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Ongoing issue - Please share your thoughts

post #1 of 90
Thread Starter 
As all of you surely know we try to keep the boards as free of spam as possible. By spam I mean promotional posts for the benefit of one's personal business or for friends.

The first one is pretty easy for us to recognize and deal with. It's the second one that's more complicated.

We have dicussed this in the past a bit - how to handle situations where we see a member repeatedly recommending the same business or businesses. Now in many cases this happens sincerely, as so many of you pointed out when we talked about this before. A member will be so pleased with a product and the service of the WAHM that her recommendation will be made frequently in response to questions about product or business recommendations. That is acceptable and to be expected and is a big part of what makes Diapering such a valuable and benefical and fun forum for everyone.

However, it becomes more of a concern when we know that a member is friends with the WAHM(s) and we receive reports of this member admitting, outside MDC in posts elsewhere, that she is spamming here for her friends.

We are really tied about how to deal with this. We do not like judging someone's behavior based on what is reported said or done elsewhere. Yet if we are presented with evidence (say, a screen shot of the statement made elsewhere) what are we to do?

What do you think we should do?
post #2 of 90
However, it becomes more of a concern when we know that a member is friends with the WAHM(s) and we receive reports of this member admitting, outside MDC in posts elsewhere, that she is spamming here for her friends.
If there is legit proof that they are doing this they should be delt with the same way you would deal with a WAHM who is spamming her business on purpose, totally know she shouldn't be. By legit I mean make sure there is real proof that it is the same person and not just someone telling their aunt's mother's sister's ex dog's old best friend. Like someone sending a link to a moderater where the post(s) can be read over and discussed. I don't feel a screen shot is sufficent only because I have seen them forged, very nicely forged at that. Though why someone would purposly forge them for this reason I have no clue, but I am sure it can/has happened.

Someone really enjoying the WAHMs product and sharing= GOOD
Someone promoting a friends business when they know they shouldn't then spouting off about it on another site = BAD

Just my opinion... move along, nothing to see here...
post #3 of 90

My thoughts have been it is not a big deal

and I just do not think people should waste their time worrying about who is doing what and why all the time. Blags.
post #4 of 90
Originally Posted by DreamingMama
and I just do not think people should waste their time worrying about who is doing what and why all the time. Blags.

I think we all (moderators included) have enough to do & other things to expend braincell power on.
post #5 of 90
Thread Starter 
It's beyond a simple worry. It is a serious concern. The truth of the matter is MDC receives considerable financial support from WAHMs through their advertising. Of course theyexpect, and rightly so, that we keep the boards as free as possible of spammy posting that provides free advertising for some. Of course recommendations in discussions here will gain business for some due to the sharing nature of the boards. But in this case? If this issue is ignored and allowed to go one it can seriously affect the reputation of the Diapering board that we have worked so hard to gain. This is my concern. And the concern of WAHMs who see this occurring.

Jess, Kathleen, if this board were to be open to spam would you continue to advertise here? That's not to say that we would permit spam because another big reason for refusing to allow it is for the benefit of the general, non-WAHM community that wants sincere input and not promotional posts in response to their questions.
post #6 of 90
makes sense. Not fair to those who have *paid, per the guidelines, for advertising. I don't have any answers tho how you can make sure that raves are legit. Sorry.
post #7 of 90
Is there a way that link to an unadvertised website would classify as a no-no word and the site doesn't allow it. Maybe the way that curse words are edited. They are edited, right?

I think that it is only fair that advertisers get the bonus of hyena-hype.
post #8 of 90
My thought is this: can the WAHMs who advertise on here be polled? To see what their thoughts are... If majority wins, then I say you should crack down on it. If not, then there really can't be too much of an argument to curtail it.

Is that at all possible? I mean, I would hate for advertisers to feel slighted because of this, but you have obviously received the opinion of one who advertises and posts here a lot, and Kathleen doesn't seem to be bothered by it. I kind of agree with her... there are other things that might need to be worried about.

JMO and two cents.
post #9 of 90
I agree with people being dealt with if there's proof (posts on other boards, etc) that they are spamming this board.

