Dealing with Annoying Users

This documentation applies to zIFBoards only.

Everything on your forum has been set to your standards. Your boards have been created and are gaining posts. Perhaps even a few members are joining here and there? Then, all of a sudden a really annoying user is harassing others, posting nonsense and generally making your life miserable. This article will highlight some of the key steps you should take when dealing with users of this variety. Below you'll find three different levels, each with their own severity of punishment. Understanding these levels will give you the ability to silence annoying users, and potentially shape them into a contributing member of your online community.

Level 1 Severity (low)

The very first thing you should consider doing is talking with the user. Chances are your user has come from another online community with different rules than you have. There is little harm that can come from sending a friendly personal message, asking the user to review the rules you have set out. If the user has done something specific that you didn't like then tell what they've done wrong in this message. Be mindful of what you're sending the user. If you're far too stern they may think you're targeting them which will only make the situation worse. You can be firm, but also be polite and professional at the same time. This will yield the best results. You may also choose to publicly edit or delete their posts, which will let the user know you're watching them.

Level 2 Severity (medium)

If your user refuses to play by your rules after you've asked them nicely, it may be necessary to place that user in a Mod Queue. By doing this all of the topics and posts by that user will need to be approved by a forum administrator or moderator before they are submitted to your board. This is one of the best ways to allow your member the freedom to post, but to filer the content they are generating. Any rule violations that happen are caught before going public.

In order to do this, you must first log into your admin control panel. Select the Find/Edit/Suspend User link on the navigational menu to the left. After using the search forms to locate the user, click on their Edit Details link. Among the settings that will appear, you'll be looking for the following:

If you have no set time for which you would like the queue to be lifted, simply check the Moderator Preview Indefinitely box and save your settings. Otherwise, enter a number into the empty text field and then select whether you want that number to represent hours or days. For information on approving queued topics and posts, please view this article.

Level 3 Severity (high)

If the member is absolutely bent on causing trouble it may be time for a Ban. Banning users can be addicting for some administrators, as often it's the easiest way out of a problem. To ban a member, follow the steps you took during level 2 to place the member on a mod queue. If the user is still being previewed then feel free to remove these settings. They will no longer matter. Now from the Member Group drop down menu, select the Banned user group. Save your settings.

On the menu to your left, select the Permission Masks option. Preview the mask currently being used by your banned user group and ensure they cannot read, reply, start or upload anywhere on your forum.

Banning a user with this method alone is often temporary, as all a user needs to do is register a new account to gain access to your forum again.

Strengthen a Ban

First we'll want to eliminate the chance that a user will re-register with the same e-mail. On the navigational menu to your left, select the Security & Privacy option. Under the Security (Troublesome Users) heading there is an option to disallow duplicate e-mails when a user registers. Set this option to No.

Next, select the Ban Settings option from the admin CP menu. If you suspect that your user has a static IP address, you can enter it into the appropriate section here to strengthen your ban. Static IP addresses rarely change, which makes this method of banning a user quite effective. If the user is on a dial up connection, their IP address will be dynamic or “ever-changing”. It's much harder to ban these types of IP's, so it's best just to keep on banning your troublesome user's e-mail addresses. In order to gain access to your forum the user will have to keep creating e-mail accounts, which can be quite taxing on their end. After a few attempts at this it's likely they'll give up and leave you alone.

If for some reason they don't, it may be necessary to require e-mail validation during the registration process. The zIFBoards registration process can't tell the difference between a fake e-mail and a real once, so it's best to turn on e-mail validation altogether to avoid confusion. To do this, select the Security & Privacy link from the admin CP menu. Change the New registration email validation? option to User E-mail Validation. Save your settings.

Banning a member should not be first on your priority list. Banning lots of members will reflect poorly on your forum. It is recommended that you ban a user only after trying to change their disorderly conduct.

zifboards/moderation/annoyingusers.txt · Last modified: 2015/01/09 16:02 (external edit)