As a moderator for the online communities, I see it every day: Someone blasts in, drops a spam message, then splits.

I respond with a kind invitation to join the conversation. I explain our Guidelines. Then, I remove the post. If the person continues to ignore my requests, I ban the profile from our Community.

How do you deal with spammers?

Native American Spirit
Edward S. Curtis (Public Domain)

Banning someone is a tough choice — and I hate to do it — but enough is enough.

It is interesting to observe the various replies.

Most don’t say a word; they just keep on spamming. Some become irate, figuring there should be no such rules on the internet. A few apologize and ask how to join us. Those few make the effort worthwhile.

I used to be a link dropper.

Oh, I really didn’t mean to … but I would have something to share, so I would search for appropriate Communities or Groups and dash in to get the word out. On one of those occasions, a moderator cut me off: he directed me to the Community Guidelines and asked me not to spam.

I became irate. A bit smart-mouthed. Incredulous. I’m no spammer! What in the world was the guy thinking?

Then, I read the information in the Community sidebar. Sure enough, I had trampled on the Community’s wishes — wishes I had never taken time to read.

The bottom line for Community participation

I say all of that to say this:

If there is one thing every G-plusser should do when visiting a Community, it’s this: Read the Community Guidelines (look to the sidebar), and find out what is expected of you.

Then, do that.

Think of it this way: you’re on a road trip — taking the old highways from Florida to Oregon, trying to re-trace the journey as it would have been before the interstate system was built.

You drive through a thousand towns on the way, and every one of those Communities will have a welcome sign and a speed limit sign. If you are wise, you will slow down and enjoy the scenery. If you are foolish, you will get pulled over by the police.

What would you think of a person who figured speed limits and municipal laws were for idiots? How well would that person fare if he blasted through every little town he came to at 70 mph, throwing garbage out the window, and hollering at everyone he saw?

What are the chances the residents would greet him with open arms and beg him to stay a while?

Same thing on G+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and every other social media site you visit … if you want to be accepted in a Community, find out what the rules are (i.e. the wishes of the Community members), follow those rules, and be a helpful, productive citizen.

That’s all. No big deal.

Let’s finish with a really big surprise

And here’s a secret. It’s something even your best friends won’t tell you.

When you practice your hit and run spam attacks, you’re wasting your time. Any Community worth its salt will have a moderator picking up and getting rid of trash. Oh, you can still find Communities where anything goes … but chances are high that everyone’s talking and nobody’s listening to you anyway.

Read the Guidelines. Join the conversation. To find friends, be a friend. Nothing complex … simply “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Then, come on in and be a neighbor. We may even want to read your latest Blog post, help you succeed at your ambitions, and encourage you along the way.

After all, that is what Communities are for.

I love this commercial … and it so relates to spam.

About the Author Don Sturgill

Writer, Dreamer, Believer - Bend, Oregon, SEO and Content Marketing

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