Hepatitis Social Community
A queston for Medhelp
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This forum is for hepatitis patients, family members, loved ones, friends or anyone with an interest in hepatitis, to have open social conversations about any topic they choose, with the exception of religion and politics. Please note that our standard “Rules for Posting in Public Areas”, which are found in our Terms of Use , also apply in this community. If you are newly diagnosed with Hepatitis or you have questions or information to share about current treatments, research studies, clinical trials, or other medical issues pertaining to Hepatitis, please post it in one of our Hepatitis Communities ( Hep A , Hep B , Hep C or Hep-autoimmune ).

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A queston for Medhelp

I have been reading this forum for many years and posting for two.  I see a noticeable increase in deleted posts and the marked absence of many of the most helpful posters.  I had disagreements with some of them, but their absence is my loss.

Why are you doing this?  A forum can be moderated or not, but this forum seems  in between and uses arbitrary rules.

Most of us take mind altering drugs; we need guidance sometimes when we are out of line, but threatening and banning are not helpful.  This is a support forum for adults.   Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by the drugs that we do not behave as adults, but that is rare.  

If you apply arbitrary rules and let trolls post at will and you ban the people that complain about the trolls, you lose the respect of the forum members and you, medhelp, will lose in the end.

If you feel the forum has to be moderated, then supply a moderator that understands the forum and the problems of the participants.  
Related Discussions
79 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Well said.  I agree wholeheartedly.

jd
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9648_tn?1290094807
Me too.
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412873_tn?1329178055
I third the motion.

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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with all your points.
I have perused some of the other forums,one of which (not difficult to work out which) is totally dominated by trolls some of whom are obviously using multiple screen names.
Taking a tough line with trolls in the Hep C forum has quietened them down,as they don't post if they don't get attention.
I was shocked to learn that certain responsible people have been booted for shooting down trolls.
Let's get back on track!
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206807_tn?1331939784
This is one of the reasons I don’t post much anymore. I have never been involved with any “Click” but have observed how they have ganged up on members and then reported the victims to M.H. when they retaliated after being provoked. This resulted in losing some great assets.
It saddens me because I know for a fact that me and several other members would not have made it through tx if it was not for this forum.
I agree we need a moderator but it would have to be one that has been through tx and has an unbiased cool head.
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree with all of the views expressed her.
This forum helped save my life and I know that, if it had been like it is now when I was in need, I wouldn't stayed and benefited as I did. I would have been in deep trouble.
I too have been reluctant to post much lately for the reasons already so eloquently expressed.
Mike
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Avatar_m_tn
I got booted from my job....now all i need is to get booted off this site...when they say life is unfair and to get used to it???...this is putting it mildly.....i am goin thru hell...i may end up homeless in a few months...if i cant handle the courses in college and ther is no jobs anywhere here....i will lose all i have....can you imagine how i will feel if im told i didnt SVR.....i have a bumpy road ahed of me and my shock absorbers are getting very worn out and thin
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412873_tn?1329178055
Kinda the point.....we are here in various stages, pre-tx, post-tx and enduring tx.  

We all know the positive impact MH has had on us.  We all want to help others the way we have been helped.

If we continue to get picked off in favor of trolls.......well, that thought just makes me sad.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I agree with most of whats been said. I think who ever med-help put at the button is WAY to trigger happy. As for a moderator if its some one already here then the problem only gets worse. Over time friendship forms, some are liked, some not so much so the problem just gets worse.

Hep-c forum made med-help what it is today but it seems a couple people have either forgot that or don't care there anymore.

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10947_tn?1281407852
Hi,

We've said this to a few individuals that email contacted us privately, and I'll repeat it here. We do not treat the Hepatitis communities any differently then we treat other communities. I'm sure it feels like we do because you're familiar with the members and posting, however, every community is treated the same. If violations are reported to us by other members, or if members insist on continuing to violate terms even after we've warned them several times, such as personal attacks or creating multiple IDs, we are going to need to take action. We don't threaten members, but we do issue warnings when they are violating a rule. We also disagree firmly that we are "picking off" members. Any member that has been banned, across the entire site, not just these Hep communities, was banned after several warnings telling them to stop what they were doing. When someone is banned, they should certainly not be shocked it happened and it happened for a good and repeated reason.

Nothing would make us happier than not having to moderate at all, but unfortunately, that's not possible. Everyone needs to take a step back, look at the behavior that's causing the warnings and/or deletions, and instead of saying the deletions are the problem, get back to helping each other out with this condition.

MedHelp - Harry
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206807_tn?1331939784
“We do not treat the Hepatitis communities any differently then we treat other communities”

Here lies the problem. If the SX from TX were understood along with Post TX Recovery, you would clearly understand that this forum is not like other forums.
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10947_tn?1281407852
Hi,

We understand every forum is different. However, our rules are not complicated and we do not feel they are unreasonable. If someone who is going through chemotherapy for cancer, or through withdrawal from an addiction, or is suffering from any other of the unfortunately endless incurable diseases like MS, or Diabetes or HIV can follow the rules, so can someone going through Post TX Recovery. I by no means am saying that's not a very hard and intense recovery, I am simply saying people in many communities are going through or living with extremely trying recoveries and conditions.

All we ask is treat each other with respect. Disagreements are fine, and across this site plentiful. We realize there are heated topics in Hep C, but this isn't unique. Maternal & Child disagree over abortion, Addiction disagrees of suboxone, there's disagreements over religion or over alternative medicine vs. traditional medicine. Everyone on this site is experiencing some kind of health condition, otherwise they won't be here. That's stressful and in some cases controversial. We know that. But disagree without attacking. Disagree respectfully. Disagree without making it personal. If what the person wrote is outrageous, or an attack of its own on your community, instead of firing back, report it. If members do that, almost all of these problems will die down.

First and foremost MedHelp is here to help people with a condition, and in this case, it's Hep C. Personal attacks and fighting create a hostile environment. A hostile environment quickly begins to overwhelm and drown out the good posts and the good members that are trying to help. Keep in mind, we don't just sit around and read everything that is written. There are thousands of posts each day on MedHelp. If we're reading it, someone else is complaining.

Harry
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96938_tn?1189803458
Harry,

"If we're reading it, someone else is complaining."

But, just because someone complains should not mean that the post in question should be deleted.  One point of view does not a controversy make.  Just because someone does not like the post does not mean that the post is wicked, cruel or nasty.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have sent you over seven messages concerning the recent situation here. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear back from you.

Your post on this thread fails to address the crux of the problem, namely the trolling.

You failed to ban a troll who by his own error and admission posted via two identities in his own thread, with the intent of causing a stir.  This troll actually may have had had four identities on the board in the past month.

I feel MH has let us down.  This thread shows eloquently that I'm not the only one. Why would you clamp down on an innocent comment such as "Is school out?" while disregarding the insulting effects of  transient drive-by posters, who foist on the rest of us the spurious details of their sexual misadventures.

MH was truly my second home throughout  treatment and I could not have survived without it. We grew so close here and I, for one, tried very hard to not shut the door on anyone.
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220090_tn?1379170787
Thank you for participating in a dialog with us.

Some excellent points have been made:

We are taking a drug that is a powerful psychoactive drug.  It makes us hot tempered, paranoid and depressed.  I think you have to take that into account.

Trolls get their jollies harassing us with sexual exploitation and stories about how wrong it is to treat with the the only available drugs.  Punish the trolls, not the people that try and call them out.  Cut us  some slack that you don't give to the other forums, since we are handicapped by the drugs we are taking.

