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New site policy - please read

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  • New site policy - please read

    See below.

  • #2
    The new policy below has been unanimously agreed by the committee. Howard has also been consulted and is in full agreement.

    The policy about speculative discussions, adopted last month and quoted below, was an attempt to protect what we believe is the main purpose of this website - to act as a forum for collaborative research about people and places associated with the Ripper murders - while also accommodating those who wanted to discuss the merits of individuals as Ripper suspects.

    Sadly, it's already obvious that the policy hasn't worked. If anything, it has generated a larger number of boring, repetitious posts about the merits of suspects, and has generated more ill-tempered, sarcastic contributions and more bad feeling among members of the forums.

    We have therefore decided in future to exclude all discussion relating to the identity of Jack the Ripper. Biographical facts about people proposed as Ripper suspects will be on topic, but more general arguments about whether particular individuals are likely to have actually committed the murders will not. For example, a discussion about the timing and duration of a cricket match Montague Druitt played in, and research into the trains that would have allowed him to get back to London on the night of the match will be welcome. But general arguments along the lines of "Druitt is a bad/good subject because X, Y and Z" will not.

    In addition, discussion of who wrote the so-called Maybrick Diary and when it was written will be excluded, because this topic tends to generate the same kind of discussion as the merits of suspects.

    We recognise that even in relation to factual matters, there may also be a problem of the same kind of boring, repetitious discussion. So if a "ping pong match" develops, the moderators will have discretion to ask people to stop repeating themselves, and if necessary to delete posts and close threads.

    We also recognise that there may be a problem of a member being persistently disruptive even while staying within the letter of the rules. If that happens the moderators will have the discretion to exclude the member. We hope this will not be necessary, and that if it is necessary it will be only in exceptional circumstances.​

    Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post
    The committee has unanimously agreed the following new policy for JTR Forums.

    We believe that the main purpose of this website should be to act as a forum for collaborative research. The efforts of the members enabled the site to be kept open last year, which has allowed that research to continue and has ensured that the research accumulated over the years will not be lost.

    We understand that some people are also interested in speculative discussions about the Whitechapel Murders, but we are concerned to ensure that this does not detract from research. Unfortunately that can sometimes be the case. Speculative discussions tend to produce a large quantity of posts, partly because the arguments tend to be repetitious. That can be a distraction, and it can give people a misleading impression of what the site is here for. Also, in practice these discussions are often ill-natured and lead to animosity between members. In the past year nearly all the problems requiring moderation on the site have arisen in this kind of discussion.

    If possible, we want to avoid banning such discussions altogether, but we feel it is essential to prevent them from hindering the main activity of the site. For that reason we are setting up a dedicated forum for Speculative Discussions, which will be accessible to registered members only. The remainder of the site will remain accessible to both members and non-members, but will be for research-oriented discussions only.

    The decision about which category a discussion falls into will rest with the moderators. But typically, Speculation Discussions will be those dealing mainly with matters of opinion, often centred on the interpretation of evidence that is already well known. For obvious reasons, they will frequently involve two opposing groups with different opinions, they will often repeat well worn arguments, and they will usually not be conducted in the expectation that anyone will actually change their mind. Whereas research-oriented discussions will usually be concerned with discovering new information that sheds fresh light on the murders and the people and places associated with them.

    Where necessary, the moderators will move material - either speculative threads or off-topic speculative material in threads concerned with research - from the main part of the site into the appropriate forum.​