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  • How can the Defcon forums be improved?

    Yep. Here it is again.

    I wanted to open this up for discussion for 2 weeks, and will close it at the end of this month.

    How can the forums be made better?

    I don't care if you are new the forums, or have been around longer than dirt, feel free to post complaints and suggested fixes, constructive criticism, or thoughts you have on how the Defcon forums can be made better.


    *** Even NEW users can post replies here just 24 hours after they create their account and validate their email address.

  • #2
    Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

    Originally posted by TheCotMan View Post
    How can the forums be made better?
    New moderators!

    Just kidding. I haven't seen any spam here in a long while, and I haven't seen anyone come close to getting banned in a while either. To me that means good rules, and more importantly, good rule enforcement. I wouldn't change a thing.
    "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

      I sent Thorn something to be added into VB that will turn e-mail address's into Images so that the spambot's can't grab them. I've put this in at the church of wifi forums and a couple others that I run. So far I haven't received any complaints with it and it should work great here for everyone.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

        i, for whatever reason, can never consistently remember how to make thread links in posts. i always fail a couple times, have to re-edit, and occasionally resort to checking the FAQ when i'm totally at a loss (or just too intoxicated)

        it would be great to see a "link thread" button in the standard post creation form. right now we have this...

        and i'd love it if it were to maybe become something like this...

        i've even created a GIF image to do the job if someone can work out the code that would allow simple insertion of a thread ID number to that function...
        "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

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        • #5
          Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

          Originally posted by audit View Post
          I sent Thorn something to be added into VB that will turn e-mail address's into Images so that the spambot's can't grab them. I've put this in at the church of wifi forums and a couple others that I run. So far I haven't received any complaints with it and it should work great here for everyone.
          Just as an FYI, we've been discussing it.
          Thorn
          "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

            I haven't posted in awhile; so maybe some changes have been made. However, I have noticed that the admins are somewhat inconsistent with how rule violations are dealt with.

            For instance, sometimes a newbie will say "plz help me how 2 hax" and the thread will just be closed and put in /dev/null. But other times someone else will come along and ask the same question, and end up in Fucktard Hall with his IP address posted.

            I assume it has to do with the admin that discovers the problem, and it's not a big deal, but it does bug me a little (probably just OCD).

            The second thing wrong with this forum is that during my absence, CotMan changed his user title from "No Clue Newbie Space-Waster."
            Last edited by Samurai Drifter; June 20, 2007, 12:52.
            One Nation Under Surveillance
            "War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

              Originally posted by Samurai Drifter View Post
              I haven't posted in awhile; so maybe some changes have been made. However, I have noticed that the admins are somewhat inconsistent with how rule violations are dealt with.

              For instance, sometimes a newbie will say "plz help me how 2 hax" and the thread will just be closed and put in /dev/null. But other times someone else will come along and ask the same question, and end up in Fucktard Hall with his IP address posted.

              I assume it has to do with the admin that discovers the problem, and it's not a big deal, but it does bug me a little (probably just OCD).
              This is something we have been working on for a long time.

              There is a side-effect of moderation when you try to model it:

              Fewer restrictions lead to a lower bar, and permit free-form thought, and discussion.
              This leads to risk for spam, redundancy in FAQ being posted over, requests to break laws, and occasionally, if they are not scared away, real-user posts with useful, or interesting content.

              The above results in:
              Over-aggressive spam filtering, reactive responses to FAQ, frustration in answering FAQ, frustration over requests to break laws, and a scaring away of users with something useful or interesting to contribute.

              So, the forums oscillated between less-restrictive to more restrictive, without any reliable enforcement of existing rules. User never knew if the mods had been pushed too far, or if some incredible hulk was finally made too angry.

              This lead to a reform of the forums. First, we started categorizing the kinds of rule violations, and then looked to see how the rules could better inform users of these problems. Next, we noticed that users were not reading the rules at all, or using the forum search. For these we added a forum search form to the top, and made the old search-drop-down into a link to Advanced Search. We also added a link to let people know the forum rules are enforced, and added a link to the rules in the FAQ (see the link to the right of the UserCP, left of the Members List.) We also include a link to the rules in the text part of the form new users check as having read, and then send them a link to the rules in the email verification mail, and then send them an email in the Welcome email once their account is activated. Additionally, we added a 24 hour waiting period for new users. They can't post anything during that 24 hours. After 24 hours, they can reply to existing threads. (This makes it easy for them to participate in existing discussions, and encourages use of the Search option to find related discussions.) This also seems to help encourage users to try reading the FAQ before signing up, posting a FAQ, and waiting for a response. After a week or so, then these new users can post new threads. This also has helped us to deal with spam-- for now. Spammers will get smarter and figure out our defenses, and we'll be back to what we were until we find another defense. (We are working on new defenses right now.)

