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What is a major forum violation

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Spine-Health Announcements
Since, the beginning of the summer, I have been getting a number of messages or emails asking about Spine-Health forum violations, warnings, penalties, banning, etc.

I started to review the past 18 months of major problems that resulted in banning of members. I think it is important to share that review here.

Prior to that, the major violation that resulting in banning of a member inappropriate, vulgar or hostile actions towards another member. Believe me, I am so happy not to see those type of problems any more.

Spine-Health policy: 3 Warning and you will be banned.

Here are the top three reasons for getting banned at Spine-Health:

1 - Spamming, Solicitation

It is amazing to see just how many people put up their web sites, pointers to where to buy cheap online drugs, workout gyms, etc. We try to catch these as fast as possible. We send them the initial warning. You would be amazed at just how many of those members try to bombard the site with their URLs, so, they are generally banned within a day or so.

2 - Playing Doctor

This is a much more serious infraction then the above. Cause here is where people can and already have been hurt.
My team looks out for these offenders all the time. No body gets hurt by someone soliciting, but by provided medical advice to other members, that is a major serious offense. Everyone to some degree provides advice, but it is so important that it is stated clearly as personal opinions and not formal medical advice. No member at Spine-Health is a doctor, if they are, they were first required to register with the owners and were not permitted to post medical information on the forums.

3 - Lying, Trying to fool other members, Returning after being banned

Here is one that I and my team has always had trouble with. Why would anyone on this site try to lie or fool other members? Why would they try to deceive?
We had one member last spring that was banned and yet they continued to re-register at Spine-Health almost daily with a different member name. It was almost funny, because the person had the 'same' style of posting, so no matter what member name they used or whatever email they came up with, they were spotted.

I feel very proud of our members here. I communicate this frequently to the owners. This site has so many outstanding members whose major objective is to get information and to help other members. I belong to many online forum sites, granted some are technical, but I've seen some of the other medical sites. Things can get pretty rough and nasty out there.

Its so good that we dont see this here. Sure, we have occasional problems, but overall, we have the best member community anywhere. It is always so important to remember, that, its the members that make the site what it is.

Our thanks to all of you.....
And to those folks that will go out of their way to help us identify those 1-2-3 offenders.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • Howdy Ron, et al;

    Similar to what I just saw in the "Dr. Notes" help forum... I know from what you've posted in the past, *most* warnings are given via PM. I actually liked seeing you and "C" advise the particular member that they posted such that one would deem the info coming from a medical background, and that it isn't in keeping with forum rules. I think there is some other benefits to that sort of 'comment' to a member. *We* see for sure what is and isn't cool to post, and too should a member get banned, we have seen why? Is that something to think about? Thanks for listening.

    This could also stop the 'I said, member said' on violations. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.

  • Brenda, if we can see the offending post and the comment posted to the author, we can all learn from it.

    I doubt very much that many people would intentially try to give medical advice as if they were a trained doctor. Sometimes though, our enthusiasm to help could mean that we give our opinion on a condition, that would be taken as 'playing doctor'.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    I agree that having examples is always a good thing. Then it should be easier for people to see what is not acceptable.

    However, there have been so many situations in which when we contact the people about their violations they completely deny it, make all sorts of excuses or want to leave the site immediately.

    That type of exchange, I do not want to see in the public forums and should only be handled via private messages and offline.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com

  • in that type of instance, it should be kept private.
  • I do have some questions about advice I give frequently. Is it OK to ask here, since it's advice others give as well and they'd probably like to know too?

    For example, is it OK to recommend someone find a new doctor? Is that medical advice? It kind of feels like it, but sheesh- when someone says "my doctor is weaning me off of pain pills, and my pain is worse than ever" it doesn't seem like rocket science.

    I never hesitate to say "Ask your doctor about..." whatever suggestion I have- and I hope that's OK. I'm not trying to be sneaky, I really mean it about asking their doctor, I try to be clear about that.

    I can't think of anything else at the moment, but I'll probably think of more. Mostly (and I'm famous for this in real life too) I tend to be the one who pushes people to learn more about what they are doing and really understand what they are getting into. I would hope that's not construed as medical advice!

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    at times can be very tricky and there are fine lines.
    Most of the time, I tell people, if you think it may be medical advice, then its best off NOT to make it public.

    Your example about telling others to find another doctor. That really draws some fine lines.
    On one hand, that advice may be promoting or suggesting doctor shopping. On the other hand, it may be just that you are telling another member, that they might be better off seeing another specialist.

    The best way around something like that would be to include in your post By looking for another doctor, in no way I'm I suggesting to go doctor shopping until you hear want you want to hear

    Instead, provide the rationale beyond WHY you think it would be best to see another doctor.

    Examples would be if a person was seeing their PCP several times and felt they had spinal problems, but couldnt get any further with the PCP's diagnosis, then saying that perhaps seeing a Spine Specialist such as a Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic doctor may be in order.

    The key words are:
    may be
    in my opinion

    Words to stay away from are:
    Fire your doctor go find another one
    Demand anything in terms of telling a doctor

    If you are really in doubt, you can always contact someone on my team to run it by them and we should be able to tell you if its ok to post.

    We want information to go out to our member community. So many join here because they are not getting enough information. On Spine-Health there is a wealth of knowledge between the Articles/Videos and the Forum site.

    Just always keep in mind, that some people want to hear only want they want to hear

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Ron,

    I can fully understand that. Also too, it does tend to 'hijack' a thread sometimes too. Dunno if there ever will be a true way with this. Is this one of those "damned if you do,damned if you don't" scenarios? A skinny line at times I am sure. Thanks, just tossing a thought. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda I think you are right, as always. If a person posts something that is a major violation the team should put in a reply that gently warns that this is a violation. My feeling is that if it breaks the rules then it is something that might cause harm and should be corrected immediately. People read these threads looking for help now and down the road. Leaving something that is potentially harmful in a thread without correction is just wrong.

    If the poster has a problem then take it to PMs. I really don't see that it would make a difference because if the poster wants to make a "federal case" out of it they will no matter what.

    The second reason for correcting a violation in the thread would be to educate everyone. We learn by our mistakes and the mistakes of others.

    Just my thoughts and opinion.
  • Thank you, Ron. Is there a definition of "doctor shopping" on the site to refer to in those cases? I recall mentioning doctor shopping in the context of shopping for a doctor with the proper expertise and credentials and being edited once ;)

    I do understand that you mean it in terms of looking for the diagnosis, medications, etc that you want, and going from doctor to doctor. Just wondering whether there's an "official" S-H definition I could use.

    We really do need two different terms, one for looking for the doctor with the "right stuff," and one that refers to going from doctor to doctor looking for one who will validate you rather than accepting the truth.
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