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#53 - 10/17/04 09:03 PM WWWBoard code
Pasti Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 201
Kate, I just checked the download site for the "original code" for the forum, whatever "original" stands for.

First of all, the code allows you to branch on threads, at least in the original version. It is your particular GUI embedding of the code that has removed that option.

With all due respect, your reply to Dan's suggestion-to make the code available for others to modify-was rather cavalier. People have actually offered to help you with the existing code for the forum format that you so much want to use (believe it or not, there are some that can actually do that), not to write a GUI for you.
But in order to help, one needs the relevant portion of the code, not the kernel.

As I said before, I have no ideea who actually wrote the code for this forum, but in view of the results, he did a rather bad job. Format wise and security wise. As you can see by yourself.

Well, it was nice while it lasted. Since with this format one cannot debate properly any issue, I'll say good-bye to you, and good luck.

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#54 - 10/19/04 07:01 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Anonymous
Unregistered


Au revoir. Sorry to see you go. I wish you'd explain your ideas on the security flaws; I don't fancy another virus episode. I suppose I'll go down with the ship, but I'd rather die on my feet trying to make a difference. I shall be old before I'm smart, I expect.

I for one will miss you. I expect the door will always be open should you desire to return.

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#55 - 10/19/04 07:16 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Kate Offline

Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 334
Not quite following you pasti, the code *isn't ours*. We use it but we didn't do the modifications.

Sorry if something I said was "cavalier"!

Sorry to see you go.

Ciao

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#56 - 10/19/04 10:16 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Pasti Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 201
OK, I will try to explain again, hoping to answer both Kate's and Amaranth's messages.

Regarding the security issues:

I fully understand why Kate would change the format of the forum to enhance security. And a login routine prevents indeed some of the spam comming on the bord from "robots". However, individuals can still spam, since the registration form "takes" anything, and while a large number of robot spammers are diverted, "modern" robots can automatically create profiles/register and hence spam the site. Filters do quite little to help, even the latest ones. This is one point I wanted to make.

Another point, which I made last time when Kate uploaded this format was the email requirement thing.This is more of a principial objection related to the "previous freedom" of the board, on one hand, and on the other hand,it refers to the absolute inutility of such a feature. If the registration form takes anything for an email address (see the one I put in) what good is it then?

If indeed you want to stop spamming robots and individual spammers, there is a feature that one can implement, and which is much better in terms of security, namely delayed registration confirmation (send or post a registration code after a period of time, say 1 hour, or one day). Since robots spam "then and there" and cannot receive confirmation, since they usually show fake domains and emails, on one hand they won't be able to register "online" to spam and on the other hand, they won't be able to actually use the confirmation, for the reasons above. Not to mention that delayed registration confirmation will also do a first hand selection of the individual spammers like the "Uranus" guy.
And the beauty is that one can configure it to avoid requests of email addresses, but even I have to admit that coding this option is more of an overkill. Nevertheless, you can implement such a security feature (or it can be implemented) to be either automatic, or manual (for small number of people, ou can send the registration code yourself via email). Not to mention that the email requirement for registration really starts making sense, securitywise.

Regarding the format of the forum:

First of all, Kate, I do not know in too much detail how you "got" this forum software, and what exactly it contains. Truth be told, you haven't been very forthcomming with such details. But I went on the site you said you downloaded it, and I took a look to the files that were there. There is a file called I think wwwboard.pl, or something similar, and if you look at the code, or simply at the demo (which looks very much like the old board), you will see that branching on the thread (i.e. posting a reply to a specific post and not "in-line" as the last message on the thread) is designed in the software.What I could not find is the GUI (the Graphic User Interface) to see how the board code was implemented, but I bet that the branching has been disabled for the benefit of the modern "aspect" of the forum.

Now, you say that you only use this software. Which can only mean two things: either this is the way you downloaded it, or someone else used the kernel from the website you mentioned, made the GUI and gave it to you for use. I don't know which of the two is true. But I can tell you this.Despite the claims on the website that you mentioned in an earlier post, this is not a forum software, at least not in this format. In this format it is a commercial add software. Go to any, I don't know, say a job-hunting site, and you will encounter the same format. A thread category , say "temporary positions" and under this thread the posts with the offers. You can add a post, and in this case it does not matter where the post ends up in the thread (usually there is a time and date arrangement of the posts), and if you want to inquire about a position you can send a "private communication".