Most of my diaper purchases originate from what I read on this board, both from the advertisement banner and sig lines as well as posts from happy customers. I would hate to see either go away.
post #10 of 90
I appreciate useful posts on a good WAHM website or a product. I like to rave about dipers that I've tried and hear about the one's I haven't. I can understand, though, that if some WAHMs are paying to advertise here how spam can hurt them. If you have evidence of people spamming for friends or themselves then I think that should be stopped/or their posts edited.
post #11 of 90

Another advertising wahm weighing in...

Obviously, I am not a moderator, but I am a wahm who spends her advertising dollars at MDC.

The main reason, is that I believe Mothering is the best magazine of it's kind.

Secondly, I like the fact that the MDC diapering boards are fairly spam free - people are free to look at the advertising if they so choose, but the posts are from parents who truly love to create and use cloth diapers, and a wealth of useful information, friendly banter, and honest recommendations are available.

Third, it is nice to know that when I pay for my advertising, whether it be banners, signature lines or wahm diaper thread listings, I am not only putting back into the MDC site to keep it going, but also that my effort and investment is not overrun by spamming.

Having been a moderator for a smaller diapering message board, I would imagine it is a difficult job to maintain and moderate such a large gathering of so many. I am certain that it is difficult to agree sometimes on what needs to be done, as with the current issue brought to light.

One of the nice things about the cottage children's industry, is that you often do get to make friends, or at least friendly acquaintance, with many of your customers.

If a friend, who is also a customer, posts about a wahm's products because they truly love them, that is certainly one thing, as you stated.

I suppose that if you receive a report, a grain of salt must be taken with it, to allow for the fact that there may be an unfortunate defamation issue.

If multiple reports of the same person seem to be a trend, though, I do think that there is some commitment to be upheld to both paying advertisers and to parents who come to this as a fun and relaxing place to chat and exchange information.

It is a difficult issue to resolve; the balance between what is actually here on the board, and what might be said or done in some other venue, whether online, on the telephone, or person to person.

I suppose my first instinct would be to contact the wahm in question in the case of multiple reports, and simply provide the opportunity for a first-person report, rather than simply relying upon third-party information. I guess the main thing is to be certain of all facts and know all sides of an issue prior to deciding, so that people who post here, whether advertising-paying wahms, wahms who don't advertise, and cloth users and cloth-curious new people alike will not feel there is a witch hunt going on in any way!
post #12 of 90
I can't speak for those folks paying for advertising, but as a consumer I like the posts raving about other WAHM products. Alot of the time it gives me the opportunity to check out a new product and order from another Mama. I enjoy trying out new things and supporting the WAHM community. I guess I can see both sides but if someone is getting friends to advertise for them then obviously that is wrong. But how can you know if it is a friend or someone who has just been really happy with their service or product they received? If there's a product I like I would recommend it if someone was looking for help finding something, but I don't post all that often so maybe I'm not much help.


post #13 of 90
I think MDC should already be able to address this in egregious cases, but in most situations I think it should just pass by. (and please, the rules are long enough already...) Easily, people become friends because they are fans or frequent customers...and I don't think we can realistically start analyzing those relationships. I have seen similar remarks elsewhere about this, but one thing to keep in mind -- some people call any sort of positive review or wahm mention of any kind, spam. So just because they call it spam does not mean it was not an accurate mention or review.

Highly unlikely, but if a moderator contacted me to ask me to cut back or stop mentioning someone whose products I truly used, bought and believed in, I would be pretty mad. I also think regular users are pretty savvy, even the lurkers. It's pretty easy to see a pattern of someone who always makes the same suggestion to a similar question when you're searching for that issue - so over time I think people do discard someone who is a one-note chorus. WAHM advertisers may be concerned, but I think we do a pretty good job of getting out the overt spam, and keeping a lid on the covert. I can't imagine it being done any better. If we all go away becuase it's too difficult to discuss where to get items or brands we like - then how effective would their MDC ad dollar be? We, to support MDC, need them. But they need us too, they need us to be here and to be receptive and interested in learning about new products and WAHMs.
post #14 of 90
Originally Posted by Cynthia Mosher
Jess, Kathleen, if this board were to be open to spam would you continue to advertise here? That's not to say that we would permit spam because another big reason for refusing to allow it is for the benefit of the general, non-WAHM community that wants sincere input and not promotional posts in response to their questions.
I am not saying to open the site to spam. I am saying that taking screen shots of someone bragging about posting about a friend they posted about MDC somewhere else is ludicrious. It would seem to me very time consuming to do such things.....kwim? Not only that but rather malicious. I guess nobody likes a fink! I do not want to see post after post of spam, but saying that does not mean it is right to go searching the web for those posting about friends either. I dunno maybe I am just niave but I really do not feel there are too many who are posting about friends sales etc time and time again.
post #15 of 90
I personally have paid for ad space on MDC. I love it here. I post frequently here and one other board that is non-MDC. I know that I have my likes and dislikes as far as dipes go and I have become friends with some mamas who have great CS and are friendly. If someone asks about a product, and I own one of what they ask about, I tell them my honest opinion. I don't feel I am spamming, a question was asked and I answered it. Now, if I created posts (not replied to) constantly raving about a product, I can see that as spam.

