Fair enough. I have been watching this forum for quite some time and have observed an interesting lot of activity, but have also witnessed good transactions as well.
It sounds like you are a more experienced online trader so you know the potential risks. If people dive to too quickly into buying/selling online, then there are risks. But if you can filter out the scammers and find good people to do deals with, then the benefits can be very good.
I'm not sure if I understand fully how preventing guests from seeing the marketplace would reduce scams. Would not being visible to guests make it less tempting for scammers? Or does that tie into post counts?
I am very much in favour of figuring out ways to help people's confidence in Bitcoin commerce
Well, my personal guess is that people don't simply join the forum, then look at the marketplace, then realize how easy scamming is, and then start to scam others.
My guess is that scammers first browse through the forum for some time and observe how scams are being performed, observe the lengths to which members try to track scammers, identify what types of items are prime for scamming, etc. I think this would explain why the post count of so many scammers is so low.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't expect a newbie who is truly fresh to the forum (e.g. they haven't scoped it out before becoming a member) to be confident enough to just immediately swing into the marketplace forum and start scamming. Without the knowledge of how transactions on the forum operate, the risk would seem too great. I didn't make my first transaction till about post 300 or so, and even then I had my doubts and still do.
I think if the marketplace wasn't visible, this would weed out a lot of potential scammers. I think it would help ensure that people who join are those who are sincerely interested in Bitcoin and the Bitcoin community first. Of course, there will still be those who realize how easy it is to scam after they join, but it may prevent those solely intent on scamming from the beginning from joining.
I still think the post count is important, though. Or, as I suggested, a 'newb' marketplace sub-forum vs. a 'veteran' marketplace sub-forum. Ultimately, I think post-count (i.e. the amount of time you invest in your scam) is the #1 correlating factor among scams.