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 Post subject: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:14 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 556
Location: Pretoria
Hello Everyone

Before I started to write this post I asked myself a few fundamental questions:
• Am i passionate about Sanparks
• Am I passionate about the forum
• Am I passionate about nature and wildlife in general

I quickly came to the realisation that my answer to the above 3 questions was a yes therefore I felt I needed to express my opinion on the overall experience I am having within the forum over the past couple of weeks.

I have during the years within the forum keep away from negative or / and controversial topics with exception of the proposed hotels in KNP. Many passionate forum members have come and gone without me taking the time to figure out why.

My experience when I used to login to the forum was excitement and joy that I could look forward to debates and trip reports with many diverse viewpoints being expressed for me to process and learn from. This no longer seems to the case as the balance has somehow shifted as any opinion other than what appears to be Sanparks position on a discussion is either frowned upon or attacked and in some extreme cases delete.

I fully understand that the forum is effectively run and managed by Sanparks which I fully accept but to me it is about balance in any forum and debate should be encouraged. My concern is that either there has been a shift in the mandate on how this forum is seen by Sanparks and how they want to see it utilised. Below are some examples of my reasoning for concern:

• Fantastic trip reports effectively stopped due to change in rules related to photo signatures etc. I do realise that it was the individual forum member’s decisions to stop there trip reports but based on rule change.
• The issue around the Facebook link that was added which was clearly not thoroughly investigate prior to enablement.
• The debate around the usage of KNP roads by trucks carrying essential supplies (poles really). One representative of Sanparks says one thing and one another.
• The topic on the poor rhino regarding the tone used by a good few posters to that thread.
• Some threads were forum members bash each other regarding who makes a bigger contribution therefore their opinion should carry more weight.
• Rules changed without (in my opinion) I full explanation. Maybe we do not deserve any explanation.

I have not posted this to be controversial but I felt as a member of this forum I have the right to express my concerns and opinion. I am hoping that I am the only forum member that feels this way as I would not like to lose any further members that add value to this site.

If the moderators feel I do not have the right to express my opinion and it is against the rules then please feel free to delete this post

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:22 pm 
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kesheshe wrote:
If the moderators feel I do not have the right to express my opinion and it is against the rules then please feel free to delete this post


Hi Kesheshe

You are a valued member of the forums, as are all members. You do have the right to express your opinion, and we thank you for the tone and manner you have done this here.

We will forward your points to SANParks PR and technical team; and also reply from a mod team perspective.

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Sawubona
Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:24 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:58 am
Posts: 3911
Location: Far South in South Africa.
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

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"Lose yourself in Nature and find Peace!" (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
UNITE AGAINST POACHING...What we protect,
do not let poachers take it away!

Extinction is forever and survival is up to---every last one of us!


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:34 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi Dinkybird

Thank you for the response I will wait eagerly for SANParks PR and technical team; and also reply from a mod team perspective replies.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:55 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 2190
Location: Arizona, USA
As do I. Thanks kesheshe.

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"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." West African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:15 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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DinkyBird wrote:
We will forward your points to SANParks PR and technical team; and also reply from a mod team perspective.


no replies yet :( :(

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KTP 23.09.-08.10.2014
TR KTP 2013 In search of honey badger, porcupine and whistling rat
TR KTP 2012 It is almost time to go back to KTP
TR KNP 2013 Gatita's KNP - will we visit a green park again? March 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:17 pm 
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Sorry, we have not forgotten this and will definitely respond. Please forgive the fact it is taking some time.

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Sawubona
Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:13 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:15 pm
Posts: 787
Kesheshe, thank you for your contribution.
I am also passionate about Sanparks, Kruger in particular.
I have also felt that we are not really finding out what is going on with posts from knowledgable forumites as we used to get.
I feel we, the forum have lost a lot of ground to Facebook, and I have been considering joining that group, as I think I have even heard things there from Sanparks before comments on this forum.
I know the moderators are working very hard on the forum so this is not meant to be unappreciative of your efforts.
The forum seems to be evolving more into a platform for trip reports which we do enjoy but we want more than that.
I missed this when originally posted as we were lucky enough to be in Kruger and couldn't get good connections.
Kite


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:32 pm 
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Location: SANParks' HO, Pretoria
Hi kesheshe,

kesheshe wrote:
• The issue around the Facebook link that was added which was clearly not thoroughly investigate prior to enablement.

You are right. We should have set up a poll to find out how the majority of forumites feel about it.

