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The harassment rule

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by joseftu, Aug 31, 2006.

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  1. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    A warning to everyone, because this is something which has tripped me up in the past. Several people have been surprised to learn this, as I was, so it's good to clarify it to prevent anyone else suffering unintended consequences.

    If another member says to you "I don't want any more PM's from you, as they will be considered harassment," you can not PM that member again in any way, regardless of content, regardless of intent, regardless of provocation. If you do, you're banned from the site "temporarily"--the prescribed period seems to be about one year.

    This is not stated anywhere in the FAQ, and several people have told me that they would assume that sending another PM, sometime in the future, polite and civil, would not violate the rules at all. That's not true.

    So be aware that if anyone says that they don't want to receive any more PM's, you no longer have the right to address them privately at all, in any way. If they say things publicly that would seem to require a private response, you can't make that kind of response.

    It's a kind of nuclear option, unilateral, within the rules of this forum, and it's good to let everyone understand it clearly.
  2. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    Rule 7
  3. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Right--but rule 7 doesn't make clear the definition of harassment. That's what I'm trying to clarify.

    It's harassment if you send a PM after being asked not to. I don't think that's defined anywhere, is it?

    It doesn't matter if the PM's are mature, insulting, friendly, polite, arrogant or unpleasant. Any PM after being asked not to send more is grounds for immediate banning from the site. That's not something most people knew, from what I hear.
  4. Steve

    Steve Is that it, then?

    All I can say is that we strive very hard to act only on complaints lodged by members.

    If Peter has told Paul "You may not PM me or I will consider it harassment", Paul's best course of action would be business as usual, until Peter lodges a harassment complaint. If Paul really is harassing Peter, then Paul gets hauled over the ashes; if Peter's complaint is invalid, Peter will be so notified.

    On a related note, if Peter refuses PM's from Paul yet makes personal attacks in public threads, that's pretty cowardly behavior - but - Paul is the one that needs to complain.

    We only take direct action when someone's being a really obvious asshole and blatantly ignoring the rules (like when spammers visit).
  5. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    I understand--that makes sense.

    Well, my experience, and it's quite real, has been that Paul is judged to really be harassing Peter if Paul has PM'ed Peter at all, in any way after that warning.

    I think that this probably is the "legal" definition of harassment, but the common sense (mine and others I've heard from) definition of harassment would take the content and tone of the later PM into account.

    But that's not that the way the rules work here. And people should be aware of that.

    And the mods have been generally good about responding to those complaints, I think.

    Yes, that's been clear, and it's quite understandable.
  6. Copzilla

    Copzilla dangerous animal Staff Member

    I don't think we should have to clinically define harassment. This is a community, not a courtroom. And community rules may be intentionally ambiguous, so that the spirit of the rule is stated and is what is enforced, as opposed to clinical definitions which may be pushed to the limit of their clinical definition.
  7. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    Agreed. The mods and admins set the broad rules, and then define them on a case-by-case basis. The Users do not set the terms under which the mods will take action... they can only request we check on the situation.

    Obviously, obscene PMs will get a quick reaction. If a person has requested that another member not contact them, but said member continues to PM them a dozen times at day, that would also obviously be harassment.

    But no individual gets to decide that one PM of an innocuous nature, eight months down the road, is harassment and gets the sender blacklisted, unless the Mods agree the situation warrants it. If you don't want PMs, turn off that function on the control panel, or simply refuse to reply.
  8. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    Unfortunately, it absolutely has happened here that at least one member has been banned from the site for sending one civil, polite, response, in fact making clear that he would honor the request not to respond again, after another member had requested no more PM's. It was not 8 months down the road--it was almost immediate--but it was harassment only in the sense that it followed a request for no more messages.

    I'm not questioning that decision--clearly the mods decided that it was a violation of the harassment rule. I'm just trying to make clear to the membership at large that that has been the policy here.

    One message, not obscene, not insulting, completely civil, can get you banned if the other member has told you not to send any more messages. Everyone should be aware of that.
  9. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    I thought the ignore function would be sufficient for this situation. Then you can just let them spit into the wind all they want and never be bothered by it. Does it not work with PMs?
  10. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    And the problem with this is?????? If a member does not want any further contact from another, it seems pretty damned clear to me. Cease and desist. If you insist on contacting that individual after being told point blank to stop, then I get to use my chainsaw. :whap:
  11. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    I don't think there's a problem with it at all. If it's the rule, it's the rule.

    The only purpose of the post is to have the membership be aware of the rule. If a rule exists, as this one does, and will be enforced, as this one has been, then it's only fair for people to know about it. That way, there are no surprises, whether they be pleasant (for the one chainsaw-er), or unpleasant (for the chainsaw-ee).
  12. tke711

    tke711 Oink Oink Staff Member

    And if anyone has read the FAQ, they should already be aware of the rule, but thanks for being repetitive. ;)

    To everyone, as with all the rules of this site, it is taken on a case by case basis. I'm sure everyone can agree that there is not other way to do it since it's impossible for rules to be written in a way that someone won't nitpick and/or follow the example set by President Clinton and ask what the definition of "is" is.

    The rules are written general enough to allow case by case examination, but clearly enough that the intent can be understood by everyone.
  13. joseftu

    joseftu ORIGINAL Pomp-Dumpster

    It is getting repetitive ;), but the FAQ, as I said, does not explain or in any way make clear the policy that I've described, and Biker has confirmed.

    But the point is certainly made now. So I'll quit beating this horse. :)
  14. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Well okay, it goes like this:

    He said: "Quit sending me PMs and if you send another I'll whine to the mods and get you banned."

    She said: "Okay, and you quit sending me PMs too."

    Moderator: "Bitch, you're banned because you replied."


    Now I would probably reply to a "Cease sending me PMs" message by telling the sender to do likewise. Without Joe's post it would be a sucker punch.


    If anybody PMs me and asks me to quit sending, I'm goind to PM a moderator or administrator and ask them to contact the sender and make the arrangement bi-directional.

    Is that okay with everybody?
  15. Advocat

    Advocat Viral Memes a Speciality Staff Member

    Whatever floats your boat. :)
  16. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    What's a PM?
  17. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    It's a pre-menstrual, usually meaning pre-menstrual message. :lol:
  18. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    Well, it does appear to be someone's time of the month. :)
  19. Greg

    Greg Full Member

    Ah dearie, come over here and I'll brew you some green tea and tell you I love you for your intellect. :)
  20. cdw

    cdw Ahhhh...the good life.

    oh, kma. :lol: And quit harrassing me you brute you!
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