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  1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Suggestion Suspending people before banning them

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by GingerCoffee, Aug 6, 2017.

    Most forums have a system of suspending people before banning them (with exceptions like sock-puppets). Minstrel posted recently that not all bans were permanent. That's confusing.

    Suspensions serve to calm down a situation, like a time out.

    I also wonder if we might have a policy for forum members with communication problems like people with Asperger's and other forums of autism. Seriously objectionable behavior need not be tolerated, but surely sometimes deescalating a situation is preferable to complete intolerance of people with social skills disorders.
     
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  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I feel like this forum is already incredibly tolerable of people who are just making mistakes but are genuinely trying to fit in. If you have examples of complete intolerance of anyone, I'd be interested in seeing it.

    In terms of disorders... what are we going to do, ask to see their documentation? Otherwise, the kind of asshole who trolls communities deliberately is the same kind of asshole who'd have no hesitation about making up a diagnosis.
     
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    We do have such a system. First bans are usually temporary bans (temp-bans or timeouts), unless the behavior is particularly egregious and/or there really is no other constructive behavior to balance out the equation, ergo trolling. Temp bans often go unnoticed by the general populace because the staff does not make announcements concerning such corrective action given that the member will be welcomed back once the temp-ban is over. The post in reference, made by @minstrel, concerns just such an example. Temporary ban, timeout, suspension, it's all just nomenclature for the same thing. Semantics.

    As regards individuals with disorders that affect social interaction, there is simply no viable route to vet such a thing. Even a member's age or gender is only an assumption, given the nature of the medium. And if there were a way to vet it, for argument's sake, it would make for a tiered system of allowances that falls outside the rational scope of expectation for a staff that is composed of unpaid volunteers managing a private venue.

    As noted by @BayView, if anything, the complaint I usually receive is that too much rope was payed out before I reached for the ban-hammer, and I acknowledge that complaint. I would rather err to the side of leniency if I am to err at all. The members I engage regarding corrective action have never once expressed to me a condition or disorder that would medically explain the situation, so I'm not sure what "complete intolerance of people with social skills disorders" is being made reference. I don't aim my attentions at those who are awkward, only those who are asshats.
     
  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    I see what @GingerCoffee is driving at, in this thread. And it reignites a concern that has been nagging at me for a while.

    Of course mods can't be expected to do medical diagnoses of every individual on the forum, including those who might skirt the bounds of acceptability in the posts they make. And I believe our mods do an excellent job of dumping the real disrupters and snidey 'professional' trolls. It's one of the reasons I enjoy being on here. These folk are given very short leads and are not allowed to disrupt things here for very long at all. I have said many times to many people that I feel the mods on this forum do a great job.

    However, I also occasionally see members whose banning bothers me.

    The most recent one was ToeNeeBlack ...the guy who started the thread about the cover design for his book. He mentioned fairly early in the thread that he had Asbergers, and his behavior throughout the thread certainly bore that out. He was courteous, but absolutely 'refused' to take on board the advice people were giving him, and there was every indication that he didn't really 'get' the reasons people didn't like his efforts or thought he should get a professional to design his covers for him. And he kept trying all sorts of new designs himself, based on correcting what people said they didn't like, and just making the cover designs worse. And at the end of it, he got angry and pulled all his posts. (Which, of course, is a forbidden thing to do on this forum, and it got him banned.)

    At no point (at least nothing I saw) did he say anything to anybody in that thread that was out of line. On the other hand, the thread became quite personally antagonistic towards him—to the point that bullying was actually mentioned by another member, if memory serves me right.

    Once ToeNeeBlack indicated he had Asberger's, I tried to help him by explaining more carefully what the cover design issues were. I actually felt very kindly disposed towards him. However, a lot of the thread deteriorated with people giving him a hard time because he 'wouldn't listen' and etc. This would have been a sensible response to somebody who was just being a know-it-all with ego issues. But to an Aspergers person, or a person with high-level autism, this kind of reaction frustrates the hell out of them. They truly don't understand what they've done to garner these negative remarks they're getting, and they truly don't understand what they're supposed to do to change things. However, they are desperately trying to do the right thing, so they change this, try that. When their efforts fail to please, they get upset. Pulling posts seems to me to be exactly what a frustrated and confused Aspergers/Autistic person would do, to make the issue go away.

