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This topic contains 42 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  SimonS1 5 Feb 2019
at 08:46
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  • Updated terms and conditions for the Business Traveller forum

    The purpose of the forum is to provide a space for readers to discuss business travel-related matters.

    Business Traveller reserves the right to edit, moderate and delete posts. This has always been the case – where there have been problems, we have edited posts, deleted them, and, ultimately, blocked posters.

    Posters should also be aware that we will suspend or block the accounts of posters who post from multiple accounts, or post content that is racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise discriminatory.

    If in doubt, please read this from the BBC – we ask the same

    The Have Your Say rules

    You may be aware of recent complaints made both on the forum, but also on Twitter and via email to us, regarding a post which has now been deleted.

    We try to moderate all posts that are reported or flagged. However, when multiple posts are reported each day, in some cases we have let some stand and let the debate continue.

    This is partly because we have a large number of forum users and a small team. Some posts are being flagged by people who simply disagree with them, rather than because they contain inappropriate content.

    This forum is successful precisely because we moderate with a light touch – the vast majority of posters respect this, and post accordingly. The alternative is for us to moderate every post before it is published, which would quickly be the death of the forum.

    And of course there are difficulties that come with moderation. We want to give forum users a chance to air their views, and for those views to be challenged and debated if others take issue with them.

    The problem is that Business Traveller can be (and has been) accused of promoting those views ourselves.

    The relative anonymity of the forum has seen a few – though by no means all – commenters make generalisations based on race, religion, gender and more, that they might not make with their name attached.

    Our intention is not to silence debate, scold our readers, or change the flow of the forum. But please be aware that if your comment is offensive (and not just because people disagree with you, but because it targets a group unfairly) we will remove it.

    There have been some great discussions on the forum recently, and new posters are joining all the time. Let’s not put them off with posts that are unnecessary and unhelpful – thanks.


    canucklad
    Participant

    Unfortunately the forum is now being used by publicity-seeking, know-nothing Twitter commentators to further their careers, so I will have to spend my weekends moderating your opinions more closely.

    And Tom , simply put your work life balance has to be paramount !!

    Good to be reminded about the policy, and wholeheartedly agree with the moderating with a light touch.

    It’s ironic that the Tweeter chose the cowardly approach and bullied their own views and position opinion by seeking the modern day equivalent of a wild west posse.
    Unfortunately in todays hyper sensitive world , these Key board vigilantes seek to build a mob mentality to justify their rage
    I’d rather challenge such views through reasoned debate and counter those opinions with gentle nudging rather than lecturing to a closed mind.

    I’d have much more respect to the Twitter individual ( deliberately not naming them) if they chose to join the discussion
    Alas the actions taken threatens the very essence of free speech and worse the consequences of drying and hiding those views some find repugnant into the dark corners of humanity for generations to come

    I’m hoping my above comments are not seen as a provocation, rather my disappointment at external factors forcing the hand of the excellent crew at BT

    8 users thanked author for this post.

    Henryp1
    Participant

    I really don’t see how the Twitter user is a ‘know nothing commentator’. They are enthusiastic, experience travel in real time, have a good website and Twitter feed and seem to be consulting in their name for numerous news outlets and are a choice of airlines when inviting sources onto specific flights which they want reviewing.

    If he read comments which were old on a forum, why would he bother to raise with the forum direct as it appears that it is allowed or approved. I’m sorry but if a forum is run it has to be monitored and responsibility taken for prolonged offensive comments which are left in view and appear to be approved. Offensive posts are not appropriate in an open forum. They do not encourage healthy debate, but cause offence and ultimately escalation in any direction.

    The Twitter user, uses his name and picture and does not hide behind nicknames etc, it appears that he takes full accountability for his postings.


