dataguy - 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.