No abuse zone on sales site

HEATHER SIMPSON
Last updated 09:23 28/07/2014

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People will be blocked and banned from a Blenheim Facebook group if they continue to make abusive or disparaging comments.

Controls will be tightened on the popular Online Garage Sale Marlborough after Redwood Tavern was the subject of stinging criticism in a number of uncensored posts on the page.

Jordan Nickerson said she had returned as administrator after complaints from the public about online discussions.

From this weekend she began blocking posters and rolling out "crowd control" on users.

On Friday , more than 100 people liked her comment that guidelines would be updated on how to use the site appropriately. It would be used as a garage sale site, not a discussion site, she said.

Nickerson had received 38 complaints about the site following an Express article on Friday in which Redwood Tavern's assistant manager criticised inaccurate and unmoderated posts made on the page.

Michael Neal was angered by comments criticising the restaurant's food and service during a family meal at the restaurant last Saturday night.

He raised concern after his right of reply was deleted.

A member of the party told the Marlborough Express she apologised that a friend of the family had attacked the restaurant online. The grandmother who had been a customer of 22 years, said she was happy with the service, the refund and free desserts offered by the restaurant.

The Online Garage Sale site had been unmoderated since April after the administrators had been subject to online and phone threats, Nickerson said.

One of the administrators was threatened her 2-year-old son would be beaten up and their jobs would be put at risk.

"People were being abusive, they didn't see a difference between freedom of speech and abusing that freedom of speech. People thought they could say whatever they wanted and get away with it.

"The site is not for personal opinion or personal attacks.

"We wanted to give the public the benefit of the doubt and be able to run the site themselves."

Nickerson said the site was set up as a chat page for people to give feedback on goods and to sell second-hand goods. Comments about Redwood Tavern had nothing to do with buying and selling, she said.

Nickerson said the Redwood Tavern right of reply had been removed by the customer who commented.

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- The Marlborough Express

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