Re: Personal attacks and attempted outing
Date: June 28, 2012 06:59PM
> Your fourth sentence, "Outing that is correct and
> truthful, while against Fairfax Underground's
> rules, is vastly preferred to the type of careless
> haphazard outing attempts that have appeared in
> recent days. Libeling the name of someone who is
> completely innocent and has never posted to
> Fairfax Underground, based on a mere hunch or
> circumstantial evidence, is deplorable and will
> result in a ban." is garbled and poorly thought
> out, and comes across as somewhat mealy-mouthed.
I agree that the sentence could have had more tact, it was produced in a rush. The goal was to get the post out the door as quickly as possible.
> The simple fact is that something is either
> against the rules or it is not. If it is against
> the rules, it is your responsibility as the owner
> and sole moderator to enforce that rule ALL of the
> time, not merely when it suits your purposes or
> when you find the time in your busy schedule to do
In order for the rules to be enforced ALL of the time I would either have to continuously monitor every thread on the site or switch to a "moderated listserv" format where each post needs a moderator's green light before being posted. Neither is acceptable. Although I agree I should have nipped this one in the bud (by banning 2concerned, again) before it became such a federal case.
> The correct way to state what I believe you meant
> is "Outing, or posting of another poster's
> personal identifying information, is not allowed
> on Fairfax Underground. This includes posting of
> real names, addresses, and home, work, or cell
> telephone numbers. Posts containing personal
> information of any kind will be deleted and the
> poster will be blocked from Fairfax Underground."
> See? That's reasonably simple, unambiguous, and
> provides no wiggle room for wanna-be Internet
> lawyers who want to argue their points ad
While I agree your sentence is far more inclusive of my goals, I do not try to write legal code with every post. When I post a rule or explain a decision I aim to provide the rational reader with enough information to infer my objectives and act accordingly. I do not care if certain posters try to exploit loopholes in my wording, the rules will apply to them just the same.
> The second part to this is actually enforcing the
> rule, which means that you have to respond to
> poster's complaints (no more E-mails to an
> apparent black hole) and take action on them
> promptly. You don't get to hide behind the curtain
> any more, Oz, you've got to be actively engaged
> and responsive.
Email does not go to a black hole, it's simply prioritized. I receive an incredible amount of email related to this site and the truly pressing matters are always resolved in a timely fashion. The most public matters are often not the most pressing.
> If this is too much work or will take up too much
> of your time, you should delegate some of it to
> other people that you trust to do so*, or you
> should shut down Fairfax Underground, because this
> will happen again, I guarantee it.
> *I specifically exclude myself for consideration
> for any such position.
I agree that this is bound to occur again. Dynamic IP addresses, no email verification process, and allowing anonymous posting will always ensure that this service is abused. It doesn't matter to me so much when the service is abused in the instant, but rather what is retained 1 week or 1 month later.
I have considered adding additional moderators over the years, but in order to effectively moderate an anonymous online forum the new moderator would need access to every poster's IP address, which is something I'm not quite ready to trust someone with, although I do have a short list.