I won’t go into great detail which forum this happened to me on but I will touch on the subject none the less.   Today I ran into an issue on one of the Vaping forums  (that is known for doing this) and bam, a lot of my posts were deleted under an advocacy discussion.  What had accidentally turned into a slight topic derailment was actually an awesome thing that we find on forums.  People connecting and discussing things that spurred from the original topic.  Obviously this is a personal violation that some moderator deemed inappropriate.

The Cause

What happened to be a topic started about vaping laws in the state of Indiana happened to lead to some former Hoosiers connecting with with me, which Florida Native now residing in Indiana.  We literally swapped places geographically.   Here people we connected under the topic of vaping advocacy and a dialog was opened.  This needs to be happening since things keep the topic from being buried and going into a necrotic state.

So let us look at the definition of of a forum first….

fo·rum
ˈfôrəm/
noun
  1. a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.
    “it will be a forum for consumers to exchange their views on medical research”
  2. NORTH AMERICAN
    a court or tribunal.

 

Now we shall look at the definition of topic…

top·ic
ˈtäpik/
noun
  1. a matter dealt with in a text, discourse, or conversation; a subject.
    “her favorite topic of conversation is her partner”
    synonyms: subject, subject matter, theme, issue, matter, point, talking point, question, concern, argument, thesis, text, keynote

    “today’s topic is skin care”
    • LINGUISTICS
      that part of a sentence about which something is said, typically the first major constituent.

 

The Effect

When people are connecting, keeping the topic alive and a disgruntled moderator has deleted all of our posts, this is the cascading effect of such actions.

  • The topic gets put back the end and now longer up on recent posts
  • The original topic gets less views due to the above effect
  • The users discussing things slightly off topic are now disconnected
  • A social wedge is now created between users and the forum
  • Users no longer feel they can freely post, discuss, make new friends, solve the problems of the world
  • Users get disgruntled and quit posting on your forums
  • Revenue drops from decreased traffic
  • The vaping community (or any community) suffers as educated posts diminish and no one is around to mentor the newbies properly.

 

Conclusion

Personally, I don’t think this was very warranted nor I am very upset over it.  It did inspire me to document my thoughts on the topic today but sadly also put a slightly bad taste in my mouth.  Unfortunately I now feel any further time spent there is just isn’t worth it and I have been a member for many years.  So if you happen pass this posting, you happen to be a moderator somewhere. If people are being kind, not belligerent and somewhat on topic or keeping important topics alive.  I would subscribe to you that a Nazi level style of censorship and moderation is counter productive to both the community (which you house) and equally detrimental the the revenue which you try to obtain.

If something is in a positive motion and not obstructing anything, to stop the momentum is just ridiculous.  At a time when advocacy is very important, to slow or stop any portion of it would be insane.