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Banning Threshold


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So a recent (and rare) removal of a user from these forums led to one of his online friends to take pulling some rather unfortunate tactics, such as publicly posting private information in public areas. Also doing so without the explicit consent of all parties involved. This message is not really for the Forum Community at large. It is really for two or three people. They know who they are. One of these individuals keeps sharing private information. I’d rather send this message to that person in a PM, but since it will end up being shared anyway, I’ll do so publicly. 

Because the banned user specifically did not want the ban to be challenged, his name and his privacy will not be violated here, this goes with the person who carried out the ban, except to say that action on this individual was unanimously decided. We have five Community Administrators. Think about that for a moment. When one member of the staff leadership says to ban a user, you have an outlier. When you have four or five … you know the user did something. But question is what is that something? What can cause a user to be banned? What is the threshold? 


Well, on one hand you have the extremes. There was a case where several users created a discord server that basically became a vector for venting about an Admin. That environment eventually led to one of the users actually threatening sexual and physical violence against two Administrators here. Also having sex with my deceased wife. So yeah, that was a thing. The reason? MLPF is anti-gay. Let that sink in. If you know some of the people that have a colored name … that is hilarious. Anyway, that’s one extreme. Most of the time it’s a troll or bot. Like 99.9%. 


However, there are two other individual ban types that aren’t extreme. Once or twice a year we run into a user that seems to spiral. A series of noticeable rule violations. They user, when told of the community rules and why what they did violated them, doesn’t  back down easy. We have several means at our disposal to make sure that outbursts don’t spill over to impact the community, a community  that doesn’t want to see a tantrum. We can remove status updates permissions. We can make all posts hidden by default requiring approval. We can shut off blogs and messages. We don’t go from an outburst to a warning. That’s absurd. We don’t go from outburst to ban. That’s insane. 


No. A user slowly walks themselves to a ban. Incident after incident. In the one or two bans a year we issue, that are not new trolls are bots, they are banned via a process better described as a death by a thousand paper cuts. This is after they usually have a long discussion with me and half of the staff. You see, I look for a reason not to ban someone. I look for a reason I can take to the team and convince them, yeah this guy can just relax and talk normally. This approach takes time and patience. This is usually going down while a lot is going on.


For instance, the user that required this post, I parked myself in a discussion with him that vacillated between understanding and a trollish mannerism, while I work a 50 hour a week job in engineering, deal with the completion of an estate, be a dutiful husband, plan the births of a grandkids, manage family drama, health issue, plan a charity event, bring on new staff to help me cope, manage updates here, plan events, console friends having a hard time, and much much more. I have a lot to do. It’s easy to just go “Eh, let’s just ban them.” I don’t. And here is the thing, that’s just me. You have other staff equally busy or more busy. I don’t run the show. I’m one of five people that do. So when one of us tries to put our necks out to help someone it isn’t because we don’t have anything better to do. It’s because we genuinely care to keep users here. 


But most don’t see it that way at first. Why? Because such interactions are almost always punctuated by the user with a distinct sense of distrust for any authority here and it comes across and feels as if it’s some personal principled duty to push back. Sorry I actually laughed at that a little. People cry mod abuse. Some say the phrase power tripping. Guys. I’ll speak for myself, I’m a middle aged person with a decent career, who raised kids, bought homes, many cars, plans on retiring early, have the privilege and flexibility to do and go almost wherever I want. To me, accomplishing that amidst everything I’ve dealt with … that is power. A small website on the internet does not give me and has never afforded me the feeling of empowerment in the way people think that exists. This is a pony fan site. It’s important to me, but I’d have to be a pretty small minded person if I felt being an Admin here was a means to power. And you would have to be unfortunate to think that is the case here. 


