Trolling on the forum: MODS


Quote From keenbean:

Well I guess I should comment on this since I'm at the centre of it. I absolutely do not believe that the sort of post CC made was acceptable by anyone's standards. And no, I am not that thick-skinned that things like that bounce off me- I found it incredibly offensive and downright insulting, which only adds to the difficulties I am experiencing already. That vicious type of post will never help anyone to just 'bounce back' and is actually extremely dangerous in respect to people who are already very vulnerable. Luckily I am tough enough to stand up for myself and put up a fight, but not everyone would feel able to. I can appreciate that it is okay to have differences in opinion and share those on the forum, but it is never okay to be so disrespectful and make so many incorrect and vile assumptions about a person. Only very bitter and narrow-minded people resort to this in my view. In fact, if you look at the posts left by CC, none of them are actually remotely relevant to the original post- it is just a vicious and aggressive attack based on absolutely nothing. and the same poster was also abusive to a number of other people last week. If this bullying is allowed to continue then I will not remain a member of this forum on principle, although I would be very sad because I have enjoyed being a part of it for the last couple of years. I agree that some of CC's comments are slightly more lighthearted and vaguely humorous, but this latest lot are a disgrace. I suppose there is some reason behind such appalling behaviour, but being at the brunt of it I can't find it in myself to be very sympathetic, no matter what the cause. Bullying is bullying, and CC has shown himself to have a very ugly personality. Many more people on the forum have thankfully shown themselves to be decent follk who will stand up for something they believe in, which gives me some of my faith back. Thanks to all of those people. I personally will not be returning to this site now until this has been dealt with, and will ask a couple of my trusted forum buddies to email me when that is the case. Best wishes all, and thanks for your support. KB

Decided to make the effort and read this chunk of writing.

Made my Saturday.


======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 13:25:51 =======
Hey Olivia, Eska, KB, Chuff - thanks for the support!! Hope the mods make a decision :)

Have a happy WE guys!


I'm a little torn here.... Bullying is wrong, end of - but bullying happens.. bullying in real life is a nightmare, bullying in a situation such as email/facebook etc where its difficult to miss is hard, but bullying here?? Come on guys... CC is a bit of an idiot at times, we all know that, his comments were totally out of order but KB is perfectly within her rights to just not read them... if CC's name is there emblazoned in lights she doesn't have to read that post and can read the more supportive ones. If he is mailing her privately and hammering her there then that is a TOTALLY different situation and he should be removed from the forum. I'd worry if we end up with a situation where a mod is pressed to decide whether a 'pull your socks up' type post (and yes, CC is worse than that a lot of the time) is 'bullying' and should be wiped. We're all big girls and boys, we're all very intelligent girls and boys, we're all heading out into a world (or have already been there) where for all the liberal left wing wooly hug a tree brigade's attempts at light and love in all things, it isn't real!!! People, some of them are just bloody nasty twats. Live with it, deal with it, learn coping stategies - DON'T FEED TROLLS!!! I'm sure if everybody simply didn't read CC's posts, or didn't comment, or agreed with him (tongue in cheek) he'd get bored. But lets not get censorious. We are perfectly capable as a community of dealing with this without resorting to telling tales to Miss... we can just ignore him..

Avatar for Eska

Stressed: We are all adults and capable of deciding for ourselves how to deal with this.

Perhaps you should take a variation of your own advice, and if you don't like something then ignore it, rather than writing posts about it and passing sarcy comments about reporting to 'miss'.


I've been on here long enough for most here to know me and know that I'm not like that. My comment was not intended as being sarcastic - I just don't like seeing a forum that I love, with people I've grown to care about over the 3 years I've been posting here being upset over some silly kid's comments, but then creating added stress on the mods asking them to choose who can or cannot comment.

I'll shut up now

Avatar for Eska

Your post came across as somewhat superior and a bit sarcastic.

I know Keenbean personally, and I have been upset by seeing her bullied on here, and I will deal with this situation however I wish. Bullying has been responded to promptly by the moderators on this forum in the past and that is what makes it what it is, different to most internet waffle sites and place where postgrads can come and safely bare their souls about tricky issues. But I fear those days are numbered, or even over already, if the mods are no longer acting to make this a safe place.

It may seem easy to you to take the cool approach, but then it was not you who was upset in the first place, and then bullied on here when seeking support for that distress.


I think there's a point to be made about protections, protocols and agency here. Advocates for online safety etc have often used the traffic lights metaphor. Yes, crossing the road will bring you opportunities, chances, indeed it's a part of life. So - you need to be able to cross the roads, teach your child how to do so, run, drive etc. But, for the roads to become an opportunity we do need traffic lights, traffic police, a transport system which has rules. Neither can we err on the side of over protection and not go out at all, nor do we not teach ourselves how to play nice. The balance is what iis needed I guess.

Similarly, for this forum to work the way it does, we need to play nice which we all do, but there also needs to exist a protocol of some sort, a space for 'public opinion' for what it's worth, and moderation of a certain order.

Just my 2p. Internet risks and opportunities are often discussed with the traffic metaphor and I find it a nice way in which to balance individual agency/freedom with industrial/policy checks and protections, and I thought it might be of use here :)


Point taken that there are rude and nasty people out there in the world. There is sexism, racism, bigotry of all kinds....does that mean we should allow those rampant and unchecked on this forum just because they exist?

