A forum that I participate in is run by a friend of mine. There are 3 other friends that we know from real-life who are members of the forum. One particular friend persistently tests the rules, his actions just reach the brink of being a rule-violation before he backs off.

Needless to say, this activity is tiresome - speaking to him in real-life brings assurances that it won't be repeated, but this is not reflected in his actions on the forum.

What is a means to deal with real-life friend forum members who consistently test the rules? In a similar manner, how do deal with rule-testing family members?


4 Answers 4

  1. As a moderator you need to be reasonably objective - as such, let another moderator handle it

  2. It also gives you plausible deniablity "Look, I did warn you, and look what happened"

That's one reason for having a moderation team. You guys watch out for each other, and help handle the things you can't yourself.


I dealt with this a lot in the video game industry when having co-workers participate in the forums (i.e.: game developers).

The solution is simple in my mind. Advocating that all community members including staff are held to the same community guidelines or rules is enforced including yourself. That means you are advocating that you and your real life friends will not break the guidelines and rules.

Your objective is to emphasize to your community that although you are the law, you are not above the law as Judge Dredd might say.

I know it's a tough deal because real life friends are involved. However, if you enforce this policy to everyone including yourself, then it may make it easier. Just remember, your community will respect you and your team more if they feel you are being fair even with your own infractions. It's also following the same principles law enforcement follows in real life when dealing with their own peace officers (ideally).


Depends how good of a friend you are. If you are good enough of a friend that suspending him wouldn't hurt your friendship, suspend him to let him know you are serious. There's a good chance he just figures that since he is friends with you, it doesn't really matter. Showing him the rules do apply to him is the best course of action.

If you aren't good enough friends to do it yourself, it is probably best to have another moderator play the bad guy, but the net outcome needs to be the same. He needs to be shown he isn't immune to the rules. It just puts you in an awkward spot of having to play middle man then.


This is all nonsense I think: If he stays within the rules and you don't like what he is doing, then your rules are crap. Fix them, announce the new rules and if he breaks the new ones then, enforce them however you would do it with any other member.

If he is part of the team, and you want them to act extra carefully, make extra rules for the team members, that they have to follow additionally to the normal user rules.