The Flat Earth Society

The Flat Earth Society => Suggestions & Concerns => Topic started by: Pete Svarrior on November 29, 2018, 06:07:05 PM

Title: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on November 29, 2018, 06:07:05 PM
So this is something that's been cropping up recently, and while I think we're justified in doing this under moderator discretion, I'd rather put it forward for our userbase to discuss.

Basically: every now and then a group of kids/university students/bored 9-5 workers decide it's a good idea to come here and abuse the forum. Usually, we end up getting a slow trickle of low-quality posters, often registering from the same IP (range) or e-mail addresses from the same institutional domain. Sometimes, it's a bit of a burden from a moderation perspective. Just yesterday I've had to ban Kingsway College School (https://www.kcs.on.ca/) because new kids kept joining the forum just about as fast as I could clean up their posts. Today, it's Mariemont City Schools (http://www.mariemontschools.org/) whose students had the same idea.

I suggest that, as a policy, we should reserve the right to temporarily block access from institutions whose members choose to abuse our forum. For example, if a group of schoolkids chooses to post about how the Earth is totally a cube (lacking the decency to do so in CN), we should have a well-defined right to ban that school for some time. Individual posters, of course, should still be handled separately to this - this is more an idea to throttle brigading a bit.

Obviously this is a very rough idea, and a lot of the specifics would have to be agreed, but I'd like to at least get an idea of whether or not this is something that users here would be willing to accept.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: junker on November 29, 2018, 06:27:21 PM
I think a 3-5 day "cool-down" period for any such institution is a good idea (I would also support a longer ban since these people don't ever end up being contributing members). Anyway, I support this.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: MattyWS on November 29, 2018, 06:27:53 PM
On one hand it's a pretty easy solution to trolls and on my own forum I've done the exact same thing by pre-banning anyone registering under a specific email domain. It solved the problem swiftly and the problem went away over time and now there's no need for me to do so since the users in question got bored and gave up. It makes sense to ban whole domains that cause issues.

On the other hand If you ban whole schools then you'll be banning individuals from the schools who've done nothing wrong and potentially are also flat earthers waiting to happen.

So it's a win win in my books!

I wouldn't block people based on IP address if I were you though, it's not accurate enough because anyone can change their ip.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Parsifal on November 29, 2018, 07:17:59 PM
I wouldn't block people based on IP address if I were you though, it's not accurate enough because anyone can change their ip.

It's perfectly suitable for discouraging adolescents using school computers where they are unlikely to be able to install VPN software, or have the patience to do so in a 1-hour lesson.

I don't have a strong opinion on this as I'm not really that active in the upper fora. If it helps, I don't see a problem with it.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on November 29, 2018, 07:27:48 PM
On the other hand If you ban whole schools then you'll be banning individuals from the schools who've done nothing wrong and potentially are also flat earthers waiting to happen.
Hence the temporary nature of any such ban. It stops the immediate issue (and I doubt those kids will be coming back, they don't mean any lasting malice, they're just having a bit of fun on a boring day) with only temporary impact on other users.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: RonJ on November 29, 2018, 08:25:14 PM
You might be surprised.  I had some kids trying to impersonate a website to obtain my user name / password.  This went on for a couple of years.  Sometimes they would slip up and leave some kind of a trail that I could follow back and it would always lead me back to the same technical school out East.  Don't assume that the abuse will stop after just a short period of time.  That might or might not happen
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: MattyWS on November 30, 2018, 06:31:41 PM
Their part was moved to CN but I agree with one point they made, maybe don't display publicly information like what school users are from. I'd edit out the names of the schools for privacy concerns even if they are moronic children trolling.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: junker on November 30, 2018, 06:57:18 PM
Their part was moved to CN but I agree with one point they made, maybe don't display publicly information like what school users are from. I'd edit out the names of the schools for privacy concerns even if they are moronic children trolling.

I don't think anyone knew what particular school a given user was from based on Pete's post, but I will go ahead and remove the names until Pete can review and decide if he wants them there or not.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on November 30, 2018, 07:49:20 PM
don't display publicly information like what school users are from
If they didn't want to make their schools look bad, they could have thought about it in advance. We provided no information that links individual users to schools, and my statement that these two organisations were a source of recent abuse is plainly factual.

Parsifal has the final say on the matter, but as far as I'm concerned the names are staying.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Parsifal on November 30, 2018, 08:10:48 PM
I'm with Pete. This information is in the ban log anyway, which is public for good reason. As long as we aren't personally identifying where users are from, it's no different from saying, for instance, that we have users from Australia without naming them.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Baby Thork on December 01, 2018, 02:31:49 PM
Banning universities is a horrible idea. Imagine if your uni got banned because the geology dept got bored and came here. You'd be banned too.

Can you do a timeout ... say 2 hours ... and then reopen? I'm guessing that covers the free period they are sat in the library deciding where to attack next.

Alternatively, can you make an IP redirect thing. So if someone from that IP address posts, the post is automatically dumped in CN. They'll soon learn where to put those kind of posts.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Baby Thork on December 01, 2018, 03:03:13 PM
Wow, also these are children, not students. Like children children.

I might ask, do we have an age policy and is that age 13+ like social media platforms? Legal reason for doing so below.

http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

I might add the age restriction in the EU is more strict and children are anyone under 16.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43888647


Frankly we aren't set up to have 11 year olds here. If they get trapped in CN with Uncle Thork talking graphically about transgender mutilation or the virtues of incest, it is going to damage them for a long time.

