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Official discussion forum of The Mars Society and MarsNews.com

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Announcement: As a reader of NewMars forum, we have opportunities for you to assist with technical discussions in several initiatives underway. NewMars needs volunteers with appropriate education, skills, talent, motivation and generosity of spirit as a highly valued member. Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

#26 2019-04-14 15:16:11

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

Its always been a problem from the days of when even I first joined; that the gross number of spammers and bots would create accounts to do harm. In various software versions of the board there were tools to catch the would be spammer which used the same email or user id but those software tools were easily defeated. I believe it was ultimitely why the board crashed hard back in late 2008 and had difficulty getting back up and running until 2010.
I will reach out to others to see if we are doing any sort of check.

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#27 2019-04-15 05:35:16

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,298

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

For SpaceNut .... Thanks for taking up this question.  I am mystified by why someone would apply for membership in the forum and then never participate. A possible explanation is that registration was attempted, but the trial password did not reach them.  Even spammers need to post something to show their illegal activity.

A search of the registration list by an Admin with the appropriate permissions should be able to show how many of the Users who started the registration process actually finished it. 

Thanks again for reviewing the history.

Edit in 2021/01/11 ... I have since learned that the database used by FluxBB (this forum) ** does ** mark each member record with a status.  The member can be identified as a member, but also as "Not Verified".  I am hoping to learn this for sure, but my guess is that the FluxBB package elevates an application from Not Verified to Member when the applicant logs in after receiving the test password from FluxBB via email to the email address provided by the applicant.

What I ** can ** confirm is that FluxBB allows only ** one ** email address in the system. Each applicant must offer a unique email address before the member record will be created.  However, FluxBB does ** not ** attempt to verify the email address is real.  Validation of an email address occurs when the applicant logs in after receiving the test password sent by FluxBB.

A quirk of the system is that it appears an applicant can employ a valid email address to secure admission to the forum, and then change the email address to a fictitious one after registration is complete.  That is a technique that might explain how spammers were able to create accounts which (upon inspection) have false email addresses, or bogus ones, such as those purchased from hackers.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2021-01-11 08:09:34)

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#28 2019-04-15 16:19:01

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

I just took a look at the first few user iD's which start with a ! and after they created there account they never logged in ever again. I also noticed that the email address was a known spamming type. The user names could be purged but that would leave them open again for a new retry to create mayhem on our site. Not sure if verifing the many id's would yeild many valid people that would want to join as I think you have already confirmed by the guest invite attempts. I would think that a spam email box indicator could be added to the message when the account is created to look for the first time activation link there but not sure what else would help.

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#29 2019-06-26 09:49:02

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,298

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

For SpaceNut (primarily) and all members ...

As a reminder, the registration process includes display of the following message:

Important information
Registration will grant you access to a number of features and capabilities otherwise unavailable. These functions include the ability to edit and delete posts, design your own signature that accompanies your posts and much more. If you have any questions regarding this forum you should ask an administrator.

Below is a form you must fill out in order to register. Once you are registered you should visit your profile and review the different settings you can change. The fields below only make up a small part of all the settings you can alter in your profile.

Is it possible to change this text?  Here are some ideas for addition to the existing display.

Please do not register if you are doing so in order to sell a product. 

Please DO register if you are genuinely interested in the mission of the Mars Society and wish to contribute to the NewMars forum.

Please refrain from registering if you do not intend to contribute to the forum.

Suggestions for possible text to be added to the registration text are welcome.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2019-06-26 09:49:54)

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#30 2019-06-27 09:04:48

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

Message recieved and forwarded....Lots of stuff are in the workings for Mars society page as well..

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#31 2019-06-27 11:28:21

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,298

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

For SpaceNut re #30 ....

Thanks for the consideration!

I visited the Mars Society web site, and tried my NewMars login.  Not surprisingly, it did not work.

Question .... is there a market for validation of persons applying for membership in online forums?

Such a web site would (could) be supported by fees paid by applicants to secure approval .... like the ancient "Good Housekeeping" Seal of Approval.

If such a web site existed, and if the FluxBB software could be configured to only accept applicants approved by the approval web site, then the number of spam members would (presumably) decrease, because any such applicant would have to be registered as a "real" person with a "real" address, telephone number, credit history and perhaps even recommendations.  That's not too different from what is required to obtain employment in the US, except that (I presume) the social security number would not be part of the process.

Edit: SpaceNut ... I just checked the Mars Society web site, and note that membership is fee dependent.  There is no mention of the forum (that I saw).

it should be possible to automatically approve anyone who is a member of the Mars Society for admission to the New Mars forum.

The reverse is obviously not practical, but if this tweak were applied, the potential number of (presumably) high quality members would increase.

One detail worth noting is that a person may allow membership in the Mars Society to elapse after a year of paid membership.  However, such a person might be allowed to retain membership in the forum at no charge, so long as they have not been banned.

Since senior citizens have an attractive membership rate of $25, a one year membership in the Society with continued admission to the forum might look like an attractive opportunity to some folks.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2019-06-27 12:23:25)

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#32 2019-06-27 18:09:16

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

In the past when I was on more than just the one website I would see the same users trying to pass themselves off as good valids until the same email ore user name was found to be spamming. These days it takes more than one method to catch the would be spammer. They cost a website money if by human filtering of content, user approval and so many more methods which can be employed. Ther software style usually are simple and do filter real users out of being able to get on. Ithink that the phone number call would be a deterent but that would cost the member that does do the varification of whom created the account....

This quick google did turn up this one site that is doing for free but how well is not none..
StopForumSpam.com

Forums are usually free for anyone to join even on all of the other sites with some areas pay for extra content or email news ect....

The new Mars society website does look fantastic but its still being worked on and they are looking for ways to show the forum for others which do not want to pay...but would voluteer to help...

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#33 2019-06-27 18:49:39

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,298

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

For SpaceNut re #32 ...

https://www.stopforumspam.com/threats  makes for entertaining reading.

This appears to be a one person operation which invites financial support if someone likes what they do.

However, it is NOT a site which validates prospective users.

As you have pointed out, actual validation of prospective forum members would be at a minimum, time consuming, and potentially costly, if humans are paid to do the work.

To your point about telephone calls being an expense to volunteers .... that seems to be less of an issue these days.  My telephone provider persuaded me to let go of my (much treasured) land line, by offering unlimited long distance service for less than I'd been paying for local service.

Since the telecommunications business is highly competitive, I'd be surprised if other providers do not offer similar deals.

However, calling prospective members to interview them, and calling their references to try to validate their claims would definitely be a time consuming process.

All that said, please take another look at my inquiry about granting forum privileges to paid up members of the Mars Society.

That could be accomplished at almost no expense, by simply notifying paid up Mars Society members they are eligible to participate in the forum.

(th)

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#34 2019-06-27 20:18:43

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

Good question for the holders of the Mars Society members information with the offer that should be automated enrollment into the forum for those which are members since they have already taken the interest. From what I do remember most are just there for the tax deduction but that does not need to hold for all of them...

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#35 2020-11-27 17:09:46

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

I was scanning down through some of the topics in free chat and we now have an answer to the faulty registration process and its bypass it....

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#36 2021-01-10 16:37:01

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,078

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

Seems the new process is going even with just 1 new member we are now on the way.
Write to newmarsmember * gmail.com to tell us about your ability's to help contribute to NewMars and become a registered member.

Will see is I can plug the forum in others that I have user account in....

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#37 2021-01-11 08:10:37

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,298

Re: Registration Process NewMars Forum

For SpaceNut ...

I have updated Post #27 to report my current understanding of the Registration process as implemented in Fl;uxBB.

(th)

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