Forum's private message system

The Forum staff has never become involved in the Forum's private message system before, and we're not anxious to start. But the time has come for us to have a policy regarding its use.

As always, our motivation is to serve all of our customers who use the Forum. We don't want anyone to use our website to be abusive or inappropriate to other customers -- either on the Forum or in the Forum's private message system.

For 99 percent of the time, the new policy will be the same as our hands-off approach has been. The messages will still be unmoderated. And you can engage in verbal sparring with other [b]willing participants[/b], even if it would be too rough to post on the Forum.

In order for this to work, we need everyone's cooperation to police the private messages that you send and receive.

If you're insulted or offended by a private message, you should ask the sender to stop -- either to stop sending that type of message or to completely stop sending you private messages. And if someone asks you to stop, you need to stop immediately.

The Forum staff normally won't get involved unless someone violates the cease-fire or if a message is extremely abusive, offensive, or threatening. Or if we receive multiple complaints about one person. But you're always welcome to contact us with any questions, problems, concerns, or to just let us know what's going on.

You can find our new policy here:

Hopefully, most of you will abide by it without giving it much thought.

James Sokolowski
Website Managing Editor
(615) 373-7517


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • If a pm is from someone you just don't want to communicate with, don't open it - delete it. No one forces us to read pm's.
  • James, I can't help but wonder what in the heck brought this on. Geez, aren't we all grown up professionals here? Guess not.
  • We've been hearing some scattered grumblings about the private message service for a while. Then we recently had two situations turn ugly. That made us realize that people could be doing things in private messages that we don't know about that are hurting the Forum community.

    I hope this does the trick.

    James Sokolowski
  • I read the policy, it is similar to a couple of paragraphs in our harassment policy. At the end of it, it mentions the Forum can take action if there are mutliple complaints about a particular member. I am not sure what that means, but I guess they could refuse service to that member, thereby losing a customer.

    I also notice, on our user profile, we can turn off the in-box, perhaps the software people could add a filter to block receipt of messages from selected users.

    I am mystified that our conflicts rise to this level. There has obviously been enough questionable activity to take commercial notice of it, which may or may not mean that the actual questionable activity is even greater - sort of like an iceberg in the ocean theory.

    I have on occasion been offended and been an offender on this forum. Sometimes the passion I feel for a particular belief or issue overrides my usual detachment and I either overstep my normal boundaries or feel I got stepped on. I nurse my bruised sensibilities for a few minutes, hours or days and then get back up and get on the horse again! After lots on internal dialogue, I have always ended up acknowledging the value that is intrinsic in this forum. Firmly held knowledge and beliefs about the issues get tested when you write and post. Other professionals all over the country will examine your information and viewpoints and rarely fail to point out inaccuracies or poorly constructed logic paths that have led you to an erroneous conclusion or bit of advice. If the price of learning means my ego takes a lump or two along the way, so be it. I would rather experience that than expose my company and our staff to poor knowledge leading to improper implementation of policy. How can you measure the value of checks you did not have to write?

    Ok, so I am meandering around a bit to finally say, the forum can be a bit wild and uncontained - but I will submit great value is derived from these features of the forum.

    I personally cannot imagine purposely insulting someone in a public forum let alone privately. But if it were going to happen, private would be better.

    If it is just a petty personal attack I would just say, knock it off and get on with your lives. There is much to do and little time to do it.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 04-19-04 AT 11:47AM (CST)[/font][br][br]Reading all of the above brought to mind a dispute my son had with a neighbor's little boy. They were about 5 or 6 years old. One said something to the other and before long a verbal fight started. The neighbor got involved and dragged me into it. One word led to another and before long we were not speaking to each other.

    Guess what, the next day the two little boys were friends and playing together.

    I think it is time we fought our own battles and not drag someone else into the fray. As adults, we need to accept responsibility for our words and actions and not expect Daddy James to fix it.
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