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  • Going back to your post, number 149, I think 7 days is a long time in the internet world.
    Delicious Poison:

    The difference between a nerd and a geek? Well a nerd does not wear Spider Man butt huggers.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by klepto
      Going back to your post, number 149, I think 7 days is a long time in the internet world.
      7 days is a long time for some people. On the plus side, people will seek answers to Defcon questions from other sources (like google, or the FAQ or the main web page, or by using forum search. People truly interested in contributing won't be scared by 7 days, and people really interested will be able to do the 7 days before being able to reply.

      This also creates "value" in accounts, as users are less willing to do something stupid if it means they will have to wait again before posting.

      Since that post (3 weeks ago) the forum userbase has grown a net increase of about 60 active users in about 3 weeks. (Net growth is after the pruning of account that have gone 2 weeks without email validation, and the pruning of accounts with over 2 years of inactivity and zero postcounts.)

      Also, the last spam we had posted to the forums was Jan 25, 2006, and last Fucktard Hall inductee was November 7 of last year-- 5 months ago.

      Here is a view of total posts (purple) per day over /dev/null, spam and fucktard hall posts (orange) for a 5 year period:

      (30-day mean averaging is included, in order to smooth-out peaks and dampen effect sof troughs.)

      It looks to me like we have a pre-con growth curve (far right) in posting like previous years, but a /dev/null "lull" period (orange) longer than most any other time in the history of the forums.

      If this policy of an imposed waiting period proves ineffective, or the mods come to dislike it for some reason, or "something else happens," it can be revisited at any point and removed.

      If I recall correctly, the mods spent a long time discussing this before going forward with it. Many of the changes we have seen over the past 8 months came as a result of mods discussing ideas. Some ideas have been tested and undone, some reviewed and revised, while others are still present or "in testing."

      I recognize your complaint, and I understand several implications with an imposed waiting period. At the moment, I have no "better" solution.

      I am open for other suggestions to help deal with the tard-ism (it's a religion) and spam while pulling back on the wait period. If other techniques can be included (especially automatic techniques) the mods can consider them for implementation. You have anything specific in mind?

      Examples of things being tested, that may not remain if there are problems with them:
      Increased use of warnings to potential abusers before eternal ban-nation,
      The contest/event subforums,
      The new title of "Leader/Organizer" in the forums for selected event organizer or contest leaders to have more control to manage discussions about their contest/event,
      The Search/Advanced Search feature and shorted wait-period between searches,
      This new user waiting period,
      One of the layers of spam banning,
      (more)

      Anything being tested can be removed if there is mod-agreement.

      Do you have any replacements for the waiting period?

      Comment


      • klepto: CotMan covered most of the ground on this, but lets not leave him as the lone soldier. This is an idea underway, based on a topic that has come up year after year: How do we form a forum that is:

        1) centered around the community
        2) semi-intelligent with strong content discussion / contributions
        3) low levels of spam
        4) low levels of asshats

        #1 was tackled with a little restructuring, trying to bring focus back to Defcon and the events surrounding it. By building a better aftermarket Defcon crowd, we're hoping that folks inadvertantly help build a better Defcon; a value added to everyone involved and general idea that feeds off itself.

        #2 isn't something moderators can force. We've tried seeding discussion threads in the past that just fall silent to ill interest or whatnot. Trying to encourage people to post technicial threads didn't yield as well either, since this isn't really a technical forum, it is the Defcon forum. Ultimately this fell into the resolution for #1, building a stronger discussion base around Defcon itself (both technical and nontech).

        #3 was an issue that started occuring more frequently, deftly covered up by the forum admin ninjas.. it didn't solve the problem. Forums were getting caught (resources taken) up with a crapload of 3rdparty bots, so this was addressed and appears to be considerably resolved. The forums still fell subject to users that would sign up and post immediately, whether spam or general tardism. The problem was reviewed.. the people causing the hearthache weren't generally ones that had signed up and waitied.. they were all fresh accounts. We could watch the account be created, watch the signup hit confirmation and be ready to immediately oust them because it was just that predictable. The idea of a waiting period formed from this.

        #4 The biggest bane is that when the forums get junked with crapthreads, posts,etc.. the people that participate in active, valued discussion stop reading/visiting the forums entirely because it strictly becomes a waste of time... moderators included.. which is generally how the topic becomes revisited, after hitting an unbearable threshold of crappiness. This is a problem that has to be improved on. Eventually the grumble about moderators just being dicks comes up, derrived from the increased amount of smackdown that occurs, coupled with the increased pointedness of replies due to frustration with all the crap flowing in. While a lot of us get a kick out of talking shit to someone that deserves it, a forum full of that is just not a happy place.

