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  1. #1

    Social Groups

    Dear Members:

    We have shut down the social groups. They intent was for them to be available for off topic chit chat. Instead, there was a lot of case discussion going on, along with attacks on other posters, staff members and the owner of the board, which is just wrong and something we don't do here. And while we are always open to suggestion on how to improve the board, it gets tiresome to read comments that just complain over and over. Nobody has to read or post here, after all.

    The groups are still there, just not accessible right now while we decide what to do. One thing is for sure, there will not be "private" social groups ever again, based on what was going on in some of them. If we do reopen the social groups it will be strictly for topics not related to crime, the missing or the unidentified - that's what the main board is for.

    Please feel free to comment below. Thank you, the WS staff.
    Last edited by adnoid; 06-17-2009 at 08:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Laece's Avatar
    Laece is offline Bring it on down to Omelette-ville-ahhh!
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    What exactly is the point of the groups, then, if you don't mind my asking? I'm not being a smart aleck, I really want to know.

    I know a lot of us, myself included, come here to talk about the case and not much else. I don't share a lot of personal details, and because of this, the conversation for me would naturally gravitate toward the case. I don't think that would be uncommon, seeing as this place is the one major thing we all have in common.

    Not saying to allow the discussion of the case in social groups. Just wondering what one would expect to happen in light of why we are all here, and how it can be avoided.

    (No excuses for the attacks, however.)
    do not use my posts without my written permission, other than for use contained within quoting on this websleuths site.

    just because you always think someone is hiding in the bushes, doesn't mean that they're not.

    You're out of the woods
    You're out of the dark

    You're out of the night
    Step into the sun, step into the light.



    Just stop it, Casey.

  3. #3
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    I, for one, welcomed one of the groups I belong(ed) too. It was a place where we could discuss a case without having to "walk on egg shells." I very seldom post on the main board anymore. Everytime I do, there is someone right behind me telling me my link was wrong, or that I can't post a persons name, even though it is public knowledge.

    I have really enjoyed coming to WS. There is so much information here. But my gosh...what's the sense of posting, if there is someone on your back?

    Now that I have spoke my peace, I'll probably get TO or banned. This is the fear some of us face.

    Shame on the one's who talk about others behind closed doors.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by adnoid View Post
    Not even close.
    I hope so, adnoid. I love coming here and trying to help solve a mystery.

  5. #5
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    I believe the social groups were a good addition to the board. I started the recovery one you mention -- though I don't think it's been super active of late.

    If you start the social groups again (which I think you should for the non-crime topics as described above), then I think you should still allow private groups. Maybe you can be specific about what will be allowed as private & those members will know that moderators pop in and out sometimes.

    As an aside, while I am not shy about my recovery and discussing it when it can help another poster or brings a point of clarity to a case, it is different when folks in recovery are sharing their personal trials/struggles with each other relative to being in recovery. While I understand you are the moderators of the board, it is unnerving to me that folks who shared in this particular social group have had their stories now read by people who may not be in recovery & may not really "get" what recovery is about. Kind of messes up the whole "anonymous" concept.

    Respectfully, JMO

  6. #6
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    I started 'Justice Hunters' a SG devoted to private discussion of the double murder in Omaha last year of Thomas Hunter and his family's housekeeper. There were local people who wanted to comment but were afraid their identity would become known, that sort of thing. Also it was nice to have someplace to go to let our hair down so to speak without worrying if the family, LE or even the perp(s) were reading. Some persons had concerns on this last point, probably overblown but I understand and still think there was a valid reason for this option. Some of the people in that group will NOT post on the regular board.
    We can I suppose utilize private messages with copies to several at once but it's not the same.
    All I can say is there must have been a hell of a situation with these groups- as I do respect the moderation of WS and that there must be good reasons for this action. I do hope something can be worked out.
    'Never stop fighting..never give up'

    Kevin Kostner as Eliott Ness in 'The Untouchables'

  7. #7
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    What blows my mind is that I've been here for 5 years and I didn't even know what the Social Groups were until this morning.

  8. #8
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    I never thought about the social groups as excluding others. I viewed the private rooms as a place of safety for WS members, especially 'locals' who might not feel comfortable sharing some aspects of a case on the main forum. I know one group that I belonged to was created for privacy reasons as some members on the main thread suddenly developed computer problems. EVery time we tried to post, several of us would get knocked offline. One member had a 'new user' added to their computer and had to have the whole thing rebuilt. I had a new printer added to my computer from somewhere and also had my phishing filter and security disabled. One member stopped posting altogether out of fear. Not saying it is WS fault but it was ironic that this happened to several posters on the same thread at the same time. I do miss the groups and am saddened that some were abusing them as I felt they were a nice feature to WS. But I'll accept that they are gone. I'll just be more reticent now.

