What do you think about the Rants & Raves Forum?

[b]Due to the growing number of complaints about the nature of the Rants & Raves Forum, we would like to solicit your candid feedback about the following related issues:

  1. Should we keep the Rants & Raves?
  2. Should registration be required to post?
  3. Should the discussions be moderated?


Please read our initial thoughts before commenting.[/b]

Geez, Gus.

When you moved the “mormons” discussion, you were really showing us your guns. Remember writing something like “we will not hesitate to remove your posts if they are…(whatever - I got the guns)”

Them guns are intimidating, cowboy.

The administrator on zhongwen.com was pretty much absent. That’s what made it great.

Believe me, I’m glad you deleted some of those boorish posts. But the person who wrote them was probably upset… and his or her friends probably heard the complaints.

Who wants to speak out in police state? Is this the police state foreign community of Taiwan? So some idiot wrote stupid song lyrics. So what? I could have made fun of that guy a couple of posts down.

Maybe you and Christine could leave Rants and Raves alone and restrict your policing to the other forums.

By the way - a health forum would be very healthy for us all. Let’s talk about the best way to wash fruits and vegetables and California Gym vs. Alexander’s Health Club and the best air-purifiers for your home, etc…!

And get your guns out of my face! Didn’t you ever see Pulp Fiction?

Big Dork, if you don’t like the way we do things here, why do you keep coming back?

Big Dork, I tried to find some boards that might be more of your community style? These guys are pricks anyway!!! Let me know where you want to go and I’ll follow you, I think you’re hilarous!

Community Services Center

Taiwan School info

American Chamber of Commerce

Alright alright… those boards suck too! Do you have any favorites? ICQ and Yahoo have some pretty good features too.


Wow, the administraters give in whenever somebody complains. First the mormons are moved and then they’re moved back. Talk about knee jerk polocies.

Originally posted by Big Dork: Geez, Gus.

When you moved the “mormons” discussion, you were really showing us your guns. Remember writing something like “we will not hesitate to remove your posts if they are…(whatever - I got the guns)”

for the record, i think big dork is hilarious. i wet myself and rolled over after reading the above!

actually the mormons thread is one of the more interesting, informative and funny threads going on. i’m johnny-come-lately on it so i dont know how much it has been edited, but i just read it. its quite entertaining. i wanted to add to it but…

(new subject)

…i changed my e-mail on my profile and i automatically got a new password which was sent to my new e-mail address, which is apparently dead, or the server is. now i can t log in. can someone reset my password or tell me what it is so i can log back in? besides…

(3rd subject)

…why do you have registration anyway? it isn’t like they are personality profiles. most of the people registered are more or less as anonymous as the unregistered. it seems silly to me, now, moreso, because i can’t get on the mormon thread!

please send my password to simuotic@graffiti.net

the murphatola

Originally posted by Christine: Big Dork, if you don't like the way we do things here, why do you keep coming back?

“Ya! You big DORK!”

I come to your boring site, officer, because I’m boring and I have no life. Actually it’s because I’m in Thailand and I can’t write in a Chinese forum. So I’m settling for you and Gus’ stinky brainfart.

Christine, if you don’t like what we write here, why do you have a discussion forum?

Ya, whatever. I’m your boss, actually. You know, the mob. So “Rants and Raves” should read: “Say whatever you want. That’s right - whatever you wanna say!” instead of this “mind your manners” crapp.

Gimme a break!

You know what I find most humorous is that I’ve never specifically identified whom I personally “like” or “dislike”, and yet some of you come right out and point fingers at yourselves as the ones I dislike… some of whom I actually LIKE a lot! ROFL!

Some of you folks are indeed entertaining and help us to increase our visibility and site hits! Thank you! Keep it up!

To answer the question above, one of the reasons why we require registration in certain sections of the board is so that we can wipe out all postings by that individual with one click and/or block users from posting as easily, if we ever want or need to.

Yes, people can just come back and register with another valid email account, but it kind of just adds to our um, page views? Not to say that that is what our ultimate goal is but um, thanks anyway?

FYI, both Gus and myself have some pretty significant differences on whom we “like” and whom we don’t “like” on these boards (and I think you’d be surprised if you knew, lol), but we don’t make policy based on personal opinion but rather what is reasonable and fair to our site visitors as defined in our Terms and Conditions and to the best of our ability to determine that and to actually get around to it.