        Every year new creative ideas are discussed and many of them shot down. After reviewing the types of content hitting /dev/null, and the patterns of those posters.. the idea of a waiting period seemed much more feasible. The period in discussion varied wildly. Many moderators were ready, myself included, to test a 2-4 week flat waiting period for new signups. Further discussion and reason determined that it would probably be too much, so we decided to test a much shorter waiting period of 7 days for initial posting.. trailed by the current rulesets for additional time before creating your own threads, PMing others (previously a growing annoyance amoung new signups harassing members), etc.

        ...and if a community member *really* wants to get something posted ASAP and they just happened to create a new account to do it, it can still be brought to the moderators for advanced account promotion. I have not personally received any complaints yet about not being able to post from people wanting to actively participate... CotMan?
        if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by converge
          I have not personally received any complaints yet about not being able to post from people wanting to actively participate... CotMan?
          One complaint was submitted by e-mail, and the user siad something like, "2 weeks before I can start a thread? Fuck that shit. I need help with my computer right now! Please delete my account."
          (Not an exact quote, but you get the idea.)

          [Added: In reality, it is 1 week before you can post a reply to an existing thread, and 2 weeks before you can post a new thread.]

          We have also received requests from goons or people running contests or both, to promote a new user to have access to post immediately.

          In some cases, a well-known and reliable source (like a core goon) *knows* the account user in real-life, and it is in the interest of the community, Defcon, events and contests for the person to have their account upgraded immediately.

          This has happened, um... ?3 times? in the past 3 months? Every single case included a Goon making a request or vouching for the person, and each took about 24 hours to complete (most of the time, less then 8 hours.) [Most of this time was caused by delays with e-mail.]

          We've entertained other ideas too, like a "newbie sandbox" where new users can post stuff, but that does not solve the problem-- people will still break the rules, they will just do so in the sandbox, and this does not help deal with the spamming problem.

          Another was a "peer review" system where any member could "vote" on threads and members and automatic ban rules could apply to user accounts that fall below a certain value-- obviously flawed idea, as it does not work elsewhere, and would contribute to a "gang" mentality where groups of people would intimidate those they don't like and then cooperate to vote/ban any user away. (This idea was nixed rather quickly-- and it is a good thing we did not go with it. :-) [Imagine different "clans" of people on the forums (like online gamers) who scheme against players they don't like.]

          Ideas that granted access based on a long-term age of an account (months) were not good, because age of account is no indication of "not an asshat." Over the short-term, (weeks) access could be extended through age with the assumption that most people will be able to learn through lurking and have opportunity to read the rules.

          Ideas about number of posts for granting more access were just silly, as people would post even more crap to try to get into a new access group to get more access. This is why the last automatic group upgrade is based on a small number of posts and time and does not give a user any new access control; it only gives them a slightly larger PM box-- something they might use if they were active.

          If you have new ideas, that will help us with the problems and goals mentioned above, I'd like to read them.

          Thanks!
          Last edited by TheCotMan; April 11, 2006, 16:30. Reason: Added content

          Comment


          • Next Stage: Automagically Updated Flatfiles.

            Things seem to be stable enough to move forward with updated flatfiles.
            Several times each hour, the script provides updates to these "files" so you can subscribe to them and periodically update. As new events are added to the forums, if you, "refresh remote calendars," you should be able to get the latest event listings.

            Only 2 so far, and the "Conventions" calendar may go away:
            http://forum.defcon.org/ical/events.ics
            https://forum.defcon.org/ical/events.ics

            http://forum.defcon.org/ical/conventions.ics
            https://forum.defcon.org/ical/conventions.ics

            If you are an event/contest organizer, add an event to the forums, and in a short time, that event is available for download as part of the "events.ics" calendar.

            Comment


            • You may soon see "connectivity problems" with the forums soon, or may see them right now, in which case, you probably can't see this post yet.
              If you see a "blank page" or can't connect, try connecting to the IP address:
              http://216.231.63.37/
              or
              https://216.231.63.37/

              If you know others are complaining about "the forums being down" suggest the above URL as temporary fixes.

