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The Abuse of Sikh Forums

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by mystique_void, Apr 14, 2009.

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  1. mystique_void

    mystique_void
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    Dear All,

    All of us who have been using the net for a while have come to
    understand what constitutes 'proper conduct' or in computer
    parlance 'netiquettes'. When we deliberately defy the netiquettes
    with a malicious intent over a long period of time not just on
    one forum but many forums, it becomes a case of abuse.

    Posting massive amounts of prepared material with pre-drawn
    conclusions is something that is not encouraged on discussion
    forums. It's rude and offensive and it's against netiquettes.

    The reason is not hard to find. This kind of behavior
    opens up the door for abuse. Anyone can go to the library
    and scan articles and essays from the books of their choice
    and begin to inundate the forums. In retaliation others
    would do the same and soon the forum would become
    a battleground where members are hurling essays and
    articles at each other like missiles instead of having a
    conversation.

    Once we accept this kind of behavior in principle in the
    name of freedom of expression - on what ground
    would we object to someone who insists on posting
    Radhasoami literature (with lots of Gurbani and references
    to Sri Guru granth Sahib in it) on Sikh forums?

    Let me give another example, a bit on the extreme
    side though. If someone who denies holocaust were
    posting prepared material in support of his/her views
    on Jewish forums for years - it'd be considered an
    act of extreme hate, racism and antisemitism. That
    would not only be an abuse of the membership privileges
    but also criminal in nature.

    Regards,

    Kulbir Singh
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Kulbir ji

    Fateh!


    Help SPN be a better forum by explaining which forum rules from SPN Terms of Services are consistently violated in your opinion. The concerns you express need to be more specific. Based on your response we can take a look and see if some members will need attention.

    General Guidelines:


    1. Respect:Treat all members with the kind of respect that you expect from them in return for yourself.

    2. Unity in Diversity: Many members on SPN, come from various religious and cultural backgrounds and may have variable conflicting opinions. Religion and Philosophy are general but unique for each person's understanding and progress. If you disagree, simply accept the difference and ask for information you may not know. Un-necessary bragging, trash talk, childish arguements only take us away from the topic in hand. Please avoid them at any cost.

    3. Blaming: Avoid blaming others. Seeing someone's fault is easier than your own fault.

    3A. Respond or discuss the issue, but not the member who posted it.

    4. Negativity: Members found spreading negativity will be encouraged to leave the network.

    5. Introspection: Try to find your own fault and purify your mind.

    6. Karma: Always check your karma and its fruit from participating in this network.

    7. Multiple Identities: No use using multiple identities. We can easily trace & monitor activities of such persons and deal with them appropriately.

    8. Moderation: SPN Management reserves all the rights to delete or modify all the articles/discussions without asking for permissions from the authors/posters.

    9. Comparative Study: Any member, who wants to explore relationship between Sikhism and other religions, please do that in a "Interfaith Dialogues" forum only.

    10. Forum Etiquettes: Do not use offensive or vulgar language. Behave like a grown up person.

    11. Personal Attacks or Sect Bashing: Do not engage in personal attacks or sect bashing. HATE MESSAGES WILL BE REMOVED WITHOUT NOTICE.

    12. Plagiarism is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN. If you copy posts from others and pass them as if they're yours, you will be severely punished.


    Thank you,
    Antonia
     
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  4. mystique_void

    mystique_void
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    Aad ji,

    First of all I'd like to thank you and everyone else who is taking
    time out to help this place run. I realize that managing
    a group with a large membership is not an easy task.

    The problem is not with the forum's guidelines. The
    guidelines are always broad mission statement made for
    fair-minded, responsible and normal people. But
    as we know everyone doesn't fall in that category.

    People have all kinds of motives: Some are simply far out
    and over the edge; some have psychological aberrations
    (I probably belong in this group); some have deep scars
    from traumatic events in their childhood; some may just be
    malicious trying to provoke, divide and polarize the people.
    It's not possible to tell in advance what the forum is going to
    face at any given time and cover it in the guidelines. As
    a result, the administrators need to examine each situation
    on a case by case basis to make sure that no-one is
    taking advantage of the loopholes in the guidelines.

    Let me give an analogy of what the Sikh groups
    have been facing.

    The American War of Independence
    is a historical fact. There may be a difference
    of opinion here and there (as is always the case
    on history) but this event did take place and no-one
    disputes that it was a momentous and a pivotal
    event like no other that changed the US for ever.

    Now picture this: There is one guy who
    is on the net for only one reason - to somehow
    prove to the Americans that what they believe in
    is false; their belief in the American War of
    Independence is due to the wrong information
    gathered from faulty traditions. For this
    purpose, he has devised elaborate self-delusional
    arguments and has armed himself with hundreds
    of supposedly self-written articles based on wishful
    self-serving logic. He keeps provoking the members
    on a continual basis by regularly posting these
    concocted theories with fanatical fervor. Anyone who
    disagrees with him is either ignored (with the
    famous words: "Let us agree to disagree") or is
    accused of lacking in discerning intellect.

