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Ram8349

When there is a new member spamming

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If someone just signed up on your forum or blog, and the very first one or the first a few posts have outbound links clearly trying to promote another web site, would you drop the ban hammer right away or give a second chance because this member is new?

 

I have also had this situation where someone signed up with two accounts, not only he pretend to be two person, but he also made posts where every single one of those posts are trying to persuade people to visit a merchant web site. This merchant isn't exactly small, in fact it is the leading one in the niche. I don't know why this person is doing it...out of completely satisfaction from his own shopping experience, or he is one of the SEO companies hired by them... This member does sort of "participating" in the thread, but the problem is in every single one of his post he had to mention that merchant...every time.

 

What would you do?

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In that situation I would just ban straight away. They are contributing absolutly nothing to your site and making your life harder

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I think it would depend on the questionable post. If said post contained links to dangerous or scam websites, than I'd ban straight away. But if they were trying to promote another website, I would give one warning, and ban after that if they carried on.

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They are probably doing SEO and hoping you won't delete the posts since they do talk about the topic. I wouldn't ban right away, I would first private message them and tell them what's up.

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I would have pm'd first if it had been a single member, however if its one person signing up with multiple accounts to spam the forum surely that cant be a good person to have around? LOL

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I would have pm'd first if it had been a single member, however if its one person signing up with multiple accounts to spam the forum surely that cant be a good person to have around? LOL

True, chances are they are never going to be a decent member.

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I'd just leave them to get on with it, as long as they're not doing it excessively and/or posting in topics with purely their links and contributing nothing more.

Edited by MustangV10

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I noticed the two accounts have exactly the same IP address.

He didn't post all that much. Total a dozen or so posts cross both accounts. Yes, his posts are related replies to the topic...or kind of related... but he had to mention that merchant in every single one of those posts on both accounts. I checked it several times, he had either the merchant direct link address, or a product link, or the merchant's name in all his posts. I don't even know why that merchant would hire someone like him if it is indeed a SEO company case. He was not really contributing anything useful content wise, but then again most members often don't really contribute anything useful either in their posts.

 

He hasn't been online for a few weeks now, but he's done that before and returned. My reason for asking isn't for just him, I would like to know how you people would deal with it in similar situation if it happen again with someone else.

 

Yes, I lean toward communicate first, because I don't want to be too harsh. However I think if I set such members straight, they probably will never visit again anyway.

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I noticed the two accounts have exactly the same IP address.

He didn't post all that much. Total a dozen or so posts cross both accounts. Yes, his posts are related replies to the topic...or kind of related... but he had to mention that merchant in every single one of those posts on both accounts. I checked it several times, he had either the merchant direct link address, or a product link, or the merchant's name in all his posts. I don't even know why that merchant would hire someone like him if it is indeed a SEO company case. He was not really contributing anything useful content wise, but then again most members often don't really contribute anything useful either in their posts.

 

He hasn't been online for a few weeks now, but he's done that before and returned. My reason for asking isn't for just him, I would like to know how you people would deal with it in similar situation if it happen again with someone else.

 

Yes, I lean toward communicate first, because I don't want to be too harsh. However I think if I set such members straight, they probably will never visit again anyway.

Implement a rule in your forum that not advertising or something of the sort, Or that advertising should be relevant to the topic. And then warn any users and say that they are directly violating a rule.. And if they continue.... There's that shiny Ban button :D

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They are probably doing SEO and hoping you won't delete the posts since they do talk about the topic. I wouldn't ban right away, I would first private message them and tell them what's up.

 

^ This.

 

I've done this and had several responses - everything from "Oh, sorry. I won't do that any more." to "You have to let people express themselves!" (the latter made me laugh, especially since he unsubscribed at the same time).

 

He didn't post all that much. Total a dozen or so posts cross both accounts. Yes, his posts are related replies to the topic...or kind of related... but he had to mention that merchant in every single one of those posts on both accounts. I checked it several times, he had either the merchant direct link address, or a product link, or the merchant's name in all his posts.

 

Personally, I hate that more than blatant spam. I had one person do this on my forum (the one who went on about expressing himself) and PMed him, edited his posts and removed the crap.

 

When it comes down to it, the forum is YOURS, not theirs. Losing one spammer won't ruin everything and if they're only there to twist conversations into ways to promote themselves, you don't want them around anyway. Slap 'em down. Big time. ;)

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I don't allow links in the first several posts anyway, so if they try to get around that by putting in extra periods, spelling out the url, etc, then yes, I'll delete it. If they continue, I have no problem banning. The latter question would also get the posts deleted and banned if continued.

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I think you have to start off with a good look at your policy first. If you allow links then it wouldn't seem fair to me that this particular member is being put under watch just because he keeps on linking to the same site.

 

The next question is to ask yourself, what do you lose with those links? Will they make your site look bad? Are those links to sites which are undesirable in your opinion?

 

The third thing to do is to review your policy about posting in general. What kind of posts do you disallow? Do you have a set policy about not mentioning the same thing repeatedly?