If you want to moderate this forum, at least get someone that has treated with Interferon and Riba to help with advice.

Thank you for listening.

Eric
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Avatar_m_tn
When members decide to moderate.....
when members decide who is a troll.....
and take the action, in effect, of a moderator
they are on very thin ice and possibly performing a task that is not theirs to perform.

It's true that many people appear to be compulsive or obsessive in attempting to get information (over and over and over), but that makes them sick.  To some extent, it also makes them normal.  Who here was not very scared when first diagnosed?  

In HIV forums there is post after post about exposure and a rapid onset of symptoms or symptoms which persist even after a negative antibody test...or PCR which disproves infection.  Are concerned.....or obsessive....or uninformed people *trolls*?  Picture if you will, your own child....14 years old trying to get information....... or a foreigner....... or someone with less advantage than many of us have.  I've seen people treated very rudely.  I understand it because to some of us the situation seems unreal...... or stupid....or that possibly we are being "played".  

The deal is.....we DON'T have the ability to discern who is "real" and who isn't.
(and that has been proven several times on THIS forum, right?)

We also don't have the right to step in and treat them as a spammer, troll, multiple account member, or obsessive compulsive.

Yes, there may be some but we don't get to label them "real" or not.  You may be right sometimes...... but what of the people who are incorrectly labeled?  

I think that the forum succeeds when people do what they can to do to help people.  It often fails when members decide to act as moderators.  

I think that some of us end up feeling reactive when people come on with the supposition that HCV is readily sexually transmitted or that we are sexual deviates (how we got infected, right?  ; ) ).  If we can't be objective and non-emotional in answering such questions it's best to not answer.  

Understand, I feel empathy for a terse response rebutting nonsense, but such responses are not helpful and really only make the forum look unfriendly, rude or opinionated.

MedHelp, thanks for NOT deleting this thread.  I think that many things being said NEED to be expressed.  Communication is what boards are about.

Willy





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220090_tn?1379170787
You are a very brave man and that attitude will stand you well in life..

I wish you the best.

Eric
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264121_tn?1313033056
Wow.  I had no idea this was going on.  I wondered where many  people were when I came by today.  In my opinion, the hcv forum has, in the past, been the strongest forum with the best medical advice/research available BECAUSE it was allowed to moderate itself.  There were members I disagreed with strongly who I feel were very valuable to the site.  The knowledge that was available here saw me through treatment.
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Avatar_f_tn
I suppose when someone rubs up against me on a crowded bus, you would say I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I prefer to give him a good,hard slap.
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220090_tn?1379170787
I ask that you put yourself in the shoes of someone treating; every stare is a threat, every noise an attack.

We try to post and help someone and a post appears that is simply trying to scare everyone.  The post is almost always from someone that just joined the forum and we assume they are a troll.  If you are not treating, you might not make that assumption.

I only hope that people that have never treated with Interferon/Riba, put in the effort to understand that these drugs are different from most other drugs; different in the way they change our personality.

And we might make an error and call someone a troll when they are not.  If a decision has to be made to toss someone, then toss the person that makes frightening or sick posts over and over and let the short tempered people treating with interferon stay on the forum; especially when they have been valuable contributors for many  years.
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9648_tn?1290094807
Based on what I have witnessed, posts that are controversial but not abusive have been deleted on several occasions. It is my opinion that complaints are being lodged when a discussion becomes heated. That does not violate the MH terms as I read them.
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683664_tn?1330969924
Yes.  Communication.  I do not post a lot but even I have been warned about a comment that was made innocently.  That warning made me more reluctant to share my knowledge and experience with others on the forum.  

There are so many challenges here, and I appreciate seeing them laid out, and having this opportunity to discuss them as a group.  

I would also like to acknowledge the incredible support provided by folks on this site during my treatment, and I too want to pay it forward.  

How can we work this out?  Is there a way we can compromise?  Perhaps a "report trolls" button : )  Maybe there is another way to handle complaints about posters.  Brainstorming here...

Eric's idea of a moderator who has undergone this treatment would be a good consideration.  It's not that we think we're special, but no one else understands how these meds make a person feel.  I've been a nurse for many years, and I could never have imagined the experience of my 24 weeks of treatment.  The medicines can make people very very ill, and folks who have had these same symptoms can give life-saving advice and compassion like no one else, because no one else can imagine it.  I say that to you not only from the role of the patient but as a nurse also.  I watched my body, skin, hair, vital signs, everything, completely change over that period of time.  It is a crazy experience.

When our treatment period is over, most of us feel well again over time, and it's important for folks who are treating to get that information too.  Support during this time is so needed.

The long-time posters here are have invaluable knowledge which people who are treating need to be able to access via this site.  Please help us to resolve this so that those folks will continue to help others through you.
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10947_tn?1281407852
Hi,

Just as an upfront here, I can't go into specifics on any particular occasion, members, etc. That said, to address a few of the points made:

- When I said "someone else is complaining" my only point is, the only reason we read most posts is because a complaint is lodged. We look at every complaint and then decide whether to act or not. That said, once we are looking at it, if we do see something, in most cases here, it's a personal attack, we need to act. However good intentioned some of the harsher corrections or replies are meant to be, and even if they are factually spot on, the manner they are being delivered in IS offending someone, in most cases several members who report abuse on it.

- I'll be the first to admit, we do make mistakes in some of the stuff we delete. We're not perfect and never claim to be. However, I think we do as well as we can. Typically, if we delete something leaning on the innocent side, it's usually due to being in the middle of a ton of other activity. If a thread is heated and we're getting complaints every 5 minutes about it, we're going to delete anything remotely offensive in there to stop it, or just delete it entirely. If you feel we made a mistake, send us a contact us and, it may take some time, but we will get to it. But, on these, it needs to only pertain to you and your involvement in what happened. For privacy reasons, we will not discuss other members with another member. Simply, you wouldn't want us telling someone about you, so please don't expect us to talk about someone else with you.

- Trolls. You are hitting on the problem with trolls yourselves. Anyone can suspect who a troll is, but you can't be 100% sure someone is a troll. In addition, trolls have many definitions, and some people consider trolls anyone who repeatedly disagrees with them. We consider trolls, people with no interest in helping, usually don't have the condition and who simply are here to "stir the pot". We have some tools that give us more information than you have, but even that is not perfect. We know that. All we can do with trolls is watch them, see what they do, and then act once they do something wrong and/or slip. Trolls are not a hep c issue, they are an internet community issue. Every community has to deal with them, and unfortunately, you can't escape them. But, we have 15 years of experience with them, and we know what to watch for, and we have triggers in place to alert us to them, sometimes even before they post. A lot of times you guys are spot on with finding the trolls, and a day or week or maybe a month later if they are a good one after you inform us, they trip, and we can act. But until then, we can't risk banning totally legitimate members that "could" be a troll. And, until then, you can't attack them. Ignore them. Correct them. But just don't attack them. The irony of everything is, trolls exist to upset you. They *want* you to start fighting, yelling and arguing. When you rise to their bait, you're giving them what they want. We just ask you to report is, stay patient, and let us monitor them. I realize this isn't perfect, but no community has figured out the answer to the troll problem yet. (that said, we do have some new features coming that will help some, but a few months away)

- Finally, as far as self-moderation, you're right that we do not have a Community Leader here. This is not from lack of trying. We've been politely, and understandably turned down a few times. I think the reason is what we are discussing here. There are a few too many arguments, emotions and controversy involved here, that a member will be put in the awkward position of having to take a side in some cases. It's one thing for *us* to make a decision over what stays or goes, since we're the operators of the site, but it's a little unfair to put a member in that position when things are so tense. We're obviously very open to the idea, we have almost 100 CL's across the site, but we don't want to throw a terrific member into a situation where they'll fail, and right now, especially with tensions so high, I believe that's the case.

