October 10, 2012

Multiply, we hardly knew ye ... the previous group was not even a year old when I got the news that we'd have to leave. What had happened was this: the old management, confronted with a massive wave of spammers, decided that instead of taking the time to eject the spammers, it would declare the spammers to be "sellers", and to make that a new class of membership. A new CEO came in, and decided that since there were now so many "sellers", that what he really ought to do was eject all of the other members, and so he announced that all groups and blogs on Multiply would be shut down so that the staff could spend all of its time serving the spammers. Oddly enough, this annoyed the legitimate users, but it was a done deed. We had to move.

You might have noticed that one of the two replacement groups is on Scribbld, which is more a blogging host than it is a social networking site. This is not an accident. At this point, I have little faith left in the social networks, finding that most of them seem to be run by flakes. Blogging hosts seem to be run more professionally, on the average, and if some of them should have social networking features, as Scribbld does, then perhaps they will offer the user a better direction in which to go, as he tries to get his communities going.

October 2, 2011, slightly modified in 2012

Before we begin ... The moderator on any group tends to be a source of mystery and concern for those thinking of posting, and that concern sometimes translates into a hesitation to post at all, so I'll start by explaining my own point of view. By training, I'm an academic - no, not in cinema studies - and I have run university classes before. The average moderator, at times, seems to have come out of the Role Playing Game community or some element of the counterculture, and brings the attitudes of his subculture to what he does. I do the same, but it's a much different subculture. In some groups - many of them, in fact - if you win an argument with somebody who is crazy enough and well networked enough, or express yourself more creatively than he can, or blink at him while sneezing, or otherwise fail to honor his whims, he'll respond by throwing a tantrum, and the mods will back him up for the sake of "peace". If you think about the fact that I used to be responsible for running a university classroom (albeit, only as a TA), I think you'll see where that same tactic will lead in any group I run - I'll toss the agitator out, and send away anybody who backed him up, as well. I don't care how customary the bull in a china shop routine has become on the Internet, I'm not going to tolerate it, or give one inch of ground to those who indulge in it, or those who would enable those who indulge in it.

To put this more simply - you're probably accustomed to seeing the rules written by the sort of people who used to disrupt class. This one is run by the sort of person who you've seen cracking down on that sort of person - a world of difference, yes? If you see that as a threat or a warning, feel free to click on the navbar below, and find a forum more to your liking with my blessing. If you see that as a promise, then please keep reading.

This group was created after I made the surprising discovery that the Florida based Multiply.com had been overrun by virtual migrants from the Phillipines. Being less than completely fluent in Tagalog (or Thai or Vietnamese, for that matter), I found that I could not understand many of the movie discussion group posts, or even be sure that some of the groups that I was looking at were movie discussion groups and not, say, forums for the discussion of wood pulp processing. I was completely lost, and, suspecting that I wasn't alone in this, took the bold move of creating an English language group on an English language site, just now.

Despite the impression that I might have left a moment ago, I do tend to run a very mellow show. In the course of running a group of over a thousand people, elsewhere, for a few years at this point, I've only banned a single member at this point, for spamming - and even in his case, not until after he responded to a warning letter with a profanity laced flame sent by private message. If you were in somebody's living room, and he told you to stop trying to sell amway products to his other guests, and you responded by cursing him out, what would you expect to see happen? That's sort of how I see and run my groups - as if they were the electronic equivalent of my living room. Not a lot of formal rules and procedures, just a little common sense and some give and take.

My groups are for the posting of movie reviews, but as you'll notice one you get to it, you can do more than that, once you get there. While you may not give away plot details - I will respond swiftly and harshly to that practice, when I see it - you can talk, in broad terms, about the world being encountered by the characters in the movies that you're reviewing. Think about how a real world discussion works: you don't just talk about the subject you're talking about, you wander off on one tangent after another, as you explore the subjects brought up by the subject - and then wander back to the subject that you were talking about. That's sort of how I picture this group working. Not much more to say beyond that, so let's just go to the group at DeviantArt or that on Scribbd, whichever you prefer. When you're ready to return, you should see a link marked "return to your ring", which should be self-explanatory.