Getting back the good-old-times community

Nbleven

Think Different.
Joined
Jan 1, 2006
Messages
1,134
Nbleven submitted a new Article:

Getting back the good-old-times community

Do you have a lot of members not respecting the forum rules? Are the troublemakers? Are they annoying? You don't know what step to take to calm them down? You're scared to be too strict or not enough? Wow, these are a lot of problems to resolve! Actually, it's simple. I've had a forum of 500 members and I had a hard time to deal with the troublemakers. They were insulting eachother, messing up many sections and topics, send private messages to other members and scaring them or harrassing them. In a few months, I managed to deal with these troublemakers. You must think that I banned them. I did. It seems easy to ban; you just to click on the "ban" option. Actually it's much more difficult. Behind all of that, you've got members who can complain if the admin doesn't have a valuable reason to ban members and the banned ones can come hack your forum.

Let's do step by step. When you built your forum, always get protected by specialised people so that you don't get hacked in the minute that comes. You should know that even if you don't ban your forum troublemaker(s), they can still hack your forum. So, keep a little money to get protected. That way, if your forum community doesn't respect rules, you'll have easier way to ban members. Of course, you need to be protected well. Don't get a hoster from the middle of nowhere!
Let's say that today you've reached a 100 members forum. Your community seems okay even thought you've got few troublemakers but no that big of a deal. Now that your forum has a big amount of members, you'll need to hire a team of two very good moderators. Do not hire random active-members-of-your-forum moderators, they maybe have no moderating experience. Few tips to help you find the right moderators:

-Ask the person for a forum experience resume.
-Be sure he has already been moderator or administrator!
-Try to ask him few questions concerning his private profil and his spear time on the internet.

Now that you hired your moderators, you need to get them prepared. Send them an email about the forum global behavior. For example, if it's a good forum where the community is nice, respects the rules, and respect each other, if it's a bad community where there are a lot of troublemakers. Every forums have a different global behavior. The moderators need to be prepared to anything and need to lock, errace, edit posts that are not respecting the forum rules. It's even better if they help the administrator(s) to find a way to stop...

Read more about this article here...
 
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Medora

The New Architect
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
1,998
Feh. My staff don't negotiate with troublemakers. If a troublemaker refuses to follow the rules, we hit him over the head with the blunt side of a mace and throw him to the bears. We're not going to tolerate defiance. The consequences rest solely on our mood at the time, and we don't operate on precedence, nor do we care if people complain. In fact, we even added this sentiment to our rules and pointed out that, if you have a problem, you're free to leave, or we'll make you leave, if you don't choose to deal with it. People have to be reminded that their being there is a privilege, not a right, and that disrespecting the rules is the equivelent of going into each one of our (the staff's) homes and swiping your dirty shoes on the carpet and otherwise doing whatever you please.

Many may think that this caused many to leave, or that we're very strict. We're not. It's just that we lay it down hard when it counts. Only a few members have left, but the entirety of these people who left consist of people who can't handle a little taste of non-suger coated, real life (Wah! He disagrees with my opinion and called me a dumbo! And that's wrong despite the fact that he backed up his argument with valid points!) and trolls who have no intention of being fair, and who won't back up their freakin' arguments. Me and my staff have rarely banned people, though.

The troll I was speaking about consistently refused to back up his arguments, and, in response to rebuttals made against his points, he would keep posting vaguely related articles. We (staff and members alike) enjoyed mocking him for his stupidity, and he was only banned after he asked what it would take to get banned and said he'd try to meet the requirements to attain it.

Many of the people who remain active on my forum consist of kind, contributive members. Yeah, I'm serious. Despite our attitude and way of dealing with troublemakers, there are a lot of people who're easy to get along with and don't lash out everytime you disagree with them. In fact, this should be expected. Also, a lot of former spammers are now more contributive and remain active.

Forget calming them down. I'm going to let them know how it's going to be, and, if they don't like it, they'll either meet the requirements of further discipline, or learn to deal with it, or leave. I think what would be worse for the staff are to neglect being decisive, and to appear weak. It'll not make a good example for them, making them think they can do as they please, or not try as hard as they would if you were smashing troublemakers to bits on the first sign.

Ioudas (fellow admin) and I said:
Ioudas Omnis says:
"Do not feed the admins"
Hyperion says:
Haha.
Hyperion says:
Yes.
Hyperion says:
Go ahead, feed the trolls. That's more meat for us to chew on for dinner.
Ioudas Omnis says:
Yum, troll-casserole.
The rules for my forum are posted in an announcement titled The Rules.
 
