How often does one come across a forum where they write the rules?  To the best of my recollection and experiences I have yet to visit such a forum, let alone become a member of a forum where the general membership decides the policies and procedures to be used by the administrators and moderators.

The administrators, if nothing else, represent the owners of the forums.  The administrators may even be the owners of the forums. Owning the domain; paying for the domain hosting service; maintaining accountable records of the forums; insuring the forums remain operational; etc.

I have known forums where the membership takes advantage of the administrators and moderators. The administrators or moderators perhaps at no fault except their own kindness and willingness to believe in the inherent goodness of people. Unfortunately it can, and does, happen that some members may be able to generate so much influence that they seem to control the forums; or it may seem that these generally small groups of people actually believe they are the guiding force behind the forum and its ideals.  That their higher than average post count gives them the right to decide how a forum should be run. Period.

It is also truly sad to see when this happens.  The forum suffers. These small group of individuals running roughshod over the forum management see themselves as the righteous, as the chosen, but cannot see themselves for what they are really doing. They damage a forum’s reputation; its shared benefits to related communities; and, the forums members suffer from the chaos.  Some forums will not get past a challenge like this and it is an even sadder loss in these cases.  Other forums will survive these insidious disruptive forces.  Most forums will realize the truth of the matter.

The truth of the matter is simple.
Point one, the administrators set the rules for their own forums.
Point two, administrators of one forum do not set the rules for any other forum unless they are an administrator there as well, then see point one.

If an administrator is not the actual owner of the forum then they should have a simple obligation of seeing that the owner’s rules and guidelines are followed in the fashion the owner wants them to be followed. If an administrator is not the owner the final decision lies with the owner.

One may not always agree with the owner’s ideals on a particular forum, but one does not have to return to that forum either.  Accepting the rules of a forum and following them makes the forum community experience much more enjoyable than the chaos of individuals or groups intentionally flaunting the rules by overtly, or covertly,  breaking them at their whim.


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