Would you ban political leaders for breaking site rules?

Discussion in 'Members & Staff' started by cheat_master30, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

    Recently, there's been a bit of controversy over sites like Twitter, and how they added exceptions to some of their rules for world leaders. Like for instance, the president of the US or the prime minister of the UK would only get rule breaking tweets hidden rather than removed outright, and the account left to stand even if anyone else would be banned for similar actions.

    So that got me wondering... what would you do if a 'world leader' registered on your forum and broke the rules? Would you treat them like anyone else? How would you treat someone like say, Donald Trump if they became a member of your community?
  2. \o/

    \o/ an oddity

    Depends on the leader. I’d rather ban Killary than Trump. Either way, having a prominent person on the platform will inevitably give you attention (and revenue), regardless of their reputation.
  3. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

    The issue with Twitter here is that they used to be all "free speech", but now they're really tightening down with the censorship, and this is starting to be particularly apparent when world leaders who don't much care for the rules break them on a regular basis.
    I would assume that it is a troll who is masquerading as Donald Trump, I have seen one of those before and they ended up getting banned iirc.

    You don't really want world leaders on your platform however, as their mere presence is drama.
  4. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Senior Citizen

    No member is above the rules. Even I have to follow the rules of my own forum. Breaking the rules doesn't always result in banning, but repeated violations do.
    My forum deals in the flooring industry, and members include those who sell and install flooring. At least one of my members has complained about not being paid for work he contracted to do for a Trump business, which resulted in discussion of rumors that this has happened to other contractors in other industries. While I have no doubt he has fans even among my membership, discussion of politics is forbidden by one of my forum rules. Discussion of bad customers, however, is not forbidden (and likewise bad contractors). I can only imagine there would be drama and someone would probably break one of our other rules forbidding personal attacks. My regular members, all pros, are very well behaved, so my guess is that it would not be one of them that would break that rule. And since my personal feeling for Trump is that he is the most despicable person to ever hold the office he now holds (and there have been some bad ones in both parties), my bias would likely cause me to ban him for even the slightest infraction and I would have the best night's sleep in nearly 3 years.

    But alas, people like that don't join forums like mine. They have people who have people that do that kind of research. So it's a blessing that I don't have to worry about stuff like that. But I can dream. ;)
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  5. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    No. They'd answer to leadership directly, small staff would not be allowed to freely tamper with their clearances, memberships and accounts with the prior knowledge and approval of management. This would ensure every situation is thouroughly investigated, not expedited by keyboard pistoleros shooting first.

    In the days this couldve looked like different class-based rules, but consider that members and backers of a community arent necessarily members of the forum and their account there could be just a technically extended clearance of another site's membership (ie, frontpage writers need to be able to join internal staff discussions or forum betworks with singlesignin logins).
  6. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

    I like to think everyone gets treated equally on my forums no matter who they are and I generally wouldn't have a problem with any political leader joining my forum but...

    ... supposing that politician was to use modern parlance, a 'bad actor' intent on genocide?
  7. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

    Well, since I didn't give my own views here, I'll say it now:

    I wouldn't treat a politician or political leader differently to any other member here. If Donald Trump joins for instance, I'd apply the rules the same way as anyone else, regardless of whether the users want him banned/don't want him banned/whatever. Same goes with anyone else, whether that be Boris Johnson/Angela Merkel/Justin Trudeau/etc.

    Never been the kind to offer special treatment for anyone on any site.
  8. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

    There was a policitian who wanted to go back to the old days where wives had to do as their husbands commanded, that the age of consent would be abolished, that incest laws would be abolished, etc.

    That sort of character would stir the pot a lot, although a pretty small character in the U.S. as a whole, so yeah, it can get pretty bad. He also went around saying all sorts of horrible things on forums, or so the news article showed.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  9. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

    There was a case of a number of politicians being extremely racist on online forums when they thought no one could tell it was them. People discovered it as they used their work emails to register on the sites lol
  10. cheat_master30

    cheat_master30 Moderator

    That's definitely the kind of behaviour that would get a political leader banned from a forum I run, though it'd be because the on site behaviour is terrible/against the rules rather than because of their personality/status as a whole.
  11. Nev_Dull

    Nev_Dull Anachronism

    Back in the real world...

