reply to post by AshleyD
A "forum gang" is a group of members who conspire to to derail, harass, make look foolish, silence, over power or otherwise "gang up" on any
member(s) who has/have an opposing point of view or belief, or someone who they just don't like.
These "groups" typically start out using the u2u system and alert each other to any new posts/threads the "target" starts or replies with and then
plan a coordinated attack on the post/thread and or advise each other on what to reply with.
They sometimes escalate to "off ATS" communications i.e. AIM, Yahoo IM, etc... (I have actually heard about people being on Skype conferences
roaming the site for target opportunities in Real Time) to facilitate their planning and conspiring.
I guess the difference between people who have a like minded interest and seek to do research together and a forum gang would be the whole "target
thing". People involved in passive, collaborative research don't generally cheer each other on while taking a person who has an opposing perspective
on in a public thread. They usually don't ALL jump in every thread the "target" posts in and rebut, ridicule or "attack".
We've learned over the years that when we see the same few members having a go at a member who has an opposing perspective almost EVERY SINGLE time
the member posts it means they, as a group (or gang) are targeting this person.
People involved in innocent, collaborative research just don't act like that. They don't magically happen to appear in almost EVERY SINGLE thread a
certain person posts in, railing against them. It's pretty obvious when it occurs.
Many people have been part of a forum gang without ever realizing what they were actually doing, we have always allowed those people back on the site
because we understand it may have started out as innocent collaboration, between like minded people, and just got a little out of hand.
Not the end of the world or even that big of a deal, just needs to be dealt with and stopped when it happens.
Hope that clarifies it for you.
edit to add:
Many times the "target" has brought the heat down upon themselves, that doesn't mean it's okay, but it does help us to forgive
[edit on 6-25-2008 by Springer]