Censorship on new English Chess Forum

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Roger de Coverly
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Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:57 pm

As a number of people may have noticed, there's a new forum at
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/Forum/

Lurking in that forum, I happened to notice a Congress announcement under Adverts. I think it was about the Weald Congress although I couldn't be totally sure.

The reason I noticed it was "footprints in the snow" to use Nigel Short's analogy. Anyway at approaching midnight, there it is, gone.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:27 am

Following up my own post, it appears I didn't imagine it.

Here's the link, not that I expect it to survive very long.
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/Forum/vi ... hp?f=3&t=7

and to repost
As a Platinum member of the ECF using my own name I make two posts and both are deleted.

I advertise a Chess Tournament under the heading Chess Adverts and I get this response from the moderator

'If you don't mind, I'm removing this. The calendar is the best place for events, and I think Crowborough is already there? If this idea were to blossom, we'll end up with two calendars? We rather imagined people would advertise chess services and chess items here ...'

my response is

'Ah well not much point in the forum then if it is not allowed to evolve as the users see fit.

If reasonable posts are deleted and such a level of moderation is used I don’t see why anyone will use it.'

David Fryer

PS my other post was one asking the Director for more directories such as Tournament Announcements and Tournament Results instead of a response saying 'no' my post is deleted !

It would have been nice eg to have a place to post results and for members to give their comments about the tournament !
On the rather more tolerant ecforum, there is this
http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6577

I would have thought it blindingly obvious that if you have a forum to discuss English chess, that you should have a means for organisers to announce and promote tournaments and to record results. This supplements the appearance of events on a calendar, rather than challenges it.

(edit) In case, like me, anyone is confused, the ECF's Forum is using GMT rather than BST as its time stamp. (/edit)

(edit) The most recent post is by a user identified as "chess_player". This means presumably that there isn't a policy of requiring real names. I do however recall Dr A(ndrew) Cula, who made a number of posts. (/edit)

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:10 am

I am surprised the new forum allows anonymous registration.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:53 am

Carl Hibbard wrote:I am surprised the new forum allows anonymous registration.
In a thread entitled "Welcome to the Forum", it is stated
It will do so, in an arena that is designed to be welcoming and co-operative and not in an arena that is confrontational.
Deleting posts that were simply promoting a forthcoming Congress, is confrontational. That and allowing anonymous posting is a poor start.

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Paolo Casaschi
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:35 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:As a number of people may have noticed, there's a new forum at
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/Forum/

Lurking in that forum, I happened to notice a Congress announcement under Adverts. I think it was about the Weald Congress although I couldn't be totally sure.

The reason I noticed it was "footprints in the snow" to use Nigel Short's analogy. Anyway at approaching midnight, there it is, gone.
Give them a break! They just started a new forum, with a team of new moderators (likely inexperienced): they probably haven't figured out how to make it work yet. It might need some time.

Posting about "censorship" just few hours after the opening of a new forum, for a trivial matter (a congress announcement that should/could have been placed elsewhere on the site) might make someone think you already have cast your judgement about this initiative before it even started.

A suggestions instead: for a heavily moderated forum it's important to publish the moderation policy that will be applied, explaining in advance what is allowed and what is not. It can be as simple as: "posts that Carl arbitrarily decides are inappropriate will be deleted" but a policy statement definitely helps managing users' expectations and minimizing complains after moderation actions.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Michael Farthing » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:06 am

There is now what amounts to an apology about David Fryer's post being refused and it would seem to be part of their learning curve.

However, what has not been discussed is what possible motivation there can be for the new forum?
A link to an established forum with existing robust discussion seems more appropriate unless the aim (as seems likely from other hints) is to produce a subservient uncritical following. If the intention is to directly challenge here (and this must be a thought in all our minds) then it would be a very sad day for open thinking in the English chess world. While the English Chess Forum has a firm position at present we should not forget that a forum attached directly to the ECF site has the advantage of being able to catch new visitors who may be unaware of the existence of an alternative.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:14 am

Michael Farthing wrote: If the intention is to directly challenge here (and this must be a thought in all our minds) then it would be a very sad day for open thinking in the English chess world.
That is the intention of which I have "private and confidential" evidence. It's based on the old chestnut that robust discussion discourages potential sponsors.

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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by David Sedgwick » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:42 am

Michael Farthing wrote:A link to an established forum with existing robust discussion seems more appropriate unless the aim (as seems likely from other hints) is to produce a subservient uncritical following.
That may indeed be the aim. However, allowing anyone to post, and to do so anonymously, is a strange way of seeking to achieve it.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:54 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:That is the intention of which I have "private and confidential" evidence. It's based on the old chestnut that robust discussion discourages potential sponsors.
Which is a silly view and will produce a silly forum.
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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:45 am

Michael Farthing wrote:There is now what amounts to an apology about David Fryer's post being refused and it would seem to be part of their learning curve.

