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  • How can the forums be made better for DefCon?

    I am looking for new ideas on how these forums can be made better for DefCon.
    What are your thoughts?
    Stronger enforcement?
    Weaker enforcement?
    More subsections for events and contests?
    New area? Topic?
    If the Forums are up for DefCon 14 like they were for DefCon 13, is there anything else that is desired?

    Perhaps I am opening a can of worms, but I would like to know what New Ideas people have to make these forums better.

    Thanks!

    [Added content:]
    Ideas suggested by people below:
    * Rules moved to the top
    = Moving the rules to the top of the forums was brought up as a suggestion by another mod, but there was little interest at that time. Maybe we'll look at it again
    * Require people to agree to rules during signup/delay.
    = About 1 or 2 weeks ago, the registration process was altered. The Rules displayed that require user agreement to having read before registration may continue, now includes a link to the forum rules.
    = The e-mail confirmation notice includes a link to the rules
    = The welcome e-mail after confirmation includes a link to the rules
    * Introduce a "Politics" Section, or maybe "TinderBox"
    = After a long discussion and vote, it has been decided that Politics and Religion should remain topics not best suits for DefCon forums. Details are in a post below (#15).
    * Tech News
    = "Tech News" has potential. First concern is for it to become a place where people post links to slashdot articles and discuss them here as well as slashdot. Some refinement would be needed on guidelines on what would qualify, so we don't duplicate the purposes of other forums.
    * Not so many stickies
    = "Got Questions" is the worst with this here. Ideas to resolve this here are welcome. The Forum Updates thread/sticky I started there is temporary. It won't stay too much longer.
    * Enforced lurking period (1 week) before being able to post
    = It has been discussed, but not recently. Added to the list of things to consider
    * New User Posting only allowed in /dev/null while on probation
    = A new subsection in /dev/null could be added for probationary users.


    Thanks for the feedback so far! Keep it coming.
    TheCotMan
    *****Retired *****
    Last edited by TheCotMan; November 14, 2005, 03:59. Reason: Idea Summary (see contributions)

  • #2
    I think that the rules should be moved to the top section instead of down on the bottom, so it's one more oppertunity for these morons to read them. Furthermore, I think that the rules should have to be read with an "I agree" checkmark at the bottom of the auth page before they can even join. There should be a timer on the page for no less than 30 seconds so it forces them to read the rules.

    As for enforcement, well...I am a wait and see'er. I am hoping this addition will change some things.
    -Ridirich

    "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

    Commander W.H. Hamilton

    Comment


    • #3
      perhaps now will be the best time to bring something up that we've been sort of flirting with a little bit lately. there was, a while back, a "politics and religion" area of the forums. that was removed some time ago, for reasons that i've never been 100% clear on. (i'd suppose, however, that it had to do with flame wars and general asshattery)

      i'd like to point out, though, that recently a few threads have waded into the waters of politics and the discussions that ensued have been very rewarding for all involved. Ridirich and allentrace were involved in those threads with me, if i recall correctly. now the fact that the political discussions didn't stir up a whole shitstorm may have had something to do with the fact that the three of us are not new to the community and have a healthy resepect for each other and for being polite.

      this leads to my next point, which is that a return of a "Politics, Etc" or "Tinderbox" type forum might be best if it included certain restrictions, such as a minimum post count before users can contribute there.

      i'm not looking for a place on the forums to spout wild rhetoric or call everyone with whom i disagree a bunch of fascist nazis or anything like that. i just genuinely love to talk politics and i feel that many topics which we discuss here (privacy, censorship, crypto, etc) have political underpinnings and that it's valid to discuss them. yes there are other message boards on the internet dedicated exclusively to politics, but i frankly don't care about the non-lucid rantings of the members of such forums, who tend to be bratty college freshmen, stay-at-home moms or dads, and other people who feel "informed" because they read their local paper and watch a half hour of local network news before bed. i care about and value the opinions of the people in our community. i look up to many of you and value the knowledge that you bring to the table.

      at defcon, talks such as those given by simple nomad are the type that catch my eye on the schedule. i can't believe that i'm the only one who feels this way. if there are others, then perhaps we can have a place to start conversations about court decisions and proposed laws that will affect our community (and/or have a forum where threads can be moved if they get too hot.) the mods here are fucking outstanding about keeping things cool, and at least one of them has told me that it might not be too bad to try a Tinderbox area within /dev/null for a little while. if it gets out of hand and if flaming or bad blood spills out into other forum areas, it's gone... and we (the particiapnts there) have no one but ourselves to blame. i don't think that will happen, though. i feel that with a minimum post count or other such requirement (plus the mods ability to warn/ban individual users if they start throwing heat outside of that one forum) will keep things pretty smooth.

      i welcome comments about this, as it would really please me to have a place to speak my mind or vent on occasion about what i feel are dissapearing freedoms... something that affects us all.
      "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
      - Trent Reznor

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd like a "Tech News" forum or something to that effect
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        • #5
          I think a Tech News section would be a nice addition. Especially if there were comments/opinions about the tech news that's posted.

          Comment


          • #6
            definitely agree on the "tech news" idea, i'd certainly check it (altho it's not as if i don't flood myself with that already.... between INFOSEC sites, politech, etc... but still, more can't hurt)

            one other small point... i've never been pleased when forums turn into a sea of Sticky posts and one has to scroll down a half page or more just to see the latest threads. Lockpicking101.com is like that, actually. there's no easy way around this, i realize, since stickies serve a very valid purpose, but if anyone had any suggestions there maybe we can kick it around.
            "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
            - Trent Reznor

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for all of the ideas put forward. I'll be editing my first post to include each idea and a comment so I have a summary of ideas.

              I'll try to do the same for other ideas posted below here, too.

