|Forum User Types|
Focusing on the problem users - names, descriptions, responses?
The forum on the site I run is growing nicely, and has built up a good user base but inevitably some of these are problem users, I know that many are common to all forums so: What terms do you use for these users? What are their basic actions and how do you deal with them?
Description: Posts specifically to annoy other members, posts usually political in nature designed to get a response from the other members, a personal attack back seems to be the ultimate goal.
Response: I currently ignore these posts, but allow other members to see them and respond, if it is hijacking a thread, I move it to a new thread and supply a little context. If it gets personal step in a issue a reminder that personal attacks are not appropriate in the forum.
Member: Drive by Spammer
Description: Joins, posts promotional semi related topic with link to website.
Response: Delete from existing thread, new thread, snip the url/company name and post a reminder that the forum is not an advertising venue. If more than one reminder is found on the intro page to a board then it is completely removed, unless there is something to discuss.
Member: Tag Team Spammers
Spammer 1: Can any one tell me which is the BEST widget in the world?
Genuine Member: I think it is Acme Corp Widgets HTH
Spammer 1: Tried them they didn't help.
Spammer 2: You're looking for Spam Corp Widgets! link
Spammer 1: Thank you so much I tried link and they are the best by far!
Response: I delete the negative responses from spammer 1 and the link posts from spammer 1 & 2 and keep an eye on the thread. Sometimes an interesting discussion can follow.
Well I hope that this can grow into a list - please correct my naming if there are more names for these type of users... can anyone do the FUDmonster? seen it mentioned a few times but how does it differ from a troll?
Let's try a more positive example :):
Member: Forum Resource
Description: Posts detailed and well-informed answers to a range of queries, including questions from new members. Visits the forum frequently. Is friendly and is not provoked by the rudeness or stupidity of others.
Response: A few of these members can be the backbone of your forum. Thank them privately and publicly. If they are interested, make them moderators. Include them in any distribution of shirts, hats, etc.
(I don't want to hijack the thread, but I anticipate that some members here will suggest a range of behavior and good members who are sometimes problematic.)
Yeah lets include positive members too :)
Member: The Usher
Description: May or may not be an expert or be able to answer the question posed but always takes the time to make a response to unanswered posts, welcome new members and give the forum a friendly, responsive and helpful feel.
Response: These users make excellent moderators for general and chat based forums, let them know you appreciate their work and include on the tshirt list.
(got to get some T-Shirts printed ;))
Member: Scatter Gun Spammer
Description: Posts the same thing over and over in random forums. Usually self promoting, but sometimes just a stupid person who really wants a response.
Response: Blitz the dup content. Leave a thread intact if appropriate.
Member: Essay Writers
Description: Those who take 10,000 words to say 1,000.
Response: Hey, it's content! ;) And they will probably cause so much drama if you edit them. :)
Member: Drama Queen
Description: Those who just cause trouble over nothing (or anything!) and argue every single point till death.
Response: A careful one! ;) Define clear boundaries from the outset, supported by policies and moderating team.
Should also note that a type of member may not necessarily remain within that group over time. A new member may eventually become an expert. A spammer may become a valued member. A drama queen may become a lurker.
Member: The Quoter
Description: Engages in lengthy arguments, while including quotes from other members in every post. Can quote the same member (and pick apart that member's words) many times in the same thread. Sometimes another member's post may be carved into a series of short quotes, each of which is refuted at length.
Response: Warn the member that while occasionally a quote may be necessary for clarity, continuous and excessive quoting is irritating and discourteous. Follow up with a final warning and loss of posting privileges if necessary.
Member:The Power Quoter
Description:Responds to a particularly long post by quoting the entire post (usually as the very next poster) and adding something like, "I totally agree."
Response:Unless your bandwidth is free and your members are bored, ban after two warnings. A majority of power quoters are incorrigible.
Member:The Iterative Power Quoter
Description:As above, but quotes other power quoters, which in some forums causes the post to get indented right off the screen.
Response:As above but one warning may be wiser.
Member:One hit wonder AKA Cukoobird
DescriptionRegisters and posts a question once, then is never heard from again.
Response:Shake head sadly and move on to next topic
Good thread idea!
Nice quoter variants, Automan. One "response" I've found to be effective is to turn off all quoting, either by the forum control panel or hacking templates. This eliminates 95% of spurious quoting - the members who do need to quote for clarity will copy & paste a few words or a sentence.
Member: The Texter
Description: Is unable to write in anything but sms/txt style sentences (being generous here). Only uses the shift key to post exclamations, never uses capital letters or punctuation (! and? excepted) - Example:
"that movi i saw it woz g8t! nxt time i go ne1 wanna go w me?"
Response: I usually reply with some kind of misunderstanding, forcing the poster to clarify themselves, and then I post with oh - if you'd said that in the first place style response. Is this worth the effort? - yet to have any texters evolve into useful contributers... but have hope.
Member: The Paranoid
Description: Constantly posts conspiracy theories of how the moderators are out to get him/her or others like him/her, makes frequent references to the board "elites" in their "ivory towers", and regularly accuses anyone who disagrees with his/her conspiracy theories as being ass-kissers of those in charge for the purpose of currying their favor.
See also: Troll, although the paranoid isn't necessarily motivated by the desire to disrupt and seems to genuinely believe in what he/she is saying
Response: There is no good response, reasonable attempts to change the mind of the paranoid are futile, so the decision must be made to live with him/her or go for a ban.
Member: The Shrink (US slang for psychiatrist)
Description: Doesn't answer questions posed by other members, or directly address their comments. Instead, The Shrink tries to address the underlying issues, like "Here's why you are asking that question, and why the answers you get won't help you." While sometimes this leads to an interesting discussion, it can also be very irritating to the member whose supposed motives are being brought into play.
Response: Shrinks are often articulate and helpful posters, and can usually be reined in by a private message when they get carried away.
Member: The hiding Spammer
Description: Hard to find and never posts these ones PM other members and tries to sell them something.
Response: Sign up with a few accounts to try and catch them in the act. 1 warning and then a ban.
Member: The Deviator
Description: Can't stay on-topic or answer a simple question. The Deviator has to send the thread in a new direction. E.g., if someone asks a question about how to do something using ASP, rather than answer it, the Deviator will create a lengthy post about why ASP is bad and how much better PHP is. (A special case is the Random Deviator, who posts an unrelated comment or question in the middle of the thread, e.g., "I don't know the answer to your question, but can anyone suggest a good place to look for ASP jobs?")
Response: Editing or deleting posts but leaving an "off-topic" reason for editing/deletion is a start; a private message is next. Sometimes one can suggest that the issue raised by the member would make a good topic in its own right.
You guys may have seen this already, but if not, do a search on Google for "Flame Warriors." A guy named Mike Reed has profiled just about every type of forum stereotype. Very entertaining.