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Read this first if you feel like insulting someone

  Forum Editor 09:14 09 Oct 2004

As most of you will know, we don't tolerate personally abusive comments in our forum. It's OK to disagree - that's the way that discussions or debates work - and even to disagree strongly, but when it comes to making offensive remarks of a personal nature we draw the line.
There's been a slight increase in the number of posts that have crossed that line recently, and I've been receiving a lot of mail from forum members expressing concern that it's indicative of a trend. Let me reassure those people that there's no such trend - any post that contains personally insulting comments aimed at an individual, or a group of people will be deleted, and in most cases a warning will be sent to the culprit. I can't always send warnings - on the odd occasion I'm simply too busy - but I'll try. If the post is particularly offensive, or if the person doing the posting has been warned on a previous occasion I'll disable that person's forum membership without any further warning.

We're talking about a very small number of people here - the vast majority of forum members behave impeccably - but it only takes a few fools to turn the atmosphere sour, and I'm not about to let that happen. We all know what is, or isn't a personally abusive comment, and I'm not going to define it here. Suffice it to say that it's fairly easy to recognise the difference between a robust response in a debate, and a comment that's deliberately calculated to offend. Nobody will be banned without a chance to put their case - I'm always contactable by email ([email protected]), and on many occasions I've lifted a ban when presented with an apology and/or a rationale for the transgression.

Forums like this must have rules, and our rules are based on commonsense. Let's try to maintain an atmosphere in which anyone may feel comfortable.

  watchful 09:39 09 Oct 2004

I agree, strongly. Personal insults are not welcome at all.

A timely reminder FE.

  TOPCAT® 13:22 09 Oct 2004

- added in a post would reveal to people how it was intended to be read. The inability to observe the sender's 'body language' sometimes means a post is taken right out of context. It is also wise to read through your response before posting it. It's too late after that button is pressed!

I am aware that the Forum Editor is not too keen on simple emoticons but in my humble opinion they can help. I await the flack! :o))

Can't say I've yet read what caused the FE to post this thread, so please ignore the above if abuse was blatantly obvious. That has to be stamped out forthwith. TC.

  Forum Editor 15:33 09 Oct 2004

is that they can be used to deliberately disguise a barbed comment - the offensive words are typed, and then a smiley is put at the end, as if to say "I'm only joking", but the damage has been done.

Apart from that, many people scatter their posts with emoticons like confetti - they lose their meaning after a while, because everyone uses them as a matter of course.

We aren't planning to introduce them, we've managed pretty well without them for nearly four years, and if you really want an emoticon you can easily create one on the keyboard.

  TOPCAT® 16:44 09 Oct 2004

I meant the typed versions of course, of which it is said I am guilty of using at times. But, as Peter says, even those can be abused by some which is a damned shame :o( TC.

  Forum Editor 18:42 09 Oct 2004

was indeed the catalyst for this thread. It was one of the worst examples of the deliberate and vindictive humiliation of another forum member that I have seen in my time here. It happened to someone who is always good-natured and has been a member for some time. The culprit has been removed from our midst.

There have been a few other - less serious incidents of late though, and I felt it was time we reminded ourselves that we are an online community with a population greater than many large towns (Slough has 30,000 fewer residents for instance); like all communities we have rules, both written and unwritten, and if we try to observe them we'll be fine.

  watchful 18:54 09 Oct 2004

Just out of interest. If someone is removed from the Forums, are they able to re-register under another name?

  CurlyWhirly 21:50 09 Oct 2004

What about if someone has a dynamic address as this changes everytime they connect to the web like for example someone still on dial-up?

  kev.Ifty 22:02 09 Oct 2004

Starting a new thread in relation to "re-registering" so as not to dilute FE's valuable message?

Just saying thats all.

Cheers Kev.

  Forum Editor 23:59 09 Oct 2004

about re-registering.

Of course a banned person can re-register, but they can't post under their banned username, so nobody will know who they are. It kind of defeats the whole thing for them I would have thought - they either have to toe the line, in which case we've achieved our objective, or not post at all.

We routinely log IP addresses - not only when someone registers, but each time everyone logs in. Shortly we'll start checking postcodes too, so anyone who gives us a false address will automatically be rejected.

I know that quite a few people who have been banned have re-registered, and in many cases I know who they are. I have a screen where I can see who's logged in at any given moment, and I can see these people coming and going. I see no point in being vindictive, and as long as they behave themselves we'll live and let live, but once a username is banned that's it - the name can't be used again.

  Forum Editor 00:42 10 Oct 2004

We can't prevent a person from re-registering under another name and address can we?

We're looking at some ways that we can verify addresses, but that isn't foolproof. All websites that require registration have the same problem. You can require a valid email address - which we do, but we know that many people simply provide a hotmail address so we'll send the password to them. Once registered they don't use that address.

We have some other ways we can check up on registrations, but I'm not going to go into them here.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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