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by Si
6 Mar 2021, 1:31pm
Forum: Using the Forum - request help : report difficulties
Topic: Vorpal - please explain your moderation decision.
Replies: 30
Views: 2653

Re: Vorpal - please explain your moderation decision.

The link below isn't about your post, it's sort of about another couple that I recently had to zap and more about the forum as a whole. However, in part, it might give you a perspective on why we are where we are...and why none of us are that happy with it.....and one bit does seem to chime with your issue....if I had read your post (the one that got zapped) a few years back I would have probably sent you a PM saying:

"Hello, read your appear to be making a reasonable point and I can see why the other person might have driven you to respond in that way. However, while I have no issue with the information that you are putting forward could I please ask you to consider phrasing it in a slightly less abrasive way...after all isn't your aim to give the OP some good information on their medical issue rather than run the risk of starting a minor spat in their thread and so derailing it? Anyway I'm not going to edit your post for now but if things do start to get heated then I might have to revisit the thread. Hope you can see where I'm coming from with this? Thanks and happy cycling."

..and I think Vorpal would have done similar. But with the way things are at the moment (see the link below) I can fully understand why she did what she did.

by Si
6 Mar 2021, 1:20pm
Forum: Using the Forum - request help : report difficulties
Topic: A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone
Replies: 113
Views: 7879

A thesis on moderation and why it's crap for everyone

One could write an interesting paper on how moderation has changed over and a half or so since I first started it.

"In the beginning.." the world was a (slightly) happier place. And the forum less used, thus the mods (who then also had more time free to look after the forum) could actually read almost every thread and when an issue occurred they would go to great pains to enter into a reasonable discourse with the person(s) concerned by PM to try to explain exactly what the issue was and why they might either have taken action or were just asking the person to take the edge of their posts in future. Of course this still resulted in a small number of people getting very upset, hurling abuse at the moderators, threatening violence, stalking moderators around the internet, etc....and over what? An argument about whether riding a bike with only one pannier could ever be justified. 'Tis the nature of the internet: people who, if met in a cafe would seem like spiffing chaps and chappesses who could happily discuss the most controversial of subjects in balanced and friendly tones face to face, just feel that they have been gravelly wronged when a criticism of their view appears written on a screen in their home by a faceless person on the internet that they'll probably never meet. You know the old joke cartoon: "I can't come to bed yet dear, someone has said something wrong on the internet". We've all been there and felt ourselves falling into the trap.

Well, things went on like this for a while. Overall, it seemed that most people were fairly happy with the forum. A few weren't and so, quite reasonably, upped sticks and went elsewhere. And one or two, quite strangely, seemed to really hate the forum but refused to leave...go figure as our American cousins say.

However, behind the scenes things were a little different. Some of the moderators felt that they were being slowly worn down by all of the the abuse and none stop criticism (oh yes, although you personally might have only abused or criticised the moderators once in the last ten years, that doesn't mean that others haven't been filling the gaps and that there isn't a none stop stream of things to deal with). At the same time several of the moderators found that their personal circumstances have changed - new jobs, less free time, added pressures at home. And I fear that I have not helped the situation because I now spend most of my time not working on a PC and so can't do much moderating, thus heaping even more pressure on Vorpal's shoulders.

And then came the double whamy of Brexit and Covid. You all might not have noticed but since these two things started there has been much more discontent on the forum and a lot more people getting upset about what might have been relatively minor things that weren't related to Brexit or Covid. And, we also have a lot more posting on the forum, such that moderators can no longer read even half of what's written...and so rely on people reporting issues.

The upshot is that the moderation team is flagging a bit. This has led to some changes:
- the softly-softly approach is less often used....these days it's sometimes a case of just hacking a big chunk out of a thread because in the past there have been occasions where trying to talk to everyone concerned via PM, having protracted discussions with them and trying to keep them calm, could take a whole day's worth of a moderator's own, unpaid, time, for which they often just got a load of abuse....THIS IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION.
- tolerance is a lot less. For instance, I was just looking at a post that was pulled because of it's abrasive nature. In the old days the moderator might have just taken the poster aside and said something like "I understand where you are coming from with this and why you feel strongly about it, but your abrasive response is more likely to just lead to an escalation in bad feeling, insults being thrown and the thread drifting off topic, so we'd be really grateful if you could tone it down a little please". Sometimes this would have worked, sometimes not but we had the capacity to try and defuse things gently. Now it's all a bit different, we don't have that capacity, and the miscreants of the past have used up most of the good will that we might confer onto those that err slightly today.
- banning is becoming more likely. In the past we have given some people numerous chances to get back in step with the forum rules, and even allowed them to reregister with a new ID so that everyone (them, the people they'd been falling out with and the mods) could all go for a fresh start. This is now much less likely for the reasons given above.

