Why I Was Banned From CakeCentral

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As you may know, I was recently banned from the Cake Central forums, where I have been an active participant for several years. A lot of people have sent me inquiries asking why this happened. I’m still not clear on the specific reasons, but I will do my best to outline the facts of what happened here.

Jan 16, 2014: An active thread is ongoing involving people complaining about CakeCentral Magazine (the usual complaints about lack of communication and slow refunds). A moderator (SystemMod1) locks the thread after posting that criticism of CakeCentral on the forums will not be tolerated.

Jan 17, 2014: A member posts in another thread complaining about CakeCentral Magazine. I replied by posting a direct link to contact the magazine, and added that the user should be careful because posts critical of CakeCentral are not allowed (previous posts in the thread were full of criticism). Another user replied expressing disbelief at this policy, so I linked to SystemMod1′s post.

Shortly after this post, the thread was deleted anyway and a moderator (SystemMod1) sent me the following private message: “You purposefully attempted to scare off a new member by twisting a completely unrelated matter. Completely unacceptable and shameful even for you.”

After receiving this message, I was unable to access PMs or reply to threads on CakeCentral, and I realized I was banned. I was still able to check my profile, and I had received an “infraction” for being “Argumentative/Hostile/Rude”. The “infraction” expired after 10 days.

Since I was unable to reply to my private messages, I sent the moderator an email directly at her business email address to figure out why I was banned and how I could avoid it in the future. Her email address was published on her web site, and I knew the identity of the moderator because she publicly announced she was a moderator when she got the job; CC has since made separate moderator accounts.

The moderator replied but did not give me any specific information as to why I was banned. In fact, she said that my email to her was “even more inappropriate then what you did to get the temporary ban”. I’ve contacted CC members directly before, I didn’t think it was that much of an issue.

Jan 24, 2014: I received a message from Heath (a co-founder of CakeCentral), saying that because I contacted the moderator at her personal email address (it was her business email address), because I revealed the identity of SystemMod1 (I had not done so on CC and will not do so here), and due to the “history of reported posts on my account” (I have no idea what this refers to) I have been permanently banned. Again, no specifics were given.

Jan 26, 2014: I was informed that this same moderator publicly blamed me for a malware attack on CakeCentral. When I found out about this, I contacted another CC member to relay the message that I was not responsible for this attack, and I have too much respect for the CC community to target innocent users. I was told that the moderator immediately deleted my relayed message and locked the thread. EDIT: I’ve been informed that the moderator backed away from her statement and indicated that I was in fact not involved before the thread was locked.

I can’t really make much sense out of what happened…but it happened and I am moving on. It’s been a lot of fun participating in the CakeCentral forums for the past few years, and I learned quite a bit. It is a testament to the strength of the CC community that it continues to flourish despite the inconsistent policies and actions of the administration. Best of luck to everyone in the community, and thanks to everyone who sent me messages of support.

One final note: when I was banned they also removed the links to my blog in my signature. If you are replying to questions about pricing, starting a new business, or copyright law feel free to include a link to this blog (http://jasonkraftblog.wordpress.com/). And if you have a question, you can either leave a comment on my blog, or contact me by email (jason.kraft@gmail.com) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jason.l.kraft).

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Why I Was Banned From CakeCentral

  1. Hi, Jason,

    If you contacted other members off of the site itself then you violated the terms of use, which are pretty much the same for every forum to prevent spam. Forum owners can get in trouble for allowing members to mine their member lists for emails and names to either sell to or email without consent, and there is a policy on cake central, i checked before responding here. I know that you did also contact a few people who i know who have nothing to do with the moderation or anything else on cake central, so that’s probably why you were banned. Unsolicited emails using their system to find people can be considered spam.

    I also know of one member who was recently banned for continuously using the Cake Central platform to sell to other members, which amounts to a similar violation.

    • I do see the section in the terms of service that it is a violation to “use any information obtained from the CakeCentral Services in order to contact, advertise to, solicit, or sell to any Member without their prior explicit consent.”. The 10-day ban was a result of the post I described above, I had not contacted CC members directly for quite some time before that, and when I did contact CC members in the past it was through a published link in their signature (e.g. to comment on a blog post). When I contacted the moderator through her business, I found her email address on her business’s web site using Google. I suppose one could argue that I wouldn’t have known her business name if she hadn’t discussed it on CC, but that seems tenuous at best, considering the purpose of the TOS clause is to prevent spam.

      Based on that clause, anyone who follows a link to someone’s blog or business in their CC signature and makes a comment or places an order would be violating the TOS. In fact, one can argue that sending someone an unsolicited CC private message or even an unsolicited reply to their CC post would be a violation, since the clause does not make a distinction between communication on or off CC.

      Later in that paragraph, it states “CakeCentral.com reserves the right to restrict the number of emails which a Member may send to other Members in any 24-hour period to a number which CakeCentral.com deems appropriate in its sole discretion”, with the implication that a limited number of emails is OK.

