14 Mar 2008 05:26 pm

Where to Draw the Line?

I had to delete yet another troll from my forum this week. It wasn’t an easy decision. I didn’t enjoy doing it and I admit it was a borderline case. I can’t really say whether or not the comments were intentionally malicious or harmful. (And no, they weren’t specifically directed at this web site or me, as far as I could tell.)

It was one of those deals that in the past I might have allowed to remain for a while just to see where this person was going with all the bunk they were dishing out. The key phrase here is, “in the past.”

You see I decided a couple months ago that I wasn’t going to tolerate anyone dispensing false, stupid or misleading information anywhere within these pages. In short, I decided that I would simply delete anything I deemed to be potentially harmful to another human being.

Why Not Just Allow Everything?

Let me give you an example…

I was on a forum earlier this week created by fans of an all-girl singing group I discovered a few months ago. I found this fan-site while surfing the net looking for more background information on the group.

This band caught my attention because it’s not the usual garbage you hear permeating the airwaves these days. This is a group of what seem to be really nice girls, all very talented, all very cute, and for the most part doing some pretty decent music.

So anyway, I’m on this forum checking out what other people are saying about these girls because I’m curious to know how the public is reacting to this style of music. I want to know if other people like them as much as I do.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the majority of the comments were positive, everything was not beer and skittles.

What Was Wrong?

What really bothered me was that this forum allowed any manner of negative and hateful thread to be posted about these girls. There was even a long discussion the gist of which was, “Which girl do you really hate and why?” The so-called “fans” then proceeded to tear these girls apart. They seemed to take great delight in criticizing everything about them from their hair, their personalities, their singing ability… you name it. Anything was fair game.

One poster even remarked something to the effect that he couldn’t stand the sight of one of the girls and he wanted to beat her face in.

To say that I was more than a little dismayed at some of the comments would be an understatement. Granted they were in the minority, but the fact that they were allowed at all, really bothered me.

After all, how were these girls — who are just as sweet as can be and haven’t done anything to anyone — supposed to feel if they happened to read some of the comments these people were making about them? Who’s looking out for them?

Needless to say, I have no intention of returning to that forum.

Am I Wrong to Set Boundaries?

I don’t think so.

If the above forum had been under my control, I would not have allowed discussions of that type to remain. I would have deleted them immediately and banned the individuals making the hateful comments. Instead, the owner of that forum actually banned one person for trying to defend her favorite. (There may have been additional reasons. I didn’t bother to stick around.)

Fortunately (not counting spam), I’ve had to delete very few comments from my forum and only a handful of people have ever been banned. There are a number of opinions posted throughout the threads that I disagree with and I just let them slide. Trusted members are allowed to discuss just about anything they want.

But I have to draw the line somewhere.

Long story short; I intend to delete anything I consider inappropriate or potentially harmful. No apologies. This may not please everyone, but I have to consider what is in the best interest of the majority.

Just trying to do the right thing,


5 Responses to “Where to Draw the Line?”

  1. on 16 Mar 2008 at 2:43 pm 1.Chrys said …

    I commend you for your stance. Once others see that such a negativity is excepted, it seems to breed more of the same. I don’t like to see others attacked for participating, and I never stay in places where that goes on. I left a site I loved, because others were allowed to attack. I don’t mind opposing opinions, I like the fact that we are all different, but I draw the line when it becomes hurtful and nasty. Good for you, Dean – I’m proud of you!

  2. on 16 Mar 2008 at 11:18 pm 2.Dean said …

    Thanks Chrys, I hope everyone is as understanding as you and appreciates that I try to keep undesirables out.

  3. on 17 Mar 2008 at 9:13 pm 3.Dr. Val said …

    I wholly support your decision, Dean. This is your website, you run it as you see fit. And if you don’t want negativity, then don’t allow it. 🙂 The tone you set will attract like-minded individuals… sad to hear about those girls being verbally attacked.

  4. on 19 Mar 2008 at 2:51 pm 4.Dean said …

    Thanks Val, I knew you would understand. I believe that most of my readers feel the same way.

  5. on 20 Mar 2008 at 7:14 am 5.Chrys said …

    I’ve learned doing the right thing isn’t always popular. Val is right…you’ll then attract only the good souls, and its far more interesting to converse back and forth with differing opinions and views while doing it with respect for one another. Have a Happy Easter, Dean!

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