Later today, we'll be releasing the Spam Watchlist — a new tool to help you fight spam.
This feature surfaces a list of people on your Ning Network that might be spammers, based on an algorithm that analyzes their content:
It's totally up to you to take action (either to suspend for spam or whitelist as not a spammer). All the Spam Watchlist does is let you know who seems fishy. You'll find it on your Members Moderation page, and you'll only see a link when there are any members in the list.
The algorithm will get better as you and other Ning Creators interact with the Spam Watchlist — it learns as you either suspend or whitelist members who appear there (if you choose to whitelist a member, they won't show up in this list again). For that reason, we recommend giving it a few weeks to warm up. If you have any feedback on the feature, please let us know using the feedback link that appears on the Spam Watchlist page!
In addition to the Spam Watchlist, we want to help protect your Ning Network from profile comment spam, which we know is particularly annoying.
Today, along with the Spam Watchlist, we're introducing a new checkbox that allows you to completely turn off profile comment emails. Obviously this is bad for engagement and not recommended, but we want to give you a last resort option in the event you're seeing a lot of spam. You'll find this option on your Email Settings page.
Additionally, in the next couple of weeks we'll start scanning profile comments for spam as they are posted. When we see suspicious posts, we'll be able to not trigger an email notification, or throw a CAPTCHA. We'll have more details on that in the coming days.
Please let us know if you have any questions or thoughts.
i agree with you Chris on keeping watch on old members that suddenly develop that habit. I had someone like that on my network. He joined. He played cool for weeks. Befriended members until he had a good mailing list. Then he started messaging them to move on to his own site which was a more professional site than mine with similar objectives. That is a different kind of spam. I doubt how effective the spam watch list can stop this until I see it working.
Regarding the approval tool. Yes it is great. I use it. It's effective but not without it's own drawbacks:
NCs and admins are stuck there waiting to approve. New members sort of lose their anxiety when asked to wait for approval. Ever since we started approving members we have noticed members who withdraw their membership application or simply don't come back when they get approved. Most of our networks have tons of alternatives if you are in a niche like mine (ESL). The user who is going to wait for 8hours until you get back from work, eat dinner, take a shower then approve him to join your network is probably you former classmate or colleague at work not someone who found your network through search engines.
I still think putting all new members on a kind of temporary status that limits what they can do on a network would be the best shot.
I agree Denis, that makes sense. I lost members to shoddy competitors back in the day when cross network invites were possible. I'd still like some sort of monitoring of PM's as this is a common way to spread spam unnoticed. E.g. I'g like to know if a member sends a message to more than 10 people, or sends more than 10 messages a day with similar content. I'd also like to be able to flag certain words or terms, so that I get alerted if they crop up in PM's or comments.
But I welcome this new step, and I would like to know if it includes PM's. Anyone?
Oh yes, spam and invitations plus unpleasantness / bullying or just plain pointless mass mailing which turns users off. Not many reports over the years but combine that with the mis-directed replies / bounces I see, and the fact that 97.2% of anything goes unreported (yes, I made that figure up, but I reckon it's close...) then my conclusion is that I'd like to know more... It would be great if we could extend this to PM's and friend requests (and friend request messages) as these could be the most common forms of misbehaviour on networks with member approval turned on. They're unseen at the moment, but it would be good to have a peek and see.
I'm sure the overlords of FB / Myspace can view any message anyone sends, and use that as part of their arsenal against spam.
You make many good points, and I agree with most of what you say, except you forget e.g. not-for-profit or educational sites etc. Paid membership is NOT appropriate for all networks, please don't generalise on this! Differentiating membership levels will be very useful, but not even for pennies. Some sites need this for nothing. For free.
Some of us aren't in this for the root of all evil ;-)
Why overcomplicate it? My network has very little spam, and your suggestions would have absolutely no impact on it for reasons I've mentioned elsewhere. I'd like to restrict certain content but why should I have to go though some token and reward system when that's not what's appropriate for the network? Instead I'd like to give members levels based on other criteria, thank you very much. One of the main benefits of the Ning platform is it's versatility - why should I be forced to go down a road just because you think it's a good idea?
Don't get me wrong - your ideas are great, and I do like the idea of the rewards for participation, but you're still generalising. Paid membership levels, or some "pseudo-paid via token" membership levels is not for all networks, please stop trying to force it on all of us.
I'd love rewards for participation, but that should not necessarily be tied into greater site access, you could be asking for trouble, depending on how your network is set up.
I'd also love different member levels, but perhaps simply set by NC's / Admins, not paid for or earned by site activity.
You don't know anything about my networks, please don't try to tell me what's good for them :)