If I can express an opinion, I perfectly understand your concerns… I don’t know the real volume of messages nor the efforts required to run the community in this moment.
Anyway, I have some thoughts to express:
- The best way to avoid spam bots is to use technologies like reCaptcha and signals like spam marking by real users.
I think that if someone wants to cheat the system, then it can study it once and then program the bot to do exactly what is required to behave like a human. Hiding the rules required to be promoted as a user, in my opinion, is only a way to hurt real users without real benefits.
Also considera that Discourse is an open source platform and so the rules are publicly known (also if, maybe, you edited them to suit the needs of Mautic’s community);
- The best approach, I think, is to try: you can always go back, and remove the freedom of posting if the effort required to moderate the board is too much. But, until you try, this is only a supposition
Then, a bit of offtopic, I have a suggestion to increase the engagement of the community: I follow a lot Symfony and its way of communicating with the community.
At its heart, the communication is based on “A week of Symfony” and “Live on the edge” category on the blog.
“A week of symfony” is a weekly post that explains what happened during the past week and that highlights some information:
- Symfony development highlights
- Newest issues and pull requests
- They talked about us
- Upcoming Symfony Events
- Call to Action
The most important sections are, in my opinions, the 3 and the 4.
The “Newest issues and pull requests” contribute greatly to build a sense of community: highlighting the most important discussions on GitHub contribute to engage developers who can also contribute, with simple opinions or thoughts or, better, with real code, contributing to build a real open source product like Mautic would be and, at certain levels, is;
The “They talked about us” section, equally, contribute to build a sense of community among the users who, also if cannot write real code, can contribute with posts and thought useful to the end users of Mautic.
I think that pushing those two kind of contents can greatly improve the reach of the Mautic’ community, build a better and stronger one and, in the long run, contribute to make Mautic known by even more people.
My 2 cents