Sometimes, we just don’t get to it period and that’s because we have an awful lot on our plates and are doing the best we can. Quite frankly, other areas of the site take priority at the moment.

Some people may not like the decisions we make, and/or may not be happy with the fact that we can’t respond to all requests that come in due to our resource limitations. Not much we can do about that other than to encourage those individuals to either stop coming back, or to start their own websites. It was because Gus and I were dissatisfied with what was available (or not available) at the time that we started ORIENTED. There is no reason why they can’t do the same.

We try to keep the boards as open as possible to allow for free expression of opinions, etc., but to the extent that certain postings (and don’t all come confessing at once) inhibit others the freedom to express theirs, we have some problems. I believe I have made this statement once before.

Finally, if you really want to know what kinds of postings I LIKE (and I know some of you do, I can tell ), what I find most interesting are those people who can articulate a point (controversial or otherwise), back their claims without having to attack others, and sound relatively intelligent and in particular, WITTY, in the process.

But that’s just me.

I like Jody’s tagline which I’ll use here (hope she doesn’t mind). Keep reading! And keep posting!


Just some feedback on recent changes to Oriented. I’d just like to first point out that despite these few complaints I really like Oriented and it seems generally well managed and is really useful and quite fun, so congrats to you all.

Ratings: What’s the idea behind this ratings system? I really don’t like it. Why should other people be able to rate what I say. Basically it means that if I piss a few people off they’re going to try and give me a bad rating and if I turn the ratings off people will think I got a bad rating or am too afraid of getting one.

Moderation: It seems that moderation has become a little more heavy-handed recently, maybe jsut becuase things have got rowdier. I really argue strongly for ahands-off approach. I much prefer no-moderation or minimal moderation. Someone someone said they would remove postings that ‘infringe on other people right to post’, but I fail to see how what someone says actually stops someone else posting. Also there have been times when a number of posts have been deleted, but the general thread/argument has continued but with people refering to deleted posts, for example criticising what people said in other posts. Why not leave these posts there so that we can see for ourselves whether or not they were offensive and who was in the right. I think only the most meaningless posts that absolutely noone’s going to be interested in or most off topic (like ads or poetry) should be deleted.

Profanity: I really don’t like that thing that asterisks swear words. Can’t we just assume that we’re all grown-ups and allow people to swear, just like we can in real life. When very ordianry words like Honkeey (without that extra e) get deleted it’s jsut getting ridiculous.

The light-bulbs: The little light bulbs that tell you if there’s been new posts or not don’t seem to work for me. They always show new posts even if there’s been no new ones since I logegd on or last logged on. Do they work at all?

Registration: OK I quite like registration, but in order to encourage registration why not get rid of compulsory feilds in the registration. Some people are rightly paranoid about their privacy on the net and don’t want to provide information about themselves that might somehow be leaked.

New boards: Some new boards are great but sometimes a little confusing. IE it seems that there’s often going to be a huge overlap between Human Rights and Legal Matters - where do I post a legal query about my rights as a foreigner in Taiwan? And posts seem to get moved around a lot more than is necessary IE I posted an enqiury about where to find a bookstore, so I used ‘Where to Find’ and it was moved to ‘Culture’ (huh? coz books are cultural?).

A final note: I notice people sometimes saying stuff like “they own oriented they can do what they like with it” or “if you don’t like the administrators get off the site” and I guess you guys take a bit of shit from people sometimes, but I’d like to point out that you’ve created a community and sure you own the infrastructure behind it and do most of the upkeep of it, so that gives you certain rights (and from a legal point of view total carte blanc), but it’s a community you’ve created and that really exists in the people who make it up, so it’s up to you wheteher you become dictators, benevolent monarchs or democratic leaders of that community.


To the person who posted a question about maps of Taipei County:

Have you checked out this website?

About this website:

It’s a great site of info, both the articles and some of the postings.

I prefer to stay out of the ‘conflict’ threads; mainly because I can get enough conflict at my bushiban or while driving my scooter, so I prefer to avoid it on the Internet:-)

As for the ‘teck’ side of things! Well, my own homepage is made with MS-Frontpage and I hate the navigation bar options on that, but am stuck with it . My ‘forum’ (8 postings in a year!!:slight_smile: uses an outside link, and I can not work out how to change the colors:-(

What I am trying to say is that Christine and Gus have done a bloody great job (considering they are ‘amateur’ web designers), and I wish I had the skills to get my own little website to the same standard as Oriented.

