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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2010-08-04 20:46:54

fayeraegan
Registered user
Name: Faye Raegan
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Registered: 2010-08-04
Posts: 1

Introduction

Hi guys!

Newbie here..


(off topic signature deleted)

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#2 2010-08-04 21:19:32

Dark Horse
Registered user
Name: Andy Grayson
From: Kirkbymoorside
Registered: 2009-07-18
Posts: 37

Re: Introduction

Hi Faye,

Dark Horse here!

Welcome to the Dipterists Forum, the society that is full of friendly and helpful people that probably wouldn't hurt a fly.  Well, 2 out of 3 aint bad I suppose!

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#3 2010-09-18 22:16:34

davidweiss146
Registered user
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2010-09-15
Posts: 1

Re: Introduction

'Hello im a newbie hope to become valuable member'
(off-topic link deleted)

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#4 2010-09-19 10:35:21

MJames
DF Members
Name: Michael James
From: Norfolk
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 100

Re: Introduction

Doesn't this forum have a moderator to get rid of this garbage?

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#5 2010-09-19 21:45:08

muscapaul
DF Members
Name: Paul Beuk
From: Maastricht, Netherlands
Registered: 2010-01-06
Posts: 576
Website

Re: Introduction

That's why there is a 'Report' link...

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#6 2010-09-20 02:10:00

MJames
DF Members
Name: Michael James
From: Norfolk
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 100

Re: Introduction

I've reported the 2 posts above. It will be interesting to see what happens.

There are now 2388 registered users, the majority of which seem to be spammers. What makes it worse is the fact that the User List is publicly visible and indexed by Google. Even the spammers that have not posted have links in their profiles that will come up in Google searches.

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#7 2010-09-20 13:07:28

muscapaul
DF Members
Name: Paul Beuk
From: Maastricht, Netherlands
Registered: 2010-01-06
Posts: 576
Website

Re: Introduction

I don't know the whole system, but the one I use for Diptera.info has the option to ban members (making them disappear from the user list) or to blacklist email domains, user names, IP addresses, etc. It also has the option to have members activated by an administrator. Especially the latter has resulted in virtually no spam on the site in the last two years.

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#8 2010-09-21 11:20:22

stuart
Administrator
Name: Stuart Ball
Registered: 2007-04-21
Posts: 142

Re: Introduction

Yes, there is a facility to ban individuals and IP address patterns.

I looked through the stuff that people have reported and banned a few usernames, but I must admit that I don't see a big problem here. Most of the posts reported seem to be people introducing themselves who have links which could be construed as advertising in their signatures. There are not large numbers of these - maybe few 10s. This suggests to me that it is people going through the registration process manually. I wouldn't have thought this is more than a minor irritation - and livable with. It becomes a real problem when automated systems manage to get through the registration process. Then you really start to get 100s of posts a day - and the system astarts to get unusable. Thankfully, that hasn't hit us - yet!


Stuart

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#9 2010-09-21 14:17:59

muscapaul
DF Members
Name: Paul Beuk
From: Maastricht, Netherlands
Registered: 2010-01-06
Posts: 576
Website

Re: Introduction

LoL, it is clutter and clutter is annoying!

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#10 2010-09-21 16:42:47

MJames
DF Members
Name: Michael James
From: Norfolk
Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 100

Re: Introduction

I just thought it would be better to do something before it does start to get out of hand.

There have been 27 new members since I first posted. A quick check of the user list suggests there are now in excess of 1500 spam links on this site. There were 32 on the first page and 48 full pages, each of which presumably hold a similar amount. Whether these links are just harmless advertising remains to be seen. I certainly wouldn't consider visiting any. Hopefully no-one else will.

It's probably only because the spammers don't need to make a post in the forums, that it doesn't seem too bad at the moment. It would actually get much worse if the user list wasn't open to non-members and search engines.

Last edited by MJames (2010-09-21 16:43:44)

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#11 2010-09-23 01:35:24

stuart
Administrator
Name: Stuart Ball
Registered: 2007-04-21
Posts: 142

Re: Introduction

The way things are set up at the moment is that anyone can register. This just requires getting through the usual CAPTCHA test (to try and prevent automated systems [spam-bots] registering and posting) and supplying a valid email address. Dipterists Forum members can ask to be promoted to "DF member" - myself or our membership secretary, Mick Parker, check that they really are members before OKing this. Finally, there is a "Committee" group which I maintain manually.

Registered users have limited access. One of the things they can do is to post to this General discussion forum.

DF Members have much more access. They can post (almost) everywhere, upload photos, etc. There is also a members area that is not accasible to registered users but DF members can get to.

Committee members can act as moderators and also have access to a "DF Business" section.