This is how we got to where we are now. It's not ideal...far from. I would be more than happy for CUK to pay me to sit here and moderate in a manner that allowed me to treat each issue with kid gloves to enter into in depth private discussion of each decision with those concerned, to try to steer threads back on course with a gentle touch, etc etc (or, rather, pay Vorpal to do it as she's much more patient and diplomatic than me). But that ain't going to happen...the forum will, as far as we can see, continue to be staffed by volunteers who have limited time, who are under external pressures as we all are, and who are sometimes feeling a bit jaded.

Thus, we hope that people will try to not let their external issues effect the way that they address others on the forum. We don't expect people to meekly agree with others just so that they don't rock the apple cart but to argue their cases in a friendly or, at least, respectful way. For instance in the case of:
Person A: by and large widgets don't tend work because their flanges are too wide.
Person B: you are wrong: the flange on my widget is perfect
Now, should person A go for :
1. I believe that I am correct because I have experience of using 78 different widgets over the past 30 years, I have read the following peer reviewed papers on widget use and I also have a PhD in engineering which had a module on widgets. Thus although you might have found a widget to work in your particular case, as I said in the vast majority of cases the flanges tend to be too wide.
2. you are talking out of your are ignorant and know nothing. I have a much superior knowledge to you so shut up now.

Although we all might feel like taking the second option when confronted with someone we know to be wrong, do we really think, when viewed in a considered way, it is the best alternative. Let's look at it from the passer-by's POV. First up they might be somewhat surprised that a pair of adults might be getting into a heated argument about widgets...well that's the internet for you. But then they might get intrigued and read on...and guess what they, for some odd reason, tend to decide that the person who is talking the most sense is the one who has remained calm, polite and delivered a cutting, logical and respectful argument rather than the one who is starting to appear aggressive or starting with the name calling and insults, however minor they may be. Likewise, if Person A (above) goes with option 1. rather than option 2. then the thread is less likely to decline into name calling, the moderators are less likely to get involved and person A is less likely to feel aggrieved because the moderators have stopped Person A from punishing the person who Person A can clearly see is the one in the wrong.

Yes, I know exactly the two points that you are going to raise now:
1. that you think it hypocritical for moderators to ask you to be all PC and touchy-feely while they are ruling the forum with an iron rod. Yep, you've, in part, got a point...but then I would refer you back to the points I made above about how the forum (and world) have changed and how the moderators would like to spend much more time applying much more finesse to their judgements. But that, in the real world, at the moment, ain't going to happen; whereas you do have time to step back and consider if your post is phrased in the best way to get your point across without falling foul of the evil-moderator's wrath.
2. If the mods are under such pressure why don't they step aside and let a new set of bright-eyed and bushy tailed mods take over? Problem is finding them....the method that has been used in the past for recruitment is to go over any perspective candidates' posting history and see how they have managed situations where they, as a rank and file forum user, have been put in a position where they might have reacted abrasively to provocation. This method has back fired in the past: for instance one person I approached immediately left the forum and she has scarcely been seen since. In another case the mods hadn't had the time to read every single post made by a prospective candidate over the last few years, which resulted in someone raising the issue of a view aired in the past and the candidate, rather than being the cause of more work for the mods, stepped down (interesting topic for another thread: can someone be a moderator if their wider views haven't always chimed with those of the forum as a whole? In some cases I would say yes....we got loads of abuse for moderating people who were anti-charity merger (and aired their viewed in an aggressive and insulting way) when we were also anti charity merger, thus we were able to put our own feelings on the subject aside...but, as I say, that's for another day/thread). There are several users still on the forum who we would like to join the moderation team because they have consistently acted in a very level-headed and polite way when they have encountered provocative subjects....but they have declined because either they don't have the time or they have seen the way some people have treated the mods in the past. So it's tricky.

But, thing is (and I know that you've heard all of this before)....if the forum isn't strongly moderated then CUK will pull the plug on it (some here can remember the old, unmoderated forum in which many/most threads declined into aggressive abuse and very strong language, which in turn meant many left the forum very quickly).
If the moderators can't moderate the forum in a swift and economical way then there is a good chance they won't moderate it at all, which takes us back to the previous point: no forum. So it's not as perfect as we'd like it to be but it's probably as perfect as it's going to get at the current moment in time. We persist though, as by and large we think that the forum is of benefit to CUK and to its members/cyclists.

