The controversial closing of Lonely Planet’s online Thorn Tree travel forum has entered a new stage, with its re-opening earlier today. It was down for exactly 15 days, closed by its parent BBC around Christmas amidst reports that it took the action because of sexually related threads and other inappropriate language.
For now, the forum has opened with only its most popular sections, and rest will open over the coming weeks, it says. These forums, the biggest such online, now have a new set of community guidelines, and the forum has added new abuse buttons to report any abuse of these guidelines, making is easier for community moderators to flag and remove infringing comments, if need be.
The new rules, which sound simple enough:
Keep it legal. We’ll delete posts defaming others, posting porn, ticket scalping, plotting illegal activities, or posting other people’s private information, and ban the poster.
Keep it clean. Strong language has no place here. You won’t be able to use profanities and creative alternatives will be deleted.
Keep it relevant. This is a travel website. We can’t support off-topic discussions and will remove them.
Keep it respectful. Thorn Tree is a global community that embraces different cultures, faiths , attitudes and view points. Please be respectful of this.
We remind you that Thorn Tree is designed, suitable and intended for people who are over 16, and should not be used by anyone under this age.
LP isn’t restarting other branches besides country branches, as that’s its first priority. And some of the branches, not directly related to travel, may not ever come back. From its lead moderator: “We have reviewed our branches and wish to make sure they are as editorially relevant as possible. Some were not and in a few cases had contained some language and themes which were not in line with our overall standards and those will not relaunch. Your Choice also contained almost exclusively non-travel related conversations. In addition a few of the postings in the archive were incompatible with running the world’s best travel forums, and it’s time for us to call it a day.”