And please do not assume that a spate of trolls means that I don't care about the site, or that I want people to leave, or that I am doing nothing about it.
Those assumptions would be unfair and unwarranted, in my opinion. I admire your work here, PDM -- that's not empty flattery, that's based on observations of your battles with trolls and your obviously sincere efforts to be fair.
My issue is with the structure of the rules here, or lack thereof, whereby trolls/disruptors are allowed countless chances to "shape up" before they're finally told to "ship out."
I understand the legal issues of having only you and PDM have access to personal information, but can you not appoint a few others to monitor things a bit more?
---- perhaps something along the lines of "deputies" with the authority to issue official warnings but the obligation to forward anything beyond that to PDM or Lisa?
(Just for the record, not for a millisecond am I offering myself as a "deputy" moderator. I am willing to work very hard for something I believe in, but I am an adherent of a "three strikes and you're out" policy.)
The bottom line, really, is that it seems to me that every few months an individual joins the forum and wreaks havoc. Regardless of the specifics of the person's agenda, the outcome is stress and drama and confusion and conflict.
More and more "old hands" have left the forum or participate solely in PMs.
It would be heartbreaking to me if a teenager in India wanted to use our forum to help save their parakeet and they couldn't get onto our forum because the swears in our forum caused their library filter to block our site.
Certainly, but it's also heartbreaking when a dozen or so helpful & informed members are so burned out on the chaos that they're not there to answer the young person's questions.