    Of course I might be missing the boat entirely here, and if the mods know something about this guy that I don't, fair enough. However, it's not the first time I've had doubts about certain people getting banned for over-reaction to frustration on a thread. And let's face it. Some threads can get quite snotty and dismissive of certain people, viewpoints, and word choices and escalate into general ganged-up unpleasantness—hence the 'closed threads' that do appear on occasion. :) While most of us can swallow our indignation over this or that and move on, people with certain disorders find it difficult to do so.

    A person with Asberger's is often very straightforward about their condition, as they are with most things. They also recognise that their contributions might be a bit 'out there' because of their condition. Subterfuge isn't in their nature.

    If there was a thread (something like the one @Tenderiser started for people with mental health issues) specifically for people with Asberger's, attention deficiency disorders, and Autism to discuss their condition in a safe space, that might be something we could all work with? A thread like this would provide a pointer for the rest of us, to recognise who these members are. We can be aware that these members will take what is said literally, and will not find it easy to read between the lines on a post, to understand certain kinds of humour, or necessarily know when it's the socially 'done thing' to just let go and move on. Therefore we can temper our responses to them, and try to be understanding of what their condition means.

    I don't know. Again, I think the mods on this forum are excellent, and we can't expect them to be superhuman. But I also think it's a good thing to recognise that Asberger's people often use writing to express themselves or want to become writers (we had one in my own face-to-face writers' group here in Scotland) ...and their offerings may well seem strange to the rest of us. I think if they can self-identify as having the condition, somewhere on this forum, and have a safe space here to discuss issues that bother them, then the rest of us can temper our responses to their posts on ordinary threads accordingly.

    Anyway, I'm trying to see both sides of this issue here.... @Wreybies ,@Kingtype ,@minstrel, @Mckk, @KaTrian, @Komposten @BayView and etc....
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    As Wrey said, this already happens. And I'm one of the ones who thinks the forum is too slow to ban obvious trolls (I believe one came back this weekend, after we'd all breathed a sigh of relief that he was gone??) and don't want to see it get slower.
     
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  6. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I'm sure the concern for people with assorted social issues is entirely well-meaning, but I can't help getting the impression it's a bit coddling, to be honest. I'm autistic and have social anxiety and I do fine around here (at least, I think I do). It wasn't always the case - I absolutely have an embarrassing amount of 'public' meltdowns online for all the world to see - but I learned from my mistakes and now I'm usually able to tell myself to shut up and walk away when appropriate. When I know that I can't behave well, I just don't post. If I fuck up, by all means ban my ass.

    Bad behavior is still bad behavior, rule-breaking is still rule-breaking. I'm all for giving people second chances and being kind (I especially feel this way towards younger members), but I think the mods' responsibility is to keep the community at large afloat, not make exceptions. We should all be held to the same standards, ultimately, IMO.

    If someone wanted to make a thread for ASD folks I'm sure that would be fine, and it could be useful to redirect frustrations (though it'd also take more moderating, like the mental health thread), but I agree that more often than not I wish bans were passed out a little more readily, not less.
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The major problem with having a policy of leniency for people who have aspergers or ADD or whatever is that as @BayView suggested its an open ticket for trolls, edge lords, wank puffins , sock puppets and other creatures that live under stones to claim they have said disorder in order to gain greater leniency.

    The sort of pillock who will lie about their gender, race or whatever will have no problem lying about having a mental disorder. The only way Wrey and co can manage therefore is one rule for everyone sensibly applied

    The other thing is that we have to trust that Wrey and team display good judgement as what we can see as forum members is the swan gliding beautifully on the surface, not the frantic paddling going on beneath the water .... that is we don't know what happened in deleted threads, past hstory, or via pm or reports.

