Combating undeserved abuse complaints

Posted August 2, 2017 3k views
MiscellaneousArch LinuxDigitalOcean

Has anybody here dealt with unfair or unjustified abuse complaints by a disgruntled individual? How does DigitalOcean react to this behavior?

I run a community forum on my Droplet that has been around since 1998. I have a former user who was banned for defrauding other users in classified ad transactions. We’ve had a few problems with users like him over the years and so we added a warning to our classifieds forum to make our users aware of these problem sellers. One of these guys has been sending abuse complaints to our hosting providers for years. I switched to DO about two years ago and he recently started sending them to DO’s abuse department.

I don’t want our site to be shut down simply because we’re trying to protect our users from being defrauded by a convicted criminal. What can I do to satisfy DigitalOcean’s Trust and Safety team and squelch future reports by this individual?

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Hi @prairiegrass

Since you state that the individual is a “convicted criminal”, then there must be official records of that conviction - and I’m guessing it’s related somehow to you or the forum (otherwise, how would you know), so it’s easy for you to prove that to DigitalOcean.

Otherwise, you might want to make a scrapbook for easy documentation to your hosting provider - you probably already have some handy, since you’ve been dealing with this for years.

Remember, anyone can send an abuse claim, but it’s a two-way street, meaning you are allowed to defend yourself and the hosting provider will hear both parties.
It’s only a one-way street, when there’s a legal (US law) document stating to seize hosting, which DigitalOcean has to comply with.

But all this goes into a lot of legal bull, which only lawyers should mess with.

  • Hi @hansen

    Indeed, information on this individual’s convictions are accessible in government databases. In this case, the individual lives outside of the United States so I’m not particularly worried about his claims of “harassment”.

    I’ve never dealt with DigitalOcean’s T&S team and I don’t know how much time (if any) they will put into the pursuit of the ultimate truth. That’s why I’m asking here. I’m curious about how they respond when someone sends this type of complaint in repeatedly, as is his modus operandi.


    • @prairiegrass

      The complainer must provide compelling information to DigitalOcean. Otherwise anyone could take down any website, just by writing “I don’t like the site”.

      Another option would be to protect yourself behind something like CloudFlare and protect your domain information (whois), so the complainer would have to go through legal channels to contact either the domain registrar or the hosting company to shut you down.
      If the complainers case can go through the official legal channels, then you need to protect yourself legally - meaning by hiring a lawyer - because then the complainer actual has a case against you (and not just harassment).