I have a plea for advice from admins of large, successful forums. I'm in a bind. I run a few forums, and finally created a successful one. But last week, one of the moderators posted some material that was copyrighted by someone else, and I took the material down. Apparently, this wounded the moderator deeply, and so this person began to wage war on my forum. The upset moderator began sending many PMs to the members, soliciting them to leave my forum to help build up the competitor's forum. Luckily, some members forwarded the PMs to me, so I was able to lock the PM system and ban the moderator. But now I'm stuck hanging -- what's the next step? Unlock the system and let the PMs go through?

I've seen the competing forum, and while it's weak, multiple members there very clearly have a recruiting strategy against my site. Some of those members are using names that don't correleate to usernames on my site, but it's clear they are members of my site too. Can anything be done? What have you done in similar situations? How did it work out for you?


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Now this is tough ...

For a while I'd put the PM system on hold. Then I'd try to see which members are causing problems and are in a "harvesting" spree in your forums. They should be banned.

Then, to make the problem not seem so relevant, throw in some improvement. This is what i usually do. While privately I work on a community issue, I add something new to the forums too, to keep people from the "battlefield". This is almost like in politics. Whenever something serious is happening in my country, some of our politicians throw in something for the masses to chew on. It's a diversion in the end.

So .. put a new hack (you're using phpBB?). I had a 2 days downtime to move to another server. As soon as I opened the forums I added another hack that will put more features to my phpBB. When I had problems with some members I would mod the theme. Imagine I worked at it, although the forums were on fire :D But it did work. I could keep my members' noses out of my problems and deal with them easier.

I recommend you take the high ground. From your description of the problem it sounds as though you can.

Be completely open. Make an announcement about the issue and explain the situation to your members.

I would unlock the pms ASAP. Otherwise your members will feel as though you are hiding something. This will hurt you in the long run.

As far as the poaching is concerned, I don't think there is much you can do. You could run some kind of negative publicity campaign against the offending forum, but that could easily blow up in your face.

Good luck.

if at all possible (AT ALL POSSIBLE) I'd try to mend the relationship with the mod. This could turn into a major slice of humble pie, even if you are not in the wrong, but would be the best solution I think.

I know that's not exactly what you were looking to hear, but IMO.

DanceInstructor, dojo, Dustin, thank you all for the input. I eventually slogged through it. I ended up banning SIX people, including the moderator, no chance (or desire) of making it up with her now.

I stopped being confused about what to do when one of the moderator's friends threatened violence & lawsuits. At that point, I just shut 'em all down. The forum was like a ghost-town for a couple of weeks, but now it's picking up steam again, and the new members who have taken over are actually friendly and courteous.

The big thing that helped was DanceInstructor's advice (I think it was DanceInstructor). I added not one, not two, but about 20 mods to my forum. In fact, my forum was running phpBB 2.0.16, so I actually deleted all the files (kept the database), installed 2.0.19, installed EasyMod, and basically built something better than before. In the process, I managed to rewrite and/or fix about 15 phpBB mods, notified the mod developers, and posted them on my site. So I'm feeling pretty good about it now.


You followed dojo's advice I think :p

Glad things are working out for you.

sounds like you made a good decision and are seeing light at the end of this tunnel!

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