Mudcat Café message #1419880 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #77879   Message #1419880
Posted By: Joe Offer
24-Feb-05 - 02:51 PM
Thread Name: BS: Censorship on Mudcat
Subject: RE: BS: Censorship on Mudcat
You know, Shambles, you're absolutely correct. Things could be done differently. Sometimes, though, choices are made that are not your choices. Such are the vicissitudes of life. The editorial actions you question were performed for good, honest reasons. These actions may not fit your criteria, even though your criteria may be perfectly valid and commendable - but what else is new?

Thread titles are changed to make the Forum Index more understandable and to make threads easier to find. Threads are given titles that will help people decide whether to open or not to open a thread. If we change a thread title, we usually try to do it by adding a word or a tag, leaving the original title mostly intact - we do this out of respect for the intentions of the person who originated the thread, but also with the intention of making the Forum Menu a more useful index. While we respect the intent of the thread originator, a thread is a community creation and not subject to the control of the originator.

Let's take an example. Somebody started a thread the other day and titled it Phil Ochs. There are several other threads with the same title, and we've included them all in our Phil Ochs crosslinks. The thread originator wanted to know if anyone had seen Ochs perform live - so I changed the title to "Phil Ochs - ever see him perform?." Doesn't that make sense - to differentiate this thread from all the others with the same title?

The Horrors of Dafur thread started with a "Folklore" tag, but it was not related to folklore in any way and it did not belong in the music part of the Forum because it had no music information in it. It's understandable that the originator wouldn't want to put a "BS" label on a thread about a tragedy. The originator could have left the tag blank, but it's no big deal either way. In situations like that, we just remove the improper tag and move the thread to the non-music section - without the "BS" tag. We do the same with non-music obituaries - move them to the non-music side without adding a BS tag. These are common-sense things done to make Mudcat easier to navigate. Changing a thread title is not an earth-shaking decision, and there's no need to discuss every such action. If we stopped to discuss each thread title change we make, we'd never get anything done. Usually, we use common sense, and nobody objects. Note also that when we change thread titles, we ordinarily leave the message title of the original message unchanged - another attempt to honor the intention of the thread originator (we do occasionally change message titles for indexing purposes, particularly when messages contain lyrics or other music information that needs to be indexed).

Non-music threads go to the bottom half of the Forum Menu because they are not related to music - not because they are "bad" threads. Sometimes, a thread will be moved from top to bottom or vice-versa as the thread develops in one direction or another. It may start out as a chit-chat thread and end up loaded with songs. I suppose one could argue that some people don't notice threads in the bottom half of the Forum, and so "important" threads should be kept up top. One could also argue that if we keep "important" non-music threads on the bottom, maybe people will learn to take a look there on occasion.

Many of the editorial decisions made here are arbitrary - but most of the decisions we make in life are arbitrary, aren't they?
We make choices, and life goes on. We could choose other things, and life would still go on. Or, we could stop and debate every step we take until we all come to agreement - and life would come to a standstill.

-Joe Offer-