Social media has become hugely popular over the last few years, however when it comes to connecting with people and sharing content with others, I will always be a forum guy. I launched my first forum around 2000 and have run dozens of forums since then (I currently run three). I have also participated in many forums over the years; such as football forums, tech forums and webmaster related forums. This experience has given me a unique perspective into the world of forums as I have always been on both sides of the fence.
The atmosphere in a forum is heavily dependent on how the owner runs the forum. The rules they set up and the way they moderate the forum influences who stays on the forum and participates and who leaves. Earlier this year I discussed how Warrior Forum has gone down the toilet due to the way their staff moderate the forum. Their moderators go out of their way to ban good members who ask legitimate questions; yet they turn a blind eye to people who are stealing from other members.
At the beginning of this week I experienced heavy forum moderation again. The incident happened on the hosting discussion forum Web Hosting Talk. In June I had started a discussion regarding changing hosts. At the start of this week a member left a message on the thread asking for an update on my situation. I had written a long detailed explanation of how I resolved my hosting problem in the article “My Journey to Find the Right Hosting Solution“; therefore I mentioned my article in my reply.
Please refrain from posting links to your own site.
You may not post any message that directs others to any pages at your own commercial domain, including informational pages. A commercial domain is defined as a site that receives any type of income or links to any income producing properties.
The above is taken from our forum guidelines at www.webhostingtalk.com/rules.php. We thank you for participating here on WHT and we welcome you to open a request on http://helpdesk.webhostingtalk.com if you have questions ever with regard to the forum. Please note this is only a warning and you receive no points against your WHT account at this time.
Soon after my reply was deleted and I got a warning for trying to promote my website. I was surprised by this and when I queried this I got told that I may have been looking to increase links to this blog. Anyone who read the thread and read my reply would have clearly seen that I was not trying to promote my blog. All I was doing was responding directly to someone who asked for an update.
I do appreciate why forums such as Web Hosting Talk try to keep links within the forum to a minimum. Though a little common sense would have gone a long way in that situation. Any staff who viewed that thread would have seen that in the context of the discussion, I was trying to help someone else out.
I find this kind of thing very frustrating and it discourages me from posting there. Specifically, I do not like staff going out of their way to delete posts I took take time to write. Particularly, when I went out of my way to help someone. I know from experience that moderating a forum can be a thankless task, however staff should not be so quick to delete content, especially from members who have been active for over ten years.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Have you suffered at the hands at heavy-handed moderators?