Rules of conduct

Welcome at the Cafeteria! Here you can exchange ideas with Coticule users
from around the globe.
Please make sure you understand our forum rules!

Read more …
Avatar
Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
iconRobin:
iconPaul:
Instinctively, I would like to address some of the comments made, but I can see that it's a moot point and won't do that.

Just for the record: While elderly ladies find pouting boys cute, pouting grown-ups are usually frowned upon. If you have something to say, say it. One of the many advantages of this forum over others is that you can do that without some fascist vendor bullying you.

As for that other forum: Trying to reconcile two spoiled brats with bloated egos is an exercise in futility. Making one of them a moderator (if only for a day) was as clear an indication as any in which direction it was heading. Between the two big forums, there is only one market niche with a target group big enough to keep a forum alive: open discussion without a hidden sales agenda by grown-ups with an IQ > 75 and the ability to think and write coherently.

Love, hugs and kisses,
Robin


I'm not pouting, just recognizing when there's no point to continue to discuss this. Contrary to popular belief, I don't have to "win" every conversation ;)
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-04-14 13:48
Avatar
vgeorge
+1
Posts: 273
Like Matt, I (many of us) too have horrible shrinkage of available time (all the more reason to reiterate the deep appreciation for the voluntary work by the associates :love: ). So ..., this has to be brief.

icontat2Ralfy:
iconvgeorge:
...... The only choice, for all practical purposes, he has is to insult me back in public or to swallow the insult. If that happens once, perhaps people will forget it. Say, it happens again and again. A bit of semi-private conference among the 'elders', Paul, and I would be a better way to solve it than hashing things out in public...


Or Paul could ask you to explain the insult, and if you couldn't settle it within the forum rules, and like adults then report it to an Associate, who would review the situation.


If everybody understood and behaved as 'expected' there is no need for any ameliorative or corrective efforts or design. So, what we are discussing is only for contingent, but likely, situations.

There was an actual example behind the hypothetical and 'unintended' insult by me to Paul. One of the parties in the actual case was an Associate. My general sense is that one party thought bluntness was rude and insulting, and the other party assumed he was being 'honest' and sincere. I do not know the details and don't ask me for more.

Now you could take the point of view that this is an open forum, if you are thin-skinned that is your loss. Or, you can have a system/design/provision/not-necessarily-a-separate-forum-but-something that is semi-private to resolve misunderstandings. I bring this with a genuine concern that as the forum grows, such cases could only get more intense and more numerous.

The current PM system is not quite user friendly, I, for one, did not know emailing one associate is the same as emailing all. Associates backing each other up also may not lead to the best decision in lots of cases, although that will be the natural thing to do. (This is a side-point, and please don't get all over it and forget the main point.)

There is an all (public) or nothing feel. I am not sure if that is quite the best thing. I for one believe in camels for courses, although I have never ridden one. :lol:
George
------
Proud owner of Franz Kline Coticule from Ardennes via Bart
Hoping for Edge, Working on Bevel. © 2010
2011-04-14 15:28
Avatar
Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconVgeorge:

There was an actual example behind the hypothetical and ‘unintended’ insult by me to Paul. One of the parties in the ACTUAL case was an Associate. My general sense is that one party thought bluntness was rude and insulting, and the other party assumed he was being ‘honest’ and sincere. I do not know the details and don’t ask me for more.

That example could easily be about me. I have clashed with members on more than one occasion. And more than once my opponent felt disrespected by my barefaced way of ignoring someone's reputation in a discussion. (there's an interesting psycho- and linguo-sociological case, but let's not get into that right now). The truth is that in these instances, there have always been attempts to clear the air by initiating a private e-mail conversation. In one particular case, the differences could not be overcome, inspite of what I believe to be a genuine effort and desire to resolve the situation at both ends. That member decided to stop posting, a choice that I respect as much as I regret it. Some might think that it's only a little repect and a little regret, but they are mistaken.
Anyway, what this example illustrates is that sometimes differences between people can't be resolved, no matter how many formalized structures we can install.
iconVgeorge:
The current PM system is not quite user friendly, I, for one, did not know emailing one associate is the same as emailing all.

