Can they sue if you ban?

we_are_borg

Administrator
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
5,700
They can sue for whatever, just ban and move on. Do not communicate with them only when they sue do not ignore that. Also document everything.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,741
You can't be sued for banning a user but if the member has requested you remove their personally identifiable information (PII) you must adhere to data protection laws such as GDPR. Failure to do so could result in a fine from the regulator.

we_are_borg is suggesting if you do ban a member it's generally best not to enter into any further dialogue with them.
 

truthingtotruth

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
151
That "Is it legal?" question is tough times 10 to answer. Way too many factors involved.

Which locale the person filing the complaint lives in is a big factor. That idea that it only judicially matters where your server is located doesn't fly so well, anymore. Of course, the server location may be irrelevant if there is corporate registration involved. But even that has tough sailing now in some nations.

Essentially it comes down to some smart lawyer convincing a judge that there is merit in some lawsuit.

But that advice about documentation is a biggie.

And there are also ways to cause trouble for a website owner other than through the courts, and in my opinion, receive much better results. And I mean legal ways, not bad stuff. You'd be surprised (if you haven't done the research) at how much trouble communications ministry/department officials can cause for a website owner, if they are so inclined. Economy and trade ministry/departments, also. You can even cross international borders with that sort of help. But you've got to be clever and have a very good case, which is usually very rare.

And prior to any need for documentation, the properly worded agreement you request a member to sign off on is a big deal. And I would say an excellent warning system is important, if it is not an easy spammer type you are dealing with. Screening before allowing entry is a good idea, if it is not a huge site with too many registrations to screen.

But this TAZ Community does have other threads on this topic, doesn't it?
 

LeadCrow

Apocalypse Admin
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
6,659
Depends on the kind of ban, I suppose. Bans are generally more or less permanent suspensions of (future) participation, but with communities increasingly mingling together multiple services behind one central identity, one could contest a complete suspension that affects other services.

But legally? Not quite lawsuit material. You still have to honor specific requests to modify certain types of content submissions if requested (provided reasonable, like past disclosures of personal information theyre no longer confortable leaving there), and services paid for that you will not be fulfilling (like a premium subscription, access to goods purchased through your websites) you'd just need to refund.
 

Nev_Dull

Anachronism
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
2,260
Anyone can attempt to sue anyone for anything. In reality, lawsuits are expensive and unless the person has some reasonable grounds to show banning them caused some actual damage to their reputation, income, etc. they are unlikely to pursue the matter. It's a common threat for some with almost no followthrough.

That said, it is still always a good idea to capture and retain all posts and messages that lead up to a ban. It's also good practice to develop written banning policies and procedures. This is especially true if you have other staff members who have the power to ban users. Good process and documentation will save you a lot of unnecessary worry.
 

woody

eternal noobie
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
209
One of the keys to avoiding issues with banning a member is you simply don't discuss it with anyone other than that member. Ever. Don't reply to threads asking why. Don't message other members about it. Ever. Don't even tell other mods what drove the decision unless they are in a paid position and clear on their contract terms and obligations. Banning is a business decision, and discretion/professionalism is key.

On my forum, I'm the only member with ban powers. That eliminates any other mods from the responsibility or blame. It also eliminates problems with discussing a ban, the reasons, and any inadvertent leaks by anyone other than the banned individual. Let them cause the problems and the rumors...and dig themselves and any lawsuit further into a hole.

(side note/pet peeve: business owners/managers who discipline employees in front of customers. Terrible management practice.)
 

User042321

Neophyte
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
0
One of the keys to avoiding issues with banning a member is you simply don't discuss it with anyone other than that member. Ever. Don't reply to threads asking why. Don't message other members about it. Ever. Don't even tell other mods what drove the decision unless they are in a paid position and clear on their contract terms and obligations. Banning is a business decision, and discretion/professionalism is key.

On my forum, I'm the only member with ban powers. That eliminates any other mods from the responsibility or blame. It also eliminates problems with discussing a ban, the reasons, and any inadvertent leaks by anyone other than the banned individual. Let them cause the problems and the rumors...and dig themselves and any lawsuit further into a hole.

(side note/pet peeve: business owners/managers who discipline employees in front of customers. Terrible management practice.)
I like this approach
Have seen forums give the right to moderators to ban as they see fit only some moderators who use this responsibility will often use it as a stamp of authority to express their dominance at times
Also mixed messages are sent by a moderation team who have this setup because every moderator has a different tolerance level to what is or isn't acceptable in accordance with forum rules
 

Zelda

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
123
I want you to know that I am in no way a practicing lawyer, an officer of the court, or an authorized agent of the court or body of government. My comments to follow are only my personal opinion and viewpoint, limited that they are, which in no way should be seen as legal advice. If you are seeking authentic and creditable legal advice and opinion beyond the scope of an internet message board (forum), asking on an internet message board, in my opinion, is unwise.

My personal and unprofessional opinion is that if we are generally talking about a spammer or an individual who has violated your personal rules and terms of services to your site, you should be well within your rights to ban that individual. Assuming there are no paid products or services and previous or current transactions between yourself and the individual in question. In that case, you have every right to ban them from your site without justification, in my humble opinion.

