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Old 11-20-2014, 08:20 PM   #1
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Default NOTICE: Personal Information and Discussion of Banned Members **PLEASE READ**

Because of the turn of events this evening, I am taking a little more of an unorthodox approach (meaning, this is not something we usually address in a more direct way). People will be upset about what happened, and I want to assure everyone that this is acceptable. But how you deal with your emotions, disappointment, and anger (even towards the staff) needs to be done carefully. It will not be acceptable for you to discuss who, or why, someone was banned. And it will not be acceptable for anyone to publicly demean that person or the staff here on WI. This is your warning -- this is not acceptable behaviour.

That being said, I get that some of you will be upset. I am upset as well. I know many of you have a perception that the staff is not invested in this community, does not want you all around, is ‘out to get’ some people, etc. I can’t change that perception over night, but please know this is not the case. If I had my way, everyone would be on here and able to participate in what we are doing. It’s a great community, and you all make it that way. But there are rules, and part of our role as volunteers is to make sure the rules are applied equably and equally between all members. No one is above the rules here (including staff members). That is what we all agreed to when we joined the team, and it is something we all work towards achieving. Mistakes happen, but overall we want what is best for this community (the collective) and will not put the interests of individuals ahead of that goal.

That being said, I want to use this opportunity to remind our fantastic members of two things:

1.) The staff will not discuss banned members with members, and we do not allow discussions of why a member is banned anywhere on the forum (rep, PMs, VMs, threads, etc. etc.). Many of you may be asking why this has been our position over the years, the same question usually comes up after an event like today.

Here is the long answer:

We do not discuss the terms of the ban to protect the privacy of the individual—especially if they are to be returning at some point to the forum (not everyone who is banned is banned for life). They may choose to reveal the reason to you privately, and we cannot control that (especially if you are friends in real life) but it also may not be something they want to discuss…and we have made the decision to protect this decision as best as we can.

Because we do not disclosure the reason why someone is banned (unless there is a very special circumstance or safety reason) any discussion surrounding the circumstances is gossip and hearsay. This can be very offensive to those who are friends with the individual offline, and may create divides within the community. In our experience (and we, unfortunately, have quite a bit in this area) it is not a healthy discussion for members to have. It just makes people upset.

2.) Personal information is not allowed to be exchanged on here. I know this one is hard to follow, I get that we have all known each other for many, many, many years now. I understand that many of you are now young adults and in college, university, or a new career. You have responsibilities, you want to stay in touch. That is all understandable.

But here is the thing—there is no way to verify that the individual you are speaking to is an adult. You may dispute this by saying that sharing a facebook profile picture, or speaking on the phone, etc. proves that this individual is an adult — but these personalities can be created and fabricated by individuals. It is possible, it is a reality that our community on WI is not isolated from.

These rules are in place to protect individuals as best as we can. I understand that many of our long term members are now young adults, but that does not mean everyone fits into that category. As young adults, I hope that you can also understand that we expect you to be good role models here on WI…and that means refraining from sharing personal information, social media sites (which can lead to personal information being revealed), phone numbers, towns you lived in previously, etc.

It’s cool to make connections on the internet with people. I’ve done it myself, and sometimes it can be really rewarding and create long lasting relationships which build through interactions offline and online. As adults you can (hopefully) make rational judgements on if this is a safe avenue to pursue or not. But there are ALWAYS risks when you make these decisions, and that is something we want to avoid for our members on WI. The only way we can ensure this risk is negated is to enforce that no personal information is revealed on this site.

And when we say on this site, we mean anywhere. Not through reputation comments, not through PMs, not through exchanging links to other sites/forums to ‘talk’ (especially social media), not through visitor messages, etc. When you purposely avoid our direct line of sight (exchange information via PMs for example) it does not make it seem less suspicious, and we have no choice but to enforce the rules you agreed to.

If you have any questions please feel free to send me a PM. I will respond as soon as possible, and to the best of my ability. But please understand I cannot change the rules, cannot bend them to suit one individual over another, and cannot discuss the reasons for this posting.


MissGnomie (Ashley) & The WI Mod/Admin Team.
MissGnomie is offline Female
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