    So when something seems harsh given that @Wreybies and co are not known for being ego driven ban hammer wielding fascist overlords my natural assumption is that someone has not just been banned for say thread spoiling , but for thread spoiling plus general asshattery elsewhere.

    (tbh this thread confuses the ass out of me because both the recent permas were people who had been crying out for the application of Mjölnir for quite some time and had been given second chances already )
     
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  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Also in regard of safe spaces for people with ASD (etc) there are whole forums for that ... do we really want/need the hassle of providing one on a forum that's supposed to be about writing ?
     
  9. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    While I do understand @jannert 's POV here, as well as @GingerCoffee 's, I'm in the camp of the others, and directly in line with @izzybot . I have a 16 year old son with Aspergers and ADHD. I have two children living across the street from me (who I have a fair amount of interaction with) who are both ASD. I have participated in many group situations with kids and adults who have these diagnoses.

    My philosophy has always been that coddling is the incorrect approach. I know that it isn't a popular view these days, but the world will not always adjust to them, and they must learn to recognize, and self-regulate. The world, on the whole, is not a kind place for them, and teaching them that allowances will/should be made for them isn't really how the real world works. As for them taking things literally, yes they do, but part of taking things literally is that (at least the Aspergers people I know) would never have removed posts if it was against the rules and would have been raising alarms all over the place for anyone who was breaking rules.

    Regardless of all of this, I think this forum and the mod team is doing an excellent job of handling things as is.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    For the record, I was not referring to special treatment or coddling. I was suggesting a bit more tolerance and understanding of where people might be coming from. One could choose to deescalate a situation. So someone doesn't take your advice, leave the thread.

    From the Urban Dictionary
    That is different from someone who asks for opinions/advice then argues with the answers. Both are problematic in a forum like this one. But with the latter, the person whose offered opinion/advice is being argued with can walk away. End of discord. No special coddling required.
     
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  11. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    So then how do you decide which one is the one who should be obligated to walk away? It's a writing forum, and as such, I would think that open discussion is something we all value and enjoy. I know I do.

    I also think that, in the type of scenario you describe, the mods are quite tolerant to take into count when someone is/isn't actually trying to contribute to a situation vs. just stirring the pot for their own entertainment.
     
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  12. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I get the impression that this is entirely about the older thread that Jan brought up, and not the recent two bannings at all. I didn't take part in or really follow that thread, but generally speaking, I definitely think that asking a question and then refusing to take any offered advice under consideration could be construed as trolling. Certainly it's annoying and a waste of time for everyone who responds. ETA: That kind of behavior going unchecked seems likely to foster an environment that's less interested in discussion and more interested in debate, as well, and frankly we do that enough as is.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Trolls will ask for advice and then argue with the answers specifically to cause discord etc .... also if people keep walking away because the triggered snowflake isn't being dealt with the whole forum will die as those who want to give advice will keep right on walking elsewhere.

    End of the day its really very simple - one rule for everyone - essentially "don't act like a dickhead" (as defined by Wrey and co) - someone who's clearly young or clearly disabled might be given some leniency but when they continually break the rules they can still expect the ban hammer , just like anyone else, because the forum exists for the many, not for the few
     
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If it is about that situation its worth noting that he didn't get banned for not taking advice... as i understand it his final straw was deleting all his posts and trashing the thread which is a big forum no no more or less everywhere.

    However looking at the post times etc it seems to be about the pink one ... which is even more confusing as i'm not aware of him ever claiming to have ASD ... as far as i can recall he only mentioned having a bit of a drink problem (also he was give a temp ban first but clearly demonstrated won't learn once, won't learn twice). EOTD drunkenly harrassing and propositioning other members/mods etc has to be gross misconduct on most forums.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  15. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I mean, I would just repeat "rule-breaking is rule-breaking" on that front - was more responding to Ginger's comment about de-escalation. I'm not sure why it falls to every individual responder to de-escalate when an op is being rude or unreasonable, is my point.

