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Do you think it's alright to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to self-promotion, spam, or even the posting of any and all links - in a webmaster-oriented community (ie WebmasterWorld, DaniWeb)?

On one hand, it seems good to have a black and white policy - and on the other hand, it can come off as way too harsh. What do you think?

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Last Post by Dani
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I think you should allow people to post links to their sites, as long as they are real sites and not seo spam. :)

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Why? C'mon, this is a discussion! :) Explain ;)

My outtake on it is that when people start talking about their site, specifically, the thread goes in a direction where it helps them and no one else. i.e. "How can I SEO my site better"? or "Why aren't I getting any signups?"

I want to keep the Internet Marketing forums as non-site specific as possible so that people don't feel like they're reading a whole bunch of "how can I promote my own site?" threads but can have real, mature discussions that will help everyone.

Then, we have a Site Reviews forum where you can ask all of those questions ... "Review my site for SEO" or "Review my site to figure out why I'm not getting as many signups as I should" and that type of thing.

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I'm a bit disgruntled by the lack of input in this thread ... While I really like the idea of banning site-specific talk except in a designated forum (in this case, Site Reviews), I am afraid that it may stifle forum growth way too much.

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It's often difficult to discuss topics and resolve issues without referencing URLs. I think members should earn merit for the privalege to post URLs, in order to keep the spammers out. I think the policy in place regarding site reviews, should apply to all threads.

Furthermore, most modern search engines heavily weigh citation for scoring documents. If DaniWeb forums block citation, quality sites won't get the credit they deserve. Do we want to penalize the good guys because of the spammers?

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Hey Dani.

Well, I have to say that I honestly like your policy. Being strict leaves no questions. There is nothing to discuss with a Black & White policy like the one that is in effect.
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Our Advertising Community
Internet Marketingforum
If the sole reason you register is to spam with your own advertisements, do us all a favor and do not bother registering. For our web developer audience (and there is quite a lot of you out there), we offer an Internet Marketing forum. Do not take it for granted. Note that no affiliate links are permitted anywhere throughout the site. In addition, most Internet Marketing forums prohibit referring to your website by name or supplying its URL.

You may use the Webmaster Marketplace forum to post that you are offering an online service (such as advertising) that is directly related to a webmaster audience. It is not meant for advertising your website, products for sale, etc. While this forum is geared towards services only, at moderator's discretion, exceptions may be allowed such as offering an unused vBulletin license or a forum skin, for example. Of course, sellers must hold the copyrights and/or legal right to sell. In addition, all advertisements in this forum must have all relevant information posted in the thread. (Prices may be negotiated privately however.) Posts that are simply links to other sites offering the service are not permitted. Please note there is a 10 post minimum before you are allowed to start a new thread in this forum, as well as in the Traffic Exchange and Site Reviews forums. It is prohibited to tack your advertisement onto an existing advertisement thread, in an attempt to get around this minimum. One advertisement per thread please.

Site Reviews forum
We offer a Showcase forum where you can receive feedback about your site. This is not an advertising forum. Inacceptable posts include: "Check out my hosting company. 100 MB for only $5/month!" Acceptable posts include: "My hosting company is not getting many signups despite a competitive price. What can I do to change the look of the site to encourage more signups?" If you are in dire need of promoting your website, e-mail/PM me about exchanging links or advertising with us.

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Some sites allow Personal Site Promotions in the useres Signature after so many posts. But this also is hard to moderate and control. Normally such is taken advantage of.
Take my forum for example. I have almost left it completely. I do everything on daniweb. Though I have an amazing group of people on my forum. I cannot enforce the rules because no one would listen. Soo.. I basically just had to take them down. What's the point of having them if you can't enforce them.
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Black & White policies don't allow exceptions. So what happened to my forum wouldn't happen here.

If you really want to try to do something about griping members send them my way. I'll tell 'em like it is.
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If you want ideas on a way to make allow personal site promotion. I suggest a forum area. One area. Requirement to post in this area should be, a 75 post minimum. That way you know they are here to stay. Not just grab ten posts and throw up a really nice ad that will attract people to other forums/WebSites/or-WebServices.

