Just a word of explanation to you all. I felt compelled to ban a user tonight. It's only the second time in the history of the board that it's happened for any reason other than spam, and it didn't make me terribly happy having to do so.
I like to think of this board as a friendly place. In fact, that's one of the reasons I banned the user in question; he was becoming so disruptive and causing me so much stress that I was in danger of becoming very unfriendly, and I didn't want to do that. So, right or wrong, I eliminated the cause of my frustration.
This user had become a member of the board just a few days ago and was posting at such a rate that he would have pretty much taken over the board in a week or two. Heavy post clutter as a newbie is bad etiquette, but it's not a terminal offense. However, a significant proportion of this user's posts were either completely off-topic, posted in the wrong forum, redundant, or just plain irrelevant. He was, in fact, beginning to stifle discourse rather than promote it. In fact, I deleted somewhere between a quarter and a third of his posts, and left moderator comments on several others, warning that he needed to get back on topic..
I had issued him an email advisory about his posts, suggesting that he lurk and get a feel for the board and read the rules and guidelines. He never responded to me, but he took on a rather sarcastic tone in several posts right afterward. His behavior never really improved, and I got the feeling I was being baited. He was showing me, and the rest of you who play by the rules, no respect at all. And it was starting to make me get really bitchy, which I don't like. So I canned him.
I don't need drama, and I don't need to waste my time on people who can't show me the most basic level of respect when they visit the digital equivalent of my living room. I do this for fun and for love of the subject. It's a hobby. It's supposed to be fun, not work. I do it on my own time, I pay for the hosting, and I do all the maintenance and monitoring myself. This is NOT a profit-making enterprise, I assure you, and there is a fair amount of work involved. If running the board stops being fun and entertaining for me, there's absolutely no reason for me to continue doing it. And for the past few days, it has been ANYTHING BUT fun. I imagine, however, that it will get a lot better now that this user is gone.
I don't want anyone to think I'm getting "ban happy". As I said, this is only the second user I've ever banned (the first had made a vaguely racist post and some even more unpleasant remarks when I called him on it) and I'd very much prefer that it be my last.
My thanks to all of you who get the spirit of the board and are willing to understand why there have to be rules here. I appreciate your participation and I hope none of you had significant problems with this user, although I note that some of you were starting to show signs of frustration as well. Either way, it's over now.
Thanks for sticking around,
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