This is my second post in a series on site rules. Again, my hope is
that we can have a frank and open discussion about them. 

The Rule:

2. Threats of violence against anyone will result in a lifetime ban from
Atheist Nexus. For the safety of our members, proper authorities will
be notified. Also, Atheist Nexus reserves the right to publish any and
all available identifying personal information of violators of this

The Reason:
The reason for this rule is to protect our members from harm. There is
simply no excuse to use this site as a vehicle for threats of
violence. I trust I don't need to waste time explaining this. It is
simply unacceptable.

The Action:
With this rule, we come to an over-arching reality of behavior and the
moderation of that behavior that must be understood. There are a
couple of key concepts that will be reoccurring in these discussions,
the exploration of which will hopefully lay to rest several
misunderstandings about the rules and how one is to comport oneself as
well as what one can expect from a moderator on this site.

Good Faith--

The application of rules does not occur in a vacuum, and consequently,
the idea of a rigid enforcement of rules and consequences is not
practical. It doesn't work in western law and it is even less likely
to work here. Judges have a range of punishments they can hand down,
as well as some latitude in what it means to be "guilty." It is the
same with us. 

A moderator must have integrity and must act in good faith. We must
try to gain an understanding of a situation, and then must resolve it
the best way we can under the letter and spirit of the rules.


If a person says that they are going to "kick billy's ass," but it
seems more like a case of bad judgment and unfortunate wording, a mod
may elect to issue a warning rather than a ban. 

Conversely, if a person stalks another user with a creepy sort of intensity
and the mod gets the feeling that something not-right is happening--if
that mod becomes convinced, it is his or her duty to act on that
conviction. We do not need 100% proof to act, especially if we are
convinced someone may be hurt by our inaction. The purpose of this
rule is not to protect people from other people telling them that they
will "kick their ass." It is there to protect people from actual harm.

When a mod is convinced that a member means another member harm, they
will act in the manner best suited to the prevention of that harm.
That may be a ban, it may be a call to the police, it may be something
else entirely. "Punishment" is an afterthought, but I can't imagine a
genuine threat of physical violence toward another member would end
with anything less than a ban forever

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This seems like complete common sense. Also reiterates Ning's TOS as follows:

"Additionally, you agree not to:

■"Stalk" or otherwise harass anyone"

I might add one nuance:

I would add "Members are encouraged to report such threats to a moderator" and include a link at that point. I know that there are other places for "report to a moderator" but this seems like a place where that should be especially encouraged. In addition, some expect that moderators have a god-like omnipresence, with all bytes flowing past their corneas in a continuious stream of green LEDs. It's not the case.
Once more, common sense. And like moJoe says, not every situation is cut and dry. One person's definition of "stalking with creepy intensity" may differ greatly from anothers.
Simple suggestion. Before any drastic measures are taken, the initial moderator's decision be seconded by another moderator. In other words, a lifetime ban may be a reasonable response, but a second opinion wouldn't hurt. It would also protect a single moderator from any complaints that they are engaged in a personal vendetta.

Of course, if it is an urgent situation--"I am on my way to her house to kill her"--the moderator can act unilaterally. On the other hand, most cases are more drawn out than that.
Good point. I have no problem with this and think it would be beneficial.


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