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Saving forums from themselves with shared hierarchical whitelists (2009) (demon.co.uk)
31 points by networked 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments





The problem is that spammers will very likely create accounts (n) , use these accounts to create hierarchial lists assigning account (A ) at the top of hierarchy and use that to spam post or advertise.

SEO spam works very similiar to this.


How would a spammer get to the top of each user's personal hierarchy?

This personal hierarchical, not pagerank.



2009 and aged like milk.

Top comment: "Maybe this is why Twitter works"


Fine old threads are interesting; lousy old threads show that things don't always get worse. Win-win!

Has anyone experimented with forums that require verified identity? The forum would have to add a hell of alot of value to get people to do it, but I'd imagine it's the most airtight way to stop trolls and spammers.

It wouldn't scale particularly well, but most forums have a relatively small group of posters adding all the value anyway.


A french forum I've been heavily involved with for the last 14 years used to require a proof of ID to join (for both reading and posting) for a decade. However members were still pseudonymous once approved.

In my opinion it had two substantial effects:

- A substantial improvement in the quality of the discussion in the short term. No spam anymore, few low-quality writers, and the fact that users enjoyed privacy but not at the expense of accountability made for lots of interesting discussions.

- Almost no new members because of the reading barrier, which caused a slow but significant decrease in quality in the long term. While this private tight-knit community had a good run for a decade, once in a while an interesting member would leave for life reasons and at some point the lack of a new guard posed an existential threat to the relevance of the forum.

Both of these facts led the staff to reenable enrollment without an ID a couple years ago but still keep a private subsection with ID required. We had an influx of new members (as we expected), a few interesting ones among them (as we hoped).

Personally I think experimenting with anyone-can-read + writing-requires-ID could also be worth exploring.


I’m on a forum that’s been around for a solid 15 years and doesn’t give you posting rights unless you pay $5/year. The amount is trivial enough that even the poorest members can manage it (or if they’re regulars and liked, others gift them a subscription) yet it seems to be enough to stop spammers bothering. There’s been a few trolls over the years who paid the $5 to bombard the forum with stuff but there’s also posting limitations for new members and other restrictions so it never goes very far.

I still love forums to this day and think they have a place in the modern web. Reddit and Facebook will want you to think otherwise, but there’s hundreds of niche hobbies that specifically DON’T want the network effect of a large multi-topic forum like reddit and still do very well.


Yup. I'm a regular member of two relatively large forums focusing on SF and writing.

This may be controversial, but I like the constraints of a non-branching discussion. In my opinion, unlike HN and Reddit's branching comments, linear posting allows for more in depth discussion of topics.

One concession to the times is a proliferation of discord servers for the community, for various writings (including the notorious alien space whale which these two are most known for), subject matter groups (engineering hard SF hardware), and just general subcommunities.


Is that Something Awful, Fark, Metafilter, or something else?

Something Awful isn't 5$ a year, it's 10$ for an account.

And the amount of people who buy 10$ to re-reg their banned account and get banned for the exact same reason as before could not be classified as "a few".

I am interested in learning which forum does the 5$ a year, I wasn't aware of many other forums with a pay-wall.


I believe https://thewatercooler.io/ is a prime example of that. Discourse single sign on integration makes it easy to integrate with external identity providers.

Disclosure: I work at Discourse.


Given the absence of any other method of age verification there are a lot of Discord servers that require photo ID to join.

Sounds pretty much the way facebook works - you ensconce yourself in a bubble of opinions you agree with. Not that there's anything wrong with that if that's what you want, but don't try to fool yourself into thinking that the discussions will suddenly improve in "quality" if you filter out the people that irritate you.



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