Cyber bullies Aug 6, 2013 1:14:46 GMT 10
Post by Gort on Aug 6, 2013 1:14:46 GMT 10
Moderating a forum is no easy task. It requires a lot of time on an active board.
Sometimes, a member will indulge in systematic harassment of another member or members.
More often than not, the bully will launch ongoing attacks which are unprovoked and will take every opportunity to attack the target person in any or all threads started by the victim.
Active boards sometimes make it less obvious to the wider membership that this is taking place.
However, to the victim, the place becomes quite unpleasant because no matter what threads they create, the bully will ignore the thread content and subjects the poster to more harassment.
A victim might report the harassment to the moderator hoping that the moderator will "have a word" with the bully in an effort to curtail the harassment.
Now, it is true that sticking rigidly to the Proboards ToS can be problematic - some degree of friendly "banter" between members could be viewed as breaking the ToS and action would be "justified" under the "black letter" rules - yet some leeway is given. This is a difficult thing to manage.
However, when a bully continues to harass another member or members on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times per day often unprovoked and the victim points out that this is happening, moderators sometimes make the mistake of "victim blaming" and in order to "wipe the complaints from the radar", they will punish the victim by calling them a "whinger" or in extreme cases - by outright banning them rather than addressing the root cause itself: namely the person doing the harassing.
This is a serious mistake because it actually "rewards" the bully and emboldens them to bully again. The harassing culture becomes ingrained.
The result is often that members drift away from the board and the membership dwindles to a "rump" of contributors.
The bully then will turn on the remaining members (sometimes members who have been more or less friendly) and attack even them.
The result is a "dead" board.
The bully and perhaps one or two major contributors might remain, often just peppering the board with pet topics and not actually engaging in any discussion anymore.
It is a sad thing to see.