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Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisers

Running a forum such as the First Great Western Coffee Shop - a public facing site for passengers (and wannabe passengers) on train services in the Thames Valley, Wessex, South Wales and the South West of England - brings in around 70 pubicly posted messages a day. Such messages are the lifeblood of the forum, and we have a large number of members, with many more viewing as guests; we believe that people come and read the site to find out about what's going on in the area, and to get answers to rail and area related questions which are otherwise hard to come by.

With our open door policy of welcoming anyone who has something to say in our speciallity area, a typical sign up request will be from someone we don't know - after all, there are millions of journeys made on First Great Western trains each year, but our membership is only around 1,600 / readership around 11,000 different people in any month. Alas, that significant readership attarcts a large number of requests to sign up from people who want to use us as a platform to advertise their products, services, scams and opinions which are well outside our areas of interest.

We have automated tools which help us categorise signups - a "three star" signup results in an email to the admin team so that we can do a quick visual check and approve most genuine newcomers quickly. "Two star" signup requests get logged and the admin team checks on them on a regular basis; less that two stars, and take a quick look every couple of days just to see if anything useful may have appeared there, but the zero star category goes further and actually bans further signup requests from that source. I'm not totally telling you how we do it (in case this is read by people who want to sign up to advertise something off topic), but I will comment that there is good co-operation between forum operators so that intelligence is shared automaticlly; "forum spammers" as they are known will cheerfully adverstise their wares on just about any site where they can find a platform.

We're so well set up to cope with these things these days that the daily effort isn't huge, and indeed some of the user names and email addresses used help to create a light amusement. From this morning ... "Skinny Grape 415", "Nauseating Dinnex", "Saphire Moot", "minor.feamail.com", "spamavert.com" and "bigdresses.pw" ... I particularly admire the cheek of the person looking to sign up to spam post the forum with a "spamavert" email address. Yeah, right ;-)
(written 2014-11-16)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G903 - Well House Consultants - Running and moderating forums and social media sites
  [4492] Almost so wrong, but perhaps it's right for some? - (2015-05-11)
  [4403] The unbalanced relationship between customer and provider - (2015-01-21)
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4283] Can a legitimate forum post become illegal a year later? - (2014-07-11)
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4234] Change to Libel and Defamation laws from 1st January 2014 - (2013-12-31)
  [4065] Handling requests to a forum - the background process - (2013-04-17)
  [4025] Backups, Codebase, Strategy and more - dealing with forum incidents - (2013-03-03)
  [4017] Acceptable User Policy / vexatious interacter - (2013-02-24)
  [3910] Identifying your real customers and keeping them well informed fast - (2012-11-02)
  [3479] Practical Extraction and Reporting - using Python and Extreme Programming - (2011-10-14)
  [2820] Netiquette for forum newcomers - (2010-06-20)
  [2781] The 500 pound question to get you started - (2010-05-26)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2527] Flying tonight - (2009-12-05)
  [2526] A reluctance to move from old shoes to new - (2009-12-05)
  [2386] Computing under the influence of alcohol - (2009-08-29)
  [2254] Forum membership - a privilege not a right - (2009-06-22)
  [2177] Preventing forum spam - checks at sign up - (2009-05-12)
  [2162] Admins thoughts on banning a member from a forum - (2009-05-09)
  [2156] Stopping forum spam - control of the signup process - (2009-05-04)
  [2116] Why do we delay new forum members through authorisation? - (2009-04-03)
  [2103] Ask the Tutor - Open Source forum - (2009-03-25)
  [1972] Pettifog and forum boards away from public view - (2009-01-03)
  [1923] Making it all worthwhile - (2008-12-04)
  [1759] While the world sleeps ... - (2008-08-19)
  [1678] Software - changes and delays. But courses must run on time! - (2008-06-15)
  [1595] First Great Western Weekend - (2008-03-30)
  [1578] Please don't shout at me! - (2008-03-16)
  [1569] I dont care - goodbye - (2008-03-09)
  [1563] Guidlines for posting on a forum - (2008-03-04)
  [1539] A forum is not always the best vehicle - (2008-02-14)
  [1532] Comment spam blocked. Please comment via Forums - (2008-02-05)
  [1523] Ive just received an email from myself. Should I be worried? - (2008-01-29)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1472] The Horse goes on and on - (2007-12-15)
  [1362] No Thank You - (2007-09-23)
  [1190] Save the Forum - A regular clean sweep - (2007-05-17)
  [1088] Why use BBC code not HTML? - (2007-02-21)
  [948] Running an on line campaign - (2006-11-27)
  [923] Why shouldn't I spam? - (2006-11-13)
  [919] Freedom for X is denial of privacy for Y - (2006-11-09)
  [841] Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21)
  [828] Freedom of speech and freedom to post - (2006-08-10)
  [806] Check your user is human. Have him retype a word in a graphic - (2006-07-17)
  [651] Please Register with Opentalk - but just once! - (2006-03-19)
  [516] Open source questions? Anyone can ask. - (2005-12-03)
  [424] How not to run a forum - (2005-08-24)
  [248] Use me, but use me effectively - (2005-03-16)
  [231] Feedback as lifeblood - (2005-02-28)
  [204] The confidence to allow public comments - (2005-02-06)
  [130] Spelling and grammar - (2004-11-25)
  [115] Expiration dates or times on web pages - (2004-11-12)
  [29] Silence is Golden - (2004-08-26)
  [22] Falling out over the silliest things - (2004-08-21)

