I work at a site that specializes in design/home hacks. We have a fairly large forum and all of the problems that normally come with it: Inappropriate comments, spamming, solicitations, generally unhelpful posts — you name it.
We obviously place a HUGE value on our community and we want to make sure everyone is comfortable contributing on our site.
How do I get rid of these users? I don’t want to rush and just start banning people. Are warnings too time-consuming? Anyone have experience here in community moderation?
Use an automated filter, to start blanking out these people. Technically it's no different to a profanity filter. Just look for values that are typical of these posts. Sooner or later they will go away. Add in human verfication to your registrtation, if you haven't already but don't make it too hard for geniuine users. Social login helps there. Logout of cofounderslab. Then compare their logon/registration process to yours
1) If your site supports it or you can add it cheaply/easily, have some moderators. You can usually find people in your community who are engaged and will do this on a volunteer basis. That takes some of the time off of you and your team issuing warnings and bans.
2) Have clear guidelines about what's appropriate content and what happens if people post things that are inappropriate. Post that prominently and make it part of your terms and conditions for user signup. That way, when users violate your guidelines, they have less room for complaint.
3) If you're doing it per your own terms and conditions and guidelines and consistently, I wouldn't worry too much about banning people who are abusive, posting spam, etc.
Make sure all posts are moderated, and on the post submission form, include language that says every post is human-reviewed and apologize if it takes a bit of time to get their content up. Also state the guidelines for appropriate postings. Encourage vigorous but polite discussion, disallow name-calling, ad-hominum attacks, racism, etc. Write template responses for a rejection (noting that 3 or 5 or whatever number you pick within x number of months is cause for banning) and for blocking someone. Then your time to respond is 30 seconds to copy and paste the template. You MUST enable moderation unless you can spend 24/7 monitoring every post and deleting the trolls and spammers. They will find and exploit any unprotected comment field and destroy your community before it starts. I have moderation enabled and I still have them trying. Be especially on the lookout for posts that seem at first to make sense but are talking about nothing relevant and just trying to get a junk link (often in hidden text).
1) I would make sure all comments come from site users who have accounts in your system.
2) I would make sure all comments are moderated.
3) I would put a CAPTCHA on the form to keep bots away. Google has a good solution.