Law School Discussion

Recent Ban Issue

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Recent Ban Issue
« on: December 17, 2006, 01:31:07 PM »
Fellow BLSD Members,

as you may recall, about a few months back we collectively came up with the following rules of self governance:

BLSD RULE #1: No discussions of Affirmative Action. (There is a separate thread for that topic)
BLSD RULE #2: Non-blacks are welcome to post messages.
BLSD RULE #3: No racial slurs or epithets will be tolerated. (Try to remain professional at all times; have fun and try to keep it clean)
BLSD RULE #4: No lewd/obscene pics please.
This board will be moderated in the following manner:

The substantive regulation of the board:

    * Exercise Respect towards each other
    * Exercise Tolerance towards each other's posts/expressions
    * Distinguish between Personal Harassment/Troll/Flame Posts and Merely Obnoxious/Subjectively Offensive Posts
    * Remove Personal Harassment/Trolls/Flames from the BLSD

The procedural regulation of the board:

    * Objectively offensive posts shall be removed to the Hate board initially
    * Personally harassing posts shall be removed to the Hate board and/or deleted as a last resort
    * In the instance of a good thread gone awry, care shall be taken to remove only those specific posts in violation
    * In the instance of a thread created in violation from its beginning, remove the entire thread
    * "Objectively Offensive" may be determined by either the subject of the attack (if there is one) or the moderator, with the advice of members of the board

To be clear on the matter, I took little issue with Opoto's jokes or insults.  People joke all the time. People argue all the time.  People even throw shots at each other all the time.  That's really not what concerned me.  What did concern me was his threat of future retaliation and escalating a matter that had, already by that point, gotten out of hand.  I viewed this behavior as harassment coming from a poster who has a history of disrespecting others (in particular newbies).  In short, Opoto was already on thin ice, even for a long time poster.  Indeed, there have been many complaints made by other posters with regards to his persistent breaking of Rule #3 above. 

However, there is something to be said for my participation in the back-and-forth.  Even though moderators do have the ability to take recourse against harassing posters, an appearance of impropriety can definitely emerge when the subject involved is the moderator.  Moreover, even if Opoto was on thin ice, my words arguably played a part in what he ended up doing, thus I cannot realistically place all of the blame on Opoto for how the situation played out. He may have also viewed my behavior as harassment and responded in turn, as most would, to being harassed. 

Nevertheless, the fact remains that even though we have outlined the rules above on harassing posts and objectively offensive behavior, the position was not made clear to Opoto before placing him under temporary ban.  I never gave actual notice that, given his general past offensiveness towards others, I viewed his current statements as harassment.  For that reason, I feel it is proper to remove the ban. 

We have all agreed in the above rules that harassing and/or offensive posts can end up resulting in the removal and ban of an individual from the thread, however, after discussing with many posters off-line, I must agree that notice should be given before taking such action.  That was not done here, therefore the ban should be removed immediately.

In the interest of keeping any further drama from the board on this matter, this thread is closed.  I am, however, always willing to listen to what anybody has to say on this or any other matter, so feel free to shoot me a PM.  And again, so as not to drag out what has already been properly labeled by others as board "drama," I ask that anything you may feel needs to be further added to this discussion be addressed to the appropriate individual(s) via PM.

For those who for brought your concerns in a calm and civilized manner, Thank You, and I appreciate your ability to provide checks and balances to the moderation of the board.  This is not a dictatorship, nor should it ever be perceived as one.