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[Admin Note] Apnea Board Philosophy - An 'Open Source' Forum, of sorts
#1
We've had some discussions several months ago from within our Master Members forum on how best to operate the Apnea Board Forum. There were many ideas and concepts presented in that private thread, but as a service and explanation to our membership, I'd like to re-post my summary of the "Apnea Board Philosophy".

This was originally posted in March of this year:


SuperSleeper Wrote:On how Apnea Board is operated:

We have two paths that we can go down with regard to running the forum. I understand the reasons why someone might want to go down either path, and neither way is absolutely wrong and each path has it's own benefits and down-side.

One path is what I would call the "open path"; the other is the "restricted path".

Apnea Board was created in 2004 partly because of the stifling effects that over-moderation and over-control caused upon the free exchange of ideas within the (then) currently existing sleep apnea forums. One forum was controlled so much that the Admin closed it down at night and on the weekends when he couldn't "be there", so he could maintain absolute control over what was posted and jump on any infractions immediately. I'll abbreviate that forum as SN. Can you imagine having an Internet forum that was closed several hours each day and on weekends? It was kind of crazy. Loco

Next, another forum was overly-controlled by a commercial entity (DME). That forum was TAS. They would actively censor any posts that spoke ill of their services as a DME, or remove posts and ban users who overly criticized CPAP machines that were sold in their online store.

A forum created shortly after ours which had great potential was operated by a non-profit org (ASAA). But it devolved into an over-controlling forum also, actively censoring posts that have anything to do with changing one's own CPAP pressure.

So, Apnea Board was created with two goals in mind:

1. To provide a haven for OSA patients to help one another without being subjected to the negative effects of commercialism or being controlled by a commercial entity.

2. To provide a 24/7 open discussion forum where free exchange of ideas would be encouraged with as little restriction as possible.

Now, sometimes we must have a few restrictions (mainly for legal purposes, or to control spam and other attacks upon the forum itself). Although those restrictions can be a pain sometimes, they are there for very good reasons: they protect the very existence of the forum itself.

Any other restrictions on open speech tends to hamper idea-generation and innovation. As stated in my previous post, Apnea Board supports open-source software. The reason that kind of software prospers (being non-commercial) is because the participants are free to change things quickly and openly. There is no large institution that controls the software - it's all a collaborative effort by the very people who use the software. Now, while you can't run an Internet forum exactly like an open-source software package, we're doing our best to do just that where possible.

In the open-source software communities, bad ideas are allowed to be presented side-by-side with good ideas. However, bad ideas tend to be ridiculed or ignored by those who have better ideas. There is no attempt to squelch the bad ideas by some controlling entity; rather, they seem to "die on the vine" all on their own, because the group realizes the folly of promoting a bad idea. Generally, those bad ideas get "pushed off" the front page by more popular good ideas, so-to-speak.

Likewise, we try to run things in a similar vein here. We generally don't ban, censor or otherwise restrict the free exchange of ideas, but as you can see in this thread, a bad idea was ridiculed and exposed by several in the group here. Eventually, that bad idea will be pushed off the front page by better ideas. But we did not remove this guy's post or censor anything he posted.

This type of system has the benefit of being "self-policing".

Now sometimes, if someone promotes illegal activity or their actions threaten the very survival of Apnea Board, we will restrict those types of things. Or, we will restrict activity that threatens our goals of remaining uninfluenced by commercialism. We restrict commercial links in posts because doing so protects our status as an "educational entity", giving us legal protection under the U.S. Fair Use Copyright laws so that we can freely distributed copyrighted CPAP Clinician Manuals.

Sometimes our volunteer Moderators and Monitors are forced to ban someone or remove posts that have become so contentious that by remaining on the forum, they become a distraction to Apnea Board's main goal of helping sleep apnea patients. That's to be expected in any forum. But again, the default setting is that Admins or Moderators don't interfere with the free exchange of ideas where possible.

I realize there are exceptions to the above policy, and if you look hard enough, you're going to find a handful of problems, loopholes, or other ways in which this policy of openness doesn't always work. However, this "open path" is a general philosophy that I'd like to embrace whenever possible and practical. It's not perfect, but if we devolve into an overly-controlled "restricted path", we are introducing a cancer that can eventually destroy the whole body.

