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Obsessing over the bad distracts you from the good

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Posted

I have personally seen this working with various clients: moderators and administrators that spend so much time and energy obsessing over spammers, troublemakers, and rules rather than focusing on their good members and growing their community into something enjoyable.

Just a few points I have observed and maybe something to ponder:


IP addresses are so last century

IP.Board does allow you to ban by IP, it shows you the IP of members on posts, and has IP search tools built in. However, much of this is an artifact of a bygone era. Now don't get me wrong, IPs can be useful information but they are not the magic identifier that some people think they are.

Everyone knows that you can spoof IPs, go through a proxy, even sometimes click a button and request a new IP from your ISP. With all that knowledge in hand it stands to reason that spending any time worrying about the IP of a user is not worth it. Banning people by IP in the AdminCP, researching IPs for "multiple registrations," and all the other IP-related worry that I often see does not gain anything. Someone with the most basic knowledge can bypass it all.

Also, and this is important, if your audience is geographically-based (like a site about your local city), then you could easily end up banning entire sections of your city's local ISP. We surely do not want to ban real people.

So at the end of the day I say if you do want to obsess over IPs there are tools in our software to let you do that. But what I do when there is a troublesome member is click the ban button on their account and move on to interacting with the good members and not give the bad person a second thought.


Tracking Spammers

Along the same line as obsessing about IPs I have seen communities spend great deal of time and energy tracking, researching, and learning about spammers that register on their community. Do you do this when you get a spam email? No you just delete it and move on with your day.

There are many tools in IP.Board to help manage spammers. Be sure you have enabled them all. There are also tools in the Marketplace that can further enhance spam prevention. Of course be careful not to make it hard for the real people to register!

Even with all the tools in IP.Board and the additional tools available in the Marketplace spammers will get through. But then this is also true for your email account. Google spends a lot of time, money, and effort trying to block spam but emails still slip through. Delete those spam emails and ban those spam members on your site just as fast and then get back to what matters.


Don't be afraid to ban (but be afraid)

Yes I am contradicting myself. My scenario here is a long-time member who has always been a trouble maker but you put up with them because they post a lot and sometimes post good stuff. You have warned this person, suspended their account now and then, asked them to behave, and generally they are still a distraction. At some point you may finally have to say "as much as I hate banning people who participate this person is more trouble than they're worth."

That does happen and you should not be afraid to ban them. However, do think it through. You certainly do not want to ban people who just might need to cool down or had a simple disagreement.

In my opinion a good rule of thumb is if your moderators, you, and other members are all complaining about how that one bad apple is ruining the fun then it's time to prune. As with all my other points, doing so gets you back to what matters.

Andy Millne, B-Jiggy, Con and 6 others like this

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Posted

Excellent advice. I think one of the things that is open to interpretation is how a moderator actually uses a warning system. It's extremely important not to immediately jump to the most severe consequence (banning) and give the member a chance to correct their behavior. If it continues you at least have a log via warning that they screwed up. Make your user expectations clear as far as conduct is concerned, and make your moderation expectations clear for your moderators.

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Posted

I think the above are good points. However, many spammer tools get in the way of registrations and good members without fully preventing spam. stopforumspam & bad behavior together prevent 99% of all spam without users noticing it.

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Posted

I also think that the warning system is flawed. I don't have it enabled on my site as moderators using it against someone is just counterproductive, especially if that user is being hotheaded, they're more likely to respond negatively to the warning than positively.

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Posted

[quote name='Mr. Mikey' timestamp='1330744762' post='2237061']
I also think that the warning system is flawed. I don't have it enabled on my site as moderators using it against someone is just counterproductive, especially if that user is being hotheaded, they're more likely to respond negatively to the warning than positively.

I am hoping the admin-created rules for warnings features in 3.3 will help with that. Will be less opinion based.

Mikey likes this

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Posted

Indeed. Nothing worse than a forum admin who was picked on in school.

I've found that walking around with a big stick is usually more than enough, it's very rare the stick needs to be used. When an issue does arise, more often than not, a simple private message to the member in question usually resolves most issues without ever having to use the ban or restrict options.

Sokii and TaffyCaffy like this

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