Banning: A Permanent Solution?

Discussion in 'Member and Staff Management' started by Chris, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Chris

    Chris Regular Member

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    It's always a pain in the rear to deal with members that find pleasure in causing a nearly endless amount of trouble, and because of this, using the "ban hammer" is sometimes the most viable option. Surprisingly, sometimes even the most active and respectable members are the individuals that decide to "turn" against the community.

    Do you feel that permanently banning a member is necessary for the overall well-being of the forum, or would you rather ban them for lengthy periods of time before allowing them to actively come back?
     
  2. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    Sometimes a permanent ban is necessary. Maybe not the first time you punish the member, but if they continue to persist after several warnings and temporary bans, it's time to oust them from the community.

    After a few years if they decide to come back under a different name, I wouldn't mind. Of course they wouldn't think that I know it's them with that alias, but I won't say anything about it. I would just keep a close watch on them. :)
     
  3. Chris

    Chris Regular Member

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    This has happened to me quite a few times - a member will reappear a year or so later under a new, "supposedly secret" username. Funnily enough, I've had to ban a single member (permanently) twice - he returned after both bans.
     
  4. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    I don't see the problem in giving them a second chance as long as they truly make an attempt to act like a regular member of the community. That's why I'm fine with it.

    If I had to perma-ban the same person multiple times, though, then I wouldn't let them come back under any circumstances.
     
  5. Soliloquy

    Soliloquy Regular Member

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    They almost always come back, whether you want them to or not. :)

    I've got two like this right now; one was a good member until he flamed out over something completely minor. (I theorize he was off his meds after losing health insurance.) He's been back for a couple of months now, barely posting, but he thinks no one knows who he is. I'm going to leave him be, but if he ever decided to fess up, he'd be forgiven.

    The other has just started posting again after a months-long time out. At least one person has hailed his return almost as a conquering hero, so I have a feeling he'll cause trouble again.
     
  6. FullMetalBabe

    FullMetalBabe Zealot

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    Umm, I don't think Banning should be a permanent solution on most cases, though I have to say I've perma banned MANY people. The reason for me doing so is because they have attempted something against the site to harm it in any way. As long that is not involving the site or any racial/bad infraction, I do not permaban. I also permaban on raids, etc.
     
  7. Abomination

    Abomination Zealot

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    Our members are 'real people' at meet in real life all the time, not just names on a computer screen. It is a smaller community but there are indeed a couple that really do not play well with others (real life and on screen). Those are gone from my site.


    This is the tough situation. An active and (at least on the surface) respectable member that has chosen to no longer be posting and acting in real life in a positive way. The only solution that I can think of is keep responding in posts & PMs "what is wrong?", "what did you mean?". That approach most effective when several others are doing the same thing.

    If someone posts an angry rebuttal that increases tension and of course the arguing starts.

    In a way they become a troll because they are seeking negative responses, so that is the approach I take.
     
  8. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    The following applies to established users not spammers or first post trolls.

    Banning an established user should never been seen as a solution but the result of failing to reach a solution. If it does come down to banning, everyone loses in the long run. The community loses the knowledge of the person banned and the banned user loses an outlet. Its in everyone's best interest to try and resolve issues amicably.

    Sometimes its inevitable that it would come to this but you should always try to resolve issues before banning. I think people reach for that ban button too quickly. A better solution would be to create conflict resolution scenarios for your staff so they know how to react in different situations and how they should be handled within the community. If a moderator has a problem with a user than they should be encouraged to ignore that user and walk away. Let someone with less emotional baggage handle the issue.

    At no point should someone let something like infraction points or warnings snowball into a system ban within a few minutes. You cannot resolve conflicts while you are angry. Each person needs to step back and calm down before things can be looked at rationally. If you ban too quickly you don't know what your missing.

    As an Example:
    When I was at Sitepoint, there was a user who was very antagonistic and attacked a lot of things. I could have banned him but contacted him via private message. He didn't realize that his messages were being perceived that way and after we talked a while, he said he would think more carefully on the issues that he was passionate about. After that, he became an admired member of the community and eventually became a volunteer staff member. Today he is a professional blogger. If I had just banned him, we would have lost years worth of contributions from him.

    Unfortunately, you will not be able to resolve all conflicts and inevitably you'll ban someone but I still think everyone loses in that case.
     
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  9. Chris

    Chris Regular Member

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    Wayne, as always, thanks for the superb response. :)
     
  10. 3Phase

    3Phase Champion

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    Very much agree. I think moderating is a lot more work, and a lot more emotionally difficult, than some people think it will be. I believe people should be selected as behavioral mods based on their ability to discuss hot issues without flaring, having shown they can disagree while keeping the other person in the conversation.

    A couple of the people who contribute the most on my site were within about 2 minutes of a permanent ban at one point. It was frankly a stressful exchange for all involved to get them to understand that they could stay if certain changes were made. Obviously in the end they did make those changes, and the forum is better for it.


    There are cases when it is time to cut loose someone who is more of a drag on the other members than an asset. When I realize that keeping one member is loosing a steady trickle, it's time to re-think where the mod time is going.


    Honestly I think this is the most frequent issue we run into on my forum. A whop upside the head with ye olde clue bat fixes everything. By a mod who is very good at communicating this message without alienating people (not necessarily me.) I am lucky to have a mod with a great sense of humor that she uses to get people to see with a new perspective. She expresses it in a way that has them chuckling too much to be offended.

    She also keeps the rest of us from melting down in impatience with certain members with some of her funnier insights. Hooray for the mod forum. :)
     
  11. Soliloquy

    Soliloquy Regular Member

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    I have a mod that fits that description to a T... and she's actually a relatively new member. It was just so obvious she would do a great job :)
     
  12. Tom

    Tom Regular Member

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    Great post, 3Phase and Wayne!

    Permanently banning isn't a great solution, in my opinion, only bans that are issued for long periods of time. I say this because while they're away from the forum, they can think about what they did, learn a lesson from it, come back, and forget it ever happened and start from clean slate.

    Banning a member permanently sucks, especially if that member was well-respected and generally active.
     

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