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Where is the line?


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#1 Loss

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:09 PM

This board was founded on the idea that we would discuss Pro Wrestling Only. Of course, it only makes sense when discussing matches that often double as morality plays, or storylines that tend to implicitly and explicitly touch on issues of gender and race, or capitalist business models of wrestling companies, that sometimes the discussion will spill into broader issues. It seems to be happening more often lately, I think because of a changing culture and more politically-charged times. I also sense that the community seems pretty divided over whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I don't think it's necessary that we are all in agreement on this issue, but I would like to hear some thoughts on where you think the line is that you would prefer that we not cross where we still maintain the spirit of the board as a pro wrestling site. Goodhelmet and I made the conscious choice not to set up a Current Events folder or a Music folder or anything else off-topic when we launched precisely because we had seen it do a number on other once-thriving message boards -- people formed opinions of others based on their personal stances that had little or nothing to do with their wrestling opinions, and that ended up poisoning the wrestling waters. I hope we haven't passed the point of no return with that happening here, and I'm willing to accept that maybe what pro wrestling "only" meant when we launched in 2007 is not what it means ten years later. Ultimately though, all I want is for this board to be everything for everyone within the scope of wrestling. There is plenty of room for lots of divergence and differing opinions on what that means. But I don't think the current approach is working, because it is causing a lot of resentment and threads aren't as civil as they have usually been around here. I'd like to have a productive conversation about how we can get things back on track.



#2 fakeplastictrees

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:36 PM

First, I want to say that I love this board. I've been a member for a long time and its a good place and space to be involved and active. I really hate to say this, as I've seen what it did to DVDVR, but perhaps we need to begin to crack down on the personal asides that are derailing threads. I don't mean the posts which are trying to understand a deeper subtext within pro wrestling, but rather the personal attacks on posters and the conspiracy theories leveled at these posters. The MIS forum was/is a good idea, but I don't think people know when to carry a conversation into MIS or when to start a conversation in MIS vs. the other areas of the board. The whole "Lucha vs. Puro Relevancy" discussion is definitely MIS material (in my book) and the thread turned into that as the conversation moved from People Don't Like It/Media Quality is Poor/etc. to discussing the inherent biases we all have when absorbing art.

 

At times, I feel this place can get really meta and it comes off as Bischoff making a "Sid & Scissors" gaff to no heat and only confusion. Again, I am not talking about the actual wrestling discussion or the cultural analysis applied--just the references to some random posters stance on an empty arena match talked about 3 years ago being a talking point that carries on for 3 pages. Its hard to police without coming off like a bad guy and at times completely unreasonable, but there has to be a middle ground between "I think your opinion is stupid and here is why!" vs. " Oh you think that Sevilla/Mohicano match from 98 was top ten MOTYC? I am sure your mother is REALLY proud of you! You will be off this board in 3 months flat!". I have also seen people start 'making points' within a thread that no one else is talking about or bringing up (again--not knowing when to take it to MIS). This provides for a good laugh from me, but I can see others finding it frustrating.

 

Loss, as much as you might beat yourself up at the current state-of-the-board, trust me-- it is far from a descent into madness that some places have become. PWO has not become a parody of itself with people trying to get his/her gimmick over--and that has to count for something. Overall I think you and the Mod team are doing a good job.



#3 The Thread Killer

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:47 PM

I have also noticed an increase in tension here at PWO, and it is troubling.  I am not sure that anything can be done about it.

 

I think the first problem is that (as with most messageboards and online communities) there is a core group of members.  Over the course of years, these people have gotten to know each other and their opinions and responses have become predictable.  In other words, if I make a post which is critical of a particular organization or wrestler, I usually already know who is going to disagree with me, based on history.  I can predict how some people are going to react, and what they are going to say. I guess it's a case of familiarity breeding contempt.

 

Secondly - and this is the much larger problem in my opinion - is the tendency of some members to be insulting and profane.  If I make a post which is critical of a particular organization or wrestler, you would think that the response by people who disagreed with me would be varied.  If they really thought I was totally irrational in my arguments, then they might just ignore me altogether.  But if I said something they thought they had a valid argument to, they could post a counter-point or structure an argument. That seems to be happening a lot less around here.  Instead, you get insults.  That contributes nothing to the discussion and only leads to bad feelings and tension. Honestly, I wish the moderators here would deal with these types of posts and members.

 

Finally, I think a problem is some members making posts that are basically trolling - clearly meant to antagonize.  For example, somebody posts a sweeping generalization like "boy, a lot of the posters around here have been idiots lately" or "I'm so tired of having to deal with these stupid WWE fans."  I myself have been guilty of making snide comments on occasion.  This problem is exacerbated by the fact that there are some members here who seem to only post criticisms of other posters. They don't start threads, they don't contribute to discussions, but you can always count on them to show up and insult other posters or make vague and unhelpful comments about how stupid everybody else is.  If there was a rule in place that stated your posts need to contain some sort of substance, I'd follow it.

