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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(1) Yes
(2) Yes
(3) Yes, if it is especially disrespectful
Good point on #3. Maybe it is only an issue if it is an especially serious form of disrespect. Maybe we should let the lower levels of disrespect go because some people are going to disagree about what is and what is not disrespect at that level.
I am not a person that usually looks back in life (but I do when it comes to researching my ancestors) but I missed the original forum post about the Genealogy Wise contest which was removed and I'd like to get all the facts (I am a researcher and genealogist after all).

I think Genealogy Wise could go very far in resolving this issue by somehow re-posting the forum post and letting others give their feedback. It would help you determine a censorship policy as to rudeness, bashing, and disrespectful - which many agree to be subjective.
Thomas,
Unfortuantely, when we deleted the thread it was deleted permanently. I can't recreate it or put it back up. I'm sorry I apologize for doing this. Going forward we will not delete threads that are disrespectful of GW.
My 2c on GW "censorship" of disrespectful posts. Since discussion threads don't show up on My Page automatically, I'd have to go LOOKING for disrespectful posts. I'd never have known about these posts if they hadn't been removed (and then Tweeted). Openly offensive posts (name calling) should not be allowed, but anything beyond that will be too difficult to judge fairly. I would hope that this would be a pretty rare occurance - but maybe I'm being naive.
Thank you for the feedback Shy.
I just spoke with Paul Allen, our CEO, and he feels that we should allow all feedback about GenealogyWise without removing it, even if it is disrespectful. I apologize for the posts I removed that I felt were discrespectful to GW. That will not be our policy going forward. So, go ahead and bash away. :)

I think it might make sense to have some kind of rules about treating other community members with respect, but we won't have those same rules for negative posts about GW. What do each of you think about that?

Also, Paul would like us to ask the community what you think about profanity. Should that be censored at all, and if so, what types of profanity?
Thanks for this reply - it goes a long way to calming nerves right now.

Obscenity (foul language or suggestive language) should be moderated and a standard such as the following can be set:

Obscene, foul and suggestive language will not be tolerated . . . If you are quoting a historical document and such language is used, we ask that you partially obliterate the possibly offending words with asterisks. Such as h*ll . . .

Thoughts?
Thomas, you've sent a shudder through the graveyards and academies of history! I agree that obscene language should not be tolerated. But I don't know that I agree that marking up historical documents is the right approach. There are many historical documents which describe some of my ancestors with words that would be inappropriate to use in speaking or writing today. Many repositories recognize that some may be offended by certain language in historical documents--and they should be. That's clearly one reason to preserve them--so we can be outraged. With this in mind, many institutions today place warnings and disclaimers on their collections so that users understand the historical context, and that by presenting such documents, the institution is not endorsing any idea or language contained therein.

Consider also that in some future era, words that you commonly use today may fall into disfavor for whatever reason.

Again, I'm not endorsing the casual use of obscene language in discussions or other posts here; I think we do a disservice to history if we start sanitizing our ancestors' language to fit our sensibilities.
Excellent point, Craig!
Point taken Craig and in looking back at my post/response you are right - I have letters from ancestors with language which outright embarrasses me today but may have been accepted back then - and needs to be viewed in context.

I would never redact or censor an original document - if I did a transcription in a blog post I'd have to make sure there were a disclaimer and possibly a "continue" button to proceed to the transcription or the scanned image.

I appreciate your opinion and I think you are spot on when you use the term "casual use:"
Profanity in conversation and blog posts is probably inappropriate but if one is quoting, for example, an ancestor's account of war and he describes the situation as "the sounds of h*ll" you lose a lot of the impact of the description. Likewise "da*n Yankees" (which my ancestors proudly were). It just doesn't work. Maybe we just need to self-filter for George Carlin's "Seven Dirty Words". They have no connection to genealogy and if one needs an expletive for a computer crash or other disaster, the shift key with numbers is quite effective at expressing feelings without offending.

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