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A policy update about reports of users harassing others


Fuzz

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If you've read the GDCcrets thread in the last day you've read about an issue that has come up with one user harassing others with explicit comments after being told to stop. The mod team takes these reports very seriously, but we agree that we took too long in this case and we have been talking about ways to fix this.

First off, we will institute an immediate 24 hour suspension once we get a report about another member harassing someone else. During this time we will look into the issue, gather the facts we can get, and will then issue a permanent ban once we get enough details. If we're unsure about a situation or need more time, we will keep the user suspended until that time - but we mainly want to try and take care of these reports within 24 hours when they come in.

Secondly, I'd like to take a moment to talk about friendships and relationships with other GDCers. We pride ourselves on trying our best to keep a safe place for people to come and chat and create relationships with other like-minded people. I think 99.9% of the time that's exactly what happens. But just as in offline life, there is always going to be a small number of people who cross the line into what's ok and what's not. If you ever feel uncomfortable with something another user has told you, then report it to the mod team. Here's a blog post about how to use the report function. It's incredibly important that we hear from people in these situations. There's no way we can know everything that's happening around the forum and we depend on you to make sure we know.

Lastly, on behalf of the entire mod team, I'd like to apologize to everyone affected in the situation mentioned in the GDCcrets thread. It took us over 2 weeks to completely deal with the issue, mostly because as we looked into it, we realized it was more complicated than we initially understood and it was hard for us to make a judgement call without more information. We failed in reaching out to everyone affected right away and trying to get all the details we needed to issue a ban. I'm sorry that we in anyway contributed to any of you feeling unsafe about posting or visiting the forum. The entire mod team agrees that we should have done more right away, and with the policy outlined above, we want to make sure something like this never happens again.

  • Like 48

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chatnoir

Posted

I'd like to know, if you plan on letting one report of one person be sufficient for someone getting banned. I mean, if there is proof of harrassment, but it's only one person, who complains.

I'm asking this, because in the secret threads it was mentioned several times, that the team asked other users to come forward, although there has been a clear and serious complaint from one member already.

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OneSongInFrench

Posted

Thanks for the post - this site truly is the run by the greatest staff and mods.

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Fuzz

Posted

I'd like to know, if you plan on letting one report of one person be sufficient for someone getting banned. I mean, if there is proof of harrassment, but it's only one person, who complains.

I'm asking this, because in the secret threads it was mentioned several times, that the team asked other users to come forward, although there has been a clear and serious complaint from one member already.

Yes. If one user reports another and we are able to look into the issue and confirm it, that's plenty to issue a ban.

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Kayfabe

Posted

You can use the report button on posts and PMs so yeah, it's not going to be needing more evidence if the truth is plainly there.

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Fuzz

Posted

You can use the report button on posts and PMs so yeah, it's not going to be needing more evidence if the truth is plainly there.

Yes. But we still need to look into the issue before issuing a permanent ban. Our rules have always been that a majority of the team must agree to a perma-ban before we issue one. This is done just to make sure everyone knows what's going on and that no one can accuse one mod of unfairly going after someone.

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Tubbie Head

Posted

Thank you! I'm glad this is being brought up... I was wondering if this issue would just pass by without anything else being said or done about it.

I felt unsafe when I heard about this, and knowing how much time it took to be solved... I wasn't even directly affected. I just think that everyone in the forum was indirectly affected and worried, so there was indeed the need for apologies and explanation to the community. It's good that we now know that this type of issues will be taken seriously and solved quicker than before. :)

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Bastard of 1967

Posted

Glad to see this has been handled professionally now. Anyway, I would have commented further in the secrets thread itself, but that's now been closed.....So to those who have been demanding that the mods publicly out the perv's name: my response as a former practicing lawyer is "what the fuck, are you NUTS!?" You're begging for a defamation lawsuit if you do -- which is not the case when dealing with a "he/she's spamming a thread and won't stop" issue. I agree the ban that was ultimately decided on was the correct course of action, that keeping both the perpetrator's and the victims' names out of public eye is probably enough to protect the forum staff and administration from being sued for libel in the event that the harassment report turns out to be false, and that a policy that allows for these issues to be addressed a whole lot faster in the future is a very good thing.

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After the user is banned, maybe you can track the IP address or something of that user, so that he does not make a new account again.I personally don't know how to do that but I'm sure you guys know.

Harassing a girl like that is not cool.

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November's Storms

Posted

I guess an apology is never a bad thing but I think the mods handled it quite well. Something this personal and sensitive should be tackled discreetly rather than shouting from the rooftops.

