Breakaway! (edited and updated)

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • 1. I closed and eventually removed the thread about the fox being fed a plant-based diet, because it was getting out of hand and people were resorting to insults and vitriol.

    2. I never banned anyone for posting in that thread and I never banned anyone for their opinions; I closed it with a warning to "leave me alone", because I was sick and tired of dealing with the escalating insults.

    3. So I asked people to let it go and some didn't - the 3 people who got temporarily banned were the ones who decided to continue the argument in other parts of the site -- when I deleted the insults I was accused of restricting "freedom of speech".

    4. All of the bans were short - the only one made permanent was a member who tried to circumvent the ban by using an alternative account - and even then I have only perma-banned the alternative account as using an alias has always been against the rules.

    5. As always anything mean spirited like that gets deleted, and as such I open myself up for the rumour mill, with people trying to make out how they were actually wronged by me - it's been this way for years.

    6. Someone else decided to create a breakaway forum; this was reported to me and I banned them for spamming - I turned off the messaging facility for a while, but thought about it and changed my mind. (for the record I cannot access private messages unless they are reported to me)

    7. At first I was like "Oh no, everyone will leave, it'll kill the site, blah blah!" However, having given it some thought I'm not too bothered and it isn't really a threat, and so feel free to knock yourselves out.

    I'm quite disappointed that a few unconnected people are using this to personally attack me; but if you wish to join them knock yourselves out. I know who you are. ;)

    7. If is meant to survive it will - and if it's meant to die it will. But whatever happens, this website will close before I allow it to be a platform for insults, abuse and threats. :)

    8. Before you start a fight with me or accuse me of restricting your freedom of speech, consider my normal moderating style and ask yourself why that may be.

    9. Peace :flowerpower:

  • Considering a couple of weeks have passed since the above, I am going to append this with the following.

    My shit

    The main reason I lost my shit over that fox thread is because I personally know the girl involved - and as such it put me in a very tricky situation where I was duty bound to stick up for her - especially considering the circumstances that started the media frenzy.

    Of course, I would not have done this had I believed she was in the wrong; but knowing the situation from the inside, it became quite personal to me.

    Nobody got banned because of that thread. The bans (which have mostly expired) were implemented because I asked people to leave it be and I was ignored. This is another thing that has always been in our terms.

    About vegan debates

    You are welcome to discuss opinions on veganism in the appropriate places; you are not welcome to turn it into personal attacks - so calling vegans "self righteous" is just as unhelpful as calling non-vegans "corpse crunchers" etc.

    I'm guilty of this behaviour too, so I'm not singling out any individual - it's a learning curve for all of us, but ad hominems rarely win an argument - if a thread starts to go that way then it

    needs to get back on track or closed.

    Free Speech

    The idea of free speech is a strange one - because it has never been expressly written into the rules of this website, is restricted by legalities, and does not mean everyone should have a platform to spread vitriol or lies and expect a free reign without consequences.

    This is covered in the user agreement, and for the large part our policy works. We strive to allow free expression, but only to the best of our ability and not at the expense of the wellbeing of this website or others.

    Breakaway website promotion

    I wish to make this crystal clear; this is in accordance with our long standing policy against spamming and self-promotion.

    If I find anyone using this forum to promote other copycat websites, I will restrict your ability to use this website - offenders will have their messaging and posting facilities reduced. You will not be able to create threads without approval, you will not be able to use the private conversation feature and you will not be able to edit your user title or include web addresses in any of your posts.

    I don't see why the many years of hard work I have put into this website should be exploited by a few people with an axe to grind.

    I know who is slagging me off, so don't think I'm just turning a blind eye.

    However, and this applies to the opposite view

    I do not want this to turn into a war; so anyone making a fuss about cliques or trying to pit people against each other etc. well I'm unhappy about that too.

    Regardless of my personal opinion, this site is not here for people to poison each other with divisive behaviour -- if you can't play fairly, then don't play -- don't think you can prolong the problems with your own personal issues that are just as damaging to this website as any of the above.

    My decision as site owner (and I rarely pull rank as you should know) is to try to resolve the issues and not prolong them.

    Data protection and your own safety online

    This website is fully compliant with the UK Data protection act and hosted in the UK on a powerful cloud server - it's independently administered, which means I have the ability to export it to another platform or do anything I want to it so long as I don't compromise the data - which I do not.

    It adds a layer of protection that many sites don't have, but this layer of protection clearly means you need to trust the decisions I make with regard to hosting etc. I like to think my moral compass is strong, but regardless of that I have legal accountability that is based in UK law.

    I would always urge caution when using forums managed by third party companies -- they are more vulnerable to data breaches, and should the administrator wish to change the platform, it typically means no ability to export that information or customise the software in the way that we have here.

    (If you don't believe me then try it for yourself, but I learnt that the hard way and it's something I often come accross in my work as a web developer)

    The other issue is content and the terms and conditions - typically speaking third party platforms do not allow adult content, discussion on drugs or anything else that could be considered contentious - you may be fine, but it could mean your forum being removed at any time.

    These are the main reasons we used paid-for software - it makes it expensive, but it also keeps it safe and allows us some freedom to choose our own direction.

    The end of the road?

    As I've always said; if this website has no purpose or cannot sustain itself I will close it -- this isn't an idle threat, it just means I'm ready to call it a day should my contribution no longer be required.

    If you don't like this website, then vote with your feet and move on - no resentment, no bad feelings, just don't take advantage of the efforts I have made for the last twelve years and turn me into the enemy based on closing one thread.