Splinter Group

Discussion in 'Members & Staff' started by THM, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. THM

    THM Aspirant

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    Some moderators get fired for breaking rules, and decide to get even. They start their own competing site with yours.

    Before they leave, they use your site's PM system to get email addresses of people they want to invite to their new site by asking them in PM for their email address. They use your PM system to invite people to their site. They get IP addresses using their mod powers to ban the you and your site's management from seeing their site. They call members and say terrible things about you.

    A lot of the members are friends of theirs, and come to their site. They leave a gap in your site. The former moderators tell people to let others on your site know where they are now.


    Questions:

    1 Are the moderators guilty of anything? What do you do about them?

    2. What about the members who go with the moderators?
    Do you restrict their accounts to preventt any further emails or PMs from them to people inviting them to the splinter site?

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2018
  2. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

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    I would fire and ban any moderator who did that sort of thing. If I knew a regular member was recruiting for them, I'd turn off PMs and emails for them. I will not, however, use any tool to read their PMs, that's a privacy line I won't cross. I'd also add their web site URL to the censor words.
     
  3. Pete

    Pete Developer

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    My experience of this - having been on both sides of this particular debate in my time - is that the best thing to do is actually let them go, quietly and without fuss.

    Splinter groups rarely capture the spirit of the original environment and flounder and die quickly because it's not like the original. Sometimes, and it seems to be the edge case, the splinter group thrives. Very, very occasionally it might cause the original community to wither and die but if that's genuinely the case, the original community was probably already broken and being propped up by the group that left.

    Largely the same holds true for software forks, too, and for the same reason; the software ends up being merely a common factor between the people working on it and it's the people working together that make it happen.
     
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  4. djbaxter

    djbaxter Tazmanian Veteran

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    Name and URL plus the names of those in the splinter group and/or those who started the competition.

    No reason for you to give them free recruiting or advertising.

    Do this as soon as they leave.
     
  5. Maddox

    Maddox Moderator

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    I've been involved with this situation before - the result was that the original site (which I owned) died - sad but that's the way it goes. The splinter group made a complete hash of their new environment and it died too. The end result was that everyone lost out. It happens. Some people think they can do a better job than you, but being a moderator is a far cry from being a site owner and often these 'I can do it better' types fall flat on their butts when faced with what administration involves in starting and keeping a site alive.

    There's nothing anyone can do to prevent these splits from happening - what really needs to be examined is how did the split come about and what can be done to prevent it happening again; that's the $64,000 question. Everything has a lifespan and everything eventually dies, it's what you do between those two times that matters. So, let them go - its not worth wasting your breath over them.

    ;)
     
  6. THM

    THM Aspirant

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    Do I have any action legally or with the authorities for what they did?

    As you guys said, they don't know how to run a forum.
    All they will do is use my resources to wreck my forum,
    Theirs will not be successful.
    I disabled PMs. Many of the jumpers were pissed.
    I assume they were going to do it some more.
     
  7. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

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    Manipulating users for their own gain sounds a bit treasonous, but that only affects your personal and professional relationships with them.

    What's certain is the loss of a number of staff will leave openings current underappreciated members of the community can fill. Replacing discredited staff with fresh blood can counterbalance the damage from losing some staff and powerusers.

    The creation of splinter sites is an opportunity to gain awareness of issues, resolve them on the original websites, and demonstrate your management and staff are more in tune with users' preoccupations and provide the superior, more ethical experience. Eventually the exilees might go back or maintain dual membership if they do not or no longer feel they might become targets of persecution. Forums built from hatred are generally toxic, feature excessive ranting and membership there is often unenjoyable and shortlived.
     
  8. Maddox

    Maddox Moderator

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    I would say that they haven't done anything illegal, damned annoying for sure; contacting people with a view to going somewhere else is not an illegal act especially if they had access to a facility that you provided to allow them to do that, then again it's damned annoying, but not illegal.

    If you see people jumping ship and they are still a member on your site, send them a PM and ask if there is a reason for their leaving and if there is anything that you need or can do in order to retain them.

    :)
     
  9. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    I'm with Pete on this. If you let yourself get caught up in a cycle of suspicion and malice, nobody wins. Many new forums are begun from members and staff who become unhappy with their old forum, or just think they can do better. Many fail miserably but sometimes they really can do better.

    Do nothing to go after those people. Instead, take it as an opportunity to examine your site and your practices. It's easy to become stagnant. Maybe they have a good reason for leaving. Maybe you need to make some changes to your forum; make it the place people want to be. That's the best defense against splinter groups and other startups.
     
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  10. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

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    This is pretty much exactly what I was going say. Splinter groups tend not to last particularly long, and any forum or site created due to disagreements with an existing one is usually prone to fail quickly. Usually cause they only talk about site drama while failing to provide much of a community to talk about the original topic, which is an issue basically every troll and hater site tends to have.

    Of course, you should probably remove moderators that go along with this sort of thing (and maybe restrict access to the PM system for such parties in general), but don't get too worried about how to 'fight back' or what not overall. Unless your forum is terribly run/terminally dependent on a tiny group of people, something like this will probably not kill it off, and in a week or two everything will be back to normal again.
     
  11. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    Highly unlikely and even if you did do you have got the spare funds to support bringing an action against them? If you lose you would probably have to pay their costs as well as your own.

    The one exception might be if they start reposting your site's content. If your terms and conditions are in order I would issue a DMCA notice.

    As am I...

     
  12. Paul M

    Paul M Dr Pepper Addict

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    In the last 15 years we have had at least 4 forums started up by so called "splinter groups", all of them are now dead.
     
  13. Pete

    Pete Developer

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    Exactly, because the only thing holding them together is a central pillar of 'not being the original community', rather than whatever the original community was about - and that anger tends to burn off pretty quickly.
     
  14. THM

    THM Aspirant

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    Do you have sample terms and conditions that would allow this? They essentially cloned my site.
     
  15. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    Note that it's not something your can apply retrospectively but something along these lines should suffice:

    Any and all of the content presented on yoursite.com is, unless explicitly stated otherwise, subject to a copyright held by yoursite.com. It is permissible to link to content from this site as long as the original source is clearly stated, but the wholesale reproduction or partial modification of content is not permitted. Exceptions are granted only if you receive prior written consent from yoursite.com.
     
  16. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

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    That only applies, however, if you actually hold the copyright on the content. On most forums copyright stays with the author. However, you may have something in your TOS that gives you exclusive publishing rights. That should be good enough. It's semantics, but if you're looking at legal avenues, you should be precise.
     
  17. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    That gave me cause to check the terms on all my forums. Some, written by people with a better understanding than me, use the term 'property' rather than copyright.

    I'm currently having all my terms rewritten to suit GDPR so I'll get that looked at. Thanks for the heads-up.
     
  18. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Moderator

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    You can do the same thing as Getty Images in their user agreement for photographers they do not claim copyright but a license but they can go to court on your behave to defend the license that is exclusive.
     
  19. THM

    THM Aspirant

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    How would you add a copyright notice to the footer, similar to the one that Xenforo and addons use that would say
    "Copyright 2018 Yoursite.com"?
     
  20. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

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    LOL. I was one of the "splinter group" forums. (not from paul - different site) 10 years later I have 4 times the members and posts of the original forum.

    However, I didn't do anything unethical like send pms or steal email lists.
     
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