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Paranoid

SWAM occurs when a LinkedIn Group Owner or Manager does this to you:

 

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And you will then see this on the right of your screen when viewing one of your Groups:

 

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This is the official explanation of SWAM (what you will see when you click on ‘Learn more’ in the blue box):

 

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SWAM = Moderation of Your Posts in Multiple Groups (MYPMG)
SWAM (more catchy than MYPMG) is an acronym which my pal Mark Vang first used in the LinkedIn Groups Product Forum in early 2013 to describe the situation where a Group member can be put on moderation in all of their Groups because of something they posted in one of their Groups. As a Group Owner/Manager I welcome this new tool, it’s far from perfect and open to abuse but the alternative was untenable. Prior to SWAM, LinkedIn Groups were in real danger of being overrun by spam. Spammers were acting with impunity and ruining the Discussions area in Groups for everyone. They posted the same crap to multiple Groups and easily avoided punishment by joining, spamming and leaving and operating under multiple fake accounts/robots. LinkedIn reports that since the introduction of this new policy, spam has been cut by 30-50%. I’ve witnessed this reduction first-hand in the Groups I run. On a platform focused primarily on development, with many decision-makers and well connected folks watching/present – many folks find it hard to resist the temptation of self-promotion. It’s also very easy to do, just type and hit ‘share’. LinkedIn have recently decided (February 2014) to give publishing rights to 25,000 ordinary members on the LinkedIn site itself and many are watching to see how that will be managed and rolled out.

 

STORM IN A TEACUP
Approximately 100-200,000 users have been SWAM’d according to LinkedIn since the introduction of this policy in June 2013. So less than 0.1 % of LinkedIn users may have been put into moderation automatically. It’s likely that most of them have been blissfully ignorant of their enforced moderation and probably exited the auto-moderation period (2 weeks) without even knowing about it. To say nothing about those Groups (like mine) which moderate all Discussions regardless of the posting permissions (‘approved to post’ ‘requires moderation’) of their members. Of course the people complaining about SWAM are those who feel they have the most to lose and they are making the most noise. The vast majority of LinkedIn users typically don’t participate in Group Discussions (and will never be SWAM’d) must be thinking that this is a non-issue. The only reason I can think of for complaining about having to go to each Group to get out of moderation –  is because they’ve been posting in multiple Groups!

 

ADVICE
To avoid being SWAM’d follow this advice: Read the Group Rules, contact the Group Owner/Manager/Moderator BEFORE posting to get a read on what’s acceptable and relevant in that community, monitor the Discussions area of any Group for a while before posting to fully understand the kind of conversations that are going on and generating the most Comments. SWAM is a sensible and effective response to a persistent, systemic and damaging problem. SWAM also highlights another issue – Group Owners are largely ignored by the communities they manage. Group Owners, Managers and Moderators are taken for granted and contacted only when there is a problem. The best way to avoid SWAM is by understanding not just the community you want to engage but the people who run that community. How many of you join a LinkedIn Group and send a message thanking the Owner? That’s what I thought.

 

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By Andy Foote