I've never run a forum before, but I've had a personal blog with comments for 7+ years now. At times, this blog has been quite popular, and featured some strong personalities among the regular readers. I've seen all sorts of arguments come and go. I think that in seven years, I've removed maybe two
comments because I thought they were out of line. These comments were virulent, hate-filled personal attacks that went far beyond insinuations about intelligence.
I've been participating in USENET discussions for almost twenty years. I'm an active member on several other discussion forums. I've seen all sorts of arguments. (You should see how worked up geeks can get about their comic books -- we have arguments over what the logos should look like!)
The recent spat here between Rush and PF was relatively minor compared to a lot of what I've seen (and even participated in, I'm ashamed to admit). It never worried me too much because I can tell that basically they both agree with each other. They just have different modes of communicating. To me, that's not worth locking down. I did compose a long reply to them detailing how they were both exacerbating the situation, but I closed my browser window on accident, so that was lost in the ether. In the end, I decided to let things resolve themselves.
Jethro, JerichoHill, and I will certainly watch for things that go over the line, but we're each going to have a different idea of what those things might be. I had a talk with Jethro this morning -- he's my brother and we work in the same office -- and we both favor a looser approach to moderation rather than a tighter approach. Things that I will
* Religious arguments outside the General Discussion board (though I'd prefer they didn't even appear here).
* Political arguments outside the General Discussion board
* Personal attacks that go beyond basic "you're stupid, no you are" -- start hurling names and insults and moderation will be required
* Discussions of how to do things that are illegal
I'm quite pleased with these forums so far. You guys are sharp. You write well. You have interesting things to say. Secretly, I think it's good to have Rush and PF to stir things up.