My first problem member and his nasty emails!

Discussion in 'Members & Staff' started by classixuk, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. classixuk

    classixuk Enthusiast

    Hi TAZ'ers,

    I just wanted to let you know that I am no longer an admin virgin as I had my first run in with a problem member last week.

    We moved servers and changed forum software (as well as CMS) all at the same time and (as far as our members could see) on the same day, although they were pre-warned.

    Well during the conversion of the forum posts from eBlah to SMF, some of the posts were labelled under the wrong usernames (around 5%). Not a biggie though, right?

    Wrong! :hopeless:

    I got this email first (names etc. changed for privacy reasons):

    The following post, "Example title 1" by Alan has been reported by Bob on a board you moderate:

    The reporter has made the following comment:
    THIS IS BOB somebody has taken over my computer or hacked this site.....bob was changed to alan or girlfriend cathy found it and we got bigger problems...hurry up and contact me at or delete everything.....this is not a joke...I didn't download that ****...

    Then this one:

    The following post, "Example title 1" by Alan has been reported by bob on a board you moderate:

    The reporter has made the following comment:
    This is Bob, apparently you downloaded all of my comments and every code that links to my photos to Alan....MY WHOLE COMPUTER IS AT ALAN'S MERCY AND RISK...IF EVERYTHING THAT I HAV EON MY COMPUTER GETS EXPOSED OR ON THE INTERNET, THERE'S GOING TO BE A PRICE TO PAY....DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME CLASSIXUK.....GET IT FIXED NOW!!!

    Then I received this private message entitled "rEAD THIS NOW CLASSIXUK"(this is all in the same night):


    or call me at 555-555-5555

    hurry wtrfufvc

    By this point I was beginning to get annoyed, as my moderator contacted me to say she was receiving PMs also "threatening to sue", so I reset the member's username and password then emailed the member:


    There was a simple problem with the conversion from one database to another. Your username and password were associated with posts made by Alan and vice-versa. The problem is now fixed and you should have by now (if not soon) received an email explaining that your password has been reset.

    Your username is now associated with the posts you have written and you can change your password to anything you like in your profile.
    Your computer is not, and never was at risk. It was a tiny database error on the new server.

    In future I'd appreciate if you would give me a chance to fix things or investigate before you fly off the handle and swear at me or threaten me. The tone of your private messages tonight can only be described as disappointing; you've let yourself down badly by talking to me like that. I know you are very stressed at the moment with all of the pressures you are facing in life but that's no excuse.

    In future I recommend you "sleep on it" before talking to people like that.


    So then I received this email back:

    Hello I hope this goes to Classixuk

    This is Bob from the forum....

    We have got a huge problem here to solve....First off I re-registered as Bob again, Alan had been put in my place with my posts and photos...Now I can't log in, the link here now says invalid log in...

    So have I been banned from the site??? If so, well I can maybe see why you are mad after the emails I sent...But you don't have a clue to the big picture here yet...There are a lot of things that need to get settled here, whether I am a member or not..

    I have been doing research all evening, about 6 hours now non-stop and I am starting to realize that a lot of things happened simutanously....I need to find out the time frame as to when the site was changed over exactly... US time zone of course...I am in the Central Time Zone in America...

    The problem is that somebody has hacked into my myspace account and got my photos and then put some rather adult photos mixed with them and made a slide show out of it...There are so many factors to this case you would not believe it...It all points in one direction, and that is..defimation of my character...This was not a coincidence, and was not as simple as a mistake from getting the wrong profile user switched around on part of goes much deeper than that..

    I had contacted my computer expert and we were prepared to put a time stamp on the site about the time it was all switched back into the name of Bob...But I can not log in now, so there is only so far that I can go...Also another flaw in this system is the forget your password feature..I went to it, and gave my username and my email address..but got a message as not being a valid username....There should be no email feature on there...If somebody went to log in section somebody could put any email address they wanted into it...Unless it happens to be set up to not accept that attempt if it doesn't match up...

    In the case that I have been banned from the site....Oh well...But I still need to know what is going on here...