Here's what I will promise on this. I've already told the moderators to be sure to try and look bigger picture and get more context in here. We can let some of the more heated stuff go longer, and see if it can get wrapped without getting personal on its own. With that, we need the personal attacks, which have really stepped up the past 2 months to stop. If it gets personal, we need to act. And to be clear, we do not ban someone because of a personal attack, so even if it gets heated and you slip, it will just be a warning. But, if it's repeated, over and over, ignoring our warnings, that's where we need to suspend and ban. The only members I want to ban are spammers and fakes. We do not enjoy banning members who are trying to help but just can't do it without hitting others in the process.

Harry
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220090_tn?1379170787
Thank you again for listening to us and trying to understand our problems.

The one thing I ask you to consider is the psychoactive properties of Interferon/Riba that cause us to be impulsive and angry.  I will be happy to send you the warnings provided by the drug company in order to give you a better idea of their impact on us.  The net result of this is that these drugs make it difficult to hold our tongues!

I have been off the drugs for 15 months now, and I am finally starting to feel normal.  I have stopped fighting needlessly and regret some of the fights I have started here and at home.  The main point is that it took 15 months post treatment for me to start feeling normal and I am sure most people fall in this category.

Aside from prednisone, I am unaware of any form of chemo that is as powerful a psychoactive as the drugs we take on this forum.  I do believe that we deserve some slack in this area.

Instead of a permanent ban for long standing members, how about a temporary one that is a cool down period?  I started this post because some very productive and helpful people are no longer posting.  

Eric
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Avatar_f_tn
I just wanted to say, Hi, Andiamo1 (Eric), I've always respected your opinion and enjoyed meeting you and your lovely wife at our FL luncheon.  I am very glad for your success in your treatment, after (like me) you had tried many times to clear the virus.  I've gotten myself into a few disagreements on here in the past (while I was on treatment), and then, I had to take myself off the boards for awhile in order to "chill out" because I started to realize that I was 'losing it'.  Nowadays, I don't post anywhere near as often as I once did.  I wish you the best in your life.   Susan400
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206807_tn?1331939784
Another suggestion. If a thread starts getting out of control, post a warning to the entire thread.
It can read something like this, “If this thread continues to go in this direction, some post or the entire thread will be removed.” MH does not have the time to sort out the situation and may remove innocent post. Thanks for your understanding, MH.”
By doing this you are being straight up and front with everyone
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks MH. Good points and all well taken. I agree that people that attack others on a personal level should be banned from this site. This has happen to me recently and the posts were deleted. If it continues I will reports them directly to MH instead of replying to their nonsense.
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220090_tn?1379170787
Thank you for the kind words.  I enjoyed meting you as well and I hope we can all meet once again.

Eric
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Avatar_m_tn
I always tried to defend myself but with this current restrictive atmosphere I am running to the teacher too.... but mostly just posting less  So maybe the answer is for us all to learn to be tattle tails and report anything we find the least bit unflattering or critical. That should improve things and encourage open and honest and spontaneous dialogue. I always thought the board worked very well without this level of  intrusive moderation. Apparently it worked extremely well to have attracted so many bright and knowledgeable members who have been so willing to lend support and provide insight. For some crazy reason - or perhaps by pure coincidence - this board became the absolute best site anywhere for hepatitis c and b sufferers and their loved ones.
My opinion is that in the vast majority of instances the board works controversies out all by ourselves. And rarely do we really need help.
Wasn't it often true that as children the kids we fought with and later made up with became our best friends? It's still like that for me.
Mike

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223152_tn?1346981971
Harry
I probably miss most of the deleted threads, not being an everyday poster anymore, but I ,like R Glass , think you should post a warning in a thread -- something that lets the participants know (1) that complaints have been made and (2) that a thread may get deleted.

I don't think I would care for a moderator .  I can understand the hesitation of a member to take on the roll and your hesitation to offer it to anyone we, in the forum, currently know.  Still, I wish there was some moderation of the amount of posts an individual could make.  I see some posters starting one or two threads every day, many on similar topics.  Seems redundant and worthless.  I actually liked it when the amount of posts were limited to 10 or so a day.  At least then  I could read it all.

I have seen people change on treatment.  I see strong emotional changes in pre treatment posters and the same posters at about 20 weeks of treatment. I have seen people do 180s when the drugs get in their system.  Sometimes we just need this sight to vent (and that is why you gave us our special non technical forum -thank you  by the way).  So, I think threads should be left alone unless there is a critical problem.  I also think some of the complainers should think before they press the complain button.  That said, I think many time the complainers are the problem, not MH.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk
frijole

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10947_tn?1281407852
Hi,

So to address two more points. First, we do currently have a cool down period. After several warnings comes a suspension. After the suspension is the permanent ban. We can look into adding a second suspension, but we would need to do this site-wide, so we need to discuss that internally.

As far as posting a warning in a heated thread heading in the wrong direction, we'll try that going forward and see how it goes. We've tried that in a few other communities, sometimes it worked, others it didn't, but we can try that here as well and see. I'll let the mods know to do this going forward.

Thanks for listening and understanding.

Harry
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179856_tn?1333550962
I agree with my whole heart that I always thought the members of this forum did an excellent job at moderating and shutting down trolls and vicious attacks themselves (except for a few times MH had to step in and then it was understandable). Anyone with any common sense can easily see when someone is posting to rile us up or if they are legitimate. Maybe this comes after reading tens of thousands of threads over a few years time but the members DO become experts at this. But I believe at the heart of this is INTENTION. Is the person TRYING to start trouble or just angry? Big difference at least to me.


There are times that I have actually agreed 100% when threads have been taken down. But always these threads had disintegrated into such name calling and fighting it was very apparent WHY MH felt the need to do it.

It's very sad that a few sick individuals could ruin what was such a happy joyous place for heppers to come. There isn't much joy in our lives most of the time, while on treatment and in here we could laugh and joke and have some time off from the disease - and other times help the new members. I myself considered it a responsibility to continue to post and try and help. But now we cannot joke or goof around without worrying that somehow someone will hit the report abuse button and get us whacked off. It completely ruins the joy of helping others when you are afraid they are a fake ID and going to turn you in if you attempt a lousy joke and they report it as a serious comment.

>>>As far as posting a warning in a heated thread heading in the wrong direction, we'll try that going forward and see how it goes

Thank you for making this offer I do believe it might help. But I do have to ask this - if someone is warned a few times six months prior to getting another warning is it cumulative like ooops three strikes you're out?  Because recently someone that was well liked and had helped a LOT of people in here and was very knowledgable was banned and it seemingly came out of nowhere. They made the same exact comment that I had a week earlier and I only received a warning. So I was wondering if the strikes add up over time and then one day it's just like adios that was your third one in five years or something - because it just didn't seem very fair to me (not that I wanted to be banned LOL).

There IS a difference between someone who is angry making a comment and a troll who intentionally causes trouble amongst members and then tries to rat out the ones they don't like. What I'm trying to say is the INTENTION of the poster should be considered when deciding how many warns leads to a ban and I think a lot of that is what the problem is.

