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Old 04-09-08, 06:00 AM   #1
TriEngineer
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Code of Conduct - Message forums

I run something similar to this board on a GLBT website. Two persons in particular are really annoying me and I would like to hear some advice with respect to running message board how such confrontations should be resolved to the advantage, perceived or real, of both parties. A short bkgrd is necessary.

The two have never gotten along, and for the sake of conversation I shall call them G and Z. G is a soon-to-be graduating law student while the other, Z, is a soon-to-be graduating science student. Over the years, the board has established itself as a lippy site where people normally cut each other off, teasing about stupid things one user has said, and I would go and say that there is great animosity between some users, but be that as it may, most people have respected each other's "real" identities as paramount. Z has in the past taken great pleasure in attacking G's ideas, categorically illustrating why G is a complete moron and usually in the mean time, make it so unbelievably funny that most other users simply laugh at the jokes and disregard G's remarks. G, in turn, gets angry and starts getting into more fights with Z, simply adding more fuel to fire. This has all been fine.

Recently, it's taken an uglier turn, G has started to name drop Z's real name during most posts and even refusing to stop the name dropping unless an apology is made. I am the administrator on the site and one of the mandate is that we protect the identities of individuals, whether it's because they are not out, or for whatever reason. Having taken great pains to edit all of G's posts to remove the names, he then sent me a message last night, demanding that I reprimand Z for his actions, and failure to do so will result in him filing a official complaint with the university student council. It's all very legal/lawyer like, I actually enjoyed reading it for its complete overkill, it's like a SWAT team surrounding a girl selling lemonade because she has a nailfile or something.

I have since written to him and told him that any such processes will be held in the strictest confidence and that no public announcement of action should not be construed as no action. I further went on to say that I will deal with complaints on a thread by thread basis and that any purported personal vendetta will not affect the decision of such complaints. I wanted to say more but I figured I should not look too much of a jerk.

So after all that, I wanted to know if there is anything that you can think of in addition that I should be doing?
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Old 04-09-08, 06:10 AM   #2
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Since there are specific rules being ignored, and appropriate reminder of those rules, I think a banning is in order. Temporarily (at your disgression) initially, but permanent thereafter if it continues.

Otherwise, there is nothing you can do other than continuing to babysit the posts.

I am not a lawyer, but unless your software allows you to specify certain users/groups that need to have all messages approved before being posted, you might be at risk of legal or civil action for not following your published policies if you allow this to continue.
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Old 04-09-08, 06:20 AM   #3
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Sounds like Z's beating up on G which is causing G to retaliate. Also both have violated your rules. Give both a time out.

The problem from doing that is a fallout. Now what happens if someone else needles another person? Do you ban early on following the same pattern to be fair?
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Old 04-09-08, 06:22 AM   #4
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I would have thought if one breaks a rule, that should be cause enough to get banned.

Ps: I suppose you're not gonng tell us which forum this is.
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Old 04-09-08, 07:02 AM   #5
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I would have thought if one breaks a rule, that should be cause enough to get banned.

Ps: I suppose you're not gonng tell us which forum this is.
hehe - in another forum I'm on we had a couple of times ... gone on "vacation" and a bunch of us registered into another forum and <cough> had some mild fun in it.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:11 AM   #6
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Unless you have a specific rule against someone verbally cutting another to shreds based on what they say in a forum, you can't really do much for G.

But since G outright violated your "No real names" rule, I only see one option...

Drop him like a hot rock.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:15 AM   #7
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I'd let them both know that things have gone too far. Give them both the ultimatum, play nice, or the rules will be enforced to the letter because of the complaints. State this is your only warning. Future transgressions will result in banning.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:19 AM   #8
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G dropped the name, he gets a warning; after three warnings, he should get a ban.

IMHO if the thread exists just for a non-contributing argument, just tell them to take it elsewhere and PM each other, locking the thread.
I understand a stimulating discussion; I don't get continual public attacks on each other.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:21 AM   #9
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Shut down the board.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:27 AM   #10
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It is the internet. And forums often have name calling and rudeness. (not that they should) It's common and, unfortunately, accepted.

That said, ban them both. Once people's real names start coming out, it's time to ban.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:43 AM   #11
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Shut down the board.
Actually not bad advise.

You have allowed to get out of hand and most likely others are visiting to view the feud.

Both should have been dealt with much earlier than this. If forum is practical and others participate, they will continue.

Attacks or rudeness to another's posting should not be allowed to the stage of being mean, and if the target's only recourse is stooping to same level, then harm will result.