If this forum is to be seen as some kind of training ground for the "real world" in the way that people interact, far better I would say that people use it to learn how to behave professionally.

Some people seem to think that academia is a watchword for making it OK to be rude and worse...whilst that sort of behaviour might exist in academia it does so to the detriment of professionalism. Nor does that sort of behaviour speak well of the academic prowess of the person behaving that way. The most humble, empathetic, gracious and helpful people I have met were those at the top of their field. I never saw the slightest questionable behaviour...people lower down in academic ranks, those struggling to get a foot on the rung as it were--that is where I have seen professionalism thrown away in favour of very inappropriate behaviour.

There might be links--and it just might be that those at the top got there in part because of knowing how to behave in the work place. Academia is very political, make no mistake, and someone who is able to be gracious and get along well with others in a variety of situations is going to advance far more easily than someone who behaves unprofessionally. And politics do play a role in advancement, in research collaboration, etc.

Put another way, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

A "best practices" strategy for this forum might be for people to learn and use professionalism....a worst use is a descent into playground name calling.


There seems to be a little irony surfacing in this thread ... with some posts from people advocating heavy moderation aiming slightly barbed attacks at others who simply have a conflicting opinion, notably the Eska and Stressed conversation. I'm not mudslinging, I'm quite happy to read a lively debate about anything, and prefer a lightly moderated forum. That said, I would not like anyone to be seriously upset by anything I or anyone else said, and I would certainly understand if posts/threads were removed on reasonable request.

I would also like to ask about the phrase "important" here - KB apparently is an "important" member. I wonder, is there a hierarchy of members on here, that is, the number of friends one can call up in a fight, or the number of posts a person has posted, or simply the date a person joined?

Avatar for Eska

======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 16:57:50 =======
======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 16:55:53 =======
======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 16:49:40 =======
======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 16:48:31 =======
Hi Pierre, I think you have mis-understood me - I advocate mild moderating, I wonder if you have actually read the original thread under discussion.
Also, I think you are quite new, so proabaly don't remember the last bout of rater nasty bullying of KB by CC which was intercepted by the mods, and so maybe therefore don't have the full story.

I am loyal to people I know and am friends with, aren't we all? But I would come to the defence of anyone who was being bullied on this forum. Also, there are people around here who have a long history and who have helped many people. We do bond, as much as one can via the written word. Many of us live a long way away from our unis and don't know any other PhDs, or have things to discuss that we can't within our departments and that partners and friends wouldn't understand. Many of us log on most days and have done for a few years, we are are something of a community: isn't that what this forum is advertised as: a community of postgraduate students?

Don't get the irony; I don't think I am bullying Stressed! Just objecting to what came across as a condescending tone, aimed partially at me, and to being told that my way of handling a situation is inferior and less considered just because it is different to the way some other people might.


Reality check. KB's supervisor, a salaried academic professional, wrote 2.5 pages of A4 full of negative comments about KB. She won't be disciplined or censored because, believe it or not, criticism is not illegal. I wrote a couple of paragraphs on an internet forum suggesting how KB's supervisor probably isn't the only one to blame, and suddenly voices go up in loud protest demanding censorship and moderation. Get a grip -- PhD students are not infallible.


======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 18:10:15 =======
======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 18:06:15 =======

Quote From cleverclogs:

Reality check. KB's supervisor, a salaried academic professional, wrote 2.5 pages of A4 full of negative comments about KB. She won't be disciplined or censored because, believe it or not, criticism is not illegal. I wrote a couple of paragraphs on an internet forum suggesting how KB's supervisor probably isn't the only one to blame, and suddenly voices go up in loud protest demanding censorship and moderation. Get a grip -- PhD students are not infallible.

CC, can you note the difference between the following two statements, I wonder when someone says "I am feeling ill, and someone shouted at me unfairly"

Statement 1: While I note you are ill, maybe someone had a reason to shout. Is there anything you think you may have done to provoke this? Feel better soon!

Statement 2: You have done something to provoke this shouting. It is your fault. You are using your illness as an excuse.

In both cases, doubt is expressed over the legitimacy of the 'feeling bad'. Are the cases exactly the same? If not, what's the difference?

Also might I ask CC - the same point Charls raises on the original thread recently - you cited Aspergers as a (potential) reason for your actions. has anyone (even those who are annoyed with you) said you are using your condition as an excuse for anything? If they did so, would they be fair/just/sensitive, indeed human?

Best, Bug


======= Date Modified 19 Feb 2011 18:04:28 =======
double post

Avatar for Eska

Personally speaking, I don't think shouting is ever acceptable from a supervisor. It's very unprofessional and not a good way to get a point across or maintain/build trust.


Quote From eska:

I wonder if you have actually read the original thread under discussion.

Of course I have read it ... why else would I comment on it? Are you really so incredulous that someone else can read something and not have the same reaction? I believe this is the same reaction Stressed received for not sharing your opinion. To be frank, the only superior/condescending tone I read from that conversation originated from you.

Though I understand context is created by the reader, not necessarily from the writer. I read nothing of what you spoke of in Stressed's post, and I think perhaps due to your loyalty you have lost your neutrality. I think you should take this into account before accusing others of offending you with their tone.