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Mon Aug 5 2013 21:02:47

Censorship on the eBay Forums?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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As of this afternoon East Coast time, the eBay Forums (now powered by Lithium instead of LiveWorld) have been "Closed for Maintenance," with no mention of for how long other than "Please try again later." Meanwhile, eCommerceBytes has heard from some users who are unhappy campers not only about the forums being closed in the middle of a business day with no advance warning, but about words being bleeped out.

It's possible the forums had some unforeseen technical issue and had to be closed while being fixed, but if that was the case, wouldn't it have been better to say so and given an estimated return date, even if it was no more than to say something like "we don't know when that will be, but will post information as soon as we can"?

One reader wrote:

"The Ebay groups which were largely ruined when the format was switched and Lithium took over, are suddenly "closed for maintenance" in the middle of the day on a Monday with no advance notice and nothing at all in Ebay announcements. Pretty stupid!!"

Said another:

"Just wanted to clue you in a little on what's happening on the forums since Live World left and Lithium has taken over. They are not ready for prime time.  I don't think they've worked with as volatile a group of posters as we have.  They are going into "private" groups and laundering them.  So there are no private groups. They are bleeping out words like NIP. Very strict on the language.

"There has been a lot going on and now they are "closed for maintenance". Probably have to take more to the laundromat."

Is NIP now a dirty word? (Wait, don't tell me what you were thinking...don't we all know it stands for "New In Package"?). This reminds me of years ago when an online service that will go unnamed (no it was not AOL) was using an automatic tool to root out naughty words such as "breast," with the end result that some chicken recipes in the Cooking area got nuked.

Have you noticed other such occurrences in the eBay forums? Did the forums' outage of an indeterminate time period rattle you, or did you not even notice? What differences do you see (if any) in how the eBay forums operate now vs. before? Post a comment here!




Comments (41) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Aug 5 22:20:11 2013

It is scary to think that all the years and years of learning from the eBay boards may have disappeared and was not passed along to the new platform administrator.

If they are really bleeping terms like NIP, that's most unfortunate.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Aug 5 23:02:47 2013

Once again, eBay prove that change for the sake of change is disastrous.

I am always entertained by the sheer stupidity of the management of this company.  

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Aug 6 00:29:13 2013

Obviously, neither Lithium nor eBay have been taking their “lithium” medication regularly …

Regardless, too much negativity on the old boards for eBay’s liking, I suspect … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

POS is a “no no” on the WSJ … just shows how much they understand about the retail payments business … not only that, they don’t tell you what is the offending word, only that you comment contains an offending word; you have to work it out … frightening …

“Ignorance can be fixed, stupid is forever.”—Don Wood ...
Sorry Donahoe, your condition is forever … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Aug 6 02:55:35 2013

@Rexford

This one wasn't a change just for the sake of change.  The platform in which the old forums ran on was out of date and had to be replaced or it would soon not work for Ebay at all.  So it was change or delete.

Now that doesn't mean they had to change providers that I'm aware of.  It may have, but I really don't know.

For me, I really don't like the new forums.  I know new things are not always welcome, but I hate having to log in every darn time I leave and come back, even in the same day.  I don't like the way the list of threads is constantly changing order as people post on various thread.  That one is probably my biggest complaint.  The list is constantly fluid and hard to follow.

It does appear the Ebay forum is back up and running.

This new monitoring service was advertised by Ebay to NOT be as heavy handed as LiveWorld was.  Humm, it appears to me it is the exact opposite.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: ConsumerAtLarge This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 6 03:04:50 2013

I got it from the 'enforcer's mouth that this is deliberate.  Liveworld weren't anal retentive enough so they brought in Lithiums Steel Cap Boot approach.  At least that's what Lithium says. I rang one of the founders, and he was telling me that the 'breast cancer support group' had contacted him because the word BREAST had been censored and they were getting slapped?  Anal or what?  BTW...anal is also a bad word, but god knows what else is.  I've been banned indefinitely without so much as a reason why?...after 12 years as a consumer?  They can go shove it.

So in case anyone is interested, the bottom line from ebay and Lithium (or ebay according to Lithium) is this:  Users will abide by their anal retentive slap everything rules, & if they don’t like it they can leave.  

