First of all, our apologies for the delay in posting this follow-up message to muckefuck's post concerning what happened in this entry.*
In a nutshell, comments got a bit out of hand and overheated in the "Question about African Languages" entry.
We received a complaint from the OP about the treatment she was receiving, and oryx_and_crake was the maintainer who investigated the problem. She decided to give wiped a warning.
With regard to that issue, after discussing the matter at length with other maintainers, we decided that the warning stands.
The second issue is the unfair treatment that wiped was treated unfairly since there was no similar reprimand for 5x6.
I received a private message addressing this concern and so I decided to investigate. It appeared that oryx_and_crake's warning came before 5x6's insulting comments. Otherwise, she would have given him a warning too. So, consider this message a warning to 5x6.
By that time, however, the ball was in my court and I dropped the ball. Rather than issue a warning, I suspended and screened the thread - things that I have normally done in the past to put a sudden end in the situation. I did so because I realized that there were other comments to determine who said what and I didn't have the time to wade through them. I disabled comments in my follow-up entry for similar reasons. And for that, I apologize.
In any case, the maintainers agreed that I shouldn't have screened the message. From now on, we will not do so in similar situations. However, we reserve the right to do so in extreme situations (violation of privacy comes to mind). We will continue to freeze comments or threads if things get out of hand.
As for the rules, again, please refrain from ad hominem attacks. It's perfectly fine to attack someone's ideas or find fault in them. At the same time, consider the tone of doing so - otherwise, another flamewar will erupt.
In a 2006 post, the head maintainer, sparkofcreation, had me include five rules, which still apply. They are:
1. No calling other posters names.
2. No swearing at other posters.
3. No giving intentionally wrong information unless it is clearly a joke. (For example, if someone said "How do you say 'I like pie' in Spanish?" it would be acceptable to answer "Me gusta el pie-o," preferably followed by ;-) . It would not be acceptable to answer "Me gusta follar.")
4. No saying anything that would make a reasonable person, reading your comment, complain to the maintainers. (The reasonable-person test is well established in law and is described here. Additionally, "reasonable person" is defined here as "the consensus of the maintainer team.")
5. Wikipedia has some helpful guidelines governing civil behavior among their editors that may be of some use to you all.
These rules are easy to follow. A basic rule of thumb to go by is "if you got in trouble for it in kindergarten, do not do it on linguaphiles." :-)
On another note, speaking more generally... Since we have received e-mail about this lately. Please keep in mind that linguaphiles is not strictly a linguistics community. It is neither a prescriptive grammar community. Or even a cultural anthropology community, based on some questions about culture. There are people from all kinds of backgrounds and ideas about language and ethnicity/intercultural/race relations. It would be perfect if people would use IPA, if they used "proper" grammar, and if they knew that people don't always view tattoos with the same enthusiasm as you do. It may be annoying, but there are less confrontational ways and more civil ways of getting your opinion across about it.
In any case, the comments in this post are open. Feel free to comment if you have any concerns, questions, suggestions or if you want to say O HAI BEN or something. We also have our maintainer e-mail if you wish to contact the maintainer group privately.
I know this post was tl;dr, but thanks for reading. Enjoy!
*Moral of the story: Please wait till after finals week to start flamewars. j/k Return