Friday, September 4, 2009

About Susan Polgar's Chess Discussion Forum

I’ve lost interest in chess temporarily but since I am still the Moderator at Susan Polgar’s Chess Discussion Blog (along with Paul Truong and Susan herself), I think I ought to draw attention to this exchange.


I really can't comment on your own experiences with forum moderations. I will say that my experience with chess-discussion-moderators-not-named-Jack has occasionally been frustrating. See

Unfortunately, Chess Discussion has turned into Alt.rants.Zarathustra.silly, so I haven't had much cause to post there recently.

- From the USCF Politics Blog

Wick, I believe that you describe a problem that is all to frequent in discussion forums throughout the internet and not just chess forums, either. One, or a small group of individuals post lots of posts and give the impression that they “own” the site. Because of the frequency and ubiquitiousness of their posts, everybody else ends up dancing to their tune.

A specific problem is that you may begin a new topic on something and the next thing you know, they’ve posted a response. Due to the provocative nature of their response, you feel you must response to their response and they respond to yours and then you to their's and then you’re off.
So, what is the rest of the public to do?

Your one solution is to abandon the field. The trouble is that the quality of discussion is lowered overall and the bad elements take over choice pieces of internet real-estate.

Your other solution is to continue to post on topics that interest you and ignore the bad guys. I believe this to be a better solution to the problem.

As for moderator problems: Yes, the lawsuits have poisoned everything – and not just at Susan’s sites, either. For example, the USCF’s Moderators and their amen corner continually congratulate themselves on the great job they’re doing over there. I could offer stories about them that are every bit as bad as the one you offer above.

Unfortunately, I don’t see much improvement in this area – either at Susan’s site, the USCF’s site, or some of the rest. I have two suggestions:

  1. For USCF politics, how about people looking more towards Wick’s Blog (USCF Poltics)? Also, contact Chessvine, too.
  2. There’s more to chess that USCF politics. The main thrust of Susan’s site as well as her main interest is pure chess: things like tournament news, strategy, tactics, openings – things like that. The source of problems and complaints have been near 100% on the USCF Politics section. How about people using Susan’s site more for those other things.

Finally, don’t forget the Chess Discussion Viewer – easily the best tool for chess discussion on the internet today. You can input games, positions, puzzles, together with variations and comments thereon and have that all visible from within the site. All that is needed for people to see the moves is to click the mouse – much as they maneuver through positions in ChessBase or Chess Assistant. They can then comment on it on the forum just like they can comment on politics. - Chess over politics – what a heresy!