Featured How do you handle off-forum harassment on your forum?

Discussion in 'Community Organization' started by Hentai, Dec 4, 2019 at 5:05 PM.

  1. Hentai

    Hentai Enthusiast

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    So this is a quandary that has been troubling my moderation team over the last week and we have failed to reach consensus amongst ourselves. I was hoping some outside input could help put things in perspective and help me reach a decision.

    How do you handle harassment amongst your community members that happens on platforms you don't control? How should we as stewards of a community handle negative interactions off-site on non-official channels?

    What about things as serious as death threats or unwanted sexual advances? Does your off-forum policy change based on the severity and context of said supposed harassment and the manner it is reported to you?

    IE: Community members harassing other community members on social media: Twitter/Tumblr/Discord/etc.
     
  2. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    There is a similar thread here that you might find useful or it would if I could find it... I'll keep looking.

    In general I'd only be concerned about what occurs on my forum. There have been a few very rare occasions when I've acted on something that has happened elsewhere but only because a serious crime was involved.
     
  3. doubt

    doubt Tazmanian

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    Not my business what they do on other platforms.
     
  4. Hentai

    Hentai Enthusiast

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    I am of the same mind, I definitely don't want to be the internet police.

    In my case, a certain clique of users has used that hands-off policy to say "X forum staff doesn't care about harassment" on social media. It definitely feels like a brigading-style attack on my forum's reputation, especially with people doing callout posts specifically mentioning admins.

    Until now we have avoided responding directly as we want to handle things as tactfully as possible but I am not sure if any action is in our best interests. I don't think it is possible to appease the "woke" audience but at the same time doing nothing and hoping everything blows over feels very bad.
     
  5. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    It certainly does, I've face a similar situation here but sometimes (not all the time) it's the best way to defuse a situation with the minimum fall out. You may alienate a few members but the majority stay loyal. I can't say if that's your best option but It's worth considering :)
     
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  6. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

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    It's not my problem. Handling such problems is the responsibility of the staff on that other site.
    If such problems happen on my site, then I will intervene. Playing internet police is an intractable position, nor can I do it effectively or fairly.

    I have dealt with very problematic users before who have doctored screenshots to try to frame people they didn't like.
     
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  7. overcast

    overcast Adherent

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    So I know a woman who moves from forum to forum and she tends to create drama on most of the forum where I am part of. I have seen her contacting every forum admin and telling them which people to keep and let go on the forums. I think such toxic backbitching behavior has caused many admins to lose members and activity on forums. I don't know how to handle such type of members on forums. I personally have sternly asked that woman to stay in her limits and not cause issues on forums where I moderate or own.
     
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  8. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

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    These types of troublemakers are very difficult to deal with, but luckily, very rare. People occasionally get emotional about controversial subjects, sometimes even myself (for better or worse), but there is rarely any actual malice or lingering resentment. There isn't much you can really do, other than keeping your wits about you, and making sure that you keep things in order.

    There is a name for this type of person, but it escapes me. I hope that giving them a warning will serve as a deterrent and to show that you don't tolerate such conduct, sometimes people will do it because they think they can get away with it.
     
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  9. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    The question is, what can you hope to accomplish by responding to them? To the outside observer, I think it would look very much like a forum airing it's dirty laundry in public. Better to take the high road and let them have their rant without adding to the drama.
     
  10. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

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    Easy, it's just not our responsibility to police.

    Any investigation into offsite harassment is done purely for informative purposes and usually doesnt result in action other than recommendations on how best to avoid harassment (disabling notifications, pm reception from non-contact, editing out personal information or access to it...).

    Any abuse committed on platforms like FB and Discord actually needs to be reported to their own moderation services (board/group admins) unless participants prefer talking things out peacefully. An account suspension there could however lead to more significant escalation than a ban on a dinky forum...
     
  11. Ingenious

    Ingenious Fan

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    There is no "off forum" policy IMHO... it's not our jobs as forum admins to police what goes on outside of the forum unless it directly involves us. There is also a great danger in being sucked into disputes where we have no idea who is telling the truth.

    A sad fact of running a forum is you cannot please all of the people all of the time. You can show you do care about serious things like harassment by posting up a statement saying you are aware of some accusations being made and with advice encouraging victims to report it to the police but equally you can point out that the nature of the internet and social media means you can never know who is telling the truth and it is well beyond your remit to get involved. Why not update your forum rules or posting guides to cover the subject in broad terms ("Sadly, with the best will in the world we are unable to get involved with third party disputes or disputes that happen beyond our forum, such as on social media.")?

    Or you can ignore it and come to terms with that another sad fact of running a forum: Someone, somewhere will always hate you for no reason whatsoever :rolleyes:
     
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