              (Please don't interpret a llack of response from me with new posts in the thread as a lack of interest. You can check my first post to see ideas added with or without comments at the top.)

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe the link on defcon.org that points to the forums can really go to rules.defcon.org where we can have a forum with all the rules only mirrored there. Have folks register there and have rules IN BIG LETTERS right around the box where they choose a username, etc. Have popups too. Then when registered they get this world.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Did anyone ever get it so newbs can only lurk for the first week, then they're given the right to post? I think that'd help cut down on the drive by idiots; most of them would probably register then forget...
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by astcell
                    Maybe the link on defcon.org that points to the forums can really go to rules.defcon.org where we can have a forum with all the rules only mirrored there. Have folks register there and have rules IN BIG LETTERS right around the box where they choose a username, etc. Have popups too. Then when registered they get this world.
                    I like this, but better yet, have it point to EULA.defcon.org and get some disgruntled ex-EFF lawyer to spell out all sorts of rules that along with the real rules... include a number of other that you know damn well they will never read or pay attention to.
                    Nonnumquam cupido magnas partes Interretis vincendi me corripit

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by bascule
                      Did anyone ever get it so newbs can only lurk for the first week, then they're given the right to post? I think that'd help cut down on the drive by idiots; most of them would probably register then forget...
                      I only have 1 issue with that. Newbies will register for an account, then let it sit for a week, then post their spam/question.

                      Sure it will cut down on quite a few of them....but we will still have those jackasses I just mentioned.
                      -Ridirich

                      "When you're called upon to do anything, and you're not ready to do it, then you've failed."

                      Commander W.H. Hamilton

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Many of these ideas are not mutually exclusive, and can be implemented for cumulative effect.

                        We have been working to make notice of the rules appear in many places, and believe it or not, most users are not breaking the rules. It seems most users are lurkers.

                        There are a certain percetnage of users who will not read the rules, and another that won't follow them even if they read them.

                        Here are some stats:
                        About 3% of all users have been banned.
                        About 76% of all users have a zero postcount.
                        About 96% have a postcount less than 10
                        About 47% of all users have been active in the last year.
                        About 82% of all users have been active in the last 2 years
                        About 5% of all users joining before Sept 30, 2005 have not confirmed their e-mail address and will be purged in 5 days.

                        Delivering rules is important, and we do like the idea of emphasizing them to new users. We have implemented several of the suggestions about delivery of rules mentioned above, and will probably implement more.

                        A two stage promotion process is also possible, where users can't post anything for 30 days, and then after 30 days, they can post, but are limited in options until they get to some number of posts (10? 20?) where they can do other things.

                        I really like the ideas that are being suggested. I continue to edit the first post with comments about each, and the suggestions are influencing our decisions.

                        Thanks!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          maybe they can only post in /dev/null for the first 30 days :)


                          Web Hosting --

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by enigma
                            maybe they can only post in /dev/null for the first 30 days :)
                            We are looking to change over /dev/null to categorize /dev/null posts by kind of offense to better understand what rules are being broken by frequency, and to emphasize what kinds of posts don't seem to belong in the present on-topic categories.

                            Converge has been doing a lot of work to sift through /dev/null crap and categrize it into the new /dev/null subforums. (I pity this guy for having to go through /dev/null, as once was enough torture-- it is like getting stuck watching reruns of really bad TV shows.)

                            The new format of the /dev/null space is to not have any posts placed there count towards people's postcount. In this way, we hope to have postcount be a better description of any user's non-/dev/null contributions. This can also work with a post-count based promotion for new users, since they won't be able to spam /dev/null to get there, and spamming elsewhere is likely to get them banned.

                            The idea of having a space for probationary users to post is possible, and it could be a new /dev/null category.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
                              we've been sort of flirting with a little bit lately. there was, a while back, a "politics and religion" area of the forums.
                              Originally posted by TheCotMan
                              = No comment at this time. Check back later. Maybe Mid November (?)
                              After allowing a long time for discussion between the mods, and statement of many different opinions and reasons for each mod's vote, it has been decided that Politics and Religion are two topics that should still be disallowed or avoided on the forums.

                              What does this mean? There are certain topics on laws that are often borderline political. Perhaps, some may be allowed, and some won't. The most at-risk for /dev/null Politics or Religion threads are those that tend to create dissention or detract from the planning and preparation of DefCon.

                              How far is too far?

                              There is almost zero tolerance for religious discussions. (The same as it was from DC12 to DC13.)
                              I'm guessing the level of tolerance for Politics will be similar to what it was before DefCon 13, and after DefCon 12.
                              Examples of obviously /dev/null-able Political topics:
                              * "Let's go blow up the RNC/DNC!"
                              * "My [God|god|goddess] can beat up your [God|god|goddess]"
                              * "This public official should be shot."
                              * "Catastrophe XYZ is public official ABC's fault"

                              There is risk to starting Political/Religious threads (examples):
                              - Relocation to /dev/null (most likely)
                              - Censorship of entire posts or threads. (likely when there are legal issues like threats to cause harm)
                              - Excessive repeats, or trend with any user, can lead to a ban (Especially if, say, more than 10% (?guess?) of a persons posts are in Politics or Religion.)

                              The Rules will eventually be modified to include a comment about the topics of Politics and Religion on the forums

                              The purpose of these forums is primarily for planning, organization, and discussion of things concerning DefCon. There is also "a de facto" standard for inclusion of social content that is accepted as a result of how the forums have been used in the past.

                              There are forums where discussion of politics or religion are on-topic, but for these forums, Politics or Religion are off-topic.

                              It took about 2 to 3 years to revisit this topic since the last time, and it will probably be many years before mods discuss policy changes to topics of P&R, if at all.

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