Why was my account banned?

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Why was my account banned?

Post by editor »

Why Was My Account Banned?

So, you took the time to register on this forum, and next thing you know-- you're banned. You're no longer allowed to login. The board-software even remembers your email address, so it won't let you create a new account with the old email address.

How did this happen?

If you are a good man or woman who is trying to legitimately participate on this forum, and you were banned, then I apologize. We want people like you to participate, and I encourage you to please try again. Email me privately and we'll get you back in the saddle.

At the same time, please realize that if you were banned it means you almost certainly did something that got your account flagged. If you don't want to be banned again, it's important you understand what happened.

So far we have never banned a member for differences of opinion, or abusive conduct, although we reserve the right to do so without the requirement of even giving a reason. When you come into this forum, it is similar to being invited into someone's private home. Behave yourself if you don't want to be thrown out. However, so far we've only banned users because they are posting spam, or exhibiting spammer-like behavior.

The Internet is awash with spammers-- people whose mission in life is to advertise some product, service, or website, in any way they possibly can. So they send out millions of emails to any email addresses they can get their hands on, and they also target forums like this one, and try to post messages containing their advertisements.

These people do not care about target audience, or whether the ad is appropriate to where they are posting it. Spammers know that most of their spam will never be seen. To them, it's all about the numbers. So they will post anywhere they can, as many times as they can, without thought or care as to whether their actions may be rude or disruptive. They employ machines, or "bots" to scan for places their messages can be posted.

We employ various anti-spam measures here. The spambots get more sophisticated all the time, and keeping spammers out is a constant problem.

You encountered one of those measures when you registered, and were required to answer a silly question before the forum accepted your registration. The question was (hopefully) designed to be something a real human could easily answer, but would give a machine trouble. These questions are hard to come up with. Some work better than others. The real problem is all of them get figured out eventually, and then need to be changed. Again. And again.

Another anti-spam measure is to require a moderator to manually approve the first three posts made by every new registered user. After your third post is approved, subsequent messages you post will appear on the forum without having to first be approved. This traps most would-be spammers before they have the chance to do any damage.

Most spam messages, as I said, advertise a product, service, or website. But remember I also told you they are tricky. Spammers know about the three-post rule-- we're not the only forum who uses this, it's a common tactic. The spammer is hoping to get his first three messages approved after which, he figures, he may be able to slip in a thousand or more messages before he gets shut down. So spammers will program their bots to post seemingly innocent messages the first three times. Fortunately spammers are also lazy, and remember-- they're trying for large volume; they don't have time to come up with legitimate posts.

This is almost certainly why your account was banned-- you posted a message and right or wrong, the moderator decided you were a spammer.


One of the most common types of "clever" posts used by spammers is what I call the "attaboy". An attaboy post is a reply to another post which might say something like this:
That was a really cool post, thanks. I learned something.
In other words, "attaboy". Seems legit, right? I mean, sometimes you read a really good idea, or a well-researched article, and you want the author to know you appreciated his efforts. What's wrong with that?

Normally nothing. But in this context, it simply cannot be allowed-- at least not for one of your first three posts.

If you want to actually take a few paragraphs to discuss the author's ideas; question one or more of his conclusions, add some relevant comments of your own, and then thank him for an insightful article-- that's fine. But if you post a short and sweet thank you, and you have fewer than three approved posts under your belt, your posts will not be approved, and your account will be banned-- without warning. Hopefully you now understand why.

Again, if you think you were banned unjustly, please feel free to contact me directly and discuss it.
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