Hamster Forum - Mad About Hamsters FAQ
Here you can find answers to questions about how the board works. Use the links or search box below to find your way around.
2.1 Reporting and Investigation
2.1.1 In referring to the Mad About Hamsters website, the following complaints, warning and investigation process covers the entire website including forum areas, such as Forum threads/posts, Blogs, Live Chat, Private Messages and all other sections of the Mad About Hamsters site.
2.1.2 Should you have concerns regarding the actions of another member, you can report your concerns either directly through the forum reporting system if it is related to the forum section, or alternatively by contacting us directly via email at email@example.com giving as much detail as possible. You can expect your concerns to be taken seriously and investigated. Complaints will be treat in confidence and we will try to keep the complaint anonymous (though cannot guarantee this) and if it were felt that any action/investigation could indicate who made the complaint, we would discuss this with the complainant(s) first.
2.1.3 Whilst complaints may typically be as a result of activity on the site itself, we appreciate at times it may occur outside the site (for example, a member who you exchanged email addresses with via the site begins harassing you via email). While we will endeavour to investigate such complaints, we will only investigate those complaints arising directly from site activities and consider action on the basis of evidence you provide. Likewise, you will accept that Mad About Hamsters site will be limited to taking action through the website itself only i.e. a warning/temporary/permanent ban to the website. It will remain the responsibility of the complainant(s) to undertake any additional off site action with the party(s) concerned.
2.1.4 Please remember that when making complaints, the forum team do not run this site full time, and have their daily lives to attend to (work, families etc.) This may mean that we cannot action a complaint and arrive at an outcome immediately, and your patience is appreciated. Please be assured though that complaints will be given a high priority. You can expect an acknowledgement of your complaint within 48 hours (though the forum team will strive to acknowledge within 12 hours).
2.1.5 We would expect most issues to be resolved very quickly, however we ask members to understand that to ensure we take the most appropriate action possible, we will need to investigate each complaint fully and review the evidence. This may involve reviewing live chat logs, posts, information sent to us (e.g. emails) all of which takes time, and your patience is appreciated. After initially reviewing each complaint we will provide the complainant(s) with an estimated timescale, and will notify them if this changes for any reason.
2.1.6 If we approach you to ask questions to help us investigate a complaint (be it as the member(s) complaining, the person(s) being investigated, or a witness or 3rd party) your co-operation will be expected. Failure to provide requested evidence and/or enter into discussions may heed the case in the others favour as we will work on the evidence available. In the case of the complainant, non-cooperation may result in the investigation being terminated due to lack of information. If the moderating teams process is interfered with, or integrity slandered, the member(s) responsible may have action taken against them up to and including banning.
2.1.7 Decisions will be made on a balance of probability basis on the information available. Once a decision is made, be it resulting in a warning/ban or no action taken, the case is considered closed. If the moderation team's decision making capability is called in to question in an inappropriate manner this may result in action being taken. If the moderation team issues a final decision and there are continued challenges, the members(s) responsible will be permanently banned.
2.1.8 The moderation team reserve the right to take action in relation to any member without receiving a complaint if they feel it breaches the forums terms, conditions and/or spirit.
2.2 Mediation Options
2.2.1 There may be instances where the moderation team may offer parties the opportunity of mediation to resolve a possible conflict. Involved parties can also request this, although it is at the agreement of all involved, and the moderator team reserve the right to deny such a request if they feel it may not be in a member(s) best interests. Mediation Discussions will take place in a secure live chat room. Confidentiality is expected by members going through this process. Breaching this confidentiality may result in a final warning.
2.2.2 There may be instances where the moderation team feel an investigation can be swiftly progressed through a pre-arranged meeting of the relevant parties to discuss and present evidence in a secure live chat room. Member(s) should remember that if they choose not to attend such a meeting, the moderators can only base decisions on the evidence held and presented. Discussions will take place in a secure live chat room. Confidentiality is expected by members going through this process. Breaching this confidentiality may result in a final warning.
2.3 Levels of Warning and Associated Penalties
2.3.1 Minor warning - May be given for instances such as trolling (unconstructive posts intended to annoy members), flaming, uploading copyright material to the site for which the member does not have permission, inappropriate language (this is a family forum). Member(s) will receive a warning that lasts 30 days.
2.3.2 Final warning - May be given for instances such as harassing other members, blatant disrespect of others, creating multiple accounts, discriminatory remarks (e.g. racist), libelous or inflammatory remarks about others, or interfering with a moderator investigation. Also, when a minor warning is given and there is a current minor warning still in force, the warning will be treated as a final warning. Final warnings last 90 days. In addition, the member would receive a temporary ban for 7 days.
2.3.3 Permanent Ban - (i.e. gross misconduct) May be given for instances such as bullying, incitement to bully, requesting inappropriate personal information, logging in as another user, allowing another member to log in as yourself, circulating other users details without their permission, severe or malicious spamming of the forum, inappropriate or continued challenges to moderators on closed cases. Also, if a member has a current final warning that has not expired and then receives an additional minor warning, this will result in an automatic ban. A permanent ban on username and I.P. address will be given. Any attempt to create new accounts will automatically be banned.
2.3.4 The Mad About Moderation Team will be responsible for making a final decision on the appropriate penalty in any given situation. Therefore where the above gives an indication of likely penalties to be imposed it should be accepted that alternative penalties may be imposed as appropriate.
2.4 Informing parties of Outcome Decisions
2.4.1 Once a decision has been reached on a report or complaint where there is a need to inform the member(s) being investigated of the outcome, this will be done using the forums private messaging service or by email as appropriate.
2.4.2 The complainant(s) will then be informed that a decision has been reached. They will be informed whether any action has been taken, but will NOT be informed of the details of the action taken (unless it is a permanent or temporary ban) or the reasons why any action has been taken, as this is confidential information. Once a case is closed, any inappropriate challenges may result in a permanent ban for the member(s) concerned.