              Fallout:
              Our /dev/null rate is at an all-time-low. We get maybe 1 or 2 /dev/nulled threads a month.
              Our Fucktard Hall inductee rate is super-low. We only added one new user to Fucktard Hall in 17 months!
              The new User Signup rate is lower than before the change.
              We see fewer new threads, and fewer posts.
              HOWEVER, the number of new posts and threads missing is only slightly smaller than the total number of /dev/null-ed threads & posts and Fucktard Hall threads & posts before the change.

              Also, we have been able to purge old accounts that have been inactive for over 2 years, with zero postcount.

              The second thing wrong with this forum is that during my absence, CotMan changed his user title from "No Clue Newbie Space-Waster."
              Well, I added that to my sig.

              Since you were gone, I was:
              Hiding From Shadows, gah!
              Hiding in Shadows
              Hall Monitor - AUSWEIS!!!
              and then the one you know:
              No-clue, Newbie Space-Waster. Blame Me!

              Eventually, I will probably be hiding in shadows again.

              Also, as of like, 2 or 3 months ago, I am no longer #1 forum admin-- now converge is the #1 forum admin. :-)
              What do I do? System Integration, and make sure that the db, web server, and all the support scripts work and are upgraded so the forums can run. Also, if converge is busy, I'll do forum maintenance for him/us.

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              • #8
                Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

                ya.. TheCotMan is the smart one, Chris is the cute one .. I'm the flack jacket... together we're known as rSync and will be touring in August.

                Good feedback, keep the pros and cons flowing.
                if it gets me nowhere, I'll go there proud; and I'm gonna go there free.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

                  Originally posted by converge View Post
                  ya.. TheCotMan is the smart one, Chris is the cute one .. I'm the flack jacket... together we're known as rSync and will be touring in August.
                  Nuh uh. Pull my finger.

                  I thought I was the Hall Monitor, and you were the Most Likely to Succeed, and Chris was Prom King.

                  Good feedback, keep the pros and cons flowing.
                  Yeah. I like it. :-)

                  Originally posted by audit View Post
                  I sent Thorn something to be added into VB that will turn e-mail address's into Images so that the spambot's can't grab them. I've put this in at the church of wifi forums and a couple others that I run. So far I haven't received any complaints with it and it should work great here for everyone.
                  Originally posted by Thorn View Post
                  Just as an FYI, we've been discussing it.
                  Yes, We have been looking over how we could use it. One problem we encountered is one of use, specific to the Defcon forums. Few users here want to publish their email address at all, and publication of forum-registered email address has often been a form of punishment for those few users that were ever inducted into Fucktard Hall. Next, we looked at need, and few users have had need to publish an email address. Usually, they use PM to save themselves from "l333t hax0rz" that think a good idea at hacking is to spam a user with lots of email requests, "can you teach me to hack?" Such users would not be stopped by image-based obfuscation of an email address.

                  It is a very good idea, and is something we could use if it were something that would be used. For every change, we have to weigh the cost in time to upgrade the system, and the level of troubleshooting, or diagnostics to bless an upgrade as complete.

                  If I were running forums other than those for a Hacker Convention, I would seriously consider use of such a plugin.

                  We can revisit this any time if there is demand for it. :-)

                  Originally posted by Deviant Ollam View Post
                  i, for whatever reason, can never consistently remember how to make thread links in posts. i always fail a couple times, have to re-edit, and occasionally resort to checking the FAQ when i'm totally at a loss (or just too intoxicated)

                  it would be great to see a "link thread" button in the standard post creation form. right now we have this...

                  and i'd love it if it were to maybe become something like this...

                  i've even created a GIF image to do the job if someone can work out the code that would allow simple insertion of a thread ID number to that function...
                  Yes, this is a good idea. Actually, it would be a good idea to have similar links for other custom tags that we have added. SuperScript? SubScript? Links to images on pics.defcon.org?

                  So far, the only way I've found to make this work is with a change to the files on the server, and this is something I nixed when I was admin unless there was a serious, and compelling reason. (One example of a serious and compelling reason was to make sure https and http worked at the same time. This required and still requires us to manually edit files after every upgrade, and the area to edit, as well as files to edit can change, and has in the past.)

                  I'll keep looking though, as such a feature would be very, very nice to have.

                  Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
                  New moderators!
                  Well, we did add a new moderator a while back when one of the mods was dropped as a mod due to inactivity. I think the new mod added was Thorn.

                  Just kidding. I haven't seen any spam here in a long while, and I haven't seen anyone come close to getting banned in a while either. To me that means good rules, and more importantly, good rule enforcement. I wouldn't change a thing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How can the Defcon forums be improved?

                    Thank band rSync totally R0x, yo.
                    PGP Key: https://defcon.org/html/links/dtangent.html

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