In the recent Parish Plan, one of the recommendations for action said that discussions are under way with the current owner of Waldringfielders email group to consider options regarding possible changes to the management.
I thought it was worth giving people the heads up on where that is – especially as it may sound like there is a a disagreement between the Parish Council and me (the owner) over what should be done.
First of all – what problem are we trying to solve?
Some people on Waldringfielders object to heated discussion and would prefer to have the email group solely for notices and non-controversial postings. It would appear that it is these people for whom changes are being sought. Although I hear some complaints at people not liking conflict, I have many people congratulating me on speaking up when others are silent. This includes the subjects of Quiet Lanes, speed humps, river activities and dogs on leads. That accepted, lets see if we can find a solution to those getting upset.
How do we solve it?
OK, so we set about controlling the content on Waldringfielders to ensure that those who don’t like heated discussion are kept ‘safe’.
Setting up the new site (this one) helped with this because people could more easily categorise their postings and more easily opt in or out of discussions. Strangely, when I started it, the main criticism I had was from people who were concerned that they may miss out on discussion! It seemed that at this point, those who like to see a good argument then became more vocal than those who wanted protection. That was an interesting twist, but nevertheless, we still had the task of protection to address.
Having a new site for discussion, I was asked if the original waldringfielders could be left solely for ‘Lost Dog’ type, non-controversial, non-discussion postings. ‘Yes’ I said of course it can but what happens if someone posts something that they consider non-controversial but is in fact controversial? An example of this is the ‘Keep your dogs on leads’ notice, where people are not happy being dictated to in this way. I had several people thank me verbally for my response on that subject. Any resulting discussion or counter argument needs to be held on the same forum as the original posting i.e. waldringfielders. This is a basic ‘right of reply’ principle. This was accepted by the Parish Council as an issue.
One solution is to have all posts moderated before they appear on-line. This would involve a lot more work and a set of guide-lines to which moderators must adhere. I don’t have the time nor the inclination for such work and more importantly it would certainly affect the immediacy of posting on the group as each posting would need to await approval.
Hold on… let’s get some perspective on the problem!
If we were trying to stop violent or pornographic material appearing, then it would probably be worth the effort. As it is, all we are doing is trying to protect those who are easily offended from seeing a discussion that they don’t like. If someone can come up with a solution that solves the problem outlined above but keeps the accessibility of posting to waldringfielders, then please let us know.
Changes to Management
The recommendations for action suggests changes to management. I believe that the right to reply is more important than the need to protect sensitive people from discussions – after all, everyone has the ability to ignore or unsubscribe from individual topics. Others may disagree and I am open to hear their voice and suggestions. For any management panel to work, then they would need to first solve the problem outlined above or they would have no guidelines under which to work. Once solved, it only takes one person to implement the guidelines. If anyone wants to suggest general guidelines or discuss specific activity or postings, then please feel free to do so just as if you were part of a management group. Regards yourselves as one big management panel. Anyone who who has suggestions, please let me or Janet Elliott know your views. Any views are welcome but any action needs a clear objective and needs to take into account all of the aspects of the group.
Feel free to email or call me or Janet – I will take any suggestions seriously and discuss the pros and cons and I am sure Janet will do the same. If you feel happier having a discussion with us both, I am sure this can be facilitated. My number is (local) 811783.
So the point here is that discussions are not under way at all. There is currently no solution offered that would satisfy the needs of an open forum such as waldringfielders.