REALLY Odd Situation

Discussion in 'Member and Staff Management' started by Nick, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    I've found myself in a really odd situation and I'm not sure how to handle it.

    Here's the scoop: We have a member who is generally very active, often helpful, and seems dedicated to the site. This member often refers friends, and generally exhibits desirable behavior.

    However, this member has had their run-ins with the law. They have been warned, given infractions, and disciplined very much in the past. Among the violations include duplicate account creation (keep this in mind for later; it's important! :P). But it's been a while since we've had any trouble. Things have been going smoothly for quite some time.... for the most part.

    Lately, the biggest thing is other members picking on this member. Not many people like this member, so they make any attempt to discredit and humiliate wherever possible. That's a separate issue, but my point is that it is probably making Member X uncomfortable and unwelcome.

    Yesterday, Member X notified me that a friend or relative would be registering, but using the same IP since Member X is visiting with this friend/relative. I said this was fine, but I made it clear that I would be monitoring - and I inquired as to when Member X would revert back to using their usual IP address.

    All is fine and dandy until today, when I realize (by several obvious clues) that the new relative that registered -- Member Z -- is Member X using a highly varied identity (it even goes as far as gender transition :speechless:). The identity that Member X has adopted with the new account has me very worried about Member X and their psychological and mental health, but there's not much I can do about that, I suppose.


    How would you handle Member X and the second account? I know this sounds like a standard question/procedure, but this case is different because Member X has caused a lot of trouble in the past, has done some stupid things, but is in some very minor ways, beneficial to the community. Would you ban the duplicate account without warning, or would you inquire first to ensure that you don't make a mistake (in case it actually is a legitimate member)?
     
  2. FullMetalBabe

    FullMetalBabe Zealot

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    I have a member on my Pisoga community that has registered at least 7 times and has adopted personalities to all of them. When I found out I gave her a warning, she told me it wasn't her that it was her friends and family, but sadly, they have the same writing style and obviously, the same IP, so her computer, her fault. Anyways, Nick, if you don't stop it now, what makes you think member x won't do it again? What would be much different from the first time?

    If member x has a bad reputation, the member sought it itself, if the member feels unwelcomed, something he has done wrong, I am pretty sure the only communities who don't welcome people easily are those who are already a tight nit family, as a whole, which brings up my next question, is this member and old one? If yes, then I don't see how the member can feel unwelcomed without having done anything wrong, if the member is a new one, I would understand.

    Still, I say that you should talk to the member and give them a choice to which account they would like, if it is true they have been posting in their first and secondary account. Imo anyways. :P
     
  3. Donkey

    Donkey Addict

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    I suggest you be upfront to Member X that you know it is them, and that it would be easier for both of you if he just admits it then there will be no further trouble. If he doesn't do this, you're the boss. Always remember that. If you think they're the same person, that's your judgement.

    Being an admin isn't like being a police officer because you're not enforcing the law, you're enforcing your forum rules. While it is important to be fair, the advantage of not enforcing the law is that you can make educated assumptions.

    But before doing anything, talk to Member X about it and see where it leads you.
     
  4. Dan

    Dan Future Proof

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    On my forum we'd remove Z and inform X of half of the ways we spotted the user being the same person. We'd tell them that they're welcome back under member X (edit, I said Z before! sorry), though we're (the forum management who have discussed this, and we'd say that, to ensure transparency in the future, and paranoia in the mean-time perhaps to prevent misuse of your bandwidth/forum, for whatever reason is in your terms/rules) on the understanding that they clear up their act.

    We'd perhaps suggest under the radar that they many of the regular members are aware of their act though you've defended them, and that you think it would be uber cool of him (x) or her (y) would create a topic in the private area apologising for their actions, and that you think it'll also help improve his experience on the forum if he can gain the trust of said regular members.

    I think it's important to not encourage this, and can only blame you for being taken for a ride, we don't allow multiple logins under one IP/MAC Address/Similar traceroute and have pretty good mods installed to track such a thing, though for the regulars we do allow an account for their busines, and an account for their 'stupid questions' so to speak. No offence Nick (ahhhhhh, I dissed an Admin?!).

    Though if this member is even worth mentioning on an Admin forum (be it the greatest Admin forum in the world - hehe) then he/she (he more so) is clearly one worth keeping. So do what you can/will to do so.

    You want to make sure he knows you know. And you want to hint the members know, though you've defended him and they're willing to give 'him' another chance providing he stops his silly antics that is costing you moderation time from you AND you other moderators for no reason at all, and you would love him to have the courage to post a topic apologising for his ways in the past (about whatever, to whoever he annoyed before hand when he had a run in with 'the law').

    Hope that makes sense, I've had a few jugs.

    All the best, and Good Luck Nick. I'm sure the rest of the guys and gals on here will have lots to say too. :)

    p.s. I'll tidy this up when I'm sober. It's no use now. :p
     
  5. Dan

    Dan Future Proof

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    No way! Not only did I just get beaten by one reply, but i got beaten by two!
     
