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Irritating multiple alias members

 10:44 am on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a small forum, with one guy who is very much anti a popular widget people discuss on my forum.

He has registered (at least, based on the IP) 9 different user names - and backs his arguments up with "me too" posts from the various alias's.

I'm considering a opening a locked thread in the community section, outing all "members" that are the same person...is that a bad thing...I think so, but this guy has annoyed me.

I could ban his IP - but we all know that's not likely to work long term - he's already threatened he's been in "IT 20 yrs and know many many ways around that", and sent a few emails telling me to not touch his posts or he could do X/Y/Z, and that I've got "one and only one more chance" etc...

I, of course, edit his posts - and explain...but it's getting boring - I could ban the B or C class IP address but that would block one of the larger ISP's in Canada....and of course there's anonymous proxies for anyone in the know.....hmmm

What's the best way of dealing with him?

Any thoughts appreciated :)



 9:34 pm on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

This person is definitely a problem member if he's posting under multiple aliases in the same thread and threatening you to boot.

I'd ban his aliases and his IP, if feasible, and watch for him to reappear. Ban those too. Eventually, he'll get tired of re-registering.

Slowing down new member approvals can help prevent quick re-registrations. Some software have more advanced features for dealing with problem members, like making their posts invisible to everyone else or simulating very slow server conditions for that member only. Naturally, be sure your software is up-to-date with security patches and that you have no known vulnerabilities. Don't let this clown push you around.

Good luck.


 9:43 pm on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

You could also require more info for registering which is hard to multiply. For example require a real email address and then ban all the ones he is using. It'll take more and more effort for him to re-create his aliases, because now he has to create multiple email accounts in addition to changing his IP and re-registering.



 10:31 pm on Sep 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can also maybe want to ban his user agent together with the IP if his UA is very unique.


 1:17 pm on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the suggestions - at the moment the registration is very basic, as I'm trying to build the forum up - however I think it's time for me to manually approve new registrations.

It's a snitz based forum, so I've set up a quick DB and script to ban an IP - or IP block - and drop a "banned" cookie, so if they come in on another IP block that gets caught as well....however if they clear the cookie, and get a fresh IP block, they'll be able to see the site - which is a bit on a concern as the content section of the site is running adsense, and I don't want to risk the fraudulent click issue...but yes, I think it's time to give them the boot and keep fingers crossed about AS...


 3:00 pm on Sep 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think the invisible thing is the best. That is so funny. He will think that he is making posts and sees them but nobody else does.


 1:41 am on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

One important thing: if this individual is making threats, you might really want to notify law enforcement - not that they can do anything, but that at least it will be on file....


 5:43 am on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks again for the suggestions.

I like the invisible thing too, I'd be happy to let him rant away to himself...

He hasn't been back for a while, so we'll see how it goes.


 4:14 pm on Sep 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

The problem with the invisible thing in this case though, is he adds "Me too" posts from other accounts. Those accounts won't be able to see his original post, and he will soon know something's up.

I've had very good luck with moving the board to manual approval of new members for a few days to a week. Usually, they get bored and move on.


 1:48 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I added something to my terms stating that multiple usernames are not allowed if those usernames ever interact with each other, and that it is grounds for those names to be suspended/removed.


 2:29 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> multiple usernames are not allowed if those usernames ever interact with each other

Yeap - something I need to do - I removed most of his usernames, and left him with one. Then he posted again telling me not to edit a word of his posts again....and that I was not even allowed to post in a thread that he had posted in.

Once I'd stopped laughing, I locked his last username, and froze all new registrations on the forum - which I do feel it a bit of a shame for the moment - but until my IP blocking code is working properly that's the best option.

Not really much of a surprise, about 5 mins later I got an email, from yet another email address but the same IP, asking how to register an account.....I'm starting to think running forums is a bit too much work....going to stick to non-interactive aff sites :)


 2:59 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

He has registered (at least, based on the IP) 9 different user names - and backs his arguments up with "me too" posts from the various alias's.

Me too :) j/k


 5:39 pm on Sep 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Me too :) j/k

You're not based in Canada, and hate popular widgets are you? ;)


 5:58 pm on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I solved this problem ( on a phpbb forum ) in january

- added a ignore modification to allow users to ignore known trouble makers.

here is the biggie that really killed it
- wrote a mod that allowed users to check who posted from the IP the poster was at. On every post is an IP button, a regular user clicks it and it spits out a list of usernames that posted from the ip of the poster. It doesn't reveal the IP just the usernames related to it. Now anyone can out trolls trying to hide. After my users got used to it I never had problems with trolls again.


 6:42 pm on Sep 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I hate stories like this. Freaking vandals.

Just to add my two cents:

- get your site your rules in place. Modify them to make sure whatever this guy is doing is clearly off limits. Add a catch-all guideline based on "admin discretion" (yours). Mine says something like "any behavior that is generally obnoxious or threatens the spirit of community of mysite.com could result in removal of membership priviliges."

- Have a heart to heart with him (one only). Explain to him that you're not a big corporation. Explain why the rules are in place. Ask him nicely to play by the rules - explain that it's not personal.

- In the event that he still doesn't clean up his act (which it sounds like he won't) take him down. Remove ALL his aliases. Note IPs. Err on the side of being overly aggressive - you think a new alias might be his? Purge it. Your business is under attack.

- At this point, there should be zero correspondence with him. No responses to his pleas, threats, etc. Make it a zero reward activity for him - he's posting and emailing into a black hole. And just wait him out. As Rogerd says, he will move on. Some take days to get bored, some months (i had a battle go on for 6 months once).

But you have to take him out... don't let this troll hold your site hostage.

Good luck.


 3:23 am on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm with lorenzinho2 - you can't knuckle under to threats, and you can't appear weak. Trust me, as admin you will win any contest. Good luck!


 5:08 am on Oct 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Speak softly and carry a big stick.

I once had a fruit loop of an (ex)customer keep contacting me she even went to the point phoning me in the UK from the USA on more than on occassion.

Make sure you dont have your personal details in the whois file just in case he gets personal.

People like this should be forced to live with my sister in law......

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