Thanks for listening.


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Avatar_m_tn
your right my freind , getting a bit strange around here . I keep grounded here w my  observations of certain posts that interest me . It helps to see repeaters to tx ,get it on the second round . stuff like that . but It wont consume my life .It cant .Im too busy w day to day struggles .I wont abandon my freinds ,but I wont talk behind anyones back either . I hope things settle down    It hurts most of all ,  to see people {way too obviously }  having a pissing match in public .   very unbecoming   how bout a med help doctor ,that can intervene w a slap or somthing !  
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Avatar_f_tn
It's nice to hear your experienced point of view. We are a vocal bunch, whew!

The issue of members engaging in abusive behavior among ourselves is a different and more complex policy matter from that of trolls who stop by with the intent to undermine the forum.

I think trolls inflict very damaging consequences to our morale, partly because they're in and out so fast and leave our heads spinning when our own long-time members with compromised health are punished as a consequence.

I believe a syntactic investigation of recent trolls will show that he is one person under several identities who has the technical know-how to post from different IP addresses. He also knows a lot about HCV and how to navigate the site.

Given it takes time for MH, in an unbiased manner, to determine who's a troll , then if and when it does determine it, shouldn't all warnings to members that occurred in the interim as a direct consequence of trolls be rescinded?

To add to what NYGirl said above, I have said many things much 'worse' than "Is school out?" and never received a warning. I did, however, recently receive one when I simply asked a first time poster who had every hallmark of a troll, "Do you have a twelve inch piano?".  I was told more than once this was abusive. I feel tongue-tied as a result.

By the way, I noticed a thread removed this morning by someone called wonder, who may have been a 'new' troll.  I have to wonder if you warned or suspended the regular member who replied.

Trolls only intend to inflict harm on us individually and collectively and ultimately win when long-standing and respected members are inadvertently victimized as a result.




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388154_tn?1306365291
Thx a lot Andiamo for posting this!
I saw this coming 7-8 months ago maybe longer the KGB thing!!!

MH i just think you have loosen it, deleting without any explanation whole threads.
And also when joking and the past months I have just feelt what NYgirl said I coulden`t post anymore without thinking may I get reported (deleted).

I have only reported once when someone in a pm called me an @z whooole and blaimed me for have courced a whole thread getting deleted and I regretted I reported that person afterwords .

The insult came from a person who had been most helpful and has made a lot of encourating remarks to me and many others before.
I should just have ignored it.

It is this reporting hysterica that gives a bad taste and remind us of bad regims and their secret police.

Another very trouble some thing is when you gets your post removed and someone make a comment on that and that comment isn`t deleted missunderstandings big time can and has happened.

In my opinion the only time MH has to interfer is when someone has made a threat to your psysical person which has happened to me in a Email to someone I know who also got threatened.

I`m surprised this thread hasn`t been deleted yet maybe there is hope after all.

ca
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179856_tn?1333550962
"In my opinion the only time MH has to interfer is when someone has made a threat to your psysical person which has happened to me in a Email to someone I know who also got threatened."

I did get threatened but the person did get banned. I think that was probably the first time I ever really reached out and PM'd MH but it was just SO over the top  (and mine was an email too) but that just goes without saying. There are some very ill people out in cyberland and unfortunately one can't know when they are serious or not. It should be immediate banning for that - without doubt I think we'd all agree.
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, I had no idea any of this was even going on!
I still find MH to have by far the best forum for Hep C.
I am so grateful to have found it....
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I understand the points Harry makes, and thanks, Harry, for addressing some of our concerns.  I believe a lot of the mis-connect here is based in the perception, accurate or not, that the rules are not applied even-handedly.

Another concern for me is the absolute prohibition on screen names that come from the same computer.  I am, for reasons which must remain confidential, involved in work with people who share computers.  Several of them have been banned from medhelp for allegedly creating multiple screen names, when that was not the case.  Although I have explained to medhelp, in confidence, the circumstances that require these people to share computers, none of these members has been reinstated.  This is sad, as I know of at least 3 people who have been banned in this fashion.  They are facing various difficult circumstances, and could have benefitted from the help and support available on medhelp.
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I think this open and honest dialogue is a gift to us all; thank you to all who have had the courage to speak up and thank you to MH who have had the compassion to listen and consider all the points raised.  I feel very hopeful that this can lead to a more improved forum, which is indeed a life line for many.

Many thanks again.

Epi :)
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Content and info on HCV  sure has suffered on this forum  over the past year that i have been around  i myself have been accused by the members and treated rather poorly i have been banned in error because a member felt their duty with silly assumtions  to report every post i made  by some member or members  who may have a personal issue with me for what ever reason??  Sometimes it seems to me this forum is only for the few that dominate it  other times there is a a real sense of warm friendly commaderie  

It is very hard and scary for an individual who is newly dx to wrap their mind around having HCV and all that will follow what has past and what is their future

Again the content and info is surely on the decline  not  what it used to be as the controversy and banter ability has almost  disappeared and people have been allowed to have power to report when they disagree with issues and a gang mentality has formed more than once on here for sure  

people just need to agree to disagree and learn from each other  but it doesn't seem to be the case  
as very valuable info has been totally deleted because of a differences  and that for some reason  a special few are allowed to report without cause or rational judgement turning into  kind of a Napolieanic law
guilty until proven innocent policy here or so it seems that way to me  

I understand MH does not have the time or the people power to read what gets posted Red Flags go up with the Report button and off goes the thread and the people and the warnings and bannings begin too hurtful and most riduculous and people just lurk in the background and eventually just go away to more friendly forums or just revert into a lonely state of no one to share with during their hardships of this horrible disease

I think the report button should be removed permanently and replaced with another way that is better or more secure and the reporter must explain with factual info why they are reporting If it truly is a member controlled site then members should be held accountable when reporting  
people that constantly report should be monitored too as all of us have issues and problems in their life but to use forums to increase their sense of power in their lives by pushing report buttons when posters who have genuine questions or comments rub someone the wrong way they get punished and the whole forum suffers

threads and posts are just eliminated as punishment or for the greater good which to me is just the opposite as it truly is to the detriment of the forum
people are banned  found guilty without trial or discussion

how serious is banning to a sick individual I would say devistating depending on the person  

could they be so desparate and alone that banning could be the last straw and in their deep depression which we all suffer from Maybe this forum was the only link to the outside world for advice and help? would they be devistated enough to hurt themselves or jepordize their treatment or cause harm and they sink into deep depression  

I know this is not the intention of MH or any member here but i cannot help wonder what happens to these people that are banned No one even seems to notice or care or very rarely and the forum goes on until well it is not really a HCV forum but more of a social forum


trolls, double or triple idenity characters or whatever you want to call them see that they have a podium to run ramapant in this type of environment and the members themselves in attacking this lose their logic and  become troll like in their own ways  trying to weed these people out sometimes it reminds me of a Gerry Springer show  lol

reporting and ganging up on others as it is accepted behaviour all because of a report button that is suppose to take care of self moderting of a forum  

I personally do not think this method  is working well for MH or it's Members got to be a better way to handle these issues as the forum changes  these forums after all are relavtiely new in the overall view of HCV in the world  and I for one am super glad forums exist  I am guilty too of retaliation when attacked or when I see in my opinon posts that are just over the top ridculous to me  But Never have I reported anyone and I have been very insulted to have all my posts removed even to myself where I can never access them again as they were my only record of how I was feeling or questions I had or comments that others made to me on questions that I wanted to keep or refer to

