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-   -   Are new Downers getting blocked? (http://forum.barrowdowns.com/showthread.php?t=19341)

Huinesoron 09-26-2019 08:52 AM

Are new Downers getting blocked?
 
I've been wondering this for a while now, and I think it's worth asking: are all the new people regularly appearing on the 'newest member' ticker at the bottom of the front page being blocked?

When I signed up to the Downs almost two years ago, I had quite a tricky time doing so. My initial signup told me it needed moderator approval, but after a couple of weeks the pending userpage (which looks like this when logged out) had transformed into an Invalid User page (like this). I had to hunt around for an email address for the Barrow-Wight, since non-members or pending members can't send private messages. I think I found one on the non-forum part of the Downs - remember that?

The reason I'm wondering whether this was more than a one-off is that it's very rare to see a new user posting, but the current Newest Member, 'CowboyDumpsters', is #18723. I'm #18210, and while I'm not positive that number goes up by 1 for every registration, I think it comes pretty close. I'm not going to look through every userpage between those numbers, but a cursory check shows that the last few are pending, and most before that seem to be invalid.

It could well be that the 'new users' are actually all bots or spammers; 'CowboyDumpsters' doesn't exactly have a Tolkien connection, and could be a company name or two random words shoved together. If so, I salute the Barrow-Wight and any other moderators for their service. But if there's just an error in the sign-up function, I figured it was best to say something (after all, with the Amazon series coming up, the Downs may well experience a revival next year!).

hS

Inziladun 09-26-2019 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Huinesoron (Post 720593)
When I signed up to the Downs almost two years ago, I had quite a tricky time doing so. My initial signup told me it needed moderator approval, but after a couple of weeks the pending userpage (which looks like this when logged out) had transformed into an Invalid User page (like this). I had to hunt around for an email address for the Barrow-Wight, since non-members or pending members can't send private messages. I think I found one on the non-forum part of the Downs - remember that?

I knew the signup process requires some vetting. That was instituted, if I recall rightly, about 4-5 years ago due to a massive number of spambots.
Some of them used to post, in the effort to show of their sketchy links. Some of those were actually pretty amusing. :D

Quote:

Originally Posted by Huinesoron (Post 720593)
It could well be that the 'new users' are actually all bots or spammers; 'CowboyDumpsters' doesn't exactly have a Tolkien connection, and could be a company name or two random words shoved together. If so, I salute the Barrow-Wight and any other moderators for their service.

I'm no admin, and never have been, but I'm always suspicious of User Names that do seem randomly selected, and have nothing to do with Tolkien. It's those that I never seem to see again after the "welcome" mention at the bottom, while others (like you) do go on to active participation.

Since you mentioned the coming Amazon series, I do wonder also if we'll see a glut of new members on its release. If it stimulates interest in the books, it'll at least (like the PJ movies) have one positive asset. ;)

Huinesoron 09-27-2019 03:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 720595)
I'm no admin, and never have been, but I'm always suspicious of User Names that do seem randomly selected, and have nothing to do with Tolkien. It's those that I never seem to see again after the "welcome" mention at the bottom, while others (like you) do go on to active participation.

I'm not honestly sure there's been anyone new start posting since me. No, I take it back: we had merrymatt post 13 times, mostly on the RP subforum. Given how often the ticker ticks over to a new name, that was the cause of my concern.

However, doing a slightly more in-depth check of the last 30-odd user numbers, it seems a fair number of them have been approved, so everything is functioning as it should be and I should have checked before posting. :) Once again, I salute whatever the current moderation team looks like; they're doing a spectacular job.

hS

Inziladun 10-11-2019 01:37 PM

I noticed that the visit stats in the What's Going On section now say:

Quote:

Most users ever online was 2,604, Today at 12:58 AM
Really? That seems highly odd, considering the relative dearth of posts.

Huinesoron 10-11-2019 02:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 720749)
I noticed that the visit stats in the What's Going On section now say:

Really? That seems highly odd, considering the relative dearth of posts.

Would it be overly ominous to suspect a bot attack? Given the... interesting post out of Ivriniel, it seems at least somewhat plausible.

Though any bot which gets its claws into the Downs is going to be completely wasting its energy. :D

hS

Inziladun 10-11-2019 02:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Huinesoron (Post 720750)
Would it be overly ominous to suspect a bot attack? Given the... interesting post out of Ivriniel, it seems at least somewhat plausible.

I recall from years back some spammers cut/pasting from various threads in an attempt to seem legitimate. They usually betrayed themselves by obviously sketchy links in the body of the post, though.
Since that was from an established member, I would think nothing of the sort is likely.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Huinesoron (Post 720750)
Though any bot which gets its claws into the Downs is going to be completely wasting its energy. :D

It's gotten pretty rare here, likely because of the previously discussed safeguards.

On an oddly coincidental note, yesterday I received around two dozen calls with Caller ID spoofing my own number. That's happened once before, but I only got a couple then. :rolleyes:

Galadriel55 10-11-2019 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Inziladun (Post 720751)
I recall from years back some spammers cut/pasting from various threads in an attempt to seem legitimate. They usually betrayed themselves by obviously sketchy links in the body of the post, though.

And also by copying people's signatures into the body of their posts by accident. :D And one time Rikae's account went haywire and she had an unintelligible postscriptum added to all her posts. But you're right - I haven't seen anything like that for a looong time now.

Mithalwen 10-12-2019 04:26 AM

Ah but there were highlights.. tombot...

Galadriel55 10-13-2019 04:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mithalwen (Post 720760)
Ah but there were highlights.. tombot...

Oh yes, TomBot and his friend LucyBot... I don't even remember what they posted about but they were a star-crossed couple...

The good old days when spam was a matter of norm. :D


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