Replies to classifieds are no longer permitted for unpaid members
I've been looking over the statistics for infractions that the mods have had to dish out, and BY FAR they are spending most of their time in the classifieds section. Problems such as disruptive posts, downright nastiness, members creating false accounts to bump their ads, getting someone also to alternate as a "bump buddy", and all sorts of replies to ads that really have no business being there.
Two problems here: (1) This is giving my mods far more work than they need to be putting in here as volunteers. And (2), the classifieds section has become actually HOSTILE to advertisers trying to sell their animals or merchandise on this site.
This NEEDS to stop.
Yes, some is simply ignorance of new members not knowing the ropes. But they get an infraction for their actions, then get pissed about it and sometimes wind up leaving. So there is no real good way to handle this after the fact. Do I really want to just out right ban anyone immediately who causes these problems? I don't think so. That just tends to rub people the wrong way and can be self defeating.
As I have indicated in the past, there is a simple solution to this sort of problem, but obviously it is not perfect or I would have already implemented it. And that is, to simply STOP all replies to classified threads. Rather than just do the cold turkey approach, I will first limit replies to classified threads so that only paid members can utilize that function. I will then evaluate how effective that has been, and if not enough, then that function ceases for ALL members. The classifieds will become strictly a single post display of what an advertiser has to offer, and that is it. Of course they will need to provide adequate contact info within that post, but that should be common sense anyway.
Another drawback is that other members will not be able to draw attention to a problem with the classified ad, whether about the seller/buyer him or her self, or misrepresentation or misidentification of the animal or other merchandise. Unfortunate, but that simply puts the burden on anyone considering engaging in a transaction with the OP to DO THEIR OWN HOMEWORK. Make certain you know who you are dealing with and what you are buying (or selling). The BOI is here for everyone to use. But I cannot force a horse to drink if it refuses to do so when provided water.
Another drawback is that post count here will likely drop quite a bit. But heck, there are nearly 5,000 entries in the infraction log, and that is telling me that there is a problem that really needs to be addressed here.
Yes, I know some people won't like this, and others will like it. Just par for the course here, but I believe I made it quite clear that I will do what is needed to make this site better. At least from my own perspective. I have no illusions, and will make NO attempts to try to please everyone. If you are one of those who do not like the change, I am sorry about that, but there doesn't appear to be much of an option.