To what extent are participatory websites responsible for their contributors?

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  stevescoots 14 Jun 2018
at 10:22
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

  • PhilipHart
    Participant

    It has long been the claim of major web platforms that they are nothing more than a pure communication medium – much like telephone lines – and on that basis they can’t be held responsible for the content of messages that are communicated through that medium.

    And that is a very appealing and persuasive argument; but for the fact that these platforms have recently started to decide what is and what isn’t appropriate content/comment.

    In other words they are engaged in active censorship, and have consequently negated their claim to be considered as a “content-blind” medium.

    And this brings me to BusinessTraveller, and a couple of questions that come to mind:

    a) Is the forum a pure communication medium? Or is it subject to moderation?

    b) Does BT owe a “duty of care” to all contributors? And, if so, is that a “passive” or “active” “duty of care”? Or, more simply stated, should BT just root out and ban vexatious contributors, or does BT need to actively – eg, financially, help such contributors overcome their issues?

    I ask because I am convinced we are seeing systematic bullying from some of the more profuse forum contributors. And I really do wonder whether it is sufficient for BT to merely ban these bullies – a long overdue remedy (passive duty of care)? Or whether BT needs to contribute financially to the treatment these contributors clearly need to help address their issues (active duty of care)?

    I look forward with great interest to reading BT’s considered response.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    The easy thing is to sit back and let others comment and then jump in with thoughts, criticisms and pearls of wisdom.

    However, I am passionate about the future of this forum for 6 fundamental reasons:

    1. I have benefited from learning different travel strategies from this Forum with the result that I have saved thousands of pounds over the years. I travel 3 or 4 times a year to Asia and since I have been part of this fabulous group, my travel costs have reduced significantly

    2. Through this Forum I have found the most amazing Travel Counsellor, who looks after me like no other travel agent (I am 56) ever has been able.

    2. I would like to think I have helped others in some small way, sharing contacts, experiences and IP

    3. Through this Forum, I made contact with an old school friend (he used to post under the name Andre Simha) who I had not heard from in over 30 years

    4. I have been able to meet around 30+ regulars (yes it is possible) and they have ALL been amazing, interesting and FUN people to share time with..

    5. When I met up with one poster in Asia, I wont embarrass K1ngston, we found out (this part is really bizarre) our children were Facebook friends…

    6. There are groups of posters that regularly meet up (if you would like to join a group ask Tom to put you in touch with me).

    I am truly sorry (genuinely) that you feel bullied – but this is an open and unmoderated (long may it continue) Forum. Conflict is defined as a difference of opinion – that will always happen, but perhaps some posters take this too personally. I admit, a couple of years ago when someone had a go at me, I also took it personally – but it did not cause me to go head to head with someone.

    As I mentioned on another thread, the best piece of advice I ever received on here, was it is not compulsory to read or reply to any thread and there is an unwritten agreement that any posts made containing statements of fact, can be supported by evidence or research.

    This Forum has run for many years, without moderation, despite the occasional thread like this one… without sounding patronising (and please forgive me if it does) take it for what it is… a general discussion Forum, where opinions differ, but we are all big, bold and brave enough to stand up for ourselves. ‘Duty of care’ – yes there is a duty of care, between ourselves…. we haven’t needed moderation to interfere (maybe occasionally BT needed to close a thread)……The real bullies (and I wont name the big 2 of recent years) are long gone and in the main, we all benefit from the Forum in many different ways.

    Tom has my email, feel free to contact me and I am in no way connected to BT, other than through this wonderful amazing Forum.

    AND… to Canuklad – you were the initiator of the Friday fun thread…. bring it back….. its needed 🙂


    PhilipHart
    Participant

    MartynSinclair, there is a huge difference between “having a difference of opinion” and bullying.

    You are a very long-standing contributor to BT, so I know you know what that difference look like; VintageKrug anyone?

    Positive contributions notwithstanding, it is utterly unacceptable for certain participants to feel they can browbeat others with impunity.

    Time for BT to accept responsibility for contributors who thrive on malign behaviour.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Philip – this is an open Forum (as decided by the Forum operator) and long may it continue.

    is this bullying or as Esselle put it so succinctly, (his post seems to have been moderated) “my wil*y is bigger than yours”..

