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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Northern Mine Barrage :
The courtesy of our hall is somewhat lessened of late. (Admin Announcement, ALL PLEASE READ)
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Terror of the Seas / Moderator

Aug 28 2012, 7:08pm

Post #1 of 91 (26197 views)
The courtesy of our hall is somewhat lessened of late. (Admin Announcement, ALL PLEASE READ) Can't Post

Over the last several months, the Admins/Mods have been watching the Hobbit board in growing dismay. TORN has always been a welcoming and friendly place but the Hobbit board has recently become fraught with bickering and petty argument, with general bad feeling increasing at a worrying rate. We have nudged, suggested, commented, snipped threads here and there and waited to see if things would settle out of their own accord. They have not. Now we are getting messages both private and public with complaints and concerns from oldtimers and newbies alike that they are finding the atmosphere unpleasant. Some have even chosen to avoid this section of the forum altogether. This cannot continue.

This is not about opinions or "sides".
This is a Tolkien site, first and foremost. While the site was created to follow the production of Peter Jackson's movies and most of our staff and members are fans of those movies, we welcome ALL opinions and expect everyone, old and new, to be treated respectfully. We have never banned anyone for their opinions regarding the books or movies. We have, however, had to ban quite a number of people for being unable to express themselves with courtesy and respect toward others. Some of these people complained both here and elsewhere that they were being persecuted for their opinions despite extensive and repeated explanations from us that their poor behavior was at fault. Before we begin taking measures to deal with the problems we see on this board, we want to make sure that our expectations are clear.

We expect that everyone here has read our Terms of Service. If you have not, please do so before you post another message on these boards. Pay particular attention to rules 3, 6, and 12 listed there. You will notice that we place a very high value on treating fellow members with courtesy. This is not only expected but required.
However, not everyone seems to know or remember what that looks like in practice, so we thought it might be helpful to be more explicit about what we mean.

This is what good TORNetiquette looks like:

1. Remember that these boards are a community. They are not anyone's personal playground. We frequently find that those we call out for poor behavior try to justify it by citing free speech or personal rights. Your rights stop where others' rights begin. In other words, your right to swing your arms freely ends at the tip of your neighbor's nose. If we start seeing too many bloody noses in your vicinity, we will restrict your swing zone. On all such questions the moderators have the final word.

2. Treat others with respect. Just as you would like others to listen to what you say and respond to your ideas politely, you must also listen to others and be polite in return, even when you disagree. Yes, even if you think their ideas are stupid. Discuss issues, not personalities, and do not attempt to tell others what they do think or how they should think. Blanket phrases like "you people", "you all think", "you don't care if" or "anyone who thinks that...." are dead giveaways of disrespect for the individuals you are addressing. Instead, speak for yourself. "I think", "In my opinion", "____ strikes me this way" are all much better gambits for discussion.

3. Agree to Disagree. Part of respecting others' opinions is not always needing to have the last word. If the same point has been made three times by the same people in the same thread and no one is changing their minds, walk away. In all the history of these boards we have never seen anyone suddenly change their mind at this point in a conversation and there is no gain in continuing to try all the other members' patience with endless repetition. You cannot "win" on a matter of personal opinion and nearly all of our conversations are based on exactly that. If the debate is only between two people and both wish to continue it, take it to Private Message.

4. Do not hijack threads for a personal agenda. Threads here frequently go off topic. When it happens organically, it can be great. When it is because of someone who has a one-track mind and pounces on every possible chance they can find or create to turn a conversation to their own pet topic, it is tiresome.

5. Do not "spam" threads with your opinion. You do not have to reply to everyone in a thread (even if you started it), especially if you have already given your opinion more than once in the same thread and you are essentially repeating yourself to each person in turn. This gives the impression that you are trying to control the flow of the conversation to suit yourself rather than letting it develop naturally.

6. Do not treat TORN like a personal soapbox. We exist by and for the fans, not as a platform to reach people you hope may be lurking. It's rude to the community here to use us merely to make your point to someone else. And it would still be rude even if you knew for certain that they were listening.

7. Do not stalk your opposite. Do not follow people of differing opinion around the board and "correct" everything they say. This is irritating and produces only bad feeling. If you have had more than one conversation on the same topic with the same person, or if you have stated the same opinion more than once in the same thread, they already know what you think. It is not your job to fix them, nor do you need to "balance" them out. Believe me, if you find yourself frequently at odds with the same person the rest of the board has also been reading your conversations and knows what you both think. Good balance on the boards happens when everyone says what they have to say, shares their perspective on their differences and then moves on. If you feel that someone is "following" you around the board and you cannot resolve it with them directly, send a Private Message to one of the Admins/Mods and let us know.

