|Slowing Down Post-Grubbers|
Most forums track and display the number of posts a member makes, and many assign levels of seniority based on those numbers. Usually, these levels are just titles, although in a few forums more senior members may get benefits like bypassing pre-post moderation, bigger avatars, etc.
Most members pay little attention to their post count, but a small subset aggressively pursues high counts by making many short and not particularly useful, e.g., "I agree - you are absolutely right!".
Turning off the counter for posts in off-topic forums is one way to slow these members down, since they often seem to gravitate toward chatty, OT stuff. Serious post-grubbers, though, will cheerfully post away in the topical forums.
Admin/moderator admonishment may help, i.e., sending a private message when a member is observed making many low-content posts.
What other approaches have worked for you?
I agree ;)
you are absolutely right :)
seriously though, i am a much posted member at a few other forums and what we do there is warn the member after the first instance of this type of post. on the second warning the member's post count is reset to zero, and subsequent posts of that nature result in account deletion.
Welcome to WebmasterWorld, LadyTi. Do you find that the warning has good effect in most cases, or is this behavior more of a personality trait that's hard to change?
On a forum for which useful content is key, I would opt (I think - I don't have fora like this actually) for not showing post counts at all. The main disadvantage to this is that you will sometimes confuse new users who won't know which of the posters have been around a while, and maybe the newbies will take some bad info to heart at some point.
I wonder if a logical way to rethink this might be to list "date registered" under a poster's name rather than hisser post count. It's generally a positive indication that a given poster can he counted upon to provide more useful input rather than dreck (this is not always the case, of course, but probably more often than not....)
rogerd thank you for the welcome, i'm enjoying the forum.
i've found that the reason most folks visit this type of forum is not only because of the vast amount of information that can be found on them, but it's also a way of networking and meeting others who you can help and more importantly sometimes who can help you!
in that instance post count can be an indicator of people who are active in forum discussions and are often seen as a bit 'wiser'. more than enough reason for folks to try to bump the count with a few inane sentences here and there.
the warning doesn't often do the trick. the RESETTING of post counts back to zero after the second offense has worked like a charm every time.
I am interested a great deal in forum-running, and have done a few low-key ones before but no biggies so this is coming from little experience, but is still a suggestion...
How about making a hack (or whatever) to show the date registered and then a rank rather than post count. And then have an email sent to an admin/mod when a specified post count is reached, to evaluate whether a user should be awarded the next rank. That way there is a way of determining good posters from bad, whilst aiding the admins/mods and not putting too much emphasis on post count. This could especially work if you state that ranks are awarded based on quality of posting, or dont disclose this info at all.
There have been some really good suggestions coming in - good discussion!
To address this, we went to a "helpful" post tally as the primary form of recognition on the site (ie quality not quantity as determined by the community). Users can mark posts as helpful or not helpful, and it's the users with the most helpful votes that get the avatar, get listed, etc.
Of course, this has led to other problems. Helpful vote trading networks, bogus/duplicate ID's, etc.
We manually review our Top 100 helpful reviewers list, and have tools to flag unusual voting behavior.
We are working on an intermediary disciplinary tool - somewhere between 'purge' and warn - that would allow us to turn off the ability of vote abusers to mark other users posts as 'helpful.'
I don't think there's any perfect way to do this... it's a combination of having the right tools in place to flag suspcicious/deceptive behavior, and having the time/willingness to go to a manual review for high profile users.
The fact that you can count and display post totals does not mean that you should display them!
On the forums I spend a lot of time on, high post count is, alas, almost always correlated with low post quality!
I take that back a bit. The forums I frequent are rather difficult to manage; they try to combine sharing of information with community building. Those who supply the community spirit (which I have no use for) obviously post far more than the purveyors of information (which is what I am looking for; and also providing).
i can see everyone's points here, but think back to when you first found forums, didn't those folks that you saw with '1000' posts or 'super member' type wordings have a sort of 'awe' factor?
post count as most of us know, really means nothing other than someone likes to talk/write about something. i use a karma type ranking on my own forum in conjunction with post counts. but eliminating post counts, to me, doesn't enable to average forum lurker to tell if it's someone who's opinion or knowledge base can be trusted or not.
after all, on these types of forums (informational) a person isn't really posting a whole lot if they don't have enough of a knowledge base to do so.
the method that i described in my earlier post has worked pretty well so far and is easily managed.