Achtung...you vil obey, or you vil be shot !!!!!

I agree, that clearly Lithium had no idea of the sophistication of the Ebay community....but they'll obviously learn Aussies don't like to be GAGGED & shown to the door without redress offered.  Crikey..I'm so sick of these predatory US business models.

BTW, anyone interested in telling Lithium how much they're loving their 'Communication experience' this is their Sydney Head office Number.  At least give them an earful as you go.

Phone: (+61) 02 8415 9877    

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: ConsumerAtLarge This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 6 03:10:27 2013

BTW, in case you missed this on a previous thread...this is one long standing members 'censored' description of Valium Mods and their slap the entire dictionary penchant.  God only knows what you can and can't say.

If you go out on the boards tonight, you’re sure of a big surprise.
If you go out on the boards tonight, you’d better go in disguise,
For any word that ever there was,
may snare you if you use it, because
The mods are reading the Urban Diction-ary.

Stay clear of any insidious words that might ever cause a frown,
(It’s always dangerous coming up, but riskier going down.)
For tricks and traps;
And Lithium slaps
Are lying in wait when you hit your straps.
Cos mods are reading the urban diction-ary.

If you refer to a milit’ry band, beware of the fife and drum,
You can safely say you’re going away,  but never admit you’ve come.
And bear in mind whenever inclined
To mention a dog of the female kind,
The mods are reading the Urban Diction-ary.

Tell us you ate a chook for lunch – but please don’t mention stuffin’,
Crumpet may possibly be allowed, but never that wicked muffin.
For every mod in Lithium’s pay
Is ready to pounce on what you say,
And they’re all reading the Urban diction-ary.

If you go out on the boards tonight, be careful of what you say,
It’s lots of fun on the boards tonight, but safer to stay away.
So laugh and tease as much as you please,
But don’t forget when shooting the breeze,
The mods are reading the Urban diction - ary.  

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: ConsumerAtLarge This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 6 03:34:18 2013

for you further edification and enjoyment, this is another ditty from the same writer who will soon be a member of THIS site....lol  This one hasn't been 'censored' YET...lol  Enjoy

I’d composed a  bit of ‘porridge’,
Which I had, for lack of knowledge
Of the moderators’ habits,
Posted in an Ebay thread.

‘T’was in innocence I sent it,
never dreamed that I’d repent it,
I assumed they’d merely shake their heads,
And laugh at it instead.

But a missive came directed
From a quarter unexpected,
And I’m sure the same was written
By a robot on the keys,

‘T’was an ebay mod who wrote it
And verbatim I’ll not quote it,
But in essence it said ‘Watch it!
Or you’re headed overseas.

Now I’m feeling hurt and puzzled
To have been so cruelly muzzled,
And my self-esteem’s deflated,
Like a leaky old balloon.

But it seems there is a lesson,
To be learnt from my transgression
It’s the posters pay the piper,
but the mods who call the tune.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: baconsdozen
Web Site

Tue Aug 6 09:39:24 2013

Ebay and sensorship?.
Surely not. What ever next?.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Aug 6 13:21:14 2013

eBay made the change to Lithium with the ultimate goal being justification to completely eliminate the discussion boards.

From the intentionally confusing board layout, to heavy handed censorship, every move is calculated to deter users from utilizing the discussion boards.

Th obsolescence by design program will enable eBay to eventually shut down the boards completely and the justification will be significantly reduced traffic due to user alienation at the hands of eBay and their newly hired attack dogs at Lithium.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Aug 6 17:04:01 2013

"eBay made the change to Lithium with the ultimate goal being justification to completely eliminate the discussion boards."

I can believe that ...

Still, it's nice to know we can always be confident that whenever eBay does anything, or even an eBay spokesperson moves their lips, they are, invariably, being disingenuous ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Aug 6 19:18:57 2013

Any speculation as to how much money and very well earned negative publicity ebay would eliminate by exterminating the forums?

The concept of ebay "community' vanished the nanosecond The Ho took over, and there are other and better ebay discussion forums anyway (like E Commercebytes).

Perhaps Lithium simply needs to recharge its batteries and feed the hamsters.