G909 - Well House Consultants - Spam, Spamming and Spammers
  [4520] No cold sales calls please - but delighted to hear from others! - (2015-09-29)
  [4135] Introducing your product to Well House Consultants - single, personally tuned email please - (2013-07-08)
  [3946] Moving from a warning system to a control system - PHP, forum spammers - (2012-12-07)
  [3912] Sand to Arabia, Coals to Newcastle or Woodburners to Russia - (2012-11-04)
  [3661] Keeping forum and blog comments clean - (2012-03-19)
  [3506] Cold call contacts - preference services and turning off spam sales approaches - (2011-11-03)
  [3352] World Trade Register - Certainly NOT worth 2985 Euros. - (2011-07-09)
  [3316] Twitter Phishing Trips ... and a great new alert service - (2011-06-04)
  [3190] What do the following web sites have in common? - (2011-03-03)
  [3166] Well house is strong - confirmed? - (2011-02-11)
  [3016] The legal considerations of your web presence - revisited - (2010-10-26)
  [2884] Hotlinked images onto adult material sites - (2010-07-23)
  [2697] Email metrics and filtering - (2010-03-28)
  [2398] Websitemediasolution and a goldfish called Carl Johnson - (2009-09-06)
  [2276] Who is Marc Schneider of Multilingual Search Engine Optimization Inc - (2009-07-10)
  [2179] Offers that I can refuse - (2009-05-12)
  [2019] Baby Caleb and Fortune City in your web logs? - (2009-01-31)
  [1978] From spam to mod_alias - finding resources - (2009-01-05)
  [1817] Marc Schneider is still having email trouble - (2008-09-30)
  [1763] Co-operating to save, yet we dont - (2008-08-21)
  [1115] Unexpected visitors to our site - (2007-03-22)
  [1037] Impact Engineering and Backscatter - (2007-01-16)
  [872] Email metrics - (2006-09-20)
  [495] More spam - a success story - (2005-11-13)
  [417] Telephone Preference Service - we're registered - (2005-08-17)
  [347] Frightening and from-friend viruses and spams - (2005-06-14)
  [338] OO techniques are hard to teach - (2005-06-06)
  [276] An apology to Mr Boneparte - (2005-04-11)
  [268] Information request forms, cleaning up spam - (2005-04-05)
  [259] Responding to spam - (2005-03-27)


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Too many Staffies, too many lurchers
Some other Articles
PHP - some quick fixes if scripts have issues, and how to use our support
Learning to Program - how we start to teach you at Well House Consultants
Java - an update of the basics
Too many Staffies, too many lurchers
Welcoming genuine forum posters quickly - but turning away off topic advertisers
PHP training - refreshed modern course, backed up by years of practical experience
Moving community rail support from amateur to professional
Officially overcrowded in the first year
Melksham Campus - how is it going - October 2014
Problem ... I want to print a series of numbered forms
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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