We actually don't have a PM system, but an e-mail delivery service, that sends an e-mail to the address that a member provided when he signed up.
E-mailing an associate does not automatically send that e-mail to all associates. What Ralfson meant is that the associates communicate with each other.
iconVgeorge:
Associates backing each other up also may not lead to the best decision in lots of cases, although that will be the natural thing to do. (This is a side-point, and please don’t get all over it and forget the main point.)

It is the smart thing to do. As a rule, we try to take the decisions by consensus. But sometimes a (cirisis) situation calls for immediate action, in which case he who is online, reigns. An associate will always try to act in such a situation according to what he believes the entire team would approve. It is the only way to run this organization with people who are in different time zones, with different amounts of time available. If we would need to reach a formal consensus about everything, something simple like answerring the questions in this thread would take days.

iconVgeorge:
There is an all (public) or nothing feel. I am not sure if that is quite the best thing. I for one believe in camels for courses, although I have never ridden one.

You are prevaricating. The choice is not: all (public) or nothing. The choice is public or private. There is no such thing as semi-private, unless we woud start with a counseling program for people who can't get along. Such a thing can only be moderated by a trained psychologist who is completely uninvolved in the relation that he tries to counsel. This is just a website about rocks, not an ongoing therapeutic session.

What often strikes me, is how strong a stance people tend to take on the internet. In our off-line life, we are generally more prepared to settle differences in the middle, or to just leave them for what they are. I believe that without such social pragmatism, we would quickly all end up lonely. On the internet, in the absence of real tangible friendship, we behave far more individualistic and are less prepared to settle differences. We act like people that don't really need each other. Like politicians. More preoccupied with their reputation than with getting along to govern in the best interest of the nation. It is a flaw we all share, some us more and some less, and not always at the same time. A flaw that can only be fixed on the individual level, by realizing how trivial our discussions actually are and how petty our quarreling. Additional forum functionality will not solve it for one damned bit.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-04-14 18:44
Avatar
Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
Well, I'm surprised how much this has shifted towards dispute settling with individual members... I was thinking more along totally different lines.

I think another consideration is this is being proposed in a forum founded and directed in large part by a guy who doesn't particularly like forums :lol: If there were a motivation here to develop this forum into the bestest and brightest resource in the world on all things wetshaving related, growing the population, etc., etc., this idea may have more interest. However, adding functionality has been repeatedly rejected for simplicity, and that's one of the reasons why I didn't pursue it any further. I think the forum is closer to being turned off altogether than adding the feature. So no need to argue, right? :)

I will say it's a specious thought that emailing one Associate is as effective as a thread in which all can read and participate, though because it's patently absurd to think people relaying messages is as effective as a direct dialogue with all parties involved. I think it's obvious why the Supreme Court hears oral arguments and interacts with the lawyers in the cases they hear instead of just working off prepared briefs. However, as Bart rightly pointed out, this stuff isn't that important, and as such what we have is certainly "good enough".
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-04-15 01:59
Avatar
håkan
Posts: 33
iconPaul:
where people can go to have a private-ish conversation with all the associates?

start an IRC channel somewhere if/when this is needed?

I realize it would be a hassle to get everyone online at the same time but imagine the "pile of mud" that would accumulate if every disagreement resulted in a thread, in an admin + invited-only forum?
A thread without an expiration date and in which everyone would/should have a say about everything?
Sounds like a huge and uninviting workload to me.

-peace
/H

ps/ @Paul: I just realised that youre the writer of the internets best shaving blog! heh. thanks man! keep up the good work! /ds
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi -
2011-04-15 10:28
Avatar
Robin
Posts:
Well, I just registered #cbe on freenode.net for the chuckles, interface is here: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=cbe. I don't think that IRC is, or will be, in any way conducive to solving the problem at hand, though. Actually, I don't even see a problem here, just grown-ups having an argument about once a month, and nothing that could not be handled so far. So, I think the issue is being blown out of proportion. Anyone who needs his ego stroked should seek professional help instead of going on the internet. Really.

Best regards
Robin
2011-04-15 11:16
Avatar
Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
What's happening here? This wan't about dispute settling. There is no problem. It's not being blown out of proportion.