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Silent Duck

Posted

Nice to see that you did the right thing Andres, even if it took far too long. Still, glad you did it!

@Stephen Quit being a lick arse.

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Todd

Posted

I have no idea what happened, but judging from the comments, it seems pretty serious. I'm surprised something like that could happen on here- was it a newer member who was harassing? This community is filled with laid-back, easy to get along with, just plain nice people, and I can't imagine anyone I know here doing that. I'm sure a lot of people (Including myself) are now going to be interested in who did what, but as Bastard of '67 said, it's best to leave these things private. I hope everyone is doing ok, and if the mod team decides on a permanent ban, then I'm sure that will settle things completely.

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The mod team kinda dropped the ball big time on this one, but kudos for the apology Andres. This whole event really raised a lot of questions about how the forum is run.

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Bastard of 1967

Posted

What? That sounds like an excerpt from a gossip column. There were plenty of team members who disagreed with the first decision, and the situation was discussed at great length before and after the secrets thread. The problem was that everyone - myself included - assumed that the mod team knew more about the situation than they did before the first decision was made. When they did have all of the information, it was properly resolved, and they've apologised for that mistake numerous times. It's unfair to let hearsay ruin your opinion of a great team after one completely accidental mistake. Everyone's pretty beat up about the entire situation.

Live (check!), learn (check!), get beat up (check!), take ownership (check!), fix things (check!), move on.

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Sarcasm

Posted

The mod team kinda dropped the ball big time on this one, but kudos for the apology Andres. This whole event really raised a lot of questions about how the forum is run.

As long as everyone understands that this isn't my full time job, I'm content.
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Lauren

Posted

All I can say is I'm really happy I made that secrets thread and that someone sent in that secret. I'm not entirely blaming the mod team, because I guess they really didn't have enough information. This is something that a lot of people may have been afraid to speak up about. With the secrets thread, it let someone send it in anonymously yet making it public, so others who were affected knew they weren't alone and shouldn't be afraid to speak up. I'm really happy the issue was solved. No, we can't undo what has happened, but at least we can prevent it from happening again.

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dumb shiny bitch

Posted

I was pissed at this situation being delayed, it shouldn't have been. But as they say - being angry is natural, staying angry is devilish. You've made up for it now and nice one for the apology.

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She is Amanda

Posted

Thank you so much

Back when me and Momo were having problems with a GDCer we didn't think reporting him would do anything. It's really nice to have a mod team like this.

It wasn't until we reported him and he was permanently banned within 2 days that we realized how lucky we were

Thank you for everything, including making it clear that hesitating to report someone doesn't help anyone

  • Like 2
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mallorymaloney

Posted

I'm so confused and, I'll admit, kinda bummed I haven't been active on GDC to have known WTF this policy update and apology is really all about. Sounds pretty srs bsns, which isn't something too common on GDC, AFAIK!

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sallysimpson

Posted

I wasn't ever on the Secrets thread until I saw the new policy statement. And then I saw the issue that really started the concern. I'm hoping that along with this individual being banned (which is altogether right, appropriate and necessary), legal authorities are also brought in. It may involve federal authorities since it crosses state lines and potentially involves underage young women (even if they appeared to be willing participants on some level). It's illegal anyway you slice it. I hope anyone affected will be willing to contact a moderator they trust and provide any records they have. Even if he's been banned on this site, he'll find another and do the same thing there. Guaranteed. He's not a fan of the band -- he's a fan of abuse.

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Todd

Posted

I wasn't ever on the Secrets thread until I saw the new policy statement. And then I saw the issue that really started the concern. I'm hoping that along with this individual being banned (which is altogether right, appropriate and necessary), legal authorities are also brought in. It may involve federal authorities since it crosses state lines and potentially involves underage young women (even if they appeared to be willing participants on some level). It's illegal anyway you slice it. I hope anyone affected will be willing to contact a moderator they trust and provide any records they have. Even if he's been banned on this site, he'll find another and do the same thing there. Guaranteed. He's not a fan of the band -- he's a fan of abuse.

Being on GDC- a world wide community- it would be an international problem, not something very easy to solve. GDC could get taken offline while authorities investigate, and the police would need access to an admin's account, and all of the victim's accounts. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but it would be difficult

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Fuzz

Posted

I've looked into the issue much further than has been posted here or elsewhere on the forum and I do not believe any action like that is necessary in this situation. The main user whose report led to this action is outside the US (as is the guy), and both are older than their respective age of consent laws. If any of those involved feel differently or have something more to share, I'm open to getting more details via PM.

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