Posting

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Posting

Postby CMelanick » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:56 pm

Posting:
I need to be able to post to the Merc posting page please....Can you help??
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Re: Posting

Postby PraxJarvin » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:34 pm

Hey There,

By Merc do you mean the Mercury or the Mercutio? Once you clear that up, I can straighten it out in a few seconds.
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Re: Posting

Postby cdx » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:14 pm

There is a topic called Spam in this forum (I can tell by searching) but I don't have permission to view it (perhaps because I'm not a moderator). So reusing this thread is the next best thing.

I propose that we have a new user PM at least one current forum member, such as any one of the council members (we can provide a list in the confirmation e-mail or something) and tell him/her what sort of sim the new user is looking for - or somehow distinguish that s/he is not a bot.

Back when I registered, I would have had no problem doing that, so long as I was given crystal clear, can't miss, instructions.

I know this would be more work. But it's important because just seeing bot posting can deter potential new members. I may even run for election so that I can be the one to get the PMs, to make it happen.

Thoughts?
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Re: Posting

Postby Tavey » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:16 am

Hmm. Further to this thought, each sim area on the forum has a usergroup attached to it. If Hosts could be so kind as to add their new players to their usergroups, it would help immensely to weed out those accounts that are actually spam hidden under a plausible name.

We do run a clean up of the boards regularly (even if it doesn't seem like it when we've got a lot of spam coming in) however, everyone can do their part by dropping a PM to one of the admins if they see any and do not have the required permissions to delete it.

After all, we can't do anything if nobody is telling us, can we?

(( Also, point of note cdx, being on the council does not automatically give one full admin status on the board. That is reserved for a small handful of people only to prevent mistakes from happening.))

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Re: Posting

Postby cdx » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:43 am

Chris Stern wrote:there is a certain irony here (the post before mine is guest spam and hopefully to be deleted)
so um.. what happened to that moderation queue??

Yes, Chris, that is ironic. But I'm using this thread because these bots are not guest posters, but actual 'approved' forum registrants.

This time, if you're not a mod, save your strength. Someone before me already went through and flagged all 21 posts from this latest digital troll. :shock:

Nicely done, whoever did it. :)
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Re: Posting

Postby Taneth » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 am

flagging isn't usually necessary, I can tell by the usernames that they're not real.
If the apocalypse comes, I sure hope it comes in the form of Threadfall because I am SO getting a dragon.
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Re: Posting

Postby Chris Stern » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:01 am

At the risk then of becoming harassing and even ruder...
Can I once more ask if something is being done about this.
Because frankly if the people designated as responsible for upgrades/ maintenance/ problem solving can't even get this right.. months down the line then we might as well stop asking them to do anything.

I understand that people are busy, that WE all have lives outside this place that take up our time too. But frankly this only really holds water as a reason rather than an excuse if there is a time limit on how long it is valid for.

So can I, as a concerned member, have some reassurance from someone that this will be fixed (several ways have been suggested here and elsewhere), and a time by which I might expect this to be done.

The issue itself might not be all that important individually, but the utter lack of movement on it certainly is cause for concern, indicative of a deeper malaise as it is.

And please, please don't again refer me to an email address of someone so detached from this they don't read the boards... if they don't read the boards and the senior people in here are not capable of contacting them with reference to this after all this time... then again the situation speaks for itself. [/rant]
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Re: Posting

Postby cdx » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:54 pm

Just to be clear, I have no problem with the response time taken to remove a bad post. The staff does as good a job as can be expected. You aren't here every hour of every day.

But such activity does reflect badly on our community from an outsider's viewpoint. That's why I'd like to see an automatic mechanism or some human proceedure to keep bots and the occasional real person from spammig the boards, to prevent the bad posts from getting up in the first place. As Chris has said, a number of ideas for precisely this have already been put forward.