An alternative has been voiced within the forum staff ranks. That we cut the forum down, getting rid of everything but the most basic cycling sections (Know-how, touring (inc LEJOG & Camping), For Sales) . And if anyone tried to err off topic in those sections then they would get immediately binned. This would mean that a lot of the more controversial topics would not be allowed (brexit, trump, covid vaccines, uni-pannierists, etc) and thus the mods would have a lot more time to moderate the remaining cycling-specific topics, and also to offer a bit more lee-way in what they allow to remain unmoderated, and to indulge in more direct PM discussion with people before moderating. This has worked very well on another forum I use, which was having similar issues.

Bet you now think you've wasted a load of your valuable riding time by reading through all this guff eh? Don't blame you, I don't half go on when I'm let loose. But hey yeah, the use of scarce time is sort of why moderation is becoming more of a blunt weapon now, innit.
by Si
6 Mar 2021, 11:26am
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Gate Drive Belt
Replies: 70
Views: 3299

Re: Gate Drive Belt

Various posts removed. Please refrain from the petty name calling and nitpicking. Thank you.
by Si
13 Feb 2021, 10:55am
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Adding Disc Mounts
Replies: 64
Views: 2022

Re: Adding Disc Mounts

djnotts wrote:
Si wrote:Hydraulic rim brakes. Best/worst* of both worlds.

* Delete according to you personal bias.

One system I have never tried, but always suspected "worst". The faff of hydraulics while still grinding rims!

I've tried two bikes with them. On one the brakes were as good as a hydraulic disc. On the other, despite being powerful enough to bend the fork, the stopping power was no better than a doubt pad issues.
by Si
13 Feb 2021, 9:30am
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Adding Disc Mounts
Replies: 64
Views: 2022

Re: Adding Disc Mounts

Hydraulic rim brakes. Best/worst* of both worlds.

* Delete according to you personal bias.
by Si
31 Jan 2021, 11:23am
Forum: Health and fitness
Topic: Hip replacement and cycling
Replies: 64
Views: 21311

Re: Hip replacement and cycling

Topics merged
by Si
30 Jan 2021, 4:16pm
Forum: Does anyone know … ?
Topic: Double ended inner tubes
Replies: 42
Views: 2836

Re: Double ended inner tubes

Topics on same subject merged
by Si
30 Jan 2021, 9:42am
Forum: The Tea Shop
Topic: Me and fabian cancellara
Replies: 2
Views: 271

Me and fabian cancellara

Out on my Raleigh Strada hybrid. It's got 'guards, dynamo, rack with a big basket on the back, D lock attached to it, etc.......all the stuff that the stereotypical roadie is thought to abhor in the name of speed.

Stopped at traffic light, heard another cyclist stop behind me. Light goes green, I start off, push a tad harder than normal so as not to delay cyclist behind, but by no means a sprint. Then onto the small rise and so sit down and spin up in a low gear. Near the top and slow to turn off, at which point the other cyclist, young chap on a light weight road bike, wearing the lycra kit, catches me and starts accusing me of cheating by using an electric bike!!!!!!

Was slightly bemused to say the least. To leave him his ego reassuring state of ignorance. Or point out that the old git on the heavy bike who hasn't done a proper ride since Christmas is just plain quicker than him?

Chose the latter as 'one could simply not be bovvered' .But had to chuckle afterwards :-)
by Si
26 Jan 2021, 4:53pm
Forum: Does anyone know … ?
Topic: Is this turbo trainer thing too easy?
Replies: 11
Views: 717

Re: Is this turbo trainer thing too easy?

The resistance lever makes little difference to my mag TT. I change resistance by changing gear.
by Si
24 Jan 2021, 11:44am
Forum: The Tea Shop
Topic: Vegan "Cheese"
Replies: 91
Views: 2617

Re: Vegan "Cheese"

Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:
KTHSullivan wrote:
Ride-sleep-repeat wrote:I've tried dozens of different types over the last 12 months.If you avoid the Lagers(although Aldi and Lidls are OK) there are some quite good AF IPAs/Pale Ales out there.The thing that you have to get your head around is the price.They are generally more expensive than their 'proper' counterparts :roll: I drink more AF beer than anything these days.It's been quite a revelation for me!
I like Red Wine and have yet to find any AF Reds that don't taste like warm Ribena!

I was nominated driver for a night out several years ago. The "venue" had alcohol free beer, as a consequence I had 3 x 330 bottles over a whole evening some 6 hours whilst all around me were getting steadily slaughtered. The following morning I felt like I had done the full 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. I have not touched it since, if driving I now have orange squash.

