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This 181 message thread spans 7 pages: < < 181 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 > >   posting off  
Get rid of the draconian policy on URLs and mentioning products

 10:54 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

firstly let me just say that i think Webmaster World is a great source of really useful info. however, i actually stopped using it so much because of the overbearing policy on URLs and mentioning 3rd party products. i know it's difficult to figure out if people are unscrupulously promoting their products. but, please use better judgment on the new site. in the past, my posts have been edited when i was clearly not promoting a product. yes, i mentioned it because my question was a technical issue to do with the product!

also, it's actually very useful to see a discussion about the relative merits of shopping cart A versus shopping cart B. and just because i post about this doesn't mean i'm promoting either one. you just need to use better, more sensible judgments in my opinion. (by the way, those aren't real products so you don't have to edit this ;)



 10:49 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Unless such tools currently exist for moderators, then my suggestions would make life easier since they would not have to read through every single post looking for links.

So, in answer to your question, I don't propose any compensation for making the lives of moderators easier. Oddly, I don't plan to compensate my neighbours for improving their view when I move my TV aerial from my garage to my house either. I guess I'm just a big bad meanie!



 10:54 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Don't be too quick to assume that providing new tools for an expanded task would make life easier.


 11:15 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry but I have to ask directly - how do I unsubscribe from this thread?

The control panel just gives me a tickbox to subscribe, it's unchecked but still I'm getting a dozen or more emails. On the page here I have a "Email notification of new replies?" (unchecked) but no "Stoppit already" option.

Ironic we're talking of avoiding spam, whilst I appear unable to unsubscribe from emails..?


 11:24 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's not just urls though, I've noticed virtually any mention of commercial products or services tends to be sledgehammered.

I agree. In fact it's not even product url's which are deleted either. I tried to start a post about a particular spam site once, without even referring a URL, but rather hinting at how it could be found by providing reference to search words for finding it on Google. Needless to say all references I made were deleted. Whilst I think the mods here do an excellent job at keeping spammers away, there does need to be some middle ground as someone else here mentioned.


 11:28 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I would like a policy of allowing senior members to post urls (members with 1000+ posts). If they try to spam or put up promotional links, then use three strikes to ban them.


 11:34 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well happily Yahoo has a "block sender" feature...


 11:38 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

If they try to spam or put up promotional links, then use three strikes to ban them.

I think if something is overt spam, then there should be no tolerance whatsoever.

[edited by: Scurramunga at 11:44 am (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 11:39 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

buckworks said
Don't be too quick to assume that providing new tools for an expanded task would make life easier.

I would never make such an assumption. You, on the other hand assumed that I was proposing an expanded task when I was not.

The current system requires that every post is read and the system that I proposed does not add to this. It would, however, ensure that spammers and self-promoters don't benefit even if a post slips through.

I proposed a sensible set of suggestions intended to help Webmaster World and yet your reflex action was to criticize rather than consider those suggestions. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. This thread had nearly thirty posts but for the most part it was just useless to-and-fro argument, more or less devoid of helpful suggestions. So, I chip in and what happens - more useless argument. Perhaps this is the real reason why Webmaster World has become less popular in recent years.

You are probably aware that Webmaster World cloaks the robots.txt file - that was my suggestion back in 2005. I'm not a complete idiot. [webmasterworld.com...]


[edited by: kaled at 11:57 am (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 11:51 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have been a member of this forum since Feb 2004 and at first I found it to be very conservative, especially with regard to its linking policy. More than six years later I think it shines like a beacon in sea of forums populated by link droppers and opportunists.

I was roundly condemned a couple of weeks ago on the UK's largest business forum for criticising their much too permissive policy. I was amazed at the opinions of some of the senior members in there who supported this. I am talking about established and respected people in that forum who had signatures that read like ...

Widget design services Jibrovia | SEO Yourtown | Accountacy in Nowheresville | Shoe repairs | Horse Castration in Nutsgoneburgh | Etc.

This is what happens folks. The forum gets populated with people who have no real interest in assiting others or gettiing involved in reasoned discussion. That is an undeniable fact that has been proven a thousand times over.


[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 11:54 am (utc) on May 26, 2010]


 11:53 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Actually I would be receptive to established members being allowed to use a signature if they wanted to do so but this would have to be strictly controlled. I would suggest a maximum of three lines.

Business Name
Six words describing what you do
URL as in HTTP:/ /www.yoursitename.com (No hypertext linking)


 11:58 am on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree that the policy on links and product mentions should be lifted to a certain extent.

