What to do about repeated inappropriate comments

Hey all. I have a question about what to do for a particular situation. Luckily, I haven’t had it happen until now, so it can’t be all that common.

I’m wondering if there’s an established protocol for a situation like the following:

User has made multiple (about 6) inappropriate/insulting comments to others. All were flagged. They deleted one, but left another few insulting and inappropriate comments in response to the others being flagged. Do I just keep flagging them? That seems pointless if it’s just resulting in more inappropriate comments. Is there a certain number of flags that warrant a suspension?

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I’m not sure if there’s a specific protocol… I usually give a warning and ask them to review the community guidelines. If they continue to leave inappropriate comments after that, I suspend. I’m pretty sure I know which account you’re referencing here- if they leave one more inappropriate comment a suspension is warranted, in my opinion. They can always send an email to staff if they disagree and want to come back.

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Yes, you left a comment for them pretty much simultaneously with my post here. I wasn’t expecting that to be their reaction honestly because they deleted the other flagged comment but they don’t seem like they’re interested in doing that again.

Thanks for your input, as always!

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Online bullying?
I would err towards suspension. I always think of people who are hurt by the comments, but don’t choose to ‘stand up and say so’.

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Certain inappropriate comments warrant an immediate suspension with no warning, according to the guidelines.

" * (!) Hate speech. Hate speech is content consciously designed to attack people based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, income, physical ability, country of origin, religion, educational background, or any other attribute that people are unable to control.

  • (!) Insults or threats. Insults are attacks meant purely to belittle or offend people. A threat is any content that indicates an intent to harm another person. Note that warnings about suspension or other regulatory actions on the part of site staff or site curators on iNaturalist are not threats."

Some comments don’t necessarily fit into those categories though. This user definitely did make comments that fit with insults or threats, but others were just rude or dismissive, so it was a bit of a gray area. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and warn before suspending. Unless there’s some type of slur used, because that’s an immediate suspension no matter what. This user wasn’t saying things at that level though, but it was very consistent.

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The guidelines say they’re “grounds for immediate suspension without warning”, which I think is slightly different than “warrant”, although I guess this is somewhat up to a personal interpretation of those terms. IMO “warrant” means a curator is compelled to suspend an account that makes one of those violations. “Grounds for” means that a curator can suspend a user for one of those violations without notice.

Pretty sure I know the account which the OP is referring to and I messaged that user yesterday with a warning and wrote a moderation note about it. I don’t think their comments present a cut-and-dried case, and I’m pretty sure they’re a student who maybe needs a reminder of how to behave here rather than an immediate suspension.

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I am wary of passive aggressive comments which tread a meticulously balanced line which remains nominally polite, but with every intention of being offensive.

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I mean “warrant” as a substitute for “allows for”, which I think is a decent substitute for “grounds for”, too. I just use the word “warrant” a lot more instead of either of those.

They most certainly did not. I did see the note and felt it was fitting and very helpful!

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