECF Code of Conduct.

My point was that it was a bit rich of Carl to do this while at the same time feeling it was OK to call Steve Giddins a "pipsqueak" in the same thread. Again ECF Code of Conduct not involved.

I did make comments on the Sean Hewitt/Alan Burke situation earlier which did involve the ECF Code of Conduct. You've mixed these two issues up.

As for Ernie Lazenby's comments I'm not sure he doesn't owe Steve Giddins a vote of thanks as his spelling seems to have improved dramatically!
I agree, FWIW, that throwing words like pipsqueak around doesn't really help, but what about your final sentence above? It is clearly humorous (is it?), but could be taken the wrong way. Swings and roundabouts. I agree that a normal forum should be able to thrive with a mix of light-handed moderation and social pressure (people fail to realise that if they don't tell those that cross a line that a line has been crossed, things carry on going downhill; not all moderation should be done by the moderators, sometimes just another forumite telling someone that they should tone it down is enough), but an official forum needs more than that.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:57 pm

Chris Rice wrote:My point was that it was a bit rich of Carl to do this while at the same time feeling it was OK to call Steve Giddins a "pipsqueak" in the same thread.
I agree and will try to behave :shock:
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Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:13 pm

I think the important thing here is not so much the Code of Conduct or how it should be applied but whether those bringing a complaint under it are willing to accept any decision as final and binding, even if it isn't the response they want. Otherwise we will just end up with acrimonious threads on here about how the wrong conclusion was reached and how that shows the system isn't fit for purpose etc etc and we won't be any further on.
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Jonathan Bryant
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:58 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I don't know what workload moderating the Streatham blog causes to that writers' collective, but the several dozen posts typical of a day here would exceed it.
You're entirely right, of course. Justin's already answered this so I'll just add one or two thoughts of my own.

Firstly, it's not a huge workload, but it is a pain in the bum and frankly I'd rather not have to do it. As Justin says the main issue for us is getting comments published in a timely fashion. Very rarely do we cut posts - and when we do it's usually because they're spam or some such nonsense.

Every now and then we get a little flurry of activity that leads to a few comments where I have to spend time thinking "Do I want to allow this? Should I pass that?" and I really hate doing it. I also resent the fact that I spend time reading every comment just to make sure a relatively small proportion that shouldn't get through don't.

Secondly, when we turned modding for comments on the number of comments we received plunged downwards. I'm sure it would be the case here too and, given the different nature of this site compared to the comments for our blog, I suspect it would have an even greater effect.

In short, I strongly suspect that a 'premodded' forum wouldn't work and it would die a lonely death within a week.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:09 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:In short, I strongly suspect that a 'premodded' forum wouldn't work and it would die a lonely death within a week.
This forum has an average of 47 posts per day and around 2,000 visitors so it would be hard to keep up
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:26 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:In short, I strongly suspect that a 'premodded' forum wouldn't work and it would die a lonely death within a week.
My suggestion of premodding was either for a dedicated sub-board of this forum (such as 'ECF Matters' or more likely something with a more obvious name) or for an official forum run by the ECF, not for the entirety of the English Chess Forum (that would be silly). Obviously you can't stop people going off-topic, but the idea of having a 'quieter' (even if slower) space for ECF officials to 'inhabit' and respond to questions and discuss things at a slower pace than the sometime hectic flurries seen in some threads in the past, could work well, IMO. If you don't want to do that with ECF officials, start with one of the regional boards or something. Are there chess forums out there that are premodded? How does the Scotland Chess forum work?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:10 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:How does the Scotland Chess forum work?
I think it's the same way as this one with the big difference that the Chess Scotland forum is official and they also have an Ethics commission that can hear complaints about postings on the forum.

They are having one of their periodic rows at the moment, the acting International Junior Director has just resigned. I don't really know what it's about, but postings to their forum seem to come into it. It might be about about the costs of Junior trips abroad where Liverpool is abroad in their context. They managed a row about the Glorney Cup when it was hosted earlier this year in a 4NCL venue.

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Ben Purton
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Ben Purton » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:01 am

The positive with losing Sean is that we do not have to listen to Mr Burke's drivel.

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Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:49 am

In answer to Chris, the Chess Scotland Noticeboard is an official forum. Moderation does take place from time to time as one would expect. Council verifies the appointment of the moderator.

Roger speculates on recent incidents and the reasons for them. I think he is wrong in his suggestions.

The comments about the Glorney is a bit of a red herring as, with help from Mike Truran, this matter was resolved. I also doubt if postings had any significant influence on the decision of the CS JID. The discussion on the Liverpool tournament was just that. In simple terms - is it worth paying more for less basic accommodation?

There are currently a number of threads which give feedback and suggestions to officials on a number of issues. Whilst one or two threads have taken a turn for the worst, it is generally regarded as a worthwhile resource.

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JustinHorton
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:52 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: The postings complained about were arguably at least semi official. The ECF directors made what was viewed by a number of posters as an ill thought decision to introduce charges for ungraded events to appear on the ECF calendar. In his role as acting Director of Marketing, Sean was attempting to defend this and the subsequent division of the calendar into three parts, the point being that the ECF website falls under Marketing on content decisions.
Sure, but we don't need to set the bar so high. Even if individuals who are ECF officials comment on things they have done as ECF officials, we can always take the view that they are not actually working for the ECF when doing so. If it makes things easier all round.
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Alex McFarlane
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Re: ECF Code of Conduct

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:25 am

It is often difficult to differentiate when a person is posting as an individual and when as an official. It becomes impossible when an individual is commenting on a decision made when in an official capacity.

Like the police, an official is never completely off duty. A number of contributors to this forum use a tag indicating that they are giving their personal opinions and not those of an organisation. This is a useful step even though not always totally effective.

That is why I have suggested that the ECF should adopt an official forum where Directors would be totally accountable for everything they posted. That would then leave this forum as a vehicle for them to express opinions ‘unofficially’ as individuals.

It can be argued that the tone of Sean’s posts were not appropriate as he seemed to be expressing an official view. This would be a much more difficult view to adopt if it was clear that this was the view of an individual rather than an official.

My suggestion would not allow officials to say what they like but would give them more freedom to express themselves.

Regardless of any perceived provocation, if an official is seen to be insulting a member then action must be taken. Mitigating circumstances should always be taken into account. A person making false accusations should also face sanctions.

Some contributors should be reminded that attack is not always the best method of defence.

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