Tutorial

One of the challenges you will face with your Dolphin 7 web site is deciding how much of your site a guest or visitor is allowed to see.

A common practice is to allow a guest or visitor to see just enough to capture their interest and attention. The expectation or hope if you will, is that they will sign up and join your site to gain access to more content they weren't allowed to see as a guest visitor.

Sometimes it works well and other times it doesn't. Each and every site is a little different.

The drawbacks of not allowing guests and visitors to see or view the full content of a site or page means Google and the other search engines won't be able to see it either. The end result is they won't get much of a crawl or read on the page. All Google will see is the link and the page title. So it probably won't be indexed into a Google Search, and if it is it will most likely score very low in search results.

If you do allow guests and visitors to see more Dolphin modules and pages, then the search engines can crawl them and are more likely to add them to the search index. This doesn't mean that they will score great and show up higher in the results though. If your site or pages aren't that popular to begin with, then they still won't be found in a Google search that easily. But, at least you let the search engines fully crawl your pages, and hopefully your web site will gain popularity.

Allowing more things to be publicly visible can bring about more spam. So it's a toss up between better crawling and indexing by the search engines, and more spam. Or less crawling and indexing and less spam.

Enable/Disable Actions of Membership Levels:

Dolphin 7 Settings Membership Levels



Dolphin 7 Modules Moderation:

As you probably know by now Dolphin 7 has settings you can set and customize for moderation. You can allow a member to post things like: articles, blogs, profiles, pictures, videos, etc.

What can be a difficult decision is what kind of moderation to set for these things. Do you have no moderation, where things a member posts are allowed instantly? Or do you enable moderation and you the administrator need to approve each of them individually?

If you have little or no moderation for things your members post it can lead to a lot of spam. The more popular your site is or becomes the more likely you will see it and have to deal with it. What can happen is someone joins your site with the intent of posting something like a blog just to get their link or links on your site. Then, they never come back. They accomplished what they set out to do and they really don't care about you or your site. This can create a lot more work for you, the administrator to clean up, remove the posts, and ban or suspend the member.

If you enable moderation for your members you still may have a lot of extra work to review them if you have an active site with a lot of members. But at least you will eliminate some of the spammy stuff before it goes live.

If you are getting a lot of iffy unusual content being posted by your members, or if you find that you are having to remove a lot of posts related to spam then you might want or need to enable additional moderation.

Enabling moderation can potentially confuse members. If you decide to go that route it might be wise to inform them and/or post something letting everyone know about your plans that can be easily found on your site. Otherwise, what tends to happen is a member will post the same thing two or three times because they think the first one messed up. When it really just went into moderation.

Disable (uncheck): Enable AutoApproval of Blogs:
-You might do this for some of your installed Dolphin 7 Modules, or you might do this for all of them.

Dolphin 7 Blog Module Moderation



Profile / Join Related Moderation:

Disable (uncheck) Automatic profile confirmation without Confirmation Email:
Although it is convenient to just automatically allow anyone that fills out your join page form to become a member instantly it can lead to additional spam. If they know they can join your site and instantly post spam automatically without moderation they will. Oftentimes with fake or non-existent email addresses.

When enabling email confirmation the person attempting to join will need to have a real working email address. They will receive an automated message from your site, which they will have to click on a link in the message to confirm that the email address they are using really exists.

Disable
Automatic profile activation after joining:

Turn this off (uncheck) so you, the administrator can review the members info and decide whether you want to activate their membership or not.

Disable (uncheck) Do not change profile status after editing profile information:
-You might consider disabling this one too. If you turn this off / disable it each time a member changes or updates their profile page it will go into moderation so you can review the changes and activate the changes.

-Disabling these will give you the opportunity to review things before allowing and activating.

Note:
Sometimes people will come back to their profile page at a later time and change their description and information to include a bunch of spam and links. Turning this off will help prevent this.

Dolphin 7 Moderation Settings



Dolphin 7 Security Impact Settings:

Depending on what you set the security impact settings threshold to in your Dolphin 7 Administration panel it may or may not strip some of the links posted by your members. You might need to try a number of different setting numbers to figure out what works for your site.

Dolphin 7 Security Impact Settings



Now stir, shake, and mix well...

So what it comes down to is finding suitable membership level action permissions, along with moderation/postmoderation settings.

Then sprinkle in your Dolphin 7 module settings such as Blog AutoApproval settings, along with Security impact settings.

And hopefully what you come up with is the perfect mix and seasoning for your web site. 

Apply these gently and see what happens or how it works for your site. Some web sites may require a much more potent mixture or combination of moderation settings.



Tips:
If it looks or sounds spammy it probably is.

If a post contains a link or several links and it doesn't make sense to you, it is probably spam.

If a member makes several posts within a short time all with links it is probably spam.

If you see members joining with the same or similar email address they could be spammers.

If they use terms like: dear or friend it is probably spam.

Other common spam to Dolphin sites: ugg, uggboots, dresses, wedding dresses, essays/writing, medical related posts, wow/world of war craft, and much more.

--If your site has some sort of theme, group, organization, or about something in particular and something is posted that has nothing to do with what your site is about there is a good chance it is spam.


Note:
It doesn't mean that these kinds of posts are absolutely spam, but it is likely.



Additionally:
As I mentioned the more active and popular your site becomes the more likely it will receive spam. At some point you will probably want or need to deal with it.

Enabling additional moderation settings can discourage both visitors and members from being active and posting content. People generally like to see things they post happen instantly.

However, if you are seeing a considerable increase in spam it might be necessary to add and enable additional moderation settings.


The only other option I can think of is to create another membership type. You could do like Boonex does and charge something like a one time fee of $5 for posting privileges (but state they are still moderated). However, this will likely discourage a lot of people from joining your site if it is fairly new, and/or not extremely popular.

Or you could:
Create another membership. If they post spammy or unwanted things move them to the new membership that doesn't include posting privileges. Basically read only.

And you could:
Restrict Standard members to very limited areas they are allowed to post. They have to either pay to upgrade, or free upgrade where you manually do this based on the members performance or a sort of trust.


Now you are going to have to figure out what you like and what works for your site. It can be a challenge trying to come up with a good set of moderation settings that works well for your site. You may need to experiment to find out.

I can't tell you what the perfect moderation settings are. They will vary considerably from one site to another.

 
Written By
Tutorial by: Jeremy LeSarge (AKA Ray)

I am the owner and administrator of DialMe.com. I write Tutorials for Boonex Dolphin as well as tips and resources surrounding website programming and development. I enjoy working with WordPress, SEO, and Web Hosting / Servers. I also maintain a WordPress Blog here on this site where you will find a variety of technology and webmaster resources.

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