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Old 06-28-2011, 08:54 PM
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Default An interesting forum related crisis (not my own forum)
Really old story, but it could be an interesting one to discuss from the forum management point of view:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...ons-mms-bleach

Original Article the above is based on:

http://thewelshboyo.wordpress.com/20...10/bleachgate/

Basically, it involves a forum about a disease called Crohn's disease, and shows a possible issue where what's right for the forum members wasn't what's popular.

So the story was as follows. A 15 year old called Rhys Morgan visits said forum for support about an illness he was diagnosed with. Fair enough, it's like what happens with any support forum.

But the forum itself was apparently taken over by those trying to sell alternative medicines to the members. This is already something which I'd have cracked down on if I owned said forum, you can't allow scammers and con artists to frequent your forum and try ripping off your memberbase. Anyone who does that should be thrown out of there like a shot.

Still, the article states that this wasn't just unwanted spammers selling worthless goods, but them actually selling a substance which would physically cause harm to anyone who takes it, as well as having no scientific benefit. It apparently produces an industrial bleach, and had been banned in at least one country. Obviously, I'm sure anyone here would have immediately banned anyone trying to promote such a substance as beneficial to member health if this kind of thing happened on their forum, right? You could probably charge someone who allowed this with a crime or something.

Long story short, eventually he got banned for doing nothing other than posting what was agreed to be valid scientific, evidence based advice that a dangerous product wasn't a medicine. I can see why the staff may have done this (presumably they wanted a quick way to stop the arguments and fights that broke out on the forum), but it seems to me like bad forum management in general, because they didn't address underlying problems. Might this be a case in which overhauling the forum and banning quite a few prior prominent members might have improved the community and helped the other people there?

So what do you think? Were the staff there right to ban a member who was just trying to prove that a form of alternative medicine was dangerous? Should they have banned the users promoting the product due to it's lack of safety and damaging effects to health? Personally, I think the user mentioned in the article shouldn't have been banned for merely posting calmly written posts which added to the discussion, or helped other members, and I think that case shows a forum which really should been rebooted/changed around dramatically, and a case where arguably the wrong kind of members had taken over the site.

Your thoughts?
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:10 PM
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The forum could belong to those scammers. Or the scammers could be sponsoring the forum.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:16 PM
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I'm not sure to be honest, although the articles don't exactly say who owns the forum. I'd presume not though, one of the mods seemed pretty sane from what's described.
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Old 06-28-2011, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panupat View Post
The forum could belong to those scammers. Or the scammers could be sponsoring the forum.
Ah... when forum sponsors are valued more then the forum members Seen it first hand in my niche
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