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3.0

MacRumors is a fantastic resource for all things Apple related and has been for almost 20 years.

But they are also run by people who apparently think nothing of accusing users, left and right, of violating their TOS, even AFTER other moderators have allowed held-for-review user comments to go live on their forums.

Having registered for the site ~15 years ago, I am now on the receiving end of an apparently permanent "ban" after a single warning that I missed back in July because I did not check my MacUser account dashboard to read a PM. I had no reason to see this coming because no prior comment had been removed.

(No indication that I should not be participating in a given discussion any further.)

I can't blame anyone for thinking that if a 15+ year user was banned after a first offense, I must have done something really BAD. But nothing could be further from the truth. Maybe at best it could be said I "spammed" their forums on a specific topic, after landing on that topic via Google searches. But "spam" isn't the reason I was kicked off their site!

(I only say this speculatively because their comment form allows users to provide links. And since I was taught in college to cite sources, that is what I do when I have a choice. In this case, I was attempting to obtain input on whether a three-year-old Medium article with instructions on how to "reenable" 32-bit software support under macOS Catalina had seen any success or further development since it was written. In fact, shortly before I was banned, I happened to find that one of the names cited in the article is an active MacRumors forum user and had hoped to obtain a response from that individual.) Needless to say, my interactions were brief and nobody was "arguing" with anybody.

MacRumors has a reputation for ruling with an iron fist whereas other forums (i.e.

Apple Community forums) take a less in-your-face approach to ensuring a positive user experience. In 2023, it is possible to configure a web forum so that if a topic is too old, it is no longer possible to revive it. (Apple's solution is to prompt the user to ask a new question once a discussion is closed.) Other websites that moderate their content simply remove the offending individual post. MacRumors is the opposite.

Their forums are littered with "Banned" tags from users past who still have their comments LIVE but are no longer allowed to login or even to read *public* forum content.

Now think about it: Does it make sense that if a registered user violated the TOS, their account access is suspended but their offending comments live on forever? Who does this unless the sadistic intent is to create a "Wall of Shame"? (MacRumors, by leaving "banned" users posts largely intact is essentially advertising that they routinely kick people off. Is that conducive to a good first impression on the part of would-be forum registrants?)

This behavior on the part of MacRumors mods goes largely unchecked by the site management.

And that, in turn, may be illegal. Here's why: In California and elsewhere, it is required under law to allow consumers to exercise their Privacy Choices and/or "Do Not Sell My Information". style="background-color:

MacRumors has an outdated approach to honoring site visitor privacy. Although they do have a "Privacy" page linked in the footer, they do not address California law in the document that exists as of October 14, 2023.

Mind you, this is not a "blog" or "nonprofit" website. They sell advertising and move traffic through affiliate links. They are obligated under California law to be compliant with "opt out" provisions and yet their website tech website though it is! isn't even configured to allow site visitors to manage their cookie settings!style="background-colo

When registered users are subject to no-end-date bans, there is really no point to keeping such an account open.

Impacted users might wish to login and close their account, but when they do MacRumors uses that login attempt to set cookies and/or identify the users' IP, among other things, for the purpose of ensuring that banned users can't simply delete their accounts and re-register. This kind of data tracking requires uses that are NOT disclosed in the Privacy statement for purposes of excluding some site visitors not only from forum participation but reading what is otherwise public content. style="background-c

The bottom line is that MacRumors needs to revamp their website to enforce best practices in a more evenhanded way (i.e. configure the forums settings to reject "revival" of old threads, limit the inclusion of links in comments and other "tools" other forums on the 'net routinely use in 2023!).

Additionally, they should update their management practices because they currently infringe on users' rights to remove their personal data from MacRumors servers. It serves no purpose to allow a limited login only for the purpose of announcing the ban, with NO corresponding option to delete the account and/or posts that were supposedly the instigator of the ban in the first place!style="backgroun

If MacRumors doesn't want a percentage of their registered users to stick around as long as I did over 15 years! they should not be able to hold on to users' registration data. The appearance of having more users than they actually do is no doubt useful to driving up ad revenue so in addition to kicking users off their forums they continue to profit from the fact that they were ever registered in the first place!style="backgr

If nothing more, this is "data hoarding" if not "data hostage" behavior.

But more than anything, it means users who are banned are forever unable to login and so much as even close their accounts!style="bac

In my direct experience, having spent roughly three hours of my time in attempt to first better understand the nature of the "ban" and then to restore my account to good standing, my efforts came to no end beyond their suspicions about why I had been inactive so long (because I was using a super old 2009 iMac for over 10 years and only recently experienced challenges associated with an upgrade?). They also inquired about my original registration date but after 15+ years I honestly don't remember!

This company needs to update their early 2000s idea of what it means to run a forum and implement the most obvious process of removing TOS-violating comments FIRST and banning offending users SECOND. They need to avail themselves to modern forum management tools that feel less "personal" and "targeted" in nature. Don't like the fact that someone logged in and revived a three-year-old topic?

Configure the forum to stop allowing replies after a given amount of time lapses! Concerned that hyperlinks in comments might be used for "self promotion", spam or similar? Then limit users' ability to add links until they reach a certain contribution count!

And above all else? Get with the program and comply with California privacy regulations!

User's recommendation: Avoid.

Location: Palmdale, California

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