eBay Sellers are Running the Forum

2010-February-2nd

You may or may not already know this, but one of the things I do with my time is that I moderate and administer a forum about old computers. I'm not going to link to it here or even disclose it's name because either you already know, or it's just not important for you to know. To give you an idea of how involved I am with the forum, I've been an active member there pretty much continuously for the past several years. Like,
since 2001 or 2002.

At any rate, since I have become a moderator, there have been two fairly big incidents involving eBay sellers. In the first incident, we had had a rash of threads where some of our particularly knowledgeable and well-written members had a series of scathing criticisms of a particular eBay seller or two. Criticisms so scathing, you might even call it bashing. In the second, most recent incident, a different eBay seller sent us an e-mail asking for some different posts to be removed for a similar reason.

I'll explain this in the context of the second eBay seller because this one is from the past week or so. Basically, we got an e-mail from a disgruntled eBay seller saying he found our forum either by being alerted by a friend, or searching on google and yahoo for his eBay seller name. More or less, this person demanded that we (as per our rules, un/fortunately) remove the posts and (without warning) remove the forum member who had made the posts in question.

Somewhat reluctantly, we went ahead and removed the posts, however most of us on the administration & moderation staff couldn't help but notice that this particular person's attitude is indeed incredibly bad slash unhelpful. My problem with this is that it literally is being told by somebody outside of the community how to run things.

Because of this, I'm going to have to try to lead and guide a communitywide discussion about what "bashing" and "libel" and "slander" are. This will, of course, as per one of the old administrators who is "retiring" (you could say anyway,) "be as wildly successful as the last one."

Whether or not such a discussion is going to be successful, I think it's about time for another such discussion, to make everybody aware of the rules that have been around for awhile, and with luck, cause people to think a bit more about what they're posting.

From time to time I think about what I post on the forum, and what I have posted over the years, since I joined in 2001 or 2002. Although I'll fully acknowledge that I was never a saint and did have my bad days, sometimes weeks, I just simply can't recall being as continuously destructive as some of the people currently on the forum. Idealistically I'll be able to provide some kind of wakeup call and the forum will improve significantly. Realistically, I'll put far too much effort into writing a few things, reading everybody's hateful comments, and then being generally unhappy, angry and sad.