A request to all members,

We are very conscious of members' security and some time ago implemented a moderation system where all new members have to be accepted.  We are constantly refusing membership to people who are obviously spammers, and those who are slightly more devious and don't fill in the necessary information - including full name.

Recently some members have posted that they have received spam emails to their external email addresses.  We do not disclose email addresses.  But some members persist in putting their email addresses in their open comments.  The world can view the address - including all  the spammers!  You can avoid this by posting your open comment & then sending your email address via the Inbox messaging system.

However, security is always a concern.  We are making good progress in getting participating members to add their full name & a photo.  Now the questions:

  • should we require a personal  photo before we accept new members?
  • should we delete non-participating members?

All members are invited to comment.

Many thanks


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Sylvia, I think there might be members that do not participate, but still find it beneficial to be a member.  Deleting non-participants is however a good idea.  I know that sometimes weeks pass that I don't participate, but if one is really interested in what is being discussed you will sometimes comment.  What am I saying:  On the one hand I think it is a good idea, but on the other hand, not a good idea.

Look at the statistics - how many people without a personal photo participate?  It seems as if most of the people (if not all) that participates have personal photos.

I don't get too upset about the spammers.  I immediately delete the e-mail.  I only once received a spam-email that was a bit offensive, but I ignored it and it was the end of the story.

Totally I agree with Wilma, you find some still need to find their feet like myself so it will be unfair to us and I am speaking on behalf of those silent voices that have fallen in love with skills universe and find it most useful to their careers and individual life, Give them time to be in perfect position to participate.

I also think participation comes in different ways, we have those who listen to increase their knowledge and we have those who are knowledgeable and are willing to share their experience or concerns. There is a Sesotho phrase that says  ‘Tsela re e botsa hoba pele’ meaning direction is found to those who have travelled the road before.

I joined in 2009 and then got extremely busy and did not come back to the site until recently. I don’t think I would have signed up again, if I had been kicked out and now that I am back I am enjoying it and have visited and participated.  So I would not delete members! As an idea maybe send them an email and ask them if they still want to be part of the site?? And if they come back and say no then take them off.

In terms of the photo … do you actually know that that is me in the pic???? It is so easy to get pictures and put them up so I am not too sure how it helps having a photo of the person?

As for the spammers… those sneaky creatures creep up everywhere and will always be on the lookout for any cracks in the system, and as much as we try we will never get rid of them. So I would rather go with making all the members aware of dangers of putting in their personal information on this or any site out there; and then implement what you can to protect the site and your members.

Thank you Wilma, Greatwill & Denise - well you three truly demonstrate it's not the numbers, it's the quality that counts! All your comments make for a good plan going forward - and Greatwill - keleboge and I've saved the Sesotho saying for future reference. 

Hi Sylvia

I tend to agree with the various comments made so far. I do however feel we are losing the "profileP we had originally in terms of participation and discussion. Discussions posted can be lost within a matter of an hour or two and blogs get lost in the system also. Something has changed that I cannot put a finger on, so I understand your concern.

I agree that important discussions and posts get lost too quickly.

Contributors or visitors who are using the space in a similar fashion to Facebook (posting links and advertising their services numerous times in a day), dilutes the potential of this space as a place to engage with and track important developments in our industry.

Sylvia, as you've said above ... "it's about the quality".

Thank you Des and Andrew, those are both relevant comments for consideration on how to approach future developments - I agree with you both.   There certainly are people who do take advantage of our site - and then get terribly upset when we suspend them :)

Sylvia, have you seen how many responses (and how quickly) there was on the posting of Melanie in the assessor/ moderator forum? ...People without photos also responded - that means they are participating and is interested in what is being said in 'Skills Universe'.

Maybe some people (for various reasons)feel that it is too personal to show your photo to a lot of 'strangers'.

Yes, it was a really hectic afternoon and what was so excellent about it was that members were managing a member's communication.  That's exactly what we aim for - that members manage themselves and create the rules in the way they behave. 

That's why we tried from the beginning not to have too many rules.  In fact at the beginning I don't think we had any! 

If training service providers can manage themselves and their industry it would surely raise the bar for everyone - and prevent some providers cutting corners or undercutting those that are doing a good job.

As the members have grown it's good to keep looking at the site critically and asking - how can we make it better.  I take your point - some people will probably never want to disclose who they really are - and some just want to be a "listener" as one member said to me.

Hi Sylvia, trust you are well.  Photo's are nice to have, as you can see what the person looks like (I don't think it must be compulsory though, sometimes people are a bit camera shy).  Members who doesn't participate should stay, as I do believe that many members are students (like me) who enjoys reading from the experts and in the same breath learn from the best!!  For the Spam emails - I would do what was said many times over and over again:  Use your Inbox messaging system and never put your personal email address in any open blog ever!!

Why offer free membership if you are going to delete members? 

People don’t necessarily   join a forum for discussing issues, but sometimes just to keep updated with what is happening around them or in the sector, it doesn't mean that they have no interest because they choose to remain invisible. I'm a member of several online forums and to respond to all of them would allow me to contribute to "real life income work"

Let members be – this is a forum to learn and share information irrespective of giving your two cents worth. I’d rather be a member of a forum where the information is of substance instead of forcing people to contribute “mumble” to retain membership. The articles and contributors in this forum share invaluable information and I’ve learnt so much from it. Let sleeping dogs lie… I enjoy sleeping dogs – they don’t bark  without reason.

Great response Deepak - thank you.  We have decided to do just that:  we'll continue to require a full name and to encourage photos and participation.  Must go now - my dog is actually barking :)


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