For example: I recently switched from an email based support system to a ticket system in my online shop. So I asked others for advice and we discussed different ticket systems and other shop owners pointed me to ticket systems they had tested and so on. A really valuable discussion.

Only: It did NOT take place here on webmasterworld but in another forum. Actually I did not see any use in opening a discussion here when you then get answers like this:

"I know a product that might suit your needs. It has this and this and this feature, just google for "w i d g e t" it's the fourth search result from above."

If you want to prevent heavy promotion then allow URLs only for users with a post count > 50.

Also: I don't see webmasterworld having problems with the guys from Google promoting here as Google Guy or Adwords Advisor or Adsense Advisor.

Usually you can easily detect when someone is only promoting his product. If I open a discussion about Help Desk Software and suddenly someone with a post count of 1 pops in and tells me "Product XY is great" I know what to think about it.


 12:55 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The lack of link spam and self-promotion is one of the things I like BEST about this forum! It's what sets it apart and makes it a valuable resource. Please don't change that.


 1:42 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

As a relatively new member who mostly reads and doesn't post a lot, I do agree that it can be a little annoying trying to figure out what, exactly, someone is talking about when they can't post links/urls. I'd like to think there is some happy medium here that will 1)keep out spammers and 2)make it easier and less tedious to try and figure out what the discussion is actually about. Like some of the other posters, one of the things that has made this site less useful for me and the reason I go months without visiting is the constant allusion to sites/products without actually stating what they are. It can make threads very hard to decipher without the real-world sites/products they are actually attached to.


 1:48 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think that having draconian policies draws curmudgeonly audiences. the kind of people you attract here are the kind that are rulebound and like to shut others down. more freedom means more spam overhead, but it also leads to a sense of ease and a quality of friendliness that this forum just doesn't have. and as we can see from social media, friendliness is the future.

saying that the rules curtails spam ignores the real cost in curtailing ease, clarity, user-friendliness, and accessibility.

i'd much rather put up with the occassional spam post then feel like i am being watched by the link gestapo. it's just not fun to worry about that when i'm posting something. it's a pain in the neck too, when i'm trying to understand someone's post but they can't post the actual URL. this is the internet for chrissake, the URL is the bedrock of utility here. just give it to me!


 1:48 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Voted: get rid of the moderators altogether. Save yourselves some money and let freedom rule.


 1:52 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)


Perfect opinion.... Conversations here are actually DIRECTED where the moderators and senior members want, I don't even dare post.

Some threads look like they're scripted....I don't even post here anymore I come here for some news, don't ever click on an ad and go away.


 2:03 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think allowing links in the body of a post is essential and it is really restricting not to do it. On another forum I use more than this one people often complain when links are not given e.g."how can we understand what you mean without a link to your page".

It is a bit "stone age" to expect us to take the time to copy a load of posted code then assemble it into a page on our own computer and play around with it, when if we had a link to the site we could use the web developer toolbar to diagnose the problem much more quickly and easily.

OK ban self promotional links in signatures if you want to, but not to allow links to problem pages is almost insane. You are banning the use of appropriate technology.


 2:04 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I could not disagree more with the original post! It is nice to visit and research a site based on real content that is not shaped by any real commercial motive. As both a vendor and a consumer, it is often tempting to toot my own horn in regards to my own products but; I am thankful there is a place to research and troubleshoot without weeding through the propaganda to find the real content.


 2:22 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can't see links working here, the nature of many of the posters / readers here is to capitalise on the internet, some of us can't help it, it's what we're programmed to do, I like Wheel's post, even with best intentions I wonder if he (or anyone else) would physically be able to resist posting a link if they could see money at the end of it. Links wouldn't kill WW, but it might make it a different place.

Kaled's suggestions are very good IMO, but it still feels like skating on thin ice.


 2:51 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I think allowing links in the body of a post is essential and it is really restricting not to do it.

I have been here for more than six years and never found it to be a problem.

I think that having draconian policies draws curmudgeonly audiences. the kind of people you attract here are the kind that are rulebound and like to shut others down. more freedom means more spam overhead, but it also leads to a sense of ease and a quality of friendliness that this forum just doesn't have. and as we can see from social media, friendliness is the future.

That will be why this is probably the most popular and respected Web Design forum on the Internet then, eh? More spam means lowering the tone and the quality of this website. If that happened I would look elsewhere I am afraid. The conservatism in here is what makes it special.

I also have to say that I have found the "kind of people" that use this forum to be a different class. I have had my differences with some of them on the odd occasion but on the whole I doubt that I could have made it in self employment as well as I have without the assistance of the good folks in this forum (and all without links).

