Our online forum was hit by a new wave of spam attacks late last month. Irresponsible students are abusing the 'Report Post' function which enables users to effectively hide any irrelevant posts in the thread. Instead of reporting truly irrelevant comments, the immature spammers are reporting posts which genuinely adds to the thread discussion.
The proliferation of such childish habit should not be tolerated as it can be pernicious to our forums in the future. The credibility of our online forums will be lost. Students may not participate in the forums anymore as they know their opinions are buried almost immediately after they posted them. Furthermore, the forums may even be a battleground between the responsible users and spammers. Quality discussions are compromised.
Nevertheless, several forum regulars such as Chua Wei Qing and Chuah Meng Jinn had suggested a solution for this problem. They suggested that the anonymity privilege of users who reported posts should be removed. This could effectively deter potential spammers from irresponsibly reporting meaningful comments which adds to the discussion.
It is a good idea, but I think it may be unfriendly to other more responsible users who prefer their names to be hidden. Some of the reports are justifiable, that is made to bury genuine irrelevant posts. Those who reported the spam posts may prefer to remain anonymous. It is a privacy issue.
Chua Wei Qing went further by explaining that only the forum administrator can view who reported the posts. However, there seem to no rules and regulations regarding irresponsible reporting of posts. Yes, the forum administrator can catch the culprits but are there rules which highlights that such behaviour is not tolerated?
Forum Discussion - Dos & Don'tsThere should be another line under Don'ts which can go something like, 'Try Not To...Report posts irresponsibly.' Aw Jia Hao Willie when starting his Student Forum wrote in his forum guidelines warning users not to abuse the report function. You can view it HERE. I suggest stiffer rules and regulations for our forums. If anyone commits a crime, he or she should be banned for lets say, a week.
* Take a position on the question/issue.
* Make a relevant comment.
* Present evidence to support your position.
* Draw friends into the discussion.
* Make an analogy, illustrate your point.
* Ask a clarifying question if you spot contradictions or irrelevant comments.
* Accept criticism gracefully, agree to disagree.
Try Not To...
* Make inane or irrelevant comments.
* Express opinions without supporting them.
* Monopolize the discussion.
* Make personal attacks.
* Piggyback on another's response, without contributing your own ideas.
And oh, forum moderators may also be useful in the long run.