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An essay on role models and Druchii.net 
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Morathi's Best Friend
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(Note: This essay, insomuch it is an essay, is a personal muse more than a rant, expressing some of my feelings and thoughts on this. I did not write this text to target specific people positively or negatively. But this is not fiction, so similarities and facts are not coincidental.)

Humankind is built on groups. Whenever we find ourselves in a strange, unfamiliar situation, we base ourselves on our only example: ourselves. We look to the one to our right, the one to our left, and decide that surely either of them must have an idea of what to do. So we follow in their footsteps.

Birds of a feather flock together, the saying goes, and with us people all the more so. But the converse also holds: when for some reason flocked together, we tend to accept the colour of the group, adapt to the culture, tradition, and mannerisms. Whether it be good courtesy and etiquette or the fear of scrutiny, some manner of adapting is done. And suddenly, you and I, of no particular creed or significance over any others in the group, are role models.

Well now, ladies and gentlemen, I sometimes look, read, and wonder. Is this the example we set for you?

I've recently come across an umpteenth forum post with language—and I use the term 'language' loosely here—that looked like it was originally scrawled in the margin of a seven-year-old's diary and then, on its own accord, decided to register with this forum and share its existence.

Times have changed. A single quotation mark no longer suffices to indicate a question. A capital letter no longer starts a sentence, and a period no longer ends one. A prompt to please improve the quality of their posts and adhere to at least some of the punctuation rules generally lasts for one post or two days, whichever comes sooner. And here's what's worst to me.

Some of the offenders are senior members.

Voices arise from without and within, decrying a drop in the quality of this site. Well, what do we expect? How many possible contributors have we inadvertently shirked with a torrent of grammar-less spam? How many people have we lost because we allow this attitude to proliferate?

Rork put up an announcement about a month ago. Quality of posts on Druchii.net was dropping steeply, he remarked, and asked that people please mind what they did, that they make an effort. I expect few people felt targeted by the call to change. If there were any, they probably weren't in the intended audience, because people who care already care, and those that don't likely never will.

There's a flip-side to the announcement. It may be a call to individuals, but any call to individuals is a call to the group that is our community. To varying degrees, we are all part of this community, and it is our task to be the role model that we may unsuspectingly be, whether we be posting member, lurker, moderator, administrator, whomever. There is no excuse for a lack of principles.

Some of our members police the site, either through moderating abilities or through peer pressure. Some of them lead by example, taking care to write correctly and, most importantly, comprehensibly, if only to be so courteous to their readers. Some believe nobody cares. They are mistaken. I care. Deeply. And I believe I do not stand alone in this.

Today is an age where we demand more from our peers than from ourselves. We do not read a text prepared to answer our questions; we shout about, demanding an answer spoon-fed to us at our earliest convenience. We do not think about what we say; we assume others will have the grace to pick up our slack. We do not make the effort to communicate coherently; others will decode the pieces together. We shall not; they shall.

Is this drop in effort really the result of a failing education as we are led to believe, a system that is being cured all the way to the grave? Is the cause with the proliferation of cellular phones and other media that make it difficult to type and thus desirable to shorten the text? Or are these perhaps all symptoms of a growing desire to shirk responsibilities and siphon on the community until it will either reject members or perish attempting to feed them, to lay the burden on others? Who can tell?

But, at the end of the day, being an example to others is not a responsibility we can shirk ourselves from. We do not choose when others look at us silently for guidance. Luckily, it does not require a great deal of effort, either. Stand up straight, say “thank you,” and think before you post. You are now a credit to society.

Make a difference. Set the right example.

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Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:55 pm
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Daemon in Disguise
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I agree with your point. Rork & co are doing a good job, but we could use some more grammar police around.

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Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:21 pm
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I disagree. The mods should keep on doing as they're doing and that should be fine. We're not all Shakespeare, we're not all going to be writing complex, compound sentences with perfect spelling. Grammar police have the tendency to spam and clutter up threads. And once one person starts to do it, everyone does, and it ends up as a flamewar. I vote No, on Proposition Grammar Police.