If they actually know who each other are, beyond the board, then retaliation could become physical.

If you are a fan of hockey, I am sure you have observed the penality is often given to those the retaliate, not the player issuing the first offense.

On boards as this, all is in black & white, you have the duty, as administrator or moderator to apply the rules to the first offender and warn the second. The hard part is to avoid becoming the target and becoming part of the confrontation.

If you cannot separate yourself, then the previous suggestion makes perfect sense.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:53 AM   #12
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Dudes, I've never understood why some people seem to feel the need to dump a steaming pile in the middle of their playground. I'm not trying to be crude, but that's just how it seems to me sometimes.

The folks that do this need to find the john and leave the rest of us alone. I come to forums for fun and stuff. I mostly lurk, because I generally just enjoy watching the interplay here, as well as other forums I find topically interesting. I'm not interested in watching people rip each others guts out though. Triengineer, you apparently care about your board, and that's fantastic.


By the way, I know I'd be real upset if I were outed under my real name.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:55 AM   #13
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I agree. It would be nice if people exhibited manners on internet forums. (See Gabe's theory I posted.) I try to tune it out when people get pissy.

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Dudes, I've never understood why some people seem to feel the need to dump a steaming pile in the middle of their playground. I'm not trying to be crude, but that's just how it seems to me sometimes.

The folks that do this need to find the john and leave the rest of us alone. I come to forums for fun and stuff. I mostly lurk, because I generally just enjoy watching the interplay here, as well as other forums I find topically interesting. I'm not interested in watching people rip each others guts out though.
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Old 04-09-08, 09:41 AM   #14
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im weighing in on the ban side. this guy sounds like he doesnt take advice well, classic 'net-punk' who thinks an IP block lets him do whatever he wants. the other guy sounds like a classic bullied kid whos lashing out in frustration/tears. i say ban the name dropper, and if the other kid starts spouting off, send him off too.

forums are for fun, not silly high-school rivalries. i think youre doing a wicked job tho, and asking for an opinion is commendable!

+ you wouldnt be a jerk for teling him to peace, its your job.
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Old 04-09-08, 10:57 AM   #15
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BAN THEM ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-09-08, 11:15 AM   #16
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+1 to ban side. Since you give both them fair warning, I say give them a suspension of a couple days on the next offense to show that you mean it, then ban them for good. I personally will PM a person once really politely, second time as a formal warning... then will remove access for a time. If the person continues, I'll permanently ban, and put in a forum post why the person's access was permanently disabled.

I am a mod in some forums, and have been doing E-mail list moderation since the mid 90s. There are people out there who are going to try to push moderators to the limit, as they get their jollies from that, as all they will do is create another E-mail account and try to rejoin.

This is why on forums I moderate, I have new accounts sign up from non-free E-mail accounts, or E-mail me privately for a rule exception. Life is too short to deal with crap like that.

I love one feature of the Beehive forums software. On people I know who are trolls, I enable a feature called "worm mode". They can post all they want, but only they can see the posts. Nobody else can. So, they can go slaphappy posting crap on the whole board, and nobody else will be bothered. Eventually they will start whining about nobody caring about them, perhaps making some /wrist emo gestures, then go away for good.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:00 PM   #17
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on a follow up question, I am talking with the outgoing admin, and it turns out there are responsibility concerning compiling flash pages to stick on a website. I have dreamweaver (from other thread) but I wonder if there are either free, or opensource flash compiler.
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Old 04-09-08, 08:19 PM   #18
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on a follow up question, I am talking with the outgoing admin, and it turns out there are responsibility concerning compiling flash pages to stick on a website. I have dreamweaver (from other thread) but I wonder if there are either free, or opensource flash compiler.
Never used it, but here's one
http://www.mtasc.org/

and here's a page with a bunch of links to open source flash compilers, etc.

http://osflash.org/open_source_flash_projects
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Old 04-09-08, 08:28 PM   #19
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Old 04-10-08, 01:03 PM   #20
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One forum I partake in is especially cruel to those that out personal information.....that person basically lost any semblance of a life they had. The denizens of that board will at that point dig up every last ounce of information on them and harass them at so many levels that they will probably end up having a mental breakdown.

It's a one strike policy....and those that post there respect that, because the repercussions are terrifying...and they should be.

Some people stay anon online because it's the only way they feel comfortable expressing themselves, for whatever reason that is. I may not agree with their feelings, but I do try to respect it, as should others.


Either way, that forum has gotten out of hand, and the hammer has been ignored for too long, baninate some people and get things back to what it should be.
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