[VOTE] Open up registration again?

Moderator: CmdrWilkens

Should we open up registration again?

Poll ended at 2009-10-26 10:55pm

Yes
30
86%
No
2
6%
Abstain
3
9%
 
Total votes: 35

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Tiriol
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Tiriol » 2009-10-22 07:18am

Voted in favour of opening up the registeration. The amount of newcomers has been reduced to a small trickle for all intents and purposes and that can (or will) in the long run turn this forum into a stagnant club for old-timers. Opening up the registeration will of course allow more trolls to get in (or at least makes it possible), but I'm sure we can handle it.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Edi » 2009-10-22 07:29am

Lagmonster wrote:This may be impossible given my limited knowledge of these things, but would it be possible to open up registrations generally, but prohibit registrations from specific addresses? We could, say, disallow spammers and anonymous twits using free throwaway email accounts but let everyone else through unmolested save the skill-testing question.

I know for a fact that entire domains can be banned from registering. If you try to enter any email address with the offending domain suffix, the registration process will tell you your email address is invalid and will not allow the registration to go through. This particular ban is also retroactive, in that you cannot change your board email address to that domain after your account is activated. An admin (or possibly even Mike personally, due to his direct database access) is required to enter such a banned change in manually. Even supermods can't do that.

Reason I know it? I helped one of our Russian members register and he only had a .ru mail. So I registered the account using one of my own emails, then tried to change it to his email and it wouldn't let me. IIRC it was finally resolved through an admin, because I sure as hell couldn't fix it.

If that same lockdown is instituted for the more notorious spam domains (though not including yahoo.com, hotmail or gmail because so many use those after registering with a paid for address), there is no way for spammers to get in from there. None whatsoever.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby fgalkin » 2009-10-22 07:44am

Bounty wrote:Abstain. I have no opinion on the rearrangement of Titanic's deckchairs.

Don't exaggerate Testing's importance

If these people decide to leave because Testing is being nuked regularly, and that was their primary forum- then they weren't exactly making a lot of contributions to the board in the first place, were they?

If anyone decides to leave because of this, the board as a whole would barely notice. It sure as hell won't die because of it.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Darth Wong » 2009-10-22 08:47am

fgalkin wrote:If anyone decides to leave because of this, the board as a whole would barely notice. It sure as hell won't die because of it.

Besides, I would rather have the board become a ghost town than a squishy chat room. In any case, with 23 votes in favour, it's already a majority. Therefore, I have opened it up. May Bob help us all.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Stuart » 2009-10-22 09:07am

Darth Wong wrote:What kind of security do you use?


We use captcha with its parameters set to the max. Then, once registered newbies are given very limited access to two relatively unimportant boards where they stay until admin decides they are humans. Then, they get promoted to full users. Newbies have strictly limited posting rights, they can't post pictures or provide links to other sites.

I'm looking at other types of captcha. One good candidate provides a photograph that the applicant has to recognize (we'd probably use ships or aircraft, having to identify an F-106 or F-105 should eliminate the computer-spammers who are the main problem. The problem is that the modern spamming programs can identify the standard letter/number captcha codes and respond to them correctly so they go straight through the system.

Domain blocking is something i haven't thought (I didn't know it was possible) of but by eliminating all of the .ru domains, I'd guess that 80+ percent of the spam would be eliminated at source. However, recently I've noted that an increasing proportion of spam is coming in from Indian, Spanish and Portuguese domains but trace back to Russia and the Ulkraine. So, obviously the spammers are finding the domain banning effective and finding ways around it.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Darth Wong » 2009-10-22 09:25am

Thanks for the info. I'll have to look further into those measures myself. I was looking at some software mods to limit new user posting rights, but they seemed like they were a bit under-developed to me (also, the phpBB software is on the verge of going to the 3.0.6 release, so I should probably wait until after that happens before attempting to modify the software).
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby NecronLord » 2009-10-22 02:10pm

Though the vote has already reached a required number of votes in favour, I'd like to endorse it nonetheless.

Stuart wrote:I'm looking at other types of captcha. One good candidate provides a photograph that the applicant has to recognize (we'd probably use ships or aircraft, having to identify an F-106 or F-105 should eliminate the computer-spammers who are the main problem. The problem is that the modern spamming programs can identify the standard letter/number captcha codes and respond to them correctly so they go straight through the system.