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Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:23 pm
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I agree with all of this but I cannot quote on my own performance record. You see, I’m a notorious offender when it comes to bad puncuation. I know my spelling is fine if I may say so myself, but sometimes punctuation mistakes can usually cause a sort of "drift" effect which "drifts" over to spelling mistakes. A wrongly placed apostrophe can make mine and many others text seem illiterate and badly typed. I cannot excuse myself from this but my only defense in the matter is that my computer does not have a punctuation check. I know this has to be one of the most over used excuses you have all heard of but I say again, it’s my only defense.

So, my real question is. Does anybody know a site or a program for Mac which acts as a punctuation checker? I’m in dire need of one of these and I cannot rely upon my own brain to know whether that comma should be there or that colon is well placed.

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Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:53 pm
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Personaly I feel that the grammar police would be a bad idea. I try to write coherently as much as possible and with the best grammar I can but when writing quickly I would perhaps leave out a letter or two. It can become mildly irritating when some random grammar pioneer walks in after me and corrects me.

I am not saying that the realy aweful posters who seem to lapse into text speak or just plain ignore punctuation should be allowed to post without some form of prod in the right direction. However in most cases these grammar police end up irritating those who either try to post well or don't have great English while the truely bad posters ignore them or drag the thread into a flaming match.

Of course this is purely my opinion so I would ask no one to take what I say too much to heart

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Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:58 pm
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Grammar police would not come down on you because you missed out a letter or misspelled a word, they would simply point out gramatical errors to serious offenders. For example, using 1337 speak routinely will merit a warning, but using 1337 speak once in a while to emphasise a point or as an ironic joke is perfectly fine.

Remember, grammar police aren't a separate entity or corporation, they (if they existed) would be members of this forum. Besides, warnings come through Private Messages, and thread closure if the misuse of language continues, so no need to worry about "grammar pioneers". :)

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:14 am
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Can someone explain what 1337 refers to? I see it all over the place, but don't know where it comes from or what it means.

As for the topic, I agree with the sentiment but disagree with the solution. I don't think we need to get too crazy about policing others. The mods are doing a fine job of pointing out the offenders. If a post is really bad, I just move on. If the person doesn't care enough to express himself clearly, then he probably didn't have much of a point to make anyway.

By the way, typing too fast is not an excuse! If you have time to write a post, take the few extra seconds to type it correctly. Every keyboard has a backspace key, lazybones.

'nuf sed

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:41 am
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I could honestly care less about the position of Grammar Police or not.

However having been on other forums were it is indeed an inforced policy I will warn about the "Grammar Nazi's". They are a threat to the wish to use this forum and so if this is taken it must be regulated somehow.

Other places I've been this works fine, so do not take a friendly warning as an advisory ,it is not meant that way.

I'll just keep on trying to spell and be grammaticaly correct. I do have make mistakes however and I apologise in advance.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:57 am
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HatesHighElves wrote:
Can someone explain what 1337 refers to? I see it all over the place, but don't know where it comes from or what it means.


Give this a quick read and it shall reveal all.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:31 am
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Grammar police should only be necessary if someone is outright horrible with their punctuation or if they continue to be an annoyance to the druchii community with their bad grammar. I think Rork and co. are doing a good job lately at keeping people in line. Every now and then a mistake is fine as everyone can easily make a "mitsake" when typing and not realize it. I think having good grammar should definitely be obtainable for all the member of the D.net community, but you don't have to be Shakespearean (though it'd be really cool if everyone was)

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:12 am
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Where it gets out of hand is when non-mods start weighing in, or mods trying to police in forums that are not their responsibility. That's when you get posts on grammar from the mod from a different forum, then the mods from the forum in question, then wow, you've got three posts on bad grammar, and the non-mod or, if you like, supernumerary members climb on too, and the thing gets out of control. Grammar Police is ok if only a few mods are allowed to do it, or if only the mods responsible for the forum in which it appears are allowed to do it.

I think it should probably be seen as spam when an ordinary member tries to police. There would have to be some give in such a rule, though, for the instance where one member cannot decipher a post, and asks for an explanation. Perhaps that sort of question is best referred to a mod - ideally one of those responsible for the forum in which the offending post appears.

