Ubuntu Forums is one of the the official places that users of Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Voyager Linux, and others can go for help, to help others, or just to chitchat about Linux and Ubuntu.
But they do have one continuing issue: They frequently have to add new moderators in this busy online community, and when they do, all too often the new moderators have to assert their authority. I was censured in one thread because a moderator simply didn’t like what I said (his words, not mine). Now today I got a private message from another moderator regarding a link to this blog in my signature. The link has been there since I created my account there, but today all of a sudden it’s “against the rules.” He writes:
*Links:* You may post links to sites with content that is acceptable according to this code of conduct. This is most useful when giving tech support and explaining a topic and then linking to a wiki page or Linux site with more information. You may also link to your personal site." The link to your site introduces a religious element to all of your posts and violates the second quote in that it links to a subject forbidden on the forum. Please remove the link immediately.
Emphasis mine on the links to a personal site, which is all the link was. Am I not allowed to write about what I wish on my own blog now? Or can UF users no longer link to personal blogs that don’t comply with the rules of Ubuntu Forums? Fine, I removed the link and told the idiot to delete my account. Fortunately there are other better places for users of the Ubuntu family to go where the moderators are not so heavy-handed and anxious to assert their authority. For chitchat as well as tech help, there’s discourse.ubuntu.com, a friendly place with a new and attractive interface. And there is Ask Ubuntu, and some great personal blogs like OMG Ubuntu. That one hasn’t been outlawed yet by an overbearing jerk, but because it may not fully comply with the rules of some other completely different web site, it could be.
Ubuntu Forums remains an official help forum for Ubuntu family users, and a lot of them have been helped there. But it’s good to know there are alternatives, since many of us who used to go there to help others are abandoning the site because of the overbearing, drunk-with-new-power moderators who interpret the “code of conduct” according to their own personal preferences. Judging by a look at other Linux forums like LinuxQuestions.org, Linux.com, and LinuxForums.org, it looks like many more users are looking elsewhere for the support we used to be able to count on UF for.