Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

Today is the one-week birthday of GenealogyWise. In the last couple of days we have had to face some censorship issues for the first time. We have not been around long enough to have set policies for these kind of issues. So, we want to turn to you, our members, to help us set our censorship policies. We invite each of you to respond letting us know whether or not you think the following types of posts should be censored:

(1) Content related to pornography or adult content
(2) Content promoting products and services not related to genealogy (business opportunities, etc.)
(3) Content that is disrespectful or rude (name calling, etc.)

We value your feedback and want your help in setting policies. What do you think?

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Yes to 1 and 2.
Members should also use caution about selling their own geneaology products, unless GenyWise sees that as part of its purpose.
Rudeness can't be judged well, but it is already on this site (in my humble opinion).
Thank you for your feedback. At this point GenealogyWise is ok with members promoting their genealogy products and services as long as they aren't spammy or rude to other members in the way they do that. Are you guys ok with that policy, or do you want us to put some kind of restriction on the promotion of genealogy products and services?

I think most of us will agree that we don't want rudeness or disrespectful behavior and often it is easy for us all to see and agree what is "rude and disrespectful". I agree with you that it can often be very hard to judge rudeness. What do we do if a moderator feels that a discussion has gone from respectful or constructive feedback to disrespectful communication or name calling? Should we let the conversation stay on the site and not censor it, or should we set a policy that members must talk respectfully to each other? We really would like the feedback from the members to know how you would like us to monitor the discussions. We personally would prefer a place where everyone is treated respectfully. However, we realize that not everyone feels this way, or at least, what a moderator feels is rude and disrespectful others would disagree. How do we draw the line?
Porn and business products not related to genealogy are no brainers - thanks for asking but that is a given.

"Disrespectful" is subjective and I think you've caused quite a problem for yourselves over the feedback given in a forum post by Terry Thornton yesterday. It appears that the post has been deleted as has Terry's account (not sure if it is GW or Terry who took that action).

My opinion is that the people who run Genealogy Wise need to read up on the true power of social media and figure out how it works and the importance of transparency. Many genealogy bloggers have been very supportive of Genealogy Wise and have been able to channel many people to your site. We bloggers are very experienced in the area of comments, feedback and censorship. You do a disservice to this community by not having a more concise censorship policy - this post is a start to building one.

But you will need to be more exacting in terms of what "disrespectful" means. Will it be okay to criticize Genealogy Wise practices here at Genealogy Wise? Or will someone have to set up the Unofficial Genealogy Wise Blog and be sort of a watch dog? I'd hate to see it come to that. I think someone needs to come clean about what exactly happened with the forum post on the Genealogy Wise contest and they need to do it real soon.
Hi Thomas.

Thank you very much for your feedback. This is exactly why we want to have this discussion. GenealogyWise welcomes feedback of how we can do better and improve. The contest we posted yesterday was a great example. A variety of people had issues with that contest because the system could be "gamed" by people that posted worthless content. Those people were right. We listened to that feedback and changed the rules of the contest. We even posted a new forum post asking for feedback on the new rules and said that we would be willing to remove the contest completely if that was the consensus of members. We want that feedback and want to build a better social network.

Our issue was not that people disagreed with our contest. Our issue was that some people chose to cross the line and become rude and disrespectful. I realize that "rude and disrespectful" is very subjective and I understand that I could be wrong.

My thought was that if someone came into my house and strongly disagreed with me, I would welcome the discussion or debate. However, if that person started yelling at me or calling me or my family names, I would ask that person to leave and come back when they were ready to talk respectfully.

However, maybe the community doesn't feel that way. We're very open to establishing a policy that we won't ban any negative posts about GenealogyWise, if that is what the community feels best. I removed the post last night based on my personal views, and not any company policy. We're asking for each of you to help us set the policy. What do you guys think is the right thing to do?
Also, we did not remove or ban Terry, just the one thread.
Thanks for the clarification. I've been in touch with Terry and I understand that only the one thread was removed by GW.

