Joined: Feb 2012
Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead
Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II
Location: Illinois, USA
Apnea Board Philosophy - An 'Open Source' Forum, of sorts
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.
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 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.
Apnea Board Administrator
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.