True, this forum has also a reply option, but that can easily be disabled, I can bet on that. You liked the words "busines" and "agogo" put together, so think business-like.While the money in the forum business is not bad, the real money is in advertising of one soet or another, so whoever designs such a software, should be extremely dumb to design a single-purpose platform. And since the big monei is in advertising, you can understand why the platform is oriented not towards forum applications, though it can be modified to poorly serve that purpose too (again, bad buisiness if it did not).

For me, and I am sure that this is also the case for many others who had participatedat one time or another in scientific discussion and/or debate, the absence of thread splitting/branching is an absolute necessity for a science forum. I am willing to concede the "registration freedom" for security reasons, even though at this moment this security is rather euphemistic, but what I am not willing to concede is the freedom of individual logic, and of the individual flow of thought. As you have seen many times on the old board, on interesting threads the topic branches several times, according to how people see the topic. This is exactly what I was enjoying very much at this forum. Without this freedom of individual thought on a topic, i.e. without thread branching, the forum is reduced to your garden variety forum, appropriate only for "Jovi dixit" posts, like Uncle Al's, or for "I need help with my project on science, please contact me with ideeas".

So, to summarize: the security protocols are better than for the previous forum (only in the sense that the latter had none), but they are quite poorly designed, and the most important feature of a science forum has disappeared, due again to poor design.

Hope this clears,at least a bit, the points I have been trying to make.

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#57 - 10/20/04 07:54 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Kate Offline

Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 334
I don't really want to go into detail here but the new software has quite a few security features. Most of which we currently have turned off but will turn on as required. We're hoping that this will be sufficient to ward off evil-doers in the future.

The lack of threading is annoying but we were willing to give that up in exchange for not having to perform constant monitoring and firefighting.

Open boards are like a magnet to spammers/idiots unfortunately.

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#58 - 10/20/04 10:28 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Pasti Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 201
Quote:
Kate:
I don't really want to go into detail here but the new software has quite a few security features. Most of which we currently have turned off but will turn on as required. We're hoping that this will be sufficient to ward off evil-doers in the future.
Well, my experience tells me it may not be as sufficient as you might think. As you well know, anyone can register, so you have averted mostly simpleton spamming robots. Which is still a good thing, securitywise

Quote:
Kate:
The lack of threading is annoying but we were willing to give that up in exchange for not having to perform constant monitoring and firefighting.
With all due respect, you are stating the obvious.My point was and still is that you don't need this trade-off. The threading is part of the code, and it might very likely be a simple process to enable it. And I am willing to spend my time to try to somehow see if the situation can be improved and how. I thought that this part was pretty clear some time ago. But I need more details, like where did you get this code from, so that I can contact them for details. If there are any privacy issues from your part regarding the source where you got the code, you can contact me privately, you have my real email.

Quote:
Kate
Open boards are like a magnet to spammers/idiots unfortunately.
I fully agree, but for the time being, you have only diverted some of the spammers and none of the idiots. And that at the expense of the quality of the board. Which very honestly, saddens me. That's why I am trying to help, but without your cooperation on the issue, it is obviously useless. So I would appreciate if you could let me know if I am wasting my time or not.

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#59 - 10/20/04 11:41 PM Re: WWWBoard code
Anonymous
Unregistered


This board is still crawled by google's robot! Some postings here have already been archived by google. A simple robots nofollow command would do.

Spammers depend on google! if this site isn't indexed by google, the spammers will lose interest.

To deal with aggressive robots you could include a hidden link, only visible in the HTML code. Someone going to that link would have its IP address banned. This trick is used by arxiv.org. They have a hidden link: arxiv.org/IgnoreMe.

By not allowing google to crawl this site, discussions would be more private and people could use their real names.

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#60 - 10/20/04 11:46 PM Re: WWWBoard code
Dogrock Offline
Member

Registered: 10/20/04
Posts: 92
Loc: Ireland
Just to ask Pasti not to leave. Your contributions have been very valuable. Not too sure how this board works yet, but would hope that the old guard would stick around.

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#61 - 10/21/04 12:01 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Anonymous
Unregistered


[url= http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Kate%2C+I+just+checked+the+download+site%22&btnG=Google+Search]This is what I mean.[/url]

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#62 - 10/21/04 12:03 AM Re: WWWBoard code
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Originally posted by Count Iblis:
[url= http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22Kate%2C+I+just+checked+the+download+site%22&btnG=Google+Search]This is what I mean.[/url]
Oops, UBB code doesn't work on this board! Just type "Kate, I just checked the download site" in google!

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