Now there is a troll issue then there was the snake oil saleman issue  and many other issues a few members here are adamant against in the name of protecting the innocent or naive  
what ever happen to common sense and choice and the right of freedom of speech or is that not allowed here and a few more older or more well informed make this decision for the others by Reporting it you cannot deny a negativity by acting on negativity

everyone should be able to decide for themselves  what they want to read or believe there are competent arguments on every side and krass remarks and insults   I personally like to read all sides not have someone decide this for me I as an adult can ignore the insults and silly remarks should we all suffer because some cannot think for themselves attacking and abusing another individual or way of thinking or documented cases and info is abuse but a report button to me is not the answer  

yes there are disturbed ill or mentally challenged  individuals out there that will come on and try to badger and try and light a fire and cause trouble that is a given they will always be around but to let these weak links be allowed to  totally destroy a forum as that is well totally unfair to all especially MH  

just ignoring these few trouble makers or irrate irrational behaviour of a person on tx is the best plan of attack for the good of the group the attention grabbers and crazy makers will eventually go away if denied the attention they seek

that is hard to do i realize when we are so vunerable and not thinking clearly if we lash out and act out because of treatment should we be punished i think not  

there are limits to abuse but there has to be a more resonable way to handle these issues

we are sick some are on tx and do not have rational accions  and reacctions at times and do irrational things like reporting and mostly done in haste
or possibly for fun
like ringing a door bell and running and hiding to see reactions just plain silly but causes irrepairable damage to all of us

I am of the firm belief that it is totally too easy to do for irrational people angry people to just react in haste because they do not like the person or the subject or to antagonize or  whatever to push that button

continued
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continued from previous post

It is way to easy here to push that report  button  I have suffered personally from this which leaves me walking on egg shells and staying in the background around here as I still have hurt feelings on how I was treated on this forum because of a Report Button???

hope MH can think of another method  

I communicate with a few  who are not posting here  anylonger by personal choice or because of being banned but not as many as I would like to as I do not know how to contact them  hopefully they are on other forums under different names and just do not want to mention it hard to tell but hope so  the ones I do know not many

they too miss the Old MH  and are sorry to see what it has come too

I am just glad I got in on the tail end of the good years of this forum and got to know the people I have met and that have helped me to  learn about me and
about other issues I needed to be tested for and I was taught to have a more pro active approach in this journey of My life and had my mind opened to alternative actions I could take to be more healthy in my mind and body and liver health  
to help me while I wait and when I am ready I will be ready and hopefully SVR

I do appreciate MH as a business and for  being here for all of us, i also realize MH has so many site forums for every illness and disability and addiction it is a huge effort they make overall and I truly thank them for being here  
However there are mistakes made and some may be human error and some communication error and some plain ol computer error  

but what I do know this is a bugger of a disease  that we ALL do have in common  with all the issues it causes in our lives making it all to often NOT always EASY to AWAYS come from the higher conciousness  when relating to one another

May you all have a great week!
Sincerely Bajawoman
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Oh, my goodness Harry.  Last time we in the community had this discussion it totally disappeared within a few hours.  I may have missed some of the discussion so I was never sure what was so inappropriate to cause MH to remove it in it's entirety.  I'm a shy person and rarely post.  Sometimes when I do however, it's because I feel so passionately about what I want to offer.  When the post disappeared I couldn't help but wonder if MH felt my voice was somehow to blame.  
I liken the changes to this community to the changes in my own community.  Some for better some for worse.  I grew up in an old New England seacoast community.  In highschool there were remote areas around me where 17th century English was still spoken.  There were rich and poor but mostly we were in-between.  Land poor people.  No money, lots of land and barely able to pay the taxes.  The marsh land closest to the sea was mostly owned by Gypsies.  No one wanted to build a farm on wet land and so little camps sprung up along the marsh.  You could drive through my little town and see large farms, smaller cape cod type homes, trailers and the Gypsy camps within a 10 mile radius.  Everyone's voice was equally as important.  Most interesting were the Gypsy camps, some painted pink and yellow and bright purple.  In summer the windows and doors were always left open and you could see children, cats and dogs and sometimes goats going in and out the open doors.  Many had signs painted on their camps offering psychic readings and fortunes told.  If you were missing a hubcap on your car you could stop at many of the camps and rifle through huge piles gathered up in their yards and find just what you needed for a small price.
There were democrats and republicans but mostly independents.  There were scandals and gossip, good luck and bad luck people.  I remember an older gentleman named Duncan.  He was tall and angular with snow white hair and a perfectly trimmed goatee.  He was a military man from World War 2 who people whispered had become shell shocked in the war.  He dressed impeccably in a gray wool suit, winter or summer.  He explained the wool kept him cool in summer.  He was homeless but no one ever said it out loud.  Many families including my own shared in Duncan's care but again, no one ever talked about it in public.  He would carry his crazy but respectable self uptown from the beach to the local cafe each day and share his war stories to the many who listened and never tired of him every day.  
Now I'm all grown up Harry.  Duncan died many years ago and very few remember him now.  The trailers are gone and the newly rich discovered the Gypsies marsh land before the EPA got on to the fact that we shouldn't be building on the wet lands.  Mansions sprung up where the beautiful little Gypsy camps once were.  Uptown  looks like a tourist resort now.  All the local flavor is gone.  No more Duncan's, no more Gypsies and your chances of winning the lottery are way greater than ever imagining you'd hear 17th century English ever spoken here again.  No one knows anyone.  All the woman have the same hair cut and the same shade of blonde hair.  The fishermen are gone all replaced by men who wear birkenstock sandals or pea green rain boots.  
The miles of wild lupine are gone all replaced with stucco mansions with landscaping so bleached and sanitized they may as well be large fancy McDonalds.
Now our community is clean and neat and quite organized.  We're all Democrats of late and there are lots of millionaires who live in the mansions built on the wetlands who work diligently to protect our environment.
We who are part of this Hepatitis Community are not special victims Harry.  We are no more victim than millions of others living and enduring some pain and suffering.  I am quite capable whether or not I want to read the forum, which posts I want to read and which posts I would like to respond to.  I'd rather not recall the long and hideous treatment I endured to rid myself of this virus but anyone who's ever treated knows we'll never forget.  I must confess towards the end of my treatment when I may lie comatose for twenty hours a day the only time I may have cracked a smile may have been when I read some of the "off the wall" posts here on the forum.  Sick as I was of mind, body or spirit, I never lost my ability to judge for myself.  My voice is small Harry but please hear me.  MH is still the very best out there.  Please keep it so.
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"The fishermen are gone all replaced by men who wear birkenstock sandals or pea green rain boots."  

That rainboot problem seems better posted in the Urology forum :)
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I've lost count of how many times you've made me smile.  Thanks Goof.  Maybe I should  make up a new screen name and post it over there.  Maybe I'd be banned. ; ]
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lonestar: good story - thanks for sharing

all: sorry if this seems aggravating, but IMHO the trouble with control over acceptable/unacceptable content does not lie with MH, but with us. MH is a business with its own goals. Its presence does a lot of good but it should not be confused with a  a community-controlled forum.

