Er, Was It Something I Said?

Tablet PC Review is, as you might expect, a web site devoted to covering the field of Tablet PCs. It’s a useful place to go to for news and reviews of Tablets and Tablet PCs.

As well as the news and reviews section of the site, there’s also a large and extensive set of user forums with over 20,000 registered members. Since there’s a user forum devoted to discussion of Samsung’s Tablets, and since I am interested in learning more about people’s experience with the Samsung Series 7 Slate PC, I thought that I would get registered on the forums and get involved in the discussions.

So, a week ago, on the 18th October, I registered. I got the activation email from the forums to complete the registration process, and activated my membership account. I signed in, and browsed around.

Imagine my astonishment when, on Thursday, I attempted to sign in and instead of seeing the list of forums, I found myself staring at this:

Spam

It says:

You have been banned for the following reason:
dumb spammer DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD GET AWAY???

Date the ban will be lifted: Never

Er, excuse me – I am not, and never have been, a Spammer. Indeed, I have not even posted one single message to your forums… Clearly there’s been some mistake. So I sent a polite message to forum support explaining that there’s been some sort of error, and my account has been flagged as spam.

No response.

Yesterday I sent another polite message to Forum support asking for the mistake to be corrected.

No response.

If I try to log on, I still get the Spam message, and I see that I am now no longer listed as a member. I suppose that I can still browse the forums of interest anonymously, but it is much more convenient to be registered, and to be able to raise questions. 

I know I’m old-fashioned, but, even with the internet, I still do rather expect to receive the common courtesy of a reply, and I tend to get frustrated when I perceive that I’m simply talking to a brick wall.

Update 27 October 2011: I sent a direct email about this to Jamison Cush, site editor of TabletPCReview. He immediately forwarded it on to his community manager who manages the forums. I received a swift reply from him, apologising for the mistake – there was apparently a significant Spam attack when I registered, and I had got caught up in it – and I have now been reinstated. The brick wall may have been a failure of the “Contact us” channels. Sometimes it’s useful when you can walk around the wall and communicate directly with real people.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Er, Was It Something I Said?

  1. Ehren says:

    Sorry about that, your account did get caught up in a big sweep (143 ‘0 post spammers’ in that sweep), I apologize for inconvenience it caused you.
    … I don’t know how the contact system works on TPCR, but as a moderator I unfortunately have no access to it -someone needs to contact me directly if they are to get ahold of me; so that falls to the tech team who is really slow [ie: nothing gets done] with getting the most basic things working correctly (notice the site search doesn’t work among other things) let alone setting up the contact system better.

    We get a butt load of spammers in any given day, Several of which are known as ‘0 post spammers’ and it just so happened a lot have been piling up/ slipping through the cracks for a few months and it was time for a ‘cleansing’ –Typical ‘0 post spammers’ create an account, leave a link [often many] to a website (usually a web-store, some online business, or blogs, or some random BS) and then never come back; reason they do this is to ‘seed’ their link there and all over the web so it comes up more often in things like Google searches (ever wonder how there could possibly be so many hits for software/ cars/ home repair, and just about anything else under the sun; well this is part of the dirty truth). Unfortunately from time to time legitimate users sometimes put links in their profile and don’t post for a day or even a few months and come back to find they have been banned for no apparent reason, and as there is really no way to tell a lgit user from a spammer they get caught up in it all… I have previously asked our site admins to look into putting a restriction on usage of the user profile editing, but they are either unable to do so in our version of Vbulletin, or unwilling to really try.

    Again, it is me to blame for your inconvenience, but I only do account cleanup like this so the site wold be a nice and clean place free of spam and garbage so it is much nicer to use; I hope you can understand its a complicated situation and that no offense was meant by any of it… to give you some perspective TPCR had several hundred [nearly 800] before I became a mod, and NBR had them numbering in the thousands; a few accounts are bound to get caught up in that, but I’m sure you would agree it wouldn’t be a good idea to just let them all sit there, and that it is easier to restore a handful of accounts than to play host to spam.

    -Ehren

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Thanks for the explanation Ehren. Perhaps it might be an idea to point out to new members that they should post a message immediately after registering in order not to be mistaken for a zero-post spammer. Perhaps there should be a “new members” forum where they could introduce themselves…

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