              [Added:]
              It looks like the DNS issues were fixed, but it may take 3-5 days for DNS Servers that don't follow min/max cache or refresh times from domain records. (Some ISP try to save on DNS work by caching rcord information longer than the record specifies it should be cached.)

              Most will be fine in an hour, some may take a day, and a small minority may take 3 to 5 days. (It is really up to your ISP and you.)

              The IP Addresses above should be fine as a temporary fix. If you still have problems with the forums with the name "forum.defcon.org" but not with the IP Address after 5 days, please post the problem here.

              Thanks

              Comment


              • Originally posted by converge
                klepto: CotMan covered most of the ground on this, but lets not leave him as the lone soldier.?
                I thought I'd add a little perspective to this from the user's side. I had joined initially some years ago, but found it so noisy and unproductive that I lost interest. I doubt I ever made a post. I recently rejoined, and discovered that your new system wouldn't let me post for a week (etc, etc, etc). My purpose in rejoining was to provide information about Coffee Wars in the Contests section.

                Originally posted by converge
                ...Further discussion and reason determined that it would probably be too much, so we decided to test a much shorter waiting period of 7 days for initial posting...
                Yeah, this one surprised me a whole bunch. However, I didn't see any emergency (even the deadline for updates to the printed program isn't until the 15th), and I figured that there was simply no need for me to look for special treatment.

                Originally posted by converge
                ...and if a community member *really* wants to get something posted ASAP and they just happened to create a new account to do it, it can still be brought to the moderators for advanced account promotion. I have not personally received any complaints yet about not being able to post from people wanting to actively participate... CotMan?
                I *did* consider asking for special treatment, but have been so pleasantly surprised about the cleanup of various problems I noted last time around (such as off topic nonsense, and the interminable flame wars), that I really didn't mind at all just playing the part I'd been assigned (i.e. Lurker) for the week. It's a good system, and I'm sure that it's contributed to a more civilized and interesting forum.

                I'll be posting to the Coffee Wars area as the time approaches, and am looking forward to yet another year of caffeine, beer, and all those unscheduled events (can you say Cisco?).

                (shrdlu)

                Comment


                • Change in welcome message and new policy exceptions:

                  Welcome message has been altered. New/changed content is in bold:
                  Originally posted by welcome_message
                  Dear username,

                  You are now at level of Registered User "Lurker" on the Defcon Forums[bbtitle].

                  You are encouraged to read and follow the rules:
                  http://forum.defcon.org/showthread.php?t=2855

                  * With only one exception#, you can't yet Post messages, polls, or use Forum PM:

                  For the next 7 days, your account is limited* and you are encouraged to lurk in order to understand the social rules and forum rules. As a "Lurking User" you now have access to a long history of posts not visible to non-registered users, and can use the forum search to help you locate posts.

                  After 7 but less than 14 days, you are granted: limited use to PM (Private Messages on the forums-- a kind of "Forum mail"), access to reply to EXISTING threads (on topic), vote in existing polls, and upload a custom avatar.

                  After 14 but less than 21 days, you are allowed to start new threads, and set a custom description in your UserCP. (The default is now "Registered User."

                  After 21 days and some non-negative forum contributions, a slightly larger Forum PM MailBox is made available and you will be able to post new, public events to the event calendar-- pending moderator approval of the event.

                  Once an event is created, you won't be able to edit it or delete it. If the time or description of the event needs to be changed, ask a moderator for help.

                  There are no other automated promotions.

                  # Exception:there is a brief window during the few months leading up to a Defcon, where new users may immediately post only replies, and take part in polls found in threads that are part of the Contests & Events space
                  This allows new users to participate in existing discussions in the Contests& Events subforums with on-topic content, and for event organizers/leaders to use threads as a tool for users to "sign-up" for an event.
                  So, there we have it. An exception to the forced lurking period. Let's see how this works out. "Lurkers" who use this exception to violate the rules will probably be at greater risk for being banned.

                  Purging of accounts:
                  In addition to the following:
                  1) Accounts with unvalidated e-mail addresses may be purged two weeks after the join date. (Users have two weeks to validate an e-mail address with their account.)
                  2) Accounts inactive for more than 2 years AND with a zero postcount may be pured at any time.

                  We're adding this one:
                  3) Accounts that seem to be "one-time use" accounts that are over 1 year old AND have a zero postcount, are at risk for being purged. (Example: user creates an account, only accesses it the same day it is created, has a zero postcount, and does not return within a year.)

