I am new when it comes to the SMF forum software.
Late last night, I edited several server files to incorporate some new features into the forum. You'll likely have noticed the new ad banners, the Statcounter traffic ticker (at the bottom of the page), the Picasa gallery option, as well as modifications to prevent 'bots' from signing up with new accounts, and some other new things.
The Ad Banner mod instructions I followed are located here: http://www.smfhelper.info/forum/index.php?topic=2286.0
I prefer to write about racing than write HTML code, and the result was several error messages throughout the night. I think everything is working fine now, although I did notice that it seems slow this morning.
Now that I've managed to get the ad banners working, my plan for the site is to continue to have it be a place for civil discourse. I have no issue with passionate discussions, but some people have been crossing the line. To justify spending my time on the site, I need to be able to sell ads on it. And a big part of that is having a forum where advertisers feel comfortable in the knowledge that their logo isn't going to be on a page filled with vulgarity and threats of violence. It's no different from how I view what gets into my magazine.
Mark Blocksdorf has been an incredible help in getting this site up and running. I am up to my ears with our next issue and with our efforts to grow and promote the Canadian Motorsports Expo. I haven't had time to monitor the forum as much as I would like, so I owe Mark a great debt of thanks that he has stepped into that void.
Mark has agonized over how to react to the occasional breaches of civility. He has made repeated overtures to some individuals to encourage them to change, but apparently, it hasn't worked. So far, Mark hasn't banned or suspended anyone. And he's apparently edited one thread. Mark is a much more patient man than I am. I feel badly that he is troubled over the antics of a few.
My advice to him, going forward, is to delete posts that are offensive. Delete, delete, delete. And if that's not enough, he's free to suspend or delete the accounts of those individuals who refuse to follow our rules of conduct.
I don't care if Ray Evernham and Fatback McSwain are posting brilliant insights, but doing it in a vulgar or hostile manner... the same rules apply to everyone. In fact, by having a 'grown up' forum, I believe it increases the odds that someone like Ron Fellows would start to post here.
There are other places where people can say bad things about each others' mothers. This isn't one of them. If you're set on doing so, then do it somewhere else.
I told Mark he is free to suspend or delete anyone who refuses to follow the rules. If someone wants to be a martyr, they'll probably get their wish.