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Get rid of the draconian policy on URLs and mentioning products

   
10:54 pm on May 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



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 ;)
11:34 am on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



It's interesting that WebmasterWorld is accused of being 'old fashioned' in this respect

Exactly! IMHO Webmasterworld set the standard. It's the others who are out of touch and who are operating with reduced standards.

In my experience most of the people who want links in a forum are those who want to post spam for their own ends. If they decide this forum is not for them they are no loss to our community.
1:28 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The inability to post links and mention brands inhibits discussion.
1:44 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Sure, but not a lot.

And a forum full of dropped links inhibits discussion a tad more! ;)
1:44 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



if yall have a problem with the policy here with all of your moaning & groaning & whining & crying
then just go somewhere else! and stop being such a big ASS BABY!
its that simple that easy get it got it good !
2:35 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I am on several other forums and none of them allow links. Some allow product mentions, such as shopping carts, CMS's, etc but most of these are open-source anyway.

These forums monitor the posts and nix any spammy messages quickly, but it takes a lot of work and sometimes things leak through.

The forums I have been on that have no moderation easily turn into spam-fests and saw me leaving quickly shortly after.

Leave the link/product policy as is.
2:45 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Down at <snip> we had a similar discussion. We solved the problem by implementing <snip>. And I think Brett should definetly check out <snip>s 26 steps to a succesful forum with links and product mentions allowed.

It's definetly worth a read. You can find it here:
<snip>

Helped us a lot.
2:47 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



@jecasc very funny. True, but still funny.
3:11 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lawman is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



do the moderators really need to delete the URL and send a private message like telling off a child? Just modify the post silently.


It's a rule. And when we've done an edit and forgot to notify the poster, as often as not we catch hell for not being courteous enough to notify the poster of the reason for the edit.

Besides, when I send a sticky I sign it with my real name. :)
3:35 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I agree with dropping the tight restrictions. Look at most educated forums where someone spams a URL, and the follow up posts rip that spam post apart. It's self governing. Tight restrictions block newcomers. Is this a good thing or not? I would say no, but I am a newcomer. I use to participate in GameDev.net (will that be blocked? it's their name) but I haven't becaues of their rules and regulations always make me feel unwelcome no matter how often I go back to give them a try. Most of us, I would guess, are free spirits and don't like to be held back. ;)
3:41 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



all you've got to do is block URLs and emails from being posted by new people -- eg anyone with less than 50 posts. you can write an easy little script for that, it doesn't have to involve any work for the mods at all. when new people post URLs you simply return an error and ask them to remove them.

anyone with more than 50 posts will probably want to stay, and will know by then that dropping spam will get them banned, so they wont do it.
4:05 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'll go ahead and weigh in on the URL policy since I inadvertently ran afoul of it last night. Someone asked for advice about hiring someone to create an online game on their site. I suggested contacting an online game site to see if they would customize or re-skin one of their existing games to make it look unique. Might cost less than hiring somebody to write one from scratch. Seemed like an intelligent suggestion, but since I mentioned another website as an example the post got deleted and I had to mail the information to the person.

It occurs to me that in the context of Feedback Days it might be useful to discuss particular features found on specific other sites. But no... you can describe the feature, but to identify the site itself so people can actually take a look at it you have to use sticky mail. For example, I wouldn't mind being able to rate people's posts, so really informative ones could be flagged as such. There's one site in particular that I think has an excellent system for doing that. I guess you can mail me if you want to know where it is, but because of Zero Tolerance we won't be able to discuss it here anyway, which is kind of the whole point of a discussion forum. Silly really.
7:19 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



all you've got to do is block URLs and emails from being posted by new people -- eg anyone with less than 50 posts. you can write an easy little script for that, it doesn't have to involve any work for the mods at all. when new people post URLs you simply return an error and ask them to remove them.

anyone with more than 50 posts will probably want to stay, and will know by then that dropping spam will get them banned, so they wont do it.


