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Resisting the urge to bang people's heads together

How do you cope with whingers, free speech whiners and the rest?

4:14 pm on Dec 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

New User

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joined:Jan 21, 2005
posts: 27
votes: 0

First, let me just say that 99% of my messageboard members are stars - helpful, kind, supportive, useful members of the board.

The other 1% are cretins.

They are spammers who complain that I don't give them free advertising, they are people who whinge when I haven't immediately removed an offensive post on thread 1,234 (because obviously I should read every single post all the time), they are drama queens who run to me to sort out teeny tiny arguments, and they are free speech flag wavers who think they should have the right to post anything on my privately-owned, privately-run website, including every swearword under the sun and any old libellous claims they feel like.

These people drive me a bit nuts. How do you guys cope with these types? I know that every board gets them, but sometimes running the board is a bit of a thankless job, even on a fluffy, polite community like mine where the majority are lovely.

3:43 am on Dec 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:Jan 21, 2006
votes: 0

I let my moderators deal with it :-)
4:42 am on Dec 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

joined:Dec 29, 2003
votes: 0

I'll help you with the Free speech part:
You support it! That's why you use YOUR free speech rights to ban whatever you want.
7:15 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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5+ Year Member

joined:June 25, 2007
votes: 0

Well, I'm just embarking down this road myself, but here are a few tips I've gleaned from recent reading:

* Have explicit, visible posting guidelines and rules (this site is a good example). If you don't allow commercial posts, say so.
* Make one of your rules "I reserve the right to delete any post for any reason". Enforce your rules.
* Make it a little harder to post. Potentially require a waiting period between joining and posting, or a certain number of comments before a member can create a new topic. Whingers will usually get bored and wander off.
* "Unpublish" comments (if your platform allows) instead of deleting them. This makes it look like they're there to the poster, but invisible to anyone other than you and the poster, so he just has to wonder why no one is taking up his flame bait
* In the worst case, you can cancel accounts and block IP addresses

Best of luck.

7:45 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

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joined:Jan 19, 2007
posts: 487
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Strict rules, strictly enforced. Simple but effective!...KF
11:25 am on Dec 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 21, 2005
posts: 27
votes: 0

Thanks for the replies. PFRB, those are some excellent suggestions, thank you!

I've just remembered another category - the paranoid, who assume that everything that goes wrong with their computer is because of my board. I am putting cookies on their PC surreptitiously, I am controlling their software, I can see posts before they submit them...my favorite was one the other day from someone who had decided that my board was "linked" somehow to her email and I had infiltrated her Outlook set-up.

Turns out she had just copied a hyperlink from the board, and the hyperlink still worked in Outlook. (If you hadn't already realised this is not a board for computer people!)


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