Move on ..you don't and can't "own" them..
|but I have to do something to stop this |
Why do you "have to" ?..it is futile ..you cant stop them ..but you can waste huge amounts of your time and energy trying..
re sueing ..WebmasterWorld never did legal advice that could apply everywhere ( apart from maybe the members who are also lawyers Mods etc ..and even then they are always the first to say see a lawyer "outside" )..especially not transnational legal advice...you could go through a lot of money and get nowhere and nothing ( other than poorer via legal bills ) though .
Move on, as in close down the original site and cut them off from gaining new members? I'm already doing other things and though this was a side project of mine, I am invested in it. I definitely understand that I don't "own" them or have any control over them. But why keep spending my time on a site that is simply a gateway to their site? Seems pointless.
It probably is pointless I am afraid.
|The site went down for several months due to technical problems. |
Several months? This is the root cause of your problems. You cannot allow this to happen and not expect a kickback. What technical reasons did you have for letting the site go down for all this time?
This will not help and it will sound unsympathetic but actually I think that people who participate in a busy forum are entitled to do what your guys have done. If the forum stops offering them their platform they are entitled to look elsewhere.
Yes, agreed, several months is too long. Forget what the others are doing. Get the tech issues sorted and put it back up.
a) do what engine suggested and offer excellent content and replace all moderators
b) sell the site to your 'troublemakers'. If they are not interested, put it on auction. Let someone else have worry about the site.
There's more to this than just your site downtime - has there been any discontent before that? I've seen stuff like this happen before loads of times - usually stems from discussions getting out of hand, people getting insulted, mods having to delete threads, etc. Anything like that going on?
|There's more to this than just your site downtime |
The downtime would have been enough to make me look elsewhere. ;)
|discussions getting out of hand, people getting insulted, mods having to delete threads, etc. Anything like that going on? |
I think you just described the average forum.
you could prevent new members from sending PMs to other members. Make it so they can only contact other members after they've posted 50 times, or something like that.
Assuming that you've banned all the disgruntled people doing it already, then that should stop all your new members getting pestered by them.
The downtime would have been enough to make me look elsewhere.
But would it be enough for you to take people with you and setup a competing site? ;) Depends on the relationships you've built during the time I suppose.
TBH I think the OP needs to breakdown the reasons people are still leaving his site now it's up and running again. I've had people try and poach members / copy my sites - best strategy I found was to basically ignore them and focus on improving my own sites. In fact, the few occaisions that this has happened have been perhaps the most creative and constructive periods of development I've had. Something to be said for motivation! ;)
I don't really know but it was the OP who said...
|But would it be enough for you to take people with you and setup a competing site? |
|"They revolted and started their own site because I guess I was taking too long getting the original site back online." |
That's still "I guess"! ;)
Setting up a site because your favourite hang out has been dead for a while is one thing. Former moderators actively poaching members from the site when it's brought back online is another. Suggests there's a lot more to it IMO.
|Former moderators actively poaching members from the site when it's brought back online is another. |
I agree, that's a bit below the belt.
If you're offline for a couple of months due to 'technical reasons', then clearly the owner was letting the site slide.
What we have here is called survival of the fittest, and a big fat cow just got taken down.
Trying to circle the wagons can help a bit, but probably the only way to save something is to come up with something new and better - and that's a maybe. Forums are fickle.
And I'm agreed with other comments. if you're offline for several months, I'm gone to the next one.
Ban the rogue members by IP. Identify the rogue members and turn off their PM privileges. If they are squatting on a variant of your domain (which you should have purchased...) you may be able to email the domain name registrar to seek a remedy. Read their TERMS and CONDITIONS CAREFULLY FIRST.
|Ban the rogue members by IP. Identify the rogue members and turn off their PM privileges. If they are squatting on a variant of your domain (which you should have purchased...) you may be able to email the domain name registrar to seek a remedy. Read their TERMS and CONDITIONS CAREFULLY FIRST. |
I'm doubting the OP can do any of those things. It appears he/she just used a forum package and when it crapped out he had no idea what to do.
There's no excuse for a several month downtime. I suggest to the OP to learn some coding/server maintenance and be better off for it in the future. Two weeks of downtime is waving the white flag and you waited several months.
I didn't wait several months to get the site back online, it took that long.
|It appears he/she just used a forum package and when it crapped out he had no idea what to do. |
Yes, I was using a packaged system and I didn't know what to do when the site was attacked. I hired 2 tech guys and switched to a custom script with 24/7 security that I now pay for on a monthly basis(no more freebie packaged deal). We had to move all the data, or at least what we could to the new system. It was expensive and time consuming. My site's been back for over a year now and they are still a thorn in my side.
|usually stems from discussions getting out of hand, people getting insulted, mods having to delete threads, etc. Anything like that going on? |
Oh yes, all that and more. When my site was first attacked, and I mean actively attacked, my first thought was to accuse these same people as the cause for the attack and resulting downtime. Right before this happened I had banned a member that was in their little click of friends. Frankly, I thought this person was mentally unstable and constantly trying to stir up trouble. I never came out and said it to them, but in the back of my mind I did and still do blame them for the attack, as least one of them anyway, their computer savvy "charismatic leader" and now proud owner of the .org version of my domain name(which, yes, I should have registered).
|The downtime would have been enough to make me look elsewhere. |
I knew many would join other forums during the down time, but I didn't expect them to band together and do what they did and continue to do. I'm not surprised their site has been so successful, I was after all the one who trained them and they modeled their site as nearly an exact replica of mine. Their site is on a freebie platform however and probably just a matter of time before something happens to it.
Thanks for the advice. I will try to ignore them and move on. For the past year I have felt betrayed, hurt and angry. It's time to get over it and now that I have a solid, secure foundation, keep working on improvements to make the site better.
This kind of stuff is more common than you think so try to not to feel too hurt about it. To be honest, the Internet, particularly discussion forums, seems to have a magnifying effect on people's dominating personality traits and for many it brings out some really bad sides (sometimes unintentionally).
If your domain name is in anyway unique then put in an application for a trademark and go via the domain name dispute process mentioned earlier. If we are talking serious levels of money involved then their public claims "the site has now moved to the .org" could be considerd to be them "passing off" their website as yours / your business. You'll need to prove your business has been hurt from this, etc and you have claims to the name though - generic keyword domain names won't leave you with much ground to stand on.
All that aside, it would probably be best to reassess your forum management policies. In my experience (and I've been through similar things), the problems stem from deep issues that need to be changed. Perhaps you were too hands on dealing with people on your forum, perhaps not enough. Maybe your guidelines were too strict or not specific enough. Maybe you dealt with your mods in the wrong way, maybe you didn't.
But regardless, as a forum owner anything that goes wrong or any negative feelings about the site are immediately associated with you, regardless of your blame, efforts, good intentions, whatever. Been there many times lol! :)
Cover yourself legally and use whatever technical means you can to plug the hemorage of members (no PMs for new members, etc). After that it's just a case of improving on your site. At the end of the day, you had the forsight and motivation to setup the forum - your ex-members just had a bug up their backside and decided to copy you. Don't waste your time on them.
The same problems that plagued you, will probably hit them in the future. They think their "revolution" will result in something that is "different," but humans can't help being human and they will probably cause their own self-destruction.
What are you doing already, you haven't gotten into specifics.
As advised above, you could try blocking by IP blacklist or even entire ISPs, but if computer savvy that won't stop them. So, given we're talking about a forum, ban all the problem accounts, restrict PMs to established users, etc.