    Respectfully, waltzingmatilda

  9. #9
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    I belonged to an SG which was started by another member and designed to be exclusionary of oppositional thought. That was all well and good, until the inner drama began and suddenly people were finding themselves out on the curb, so to speak, for being in communication with this one or that one person. It was childish, hurtful and unnecessary. I found my words being used in posts elsewhere on WS as well as on other forums. While that never caused harm in general to the discussion at hand, it was still unethical at best, and a violation of trust at its worst. I do not believe WS sanctions that sort of behavior and when the SG started to take on this divisive aspect, I did not miss being a part of it, though certain posters and the freedom to talk with them will be missed.

    I have seen, since the closure of the RT and now the SG, that sites like AH have taken on all of the ugliness that WS wishes to dissociate itself from, and it is well rid of it all. I am embarrassed when I read over there to see that in a "gloves off" atmosphere, the lowest form of communication is given free reign to box it out.

    The SG's for private discussions such as have been mentioned here should be given an outlet, and they should be granted the opportunity to discuss what it is they need with ONE known moderator, in order that their trust can build up. Knowing that mods were viewing the SG as people were posting was unnerving and caused not a little bitterness from some people. It is an observation and an assessment of what I read on the SG to which I once belonged. It seems in those particular SGs as well, it would unnerve people. This is not an indictment on the stalwart nature of mods in general, but that in providing an outlet for "free thought" as it were, that it should in fact, be free from hidden observation.

    This was my experience, and my thoughts on that experience. They do not sway me from posting freely on the main threads of any case I am interested in; they do curtail any desire to be joined to any group which would have me as a member in the future.

  10. #10
    Why do people have to take it so personally if they cannot get into a social group? Isn't that like real life? We all are not invited to join many groups.

    Of course, the private social groups gravitate to people of like minds as it is what groups do! I was seeing many good works come from the social groups here while working on cases without disruptions from people who only wanted to further their agendas. The threads which were open in PL for these "discussions" were nothing but mayhem and got nothing accomplished besides fighting and bickering about who was right. It was so nice to have a quiet place to come together without the fuss.

    I see no problem with adults having privacy on this board to discuss a case without moderation. I prefer to have a private SG intact here instead of people going elsewhere. I feel the private SGs should be just that...private with no moderation or involvement from others. There are many reasons this should be allowed.

    IIRC, when the "Caylee Is Alive" camp wanted to be left alone without "unlike" minded people bothering them...mods suggested and opened a social group specifically for them. We were not even allowed on their thread in the open forum because some of us strongly disagreed she was alive. They were given a private SG for that very reason...because people disagreed with them. Was the intent really for off topic chat? Absolutely not.
    "WE SEEK FOR THE TRUTH. WE SEEK JUSTICE.
    THE COURTS REQUIRE IT. THE VICTIMS CRY FOR IT
    AND GOD DEMANDS IT!"

    A quote spray painted on the wall by search
    and rescue workers, Team 5, at the OKC Bombing site 4-19-1995.



    What I post are my opinions only.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandab View Post
    What blows my mind is that I've been here for 5 years and I didn't even know what the Social Groups were until this morning.

    Me either! I barely have time to read here that much anymore so I am not entirely surprised though....but it's funny to me that I didn't even realize they existed!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeriouslySearching View Post
    Why do people have to take it so personally if they cannot get into a social group? Isn't that like real life? We all are not invited to join many groups.

    Of course, the private social groups gravitate to people of like minds as it is what groups do! I was seeing many good works come from the social groups here while working on cases without disruptions from people who only wanted to further their agendas. The threads which were open in PL for these "discussions" were nothing but mayhem and got nothing accomplished besides fighting and bickering about who was right. It was so nice to have a quiet place to come together without the fuss.

    I see no problem with adults having privacy on this board to discuss a case without moderation. I prefer to have a private SG intact here instead of people going elsewhere. I feel the private SGs should be just that...private with no moderation or involvement from others. There are many reasons this should be allowed.

