Has Deletion Replaced Debate at TAZ?

The Admin Zone (located at theadminzone.com and known as TAZ) is a discussion forum where people who run forums congregate to discuss running forums.

Run by an amiable fellow called Howard – aka The Sandman – it has been for many years a pretty well run forum that I am (was) a Premium supporting member of.

As can sometimes happen with forums, too many chefs spoil the broth, and the constant rotating stream of moderators and administrators allow some people the opportunity to be what they are not in real life: someone with influence.

In the wrong hands, a set of moderator buttons or a delete button is a tool that can quickly alienate long term forum members. TAZ has unfortunately obtained itself such an administrator that goes by the name of AzhriaLilu.

What The Sandman was thinking of giving such an uncouth character the reigns to his site is anyone’s guess. But it can sometimes be hard to judge people accurately in Cyber Space. Ones decision can be swayed by someone who has 11,000 posts. Hard call.

Such is AzhriaLilu’s fanatical finger constantly on the delete button, that normal debate and discussion has now been disallowed at TAZ. Hence this article that is beyond the reach of AzhriaLilu.

After several recent deletions of relatively innocuous posts by the over-zealous AzhriaLilu, I chose to engage the woman (which I now know her to be) in a private section of the site with the following:

AzhriaLilu, lets do this here in a civilised manner where it can be seen. Better we exchange views here in a private area and avoid any misunderstanding.

It seems you [or someone at your behest] are quietly deleting my posts. The first being after I quite correctly highlighted your error on a facet of English usage, on a “learning words” topic no less…….

I even helpfully explained your error in order that you might learn something.

Your reply called me a smart arse [smartass]. I replied to you explaining that if you are going to try to use a word, you should certainly understand its usage. And that isn’t smart arse. That is simply correct.

My comment got deleted. As did my remark about the quiet deletion. Your comment to me stayed however. Strange, huh?

Then today you are harping on about treating others as you would like to be treated. What, like calling them a smart arse for correcting you? When you were grammatically incorrect?

Now you may think I know nothing about words and language. I have only published two books; if you happen to have have published more, or have more English qualifications than me, you may be right that I know naught compared to thee.

When someone takes the trouble to highlight a grammatical error of yours, in a topic about words, a reasonable person says thank you. They don’t insult the other person because they happened to go to school.

Might we kindly reinstate the deleted comment on the word topic, or at worst alter your comment to something slightly more civil? You cant have it both ways.

Might you stop removing my posts completely?

I realise this isn’t a huge issue in and of itself, but one-sided moderation, especially – as I suspect in this case – when it is done by the person who is the subject of the comment, is the thin end of the wedge. A trend I am starting to notice more here.

I see people here bitching today that VB discussions are not allowed. Is it also the case that correcting the grammar of a mod on a grammar topic is also verboten?

Has deletion replaced debate at TAZ?

If so, I’l let myself out. If you delete this, I will understand you are simply very sensitive. Respond or delete – your choice.

Well, it seems deletion has replaced debate at TAZ because that topic lasted only minutes.

When other staff were pressed in a support topic to explain the constant missing posts, one replied that the last had been deleted marked “not needed”.

That isn’t insulting, abusive or against the TOS. That is simply “not needed”. On a discussion forum. Where people talk.

“Not needed” actually means “AzhriaLilu doesn’t want her mistakes discussed so bye bye post”.

How much time should one spend dealing with people who want to play Tsar of their own little Cyber Kingdom? (Or worse still, someone else’s?)

I personally have no time for it, so I excused myself from TAZ today and will not be posting further there until (if ever) that woman is no longer a staff member.

An isolated incident you suspect?

Elsewhere on TAZ, we find what would be a raging topic or ten about the inadequacies of the vBulletin forum software. I have a vBulletin site myself and it truly is the most cumbersome, over-complicated and bloated piece of software I have ever had the misfortune to work with.

However, TAZ runs on vBulletin software (an old version that has been modified and improved almost beyond recognition). And it is alleged that people from the company behind vBulletin are active staff members on TAZ, so guess how topics critical of vBulletin end up?

Here is an example:

Some fellow has started a topic there called “Best forum (not TAZ) to Discuss vBulletin?”. The opening post is this:

Since all discussion of vBulletin is now being whitewashed, is there a forum anyone can recommend where all the principals involved participate, and where open and honest discussion is permitted?

