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  1. #76
    From space with love silver trophy
    SpacePhoenix's Avatar
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    Perhaps when people sign up we should have in very large (say 100pt) bold text on the signup page something like:

    *** Attention! Search engines can not see any signatures and all signatures are no follow ***
    Community Team Advisor
    Forum Guidelines: Posting FAQ Signatures FAQ Self Promotion FAQ
    Help the Mods: What's Fluff? Report Fluff/Spam to a Moderator

  2. #77
    SitePoint Addict Brian Asselin's Avatar
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    Perhaps 90 days + participation. Like at least 5-10 posts before you can use sigs.

  3. #78
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Well my initial thought was to have the first 10 posts of every new member reviewed by a staff member to give it a thumbs up or down for quality, it would help reduce the fluff which newbies seem to manage to smear everywhere before they move on (or push their signature through). But that would require more staff available and could cause a back-up delay in reviewing posts. Perhaps we need a trust system for signatures... IE only people who Mentors / Advisor's / Admins / Staff consider reputable can display a signature link (it would certainly kill the link-spam, but that would probably be a last-case scenario to deal with the bad guys if things got real heavy going). As raena said, time + post checks would probably result in fluff + waiting and that's no good to any of us.

  4. #79
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    I think a good thing is to encourage more users to report spam and useless posts. I also agree with alerting new members that signatures are not crawled.
    Last edited by spikeZ; Jan 19, 2010 at 18:47.

  5. #80
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Well my initial thought was to have the first 10 posts of every new member reviewed by a staff member to give it a thumbs up or down for quality, it would help reduce the fluff which newbies seem to manage to smear everywhere before they move on (or push their signature through). But that would require more staff available and could cause a back-up delay in reviewing posts.
    Brilliant idea Alex! You're a bloody genius!...There is of course the downside of staff having much more work to do, or find more staff to take on the increased work load. But I think it would be worth it for the integrity and reputation of the forum.

    Most fluff posts and low quality replies are made by members with low post counts. You'll see someone in the forums with around 7 posts to their name and only 1 of them posts will be a half decent contribution to the forums.

    This thread is about the user signatures, but I think the staff should have a discussion on Alex's idea above. You know it would stop the fluffy low-quality posts from being made in the forums.

    Andrew Cooper

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by randor53 View Post
    I think a good thing is to encourage more users to report spam and useless posts. I also agree with alerting new members that signatures are not crawled.
    We definitely love it when we get lots of reports. Well, not that we love getting lots of spam, just that we love it when people bring it to our attention. Many posts are discovered and squashed within minutes of their being posted, which is a phenomenal effort by both reporters and moderators.
    "I'm Commander Shepard, and this is
    my favourite post on the internet."

    We'll miss you, Dan Schulz.

  7. #82
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    Brilliant idea Alex! You're a bloody genius!...There is of course the downside of staff having much more work to do, or find more staff to take on the increased work load. But I think it would be worth it for the integrity and reputation of the forum.

    Most fluff posts and low quality replies are made by members with low post counts. You'll see someone in the forums with around 7 posts to their name and only 1 of them posts will be a half decent contribution to the forums.

    This thread is about the user signatures, but I think the staff should have a discussion on Alex's idea above. You know it would stop the fluffy low-quality posts from being made in the forums.

    Andrew Cooper
    At the same time, it would kill the forum's reputation for responding to questions within minutes. If you watch "unanswered threads", most of the basic HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP/MySQL/Apache questions fall off the list within minutes, even in the middle of the night.

    If everyone that came to ask a question had to wait for a moderator to approve it, the question might not be visible for anyone to answer for hours if nobody was around and checking the queue. A lot of people come here because they know they'll probably get help pretty fast. If they instead think they might not even get a response today, they'll just go somewhere else.

  8. #83
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    At the same time, it would kill the forum's reputation for responding to questions within minutes. If you watch "unanswered threads", most of the basic HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP/MySQL/Apache questions fall off the list within minutes, even in the middle of the night.

    If everyone that came to ask a question had to wait for a moderator to approve it, the question might not be visible for anyone to answer for hours if nobody was around and checking the queue. A lot of people come here because they know they'll probably get help pretty fast. If they instead think they might not even get a response today, they'll just go somewhere else.
    Buggery. Very true. Another negative of that idea. Maybe we'll need a lot more staff then if we were to implement this idea. Or maybe the idea would just flop I still think it would be a great policy addition to the forums, providing that these disadvantages were solved before you implemented it. I hate seeing rubbish posts that don't contribute anything useful to a thread .

    Andrew Cooper

  9. #84
    From space with love silver trophy
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    What if a high minimum number of posts was set, say 500? At that level someone would have to contribute to the forums in a meaning way as any fluff postings that they make would get deleted. With signatures kept as non-viewable and as no-follow.

    Raena, how many people do we have here who have mod rights?
    Community Team Advisor
    Forum Guidelines: Posting FAQ Signatures FAQ Self Promotion FAQ
    Help the Mods: What's Fluff? Report Fluff/Spam to a Moderator

  10. #85
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    What if a high minimum number of posts was set, say 500? At that level someone would have to contribute to the forums in a meaning way as any fluff postings that they make would get deleted.
    Just pulling some numbers off the Members List page:
    • There are only about 1,140 members with more than 500 posts
    • Many of those members accumulated those posts over the course of 5-10 years
    • There are 102,544 members that have made at least 1 post


    That means such a rule would disable signatures for 99% of members. It's equivalent to having no signatures on the forum as far as a policy. Only an elite few chosen people that have been here years and are still active would have one.

    There are some really thoughtful, helpful people that have been here years and aren't anywhere near 500 posts. Some have less than 100 even. There are some really thoughtful, helpful people that have only been here a few months or only stop by occasionally, and they "deserve" a signature as much as I would.