Do we have an idea of how young we want people who come here to be? I'm guessing no one wants 6 year olds here. 13? Would we prefer 16+? Do we just go with the facebook style policies for simplicity? I have no idea where we would police that? I can't find our privacy policy and terms and conditions only talks about copyright. Not age of users.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Rushy on December 01, 2018, 04:22:02 PM
I think banning problem groups is fine for any period of time. We don't need the site getting raided by bored youngsters. It's not helpful in any capacity.

Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 01, 2018, 06:47:46 PM
Can you do a timeout ...
That's exactly what a short ban is.

Alternatively, can you make an IP redirect thing. So if someone from that IP address posts, the post is automatically dumped in CN. They'll soon learn where to put those kind of posts.
Please don't talk out loud about technical subjects.

COPPA
We do not collect or maintain personal information of <13yos, nor are we in violation of any of the prohibited acts. We're also not in America.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Baby Thork on December 01, 2018, 10:42:48 PM
Alternatively, can you make an IP redirect thing. So if someone from that IP address posts, the post is automatically dumped in CN. They'll soon learn where to put those kind of posts.
Please don't talk out loud about technical subjects.
Being as this is S&C a simple YES or NO would be fine. You don't need to be rude.

COPPA
We do not collect or maintain personal information of <13yos, nor are we in violation of any of the prohibited acts. We're also not in America.
An e-mail address is personal info. As is an IP address. Not being in America means nothing if you serve users from the area. Facebook can't say "We aren't in the EU so we don't have to comply with EU rules".

Anyway, I'm wasting electrons on you. You've been a prick of late and everything is about being rude to other people. Do whatever you want. You will anyway. I've no idea why you ask for opinions.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: junker on December 19, 2018, 07:11:14 PM
We  had another unfortunate incident today from Bulkley Valley Christian School  (https://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=11623.0). They will have a month vacation. Not very Christian of them if you ask me. Pete will be happy to know that at least it wasn't a US school this time.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on December 19, 2018, 07:43:44 PM
Eh, Canada is an extension of the US for all intents and purposes. It's always the US, Canada and Australia that produce the stupidest pupils who still somehow manage to get on the Internet.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: TomInAustin on January 02, 2019, 02:47:21 PM
Please don't talk out loud about technical subjects.

A perfect new sig. 
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: junker on January 24, 2019, 07:12:11 PM
Today, it's Mariemont City Schools (http://www.mariemontschools.org/) whose students had the same idea.

Renewing this one for 45 days for R8/impersonation.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Sovietb0i69 on February 26, 2019, 02:27:46 PM
So... I see a never expiring ban on people who break rule 8. yet, what is rule 8, so I don't break it...
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on February 26, 2019, 02:29:01 PM
So... I see a never expiring ban on people who break rule 8. yet, what is rule 8, so I don't break it...
Have you tried reading the rules?
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Benjamin Franklin on February 26, 2019, 05:14:52 PM
So... I see a never expiring ban on people who break rule 8. yet, what is rule 8, so I don't break it...
8. Keep alternate accounts within reason

We will be taking a very relaxed policy towards alternate accounts ("alts"), provided that people do not force us to take a stricter stance by abusing this policy. Alts are allowed, and will be permitted free reign across all fora, provided that they follow the rules for the forum they are posting in. FES has a history of alts that contribute to discussions in addition to the usual complement of spamming and trolling alts, and it would be a shame to try to restrict this.

There are two exceptions to this policy: one, an alt that is used for the purpose of furthering a main or another alt's argument without itself contributing a unique point of view on the situation ("sockpuppetting") will be immediately banned; two, an alt that is intended to impersonate a member either here or on the old FES will be immediately banned, and deleted if it is occupying the username of an old FES member, as otherwise it would bar them from registering here.

An alt breaking any rule that would ordinarily result in a warning can (at moderator discretion) be handled by immediately banning the alt account, and instead warning the main account of the person controlling it.


Edit:
It's harder to find the rules than it needs to be. May I suggest stickying them at the top of every upper-fora so that they're easier to find?
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Baby Thork on February 26, 2019, 06:04:05 PM
I can't think of one good reason to allow alts. It may be a hoot for the person creating them, but it is a total waste of anyone who is replying to them's time. Supposing I now make an alt and start making explain threads in FET and Tom Bishop wastes 3 hours arguing the toss with me.

Great, I wasted Tom's time. Hilarious for me I'm sure.

I like the mantra in life that you can do whatever you like, so long as it doesn't hurt other people. Alts offer nothing to the forum other than the personal enjoyment of the troll creating them. But that has a cost to everyone else. I'd happily see alts exterminated.

I'd love to see an example of these 'contributions' that alts make and how they 'contribute' over just having a normal account.
Title: Re: Ban policy discussion - abuse from organisations
Post by: Pete Svarrior on February 26, 2019, 08:54:34 PM
It's harder to find the rules than it needs to be. May I suggest stickying them at the top of every upper-fora so that they're easier to find?
Although you're presented with the rules at the time of registration, I agree that more exposure is better. SMF doesn't easily allow sticky-posting across multiple boards, but I'll see if we can work out something similar.

However, this thread is veering severely off-topic. This is about whether or not we should be allowed to ban schools if we get raided by angry schoolkids. Please open another thread if you have anything to add on the ancillary subjects that arose here.