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Like I said the No link posting allowed is the best policy. You don't have to allow exceptions to anyone. If the really want there Web Site posted on here. They have the option to affiliate or pay for advertisement on the HomePage.

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Anybody else have some ideas. Come on guys were here everyday bugging Dani. Let's give her a hand on this one.

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It's not about spamming. It's about making the threads relevant to everyone instead of allowing all of the questions to be site-specific. It's a difference between "how can webmasters fix this problem?" and "how can I fix this problem on my site?". For those site-specific questions, they would all be grouped together into a Site-Specific Questions forum.

Another question - If I renamed the Site Reviews forum to Site-Specific Questions, would it be more confusing??

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Another question - If I renamed the Site Reviews forum to Site-Specific Questions, would it be more confusing??

I say probably. If you want to name it something. Along those lines work on the wording.

"Webmaster's Site Problems"
"Personal Site Problems"
"Personal-Site Questions"

or have some fun with the wording :P

"Your Site Errors Fixed here!"

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To me everything has to have some fun no matter how professional the site is.

But try to keep it simple. Or have like the Forum name and a description under it.

-Forum (Personal Site Questions)
--Description (This Forum is For webmasters to discuss problems on their sites.)


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Something along those lines.

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Anytime. :P

I'm Suprised at the lack of feedback though.. Hmm. people are getting ready for thanksgiving early I guess :P

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It looks like Cre8asite Forums, a very popular SEO and usability forum, has the same idea as I do.

They have a Website Hospital forum whose description is:
Website reviews, questions like "Why can't I sell anything from my site?" and "Why do people leave as soon as they get to my site?"

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I think, for webmaster forums, it's a good idea to allow links in sigs and self promotion if it's relevant to the discussion at hand. Many webmasters participate in discussions just for the backlinks.

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I think, for webmaster forums, it's a good idea to allow links in sigs and self promotion if it's relevant to the discussion at hand. Many webmasters participate in discussions just for the backlinks.

Well people who participate in a community just for the backlinks - aren't those exactly the type of people that we DON'T want? We want people because they enjoy being a part of our community and enjoy learning with us and sharing knowledge.

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Well their are some that are allowed like in the sig but make sure a users has to posts on the forum first before they can do that! but i will remove anyone who just spams the forum about their site etc

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I think it may be a bit hard to be too strict on people who posts their websites on this forum (if we are talking about this forum). I mean I am quiet happy to just visit different peoples sites without them annoying me, kind of like a forum rotated Web Ring. There is a line that can be crossed though with too much web pimping.

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Thanks for all the feedback. For anyone out there who runs a webmaster-oriented community of your own, what is your policy? (And remember, don't mention the name / url of your site! :) )

Hmm ...

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Do you think it's alright to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to self-promotion, spam, or even the posting of any and all links - in a webmaster-oriented community (ie WebmasterWorld, DaniWeb)?

On one hand, it seems good to have a black and white policy - and on the other hand, it can come off as way too harsh. What do you think?

The simplest method is to code a solution. Namely set it so "new fellows and gals" can NOT post links. Make them get to 50 posts and then let them have a sig, post links etc. ( 50 posts being a number pulled out of my.... )

I dont have a webdev forum but I do find every person who is making a movie and every intern at every major studio loves to spam big boards. So these two "code updates" made my boards a much nicer place to hang out without hindering true contributors.

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Dani you already know my outtake on this subject I am all for allowing links as long as they are not spam links the forum is for dicussion and wether dicussion is site specefic, general or general discussion with reference to a particular site a good discussion is all that matters. I have had great discussion on SEO forums at sitepoint, TAZ etc even with reference to the website. Thing is that when you have a mature set of aurdience discussing which Daniweb has the discussion which is with reference to a particular website will eventually turn into general discussion all by itself. IMO too many ifs, buts and dont's put people off and is a primary reason for lack of word of mouth marketing atleast that has been my experience.

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This is indeed a tricky situation.

