Member Rara Avis
Interesting in some ways... to know that there is only so much anyone can do to keep another off this sight without completely locking it down
It is a battle at times, Ron, and it's not one I particularly want to fight. I actually HAVE locked down the site a few times, by closing registrations, and I'm sure I'll do it again. "Big" has never been our goal, and I find no personal satisfaction in racking up high numbers. If we have to turn away people to maintain quality, then weíll turn away people.
Those who manage to sneak in through a backdoor eventually are discovered, though.
I would never have noticed Wayfarer's IP address today had he not had a poem pulled for questionable content. In reading the poem, only a short time after Peter's first post and my first answer, I recognized the same predilection for senseless violence that got Peter in trouble six months ago. I simply put two and two together and did some checking. Was it just luck? Perhaps, but I'd like to think we don't ban people for frivolous or unsubstantiated reasons, and those reasons don't go away just because they get a new username. They inevitably do exactly what got them in trouble the first time, making it pretty easy to make two and two add up to four.
When they are discovered, as I think they always are, my recourse is always the same. I systematically track down every post, every reply, every footprint they've left on the site and delete them. They no longer exist, and all the time and effort they invested in thwarting our system is wasted. Very few are willing to waste it again and again.
In the nearly five years these doors have been open, weíve banned relatively few people, but all of those seem to fall within one of three groups. Most are what I call drive-bys. The come, they raise a ruckus, then they go. A few have been angry rebels. They push the boundaries just because there ARE boundaries, and when they eventually push too hard, theyíre asked to leave. Most do, though seldom without a few choice words in parting. Angry rebels donít generally suffer their outrage quietly.
The third group is the scary one.
Some few people, and thankfully they have been few, are in very serious need of counseling. They are often paranoid, always self-righteous, and too frequently they become obsessed with both the Internet and, more specifically, with our forums. One woman, for month after month after month, tried to get into the forums nearly every single day, often several times a day, even though I closed every door soon after she found it. Thatís not determination, thatís psychotic obsession. She needs help, desperately, and thereís not a damn thing I can do to convince her. Except, perhaps, deny her the substitute for help these forums for a time gave her.
For what itís worth, and only in my opinion, there are currently two people active in the forums right now who would be much better served in a hospital. One is a banned Member, with a truly evil temper and a penchant for hurting people with her words, who has managed to sneak in with a new ISP. The other is a relatively new Member who has already had altercations with half a dozen others, but has so far been careful to limit her rants to private email. Neither, I believe, is fully responsible for the way she acts, but both will nonetheless be held accountable. Soon enough, they will be gone.
Only to be replaced by others just like them. Nothing ever gets easier, all of us need to be careful. There are bears in them there woods.
I do find it to be an issue for me.. to think that some here support the ones banned and actually aid them in gaining access to the things posted and or in generally creating an atmosphere of discontent and unfairness..
Me, too. They take what we have to offer, but refuse to give what we ask of them in return. I think Winona Ryder got arrested for something very similar? Itís hard to respect someone who straddles the gorge, lacking both the courage of their convictions and the integrity of their promises, unwilling to either stand or walk away. Theyíll discover, I suspect, that straddling a yawning hole in the Earth is a good way to fall into one. If they canít make a choice, theyíll find it made for them. Theyíll be outed. And ousted.
The American judicial system is often criticized for protecting the rights of the criminal. Unfortunately, that seems to be the necessary cost of protecting the rights of the innocent. Itís frustrating that, in trying to be fair to those who donít deserve it, we are often unfair to those who donít deserve that either. Trouble is, thatís the only way that works.
I sincerely believe that in time everyone always gets what they do deserve, though. Patience isnít just a virtue. Sometimes, itís a survival trait.