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Thread: New features for spam control and compliance with applicable Child Protection laws

          
   
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  1. #1
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    New features for spam control and compliance with applicable Child Protection laws

    Dear members, the site will be testing new features to curb spam in anticipation of opening day. A long list of forbidden words which are the most common words used by spammers was entered in our database. Occasionally a member in good standing may get caught by unintended consequences of such features and have his/her account disabled or even deleted automatically. If this happens, please send an email to almavivatmm@yahoo.com, explain the situation, and I'll restore your account. Since we are here under construction, I did implement the more strict rules to see how they work, and to see if they affect in any way our esteemed members, but pardon me in advance if the rules inconvenience you. Part of the "job" of having accepted this invitation to have access to the site before opening day is to be, hehehe, my guinea pigs... But we'll try to keep any disruption to a minimum and act fast to correct them if they occur.

    Also, the site is hereby publicly announcing that it has opted for not being accessible to children under the age of 13, otherwise we would have to go into cumbersome legislation, disclaimer, and parent/guardian authorization process that would take too much space on the front page and burden the staff. While we do understand that fostering the love of opera in children since a young age is desirable, catering to this population is just too legally cumbersome. Therefore we have set the software to block registration of all children under 13, and this is why future prospective members will have to state their ages to register (this information will remain private, and will be only used for this purpose). The site accepts no responsibility for members who misrepresent their ages since we have no ability to verify the veracity of the prospective member's statements. If anybody here is under 13, please let the staff know, and unfortunately your membership will have to be terminated (I know this will generate a number of jokes, but seriously people, do understand that this is required by US legislation, and our server is located in the US - so please don't joke about it, this is serious matter and can land the site in trouble if not dealt with according to federal law under the COPPA act).
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); December 11th, 2011 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Banned Top Contributor Member
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    I see you site and like him

  3. #3
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    I see you site and like him
    Baby Aramis, I've seen your picture and you *are* over 13, no doubt about it!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Involved Member AnaMendoza's Avatar
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    Good work! I'm extremely impressed!

    On a frivolous note: this provides an easy way for someone to become a non-member, if he or she wishes.

    "My conscience will not let me remain under false pretenses, any longer. I am only 12."

    "But your stories of getting the autograph of Maria Callas?"

    "All fantasy."

    "But you've been a member for five years!"

    "I was very precocious."


  5. #5
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnaMendoza View Post
    Good work! I'm extremely impressed!

    On a frivolous note: this provides an easy way for someone to become a non-member, if he or she wishes.

    "My conscience will not let me remain under false pretenses, any longer. I am only 12."

    "But your stories of getting the autograph of Maria Callas?"

    "All fantasy."

    "But you've been a member for five years!"

    "I was very precocious."

    LOL, this is very funny, AnaMendoza!

  6. #6
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Folks, we had our first "victim" of the new features, esteemed member ytywltmt.
    He posted with a link to Amazon.com and I believe the spam blocker thought it was a sales pitch.
    He PM'd me, and I approved his post.
    This may be happening a lot for the next few days, so just shoot me a PM if it happens to one of your posts.
    Depending on how things go, I'll then make the blocker less aggressive, but I need to get used to its features first, so I may have to deal with individual cases like this one before I get a sense of what posts are being filtered out, and for what reason. Please bear with me; believe me, you don't want a forum flooded with spam once we go live, this is why this testing phase is necessary.

  7. #7
    Member Member Hilltroll72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Dear members, the site will be testing new features to curb spam in anticipation of opening day. A long list of forbidden words which are the most common words used by spammers was entered in our database. Occasionally a member in good standing may get caught by unintended consequences of such features and have his/her account disabled or even deleted automatically. If this happens, please send an email to almavivatmm@yahoo.com, explain the situation, and I'll restore your account.
    [...]
    a "long list of forbidden words" eh? The automated actions look like they'll cause more disruption and mod labor than responding to the 'report post' function would entail.

    On a personal note, I tend to consider getting canned to be a permanent condition, whether it's automated or otherwise. Hopefully, most of the members aren't so stiff-necked.

