Thanks for Banning Me

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“thanks for banning me. i had no interest in your forum my aim was just to promote my site through signature otherwise there are thousands and thousands forums like yours. yours have nothing special.”

Emails like this make my day. No really, they do. They give me the laugh that is more than necessary after a long day of working and bringing up kids. The emails that I receive generally fall into three categories. The first are the new joiners who are introducing themselves and telling me what they need from me. I love those emails. They are an opportunity to find out what it is that you’re currently into, what it is that you want and how we can meet your needs. The second type are the emails from people that are stuck on something or are finding themselves lost in the miriad of sub-forums. Those ones are cool. It’s satisfying to help someone to see the light. And then there are these ones. The people that we’ve banned that think that somehow they’ll “get me back” by saying something mean. By swearing or being rude. By telling me what a great mistake we have made to get rid of them. Seriously? If we wanted you around we wouldn’t have banned you!

SitePoint community

I run the SitePoint forums with a pretty light hand. Some would say too light, but I do it because I remember how it felt to be new. There are so many unwritten rules in the world of forums and it is so easy to make a mistake and feel like a fool that I want to make it as easy as possible to fit in and have a good time – as well as enabling people to find the information and help that they need. The line between newcomers making a mistake and those that sign up to deliberately break the rules can sometimes be hard to pick out. I’d rather err on the safe side and avoid coming across as unwelcoming.

But there is a harsh truth. We don’t want just anyone signing up.

The guy that made the introductory quote above is the perfect example. We don’t want his kind around our place. Your aim is to promote yourself? Do it in the Marketplace. We’re not anyone’s soapbox. We don’t claim to be special or different from the thousands and thousands of other forums out there. All we claim to be is a welcoming place that people can come if they get stuck when they’re developing for the web in some way or other. Those people aren’t there to act as an audience for you to market to. They’re not there to put up with spam. And they’re sure as hell not there to filter through the loads of rubbish posts that you make in order to expose your signature!

We’re here so that you can bounce ideas off your peers. Help someone out. Ask a few questions when you’re stuck. Take part in some interesting conversations. Maybe even make a friend or two! If you can do some of those things and leverage a bit of interest from your signature at the same time, then more power to you.

So do us all a favour. Unless you’re signing up to our forums to actually be a part of the community, then don’t. Just don’t.

Sarah HawkSarah Hawk
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Formerly a developer in the corporate world, HAWK (known as Sarah by her mother) said goodbye to the code and succumbed to the lure of social media to become the Community Manager for the SitePoint network. Now Hawk is working with Discourse to build their product and community.

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