    I don’t feel anyone was trying to brow beat you, they merely gave you a difference of opinion…..

    If BT are expected to publish Bullying policy and all other policy, it will be time for them to shut this Forum down… and I feel that would be very unfair for the vast majority of posters who enjoy the Forum and accept it for the way it is run.

    You may call / email me anytime….


    EUFlyer
    Participant

    Positive contributions notwithstanding, it is utterly unacceptable for certain participants to feel they can browbeat others with impunity.
    Time for BT to accept responsibility for contributors who thrive on malign behaviour.

    Sadly some people use and enjoy the anonymity of the internet to behave badly. Martyn has raised some really excellent points about the value of this forum as a place we can all share experiences in a fun, informative way. But I can’t see how we could expect BT to spend significant resources policing a platform it provides free of charge and without intrusive ads. BT has, in my experience, removed contributers who repeatedly behaved poorly, but I can’t see how they can be held responsible for those (or any other) poster’s actions or – as you suggest – be expected to financially contribute (?) where they have zero control over what these rude contributers post.

    Ultimately, it’s worth taking what people write here with a pinch of salt, given we are all here for various reasons (be it entertainment, self validation, venting or to be informed etc). Shame to to let the odd rotten egg ruin one’s day and, in any case, we all tend to band together to ensure that those behaving poorly are made aware of the inappropriateness of their actions. Best wishes to you.


    AisleSeatTraveller
    Participant

    PhilipHart – i concur with everything you have said but you have just described the entire gamut of social media / forum pages (which are (sadly) generally vessels of hate (and passed their sell by date), i no longer use Twitter or Facebook but post the odd pic on Instagram)


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Bullying. Abuse. Racism.

    All are terms that are grossly overused by the easily offended, who often don’t really understand what they mean but love to roll them out in an attempt to win an argument, usually achieving the exact opposite.

    I fail to see how a robust exchange of differing views on a (more or less) anonymous forum can be considered bullying or browbeating. It isn’t.

    Furthermore, whereas in a live discussion, it is possible for one participant to shout down and talk over another, denying that party the opportunity to express a view, on a forum everyone has the chance for their views to appear without interference. Long may it stay that way.

    For those who feel they can’t cope with being contradicted, there is always the option of a nice cup of tea and a walk along the beach. Nobody is forced to participate.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I agree with everything Martyn has said. I believe he and I are the largest contributors to this forum and we’ve both been subject to some pretty bad attacks in the past, but I like to think he and I are the bigger person as we shrug our shoulders and move on, not bothering to reply or add fuel to the fire. I also find this “I said, you said” boring, but I just skip over it and head to the interesting part.

    This forum has also been very useful to me. I’ve had help in the past from contributors giving me information where I was unsure or needed some assistance. I love travel and I love flying (even though I’m a nervous flyer) and like many here have flown to most of the world, but there are many places I have not visited and so while I’m happy to help with my contributions where I can, I’m also happy to receive new ideas and suggestions, and this is what makes the BT Forum a useful and dynamic platform and why it’s the only (travel) one I contribute to.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Thank you for the kind words.

    Let’s keep it going then.

    Can I ask when you disagree with one another you keep it respectful (you mostly do).

    I’ve also noticed things get very angry in the evenings (European time). I’m not implying a relaxing drink has anything to do with it, but I was at a NH Hotels function last night and had to turn off my phone for the number of notifications from posts being ‘Reported” as the arguments developed.

    If you start to see red, turn off the computer and come back to it the next day (or the next week).

    Very few people on here are using their real names, and without going into the rights and wrongs of that again, while it’s possible to feel insulted (or bullied), if you haven’t even met the person, it can’t be personal, because you don’t know one another.

    That said, it’s a great shame that people are discouraged from posting because they think they are going to get ‘flamed’ (to use a Flyertalk phrase).

    The more people who post, the better. The greater diversity of views, and the more we’ll all learn. Surely we all want that?

    It is lightly moderated, but I am around for the next 7 days and will try and keep an eye on it.

    Can we take advantage of the freedom but not abuse it?

