BlueNC is a community blog. As such, we appreciate the participation and input of everyone. We have intentionally limited rules and guidelines to better promote an open forum. Until recently, the only way to get your account blocked and your IP banned was to expose the true identity of a member who had made reasonable attempts to secure their anonymity.
Unfortunately, our size and traffic have opened us up to folks who want to use this community instead of joining this community.
In the past two years, BlueNC had only experienced a couple of minor skirmishes with sock puppets engaged in astroturf campaigns. This month, though, we found ourselves tracking down 8 separate identities for one user. We figured it was time to set in stone a few new rules.
You may have noticed two new entries to the BlueNC FAQ. They are on sock puppets and astroturfing. Having stated rules won't prevent people from breaking them, but it does mean we can act more quickly to shut down an astroturf campaign before too much damage is done.
Some of you may have more than one identity. This can be useful when one is for lurking and another for posting diaries and comments, or one is used in an official capacity (you're with a campaign or organization) and one is used for personal comments. As long as you don't use the two identities to back each other up, you are not misusing multiple identities and you're fine.
Thank you to everyone who emailed me about this user and thank you for understanding why we didn't simply delete his account to begin with. We gave this person every opportunity to be a part of this community. We pushed back when we sensed he was being less than forthcoming and without any knowledge of his mulitple identities, this community responded beautifully. His first mistake was thinking we are all stupid.
Please know he was given an opportunity to select one of his identities to use. He never responded. After his account was blocked he emailed me with a veiled threat of a law suit. Here is my response:
From: Betsy Muse
Subject: Re: Not sure
Date: Wed, 01/30/2008 - 8:02am
Xxxxxxxxxxx was blocked after the IP was linked to multiple accounts that appeared to be acting in concert as sock puppets to astroturf an issue or individual. BlueNC is not the place for a personal vendetta. I do not know, nor do I care what your beef is with Mr. Xxxxxxx, but I will tell you that you are not welcome to attempt to exact revenge on Mr. Xxxxxxx here at BlueNC.
Oh....and I am the last person you want to try to intimidate with veiled threats.
Hopefully, this incident is closed. I don't want us to "suspect" every new registered user. We do need to welcome newcomers and we should avoid that "clubby" feeling we've been accused of. Incidents like this make that difficult.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think there are other rules or issues we need to address.