My friend Nat has posted about a family dinner at which he was thoroughly disgusted by the items that his in-laws brought to eat.
The name of both his post and my post matches the name of a forum that used to exist on Lower Lights. When I first set up the forum system on the Lower Lights domain, I began to have problems with several of the users posting material not suitable for a general audience.
At first, I instituted word censors to curb the language, but that didn’t really help. Most of the material was not actually swearing. It took the form of sexually explicit banter, pictures, or links. I began to be concerned about kids logging onto my forum system and then having their parents try to sue me. The fact that I would probably win any suit brought was not the issue — I would not be able to pay for a lawyer to defend me.
I created a special forum and gave it the name “Sick and Wrong.” This forum had restricted access, which required you to sign up and be approved. The idea was that if someone specifically requested access, it was not my problem if they saw something they did not want to see. I don’t know if this idea would stand up to a legal challenge, but I considered it a good faith effort on my part.
This kept most questionable material out of the main public forums, but not all. I had to move a lot of posts to the restricted forum that should have been created there in the first pace. A few months ago I realized that my choice of forum name was probably making people feel that it was a place of banishment and embarrasment, and therefore they were unwilling to post there deliberately, and felt punished when they had a post moved.
The original Lower Lights BBS had a message board called “Hot Tub” that was meant for adults only. I decided to rename my Sick and Wrong forum to Hot Tub and designate it as a place to post things of an adult or offensive nature. It still has the same “application only” status, and everyone who applies is granted access.
I also changed all forum permissions so that registration is required to read everything except the Announcements forum. In that forum regular users can respond to existing topics but only moderators and admins can post new topics.
I still have to move the occasional post out of the general forums, but it’s not as bad as it was.
Google “tubgirl” sometime if you want to see an example of the kinds of things that ended up in my public forums. WARNING – IT IS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE. Don’t go and get mad at me if you are offended by what you see or if you get fired because of your company’s Internet policy.