    PeterCoultas
    Participant

    “The have your say rules” developed by the BBC that the keymaster mentions are for me entirely appropriate – BUT its one exception, the first one. To consider blocking “derogatory comments” that are defined as potentially damaging to a business is nonsense in a forum as such comments are often merely an accurate description of something that needs correction viz much of what is posted about BA!

    In my case I would be happy to post derogatory comments about certain Middle East countries civil rights regimes and such comments could (and I hope would) affect the businesses of certain Middle East airlines. Is that legitimate comment or not?

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    In my case I would be happy to post derogatory comments about certain Middle East countries civil rights regimes and such comments could (and I hope would) affect the businesses of certain Middle East airlines.

    +1 from me.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    Shame, but I would have thought by now the BT team would have figured that self moderated forms really don’t work.

    BT has always had problems, from the trolling of Vintage Krug to the racist post that appeared last week. Had it been removed more quickly after being reported then the Twitter comments would never have happened.

    It’s one thing allowing debate and strongly expressed views, quite another allowing racially infused drivel which adds nothing to any debate.

    Perhaps this is the wake up call that has been coming for some time.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    So what’s the solution?

    You’ve always been extremely quick to criticise this forum and us (the editorial staff) for the failures you perceive.

    You say it is self-moderating by which you mean… not sure – us moderating it? Us failing to moderate it? Posters reporting what they think needs reporting and so self-moderating.

    If that doesn’t work what does?

    We are trying to make the forum work. If you have constructive solutions, always glad to hear them.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    What I mean is this.

    Firstly the racist post was reported many days before it was raised on Twitter. So either it wasn’t reviewed or it was considered acceptable (poor judgement IMHO).

    The answer is the forum needs to be moderated like most other travel forums. People who are impartial but can step in when things get unacceptable or off topic.

    Maybe have a look at the rules on FT? And perhaps seek volunteers from amongst the regulars.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    Nobody is impartial in a debate, it wouldn’t be a debate if everyone were impartial. So is the solution to suppress debate and stick to factual questions and answers? E.g.:

    Q :”I’m booked on Katanga Airways from Lubumbashi to Kigali on 14 FEB. Can anyone give me any tips?”
    Nope, that’s not going to work, as we will have those dangerous things, opinions masquerading as facts.

    A: “It leaves at 1405 and arrives at 1625 and it’s a 22 year old 737-400 config 3-3 in Y and 3-2 in C”
    Not very useful as it’s easy to find that information.

    So between those two extremes, what do we have?

    Racism? Often racism is in the mind of the accuser. The posting a couple of weeks ago about the security guard looking like a Somali terrorist, or whatever it was, was absurd, but racist? I don’t think so. It just made the poster look foolish.

    Using terms such as ‘racially infused drivel’ in the context of another posting is not helpful either.

    In Soviet days the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin was a newspaper called Pravda. Ironically, its contents were anything but ‘pravda’ (truth). Do posters such as SimonS1 wish to go down that road with full on censorship? I sincerely hope not.

    I also wish to mention once again that anonymous reporting of posts as ‘inappropriate’ should not be allowed. My attitude when posting on forums is that I would not write on a forum anything that I would not say face to face to the other party/parties.

    I would add that I think that the moderation on this forum is excellent.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Henryp1
    Participant

    Just to follow on from SimonS1: just because a poster posts what they would ‘say face to face’, does not make it any less offensive or racist on the forum, which is not debate. Anything can be debated without being offensive or using derogatory terms/words. In the real world, are anonymous posters on a forum really so offensive face to face to persons they do not know?

    Leaving comments on a forum which are offensive to others, does seem to indicate that the forum owners fully endorse the comment, especially if it has been flagged, this has occurred more than once. The forum is open to anyone who looks, the readers are likely to be from a wide range of people from our society and not a particular colour, age or belief. I have never seen racist or offensive comments on FT, either they dont get posted, or are moderated promptly.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Well, there’s the argument.

