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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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Just curious,,,,, who here judges which thread should be removed? If a thread generates 20 responses by 12 participants is that more worthy than 10 threads that nobody gives a flying xxxx about. Who is the censor who removes anti B.O.P. threads? Censor,,,, please reveal yourself. Or is the government?


  • edited March 2018
    Hi @larryB,

    I'm not the sensor .... and, not being sure which thread you are looking for you might check the bullpen. Often times threads get moved from discussion to the bullpen. I've gotten a few of my own sent there while they were active with discussions in progress.

  • edited March 2018
    @larryB- I am not the censor either, but I can guess that the unequivocally negative and partisan thread title was, by itself, enough to cause management to take a dim view of the whole thing.

    My personal feelings are pretty much in alignment with yours, so I am sympathetic to the issue. To interpret the situation, it's helpful to understand the history of MFO, and particularly it's predecessor site, FundAlarm. Many of the more frequent (and sometimes influential) posters here have been posting on both FundAlarm and MFO for a good many years. They are well aware that MFO allows MUCH greater freedom than FundAlarm. Some members appreciate this expanded freedom, others do not, believing that this site should discuss nothing other than matters directly associated with mutual funds.

    With that in mind, while management currently allows a great variety of "off-topic" discussions, they also need to consider the entire spectrum of board posters, and justifiably so. Those considerations naturally include judging the general tone of threads and posts. The danger, of course, is that a site primarily dedicated to mutual funds may be caused to veer into areas that are primarily political and partisan in nature.

    When I first saw the title of the deleted thread, it set off my internal alarms with respect to that danger. The "rules" (unwritten, but generally observed in practice) suggest that a fair amount of non-fund related opinion is acceptable as long as there is even a tenuous tie to broad economic matters, and the general tone is reasonably respectful and not overtly bellicose.

    I would be willing to bet a small amount that after management received one or more complaints, they felt that the title and some commentary of the discussion failed to meet that rather loose standard. As the old saying goes, "it wasn't what you said... it was the way you said it". A little subtlety goes a long way.

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • David Snowball, the site administrator, has in fact commented or responded to questions from time to time over the years on this topic. Any long-standing member, especially those who go back to FundAlarm days, is (or should be) well aware of the general ground rules. To suggest otherwise is, unfortunately, yet another instance of misdirection from a source frequently noted for this trait.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • I’m wondering why a contribution I made to the currently running “gun” thread was removed last evening. I was trying to explain the lunacy associated that thinking that had the patrons at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. on 6/12/16 all been armed, the situation (loss of 50 lives) would have ended better.

    I surmise that someone objected to my somewhat graphic dipiction of the likely social atmosphere inside the gay nightclub at 2:00 AM in the morning when the patrons were ambushed by a gunman - perhaps finding my depiction too graphic. I can live with that. I’m sorry if I offended anyone or any group. There was no intent to. I was simply trying to show that the presence of more guns in this case would not have been helpful - perhaps just the opposite.

    Life goes on. I could understand the entire thread being pulled as too far off topic. But gosh, we’re all adults here as far as I know.
  • Anyone of reasonable probity would find it obvious that it would be impossible to give specific dates for David's commentary on this subject over the space of many years. If you want to suggest, in yet another of your flimsy attempts at misdirection, that David has NOT made such comments why not just send him an email and ask the source a direct honest question?

    "So sad." Go back and prostrate yourself at his feet again Maurice. You'll undoubtedly pick up a few more useful sycophantic phrases.
  • @ Maurice. If you consider the depiction of repuglican positions on many social and economic issues as slimy personal attacks then you must not feel too comfortable with your party. So sad.
  • @hank- I didn't realize that your comment had been removed from that thread. I understood what you were saying, and in no way was it either incorrect or offensive.
  • edited March 2018
    The use of such labels as "repuglican" or loaded comments such as "So sad!" contribute nothing useful to the conversation, and lowers the level of MFO to that of the WSJ blog commentary pages. It is for exactly that reason that management sometimes eliminates comments or even entire threads. A higher level of exchange, even when opposing views are being expressed, is expected here.
  • Hi, guys.

    Sorry about the delayed response.

