Fribble - 7:31 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)
- competitors asking "what's wrong with this page" when they are really pointing out spam so that Matt Cutts will see it?
- people asking about "can I do X on this page" when they sell products to webmasters?
These both sound like the same thing: review or troubleshooting requests that require the person rendering assistance to see the problem in its natural habitat. The spamming potential of this could be mitigated by forcing these into a specific section/forum of the site with strict rules about content, request frequency, user-requirements to post, etc. Not perfect, but it would allow WW users to reap the benefits of this ability. You're already half way there with the site-review section.
- what do you think of product x? And product X is usually a SEO tool or WebHosting or... we've had people name drop 200-300 times in the forums in whisper campaigns.
- what do we do with competitors that encourage staff to come promote at webmaster world?
These both sound like product review/expereince requests. This could be reasonably controlled by adding a single forum for such things, and allowing ONE thread per product or service, to which the entire forum can post a single post (their expereinces to). It would not stop spammers and competitors from tainting the pool, but it will keep them from doing it all over the forum, and it would be easier to impost posting requirements in a single forum. There is always the chance of a reader getting ripped off/tricked, but it's something people NEED to learn to spot if they are in this business. Add disclaimers and the like.
I've met quite a few people here on WW and if I saw their feedback while researching a new product or service I was interested in it would be helpful indeed.
- what do we do with professional forum spammers?
What can you do about them short of crippling any and all potential methods of operating? - but that's a double edged sword at best. It also cripples many powerful forms of communication used online.
- what about people who come in and drop links to great stories, but do it once a day? Lets say Rand were to stop in and let people know about the latest blog post on SEOMoz? (no, he never would do that, but others have and continue to do so)
If they really are great stories what's the problem? - if it becomes incessent the community would surely tell the poster to stop and report them, and if the stories suck, then it would quickly be reported as spam, right? This is a community of webmasters after all right? If someone works hard enough to be able to link to a GREAT story every day, why shouldn't everyone benefit just because the poster will gain?
- What about moderators from competing forums that come in and share "info" links in line?
As long as they meet certain quality standards, again, what's the problem? How many WW users aren't aware of the existence of the other major webmaster forums? We know they're there and we still come here. Besides, it would be very simple to spot users repeatedly posting links to the same forum as described.
- What about this one? [webmasterworld.com...] is Major_Payne the author of that, or just referencing it? What about sites that monitor keywords and want jump all over threads and reference.
As long as the reference is good, it's not dangerous, and the linked site has a good history what's the problem? We should credit our sources whether it's another site or it's a book, right? Who cares what the motivation of posting it is so long as the result is constructive?
Some further ideas include:
Only allow supporters to post links, and collect and verify personal information when they sign up.
Insert a "report as spam" icon/link next to each link that gets posted, so users can report spammy content should the linked page be changed.