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Anonymous

Dealing with a toxic member

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For the last year or so we've had a problem with a member who is somewhat toxic. They talk smack about everyone behind their backs, stir up drama, and immediately cozy up to any member who is disgruntled or who has left/been booted. Like they're trying to get the inside scoop. They then use whatever the disgruntled members say to further stir up the pot.  We have had several members complain about this member's behavior but unfortunately there aren't a lot of screenshots. Some of the staff wants more evidence before we ask Toxic Member to leave and some of the staff would be perfectly happy to show Toxic Member the door, like, now. 

 

On one hand, I don't think we should be obligated to tolerate bullshit and should be able to ask anyone to leave our board for any reason. We shouldn't have to be uncomfortable in our own space and we shouldn't let one toxic jerk make other members feel uncomfy. This is not a court of law, we don't need evidence to send people on their merry way. On the other, if we ask this person to leave without giving them evidence of their bad behavior it's going to be a mess. 

 

(I mean it's probably going to be a mess regardless because this is the kind of person who stirs the pot, fans the flames of drama, and badmouths the staff behind their backs) 

 

What would you do? It could take months before we have any kind of good evidence. What kind of evidence would even be enough? Should we be documenting every communication we make with this member? 

Anonymous poster hash: 229ce...cb7

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Ban them. Now. You should have already. Like, as soon as they started this behavior. You're talking about not having any evidence, but you're also naming a laundry list of shithead behavior that you shouldn't tolerate. A person doesn't have to be proven toxic to remove them from your community, sometimes they're just not a good fit - but this person needs to be long gone, and you'll all be happier for it. Ban them from the site and Discord and don't look back or think about giving them second chances. Don't ask them. Just boot them. You can send them a quick DM explaining why beforehand, if you want, but frankly you're not obligated to give them a heads up. They're going to know why. 

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You absolutely do not have to tolerate them. What people fail to realize is that you and your admin have the final say. I recently encountered a similar experience with one of my members--granted they pulled their stunt in front of the entire discord. And honestly, I wish more admin were the same way. If you see a problem, it should be dealt with.

 

I came from a site where I played for nearly seventeen years. The admin refused to do anything about a toxic member--still haven't from what I know--and it drives away new members. It has been the same person for years.

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3 hours ago, Jaxx said:

 You're talking about not having any evidence, but you're also naming a laundry list of shithead behavior that you shouldn't tolerate.

 

Jaxx and @Grimscytheboth already covered most of what I had to say, but the above quote is particularly important. 

 

A site's rules are not the end-all-be-all of conduct expectations. 

Just because a certain behavior/conduct/thing is not explicitly prohibited in the rules, does not mean it has to be tolerated by staff. 

 

When you work a job in customer service, they don't tell you not to spit on the customers when you're upset. They don't have any written policy against it. But if you do it, you're gonna get shit canned. 

 

The same principle applies to governing websites. And most other aspects of life, tbf. 

 

 

 

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I 100% agree with what has been said. A ban should be put in place. Do not end up making the same mistake I did in my early career of being an admin (back when I was on proboards). I kept giving second chances to someone that frankly should have been banned the moment I got a bad feeling about them. Like you, I was trying to get the right amount of evidence to justify the ban, but in reality their toxic behavior and how they were bullying and making other members feel should have been enough.

In the end, their behavior lead me to shutting down the site because the damage had been done and it was no longer a fun place for me to me or the other members. Since that moment forward, I learned my lesson and quickly put out any of the toxicity that I saw the moment it started. Ban and don't look back. You don't have to apologize for protecting your writing space and community. I am sure your members will be thankful of that. This is supposed to be your place to write and relax. We already have tons of other BS going on in RL, why have your hobby be something stressful?! Like work environment, toxic people can create even more toxic work environment. Same goes for sites. Toxic members create toxic sites. Protect your writing space. Draw your boundaries. You do not have to tolerate toxic behavior. Sometimes you got to cut toxic members out.


 

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They'd have been shown the door a long time ago from men and I don't like confrontation. Your rules don't have to spell out the behavior, and tbh if they're making your other members uncomfortable, they don't have to be breaking tangible rules. You (and the staff) are the curators of the site experience.

 

If they are even half the problem you are describing, firmly but politely tell them they are no longer welcome, and make sure to remove their ability to post/access anything. This is one of those do not pass go do not collect $200 moments imo.

 

This kind of behavior fouls a community quick and it can be impossible to recover from. Like also tends to attract like, so there's a chance that by tolerating it you are inviting more of their "type" around

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Hello! It's me, OP.

 

So I finally went ahead and just banned them. No notice. No courtesy DM. Then I blocked them on Discord because they're the kind of person that would argue and want screenshots and the names of people who complained. (knowing full well that there are no screenshots because this person has done shady things like pull people into one on one voice chat so there isn't a paper trail and delete individual messages.) 

 

I now have their friends sliding into my DMs asking if I can tell them why.

 

Of course I'm going to tell them "nope"

Anonymous poster hash: 229ce...cb7

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