It will be very sad if Rants and raves dies. I think it is a very valuable part of this FORUM. It lets us say what we think about things to do with living in Taiwan that we might not be able to say elsewhere. Also it’s probably the most fun of the boards.

Please assume that we’re all grown-ups and can handle a little flack. There are always going to be some arseholes who get offended and offensive, but remember the only thing we really have in common is that most of us live in Taiwan and speak English, so there are bound to be disagreements. If people are offensive idiots they’ll soon be seen for what they are – and that won’t happen if they’re not given the rope to hang themselves.

so finally, i have been able to crack the impenetrable wall of bureaucracy and glitched operating systems. it has taken some time but finally human perserverence has prevailed over the machine that will one day control us all (if it hasn’t already)…

…so much has happened since i was locked out and therefore i will use this as my soap box (for the moment anyway). rants and raves has been closed off and i ask myself “why is a community forum being cut off from the community?”

it seems to me that the views presented in a forum which is used by the public should be one that serves to represent the fullest scope of the public opinion. it may not be pretty and sometimes it might offend, but do we not believe in freedom of speech around here? those who choose to engage the forums to participate in stupid offensive commentary do so at the risk of looking stupid and offensive. those people may be ignored or chastised verbally by the community as they see fit. the moderators of a forum should only intervene if a potential danger may arise out of a forum thread. otherwise, the opinions reflected in a thread should be known by all participants of a forum to reflect that particular persons opinion ONLY. whether we agree or disagree is irrelevant! dialogue is created when there is more than one opinion being expressed. i feel that the tendency of the forum moderators to suppress the diversity of voices in favour a monotone, conformed choir of identical unoffending viewpoints and subject matter is quite disturbing. what i would like to see is not a rant and raves section but somthing called


in it, any and all discussions should be left open as long as there isn’t a direct danger resulting from the discussion (e.g. a planned bombing or something). minimal to no intervention, if possible, from the moderators. people can participate if they want or just avoid it alogether if they don’t like what is being discussed. with this, two fundamental principles of freedom should be exercised. FREEDOM OF SPEECH. FREEDOM OF CHOICE. I hope that everyone may consider this VERY CAREFULLY, especially the admin at oriented, when making policy for their fine website.

please feel free to comment.


independent thought murphy

I have to agree with the Murphelyzer. I think you’d be doing the community members a grave disservice by removing what is by far the most popular board, judging by a comparison of the number of posts to each forum.

“I may not agree with what you say, sir, but I’ll defend unto death your right to say it.”

Some British politician said that and I’m sure someone smarter than I will soon tell me who it was.

I go away on vacation and Rants and Raves shuts down. This may scar me for life - I may never leave Taipei again!! By the way, I can’t wait to get back this weekend, though I hear that a Typhoon is coming… just my luck.

(1) Big Dork: I think this guy is hilarious. I know, so does everyone else. So I’m a follower. So sue me. I asked him to stalk me, so he created a whole thread just for me. But the nice thing about Big Dork is that everyone knows that he’s a Big Dork (it’s right there in his name). He teases everyone indiscriminately and so its harder to take offense.

(2) Bu Lai En: I agree with many of the things Brian said in his very well thought out critique of the moderation tactics of the Oriented administrators. The more heavy handed the moderation, the more the forums will start to resemble the opinions of the administrators rather than be an open exchange of ideas between the different groups of foreigners who have different connections to Taiwan. However, in defense of the moderators, I have noticed a profound change in the posters on Oriented ever since the “tone” of R&R took a decided turn towards the immature. Posters I respect and enjoyed reading, such as “Cranky Laowai”, “Jeremy”, “v”, “buttercup”, “bu lai en” (yes, you too) and “musasa” among others, have all but disappeared from R&R. That’s why I started the “cliques on Oriented” thread. I think what is happening is that the people who have no problem being rude, being confrontational, basically being complete arseholes without logic on their side have driven away many of the people who have good, well-thought out opinions but want to keep it clean. Without moderation, R&R has turned into a den of people behaving badly. It’s one thing when there is one bad apple, but when there is a flood, smart people do the smart thing… they flee.

Unfortunately for Oriented, the problem was not that there were different opinions being expressed on the forums. The real problem is that when “A” disagreed with “B”, A wasn’t countering with a list of his/her reasons, A was countering by telling the whole world that: (1) B is a pompous hypocrite (2) B sucks (3) B is an inane bubble-head, etc, etc…

As for the lights, I think they light up when someone else is viewing the forum at the time, not when something new is posted.

