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How much patience do you have with poison-pill members?

 3:49 am on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to see if I'm taking the right approach to how we moderate our site(s).

We run a pretty tight ship in regards to being respectful to one another.

Occasionally we encounter a member who goes off the handle due to a comment being removed:

"%#$$ this site. This place sucks."

"%##@ the admin."

Etc etc.

Over the years we've been extremely patient with folks... We would dole out 1 week penalties, etc. I'm growing tired of all that. Lately I've just been removing the "poison pill" members who just seem to want to rally everyone against the site.

They cry freedom of speech when they can't make fun of someone else's unfortunate situation, or because they can't call someone's post useless and a waste of space. We have a great team of mods that work hard to keep things respectful, and we have tried to have patience over the years with the overly-negative members... but I'm losing my patience. I've started cleaning house.

Have I gone over the deepend? It has gotten to the point where just one "F#X# this site" gets you instantly banned.

Am I being too harsh?



 9:09 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have I gone over the deepend? It has gotten to the point where just one "F#X# this site" gets you instantly banned.

Am I being too harsh?

No, sounds like a reasonable policy to me.

I can't say I've run a forum with significant traffic, so I am speaking more as a forum user.

Nonetheless, it seems best to delete the users without comment. Less comments from you or them the better.

You are not the government, and free speech doesn't apply where *you* are paying to publish that speech.

Crack down hard enough, and people will be apologizing to mods when their comments are deleted. One could hope, anyway.


 7:33 am on Jun 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

It depends on the member history. If these are members with no or only a very small posting history your approach will help. But with members with a longer history, especially a history with good contributions to your community you may first try to investigate why that member changed his/her attitude. Knowing the reason may either help you to create a better community, or safe a valuable member from leaving.


 11:20 pm on Jun 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

We had a sharp increase in poison pill members over the past two years, but I think we have it under control now.

It really has been a matter of setting the standard and letting people know that we won't put up with their meanness. (Our web site actually has a be-nice policy.)

I've started to enjoy sending the message, "If you want to be a jerk, there are plenty of web sites on the Internet which would welcome you. We are not one of them." I've also told them that they may have freedom of speech, but not in my living room. When they are in my house, they are my guest until I decide they are not. I once closed a guy's account and sent him the message, "Get out of my house!"

The only members we have trouble with any more are new members who haven't yet learned that we have a lower tolerance for meanness than most web sites. We remove the vowels from their comments temporarily, which has an oddly humiliating effect. If that doesn't make them back off, they are out.

It's not easy, I know, but I got to the point where I was spending all my time working with the bad members instead of the good members, and that's wrong.

My opinion is, no, you are not being too harsh.


 12:52 am on Jun 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sounds like you'll need to embark on a "reminder of TOS" posting campaign. Use short sentences. Make statements, not explanations, and indicate a zero tolerance.


Remain on topic.
No profanity.
No personal attacks.
No (whatever else that is restricted)
And finally:
No warnings are given. Failure to comply with the above will result in message removal (or account termination).

Do NOT get involved in "free speech" arguments as that is a rabbit hole with so many tunnels (different countries etc) you cannot win.

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