    The story is this: after two members of the Board flagged a thread as problematic, we reviewed it and deleted it. It's a judgment call. I made it.

    In general, there's an issue of heat versus light that I grapple with. It is possible to make an observation in a way that seems intended to generate light; it is possible to make roughly the same observation in a way that seems intended to generate heat. In general, heat begets heat, light begets light. If, in my judgment, a thread - or comments on a thread - are heated and likely to produce even more heated responses, I'm prone to quash them. The threshold there is lower for off-topic threads than for fund-related ones and, frankly, the threshold is lower for folks who haven't participated consistently and in generally good spirits.

    While the individuals involved might imagine their slap fights as harmless or "their right," neither is true. For every poster on the board, there are dozens of readers, many of whom are new or casual visitors. The sound of the in-group howling at each other is not welcoming and begins to mimic our culture's broader tendency to prefer diatribe and confrontation rather more than dialogue and conversation.

    There are times when an enlightening thread contains a few heated comments; in those cases, we default to leaving the thread and deleting the comments. In other instances, we either close or delete the whole thread.

    I suppose, apropos Maurice's query, that if I had more energy and free time, I could generate and enforce a more detailed rubric stipulating unacceptable behaviors. In reality, I don't have that time and trust that the community will uphold a reasonable standard of civility and comity and, failing that, they'll flag posts for our review. That seems to work about 97% of the time. If folks think we need a higher standard, then I suppose we should find a way to organize an election for sheriff.

  • Thanks David for the explanation. Apparently two members of the party that shall not be named are very thin skinned. If pointing out the salient planks of said party's social policy "begets heat" and is so offensive to this crowd I am in the wrong place.
  • yeah, I was surprised to read about two flags, considering the guff in other OT threads
  • @larryB I don't think you're in the wrong place. Sometimes things are more a matter of tone than the point one is trying to make--how people say things as opposed to what they're saying. Using pejorative terms like "Repugnican" are sure to set some board members off and then your points, many of them potentially legitimate, will be lost on them and other potential readers. All they'll see is red. In other words, coolly presenting evidence of your ideas without making any ad hominem attacks or losing one's temper. I know it isn't always easy to do this. It's one of the things I always admired about Barack Obama. He almost never lost his cool--"when they go low, we go high" was his attitude. I don't always agree with that philosophy by the way. There are times when one should be passionate and outraged. But this isn't the best forum for that. Again, I know this isn't easy, and I can't say I've always succeeded in doing this myself. But it's worth the effort. Welcome.
  • I suggest that most other OT Threads are usually not titled in a manifestly partisan and denigrating way. (That sort of thing may creep into some of the commentary from time-to-time, but at least it's not an in-your-face headline assault.)

    Speaking now in a completely partisan way: it's overkill and rather poor taste to use childishly disparaging terms and name-calling for those on the other side. We know who they are, and what they stand for. Since assailing them on a factual and intellectual level is quite effective it's really unseemly to lower the verbal contest to their rather shabby "standards" by emulating their behavior.
  • I’m grateful to David for addressing the broader issues I and others raised. Agree we all need to work on civility. And thanks to Old Joe for his support. In my own case, I had realized shortly after posting that my wording was perhaps a bit “crusty” and might conceivably insult the sensibilities of a few. It wasn’t a statement I felt particularly proud of; but the issue of mass murder is something it’s difficult not to get emotional about. I’d actually gone back to edit and tone it down a bit when I realized it had been taken down.

  • Howdy,

    Geez, there's stuff posted these days that would have been throttled in minutes in days of yore. Hell, in comparison the board is almost Unmoderated these days.

    Quit your bitching and watch your language.

    and so it goes,


  • “Quit your bitching and watch your language.”

    Good advice. Sorry if I came across as bitching. Just bumbled into an ongoing discussion regarding board moderation. Perhaps it’s healthy to air such questions occasionally? Perhaps not.

    Rono’s correct that moderation was tighter at Fund Alarm.

    I’ll be quiet.
  • I like the alliterative poetry of kwitcha bitcha (n)
  • This is like Berkeley, no free speech.
  • bartab, omg, what a dumbass response, seriously?
  • haha, so weak, you really need to work on not being weak

    everyone else contributes with strength

    no free speech, lolz
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