Out in the open, or privately...

Discussion in 'THE TEMPLE' started by Garner, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Okay gang, this isn't about anything recent, but I'd like to pose a hypothetical situation:

    If there's reasonable doubt/suspicion that a person's committing identity fraud here, do you feel we should address it? And if so, should we do so up front and request a public response (denial/explaination/admission/whatever) from the person(s) in doubt, or would it be better to contact them privately and ask for same?

    I'm a bit unsure about this one... I mean, IF we've got people trying to worm their way into the community for nefarious purposes and we can catch them at it, I'm inclined to think that we should not say what gave them away, in case they learn from their mistakes.

    However, if there's only reasonable doubt, then there's only a choice between ignoring it completely or being paranoid in private if we don't actually adress it publicly. And if there isn't strong evidence but only (paraniod) hunches, I don't see as we have grounds to make it public...

    The way we used to do things in the past was to just voice our suspicions as soon as we had them. This would usually scare off the suspected fraudulent identity, but many other identities would spring up to call us paranoid or accuse us of being tyrants... The fact that THOSE identities would often turn out to be fraudulent didn't matter much.

    The real damage that was caused by all of this is that with all the accusations (most of them founded, i think), genuine newbies were getting scared off.

    So, how do we handle this?

    If we've got proof/strong evidence, do we go public? If so, what do we do if this encourages worse behavior from the guilty parties? How do we deal with them without scaring off innocents who don't want to walk into a flamewar?

    And most importantly, when do we apologize to Garner for calling him paranoid or over reacting when it turns out he was right?
  2. Ecksian New Member

    I think the correct action would be,

    1. Regardless of whether you have proof, or just a suspicion, bring it to the attention of the admins/moderators privately.
    2. Let them deal with it privately.
    3. If the offender trys to continue, it's up to the authorities to ban/expose them.
  3. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    1) I am the moderators
    2) We have a long tradition of NOT dealing with things in private. At the very least, we do NOT take action in private, such as banning someone for identity fraud.

    Now, that applies to ANY general issue on the boards, but I think this one has been such a thorn in our side for so long that we need to reexamine our strategy.
  4. queenynci New Member

    If you have proof, I don't see a problem with it being made public.
    If we are talking about the 'T' word here, what's to say that a private approach will be better recieved than a public one?


    If all you have is suspicions, and they are made public, that invites the risk of accusations of paranoia.(until you can find proof of course, then abject apologies are due.)

    On the whole, i think I go with the public approach. Better out in the open than behind closed doors.
  5. Hsing Moderator

    Hm... isn't it possible, by taking a look at the IP, to make out wether someone has multiple accounts? That would be [i:87b92d72f7]one [/i:87b92d72f7] possible case of identity fraud.
    That might be worth a try in such cases. Then it should be made public, and adressed, as has been in the past in those cases where it was discovered (f.e. Fatman, or one other poster I seem to remember who incidentally answered a post directed to his one identity while he was still logged in as the other. I may be suffering from false memory syndrome here...)

    I suppose, even if I, when being suspicious, would prefer to talk about it openly, I'd made it depend on the wieght of evidence. If I have a vague, vague suspicion because a person has a writing style very similar to that of an old problem poster, I might keep it to myself and see if, maybe, that person either delivers more evidence or if I learn more about her/him and am finally, confronted with pics of her/his kids, dogs and friends, plus a copy of her/his ID card, convinced the person is genuine.

    If more evidence is delivered, I might talk to a few people to see wether they can follow my train of thought.... I'm not saying it [i:87b92d72f7]should [/i:87b92d72f7]be done like that, but it would be my natural reaction. And I imagine most people would do that, no matter what the Guidelines say. I think, though, we should agree on discussing it publicly once the process got that far, or it will only result in a lot of talk behind people's back, and mutual damage. I still think the vaguest of suspicions should be kept private, because even if a person can easily prove he/she is genuine, most people wouldn't want to have to.

    I'm against discussing it behind the scene only when the whole thing got to the point were discussions have to be made, in any case.
  6. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    Not sure which 't' word you mean...

    You raise a valid point about recepition, however, and this is something we've often debated. Is it better for a problem poster to be singled out publicly, bombarded privately, ganged up in in public, or singled out in public and privately... it all breaks down because of one simple thing:

    People don't like being told they did wrong, even if they KNOWINGLY they did wrong. Hell, ESPECIALLY if they knowingly did wrong.

    Now, if we've got proof, such as a signed confession or video tape evidence or something, there's no reason to go to them in private and say "Oy, is this really you? Did you really do this bad thing that it looks like you did", because the answer is clearly yes.

    If we haven't got proof, but just serriously strong evidence, then there's wiggle room. "It looks, quite clearly, like you did this. We can argue our case very very well. What do you have to say for yourself?" is about the best you could do in private. And even there, I think it's probably better to go public.

    If we just have a hunch, or a suspicion... in the past we've been quite forthright about that. "This person sounds exactly like another person we had problems with. I bet it's them come back for more." Now, there's problems with that... for one thing it's paranoid reasoning, for another there's no clear way to prove it, and even if there is enough circumstancial evidence to convince anyone who's been paying attention, the people who HAVEN'T been paying attention will probably not get a fair presentation of the facts (assumed or otherwise).

    That's what's been our biggest risk in the past. We've had people plauging us under multiple identities for years. We've had the occasional confession and the occasional admission, but they usually only fall into our hands by accident. Most often, we've recognized patterns in problem posters and we suspect them of being old troublemakers in disguise... We've usually singled these people out to warn others, and in response, a host of further 'sleeper' identities have sprung up to object to the paranoia.