Just a simple suggestion that was rejected and dropped without an argument. Just because there isn't 100% agreement in a conversation doesn't make the discussion an argument. And you say Americans are soft :huh: :lol:

Håkan, thanks for the kind words, but Robin does most of the heavy lifting there (in every sense) :)
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-04-15 13:51
Avatar
vgeorge
+1
Posts: 273
Just to be clear, I have no issues, no quarrels, no irritation, no ill-feelings for or about anyone. If anything, I feel good about most things. I also agree with most things that people have said, and agree, especially, with Bart that all problems cannot be solved. I may be puzzled at some comments or a trifle disappointed at some others, but they are all quite immaterial.

I disagree, however, that the intent of the earlier suggestion was 'dispute settling' or psychotherapy. I may have erred in using 'conflict resolution' earlier.

My hope was to submit a suggestion to ease up likely misunderstandings that inevitably arise when multiculturalism meets single-constrained-channel-communication of a forum - perhaps some kind of an electronic/digital ombudsman that can bring together subset of relevant people who can clear the air, assure respect, 'translate' words, etc.

I do realize all problems cannot be solved, but every misunderstanding need not diverge. I am convinced that perceived electronic insults/slights seem to hit people worse than face-to-face ones.

So, I was only making a suggestion, ill-specified at best, however, not at all intended as the last straw on the back of overworked volunteers who run the place. I myself have very little spare time to volunteer at the moment, so certainly, I can understand if the associates feel that something along those lines would be more painful than beneficial and the current email system is just fine to do the job. Might well be.
George
------
Proud owner of Franz Kline Coticule from Ardennes via Bart
Hoping for Edge, Working on Bevel. © 2010
2011-04-15 19:34
Avatar
Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
iconPaul:
What's happening here? This wan't about dispute settling. There is no problem. It's not being blown out of proportion.
What happens here that we had a problem with the way a member presented his sales in the Marketplace. That member showed not the slightest consideration for the remarks made by the associates and chose a confrontational approach. His membership was terminated.

One of our members liked to discuss the more general apects surrounding this situation and he started a thread in the Miscellaneous section. In any normal forum, the moderation would have shut such a discussion down before it even started. But on the forum of Coticule.be members are allowed to ask clarification and even to disagree with decisions made by the associates.
All members are equal, hence such conversations deserve to be held in public.
But that member assumed that the associates were annoyed by this thread and he felt such conversations deserve a private audience room to discuss grieves (if and when they occur). He started this thread to suggest a format. Email with one associate is not enough. Probably, that one associate would claim to speak for all, and it would be better to discuss with them all to make full use of the fact that they are of course all individuals.
Another aspect of such a private audience room is that it could serve to isolate 2 or more colliding parties of the public forum space, in the hope that they will be able to finish their conflict, once they're out of the spotlights.
The associates decided not to implement this suggestion and explained why.

Now, for some personal additions:
Coticule.be is not a forum. It is an informational website about Belgian natural hones and whatever surrounds their use. We offer a helpdesk. (the free honing, the advice we offer) We produce articles and videos. And we conduct technological en historical research about the Belgian hones and their use. The forum is merely a means to support these functions. It is not a means on it's own. I have not the slightest interest in the expansion of the forum. In fact, the better the information we offer in the articles and videos, the less our members will need the forum for help. And that leaves us with more time for conducting research.:love:
I don't have a comfortable chair in my workshop. If I put one in there, I will end up sitting in it, staring at my tools instead of using them.
It strikes me that it was calm on the forum (which is good), until one event in the Marketplace led to a sudden increase of activity that has nothing to do with our core activities and nothing to do with any real (as in: "regularly occurring") problems we would need to address.

Stijn was here today. From 10am till 6pm we worked for Coticule.be. He's now back on his way home, a 2 hour train ride from here.
He'll implement an easier way to contact fellow members through e-mail, as soon as he has time.

Kind regards,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-04-15 19:49
Avatar
Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
You made my point so much better than I could at the end of your post. There has been a flurry of activity (bad) related to something not at the core of the purpose of the site (bad) because of what I intended to be a totally innocuous, brief discussion. It was perceived by some as an argument, which couldn't be the furthest thing from how I perceived it. It's been seen as being blown out of proportion, which it seriously nothing more than a spontaneous idea that I don't have the slightest interest in fighting for. And had all that been done behind the scenes in private, I am fully confident that we would have all forgotten about this by now.

Please understand: I only want the best for this site and all its members, and it was in the vein that I offered the suggestion and subsequently recognized the need to not fight for it.

