Why I don’t ban people


Sometimes people behave badly. Sometimes they realise the mistake and apologise and other times are they refusing. Yet other times might they not agree that their behavior was inappropriate.

I for sure have done many mistakes in my life. Probably many more than you will ever do, and that’s just the mistakes I admit to having done. I won’t go into details about my mistakes but the fact that I was taken into state care as a 14 year old due to behavior issues should give you a clue or two. So also the fact that I later became a drug addict who wasn’t ashamed to lie and deceive whenever it suited my goals. The number of mistakes and the types of mistakes most people do are not much compared with what I myself have done to people and pets I care about, to strangers and to myself.

So when someone says to me that this or that person should be banned from this or that conference, or that I should have someone banned from IGDORE, then my immediate response is always the same: then I should be the first one to go. I really mean that. Perhaps will it at some point make sense that I leave, that I leave IGDORE, a conference, or an event due to my past transgressions. But yet has no one asked me to, and yet have I never asked anyone else to.

Would there be anything anyone could do to make me think that a person should be banned?

I had a counselor I met twice weekly during 7 years until 2007 in a regional unit in Sweden for substance addicts. She once asked me to stop my habit of screaming at her because it made the other staff members and clients worried. I asked if she would throw me out if I continued screaming. No, she replied, but then we would have to meet during more secure circumstances, so that others wouldn’t feel threatened.

If I attended an event where someone became physically or verbally aggressive or abusive, then I would do what I could to convince that person to leave the room with me and others. If that wasn’t possible, then would I turn to the person(s) under attack and ask if we could leave the room together until things had settled down, and once they were safe would I make sure to call the local police for help in removing the aggressive attendee. Would I accept that attendee to participate again, the next day or the next year? Yes, I would, after I had talked to the person and made sure that the same thing wouldn’t happen again. Depending on the severity of the actions and threat might I also ask for increased security during the event, to make sure that nothing could happen again. In case of a really severe threat might I instead offer the attendee to participate remotely.

What if the attendee did not agree that it was a transgression? What if the attendee had no intention of changing behavior? What I choose to do then would depend on the severity of the transgression. But my starting point is always forgiveness and a lot of second chances. How could I ever believe in anything else without first removing myself from the events and community?

One comment

  1. I share some of your predicaments and it has resulted in pretty much the same attitude. I have never even erased a facebook contact. As life goes on I don’t exclude people.

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