    Because we can't tell who's really who behind names on a screen, it's not possible to proove that a half dozen screen names all belong to one person. I believe this accounts for 90% of our troll problem on the old board, though it's not all attributable to the same person(s).


    I'm starting to think that there's no real reason to change our methods, and only to just be more careful and wait until we have a strong enough case before pressing charges.
  7. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    cross posted with Hsing, but i agree with what she's said. Seeing as she raised the central issue that prompted this thread, I'll bring it up...

    I was concerned about mentioning this in case it inspires anyone to hunt down ways to circumvent it, but yes, we can monitor IP numbers.

    This is not a perfect science, because of the way in which IP numbers are assigned. For example, QueenYnci and Chrisjordan both post under the same IP number, as do a number of other posters.

    AOL uses some funky and ugly server methods which mean you rarely ever access the internet directly, and they assign the same IP number to a number of people, who access the AOL servers rather than the internet. Thus, eight people all under one IP number, and it's only because we know that CJ is the real troll that we don't get paranoid about the rest of them.

    Some ISPs use proxy servers, others use dynamic IP assignment, and plenty use a model similar to AOL. the end result is that you can see several IP numbers used by a single poster. I've posted from at least three or four, since I do not have a 'static' IP address. Buzzfloyd uses the same IP numbers that I do, because we share the same internet connection. If I'm posting from, so is Buzzfloyd. It's the same internet connection, just on two computers.

    However, despite all the risk of people on the same ISP sharing the same IP numbers (a concern when we IP banned Jaunty), I think it's only the cases where people are sharing the same connection (like Buzzfloyd and I) that we will actually see IP numbers being an issue. Our IP designation is dynamic. Every time I connect, in theory I get a new number. There's a very small pool that we get to draw from for that, so if you ban one of the IP numbers we use, it will probably affect us 90% of the time, but not affect anyone else ever.

    The IP banning is most dangerous to people who use a static IP number. These are almost unheard of for dialups, and not common for most DSL these days. But, a static IP number is a very iron clad 'fingerprint' of where you've been posting.

    And it just so happens that I saw someone posting under two accounts on a static IP number, hence this thread. Who? Well, now if I said that, I'd be looking paranoid... so give me a moment and I'll make a new thread on that.
  8. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    I object to matters that affect the whole board being dealt with in private. Here's my answer.

    Garner, you should remember that 'direct' doesn't have to be 'hostile'. You can say, "Person X, I have noticed this. Due to my natural worries about trolling, I wanted to check the reason for it. Please could you explain? Thanks."

    This alerts the community to potential trouble, tells the trolls they can't get away with subterfuge and reminds everyone of the importance of our standards. And it won't frighten newbies so much.
  9. Tabatha New Member

    Hi Bussfloyd

    Not been frightened away yet still so knew I need diaper changes but geting there :) I feel that all concerns must be posted and if troll activity suspected action taken.

    As a moderator alas buck stops with garner but the voting system is fair and if it runs for a set period it gives the most active members the chose and Garner a lighter task.
  10. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    Hi Tabatha. A quick request - could you check over your posts before sending them, or run the text through a spell check in Word? I'm afraid the above was very difficult to understand.

    Garner is not the only moderator; there is a whole team of us. However, only Mal can delete accounts, as he has access to the administrator account. Apart from that, you can see the names of the moderators under the link to every forum. We all have equal powers, but none of us will use them without community backing.
  11. Tabatha New Member

    Hi Bussfloyd

    Thank you for advice, Will ask brother to show me what I need to follow your request as this screen doesn't show me the abc thing.

    Will return to posting when I have the needed skills but wanted you to know I was grateful for your help :)
  12. Maljonic Administrator

    It's Buzzfloyd with ZZZs, not Bussfloyd with SSSs; though I do like Bussfloyd, makes her sound like a ticket collector on public transport. :)
  13. Tabatha New Member

    Sorry Buzzfloyd For getting my zzzz and ssss mixed up. :oops:

    Me and computer are the same as Foul Old Ron and a roll on deodorant and it maybe hard to believe but I am getting better a few weeks ago I had to have my brother find the web page.

    As I stated on my last post on this tread I need to learn more before posting again so keep an eye out in the future ;)

    Still going to read the threads if that ok?

  14. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    Of course it's ok!

    What I meant before was that you could copy your text into a Word document and use the spellcheck in there before copying it back into the Reply box and posting. I'm sure your brother can help you though!
  15. Tabatha New Member

    Hi Buzzfloyd,
    Brother did try when he came home from work but I was trying to cook food and it all went over my head at presant got Dictionary on arm of chair :lol:
    Did learn how to preview message , cool

    Tabatha :cooler:
  16. Pixel New Member

    [quote:2f8f116f3b="Tabatha"].....Brother did try when he came home from work but I was trying to cook food and it all went over my head at presant.....:[/quote:2f8f116f3b]

    I hope that was the explanation and not the food that went over your head! :)
  17. Tabatha New Member

    [quote:5a3ec28a4d="Pixel"][quote:5a3ec28a4d="Tabatha"].....Brother did try when he came home from work but I was trying to cook food and it all went over my head at presant.....:[/quote:5a3ec28a4d]

    I hope that was the explanation and not the food that went over your head! :)[/quote:5a3ec28a4d]

    Must be honest it was not a good time for a lesson but if anyone was going to be wearing the food it would have been him , heck I cooked :lol:

    Great just worked out how to do the quote thing "yippie" :D :D

Share This Page