Spam is a serious problem in community forums, which often contain a lot of sensitive user data and private conversations. Forum spam not only consumes valuable space. But can also trick users into clicking on links that give spammers access to their data. That’s why you have to stop forum spam as soon as possible!
In this article, you’ll learn how to prevent, moderate, and stop forum spam.
So if spammers have taken over your community forum, here are some tips on how to make your forum a safer place for users who actually have something important to say.
What Is Considered Spam in a Forum?
We could consider spamming any message that doesn’t add value to the forum. For example, if you’re moderating a discussion about gardening and someone posts an irrelevant link to a website selling dog food, then this would be considered spam.
In addition to not adding value or being relevant, spam can also be defined as duplicate content (messages containing the same information as another message); off-topic content (messages that are off-topic for the discussion at hand); or spamming using multiple accounts.
How to Prevent Spamming in Your Community?
- Include a content moderation policy
- Use CAPTCHA
- Use a moderation queue
- Have a forum moderator
- Make it easier to report posts
#1: Include a Content Moderation Policy
Every community builder might choose its own set of rules for its forum. However, there are some general ones that almost every community can use. Therefore, to provide a safe space and make a good forum, your rules must cover:
- Respect other members
- Prohibit inappropriate or unsafe content.
- Avoid spam in any of the server’s channels.
- Protect members’ confidentiality.
- Prevent any use of discriminatory language and hate speech.
- Prohibit Illegal distribution of unlicensed material.
👉 Check out our template of General Rules for Discord Servers you can copy and paste to your community.
#2: Use CAPTCHA
A simple and effective way to stop forum spam is using CAPTCHA. This is a program that tests whether the user of a website is human. Common examples include typing in the letters on an image or solving a simple math problem.
The logic behind this is that computers are less likely to be able to complete these tests than humans. So if someone enters the wrong answer multiple times they will be marked as spam. And therefore blocked from posting further comments.
#3: Use a Moderation Queue
Another way to stop forum spam is to use a moderation queue. Moderation queues allow administrators and moderators of sites like Facebook and Reddit to access all comments made on their respective sites at any time.
This allows them to timestamp each comment as it is posted on their site’s server. This way, if there are any problems, they can find out which user created the spam content. Also, they can find out whether the person who posted the comment is a registered user or not.
#4: Have a Forum Moderator
One of the main tasks of the moderators is to make sure that every member abides by the rules of the forum or community. However, as we mentioned earlier, moderators need the founders of the community to create a clear and concise set of rules. And while the moderator needs to know them perfectly, the members need to have them in mind as well.
Related 👉 How to Make Online Communities More Accessible
Moderators are role models for the rest of the community. As a founder, you should therefore encourage them to practice critical thinking. This will enable them to understand situations in order to arrive at a reasonable solution.
In this way, they will be able to recognize when they should quickly punish users. And also when they should adapt and clarify rules to allow more flexibility in the future.
#5: Make It Easier to Report Posts
The last way to stop forum spam is by making it easier for users to report posts that they think are spammy or otherwise inappropriate. This lets moderators know exactly where problems are happening so they can take care of them quickly!
How to Moderate a Community Forum?
To successfully moderate a community forum, you could set up a spam filter that automatically removes or flags posts that are likely to be spam.
As a moderator, you could also set up a flagging system where users can flag posts they think are spam. There’s also the option of using a user review system where users can review posts they think are inappropriate.
Related 👉 Is Your Community a Safe Place?
It’s important to make sure you pick moderators that are fair and trustworthy. As well as making sure that you only ban people who have posted too much or made other serious mistakes. As we previously said, critical thinking is fundamental for forum moderators!
It’s described as “The land of treasure for community builders” and it’s a great place for builders to learn how to create value!
When you’re the creator of a community or forum, the last thing you want to do is go it alone. You want other members who’re just as invested in the community as you are. And that means recruiting moderators who share your vision and values.
If everyone works together, you’ll have a much easier time keeping spam out of the community forum and ensuring that only useful content remains.