      • Most forums don’t encourage people contacting members off site, you probably know that. Arguing that sending an unsolicited pm or post response constitutes spam is just silly, and a little disingenuous. Those are the systems that every forum has in order for members to contact each other, and they try to prevent people from going off site in order to prevent harassment, which i appreciate. When you start arguing with a decision made by an agent of a private business by emailing them you’ve crossed a boundary IMO, so i’m just assuming that’s why you were banned. I also assume that if you hadn’t emailed people the ten day ban would have been lifted after the ten days. Since I’m not a moderator on the and i have no actual knowledge of their decision making process this is all speculation on my part, but encouraging people to post on your behalf doesn’t make your part in it look any better.

  2. I see where you’re coming from, and you’re probably right that the ten day ban would have been lifted if I hadn’t emailed the moderator (to request more information, not to argue), at least until the moderator found some other excuse to ban me again. I’m also not sure how you can say that I was banned because I emailed the moderator, since that happened after I was banned.

    The only reason I requested to relay a message was because I was informed that I was being blamed for an attack on CC. Since the person in question backed away from their post and others stepped in to defend me it probably wasn’t necessary for me to do that, so that one was my bad.

    Re the TOS clause, my argument was not that sending a PM or replying to a message on CC should be considered spam…it’s that sending an unsolicited message on CC itself could be considered a TOS violation due to the overly broad wording.

    • This is my last response…The TOS on there is as broad as any other forum’s TOS are. There’s enough harassment that goes on in forums normally that they don’t want to get sued when someone takes it offline, so i don’t see anything overly unusual about the TOS on Cake Central vs other sites. If you think the moderators on CC are harsh you should go on other forums I’m on, they’ll ban you in the blink of an eye for nothing.

      I’m also not saying that I know for sure that’s why you were banned. As I said before I’m not a moderator, I have no part in the decision-making process on Cake Central, and I wasn’t invited to weigh in on the topic. Your statement that you contacted the mod off-site after your ten day ban was put in place, plus the fact that you did email at least several other people who I know who also have nothing to do with it do point to that. If you started with a ten day ban then started emailing people unsolicited after that, a permanent ban would be the next step, which is why I’m ASSUMING that’s how it went.

      Finally, Mod1 didn’t say that you started the spam attack on Cake Central. A different member jokingly suggested it, then mod1 commented that other people had also suggested that, but that she didn’t think you had. Before accusing her it would be good to actually read the thread and not rely on the reports of people who are misreading it themselves.

  3. “plus the fact that you did email at least several other people who I know who also have nothing to do with it”

    That’s news to me…which several other people did I email?

  4. ABC

    I think that the emailing a person on a private account that isn’t private isn’t the reason, I think they just thought you were being argumentative, and they think they are God of CC, rather than just moderators and founders. They could, so they did. (EDIT: name removed), AKA Mod1, has lost her ever-loving mind. She is hostile, rude, incoherent, and an embarrassment to her silly little position. She is also an imbecile to hitch her wagon to Heath and Jackie’s horse, (to do the classes) because they are the worst business people I have ever heard of, and downright thieves.

    And I do understand the need for further clarification when you believe an injustice has been done, and I know that small minds don’t “get it”. They think the are the law, or rule, so they take it very personally when they are questioned, like it is an insult to them and all they hold dear. I think has more to do with that, than any real infraction.

    And I don’t even like you ;-)

  5. XYZ

    ABC said it best
    “AKA Mod1, has lost her ever-loving mind. She is hostile, rude, incoherent, and an embarrassment to her silly little position. She is also an imbecile to hitch her wagon to Heath and Jackie’s horse, (to do the classes) because they are the worst business people I have ever heard of, and downright thieves.”

    Except i do like Jason.

  6. I just want to say that I think it is Cake Central’s loss. I am a relatively new member and I usually just lurk, but I find that when you reply to a thread, I usually learn something I didn’t know before. Thanks for being willing to share your expertise.

  7. Karen

    I’ve been a member on CC from it’s early days, I joined about 7 years ago . But for the last few I have mostly lurked.
    It has always been like this … CC runs the site like an autocracy, they have their band of faithful followers who take tough aggressive stances and bully others into submission or lurkdom or they just stop visiting completely. Which is a pity because there is a lot of good information available.
    CC sanitises threads especially the controversial ones so that even if there have been posts showing CC is at fault, all that’s left is a squeaky clean CC thread which shows only CCs point of view. All negative posts are quickly deleted. And sooner or later the thread itself disappears.
    That’s what happened with the Magazine threads last week. Instead of addressing the issues they just shut down the thread and banned you.

    Jason, You have my support.

    And to the wonderful Mod1 who changes her opinion quickly within threads, sometimes within posts … You are a joke!

  8. Jo

    Please please can someone reveal who this mysterious Mod1 is, not that it matters, but it makes the soap opera easier to follow.
    Thank you

    • Sorry, but I won’t allow the identity of Mod1 to be revealed publicly here. If you want to find out, you’ll have to do your own search for the identity of the moderator at CakeCentral.com.