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Full Version: OPEN DEBATE ON BANNING POLICY Forum > Feedback, Announcements & FAQ > Feedback & Suggestions
I had to modify the thread at because it was clear that the thread veered off into banning policy issues, which really deserve their own thread on a different board, and so I thought it would be beneficial to hold something of an open debate here over banning policy. If you have anything to say over this, say it here. Maybe considering answers to some of the following questions will help stimulate discussion:

1) What are your views on banning forum visitors for "bad behavior"?
2) What constitutes "bad behavior"?
3) What sort of banning policy, if any, should be enforced?
4) Is it necessary to have a clearly articulated banning policy for the forum?
5) What alternatives to banning are available?

This is intended as an open debate, not an opportunity to launch personal attacks. So let's stay focused on the relevant issues. Only personally attacking posts will be removed from this thread. Other than that, you're free to post your thoughts on the matter.
a few additional questions to consider:

Is banning just a matter of censorship? Is it about compassion? Is it about common courtesy, and if so, then who defines "common courtesy"? Is it about tolerance?

Is censorship necessary at times, and if so, under what circumstances?
If abuse or harassment are considered circumstances for banning, then what types of abuse and harassment?
my apologies to the individual's posts I'd deleted from . It was my hope that we could continue this dialogue so that some good would come out of it, and this probably means talking about this issue rationally, without recourse to our interpretations and feelings of the past incident. This past is behind us, so let us start anew, and resolve this issue rationally here and now.
Hey Hey

Many thanks for yor help generally in this matter. Your ideas to deal with the issues, as above, are appropriate and welcome.

Just for now, as a peacemaker, I would like to raise the issue of parole. I think there might be cases where individuals could be given a life sentence, but more typically it might be the case that offenders could be paroled after doing some time.

Hey Hey
Here is my opinion regarding banning policy. Certainly a forum administrator should set limits to harmful posting. Those types of banned speech will take the form of

1. Blatant (not fair use) copyright infringement, or passing off someone else's writing as one's own (plagiarism).

2. Libel (telling demonstrable lies about someone with the intent to harm).

3. Deliberate deception (for example, the lies of the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) for religious, philosophical, or political purposes.

I don't believe childish name-calling is an effective way to harm someone, so it should not be banned speech.

Merely obscene information should not be banned, as it is impossible to define rigorously.

Now the banishment of an individual is a much more serious action than merely deleting banned posts. It should have a correspondingly higher standard for enforcement. I think the banning of an individual should not be done unless the individual has repeatedly posted banned material after several fair warnings.

This is my opinion and I am willilling to discuss any part of it and modify it as can be shown necessary.
Someone had mentioned an alternative to banning: giving forum members the ability to filter out their viewing of all posts from individual members of their choosing. This feature used to be enabled in an older version of this forum, but did not transfer over to the newer version. The feature was not used that much, and so it's unlikely to be re-implemented now.

There are other alternatives that may be more useful. For example, it was mentioned that even if you filter out unwanted posts from certain individuals, you can still receive emails from them (but not PM's since you can place the people on your blacklist). However, it's rather trivial to block certain individuals from being able to use the emailing feature if it is determined that they are sending out unwanted emails to other forum members.

Another thing to consider: If instead of tackling the issue of banning policy, what if we just had better "quality control"; meaning that low quality or otherwise derogatory posts would simply be deleted without recourse to banning. However, implementing such quality control on all posts would involve at least one mod on watch duty at all times.

Individuals who continue to make low quality or derogatory posts may have their posting privileges suspended temporarily; in this way, it gives them a chance to make better contributions, while at the same time allowing them to access the content on the forum at all times, even if it means that they can't post for the time being.

These are just some of the alternatives to consider. To be very clear, I am not fond of banning people at all unless they exhibit a clear, malicious intent to degrade the quality of the forum or to damage the site in other ways.
QUOTE (Rick @ Sep 03, 07:41 PM)
Now the banishment of an individual is a much more serious action than merely deleting banned posts.

I agree with this entirely. A lot of the material posted in this forum has been found very useful to others, and I would not want that taken away from them unless they exhibited a clear, malicious intent to damage the site. Any other offense can be dealt with by removing their posting and emailing privileges for some defined or undefined set of time. In this manner, if the individual is guilty of offending others, then he/she will no longer be able to but will still have access to the content in the forum.
There are plenty of other places where stupid, ignorant, malicious, or low-life entities can go to play. I think we all want to see high minded discourse and "serious" poetry. However, creative mental activity and writing frequently includes hasty, flip, callous, incomprehensible, or other unappreciated content. Sometimes the most creative people have moments of weakness, depression, rebelliousness, or times when they are too self-involved to give a damn about somebody else's sensitivities.

