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Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

Appleton, Wisconsin
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Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

I know this question is not travel related but it is specific to the Tanzania forum.

I participate in a lot of TA destination forums and there are always seems to be companies that feel the need to self promote. However it seems the Tanzania forum is being overrun with blatant advertising and fake posts. A lot of the blatant advertising is not being removed and the fake posts are staying because it is hard to justify a reason for them to be removed.

The Tanzania forum has fabulous experts and regulars that give amazing advice. I hate to see that diluted by these other posters. Is there something as a forum that we can do to maintain the integrity of the site while still being fair to all the companies involved?

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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1. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

Some of us try to police this, but sometimes it is difficult to determine for certain that someone is disguising themselves and doing some self-promoting. I sometimes, when I see something which appears rather obvious, go out and check the person out if I can, or the web site in question (I don't want to give away how I do this). Unless I am rather certain that it is self-promotion I do a pass on it, when I am rather certain that they are involved with self-promotion I ask that the post be taken down. Some are rather good at disguising themselves.

nyc
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2. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

Sadly, there is just so much one can do to be asssured some outfitter is or not soliciting. Often there are OPW (one post wonders) claiming such & such is the best company that previously so one has never heard of even though no one can know all of the 200+ oufitters in-country, besides new ones pop up almost daily. Or there are blattant outfitters who reply to a post with an answer has nothing to do with the query asked; even some who send PMs to questionner soliciting business.

If/where those regulars can determine those who are not following rules and can be called out... it's done. Otherwise, when it comes to an open forum there is just so much that can be done.

Gotta use your good judgement.

Nashville, Tennessee
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3. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

I do not trust anyone that posts with less than about 50-60 posts over a 1+ year time frame. That may not be fair, but so be it. If you don't come on here to ask questions and participate, then I don't pay attention to the trip report or follow-up later. Also, don't trust anyone that comes on and as a first 1-10 post ever says "what about so and so safaris- are they good?" Chances are they a a plant for the company to promote its name.

Too may good operators that are legitimate and well reviewed here. To the new safari guy, sorry, it isn't TA spot to promote up and comers.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

Personally I don't think anyone who works for a travel agency should be allowed to sign their post with the company they work for. I think that in itself is blatant advertising. I've seen this numerous times, especially so on some other forums here on TA.

The individual may have some great feedback to provide and many times do, but if they are providing it here on TA, it should be done freely to provide assistance to the community on a good will basis. It seems they are trying to provide assistance all the while hoping that someone will seem them as a specialist and therefore use their business. It's really a form of advertising which I personally think should not be allowed.

Edited: 03 March 2014, 19:04
Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

Daniel. Speaking personally I would rather somebody who was a TO did proclaim that they were. How else could folks know they had a vested interest behind the post? Some of the regulars here do state this fact, sadly a lot of others don't and I know which I prefer. At least it is flagged as from an Operator so folks can take that into account in judging the validity of post.

Irngirl. I agree that it is prevalent more is the pity but I find the best way to deal with all 'pests' is to ignore the post and let it sink out of sight down the page.

As KG and sandi say. If it is blatant, report it and have it zapped. The top three "reasons" for reporting are all you need.

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

I guess it's a double edged sword of sorts. If advertising is not permitted, then any form of it should not be allowed. Maybe I'm reading the rules incorrectly though, but it appears you can break the self promotion rule as long as your point out you are breaking that rule...

At the same time, as you point out, it's good to know who has a vested interest...

Appleton, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

The problem is that the blatant stuff is not getting removed. I think it must take a certain number of "zaps" before it gets taken down and not enough people are asking to have it removed or TA moderators are refusing to remove it. Also the "pests" seem to revive their posts every couple of months. Too bad we can't have posts older than six months ended.

I'm with Daniel in thinking that people that answer posts with their company name are advertising. It is not fair to the operators on the forum that give excellent advice without the benefit of promoting themselves. The rules should apply to everyone. The people that answer with their company names are automatically crossed off my list.

Also like Stephen H, I don't pay attention to the one post wonders and people that ask about XYZ company.

My hope with this was that we as a forum could come to some kind of universal response to the fake posts to limit it in the future. I guess we just have to hope that people new to TA can see through these tactics and make good decisions.

Littleton, Colorado
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373 posts
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8. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

How does one ask for something to be removed? I'm not aware of the process.

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

Irongirl. Maybe I am misunderstanding your meaning. OPWs are easily dealt with.

At my last count there are/were 20 posters who are in the Agency business on here.

I am not sure what it is you are now protesting about.

Is it the fact that say a random Q attracts a post that answers the Q but is signed off.

"A. Capone of One way tours and trips"? or something else?

Or is the poorly worded posts purporting to be from somewhere else but blatantly puffing a TZ Operator?

I am 'no Expert' but that type can be quickly exorcised.

Perhaps you would like to PM me with a few examples?

Edit.

@Adventurer43. See the little note "report inappropriate" ?

click on that and a drop down gives a list of reasons. Hit "spam", or "Self promotion" or "Illegal" and this will flag it to the Moderators. It is then 'removed'. Or not as the case may be.

Edited: 04 March 2014, 09:11
london
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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10. Re: Is the Tanzania forum being overrun by fake posters?

I agree with Mfuwe, that I'd prefer TOs to clearly identify themselves.

In fact, the TA posting guidelines say you can "Participate in a discussion related to your business or a competitor's business, but you must clearly state your affiliation as a representative. Our members are entitled to this information so that they can be aware of any potential bias in your comments."

To me, that says TOs are REQUIRED to state their affiliation if answering questions related to their business. I guess those who don't are taking a very loose definition of what questions are related to their business.