    It's easy to look at the people you recognize and that participate in a thread like this and come up with rules like that. But we don't actually want to create a forum where only this couple dozen people can easily converse, and everyone else gets thrown into an eternal moderation queue or something like that.

    Let's give the 90 day rule a try, and work on coming up with ideas beyond more signatures rules to handle poor quality posts.
    Last edited by Dan Grossman; Jan 19, 2010 at 20:11.

  11. #86
    From space with love silver trophy
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    Another alternative, have any changes of signature moderated by the mods. With post count based restrictions if the bar is set too low then it will encourage fluff posting, i would not set it any lower than 100 posts.

    My suspision is that once the 90 days is up we will again see an increase in fluff postings. If people sign up and then do nothing for the 90 days we have now way of knowing what their intentions are with regard to signatures once the 90 days is up.
    Community Team Advisor
    Forum Guidelines: Posting FAQ Signatures FAQ Self Promotion FAQ
    Help the Mods: What's Fluff? Report Fluff/Spam to a Moderator

  12. #87
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    On the other hand, those who just post a couple of posts then disappear leaving their signature to a couple of threads wont really matter to the forum or to them. I don't think a couple of signature will affect their SEO nor this forum.

    But if you guys say 90 days then thats fine with me as long as everyone is happy.

  13. #88
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I think the main issue isn't actually signature links themselves, it's the number of fluff threads which ever increase (people posting stuff like "thanks for the useful info"), it's especially an issue in the SEO forum where the "spider junkies" start snow-balling threads with fluff and repeat posts. I don't tend to go into the SEO forum much anymore because it was pretty disheartening to read an interesting thread which ended in about 10 junk replies.
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewCooper View Post
    Brilliant idea Alex! You're a bloody genius!
    I'm not sure about that, but thanks anyway

  14. #89
    SitePoint Addict Brian Asselin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    There are some really thoughtful, helpful people that have been here years and aren't anywhere near 500 posts.
    While I wouldn't call myself any of those things I have been here nearly 10 years and don't have 500 posts.

  15. #90
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    Well, I agree! This is really a good news as it can help in maintaining quality of the site..Good news..
    Thanks & Regards,
    From - www.vovol.nl
    Online Casino|Online Games - Netherlands

  16. #91
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    Lightbulb

    You're right but I think it will not stop black SEO.

  17. #92
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    And how many min posts to be entitled for signature?

  18. #93
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azanshah View Post
    And how many min posts to be entitled for signature?
    Three months from when you sign up is the current restriction. There is no actual number of posts currently needed.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  19. #94
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    That means such a rule would disable signatures for 99% of members. It's equivalent to having no signatures on the forum as far as a policy. Only an elite few chosen people that have been here years and are still active would have one.
    ..or a week (Dan/me)
    I like Alexs idea. The revewing posts..Dan pointed out that thread makers would suffer...but 99.9% of the time people who are fluffers/spammers DO NOT create threads to fluff. They do it in threads already created.

    Just disable it for thread makers and it should be fine
    Always looking for web design/development work.
    http://www.CodeFundamentals.com

  20. #95
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    They do it in new threads just as often, they're just easier to identify as nonsense to be removed by a moderator so they're not seen. I typically watch the "unanswered threads" list whenever I'm online, it's the replies to existing threads that I can't read every one of. Everyone reporting those posts when they're fluff is the way they get brought to someone's attention.

  21. #96
    billycundiff{float:left;} silver trophybronze trophy RyanReese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post
    They do it in new threads just as often, they're just easier to identify as nonsense to be removed by a moderator so they're not seen. I typically watch the "unanswered threads" list whenever I'm online, it's the replies to existing threads that I can't read every one of. Everyone reporting those posts when they're fluff is the way they get brought to someone's attention.
    Really? Generally when someone starts a thread in the main forums (outside GC) then it is generally for help. I have not seen one fluff/spam post that was CREATED in a thread, though I have seen many posted after the thread creation.
    Always looking for web design/development work.
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  22. #97
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanReese View Post
    Really? Generally when someone starts a thread in the main forums (outside GC) then it is generally for help. I have not seen one fluff/spam post that was CREATED in a thread, though I have seen many posted after the thread creation.
    That's because the moderators delete them so quickly after they are added.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  23. #98
    SitePoint Wizard spence_noodle's Avatar
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    What a great idea I must say and about time. I've been away from spf for some time and it's nice to see you are moving on as this problem has been around for some time and had to be sorted out.

    But I have seen one post where the member was advertising his/hers website by wording, e.g. - my domain dot com

    So maybe the idea in place will stop the signiture part but I still think spam posts will still occur. Which does lead to us decent members to help SPF staff point out these posts.
    "Don't you just love it when you solve a programming bug only to create another."

  24. #99
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    It is not difficult to make a bot that spam a forum, even if you require registration and login.

    A good reference: http://nostarch.com/webbots.htm

    And in the server log you will not necessarily identify the referrer as a bot, since it hides itself as a web browser.

    IMO, advanced adaptive filters that can be manually perturbed is the best solution.

  25. #100
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    You know what I want to see Dan? Threads with no replies over a period of a month automatically become closed. Too often I see people regurgitating old threads from the bowels of the forums adding responses which make no sense, offer nothing new to the discussion and are pointless on the basis that the thread starters are likely to have resolved the problem or will have moved onto something else. That is something that could at least limit the amount of fluff which can be produced (within threads in the forum) - leaving the older threads in-tact and free of age related clutter.

    Going one step further, being able to mark a thread as resolved could prove useful when the discussion has run it's course. I can't count the number of threads (for example one on sitemaps) where abut 30 people give a dictionary definition of what a sitemap is - not offering anything remotely useful post the issue being resolved.


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