Monday, February 25, 2008

A day in the life of a forum administrator

So you ask, "What exactly does a forum administrator do?" I'll share a typical day with you.

I awaken very early (how early? it's still dark). Then I brew a cup of coffee and turn on the computer. First, I read all the emails from potential forum members to weed through the spammers. I read and post the comments to the blogs. Then I tackle the potential members list.

I remind myself that it truly is the World Wide Web. While I've been sleeping for a few hours, the other side of the world is awake and many of them want to be part of or Name a country and I've received email from someone there. Most of the foreign emails other than from Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand are spam. How do I know they're spam? I won't share all my secrets or my cyberspace buddies will throw things. Usually, logic works.

For example, I received an application email from someone in Gibraltar. Go ahead--look it up on a map. Not much in the way of roads. Probably doesn't have an RV and since the island is rather small, doesn't have much in the way of campgrounds either. It's likely that the person just picked Gibraltar out of a hat. I look at the website listed and notice that it links to an overseas pharmacy selling Viagra, Cialis and other drugs. The email address is from Russia so the person is deleted. On to the next potential member.

Every morning, I receive 30-40 emails from potential members and perhaps one or two is legitimate. The others must each be read and deleted. Throughout the day, I receive 20-30 more from this side of the planet. Again, one or two will be legitimate; the rest are spam. I try to stay ahead of the posters because some of the user names they choose are rather raunchy. I'd rather read them and delete them before the other forum members see them.

The spam usually falls into five categories: pills, porn, poker, phone ringtones and personals. And I have to admit that three times in the last three years, I have approved someone who turned out to be--well, let's just say, a jerk. But out of almost 7000 legitimate folks and at least ten times that amount in spammers, that's not too bad.

Sometimes while I'm online, I will receive an email and can immediately go to a special back section of the forum where I can actually see that poster's IP address while s/he's online. I have the ability to track the person's location, and if s/he is from another country that is known for its spammers, I can delete them at the server level. If you saw the movie "The Matrix," remember the scene where Neo is looking over the operator's shoulder at the computer screen with the rows of binary numbers moving down the screen, and is told that the operator no longer sees the numbers, just people. That's pretty much what I do too. I see an IP address and can tell you in which country that person is located. In the U.S., I can tell you which state your server is in and how many paths your login took to reach or

I also answer questions from forum members about what is permissible to post and every single post is touched by me. I may not change anything or I may correct spelling or grammar. Sometimes I have to retype the message because the poster forgot and posted in all caps. I don't delete a post unless it's so inflammatory that it breaks the forum rules or it's trying to sell something.

At the end of the day (yes, it's late and dark again), I check the forums once more and put them to bed. Then I lay me down to sleep and start the process again in the morning.

In case any potential spammers are reading this, I just thought I would let you know that I work every day. This year, 366 of those days. Thank you for playing but no lovely parting gifts from me.


  1. Thank you, Adrienne for all of your hard work. I had no idea what a forum administrator did.

    ShaRon Conway
    "The Churchlady"

  2. Thank you for reading! I enjoy my work and I've learned so much from everyone.