I know I have been guilty of grammar policing, but from those couple of instances I have learned it's best to let it go, because it gives Damnation the shiz!

Edit : Typoslayer!

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:43 am
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I definitely agree with the fact that d.net has a semi serious spelling/grammar problem. In all honesty, I am far from the best with my grammar and how I type my responses but I think I get my point across relatively well... except for a lot of ...!

Basically, I think that it is up to the members to keep their posts under control. Even have a group of mods sending PM's but replies to threads is a big no no in my opinion because of problems such as this:

Rules Question. What is the GoP?

Post #1. What is the GoP?
Post #2. Zomg, it is the 1337est weapon we have!!! its like emazing ya know... like ya!
Post #3. Poster #2, this is the grammar police, your failing and blah blah blah please fix it.
Post #4. The same poster as #1 stating he still doesnt know what it does.
Post #5. Poster #2 replying to mod.

Etc, I think we all could see the possible problems.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:34 am
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I agree very much with what Tarbo says, but perhaps people take it a tad too serious. I, for one, have been very, very, irritated about this latest tendency that posting should happen in as short time as possible. Hey, noones perfect. But when I see someone, who is definitely an Englishman or American, write worse English than anybody I know here in Denmark ever would, then it bugs me. It get's even worse when the post has perfect spelling, perfect grammar, but no punctuatuation. Why? Why do some people fear that they must finish their post so quickly, that it is imperative that they leave out commas and full stop?

Grammar police? Actually, I'm in two minds about it. While it would be nice know much of the site is with me/us in this, then it could easily turn into a) spam and b) peer pressure, gone bad. One public reminder is, at least the way I figure, slightly humiliating. If ten people reply to the same post to laugh at inferior language, then we probably won't see that person again. And we'll damage the reputation of d.net.

I am happy for this essay. But I would also like to say this:
The best you, the posting members, can do, is think when posting. Set an example by taking care when writing your post. Again, I don't expect perfection. I'm certainly not perfect. When I made the first version of the new Off Topic Guidelines, Dark Alliance had a bucketload of corrections.
But you can do your best. And hopefully, it will rub off on those less caring posters. If somethign is really bad, use the report button.
Then we, the moderators, will do the rest.

EDIT: Actually, I think I'll sticky this thread. I think Tarbo's words deserve that.


Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:36 am
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Tarbo's "essay" is a god way to get the point over. I totally disagree with Grammar Police. That is getting too close towards a dictatorial state for d.net IMO.

There are certain abbreviations, capitalisations (see my previous sentence for example) which are acceptable.

The problem is just laziness with punctuation for the most part.


Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:46 am
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Person 1 wrote:
Rork & co are doing a good job
Person 2 wrote:
I think Rork and co. are doing a good job

You'd think little Rorkles was the only administrator around.

That said, the occasional typo is fine - nobody is perfect, after all. But if people can't be bothered to check their post and make sure it is actually coherent, then they should subsequently ask themselves if others will bother taking the time to read it. I may be able to read "1337-sp33k", but I don't see why I should have to decipher it in order to know what somebody is saying. Others who don't have English as their first language would probably find it much more difficult to understand (of course, that being said, I know non-native English speakers who are better with the language than a lot of people who do have it as their "first" language).

[joke]By the way, Nightblade183, your post lacks a period at the end of the last sentence.[/joke]

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:01 am
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While I agree with the idea of peers setting examples, I think grammar is about the least of the concerns we should have as a community, if we are going to view druchii.net as a community. The standards here are completely out of whack in my opinion. It's OK to post deliberately provocative borderline racist nonsense because it's "edgy" and pushes boundaries and can be defended as being "ironic" (which ignores that irony is context dependent), but if someone strays off topic, thats grounds for a locked topic. We can't talk about politics, but we can be misogynistic pigs. We can personally degrade the quality of people's work or army lists, but poor grammar is grounds for a ban. I'm sorry but none of that makes any sense to me.