    IIRC, when the "Caylee Is Alive" camp wanted to be left alone without "unlike" minded people bothering them...mods suggested and opened a social group specifically for them. We were not even allowed on their thread in the open forum because some of us strongly disagreed she was alive. They were given a private SG for that very reason...because people disagreed with them. Was the intent really for off topic chat? Absolutely not.
    Point taken regarding the Caylee Alive group.
    I agree this was an unusual circumstance and we tried an experiment that didn't work. We learn from our mistakes and our mistake was trying to please everyone and as you know, it is just impossible. we moved them all over the forum LOL! But the caylee alive SG is not what we aspire to.

    For me the problem with SG's is mostly about attacks on other posters and discussions about their perceived shortcomings, piggyback posting to bait them , make fun on the main forum and then goin back and laughing at their intended target. Bullying for a different point of view. One group had a thread titled in the name of a poster that they didn't like!

    The way some of our moderators were discussed just pained me to read when a member let us know about it. Hurtful stuff.

    SS,what if there was an SG that didn't like you or your pov and made fun of you, laughed at you behind your back, all the while throwing bait to see if you would take it and then laughing about your response once back in the safety of their SG. How would you feel if it was going on right here on the premises at WS, admin knew about it, it was in a moderated area and we ignored it?

    We didn't imagine in our wildest dreams that people would use the SG's like that.


    What should we do? We really want to know. Moderate some and not others? They are already subject to TOS, what would be different since TOS has been ignored?

    I would suggest having one member become a moderator for that SG. But then they have to take the heat by truly moderating and it doesn't pay all that well and it doesn't make them very popular .

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JBean View Post
    Point taken regarding the Caylee Alive group.
    I agree this was an unusual circumstance and we tried an experiment that didn't work. We learn from our mistakes and our mistake was trying to please everyone and as you know, it is just impossible. we moved them all over the forum LOL! But the caylee alive SG is not what we aspire to.

    For me the problem with SG's is mostly about attacks on other posters and discussions about their perceived shortcomings, piggyback posting to bait them , make fun on the main forum and then goin back and laughing at their intended target. Bullying for a different point of view. One group had a thread titled in the name of a poster that they didn't like!

    The way some of our moderators were discussed just pained me to read when a member let us know about it. Hurtful stuff.

    SS,what if there was an SG that didn't like you or your pov and made fun of you, laughed at you behind your back, all the while throwing bait to see if you would take it and then laughing about your response once back in the safety of their SG. How would you feel if it was going on right here on the premises at WS, admin knew about it, it was in a moderated area and we ignored it?

    We didn't imagine in our wildest dreams that people would use the SG's like that.


    What should we do? We really want to know. Moderate some and not others? They are already subject to TOS, what would be different since TOS has been ignored?

    I would suggest having one member become a moderator for that SG. But then they have to take the heat by truly moderating and it doesn't pay all that well and it doesn't make them very popular .
    LOL I have heard about people discussing me and my pov across the net for a long time. I haven't bothered to read them because it doesn't change my pov which I am used to taking the heat for in many circumstances. I do tend not to take the popular stance and instead the one I truly believe in.

    You are right. This is not what we have aspired to become and those of us who have worked so diligently here to further the site's credibility and acceptance by LE and others are disappointed by the way we are being perceived today. Older members could see it happening as plain as day and could do nothing to stop it. To mention it anywhere here is considered against TOS which is quite ironic. You can't begin to address or fix a problem if no one can mention it openly. I can see the problems. :X
    "WE SEEK FOR THE TRUTH. WE SEEK JUSTICE.
    THE COURTS REQUIRE IT. THE VICTIMS CRY FOR IT
    AND GOD DEMANDS IT!"

    A quote spray painted on the wall by search
    and rescue workers, Team 5, at the OKC Bombing site 4-19-1995.



    What I post are my opinions only.

  14. #14
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    I miss the social groups. If people started topics to bash posters they didn't like, etc, I guess options could be to close that group, or time out posters. I know the group I was in was moderated quite well, and we were reminded of the TOS and what could and could not be discussed. It was great. Just seems sad that groups that did not behave appropriately suffer for those that did. Jmo, no offense intended. Hope it's ok to say this. If not please delete and my apologies.
    "I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."~Leo Rosten

    “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Teresa of Calcutta


    "Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one." ~ Marcus Aurelius

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandab View Post
    What blows my mind is that I've been here for 5 years and I didn't even know what the Social Groups were until this morning.
    While I haven't been here for five years (congrat's btw), I didn't know either

    How did one join a Social Group?
    <Click on User CP>
    Scroll down and on the left
    <Click on Edit Ignore List>
    In add a Member to your list
    <start typing the name of the person you want to ignore>
    <Click on OKay>

    IF WE COOK IT THEY WILL COME!


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