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Nbleven

Think Different.
Joined
Jan 1, 2006
Messages
1,134
Well, it's sure a technique but think about it: won't you loose your community more easily?
 

Medora

The New Architect
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
1,998
If by losing my community, you mean losing the negative parts about it, then yes. Maintaining a community (as in not alienating everyone else and making many of them leave) while dealing with troublemakers resolutely and decisively takes an attitude and ability with language that some staffs just lack. I consider myself quite weak when dealing with such troublemakers as the worst of trolls, but I've equipped myself with staff members who're much better at this. If you have the time, take a look at the StarDestroyer.Net forum. They have the same attitude, and are even "worse", you may say, but they have a very contributive and active community, minus being overtaken by the trolls, spammers, and other troublemakers.

If you have what it takes, it's much better to be ruthless with the troublemakers than it is to be Ghandi-esque. Not dealing with them effectively and allowing them to roam about without fear puts many of your better members into hiding (or drastically cuts down their contributions and activity), afraid that they'll be ruthlessly cut down by the troublemakers if they speak, and makes your braver ones feel alienated and betrayed, and they will resort to sinking down to their level on a much more consistent basis, using your forum less as a place to exchange valuable points, than to engage in pointless arguments with the troublemakers, while likely coming less often.
 
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The Hammer

Neophyte
Joined
Feb 24, 2006
Messages
2
I agree with Zulehan, which is unsurprising because I an admin at his forum (though I go by Saint there, a username which has already been taken here).

Frankly, we don't have any patience for fools. I see no reason to waste time trying to placate people who do not contribute. Very rarely have I seen someone's forum manner actually change from bad to good.

To be clear, we ban very rarely. But we--and specifically, I--make no allowances for fools and morons. I don't hesitate to point out the stupidity of members who make it their business to cause trouble. In doing so, they are encouraged to leave of their own free will.

Bottom line, it comes down to how soft and cuddly you want your forum to be. At TIP, we make a point of not sugar coating things. We know that people are going to disagree, argue, and flame, and we allow it within reasonable limits. This has worked out well for us, and our member base tends to be honest about what they're thinking, and it leads to good discussions. Sure, it does sometimes lead to unpleasantness but that's a fact of life.

Our approach to trouble makers is an extension of this. If someone is causing problems, we're not going to be nice to him. We're going to say what we're thinking, which generally is that the member is a fool who gets off on causing trouble.

Often, troublemakers are seeking attention and WANT to be punished. That's why you get people screaming things like "Ban me if you want, because you're all nazis who hate people that disagree with you!" But you don't have to ban them, or even punish them most of the time. I've found that simply opposing them, you show them rather quickly that this isn't a place that is going to take their crap. If you're nice, they'll think you're push overs. If you solve all your problems with bannings, then they'll think you're forum Nazis. But if you genuinely oppose them, they don't know WHAT to think.
 

Nbleven

Think Different.
Joined
Jan 1, 2006
Messages
1,134
I understand what you mean but what I was trying to say on my article is how to get troublemakers better than banning them. In my experience, I had a lot of troublemakers that I had to deal with and when I banned them, members would complain and it could reach the far top complaints! That's because troublemakers made their troubles throw private messaging and not on public posts. Of course, your cases seem to be different but it's interesting to know how you deal with troublemakers as you don't seem to have any complaints of banning which I could say you are lucky!
 

VirtualBurn

Aspirant
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
10
Well I have had a couple of instances where members have been banned from the board and booted from channels. As long as you have given them fair warning and other members are aware of this, then I see no issue in removing them from the board.

After I removed an Admin one time who was harsh, disrespectful and a complete ass at times with members; the board took a complete turn around, members became more active, more people felt they could speak in the channel.. I was quite amazed and didn't realize what an impact he was having on everything.

It was a tough decision, but the rules are there for a reason.

Creating silly forums is not a sollution, you are just giving in to them, and I bet a lot of members resented the fact the 2 trouble makers got the jobs...

Do Not mistake Weakness for Diplomacy.

...are you the Admin or not? It's not just the mods you should discuss this with, it's the members of the community aswell, if a members knows he is on trial then his actions will change, if they don't then you know he doesn't care about the board or the community.

~Vb

~ps the first step I would have taken with your members was to disallow them to send any Private Messages - wouldn't that be an obvious decision?
 
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