Most people expect to be governed, one way or another, even on the world wild web. acf was, until the spring of 2008, a 'benevolent dictatorship'. After that it became an anarchy; hopefully the good kind, with new freedoms but without the burning and looting.

The main question is to what extent disruptive users and styles of posting may disfigure the previously serene landscape.

Spambots and 'Trolls'
acf does not have a history of being an easy target for 'bots. This is likely due to the greater popularity of other forum software - think of how PCs suffer more viruses than Macs - and the relative security of SMF.

To provide further protection, there is a postcount minimum to add links and images to posts. Nor are posts counted in all boards. And there have been other adjustments to provide disincentive to abuse.

The acf definition of 'troll' has been someone who posts with malicious intent. Malicious means characterized by malice; intending to do harm. Therefore, anyone who posts with the goal of harming the forum or bringing it down is trolling. Given acf's new laissez-faireism, this may present an opportunity wrapped in a conundrum (shrouded in, I don't know, chocolate sauce), but only to those who have lost a piece of their soul along the way.

You have two options when dealing with disruptive elements however you define them: ignore or engage.

To ignore another member with a little help from the software, click on Profile underneath the banner, then on Ignore user options, which is in the Modify Profile list to the left, just above Ignore Boards Preferences. After you add a username to the list, every post by that member will be replaced with the words "This user is currently ignored". The space taken up by the posts doesn't disappear, though any avatar and sigs do, and anything of theirs quoted in another post will remain visible. When choosing this option, it is not necessary to announce who has made your list. One reason why is to avoid the "I'm ignoring you too syndrome", which is unseemly to say the least. It's your call.

Should you instead wish to engage, you might consider if the possible resulting fracas is worth it. Those who visit acf to relax and have a good time might be put off or start ignoring you; those who enjoy blood sport may have their appetite fed, possibly by being served their own entrails. It all depends what kind of forum you want.

acf as it was run included the injunction to never call anybody a troll: no "awooooga's", including "don't feed the troll", which is itself food. This was because a) management was making those decisions, acting in the interests of the membership to exclude those who did not seem to understand or care about the ethos, or continually committed breach-of-peace violations, and b) 'trolls' are people too. The sure way of keeping an enemy is to dehumanise him.

Moderation and risk homeostasis
A forum without moderation is kind of like a cyclist without a helmet. You may never wear or need one. Or it may make you feel safer. Wearing one might also cause you to be more reckless - or not. Paging Mayer Hillman.

Disorder in the house
The blueprints are located in the forum user manual. Take care if you want the forum ethos to continue to mean anything.

The future of acf
Look, we could all get hit by a bus tomorrow. Nothing is ever certain. Nothing is ever certain.
We can only do our best not to. It's a start, anyway.

Historical note: most users preferred piracy to anarchy.