Therefore, I would not like to see a 24-hour watch of "content police." I think the best way to deter irresponsibility is to ignore it: don't feed it. The true idiots out there will lose interest and move on. Those who have talent will be rewarded with positive feedback.
Another idea:
who decides when someone gets their posting/emailing privileges revoked for a given period of time? One idea is to have a board specifically for this purpose; If a member feels that another member should have his posting privileges revoked, then he could start a poll on the board and if a certain number of affirmative votes are made, then that member will have his posting privileges revoked for, say, a week. This makes deciding the question of who is deemed bad enough to have their posting privileges revoked much more democratic.

A peer-review board or committee makes sense. Due process removes the appearance of arbritrariness from any action.
Here's a tentative solution:

About the question of which individual posts get deleted for lack of content or for offensiveness, that would be up to the board mods.

About the question of who decides who gets banned for displaying clear malicious intent to damage the site, that would up to the admin.

About the question of who decides who gets their posting/emailing privileges temporarily revoked, that would be up to all forum members. Holding a poll would be one good way to achieve this.
QUOTE (Rick @ Sep 03, 08:10 PM)
A peer-review board or committee makes sense. Due process removes the appearance of arbritrariness from any action.

Trip like I do
Welcome to the machine?
Hey Hey
It's not what gets posted, but who gets offended that is really important. Maybe it should all revolve around complaints. Then there would not have to be continual monitoring, just picking up a message of complaint sent to (for eg) Shawn(?) How a complaint gets dealt with is another matter - go back to START.
Trip like I do
Great idea Hey Hey.

This way one could monitor without actually monitoring. All you would need to monitor is the incoming complaints and rationally 'peel back the onion' from which topic the complaint arose and with whom the complaint surrounds (not one party, but all parties involved).
I think we all should be less concerned with suppressing others and work on ourselves. Free speech is a fundamental right and we should be very careful in curtailing it. Those who annoy others are actually describing themselves in their own unfavorable light. Let them show themselves for whom they really are. Sanctions should be reserved for cases of clearly harmful or illegal speech.
Hey Hey
I've got no problem with that.....except the definition of "clearly harmful". Clear to who? Harmful - how?
Here in the USA, courts of law measure harm in dollars. For example, if a vandal lets the air out of your tire, the harm done to you is the loss of your time and expense in getting it fixed. Suppose it delays you for two hours and your time is worth, say, 50 pounds sterling per hour, then a court could award you 100 pounds from the perpetrator, should he be caught. The court would also likely assess court costs, and so forth. This is what I mean by demonstrable harm. If someone should call me an idiot, that doesn't harm me because 1) it's not true, and 2) nobody in his right mind would believe it (I hope). Similarly for other kinds of slurs. People see that kind of speech and realize right away that it's coming from a disturbed individual. "Consider the source" is our expression for it, and people disregard it.
Hey Hey
You're an idiot and I'm not a disturbed individual. Just testing !*!

But we don't want to simply abide by those rules here. If you were terribly upset by someone saying that you looked like a certain 70's singer of Durham Town named Roger Whittaker, and you complained, then they should be told to stop. If they continue, they should be ousted, possibly until they apply for parole. The simpler feelings to you and I, as tough guys, can devastate others and those others might be af great value to the forum, and we should therefore protect them.

ps I bought Durham Town in the 70's and my wife still likes Roger Whittaker, although I think it's his SL500 she's after.
the rule of anarchy can support the emergence of good results, they just may not be the results you are interested in. Worse (and more likely), the direction of the community tends to be 'entropic' such that the community degenerates into lowest common denominator interaction.
If you do have an interest in the results of this board, then the rules you make should be designed to promote them. An open attitude toward iteration is indespensible, as your interests and the interests of others may at any point diverge. If it were up to me, I would always do my best to maintain my ideal community but never be afraid wield an axe if necessary.
It is asserted that community tends toward entropy, yet that flies in the face of the evidence of the rise of western civilization in the last 500 years.

Protection of free speech is not anarchy, just the opposite. We must beware of a tyranny of a majority who might shout down true but unpopular expression.

I must stand by my commitment to free speech. The courts in the USA have time and again supported free speech, noting the "chilling effect" that regulations have on free expression. A forum commited to liberal thought such as Mind-Brain ought to be showing the way for the world in this regard.

The American Heritage Dictionary, fourth edition, defines "liberal" as "Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behaviors of others; broadminded."
I am an advocate of free speech and an advocate of personal freedom.Shawn you have done a lot of work here and i consider myself priviledged to be to this forum,and no a "a priori right".Thus,i respect this place and aknowledge all the hard work done for the upkeep.

I do not see banning as sensorship but it should be considered an extreme mesure when all other means have been futile.What other means? Means mentioned in above posts such as personal contact with the offender,filtering responces so if one persons "stalks" another their messages will not be viewed by this person,or even the "committee" method.

