WebHostingTalk.com – Where you can break the rules without breaking the rules.

I have been a member at WebHostingTalk.com, or WHT for short, since December of 2007. I can’t say that I haven’t run afoul of their rules on several occasions since then because I most certainly have. Although I have always personally done my best to make sure I understood and followed the rules there have still been situations where I have mistakenly broken the rules.

In the situations where I accidentally broke a rule it was always very helpful to be able to discuss the incident with the moderation staff in order to get a clearer understanding of what I did wrong and how to avoid it in the future. I’m human and by nature fallible – I will make mistakes – I am not perfect. What is important is that I am able to learn from my mistakes to avoid making them again in the future.

I have always loved WHT because I was able to help people with hosting related issues – even those that are not clients of the company where I work. Being helpful has always been my primary driving force first and foremost. I won’t say that we haven’t acquired a lot of clients via WHT because we certainly have. There was a time when WHT was a busy place and we took the time to carefully craft and post advertisement threads there.

These days WHT is unfortunately not nearly as busy or popular as it once was. This is in part due to changes in the hosting industry as well as other platforms growing in popularity like FaceBook groups. I can go days without looking at WHT and when I come back to it – still not find anything where I can really contribute or be helpful.

There are plenty of situations where I received an infraction for replying to somebody, while merely trying to be helpful, and I didn’t take the time to click off the ‘show my signature’ checkbox which is on by default. Or when I received an infraction for having 3 colors in an advertisement when the limit was 2 – even though 2 of the colors were virtually the same color of blue and basically imperceptible to the human eye on most displays. In these situations though I did understand the rule and how I had broken it.

On July 25th, 2020 I received a new infraction on WHT – one that actually took me by surprise. I will start by showing you how my username and custom user title displayed over at WHT before the infraction:

My username is “MikeDVB” and the custom user title that I had configured, for many years, is simply the company name for which I work, “MDDHosting LLC”. There is no contact information listed, no phone number, no pricing, no web URL, nothing whatsoever that I feel could be misconstrued as advertising.

Here is the infraction that I received from WHT word-for-word:

Dear MikeDVB,

This is a reminder about your post(s) or other actions at Web Hosting Talk.

This is the reason for this message: Custom Title Advert (Advertising in your custom title.)

The moderator who issued this reminder has this message for you:
=======================================
URLs or other forms of advertising (phone numbers, plans, contact details, etc.) are not allowed in custom user titles or names, which are limited to 25 characters. Also, you may not use custom titles or usernames to impersonate, or attempt to impersonate, WHT Staff, user groups, or any entity you are not associated with.

We have removed MDDHosting LLC
=======================================

I have over the years seen a large number of users that have usernames such as “CompanyName-Name” or “Name-CompanyName”. I found it surprising that I had received an infraction for having the company name displaying directly below the username instead of within the username.

In the past when I have received and infraction and had questions about it – I responded to the infraction and was able to discuss the issue with a moderator. Maybe it was the moderator that issued the infraction and maybe not – but either way I was able to discuss it. In this case I have responded to this infraction and my response has been totally ignored. Here is the response I sent:

Just for the sake of me understanding – I can have my username be “MikeDVB MDDHosting” – but I can’t put “MDDHosting” in the title that shows directly beneath?

If you could explain to me how simply listing the company I work for in Box 2 instead of Box 1 – when they show right next to each other – is advertising I would very much appreciate your insight.

It’s worth noting that this hasn’t been an issue for … ~3 years now?

I sent this response on July 25th, 2020 a mere 3 minutes after I had received the infraction and, to this date, I have not received a response.

I’m not sure if a moderator was having a bad day or what – but I’ve re-read the rules and I cannot personally see how putting my company name in my custom user title is in any way advertising or why this is not permitted but I can have the company name in my username.

I find it interesting that having the company name in my username, which shows in a great many more places than my custom user title ever could, is acceptable but having it in my custom user title is not.

According to this infraction and this moderator’s interpretation of the rules this is ok:

And this is not:

Personally I feel the one I received an infraction for is much more tasteful. The custom user title will never display anywhere the username is not displayed but the username will display in a great many places the custom user title does not. Either way the the company name is displayed on every post – so why split hairs?

At any rate – normally I wouldn’t ever post anything about an infraction over at WHT – but being that WHT appears to be going down hill fast and their moderation team can’t even take a moment to explain an action they’ve taken against you – here it is.

Another user over at WHT did mention that my username is now the ‘longest username ever’ and I responded there with the explanation as well. I fully expect to receive an infraction for this as well – but it is what it is. Here is a copy of that post for posterity as I expect it to get removed:

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