Today, I froze the accounts of several users. Normally, I reserve that measure for cases of clear and repeated abuse.
Well, today (just a few days after the board was attacked by some seriously messed up individuals) I encountered another kind of abuse -- by existing, well-established members.
Why were those user accounts frozen?
They were deleting their posts. Actually, they were replacing the contents of their posts with words "deleted", "gone", etc.
Now, why is that a problem?
I wouldn't mind if someone posted something, then changed their mind and asked me to delete a topic. There might be plenty of legitimate reasons for that. And I don't have a problem with that at all.
But systematically going through the posts and intentionally ruining conversations in which other people took part is abuse as far as I'm concerned.
To those individuals:
You see, topics consist of individual posts.
Topics are conversations between different people. When you make a post, other people take their time to reply to you. This is no longer just your post in a vacuum. It is a conversation. Other people put their time and effort into "creating" this conversation together with you.
Other people might bookmark it for future reference, might send links of such conversations to their friends and guild members and so on.
And then you come back, and replace your posts with "deleted". And completely break the topics -- those conversations are now ruined.
Someone out there took their time to reply to you, to comment on your quilt, to share their opinion, or just to say "thanks for the tip". And what did you do? You basically spit in their face.
All because you were in a bad mood at the moment.
On top of that, such actions leave the message board in a messed up state. I spent close to 4 hours today fishing out and deleting all the "deleted"/"gone" posts. Just to clear things up. So that we wouldn't have a bunch of topics about nothing. So that other readers don't have to waste their time opening up page after page in hopes of reading quilting-related material just to see "deleted" on their screen.
Thank you very much. That's four hours of my life that I'm not getting back.
One more thing:
I don't care for how long you've been a member of this board or how good of a quilter you are. I don't care if you threaten to leave. If you don't care about other people's time, effort and feelings, then I don't want you on this board.
I received some communication from a few members, and as a result I would like to clarify a few things. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the cause of user bans.
None of the users who got banned were banned for copyright discussions. They were banned for ruining the existing topics on the board and for causing havoc.
In total 5 users had their accounts locked.
So in short, you keep the copyright of your posts, but allow the unlimited use of the posts by the administration.
Why does the board need such clauses at all?
It's unfortunate, but companies get sued by people every day for most ridiculous reasons.
And I need to protect the board from even a remote possibility of such thing happening.
Imagine the following scenario:
Someone joins the message board and makes a post.
A month later, they demand a royalty payment for displaying their work. And since the site is run by a company, not a non-profit organization, they consider it commercial use, so now they want $50,000.
Is that likely to happen?
Probably not, but there are enough frivolous lawsuits out there, and I don't want to take any chances.