  8. #8
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    a "long list of forbidden words" eh? The automated actions look like they'll cause more disruption and mod labor than responding to the 'report post' function would entail.

    On a personal note, I tend to consider getting canned to be a permanent condition, whether it's automated or otherwise. Hopefully, most of the members aren't so stiff-necked.
    No, Hilltroll72, this is just while we test this Beta version of the site... of course if any of these features prove to be cumbersome, we'll disable them. The long list of words are things that spammers use and we don't, such as the various names for treatments of impotence, etc. I'm just being cautious so that if some unfortunate accident happens to a member's account, the member will understand that we're still under construction and will accept our apologies.

    Every time we install a piece of code, it may do what it's supposed to do, but may also have unintended consequences, because the software does not benefit from the discretionary powers of human intelligence. We need to see what the unintended consequences are in order to adjust everything, because if we just removed the software, we'd be throwing the baby away with the bath water. There's no other way to do this. The software is not specifically designed for an opera community made of highly cultured individuals. So we need to see how it reacts to our posting practices before we fine tune everything.

    Spam-O-Matic is virtually essential to running the board. A site without it will have - no kidding - thousands of spam posts. Moderators can't deal with them manually.

    But then, we need to see what features of it to enable, what to disable. If the software is preventing us to link to Amazon.com, that's a problem because we often refer to CDs or DVDs that are on sale there, and it's perfectly fine. If we enable too many features we'll get our good members here to be inconvenienced. If we enable too few, spammers will take over.

    So I ask of everybody some patience because one of the objectives of opening up for some choice people like you all before going public, is to work out the kinks.

    You're all used to forums that have been in existence for years, decades. We've been up for 7 days! Considering that I'm not a computer programmer, I think we're doing rather well.

    So please, Hilltroll72, if some accident happens and a post of yours is caught on the net unfairly, don't get upset. Let me know and I'll fix it, and once I get a sense of how this Spam-O-Matic works, I'll be able to set its functions to an appropriate level, for the good of our community. I'm not experienced with these things, and I'm trying to do my best. Cheers!
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); December 11th, 2011 at 05:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Involved Member AnaMendoza's Avatar
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    I'm testing what happens if a probably forbidden word is used in a metaphorical sense. Someone might, conceivably, say that a particularly lifeless production could have used a dose of Viagra. Let's see what happens.


    Hmmm, I didn't expect to be banned, but I DID wonder if my post would be allowed.

  10. #10
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnaMendoza View Post
    I'm testing what happens if a probably forbidden word is used in a metaphorical sense. Someone might, conceivably, say that a particularly lifeless production could have used a dose of Viagra. Let's see what happens.


    Hmmm, I didn't expect to be banned, but I DID wonder if my post would be allowed.
    Hmm... that's bad. Nothing happened. Did I install this thing wrongly?
    Or maybe it's just when someone tries to register. I don't know. I'll have to look into it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    I see you site and like him
    (Obscure spam joke. BUT I GOT IT.)

  12. #12
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meaghan View Post
    (Obscure spam joke. BUT I GOT IT.)
    Hm... can you explain by PM? I didn't get it. I thought he was faking infantile language.

  13. #13
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Attention, my friends.
    Spam-O-Matic has zapped three posts as if they were spammy. I was able to indentify and restore one of them, by itywltmt (he sent me a PM about it). I can't find the other two. We need to know what kind of material is being zapped by Spam-O-Matic. If one of your posts suddenly disappears, let us know and tells us where it was, we can try and restore it and look into what caused it, so that we can readjust Spam-O-Matic parameters. Thanks.

  14. #14
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    The problem of Spam-O-Matic wrongly zapping - so far, 5 - of your posts has hopefully been corrected, by putting all our current esteemed members in an usergroup to which exemption from Spam-O-Matic was granted, so that the software focuses on catching spammers who try to register, but doesn't bother existing members. Sorry for any inconvenience. This is why these test periods are important, and I count on your understanding. Thanks.

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