May 22, 2010

TNC - The new flagging system

So we're heading into Day two of the Nutter Club banning saga...

Day started out well. Woke to a lovely message from Mike King, posted at 2am, asking for 24 hours to look into this "whole big bloody mess" and a promise to "get back to you sister." He posted again a few minutes later asking whether I'd killed him off my Facebook page.

Well actually, what really happened is I went to my computer, flipped it on, and saw the following through blurred eyes: Mike King...kill...Jax." Probably the first time in a long that I was wide awake and without any coffee. It was then that I remembered sitting up last night with my mum, trying to teach her how to play poker on a Facebook application. She got so into it even if, um, we lost $71,000. It could have been more, only I went to bed and left her to it...playing poker on my Facebook account and appearing 'online' for the world to see. Now, Mike's messages made sense. He sees me online, emails me, I do nothing. On this end of the stick, mum plays poker, is about to win hand, something beeps, and she freaks out, shutting down the whole entire system.

Her explanation - "Gee I dunno, something went bleep, the page went swish and I went see you!" Mystery number one, solved for the day.

Mike did call, not too long after I wiped the sleep from my eyes. Hard to sound like you've been up for ages when your jiggling to do number ones. "Now let me explain something," he said. Details of how the Facebook flagging system worked and how complaints are worked all followed. 

Did you know that in every group, on their discussion page, there is a 'flag' alongside every comment made? Now don't go thinking, like me, that is was just another "like ya post' thing cause it is so way...not! Others even thought it was a flag that enabled you to follow just that person's comments, you know, like some convenient stalker button or something, and again, it is just so way...not! What it is, is an instantaneous 'report' button that is flagged to Facebook direct! Don't roll your eyeballs like you knew! Anyhow, the rule of thumb is, flagged 10 times and the Group Management is notified. Flagged more than that and it over-rides the group and goes direct to the Facebook Gods. They then contact the group managers and ask for some "action" to be taken against the flaggette. 

Now I don't have any issues with security. Love it, don't know it works, need it? Call a friend. That's me. Done. I don't want to know how it works. I just want it to work for me. 

But there are those times when it will actually work against you. In the case of the flagging system within Facebook groups, any old member, even those without a grudge can flag your comments. I was flagged 40 times last Sunday night. Enough to have the Facebook NZ Security Guards wet themselves, so it would seem. They passed on their "grave" concerns to the Nutter's Club Management Team who have "never had a request like this in their life!"

The fact that they have never had a previous request is because it's a new system and NOT because I'd suddenly matured into some sort of new-age Scarlet O'Hara techno queen - much like what TNC thought and very much what I was, in fact, led to believe. So, in short, they panicked. That panic was fed into the "warning" letter I received from TNC head quarters about my "in appropriate conduct." It was then flamed by a coincidentally timed letter of complaint about me. So now, we have one man, head of TNC Computer department with a Facebook official notification and a written complaint. All the evidence one needs to perform an instant ban. 

We understand the flagging by now but you're probably thinking I've been caught out big time by a four-page letter of complaint - um "well articulated" and all as well. I thought the same thing when Mike King was explaining this all to me. Four pages? What size font? Oh...normal reading size then. Well whoever it was had a lot to say then. 

The problem is this: No one read the complaint. Well, you know, they got the general idea that this person was kind of pissed off but not once was there that nagging question festering in the back of someone's head... how can this be right, this is Jax he's talking about? But it's an articulated letter so this dude has to be right.. oh what a conundrum. Upshot being flagging and articulate man won and the knee jerk reactions began.

I did try to pick up clues in the letter from TNC about what was the problem and do recall stumbling on the word "historical." These complaints have been going on for some time, I was told. TNC are usually very patient when it comes to complaints. They tolerate more from their members on the basis they're, nuts really. So yeah, you get someone having an emotional meltdown and sometimes, very rarely, they will get hauled off site quick smart. In all the time I was a member, I saw this done only 3-4 times. They were particularly offensive: white supremacist's and other wackos. All others were given warnings. 

For me to have not received even a warning, and considering we're talking historical here as well, came out of the blue - put me right up there alongside the Nazi (ex)member and real nasty pieces of work. Little old me. And that, quite frankly, caused an uproar.

Since I was unable to post or comment on the Site, I could do nothing but watch the room tear itself apart. A sad day to say the least. There were protests, demands for an explanation, some left the group altogether, while others sat around looking all befuddled and more confused than when they arrived. TNC Management did all they could to try and quell the unrest and when it got too heated, the heavy handedness came out. "If you don't like it, maybe you should leave." People became more and more outraged by the dogmatic responses and eventually, there was a shut down of the entire site. That was day one.

Day two with Mike King explaining how complaints are dealt with and I am feeling a little more positive. I ask what he needs me to do to help troubleshoot. I post on my private Facebook page for people to stop hassling the TNC management. I write to Radiolive and ask they delete any negative TNC (pro-Jax) comments off my blog promoting TNC. Mike makes several calls and then post on TNC site for people to stop being dickheads and attacking the Management team. Posts come pouring in. Again, I can only watch. Posts asking for an explanation, an apology, and there was even a wee attempt to start a petition. All very flattering if not soul destroying at the same time - I'm usually in the midst of all this drama and there I was looking from the outside in. The posts become very heated and Management cops some flack, some nasty flack, some real nasty flack. The site is, once more, closed down. 

A certain member of the TNC Management now thinks there is a witch hunt going on for the person who flicked the switch on my membership, and that culprit, once again, is me. So now we have this person feeling ever so persecuted in control of who can post and who can't. It comes therefore, as no surprise, that positive and supportive posts are being deleted while some, clearly in breech of any group guidelines remain for the world to see. This causes outrage number two and again, I can see, I can read, but I cannot comment, post, nothing. 

Four hours after Mike King called with suggestions on how we could troubleshoot this situation and regain some of the group's former glory, I email and retract my desire to return to the group.

I cannot see how I could even enter that group without erupting a hornet's nest. My friends will be subtle, say things like "hi how are you Jax" but they're human and they have also been hurt and insulted, so it wouldn't take long for someone to say "and about bloody time. Good to have you back. They made a mistake" etc., and that would start up round four. 

Besides, how long would it be before anyone just randomly "flagged" my post before I found myself out on my ear again and through no fault of the group or management? Especially as there is still this matter of the written complaint - a letter from a regular who has taken offense to my popularity and, from what I can gather, has stalked me for months on the Group, cutting and pasting every comment, to collate into his hideous report. 

That in itself was what annoyed Mike King the most because had he known about this letter, he too would have realised the author is well... not well, really. He has had a similar experience with the same person. I have enough clues now to have a very good indicator of who this person is and my instant reaction was to cull 192 contacts from my Facebook account - him included. I do resent the fact that he's been sitting there in the wings reading my personal Facebook page and collating that with whatever has been discussed on TNC. He a cyber stalker, surely? If nothing else a very sad and somewhat creepy dude. 

And so now, it's 3am and Mike King would have finished his stand up comedy gig. I just hope he reads my email and says "To hell with it, I'm too bloody tired to deal with this crap." I would. Like they say, things have a way of working themselves out in the end and for those that did have a malicious part in any of this (you know who you are) I have this to say: "Karma."  

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