There are certain vB staff who never miss an opportunity to take a swing at customers, yet we have been clearly told that we are not allowed to respond to such offences. This to me is an untenable situation. I only signed up on TAZ since it was described to me as a place where the truth was being discussed. Now that that’s no longer true, I’d appreciate any insight into a place where this is allowed.

The topic gathered legs so quickly that to delete it – as would normally happen if AzhriaLilu was anywhere near at the time – would have been noticed (and sneaky forum admins don’t like deletions noticed so much).

Post #5 on the topic said:

A few weeks ago I posted about Wayne Luke and then a few hours later that post went poof and was no longer available.

I took a look and see that Wayne Luke is a staff member here and chances are good he is the one that removed my post.

I don’t know who Wayne Luke is – nor do I care. But we are seeing a pattern aren’t we here?

Lets take a look at reply #8

I don’t mind my posts were deleted if they are really just personal attacks but one thing that I had asked but was never answered by TAZ Staff (instead my post was deleted) is that; does calling a misleading statement as it is constitute a personal attack? Where can the line be drawn?

What is this? Fastest finger first?

By the time we get to reply #14 we see this:

I’m often available on Skype to fellow forum admins who want to ask questions without the risk of one of us being banned here on TAZ.

That from a very pleasant chap who runs several large forum websites himself. He feels he cant communicate without the likelihood of being banned?

Here are other comments from the same topic:

Whats funny is that moderators and admins ask about better moderation tools for forums but usually a topic gets closed or they just deleted post instead of altering it.

How can you talk honestly about a product when the person who is in charge of that product is the one censoring things

It does TAZ no good, in fact it gives TAZ a black eye.

As I also said in my last post in my thread, which was also again deleted for no apparent reason, my opinion of this forum dropped a notch with this action. I feel closing the thread was a step too far and my post with the rehash of open questions is still important to me, as they are all valid questions for all new vB admins and the post had absolutely no offensive or attacking language or any other reason to be deleted completely. I think the thread should be re-opened. If need be, delete everything except the questions in my last post.

Why would members have to ask repeatedly why their posts are being deleted?

Ultimately you guys have to do what’s best for TAZ, but choking everything down is going to turn the vB section into a Carebear forum and most people who want to speak honestly about vB are going to just move onto another forum.

OK. Not trying to continue this argument, but now it appears that individual personal attacks are not allowed, and the “wrong way to convey a message” is not allowed.

If I don’t like a place, I leave, if there are no others like it, that I like, I setup my own

And two I personally agree with:

As I started off, there is a fine line between criticism and personal attacks and based on the tidbits I have seen – I think the staff here (objectively, as a group) have done an equally poor job in walking that line themselves.

I joined these forums quite recently because there was content that I wanted to read but couldn’t and having joined I felt it only right to contribute. I am a multiple forum owner and admin with over 15 years of experience. Forums provide my primary source of income.

A couple of days ago I decided this forum wasn’t for me because to put it bluntly, I disagree with the way they are moderated. More specifically, I feel it’s inappropriate for multiple admins to hammer home a point when it’s felt a user is in breach of the rules. Even if the user in in breach of the rules that’s tantamount to bullying in my view.

Indeed, lets look at some of AzhriaLilu’s comments from that topic:

we’re starting to come down harder on the ridiculous statements being thrown around.

you’re having a hissy-fit

it is your right to find somewhere that will accept the diatribes you persist in posting.

Look, it’s not rocket science. Use common sense in your replies

this dead horse you insist on beating is not only dead, it’s half-rotted and covered in maggots.

And the one that sums it up:

we also need our members to understand that they’re not always going to get their own way

Well that says it all really, doesn’t it?

Well, except for this comment from someone else:

Deletion of post is sure the fastest way to lose new members for sure.

Yup. I have left TAZ. The last few days I have read others have too.

I voted with my feet and money. I am married with kids and in my 40’s. I have 28 websites – three of which are busy forums. I won’t be spoken down to or disrespected by a woman from Derbyshire with keyboard diarrhoea and an over-active index finger on the delete button.

All comments welcome.

I have no horse in the vB or not vB race. And those comments are welcome here too.

Are you a TAZ exile?

Were you banned?

Are your posts mysteriously disappearing?

Do you want to discuss vB somewhere beyond the reach of vB and TAZ? Make a reply that is a vB topic and I will re-purpose it as a new post.

All comments welcome in the comment box below. Spam controls mean they do not appear immediately, but they will appear quickly.

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