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Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 2010)

Posted: Wed 10 Nov, 2010 12:34 pm
by PuzzleScot
Real Full Name
Until recently, when registering as a user of this site/forum, we have requested your 'Real Full Name', stating that this was only visible to yourself and Administrators.

Due to the nature of this site, where anonymity should be of no interest to anyone in the puzzling community, we have decided to change this setting.
Note that you may still elect to remain anonymous if you so wish by not entering a Real Full Name.

The new text now reads:
"Please enter your real name here, not your username.
This is optional, but visible to anyone who wants to see it.
It will also be publicly listed on any relevant contest result tables."

Since the site settings can only be global, this change is retroactive. Therefore if you wish to withhold your real name from public view for any reason, you should go to your profile and set your 'Real Full Name' to be blank, or any other non-profane value you choose.

Nationality (This is a clarification, not a change)
To participate in online contests, we have for some time requested your country of residence, and country of representation.
Your 'country of representation' must be a country of your choice that you would be eligible to compete for at the World Puzzle/Sudoku Championships.
You may choose to select 'United Nations' if you do not wish to affiliate with one particular country.
Since the UK Puzzle Association selects UK teams to compete internationally, it is particularly important that you do not choose "Great Britain (inc. NI)" as your representative nation if you are not eligible to do so.

Personal Signatures
It is clearly stated in the welcome information that all discussions and links posted on this site must be related in some way to WPC/WSC style puzzles.
This includes any signatures you choose to display.
Failure to adhere to this guideline may result in your account and all your posts being deleted.

Thank-you.

Alan O'Donnell
Chairman, UKPA

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 1:04 pm
by PuzzleScot
Due to the significant number of forum spammers registering and posting inappropriate content, all new user registrations temporarily need to be confirmed by an admin (me). When I work out how to simply moderate newly regsitered users posts, I'll do that instead, but it doesn't appear straightforward to set up. Therefore:

Attention New Users: if you want your newly regisered account activated, send me a very brief email (chairman@ukpuzzles.org), and I will activate the account immediately. No message = no activation.
Sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused to legitimite users.

Any users observing inappropriate posts should 'flag' the post (near the 'quote' button on each post).
I have no hesitation in deleting accounts, and will act promptly if I know of illicit behaviour.

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 1:22 pm
by GarethMoore
One of the problems of phpBB is that it is so common it is a frequent spammer target. Is there a plug-in you can add which will make it harder to automatically create spam accounts, by requiring some sort of human question and response interaction? It's a shame to make it harder for new people to post.

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 4:09 pm
by PuzzleScot
I agree!

I added required fields like real name and 2xcountries, so I believe these are actually being entered by hand! The IP addresses are all over the place.
Only 10% of the apparent spam addresses ever get confirmed.

If the spammers realise they aren't going to get registered, or be able to post, I expect they will give up sooner or later in favour of lamer targets.
I will suspend the admin confirmation immediately before and during contests, and/or when I think the idiots have moved on.
It so happened we had one genuine registration contact me today, and he was activated instantly...

The built-in deterrant against automated processes is the captcha - there is a choice and range of settings I could use, but if these are being entered manually, I don't see how to stop them! Perhaps we should provide a simple puzzle to solve??

BTW, I've had to delete around 20 users in the last 2 or 3 days, and clear up all their mess too. I did this quite quickly usually, so you wouldn't have seen it all.

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 4:28 pm
by GarethMoore
Thanks for all of your efforts - it sounds to me like you really have done absolutely everything you possibly can!

In terms of not noticing spammer's efforts, unfortunately they do all generate email notifications if you're subscribed to the forums. ;) So another reason to be in favour of your change stated above!

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 4:43 pm
by PuzzleScot
I'd honestly like just to moderate a new person's first 2 or 3 posts, but can't (quickly) find a way to do that on phpbb. If anyone knows, let me know...

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 4:56 pm
by detuned
The built-in deterrant against automated processes is the captcha - there is a choice and range of settings I could use, but if these are being entered manually, I don't see how to stop them! Perhaps we should provide a simple puzzle to solve??
I like this idea! Takes my blog anti-spam question even further :)

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Fri 07 Jan, 2011 9:38 pm
by ronaldx
I strongly doubt real names and countries are (generally) being entered manually by spammers - you have a field called "*name", a typical spambot can figure that out easily enough and supply a fake name.

The phpBB captcha has been cracked by spam bots as well, alas. A puzzle would be a good idea, but any unique spam catcher ("Type 'xyzzy'") would most likely work just as well.

reCAPTCHA has the best reputation of the widely available captchas, and surely has a phpBB module, but is getting harder for humans to crack ;)

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Tue 11 Jan, 2011 9:27 am
by PuzzleScot
FYI, I have ignored the activation of over 100 new suspicious accounts in the last week!

Perhaps I should just add a simple question - 'Are you a spambot?' with a default of 'Yes'.
If that proves effective, I could reinstate automatic registration.
(Though I'd still like to moderate a user's first post to stop the manual handbag merchants of this world)

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Tue 01 Mar, 2011 9:54 am
by PuzzleScot
FYI, the 'click here if you are human' gotcha has accurately identified over 800 attempted bot registrations since 11 Jan.
Genuine new users have been activated within a few hours, usually after a very brief email exchange.
However, I plan to modify the registration script to check for the gotcha, and perhaps randomise a field name, to remove the manual intervention requirement.

Re: Clarifications & Change to terms and conditions (Nov 201

Posted: Wed 02 Mar, 2011 1:17 am
by ronaldx
Cool! Good to see a nice theory in practice :)

If a spambot decides to start answering your question randomly (or worse - gets a human mark somewhere to unwittingly provide it the correct answer), then it looks like you'll still get a nasty spam hit rate. But if it doesn't - then, all's well :)