The value-added of an online forum is not the computer hardware, which is cheap, or the forum software, much of which is free.  It's the content, which we provide, and the management/moderation, which MH provides. What the above posts seem to be  repeating, is that as patients or ex-patients, it's more important to communicate, perhaps crankily, than to be civil/respectful. Personally, I'd love to see a participatory patient-run forum which set and enforced its own  boundaries on  acceptable content, but as long as no-one is  willing to invest the time/effort to make that happen, we should be prepared to live by someone else's rules.

BTW, I recently came across a book "Managing Online Forums" by O'Keeffe that covers some of the headaches involved , see Chapter 6 (TOC is on amazon) on troll-extermination strategies.
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"What the above posts seem to be  repeating, is that as patients or ex-patients, it's more important to communicate, perhaps crankily, than to be civil/respectful."

That certainly is not what I am saying and not the way I interpret the posts.  I am saying that in the current situation, Medhelp is in control as the moderator and is sometimes heavy handed in their approach.

I would like to see all of us be as civil to each other as possible, but we are human and taking drugs that sometimes make us impulsive and angry at imaginary things.  I think part time moderators do not work well, since they react to complaints and don't spend enough time to understand the context of the complaint and the post in question.

So the post I made was to ask for some understanding of the particular problems of this forum caused by the drugs we take and, in general, to be more understanding of people before they are banned.  It is one thing to delete a post, it is quite another to ban them from the forum.
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I very rarely disagree with you but I must here. I would guess that you haven't been here a lot during the last 2 weeks. You and I have been here for a long time and, though discussions have become heated and people have gotten out of line - me included, we did manage to get along well enough to support and educate one another and discuss theories and directions regarding HCV. We knew when someone was going too far and if they continued in that vein they would be banned. We both know members who really crossed the line back in the day. The atmosphere here has recently changed to the point where you could very well be warned and truly never have seen it coming. My guess is that a few members have been abusing the "Abuse" button and then the moderator(s) step in and delete posts and/or threads and warn or ban members, We always knew when someone was going too far and was risking reprisal. People have been warned and banned and I still don't really know why - why what they posted was grounds for banishment. If I mention the name of one member I have in mind I would expect a warning and if I did it again I would likely be banned. To me that is heavy handed. Furthermore, it has without question stifled dialogue. People are not posting like they did before this started. Some people just stopped showing up. Yes, we need moderation but maybe not as much as we were getting. I will say that I think it has lightened up very recently.  It seems more relaxed willing. My personal opinion is that some new people or old people with new scree names showed up and got crazy with the abuse button and that started the interference. Perhaps they have revealed themselves and thus may have lost some credibility.
Anyway Willing, it is always great to see you here. You are, and have always been, a brilliant asset here. You and people like you make this place truly great.
Mike
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My personal opinion is that some new people or old people with new scree names showed up and got crazy with the abuse button"

See, this seems to be the common idea amongst the forum members is that old
member(s) with new name(s) are posting and it's deceptive.  This puts you ill at ease no matter what is said and already defensives are up and active. If all of the old time members look at a person posting and all have the same opinion individually that someone is NOT new but has just been using a new name - how can that be coincedence? It's not. And that is one of the big problems....aside from the regular old vanilla flavored trolls there IS somebody (somebodies) who have been causing problems and it seems intentional to us all. I'd guess it wouldn't be that hard for MH to tell judging by the report abuse hits and where they comes from.I do NOT believe that a moderator comes in and reads every single post - I believe 100% that they just get notified and then look at the thread and delete not understanding the backstory on the thread or comment.

Anyway, Willing it is nice to see you haven't seen you in quite a while! I know you just made Mike's day - he still speaks so highly about you when discussing the smarter members of the forum and their opinions.........I think you just made his day!!!!!  :)

deb
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I appreciate the thread you started, Andiamo, and greatly appreciate Harry's willingness to come on board and lend an ear and an offer. Thank you both. It is certainly hard to strike a balance in any walk of life.

I also appreciate that MH will not discuss individuals with other members. Members can make their own case to MH directly and not through a third party.

Willy50, what the heck does 'eh' mean?  Have you been hanging around with a Canadian lately?

Willing, here's my elementary assessment of you - you are one brilliant guy, who never postures. I love to read your too infrequent posts, so thank you.

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You got the willing part absolutely 100% right.
Mike
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many thanks for the kind words, but, going back to the topic at hand, I'm still understanding the majority of this thread's comments as basically advocating more lax/tolerant moderating even at the cost of permitting more ruffled feathers.

Assume for a minute this *was* a participant-moderated forum - how should it work? Enabling anyone to delete a post/thread they found 'offensive' (if only because X posted it ) doesn't seem to work.  Likewise lack of any moderation.

As Mike points out in the past moderation was much laxer - no doubt because of less staffing. The obnoxiousness level of some threads got out of hand yet  people calmed down, often apologized, life went on, and I believe the forum remained more effective than in the presence of  the 'chilling' effect that accompanies frequent/arbitrary censorship.

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While I appreciate the understanding handed to those who are on treatment, I think it's going a little too far to allow that as an *excuse* to be nasty to other people.  You can't get away from your family.  But you CAN stay off the forum if your treatment is such that you can't control your moods and you become an abuser.

As for the trolls....man oh man.  I've seen people attacked on here for being new and posting improperly and then called trolls because they posted numerous threads.  I've seen a few individuals strong enough to stand up for themselves and explain the behaviour that people attacked.  I never thought people properly apologized for the attacks made on those people branded as trolls who turned out not to be.  And one person would start branding someone as a troll and the "pack" mentality would set in.  People's motives questioned constantly and accused of all manner of things. (She says after having posted a blistering one to Rocker in another thread. Yeah....I've done my share of contributing to controversy around here too.) Yes, there were trolls but some people are far too trigger-happy pulling the "troll" gun and I'd like to see that tempered alot more.

Having said that....unless kids get too far out of control, kids are best left to learn how to sort out their own disagreements without their parents stepping in unless absolutely necessary.  I think the same applies to adults all the more.  Sometimes we need to be able to argue something inside and out, backwards and forwards.   The ONLY time it should be a problem is when the debate gets personal and people start attacking WHO you are rather than the legitimacy of what you've said or the opinion you've expressed.  When it gets personal, I'd like to see a warning issued publicly like Ricky suggested.  Even then, I bet there will be opinions on the warning as well but hey, it's one of the best suggestions I've seen on here so far on how to cool tempers when they get flaring.  A warning post to cool things down or that personal attacks will get a thread pulled will probably go a long ways.  I think the discussions every which way are incredibly valuable as it airs out all sides of a debate.

It isn't always because we're treatment-drug-addled.  It's because we're *passionate*.  Passionate about a cure, passionate about people getting good information, passionate about people getting good medical attention and VERY passionate about people reaching SVR.  It's always such a big celebration here when one more person makes it to SVR and particularly those who are more at risk and who have had to go through treatment more than once.  We are passionate people here.  And passionate discussions are what we have because so much is on the line and we care SO MUCH.

I really  have to bite my tongue at some of the inane questions that get asked here but I keep reminding myself that it's better to bite my tongue and educate.  The question may seem stupid but the answer doesn't have to be.  Even though I don't always resist my smarta$$ tendencies.  Mea culpa.

We ALL have weaknesses that have contributed here and oh man, do I have a massive mea culpa of my own on that one.  

So how about we all do what we usually do after a big blowout.  Learn from it, regroup and get back to doing what we do fantastically, awesomely well here.  Continue to support, educate, link arms together in this common battle to fight and win against Hep C.   I would not at all have done nearly as well without THIS place and I can't believe I was fortunate enough to find this forum.  Everyone here owns a piece of my SVR.  And I wish very much that everyone gets to their own SVR to share with the rest of us.