It's not like the messages directly disrupt my own personal business. So far, I can sim just fine in the short time it takes the moderators to come through and clean up. That's not a deal breaker at all and, if ultimately no further action is taken on this matter, I can still live with it.
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Re: Posting

Postby Imrahil » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:49 pm

Yessh, a few spammers and we get a bunch of foot stamping and drama? They're gonna happen no matter wat changes occur. They've aready developed ways to get round captchas and things. The response time is usually rater fast.
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Re: Posting

Postby PraxJarvin » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:17 pm

Chris, steps are being taken, but the fact of the matter is that the spammers are getting through holes in the php system rather than any add-ons we have. We are in the process of working out a time to upgrade the php OS, and if you want a firm timeline on that I suggest you contact Jeano the Engineering Chair as it falls under his responsibility. Working out a time convenient for the MB hosts to lose access to the boards for a brief period of time is something we have to figure in as well.

In general, once the php OS update is applied, we'll not have spammer issues until another revision comes out. This has historically been the problem. However, organizing time and people to arrange for the update is not exactly easy given people's differing schedules, time zones, etc. As well, a comprehensive backup of the boards must take place before the update can be handed out.

As well, I'd like to take a moment and commend members of the board such as Hamp for taking the time to contact me directly if they see a spam profile/account pop up so I can deal with it directly and quickly, rather than waiting for a time when I will visit the boards to do my routine upkeep. (Two days ago I deleted 8 accounts on our memberlist with spam-esque usernames.)

The automated spam blocking process was used once before and ended up deleting just as many legitimate accounts as it did spam accounts. A human system is fine in theory, but is most effected by "Do I feel like going in and clicking accept 20 times today?" While I try to, it's just not possible for me to monitor the fora every day. Indeed many of the security features we take for granted as working aren't going to work 100% f the time

I'm sorry for any inconvenience the spam may have caused you. Unfortunately, it happens. Most of the spammers we see have some sort of human backing them to get past a Captcha or a program that can read the file image. We're working on the PHP update and we'll let you know how it goes from there.
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Captain Prax Zeddar Jarvin
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Commanding Officer, USS Shakaar Edon, NCC-100107, Intrepid-class

"I laid out the cabin today. It's gonna have an easterly view. You should see the light that we get here. When the sun comes from behind the mountains, it's almost heavenly. It reminds me of you." - Admiral William Adama, "Daybreak"
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Re: Posting

Postby cdx » Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:12 am

Thank you, Prax. You've adequately addressed my concerns. I will try PMing you when I see a suspicious account, even before the registrant makes a post.

It would appear that upgrading PHP and any other tools necessary in the OS will go a long way to solving this problem.

Let us continue that portion of this discussion in the Ideas thread over in the Lounge.
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Re: Posting

Postby Tavey » Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:12 am

Truth is - spam happens. It's happened before on these boards (anyone here remember the WoW spammers from a couple of years ago? I think we were deleting 20 a day, plus 4 or 5 accounts), it will happen again.

Instead of being antagonistic about the fact that it's happening, be realistic about the fact that we are working on a solution. However, also please remember that in this particular case, we don't want to risk losing all of the hard work that has gone into the board. We don't want to simply upgrade without making sure that everyone's creativity is protected. There are ten years of stories on this board.

However, let's take this as notice that there will be a period of time coming up soon, when the boards will be down for maintenance. Hopefully not longer than a couple of hours. I will let the Hosts know ahead of time, if possible, so that they can pass the information along to you.
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Re: Posting

Postby Chris Stern » Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:17 am

As I said above the spamming isn't the real issue here
I'll say that again because it seems to have been utterly missed by everyone except cdx... the spamming isn't the real issue here.

it's minor, an annoyance that every other single place I am on does not suffer from to anything like the extent this one does, but minor.

It is also.. despite the protestations above.. easily fixed. CAPTCHA does work, moderated first posts does work, upgrading the frankly long out of date phpbb version does work...

