A little background...
I recently posted in a thread and had my post edited by a moderator. A link to a site hosting a video had been replaced by...
This portion of your post has been edited, it is in violation of the User Agreement. Further violations of the User Agreement could result in removal from our community.
I was shocked to see it. The message itself contains links to the User Agreement, so I read it. Then I read it again. I checked and rechecked the link I posted and still could not find what was violating the agreement (in the video or in the ads/links on the site itself). So I read the user agreement again.
Some of you may have seen the video, some may not have, so I'm going to describe it. Before making a judgement on it, make sure you keep yourself as objective as possible. This isn't about "I personally don't like the subject material" or "I disagree with what I am seeing and would never do it", it's about "Does this video violate the user agreement". You can find the user agreement here
The video had people of various ages firing guns at an outdoor firing range. The thread was about guns (found here
), so it was relevant to the topic. Looking over the video, all safety precautions were taken. Everybody had on proper protection (eye and earwear). The range itself was cordoned off with the far end and sides of the range being clear of any non-targets. Inexperienced and/or underage shooters had an experienced person either helping them directly or within arms reach away. All done to a musical soundtrack.
I looked through the user agreement and could find no condition that matched what was in the video. It wasn't (cut and paste) unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable. If somebody saw something I didn't, please point it out to me and I'll stand corrected.
At this point, to me anyways, it looks like somebody (mod or otherwise) decided that they personally didn't like what they saw and either complained about it or it was a mod and they removed it themselves for the same reason. Regardless, I'm left wondering how their personal feelings can warrant editing a post when it doesn't violate the user agreement. Forums aren't about "We all think the same and if you don't, we'll edit you." They're about the exchange of information and ideas. The things you don't like, you skip over (just like real life). The things you like, you participate in (again, just like real life). All I was doing was contributing to the thread.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for moderation. But there is a point where it can easily become suffocating. Arguments do happen and fires need to be put out, but you wouldn't throw a bucket of water on somebody because they might
catch on fire, would you?
Ideally, people will realize that they can't force
somebody to change their opinions no matter how much they argue. If you see a thread where people are enjoying discussing something that truly doesn't violate the user agreement, and you don't like the topic, you should do the mature thing and click the "back" button on your browser. Doing otherwise is usually considered trolling. But like I said, that's the ideal.
Maybe there's an alternative. When we have family get togethers during the holidays, at dinner we have adult tables and children tables. The kids talk about what they want to talk about, and the adults can have their own conversations. Maybe the forum needs something similar. I don't know.
Does anybody else have any ideas or thoughts on this? Are some mods a little "trigger happy" when it comes to the interpretation of the user agreement? Am I the only person that feels this way? I know that AA isn't a democracy and I can leave at any time, but I'd rather be happy at a forum I enjoy rather than worry if something I'm sharing will be arbitrarily deleted and replaced with an invalid warning without just cause.
(Thinking about this now, this question is more a rhetorical one as I don't think many non-mods (if any) will post in this thread for various reasons.)
Anybody who didn't see the video, but would like to, may PM me for a link.