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My forum has been getting lots of abuse and low quality content from Bananastan. Is it reasonable for me to decide that I don't want any users or contributions from Bananastan anymore?

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    Are we talking about a large or small number of abusing users? Do you know the ratio of nasty versus nice Bananastanians? (Oh, I just noticed this is a 2 year old question)
    – user732
    Feb 16, 2017 at 8:50
  • The amount of abuse is disproportionately large relative to the number of people from Bananastan. Feb 16, 2017 at 8:55

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If the majority of users from Bananastan are a serious problem, and it's not feasible (or too strenuous) to use 'traditional' techniques (user-by-user basis), I would say it's perfectly acceptable to block Bananastan. Your site, your rules.

Of course, this is ignoring the technical challenges involved in doing this. It's insanely hard to block a geographic area, what with Tor and proxies and such. But if most users from Bananastan aren't prone to use such techniques, it's certainly possible and would likely have a noticeable effect if Bananastanians are as bad as you say they are.

Note also that I'm not considering political implications. It might be frowned upon by your current users that you're discriminating against Bananastan. Even your sane, rational explanation with statistics tends to not be heeded when 'discrimination' is involved. Sad but true. This is way past my field of expertise, though, and it's your decision whether you want to 'risk it'.

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    Conversely, Bananastan might have a Tor exit node or two. So if you're blocking with an ip2country list or service, you're going to randomly block regular users coming through Tor. This probably isn't much of a problem in practice, but still something to keep in mind. Aug 11, 2014 at 6:40
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    @MatthiasUrlichs, if other users are coming through Bananastan, they might very well be the users that need blocking and the greater problem will then surface when those users route their IP through another country.
    – Malachi
    Aug 12, 2014 at 13:42
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While you are free to implement whatever rules you want, one thing to bear in mind here is that it is highly likely that the users who are causing the problems are also the ones who will be most likely/willing/able to use proxies/TOR etc. to circumvent any country specific block that you implement.

So what this will achieve is that you will end up blocking legitimate users who cause no problems, but could make it harder for you to identify and deal with the disruptive and abusive users.

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Basically it is your community, so you can decide whether to accept or not accept content from specific countries or users. If users from bananastan are causing more trouble than contributing in a positive way and it is not your main target (i.e. localized community) it is completely sane to block access for them.

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Not all Bananians are the same. I know that there are a lot of Bananians which are quite annoying due to their lack of English and general education paired with their desire to articulate themself (might be a cultural thing), but to generalize this to all of them is quite racist (There! The R-Word! I said it!). Maybe you have some Bananians in your community which are constructive members and you don't even realize that they are from Bananastan because they fit in so well?

Also, keep in mind that those masses of users who spam your site with their Bananastan IP addresses might in fact be fewer actual people than you think. Bananistan has only one major ISP, and that IP uses dynamic IP addresses, so the same user can appear under lots of different IP addresses. Maybe you are in fact only dealing with one annoying user with many identities.

However, in the end it is your decision. It's your community, you make the rules.

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My answer to this question is negative due to the following reasons.

First, I see no connection between geographic specificity of a region and quality of posts in a community. It may statistically be true that over a period of time quality of posts from members of some region is low, but one cannot infer that coming from the region is the cause of the low quality of posts from residents of the region, because there is no reasonable connection between the two matters.

Analogously, it would not be reasonable to prevent students having a certain name from enrolling in a school because most of students having that name had not been able to fulfill requirements needed to graduate. If we want to resolve a problematic situation, we should try to handle factors causing problems.

Second, you are complaining of posts of low quality written by people from a certain region and trying to resolve the situation by filtering out such people. However, that problem is not such people's fault but indeed that of your community that lacks proper features and policies so that it cannot filter out low quality posts. So, a better question would not be how to filter out low quality posts, instead of their posters?

Third, nowadays banning people from contributing to an online community by some well-known technical means would not seem to be effective as such restriction could be easily circumvented even by non-experts.

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