                  Comment


                  • heh... i wonder if we're going get a rash of posts in the CtF forum from newbies asking for help h4x0ring teh Gibson.

                    seriously though, folks, i think this is a fine idea and one that will benefit the forums and the contests. i doubt it will cause any problems.
                    "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


                    • Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
                      heh... i wonder if we're going get a rash of posts in the CtF forum from newbies asking for help h4x0ring teh Gibson.
                      Is this where I make a bet, and say it will take less than 5 minutes and then post such a message in less than 5 minutes? ]:>

                      seriously though, folks, i think this is a fine idea and one that will benefit the forums and the contests. i doubt it will cause any problems.
                      Yep. It is a battle between two items:
                      Sanity vs Sterility
                      (Noise pushes people away. Lack of convenience pushes people away)

                      How do we ensure the forums remain functional as a tool to aid Defcon organization and planning, without letting noise push people away?

                      Another issue came up. A user suggested that this information be more prominent so new users can know about it before registration.

                      We now have a thread with the lurking enforced periods described here: https://forum.defcon.org/showthread.php?t=7322

                      This URL is cited in the list of "rules" where a user first decides to register with the forums, and click a check-box stating they read the rules. It is also in the "confirmation e-mail" message, and then once again in the "Welcome email" message, and once more in the "lurking" section of the forum rules.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by TheCotMan
                        ...It is a battle between two items:
                        Sanity vs Sterility (Noise pushes people away. Lack of convenience pushes people away)
                        I think that there's another consideration here (and I'm speaking on the side of signal, and sanity). Lack of convenience might put some off, but that enforced waiting period is a good thing. I'd just as soon see it reinstituted (rather than giving special dispensation because we're nearing con time). Really, waiting a week (to post) is just not that onerous.

                        Originally posted by TheCotMan
                        How do we ensure the forums remain functional as a tool to aid Defcon organization and planning, without letting noise push people away?
                        I would say, speaking from experience, here, and on dc related mailing lists, that the level of noise and immaturity goes *up* when DefCon approaches, and it becomes even more important to have some leash on new users. I note that you have made the lurking period even more prominent in your rules, and the need to post information can always be permitted on a single case basis. I'd bet that almost every time someone believes that they simply *must* post right now, that the information they are "sharing" is less important to the rest of the community than they might think.

                        Please; these are good rules. Don't relax them.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by shrdlu
                          I'd bet that almost every time someone believes that they simply *must* post right now, that the information they are "sharing" is less important to the rest of the community than they might think.
                          There are some time-sensitive factors. The first to spring to mind is the ride/room sharing. A week can be a very long time when you are trying to catch that last free spot in the caravan...

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Voltage Spike
                            There are some time-sensitive factors. The first to spring to mind is the ride/room sharing. A week can be a very long time when you are trying to catch that last free spot in the caravan...
                            If that's an issue, and you've just shown up (not you personally, you in the larger sense), then you can always send a private message, or email. Neither of those are blocked. My guess is that most people looking for a room or a ride at the last minute are going to be very thorough in their sweep for assistance, and that will (or should) include figuring out how to contact others for rides (or floor space), or find someone else to post.

                            I still say that a week of lurking, and a week of new user status, is an excellent thing, and shouldn't be changed, other than on a case by case basis.

                            You know that old saw about poor planning on someone else's part not being an emergency...

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by shrdlu
                              I think that there's another consideration here (and I'm speaking on the side of signal, and sanity). Lack of convenience might put some off, but that enforced waiting period is a good thing. I'd just as soon see it reinstituted (rather than giving special dispensation because we're nearing con time). Really, waiting a week (to post) is just not that onerous.
                              Like many of the other ideas that we have included in the forums to improve quality and keep away crap, this relaxation of rules for Contests and Events can be removed, and the original restrictions returned. We can also refine the existing ideas to try something new. Nearly everything we try is a test and can be removed if there are problems.

                              I would say, speaking from experience, here, and on dc related mailing lists, that the level of noise and immaturity goes *up* when DefCon approaches, and it becomes even more important to have some leash on new users.
                              Yes, the noise does increase. Check out the graph above (also here) and you can see the number of /dev/null, spam, and fucktard hall posts goes up both prior to con, and after con like clockwork.

