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Forum Moderators: rogerd
BEFORE they leave, however, they write a two page "Swan Song" about why they are leaving, how they are sorry that it happened, who were their friends, who they don't like, why the forum sucks and they can't be on it anymore, etc, etc.
The end result is lots of drama that drags on forever and brings the morale of the whole forum down.
Has anyone been able to deal with this in an effective way? It seems like it happens once a month or so on our boards, and it drives me nuts.
Another forum that I am involved with has a fairly high bar to entry which has reduced turnover at the expense of membership size and overall traffic. (The bar is mainly there to prevent various levels of SPAMming...)
If you monitor/moderate your forum very closely maybe you cant take down their swan song post. Maybe put up something in its place like "Dan has just left the building and bids you all a fond farewell" or some such.
You might have to put a clause in your TOS covering a situation like this ie;
"no post bad mouthing the forum or other members"its your forum not theirs...KF
The only thing that came close to working was deleting the post, the resulting "what happened to so-and-so's post" thread, and any e-mail on the subject.
It feels unprofessional to do it but every other option lead to animosity developing between us and our users, fights between users, and wasted time.
As a webmaster, reply with a short "Good luck on your lifes journey, friend" and then lock the account. Don't feel a need to explain your actions in any other posts either, you're the webmaster so do what you must for your site.
If the bugger is tenacious he'll linger for a couple of weeks and perhaps bother others but not for much longer than that. Thankfully a short attention span is par for the course.
We treat it a bit differently - we give people the opportunity to say goodbye, and generally, try and say nothing but good things about them while it happens. We also let them delete their entire accounts - all their posts and other content contributions.
While sometimes it can drag out a bit, for the most part i think the "survivors" appreciate that we acknowledge everybody's rights to come and go as they please, with no hard feelings.
Departing members will still sow discord with private messages, emails, IMs, but there's no sense in providing them with a soapbox on their way out the door.
It's too bad, because sometimes a farewell thread would be appropriate and welcome, e.g., a member who is leaving the country, starting a tour of military duty, etc. I haven't found a way to write the TOS to distinguish between good and bad ones, though. Sometimes, the leaving member can be quite subtle but still turn the thread into a gripe session.
These members are often good at staying within the letter of the TOS but still being annoying. If they were TOS violators, they would have been banned and have no opportunity for their swan song.