    In summary it means, if we (BT) leave a comment on the forum that the minority (or even, to be fair, the majority), believe is racist, then no matter how stupid or misguided it is, and no matter how many posters disagree with it – in reasoned posts following on from it – if we don’t delete the post, then it must be the case that we condone the content of that one post.

    And that, is the end of debate.

    We, as moderators, must read each post, decide if it is offensive, and if it is, delete it before anyone reads it.

    And if we miss it, but someone flags it, we must then delete it. If we don’t, then we agree with the opinion expressed.

    A shame, I think. But I must be wrong.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Well, there’s the argument.

    In summary it means, if we (BT) leave a comment on the forum that the minority (or even, to be fair, the majority), believe is racist, then no matter how stupid or misguided it is, and no matter how many posters disagree with it – in reasoned posts following on from it – if we don’t delete the post, then it must be the case that we condone the content of that one post.

    And that, is the end of debate.

    We, as moderators, must read each post, decide if it is offensive, and if it is, delete it before anyone reads it.

    And if we miss it, but someone flags it, we must then delete it. If we don’t, then we agree with the opinion expressed.

    Not at all Tom. If you read my posts again you will see I’m not suggesting you read every post. I’m also not suggesting you delete something just because it is reported. But where something is clearly inflammatory then that is normally where moderators step in.

    Whether a poster is “stupid and misguided” (as you put it) doesn’t mean the post is not offensive.

    In any case tell me this. If you didn’t feel it was offensive, and that it was fair debate, why didn’t you defend yourself on Twitter instead of coming back many days later, deleting the posts and publishing new ‘rules? And if you feel that allowing those views to be expressed on a BT sponsored forum is acceptable debate then why not publish the exchanges on the forum page of the magazine and see what your subscribers/advertisers think?

    You won’t I know, as it would be totally indefensible.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    That’s easy. We pick things for the magazine that are of general interest, and that thread wasn’t, so your implication that it’s all about the commercial interests is wrong, but since you seem to believe the lowest of us, predictable.

    As for defending on Twitter, I did. I was then accused of being immature and pathetic.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    Racism? Often racism is in the mind of the accuser. The posting a couple of weeks ago about the security guard looking like a Somali terrorist, or whatever it was, was absurd, but racist? I don’t think so. It just made the poster look foolish.

    Using terms such as ‘racially infused drivel’ in the context of another posting is not helpful either.

    In Soviet days the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin was a newspaper called Pravda. Ironically, its contents were anything but ‘pravda’ (truth). Do posters such as SimonS1 wish to go down that road with full on censorship? I sincerely hope not.

    Of course using a phrase like “a radical muslim, I believe a Somali” is racist. The poster may have been peeved by poor service but there was no need to describe the security person as radical, Muslim or Somali.

    I stand by my point that it is a) racially infused and b) drivel. By the way the words used by alainboy56 can still be seen as BT made a pretty poor job if the clean up.

    I am not advocating censorship, just sensible moderation that prevents rather extreme interventions like that being made. The comments wouldn’t be acceptable on other forums (and the poster would almost certainly be banned) but perhaps this one has different standards.

    As far as knowing who has reported the comments I can’t say I’m bothered either way, on FT it is anonymous but but it does not have “this post has been reported” plastered over it either as this can also be a little inflammatory.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    That’s easy. We pick things for the magazine that are of general interest, and that thread wasn’t, so your implication that it’s all about the commercial interests is wrong, but since you seem to believe the lowest of us, predictable.

    As for defending on Twitter, I did. I was then accused of being immature and pathetic.

    I would have thought debate about the security service at the biggest terminal in one of the biggest airports worldwide was of general interest.

    I didn’t say it was motivated by commercial interest, but I also know advertisers are generally wary of being associated with publications that have such content.

    If you didn’t think the comments were unacceptable, why didn’t you defend yourself on Twitter, and say exactly that instead of backing down and deleting the content?

    Anyway I get the message, you prefer an unmoderated forum so best leave it there until it kicks off again.

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