GoKunming Forums

The purpose of the GK forum

Tonyaod (824 posts) • 0

I would like to have a honest, mature discussion on what the purpose of forum is or should be and would like to get the moderator's input as well as I think this is something that requires clarification.

I've always treated it as a little corner on the Internet where expats in Kunming or people interested in the expat community in Kunming can come and share ideas about any topic as long as we adhere to the rules.

Personal opinions and reviews are just that, personal. Just because someone said it doesn't mean it's true and doesn't mean the GK population aren't smart enough to make their own judgement regarding the validity of the opinion. If someone says "KM has the worst burger in the world, a dog could take a **** and still make a better one", why should it be removed simply because it might feel vindictive or vulgar? I would think that an typical GK user has enough intelligence to say "Wow, that guy has issues" instead of "OMG! KM burgers are ****, I must stay away from said restaurant at all costs!"

To call for censorship just because there is information we don't like smacks of dictatorship. To randomly lock-threads, remove postings, delete reviews inconsistently ultimately hurt the forum in the long-run because people have an emotional attachment to their postings and by removing them without explanation, you'll start alienating users such as BillDan and others that have come and gone who, despite what some may believe, contributes to the vibrant multifaceted rainbow that is the internet. Without the ability to post honest, thoughtful opinions all you'll be left is the Stepford wives and trolls contributing to a bland forum.

I don't know about the other users, but while the articles and and travel tips are nice, the main draw for me is the forum, a place where I can interact with my fellow expat and get a slice of hometown discussions. I remember there was a period some time ago where nothing of controversy was allowed and the website felt dead, now it feels lively. And if the web masters did a traffic study, I'm sure a correlation between web traffic and activity in the forum can be found. And isn't web traffic the life blood of a website that is supported by ads?

Any thoughts?

Tonyaod (824 posts) • 0

@tommann

Amen to that, but can't we voice our opinions in a heated yet civil manner and still be harmonious?

tigertiger - moderator (5084 posts) • 0

MY 2cents. Only my opinion, take it or leave it.

I think the purpose of any forum morphs, naturally.

Where recent issues have occurred is when threads get hijacked. For example, if you want to talk about the evils of monsanto, please don't hijack my 'making yogurt' thread. Starting another thread would be less of an issue.

Sometimes threads are mere 'chit-chat', and anything goes. Other times someone is trying to have a discussion about a problem that may need to be resolved, and they need advice (not chit-chat about the evils of yogurt making). Other websites use software that have separate boards for groups of topics, and one of these is often for 'chit-chat'. However GoK does not do this at present.

Othertimes people troll or behave like trolls. Well this is an internet forum, we can expect this. Goes with the territory. If we recognize this, and don't feed the trolls they will go away.

Some people have an opinion and won't be swayed, and will argue against any different position, and will not accept that they may be wrong, and that others are entitled to a different opinion. No point in arguing with them, move on. Stop beating your head against a wall. Just because they have the last word does not make them right. Nor does it mean that the rest of the community agrees with them.

Remember that deciding not to engage with some people is not an admission of defeat. Someone once told me it takes a man to admit he is wrong. Occasionally we still see that on here, and it is a healthy thing indeed. It is also worth remembering, 'it's not what you say, it's the way that you say it'.

Back to the original question. I believe the purpose of the GK forum will be steered by the community, with the moderators setting the tone, ensuring civility, and staying within the bounds of both acceptability (as they see it) and the law.

nnoble (889 posts) • 0

This is a welcome and timely thread.

First, thread hijacking. It's sometimes difficult for moderators to judge, but when it's blatant and destructive, then it should be dealt with ruthlessly. This should not mean deletion but if there was a way to move these to a new thread where and when possible this would be an answer to those who simply can't or won't focus on the original post. It's frustrating for those who take the trouble to start a thread and also for those who feel they can't or shouldn't respond because they will exacerbate the hijacking. A clear and recent case is the one pertaining to the question of passport renewals for citizens of the USA. There were those who just could not resist jumping in with their personal political views. Result is that anyone needing answers to an issue of real concern has to wade through irrelevant posts. This is not a new problem on GK, there is one prolific poster who until just recently could not resist foisting his own politics into just about every thread that emerged. The person in question appears to have mellowed and with the noise stripped out his posts are informative, delivered with some humour and almost compulsive reading.

Second is the point of GK overall. I thought GK was aimed mainly, but not exclusively, at the issues, interests, concerns and questions of the local expat community as pertaining to Kunming, Yunnan and China in general. Also travel to and around nearby countries. If that is the case, can and should these forums be taken over by issues from the Americas, Europe and other regions that have no bearing whatsoever on the entire GK community? For example, does the entire GK community have to navigate past and through the current civil war of American politics that is tearing that country apart? There must be thousands of sites were the Tea Party, the New Christian Right, the gun lobby, the Israeli lobby, the conspiracy theorists, partisan Republicans and Democrats can vent their spleen. Why here?

A decade ago I used to add GK to a list of resources for students but I'd never do that now. There was never a golden age, but GK managed to get through the Crazy Laowai and Gao Xing episodes pretty well if only because peer pressure held them up to ridicule when they went too far. Challenge anyone now and all you get is wingeing and 'be nice or I'll tell the moderator'. Hence, the majority of good stuff in the forums is being overshadowed by the mediocre and occasionally - much worse. The forums are in danger of dragging down what is a valuable resource and one of overall good quality.

AlexKMG (2361 posts) • 0

The purpose of GoK is to delete my piranha threads. I guess I'm only allowed to post about fish so much in a week.

Tonyaod (824 posts) • 0

@tigertiger
Very good advice, one's I will take to heart.

@nnoble
You've put into words what I was feeling but couldn't quite find the right expressions for. What the forum needs perhaps, is better management by the moderator. Maybe in the beginning when the GK community was small and tight-knit, the forum was good enough for it's needs. But now, as the site has grown to over 11,000+ registered accounts, a simple forum like what we have now is no longer adequate as the topics people wish to engage in becomes more sophisticated and varied.

Perhaps the best approach is to balance the spontaneity of the discussions which contributes to the character and vibrant-ness of the community and being focused on topics that truly relates to the expat community. Instead of deleting or removing threads/posts, it can be relocated to a dark and seedy corner of GK where for those who dare to venture, can un-abashfully engage in their conversation.

Magnifico (1981 posts) • 0

hahahahaha, a dark and seedy corner!!

you're creepy, Tony. that's what i like about you.

Login to post

This thread is locked.