The discussions on the forum have been brilliant, thought provoking, serious and silly. The categories seem to please most people and have made everyone feel more comfortable to discuss a wide range of topics.

Chat walls on member pages are constantly flowing with the rhythms of people getting to know each other. Members have been blogging with enough quality posts for me to be able to feature five at least once a day, often twice.

The Crime Zine Report blog has been joined by the bulk of crime fiction's ezine constabulary and it is quickly becoming a very useful single source for the latest in crime fiction on the web.

New members have rolled in at a steady rate, only tapering off recently, which made the final crawl towards 600 a slow one. And it's personally gratifying to see so many Aussies, including authors, come on board.

Some of our members have created their own social networks on Ning, which is a great thing, as Crimespace is not going to be a perfect fit for everyone. Book Place in particular has taken off in a big way.

One of the problems that comes from this is that many members are now on multiple networks and they are building large friend lists. Ning is set up this way and it is something of a trade-off between flexibility and exposure. It means members can indulge in a wide variety of interests, at the price of being exposed to a wider group of people on Ning, some of who will send emails and invites to their friends list.

While I can do a certain amount to protect members from unsolicited emails or invites, the control for this mostly rests with members themselves. Which I think makes a lot of sense, as some of you are happy to receive these messages, while others are not.

If you receive messages that to you are spam, especially from outside the Crimespace network, you can report this to Ning. There is a link at the bottom of every single page to do this (Report an Issue).

Another thing members can do is to block messages from a particular user. There is a link to do this at the bottom of every email received through the Crimespace email system.

I do have two requests to make to those of you that are about to create your own networks.

Please don't accept the default options and create a network named something like "John Doe's crimespace". While many of you are not computer literate, it doesn't take a lot of effort to see that this can annoy members of the current Crimespace, me included. I didn't spend the last two months working on Crimespace to have it diluted in such a way.

Also, if you want to send invitations to your network to Crimespace members, do your best to make sure they are wanted, and relevant. If I receive multiple complaints from members, I will be forced to remove your membership from the Crimespace network.

For those that are interested, Ning has a privacy policy you can read.

That's enough good news and tough business talk from me. I'm parched, so I'm off to The Bar.

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Comment by Sandra Ruttan on May 11, 2007 at 8:24am
Thanks for posting this. I actually complained to Ning about the unsolicited spam from people not in Crimespace (as I had another one recently) and there's little that can be done to stop it. I made it very clear I was unhappy about the display of email addresses in the messages as well.

I do not want to be spammed. If anyone is setting up a network they can mention it on their member page, even make a blog post here about it, and that's a way of letting us know without bashing us over the head. Odds are I'm probably not interested - I came for the bar, not the marketing (which so far seems to be the focus of these alternate sites).

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