 

I am not saying that this particular member is right or wrong. What I am trying to point out is that, as a forum owner, you have to be objective in your assessment of the situation. You cannot just come down on one member because somehow he got under your skin. If you do this, then chances are you might be unfairly lenient with other members who are in your good books.

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I think you have to start off with a good look at your policy first. If you allow links then it wouldn't seem fair to me that this particular member is being put under watch just because he keeps on linking to the same site.

 

The next question is to ask yourself, what do you lose with those links? Will they make your site look bad? Are those links to sites which are undesirable in your opinion?

 

The third thing to do is to review your policy about posting in general. What kind of posts do you disallow? Do you have a set policy about not mentioning the same thing repeatedly?

 

I am not saying that this particular member is right or wrong. What I am trying to point out is that, as a forum owner, you have to be objective in your assessment of the situation. You cannot just come down on one member because somehow he got under your skin. If you do this, then chances are you might be unfairly lenient with other members who are in your good books.

 

The problem is... he wasn't contributing any real content. He was saying nothing more than one or two sentences with mostly I agree with this person, I agree with that person, then add another half sentence or so...and then... Whatever the thread topic is, he would always find a way to mention that particular merchant in every one of his posts. If someone is talking about dog pooping, he would find a way to mention a product and he would link it to that merchant. If someone is talking about flea on cats, he would say how great experience he had with that merchant, and he always buy everything from them including flea meds. etc.

 

The point is, it is perfectly normal to link a product that is related to the thread topic in a way that it is indeed useful to solve the problem, but he also had to mention how great that merchant is in every post. Often he was able to change the topic into talking about that merchant rather than stick with the original discussion. That looks like advertising to me rather than suggesting a problem solving item.

Edited by Ram8349

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In that case, this should come under spamming which, under some definitions, is the posting of irrelevant material just for the sake of posting. If you decide it's bona fide spamming, then do what you have stated you would do in your ToS about spammers. If the punishment is ip ban, the ip ban him. If the punishment is to give his residential address to the Anti-Spammer Clean-Up chapter nearest to him, then do it.

 

Ooops! Just kidding about the last one.

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Of course you can: that's the advantage of being the forum owner, not the moderator. You can do whatever you like. :D

 

You can, but you shouldnt. Everyone should abide by the rules of your forum, including yourself. No judgement no nothing. If someone does something that is not against the rules that is causing a problem, then you should tell them about it and change the rules accordingly. If they blatently break a rule thats a different matter. Just good practice IMO. Of course there can always be exeptions, however they should be few and far between.

 

As victor mentions, the first thing you need to look at is your site policy

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Of course you can: that's the advantage of being the forum owner, not the moderator. You can do whatever you like. :D

 

Now you remind me of one forum where the Rules and Regulations page says something like "This is my forum and the rules and regulations are what I say they are and I change them as and when I feel like it and I am under no obligation to inform you beforehand nor do I ask for your opinion before I make any changes."

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Now you remind me of one forum where the Rules and Regulations page says something like "This is my forum and the rules and regulations are what I say they are and I change them as and when I feel like it and I am under no obligation to inform you beforehand nor do I ask for your opinion before I make any changes."

 

I would make sure to stay away from such forum. It's more like a dictatorship lol.

Yes, rules need to be changed according to circumstances. Yes, as the owner we have the right to change the rules as we see fit. But if we are being too harsh and not reasonable, people won't feel it is a friendly forum and might not stay or even joining at all.

 

Owners must have a friendly face on the forum in order to have members to feel comfortable and happy.

 

Whoever made that rule you just mentioned is not too bright. He is free to change the rules, but he had to make it very clear that he is the dictator who can control everyone's life on the forum as he pleases.

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Now you remind me of one forum where the Rules and Regulations page says something like "This is my forum and the rules and regulations are what I say they are and I change them as and when I feel like it and I am under no obligation to inform you beforehand nor do I ask for your opinion before I make any changes."

well he wouldn't be lying, But obviously you dont want to make that too obvious... You have to give the illusion that people can cahnge things... hahah Feel like the Government :P

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Now you remind me of one forum where the Rules and Regulations page says something like "This is my forum and the rules and regulations are what I say they are and I change them as and when I feel like it and I am under no obligation to inform you beforehand nor do I ask for your opinion before I make any changes."

 

You know I'm joking. At least, I hope you do... everyone seems to be taking that far too seriously.

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You know I'm joking. At least, I hope you do... everyone seems to be taking that far too seriously.

 

*scolds you for not creating a sarcasm font style so that people can clearly see humor vs serious*

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Hit them with the ban hammer so hard. They're only there for one reason, and that reason is to spam posts about whatever they're slinging. It's not worth the moderation effort to deal with the spam besides just outright banning them.

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Hit them with the ban hammer so hard. They're only there for one reason, and that reason is to spam posts about whatever they're slinging. It's not worth the moderation effort to deal with the spam besides just outright banning them.

 

Say, if you are so heavy handed with that ban hammer, you are going to end up beating the iron all by yourself because, frankly speaking, whenever a member is banned, other members do feel a bit threatened. Kind of like asking themselves "Will I be the next one?"

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