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Bullies on Internet discussion forums

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MarlieeB

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*Note: This is generic to any forum and in no way accuses this or any other kind of forum of bullying by members or staff*

Of course if the Mods/admins feel this is unsuitable feel free to remove. Let's please, have no arguments, accusations etc on this.

Also article pasted has been edited to take out names of a site.

Bullies on Internet discussion forums

Bullying is when a person or group Bullying is when a person or group repeatedly tries to harm someone who is weaker. Sometimes it involves direct attacks such as hitting, name calling, teasing or taunting. Sometimes it is indirect, such as spreading rumors or trying to make others reject someone. Forum bullying or cyber bullying has become a widespread issue throughout the Internet. As a former moderator I've encountered it it's various guises many times. As one of the powers that be, it was difficult enough dealing with the usual spammers and trolls, but that was nothing compared to having to deal with already established members with high post counts and years of knowing each other in that forum.

The term 'regulars' has gained notoriety over the years on all kinds of forums. That's where the bullies are easier to spot. To an outsider or a lurker, it can be a bit intimidating submitting a post as a newbie. Not knowing all the ins and outs and who knows who, it can be a bit daunting. The TOS (terms of service) or forum rules usually only serve to favour the regulars and bullies if there is some flaming going on in a particular thread.

To give an example, I posted a complaint on the ******* site last April regarding issues that I had with my bank, *****. After lurking on some of the forums on this site I knew which regulars gave out sound advice and which ones were there just to flame new posters. So in response to my post I got four comments, three of these were sanctimonious and opinionated. I posted back somewhat sarcastically with "Thanks for the pontificating, dogmatic, sage, etc. advice!" which resulted in 'full mod status' being put on my user account. This basically meant from then on my posts had to be reviewed by a panel of administrators before being published.

Cyber bullying on discussion forums Anyway, being crippled by the powers that be, I could no longer fight back and watched as regulars were only civil to each and downright nasty to newbies. The unwritten rules were that the newcomers had to endure these nasty comments without reprisal. The bullies knew how to get around the censorship and avoided talking with you, or PMing you if you hadn't been 'broken in yet'. I also became aware a certain amount of favouritism displayed by administrators from the start. In any particular heated debate with a regular and a newbie, they would side with the regular and I noticed that they even let these people use various nicknames that surely must breach the guidelines. I can't publish these here for obvious reasons.

Well, I can deal with bullies on forums, trolls and the like a lot easier if I didn't have to worry about the forum administrators protecting them! That's the real issue here. I get tired of myself and others being dismissed as oversensitive or censored when we fight back against these bullies. So much for free speech!
 
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cpuusage

cpuusage

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i think there are some very complex issues within forum communications & interactions, as there is in 'real life' relationships/inter-personal communication. It's not easy to moderate a forum.

i think as a basic rule the personal attack one is paramount. If people 'debate the debate' if people can stick to discussing the discussion - the subject of the thread, then where is the issue? Every time the problem becomes one of personal attack. & i do also think it is an issue to make accusations of other people being bullies - this is very often used as a tactic to slander others who some people don't like (or if they lose a discussion) & used as a power game/manipulation to gain the upper hand in their own position. It gets used to silence debate & genuine open/free speech - & to try & dominate certain agendas within the group. It's playing the victim card, which can be a very powerful position for some people to take & a very widespread & popular position with a lot of people, who will default to victim position at any & every opportunity.

i don't really agree with the OP - i think the primary issue is personal attack - however/wherever that comes from & whatever the form it takes.
 
M

Mastiff mom

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Being cyber bullied is especially creepy to me because you don't know their true identity-- you can't even put a face to it.unfortunately I've experienced in it' s various pathetic guises. I always picture a very small person hiding behind a big curtain like in The Wizard of Oz. It would be a sad existence to gain pleasure by harassing and frightening people. If a site doesn't carefully monitor this sort of thing. With help from the community, people simply will leave.
 
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firemonkee57

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In my experience forum moderators often support bullying through an abject failure to take appropriate action against it. In fact if you get stressed out by it the moderators are likely to jump on you while leaving the bullies and trolls alone.
Of course online bullies and trolls are adept at psychological manipulation and how to exploit moderator failings to target and abuse people.
 
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bagpuss

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I have only used a few forums and facebook once, I have had a few heated moments on here but I think I was part to blame maybe, but I thankfully have not seen any real bullying in here.

