7 members banned

Discussion in 'Technical Issues & Suggestions' started by Big_Dog, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1,039
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Spanish
    Intermediate Languages:
    French, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Swahili, Thai
    Basic Languages:
    Korean
    After months of debating and knowing we had a bad situation on our hands, and after a flurry of negative posting earlier today, I finally decided to ban Peregrinus, Wise owl chick, SaraH, Oak, Lance Manion, Wulfgar, Hua Hua.

    As you know, I wanted this forum to be a place where people could argue without being censored or banned, so this was a very hard decision to make. I investigated it to the best of my abilities, and came to the conclusion that they needed to be banned, but hesitated because I really didn’t want to do it. The posting frenzy today made me realize I had no choice.

    In short, the reasons for Peregrinus and Wise owl chick being banned was treachery, and the other five were clones.

    Confessions of a troll

    A few years back, on HTLAL I thought I (leosmith) had been banned. There was no warning, but I couldn’t get access. So I created Wulfgar. Shortly after that, I realized leosmith was still alive, but I liked Wulfgar and decided to keep both. I’ve always been somewhat trollish, as many people know. I used the same language profile, same IP address (but not email), made similar posts, and in general just assumed many people knew but didn’t care.

    When I started this forum, I had several clones that I used for testing, and later just to make the forum look like it had some members to encourage people to join. It occurred to me that I could use them to moderate (put out of hand posters their places, for example), or even win an argument on the internet. I promised myself I’d never do that, because it’s just wrong.

    Peregrinus has been making me mad behind the scenes for a long time. I’ve received complaints from other members about pm’s, but the most annoying ones were the ones he sent to me. Always trying to manipulate and deceive. He complained about all the high-posting members, and even the other mod. I guess he forgot that we talk to each other too. Anyway, when I started to deny his advances, I noticed some changes in not just his but other people’s attitudes. I haven’t dug into his pm’s, and I don’t want to. That requires computer skills or an add-on, neither of which I have.

    A while back Peregrinus told me Wise owl chick was most likely responsible for an outbreak of spam. I didn’t want to deny the possibility, so I paid attention, and when she popped up so did spam. I demoted her and asked if she knew about the spam. She said no, and after a while I restored her on her word.

    Getting tired now, so let me summarize. First, I lost my cool/integrity and used my clones to vote up posts in a Peregrinus argument. The good thing is that it might have encouraged another member to argue with him. The bad thing is, well, I’m a jerk. I publicly apologize to Peregrinus for this.

    Then (or maybe earlier), I used a clone to discipline the owl. She was really annoying me. Imagine calling a whole ethnic group racist. That wasn’t the first time I disciplined her, but it my favorite time. All the over the top anti-HTLAL rants, thin-skinned counter attacks on really nice members who were just trying to help her. I’d had enough.

    Existing clones (all banned): Wulfgar, SaraH, Lance Manion, Hua Hua

    Oh yeah, Oak is a Perigrinus clone. Anyway, if you are interested in more details, just ask. I'm a little sleepy.

    I have no other excuses. Judge me – I deserve it. But at the end of the day, I hope you keep posting here. I love reading all your posts. If you want me to change my mind about P & O, there’s got to be a poll (separate polls), an apology, and a promise not to repeat.

    As for me, I’m truly very sorry for the clones and my poor judgement.


    (By the way, kikenyoy encouraged me to come clean. He's never had clones, and is against them in principle.)
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2014
  2. neofight78

    neofight78 Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2014
    Messages:
    46
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    Russian
    Good idea to get rid of the clones, they are never a good idea. At the end of the day openness and honesty is going to result in a better and more popular site.

    This has all passed me by, but the reality is whilst nobody likes heavy handed moderation, there still has to be boundaries. "Free Speech" is about having the freedom to talk about your ideas, it's not about being allowed to harass or attack people. If people want to have a raging debate about some aspect of language learning then that is great, it can be informative and even entertaining. But personal insults and attacks add nothing, in fact rather the reverse they put people off.

    It's probably not a very interesting job, but you should create a set of ground rules and place them somewhere prominent on the site. These should be backed up with moderation, starting with warnings and only finally resulting in a ban. Conversely nobody should be banned if they've not broken the rules. That way everyone can see that everybody is being treated fairly. Oh, and of course you need to lead by example :p

    Hopefully, this can go down as a learning experience and the site can go from strength to strength. :)
  3. t123

    t123 New Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    25
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Afrikaans
    Intermediate Languages:
    German
    Basic Languages:
    Polish, Turkish
    Agree with the clones part.

    My 2c is get a third person as a neutral and ban via a majority vote (except of course obvious spammers). So BD + kikenyoy + 3rd person, then at least it's not banning someone because they're just annoying you personally. Finally you should consider giving them some right of reply, tell us why we shouldn't ban you and consider temporary bans, like 7 days, 30 days, permanent.
  4. hrhenry

    hrhenry Member VIP member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    51
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Galician
    Intermediate Languages:
    Norwegian, Turkish
    Basic Languages:
    Indonesian, Polish, Ojibwe
    Lot of forum software allows for this. And as an added "deterrent", the temporary ban is usually listed next to the user's name while in effect.

