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On Membership throttling, bannination & The Well
edited March 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
What has been everyone's experience with the membership throttling which is the application form? Has any grown a large forum & noticed any difference in troll traffic because of this barrier to entry? I'd like to think that a larger general discussion community.. like The Well is possible again with some minimal barrier to entry, and bannination in effect for large abuse in combination with strong user controls for minor irritants. Thoughts? This is something I'd really like to grow.
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1. I would imagine that professional plants would be the best at answering such a question acceptably; gaining community confidence is their job.
2. I worry a lot that, by placing even more obstacles between potential users and my forum, I'm scaring away potentially productive members of the community based on an arbitrary criteria. I don't think that the manner in which a person fills out one field of yet another web form has anything to do with the value they will bring to the forum as a whole. I might as well let them pick a number from 1 to 9 and then throw out the applications of all the people who choose "7".
This is also why I tend to be against "online gated communities"; too often the lack of new blood stunts the dynamic nature of the forum. The same dozen people come back every day, until one by one they slowly grow bored, and leave, and the forum eventually dies.
A far more sensible solution is to let everbody in, and judge existing members based on the quality of their contributions. If your forum is full of spambots and plants and trolls, tempban them! If they come back and do it again, permaban them. If banning people is too difficult, or takes too much effort, then that's a serious problem with the admin interface of your site which should be fixed.
You could even take this to extremes, and put all new members on a temporary probation for 30 days.
I kind of see what you're saying, Bergamot. But I guess it also depends on the nature of the community. If it's just a chat community, then auto-approval might be better. But if it has a specific purpose, like this one supporting Lussumo products, then people who need that support probably won't care about having to fill out one extra field when applying.
Also, regarding your comments: I worry a lot that, by placing even more obstacles between potential users and my forum, I'm scaring away potentially productive members
If they're really so productive, why is it so hard for them to fill out one extra field?
And you'd be surprised how much that little field tells you about a person.
I've been driven off of the slashdots & diggs by the trolling & "sux" comments. I was always fascinated by The Well (back when it was vibrant).