Some people may be afraid of going vegan in case it will make them less popular amongst certain people or in some settings. Now, what about moderating a vegan site? What are we risking?
I'm member of another forum where the admin recently posted an announcement about that the goal of his site was not to get as many members as possible, or as many posts as possible - the intention of the site had never been to become popular at all ... I thought that maybe I should post something similar here, but didn't. He mentioned his freedom of speech as a reference for how he had 'the right to' create a forum with rules he thought were OK, and that each and every user had the total freedom to use the forum or not.
I had an innocent discussion with a member once, about spam/spam-like behavior (it doesn't matter who it was, and I'm not going to tell you!). She posted LOTS of links to her own project. In spite of accusations about having decided not to like her etc (no truth in that at all), we took the member off delayed posts after a couple of days. That case was closed, but there is a potential dilemma if people really believe that the mods are against them, or that we just ban people with personal likes/dislikes as a reference. The reference for our moderation is our FAQ/Guidelines, which are very specific about what we do and don't.
Even if we hardly ban people, and even if personal likes or dislikes are not part of which accounts we moderate or deactivate, people who don't like this site or how we run it may be frustrated here no matter how hard we try to do a good job.
Democracy on internet works the opposite way of how it works in the rest of the world; out there, you select some leaders, and they discuss and vote for and change the rules. On internet you select a community and moderation style you are OK with, and forget about the sites you are not happy with.
We don't want anyone to leave. We don't design the rules based on what will make us the most popular forum out there - but of course we want as many vegans as possible to enjoy our forum! While the easiest solution maybe would be that everybody held hands and agreed in everything, this is not always the case - but this is still relatively simple to deal with on internet.
We fine tune our rules all the time, basically by being them more specific/detailed, and therefore easier to understand. We try to improve our moderating too. All suggestions re. improvements are always welcome, but the fundament won't change.
It's kind of frustrating at one level to be accused for having something personal against someone when all we want is that a member follows the same simple rules that everybody else are expected to. Maybe some sort of thickskinned-ness is needed in our roles as moderators that we are not used to from real life? The bottom line is that we do the best we can, and if most of what we do is OK with you, we have somewhat succeeded in creating a useful community. If the fundament this forum is built upon feels wrong for you, we will disappoint you sooner or later, and since we didn't design this site to please everybody or become the largest, most active or highest populated vegan forum on internet, all we can say is - sorry. We won't change the fundament, even if it would please a few members if we did.
I bring this up because we actually have banned a member not too long ago, for the first time in many, many months (not counting the typical Nokia spammers and meat eating trolls). He got a PM explaining why we have removed ONE of his links (it was to a site which had a contents that by default was not visible (see FAQ#9). We don't allow links to sites where you can't see the contents unless you register, and have removed a few myspace-links for that reason. This is because such sites have been used to attack members of our site in the past, including revealing information about them that was personal and erratic - a bad combination. We want to protect all our members against unfair attacks by someone who want to use internet for 'solving' personal issues with other, identifiable people they have a problem with. Instead of getting the expected response, which either could be 'I don't know what you mean', or 'OK, thanks for the message' we received a lot of personal attacks, insults... no sign of a desire to discuss the actual topic. I can personally handle that some upset person call me a person 'who do more harm than good' as a result of removing a link to a hidden site, but we still won't change the rules to please everybody - that wouldn't even be possible, if we tried.
After some attempts of communication; first a message that we wouldn't ban him, then - as a result of more attacks totally out of touch with reality - we told him that we wanted to ban him. Afterwards, the member who got banned posted a lot of posts within a few minutes - in various threads, saying that he wanted to leave because he had been told that links to his sites was not allowed, which was not true.
In case you should be unfortunate enough to ending up in a similar situation on any forum, my humble advice would be not to attack the mods for not 'liking' you, don't attack them, because most forums are more or less 'reserved' for people who appreciate these sites. No mods/admins have a lot of energy to try pleasing people who seem to think that they are 'bad people' (sigh) when eg. discussing a simple removal of one specific link, and in this particular case, when the person in question report having had the same conflict many times before, on other sites, it doesn't exactly increase the chance that we'll agree in him that we, and not his aggressive style, is the problem.
So much about not being popular amongst everyone. It's just not possible, and probably a useful reminder for all vegans and everybody else anyway.