(3) The Freedom of Speech. Even in the constitution, the freedom of speech comes with clauses. You can not practice free speech if your speech incites violence. Hmmm… let’s see… if I remember correctly, there were very definitely some people on the “Mormon” thread that were advocating violence against Mormons.

The freedom of speech is a sacrosanct right that many of the posters on Oriented believe they have because they were raised in relatively free societies. Let’s not forget that these rights were won for us by people who lost their lives practicing this very same freedom. And they did not hide behind the wall of anonymity, as many of you do. There are people on this forum - some of the posters I mentioned above and myself - who make our identities very public. We have links to our websites, we have offered our emails for display. Let’s say that the poster who advocated punching out a Mormon advocated punching me out? Should the administrators allow that posting to remain? And what should I do? Start living my life behind triple bolted doors? (oops, already do that… sorry.)

The internet is a whole new medium of interaction. This anonymity thing is enormously dangerous. Everyone should have the freedom of speech, but only if they are willing to face the repercussions of that which they speak. I would never say to my boss “you are a pompous, inane poser and everything you do is stupid and incomprehensible” unless I was willing to be fired. When the students at Tienanmen fought for the freedom of expression, they knew that they could easily be arrested and tortured for raising their voice and the consciousness of their fellow students. Same for the original pro-democracy agitators in Taiwan.

Even the politician who said, “I may not agree with what you say, sir, but I’ll defend unto death your right to say it”, knew who he was addressing.

(4) “Oriented” is a wonderful site. The forum is one of the best parts of Oriented. Gus and Christine should be proud. Unfortunately, Oriented is also built on a much smaller community than, say, Zhongwen.com. I’d be willing to bet many of the posters either (1) know each other or (2) can guess who each other are. And the more information a poster shares, the more likely his/her identity will be revealed. So the people who write informative postings sharing personal experiences etc… are putting themselves at that much more jeopardy to the whim of those posters who do nothing but post impersonal attacks. The last think I think anyone wants to see is all of the posters of the first type leave so that the forum ends up being nothing by a vehicle for people of the latter type.

I’m sure this is what Christine and Gus are struggling with right now. How to find a balance. Best of luck to the two of you… I hope to see the R&R back up and running before long. I don’t envy the job you have ahead of you.

Very well said Jody. I believe in consistent moderation in forums of this sort, and I think it can be accomplished without the moderators twisting poster comments to reflect the opinions of the admins.

Yet, as Gus and Christine have said, they don’t have time to moderate the boards. Actually, checking each section once a day should be good enough. On the site I work on, we have about 15 moderators (with 1700+ members and growing, we need even more!) whose responsibilities are divided between different sections. So perhaps the answer to your problem would be to assign two or three moderators to each section. That way you (C n G) could spend more time on other parts of the site without having to be too preoccupied with the goings-on in the forums.

You might also consider establishing a disciplinary procedure - ie, two warnings followed by a 48 hour ban followed by a 1 mth suspension followed by permanent acct suspension.

In Terms of Use, you state that insulting other posters is not permitted. This is a critical rule which needs to enforced more strictly, IMO.

If you could please answer these questions:

Why do you feel the need to explicity state in the Terms of Use page that all posts become the property of the site for redistribution, publishing, etc? Have you got something planned?

Why are posters no longer allowed to delete their posts? Does this mean editing is also no longer possible?

What exactly is the purpose of the rating system? Many people have already turned theirs off, so why maintain the rating system at all?

Also, you (C n G) have more than once implied that there are other purposes for the site than are immediately obvious. Can you please explain those purposes?

Thank you.


first off, I think oriented is a pretty damn good website. I am sure without it we as ex-pats would be wandering around aimlessly in a culture that is intensely different from that for which most of us are used to. I think if people didn’t think oriented had any value then they would not bother to visit it or criticize it. The fact that people bother to say anything about oriented good or bad, always shows that it is worth saying something about. I don’t know too many websites people care to criticize, never mind visit frequently. Having said that, my criticism of oriented is directed to improve it from being pretty damn good to very damn good. I think how the admin moderate it, will do wonders in how oriented is perceived by the public.


