[thelist] Portal Websites > User Moderation?

Tim Fountain tim at incutio.com
Sat Mar 8 13:46:02 CST 2003

Friday, March 7, 2003, 4:54:10 PM, you wrote:

> I am looking for the advice of webmasters who run large portal
> websites which allow free-speech and general member interaction at
> most levels (Forums, Guestbook's, News commenting and such).

> I run a website [Planet-Tolkien.com] of this nature and recently we
> have been having many issues with people who's sole intent is on
> destroying the website and making a moderators job a living
> nightmare.

Unfortunately any site that has interactive content will eventually
have users like this.  Some topics seem to attract them more than

Forcing users to have an account with the site before
posting/contributing cuts out most of the problems, and if your
registration system requires users to have a valid email address then
you have an identity for any problematic members.

If a user causes problems my first step is normally to disable their
account.  If they want to continue they will then have to to
re-register, which requires them to have a second email address to

I then have the option of banning users by IP either from posting,
registering, or viewing the site altogether.  However as Andrew said
you need to be careful not to ban a webcache or other proxy that would
lead to innocent users having trouble.

Can I ask what it is exactly that the users are doing to cause
problems?  There are workarounds for some things.  For example
I found malicious users sometimes posting comments containing long
unbroken strings with the sole intent to break the page layout.  A few
modifications to the posting system allowed this to be prevented.
Similarly swear words and things like HTML can be filtered out or

(speaking personally)

Tim Fountain | Web developer | Incutio Limited | www.incutio.com
email: tim at incutio.com | Tel: +44 8708 700 333 | Fax: +44 7092 181 581

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