    The bottom line is that I believe I got hacked from something at myspace and another website...Most of the questionable photos from the slideshow, which was found on the topic..."Example Topic 2" under the Example Category 1 section, were taken from myspace..some were mine, but the adult content ones were not..So please get back with me..and let me know what is going on here...

    I hope together we can figure this mess out, and make sure it doesn't happen again...


    So at this point I contacted my moderator to ask if she had any further news. She explained to me that Bob's girlfriend had allegedly been browsing my forum on the day it changed over and clicked an external link in Bob's post to go to his myspace site. Upon arriving at his myspace site she clicked a link which brought up a slideshow of scantily clad women and was furious. Not being computer literate (or even possessing any common sense by the sounds of things) she went to his house and broke up with him, blaming his POSTS on MY site! :confused: My moderator was informed about this because the girlfriend had private messaged her (of course, I was forwarded the private messages)!

    Here's one of them:

    this is bob
    do you realize that classixuk put everything from my account on to alan....and now everything from my computer is linked to the entire f***ing world to see????
    what the fucik is going on herere.
    delete this sh*t now...
    shut the whole site down...
    I am going to sue the f*** out of classixuk if you don't I swear to god I will....
    you get in touch with me....

    So, armed with a little insight I replied once more:


    This is the second email I have sent tonight. I have been sending emails to your address. Please check it.

    I haven't got a clue what your problems are with your girlfriend, my space or anything like that. You have not been banned from the site either.

    First let me tell you what happened:
    1. I don't know if you've ever made a simple database or spreadsheet in Excel or Access, but when you do you put information into columns. You name each column with a title like "Price" or "Name".
    2. When the database of posts was transferred over to the new forum, your column of posts was put underneath "Alans" column and vice versa. When you spotted it I fixed it. It was a labelling error in the database.
    3. When I renamed the column called "Alan" to "Bob" you were sent an email with a randomly generated password so that you could log in with the name bob and that password. When you log in you will see that your own posts are in your profile and your post count is back at 76 instead of 7.

    I haven't got a clue about all this porn stuff you're telling me about because you haven't made yourself clear. You only have one picture attached to the post and then a link to your myspace account. Are you saying that when you clicked through to your myspace account it had pictures of pornography on it or that had pictures of pornography? I can't see any pornography anywhere!

    Regardless Bob, you've got the wrong end of a very short stick. Neither I nor my site have anything to do with your myspace account and renaming a column in a SQL database from Alan to Bob does not have any effect on what your girlfriend sees at your myspace account.

    In future I suggest you think before you accuse people of being responsible for something they are not. Your conduct tonight has been alarming to say the least and I won't tolerate threats or abuse of any kind towards any of the users at

    If you wish to use the site or communicate with me it must be in a civil manner.


    I'm telling you, it's just as well I'm a calm person because I've never faced anything like that on any forums I've been involved in before. I felt like pressing the ban button there and then.

    I'd be interested to hear from you guys about your simliar stories or even how you would have handled the above situation. What tips and advice would you offer for any TAZ members facing this type of thing in the future?

  2. MaliciousKitty

    MaliciousKitty Participant

    Wow, what a nightmare. My forum is still baby sized so I haven't had any problems like that (...yet)

    Though, it sounds like he thought his forum account was tied to his personal computer. Access his forum account = access his computer.

    I would have tried to make it clear to him that the forum is hosted on our webserver and has no ties to his personal computer. Nobody could access his personal computer through the forum - and the forum had no control over what he put on myspace because thats a completely different website.

    But still, sounds scary when people are threatening to sue you~
  3. PalePhoenix

    PalePhoenix Prince of Dorkness

    Ban him now. Just skip the bloody headache. :hopeless:

    I don't usually advocate such avoidant means of problem management, but this person is just an intractable pain. Hopefully, you made public announcement of the conversion, advised there could be errors, and your TOS already contained language that reminds people of the obvious, like "We're not responsible for your personal lives" and "Posted content is the property of this board." It's like people who zip in to kick you when you're down, and who don't know how to take 'no' for an answer. If a ban seems too harsh, then don't make it permanent, but definitely give him at least a week (during which time NOBODY can access his account) to learn how to get a grip on reality.

