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Editor Assistance

March 9 2010 Editor Assistance Newsletter

Thanks to great feedback from Monica / Exercise and a few other editors, I'm going to write a series of articles in the forum for ideas and suggestions on how to moderate different situations! Thank you guys so much for the inspiration!

Here's the first one. It's in the Editor Assistance site, but I'll include it here too so you have it in email as well. If you have any suggestions at all about this article please let me know. I'm happy to revise it!


In our forum guidelines, we have a page explaining to our forum posters how to post with compassion. How do moderators of forums then maintain and moderate the forums with that same level of compassion?

To begin with, read our public statement on forum posting with compassion:


As a moderator, it is even more important that we "walk the walk" and demonstrate healthy behavior to our forum visitors. Many people come to our forums after having only participated in rough-and-tumble attack forums. They have been trained in a certain style of posting. It is up to us to show them what BellaOnline is all about - helping others, encouraging shy posters, hand-holding new posters through the scary process of putting thoughts up before the entire world.

What about Spammers?
I know it can be really frustrating to have spammers in your forum area. Take heart that a few years ago we would get HUNDREDS of spam messages at once, as people ripped through the entire forum system posting spam messages. With a number of tricky coding changes, we now block them from posting clickable URLs and take other steps to dissuade them. The volume of spam posts we receive now is only a tiny percentage of the previous levels. Still, each spam post is irksome and clearly violates our stated rules.

So, how can you have compassion for a spammer?

Looking at IP logs, most of our spammers seem to hail from India. From my readings, it appears impoverished Indians are lured into Internet cafes where they are paid pennies to go from website to website posting spam messages. This is how they feed their families. They know it's against the rules, and they expect most of their posts to get deleted. But for them the few that remain are worth the hours, and the small payment they receive is of course the key.

So yes, it's annoying to have to hit the 'delete' button on a spam post. If you take a second to hit the "alert" button on the post first, and just paste the spammer's name into the comment box, that means Jeanne and I can easily ban that person from posting again. Most spammers give up after one or two posts once they realize our coding changes block live URLs. If you have a more stick-with-it spammer, using the "alert" button lets me examine their posts and try to think up a way to auto-block them going forward.

The key is not to take the spam message personally. The spammer isn't out to get you. Most likely he's just trying to get some bread for his family and your forum was #182 on his list of 500 to get through for the day.

Please let me know if there are any other forum issues you'd like me to cover and write up!

Lisa Shea, owner


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