The Malicious Intruder Removal Team
Democratic Underground is an online community where politically liberal people can do their part to effect political and social change. The DU Administrators understand that not everyone who registers to become a member of our community is in sync with our basic values or friendly to our shared cause. And like any other community on the Internet that does not pre-screen its registrants, we are potentially vulnerable to spammers and other undesirables.
Therefore we utilize volunteer "gatekeepers" whose sole job is to protect our community from malicious intruders.
How To Join The Malicious Intruder Removal Team
The Malicious Intruder Removal Team is made up of DU members who volunteer to do the job. Team members serve for a maximum of 90 consecutive days after which they must take a break. Every 90 days, the Administrators will post a discussion thread asking for new volunteers.
Volunteering is a simple process -- if you are a Star Member with at least six months of membership and a minimum of 1,000 posts, you are eligible to be selected by the Administrators. There is no application form to fill out or confidentiality agreement to sign. Members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team do not have access to any privileged information about DU members.
The Malicious Intruder Removal Team has a very specific and important role in the operation of Democratic Underground, and the Adminstrators reserve the right to remove any Team member whom they judge to be performing the job poorly or incorrectly. The Administrators also reserve the right to revoke the posting privileges of any Team member who is judged to be deliberately abusing their powers.
The Job Of The Malicious Intruder Removal Team
If any logged-in member believes they have spotted a post by a malicious intruder, they may alert on the post as a Terms of Service violation. The post is first sent to a DU Jury who will determine if it is a violation of DU's Community Standards. (For more information about DU Juries, see Our Community Moderating System.)
If the Jury votes to hide the post, an email alert is sent to every member of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team, as well as the DU Administrators. (If the Jury votes to leave the post alone, an email alert is sent to the Administrators only.)
If any member of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team or any Administrator then determines that the person who posted the message is indeed a malicious intruder, they may revoke the intruder's posting privileges.
While members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team are permitted to act alone, they also have access to a special "workspace" which essentially functions like a forum or a group. This workspace is provided in case Team members need help and/or advice from their colleagues when discussing potential intruders.
The Malicious Intruder Removal Workspace should not be considered a completely private forum -- in order to protect alerted DU members discussions in this workspace remain temporarily hidden, but after 90 days discussions become public for a period of one week, at which time they may be observed by any Star member.
Items of note:
- While Administrators may revoke any member's posting privileges at any time, it is important to note that the Malicious Intruder Removal Team cannot revoke just anyone's posting privileges. If a member has not had a post hidden by Jury within the last hour, our software will not allow the Malicious Intruder Removal Team to revoke their posting privileges.
- The Malicious Intruder Removal Team does not have blanket authority to enforce DU's Terms of Service wherever violations may occur -- that is the role of the Administrators. The narrowly-focused job of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team is to protect our members by removing malicious intruders.
The Job Of The Malicious Intruder Removal Team (Detailed Version)
For those who are interested, here is a detailed breakdown of the process for reviewing and handling potential malicious intruders.
- A member clicks the "Alert abuse" link on any post and then:
- selects a Community Standards violation.
- checks the box for a Terms of Service violation.
- provides an explanation for the alert (optional).
- submits the alert.
- The alert is sent to a Jury which reviews the post for a Community Standards violation. The Jury will either:
- vote to hide the post.
- vote to leave the post alone.
- Once the Jury has completed the review process, an email alert is sent:
- to every member of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team as well as the Administrators, if the Jury voted to hide the post.
- to the Administrators only, if the Jury voted to leave the post alone.
- The subject of the email alert contains the alerted member's username as well as an "urgency score" which is calculated thusly (with a lower score implying a more relevant alert to the Malicious Intruder Removal Team):
- Alerted member's post count = 1 point per post
- Alerted member's time of membership = 1 point per day
- Time between post made and alert sent = 1 point per minute
- The body of the email alert contains the alerted member's username, post count, and date of registration, along with the text of the alerted message, any comments the alerter may have added, any comments the Jury may have added, and a direct link to the post.
- Members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team, along with the Administrators, review the email alert. Note that:
- Members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team review the alert only for potential malicious intruders.
- Administrators review the alert for potential malicious intruders and any other potential violation of the Terms of Service.
- Optional: If they are not 100% sure that the alerted member is a malicious intruder, members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team may discuss the alert in the Malicious Intruder Removal Workspace.
- If any member of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team, or any Administrator, reviews an alert and determines that the alerted member is indeed a malicious intruder, they may revoke the member's posting privileges. However, it is important to note that members of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team can only revoke a member's posting privileges if that member has had a post hidden by Jury within the previous hour. The Malicious Intruder Removal Team is physically prevented by the discussion forum software from revoking the posting privileges of any other member. (Administrators can revoke the posting privileges of any member at any time.)
- When a member's posting privileges are revoked, the person who performs the revocation must provide a reason. Once the member's posting privileges are revoked, their Transparency page will be displayed (if it isn't already). A notation will be placed on the Transparency page containing the reason for the revocation, along with the username of the member of the Malicious Intruder Removal Team or the Administrator who performed the revocation.