 

Another type of trolling which has been going on is members attempting to start "discussions" by starting threads making inflammatory statements or posting clearly antagonistic opinions, in what appears to be nothing more than an attempt to rile people up.  If you have an opinion about a subject that you think goes against the popular opinion, that's fine.  But I think the way it is presented is what separates trolling from debate.  Starting a thread with a topic like "Bret Hart is the most overrated wrestler on the planet" and then kicking off your discussion by saying you think The HonkyTonk Man was better, looks like trolling.  Starting a topic and entitling it "Revisiting Bret Hart in context" or "Compare Bret Hart to the current generation" is more likely to generate discussion.  But sometimes I am unsure if discussion is the goal, or if the poster just wanted to poke a hornet's nest with a stick to see what happens.



#4 WingedEagle

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:51 PM

For me, the line is when the discussion is framed around the ex-wrestling aspect -- whether cultural, political, musical, financial or otherwise.  Its hardly black & white as others may think any tangential connection makes a discussion wrestling-related.  The recent thread that brought this about seemed to trend away from wrestling -- lucha, domestic, Japanese or otherwise -- when the conversation moved away from the mat & elements of the respective styles and became predominantly grounded in cultural talking points, which soon spiraled into personal attacks.  

 

While I'm not suggesting we should all view and discuss wrestling through such a narrow lens as to ignore factors outside the ring, when the argument reaches a point where those involved have no need to discuss anything about a wrestler, style, promotion or match -- as happened here when racism/cultural issues/choose your non-PWO buzzword -- then perhaps its a conversation best picked up elsewhere.  Especially when it invites personal sniping, which seems much more common as the discussion moves away from the wrestling.

 

This place has been incredible as far as encouraging discussion and not relying on a heavy hand to steer things.  Its undoubtedly a delicate balance.  Some may think the entire conversation was very wrestling-related.  I saw it as one that should've been housed elsewhere or perhaps the Mostly folder.  

 

This site is at its best when the community is talking about professional wrestling -- whether matches from yesterday, last year, the 80s or earlier, regardless of country or style.  I'd like to think most of us can recognize when that's no longer the subject matter, and in those cases the conversation should end.



#5 Migs

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 12:52 PM

Part of this is the natural issue of a relatively small community that's been together for a long time. (I've dealt with this in running a couple of artistic communities in my life.) The posters who know each other well know each other REALLY well. And it's one of the things that's great about a longstanding community - what makes it fun for people is that they can draw on experience with each other in having a deeper conversation. That also means that people will be a bit more likely to go ad hominem in conversations, because they know the other person's views really well.

 

But it can also make it exclusionary to newer people - if you haven't been reading this board for a while, "Ric Flair: Overrated?" can seem like an interesting topic, if you don't know people have been discussing Flair at great length for a decade here. And so people say, "Um, we've been there," but a new person hasn't been there.

 

There's not necessarily a good way to balance it. And it's hard to stop people from using what they know in conversation - Grimmas and Parv can't have a conversation that ignores the years of posts they've made before.

 

But I'm with fakeplastictrees - this board is still a fascinating place to read (and sometimes post). 



#6 overbooked

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 01:17 PM

Wrestling doesn't exist in a bubble and it would be a shame if we had to discuss wrestling as if it does. There are external influences (political, cultural, social etc) that have made professional wrestling what it is. There are also external critical frameworks that can be useful to apply to professional wrestling, especially as the theory/language around criticising wrestling is fairly limited.

 

I'm not sure the topics are the issue. It feels more like the tone and behaviour at times is the problem. Fundamentally, people need to be civil and respectful. They also can't act like trolls and then get offended when the board self-moderates and calls them out on that. 

 

I think this board is one of the few places taking wrestling discussion and criticism forward in an interesting and worthwhile direction. It would be a huge shame to stifle that just because some people on some occasions struggle with acting in a decent, human way.



#7 Loss

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 01:21 PM

If I'm seeing anything resembling agreement, it's that we need more hands-on moderating. I've always tried to resist that on principle, but maybe we have reached a point where it's necessary, at least for a while. Is this a fair read?

 

Edited to add: I don't want to turn the board into a dictatorship, but I also see stuff here that I think would be useful for new posters to see and for older posters to be reminded of. I think it would be useful to do a write-up of posting guidelines and pin it (and unpin some of that stuff that doesn't need to be there anymore.) 