    It's not about just not taking advice - we'd all be banned if that were a crime I do believe - but about attitude. I've seen plenty of threads where an op shoots down everything that's said to them, and it's only when they're completely unthankful, act entitled to others' time+effort, or have plainly already made up their mind that I wonder, "Why even ask and waste all our time?"

    I don't think it's always purposeful trolling, but I don't blame people who invest thought into solving someone else's problem only to be blown off for being annoyed about it - especially when it happens over and over.

    (The latter part of this isn't directed at you so much as elaborating on previous thoughts.)
     
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  16. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Also if it is about that he knew he was causing offense ... he actually said so ( I can't quote it verbatim from memory but essentially he said "I know this will cause offence but I've decided not to take your advice")

    There's no problem with not taking advice ( I don't always even with alpha/beta readers) but there's no point in rubbing everyone's face in it deliberately ..
     
  17. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I like the issue raised, and it's good and natural to 'talk it out.'

    I can't see another way of policing the forum, I dunno...maybe a direction, a suggestion 'why not try our sister forum, it's called Ballpond.com,' then transfer details to the affiliate site, lock the door. [Similar to 'Unfair Dismissal Tribunals' where the employee always wins, it is fair all round.]

    Although, thinking on - perhaps our future forum might have a prison, and wards in the hospital? One might begin one's career as a moderator in the prison wing with the real hard cases?

    Taken to the other extreme of the spectrum I know from sources that some members are regarded as heartless, or brains, they bubble in vats of de-chlorinated nitrous oxide, no names obviously. And sometimes the softies must take the stage, retaliate, sweep the literalist tendency to the floor,a proxy war, smash their glasses. It is all very complicated.

    Ultimately. there's plenty of places for young guys to go type silly, 4Chan and such [is that still going?]

    Just bollocks, and you're all arguing. I shouldn't have stepped in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  18. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If someone asks for input then rejects the input, why argue with them? :confused:

    Debating a general issue would not be the same thing.

    Why assume this is anyone's motive?
     
  19. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    I don't think it's usually intended as arguing, so much as re-explaining since it seems a point was misunderstood (hence the discussion part).

    Who was assuming? It's something that usually becomes apparent fairly quickly.
     
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  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Why not report it, then leave it for the mods to decide whatever action is necessary .... and then don't argue with the decision
     
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  21. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    But what led up to that and could the discussion have been defused before it got to that point?

    I didn't see the posts that got Pinky banned. My issue there was only that I didn't agree a ban vs a suspension was about semantics. There was a discussion with him as to how he was back after being banned indicating people were confused, including thinking he had gotten back in despite being banned rather than his ban being temporary. Minstrel had to explain. Were people reporting that a banned member was back or that he did something else?

    Again, I did not see the post that was reported or got him re-banned. Other than my preference to see suspensions and bans labeled differently for clarity, the reason Pinky was banned was not a matter I had an opinion on.
     
  22. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I kinda doubt the software has a way to distinguish between temp and permabans from the users' end. But people are being treated the way you suggest with regards to bans/suspensions, and if someone gets confused and reports a user that they think snuck back into their account somehow, the staff will know that that user's ban has ended legitimately, so ... I guess I don't see the issue :confused:
     
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  23. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    At some point, that particular discussion could have been deescalated.

    Are you talking about ToeNeeBlack here?
     
  24. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    I did not participate or read the thread which you are talking about, so I do not know. I'm sure it could have, just as I'm sure the person who was banned could have deescalated it.

    No, I'm speaking in general (since the thread didn't say 'I'm upset about ToeNeeBlack being banned). I am speaking in general terms in regards to banning and suspensions. I am not talking about anyone in particular, because I don't think there should be individualized rules for individual people. It would be too much work for the Mods, and no one should have to do that.

    And, again, I truly feel that the Mod team is doing an excellent job.
     
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  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    what led up to that was him being a tool about not taking advice - knowing it would cause offence... yes some of us could have handled it better, but equally he could have not been a deliberately offensive semi troll ( this is a classic more rope thing - i'd have said lock the thread much earlier - but i'm not in charge)
     
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