Forum anti-patterns: Are we helping or just enabling?


#1

First of all, this isn’t referring to normal internet forum problems, or the behavior of some of the regular contributors, or the general downsides of written communications in general. Those are all interesting topics, but the problem I am trying to address here seems pretty specific to the Amazon forums.

It centers around a surging number of posters who aren’t contributors. They come in here looking for help mainly to abuse the platform/forum, often after tangling with the automated enforcement/prevention processes. I think all the regulars have seen this, and we all have our ways of trying to decide who has legit issues, and who just can’t (or even shouldn’t) get help here.

Here are my four overlapping categories that I see in the majority of these enabler threads. I hope to refine them a little in order to avoid some of the false positives, and more quickly identify the truly scammy. I was going to provide more detail, but settled for condensed examples of topics that I have recently freaked out on.

  • Blame Gamer - this isn’t my fault and should be fixed without me having to change the way I do things, or (the more advanced) maybe I know it is wrong but Amazon forced me me do it this way. The constitution says I can gouge/deceive, Amazon should get with the program.
  • Anti-learner - how was I supposed to know all about basic e-commerce rules, my products, the platform, etc. and why should I let go of my viewpoint long enough to learn anything. (I assume some of these are innocent refugees from a get rich quick video.)
  • Drama Llama - I expect encouragement and some type of seller groundswell for my prolonged extreme emotional whining/ranting, mostly about things like gravity, minor issues, or the general unfairness of the universe. Only positive responses will be tolerated, any work around defeats the entire purpose of the thread. I will also make it a point to disrupt any semi-related topic with axe-grinding or statements like “reason number 324598 not to do xxxx”
  • Forum “customers” - I pay $xxx,xxx in fees and I am entitled to having this fixed yesterday. I am a significant part of Amazon’s success, and will take out any/all frustrations on anyone handy and still expect everyone to treat me with enormous respect. (This category rarely exists without being in combination with all/most of the other categories unless the OP disappears within the first few posts.)

Is it just me, or does this fit most of the problem topics? Are there better ways of dealing with some of these, other than steadily escalating bombing runs?

We need the forums to be effective now more than ever. Stay safe and strong, my friends!


#2

And the other anti-patterns are those that flag any response they do not agree with said viewpoint.
This of course when done I conjunction with other “flagulents” or flaginators, gets the post locked and possibly disappeared.


#3

@Autonomoose, definitely a lot to think about here! :thinking:


It does seem that the folks quickest to bash the Forum are often ones who don’t appear (by stats or information) to contribute regularly themselves. They aren’t willing to be a part of a change or solution. They take the time and energy to write something disparaging and then disappear–why bother? :roll_eyes:

You get what you give. :woman_shrugging:


Personally, I’m seeing an increase in Sellers who encourage a large crowd posting agreement that Amazon “done them wrong,” appearing to prefer crowdsourced sympathy to crowdsourced solutions, in an effort to have a matter resolved with very little effort on their part.

Many of us (guilty!) have fallen victim to this–continuing to troubleshoot and brainstorm while ignored (or insulted) by OPs–where we are using our unpaid volunteer time and energy to work waaay harder for OP, than OP is doing for themself.

None of us should be working harder than OPs.


:crossed_fingers: I hope so and am looking forward to suggestions here. It’s difficult for me to balance guessing what might be unintentional ignorance or lack of familiarity with Forum conventions, with counterproductive motivations, from just one or two posts. :confounded:


#4

Another category is the newbies who clog up the threads with orphan posts.

They will post something like “I agree with that” as the 73rd post in the thread. But they don’t quote the post that they are referring to.
Are they agreeing with the seller who says “I hate Amazon!” in post #54? Or the guy who calls him an entitled whiner in post #61?

To all of our new colleagues in this forum: PLEASE QUOTE. ( To do this, highlight the part that you want to quote. Click on the beginning of that section, hold the mouse key down, and drag the cursor to the end. Then let up on the mouse key. )


#5

:+1: Great point and great description!

Visual tutorial here: Tips for increasing readability of posts.


#6

I kinda like any response or feedback at all, (unless it is a bunch of sockpuppet accounts) it takes multiple flags to have an effect. A hidden post is clickbait and probably gets more attention than regular ones, but if it irritates the reader a hidden post feels like it is being addressed.

Agreed, and this is a nice 5th case, expecting contributors to be mind readers. They either give no info and get irritated when you guess wrong, or expect you to enumerate through every possible instance so they don’t have to fess up what is really wrong.

