Internet forum politics

This story may certainly upset some people who run forum type websites. In particular if the website in question tries to posture itself as neutral, but in fact is consumed in its own internal politics banning hoards of people simply because they logged a legitimate complaint or concern.

There is no need to mention the site by name as many people already have a fairly good idea what one or ones they are. All Connecting the Dots wants to do is open a few eyes before they die the death of 1000 cuts, all self inflicted.

On the good side, the site has grown and is big by all comparisons. They have over 100,000 members and are pushing 4 million posts. They have integrated themselves with several other sites. They also do tend to provide near real time information via the forum. For that part we can only give them two thumbs up. But that is all subject to succeed or fail depending on how the underlying internal politics run.

But adding to that, each website has its own right to run as they want. They can ban or accept who they choose. For example there may be some prerequisite like being a member of a certain group to join. Even Connecting the Dots has decided on how we operate. For example getting into a comment pissing match is something we look to avoid. That is why few if any comments are made by the post author.

However in a forum setting it is the land of 1000 voices each singing a different song. Moderators do need to get involved and enter comments to keep things from getting out of control. Unfortunately after a while the sense of being a God sets in seeing they can snuff someone out with a mouse click sending them to the banned bin forever silencing their voice.

With a banned rate of over 10%, it almost becomes a right of passage to get banned. If you translate that into real life statistics, the US has about 3.2% of the population in jail, on probation or other such indignities in the justice system at any given moment. Seeing that the banned rate is 3 times that, one can quickly establish the moderators are more than a little trigger happy with the banned button.

It is that over use of the banned button that eventually will be the downfall of the site. If for any reason someone falls out of favor with any one of the moderators, it is almost insured they will be banned in the very near future.

The list of banned covers just about all walks of life and levels of educational attainment. Doctors, lawyers, and right on down the line to the scum of society have been banned. Seeing that the moderators probably don’t have a doctorate in any area, banning a doctor being someone who is highly respected in the community says a lot.

Even the desire to keep complaints and concerns to private messages or emails is no longer hiding the nature of the problem. The banned list has simply grown too big and word of mouth is making the rounds outside of the realm of the moderators banned button. It is this reputation that will eventually erode all the hard work and hours spent to grow the website. After all, all one has to do is ask, how did Connecting the Dots hear about it. Then by doing a little digging, we were able to verify all of this. Each thread that resulted in someone getting banned reads almost like an obituary. Unless some entries were deleted it is fairly easy to see what happened.

As things tend to repeat themselves, it is just a matter of time before advertisers and sponsors start to feel the guilt by association and end their relationship. Once that happens, it is almost too late to recover as no doubt a copy cat site without the reputation takes over the post position.

One Response to Internet forum politics

  1. Paul C. Parvis says:

    I know just exactly which website you are refering to. I also have been suspended there – several times for logging a legitimate complaint about THE SERVICES OF AN ADVERTISER OF THE FORUM.