I watched the news recently and was a bit annoyed about a womens comments to madalin mcann's family sorry if I spelt it wrong, but yer I think I would go for the plug socket if someone was bullying me in the internet, their was also a women on the news the other day who said she was being bullied and harrassed and even had death threats on twitter, she was asked why dont you just leave twitter her reply was why should I. I may be wrong but she seemed to soak up the fact that she was not famous but yet she gave me the opinion she did enjoy the attention though it may be the wrong kind.

I do find this forum quite addictive and I am learning to reduce how much I will be using it, this is a great forum but I think it can take over sometimes.

It seems reality and cyber reality have merged, I think its best to look out of the window if we want to know what the weather is and not look it up on the internet...

I bloody hate trolls and weirdo's online I have had my ID stolen online and used as a fake facebook account. Never again...

users beware, I think its a balance of carefull forum using and being safe online, I am still working on reducing how much timeI spend on forums but its not easy when its all I have as a way of contact with people other than mum n dad.... its a bloody tricky one
 
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ramboghettouk

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i accused someone of bullying on a forum and the reply was it's you thats the bully it's a bullys trick to play victim when found out

At my school the bullys as they grew up learnt to bully by enforcing the school rules, if you due to illness have difficulty following the rules you can be targetted, which then brings back all the memories
 
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cookiegirl

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I think bullying and forums go hand-in-hand, I've seen it everywhere, so it's not a surprise to me if it appears. I think there's different types though...some bullies work hard to establish a hierarchy and in that process must continually put others in their place. They befriend mods and admins, and need constant stroking from other posters so they tend to have a "crew." Other bullies don't work that hard, or care to be friends with the mods, they just like to yank people's chains and will do that until they get banned. Still others have specific agendas or worldviews and dislike anyone who clashes with that, so they bully out of necessity, not for emotional gratification. And then there's the last kind, they don't have an agenda, but have baggage, because they're racist, or whatever, or another poster reminds them of their ex wife or something, and they get triggered and go on the attack.

So how you deal with a bully online depends on what type of bully you encounter. If it's the first kind,..find another forum, lol. And it's always better to not over-react, you can't win a battle on a message board, eventually the mods will come in and start deleting posts, anyway.

Every board has them, to some degree. Even here, for the short time I've been here I saw one thread where a poster was overly critical of another poster and their contributions. Even as a third party, it's hard to just ignore, and as someone who doesn't like that sort of thing, I usually won't ignore it. One of the reasons I will speak up, is because silence from everyone just supports the bully. Secondly, people generally will self-censor themselves to avoid conflict, and you end up with a chilling effect. This is an effect a lot of bullies want to achieve, because it makes it easier for them to control content.

At some point when you're experienced enough, you see through it all and it doesn't bother you as much, or you realize these people are nobody and you just need to take a break and step away from the keyboard and go outside and put things in perspective. It's not life and death, it's just a forum.
 
calypso

calypso

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I am aware that you are talking about many other forums, couldn't be this one as we are perfect :rofl2:

On here we do our absolute best to prevent this and to be even handed. Often we discuss any action, unless its obvious, nothing can happen that other mods don't see and we will disagree with each other if needed. That happens more often than you might think and we discuss a lot more than people might believe.

One problem is that if we take action against a person, we never tell anyone about it as its confidential, so sometimes people think we have just reacted to them and not the other person/s when often we have.

I did go on a forum once and lasted for one post! I disagreed with meds being the only way to control bipolar symptoms and got told I was being argumentative and put on moderated posts, which made me laugh and leave. Bullying is a tricky thing as some of it is in the eye of the beholder and some is clearer. We follow the rules and discuss, as I said before. But anything happening - report it. Remember, we don't agree with every report, but we always read them and always take them seriously.
 
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firemonkee57

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One problem is that if we take action against a person, we never tell anyone about it as its confidential, so sometimes people think we have just reacted to them and not the other person/s when often we have.
If you don't tell people then you can't blame them for thinking the worst. Especially if the offending party is being allowed to carry on in a way that suggests nothing was done.
 
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MarlieeB

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But Firemonkee I get what you are saying but what if, for example the person can actually show evidence later on proving that in fact they weren't to "blame" in any way. If the Mods/Admins had already announced that they have banned someone for bullying but actually that person had nothing wrong that person is going to have a tar on their brush no matter what.

As annoying as it can be, confidentiality is the best course IMO, just in case.
 
PerfectSurvivor

PerfectSurvivor

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Where's CPU these days?
 
PerfectSurvivor

PerfectSurvivor

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I normally see a few posts from CPU a day, did he get bullied offline?
 
PerfectSurvivor

PerfectSurvivor

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Cool, Nough said
 
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