Can we get back to doing what we do best?  And MedHelp...consider...just consider...that some people should be invited back here.

Trish
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***@**** of Trish's 90wpm run off at the keyboard posts again......
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Sigh.. that censor again...what I said, was something akin to "darn, another one of Trish's 90wpm run off at the keyboard posts again...
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Seems jim is gone ??? what a loss if true. perhaps one of the biggest contributers on this forum. I see this forum going in the wrong direction with many of the long term members leaving. I could never understand why people like Jim would hang around here even after SVR. Some people just want to help others I guess.
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Maybe...just maybe....Jim is finally getting a much-deserved life. I hope that's why he's not here so much.  That's certainly why I'm not here as much as I used to be.  Not that mine is well-deserved, just that it's why I'm not here as much as before.  I can't imagine Jim just disappearing without a word, that's not his style.  He did this before and it was coincidentally around the same time as a previous time of considerable unrest on the forums and it was conjectured then that he'd decided to leave.  He came back and said as much that he wouldn't just disappear.  He simply had some personal things that required his attention.  
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Jim is nursing his tendonitis, according to this thread he posted June 15.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Hepatitis-Social/Checking-In/show/975970?personal_page_id=8103&post_id=post_4564895

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You've asked for more communication from MH before deleting things, etc., so I wanted to let you know that we have had several of these posts reported as abuse this morning.

Most of these aren't actually abuse, and the 1 or 2 that were have been addressed.  We do have limitations with our reporting system, as members don't have the ability to explain why a post is abusive, but upon checking these out, there isn't any apparent abuse.  If whoever is reporting abuse would like to explain why, they can PM me confidentially.  

I'd also like to add that no member is banned for one thread, as long as they aren't egregiously violating the Terms of Use by posting spam, porn, threats, etc.  As Harry explained earlier, we do have a cooling down period, and warning system that we follow.  We do appreciate that sometimes bannings result in a big loss for your community, but please understand that we don't like banning people any more than you like us doing it.

Emily
MedHelp Moderator
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Thank you.
As you are well aware some people have a “Trigger Finger” for the Abuse Button. This is causing frustration for the rest of us. The different personalities and view points, are at the top of my list of things I like about this Forum. I wish people would stop and think, is this the Riba, am I being over emotional, am I being petty, is this really abuse or just something that goes against the grain of what I think, before pushing the abuse button.
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After getting some explanations from some people, it seems that MH was not being consistent.  We didn't allow discussions of one banned member, but were allowing discussions of another.

In fairness to those who support and miss the members, we are deleting the posts that are strictly about a specific banned member in this thread.  I do hope you understand.  We are aiming for consistency here.

We apologize for the confusion.

Emily
MedHelp
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It's too bad you don't have a tracking mechanism on the Abuse button so that you can determine the source.  Then at least you'd know if it's repeating from the same user or otherwise.  I think it's a bit irresponsible to react solely on the basis of automated "abuse" reports - you end up being an unwitting party to someone's pettiness or personal vendetta.  If you had a tracking mechanism, you could warn those that abuse the abuse reporting feature.

Maybe you need a Contact Us button for abuse so that people have to declare themselves.  Seems a bit over the top but when abuse reporting is handled at face value and is obviously being abused itself, perhaps it forces people to really stand up for their viewpoint.  It IS private after all.  Not like anybody but the moderator is going to know.  

I also don't get why we need to refer to banned members as "the name that shall not be mentioned".  Seems just a bit silly, doesn't it?  We can refer to them but not name them?  What's your reasoning behind that?  I simply don't get that.

Trish
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"While I appreciate the understanding handed to those who are on treatment, I think it's going a little too far to allow that as an *excuse* to be nasty to other people. "

I certainly wasn't asking for anyone to excuse bad behavior.  I am asking that we put that behavior in the context of the person's state of mind.  People that treat are impulsive and angry.  That means that SOMETIMES we should cut them some slack and give them a chance to  understand the impact the drugs are having on their personality rather than just ban them or ostracize them or fight with them.  In the end, this is a support group and that means, to me, supporting all aspects of the disease and the treatment to the best of our ability.

None of us are perfect -- even when we are not treating - LOL.  So if we can't be that understanding, well -- none of us are perfect, especially me.
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thanks for responding. Along the lines of Trish's post above here's a couple of comments/suggestions:

- having never used the 'report abuse' facility I'm not sure how it works. I tried clicking on it today and it seems to collect not just the MH login but also an email address and reasons for the perceived abuse. If, in the moderator's judgment, the challenged post in fact violates the "Terms of Use" I'd suggest replacing the offending text with the explanation of why this is abusive (this could be easily automated). The result would clearly convey what part of a post was offensive and why it was. It would also clearly mark posts that were edited by MH; as it stands someone's post is altered without any indication that what remains is not what was submitted.

- consider adding a requirement that at least two members must flag a post as offensive

- clarify/expand the "terms of use" to reflect what is actually enforced. For example, I have no clue which of the 18 rules stated I violated by discussing what appeared to be the arbitrary banning of a former member in a thread devoted to the topic of excessively restrictive moderating.

Overall, deleting/modifying posts/threads should be a very transparent process so it's clear to everyone why censorship was applied. Silent censorship, as this thread should make clear, is not popular - unless its need can be justified the resulting chilling effect is bound to drive away users.
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Andiamo: I certainly wasn't asking for anyone to excuse bad behavior.  I am asking that we put that behavior in the context of the person's state of mind.  People that treat are impulsive and angry.  That means that SOMETIMES we should cut them some slack and give them a chance to  understand the impact the drugs are having on their personality rather than just ban them or ostracize them or fight with them.  In the end, this is a support group and that means, to me, supporting all aspects of the disease and the treatment to the best of our ability.

None of us are perfect -- even when we are not treating - LOL.  So if we can't be that understanding, well -- none of us are perfect, especially me.
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I'm well aware that what you're asking for is tolerance for people on treatment.  I support that.  What I'm ALSO asking for is a measure of people exercising some personal responsibility as well.  You brought up the one and I'm bringing up the other.  I think either extreme is unacceptable - lack of tolerance and lack of personal responsibility.  I think even when you're on treatment you have to try to see through the fog and try to be decent with people.  When I found myself biting the head off of the guy at work, I worked on avoidance tactics and had to limit myself on here for awhile when I felt I could no longer discern if I was being reasonable.  About the same time, I had a forum friend tell me that they would no longer talk to me until many months down the road when I was done treatment since they couldn't tolerate who they felt I was on treatment.  So...goes both ways, doesn't it.  Limits to the tolerance also when someone feels abused.  A balance between tolerance and personal responsibility is what I think is fair.
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It sounds like we are in agreement.  Strange concept, but then we are both off treatment - LOL.
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Those are good suggestions, and some are being worked on, and others are in place to happen at some point in the future.  

Willing - the Report Abuse at the bottom of the page is a bit different than the "Report this" drop-down menu at the bottom of each post.  That option doesn't collect anything, and while that is more comfortable for some who wish to remain anonymous, it doesn't lend a lot of insight as to why some posts might be reported.

Sometimes it isn't a specific rule found in the T of U, but part of a bigger picture as to why some things happen.  Depending on the situation, many times it really causes problems when people are discussing someone who's banned, especially when we aren't allowed to step in and explain things.  Sometimes talking about a banned member can create an unsafe environment for other members, or it might create division among members, etc.   It really depends on the whys, hows and whos.