There are so many dialects of English that it will entertaining to watch Lithium try to eradicate all the allegedly inappropriate acronyms.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Aug 6 20:18:08 2013

If "breast" is a “no no” on the forums, I suppose the sky will fall if anyone mentions "nipple", a small knob on a device that is the outlet for fluid such as oil or grease ...

It really would be all too funny if only it was not so destructive to so many of the small merchants that made eBay the great marketplace that it used to be …

On lithium

“Lithium is used to treat the manic episodes of manic depression. Manic symptoms include hyperactivity, rushed speech, poor judgment, reduced need for sleep, aggression, and anger. It also helps to prevent or lessen the intensity of manic episodes.”

Clearly, Donahoe needs to stick to his prescribed lithium medication more closely …

“Lithium can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.”

Hmmm, maybe Donahoe’s medico is having trouble getting the dose right …

“Everyone rises to their level of incompetence.”—Laurence J. Peter (1919–1988), “The Peter Principle”
That explains it all: John Donahoe, the “Peter Principle” personified … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: khigh This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 01:50:28 2013

Y'all want to see a real trainwreck of a Lithium Mod meltdown?

Some guy named ''Jeff'' Who claims of himself ''I lead the Community team for eBay North America.'' just can't shut up long enough to even salvage his own dignity.

The thread starts as an offhanded comment on the downtime, but evolves into Lithiums ''war on the sense of community''.

It's pretty long, but some of you might enjoy it.

http://community.ebay.com/t5/Clothing-Shoes-Accessories/Did
-we-lose-more-than-a-full-day/m-p/16810213#U16810213

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: Sanco Panza This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 02:49:34 2013

Hi Guys - and a special hi to ConsumerAtlarge. Well, I finally managed to cross the 'Bridge of Doom' and join your ranks, but in the process I spelt my username wrong - it shoud be Sancho Panza. Can some kind sould tell me how to change it.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Aug 7 09:54:50 2013

Sounds like Lithium moderators have a dirty mind.  If you teach children to view certain words as "dirty" that is actually how they will view them.

I choose not to post on forums that are manned by gestapo like moderators.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: minibeesknees This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 11:44:46 2013

I was not even aware of either outages, or censorship.  They lost me permanently quite a while ago. So if that was their intention...it worked.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: Momspennies This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 11:44:52 2013

No different than what we had happen at Bonanza. All very sad.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 11:49:11 2013

Ebay Sellers are a rather diverse community that all dabble in something that is very unique. You cant discuss Ebay issues with your neighbor or the person in line at the grocery store. Instead of discouraging that diversity and exchange on information they really need to celebrate it. Even their CSRs dont really know what we do day in and day out. There is so much valuable info that in the end makes Ebay money on all the boards it is a shame to see Ebay throw away such a valuable resource. That seems to be the program though.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 11:58:14 2013

I remember way back to the days when a vengeful porn lover would decorate the Ebay Cafe with one or two full pages of disgusting pornographic photos and they stood there for a day or two even with all of us emailing "time sensitive"!  I don't know if they ever did catch him.  Whatever is happening now is mild by comparison.

Censorship on the eBay Forums?   Censorship on the eBay Forums?

by: froggie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 12:41:29 2013

Ebay is successful not because of it's ''venue'', and not because of the forums and not because of it's policies.

Ebay's success has hinged strictly and ONLY on the thousands of free-thinking, risk-taking entrepreneurs who work hard everyday to carve out a living there (and now, hopefully, elsewhere).

You can't be a successful and creative entrepreneur if you are a borg who tows a corporate-line and who's only vocabulary is from the policy manual, or whose words are those learned by sitting in on thousands of soul-killing corporate meetings. You can only work for the company. They own you.

The problem for ebay is that it's sellers continue to reinforce over and over again that they will not be owned, regardless of it's steel-booted approach.

And that creates a real dilemma for ebay. How to own these free-thinkers without completely stifling their down-to-earth knowledge of markets and how to work a business from the bottom up.

Because, ebay's short-term policies are backwards, from the ivory tower down, they are missing the boat completely on how the ebay market truly works, and that is, from the roots up. From it's sellers up.

Apply this to the boards and you can see how this will continue to go. Censorship is part and parcel of a dictatorship. Welcome to the Brave New Ebay.

I come here when I need a shot in the arm of thinking outside the box. I guess I'll be more often now.

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