8. Do not try to "compensate" for other peoples' opinions.
You do not have to make a counter argument for every statement you do not agree with. This makes you come across as arrogant and obnoxious because it implies that you do not really think other opinions are valid and you think yours must take precedence. This is especially unacceptable if you are trying to shout others down in the hope that someone in the production will hear you and take your opinion to heart over theirs. See #6.

9. Give the benefit of the doubt. A huge number of arguments and flame wars arise over simple misunderstandings or different usage of words. We have people here from many different countries and cultures within those countries. Do not assume that your reading of a statement or perspective on an issue is the only possible one.
If you did not mean to offend but someone is offended anyway, do not justify yourself and tell them how wrong they are to be upset. Explain what you did mean more clearly. If you are offended by someone else, ask for clarification before assuming they meant to be offensive. They may not be aware of how they sound to you.

10. Apologize early and often. If someone is upset by or offended by something you said, acknowledge that and apologize even if you don't see why it's a big deal. If nothing else, it makes you appear much more likeable and reasonable and it defuses a lot of anger. And maybe you are wrong, in which case you look smarter when you admit it. Half-apologies, where you say "I'm sorry, but you're still wrong" don't count.

11. You cannot control others, only yourself. Don't let yourself be goaded by others' poor behavior to come down to their level and behave badly yourself. Nobody benefits from that.

12. If you're not a Mod, don't try to act like one. By and large, TORN members are very helpful and like to jump in when they see a need. We are very happy about that. But we are not happy when we see people trying to lecture or enforce the rules against others. If you see someone violating the rules, bring it to our attention via Private Message or on the Feedback board and let us deal with it. This goes double for trolls. Do not feed them.

13. Try to preserve a sense of humor. In the midst of so much speculation and with so many differing views on every topic causing friction between members, a sense of humor about oneself and the topic is a wonderful calming agent. We all love these stories, and we are all here because we have found enjoyment in them, by whatever means. Taking things too seriously turns what should be our common ground into a battle zone and defeats the purpose of gathering together as fans. Our differences can broaden our horizons rather than dividing us into little factions, if we lighten up a little and let them.

14. Detachment is the best preservation of sanity. Fandom is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, go do something else that is. If you find yourself getting too emotionally involved in debate, take a break and come back when you can be civil. We'll still be here.


"Of all faces those of our familiares are the ones both most difficult to play fantastic tricks with, and most difficult really to see with fresh attention. They have become like the things which once attracted us by their glitter, or their colour, or their shape, and we laid hands on them, and then locked them in our hoard, acquired them, and acquiring ceased to look at them.
Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else [make something new], may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds. The gems all turn into flowers or flames, and you will be warned that all you had (or knew) was dangerous and potent, not really effectively chained, free and wild; no more yours than they were you."
-On Fairy Stories


Aug 29 2012, 3:32am

Post #2 of 91 (4575 views)
Thank you! [In reply to] Can't Post

This is a wonderful reminder. Although I haven't found the boards to be excessively unpleasant I've had my share of run-ins and disagreements with people. So allow me to be one of the first to re-pledge myself to courtesy! Smile

The cake is a lie.
The cake is a lie.
The cake is a lie.
The cake is a lie.
The cake is a lie___


Aug 29 2012, 3:47am

Post #3 of 91 (4430 views)
Here Here [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To

9. Give the benefit of the doubt. A huge number of arguments and flame wars arise over simple misunderstandings or different usage of words. We have people here from many different countries and cultures within those countries. Do not assume that your reading of a statement or perspective on an issue is the only possible one.
If you did not mean to offend but someone is offended anyway, do not justify yourself and tell them how wrong they are to be upset. Explain what you did mean more clearly. If you are offended by someone else, ask for clarification before assuming they meant to be offensive. They may not be aware of how they sound to you.

14. Detachment is the best preservation of sanity. Fandom is supposed to be fun. When it stops being fun, go do something else that is. If you find yourself getting too emotionally involved in debate, take a break and come back when you can be civil. We'll still be here.

I very much agree with those two points in particular but all true. I re-pledge my respect for sure!


