Much of my thinking derives from the idea that when people are allowed to engage in undesirable behavior it continues. Unchallenged the misbehaving can gain the idea it is acceptable behavior. Therefore, they have no reason to change. In our society one aspect of undesirable behavior has been labeled Cyber Bullying, with many using it as a run together word to denote a special meaning. I think society taking this as a serious issue demonstrates my idea and that others think it is necessary to take some action to correct bad behavior much earlier than society historically has.
With the advent of Cyber Bulling Laws the situation is changing. Cyan is located in Washington, which has Cyber Bullying Laws. In 2002, Washington adopted a law prohibiting harassment, intimidation and bullying specifically for, but not limited to, Washington schools. In 2007, Washington amended the law to include electronic forms of harassment, intimidation and bullying.
RCW 28A.300.285 - Harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention policies.
RCW 28A.600.480 - Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying Law - Reporting of harassment, intimidation, or bullying - Retaliation prohibited.
RCW 28A.635.090 - Interference by force or violence – Penalty.
RCW 28A.635.100 - Intimidating any administrator, teacher, classified employee, or student by threat of force or violence unlawful – Penalty.
Reference - Cyber-Bullying and Internet SafetySuperintendent of Public Education wrote:Electronic name-calling, shunning and shaming are all forms of cyberbullying. So are spreading rumors, gossiping and making threats online. Schools are permitted to discipline students who engage in cyberbullying if it disrupts the orderly operation of school.
Superintendent of Public Education wrote:Harassment, intimidation, or bullying means any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act:
1. Physically harms a student or damages the student's property; or
2. Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's education; or
3. Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or
4. Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.
Since these are taken from the state board of education’s web site it is not surprising they frequently use the term ‘student’. However in reading the written laws one finds they are not limited to students. Nor are students thought of as only K to 12. For our purposes we could substitute ‘forum member’ for ‘student’ and forum for school.
Cyber Bullying is prosecuted as malicious harassment and is a class C felony in Washington.
Polling 12 to 18 year olds:"Cyberbullying is when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices."
20.4% - Have been cyber bullied in their life time
13.7% - Have experienced mean or hurtful comments
12.9% - Have dealt with cyber rumors
8.2% - Have been threatened with harm via cell phone
7.1% - Have been threatened with on-line harm
6.7% - Have had others pretend to be them in cyber space
4.5% - Have had a hurtful picture of them posted on-line
3.1% - Have had a hurtful web page posted about them
2.6% - Have had a mean or hurtful video posted on-line
17% - Have experienced these problems two or more times (my rephrasing)
Along with cyber bullying are cyber stalking and cyber harassment.
In the Uru community it is more easily apparent when one is followed to other forums. It is easy enough to screen capture those posts from various sites and provide prima facie evidence of stalking. While little is done with such information by law enforcement it is collected and retained. I suspect the idea being it will provide the pattern of behavior in any legal action.Wikipedia wrote:Common tactics used by cyberstalkers are to vandalize a search engine or encyclopedia, to threaten a victim's earnings, employment, reputation, or safety. A repeated pattern of such actions against a target by an adult constitutes cyberstalking.
Changes to the ISP and site operator liabilities has started changing in the UK.
Wikipedia wrote:A recent ruling first seen in the UK determined that it is possible for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to be liable for the content of sites which it hosts, setting a precedent that any ISP should treat a notice of complaint seriously and investigate it immediately. 
Out-Law.com by George Lubega wrote:This was first seen in the UK in a legal action brought by Mr Godfrey against Demon, the ISP . An unknown person, purporting to be Mr Godfrey, made a defamatory posting which appeared on Demon's news server in the UK . The posting could be read by Demon's customers. When Mr Godfrey asked Demon to remove the posting (having explained that it was a forgery), Demon did not do so. Mr Godfrey took Demon to court, claiming the ISP was responsible for defamation because it hosted the posting. As a result of Demon's failure to act on Mr Godfrey's request, he won his case against Demon.
It takes some time for these ideas to migrate to the USA… but… These changes will eventually affect site operators.
On the other side of this coin are the free speech issues. Nothing is ever clear cut… it all seems to be a balancing act.
We have discussed the issues of moderators recognizing patterns of behavior members engage in. So, we don’t need to go over that. We have also covered some of the problems of when to step in on judgment call issues and can skip that.
What is new… For moderators the stalking issue brings up the issue of sharing information with moderators on another site. Once stalkers realize the behavior they want to engage in, when connected across sites, is revealed as stalking… I would expect the common practice of using the same user ID on several sites to stop. So, I could see a need to check IP addresses on various forums. Is it ok for moderators to do that?
Also, does the concept of cyber bullying and the possible changes in ISP/admin liability change anything for moderators?
Does the awareness of a cyber bullying change anything for fans?
What definition would be good for use in forum rules and guidelines?