NOTE: Multiply.com shut down its blogging and social networking features in early 2013, after management indicated its desire to turn Multiply into an online marketplace. The company folded a few months later. The pages on Multiply of which I speak no longer exist, but if I ever set up a companion to the other Kosher Recipe groups on a service with some of the moderation problems that existed on Multiply, then much of what you see below will carry over.
For the most part, this really isn't difficult, as long as you have a website. If you don't have a website, that's not an insurmountable problem, either. Just join the Kosher group on DeviantArt, post there for a while, and when we know each other, I'll invite you to join the group on Multiply (or its eventual successor, wherever that might be, as well.
I'm really not trying to keep people from participating, and if circumstances allowed, I wouldn't put even this small obstacle in your way. However, as I'm sure you know, antisemitism is enjoying a renewal on the Internet, as it is in far too many places offline at the time of this writing (June 9, 2008), and sad to say, Multiply.com has not proved immune to this trend. Combine this with a well developed troll problem, an abundance of spammers, and a failure on the part of the staff to provide us with the ability to moderate posts, and I think that you can see why there is a need on my part, as the owner of the group to do some serious screening of applicants.
To do any less would be grossly irresponsible on my part. I can't honestly promise you that this will never be the place where the nonsensical hatred of the antisemite is heard. I don't log in every day, and nobody is logged in every minute. I can honestly promise you, however, that I will do my best to make this expressly Jewish group the sanctuary such groups ought to be, especially since this is a cooking group? Surely not a place where craziness is to be expected? But trolls define themselves through a refusal to respect boundaries, so action is needed.
Let's say that you don't want to take the time to establish a presence over on the DeviantArt group, but want to start posting to this multiplygroup (or its successor) right away. Well, right away as soon as I get to your request and process it. How do you go about doing that?
If you're one of my contacts, that's very, very easy, because you have a standing invitation to join this group, or any of my other groups or forums, on this or any other service, for that matter. You're all good people and I trust you. Most of you are Jewish, anyway, so I'm guessing that you probably won't be posting excerpts from the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which is the kind of scenario that worries me the most when I think about lack of moderation.
If you aren't one of my contacts, for the most part, this is still not a problem. The first thing you need, which shouldn't be a problem for most serious posters in the long run, is a website, a real substantial website with real, substantial content. Why a website? Because while throwaway identies are easily created online, a website takes real work. One can't create one of those every twenty seconds. What I will ask of you, in your request for an invitation, is that you provide me with the url for a page on your site, on which you've posted a link to this group. I would like to see recipes, yes, kosher recipes on your site, a clear indication that you are Jewish or at least friendly to the Jewish people that isn't hard to find, and I'd like to see that page to be one easily found from the main page on your site. Having done this, and having checked to make certain that your host's TOS doesn't prohibit this, you should then create a hidden page, one not linked to from any other page on your site, with a strange url that nobody else would be likely to guess, on which you'll post a secret code (you choose the code) which you should include in your letter of introduction.
Think of this as being like a claim post on your site, so that I know that you, the person sending me the message, and you, the owner of the site, are one and the same. Otherwise, what's to keep somebody from just sending me the url for somebody else's page, right? You don't have to keep that link in place after your request for an invitation is approved, which may take up to a few weeks - I do sometimes go on vacation, after all - but if you do choose to leave it there, thanks. A new group can use all of the help that it can get. I know that this leaves you linking to my group while you wait for maybe a few weeks, which may bring to mind unhappy memories of unreciprocated links, but remember, I'm not doing any hard screening. This isn't like getting onto a webring. If you're a legitimate poster with legitimate content, and not a troll or a spammer, I'll almost certainly send you that application.
This raises the obvious chicken and egg question - where is one supposed to post such a request, given that one can't comment on my multiply profile, and one can't post a request to join this group, until one has joined this group? I'll give you two choices, with more to come.
1. If you have a Yahoo membership, join and post to my personal social networking site update list.
No, you don't have to stay subscribed to the list after I've sent you your invitation, although you're welcome to do so. I'm using the list as a spam resistant message form, as well as using it as an update list, of course. The group is moderated, but open to all who wish to join. Your message won't be approved, but I will see it, and I'll take a look.