Aug 29 2012, 4:03am

Post #4 of 91 (4553 views)
Hear hear! [In reply to] Can't Post


Able Seaman

Aug 29 2012, 7:28am

Post #5 of 91 (4409 views)
...? [In reply to] Can't Post



All artists are prepared to suffer for their work, but why are so few prepared to learn to draw? :BANKSY

"A Cameraman without a camera is just a man." Stephen Press

(This post was edited by cameragod on Aug 29 2012, 7:29am)


Aug 29 2012, 7:36am

Post #6 of 91 (4350 views)
pfft it sounded right in my head :P [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To

Sailing Master

Aug 29 2012, 12:32pm

Post #7 of 91 (4164 views)
That goes for me, too. :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post


First Mate

Aug 29 2012, 12:43pm

Post #8 of 91 (4186 views)
And me :-) // [In reply to] Can't Post


First Mate

Aug 29 2012, 3:28pm

Post #9 of 91 (4385 views)
Narcissism and navel gazing be darned [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been on the wrong side of a few things on the list... will a one time blanket apology suffice?

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on 0 secs ago)


Aug 29 2012, 3:38pm

Post #10 of 91 (4239 views)
You're one of the good guys [In reply to] Can't Post

No one is perfect (least of all me), but you are certainly not a significant part of the problem. At least not in my humble opinion. You are passionate in your opinions, but that is not a bad thing (even when I disagree with you Wink).

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Aug 29 2012, 4:09pm

Post #11 of 91 (4103 views)
Same as Milknut! // [In reply to] Can't Post


The greatest adventure is what lies ahead.

Sailing Master

Aug 29 2012, 4:34pm

Post #12 of 91 (4518 views)
since this is probably partialy aimed at me [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll just say it once if I offended anyone I appologize... But as I have said its going to take one heck off alot to change my mind about what PJ is doing to the Hobbit. So dont expect my views to change Wink


Aug 29 2012, 4:36pm

Post #13 of 91 (4163 views)
Thanks for the guidelines. [In reply to] Can't Post

I am new here, and I must say that most other blog sites I have been involved with are just ... so different ... in their expectations of respect for all members equally ... I hope that I am not accidentally coming across the wrong way - I think those guidelines will be helpful to avoid that.

Show or do not show, there is no tell.


Aug 29 2012, 4:38pm

Post #14 of 91 (4211 views)
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

As far as I have seen, SirDennis has behaved himself quite admirably! There should be no penalty for passion and intelligence.

If anything, my occasional bouts of strong criticism of the LOTR films occasionally lead me into some uncertain territory, even if I do not realize it.

I should be apologizing far more than you, SirDennis!


Aug 29 2012, 4:46pm

Post #15 of 91 (4226 views)
I don't think expressing opinions is the problem. [In reply to] Can't Post

Even if they're strong, unpopular opinions, passionately stated.

I think the trouble arises when people try to browbeat others into conforming to their opinions, or who move from discussing the opinions into commentating about the people behind the opinions.

I admit that I, too, sometimes get angry and snappish, and if I've offended anyone, I also apologize.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Aug 29 2012, 4:50pm

Post #16 of 91 (4268 views)
The intent [In reply to] Can't Post

is not to change people's opinions, but to change the tone of the conversations we are having with each other. I love the fact that people like you are participants here, who may not like the movies or books as much. If we all agreed, the message boards would be very boring!

It's not having different opinions that is the problem - it's the way ALL opinions (supportive toward the movies/books and not supportive) are (a) expressed and (b) received. We're hoping to remind everyone that respect, patience, an open mind and courtesy is required of all participants.

First Mate

Aug 29 2012, 4:55pm

Post #17 of 91 (4186 views)
How very kind of both of you [In reply to] Can't Post

*feeling slightly embarrassed*

One hardly knows how they are perceived by others... yours and Voronwe's reassurance means a great deal to me, not least because of the admiration I have for you both.

I see better days ahead for you in particular SA.Angelic

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on 0 secs ago)


Aug 29 2012, 5:05pm

Post #18 of 91 (4267 views)
Hi sinister [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope you don't change your opinion. Why? Because then it wouldn't be yours! Smile

The important thing, from what I have observed, is to not belittle the opinions (or character) of others. You can disagree with them, but it is a different thing entirely to make strong statements about how their opinions are either wrong, misguided, in poor taste, etc.

