Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Tirade: The Answer to All Of Your Questions is NO

I moderate a small local moms' group. I joined a few years ago and kind of fell into moderating.

Lately, though, it's been a bit of a chore. Why? The economy, of course.

People are tightening their belts. They're getting more creative with their marketing, and trying to do more while spending less. Social media, whether its the evil FB, I really hate that site, almost as much as I despise MySpace, Twitter, online groups, whatever, is mostly about investing your time and your personality.


We are a small group, under 40 members. Biggest we've ever been was around 90 and that was primarily due to a lazy (guilty as charged!) moderator.

We're small so that people feel safe and comfortable talking about their families, their kids, their nursing problems, sex after babies, whatever the topic du jour is. People who stick around like our rigorous moderation.

When a woman joins -- Yes, it is a MOMS-only group -- we send her a note asking her to tell us more about herself and her family and how she heard about our little group before her membership is approved.

Don't answer the survey, don't get to join.

When she joins she's moderated for a while, either until she:
  1. Unsubs after deciding we are not what she was looking for. This sometimes happens immediately, sometimes not til inflammatory topics (the mingling of religion and public education is good for weeding out the wimps) come round.
  2. Posts enough that we feel comfortable letting her post without a babysitter.
  3. Posts so damn much (that is ok) that it floods my inbox with crap to approve and I unmoderate her just to make it STOP.
We are serious about making our little group a place where moms feel safe and secure. We state upfront that if you are here to market your crap you are not welcome. Not if that's the ONLY reason. We have a lot of WAHM members and they talk about work, but, like everyone else with something to sell (garage sales, craigslist items, etc), are only allowed to actively market their biz one day a week. If you only post to market yourself, we will eventually kick you because that's not why the rest of us are there.

I say all this because the last week or so has seen a rash of service-oriented spam join requests. People with brilliant things to say for themselves (in the initial Yahoo groups form---I'm pretty sure they all gave up hope when they got the follow-up member survey) like:
  1. I teach your children music. -- Really? No name? No indication of gender or whether or not you have a family or are just a perve who wants to eyeball our kids in the group photo albums? REJECTED
  2. home work -- Are you offering to do it for my kids? Are you a maid service? A tutor? A work-from-home scammer? REJECTED
  3. A dental hygienist for a local pediatric dentistry practice. -- This one was nice, but still a solicitation and therefore unwelcome. I'm still debating forwarding her spam to the practice to find out if they stand behind it or she was trying to drum up biz on her own...
That's a week's worth. I don't have time for it, we don't want it, and I guarantee you we will never let you in. We had a member in the past who harvested group emails for her home cosmetics sales gig---she posted normally, too, but we had to electronically smack her around and tell her not to do it again.

Maybe it's time to re-write our splash page? I haven't looked at it in years, but if it will make the spam stop...



Lanel said...

Well, crud, I was just going to sign up to try to sell you all a bridge I have. LOL :)

I hate spammers and have pretty much quit all online newsgroups because of them. :(

octopusgrabbus said...

You are courageous just for trying to have a group that fits your needs, let alone keeping it SPAM free.

Good luck!

Candy said...

Pssstt... Moms... you looking for some bookkeepin'?

Jenn said...

Were those not hilarious. I laughed as I hit the delete key in my personal email. I have yet to make it to the group to further the fun of deleting them. Glad you beat me to it.

And Candy, You can do my books. It's free right, cause we're such good friends and I have enough info to blackmail you?