The bit that I am stomping my foot about is that these solutions have been there, offered and discussed, for literally months this time around; and NOTHING was being done except some windy words and vague suggestions that someone would maybe look into it. Much akin to saying that people will maybe look into upgrading things.. sometime in the future.

This is quite literally the only place that I have ever heard of that thinks a couple of hours intentional downtime (tops because it really really doesn't take that long unless something goes horribly wrong) is cause-reason for months of delay. Arguments about losing the hard work are equally boggling, I sincerely hope that this forum is routinely backed up.. if it isn't then you REALLY need to do something about sorting that.. URGENTLY. (there are simple add ons that will do it automatically if you cannot trust anyone to remember to log on to one bookmarked site once a week)

One wonderful thing about this group is that the people here are really players first and anything else second, that rocks. But it really honestly is no excuse for leaving an easily fixed insecure system in place, nor for simply ignoring things until someone really shouts about them.

So yes.. I am shouting, and yes I am making an issue of this... and yes I am not being as polite as I could be about it...
Because the polite nudges have not worked.. the less polite repetitions have not worked... and it appears even my rather presumptory rant above has only produced more excuses, 'soon' is a pointless word, 'comprehensive backups' are hopefully routine and shouldn't take more than a few moments of work.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to attack any individual, in fact i'll apologise to Prax, who seems a genuinely good guy, that he seems to be the one whose shoulders this is falling on; this is certainly not simply the fault of any one person with admin. As I said above I really do understand about limited time and the difference between a hobby and a job. We all do this for fun, stress shouldn't be a part of it. But inertia is inertia, and while there is a good reason for conservatism and not changing things too fast.. it is going too far here.

And no.. I'm not just blowing off warm rectal air here... I personally assist to maintain one phpbb with a couple of hundred members, a SMF, a work site with it's own gallery and a number of invisions. I do know what I am talking about, and do know exactly how much, or little, work I am asking to be done.

So please.. stuff all this rubbish about 'arranging' and notifying. Look at the activity on the board.. pick a time and do it. job done.
Literally if as much time as has been spent reading the threads on the subject and deleting the spammers had been spent doing this.. it would never have been an issue.
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Re: Posting

Postby Tavey » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:15 am

Actually - all of the reasons that have been given before are totally valid. Please remember that you aren't privy to folks personal lives and their job requirements etc. It may seem easy for you to be able to devote a couple of hours here and there. But for someone like myself who often works from 8am until 11pm days at a time.. well.. a couple of hours is a huge investment of my time, when it means I will lose precious sleep.

Regarding the comment about the backup - yup. There is an automatic backup run of the board every single day. However, we like to make sure we have everything in place before we do any work on the boards. There are reasons for it that I don't need to explain here. Simply be reassured that no information gets lost.

I'm going to also note that, irregardless of the timing, we're taking the boards down for a short while today for maintenance anyway. Because it happens that today is the day we were all available to do so.

Chris Stern - Have you ever thought about volunteering for the Council? It's obvious that you care about the boards. And you've mentioned your experience before. We have an Election coming up next month for a position that isn't filled at the moment. Do feel free to contact me via PM if you want more details.
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Re: Posting

Postby Tavey » Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:45 pm

Now, since this thread has been skirting breaking the rules of the SLA regarding the use of this forum (there is a clear note about that posted on this forum, right at the top of it in fact) and also regarding the SLA's policy of keeping things cordial (Please see the note in the Announcements section regarding expression and free speech), I am locking it.

In the future, all discussions of this nature should NOT be posted in this particular area, but in the SLA lounge. This area is not designated a place for discussions, or copious amounts of replies. Doing so obscures the original Help Topics from those who need to see them.

Also, if anyone has any problems with how things are going, regarding spam etc, it would be greatly appreciated if they could be directed to the appropriate people, instead of simply posting it on the boards.

The email addresses are available in the members only areas of the boards.

Thank you.

Tavey.
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