Hoboken411 Post Rules

Added a new section: “Contacting Hoboken411” (6/23/2008 – see middle)

This site has been a generally sane place to discuss all things Hoboken. It proves that people as a community can somehow police themselves.

A few basic ground rules most sensible readers should already know and intuitively live by. Here’s a few reminders just in case it slipped your mind. Thanks to many 411 readers for contributing some content to this list.

Objective of Hoboken411

A web community for various information, news, topics and reviews complemented with user comments for businesses and anything else Hoboken.

Contacting Hoboken411 – what to know

Hoboken411 receives hundreds, sometimes thousands of direct user emails weekly. Some are just questions, others are suggestions, and many are tips or leads to future stories.

If you’ve provided a tip, lead or story suggestion, please indicate how (if) you’d like to be credited. Without specifying exactly, it might be assumed you’d like to remain anonymous, and will be credited as “Hoboken411 reader” (or in some cases – first name, or username – if warranted.) Never will your full name be used unless you specifically request it, or are a public figure already.

No longer do I have the time to check with each reader to get accreditation information. Sorry, and thanks again for all the great eyes and ears out there!

*** Note: If you’ve emailed me, and for some reason (there are a myriad of them) I don’t respond within a reasonable amount of time, please don’t hesitate to pester me over and over. Sometimes it’s the only way to “catch me at a good time.” With over 6,000 emails received weekly, it’s certain some get “lost in the sauce.” Capeesh?

Some things to know

  • If I detect multiple logins/screen names from the same person. Deletion. Bannage. Go to another website if you’re going to play games.
  • Threats? Deleted and banned.
  • Attempting to “out” another user (unless they’ve either used or said their real name, or specified / alluded “These are my initials”, et. al.) not cool. Warning likely and/or bannage imminent.
  • If you’re a new user, you first few posts MAY BE HELD for moderation. Especially users from cheap free email accounts.
  • Hoboken411 supports free speech. Asinine or outright juvenile comments don’t really add any value. Racism and bigotry, along with malicious or libelous comments only show the world your lack of etiquette and frankly violate the terms of using this site. While 411 doesn’t want to become a grossly edited and censored site like some others in Hoboken, certain comments will be removed if they can be proven to be libelous. If you’re determined to get those harsh comments off your chest, you might better off telling your friends or send an email out.
  • Anyone can express their sense of humor or perspective on life without being unnecessarily over-the-top and disrespectful.
  • If you were unhappy with someone’s personality or demeanor, fine, calling them a drug addict, not cool. If you didn’t like the taste, fine, to claim someone poisoned your food is unacceptable. Makes sense, right?
  • Try to stay on topic! That’s the point, right? If you want to be random, complain, or rave about something, go to the proper places, like The Rant corner, or the Rave corner!
  • EXCESSIVE CAPS.. not cool. Unreadable. Save them for words you might maybe want to accentuate. All caps posts are subject to deletion.
  • Same goes for if you put tons of Smiley faces all over. Distracting and doesn’t help you or anyone else.
  • A modified version of what a Hoboken411 reader suggested:

    If an entry is a negative comment about a local business it would be appreciated if you attempted to resolve your issue with the business itself in addition to leaving your comment. We’ve found that most business owners are very accommodating and want to help. By giving the business a chance to rectify your issue not only will you receive greater satisfaction but your comment will be more meaningful to all readers. Also remember not everything can be solved immediately – please give it a few days. But if you get any response from the business after your complaint, please post that as well. This will show how a business responds to their customers; a very important aspect about customer service. One suggestion might be along the lines of:

    “I have lodged a complaint with ______ regarding _______. What happened was __________. I’ll report back as to what the business said.”

  • There are business ratings. Only registered users can vote. Help form a general consensus by voting for businesses you comment on.

Moderation Q&A

I don’t have a full-time moderator, and only look at comments when I feel like it, or have the time. There are times when a reader sends me an email notifying me about a comment I should investigate. Here’s some information about comment moderation:

Q. Why are some comments moderated on Hoboken411?

A. First answer: Because every general-interest online forum that’s worth reading has some kind of moderation system in force.

Second answer: Because Hoboken411 gets enough traffic to attract non-automated scams.

Q. There’s an old comment of mine I want you to delete.

A. Drop me a note, if it’s really important; but the default answer is “no.”

Q. One of my comments has disappeared!

A. There are several possibilities. One is that I may be having technical problems. It never hurts to write and ask. Another possibility is that someone thought your comment would be better gone.

Q. I can’t believe that Hoboken411, of all places, would be using censorship. What happened to freedom of speech?

A. Hoboken411 is steadfast in its support of your freedom of speech. I believe that you, the Reader, should be able to have (or refuse to have) anything you want on your own website, as long as it doesn’t deprive others of their rights. Yay, freedom of speech!

By that same token, freedom of speech also means that Hoboken411 has the right to have (or refuse to have) anything I want on my own website. If one of the things I don’t want is a comment that you have posted, I’m not depriving you of your freedom of speech. You’re free to put that comment up on your own webpage.

