Because of the recent trouble in one of these threads, it is clear that some moderation methods need to be clarified, and existing board-wide rules need to be re-iterated.
First, all, each and every rule listed in the Forum Rules announcement still applies. This includes especially the rule to "Exercise good judgment, reasonableness, and mutual respect." For those who have not looked at the rules since joining, I will repeat this one:
This is a community for smart people who share an interest in personal growth, so please treat it as such. Personal attacks as well as profane, pornographic, racist, sexist, or otherwise demeaning or offensive messages will not be tolerated. Recognize that there's a human being behind every post, and behave accordingly.
Because accusations are being levied against people who have posted in this forum, I would like to further clarify the definition of a Troll. The term Trolling came from the days of Usenet, where it was difficult to effectively moderate any topic, as it was impossible to edit or delete what another person said, and there were very few ways to restrict a person's access and posting ability. Steve's definition of Trolling is "posting inflammatory, off-topic, or insulting messages just to provoke a reaction from others." He also further clarifies by stating that "friendly debate, socializing, and good humor are perfectly welcome here."
The Jargon File, a guide to commonly used and misunderstood internet slang, states that a troll is someone who "regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion."
In other words, it is impossible for someone to be considered a troll based on their first post, especially if that post is on topic. Since spirituality is always
a controversial topic, creating a controversial thread about a religious belief is always on topic,
and can never be the basis of labeling a person as a troll. The best advice for anyone who suspects a person of trolling is simple: Do Not Feed The Trolls
For the purpose of discussing religious beliefs openly, it should always be assumed that everybody's beliefs are valid. I am not saying that your beliefs are right or wrong, only that they are valid. Attacking a person's beliefs is not tolerated. Questioning other people's beliefs and providing your own is encouraged. There is a fine line between the two, so if you are ever in doubt, use diplomacy or ask someone for advice in getting your point across effectively. Bruce is especially effective at getting points across without being insulting or demeaning, so if you are not comfortable with me (as I seem to be labeled as the heavy-handed mod lately), then Bruce is available [click here to get in touch with Bruce and send him a private message
Finally, equating terrorist acts with religious beliefs is a logical fallacy. Don't do it, unless you enjoy people thinking that you are hateful and intolerant. For the record, not only would I support the rights for 'terrorists' to believe as they wish, without question, but I have done so in the past. I have openly supported the terrorists John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, and I have taken active participation in the organization created by the terrorist leader George Washington, which today is known as the U.S. Army. Despite current opinions of these people, they were indeed terrorist leaders who led civilian combatants and insurgents against their own established, sovereign nation. Moderator note: Just to be clear, while Adam--the author of these guidelines--is no longer a moderator, he was one of the first moderators (along with me, Bruce Achterberg) to be assigned to the Spirituality, Consciousness, and Awareness forum board when the forums first launched.
I just thought I'd clarify that these guidelines actually did come from a moderator and are indeed moderator-approved.