The title may be a bit confusing to some, will try my best to explain.
So, this story goes back a year. In just going to go a head and fast forward to a few weeks ago to save my thumbs.
A new user joined my forum. They instantly started making spam (posts literally just containing the word Thomas. I have proof if you want it) and started being sexist, so I instantly suspended them for a week. Two weeks later, they came back. They had asked me for image Perma so they could make a discussion. I allowed it, but what the posted was slightly shocking.
They had posted a fairly long discussion on the state of my forum in general. They made some fair points in the topic too.
As soon as the post as created we hit the max amount of displayed replying users. People started replying and we had hit 100 replies fast.
When the mods saw it, one of them instantly agreed. Me and the other founder of the studio responded to it, but the host instantly closed and unlisted the post. The mod who agreed reopened it, then we had learned that mod was leaking staff discussions in PDFs so we had to get rid of him.
After that, he completely anonymized the user then banned him on cloudflare.
I’m still a little split on the entire incident. We lost 2 mods because of it and the other founder started thinking of canning it and moving to discord which I wouldn’t allow.
We did eventually tell that mod to never do it again and he was repromoted.
Let me know what the correct way of dealing with this is in your opinion
I guess it depends on the type of users that a forum attracts, but I don’t suspend users unless it’s permanent. If someone misbehaves, they get a message from me explaining the problem. If they keep doing it or disrespect the admins after that point, they get permanently suspended or deleted.
I don’t give anyone moderator permissions. There are a couple of people with the title “moderator” that have TL4, but I don’t want people who I haven’t met in person and/or don’t have legal contracts with to have access to users’ private messages. Too many things can go wrong, like what you mentioned with “mod was leaking staff discussions in PDFs”.
For me, suspending users prolongs the problem and lets the situation float off of my radar and out of memory before they do it again. I figure if they have the kinds of personality issues that can’t be resolved with a simple, rational discussion, they can try again in the future with a new account.
I go out of my way to try to help them before suspending them though. I’ve probably banned only about 5-10 people out of ~50k. They get more than three strikes if they are making progress.
People flag posts when they want to delete things, so that would make those private messages visible to moderators. We have some content analysis tool running too, so if a post gets auto-flagged, it might suddenly become visible.
I’ve also had bad experiences in the past from giving people too much access. One moderator was using his position to build a clone of the site on another domain. Another person who had too much access once deleted a lot of content without warning. For me, it’s more stress than it’s worth.
At the moment, I send a webhook into a cloud function whenever there is something to moderate. The function pings a channel on Slack, so I can usually take care of common problems from my phone within 60 seconds of the incident.
I would just decide to flag posts that look like spam. I am not the owner of the Dark Gaming Forums, so I just simply flag anything that is wrong. Sometimes, I give the administrators and moderators a PM, than they deal with it. I am not TL3 on those forums either, because of the silenced thingy one month ago, so the flags don’t take an instant effect on TL0.