As Paul Beuk mentioned, we could make it so that any registration has to be approved by an admin (e.g. me or one of the Committee), but I would be reluctant to shut out non-members completely. We want this to be a place where people who have some interets can perhaps be encouraged and maybe in time, become interested enough to join. The trade-off is that, if anyone anywhere can register, then we WILL inevitably get unwanted postings! I agree that it is annoying! At the moment, my judgement would be that we do get a lot of genuine activity and interest from non-members so that it is worth the current level of annoyance.

Do other agree? Or would you like to make registration on this web-site tighter?


Stuart

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#12 2010-09-23 15:43:30

malcolmsmart
Committee
Name: Malcolm Smart
From: Wolverhampton
Registered: 2008-02-26
Posts: 394

Re: Introduction

The problem is that there are a number posts with nothing, or almost nothing but a link to a website. These links could be to malicious sites which might download something nasty. I would not want to click on them (I did on one accidently and it led to a site that I could not even understand - I backed out immediately and ran a full security scan. I fortunately found no evidence of foulplay but it had given me a nasty shock. Can we not refuse to accept web links in posts from non-members?
Malcolm

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#13 2010-09-23 16:14:17

muscapaul
DF Members
Name: Paul Beuk
From: Maastricht, Netherlands
Registered: 2010-01-06
Posts: 576
Website

Re: Introduction

You can keep the distinction between DF members and those who are not, but you can still say that registrations have to be approved for every one. I check every person registering at Diptera.info and those I cannot find anything about get a personal email requesting them to state their interest in Diptera. Those who answer get approved, those who do not get deleted.

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#14 2010-09-23 18:36:10

Mark
DF Members
Name: Mark Mitchell
From: Hampshire
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 273

Re: Introduction

As Google (and some other search engines) rank sites on the number and quality of links contained within the site (along with other criteria too). Having all these links to "known to be used in spam" web sites can not be healthily for our search engine rankings? I may not have had much of an effect yet, but I am sure it will in time. So I would have thought it wise that these spam postings be removed ASAP?

Surely the easiest way to stop these is to restrict active links to DF members, and anyone else that has put a few 'sensible' postings on the site first?

Mark

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#15 2010-09-24 01:43:53

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 218

Re: Introduction

stuart wrote:

As Paul Beuk mentioned, we could make it so that any registration has to be approved by an admin (e.g. me or one of the Committee), but I would be reluctant to shut out non-members completely. We want this to be a place where people who have some interets can perhaps be encouraged and maybe in time, become interested enough to join. The trade-off is that, if anyone anywhere can register, then we WILL inevitably get unwanted postings! I agree that it is annoying! At the moment, my judgement would be that we do get a lot of genuine activity and interest from non-members so that it is worth the current level of annoyance.

Do other agree? Or would you like to make registration on this web-site tighter?

I agree that it is desirable that non-member guests should be able to register and post ID or other queries, and that we may have to put up with some inconvenience as a result.
However if we could discourage banal posts that appear to only be there to publicise their linked site I would be pleased.
Does this Bulletin Board software allows a Moderator to edit and then lock a post as some others do? If a Moderator had the time and inclination to remove off-topic links and lock the post, so they could not be replaced, the spammers may get the message. A statement on the registration screen that off-topic links will be removed may discourage English-speaking humans.
I assume these people are paid by the dozen or so of forums to which they post their links (paste the username or text of one into Google to see if they do the same on other discussions). Perhaps they may leave us alone if it becomes pointless. Having posted once I doubt they would want to post again so banning them without deleting the post would be no sanction.
I will email about this as a public forum may not be the place to discuss anti-spam plans.

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#16 2010-10-05 01:45:50

Judy Webb
Committee
Name: Judith Webb
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 411

Re: Introduction

I would really like everyone registering to be checked and approved.  I would also really like the User List cleaned up and all the obvious advertisers just deleted.  I find it much more than irritating! Many thanks for the clean-up that has already been achieved,
Judy

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#17 2012-06-23 09:24:07

brinsey
Registered user
Name: Array Array
Registered: 2012-06-23
Posts: 3

Re: Introduction

Hi to all I became a member today as I have a picture I would like to upload to see if anyone can tell me what sort of flies these are?
could someone please show me how to upload my pics?
thanks in advance and hello again to all

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#18 2012-06-23 11:09:10

ChrisR
Administrator
Name: Chris Raper
From: Reading, UK
Registered: 2008-03-08
Posts: 390
Website

Re: Introduction

Welcome to the forum brinsey, to post an image just size it to something not too big (640x480 or 800x600 pixels) and not too large in files size. I quote from the guidelines: "(Limits: 20 images per post, each image must be less then 1600x1200 pixels and 512 KB)". Start a new thread in the most appropriate-sounding forum ("Identification"?) and choose the option to upload 1 file. smile

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