Safe with Anonymity


Trekkie Admin
Jun 8, 2005
section31rpg submitted a new Article:

Safe with Anonymity

Safe with anonymity

Most people these days are a member of several forums. I myself run at least 2 forums and I am responsible for the safety of my members.

Most recently I had to ban some troublesome members. It seems that on the various forums I travel there are increasing numbers of people who are aggressive, confrontational and damn annoying.

These people seem to think that they can say whatever they want without any adverse reaction. These people hide behind their anonymity as if it were a cloaking device. Our job as a forum admin is made increasingly difficult by these people. Instead of making sure that the technical side of the board is working, we have to be shepherds to the community that we run.

There has been a steady increase with people called trolls or flamers. These people register at a forum, usually with a disposable email address (a free email address) or they use someone else’s without their knowledge. These people then attack members or the admin themselves with little or no regard to the thoughts of the people around them. The emotional damage some people have taken from the trolls and flamers can make the so afraid to even post a message on a forum ever again!

So there’s nothing we can do to prevent trolls or flamers, but we can always make it more difficult for them to access our boards and our community. Trolls and Flamers like to target people who have personal problems or seem an easy target. That person is then victimized in public and the trolls and flamers feel great, even more so when their target bites back. It’s like adding petrol to a fire. These people hide through their anonymity, and they believe that we as admins cannot do anything to them.

Well we can. We can record their IP addresses, ban them using the email addresses, their IP addresses can be banned from the server. Also we can report them to their ISP’s, but most of the time we ban them from our boards and hope they just give up.

Some times it works, other times it doesn’t, all we can do is hope to strike a balance between a police officer and a friend. Trying to be the diplomat is the hardest part of being an admin. With so many internet users it’s hard work maintaining our online communities as a safe place to be.

Usually flaming happens because of a misunderstanding or because one person doesn’t like another. Most of the reasons why it happens are quite trivial. It seems that our forum boards are being...

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