I took the decision to ban a member from a forum I help look after yesterday. Sometimes the administrators and moderators of such forums get accused (and sometime it's a correct accusation, but usually not) of being 'trigger happy' ... so for anyone reading this who uses forums, you might be interested at my thoughts out of that particular public eye. I am aware that a member or two from 'that place' may read this - even the banned person, so even here I am showing a little reserve!
I always feel that having to impose a ban is something of a failure ... and it's the first one imposed at xxxx since lsat August [this written the following May].
I don't actually mind people posting things that don't show them up in a very good light (as yyyyyyy was doing) ... and indeed I may turn round to someone who's not aware just how much of a twit (s)he comes across as and gently tell her/him. But where there's a significant risk of messing about with personal messages, spam/flood posting, posting against copyright / privacy / decency or other laws or rules, or significantly mucking up existing threads (which (s)he threatened), then it has to be "ban".
The ban imposed in this case never expires automatically. But - were I to receive an email / explanation / justification / apology / moderator message telling me I have overstepped, it could be reversed. Unlikely in this particular case, but never say "never". But let me tell you a story ...
I am minded of a time I was moderator on another forum - looking after the "Travel and Transport" board on http://talk.uk-yankee.com. One of our posters there displayed a childishness of posting, short sentences, and a bizareness of what she said had happened to her and a strange view of life that made us very wary of her. She said she had come to the UK for a week's holiday, USA passport (so no visa needed) but been turned back at the airport and told to get a Visa before she came back. And we wondered what was going on - certainly there was a less than sympathetic tone on the moderator's board.
Slowly, the story crept out. It turns out that she was blind, and having to use a special input device. And had other health issues too so that she obviously didn't have the mobility the rest of us had. And didn't even admit / want to comment on these things - there was just something in posts that eventually gave us the clue. Perhaps the immigration officer at Gatwick had thought she was coming to the UK to get treated on the NHS - perhaps he thought it odd that she was travelling alone, in that condition, and wasn't well set up to answer the officer's questions - I don't know.
But I do know that we then accepted her postings (which would have driven language pedants wYLde) and offered better, more tuned suggestions too - and that she contributed more. The brave lady went to the Los Angeles Consultate, got her visa, and came back to the UK.
The UK-Yankee forum is a bit of a transient place - people come along when they have "transatlantic issues" and as those issues are resolved, they fade away. I don't know what happened to zzzzz - but I do know that I was amongst a group of people just about to close the door to someone who turned out to be utterly valid, and probably twice as brave as any of the rest of us. And it's a lesson I don't think I'll ever forget.
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