So what behaviours should be "reviewed"? Everyone of us has his own style.One might embrace irony or cynisism,another may be more low tones,another may like a bit of attention,some other might like to provoke a bit.Its all good,it all falls in personal freedom.What should be dealt with is persisting offenders that make it quite clear that they are here for trouble.Usually you can tell this people because they try too much to make others peoples life hell.What should not be compromised is the integrity of this forum.

I like this forum because it is clever,witty,humorous and above all civil.I can see many knowledgable people here,many talented as well.Just remember Shawn at what foot we started our conversation of entheogens! Magnificent! It was simply magicall ,keeping a high level and a "lust for research" that makes this place an inteligent one to be! Certainly i can embrace a bit of "drama" or i can undestand it if things get "too hot" between some people or in certain issues.WHat should be kept though is the Liberal character of this forum (liberal in the way Rick defined it).

I must admit that i have quite of an iron fist in the forum i own.Noone ever called me dishonest or unfair,but i like to keep the things in their right place.If a person comes in my forum to harm,then i have a talk with him/her and usually things work out.Banning is an extreme mesure in two years of full forum work was never implemented,although it was considered in some cases!
Trip like I do
QUOTE (Psiloman @ Sep 05, 12:25 PM)
So what behaviours should be "reviewed"? Everyone of us has his own style.One might embrace irony or cynisism,another may be more low tones,another may like a bit of attention,some other might like to provoke a bit.

I like this forum because it is clever,witty,humorous and above all civil.

In criticizing, reject nothing, select nothing, and scorn nothing, really care, really look, evolve into some sort of crazed monster.

In criticizing, we should see what is before our eyes as clearly and as innocently as possible before passing judgement on it.

Revere the intricate, irregular precision of tiny things, distant prospects and transient atmospheres, clearly seen.

Never be satisfied that you’ve handled a subject properly until you’ve contradicted yourself at least three times.
Trip like I do
I think that's been done here, and then some.

Welcome to the machine!

No matter what angle this subject is viewed, percieved, and projected, it all boils down to, 'free speech' will never actually occur because we are all a part of this machine we call planet earth. There will always be moderators (Big Brother) no matter how this fundamental reality is denied.

It is because it always has been and it is because it will always be.
Trip like I do
Everybody wants to rule the world.
Hey Hey
Thank God! It's called evolution.
Trip like I do
QUOTE (Rick @ Sep 04, 11:33 AM)
...less concerned with suppressing others and work on ourselves...

...those who annoy others are actually describing themselves in their own unfavorable light. Let them show themselves for whom they really are...

You definately pinned the tail on that donkey, Rick.

For we are but a direct reflection of the words that we project.
Trip like I do
We are everybody and everything in every account of informative dialogue.

When we are attributing reasons to other's actions we are simply referring to ourselves and to our own insecurities.

Just like in that statement I'm refering to what is happening when I attribute reasons to someone's actions as simply referring to myself and my own insecurities.
Trip like I do
Democracy - a form of government in which the sovereign power is in the hands of the people collectively and is exercised by them either directly or through elected representatives. Direct democracy, under which the citizens themselves assemble for the purpose of making laws, reached its highest development in Athens and other Greek city-states during the 5th century before Christ. Representative democracy, in which the functions of government are carried out through representatives of the people, was practiced as early as the 3rd century B.C. in the Achaean League, a confederation of Greek city-states. A democracy in which the executive power is vested in a president, as in the United States or France is a republic.
Trip like I do
Communism - a political system which seeks the absorption of all property and means of production by the stae for the common good. It also claims the right of the state to control production, distribution, and the consumption and to determine an equitable division of labour.
Trip like I do
Fascism - a political movement instituted in Italy in 1918 under the auspices of Mussolini to counteract the influence of socialism. The movement was authoritarian and extremely nationalistic. Members of the Fascist party were distinguished by "black shirts" and had a special salute. The intensive nationalistic policy of the Fascists greatly affected Italian political life and had serious reverberations in other European states.
I would like to thank you all for your feedback and suggestions. I would like to try something new, as the idea of sending complaints to an admin or mod has been the status quo for months now and its shortcomings are what initiated this discussion and the search for better means in the first place. More information can be found at
Ok, I have been away for awhile, so I have no idea what this is really all about, but it seems you are making it a bit more complicated than need be.

If Shawn decides something should be deleted he deletes it. If Shawn decides someone should be banned; they are banned.
I trust Shawn's judgement.

This IS Shawn's forum. KISS.



thanks cck, but for all practical purposes the forum belongs to everyone in the community, to the extent that the community is what makes the forum what it is.

Trip like I do
Community - common possesssion or enjoyment; a society of people having common rights and privileges; a society of individuals of any kind; the body of people in a state; the public.
Trip, are you saying this forum should be run like a communist state? Better an anarchy. If we're voting on forum rules, I vote for anarchy.
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