It's come a long way since Kaliber and St Christophers.There are many that taste pretty much exactly the same as their full strength counterparts.Nowadays they're brewed as normal and then have the Alcohol removed.The old stuff(Kaliber etc) was just chemicals IIRC.
Last night(Friday) I drank 4x330ml cans of Brewdog Punk AF and 6x330ml cans Infinite Session IPA AF and got up for work at 04:45 this morning as fresh as a daisy.I'm currently enjoying some more Infinite session IPA AF and will no doubt be the same tomorrow.I feel exactly the same in the morning if I'd been drinking the AF beer or tea or coffee 8)
I've got to the point now where I actually prefer the AF versions as I can drink as many as I like with no morning after consequences :mrgreen: When all this Covid stuff is behind us and I go out with the lads I'm going to have a full session on the AF!

I'm a convert to low-beer beer. Always liked the taste of beer but never that interested in getting 'bladdered'. Now drink lots of Nanny State. Very refreshing. Also less fattening than standard beer.

Have also just gotten some tofu to make some more cheese. Just need some vegan yoghurt so I can do some lefty pinko tree hugging knitting now.
by Si
22 Jan 2021, 7:36pm
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Mechanical disc brake choice.
Replies: 43
Views: 2010

Re: Mechanical disc brake choice.

boblo wrote:
Ray wrote:
Si wrote:The stock pads on the Spyres are rubbish.

Do you (or anyone else) have a recommendation for replacement pads for the Spyres, please?

I've been using Uber's sintered and kevlar pads, the latter by mistake not because I'm racing... The sintered ones are better than Tektro's OEM pad.

I think that I have Disco Brakes copper free ones.
by Si
20 Jan 2021, 6:49pm
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Mechanical disc brake choice.
Replies: 43
Views: 2010

Re: Mechanical disc brake choice.

I've BB7s and Spyres for a few years. Both have been reliable and easy to maintain. The stock pads on the Spyres are rubbish. The ones on the BB7s were fine.
BB7s offer more power on my bikes. However, part of this will be down to rotor, cables, levers, etc.
by Si
16 Jan 2021, 11:19am
Forum: Does anyone know … ?
Topic: Bicycle trackers
Replies: 11
Views: 911

Re: Bicycle trackers

Things to consider:

How are you going to mount it to the bike? If it's somewhere obvious then thief will just break it off an bin it. Better places,like inside frame tubes, can reduce signal.

How are you going to power it? Will you/the police have chance to recover it before the battery dies?

Are you prepared to go to the faff of recharging the bat regularly, especially considering it may hidden be in a 'safe' location on the bike that is hard to get at.

Is it a subscription service? If so, how long before the subscription costs more than the bike? Is the subscription more than insurance? How reliable are the providers?

If you can track your stolen bike then what are you going to do about it if you locate it? For instance, we had one or two get pinched and tracked them to blocks of flats. Because we couldn't pinpoint the exact flat the police couldn't do anything about it....understandably they not allowed to search everyone's flat until they find it! In some places the police might not even be interested in going to look for it any time quick so it could have moved on since the last signal.

But having said all of that, we did get a few back, so it was helpful. However, our trackers weren't there for theft prevention, rather we were just monitoring how people used the free give-away bikes that we were handing out so that we could use the data to further promote cycling.
by Si
15 Jan 2021, 5:56pm
Forum: National Standard Cycle Training
Topic: IWGB Union Cycle Instructor Survey 2021
Replies: 3
Views: 5087

Re: IWGB Union Cycle Instructor Survey 2021

Have I missed something, or does it ignore all of those volunteer instructors out there? Well, when I say "all" ... I'm assuming there are still a lot out there, but given the changes to bike ability over the last couple of years I may be wrong as they do seem to be making it harder and harder to be a community volunteer instructor.
by Si
9 Jan 2021, 6:20pm
Forum: Does anyone know … ?
Topic: MTB in primary school
Replies: 15
Views: 864

Re: MTB in primary school

At a primary school I used to run training sessions at they had a container with kids bikes in it. They'd get them out at lunch time and let the kids ride round an area of the playground seperated from the rest by car tyres. Just had a member of staff overseeing. Fair attrition rate on the bikes.

At another one we went in and did bike ability, then some staff and volunteer parents got trained as ride leaders and continued to take them out.

At the local posh secondary I did the bike ability and the head of games got trained as an MTB leader and took them mtbing. This was on the playing field and local park.

I would suggest looking at Go Ride (or whatever they are calling it this week). Also look to see if CUK are doing Community Cycle Clubs in your area and see if you can get support that way.