Not a perfect solution, but if URL are ever accepted, the best yet by far - worth exploring? Maybe combine with nofollow short URLs?
7:54 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator buckworks is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



all you've got to do is block URLs and emails from being posted by new people


Different wording, same thought ... Kaled floated this suggestion about a hundred posts ago, so let's give credit where it's due.

Here are a couple of issues I'd like to see the community ponder:

- How would a looser linking-out policy affect the predominantly "self-contained" character of threads? How would changing that affect the usefulness of discussions as a resource for people who come across them later?

- The present rules force us to think harder to ask good questions. What's to be gained and lost there?
8:51 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Different wording, same thought ... Kaled floated this suggestion about a hundred posts ago, so let's give credit where it's due.


Ah, there's always a clever dick ;) One point to you.

Sorry, didn't see that one. And having searched the thread, I still can't see it. He did propose premoderation - which you poo-pooed, but this suggestion is actually different. If I've missed anything, please put me straight.

But what do you think of the idea - it seems remarkably commonsensical to me.

[revised slightly after rereading thread]
9:29 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



@serutan One problem is "tag teams", where one person asks a seemingly innocent question and then another person posts a link to some site supposedly with the answer, the issue being that the two people are working together to drop links, or infact the two people are really just one person with two user names.
10:06 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



All WebmasterWorld's problems would be solved if they just followed the example at <snip> ;)
11:32 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Funny the first time, but don't forget that it's fiction!
11:45 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Allow URL's but don't link them. Make people copy and paste them into the browser. You get the benefit of sharing resources and the SPAM protection that comes from not allowing links.
12:51 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



As much as I think name dropping could be beneficial at times and in particular circumstances, I believe ruling out any possibility of favoritism/spamming/commercial agendas is best. I would not change this.

You can always sticky members after all ;)
1:35 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



WebmasterWorld is valuable, we all know it. Allowing people to start posting URLs is going to open the door to spam.

Don't do it.
4:25 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



moaning & groaning & whining & crying


@stepoff, and all the other newbies: Welcome to Webmasterworld. Meanwhile, some of this is counter productive... spend some time in the wealth of content to see why nolinks actually works!
10:00 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member kaled is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



spend some time in the wealth of content to see why nolinks actually works!

There is not a "no links" policy. Links to news sites are common. Indeed, many threads simply would never be started if these links were not permitted.

It's also worth noting that news sites are commercial, yet I have had useful links deleted to entirely non-profit sites in the past. In one instance, the moderator thought I must be connected to the site - that was rather funny because I live in another continent yet the moderator himself had gone to the same University!

QUESTION
How many good threads die prematurely or never even start because of this policy?




So far this thread is just circular prattle - it has not advanced one iota. I posted a sensible basis for discussion that was completely ignored by everyone except buckworks who missed the point entirely. If no one has anything original to say, then it's time this thread was closed.

Kaled.
10:46 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



So far this thread is just circular prattle - it has not advanced one iota. I posted a sensible basis for discussion that was completely ignored by everyone except buckworks who missed the point entirely. If no one has anything original to say, then it's time this thread was closed.


Kaled, I don't think it is circular prattle and on this occasion it may be you who is missing the point. Rogoff proposed a relaxation of the no URLs rule. What we have had since then is people's opinions for and against this idea. Rogoff can correct me if I am wrong but I think that is the type of reponse that the thread was supposed to generate?

You Said...
Let's look at this problem sensibly instead of arguing...

1. We don't want spammers or self-promotion.
2. We all find the current rules to be inconvenient.

Where you are probably mistaken is that while (1) may be true there are many comments that suggest that your assumption in (2) is wrong. We do not all find the rules to be inconvenient so it may not be a "sensible basis for discussion" in other peoples' opinion.
10:46 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Further to this and as a matter of interest I did a quick survey of the answers received in here. This is not scientific and in some cases peoples' views are unclear but this is roughly what we have so far.

