TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted


BYOT! Enter TeaChat here, you never know what you may find!

Please read the topic. Should TeaChat have a "free zone" where tea(ware) related spam would be placed for members to read (or ignore)?

Yes
6
21%
No
22
79%
Undecided
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 28

TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 24th, '13, 11:34

Greetings, my fellow TeaChatters.

Today TeaDay enters a new realm, a new direction ... potentially. Your input will help to steer TeaChat into previously uncharted and highly avoided waters.

So, here is the deal. We all know that Teachat has always been spammed by a myriad of entities from seemingly credible to absolutely corrupt seeking a free form of promotion, advertising ... or whatever the motivation may be.

For years, TeaChat has strenuously blocked such attempts in order to maintain a strict "spam-free zone" where members could discuss tea related topics without the pesky distractions of spammers.

Over the years TeaChat has also eased the rules, made exceptions, made special forums within TeaChat for TeawareArtisans and TeaMerchants and even TeaSwap who met required criteria of being an active member in good standing of TeaChat.

However, perhaps it is time to ease the rules again. Often when I see a spammers post, usually a new topic, I think perhaps the post might serve a purpose for some members (this actually occurred today), but certainly we could not allow these within the general forum lest TeaChat would lose some of its ... spam-free bliss and credibility.

However, what if we were to create a special Category (categories on TeaChat include "Tea and Teaware," "TeaCommunity," etc.) and/or a special Forum (TeaChat forums include "Black Tea," "Teaware and Accessories," etc.). Any tea related spam post would be moved to this new ... area, unless deemed to be "highly toxic."

Members would be strongly reminded to visit such linked sites at their own risk (including potential harm to their computers, etc.). Links would likely be deactivated, non-clickable ... so members would have to copy and paste to visit linked sites which would prevent accidental clicking on malicious links (this would also prevent the spammer use of TeaChat's embedding feature which allows the posting a link quite different from what is actually seen by reading members).

TeaChat would assume absolutely no responsibility for any visits to said sites nor any transactions attempted ... this goes without saying, but stating for the purposes of discussion.

Please discuss here and vote! The votes will be either a simple yes or no or undecided. TeaChatters will decide the fate of this proposal!
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby kikula » Nov 24th, '13, 15:37

Chip, maybe you could elaborate a little (and a little more specifically) on what sort of spam would be useful, and how?
I guess it might be OK if new and legit vendors want to advertise themselves (and dare to expose themselves to this discerning audience) but there are also many hundreds who'd just like free space - I fear an obnoxious deluge and an increase in threads that are basically argumentative (Teavana smack-down type things - though those do have a function).
I don't post much but am pretty devoted to this forum, in part because I'm NOT getting spammed. For once.
But not sure I'm clear on what you're proposing? Maybe I'm just being dense.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby AdamMY » Nov 24th, '13, 15:59

I believe I saw the posts in question this morning. They were not bad posts, some actually trying to raise a discussion, the problem was it was created by a vendor, and each post had at least one if not multiple links to their site and items they sell on their site.

So the content of the post was *good* yet still a fairly blatant advertisement/ post created to drive traffic to their site.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby teaformeplease » Nov 24th, '13, 16:37

I think there are enough places on the web for these kinds of posts to go that it is not necessary here. One of the things that I enjoy most about TeaChat is the spam free environment.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby ethan » Nov 24th, '13, 17:42

Chip, I think you are doing a very good job running it the way you have. I am also very impressed w/ Adagio for not doing more to direct business their way. I don't think spam would be an improving addition.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 24th, '13, 17:59

To answer Kikula, Adam answered this pretty well.

They vary in presentation. The ones I would allow (and move to the designated category/forum) would have to be tea or teaware related. All others would go poof as always.

Sometimes they read like an infomercial and sometimes hilariously so. Sometimes they are simply a plea to visit their site. Sometimes they are the false testimonials.

They are almost always a brand new member who I activated thinking they would be OK ... I err on the liberal side of this but seem to be pretty effective in disallowing really bad seeds. :mrgreen:

They originate from around the globe, often Western, but more often China or India (although currently nobody gets TeaChat activated from India due to the dangerous links too often included) or other Eastern countries.

If moved to their own category/forum of TeaChat, they would not interfere with general forum quality and members would have the option as to whether they visit the category/forum or simply ignore it.

If the spamming member becomes problematic, they can be deactivated and the posts can remain ... or be removed.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 24th, '13, 17:59

Majority will rule on this matter! I will check the tally on December 1st and declare the winner.

Oddly, as much as I have fought spam over the years, and all the headaches they presented, and all the time they have exhausted, and the computer virus I got from one ... I do not oppose this proposal. :shock:

So, this is your forum, vote today!

Yes had an early lead, but No has moved out in front.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Devoted135 » Nov 24th, '13, 22:12

It seems to me that there are plenty of "vendor members" and whatnot who have managed to abide by the current rules, and my respect for them and their business is increased as a result. So, there's no reason that representatives of other tea-related businesses can't create accounts and do the same, right?