Apnea Board exists to promote "patient empowerment" (where the patient takes a more active role in their own sleep apnea treatment). This empowerment tends to have a better end-result when it comes to effectiveness of treatment. Patient empowerment comes generally through idea-sharing. A restricted path will limit idea-sharing; an open path tends to nurture idea-sharing.

Thanks for listening. Smile
SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.



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#2
Hey Super,

Great bit of information.

I have been involved in the moderation and administration of a board with a decidedly political bent...and a decidedly "anything goes" attitude...which made an "open source" style far harder to keep from devolving into a poor experience. It started in response (or as a break-away from) a board where the moderation was a lot more heavy handed and smacked of influence by advertisers and manufacturers, rather than its stated "for and by the members." The "anything goes" was eventually that second board's undoing...

I'm glad to see that the "more seasoned" members and the staff here have, in my opinion, the right idea...keep it open and for the members. Allowing some self policing and moderating as required is a fine line to walk, but is probably one of the best formats for an open forum out there.

Here's hoping for many, many good years of open conversation here on apneaboard.com Smile
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#3
Glad to see the board took the attitude of grab the tiger by the tail and hold on!
It makes for a much more informative and useful ride.
Lee
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#4
Somewhat off-topic, but in your quoted thread, all of the comments dealt with the suggested action (and I'm being circuitous because I too feel that it is, um, unwise, and don't want to promote it). However, no one dealt with, if I read the original post correctly, the apparent lack of understanding of the concept of partial pressures within gas mixtures that leads to fundamental flaws in the underlying reasoning.

I am tempted to post to that thread, but it would be a severe case of necrophilia, since that thread is well over a year old.
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#5
(08-26-2013, 07:27 PM)RonWessels Wrote: I am tempted to post to that thread, but it would be a severe case of necrophilia, since that thread is well over a year old.

No problem, Ron.

Ask Zonk, he is our forum record holder for resurrecting old threads and when he does, it's usually very informative and helpful. I have no doubt your resurrection of that thread will be informative as well.

Coffee

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.



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#6
I totally appreciate being able to ask questions that don't result in some sort of advertisement or someone trying to give you advice that is biased towards a certain product and would fit their own agenda, unlike what happens when you do an internet search. Thank you for maintaining this board so that it works the way it is now. I am learning a lot from the members.

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#7
I know I'm pretty new here, but I'd just like to add a big "Thank you" to the moderators. I know how much work and dedication it takes to do that (mostly thankless) job, and I just want you to know how much we appreciate you!

Thanks
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#8
I received an email from another Apnea Board member complaining about a popular commercial Durable Medical Equipment supplier (DME) who also runs a forum. They were upset that the DME was taking quotes from forum members' posts and using them in an email marketing campaign, and the member asked if we ever "sold" our members' info or email addresses for commercial purposes and they were wondering about how we operate around here.

I guess that's to be expected when a commercial DME runs a sleep apnea forum - stuff like that happens - that forum is owned and operated by a commercial entity after all. In their user agreement, they even state that they have the right to use whatever you post on their forum for commercial purposes, so they cover themselves legally if they use your username or the content of your post in an advertisement. But on Apnea Board, we've made a promise to our members that forum operations will never be influenced by commercial entities and that we will never give out our members personal information to third parties.

I'm bumping this thread up to the top again, so new members can read about the "Apnea Board Philosophy" in the original post on this thread. That should hopefully explain a lot to the particular member who asked how we operate.

Thanks everyone!


Coffee

SuperSleeper
Apnea Board Administrator
www.ApneaBoard.com


INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEB SITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.



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#9
The philosophy used here is about that can be expected for any topic, subject, forum out there. Letting the members self moderate by stating the stupidity of an obviously stupid thread is always better than moderating it to death. No matter the intention overly moderated boards always appear to have agenda's even when they are just trying to be what they call careful. I find the moderation, and the moderators here to be just about spot on, and truly interested in the subject, as well as the well being of the people involved. It's a job well done, and I think they deserve the kudos for doing it. I also like the fact that they are not afraid to say "we don't know how to handle this situation" when it arises, like the semi commercial post of a forum member alerting people to a deal on an item. They don't just take the approach of "knowing it all" they actually try to make the best decisions for the members. Good job guys, keep up the good work.
If everyone thinks alike, then someone isn't thinking.
Everyone knows something, together we could know everything.
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