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Dealing with a problem user

who never seesm to want to go away

     
12:55 pm on Jul 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I took over a small to medium sized forum, which I suppose is small in terms of most internet forums, but has quite a high profile as it deals with a small community of people based in one location.

One prolific member was banned previously by the administrator. That person knows the forum subject well, but is the type of person who never likes to admit they are wrong and often turns to attacking other members if they don't share the same view. Some long term members have said that they will quit the forum if that member ever returns.

That person even started a blog attacking and slandering the site and its members. Every now and again the person pops up under a different username on the forum, but from the style of writing, it is easy to spot them.

I know that person caused some trouble for the previous forum owner. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with this kind of person?
1:11 pm on July 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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What were the terms of problemusers ban? was it already a permaban, if so nothing to worry about, just keep on keeping problemuser out when he tries to get back in.

If it was a months ban you may have to let him back in but then monitor him carefully and if / when he steps over the line again, which it sounds like he will then ban him permanently.
1:17 pm on July 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If that person has a static IP number, then block that number from having access to your site.
1:43 pm on July 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am on a site that often bans people, often for good reason. Often they try to come back and often they are detected and rebanned but in the end I think they get the message and find somewhere else to inhabit.
1:30 pm on July 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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gecko, we've had similar users, and we've taken a similar tactic. Ban as appears (and he's so annoying that our users sometimes recognize him before we do) and IP ban if that ban isn't going to interfere with other users. As for the blog, we had a whole new forum of "disgruntled" users created, and for three years now, we've just ignored it. The angry ex-users happily sit there badmouthing us (mods, admin, users they don't like) but no one sees it because no one reads it.

I wouldn't worry too much about the blog. Anyone who actually sees it, which is probably almost nil, will realize pretty quickly what's going on. Most users who do that make it very clear through their posts that they're just sour grapes, and most people aren't going to give it a second glance.
2:11 pm on July 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've seen code somewhere that will allow the user Post a comment and see it based on a cookie/being-logged in, but the only person who sees it is the poster(and mods/admins).

It kind of puts the poster into a "Stealth State", they could rant all they want but no one else sees it, no one replies, after a while the trouble maker simply goes away cause no one pays attention.

maybe worth researching...
7:02 pm on July 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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vBulletin has the global ignore feature (aka Tachy goes to Coventry") built-in. It works well if the user stays logged in under that identity.

I've seen problem members who were so self-absorbed they participated in discussions with long-winded rants, and never realized that nobody responded to them directly.

Another nifty plugin lets admins set users to "miserable" and gives those users ultra-slow page loads, database error messages, timeouts, etc. This works at the user or IP level.

Ultimately, it's next to impossible to keep a problem user out if they have even a modicum of tech savvy. In my experience, though, they tire of the game when they have to keep registering new email addresses and their posts vanish as soon as they are spotted. The best solution (assuming you have tried being nice, coaching the user, etc. and that failed) is swift and consistent banning and post removal.
1:43 am on July 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to go hunt down that "miserable" plugin- that sounds like a lovely way to torment some of our problem users that keep slipping through on technicalities.
1:47 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thank goodness for this thread. I thought I was the only one with this problem! =)

I just ignore the "flame blogs" that get created. I figure it is better to let them fester in their own garbage on someone else's island than on mine.
4:38 am on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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There is also the user's ISP to to help in controlling him. Share logs of his posts as they may be in violation of the ISP's acceptable use policy.

Back in the day I was an owner of a big chat room (3.5k members). We had daly to weekly run ins with many less troublesome than him. We did have a quarterly 'bad boy' that didn't get it after we 'shared the love' with them. For these we privately told him we would 'take whatever actions necessary to protect the other users in the room'. For those that became argumentative during this confrontation we said to them they are not as anonymous as they thought. For the most extreme we asked the local police to intervene as well by interacting with the ISP.

We captured chat logs and IP address. Most had their accounts terminated immediately thereafter. One particularly energetic bad boy got his ISP account terminated twice, in Canada (US based chat), 2nd time came with an extra value trinket....an arrest warrant.

My favorite quotation about this topic (net bad boys) is "we dropped a building on his head" LOL
2:14 pm on July 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Excellent point, Hoople. While most problem posters aren't committing illegal acts, many are in violation of the abuse policies of their ISP.