Best regards,

Paul
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-04-15 21:16
Avatar
Bart Torfs (Bart)
Associate
From: Belgium
Posts: 5001
Paul,
I know that your suggestion was meant well.
And it was considered as such too.

People sometimes keep talking about a topic longer than required, and then it becomes ever so slightly awkward.

Thank you for the suggestion,
Bart.
Then the light shone, trumpets sounded and I got to the other side, where men shave with smiles on their faces, razors pop hairs, and a continuous choir singing «~~Keen and Smooth~~» is heard everywhere. (Matt)
2011-04-16 01:06
Avatar
altshaver
Posts: 90
This is way off topic, but, Paul, were you Apophis on Wet Shaving World? If so, I thought you were pretty helpful on that forum.
2011-04-17 01:10
Avatar
Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
iconaltshaver:
This is way off topic, but, Paul, were you Apophis on Wet Shaving World? If so, I thought you were pretty helpful on that forum.


Way off topic, but yes. Thanks for the kind words. :)
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-04-17 01:37
Avatar
Robin
Posts:
It is not that much off topic, I think. Yes, Paul did well. But look where he ended up. Or Ralfy. Or I. ;) That forum went belly up not least because its owner - for whom and whose work I have learnt to have the highest respect - decided to keep it free from business (including, of course, marketing babble) and its prerequisite, ie opinion leadership of those who claim to have re-invented straight razor shaving more or less single handedly.

On a related notice, I stumbled upon this article last night, and I would encourage anyone to read it: "Tech bubbles happen, but we usually gain from the innovation left behind. This one—driven by social networking—could leave us empty-handed". Yes, it is a bit lengthy, but quite insightful. So let me give you a concrete example of how powerful a forum can be in terms of marketing: Google search for "geo f trumper shaving cream review -amazon". The first two hits are reviews written by one BeBerlin. Granted, the "-amazon" did the trick, but still, one forum comes in second right after the world's largest online shop. How is that in terms of marketing power? And can you imagine how that will influence negotiations with potential advertisers? Mind you, I am not saying that this is a bad thing at all. It is simply indicative of the way so called social media are headed in general. And it puts a lot of responsibility into the hands of the people running such sites (I only used the above example because I was actually looking for reviews of these creams last night).

Coming back to the first attempt at establishing a forum for select members and associates only, I eventually was banned because I challenged a well known vendor/moderator who took the opportunity of a new forum to flaunt the goods he sells. I do not like his style, neither the scales he makes, nor his passive-aggressive personality. The latter I could live with, albeit that it makes him a strange choice for a moderator. The former, however, I refuse to accept without having the right to say nay. If I recall correctly, the victim was a well known Solingen brand (Ern, if memory serves me right) that had been clad in something that apparently once belonged to a sixteen-year-old girl. The geometry was all wrong, the colours were garish, and the whole thing looked like a sex toy that had given up the ghost due to overuse. Now, had this been a Gold Dollar and the scale maker a newcomer, everything would have been nice and dandy (ie the vendor would have been silently banned or otherwise driven away). But it was not, and the vendor/moderator got seriously nasty.

Then the forum Paul suggested in this thread was founded, and it did not work. Because you cannot solve social problems by technical means. Bart and his associates deserve a lot of respect for the way they run this forum. Giving members the opportunity to criticise other people's work in both positive and negative terms is actually quite an achievement. Personally, I have always found negative criticism useful, as long as it was directed at a result (or a process), and not the person responsible for it. And it works here. Something to be proud of for associates and members alike, if you ask me.

Best regards,
Robin
2011-04-17 09:08
Avatar
Paul
Advisor
From: United States
Posts: 1388
Wrong again, Robin. That forum existed prior to that incident, or at least the concept did as it was talked about at the beginning before accepting memberships. It just so happens that the fact you were ever in there at all was enough justification for a majority of moderators to vote for your banning, sadly (not the first incident). It wasn't a failure of that idea/technology, rather a carry over of too many people who previously didn't like you being invited to the mod forum. I feel certain that you never really had a chance there with some of those guys, and it still chaps my butt to this day... :thumbdown:
Paul
"Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it" - Greg Anderson
my blog- and it works again :p
2011-04-17 23:31