I expect we could have some kind of thematic version of this. Identify a picture of the Death Star, the Enterprise-D, a SSD, or perhaps Star Trek TOS characters etc... Anyone interested in membership here should have no difficulty doing that, but should deal with computers, I would think.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby NecronLord » 2009-10-22 02:12pm

Darth Wong wrote:Thanks for the info. I'll have to look further into those measures myself. I was looking at some software mods to limit new user posting rights, but they seemed like they were a bit under-developed to me (also, the phpBB software is on the verge of going to the 3.0.6 release, so I should probably wait until after that happens before attempting to modify the software).

I'm not familiar with the back end of phpBB. What would be the difficulty in simply making the basic 'members' usergroup have limited posting rights, and then promote (and grandfather everyone with posts) them to some other usergroup, called Citizens or something to that effect? We could probably appoint someone to the role of head of the citizens usergroup primarily responsible for conferring citizenship 'First Citizen' or for a more Star Wars feel, 'Moff of Border Control' or some such.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Coyote » 2009-10-22 02:18pm

NecronLord wrote:
Stuart wrote:I'm looking at other types of captcha. One good candidate provides a photograph that the applicant has to recognize (we'd probably use ships or aircraft, having to identify an F-106 or F-105 should eliminate the computer-spammers who are the main problem.


I expect we could have some kind of thematic version of this. Identify a picture of the Death Star, the Enterprise-D, a SSD, or perhaps Star Trek TOS characters etc...


How about one of the Executor with a scale bar that says "9km" and another with a scale bar that says "17km", and see which one they choose... :lol: :wink:
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby fgalkin » 2009-10-22 02:20pm

I thought we were moving away from the tired and dead subject of ST and SW?

Have a very nice day.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby NecronLord » 2009-10-22 02:24pm

fgalkin wrote:I thought we were moving away from the tired and dead subject of ST and SW?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

The board was founded for such things (and its 'public offices' retain a theme - Imperial Senate, etc) and more importantly, I expect (though have no detailed evidence) that anyone wanting to join would be interested, at least, in Star Wars, enough to know the difference between Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine. Come for the Star Wars, stay for the Science.

Much of the focus may be on science, or and politics, but it would be, I think, rather more complex to make the capcha software filter on stating basic physical laws of political facts.

Amusing though it would be to have a picture of George W Bush and have it be 'describe this man' I don't think it'd be feisable.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby AdmiralKanos » 2009-10-22 02:34pm

Besides, while the subject of Star Wars vs Star Trek may be old and tired, the board will always have a Star Wars flavour. Anyone who goes to a board with "stardestroyer" in the domain name should expect that.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby AdmiralKanos » 2009-10-22 02:36pm

I saw a really neat CAPTCHA where you drag icons, but it requires JavaScript. Right now the board is usable even if JavaScript is turned off, although certain features won't work. Adding a JavaScript CAPTCHA would make it impossible to register without JavaScript turned on, and I don't think I like that idea.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby AdmiralKanos » 2009-10-22 02:50pm

I forgot to add that we actually have a (very easy) skill-testing word question in the registration page right now. That's not a CAPTCHA and it doesn't use fancy obscured graphics instead of plain text (all you need is knowledge of the difference between minutes and hours, the concept of speed, and the ability to multiply and divide with a calculator), but it might stop a lot of robots anyway.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Thanas » 2009-10-22 02:56pm

The skill testing text should however tell users to round up or down.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby fgalkin » 2009-10-22 02:57pm

So, I googled our question, and holy shit. That wasn't the only hit, either.

Yes, some people can't get that right, and need to ask for help.

I weep for humanity.

EDIT: It gets worse- this one has the person in question asking how to use a calculator. Image

And I remember the guy now

Have a very nice day.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby AdmiralKanos » 2009-10-22 02:57pm

Thanas wrote:The skill testing text should however tell users to round up or down.

Actually, there are two correct answers: the precise figure, and a number rounded to the nearest integer. The system will accept either.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby AdmiralKanos » 2009-10-22 02:58pm

fgalkin wrote:So, I googled our question, and holy shit. That wasn't the only hit, either.

Yes, some people can't get that right, and need to ask for help.

I weep for humanity.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

That's ... that's really sad. Still, maybe I should tweak the numbers so that it divides evenly into a number of minutes, so people don't have to wonder how they should handle the fractional part?
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby Ted C » 2009-10-22 03:58pm

I'm for it.
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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby fgalkin » 2009-10-22 04:15pm

Well, the first newbies are now posting in Testing. Let's see how it goes.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

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Re: [VOTE] Open up registration again?

Postby LadyTevar » 2009-10-22 06:21pm

I have no opinion on the matter -- Abstain.
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