Monday, 1 September 2008

Another Message Board Bites the Dust

A few months back I joined a pagan message board specifically for pagans in my locale. I did so in order to keep up with any worthwhile/events groups that might appear on the horizon. Today, I asked them to delete all my posts and my membership.


Although the option is there for all members, they don't want the members to hide their online status. I always hide my online status as a barrier to internet stalkers. I have been the victim of internet stalking, which spilled over into real life and its surprising the tactics some of them use to get at you. Monitoring your internet usage - when and where - is one way they gain information, without hacking into a particular board.

Personally, I have never understood why all members of a particular message board need to know who else is online at any given time. So long as administators and moderators have access to that information to curb trollish behaviour, its not unreasonable for members to maintain privacy. Certainly, if all posts by members have their names attached, why do we need to know when they are online?

Well, nowhere on this particular pagan site was there a rule about online status until last week. The administrators said they would not tolerate anonymous log-ins:

There has been a spate of people logging in to this site so that other people can't see that they are there. All members doing this will be warned and have their accounts suspended and possibly deleted.

When I queried this, it was confirmed they were referring to the fact that although the status line showed a member logged-in, it didn't tell which member. I objected on the grounds of the possibilty of stalkers and was told to "... respect the wishes of the site owners ".

So, as a result, tonight I have sent a message asking for all my posts to be deleted (after all, I hold copyright on my own thoughts) and my membership cancelled. I know another member on the site and, once my membership is deleted, I shall ask her to log in and check my posts have been deleted. If not, I will have no hesitation in naming the site as "stalker friendly".


Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

I agree with you - as a moderator on a forum all that's needed is for the admin to see who is online. The idea that members have to show themselves as online all the time is silly - there is no advantage admin-wise to insisting on it. if there is trollish behaviour it's up to admin to sort it. I have to say especially on a moot oriented website where you're dealing with people in your locality the "hidden" function seems to me to be a necessity! i would be very uncomfortable otherwise.

Ancestral Gael said...

I didn't think I was being that unreasonable, either. Thanks for the confirmation.