However, what has not been discussed is what possible motivation there can be for the new forum?
A link to an established forum with existing robust discussion seems more appropriate unless the aim (as seems likely from other hints) is to produce a subservient uncritical following. If the intention is to directly challenge here (and this must be a thought in all our minds) then it would be a very sad day for open thinking in the English chess world. While the English Chess Forum has a firm position at present we should not forget that a forum attached directly to the ECF site has the advantage of being able to catch new visitors who may be unaware of the existence of an alternative.
I refused the level of moderation they requested for a section on here although their rules seem more relaxed than initial discussions.
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:29 pm

There is a relatively thin line between holding federation officials to account and slagging off volunteers and that line does occasionally get crossed on here. At the end of the day there will still be unoffocial forums and bloggers and journalists will still be having their say. I know that some people are put off by the politics and mud slinging that appears on this forum and a cosier `in house` discussion board may well be beneficial for the ECF.

That said I can't say I'm happy about people being allowed to hide behind pseudonyms (when I registered I was not obliged to give my real name) and this does perhaps need feeding back. I also think it should be for ECF members only.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:03 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote: I also think it should be for ECF members only.
That immediately makes for an inward looking forum which excludes members of the wider chess community such as internet players and non-English participants. From a position where it sometimes seemed that ECF Officials regarded all discussion forums as the work of the devil, why is it that there's a change of policy? Is it the ECF's goal that its own forum becomes the discussion place of choice and that rivals should wither away?

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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by David Pardoe » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:04 pm

As regards slagging off volunteers....it goes with the territory unfortunately. Hopefully, the good points will stand out above the trash..but its not always the case.
A classic illustration of this was the way Roger Edwards was hounded out of office on the back of a bogus campaign to bring in some so called `buzz` and charisma...plus commercial nouse, to English Chess. Yes, I dont disagree that some of these ingredients would help.
He had done a good job in difficult circumstances but was shouted down by the usual noisy element (with big bl;ock votes, etc..), who wanted more action...and got more than they bargained for. The angels of death were again summond.. So now we have no President, and Mr Edwards and others have offered to fill the breach to give steady leadership....and a wealth of experience.

As regards anonimous posting...its probably a good thing and encourages debate. See the iii financial website and the Sunderlasnd football supporters website for two completely different examples of this...
The point about named users is that the big shots either call the shots and pull rank over the plebs, telling everyone that disagrees with there views that they are fools, or they sit in silence, refusing to comment.
Whereas, with the anonimous posts, all are on a level playing field, and so the small fry feel more able to join in...as per the above mentioned websites.
The major problem with all these sites is the tendancy to post one sided discussions, so that views are often bent in one direction, ignoring the counter arguements.
One hopes that a balanced view will emerge from debates, but this is by no means guarenteed...and sometimes the very debate can be very open ended anyway, so its hard to decide what is best. It amazes me at times the wide range of views that do exist on some topics.
The MCF - Lancs/NCCU issue illustrates this, but can show that good points hold on both sides.
I can see how Lancs and Yorks are reluctant to do anything that might result in big chuncks of there empires disappearing, thus redering there challenge to the supremacy of the deep south, with its great inbuilt population advantage, in the National County Finals stages. Great qudos and positive vibes can hang on where these titles go.
We need to look at radical restructuring options and rule changes to help give balance to these counties events, and encourage greater participation. A national guidance committee might do the trick, but long term changes can take time and good constructive discussion. Proper web debates could help speed the process in some cases.

The other point about these forums is about `result`...
We have some very good discussions here...but do they lead anywhere, or is it just hot air disappearing into the ether...are the good ideas being lost in the jungle.
BRING BACK THE BCF

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:16 pm

David Pardoe wrote: A classic illustration of this was the way Roger Edwards was hounded out of office on the back of a bogus campaign to bring in some so called `buzz` and charisma...plus commercial nouse, to English Chess.
As far as I recall, it was the ecforum who tried to give the challenger a particularly hard time and may have given the sceptics amongst the voting membership some ammunition to resist the lobbying for the outsider coming from those who perhaps should have known better.

Conspiracy theorists would have it that it was a put up job by Kirsan loyalists in FIDE to subvert the long standing opposition in the ECF and amongst English players to the continued Presidency.

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Re: Censorship on new English Chess Forum

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:25 pm

David Pardoe wrote: As regards anonimous posting...its probably a good thing and encourages debate. See the iii financial website and the Sunderlasnd football supporters website for two completely different examples of this...
It appears that the moderators of the ECF forum have responded to this issue promptly and stopped anonymous posting.

But as regards your post I am sorry but I have never read such garbage in my life. Anonymous posting allows people to write any abuse they like and the person on the receiving end has no way of knowing who's said it. Being slagged off may go with the territory for volunteers but it can cause considerable distress, particularly for those who haven't had a chance to develop a thick hide. Also anonymous comments suggest that the author wouldn't have the guts to say it under their real name.

A lot of chess players in this country feel that things could and should be done differently and there are two ways of improving things. One is to volunteer, or (necessity being the mother of invention) organise the kind of the events that they feel should be happening. If these events are a success then these people will accrue more influence; be it in the form of bloc votes at meetings or simply having more people willing to listen to what they have to say. The other way of trying to improve things is to write lengthy posts on forums such as this criticising what others are doing and complaining that nobody is volunteering to do things the way you think they should be done.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

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