As many of you know, I run a Kenya website. It’s the oldest Kenya website, and the most popular, at least by my informal unscientific surveys. What makes it that way is the discussion forum, which allows anonymous posting, is unmoderated, and unrestricted, and does not require any kind of sign-up, login, or verification.
It is running on software that I wrote almost ten years ago now, and before that, was running on Matt Wright’s WWWBoard. (*shudder*)
On a fairly regular basis, these things happen.
1) One person posts an article posing as another person, in order to defame that person’s character. This often results in that person having a heated debate with themself, or, just as often, the imposter conducting both sides of the argument.
2) Someone, or a group of someones, post unpopular views. There is a public outcry to ban them. If I do ban them, I’m accused of censorship. If I don’t, I’m accused of favortism. In either case, I’m a communist, fascist, nazi, and all-around evil person.
3) Someone claims to know the *real* identity of one of the regular posters, and mounts a campaign to unmask that person. These often reach quite comic proportions, almost as though it mattered.
4) Someone discovers the statistics page, and claims to have compromised the site in order to gain that information. The latest version of this, the person discovered the referer information (hence removed) which contained large amounts of very unsavory referer spam. This civic-minded individual then proceeded to pin the blame for these referers on one particular scape goat, and launched a heightened version of #3, above.
5) People generally demanding that one person or another be banned, or that I institute moderation of one variety of another. Although having a panel of moderators is universally rejected, because the panel would be chosen via favortism, would represent one view or another, would ostracise this tribe or that, and so on.
Well, it’s getting a little out of hand. I’ve long thought about installing some more full-featured community-type software solution, and I’m looking at that approach again. I’m likely to go with bbpress as the main discussion engine. And I’ve been recommended to look at drupal as another possible framework. Although I’m not sure that my audience needs that kind of site, it might be interesting anyway.
My audience, in case you couldn’t guess from the above discription, is *primarily* Kenyan college kids, and, as such, they can be forgiven for many of their excesses. But sometimes I just wish they would grow up a little.