We want people to be happy and we want to help people however we can. But, in doing so, you have to be careful not to set up unrealistic expectations. When a member expresses an expectation that is unrealistic, you need to be sure to set them straight. Respectfully, kindly, but honestly nonetheless.

Moderation is often an area where unreasonable expectations can manifest. So, let’s use that as an example and talk about statements like this:

“Why are there porn links on this site?!”
“Hello, where are the moderators?”
“Can someone PLEASE look at this thread?”

Following through with this example, what you want to try to do (and not everyone will be receptive) is to turn them into people who will report supposed violations to you and/or your staff through the means that you designate.

Your members have to understand that, just as they are allowed to post and have it instantly appear on your site, so can anyone else. Spammers and other unsavory types enter your community in the very same way that legitimate members do. If there was some back door to close that would shut out all spammers forever, we would have closed that door long, long ago.

So, how would I respond to one of those messages above? Well, let’s say that the message below was sent privately to me or my staff, rather than posted publicly (as that would create other issues, and include me telling them to report the post, rather than responding to it).

Hi Patrick,

There are porn links all over the place here. Where are the moderators? Is this actually allowed?! I hope this isn’t a porn site! I wouldn’t want my name to be affiliated with that.


Here is what I might write in reply:

Hello Bob,

Thank you for your message. I appreciate you notifying me about these posts. I have reviewed them and taken the appropriate action. I apologize that you had to see that.

Please note that these sorts of links are not welcome on our community and are a violation of our User Guidelines. Outside of those links that I removed, I am not aware of any other links like that on this site. If you know of any, please let me know and I will deal with them right away. Unfortunately, we can only do so much to prevent them. People who post spam post in the very same manner as you or I and most action we can take is reactionary, after the violation has already been committed. We strive to create a family and work friendly community within the main subject area of our site.

That said, though, we can’t simply stop people from posting it. We have some safeguards in place, but it’s still going to happen. KarateForums.com is not a “porn site,” and we do not associate with “porn sites.” But, in order to allow our members adequate participatory freedoms, we also must be open to this sort of abuse.

The reason I explain this is to create the proper expectation. If having people register and spam the site with inappropriate content would mean that you being here is, in some way, associating with porn sites, I am not able to guarantee that such a thing will never happen again. In fact, I will guarantee that it will, just to be completely honest.  But, as soon as we see it or it is brought to our attention, we’ll take care of it and we’ll do what we can to prevent it from happening.

Our staff, including myself, works very hard to ensure that our guidelines are followed and all violations are handled as soon as they are seen. A staff member is not always present and it is possible for us to miss posts, as well.

Because of this, we ask for your help in reporting these things when you see them by clicking on the exclamation point (!) button on the post in question. This sends a notice that all members of staff will see and, when the next person capable visits the site, they will read the report and handle it appropriately.

Thank you again for reporting it. If you should see anything like that again, please do report it to us through the report posts system, so that the actual post is linked and this will allow us to find it a little quicker.

I appreciate your time and understanding.



In this message, I am dealing with the following issues he alluded to:

1. There are porn links “all over the place.”

2. The moderators are not doing their job.

3. Are these inappropriate links allowed?

4. This could be a “porn site.”

5. If so, being a member here is affiliating with “porn sites.”

I aim to be honest, direct, respectful and fair. Sure, I could say less. I could just say thank you and move on, though I do take exception to the slight on my moderators and lumping us in with porn sites. But, I’d rather be detailed, I’d rather tell the member what to expect, what we do, what will happen and what the best way to deal with it is. I believe that there is value in doing so and that, more often than not, people will respect it (hopefully).

Questions for the comments: Have you ever had a member tell you something they expected of you and found it to be unreasonable? What was it? How did you respond?