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vagabond 03-28-2007 09:23 PM

APC, Internet Forums and the First Amendment: Some Thoughts
I have been meaning to post my thoughts about internet forums and this thing called the First Amendment. Sitting on jury duty has given me the time to jot down some notes with the pencil I originally brought along for Sudoku.

Internet forums, particularly this one, are very interesting places where one can go learn, contribute and perhaps have some fun along the way. Inevitably, there are some people who take advantage of the anonymous nature of these forums and make inappropriate or repetitive posts or generally posts of no intrinsic value. The owners have made the rules (Terms of Service) very clear to new registrants and longtime members alike. People who choose to become members of this forum have agreed to abide by those terms or face having posts deleted, threads locked or the member restricted in mild cases and banned in extreme cases. These rules are neither arbitrary or capricious. In exchange for a medium where registered members can have a healthy exchange of information, members do not have to pay. They also do not have to tolerate annoying ads and can be reasonably assured of an environment free of pornography, racist commentary, religious intolerance and the like.

Much is made sometimes of oneís First Amendment right to free speech. The First Amendment protects us from government interference, not from private people. It must be emphasized that this forum is privately owned. The owners of this site, as private people, can do what they deem necessary to maintain it to their standards. (Iíll rephrase this in simpler language Ė The Man can do whatever he wants on his own forum.) Free-wheeling forums with loose control generally degrade into juvenile name calling, use of profanity, and usually end up attracting people whose aim is disruption. Sometimes these types of forums attract people who have no aim whatsoever, but thatís another topic for another day after a stiff drink.

I have been a member since May 2006 and in that relatively short period of time, I can say that the administrators and moderators have done an excellent job of keeping these forums from degenerating into a parody or worse, a travesty. There has been no evidence of over-moderation; in fact, there has been an abundance of tolerance towards people who sometimes just do not get it at some fundamental level.

Returning to the First Amendment, some might believe that they can say anything and the heck with everyone else. Well, I urge everyone to exercise some self-restraint. If you have had a bad day and feel like working off your frustrations, please do not do it here. If you harbor sexist or racist thoughts, please keep them to yourself. If you disagree with someone, state your reasons logically and in a civil way. There is no need to call someone names or imply something derogatory about them. Doing so does not move the conversation forward in any meaningful way. I, for one, am interested in a productive exchange of ideas and perspectives, not reading absurd rants or misguided ramblings with little to no basis. I applaud the administrators and moderators for deleting threads and posts that violate the terms of service. The last time I checked, the internet is big and has a multitude of fora from which to choose. If somebody finds it too restrictive here, this person is always free to join another forum more to his taste.

One final thought Ė do not take things personally. This is an anonymous forum. I do not know you and you do not know me. Those who know my name, for example, know it because I chose to tell them. You also should have no reason to think that anything I post is directed at you, unless I start my post with your user name. Donít forget that posts here are nothing more than personal opinions. So, if someone says that MEM is a horrible place to live, this is only this one personís opinion, and likely not shared by others. A better post is describing your reasons for why MEM is a bad place and why it is a good place.

I have met some very nice people here. We exchange emails outside of APC, and I even had the pleasure of having dinner with a member who was here on a layover. Although I did not join so that I can have more friends, meeting nice people is an incidental benefit for which I am thankful.

ToiletDuck 03-28-2007 09:36 PM

Very nicely put. While I agree this forum does not impeed on someone's personal rights, does it not when you're writing this down when you should be paying attention at someone's trail with a "jury of peers"? :D For all we know that could be me needing your innocent vote hahahaha.

de727ups 03-28-2007 11:12 PM

Well said.

I used to be a mod at another popular aviation career website and quit in disgust on the direction the admins took with respect to the "anything goes" policy I saw. We wouldn't want to infringe on anyone's right to post anything they darn well please on the internet, now, would we...

What I like about this site is:

A) there is no advertising. Advertising, no matter how it's "approved", will always be seen as something that compromises the integrity of the site leadership. In other words, site owners will always protect the income stream. Whether this is true or not, it's a fair criticism to be leveled towards the site ownership. It's better to just avoid the whole thing by not accepting any ads in the first place. That's always been my advice.

B) APC admins have a higher standard in not putting up with those who cross the line. I've seen guys get banned here for stuff that would be a "yellow card" at the other site. Personally, I kinda like that. I'm not interested in having to put up with repeated assault's to what most of us consider to be the norms of online behavior. If you can't play nice, you get a warning or two, and then your done. That's how it should be.

C) this site doesn't have a Lav.

I remember when there wasn't one at the "other" site. The Lav grew out of people wanting to discuss non-aviation stuff or a place to put aviation stuff went beyond the line of normalcy. If you want to discuss non-aviation stuff, feel free to frequent another site. That's not what APC is. People say it's boring to always talk aviation. Personally, I'm not interested in Lav type discussions and I'm glad they don't have such a place as a Lav here.

That pretty much sums it up. I feel better now....

vagabond 03-30-2007 05:06 PM

Thanks Duck and DE. I return from jury duty to find that not a lot of people read this thread, or if they did, they seemingly don't understand it. Just take a quick look at some threads in Major and Regional. Folks are tripping over each other in name calling.

And btw Duck, I wrote that "op ed" piece at home; I was just jotting notes while sitting in the jury pool area. I would never not pay attention during voir dire or if actually impaneled. :) I have a reputation to uphold!

Freight Dog 03-30-2007 05:23 PM

We appreciate the kind words about our forums, vagabond. We do have our work cut out for us keeping the arguments from spiraling out of control! Hats off to the moderators who help keep the forums on track, too.


Ewfflyer 03-30-2007 07:02 PM

I just have one thing to say, MEM has a nice middle of the night fuel stop FBO service(no names, but it's the pig-skinned one), as long as you miss the Fed-Ex rush on either end.

Seriously, great site, hope I never get banned:D I'm sometimes too outgoing for my own good!!!!

LAfrequentflyer 03-31-2007 07:14 AM

I'm hanging on my the skin of my teeth...I'm limited to posting in the Pilot Lounge areas now...I still like the site and there is a lot more information here than on the others. I also read the ExpressJet Pipe from time to time.


mike734 04-01-2007 08:32 AM

WildfortheUniform said

So now what you have is a bunch of kids who probably still live with mommy and daddy posting instead of intelligent, middle-aged pilots and non-pilots.
Seems that way to me too. I'm disappointed.

Pilotpip 04-01-2007 08:50 AM

I think you have two very different demographics here. One one end you have the "grizzled guys that have been around the block" and on the other you have us younger, optimistic types. This is one of the things I like best about this site.

I like the fact that with a few exceptions I can ask a question and know I'll recieve a number of respectful responses regardless of agreement on the subject. Then there are the few here that relegate themselves to name-calling. I guess that's why there's an ignore feature. It seems like the moderators have more work now than they have in the past but they're doing a good job keeping things civil. I hope that continues.

For me, this site is all about educating myself. I don't have family in the industry, I don't have a ton of friends who have more experience than I do in this industry. I've worked line service for 6 years and have recieved great advice from 135 guys but that is a different world than 121. That is where this site comes into play.

LAfrequentflyer 04-01-2007 09:06 AM

There's plenty of information on this site. But its no better than the others out there - you can get the same answers (ok...Rick777 won't answer) to your questions and they same positive attitudes.

You should use this site along with the others to get a complete picture.

I use to think you needed to be a super-star to fly for the airlines. I know know all you need are your ratings, normal instrument skills, a clean record, and the 1000hrs TT / 250 hrs ME time to get an regional interview.

All this time I thought only x-military pilots were flying at the airlines.


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