Perhaps this is just growing pains and it will blow over - I do have to give you credit for being on top of this here at GW and on Twitter. With social media, things can fly or fester very quickly depending upon action or non-action.
Wow T! That about says it all! Well done!:-)

It all depends on definitions. No pornography, but what about that picture of Grandpa at the Louvre next to the Statue of David? Or Unlce Ted in a speedo - is that pornographic?

What exactly is adult content? Would that include discussions of pedigree collapse and illegitimacy? There are some adult issues that arise in any serious genealogical conversation.

I definitely feel that no commercial usage unrelated to genealogy should be permitted. I can't think of exceptions.

I think I might support stepping in and breaking up 'flame wars' between members that develop if the admin/moderators of the groups are unable to stop it themselves. However, there should be a specific section onsite for members to 'register complaints' about GW itself And you should expect some of those complaints to be less gracious than others.
Thanks John for your feedback. How would you define adult content that we should ban? Help us out here in establishing a policy. We'd rather you guys help us do it than we force a policy on you. Should we block all photographic nudity? Should we block nudity in art? Would you block bikini photos? Does the context of the content make a difference, and if so, how?

I don't personally think that discussions of illegitimacy have anything to do with adult content, and I wouldn't ban those. However, that's just my opinion.

We are fine with people telling us we're wrong and how we need to improve. I personally would like to see that done in a respectful way...without name calling, for example. Is that a reasonable request, or should we just be thick skinned and take it?
You should definitely NOT block nudity in art, that is crossing a line into being puritanical and absurd. I also don't think bathing suits or even old time underwear (bloomers, and the like) should be blocked, but things like naked breasts and butts and anything depicting a sexual act should obviously not be allowed. If someone REALLY wants to show their ancestor in such a picture, maybe the policy should be that the picture itself should be censored (for example, black bars over the entire breast and pelvic region if it's unclothed). I think the content of the picture does make a difference, kind of like taking snapshots of the kids in the bath or on a bearskin rug - parents aren't being perverse when they take a picture like that, they think it's sweet and innocent. I honestly can't think of any time when I would want to post a picture of ANYONE naked online, regardless of whether it's a cute toddler or what. But as Kiril below me points out, if Great Granny ran a burlesque show and there are surviving pictures that show a glimpse into a fascinating social scene, then I would say that if the picture isn't PG, or can't be made PG, it shouldn't be posted. Maybe that should be the rule: Censor the nudity with black bars, no sexual acts, no child nudity? Make it PG or don't post it. Or if you really want people to see the original, link to it with a NSW tag (not safe for work).
I like the PG guideline. Good thought.
I don't think anyone would object to an outright ban on photographic nudity - as otherwise it puts the site at legal risk. We might think that some communities overreact to nudity, but we can respect a website's desire to stay away from legal problems. I wouldn't block any photo where there is sufficient clothing to avoid an R rating in films. And women (or men) in bikinis wouldn't cause an R rating.

I'm not sure how I would approach artistic non-photographic nudity. It's a very subjective decision. If you feel it is necessary to avoid legal issues, I don't think anyone would object strenuously to an outright ban here either. However, if legal issues aren't relevant, I wouldn't ban non-photographic artistic nudity.

As long as the conversations are related to genealogy, the only 'adult content' I would ban in text is obscene language. And as someone else suggested, asterisks in place of letters within the swear words should be sufficient. It would be ideal if we all could communicate without resorting to these words, with or without asterisks, but sometimes we are unable to refrain, especially when we are angry.

I think many of us would like to see respectful conversations that don't resort to name calling. But there is a difference between requesting respectfulness, and requiring it. A comment on the post that you understand they are upset, and appreciate the input, but would have preferred it had been written in a more respectful manner - should be sufficient. Deleting the post is a great way to make the individual angrier - whereas a comment might actually help calm them down.



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