If you don't have the nous to direct someone to a website without showing them a link you can PM them. ;)


 2:54 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am finding WebmasterWorld less and less helpful with the current policy. Sometimes you just need a specific recommendation, or sometimes you want to give a specific recommendation, that really would be helpful.

I can think of several ways linking and namedrops could potentially be permitted:

1.) Only members with over X posts can post links.
2.) Only those who have been members for over X time can post links.
3.) Add a link under each post for "useful." (Use AJAX to make it fast and easy to use.) Members who accumulate X votes for useful posts can post links.
4.) Weight votes in a system like #4 more heavily if given BY a member with a high number of useful posts.

You could even combine all four methods, e.g., those who have been members for over X time and with more than X posts become eligible for having their "useful points" accumulate toward getting to post links. The system could be further enhanced by requiring an ongoing number of "useful" votes to have the continued privilege of posting links.

With a system like that, you'd limit linking to people who were actually providing value to the forum, and their links would presumably continue to provide value. And while some would undoubtedly try to sell their ability to post links here, they'd be highly unlikely to post useless links and damage their reputation, so even the small number of paid links would presumably still be providing value to other members.


 2:55 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The reason I come to this forum is because I can usually find the information I need without having to wade through a bunch of spammy posts. I know of another site that allows links in the posts, signature links, etc. that has a huge following...but nearly useless information because the forum is full of people promoting their own stuff instead of people gathering to solve problems. With that said, I go to the spammy forum because I can promote my stuff. I come here when I need good quality information.

Bottom line, you have to decide if you want more visitors or if you want a quality site.


 3:07 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The policy is just fine, as is.

What has worked and is generally allowed, (well at least for me), if somebody is looking for recommendations, then give a Google search string that will give a wide range of products from various competitors, or to unbiased information on a particular subject.


 3:37 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Allowing link drops, who actually benefits? when we start going into specifics the advice offered will be related to the specific issue. At a later date when someone is looking for advise the topic will be a lot less useful to them because of specifics. The forum is not just about doing someones homework, its about providing a useful resource.



 3:58 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Policy on URLs is fine as it is and please don't allow signatures. If I want to find out a little more about a poster I can always check out their profile.


 4:11 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sometimes you just need a specific recommendation, or sometimes you want to give a specific recommendation, that really would be helpful.

Primarily, links to free open source tools are generally acceptable and other helpful sites as long as they're authoritative on their topics and it's not obvious self-promotion.

Mind you, the forum charter may allow or disallow certain types of links and the moderator has sole discretion to permit them, unless the admins come along and supersede which is rare but known to happen.

End of story - no spam, no self-promotion, no sigs, all other links are discretionary.


 4:31 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

As an "older" member of the forum who's also returned because of this email, I can say that it wasn't the inability to drop URLs that led to my eventual lack of participation. In fact, I think that policy is one of the core strengths of this board.

URLs work fine in trusted communities of limited size where peer pressure and potential sanctions help control behavior. In a massive forum like this one, where there are a lot more inexperienced posters, it would be a recipe for disaster, imo.

No sigs, no tag teams, no outing, no worries.


 4:35 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The policy of not mentioning products or urls, whilst certainly draconian, is one of my favourite if frustrating aspects of the forum.

Back in the early days it meant that we all started to develop a way of communicating things we were seeing in standard formats that everyone could understand. Thinking of your own product as a blue fluffy widget really helped concentrate the mind.


 4:38 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree that mentioning of URL's can bring about spammers and crappy useless posts and that is what makes this Forum stand out from others.


I would like to see a section where Webmaster Tools are listed, like SERP checkers, Automated tools and others, where maybe members can rate them and add their reviews. This would be really helpful as many times people mention some great tool in a post, but cannot link to it, or tell us what it is, and I for one would like to know.


 4:47 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Links can be very helpful, if offered by very helpful members. There has got to be a way to "prove" a member's helpfulness and grant higher privileges accordingly - one of which could be posting links.


 4:59 pm on May 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Here's a thought, why can't we as a community help the moderators by flagging links as spam? I mean, we are a community right?

Every forum of communication out there self moderates these days. Over at Digg we seem to be able to handle ourselves civilly when it comes to linking to products or things we find useful.

Now some would find that Digg is a not a community lead discussion, but rather one lead by power users, but the issue lies in the spamming right? Whenever I open a new story and one comment is obvious spam (BUY SHOES HERE!) the community does a pretty good job at burying, reporting and blocking that user to oblivion.

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