I know it's hard to understand everything when we can't talk about a lot of it, but I hope you can at least trust that we aren't banning people for the fun of it, or because some people in a forum might not like that person, etc.  There are some very specific reasons why people are banned, and especially with long-time, contributing members, it is always a last resort.   We don't like doing it, but know we have to sometimes.

I hope this is helping clarify some things, and easing your concerns.  

Emily
MedHelp
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Thank you for responding to this thread.  It is good to open a dialouge on these matters, rather than have everyone seething and guessing about why MH takes the actions it takes.    

jd
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I agree with JD.  Thank you very much for participating.

Eric
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I want to add my thanks. It does make a difference.
Mike
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I'm under the impression that you may have edited one of the posts on this thread. If that is the case and it is something that you intends to do from time to time, I would like to respectfully suggest that you include an [edited] notation or a line at the bottom of the affected posts that indicates it was: edited at a [time] by the moderator.

Thank you for discussing these issues with us.
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Emily,

Thanks for elaborating yet more, participating in a discussion on how to make things better and for responding to our questions.

I agree with Great Bird's suggestion that there should be an indication that a post was edited or removed.  On other forums I have seen the moderator include a line similar to "XYZ's post was not consistent with our guidelines and has been removed."  A moderator gets to make that call.

Posts shouldn't be edited with no indication that they are not the writer's original words.  An edit would potentially change the meaning of the post entirely.  Not sure if posts ARE being edited but seems better to simply remove them with a notation as such.

If someone chooses to re-post only more appropriately (subjective sometimes) then well and good.

As Willing said, I think transparency is important.  

Trish
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All of these comments work well when the post or thread is being justly moderated and don't work at all when it is not.
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It's a start at the least to implement SOME of these suggestions - the warning post, the transparency, a note that a post has been pulled/edited (or pull one instead of editing it - with a comment indicating as such).  If we can see what posts have been deleted and it doesn't have to take the whole thread with it, it at least gives someone the opportunity to take it up with MedHelp and it gives someone the opportunity to post differently.

You're talking about people being on treatment drugs and the impact it has on them.  Well, removing a post might cause someone to do that double-take that Ricky suggests people do before posting and perhaps a post by someone with a cooler head will do just as well.

It will be very hard to define "just" and "unjust" moderating.  We can't even decide that amongst ourselves.  Expressing my opinion on something very strongly may seem entirely appropriate to me but someone else may take great offense to that.  Some people ARE very easily offended and sensitive and others are not so much. Some people have a hard time with others having a dissenting opinion from theirs.  Others not so much.  We had the one guy posting that he's thankful he has Hep C.  I think it was important that people were allowed to respond to that.  It got pretty heated.

We've had a number of debates on this forum on precisely that...how just or unjust we felt someone's post / thread and subsequent responses are.  It will be hard to nail that down.  So do we wait until we have it perfect or start taking at least the steps that make sense and keep working at it?  I vote for the latter.

What would be important is consistency and transparency, in my opinion, as a starting place  Even consistency will be hard to define as it comes back to a moderator's opinion of just or unjust.

At the least, I would ask that MedHelp not pull posts solely on the basis of the amount of anonymous reports they get when they have no tracking mechanism to determine if they came from one or two sources hitting that mouse button repeatedly.  They will have to read the thread before pulling it or not pull it at all until they have time to assess it or someone actually WRITES.  That's my viewpoint on that.

Trish
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Since you brought it up....I think it would be interesting to see if we can get some semblance of a consensus on what just and unjust moderating is.

I'll list a couple that come to mind:

Actions applied inconsistently
Actions taken with no explanation, not even a standard disclaimer one.
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Hi again -

The suggestions that you have made are actually already being considered, and we hope to have at least some of this in place sometime soon.  

If you mean editing and/or deleting when you say actions being made inconsistently, remember that you can always PM one of us or use the "contact us" link and ask for an explanation.  We will do our best to answer them without violating anyone's confidentiality.

We can't talk about why someone was banned at all, as that would violate confidentiality, so if that's what you mean by actions being inconsistent or not transparent, then there isn't much we can do about that, unfortunately.

Just hang in there with us, and I'm sure with better communication from both sides, things will be fine.  

Emily
MedHelp
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Personally, I'm not referring to banning when I'm talking transparency.  I'm talking about editing or removal of posts - I'd personally like to see a standard comment inserted that a post has been removed.  I don't expect an explanation to the whole forum when someone gets banned.  People can email privately if they have questions about that but I imagine there won't be much information forthcoming regardless.  Consistency just means removal of posts / threads applied with the same standards regardless of who the poster is.
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I  think all these suggestions are very good and it is wonderful that you are having this dailogue with us.

In my opinion, changes that help the moderator make the right decision are the most important part of this.   Technical changes that help identify the abuse button as abuse itself would make the moderator's job easier.  That combined with an effort by the moderator to understand the context of the thread or post under suspicion would also be a great help.

You have indicated that both are being implemented and I applaud the effort.  I am not saying that the other changes, that provide more information to us, don't make the forum a better place -- they do.  They are just not as important as making the right decision in the first place.
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Wow, I guess I missed some serious fireworks around here lately. I'm fading away, but I owe the people on this forum a debt of gratitude. Without you my treatment would have been much, much worse than it was (and it was pretty bad!). And I might not even have successfully completed it without everyone's help. The moral support and information gathered here kept me on track, and helped me manage my healthcare better than a team of doctors could have. The level of discourse here is top notch and always has been . Extremely informative and intellectually stimulating, even including in depth, cutting edge conversations with a world renowned hepatologist (HR)! Where else are you gonna get that?? Nowhere that I've seen, and I've been on HCV websites for over ten years now.

I fear that a surge of overly aggressive moderation will kill this place. On the one hand a blatant troll cannot and should not be tolerated. Nor should an over the top a-hole viciously attacking other people. But aggressively informed debate, lively discourse and even witty sarcasm has its place here. It makes it much more interesting and much more engaging. Almost all of us are adults +20; we can handle a few ruffled feathers. Everyone acts like they hate arguments and conflict. But why are salacious (and extremely stupid) reality TV shows so incredibly popular? The reality is that "animated exchanges" are the spice that keeps things interesting here. Sure, you can go too far. Especially if you're in week 36, all your hair is gone, your a$$ itches like a Mt Vepoopius, your skin has scabs all over it and you just want to choke the b'jeebies out of your room mate - but you're so anemic you're too exhausted to walk up the steps to give him the proper beating he deserves. ;-)

All I gotta say is that I hope MH admins don't come down with an iron fist, because if you do you'll kill this place and then it won't be any different than any other boring, garden variety med site. Let people disagree, let them argue, let them say "nya nya nya naya" to each other. I just hope it doesn't get to the point where some anonymous patrolling church lady can "drop a dime" on another poster simply because she felt what was said was slightly off color. Also, why don't we get an "ignore this member" button added? That way the church ladies can avoid seeing troublesome posts about Margaret's itchy butt, and the rest of us can participate on whatever level we may feel compelled to participate . ;-)

Aiiiigght, that's all I gotta say. Hope this site stays pertinent and interesting and fun and the good ones can roam free on this forum and continue helping people. Believe it or not, lives are actually saved here!
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It seems that I missed whatever happened, but I am really glad that this discussion is going on. This forum is a lifeline for many people!
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