  6. David

    David Regular Member

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    Just merge the accounts and then ask him (them :lol:) to move along


    I always knew FMB was a dude :D
     
  7. FullMetalBabe

    FullMetalBabe Zealot

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    Didn't have to say it in public, David!!! :o I wanted it to be a secret, you know you liked the girl side of me, that's why you were in denial.
     
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  8. David

    David Regular Member

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    I don't care who it was in those nudie pics you sent, she was hawt :D

    Anyway not to hijack another thread :jihad:

    You could also look at it another way, are they trying to scam you or other members? Are they doing this for any actual purupose other than their own entertainment? if not forget it and let em go I guess?
     
  9. RockinRobbins

    RockinRobbins Adept

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    Wow... that is a strange one. It is so hard for me to speak in generalities so I had to think about what I would actually say to Member X.

    I would suggest writing an email to the user that states your concerns plainly:


    I would also address the growing concerns of the community over that member's behavior.

    I agree with the rest of the thread. You have to act your part as the administrator, but I believe you can do it in a professional manner that outlines your concerns, provides a chance for rebuttle, but in the end shows that you are the leader of the community and must protect that community.

    HTH,
    RR
     
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  10. Peacelily

    Peacelily Adept

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    I tend to let people have a fresh start. Most of our members do not know that we can tell if they use a duplicate account, so if they start a new one and don't cause any wank like arguing with themselves, I let it be. Many has been the time I would like a fresh start, so I give them the benefit of the doubt.

    In your case though, Member Z is kind of playing you for a fool. I think I would let him know that YOU know and are aware and give him a deadline to choose if he wants to continue as X or Z with a very short leash.
     
  11. Vekseid

    Vekseid Regular Member

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    I highly doubt that a highly separate identity says much about their mental health. It's actually extremely common.

    The result is up to you. On Elliquiy, fresh starts annoy partners, so we don't allow that. If your forum forms roving bands like that, however, you may want to consider looking at how you police members. "Dude, that was four years ago, let it rest."
     
  12. FullMetalBabe

    FullMetalBabe Zealot

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    Not really common...?

    Either a member makes an second account for the hell of it or something's wrong.

    I have a member who has made more than 7 accounts and adapted different identities to them, that's not normal...
     
  13. Vekseid

    Vekseid Regular Member

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    People do it for all sorts of reasons.

    Sometimes for the sense of being popular, which has led to some rather... disturbing conversations.
     
  14. 3Phase

    3Phase Champion

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    Member Z is a troll, who trolls management the most. Favorite game is baiting management. He'll describe what he does as anything else.

    In the situation you describe, I would conclude that Member Z cares nothing about your rules, just enjoys the game of baiting the management. Knowing I'm meaner than you, Nick, personally I'd plunk him into a couple of weeks timeout and tell him he could come back only if they agreed to honor the rules and the moderating, and next infraction means 3 months of time-out.

    I would not explain or justify why I thought the alter id was the same person. I would just say that was the belief of mgmt, nothing to discuss, he's being held fully accountable. Right or wrong. Ye olde hammer drop. <blows smoke from barrel of six-shooter>


    Those who read the mega-saga of Annoying Member would know that my forum mgmt ran out of all patience with this kind of behavior. On my forum Member Z would have gone through escalating infractions - 0 pt, 1 pt and stern advice to read the rules or else, 2nd 1 pt infraction is a time-out of at least a week and get back on with promise to honor rules and moderating, 3rd infraction is banned indefinitely and probably forever. So there is no dithering over what to do, no rotating door available to those who care only about goofing up. The forum has become a butthead-free zone, after having been a stomping ground for trolls for a year or two. In the case of Member Z they either would not have lasted this long, or would not dare. However my forum of almost entirely female model horse hobbyists may be a tougher crew than yours. :p

    The good part of this rather legalistic approach is that 'good' members don't run into any of that. It also makes the decision path much easier for management.

    Mental stability - we have a member or two who plead "medication," going on or off, to cover their behavior. Doesn't work on my forum. If the meds aren't working, take a voluntary break from the keyboard. I can't ask the entire membership to put up with the poorly-medicated; they can't get away with things no one else can.

    We recently had a need to warn a member who isn't a problem except when she doesn't have her meds right, by her own admission. We really didn't want her to accidentally get herself banned during such times. The lead mod worded something to her along the lines of 'we appreciate your participation when you are respecting the rules' and 'when I feel too annoyed by what others post I will take a break from the forum, and you might find that a useful tip as well.' That doesn't cover the Member Z alter id, though.

    An anecdote ...
    About a year ago we thought we had a similar situation to yours. A female member who occasionally pushes confrontational political opinions in the off-topic appeared to have registered again, same ip, and posted a thread demeaning all the 'idiots' who didn't agree with the stated positions. Violation of no name-calling. Contacted her, she claimed to know nothing about it, maybe a family member or visiting teenager. The opinions/phraseology were almost identical to past posts of hers. Finally there was an admission that it was her husband. He claimed he had equal right to membership and posting as his wife. I said this is a hobbyist forum, if he was a model horse collector and followed the rules he could certainly stay. Last we heard of him. :D


    FMB is so not a dude cuz she's my role model. Y'all are just kidding, I know it.
     

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