Nothing Is Being Done About Inappropriate Comments On An Online Forum

Published: November 01, 2014
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I belong to a forum on which this stupid boy keeps graphically describing his sexual and psychiatric matters. He constantly talks about his anatomy, getting high, and cutting his arms up. When I tried to stand up to him and point out that he was abusing the forum, other members, even a moderator, who had no problem with his comments viciously harassed me and used my own words to purposely lie about me. When I complained about this to the administrator and said that I didn't expect these people to get away with libel, he not only defended the obnoxious moderator and others who ganged up on me but threatened to ban me if I ever uttered another word about his staff. This is a forum for general scientific analysis, discussion of personal problems is against the stated board rules, but not many people are obeying these rules, including the ones responsible for printing them. This kid is making many people uncomfortable with his completely inappropriate posts. I can't believe that nobody is stopping him, but the worst part is that the moderator who is at least 50 years old acts like a spoiled child and the administrator loves her for it. The moderator and her ignorant followers continue to harass me and a good friend of mine. I know that I'm free to leave, but I don't want the bullies to think that they have succeeded in scaring me off of the board. They would never stop gloating about that if it were to happen. Since several of the bullies including the moderator and administrator are from other countries, I don't imagine that I can do anything on a personal legal level. However, this forum permits unacceptable and even illegal activity, and it should not be allowed to continue. Is there anyone whom I can report internet libel to? What would happen if I did, especially since not all of these members are American? - Internet libel

Dear Nothing Is Being Done About Inappropriate Comments On An Online Forum,

TeenHealthFX is not equipped to give legal advice but maybe a different perspective would help. From what you described there does not seem to be a whole lot of science going on. In our experience serious scientists do behave this way in a public forum, or in private, for that matter. You seem like a serious minded person, so you have to ask yourself, “Why do I stay.” If you want a place where you can discuss your scientific interest then find a different site. You would be leaving because you wanted to. By staying this forum, you are letting other people have a significant impact on your decision. The only power these other people have over you is what you give them. They may claim victory if you leave, but what prize did they actually win. In the same way what is the payoff for you staying. Yes, it is a good thing to stand up to bullies, but they are more like anonymous cowards. Forget about them, leave the site and find one you enjoy. This way, you come out on top.  

Signed: TeenHealthFX