    Of course, if you just want to piss him off further, ban him permanently and say it's for creating a duplicate account without authorization.
  4. Majic

    Majic Aspirant

    A ban in time saves nine. ;)
  5. dojo

    dojo Passionate admin

    I'd go with the bannig myself. I have switched 2 types of scripts (Nuke to phpBB and phpBB to VB) and merged 2 forums (phpBB), while also re-creating an IPB with 1 database on a new script. I always warned previously and told them there might be some errors. No one dared come as hard as this after the changses, even if small errors would happen. Such bad behaviour has only 2 remedies: medication (I would advise them to take some or see a shrink) and banning from my side so that I don't end up taking my previous advice :D
  6. foostar

    foostar Adherent

    Aye, I'd scream ban there too - not to be blunt but he sounds a few sandwiches short of a picnic :didi: Either that, or he has major personality issues. Whichever, you don't need the additional work and hassle, and I'd just ban and get the whole thing over with.
  7. Skamper

    Skamper Enthusiast

    Your forum is your forum, don't play into the hands of an imature person whose behavior shows he/she is obviously hiding something in his personal life. I would investigate the issue, and send my answer.

    People who are computer challenged shall we say, get very frightened when something like that occurs, they simply do not understand that 2 = 2 isn't 5 even in the computer world.

    His behavior, though understandable as it is fear based, is NOT your concern as a forum owner, unless you are a support forum of one kind or another. If his behavior is only in emails and not posted on the forum, has he broken your TOS?

    Ask yourself this...Has this person walked a fine line on my forum before this incident? Has he broken the TOS?

    If he has not done these things, and you ban this member for addressing his concerns to you in an email, albeit a fowl one, are you going against your own TOS? We lead by example.

    I would suggest an addendum to your TOS for dealing with such matters in the future, if you do not already have such. I would also suggest a short email to this member to assure him all is well once more, but then drop the entire issue.

    Bans are a very last resort in my book. It tares the fibre of the community a little bit each time we need to ask someone to leave.

    Just my two cents, I hope it helps.
  8. nitr021

    nitr021 Quantity Surveyor

    you see, if that person was infront of me and i had a crowbar or anything, i would shuv that up his arse and then beat the hell out of him and give him a damn computer book and force him to read each page and eat the page up.
  9. Skamper

    Skamper Enthusiast

    This person truly came from a "Fear Based" knee jerk reaction. * makes a mental note to keep all tools from Nitr021* :)
  10. nitr021

    nitr021 Quantity Surveyor

    by tools you mean everyday objects?
  11. Skamper

    Skamper Enthusiast

    lol * laughs* if it has the ability to fly, then yes! he he

  12. Anat

    Anat Enthusiast

    Well, reading his last message to you, sounds to me like he came to his senses and figured out it wasn't your fault and had nothing to do with your forum. His myspace page got hacked and as bad luck would have it, it just happened on the same day that you forum was updated and the db error took place. So, as far as he can see, everywhere he goes online, something is very wrong with his info. He panics and shoots at all directions. But, as I said, it sounds to me like he came to his senses and is off your case.

    I wouldn't be so quick on the ban button myself. In fact, I would stay away from reprimanding him too. I would keep it all very professional. Repeat what you've said, how this is 100% not your fault and that you feel sorry for what has happened to him. Assure him again that he has not been banned and offer assistance with logging in, just as you would with any other member. Distance yourself and your board from the whole Myspace/girlfriend issues and keep it strictly professional to his problems with your board.

    Not everyone is a computer geek, and getting any of your pages/profiles hacked can be a scary thing, even for geeks. Yes, he was rude and quick to threaten, but some people are just like that. I think you made your case clearly by saying you didn't appreciate the tone, now just move on and treat him same as you would any other member.

