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AMA an advertising/lobbying forum?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,314 ✭✭✭ KyussB

    Being used right now to play down human rights abuses, and then (with mod/admin backing) nuke questioning of that - and then allow the OP to label people questioning human rights abuses as racist towards ME/Muslim people (with mod/admin backing, as that can't be responded to...).

    Moreso, Boards is advertising the thread to the whole forum on the site front page - meaning Boards is taking an editorial stance, promoting all of that.

    The AMA forum seems to be getting used for Boards-promoted uncritical advertisements/lobbying - and it's not the first time either, it's been used basically as an advert for financial advisors etc. before.

    That's a big problem with the AMA format. I don't want to just hear "dems the rules" to that - as the problem is the use of the AMA format/rules itself, for uncritical advertising/lobbying.


  • Community Manager

    The AMA format is very simple. A user volunteers to answer some questions from the community about their personal experience, in this case living in Qatar.

    The key words there are personal experience. You and one other user have taken it upon yourselves to badger the AMA guest about human rights abuses in the country he lives in. You asked your question about the human rights elements and it was answered and that is where it should end.

    Would you accept being badgered about and held responsible for direct provision, mother and baby homes, the homeless crisis in Ireland? You live here knowing all about them after all, you must be complicit - this is the line of engagement you are trying to have on the AMA.

    Boards do not take an editorial stance on AMAs, the questions are posed by users and answered by a user. Our job there is to ensure that it goes smoothly without the AMA guest being hassled as can sometimes happen. No posts in the thread have been either deleted or edited, just a warning to ask questions on posts as that is the format. It's not a discussion forum like the rest of the site, if you want to discuss human rights issues there are better forums to do it in.

    On occasion we have had sponsored AMAs which were clearly marked as sponsored. There are no other promotions involved. What exactly would be the gain for in "advertising/lobbying" an anonymous person's life in a foreign country? I'm all ears because we could do with some new revenue streams tbh.

    Did you think the same things about the man living in China? Soccer coach in Abu Dhabi? Teacher in Dubai? Boardsie at Everest Base Camp? Guy working at a US airbase in Afghanistan? Were we 'lobbying' for all of those too?

    People volunteer, if their experience sounds interesting and something that will generate some questions, we set it up. That's it.

  • My question wasn't answered - it was dodged, the OP pretended I had not asked a question - and the format gave the OP a platform to play down human rights abuses, while preventing criticism of that.

    You're fine with the OP using that as a platform, to accuse other posters of racism as well, who can't respond back to the OP?

    Your comparison between controversies in Ireland with a person born here, and a person explicitly choosing to move to Qatar while knowing about human rights abuses inherent in the country/economy, is not a like for like comparison - and it misses that the poster is lobbying to play-down those abuses (and if someone did an AMA thread playing down e.g. the mother and baby home controversy as you mention, I'm pretty sure that wouldn't go down well).

    If Boards is promoting an AMA, that is taking an editorial stance to give it a prominent position on the front page - in front of the whole site - and also taking an editorial stance to suppress any criticism of those prominently-placed views. It's a side effect of how the forum is setup, not its purpose - that's still what it is, though.

    The discussions are interesting, and the format valuable for that - yes - but Boards is responsible when that format starts getting abused to lobby certain positions/viewpoints, too - which is a problem (Boards doesn't have to be benefiting from that, for it to be a problem).

  • KyussB wrote: »
    Being used right now to play down human rights abuses...


    We have more than enough forums on the site to debate the ins and outs of how the world turns. AMA is predicated on a very basic premise - we get exposure to posters experiences in different fields, cultures and geographic locations. There's no onus on the reader to agree with that poster's experiences or lack thereof, encompassed by their AMA.

    I live in an area of the world where civil war is taking place and genocide has been taking place for a number of years. If I start an AMA, does that mean I (or by extension, Boards), is implicitly supporting genocide? Alternatively, if I post to say that I haven't personally witnessed this, does that mean that I (or by extension, Boards) is implicitly downplaying or denying genocide? Of course not. But irrespective of my beliefs it is part of my daily experience. Same goes for the OP of the thread you are referring to.

    Not every forum on the site is political, or should be politicized. Some strive to deliberately avoid that, others, like AMA, is an experience share that you can choose to take or leave.

  • The AMA has been politicized - playing down human rights abuses politicizes the AMA. That is not a sharing of an experience, that is pushing a political viewpoint.

    You do understand that the mere presence of the poster in a certain part of the world, does not mean they are downplaying e.g. human rights abuses there - it is that they are explicitly making arguments downplaying human rights abuses, which means that?

    Neither does mere presence in a certain part of the world make someone partially culpable for the wrongs that go on there - that's determined case by case on multiple things: Is there choice involved in being present there or are they a national? Is there a contribution to and/or benefit from those abuses? (e.g. even indirectly, from a whole society/economy being partially built upon forced labour) Is there some level of denial of such issues (indirectly contributes to them), opposition to them (which acknowledges culpability and accepts responsibilities for opposing them - a good thing), or is it even legally/personally risky to express an opinion about such issues? (common in some countries)

    That would lead to vastly different levels of culpability between e.g. Ireland, Myanmar(?), and Qatar - and vastly different levels of culpability depending an individuals personal circumstances/choices, and even views/actions. All of that not for this thread - but it shows why posters should stop comparing apples to oranges, here - the situation with Qatar is not like any of the other situations cited.

  • KyussB wrote: »
    You do understand that the mere presence of the poster in a certain part of the world, does not mean they are downplaying e.g. human rights abuses there - it is that they are explicitly making arguments downplaying human rights abuses, which means that?

    No - I understand that a person's experiences in a particular part of the world are not all encompassing, and that their sharing of experiences or viewpoints are theirs and theirs alone. AMA is by definition a chance to view a location or experience through the eyes of another person.

    TBH, this thread is an example of handwringing at its finest. That's not to say that human rights abuses aren't an issue, or that they shouldn't be discussed. But if anything, AMA should be about taking away from an experience and discussing the broader implications of it elsewhere, not browbeating an OP to death because their personal world view or experiences don't align exactly with your own.

    Marking this as resolved as both a community manager and admin have stated unequivocally what the purpose of the forum is, and I don't really see what is left to discuss. Should you choose not to engage with it, that is entirely up to you.

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