    I'm totally for temp bans instead of perm bans, although I realize that sometimes people will just keep on being dicks and in the long run won't contribute anything positive. I suppose in those rare cases a perm ban is the preferable option.
    olim21 likes this.
  5. t123

    t123 New Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Messages:
    25
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Afrikaans
    Intermediate Languages:
    German
    Basic Languages:
    Polish, Turkish
    Indeed. IMHO (almost) everyone should receive at least one temporary ban before a permanent one.
  6. Bob

    Bob Active Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    337
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    Cebuano, Greek_ancient, Spanish
    Basic Languages:
    Filipino, French, Hebrew_clasical, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian
    I've got no problems about how you handled things, but I might put somewhere something like "I have clone accounts... you have been warned" somewhere. Periguns had to be a hard call though, because he had allot of positive things to contribute.
    luke likes this.
  7. Stelle

    Stelle Active Member VIP member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2014
    Messages:
    110
    Home page:
    Native Language:
    English, French
    Intermediate Languages:
    Spanish
    Basic Languages:
    Filipino
    Meh. So much drama.

    Seriously, where do people find the time -let alone the motivation- to fight with and troll one another on Internet forums?

    While I appreciate the public apology, I do feel that there has been a breach of trust. My forum time is limited, and I'd rather spend it talking languages than sifting through arguments and trying to figure out who I'm talking to.
    garyb likes this.
  8. Big_Dog

    Big_Dog Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Messages:
    1,039
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Spanish
    Intermediate Languages:
    French, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, Swahili, Thai
    Basic Languages:
    Korean
    We're considering the temp ban.
    In case there is any doubt, there are no more clones.
  9. iguanamon

    iguanamon New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Portuguese, Spanish
    Intermediate Languages:
    Haitian_Creole
    Basic Languages:
    Ladino
    There are a lot of headaches running anything, especially a forum where everyone has their own personal way to learn a language. I can't imagine that this was easy for you to do, especially given your philosophical difference with heavy handed moderation at HTLAL. The membership here is still small and yet you've already had to do this. Imagine what it will be like if you do become the go-t0 forum and there's a dramatic increase in membership. You may be forced to lower your tolerance level and institute a similar, though perhaps less strict policy. Speaking of which, it may be time to come up with a few basic rules so people can know what to avoid doing. Much like certain societies impose self-censorship on individuals, this is what I do due to my HTLAL experience- but you can't always depend on that to do the job for you. A set of rules, standards or guidelines helps to give transparency.

    I am disappointed to learn of the clone thing but at least you've come clean about it. I have always respected your abilities and language-learning skill. You've created something worthy here that will only grow and become more useful. Then you go and create your own version of Jimmy Buffett's original Coral Reefer Band? Though no one would've ever believed in "Marvin Gardens", "Kay Pasa" and "Al Vacado". Then again, I wouldn't have known anything about it if you hadn't told us, so thank you for doing so. Enough said. Let's go back to language-learning.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
  10. Bjorn

    Bjorn Active Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Messages:
    165
    Native Language:
    Norwegian
    Intermediate Languages:
    English
    Basic Languages:
    French, German
  11. Cainntear

    Cainntear Active Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    343
    Native Language:
    English
    Advanced Languages:
    Catalan, French, Italian, Scottish_Gaelic, Spanish
    Intermediate Languages:
    Corsican
    Basic Languages:
    Dutch, German, Irish, Polish, Russian, Welsh, Sicilian
    That'll be polydog dead, then.
  12. kikenyoy

    kikenyoy Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2014
    Messages:
    40
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    Thai
    I hope that's not the case and I hope you don't stop posting.
    olim21 likes this.
  13. luke

    luke Member VIP member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Messages:
    66
    Native Language:
    English
    Intermediate Languages:
    Esperanto, French, Spanish
    That was pretty much my first thought, but here I am again. I missed all the drama. I was out of town and pretty much just studied and didn't watch any TV or surf much. I thought Perigrinus was an interesting poster and although I only had a brief encounter with white owl, that was pleasant too. Very disappointed to see the bans, although I have no idea whatsoever what was said or who said it. I just never expected any of it after having read the color glossies.
  14. Ogrim2

    Ogrim2 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    Messages:
    13
    Native Language:
    Norwegian
    Advanced Languages:
    English, French, Spanish
    Intermediate Languages:
    Catalan, German, Italian, Romansh
    Basic Languages:
    Dutch, Russian
    Big Dog, I haven't been much on this forum so far and therefore I can't really judge, but given your general attitude to censoring, I assume you had very good reasons for your decision. I did notice a few rather unpleasant posts by the owl, so that does not surprise me.

    I have no problems accepting your apology about the clones, but I would not feel comfortable in a discussion if I would think that the same person hide behind different avatars, so thank you for being frank about it and getting rid of them.

    I strongly second the proposal that you create some basic ground rules which members should respect. Even the most liberal of clubs has rules, and it is your forum, we are here as your guests, so you have every right to expect people to behave.

    I don't think this will be the death of polydog. HTLAL is running strong with much stricter moderation. And as I personally don't want to waist my time discussing with trolls, I'll actually be encouraged to post more over here if I know there is a minimum level of moderation.
    iguanamon likes this.

Share This Page