In my opinion you should either just open up the flood gates and let users be responsible for themselves, and let the cream naturally float to the top, or you should enforce policies consistently and with some sort of sensible standard of conduct that is universally applied, including to senior members. I would rather have no standards at all if the alternative is unevenly enforced rules. There are so many "untouchables" around here that act like complete jackasses who get away with it for no reason I can really fathom (and I can be included in that category from time to time), that it calls into question the purpose of having forum rules to begin with. Just because we play druchii doesn't make dark elves some sort of real world role model. I mean, how pathetic is that?

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:18 am
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I am not sure I agree with you. In my opinion, the elitism that reigned around here has decreased. A lot. At least in my time.

Also, poor grammar is not grounds for a ban.
Refusing to write coherently, when you are fully capable of it, after several reminders, pleads and warnings, is grounds for a ban.


Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:42 am
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If I could sig Archdukechocula's entire post I would. Even though I disagree with the untouchables bit, from my experience there are not that many and they are usually good posters. I don't even think Tarbo was putting forward the idea of "Grammar Police" in the first place.

Lastly, it wasn't a very well constructed essay. The paragraphs needed to be... changed or they needed links to each other. I'm not sure. But the content was very good.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:47 am
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I agree with that people capable of writing properly, should do this.
I don't get this entire "Grammer police" idea, nor do I know where it came from, but I, and certainly many others, find it annoying that people forget punctuation, capital letters, and most of all: Leetspeak. If I come across this, I'll either send an informative PM to the person about it, or if the person have warnings from that sort of thing before, I will send another one. Also, I will probably skip reading the post, just because it is so horrible to read.

But as said, in order to post here, you don't have to be perfect at all, you just have to take the time to write a post, that isn't a real pest to read. And don't tell me that it is so difficult, all I ask for is a few dots and capital letters everynow and then.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:02 pm
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Morathi's Best Friend
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:shock: Cripes, that's a lot of replies. First of all, thank you for reading, and thank you for caring.

To clarify, I'm not writing of people that occasionally get it wrong; I'm writing of those that obviously make no effort. We all make mistakes all the time, and I'm not in favour of a culture that goes out of her way to point out each and every perceived flaw in one's post. I advocate setting a good example, not putting people in their place.

Language is the most glaring topic in my 'essay', but the underlying thoughts I wished to communicate were "think before you post" and "be courteous to other users." Language is merely the issue I am confronted with the most, but it ultimately includes the basic rules of (n)etiquette.

Lextalionis wrote:
I don't even think Tarbo was putting forward the idea of "Grammar Police" in the first place.
Exactomundo. In my opinion, we should first act correctly ourselves, and then we can see how to deal with repeated offenders. I have no particular opinion on a 'grammar police' other than: "If you have nothing to add to the topic at hand, stay your words." A post that just says: "Mind your spelling!" is not on-topic.

As Archdukechocula said, the forum rules apply to everyone, including self-appointed grammar police.

Lextalionis wrote:
Lastly, it wasn't a very well constructed essay. The paragraphs needed to be... changed or they needed links to each other. I'm not sure.
You're right. One of my many flaws in writing is that I am unstructured. It is the same with my thinking. But thank you for noticing; I'll pay closer attention to it in the future. :)

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:05 pm
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I certainly see your point, Archduke, and I believe your mention of racism had everything to do with funny pictures thread - in which I'll be the worst offender, I think. If it has at any point raised questions over my persona as being 'untouchable', then that's a shame - Moderators are hardly above the law, and you know as well as I that some have already lost their moderatorship for breaking rules. If ever there is a breach of rules we have missed, or you think one of us has turned a blind eye to, feel free to take it up with a mod.

Perhaps you see it as double standards, but I find that they are called for. Let's face it, we're sharing an online forum here, with written language as the only medium of communication. The integrity of d.net stands or falls with its communication between sane members on various topics, so long as a) one adheres to the topic and b) one adheres to correct language. Moral and ethical considerations, which can hardly be considered a part of the hobby we come here to discuss, are moved to the background. Discussions on politics and religion are simply not a part of the hobby, and are thus not a part of the forum. We tried it years back, and it didn't work.

