Admin notes

Several changes in the discussion dynamics on LtU require attention, I think.

First, and most important, is that the core business of LtU - the home page blog items posted by contributing editors - have been dwindling. What is more, the discussion forum, whose goal was to support the blog, have become very active, and often only tangentially on topic for LtU.

I have received complaints from long time members about the declining quality of the discussions, and while I haven't done any serious comparative analysis I do know that I now regularly skip threads, especially highly active threads and threads that are dominated by only a few members. I think I am not alone in this. I encourage long time members to continue publicly pointing out when threads become un-LtU-like, and remind everyone that these notes should not usually serve as opportunity for meta-discussions about policy.

I urge the LtU contributing editors to make an extra effort in the next few months to post quality items to the home page. It seems that without more emphasis on the blog, LtU will lose its relevance. I call on all members to keep in mind the style and policies of LtU (do read the spirit page, if you haven't already), and move inappropriate discussions to other forums.

The second issue is - of course - spam. We are constantly bombarded by spam, most of which you don't see since me and Anton manage usually to block the spam accounts from posting, and when spam does slip through we delete it fairly quickly. Still, in the last few days some spam messages did appear on the site, and took awhile to delete, despite our continued efforts. I apologize for that.

In previous discussions of this issue it was decided not to require approval for all new messages (however, I do moderate posts from suspicious accounts). Spam does not survive a long time on LtU, since the site is active and threads that are posted to automatically appear in the tracker, and is thus not a great concern most of the time.

I don't think the last attack was enough of a problem for us to change our policies, or spend time writing code to support advanced spam handling (there are many more exciting things we can be doing for LtU). If someone wants to help with the process of identifying suspicious accounts, deleting spam, and blocking ips, please volunteer. Help with running LtU is always appreciated.

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SPAM solutions

Hi Ehud,

As the LtU site runs on Drupal, it might be worth mentioning that Mollom offers an automated solution to ward of spam. The system gives protection for the most important input types. They have both a free and paying service.

-- Andy

(Disclaimer: I know the Mollom founders and have contributed somewhat to the plugin codebase.)

Given that this is LtU,

Given that this is LtU, shouldn't the site employ Turing Test to deter automated spams? ;-)

p.s. Turing Test = those art text challenges.