    While we, as individual forum owner/admins might treat political leaders the same as everyone else, if the forum was run by a corporate entity (like Twitter), it would likely make exceptions for those same leaders because that's just how the world works. You don't want to spank the hand that can spank you.
  12. Somniloquent

    Somniloquent Enthusiast

    World leaders posting on Twitter are addressing the public at large, but if they join my site, it would be because they're interested in our niche hobby. They wouldn't get special treatment, since the site isn't about politics. We have members from the US, China, Hong Kong, Russia, etc. Politicians are welcome to join, but I'd hope they'd go incognito and keep a low profile.
  13. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Deplatforming surely sounds viable to those who consider it, but tampering with memberships and clearances can get messy if you consider a political leader's offensive idea can be posted by different people (themselves, representatives, regular commenters dropping a quote, feed bot/link). Ban everyone?

    On social media, users post their opinions to their own pages which people can access and link, unlike with forums where submissions are contributed to a common public pool and relative anonymity fosters free expression and discussion of ideas rather than focus on the identity of the speaker. Even the most controversial subjects deserve a discussion as long as people are interested in doing so and within the confines of site TOS, and as long as those topics are not explicitly disallowed (like war/politics and porn often are).
  14. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    If I couldnt get them to respect the rules, I might moderate their posts --
  15. overcast

    overcast Adherent

    In one of our forums we are already invaded with feminists and left wing attacking religion and marriage system. So yeah I'd go for banning left wing folks and SJWs without blinding an eye.
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  16. pierce

    pierce Habitué

    Twitter is a private company and they can implement the rules as they wish.

    The problem with my belief is that if they ban somebody and the way there are a few companies (FB/Google/Snapchat) that control 99% of the news people recieve is they are able to practice mass censorship like Alex Jones (who is total scum).

    I'd like to see flat earthers removed too.(complete scum worse than Jones).

    But here in lies a problem. What if I need these platforms to share my belief of something? Any my views were opposed in the same way.. it's nearly impossible.

    So while I'd like to see content removed I find myself conflicted with the importance of expression.

    Too often we oppose an alternative view as offensive (against the rules) rather than being critical and saying I don't agree with you but it's not breaking the rules.
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  17. HotRodCarts

    HotRodCarts Aspirant

    I wouldn't treat them any differently than any other members.
  18. PixelDust

    PixelDust Neophyte

    I suspect we differ in our political views, but I agree with you 100% on this. How do you fairly balance private company rights with the huge market share these companies hold? As you said, they in effect have the ability to practice mass censorship. And if we're honest, these companies all fall to one side of the political spectrum and are actively censoring opposing views.

    It's a question I've been thinking about for some time. I would love to hear the thoughts of other members on this. Although it's related, maybe it's a discussion that warrants its own thread.

    As for the original question, would I treat a political leader differently? Probably yes, to an extent. One of my larger sites is focused on writing and publishing, and we recently had this issue with a prominent member of the publishing community. He was very knowledgeable, but also very abrasive. Many of our members are creative types who tend to be ultra sensitive and prone to drama. As you can imagine, this wasn't a good combination and we had a large number of complaints and rage-quits.

    In this situation, we did end up giving this member more leeway on his behavior. Part of it was because he carries a large amount of weight in our industry. Another part of it was because while he would very clearly test the boundaries, for the most part he didn't technically cross them. Many of the issues were caused by his obnoxious behavior, but an equal number were over-reactions to his his behavior by other members.

    In the end, his abrasiveness (perceived or genuine) became such an issue it was disruption the forum and began to change our site's whole tone. I had to speak with this member twice and ask him to tone it down or he would need to move on. The second time, he ended up leaving the site. I actually believe he was enjoying the drama and didn't like when we called him out on it. So the problem solved itself.

    Granted, that's not a political figure, but there are many similarities. Both are powerful and potentially divisive. And while we do strive to treat all our members fairly and equally, we did give him more latitude because of of his influence and potential to benefit (or harm) our site's reputation.
  19. Wes of StarArmy

    Wes of StarArmy Adherent

    There probably are some celebrities and political dudes already posting on our (TAZ members') forums, but under pseudonyms/usernames that don't reveal their identities. This lets them participate and "be real" without having to use their "PR face."
  20. vikvaliant

    vikvaliant Aspirant

    It depends on the subject of the site and how the political person is using it. If they are using it in an official capacity, the way Trump uses Twitter, I would treat them differently because the law (at least in the U.S.) also makes some differentiation. For example, a court ruled last year that Trump cannot block users on Twitter because he uses the account as an official public forum, so he cannot block constituents' access because of their political views.

    However, if a politician has both an official and personal account, and does not use the personal account for official business, then I suppose the personal account would be treated like any other. For example, Mitt Romney's recent revelation that he had a secret Twitter account named Pierre Delecto.

    It would be similar to email, where politicians get tripped up using their personal email accounts for official business. Causing the personal email account to be subpoenaed.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
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