The only time I get a little agitated is when people take my opinion, sometimes strongly expressed, as a threat to their opinion.

But sometimes that is my fault. If an opinion is expressed strongly, and without prefaces and caveats to soften it, that opinion can sometimes be interpreted as an attack on the opinions of those who hold a very different one.

Personally, I have difficulty understanding how personal opinions on matters of film and art can be threatening to people. So I have been working at making sure to include "IMOs," and "I may be in the minority" and other such qualifiers, which really help in fostering a cordial dialogue.

Emoticons help too, if you can be bothered to use them! Smile

Kangi Ska
First Mate

Aug 29 2012, 5:29pm

Post #19 of 91 (4329 views)
I confess [In reply to] Can't Post

it is all my fault. I did it all. I just could not help my self. I throw myself upon the mercy of the court...er board. It all began when I was just a hatching and all the regular black Crows were pecking on me. I had to grow up tough or die. So if I have trodden upon any toes or not been serious enough or silly enough or have been rude, crude or lewd at any of the wrong points. Forgive me. I do not want to get thrown out of the nest again.Smile

Kangi Ska Resident Trickster & Wicked White Crebain
Life is an adventure, not a contest.

At night you can not tell if crows are black or white.

Able Seaman

Aug 29 2012, 5:32pm

Post #20 of 91 (4134 views)
Passion brings out so many things [In reply to] Can't Post

I am certainly of being arrogant many times, and for that I do apologizeAngelic. Thanks for the reminder to be courteous to others.

Now maybe if we had some more to eat (more spy reports and new sneak peek), we wouldn't be eating eachother lol.

Its a fun board and I always love reading everything on here that I can, makes my day fly by.

"clever hobbits to climb so high!"
Check out my writing www.jdstudios.wordpress.com

First Mate

Aug 29 2012, 5:38pm

Post #21 of 91 (4193 views)
That must have been hard... glad you finally came clean. [In reply to] Can't Post


Nah you're a delight... seeing you around the place always brightens my day.


(This post was edited by SirDennisC on 0 secs ago)

Forum Admin / Moderator

Aug 29 2012, 5:43pm

Post #22 of 91 (4097 views)
Absolutely! [In reply to] Can't Post

If we are all united in one thing, it's passion. We all care deeply about Tolkien and the movies, positive or negative. Smile

Sailing Master

Aug 29 2012, 6:06pm

Post #23 of 91 (4099 views)
I wouldn't be without them - [In reply to] Can't Post

- emoticons that is..



Aug 29 2012, 6:43pm

Post #24 of 91 (4117 views)
I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise to mods/admins, and users (either regular or not) for breaking any of these rules [In reply to] Can't Post

I am here for the same reason as everyone else - our passion of Tolkien. I hope I am not viewed as a nuisance to anyone, nor make anyone feel uncomfortable with any of my comments (or number of posts). You all know I'm a little excitable, so you'll all have to forgive me. 99% of the time, my posts are supposed to have a hint of humour in them. This isn't always realised by everyone. If I have ever pointed out a flaw, or made a personal comment on your view, opinion or self, that has made you feel uncomfortable, then I apologise.

I look forward to many more years of posting on TORn, and getting to know you all a whole lot more.

Here's to TORn, and the wonderful staff that keep this place enjoyable, fun, and troll free.

Now, let's post some spam to keep the admins busy muahahaha! Evil

(This post was edited by DanielLB on Aug 29 2012, 6:46pm)

Aragorn the Elfstone

Aug 29 2012, 6:57pm

Post #25 of 91 (4152 views)
*Guiltily raises hand* Apologies... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'll freely admit I've played my own part in this atmosphere of late. Typically, I like to be respectful of other people's views and opinions of things and not let those differing opinions get to me in a negative way. I fear lately I've become a bit overzealous, however, in defending the LotR film adaptations against certain posters who may have been stating opposing views. My love of the trilogy has made this a very tempting thing to engage in, and I'm not particularly proud of myself. Everyone has the right to feel the way they feel, and it's not my place to try and convince them otherwise. Normally I'm quite good about this, but lately I feel like I've let my passions get the better of me.

I hope I haven't offended anyone. That's the last thing I would want, and I'll do better in tempering my responses a bit.

"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to find that it was vanity; But the dreamers of day are dangerous men. That they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible."
- T.E. Lawrence

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