On a gaming-related Discourse forum I frequent (“Forum X”), there are some users (“Bob” and “Dave”) who visit Forum X from another forum (“Forum Y”). “Bob” and “Dave” are moderators of Forum Y.
Forum X has a basically reasonable code of conduct based on the Discourse template; Forum Y has, uh, the opposite of that. On Forum Y, pretty much anything goes. Bob and Dave, in their role as community leaders on Forum Y, are in the habit of screencapping posts from X and posting them to Y in order to mock people, frequently using homophobic slurs, and encouraging others to do so. (You may be familiar with the gamerspeak habit of using homophobic slurs “ironically.”)
If Bob and Dave were to post that stuff on X, they’d be banned right away, but they know better than that, so they post their stuff on Y, and when they do post on X, they’re careful not to violate any forum rules.
Some of the folks on X (particularly some LGBTQ folks) have called for Bob and Dave to be banned from X, or for the moderators of X to at least do something to mitigate the abuse.
Others have feared that this will just encourage Bob and Dave to kick their harassment into high gear. (Forum X is publicly visible; you don’t have to be logged in to read posts and screencap them.) Even just forcing Bob and Dave down to TL0 on X doesn’t seem like it’ll do any good, since Bob and Dave are careful not to violate any rules on X.
For those of you who moderate a forum, have y’all dealt with cases like this before? What works and what doesn’t, in your experience? Does your forum have a policy against off-site harassment? (The stock Discourse FAQ does not have a clear policy on this, IMO.) Have any of you successfully mitigated off-site harassment? Or attempted to mitigate it, only to cause a backfire?