    And please don’t push the envelope when it comes to making generalisations about other nations – eg: the French are lazy and workshy, Thais are… Arabs are… whatever, call centres in Asia are in bongobongoland, people are ar##holes because it upsets people and is unneccessary.

    We aren’t in a bar relaxing after work where anyone can say pretty much what they want and if they don’t like it they should move to a different table.

    Every time you insult someone (or a nation) and then say, ‘I don’t care, I speak my mind”, I get emails from people saying they are insulted, and how can I condone racism, and why do I let this person dominate, and then I have to reply and then they reply and then suddenly I’m running 12+ forums at once, mostly on my email!


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    but I was at a NH Hotels function last night and had to turn off my phone for the number of notifications from posts being ‘Reported” as the arguments developed.

    Tom, I’m not sure that there was much of an argument, TBH. One poster was certainly trying to cause one, but much of the reporting that unfortunately inconvenienced you, was me using that facility in response to some pretty unpleasant invective, rather than replying on the thread. Am I right in thinking that you would prefer that response?

    Pretty much the only substantial reply I made was politely asking that person to cite a reference for a statement made to another poster, which he could not do, as the statement was patent nonsense to anyone with professional insight in the area and I had hoped that he might take the hint that he was overreaching his knowledge and stop posting such nonsense.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    OK, well let’s just all put it behind us and move one.

    The positive side of this is we seem to have quite a few new posters (not just the ones wanting to meet Kiev ladies) and so we’ll have more new threads and topics and voices.

    And I know we will all welcome them, and be respectful to them, even when they know less than we do.

    And then everything will be wonderful, and we will all be happy.

    And I can finish writing the piece I am trying to write.

    And the tomorrow I’ll have that call with the IT people and we’ll try and find some decent software that allows us to create moderators and moves the Report button away from the other buttons.


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    You need to be a lawyer to answer all that, but fundamentally the answer is that owners/publishers of sites and forums where people are allowed to express themselves need to be careful these days. The old Wild West days of the early internet are gone.

    If you put up something defamatory and take it down immediately when challenged, you’ll probably be OK. Depends how bad it is. If you say ‘screw you’, then be prepared for trouble.

    MartynSinclair echoes my feelings – I’ve had some marvellous tips and info of the BT Forum. Long may it prosper.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    You need to be a lawyer to answer all that, but fundamentally the answer is that owners/publishers of sites and forums where people are allowed to express themselves need to be careful these days. The old Wild West days of the early internet are gone.

    If you put up something defamatory and take it down immediately when challenged, you’ll probably be OK. Depends how bad it is. If you say ‘screw you’, then be prepared for trouble.

    MartynSinclair echoes my feelings – I’ve had some marvellous tips and info of the BT Forum. Long may it prosper.

    I agree with all of that, but of course the underlying reason for the OP asking this question was to conceal another personal attack

    Does BT owe a “duty of care” to all contributors? And, if so, is that a “passive” or “active” “duty of care”? Or, more simply stated, should BT just root out and ban vexatious contributors, or does BT need to actively – eg, financially, help such contributors overcome their issues?

    Or whether BT needs to contribute financially to the treatment these contributors clearly need to help address their issues (active duty of care)?

    As Tom says, let’s move on…..


    ThomasCox
    Participant

    BT is the only social forum I ever post on, mainly because business (and leisure) travel has for a very long time now been an ever-present, often weekly part of my life.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed ‘bullying’ on here per se.

    Also, I don’t think anyone is browbeating anyone else. Certain people have bigger mouths than others, that’s for sure, and being so convinced of one’s own point of view must be very comforting indeed. I’m sure I have been accused of similar things in my life.

    For those of us who can occasionally reserve judgement, listen to arguments, and then be persuaded one way or another, I find the BT forum most refreshing in that regard. Some views I agree with, others I don’t, all I find interesting. If I didn’t I would simply shut the web-page, roll my eyes and get on with my day, giving it not a second thought.

    So to that end @PhilipHart, I welcome your contribution and I respectfully and politely disagree with you :).


    EUFlyer
    Participant

    As Tom says, let’s move on…..

    +1

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