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Anonymous

Staffing The recurring problem guest

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Usually I'm pretty good at giving advice to other staffers when it comes to handling problematic members, but this whole situation has me at such a loss that I'm curious to hear the opinions of others.

 

Basically, for the last two (going on three) YEARS, this one guest has appeared on every single site I've had or been on (all the same genre) and asked the same questions in the cbox. These are always things that.. don't really work, i.e, asking if they can use artwork instead of a playby, asking if they can make their own kingdom even though it's blatantly stated in the lore that the current lands are the only ones playable at the moment, etc etc. The kind of questions that make you scratch your head and wonder if they bothered to read anything about the site at all. They never get the response they want but the questions literally have not changed, in years. Occasionally they'll get to the character creation stage but that's only happened twice I think, and they never finished the character. They just constantly lurk, asking these questions.

 

It's gotten to the point where when I started my current site, I thought 'right, __ is gonna appear soon so I'll just ban in advance right??'. Doesn't work because their IP changes.

 

I tend to let them fade out or else tell them the site probably isn't for them & their style of writing won't mesh well with the forum's, or whatever excuse I can think of to ask them to leave. But the entire thing just baffles me so much. They've appeared on my current site again and I don't know what to say to them other than to repeat the cycle of hoping they'll lose interest ...

 

So I guess my questions are: how would you react or handle this kind of situation and has anything like this every happened to anyone else?

Anonymous poster hash: 2c9d7...702

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It had happened to me too. They are looking for a specific thing in historical  environment, and nobody caters to their needs. At the same time, they can't make a site of their own. (Or tried and failed - I remember somebody who plagiarised another site for this).

 

For the same questions, there will always be the same answers. I am not budging, especially that it affects historicity.

  • Preach it! 1

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I've never specifically run into THIS problem, but I've had a specific guest (and I know it's the same person every time because the IP doesn't change) who would come onto sites I run just to harass me .. saying stuff like "Do you guys know this site is run by a known thief?" etc.

 

I've actually switched to Discord for the most part for my sites, and this is one of the reasons. And to be honest, I've not had a single problem since changing over.

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2 hours ago, Anonymous said:

I tend to let them fade out or else tell them the site probably isn't for them & their style of writing won't mesh well with the forum's, or whatever excuse I can think of to ask them to leave. But the entire thing just baffles me so much. They've appeared on my current site again and I don't know what to say to them other than to repeat the cycle of hoping they'll lose interest ...

 

So I guess my questions are: how would you react or handle this kind of situation and has anything like this every happened to anyone else?

 

You're already doing what I would recommend! We have one of those show up on average once a year, every time it's a headache, but every time it's over in a couple of weeks because they have no staying power, and we make it clear tthat our lore is our lore and it's not going to be altered for them!

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"Youve stopped in before and the answers are going to be the same. I'd recommend reading the lore/FAQ/rules as it will answer your questions."

 

You are doing what you can. Person is either not very bright or really really hopeful.

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1.) Make a site FAQ

2.) Include those questions in the FAQ

3.) When guest pops up in cbox and asks their questions, link them to the FAQ

4.) When guest ignores the link and continues to ask the same questions, repeat that it's in the FAQ

5.) Continue as needed. Do not yield.

 

That's basically how I'd handle it. 8D

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I've learned to use my customer service skills on those. I know of one that tends to join other sites, reads things over, leaves, rinse and repeat a few months down the road. We're not rude, answer as concisely as we can, then go back to our own thing. It's really the best way to handle things. After a couple of times, it would be fair to say that (as said before) maybe the site isn't for them and wish them well on their way. There's always going to be that one that does that and no real reason why.

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I agree with @Prophetess! How long is this person sticking around? Maybe a few days at a time, tops? If so, they're not really taking up too much of your valuable rp time. Be nice, be concise, and be firm. If you already have good members, they'll follow your lead and do the same. But having a FAQ where both your staff and members can point guests can be extra helpful in these situations, that way you're taking less time to explain everything. 

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I tend to fly on autopilot as soon as I get that vibe. I simply redirect to information and carry on. They tend to fade out. If they don't and become a problem then ban them then. 🙂 I wouldn't stress too much if they don't generally cause trouble.

 

I've had a single person approach us twice. Once during our trial/soft open and then later after a small revamp following working out some kinks. They asked the same questions. In the end they didn't get very far, got quiet, and then left.

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If you look around on directory sites, sometimes you can spot people who always ask for the same thing, and for many years. Sometimes they change a little, sometimes they won't change at all.  People are people.

 

If the same person keeps finding your sites, my guess is that they're desperately searching all the sites in the genre for that one specific site that they want.  In fact, they're so desperate that they're not even reading the rules anymore. So having a FAQ just for them won't help and I'm not sure one person's question qualifies as a good "frequently asked" question. 

Just like @Prophetess said, just continue to answer courteously so that they can go on their way and you can go on yours. If you think about it, there are probably many guests who have visited a few times to ask questions but haven't identified themselves. It's not a good fit for either party, and just keep calm so everything can keep carrying on. 

 

Also - sometimes people who aren't a good fit just can't help themselves and they join anyways and good things don't happen. There are some occasions where a staffer does need to step in and show the person that they're not a good fit, but this person does have the good judgement to realize that at some step along the way, so there's no need to intervene. 

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Maybe the person doesn't realize that he's been here before and asked the same questions. Boards start to look the same after awhile. . . .

 

When I got these sorts of people, I'd answer their questions and carry on with life. No point in spending time fretting about it.

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@Dragon while I certainly agree with you, not every guest is created equal. As long as you're polite about pointing someone to the rules/faq, I don't think that's necessarily a red flag? If you're short with them and just say "check the faq" then yeah, that can be seen as dismissive. But if you're being generally genial about it, it should be ok. General customer service rules are fine here. You don't need to go out of your way or bend over backwards for this person, just point them in the right direction "with a smile" and you'll come off fine to any other guests lurking around.

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