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Moderator Decision Process

This document has come about as there has been a need to help explain some of our decision making process when we are dealing with disputes. It is important to realise that we will only deal with the people involved and the result of the dispute will seldom be made public but some general comments may be published if it is thought that they will prevent the issue from happening in the future.

There is often frustration from the claimant (person making the complaint) as they are adamant that their complaint is valid and must be pursued but we have to look at both sides of the story. The accused deserves to have their say and to have a proper burden of proof met before being spoken to or punished. If there is not a proper level of proof then the accused may not even know that they have been reported.

Ok first things first, when something is reported to the moderators or a query is sent please do not continually contact us with further personal messages about the same matter. Every dispute will have AT LEAST 2 sides and the exponential rise on personal messages, forum posts and moderator to moderator messages means things take time and it is often not as simple as it appears.

Please consider the following points:

  • Prevention is better than cure, so if we can solve this before it gets to a formal dispute then that would be preferable for all I am sure
  • More than anything else: If you don't like a post then please ignore it. You do not have to like everything that goes on within this forum but it belongs to everyone so please play nice.
  • Before reporting anything have a think if there is any other way to read the post in front of you and whether it has been intended the way you have read it. Things can be misinterpreted very easily.
  • Use the reporting system provided by the forum and don't enter into trading abuses especially on the general forum.
  • After reporting a post or user, under no circumstances what so ever attempt to carry on any disagreement on a fresh post. This will most likely result in your account being banned for a short time at the very least.
  • You can still communicate by personal message on your difference of opinion but please think of the others' perspective and reread your post before sending it.
  • Don't comment on the post after it has been reported and await one of the moderators getting back in touch with you
  • Remember people have bad days and this is a place for supporting everyone with fibromyalgia.
  • It is sometimes worthwhile to look at peoples' past posts to see what sort of person people are before reporting them as this may either be out of character or even out of context.
  • When a moderator contacts you please do not post your conversation with them on the public boards. This is meant to be between you and them and relating to the incident concerned. To actively draw others into an incident would be considered breaking the rules.

A final thing on how we as moderators decide on disagreements like this. We have to go on what is in front of us. If it is a personal message then it needs to be reported through the site so that we can see the offending material. Posts need to be reported with a message as well. But we do not take into consideration "she said this to someone else as well" or "He did this on another forum." The moderators are responsible for this forum and will make a decision on the balance of probability with what's in front of them. We cannot take into account what happens elsewhere by email, by MSN or by phone. However if a police complaint is made then we would be able to assist as required.

Warnings will be given if it is thought that there is a chance that the allegation is founded OR if a pointer on good behaviour would not hurt. We will tend to be lenient and give the benefit of doubt as ultimately this is a support group that is here to support people and there are so many facets to fibromyalgia that the last recourse would be to isolate someone from a support resource that is helping them.

If we cannot prove that a forum rule has been broken then we will inform the claimant of this conclusion. We will normally keep an eye on posts from the people concerned for a little while just to be safe. This is often difficult for the claimant as they are so vested in the complaint but we need more than an accusation and supposition no matter how emotive the subject.

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