Training, Open Source Programming Languages

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Our email: info@wellho.net • Phone: 01144 1225 708225

 
20.9.2014 - We have just updated our course layouts and descriptions and added our 2015 schedule.

Why do we delay new forum members through authorisation?

It's a big step for many people to sign up to a forum; perhaps they have been visiting as a guest for weeks or months, and something they have read has triggered them to take the final step and say "I want to contribute" and sign up. Signing up to the forums that I administer is free, but it's still a big step for people - so why do we then, seemingly, make it harder that it needs to be?

In a nutshell, we want to maintain the quality of the forum - to ensure that members who are signed up are there because they are real people, wanting to read about / talk about the subjects that the forums covers. And there's also the legal issue that we need to have at some comeback to the poster if what is posted breaks boundaries such as copyright, incitement, impersonation or decency ... quite apart from our own guidelines, where we want to ensure that we don't get signups from the same person for lots of accounts, or people being members so that they can attempt to sell things to our members through the p.m. system, or as trolls.

At first signup, people are asked for an email address and we validate that. On most of our forums, they are also asked to retype a word that's shown in a graphic and does not appear in the HTML source at all - that's to help weed out automated programs. See here for a brief intro to the techniques involved, and here to see it in use (with an easy graphic that a sophisticated cracking program possibly could get past, it has to be said) to see it in use. But that doesn't trap the real, human applicant with a different agenda to ours.

So as as second step, the information gathered at signup is passed through to one of our administrators, who takes a look at the data manually. Some of the accounts requested are blazingly obvious to authorise - the account with the email address that's already known to us, for example (if someone has falsified an email address, then our known contact will get an unexpected email and the issue is flagged without the perpetrator getting access). Other requests are very clearly false ones, for example user names that include a pharmaceutical product name with the "I" changed to a "1". But there's a proportion that fall in the middle that need further investigation.

Perhaps I should stop writing at this point. ;-) . Perhaps I am just about to give you the inside information that tells you what I look for in a signup request that convinces me "genuine" or "false", or leads me to authorise but keep a watching brief. So let's just say that there are a number of tools around, a number of pieces of information. And there are some very good people I can ask for their thoughts / opinions / research who act as moderators on some of the boards I administer. In those cases which are a really close call, a friendly email asking a little more, rather than giving authorisation straight away, adds a further loop to the cycle but results in very clear extra data which makes a decision blindingly obvious.

Forums that we run / will be running / ran:
First Great Western Coffee Shop Unofficial First Great Western Passenger discussions
Ask the Tutor For course delegate and others to ask Open Source and technical questions
Save The Train Swindon - Salisbury railway line - campaign for decent service (heavy spam signups - please email graham@wellho.net too if you sign up!)
Melksham Chamber of Commerce (not yet publicised / launched)
Opentalk - our previous forum for delegates, now archived and closed to new signups.
(written 2009-04-03)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G903 - Well House Consultants - Running and moderating forums and social media sites
  [4283] Can a legitimate forum post become illegal a year later? - (2014-07-11)
  [4239] Facebook marketing - early experiences - (2014-01-19)
  [4234] Change to Libel and Defamation laws from 1st January 2014 - (2013-12-31)
  [4065] Handling requests to a forum - the background process - (2013-04-17)
  [4025] Backups, Codebase, Strategy and more - dealing with forum incidents - (2013-03-03)
  [4017] Acceptable User Policy / vexatious interacter - (2013-02-24)
  [3910] Identifying your real customers and keeping them well informed fast - (2012-11-02)
  [3479] Practical Extraction and Reporting - using Python and Extreme Programming - (2011-10-14)
  [2820] Netiquette for forum newcomers - (2010-06-20)
  [2781] The 500 pound question to get you started - (2010-05-26)
  [2569] How to run a successful online poll / petition / survey / consultation - (2010-01-10)
  [2527] Flying tonight - (2009-12-05)
  [2526] A reluctance to move from old shoes to new - (2009-12-05)
  [2386] Computing under the influence of alcohol - (2009-08-29)
  [2254] Forum membership - a privilege not a right - (2009-06-22)
  [2177] Preventing forum spam - checks at sign up - (2009-05-12)
  [2162] Admins thoughts on banning a member from a forum - (2009-05-09)
  [2156] Stopping forum spam - control of the signup process - (2009-05-04)
  [2103] Ask the Tutor - Open Source forum - (2009-03-25)
  [1972] Pettifog and forum boards away from public view - (2009-01-03)
  [1923] Making it all worthwhile - (2008-12-04)
  [1759] While the world sleeps ... - (2008-08-19)
  [1678] Software - changes and delays. But courses must run on time! - (2008-06-15)
  [1595] First Great Western Weekend - (2008-03-30)
  [1578] Please don't shout at me! - (2008-03-16)
  [1569] I dont care - goodbye - (2008-03-09)
  [1563] Guidlines for posting on a forum - (2008-03-04)
  [1539] A forum is not always the best vehicle - (2008-02-14)
  [1532] Comment spam blocked. Please comment via Forums - (2008-02-05)
  [1523] Ive just received an email from myself. Should I be worried? - (2008-01-29)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1472] The Horse goes on and on - (2007-12-15)
  [1362] No Thank You - (2007-09-23)
  [1190] Save the Forum - A regular clean sweep - (2007-05-17)
  [1088] Why use BBC code not HTML? - (2007-02-21)
  [948] Running an on line campaign - (2006-11-27)
  [923] Why shouldn't I spam? - (2006-11-13)
  [919] Freedom for X is denial of privacy for Y - (2006-11-09)
  [841] Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21)
  [828] Freedom of speech and freedom to post - (2006-08-10)
  [806] Check your user is human. Have him retype a word in a graphic - (2006-07-17)
  [651] Please Register with Opentalk - but just once! - (2006-03-19)
  [516] Open source questions? Anyone can ask. - (2005-12-03)
  [424] How not to run a forum - (2005-08-24)
  [248] Use me, but use me effectively - (2005-03-16)
  [231] Feedback as lifeblood - (2005-02-28)
  [204] The confidence to allow public comments - (2005-02-06)
  [130] Spelling and grammar - (2004-11-25)
  [115] Expiration dates or times on web pages - (2004-11-12)
  [29] Silence is Golden - (2004-08-26)
  [22] Falling out over the silliest things - (2004-08-21)


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Choosing a railway station fairly in PHP
Why do we delay new forum members through authorisation?
Finding your java program - the CLASSPATH variable
Which Version of Java am I running?
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Whatever next ... the joys of being an employer
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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