    Just my 2 cents. Oh, and congrats on the deflowering! As your board grows, you get the wackos too, not much to be done about it ;) I am dealing with one of my own nutcases today too, if it's any consolation. A member who accuses me and the board for being scammers and supporting fraud. Why? because she's had issues with some cattery where she bought a kitten and we stuck to our policy that does not allow discussing such private matters on the board. She wants to badmouth the breeder and we didn't allow her, so she called us fraudsters, no less. Oh, and let's not forget the "Nazis", posted after we deleted and edited her posts, because we used "censorship"... :rollyeyes: In a PM she sent me, I got the personal title of chicken****, for the whole thing lol. Had to site on my fingers not to reply and let her know what I think of her, but I just let her blow her steam and banned her :D
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Shade

    Shade Enthusiast

    This is a great chance to set policy. From personal expierence you can deal with this 2 ways 1, you can investigate. Which means you spend around 2-40 hours defunking his bull****. It's fun, but it leads no where. As your forum grows and idiots like this get more common, more of these problems will happen. So how much time do you want to spend fixing them?

    #2 is simple. I don't read long complicated problems. Sum up the situation in 5 sentences. If it's 3rd grade bs, i'll simply tell them to deal with it, and if they can't, i'll ban anyone who had any fault at all. Usually i'll send them a copy and paste email saying they might be happy joining neopets. If its a big problem that could hurt the site, then i'll ask about it further. Your mods should deal with the majority of this. Your the owner and admin, your time should only be interupted if its forum threatening.

    Also i am a STRONG believer in rule #3. Any threats with legal action tword this site or it's owners will be meet with legal action. Expect to be baned. If you have a problem, calmly contact the site admin and we will work to resolve it. None of us deal well with threats.

    I have that on every site i own. Simply put, if you want to throw a 8yearold tantrum and threaten me, or want to try to make my life a pain, it's going to cost you.
  14. Puddleduck

    Puddleduck Participant

    Wow, from kittens to invoking Godwin's law in that little time? Girl's got talent :)

    Anyway, I totally agree with Anat's assessment. The idea of having my computer compromised in any way gives me the shudders... just the thought of all of my schoolwork, my site files, personal emails, etc. being taken away from me makes me nervous. I can understand how "Bob" felt, and whilst he was rude in his anxiety, I believe you handled it well. I would hold back on banning, personally, but maybe I'm a masochist :Pleased:
  15. Karl

    Karl XMB Forum Support. Mgr

    A small tip. If your site ever has a similar type issue ever again, turn off your forums till you do fix them 100 %. :)
  16. Leilani

    Leilani Fan

    I think you handled it perfectly and you deserve credit for your patience. I would not ban a member just for being a nublet, even though they can be very irritating.
  17. PalePhoenix

    PalePhoenix Prince of Dorkness

    [bans Leilani for disagreeing with him] :lildevil:

    In most cases, nor would I. I guess everyone is entitled to a rough patch, and a select few to a full-on Spazz Attack, but I really have to ask, "Why must they take it out on the members and staff of the forums they frequent?"

    The answer is usually rooted in their own inability to control themselves or the situation, and the fact that people online aren't entirely 'real' (or 'too real,' in some cases, neither having much to do with reality). The ability to totally ruin someone else's day, feel superior, turn off the computer, and experience no consequences...something has to keep those behaviors in check. Probably not banning someone at the first sign of trouble, of course, but that particular member now merits watching. It's an uncommon blend of the "once burnt" and "fool me once" axioms.

    We have this language already in the guidelines of my board:
  18. Skamper

    Skamper Enthusiast

    This is the first paragraph of my TOS. When I go online, I hope I never need to push a ban button.

  19. PalePhoenix

    PalePhoenix Prince of Dorkness

    Your only issue with such a policy might be that one man's pleasure is another man's poison. It's well-intentioned, but too nebulous. Yes, we all want each and every member of our communities to 'enjoy' themselves, but everyone has their up and down days. Some, more deliberately than others.
  20. Skamper

    Skamper Enthusiast

    I agree it is nebulous, my TOS is also several pages long. I went over board I know, but no member can say they were not warned once I go live. Also, on every single page of my website I have this... might make it my siggie :jiggy:

    It is difficult to know where to draw a line. I like to think that kindness is the other great meat :unhunh:

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