Archive for the ‘Ideas & Tips’ Category

How Profiles Help Us Moderate Sphinn

Monday, February 15th, 2010


Chances are good that you’ve heard link builders and SEO say that it’s important, when building links, to make it look natural. You don’t want to suddenly get too many links from similar sources, too many links of the same type, too many links in a short period of time, and so forth. That can set off a red flag, and if your site gets a manual review, unnatural link building efforts can cause problems. Variety is important, the experts say — links from different sources, links with different anchor text, etc.

The same idea applies in social media, and it’s important here on Sphinn. Let me explain…

The Spam/Junk Problem

Every day, the Sphinn mods and admin teams review dozens of new submissions and user accounts in our efforts to prevent spam and low-quality content from getting into the site, and to eliminate the stuff that does make it through. Some spam/junk is really easy to spot.

But some isn’t so easy. We regularly have internal discussions about what to do with a certain news story that was submitted, or what to do with a certain user — these are cases where it’s not so obvious if we should delete the story and/or terminate the user’s account. In cases like this, there are a number of things we consider before deciding what to do.

One of the questions I always ask is, Is the user here because s/he wants to contribute to the Sphinn community, or is s/he here only for self-promotion — to get something from the community? That answer is often found in the user’s Sphinn profile.

Why Your Sphinn Profile Matters

In most cases, your Sphinn profile gives away your true intentions. We generally look at the user’s history of submits and their history of sphinns (votes).

A good profile includes:

  • stories submitted from a variety of sites
  • high-quality stories submitted, with few discards
  • votes/sphinns for stories from a variety of sites
  • votes/sphinns for high-quality stories

A poor profile might include:

  • stories submitted from only the user’s site, or only from his/her friends
  • lots of low-quality submits that had to be discarded
  • votes/sphinns only for stories from the user’s site, or only for friends
  • votes/sphinns for low-quality stories

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t checked your profile in a while, why not have a look now? On the main site, click on the “Profile” link at the top right of the page. Then click the “Submits” and “Sphinns” tabs to see what you’ve added to Sphinn and what you’ve voted for.

Much like link-building, a variety of submits and sphinns is a Good Thing to have in your Sphinn profile. A user who only submits stuff from his/her own site, or only votes up his/her own stories — or only votes up stuff from close friends — isn’t really participating on Sphinn in the truest sense of community and social media. And, if we’re trying to decide what to do with a story or an entire user account, what we see in the user’s profile often makes a hard decision much easier.

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