We're a video gaming website, so trolling each other and bantering comes with the territory. There is however a fine grey line between what constitutes "fun" and "bullying". The real danger is that not everyones definition of this is the same, you may think your having a good natured laugh but the recipient may not.
Legally we have to follow the US laws on Cyber-Bullying as we host our infrastructure in the USA. Therefore if the recipient considers it bullying then there's a problem.
Note that we have enabled COPPA compliance on this site, so all members under 13 years of age must get parental permission to join the site. The site tells you to read the rule documents upon registration, and with the existence of this document (and also the "ignorance is not a defense" rule) we expect all members to follow this procedure when they feel they are being bullied.
Reporting and Checking Procedure
Any member that feels they are being bullied can report it to the Mod team in tickets and it will be dealt with at Inner Council level because we need a wide range of opinions on the matter. The ticket filer will be informed of this before information is revealed to the Inner Council, this gives them a chance to reconsider should they have erred.
If the accusations are based on private forum areas, that areas Leader will have to be involved in the issue and be instructed not to delete any threads for 48 hours (the evidence timeframe). If the accuser is not in that faction, they will be forced to divulge the names of those who showed them the "offending" posts. Even if it is Cyber-Bullying, the Leader will be within their right to discharge the revealing member for breaking privacy. No evidence, no case - staff will not engage in a witchhunt through faction forums based on one persons word.
There are only three outcomes:
- If we find that it was bullying it will be dealt with accordingly and severely
- If we find it is not bullying, but it was a genuine ticket, then the person issuing it has the option to toughen up or leave. People have different thicknesses of skin, there will always be people who cannot handle the standard bantering on a site like this and we cannot protect them from it
- If we find that the recipient is harassing the rules with the purpose of nailing someone to the wall they will be asked to leave GWRS.
The following has been ripped from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is defined in legal glossaries as
- actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others.
- use of communication technologies for the intention of harming another person
- use of internet service and mobile technologies such as web pages and discussion groups as well as instant messaging or SMS text messaging with the intention of harming another person.
A cyberbully may be a person whom the target knows or an online stranger. A cyberbully may be anonymous and may solicit involvement of other people online who do not even know the target.
Methods of Cyber Bullying
Manuals to educate the public, teachers and parents summarize, "Cyberbullying is being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material using a cell phone or the internet." Research, legislation and education in the field are ongoing. Basic definitions and guidelines to help recognize and cope with what is regarded as abuse of electronic communications have been identified.
- Cyberbullying involves repeated behavior with intent to harm and repeated nature
- Cyberbullying is perpetrated through Harassment, Cyberstalking, Denigration (sending or posting cruel rumors and falsehoods to damage reputation and friendships), Impersonation, Exclusion (intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from an online group)
Cyberbullies may disclose victims' personal data (e.g. real name, home address, or workplace/schools) at websites or forums or may use impersonation, creating fake accounts, comments or sites posing as their target for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames, discredits or ridicules them.
Some cyberbullies may also send threatening and harassing emails, instant messages or texts to the victims. Others post rumors or gossip and instigate others to dislike and gang up on the target.