Sunday, June 06, 2010

How NOT To Run A Messageboard

Over at the YWN Coffeeroom, we were having an interesting debate about the proper way to run a marriage. One of the posters brought the Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch which say that a wife is supposed to (among other things) wash her husband's feet. This led a female poster to post a poll on a female-only message board as to whether or not women do this for their husbands. She reported back that none of them do and that at least one poster thought it was "gross."

This lead a someone to wonder how someone could be intimate with someone if they find the concept of washing feet gross.

I commented that people are not always logical about these things. After all, I am willing to kiss my wife, but I won't take her pre-chewed gum.

I was going to write "french kiss," but I was afraid that that would freak out the YWN censors too much.

As it turns out, even kiss was too much. A moderator edited my post to say "embrace" rather than "kiss." What's worse, they didn't even notate that they edited my post.

My main disputant in the thread, Kasha, came back and said something to the effect of "come on, Wolf -- there's a big difference between touching someone with your hands and taking their pre-chewed gum."

Of course, he's right in his objection. He had no idea that my post was edited to the point where it was ridiculous.

The fact of the matter is that it's one thing to enforce an editorial policy on a board. It's another thing altogether to change a poster's words and then NOT EVEN NOTE THAT YOU'VE CHANGED IT! That's just wrong and dishonest and make me want to reconsider participating in that forum.

It's obvious that I have disagreements with people over at the Coffeeroom -- but that's fine -- I don't mind debating in a heated environment. But when the administrators are willing to change your words, undermine the very point you're making and then make it look like you said it, then you have to wonder whether an honest, intellectual debate is even possible anymore.

The Wolf

EDIT: They finally put up my note to Kasha explaining that I did not use the word "embrace." Of course, that post was edited as well.

The Wolf


zdub said...

Why would you even participate in such a forum?

G*3 said...

I made the mistake of clicking on the link and reading some of the thread. I grew up in the yeshivish world, so I know well the yeshivish worldview, but it's still disturbing to come into contact with people willing to sacrifice independent thought in favor of following and even defending halachos that impinge upon people’s basic right of self-determination and are at times downright immoral.

Ben Torah said...

zdub said...
"Why would you even participate in such a forum?"

Because almost anywhere else on the jblogosphere you are talking to the choir. You don't have the serious chareidim participating, perhaps even reading, most of the jblogosphere.

Pesky Settler said...

Doesn't the Rambam also say something about support your family by getting a job?

Was that part also quoted for how to 'run' (????) a marriage?

Shira and Joey said...

Woohoo! I'm part of a Wolf post (I was the one who took the poll).

I complained about that to the Mods, and they now make sure to write "edited" on my posts.

They also wouldn't let me post "Princess Diana" and instead changed it to "member of a royal European family" in direct response to someone saying no one royal wears denim so Jews shouldn't wear it. Insert eye roll emoticon here.

BrooklynWolf said...


Because I enjoy a good debate and debating with people who agree with you on every subject gets quite boring.

Aside from that, I think there is a useful purpose to forums such as the Coffeeroom. For the most part, the participants are respectful of people who disagree with them and are fairly reasonable. Of course, there are exceptions, but they are the minority.

I don't mind if they choose to remove parts of something I post that they find offensive, as long as it doesn't change the meaning of my post (and as long as they notate that they edited it). However, I don't appreciate it when they actually change the words that I wrote. That, IMHO, is entirely wrong.

The Wolf

Joshua said...

I'm confused. People kissing is mentioned in the Tanach. Are we not allowed to talk about Yaakov and Rachel now?

Shira and Joey said...

Joshua, you are a heretic. No one in the Torah kissed at all. In fact, all of our ancestors were celibate. Hmm, I may not even be able to use that word.

Anonymous said...

One of my issues with the YWN board is that at least one moderator also posts as a member.

Ben Torah said...

"I'm confused. People kissing is mentioned in the Tanach. Are we not allowed to talk about Yaakov and Rachel now?"

Having sex is also talked about in the Tanach. Should they not allow talking about sex?

BrooklynWolf said...

I think not allowing the statement that I would kiss my wife is silly. But that's my opinion -- the Coffeeroom is not my board. So if they want to disallow it, fine -- that's their call.

My main objection was to the fact that they changed my words to undermine my point.

Had they simply rejected the post in toto for using the word "kiss" I would not have been so upset. I would have thought it silly, but that would have been the extent of it.

The Wolf

squeak said...

The moderation panel is pretty diverse, and may have different views on what is or is not appropriate. They are also a different stages of life, IYKWIM. Finally, some moderators have favorites (and as a corrolary, least favorites) whose posts are approved (or deleted) more freely.

Personally, I think the comment you were replying to was more worthy of deletion (why should washing feet lead to a discussion of intimacy?).

Ben Torah said...

BTW Wolf, the comment you were responding to was made by "hereorthere", not "Kasha" as you addressed it to.

JRS said...

Squeak said: "Personally, I think the comment you were replying to was more worthy of deletion (why should washing feet lead to a discussion of intimacy?"

Because for someone to do that for his/her spouse IS in a sense, a rather intimate act (no, not a turn-on, just intimate, very familiar). And while Wolf's correct about people having arbitrary ideas about such things, characterizing it as 'gross' sounds juvenile, like when a kid first hears about the mechanics of sex and says "Yuck!"

ksil lo yavin said...

I wonder what that dude, kasha, would say about educating women, say 60 years ago. Before the bais yaakov phenomena hit - i am sure there were thousands of kashas saying that it is against halacha to teach women the girls end up knowing more torah (and how to learn!) that the boys do!
(and i am SURE kasha sends his girls to bais yaakov)

upside down world.

gavra@work said...

I have had to ask the mods in a post to mark my prior post as edited on a number of occasions.

So be it.

Shira: Thanks for giving me and excuse to use the "no true scotsman" argument.

Shira and Joey said...

Anytime GAW!

Bluestocking said...

I thought is boils down to this:

Woman must treat her husband adequately.

Husband must treat wife better than himself.

At least, that's the quote my father always uses. This foot washing thing . . . it's from a time when they didn't have showers, and they bathed once a year.

Shira and Joey said...

They also won't let me post anything about the fact that men throw away careers on infidelity. I think its because admitting that means men can be illogical and women can be better leaders.

They woudlnt even let me mention Elliot Spitzer

Anonymous said...

I just got censored in the "broken engagements" thread. I posted a reply to Shira as follows:

"SJS, I agree. I know married women who are physicians, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals. Not one of them has been pushed into her career by her husband. In fact, nearly all of them began their professional education and training before meeting their husbands."

In my second paragraph I noted that someone who believes men are less capable than women would be more likely to assume that women hold high-powered careers only because men pushed them into it.

Kind of annoying to be censored for that when posts insinuating that Wolf is a pervert for babysitting get through just fine.

So I think that SJS is right about the mods censoring posts that point out that men can be illogical.

Plus the fact that Mod 80 posts as feivel is just not appropriate for any message board, and causes me to view all of his posts suspiciously.

anon for this

yenta said...

I think all the mods have regular non-mod posting names as well. This is pretty open and was openly discussed many times a while back. (There were even threads to guess which mod is who.)

I have seen strongly feminist posts (anyone remember jewishfeminist02? She was just one example. Some still post frequently.) So I don't believe for a moment they are particularly censoring against anti-male/feminist (whatever you want to call it) types of posts.