#8 Ricky Jackson

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 01:42 PM

This board is great, really I don't think anything else comes close based on what I've seen. The mood of the board has definitely changed over the last few years, noticeably as the focus shifted from praising old school stuff to more concern about the current scene. Still, some of the battles between posters were even more heated in the past, and threads were as contentious then as now. What's different seems to be the mood of the times, with everybody wanting to get political and draw battle lines claiming to be either this or that, left or right, blah blah blah. Personally I hate politics and find the discussion tiresome. But I can ignore it. I don't think anything needs to be done as far as increased moderation. Those who will get banned will bury themselves eventually. They always do.

The GWE definitely did damage to the board though. A lot of people left after that or cut back on their contributions it seems. And people are moving to Twitter and leaving the musty old message board behind. Can't fight the future. I've been retreating more into the past though.

Anyway, this is still a great board. Times have changed. All I can say is celebrate what you love and fight the urge to be negative and complain and trash wrestling in your posts. Nobody wants to read that

#9 delacroix

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 02:52 PM

i'm in agreement that the problem isn't the topics, it's the tone.  these larger phenomena affect us, and they affect professional wrestling, and to try to draw a line that keeps them out (or pretends to, since what it will really do is keep them from being acknowledged- well, it could keep out some less popular perspectives) keeps discussion from going too far beyond benign nostalgia (which, don't get me wrong, i like just fine, too) and, pardon the term, wankery. if this results in conflict, well, yeah. of course it does, but that's not a bad thing at all, as long as people can maintain respect and civility.



#10 Grimmas

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 03:00 PM

It also doesn't help if you keep telling someone that they are just angry or upset, when they are not. That does nothing but bring everything down.



#11 garretta

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 04:07 PM

Speaking for myself, I enjoy the fact that we can let loose on wrestlers and matches without having to watch what we say beyond normal boundaries of good taste. I'd hate to feel like we had to police what we say or feel like we had to find positive things to say even about stuff we have no use for in order not to be warned about excessive negativity/lack of civility, and that's what could start happening if moderation becomes too strict.

 

On the other hand, some posters feel the need to always be right and prove that they're smarter than those they're conversing with, and when they're told they're not, they get after the people who tell them they're not right just because they've gotten their feelings hurt, and we end up with grade-school pissing contests. That definitely has to stop. My main interest right now is going through the Yearbooks, so I just lurk in most of the other areas, but there are threads I wouldn't dare post on even if I had the notion because I don't want to wade into the muck. 

 

What I guess we need is more moderation of that sort of stuff without limiting criticism, even pointed criticism, of the matches and/or wrestling personalities themselves. If we can achieve that somehow, things could get back to what passes for normal around here.



#12 TravJ1979

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 04:19 PM

Speaking for myself, I enjoy the fact that we can let loose on wrestlers and matches without having to watch what we say beyond normal boundaries of good taste. I'd hate to feel like we had to police what we say or feel like we had to find positive things to say even about stuff we have no use for in order not to be warned about excessive negativity/lack of civility, and that's what could start happening if moderation becomes too strict.

 

On the other hand, some posters feel the need to always be right and prove that they're smarter than those they're conversing with, and when they're told they're not, they get after the people who tell them they're not right just because they've gotten their feelings hurt, and we end up with grade-school pissing contests. That definitely has to stop. My main interest right now is going through the Yearbooks, so I just lurk in most of the other areas, but there are threads I wouldn't dare post on even if I had the notion because I don't want to wade into the muck. 

 

What I guess we need is more moderation of that sort of stuff without limiting criticism, even pointed criticism, of the matches and/or wrestling personalities themselves. If we can achieve that somehow, things could get back to what passes for normal around here.

 

100% agree.



#13 Parties

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Posted 29 December 2016 - 09:09 PM

Definitely agree that no topic is off-limits, unless someone’s just totally derailing a thread with petty spite that’s way far afield from the subject at hand. (Of course, it would be rare for someone to be both doing so and be self-aware to realize they were doing it, which is perhaps where an Admin steps in.) As for “Where is the line?”, they call it Moderation for a reason. It’s not the material that should be subdued, but the tenor of the conversation. When we disagree, it can be hard to then not to resist every statement made thereafter by those we’ve deemed our opponent or opposite. If you can disagree with someone and still remain cordial – as well as genuinely strive to listen and hear their perspective - that’s when we’re playing tennis against those who can make us better players. When in doubt, be nicer than you have to be.

 

Two quicker points:

1) I post a lot less than I used to, and it has nothing to do with GWE. There were some rants at journey's end post-GWE that I found a bit condescendingly diva, but they also came from people who'd devoted more time and energy to the project than I did, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and kept quiet. My wrestling viewing waxes and wanes. This remains the best board.