I am close friends with many of the staff. Those I am friends with will concur that when someone makes a report, on a user that may be slowing wearing thin on the community, it is more disheartening. I don’t see a report open and jump out of my chair and do a happy dance. We are not out to get anyone. We are not demonizing anyone. For one, none of us have the time. For another, and this can be confirmed by anyone that knows staff, we don’t have that attitude. The ones who are married would rather be chilling with our spouses. We’d all prefer playing video games, reading, heck even mowing the lawn or shoveling snow is better than messing with reports. 


No. The reality is that some people don’t  like being told what to do. MLPF is about a certain tone, behavior, and quality of spirit. The world outside our homes has a social contract. A common sense one. This social contract changes slightly over time. Some behaviors deemed acceptable in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s are now deemed inappropriate. This site tries to follow the spirit of that social contract. Slurs bad. If you have to take a moment and wonder if a word might not be okay to say here … you have your answer. Don’t type it out. That’s why some of you don’t stay in debate pit. That social contract is in full force there even more. Don’t like it? This isn’t homework? You aren’t being forced to participate there. Just like we aren’t forced to apply ridiculous suggestions there. Go take it to Twitter if you want that kinda of freedom. I’m not managing to the exception or the three or four of the whiners who want a Troll Pit and create a Troll Brigade. Yeah, it honestly feels like  3rd Grade here. If I was at the same mental level I’d probably be posting a SpongeBob smug meme now. I’m not. I’m an adult. I act like it and treat people with respect. Guess what? Most of you are adults too. Basically, either put on your big boy pants and stop acting so bloody entitled to have the community bend to your will, or find another pony home. It’s not going to happen. MLPF will never have the atmosphere you want it to have. 

No. It takes a death by a thousand papercuts to be banned from the forums. It takes a genuine apology to earn your way back in after a sufficient time has passed. Some have suggested that the regardless of the infractions that a ban should only be administered if the offense is so hellish that it’s the only course available. We respectfully disagree. That’s how trolls who really just get their enjoyment at annoying users they don’t like survive on here. To that mindset, we don’t exist for you. 


Some cry censorship. I don’t know when we ever said we don’t censor people. We censor people proactively with the rules. We censor people when we don’t like a topic or don’t like a post. That’s the job. People who scream, “But that’s censorship” will usually get a ultra polite version of “Well no duh Captain Obvious!”


One thing likely won’t get you banned. But six over the course of several weeks or months will. If you post porn, violate another’s privacy here, engage in anything illegal … then you’ll see the door far faster. 


I just wanted to make this clear. We are a chill board. That means if you legitimately here for fun and friends without making someone’s day worse, this place is exactly for you. If not … there other places where anything goes. We like this place exactly how we like it. It ain’t changing. Well it might become more wholesome and goofy with the present Events Team. 


Also, while I’m on the subject of privacy, what happens in a PM stays in the PM. What happens in a warning stays in a warning. Do not violate a users privacy here, and staff are also users. That’s one of the big things that can get you banned immediately. Maybe it’s from working around C levels, attorneys, HR, and IS personnel for so long (over twenty years). I take PII/PID and personal correspondence privacy seriously. 

For everyone else who had to see this, the strong majority of the community is great.  You want to be welcoming and don’t  go out of their way to be an ass to others. You are the community that doesn’t have an axe to grind or a chip on your shoulder, The last few paragraphs weren’t directed at you. To you all, the heart and soul on MLPF, hear this. Staff works and staff volunteer, for you. We make this place as enjoyable as possible, for you. I know what it is like to make friends online. Friends that would fly out at your darkest moment because you just need someone. Friends that check on you just because you seem quiet or upset. Most of have or are searching for a person like that. That is what we are all about. That is the heart of this place for many. I am an Admin because some of you need this place to be an oasis. Thank you all for being here. 


To the small group of troll bros that feel the forums benefit from sass being directed at other users, this meme is for you. Take it as you see fit. 



If you haven’t noticed, we are very protective of this home we as a friendly community have built over eleven years. Don’t shit in our home. 



Pony On Forums! 


Oh and this thread is being locked from go. This isn’t a discussion or a debate. This is how it is. 

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