Dienstag, 10. April 2012

Never piss off almighty webmasters...

You might end up getting banned from their forums (for speaking out your opinion) without any warning...

The fun thing is, that this forum, maintained by someone going by the nickname of "Skip", claims to be a free speech place... that is, until you post something that might piss off the almighty webmaster... and not even being a lifetime supporter and having donated money will protect you from that... so, as far as HipForums.com is concerned, rest in peace, ganesha1967.

I have to say, I laughed out loud, accessing the forums and seeing the ban message...
Even though I did abide to follow the forum rules, when registering, I simply stated an opinion in a posting, telling that I feel sick about people being banned, whom I just connected with as friends.

This, according to the rules, qualifies as "complaining about a ban" and results in being kicked off the place ass-over-teakettle...  Or to alter a line by Colonel Quaritch from my favourite movie, "Avatar": "HipForums will shit you out dead with zero warning!"

By the way, here's the rule (No. 10) about "respect":

"Respect: The Hip Forums has an excellent staff of experienced, volunteer moderators who work very hard to keep the site free from spam and trolls. In order to do their job efficiently and effectively they require RESPECT from our members for the difficult and often thankless tasks they must perform daily. They've dedicated countless hours to keeping the forums running smoothly and an attractive place to hangout for so many people. So we won't tolerate ANY disrespect for our mods and admins, and those who do will be dealt with as trolls. If you have a problem with a mod, we suggest you first contact them thru PM and try to work out the issue. If you cannot, you can report the mod to an admin for further consideration of the problem. In no case will a public attack on our staff be tolerated. "

So, when I vented, that I was sick of seeing people I just made friends and connected with, got banned for writing something that Mr. Webmaster didn't like, he responded first by a visitor message (which I did not see at first), and then by banning me:

Yeah, right... speaking of respect: putting the word "friend" in quotes really shows, what that guy thinks about respect towards and appreciation of the users of his forum. After all, that Skipocracy of his lives by people going there, posting and donating. Anyone willing to donate money to his site, deserves respect, too. But, well, since the ban is permanent, he can be sure of this online persona of mine never to post there again...

Respect in real life as well as on the web is something that has to be earned... True enough, working as a moderator or admin on a volunteer basis is something to respect.

However, the classic netiquette has been enough as a set of rules since the days of UseNet, when bulletin boards were moderated. In those times, there were warnings, before site-bans or bans of whole IP ranges were issued. Even laws, threatening to cut off people from internet access, like HADOPI in France, has a "three-strikes-rule"... Furthermore, I did not get a chance to see the visitor message (something which is not announced by pop-ups or a notifier, as on other Forums... a PM - a private message - would have done so... but it seems, that Skip wanted the easy way to have a reason for the ban... after all, he "warned" me... The forum should be set then to automatically display a user's profile, when a visitor message has arrived, or display a more distinct notifier. Forum softwares can be adjusted as such...

By the way, I obtained the screenshot of my old profile by creating an alternate login, registering it and accessing the ganesha1967 profile... I was curious as to whether my status message now read "banned"... OK, I admit, that was boyish curiosity, and that alternate login got banned within several minutes, too...:

Some more fun? Here's Skip's signature at Skipforums.com (woops, Freudian typo... but he really should rename that site of his to reflect its true nature, which is anything but "hip" or "free speech"):

Free Bradley Manning!

“In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us”. Thich Nhat Hanh

You are talking to a leftist. I believe in the redistribution of wealth and power in the world. I believe in universal hospital care for everyone. I believe that we should not have a single homeless person in the richest country in the world. And I believe that we should not have a C.I.A. that goes around overwhelming governments and assassinating political leaders, working for tight oligarchies around the world to protect the tight oligarchy here at home." Abbie Hoffman

OK... linking to a site which stands up for free speech "Free Bradley Manning"... quite nice. His own forum rules define: no linking to your own web site in signatures... moderators frequently edit regular users' posts, if they put any link into their signature... therefore, Mr. Webmaster is not in violation of his forum rule no. 4, but general practice executed by the moderators in editing any link constitutes censorship. Sorry, no points on the "free speech" score here, either.

The first of his two quotes: Thich Nhat Hanh is a Sati-Zen Master from Vietnam... a buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist, living in exile in France... Using this quote in a signature, while executing the behaviour of a child in the sandbox, bawling for someone touching his toys or not following his example is plain satire...

Abbie Hoffman is quoted in his signature, too... well, redistributing power and wealth in his own little digital world seems not to be the plan, since the auto-mail on registration invites every new user to upgrade the "HipForums experience" by donating money. I strongly advise against it, since you can also throw your dollar, pound or euro bills into a furnace right away... a higher account status is no protection against the bawling child.

When commenting on Skip's choice of an e-commerce business in China by stating, that anyone can choose, with whom to make business, I also added a bit of sarcasm, by asking, whether I'd get a refund of the money I donated to HisForums, when renouncing my supporter status... I have a gut feeling, that this really was the main reason for my banishment, not so much the violation of Rule No. 8, which reads:

"Banning: People who violate these forum guidelines repeatedly are subject to banning. Once someone has been banned from the site, we don't not allow complaints about it. Once banned, we are done with that individual, and no amount of complaining from other members will help. We don't need to justify our bans. This only causes more work for the moderators. Which is usually the reason for the person being banned in the first place. So those who complain about a banishment, are subject to being banned themselves."

So, if you wish to have the experience of feeling like a troll in the eyes of a webmaster, who is losing members, since they don't want to live in his dictatorial little online bubble, register, complain about people being banned and enjoy the flight...

Wiggling bare toes,

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