Q. Why can’t you just tell everyone to ignore the trolls?

A. Because they can’t. Everyone automatically reads the text that’s there. If it’s nasty or unpleasant, they get a dose of that. If there’s too much of it, they stop participating. There’s far more internet discourse lost to trollage and casual rudeness than is ever lost to moderators.

Q. Aren’t you just enforcing compliance with your own political views?

A. Not at all. You couldn’t reconstruct my personal views from a list of the times I’ve intervened in a discussion.

Q. Uh oh, you have advertising! Doesn’t that mean you’ve become hopelessly corrupt?

A. You mean, unduly influenced by whatever advertisers are the source of the site’s revenue? Don’t worry about it. Hoboken411’s editorial content is unaffected by its ads.

Q. One of the people in our comment thread is behaving abominably. Does Hoboken411 flame trolls, or just ignore them?

A. Neither. Send an email to Hoboken411 to look at that particular message. Be sure to explain what it was about the message that prompted your action. If you include your name, you may get a thank-you note.

Q. I didn’t say anything wrong! I just said something was lame or boring and it was removed. What’s the deal with that?

A. I’ll venture a guess that you responded to a new entry on 411 by announcing that it was hopelessly lame and boring, and then came back later to discover that your comment had disappeared.

Q. Yes! Why did you remove it?

A. This is another one of those questions that has multiple answers.

First: you didn’t explain why it bored you or why you thought it sucked. Without an explanation, announcing that you’re bored is neither useful or entertaining. Also, it’s a real bringdown for readers who lack confidence in their own opinions.

Second: because frequently the “I’m so bored” thing is just attitudinizing. There’s a whole big internet out there, and it’s full of people who, if they don’t like what they’re currently reading, move on and read something else. They don’t post about how bored they are just to have something to say.

Third: maybe that entry just isn’t your thing. It could be someone else’s. Why drag down their conversation?

Q. So we’re not allowed to say something’s boring?

A. Of course you’re allowed. You just have to explain why.

Q. How come you nailed me for a comment that didn’t contain any swearing or personal attacks?

A. It’s remarkable how many people believe that “you’re good as long as you don’t swear or launch personal attacks” is a universal rule. I’ll tolerate both those things if you do them perfectly. (Few people can manage that. Best not to try.)

Q. What’s likely to land me in your bad graces?

A. Since you’ve asked, here’s a nowhere-near-exhaustive list:

  1. Spamming. Linkwhoring. Re-posting text you’ve already posted on a dozen other sites.
  2. Making supercilious and unpleasant remarks in a civil liberties thread about how the victim had it coming. This is not to say that victims never have it coming; but there’s a species of internet demi-troll that appears to specialize in posting such comments. Try not to look like you’re one of them.
  3. Making snide comments and insinuations about me or one of my contributors. That’s right out. You don’t like me or a contributor? Take it up with us in e-mail. If you’re going to comment on an entry, talk about the entry.
  4. Being nasty to no purpose. (This is the catch-all.)
  5. Using unnecessarily exciting language. Making an argument is fine. Making your argument in language guaranteed to make your hearers see red? Bad idea. It practically guarantees that you’re going to have a dumb (and therefore boring) argument. And if the argument’s not going to be interesting, we don’t see the point.
  6. Jeering, sneering, condescending, or one-upping when there’s been no provocation. Telling people they’re naive idiots for caring about whatever-it-is. Like the “I’m bored” pose, it’s empty attitudinizing, and it’s remarkably unpleasant.
  7. Failing to notice that there are other people in the conversation. Posting a remark that’s already been made five times and answered six. Coming back and re-posting essentially the same material after a twenty-message thread has discussed your previous comment. Trying to forcibly wrench the conversation onto one of your own pet topics. Posting a stale, canned rant you’ve posted a dozen times before at other sites. Not coming back to see how others have responded to you.

    Why post comments at all, unless you expect to be read? And if you expect to be read, you must know you’re part of a conversation. Therefore, you should act like it. Engage with what the other commenters are saying. Read the thread before you add to it.

  8. Dragging in one of those topics that’s guaranteed to generate a huge thrash that goes nowhere, like gun control, abortion, or Mac vs. PC vs. Linux. You’re only allowed to discuss those if (a.) they’re relevant to the entry; and (b.) everyone in the discussion is doing their level best to say something new.
  9. This list will undoubtedly get longer.

Q. It’s not fair! You’ve misunderstood me or removed me because you mis-read what I posted. Can’t we talk about this?

A. Sure. If one of your comments is removed from its thread, you’re welcome to write me.

Q. I can’t register or post a comment. Does this mean I’ve been banned?

A. If you didn’t get into some kind of fracas, it’s highly unlikely that you’ve been banned. It’s moderately unlikely even if you did. We’re probably just having technical problems again. Drop us a note describing what happened.

Q. Is it okay for me to have more than one userid at a time?

A. No.

These general guidelines will be updated from time to time. Any suggestions to this list would be appreciated.

Let’s continue making this place a fun and informative place to be!