Hello all, after an exhausting week in Las Vegas (15,000 attendee conference) and long bookend days of travel, I'm back and can contribute. First, I will respond to some of the previous posts.
I have wanted to post things in the Family/Genus section of the forum, but found that there was no area for Ericaceae, for example. While I could add topics to an existing board, as a non-administrator, I could not add new boards, so I had to pester administrators for that.
Cohen, no need to worry about pestering the moderators team, we're happy to help and give full consideration to any and all suggestions. There is of course need for control and organization of the NARGS Forum at the "board" level, otherwise there would be chaos (or CHAOS, good one Rick
In the case of the Forum, Mark is doing a remarkable job of keeping the site not only operative, but vibrant, because he has created an environment whereby registered users are actively contributing interesting an exciting material.
Thanks Ben, but I do not deserve full credit, as moderation of NARGS Forum is performed with equal activity, contribution, competence, and dedication by fellow moderators Lori Skulski and Rick Rodich.
There are many developers who have contributed modules for each of the components. For example, there are several forum modules, one of which we hope to adapt to NARGS Fourm users' satisfaction for the new website. (The current Forum runs on SMF software and is an entirely distinct component of nargs.org. Hence, separate logins.)
Let me clarify this point, which also connects to to my concern about how registration might work under the Drupal environment. Originally when NARGS Forum opened for business
, it was for NARGS Members only. Accordingly, the self registration component of the SMF forum software was disabled because there was no need for it, all new NARGS members were given NARGS Forum membership.
Once it was decided to open NARGS Forum participation to any validated and approved internet users (e.g. NARGS membership not required), we (myself and Hugh MacMillan) had to implement a number of steps to make this work. Basically, the self-registration component of SMF forum software had to be turned on to allow internet users to sign up for the forum. To avoid becoming inundated by spammers and seas of internet miscreants, we installed a "anti-forum-spam" plugin to the SMF forum software. As registration requests come in, their IP address
, email address
, and forum username
are compared to a massive database of "content spammers", and if they come up positive as spam, they are automatically denied access. The NARGS Forum experiences 200-400 bogus registration requests each day, which are thankfully auto-rejected!
Here's an example of an automated registration request rejection, this applicant tried registering 20 times so far today:
The user sdfdsfghhja
with Email email@example.com
) is a Spam.
As you can see from the results using the Forum Spam List Checker utility, this is one busy spammer.
Spammers are industrious malefactors, continuously generating new email & IP addresses to give the "appearance" of having clean credentials for a day or two, until their bad behavior gets them reported to anti-spam databases. Accordingly, some spammy registration requests still get through, as many as 10 per day, which sit there and await moderation by myself. To vet registration requests awaiting moderation, I use a forum spam checking utility that runs the applicant's credentials through 14 different databases; 99% of the time these prove positive for spam.
Sometimes I run across registration requests where it is difficult to evaluate validity. In such cases, I google search their credentials, including general geographic location determined from their IP address, to find more clues to make a determination whether to reject or accept the application.
Given this rather manual process, what I'm interested in hearing from the web redesign and project management team, how do we accommodate the NARGS Member registration, and NARGS Forum
registration open to both NARGS and non-NARGS members, and protect the forum from entry by internet evidoers?