15 FOR ALLOWING URLS
20 FOR SOME SORT OF MIDDLE GROUND
46 FOR STATUS QUO

I would say that is a pretty healthy weight of opinion for the status quo?
11:09 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I would say that is a pretty healthy weight of opinion for the status quo?


The status quo is mostly old school WebmasterWorld Members who are used to the old ways. The status quo isn't working anymore which is quite obvious from the multitude of threads about this particular policy, this isn't the only thread on the topic.

I used to support the status quo also - until I got out and started visiting other resources. Then I realized what I had missing for so many years. I don't care about all the whining and arguments about spam, there are professional ways to deal with that crap and all of you know that!

Just allow unlinked URI references and we're good to go. Cut and paste. Very simple solution to this entire topic.

[edited by: pageoneresults at 11:43 am (utc) on May 28, 2010]

11:43 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



The status quo is mostly old school WebmasterWorld Members who are used to the old ways.

I beg to differ. There are lots of people contributing to this thread that I have never heard of before. They are coming out of the woodwork in support of no URLs. To me that is an indication of the strength of feeling against this.

On the other hand, there are a a few "old school" members (like yourself) who are in favor of relaxation of the rule.
11:46 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member




15 FOR ALLOWING URLS
20 FOR SOME SORT OF MIDDLE GROUND
46 FOR STATUS QUO


Yeah, probably because most people for allowing URLs and product mentions have already turned away and gone elswhere.

I mean: Just check the ecommerce forums. Usually the discussion goes something like this:

- Hello, I am selling widgets and sales have dropped to zero. I wonder what's wrong.
- We need more information, what widgets are you selling.
- My widgets are green and consumables.
- What prize range are your widgets?
- Middle prized.
- Perhaps it's the season? Are your widgets seasonal?
...

And so on.

When the discussion could have gone like this:
- I sell Valentines Gifts and my sales are dropping suddenly.
- Valentines Day was two weeks ago, most probably people won't order again until next year.
- Thanks, I did not think of that.

Same with URLs: Discussions like this are common:

- I noticed something odd: Do a search for widgets, for example in the range of electronics and you will notice this and that happens.
- I can't see it.
- Neither can I
- Try searching for Iphone
- Ah yes I see it
Then the moderator comes along <snip>
- The search term is gone, can you please sticky me.

Is this a forum about the worldwide web or some kind of stupid quiz show?
11:52 am on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



one big advantage of returning errors for new guests who post things containing http:, www., email:, and [url=, is that it will pretty much wipe out all the spam posts.

at the moment spam posts sometimes still get through and the mods delete them within half-an-hour or so. but if you return an error at the post entry stage asking them to amend the text, they will never appear on the board.
12:00 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Is this a forum about the worldwide web or some kind of stupid quiz show?

I know where my money's going!
12:19 pm on May 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Just because a majority of posters think something is a good idea doesn't make it right. I use two other fora (who shall remain nameless) both allow signature links after a certain amount of posts, both allow links in the body of the post. Both forums are moderated and spam posts are quickly deleted and the poster banned. This works.

On WebmasterWorld it is a real pain in the nether regions to have to copy and paste code and then make a copy of someone's page on your home server before you can try and diagnose the problem. This takes ages and is backward. You luddites who want to maintain this system need to wake up and smell the coffee! Use the technology available; links combined with the Web Developer Tool Bar. This make diagnosing problems so much quicker and easier. If the Mods keep on top of the spammers there is no real downside. Let's drag this forum into the twenty first century.

Just ask yourself, and be honest, how many times have you looked at a post and thought "I think I know the answer to that but I'm not going to waste half an hour copying and pasting the code and then assembling the page". We are all "time poor" and this just takes too much of that scarce commodity.

I'm sure this is the main reason most people desert WebmasterWorld - it is just not user friendly.
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