I think the issue of anonymity is a non-issue. I mean, I myself, don’t need to know all the personal details of those who post. All I need to know is that they are people with opinions. Everything else is irrelevant. I find how and what people post more telling of a person than bogus biographic information. I would not be adverse to personality profiles for registered members of a COMMUNITY FORUM. I think that having profiles for members help establish community spirit. What I don’t advocate is required profiles as some sort of attempt to police and qualify postings and posters. Besides, the “problematic” forum, doesn’t require registration and if it did, I don’t think it would change people’s opinions or manners. Registration is more about accounting than anything else. If people were forced to tell something about themselves when they register it might be nice but I don’t think it would change anything.


I think everyone is accountable to what they post by those who frequent and read postings on a regular basis. In the threads that seem to be most “problematic”, I have yet to see anything that was extremely disturbing requiring moderation. For example, in the “mormons” thread, what wolf posted cannot be taking seriously. I don’t think he was advocating real violence in his post. Clearly, his post was to be taken as a joke. If he said something like “everyone should go out and kick a mormon because they are the most vile disgusting creatures on earth and they deserve to die!” then I think that would be a matter of concern and deserves moderation. I think in that instance, admin should step and post a warning to on the thread. The important thing is to keep context with what is being posted! Which brings me to my next point, which is that posters are kept accountable by what what they post by other posters. This is evident in the now removed musasa=pompous hypocrite thread. I think there was no malicious intent in this thread other than to make musasa accountable for his/her posts. I, myself, have no bias towards musasa other than he/she was shown to be hypocritical in his posts and that his use of the term “boat person” was somewhat offensive and unjustified, which reinforced the claim of the post that he/she was a hypocrite! I think people are showing favouritism and bias with certain posters even though they deserve to be criticized.

“The freedom of speech is a sacrosanct right that many of the posters on Oriented believe they have because they were raised in relatively free societies. Let’s not forget that these rights were won for us by people who lost their lives practicing this very same freedom. And they did not hide behind the wall of anonymity, as many of you do. There are people on this forum - some of the posters I mentioned above and myself - who make our identities very public. We have links to our websites, we have offered our emails for display. Let’s say that the poster who advocated punching out a Mormon advocated punching me out? Should the administrators allow that posting to remain? And what should I do? Start living my life behind triple bolted doors? (oops, already do that… sorry.)” – jody

I already spoke on the anonymity issue and, the internet, is anonymous. This is an internet site therefore it is the wrong forum to be shooting out claims about the wrongness of anonymity. I, myself, see anonymity synonymous with privacy. Jody, I am sorry that you have been the victim of pretty vicious attacks but you opened those doors by inviting people to read your website. You cannot control what kind people read what you make public on your site. I personally think you are pretty good writer and that is evident in your writing. People wouldn’t bother to criticize if they didn’t think it was worth criticizing (see: oriented above). Any publicity is good publicity and you seemed to be receiving a lot of publicity. Just continue to do your thing and those who want to read, will read. Those who do not, can do whatever they please as long they don’t harass you. If they do, tell them off.

I haven’t yet read anything that deserves moderation on oriented and I would definitely encourage the admin to keep the ‘censoring’ to a minimum. For sure, jump in and post warnings on threads but don’t take out threads. I don’t think there has been anything posted that warrants this type pf response yet.

I open this topic to comments. Feel free to say your peace.


Interesting previous few posts. Ok, I’m beginning to change my mind a little. JL made me think maybe there is a reason to have some moderation. Too much stupidity could drive away the people who really have a lot to offer, esp. in terms of ‘ol-hand’ knowledge etc. On the other hand heavy moderation is going to drive a lot fo people away too.

I really think the best way would be to have a split. Compulsory registration in the standard forums (but without the need to divulge personal details) and then a little open forum or rants and raves. High standards of politeness etc enforced in the main areas with anything offensive being moved to the open forum. Then the open forum could have a pretty much anything goes policy so long as you don’t get offensive to the poinf ot harassment, danger or whatever. Then people who don’t want to be offended can stick to the quality area.

Re: regisration and anonomity. I value my anonomity on the net. I don’t want to end up getting my e-mail account filled with junk-mail or the police having something to use against with me if something goes wrong or whatever. Remember people signing up with oriented don’t know that it’s above-board until they’ve been here a while. They have no reason to trust you with their personal details. On the other hand I think registration is good as it creates an online identity so people know who you are on oriented and it stops people pretending to be you etc.



It doesnt seem very inviting, or perhaps it is even insulting, to newcomers to identify them as lurkers. Perhaps you could just call them visitors. You do want more and more people to check out the site, right?


(I tried to start a new topic, but couldn’t)