Just my two cents. The other board I frequent is MUCH smaller but doesn't have 1/10th of the MDC rules (which I think for a large group are really necessary.) I love that I don't feel constant pressure there that my posts are being removed or people are being threatened to be banned for posting about their products.
post #16 of 90
The other thing that is hard to remember is that not all WAHM know about MDC. I certainly didn't and know that someone "spammed" my name without my knowledge and in turn someone else linked me here to show me. I have since been trying to find my footing on these boards before I choose to advertise. Had that original spam never been placed I would never have known about this board. I would not have supported the community or referred others here. I think blatant spamming should not be allowed, but I think it is a very natural thing that is going to happen. If a board becomes too difficult to post on because of rules and people playing Nancy Drew, I know I won't spend time here or my advertising $$. If there is an obvious spam scam and someone gets caught bragging on another board about it, why not just notify them via PM and put them on notice about the rules and/or remove their right to post.
post #17 of 90
I agree with Heather_The _Feather.

I have tried 5-6 different AIO's. Out of them I have one that works awsome! I always recommend that one. I have 2 favorite wool covers & 2-3 fave wool soakers WAHMS. I do know most of the WAHM's from another boards since the WAHM comunity can be very close. So my recommendations are limited to that. So in essence I am usually recomending a "friends" diapers.

I think it will be very hard to deal with. But a link must be provded. Screen shots can be modified easily by someone with experience.
post #18 of 90
Obviously, a great aspect to the diapering boards is referrals. But to see threads that are started just to say 'So & So is having a sale!'- that turns me off as an advertiser, as a member and as a shopper.

My thoughts are that going and looking for people who 'pattern' refer would be a waste of time. But if it begins to be obvious, then perhaps a little investigation would be warranted. How hard would a search of all their posts be?

What really frustrates me, as a WAHM who has had her hand slapped for genuinely trying to help someone and NOT to promote my products, is seeing blatant SPAM on the behalf of someone. Especially when I am so careful about what I say and how.

So perhaps, that should be what is monitored- not necessarily banned: threads that are started with the sole purpose of advertising... And even if you want to rave about someone's customer service etc, that is what the Diaper Pin and The Diaper Hyena are for.
post #19 of 90
I appreciate that this board is basically spam free. I have rarely seen a case where it was true and blatant spamming. I would be beyond angry if a link to a non-advertising WAHM was edited; really angry. I think you all are making more of this than is necessary, really. It just does not happen often enough to warrant such grave concern, IMHO.

I too have a few favorites that i mention frequently, but i try to be circumspect, as i do have relationships with some WAHMs. I would be livid if i were asked not to recommend a WAHM because she happened to be an online friend.
post #20 of 90
I also think people here are pretty smart. Say a newbie comes in and asks for advice on what kind of AIO to get. She might get spam from one or two mamas but she will also get lots and lots of good honest suggestions. If someone constantly spams for one WAHM whose products are terrible eventually someone else will buy said product and report back that its terrible. Actually, knowing the ladies around here many will buy and report back. :LOL And if a mama is spamming for a WAHM that has great products is it really a problem? I mean if the product really is nice how can you say the poster isn't just being helpful?
I don't advertise here or anything so I probably shouldn't have much of a say in things, but I think it would be too much trouble to track down these people and I think it would be awful to do away with all the raving. I love love love hearing and giving suggestions.
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