2) Migs makes a great point that telling newcomers "That topic is old hat / We had this discussion three years ago" is an unnecessary buzzkill, and one I've even been kinda guilty of recently. While I do think it's useful to acknowledge the past history of where these topics have gone, and understand the context of how commonplace beliefs became dogma over the 20+ years or so that these boards have been around, I also want to make room for those coming in for the first time, as we all did at one time or another.

 

I’m willing to read the takes of anyone here, and props to Loss for being so attentive to how the discourse is going. Take into account that even when debating, I’m genuinely pretty calm and try not to take offense when people disagree or mischaracterize what’s being said. When reading anything I write from here on out, one should picture me typing while wearing sunglasses, smoking, giving a thumbs-up, and steering a small motorboat.



#14 MikeCampbell

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 12:51 AM

Well Loss, I know you said it's not really you or Will's bag, but heavier moderation is what it sounds like you need. You guys are good about trying to keep things in order here, but, there's only so many times that you or Will can run in on thread and tell someone to knock it off, or to attack the argument and not the poster. I don't know what more you guys could really do, aside from maybe institute some sort of warning system, where a member gets 3 warnings for being out of line, and that leads to their account being suspended and then banned if they keep things up.



#15 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 30 December 2016 - 12:58 AM

I personally didn't have a problem with anything that happened during the "Puro vs. Lucha" thread, but I think it would be a good idea to draw up some guidelines. There's a lot more discussion about politics and social issues than there used to be, and while there was a call for the MIS forum, it's been under-utilized to date. So, I think you need to make a call on political you want the site to be since as we all know politics and message forums don't mix well.  



#16 Coffey

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 05:15 PM

The problem is Parv and none of you will say it. He's been here a long time & contributed a lot but at this point, he's purposely just trying to piss people off. Look at the Jimmy Snuka thread. Look what he did during GWE. Look at the Puro Vs. Lucha thread. It's just him shitting on people & acting like everyone else is stupid.



#17 WingedEagle

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 05:47 PM

For another perspective, I like JVK.  I enjoy his takes on wrestling and frankly don't find his tone all that inciting or offensive.  I also don't always agree with him, but get turned off of discussions when the tone or arguments become particularly hostile and vitriolic.  It does seem a little simplistic to single out one individual for this type of environment, but perhaps I'm misreading things.



#18 overbooked

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 08:56 AM

The best forums police themselves wherever possible. It is really hard to do that when regular posters (and friends of the people who run the place, sometimes) are causing problems. Out-and-out trolls are easy to deal with by comparison.

 

I don't post often because I've grown tired of a lot of the tricks and behaviours I see - seeing discussion as something to "win", reframing discussions to suit your own agenda, projecting emotions on others, talking down to others, ignoring posts that politely prove you wrong, lack of empathy, co-opting of right-wing language, grandstanding, threats to leave etc etc etc etc.

 

All of that nonsense was kind of understandable 15 years ago when these sorts of boards were full of guys in their teens and twenties. It is pretty demoralising seeing the same kind of stuff now we're that much older. It makes all the good stuff less worthwhile, as there is always the risk of someone derailing an interesting and fun discussion.

 

While I wouldn't pin everything on one person, it wouldn't hurt to have a quiet word with one or two people once in a while.



#19 Loss

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 11:52 AM

Enough people have said this that I do want to treat it seriously. I honestly do believe everyone is treated fairly -- genuinely -- but enough people have said it separately that maybe there is something to it and I should address it in some fashion. There was a person who people recently wanted banned with whom I have no relationship, who has no podcast and who got off to a rocky start here, but who is turning into a pretty good poster. So the leniency goes in all directions. 

 

What I would say about Parv is that it seems he often finds himself in situations where when he says something provocative or controversial, three or four people respond to point it out or provide opposition. I do see cases like that as the board policing itself and then I am unsure what I should do next in an admin capacity. If he was intimidating people to the point that no one was responding, I would absolutely step in, but I haven't seen evidence of that happening. Maybe I am reading this completely the wrong way. If I am, please tell me.

 

But having said that, I would encourage people to point me to specific examples of cases where someone has been banned or reprimanded for something where someone else has done the same thing and nothing has happened at all. I say that not because I'm saying it's not true, but because I trust the people who make these claims and know there must be something to it if so many people are saying it independent of each other. Of course, you can PM me if you don't want to put that out in the open. I think I'm a pretty fair person, and if it's laid out to me that way, I'll see it. Right now, I don't, but I am willing to engage in good faith.



#20 concrete1992

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Posted 20 January 2017 - 03:39 PM

Looking up posts now where someone calls someone else respected in the industry!






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