Do you punish members for behaviour outside of your forum?

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cheat_master30

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As in, would you warn or ban a member if they broke a bunch of rules on other sites in your niche, or got into a massive controversy on social media? What if someone said they were breaking the law elsewhere?

Personally, I don't punish users for behaviour on other sites, and tend to only care whether they break the rules on my own forums when it comes to how they're treated. Honestly, they could be the worst troll in the world on every competitor's forum, and so long as they didn't act like that on my own one, I wouldn't care about it.

And there are a few reasons I run sites this way. For one thing, I understand full well that people tend to act differently in different situations, and that someone's dodgy behaviour in one situation may not reflect their behaviour anywhere else. After all, do you act the same way with friends as with your boss? Probably not, so why should the company care what you say/do in your off time?

I also realise that by looking into people's behaviour elsewhere (or taking hints from others on the matter), it kinda makes me more responsible for how people act than I would be otherwise. That seems like a legal adn PR nightmare waiting to happen, especially if I get it wrong and either someone's dodgy behaviour goes under the radar or someone innocent gets banned under a mistaken identity.

Finally, I also despise this 'cancel culture' and this 'lets ruin someone's live over some remark said on Twitter' crap, and I consider this setup as a good way of showing I don't support it. If someone goes and complains about this stuff, I'm quite happy to tell them to mind their own business. Similarly, I'd do the same thing if people complained about an employee of mine over this stuff too. Just tell them to cry more and get over it.

But what about you? Do member actions elsewhere affect how they're treated on your forum? Would you ever warn or ban someone for saying offensive stuff on social media? What about actively breaking the law in some way?

Tell me what you think!
 

we_are_borg

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We only keep to ourselves so the sites we control is where we look for unwanted behavior.
 

haqzore

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I think the answer to this could easily get really long & complicated.
But I think it's best served in a short & sweet fashion.

No - I don't. Punishing members for actions outside of my community is like digging yourself out of a hole - you just end up deeper. How can anyone expect to police the rest of the world your members live in? Simply put - it's too much. Where do you draw the line?
 

zappaDPJ

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In general no unless having them on my forum presents an obvious danger to other members e.g. I have perm-banned users for grooming under-aged members.
 

MarkFL

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I don't take direct actions against anyone because of behavior on other sites, but I do tend to keep a closer watch on them if I see them behaving badly elsewhere.
 

Alpha1

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Not unless it poses a clear danger. Like stalking, serious harassment, physical harm, or similar behavior that affects my members.
 

LeadCrow

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Pretty much no. Wether positive or negative, preexisting reputation doesnt mean another forum's controversial member will not be a model contributor to yours. People grow, learn and change.

Activity outside the site could inform about their character but that extra insight is rarely factored or subjected to shaming discussion even among staff. We dont care about the way you handle your personal presence on social media, twitter, youtube, reallife and you're to continue doing so the way you like as long as you abide by the code of conduct of our communities :group:
 

Ingenious

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This is one of the hardest decisions you can make as a site admin. A member really screws up elsewhere and your community know about it too... should you take action on your forum even if they haven't broken your rules?

For me the answer is generally no, focus on your own community and your own rules. Because if you set a precedent, where do you then draw the line with future similar issues? You're not out to save the world. Just to keep your own community on the right path. Think about the time drain in looking off your site for proof of allegations and so on. Also think about the possible legal implications for you, if none of your own site rules were broken.

However as always things are not black and white and you should reserve the right to make an exception in serious cases. I have done this where I believed the reputation of my community was at stake, or when it was in the public interest or the "greater good" to take action (or to be seen to take action). For me it was in response to a member who was convicted of a serious crime and that was verifiable through news stories on the case.
 

Nev_Dull

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What people do outside of my site isn't my concern and I'm not about to punish someone for things they are alleged to have done on another site. That said, I can see how it can create an ethical dilemma for forum staff.

Say you have a member who has never done anything bad on your site, but whom many other members recognize as a troll and troublemaker on other forums. That can lead to a situation where members are uncomfortable whenever that member posts in a thread, perhaps to the point where some of those members stop contributing. Is that sufficient reason to ban the member for the 'greater good' of the forum? I don't think so. I prefer to judge members by what they do, not who they are.
 

TheTourVan

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Rarely. Spam gets booted. Outside of that, we rarely delete or ban. We have certain rules, but the community after 12 years polices itself pretty darn well.
 

