[new members] Forum signatures and profiles

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HB
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#1: Post by HB » Nov 12, 2010, 10:39 pm

Regrettably spammers are motivated to join sites that allow liberal rules on forum signatures. To reduce this incentive, effective immediately, the board will enforce new signature restrictions for members until they have established a history with the site.

Specifically, a member must be registered for more than 90 days and posted more than 15 times before they can include a link in their signature. New members can fill in the "website" field of their profile upon registering, but it will only be displayed to logged in members until the same 90 days / 15 posts criteria are met. Furthermore, signatures should be coffee-interest related and cannot be commercial in nature; commercial sites are allowed in the member's profile "website" link.

For similar reasons, images in signatures are not allowed and the text of signatures is intentionally short to discourage "soft spammers" who join primarily to promote their commercial interests. Short signatures also reduce extraneous information that degrades the quality of search results (e.g., equipment listings can result in false positives for Google et al). If you want to share background information on your hobby, use the "Interests" field of your profile; it's shown in your profile and excerpted in the author blurb to the right of your posts.

I hope the membership agrees this is a reasonable, fair approach that balances the interests of members who wish to share their personal websites while discouraging spammers.

PS: Among the members with at least one post, 12% have a non-blank forum signature and 2% have a link in their forum signature.

PSS: The same limitations on forum signatures apply to the member's profile fields, i.e., please don't use the equipment, interests, etc. fields in your profile for advertisements, for-sale offers, etc.
Dan Kehn