This will be my first and last piece, reviewing the forum for its merits. I’ll leave the readers to decide what is best for them given what has happened.
As of this morning, I was banned in the forums for “Consistent confrontational posting. Breaking ITSAN forum policy and rules.”
Here is what happened:
Early I had posted a link to the dailymail UK article regarding the potential downsides of vaseline for discussion. This post was taken down very quickly, with Joey the moderator citing forum policy rules. I felt offended, but as I was new then, I had to accept their rules.
Overtime, I realised there was a bigger problem: there is blatant censorship and removal of forum posts – posts of good quality but deemed unsuitable by the forum mods. I took a look at their forum policy and found it highly inconsistent in logic and rational. I posted a sound critique on their policy in a bid to help them improve. My lengthy post was deleted soon after again based on forum policy. I felt it was important to address this censorship issue as access to information, information shared by the forum people, was hugely important for TSW sufferers. When information is unnecessarily removed, people simply don’t access them and are unable to make a proper value judgement on their decisions. Yes it was against the rules to call out on their illogical forum policy which is poorly exercised by their moderators, but this mistake is minor compared to the blatant information hiding and removal done by them.
Then I always felt a target was on my back. Every post I made, I had the fear of censorship. I felt there was no point in contributing my views. At no point in time, I have been rude to anyone personally. My posts have been constructive, I try to value add discussions. The last straw came when I posted in this thread: “Woiuld you recommend TSW to a person you know” and after replying to Kelly’s (President of ITSAN), my post was again deleted. A post that I thought was valid and open for discussion, a post pertinent to the topic. A post that is not confrontational at all.
I was subsequently banned a short while after the post was removed.
Was I furious? Yes definitely, for the meaningless censorship they have done. I’ve no idea what they are trying to protect from my harmless but constructive posts. But to think about it, perhaps this association does not contain and share the same values that I did – spreading information and creating awareness. I wrote an open email to Joey, the moderator:
I have always respected you and ITSAN in all aspects for the work you have done. Nothing can take that away from you.
Hope we both reflect on our actions thoroughly.”
She has not replied me as of this moment.
I have spoke to a number, many has raised their concern and disappointment of ITSAN on issues related to this. I took them with a pinch of salt initially. There appears to be something really wrong with the people in charge of moderating this forum based on my incident.
The good – if you need a place to share, seek comfort, complain, pour out your feelings, go to the forums. The people are generally nice and are willing to spend their time to share similar experiences.
The bad – if you need a place of knowledge, a place of sound logical debate on issues related to TSW, steer away. There are too many landmines you may step that is not to the liking of the moderators. And blatant censorship. I refer you to this blog post by another blogger, Dan, on his experience with ITSAN forum too.
As of now, my resolve for spreading awareness is even strengthened, given the lack of ability of their forum moderators in achieving this objective. Will I go back to the forums? Yes, if I am unbanned, for the purpose of helping others in the forum, which is always my intended objective. Will they unban me? I’m not sure.
My point of view has always been: information should be readily available for public consumption. Good/bad scientific and personal anecdotal evidences should be shared. The people who are reading them should take responsibility in doing their due diligence and assess the quality of the information presented, and make their own personal decisions in whether to heed the advice or not.
One word to sum up my thoughts: “Disappointed”