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Published Monday 16 February 2009
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The closure of www.swanageforum.co.uk

As the designer and webmaster of the Swanage forum, I thought it was about time that I put the record straight to why I pulled the site before any more rumours appear like the one about the council forcing me to pull the site to make way for their new (overdue) one, other former users taking credit for having it removed and other stories made up by the Swanage rumour mill.

The last forum was the 3rd attempt I had to setup and run a community forum for discussing local issues. The first forum had to go due to technical and security issues and the second one due to misuse by a selection of members who abused it, ranging from posting copyrighted materials to sending crude messages of a sexual nature to other users which were against the terms of use. When the forum got to the stage that I had to spent a hour or more every day to remove offensive posts and was receiving daily complaints about members posts and personal messages, I felt that the forum was not worth continuing with and it was removed.

The last version which took me over 120 hours to write from scratch, launched in November last year got off to a good start but the same previous problem members soon reappeared and the same issues started again. After the long argument between two of the members at the weekend and the repeated submission of a lot of copyrighted material again which took several hours to find and remove and yet more complaints about topics and posts, I felt that it was not worth trying to provide a free service to the town as it would only continue to be abused by a childish section of the community.

I did hope that the people who abused the previous forum would have grown up and acted more responsibly but was proved wrong yet again. I always tried to avoid removing a post unless it was very offensive or contained illegal material, a policy which did cause a lot of complaints when people didn't agree with a post and demanded that it be removed but in the interests of free speech, I tried to be as impartial as possible but as this 20+ reply topic shows, this failed badly.

In future I will spent my spare time working on my other projects which benefit the local community and someone else can  have the pleasure of running a forum.

Perhaps all the topics can now be discussed on http://swanageview.blogspot.com/ or Facebook groups

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