I have a webmaster site with the appropriate community :lol: I allow my members to link to their webmaster site/forum in their signatures (I mean something discreet and of common sense, not "Join now", "visit now" ...

I allow web site reviews. In the end I have started the entire project after getting involved in other huge forums and reviewing sites. After a while I thought I should have a site of my own where i can express MY own views on design, layouts, promotion and so on. After putting down some very "opinated" articles I have thought about starting a forum too.

I allow reviews there too (well, it's my "job" :D). BUT .. I don't allow forum reviews. Why? because most of the time people post there just to promote. Unless I see some serious theme modding and efforts to make me have what to review, I just consider it a sneaky way to get visits and members. When someone installs a script and uses a stock template, then he should be prepared for some "nasty" remarks.

I do allow forum reviews in my "group" called Forums development team". Usually people who want to get more members and posts join, make 20 posts and ask for inclusion in the team. The team is hidden and so is the corresponding forum. That's the only way I am willing to give tips for improvement and reviews.

As for the other sites, they are reviewed in the "normal" reviews forum. If I am not mistaken I have made it so only people with more than 20 posts can post there and open topics. Same for the "market" place. I don't want my place to become a spammer's heaven, nor turn it to a "shopping place". The members who are "serious" enough as to post 20 messages (takes me 30 minutes to do so :D) are allowed for more "goodies".

Not a good idea if you want to fast expand, but in the end I don't rush anywhere. I want more posts and quality then just people to waste my space and bandwidth ...

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We used to have a 10 post minimum to post in our site-specific sections (marketplace, etc). However, I found it just stifled traffic way too much, and I got rid of it. We also used to have a 10 post min before you could have a signature ... ditched it all.

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I still keep a limit for the "market place" and reviews section. I don't want one time posting spammers to come, place the link and then leave, as they seem to do in other places. My 42 posts/member rate is the result of this "unfriendly" way of doing things :D

As for the sigs. I let them link to the site from the first post. I don't post in forums that won't allow me to put a link in my sig. In the end that forum lives because of me. So that's the "minimum" I am willing to offer.

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This one is a tough one.

Here is how I view it...

I am the best Reality TV Site in the world and someone who is just starting wants to network with me. What do I get out of it? Nothing and they may take some of my members.

Other way around. I am just starting. I WANT and almost NEED the best site to help me out. Even if it is just something small like a link in a signature.

The way I view it. The internet is a large place (that would be the WORLD in the World Wide Web) and really there is enough "business" or "traffic" to be able to really work with any site (as long as they are not spam or just useless site with no content). I believe networking is important and there are benifits both ways.

I have tried this. I have attempted to network with other sites in my market and have had little to no success. Just kind of is tough. I guess, I would do what I can to keep helping and offer something if anything to make it worth it for a simple link somewhere on the site.

I believe in the power of networking. It has changed my DJ business 100%...now if I could just help people ONLINE know that as well! :)

Just my thoughts. I do not like the black and white approach. Working together is better.

Peace,

DJ Bill

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Well, if you add seperate section like employment/offer section/site review/selling site etc, there is less chance of spamming and self promotion.

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I am new to your forum and came across this thread. Just a comment, I'm not a fan of any type of zero tolerance with few exceptions (DWI being one of them). In this case, certainly there is some middle ground and most times it will depend on circumstances. For instance, I am very active and busy in the virtualization world and there are some very useful links that folks may be interested in, and not just the site I run. I do agree that the site's usefulness would be diminished if you allowed all types of postings-much like Google has become polluted with links that are not relevent other than a key word.

But remember this axiom: zero tolerance = zero thought.

Virtually yours.

-MD

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I think that a middle ground is to have one area of the site where general discussions can take place with no specifics, and another area of the site to make industry contacts and have discussions about improving your specific site. Here, for example, while this area of the site has a no tolerance policy, we have a separate Marketplace category to advertise various services available, websites for sale, and what have you. We also have a forum to ask for Site Reviews regarding various aspects of web design, usability, navigation, and other factors. Plus everyone can have a forum signature in all of their posts.

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