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On Membership throttling, bannination & The Well

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.

Comments

  • What do you mean by member throttling application form? As far as i'm aware all forums have a registration of some kind. Unless your talking about completely anonymous posting in which case that's not what vanilla's aiming for. Certainly the majority of forums i've hung round have been registration based and i see nothing wrong with that as really it's necessary for the mechanics.
  • banninating the countryside, banninating the peasants...
  • "What do you mean by member throttling application form? As far as i'm aware all forums have a registration of some kind."

    I mean on top of that where with vanilla the application for joining really is that... an application where you explain why you want to join and an admin actually decides yes or no to let them in based on it.

    I believe what you're referring to is just a way to sign up, have a username, and be able to personalize settings typically.
  • Well with vanilla you can allow members instant access to the forum as soon as they've signed up - requiring an admins approval is an optional step.
  • "requiring an admins approval is an optional step" Yes, that's how I understood it too, but I wonder if anyone has any experience to share about how placing that between non-membership and membership as affected trolling, spamming, etc or perhaps increased or decreased the quality of discourse.
  • Yeah, i see where you're coming from now, interesting question. I think on here certainly it's helped lessen the trolling - I'm not sure what marks turn-down rate as far as approval of applicants is, but we've only had one real troll and i still havent quite worked him out. Eitherway i'm reasonably confidant we would have had more had the approval system not been in place.
    Unfortunately i dont frequent many other forums which use a different method to compare the two.

    But yeah, interesting question.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    Mini is right: I haven't had many problems on here with trolling and I do believe that it is because of the administrative approval process. In the beginning it took a while to fix my internal guage for who was going to be a troll and who wasn't based on that application information.

    I think I've gotten pretty good at it now. I turn down about one in every ten applicants. Most of the time they're turned down because they flat out swear at me in the "why do you want to join" textbox, or they put jibberish in there, or they just put some kind of flippant comment in there like, "This is a stupid question".

    I've tried many different approval processes in the past, and the only one that ever came close to this one was the "Invitation Only" method where new members had to be sponsored by existing members. That way if an existing member brought in a troll, both that member AND the troll would be banned. It makes people think twice about who they invite.
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    /me gets banned therefore mark gets banned.
  • edited February 2006
    I think I've gotten pretty good at it now. I turn down about one in every ten applicants. Most of the time they're turned down because they flat out swear at me in the "why do you want to join" textbox, or they put jibberish in there, or they just put some kind of flippant comment in there like, "This is a stupid question".
    Two problems with this:

    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.
  • While i agree with you on some parts bergamot, i think it depends entirely on the nature of the forum. I dont think anyone can say the membership list of this place is diminishing - i see new faces round here all the time and the majority are reasonably helpful or atleast not trolls. While obviously some people will be better / care more about what they write in the box, if they cant be bothered to write anything then who says they'll be bothered to help out when they get here. I'm sure some would, but likewise others wouldnt.

    While letting everyone in first and judging later would allow for a much larger and broader community, it can get messy in the meantime. If mark auto-approved everyone who registered there could be a lot of shit happening between then and when he next got back to the forum which would ruin the experience for the rest of us and possibly put off other members who got in with good intentions as they couldnt be bothered hanging round and putting up with it till someone sorted the new trolls out.

    It's always going to be a fine line to walk, but really, i dont think this place is doing badly.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    What Mini said.

    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'm going to give an all encompassing topics site a shot with Vanilla - origazi.com

    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).
This discussion has been closed.