Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

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Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby EnigmaFish » 20 Jul 2016, 22:35

I think we all agree that we would love to have new members around the forum, as well as continue the lively, friendly discussions we have always enjoyed with each other. With our recent history of friendly spammers, I am wary of anyone who only replies to old, dormant threads and doesn't engage in discussions on new threads. (It seems especially odd that someone would resurrect a two-year old thread when there's already an active one on an identical topic!)

The way we operate here does run counter to many other forums I've visited. The majority of forums seem to resent if people post a question which has already been asked. You get snarky replies of, "That's already been answered! Click here, here or here. Please search before you post." (Obviously they put hyperlinks on the "here"s.) I would worry that some genuine new members here may be afraid of invoking such wrath and might therefore reply to an old topic.
On the other hand, what we are seeing regularly is new members posting completely irrelevant replies to old topics. Within that I would include posting such things as "I would like to try this recipe" on really old threads, or even replying with recipe suggestions when everyone else stopped years ago.

I would like to have an agreed policy regarding replying to old posts, but I don't think we need to advertise it via Sticky or FAQ. I'd just like a standard comment to write in the box when I'm disapproving the posts, or possibly to leave as a comment on a resurrected thread. I'm thinking something along the lines of: "unless you have something useful to add, please do not reply to threads older than two months."
As a Mod, I want to represent the rest of you.
I want new members to join in the discussions (including this one), but with our recent history I'm wary of anyone who only replies to old posts.

Thoughts?
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v2.0: Newt, born July 2014.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby Treeb » 21 Jul 2016, 13:01

No ideas how to deal with it, but I agree that it's annoying! I was happy to see several new posts yesterday only to be disappointed when u realized it was so called "friendly spam". She's finally posted a properly spammy message with an advertising link in it as her twelfth post. That's a lot of effort to put in just to post some spam!
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby Marrow » 21 Jul 2016, 19:09

What Treeb said.

I can't remember - if we delete a post, we get to choose whether to notify the author, and do we get a free text box to tell them why? Everything I've deleted has been blatant spam so has needed no explanation!
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby EnigmaFish » 21 Jul 2016, 20:00

Yes, we get a text box and that is what I want to use. Why? Just in case there's a real person behind the madness, who genuinely would like to be part of our little community and just doesn't understand our culture.
Actually, I just saw that spammy post and had a bit of fun with editing it. I think I'll go back and write a little note on the thread explaining why I did it.
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v2.0: Newt, born July 2014.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby ches » 22 Jul 2016, 04:31

It's quite a bit different in terms of what the site was for, but I once was part of an online community that blew up when the older members wanted to impose quality requirements on new members, who obviously had no idea of the culture of the forum. I think most of the older users really don't use this site for BLW anymore, but that's what the new ones come for. So, since I don't know the magnitude of the problem, my 2c would be, rather than risk offending one new BLWer who is in a pretty tricky place life wise trying to figure out this whole tiny baby weaning thing, unless there is actual spam in the messages I would just leave them be.
BLPT Guidelines thread: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4477&p=48324
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby Cofa's Tree » 22 Jul 2016, 16:17

Personally, I'm not sure there's enough interest or traffic in the forum anymore to justify too much energy being put into it... It's annoying when new members post a few times and then finally reveal their spammy hand, but I also wouldn't want to put anyone off by sending them a note or adding something to their post. I'm inclined to just let it slide and deal with the end spammy post that we will all suspect is coming, but if the consensus view is that mods should get involved then I am happy to go with the forum wishes.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby LucyLastic » 22 Jul 2016, 23:51

Just a quick point - I found this forum during late night feeds and used to trawl through old threads to keep me awake. I sometimes ended up posting replies, then realising that the thread was a couple of years old. No harm done, other than me feeling a bit of an idiot. I think if I'd had a warning about doing that, it would have put me right off and I wouldn't have felt inclined to keep coming back. And sometimes it's refreshing to see an old thread! Especially as there are so few new ones these days :-/
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby Brigitte » 23 Jul 2016, 01:31

I'm not too worried about it either way. I trust mods to smell a rat and respond as they see fit. Erring on the side of kindness is probably good, and yet sometimes it's just too obvious when the new post on an old thread is weirdly irrelevant.
I love my kiddos! Two April girls (2011 and 2013) and a May boy (2016). I guess we have spring babies in this family.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby emzit » 23 Jul 2016, 05:26

To be honest, I think a message saying not to reply unless you have one thing useful to add is more abrupt than directing to other topics - at least that's helpful. It's also very subjective as to what's 'useful'. It can be annoying but I wouldn't want there to be even a small risk of offending someone honestly looking for help.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby EnigmaFish » 23 Jul 2016, 14:54

Thanks, everyone. See, this is why I asked: I think I'm being kind but my perfectionist tendencies mean I'm expecting too much. I'll be more gentle. I'll be more friendly.
v1.0: Kleintje, born January 2012.
v2.0: Newt, born July 2014.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby Kitcameron » 23 Jul 2016, 19:43

Must admit there's been a few times recently wher I've thought 'spammer' and posted a sarky comment back and then thought "hmm, what if it's genuine". I'm trying not to now both for that reason and because if we have newbies looking at these posts and not realising were replying to spam posts they might think us really mean.
Mummy to Slinky Malinky (Sept. 12) and Chunker Munker (June 14.)
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby LucyLastic » 23 Jul 2016, 20:21

Yeah, what if a new weaner just *really* loves sweet potatoes? ;-)
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby Kitcameron » 24 Jul 2016, 20:15

I think you're reply to Susan Magee was good. Not to cruel if they're a real person but informative.
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby qbm » 24 Jul 2016, 20:23

EnigmaFish wrote:I'll be more gentle. I'll be more friendly.


Just wanted to say, you are lovely! Please don't doubt that. :)
E - Aug 11
M - Feb 14
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Re: Thoughts on Moderating and Friendly Spammers

Postby EnigmaFish » 25 Jul 2016, 16:41

Aw, thanks, qbm! I did need to be pulled back though. What I'd written seemed perfectly fine to me, and it was only in reading others' responses that I realised it was a bit harsh.

Follow-on question/ policy: what about links? Delete them from new posters, with a note explaining why?
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