There are few, if any, absolutes when it comes to justice. That includes both criminal and civil justice. Where you, your site, and the person of interest are located may vary on the type and level of justice available to all parties of interest. The court's interpreted intent of the actions you take and the other party takes and any resulting actions of either prior or after can matter and vary greatly. If your website is of a business nature, either directly involved with your members or facilitating business between other parties. You may wish to seek authentic and creditable legal advice and opinion beyond the scope of an internet message board (forum).
 
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truthingtotruth

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
151
I think that idea that we can do anything we want on our sites could lead some folks into trouble, especially if some clever journalist goes and finds a weakly managed online community and then tests in such a way that the "owner" made a stupid mistake. I would say that 20 years ago that 'we can do anything we want' idea would get off the runway, rotate, but not now.

And the extra element in this is that eventually there is going to be legislation on these sorts of matters. I know, that reads as if I am living in Nutso City, and I might very well be living there, but let us just take a look back at other situations in this human experience on the planet.

There was a time when doctors would have thought it crazy that special training certificates and so on would be required to do that doctoring type work. Dentists, as well. In fact, if those western movies have it right, it was that haircut guy that also pulled teeth.

There was a time that those that bought that fancy new thing called an automobile would have laughed you out of the room if you said that someday they would be required by some government agency to have a license to drive that fancy new toy. And they would have to pass a skills test to get that license.

This Internet thing is not like that telegraph system, the postal system, the telephone system - - - those communications methods - - - this Internet is a world of its own. It is a world of humans and a kind of world that no folks have ever seen before and it is not going away and it is going to grow and grow and eventually those people representative folks are going to realize that because the humans are involved there is a need to legislate, and BAM, we ain't just "owners" anymore.

The sooner we forum owners fully realize that and start to properly get together to influence what's coming the 'safer' we'll be. And the 'safer' our community members will be.

All you have to do is look at some nations were the leaders of those nations fully understand what this Internet can do and are stifling free expression and sites like this - - - all you have to do is take what they are doing as an indication of what is around the corner in such nations like the United States, or regional governing institutions like the EU. The first steps in the United States have already begun with legislators with influence in certain committees having some of those tech giant management folks in for questioning. That is the way it starts. Democratic systems are always so slow, as compared to where a dictator type presides over a governing entity.

Plainly putting it those dictator types already know that this Internet has a power that they have to control or . . . well, they might lose their job, right?
 

User042321

Neophyte
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
0
Of course it legal.
Its your website; you can ban anyone at anytime for any reason (or even no reason)
A multi with intent to cause harm to a site is a ban, think everyone knows that
Regular users banned for no reason or cause sounds like some bad ethics a dictatorship almost

I can't understand why you would want to operate a forum open to the public
 

truthingtotruth

Aspirant
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
151
< < < truncated > > >

I can't understand why you would want to operate a forum open to the public
If by "open to the public" you mean a Net location where guests can read the ideas of others and then join to offer their own ideas, like I think happens in this community, and allowed us to read your thoughts, then I think the "why" was answered by you posting your thoughts.

We could go back about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago (probably further back) and that fella's partner with kids that asked why the partner wanted to invite that "other family" into our cave to share - - - well, that was the first step into that journey of thousands of years that eventually caused humans to create that thing called a city.

In reality, who needs a city?

If I carry the proper knowledge in my head to be able to hunt and make the necessary tools to hunt and grow some food, or know where to find the food already growing and I am way up in those hills, then I don't need no city. What is them poor humans down there doing living all bunched together like that?

Maybe operating an open forum is close to that idea of creating villages, towns, and even those monster cities we find all over this planet.

And maybe humans coming to these Internet Communities are doing a kind of escape from those monster cities. Maybe even a escaping the smaller communities on the surface of our planet.

I don't think humans are the only beings on our planet that gather together and live together in some manner. Might be something about the way our brains are wired that we have this thing about being together in larger groups than just our own families.

Wait! If I'm up in them hills by myself, how am I going to meet my wife?

Now that thought begs a question: I wonder if anyone has ever gotten married on the Net without ever meeting their spouse in person? My goodness, I wonder what the Church would think of that one?
 

cbp

Habitué
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
1,380
A multi with intent to cause harm to a site is a ban, think everyone knows that
Regular users banned for no reason or cause sounds like some bad ethics a dictatorship almost

I can't understand why you would want to operate a forum open to the public
You can still ban a regular user for no reason if you want to and it's still not breaking any law and they have no recourse to sue you.
I have invited more than my fair share of clowns to sue me for banning them ...
 

Philpug

Participant
Joined
Nov 26, 2017
Messages
80
On a previous site we had someone bring up defamation as a threat because when there was a search done on them, the site came up with them being "banned". To avoid that on our current site, we use "Pass Pulled", being a ski centric site it falls within character. I would suggest something similar with whatever your site is.
 

cbp

Habitué
Joined
Nov 12, 2004
Messages
1,380
On a previous site we had someone bring up defamation as a threat because when there was a search done on them, the site came up with them being "banned". To avoid that on our current site, we use "Pass Pulled", being a ski centric site it falls within character. I would suggest something similar with whatever your site is.
How is something like that actionable defamation? They were just blowing hot air! I call their bluff.
 
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