Forum Operation

Discussion in 'Forum News and Announcements' started by Peter Ansoff, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    All,

    I wanted to let you know about a couple of minor "tweaks" that we've made to the operation of the forum.

    1. As you know from when you joined, the forum sends out an automatic welcome email. I've added a paragraph to that email that reads as follows:

    Please note that the purpose of this forum is to discuss the American flag, other flags, patriotism and related topics. It is not a venue for general discussion of political topics like immigration policy, health care, abortion, etc. etc. We welcome your participation and your opinions, but please respect the intent of the forum. There are plenty of other places on the web for general political discussion.

    2. As you may have noticed, the number of members (shown on the status bar at the bottom of the main screen) has ballooned. Mostly, this is caused by spammers who log on once and then never return. Previously, the system was set up to delete users who had not logged in for 180 days, and had never posted. I'm experimenting with changing the setting to 90 days, which has reduced the total member number by around 30%. I'm also working on some changes to the "front end" of the registration process with may make it easier to screen out the spammers.

    Comments are welcome as always!

    Peter Ansoff
    Forum Admin
     
  2. coasterville

    coasterville Member

    Thanks for all you do behind the scenes to keep the forum in tip top shape.
     
  3. Robin Hickman

    Robin Hickman Well-Known Member

    .
    Kind of a "Wizard of Oz" piece of advice : Pay attention to the "Man Behind The Curtain"! He's there for a reason and he has a job to do !!! :cool:


    Thanx, Peter ! :D


    Suggestion : Why not have it so the first 3-5 times a new member posts an entry, they have to use a "CAPTCHA" to do it? It might not stop the human spammers, but it might cut down on the "bot" entries (if there are any). :confused:


    Robin Hickman
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
    .
     
  4. Greengo

    Greengo New Member

    About time!!!!!

    Thanks Peter.....

    Greengo
     
  5. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Pay attention to the "Man Behind The Curtain"! He's there for a reason and he has a job to do !!!

    Buahahahahah!

    Why not have it so the first 3-5 times a new member posts an entry, they have to use a "CAPTCHA" to do it? It might not stop the human spammers, but it might cut down on the "bot" entries (if there are any).

    The forum software has a built-in function that does exactly that. I scans new poster's posts for a list of key words and a number of other "gotchas," and sends violators to moderation. It works pretty well -- we typically get an average of around 20 spam/bot emails per day, and the screener catches all but a very few. When one gets through, I can usually tweak the key list to stop any repeats. Occasionally, for some weird reason, the screener sends a legitimate post to moderation, even though the poster is well over the minimum. It's even done that to a couple of my own posts. I check the moderation list at least once a day, so the legitimate ones usually aren't delayed very long.

    The software also allows us to ban or delete users. For repeat spammers, I've found that it's better to ban them -- if you delete them they can just register again. I review the banned list from time to time, and delete the ones that haven't logged on in a year or so.

    About time!!!!!

    Well, it will be interesting to see if the new welcome message has any effect. As I've said before, it's a really difficult issue. One of the stated purposes of the forum is discussion of patriotism, and it's not always easy to separate that from political partisanship.

    Thanks, everyone for your support of the forum!

    Peter Ansoff
    Forum Admin
     
  6. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Occasionally, for some weird reason, the screener sends a legitimate post to moderation

    Case in point -- the forum sent *that* post to moderation! I don't know why, although I suspect that it was the "Buhaha . . ."

    Peter A.
     
  7. Peter Ansoff

    Peter Ansoff USA Flag Site Admin

    Another Admin update . . .

    About a month ago, I made another little tweak in the forum registration process. New sign-ups are now asked to enter the third letter of the word "vexillology" in a fill-in block. It's trivially easy for a human to do that, but apparently it's fairly difficult for an automated "bot." So far, the results have been very good; the amount of spam has dropped dramatically. Also, you will start to see the "Members" count on the front page drop over the next few days, as the 90-day activity window kicks in.

    Again, the window affects only people who have not logged in for 90 days, and have never posted. Most of them joined and then never logged in again.

    Peter Ansoff
     

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