Gentle readers,

We understand the frustration and offense some feel towards our policies, procedures or moderator actions with respect to the operation of our discussion forums. The purpose of the aforementioned is to primarily protect Sword Forum International. Over the years, individuals, entities and groups have increasingly used SFI as their political or sales and marketing battleground to gain a larger audience and/or to increase their authority or position in the industry. In some cases, SFI is seen as a threat to them, and SFI has to take time to diffuse Machiavellian politics woven so expertly that we are vilified even if we stay silent or defend ourselves.

We don't fully understand why the industry has come to this, and it much of it is in part human nature, the difficult economy, and the underlying tone of stress and frustration all feel from their own respective financial challenges. Many of our staff are unemployed in their respective careers and many businesses are feeling the burn of depleting fiscal resources.

We ask forum participants to not question Moderatior actions and policies publicly but to use private messaging or private e-mail instead. You see, disclosing policies, procedures, moderator actions, business bans, etc. really puts us between a rock and a hard place on a level many do not perceive. We do our best to insulate SFI from the industry politics but we realize that is not always possible. There are times when individuals try to incite public pressure to manipulate us into their agendas. Politics and legal situations thrive on one thing: words and information.

For example, one of our strongest points of protection is our legal insular ban which may involve a business or an individual. When SFI has documentation, evidence or reason to believe that a business or individual has made a legal threat against SFI, or that either might cause our potential harm or increase the likelihood of a lawsuit, our procedure is to revoke all access rights and to perform a complete ban from further participation on the forums. We keep silent on the issue because in one part we still want to honor the business or individual with some degree of privacy (even though we've done this, banned businesses have gone to other websites to defame us, citing that we banned them for reasons like 'out of fear of their competition'. In reality, we're humbled that they even consider us a threat to make such a drastic pontification concerning us.) We even go as far as allowing positive reviews of their products and services to be discussed. We don't feel obligated to, for example, allow posts on their sales, discounts and promotions, as we the ones put under the gun, as it were -- and still we're sometimes gracious even in that department!

But another reason for this silence is to not provide any words or information that could reinforce their attack upon us from the legal front. In a lawsuit situation, a Plaintiff may glean ideas and ammunition from anything we disclose in relation to an entirely separate banned business.

Therefore if we disclose certain information or reasons (be that the primary objective or the byproduct), such disclosure can endanger SFI and cause it further harm from a legal standpoint in ways we cannot go into right now.

Another example is that some of our discussion forum participants have made statements and such that have caused not them but SFI to be potential legal targets. In other words, some who feel offended that they believed they had the right to express themselves as carefree (or even carelessly at times) as they wanted in actuality had no idea how much they nearly cost SFI to pay for their behalf.

A successful lawsuit against SFI can shut SFI down forever. I as the president of SFI, I shoulder the tremendous financial burden. No-one participating on this website has to pay. But everyone stands to lose when they lose SFI indefinitely. Therefore we have to increase our alert status and threat assessment. If we find any form of Machiavellian political manipulation, subversion, divisiveness, or sedition, we will consider and enact banning involved individuals as part of that legal insular ban to protect SFI against further harm.

Further, as Dennis Boas so aptly put it, we have found through painful experience that allowing public debate of SFI polices and Moderator decisions is disruptive to the environment we are trying to maintain. Public debate of these subjects has in the past caused many more problems then it has solved and is simply not worth the risks of a flame war. That is why we have a simple policy that does not permit the forums to be used to debate or discuss either SFI policy decisions or Moderator actions. Posts and threads that violate this rule will be deleted.

If you disagree with a policy or the actions of a moderator the best way to handle it is to use the Private Message system or E-mail. For policies direct your concerns to me. If you disagree with a Moderator’s action you can contact that moderator by private e-mail or private message, or Dennis Boas and myself at sfiadmin@swordforum.com

We value all of our members' input and ideas on how we can improve SFI and if we could be doing something better please tell us, but please use the PM system or E-mail.