    In my view, this is an extremely unusual and
    bizarre situation. No discussion forum
    could possibly predict something of this nature
    and have preventive measures in the guidelines.
    This sort of grandiose mania is way beyond the
    realm of rational thinking.

    Regards,

    Kulbir Singh
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Kulbir Singh ji

    Please forgive my inline reactions.



    Everyone on the moderation and mentor team thanks you for recognizing this fact.

    This is what makes moderation a challenge. And because SPN has a broad and diverse platform of members anything can happen at any time. We don't as I said previously have a "party platform" where specific topics or perspectives are automatically banned. That makes everything even more complicated. Sometimes people are put off by what looks like an attitude of "not caring" however we are actually very busy behind the scenes discussing comments that are the edge of undermining Sikhism.

    There are forums, such as e-Sangha a Buddhist forum, that say right out in the Terms of Service that if you talk about x, y or z, your post will be deleted. Sometimes I think they have taken the easy path instead of the middle path :D Here controversy is inevitable.

    Thank you for mentioning all of these contingencies. We are aware of them and the psychological conditions, scars and traumas, provocations and taunts are the kinds of things we discuss behind the scenes. Just based on my limited time here at SPN, the pattern has been to care for the humanity of the problem poster. First we try to redirect the conversation, oftentimes cautioning and warning as a next step, and all the time we try to understand where all the "panga" is coming from. As a last resort we block the user. We may not act as quickly as you would like. That is because we believe that human nature is fundamentally "good." Most of the moderators will forgive and forgive, until the time when a particular person and his/her negativity has made healthy discussion impossible. Of course we are not connected at the head. We are on a range of very tolerant to less tolerant. When a decision is made, everyone has had input and we take a vote.

    You have described the type of forum member that is familiar to me. But what percentage of members are really like that? Here the number is less than 5 percent -- my estimate only. Some of these people eventually give up and go away. Sometimes they have to be blocked, but rarely. Guru ji has asked us to find the patience within ourselves to see his light even in these people. When all else fails tough love has to take over. Also keep in mind that these ridiculous positions are not equally problematic. When someone persists in arguing that God has Hands because he read somewhere in Gurbani that God has hands, Or he starts a thread stating that Waheguru had a guru, or that God had a mother -- well you know right away that these are going to belong discussions. The person is driving home a message about his spiritual authority and is making a debauchery of the Shabad Guru to do this. The member who posted these ideas is gone now. Other people persist because they have a neurotic need to have the last word and win arguments. These people are the ones that will receive infractions, perhaps be blocked later, or they will be tired out by the fortitude of other members. But not every "impossible" argument is equally damaging. So SPN tries to sort this out and be proportional in its responses.

    Isn't it better to allow readers to see how schooled many of our members are in Gurubani by permitting the discussion to take place. I myself obtained more depth of understanding by reading what other members and moderators had to say to the difficult poster. I also learned how to humble myself by watching the wise and restrained way that they continued discussions.


    Grandiose mania is in each of us in the form of ego to a greater or lesser extent. Only a realised soul is without that. Something tells me that realised souls do not frequent forums. Some of us have more self-control than others. Many of us bring our karma everywhere with us. One thing a forum can be is a place to learn how we are blinded by ego and bound by karma -- how truly lacking we are. There are others who can teach us how to overcome this. Sometimes things do start to look like a therapy session -- I know. But Guru Teg Bahadur teaches us to move to a place where dust and gold look the same. In the end cutting down our opponents breeds only more bitterness within.

    A point of view that is grounded in Truth cannot be dimmed by the neurosis of another person.
    So in the end we enforce forum guidelines and do not presume as individuals to be more advanced spiritually or emotionally than those who offer us opposition.

    Readers, please note that attempts to undermine Sikhism will be deleted without warning. Differences of opinion are encouraged. It is not always easy to find the dividing line, but we try.

    Sat Nam,
    Antonia
     
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  6. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    Aad ji, You mentioned in another part of the forum that one of the rules is to not "Undermine Sikhism".
    I wanted to ask and thought this would be the perfect place to do so.
    How would one go about "undermining Sikhism"?
    By Sikhism if one means the organized Religion including the rehit and Dasam Granth, then I believe I have already done that along with many other members on the forum.
    By Sikhism, if one means the teachings of SGGS, then how do you undermine them???

    I need clarification on this, and perhaps others do as well.

    Thanks
    Bhagat
     
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Good question Bhagat ji, but a bit off topic. Why not start a new thread. It will be a controversial topic no doubt.
     
  8. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    haha, if you say so... :D
    It would be an interesting experience taht's for sure.
     

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