Honestly, if "yes" won the vote and the posts in question were allowed to stand, that would probably just make me less inclined to purchase from those particular vendors.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 24th, '13, 22:17

Devoted135 wrote:It seems to me that there are plenty of "vendor members" and whatnot who have managed to abide by the current rules, and my respect for them and their business is increased as a result. So, there's no reason that representatives of other tea-related businesses can't create accounts and do the same, right?

Honestly, if "yes" won the vote and the posts in question were allowed to stand, that would probably just make me less inclined to purchase from those particular vendors.

Good points. TBH, I would never give a business my business who spammed the forum ... or my email ... or whatever. Seriously, what are vendors thinking when they do this. Though some have claimed to have hired a subcontractor to improve site traffic and google rankings.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby sherubtse » Nov 26th, '13, 22:00

No, no no! :evil:

There is enough spam & similar foolishness in other tea forums (e.g., Steepster).

Best wishes,
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Nov 26th, '13, 22:40

AdamMY wrote:I believe I saw the posts in question this morning. They were not bad posts, some actually trying to raise a discussion, the problem was it was created by a vendor, and each post had at least one if not multiple links to their site and items they sell on their site.

So the content of the post was *good* yet still a fairly blatant advertisement/ post created to drive traffic to their site.


I believe I too saw the "offending" post and first had a reaction...but as I read on, the post, if it was the same one, seemed more or less benign. That said, as much as I do believe a spam folder for TeaChat members to be solicited by external sources could also bear some good fruit, I'm uncertain about the value of opening up the door for such a possibility, as well as uncertain about what opening that door up might mean for those whom have to moderate this space (more work, etc.). I suspect the job of keeping TeaChat spam-free and respectful is already, though there does seem to be a well established inertia in place, a bit of work. Ultimately, if I am forced between a "yes" and "no" I am moved to settle on "no."

Devoted135 wrote:It seems to me that there are plenty of "vendor members" and whatnot who have managed to abide by the current rules, and my respect for them and their business is increased as a result. So, there's no reason that representatives of other tea-related businesses can't create accounts and do the same, right?


Yeah, as well, Devo's points above seem to me to hold up. Though I guess I...could...foresee the value of a "promotions" folder wherein tea vendors could post their promotions, and only in that folder, market potentially beneficial opportunities to TeaChat users (though this would not necessarily solve any problems with potentially problematic links (malware, etc). I have come across various promotions from vendors I believe to be solid and have shared them here in the TeaChat community; I have also reaped the benefit of other, vendor non-affiliated, TeaChat members sharing similar type of information. So, to me, there could be a value. I find myself curious about how much vendors would respect having access to only one location to fulfill their solicitation desires. Chip seems to have to be the one to sweep the place clean from time to time and it would perhaps be interesting to hear Chip what your experience is around how vigilant or lax a mod. has to be to keep TeaChat the quality space it is.

Blessings!
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 27th, '13, 00:01

Wellll ...

I also would not expect to see spammers locating the special spam category/forum and posting there, after all they are rule breakers, not followers. I would simply remove their post from location posted and place it under the new category. Easy peasy. TBH, this is likely easier than the current process.

After moving, I would still have to decide whether or not to leave the spammer as an active member.

Spammer traffic varies. It used to be rampant but steps have been taken to prevent activation of spammers in the first place. At one point, it was horrendous and at that time I would never even consider such a move as what is being discussed in this topic. Oh my, you would not have believed the explicit nature of a lot of the spam. Picture ... eh hem ... images 5000 pixels wide. It was literally breaking me and I almost walked away since I could not get the support I needed from admin/ownership to deal with the problem in absolute terms. This was the worst period for me as Mod. From that point on I wore a dual admin/mod hat.

I would say I am generally "over zealous" in dealing with spam which at times gives me a false guilt complex. :oops: Especially when the spammer tries to enter into a dialogue with me directly. It is kinda tough being the baddie ... so to speak. However, sometimes this has borne fruit!

One upside to this possibility, if all spammers are dumped into this special category/forum, they may try to correct the situation and become productive vendor/members of TeaChat. Maybe wishful thinking, but a certain percentage would.

I do not like to think of myself as an impenetrable barrier, but more of a facilitator looking for ways to say yes. It is challenging and some will try to play me ... but that is on them as it will ultimately bite them in the arse. :mrgreen:
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 27th, '13, 00:04

BTW, the post(s)/poster to which you are referring is one of those who seems to want to right the wrong. The two topics removed from the general forum will likely return, edited.

Hopefully this one will bear fruit. :!:
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Chip » Nov 27th, '13, 00:05

... and I am not trying to sway this one way or another. I will simply try to provide whatever information asked of me.

I can live with it either way.

Allowing the spammer category/forum would present a new challenge for me which I enjoy.
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Re: TeaDay 11/24/13: Unendorsed Spam Input Wanted

Postby Poohblah » Nov 27th, '13, 02:45

I think it is good to have a designated place for vendors to advertise their products and promote sales, for tea-related startups to get the word out about their new business, for people and establishments to announce events and gatherings, and so on.

I'm not entirely sure what you're proposing here, Chip, but if it meets the goals I enumerated above, then I support it.

From what I understand, you seem to be suggesting a kind of publicly-viewable "jail" or "quarantine" for vendor posts that otherwise fall out of line? :?:
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