On the other hand, these threads can be pretty entertaining, (educational too!) and could make for some nice future reading when Amazon finally puts in a decent search engine for the forum. (search insisted my OP was very similar to a thread about a POP score replacing ODR from 2012)

I admit to regularly looking at posting history, store names, quick internet and product searches, etc. I know that freaks out some people, but even having a hidden history tells you something about a poster. The last 3 enabler threads that I participated in, the OP changed their forum handle immediately afterward. One of which the OP had the thread deleted, changed their handle, and then started a new thread with the exact same question.

That said, I can certainly sympathize with those that come in here guns blazing, sporting their company name, only to realize later just what a public mess they made.

Obviously it wouldn’t work in today’s world, but there are times I miss the old forums rss bug which gave advanced users some extra insight.

Lol. You have a point there, although I’m afraid I mostly ignore poster tourette syndrome even when properly attributed. I hope these training wheel posts come off eventually and reveal more thoughtful posting as confidence builds. I would like to see more people post, and after some “get acquainted” lurking, think more varied participation could help all of us.

On a side note, the discourse forum software authors appear deeply opposed to mute and block features, and don’t appear to consider signal to noise ratios as something that could help or hurt a productive forum.

I’m not sure I completely agree with all that, but know that enabling these scammers doesn’t help the forum, participation, or the selling platform in general. I usually just bail and stop participating when scammers/axe-grinders/bull artists seem like they are winning, but this time I’m trying something different. Other than a few wild threats and some hidden posts, so far, so good.


#7

Respectfully, it seems these basic forms of mildly toxic behavior more or less exist on every internet forum. It’s a little different here because there’s also business involved, but every enthusiast/help forum I’ve ever been on always has a group of guys who are rabble rousers like this.


#8

Not the one on which I am an admin. You are polite or you are gone. It really is possible.
I generally use the standard of ‘would I tolerate it in my living room’.


#9

I agree on the point about forums in general.

The key point is that here business is involved, and it is a big market. The scammers are making serious money at the expense of everyone involved. My issues aren’t with impoliteness or rabble rousing, it is scammers using the forum expertise to continue scamming.


#10

The underlying problem here is Amazon management. If they paid attention to this forum as much as scammers do, most of the scammers would be gone


#11

At one point, someone on here said that these forums ought to be locked down to active, professional sellers only. Even though that would leave out the individual sellers, it would probably decrease a good bit of the garbage posts.

I would fully support this change.


#12

“I blame all of you for my inability to learn because I am a drama llama that is a customer of this forum!”


#13

That would certainly cut down on some noise, but everyone that is doing serious damage that I have encountered has a pro account. Hell, the last one claimed they were an 8 figure seller.


#14

Please quote the post that you are replying to. :slight_smile:


#15

It is strange how 30+ Amazon admins don’t seem to be as effective as just a few expert users that we used to have helping out.


#17

In all honesty though, selling on Amazon can be a highly emotional, often frustrating endeavor for a lot people, so I see why some posters often resort to the four categories you have listed above. I think a little bit of understanding goes a long way. If you can get someone to see that you do really want to help them, IF they drop the negativity and accusations, I think a lot more posters problems could be solved.

As soon as some starts their post from one of those 4 points of view, two types of people reply…

  1. Keyboard warriors who want to shoot down the original poster’s entire verbiage because of the accusatory position the original poster took
  2. People who genuinely want to help and are trying to understand the position of the original poster

Of the two types of people, who do you think gets the most attention? The keyboard warriors, because as humans, we are drawn to conflict. That is why the most replied to topics on this forum are controversial ones with people arguing back and forth and getting nothing solved.

We’ve got to start bringing people out of the mire of their own negativity and telling the keyboard warriors that they could be of better use by not saying anything because if this keeps going on like this, Amazon might eventually just severely limit what we can post on this forum.

In my opinion, if I see a post going south, I usually try to bring some levity into it with a meme or funny quote or something, because humor goes a long way in getting posters and angry people out of their own heads.


#18

Why do you want to help anyway? Amazon should be paying sellers like us to offer this information. Instead, Amazon creates a forum and give away fake badges so people will spend their time offering help to people they don’t know. I just don’t get it.


#19

How about the **Alumni or Reunion poster may be a better name
The seller who is not longer selling on Amazon and appears on occasion to tell the OP why he should just leave Amazon for somewhere else or get a different profession. (Not meaning the seller who left because of illness or some non Amazon reason and comes back to just chat or sometimes give helpful advice)


#20

I am also a 8 figure seller $000,000.00 (currently suspended awaiting invoice verifications)


#21

Pennies aren’t usually counted when saying “X figure seller” – someone selling $100,000-999,999 a year gross is considered a 6 figure seller.