                              I note that you have made the lurking period even more prominent in your rules, and the need to post information can always be permitted on a single case basis.
                              This is true, and is something that we have been doing. However, there are only 3 people on the forums that can presently promote new user accounts from "lurkers" to users that may post replies and new threads. The only users that have been manually promoted like this have been organizers of events or contests, and has required confirmation from a Goon like Russ, DT, or someone with authority who is trusted and it usually includes some discusson between mods.This is a lot of overhead, and I can't speak for the other mods, but I can tell you that I am lazy. ]:>

                              I'd bet that almost every time someone believes that they simply *must* post right now, that the information they are "sharing" is less important to the rest of the community than they might think.
                              To some extent, this can be part of (what I see as) a purpose for the forums to be here: "community" even though the primary purpose is "plannig."

                              I did some checking a few months back, and I think I found that most forum users are well behaved. A large majority of members are lurkers, while a very small pecent are responisble for causing problems. Something like 8% of members were responsibele for over 90% of the content.

                              More restrictions will likely increase this, to make fewer people responsible for an increasing percentage of total forum posts. (A shrinking "community" by relative size of membership.)

                              Please; these are good rules. Don't relax them.
                              We have another option. We could choose to have exceptions to the lurking period be set on Contests or Event on a case-by-case basis per event or contest subforum.

                              In this way an organizer can request an exception for their space if they wish to use it for signup threads or maybe, exceptions to the present exceptions could be applied , where organizers can request to have the more restrictive rules imposed in the subforum for the contest they are running.

                              What do you think of these as refinements to the relaxation of the enforced lurking policy?

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by TheCotMan
                                Like many of the other ideas that we have included in the forums to improve quality and keep away crap, this relaxation of rules for Contests and Events can be removed, and the original restrictions returned...
                                Nod. I have no idea how long this method has been in force. As I'd said, I'd looked in a few years ago, when the forums first started up, and it rapidly devolved into all noise, no signal. I only rejoined to post about Coffee Wars This is our seventh year; half as long as DefCon's been around. Whoa!

                                If this restriction is newish, I'd give it a while, without making the concession, and see how it goes.

                                Originally posted by Shrdlu
                                I note that you have made the lurking period even more prominent in your rules, and the need to post information can always be permitted on a single case basis.
                                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                                This is true, and is something that we have been doing. However, there are only 3 people on the forums that can presently promote new user accounts from "lurkers" to users that may post replies and new threads. The only users that have been manually promoted like this have been organizers of events or contests, and it usually includes some discusson between mods.
                                Yeah, I thought about asking for dispensation, but I couldn't justify it to myself, so I didn't. I joined in plenty of time to sit out the two weeks, and have already satisfied my primary purpose in putting info out over on the contest/event forum. Anything else is just gravy.

                                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                                To some extent, this can be part of (what I see as) a purpose for the forums to be here: "community" even though the primary reason is "planning."
                                Community is good, and encouraging it is the right thing. I just don't think waiting a week is that big a deal. I can't believe that it drives anyone off, at least not anyone that isn't headed for /dev/null in any case.

                                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                                I did some checking a few months back, and I think I found that most forum users are well behaved. A large majority of members are lurkers, while a very small pecent are responisble for causing problems. Something like 8% of members were responsibele for over 90% of the content.
                                This is always true. It's true on every mailing list I've ever been on. It was true back when it was Arpanet and not Internet. It's true in large groups. That's just the way it is. Most people *want* to lurk. My original motivation for joining was that I was seeing a whole bunch of hits on the coffeewars site, and a lot of them were initiated from the forum. When I logged in, and saw zero posts there, I felt a certain responsibility to communicate with those users looking *there* for information, so I joined. It all worked out.

                                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                                More restrictions will likely increase this, to make fewer people responsible for an increasing percentage of total forum posts. (A shrinking "community" by relative size of membership.)
                                Oh, I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised. As long as people don't get sent to /dev/null or worse for frivilous reasons, and as long as the moderators maintain their cool, then it'll be a relatively worthwhile place to be.

                                Originally posted by TheCotMan
                                We have another option. We could choose to have exceptions to the lurking period be set on Contests or Event on a case-by-case basis.

                                In this way an organizer can request an exception for their space if they wish to use it for signup threads or maybe, exceptions to the present exceptions could be applied , where organizers can request to have the more restrictive rules imposed in the subforum for the contest they are running.

                                What do you think of these as refinements to the relaxation of rules?
                                I think that this is an excellent idea. There are probably contests where the ability to ask questions is significant (although I still maintain that "lurkers" can send private messages to the organizer, or in fact to any poster). It's been interesting; rather like dc-stuff in its earlier days (which is where Coffee Wars got its start in any case).

                                Comment

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