I can hardly see what's out-of-bounds about some mildly racist or otherwise discriminating pictures. If I were a nationalist (and I am) and I'd open up a thread proclaiming the idiocy of Marxism, I'd be justly punished. But about the occasional racist joke, well, as long as it isn't tasteless I don't see what's wrong.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:25 pm
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All one can do is put the infromation out there, you cannot make people take your advice or use a spell checker. This is in the hands of the individual here, the mods can only remove the worst offenders and try to get those of use who are lazy to reform our ways. There are many good points in this thread, however I fear that those who are reading it are not the worst of offenders, we are the small time crooks at worst.

Very nice essay Tarbo.

P.S. When do I get my grammar police uniform, I want to be a dirty grammar cop ;) .

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:39 pm
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Damnation wrote:
I certainly see your point, Archduke, and I believe your mention of racism had everything to do with funny pictures thread - in which I'll be the worst offender, I think. If it has at any point raised questions over my persona as being 'untouchable', then that's a shame - Moderators are hardly above the law, and you know as well as I that some have already lost their moderatorship for breaking rules. If ever there is a breach of rules we have missed, or you think one of us has turned a blind eye to, feel free to take it up with a mod.


Yes, you are definitely one person I had in mind, but you are hardly the sole offender, and you and I butt heads often enough to make special mention unecessary. The general trend in that thread was more offputting than any one person. The untouchables comment is more in regards to the fact that several people, and I include both you and I, as well as some others in that grouping, seem to be allowed to more or less berate people offhandedly, whereas others get stern warnings. The only distinction between those who do and dont get warnings that I can see is seniority and degree of articulation, neither of which strike me as particularly good reasons to grant people "above the law" status.

I don't take these things up with mods because I believe moderation should be a largely personal act. I am adult enough to see a thread like that and just ignore the stuff that I find annoying. I was not amongst the people that reported it for that reason. I really dont personally care if people do those kinds of things on a regulatory level, except in so far as I find the policing to be completely irregular. Rather, I find it dissapoiting that people don't have the basic sense to conduct themselves in a courteous manner. If people were capable of regulating their own behaviors, this entire discussion would be moot. I personally am opposed to the idea of moderation except in the most extreme cases, and prefer the self regulating that comes with hands off forums. I feel most people are more than capable of ignoring things, even if they are offended. If you want to offend people, that's your business, I just find it sad that many otherwise intelligent people think in ways that strike me as unuanced and simplistic.

If it were up to me, I would see the ideal moderator role as being more bureaucratic than dictatorial. Organizing the locations of given thread is sensible, and hurts no one, and doesn't impose a given moral standard. Morality and taste is the domain of the individual. If I find cerain people irritating, I can ignore them or argue against them as is my want. Short of anything illegal being done (such as the posting of child pornography) anything can go, but posts will be put in their proper place. Perhaps limit pictures to links only since one can be exposed to offensive materials unwillfully. Beyond that, I really dont understand why people cant deal with things themselves. I still fail to understand why it matters if people have tenthousand useless posts in a random subforum dedicated to off topic stuff as long as its kept in the forum. If we allow that no policing is necessary, then no resources are wasted policing it. Thus if people want to post racist nonsense, they can do so all day long. If people want to have pointless political arguments, great. No one is being coerced into exposure.

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Perhaps you see it as double standards, but I find that they are called for. Let's face it, we're sharing an online forum here, with written language as the only medium of communication. The integrity of d.net stands or falls with its communication between sane members on various topics, so long as a) one adheres to the topic and b) one adheres to correct language. Moral and ethical considerations, which can hardly be considered a part of the hobby we come here to discuss, are moved to the background. Discussions on politics and religion are simply not a part of the hobby, and are thus not a part of the forum. We tried it years back, and it didn't work.


