My two cents about TF generals, knights, ladies, and damsels in distress
I believe what they did originally was wrong - deleting and editing innocuous posts just because the chat content happened to refer to other forums, users, etc. I told them this in the Castle thread, and elaborated much more in PM's. Their original defense was that previous chat regarding other forums had become nasty, etc., and that is why they laid down a blanket 'no chat about other forum' rule that was blindly followed later. I pointed out that this kind of over-reactionary policy is not balanced moderation. They should only react when things get nasty. They shouldn't react on innocent normal everyday conversation just because the content may involve discussion about other forums, or users belonging to other forums, as long as there are no attacks made against the current forum user base. They apparently discussed it, with Baron Britbox leading the way, and came out to a good resolution in my opinion.Now part 2.
In resolving this, they did not put things back entirely the way they were. As General Hercules stated, they renamed the sub-forum to Frontier Chat. The link in their menu also no longer mentions the Castle. They also did not have the Castle thread as a sticky - important. They also removed individual moderators like General Hercules and Sir Javier, but they also removed other moderators in other sub-forums as well. It seems that only global moderators will have any moderation control in the future. They also said that there would be no ownership of the thread. But as I see it, there have to be leaders/facilitators to run the Castle business.
One other thing, it seems that many of the innocuous posts in the Castle thread were either deleted or edited. [The thread lost about 6 or 7 pages of posts.] - (<< incorrect, those 6 or 7 pages were from the original frontier thread and were extracted to make the new Frontier thread)
I think those posts that were wrongly deleted or edited should have been restored if possible. I don't know if they saved a copy of the original thread somewhere or not. I can check with Baron Britbox about that.
General Hercules is also correct in that many good posters were introduced to TF due to his efforts. I'm sure they were pleased to have us there. From a personal standpoint, I got my own blog, which might help me gain some additional recognition to possibly earn some monetary benefit in the future. But it also works two ways. Good posters also help the site's recognition. So they definitely need to well treat the people who are giving the site more recognition.
However, I don't think an ultimatum rant type of response to these remaining issues is the best way to go about it, though it is certainly direct and understandable in the context. We should bring grievances up with the forum hosts in a reasonable thoughtful manner.
Here is how I see things:
TF is looking to establish it self as a top Tennis site, not just a forum. They have some resources and connections to get various professional players and other personalities to contribute and are looking to be a contender in the manner of the tennis specialty sites, like a Tennis.com. It's the big picture for the site. The forum is only a bit secondary, as their clear strategy has been to drive the discussion regarding the main tennis blogs, commentary, and news toward the forums. That makes sense.
Now in light of that, pure chat threads like the Castle are a lesser concern in their big picture. Yes, it can help attract users and generate traffic, but it isn't seen by the people there as an important tennis thread. Of course, what many don't know is that many knowledgeable people in the Castle offer many profound tennis thoughts, predictions, and commentary in the Castle, of which many turn out to be spot on. Some people feel more comfortable giving their opinions in a chat style, than in official forum match threads or tournament threads. Why? Because the Castle is generally very respectful towards opinions, unlike some of the official forum threads, where people tend to get attacked or become objects of derision for their opinions.
So what can be done to publicize this very desirable trait of the Castle Chat? For one, make all Castle titles tennis based. Don't title the Castle thread bare bones - Castle Chat. Create an interesting title that has relates to the current tennis happenings - as we used to have at other forums. Something like: "The Castle That Never Sleeps Reveals US Open Mysteries"
, or other creative titles. Make it clear that the Castle theme is integrated with Tennis. This "window dressing" sets the tone and makes it more interesting for people, and more important in the big picture.
Secondly, we can't continue to have bickering amongst ourselves or the forum hosts Inside the Castle Thread.
People just leave the Castle in droves when that happens. Nobody wants to come and chat. They don't want the drama. The Castle is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Sensible discussions fine. Yes, the Castle theme is the warrior theme where we don't back down, but it is also respectful, and we always take the high road. Bickering, fighting, attacks, ultimatums don't belong. It burns bridges. The Castle and it's citizens can't keep running from forum to forum. It makes the Castle look bad.
That said, we still have to take a stand when the Castle and its citizens are being unfairly treated
, by even the board hosts, global mods, anyone. If we have problems with the hosts or mods, discuss it reasonably in PM's. There are enough people in the Castle that can make pretty fair arguments in trying to produce the results we want. If we cannot arrive at a reasonable resolution in a reasonable amount of time (these things aren't instantly resolvable - they take time with people's busy schedules, etc.) , then make a simple rational statement in the Castle thread that the Castle is being closed temporarily due to unresolved differences with the forum hosts. Tirades are no benefit to anyone. Again, take the high road. Make the Castle look good.
In the current situation, I think it may or may not be salvageable. We can discuss in PM's our objections in a reasonable manner. Keep in mind that some things may not be as important in the big picture, despite our personal interests.
As I see it, we need to negotiate the following:
1. Presence and publicity. The Castle theme is well known. But the site also has it's own branding.
I think a bit of compromise is in order. The link to the sub-forum is currently Frontier Chat, I think it should be changed to "Frontier Castle Chat".
2. The Castle does need "ownership" in terms of leadership. Leaders are necessary to run the business of the Castle and facilitate it's use. Starting threads, setting the tone of the castle, posting when slow to encourage conversation, inviting posters from other forums, etc.
3. Moderation: The Castle has been usually pretty self-moderating. But on occasion, we have seen posters that come here to disrupt the thread with insults, baiting, and other more damaging attacks that cannot be tolerated. The Castle leaders can make strong statements against these attacks, but without moderation rights, have little real power to back up those statements with necessary solutions. Therefore moderation is needed. I feel it is not necessary that any of the Castle leaders has moderation rights
the global moderators respond in a reasonably quick and appropriate fashion to reports of abuse. The trouble in the past is that global moderators or administrators in various forums where a Castle existed have not always been that responsive, due to either deficiency in structure (enough mods), and perhaps lack of motivation, or downright interest to see the Castle in ruins. When that happens, the Castle leaders naturally feel that they need moderation rights. As for TF, I understand if Baron Britbox makes a decision to eliminate specific mods and rely on global moderators. I think we can give a chance for that to work, with the understanding that if it doesn't work, we would like specific moderation reinstated.
I have already presented some of this to Baron Britbox. But at this point, I realize he may be fed up with the Castle and not be interested in further discussion. I await his reply. If that turns out to be the case, it is too bad as I think the Castle could have been a valuable presence on the forum. But whatever happens, I think it is we have to learn from this and move on in a positive way.
Thanks for listening to my two cents.