Lisa

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Say you have a member who has never done anything bad on your site, but whom many other members recognize as a troll and troublemaker on other forums. That can lead to a situation where members are uncomfortable whenever that member posts in a thread, perhaps to the point where some of those members stop contributing. Is that sufficient reason to ban the member for the 'greater good' of the forum? I don't think so. I prefer to judge members by what they do, not who they are.
I know of a few instances where that has happened here at TAZ. When members have gotten wind of something another member has done elsewhere or off out in the real world and demanded said person be banned or punished in some way here. It's quite interesting seeing how the replies here are all "no" and yet I could link you to threads calling for blood (I won't, so don't ask. If you know what situations I'm referring to you can probably find them for yourself).
 

MagicalAzareal

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It's not really good to play world police. And frankly, this is the internet where everyone is anonymous or at-least semi-anonymous, all someone has to do is make a new account with a fake name and no one would be able to ever tell.

It really doesn't do anything of substance and I would almost prefer it if I could keep a known troublemaker right where I can see them rather than deal with them under an alt. If they actually cause trouble on the site, then well they have to be handled.
 

Paul M

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Generally no, not unless they break our rules.

One exception is when they are slagging off the forum, or forum staff.
In that case we decide they are clearly unhappy at being a member, and rectify it for them. :)
 

Nev_Dull

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I know of a few instances where that has happened here at TAZ. When members have gotten wind of something another member has done elsewhere or off out in the real world and demanded said person be banned or punished in some way here. It's quite interesting seeing how the replies here are all "no" and yet I could link you to threads calling for blood (I won't, so don't ask. If you know what situations I'm referring to you can probably find them for yourself).
Which is exactly my point. People often wax philosophically on things, but speak loudest with their actions.
 
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cheat_master30

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I know of a few instances where that has happened here at TAZ. When members have gotten wind of something another member has done elsewhere or off out in the real world and demanded said person be banned or punished in some way here. It's quite interesting seeing how the replies here are all "no" and yet I could link you to threads calling for blood (I won't, so don't ask. If you know what situations I'm referring to you can probably find them for yourself).
Yeah, I've seen this on quite a few sites, including TAZ.

Obviously the majority of people here don't act in this way, and it seems most forum owners are sane enough to realise that trying to police the internet is a bad idea. Which I 100% agree with; it's not really your business how someone acts elsewhere, in the same way it's not your boss/employer's business what's happening in your personal life.

But there are some people who clearly think otherwise, and I'm still curious as to why they think that way. Would be interesting to see someone behind a site like say, ResetEra try and justify the opposite behaviour.
 

zappaDPJ

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It's not really good to play world police. And frankly, this is the internet where everyone is anonymous or at-least semi-anonymous, all someone has to do is make a new account with a fake name and no one would be able to ever tell.
I'd argue it's not quite as clear cut as that. As I said earlier I've banned members from my forums because it's been brought to my attention that those members were causing others real harm elsewhere. Obviously you need to err on the side of caution and beware false accusations but ironically in every case I can recall the member concerned provided enough evidence to hang themselves.

That said it's actually quite astonishing how easy it can be to track people with bad intentions across the Internet. As Lisa has quite rightly said it's happened here on TAZ a number of times. I guess bad news travels fast.
 

Philpug

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How people act elsewhere is not my problem. Ther eis anotehr forum that is similar to ours that has a totally different vibe. Ours is a restaurant that serves booze, that one is a strip club that serves food. A third forum banned a member then told us that that member should be banned on our site, that member has been nothing but a model citizen for us.
 

Wes of StarArmy

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You can say "it's not my problem" but it can become your problem. Just look at all the stuff that happened with ZAK S. With mob justice it only takes accusations/allegations, which could be true, but also could be BS. I wasn't involved and I don't know him or the accusers so I don't know what to make of it. But what I do know is the guy became Plutonium after that...dangerous to touch. forced conventions, publishers, and forums to choose to either:
  1. Publicly reject the dude with a statement, ban, etc
  2. Endure massive wrath of their niche's community including boycotts, negative reputation, and social media campaigns against them
If the perception is the member is dangerous, then having them in your community is not going to be able to claim it's a safe space for its members.

So if your community takes a stance against racism, for example, you might not want to allow known KKK members to hang out on your forum, even if they haven't violated your forum's rules. It's not your job to like, background check every one your members but if something comes to your knowledge, now you're faced with a decision and trying to solve your dilemma by burying your head in the sand and saying you NEVER see/act on anything outside of your forum is kind of irresponsible.

My policy is: I can only control what I control. Members should report abuse to whoever runs the venue in which is it occurring. So if it's on my forum or on the Discord server I run, bring it to me or my mods. If it's another server I don't run, don't bring it to me. But if I become aware of a dude joining only to harass one of my members, or the dude is a known awful person who will only bring my community down, or whose presence will be a PR disaster, yeah I'll consider banning that dude. My website's my clubhouse not a DMV or a public subway restroom. I have no obligation to welcome undesirable people into it.
 
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