Well see, this is what doesn't make sense to me. None of the stuff in the off topic thread has anything to do with the hobby. The picture thread had nothing to do with the hobby (althoug it was closed eventually). But yet they were allowed, and continue to be allowed by virtue of their presence in the off topic forum, which seems sensible to me. Yet politics and religion aren't allowed, with the main justification being that they are "offensive" and encourage flame wars. What I dont get is why racism and sexism are considered acceptable, but politics and religion aren't. As far as I can figure, the only difference between the two is the assumption that we dont have member of D.net who aren't white and who aren't male (which of course all the racist and sexist commentary is only going to reinforce), but are often political or religious. I think that's a pretty ignorant assumption. I am of the opinion that if people want to be offensive, we should give members the benefit of the doubt and assume they are mature enough to sort the trash from the treasure. If we think they can't, then it only makes sense to apply the regulation of offensive or inflammatory material across the board. Making random exceptions just makes it look like racism is acceptable to the moderators, while politics and bad grammar isn't.

And of course the other difference between the racism/sexism thing and the political/religious thing is that the first two things are immutable qualities, and thus the quality itself is not subject to change or enrichment by debate (putting aside the deeper moral issues), whereas politics and religion are matters of personal conviction, which can be developed through discussion. Yet we cut off the discussion from which good things can reasonably be generated, yet allow people to degrade qualities of people that they cannot change. That doesn't make the slightest bit of sense to me.

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I can hardly see what's out-of-bounds about some mildly racist or otherwise discriminating pictures. If I were a nationalist (and I am) and I'd open up a thread proclaiming the idiocy of Marxism, I'd be justly punished. But about the occasional racist joke, well, as long as it isn't tasteless I don't see what's wrong.


Well, none of it is out of bounds to me. Again, I don't really see the need for censorhip on D.net. That is a misinterpretation of my point (one which is easy enough to make). I just think that D.net needs a more logically coherent concept of their censorship if that is the path they choose. If you can make an argument that explains to me why mild racism is ok in the context of an online gaming community, and politics is not, I will adjust my views, but frankly I can't make the slightest bit of sense out of that division.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 3:54 pm
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I must say I agree with both Damnation and Archduke... I need to pick a side right!?

I think that the censorship rules either need to be more fully enforced OR less enforced but having it be in the middle is a bit silly IMO. For example The Picture Thread. I thought it was absolutely hilarious. Though some of the pictures were of questionable comedy overall I think it had a good impact on the readers. What I don't understand is since page 4-5 it was allowed to continue for 5 more pages with rather... questionable quality. After that when everyone was really starting to have to search for the funny pictures it was closed down. Basically I don't understand truly why it was closed down in the first place AFTER it was allowed to continue AND why people were getting offended in the first place. Though some of the pictures were irritating to me I never felt any were worthy of a report, even more so when after 4-5 pages anyone with a brain knew where the topic was going to end up going.

So basically, We either need more or less censorship but not in the middle! I vote less!

-Rex

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:22 pm
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Ok since I closed the picture thread I will defend my closing and the lateness of it.

First of all I didnt read the thread with any regularity, as I found it to be very dull.

I got a few complaints but they where of the quality "you might want to take a look at the pic thread" I did remove a few posts but nothing major.

But then the pictures turned sexist and way to racist and I got two messages when I woke up asking for direct action so I locked it. Should it have been locked sooner? I think so personally but seeing as how I usually get complaints when I lock things to soon this time I waited. Kind of damned if I do and damned if I dont. And I got several messages going "why did you lock it"

So yes people have different tolerance levels and react differently to different things. Most people here would probably not react to the same things that I do so it is hard to know when a thread has gone to far. That is why we have the report button, we moderators cant be everywhere and we cannot know what YOU (looks at everyone) think is too much or too little.

Also the new rules do not prohibit religion/politics we only ask you to think an extra time before you post about it as many people feel very strongly about it. Some think that making fun of religion is ok (for whatever reason) while some will start flagburning over it. See where I am going with this?

Of course I think that if people could regulate themselves that would be the best option, BUT we know that is not going to happen this side of the sun going nova so moderation is an evil we have to put up with. I been to forums with no moderation and I left really fast. If you want to talk about things that are a no no here go to another forum. Harsh? Yes but I think most people that visit druchii.net want it that way. And we are by no means the harshest forum out there (look at warhammer.org.uk and their spelling police (though I visit that site often and love it I dont want the same rules here. Different sites different rules and they fulfill different needs in me)).

Anyway I need to try and get some more work done.

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Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:57 pm
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