I hope you realize that our intentions were good, i.e. to develop and enhance the website and its integration with social media continuously. Someone suggested it. We appreciated it. Implemented it. You disliked it. We removed it. No harm, I hope.
kesheshe wrote:
• Rules changed without (in my opinion) I full explanation. Maybe we do not deserve any explanation.

Rules are always issued within a context. For example the latest rule - Rule #28 - was published minutes after SANParks issued a Media Release, which was linked directly from the rule for your benefit.

Best wishes,
Nedret

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Senior Manager: E-Business, SANParks


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:13 am 
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Location: Somerset West, Cape Town
Hi kesheshe

Apologies again for the time it has taken to get back to you from the mods side. Below our responses. SANParks PR will respond on the outstanding bullet points early next week. We also hope more forum members will respond on the points relating to issues involving them.

kesheshe wrote:
• Fantastic trip reports effectively stopped due to change in rules related to photo signatures etc. I do realise that it was the individual forum member’s decisions to stop there trip reports but based on rule change.
The rules did not change, links to commercial websites have always been against the forum rules. As far as embedding a website address for copyright purposes the matter was reviewed and responded to on the relevant topic some days ago. We hope that the member you are referring to will reconsider posting their pictures.
• The topic on the poor rhino regarding the tone used by a good few posters to that thread.
• Some threads were forum members bash each other regarding who makes a bigger contribution therefore their opinion should carry more weight.
The mods feel that the best way to deal with such issues is that forum members keep themselves familiar with the forum rules, specifically # 8 & 11.

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Sawubona
Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:55 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:03 pm
Posts: 1307
Location: Trichardt, MP
Kesheshe,

I am getting the same feeling than you about the forum. The fact that so few members commented on your post is very worrying and a sign of a majority of non-active forumites and few members that log-on.

The rule changes is my biggest concern. One moment its fine to add a non-commercial link to your signature. The next moment its gone without even receiving a PM. The same happened to my TT that suddenly disappeared without notifying me that it will be removed.

I will definitely not start a TT again if the moderators did not feel that it was correct to notify me of their intend to remove my TT. I could not continue posting due to the rule change, but no-one thought of rather giving permission to continue for the sake of my TT. The debate was about a rule that did not exist in the past, but suddenly thought out to make it difficult for me to continue. Internet links to non-commercial sites was always allowed to be added to trip report and therefore not a difficult decision to make. See rule 14.

Quote:
14. You may not advertise or link business sites on the Forums. Only non-commercial websites may be linked to.

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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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mine was linked as well... a non-commercial one... only my pictures for me, my family and friends... and like by magic... vanished :?
:hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:58 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Further examples of the thoughtless implementation of what IMO appears to be only an attempt (and not very successful, since I see no links in signatures, commercial or otherwise) to make money (yes, it's meant to help support the fight against rhino poaching, but has been so totally mishandled that any positive "spin" has been lost).

I don't have much time these days to read trip reports, so had not realised that "personal" photo-hosting sites such as anne-marie's had been banned. This is both inconsiderate to those forumites who take such time and effort to post trip reports and a great loss for the forum in general. Yet another example (like the misguided introduction of the FB "like" button) of a change implemented with too little forethought and absolutely NO regard for the negative effects it would have. I'm sure that anne-marie and others had NO idea, in reading about this new rule, that their personal photo-hosting sites would be verboten. To then remove their trip reports without warning or explanation is (IMO) completely UNjustified and UNforgiveable :sniper: For shame SANParks!


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:17 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 556
Location: Pretoria
Now I believe we have a rule that on some topics we cannot edit our posts.

What next?

Even thou I have never had anything on my photos I feel this is another concern as raised above. I have stopped my trip report in support of the members with this issue.

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2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


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 Post subject: Re: Open Question to the Forum
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:24 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 5:54 pm
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@Son Godin, the reason your Trip Report was removed is because it no longer made the slightest bit of sense. It was done to save readers from the disappointment of opening it only to find pages of "This photo has been removed or moved" messages.

The following message was posted on the TR by a contributor:
Quote:
Sorry guys but this Tr has come to a end till this paid link in signatures Point 5 is allowed

and this person was PMd that the trip trip would be kept safely until they were ready to continue posting again, and the member replied to the mods.

Should you wish to replace the photos that were removed please let one of the Mods know and it will be reinstated.

@arks.
Quote:
"personal" photo-hosting sites such as anne-marie's had been banned.
They have not been banned, they can be linked to, where appropriate, in posts. However we have asked people not to post a link in a signature unless they make a small donation to good cause.

And notice about the project went up 6 weeks before it was implemented, not overnight.

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Dalene

A roaring lion does not catch any prey - African Proverb


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