5 messages to reply to PM

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Highway of Life
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Highway of Life »

Tsoe wrote:The MOD Thread is locked
And why is it locked?
Abandoned?
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by william.jack38 »

driedfruit wrote:Is a very good idea. However, this could lead you to a situation where you can't reply at all. Would it be nice if that feature was tweaked to allow replies to users who posted you?

I just don't feel right visiting random topics and adding irrelevant comments just to increase my post count.

What do you think?
Whats the purpose of this, buddy. I am not agree with you, its encourge some spam posts.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Marshalrusty »

I don't quite see how this encourages spam posts. In fact, it's now sounding like this restriction is a better idea than I had originally considered.

Please provide me with a scenario which would require someone to register and immediately send a private message to a non team member.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by A_O_C »

Narqelion did...
narqelion wrote:There are several members who advertise private/paid support services in their signatures, which is the only place it can be, based on your own forum rules... a novice web user has no desire to learn the technical aspects of maintaining the forum but instead just wants to find somebody to do it for them. They browse the board, see a signature offering service and then try to contact them via PM, as usually directed in the sig, but then find out they cannot unless they've made 5 posts.
I guess this could go both ways... :?
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Marshalrusty »

That's a fairly valid point, but how would allowing users to reply to any received PMs fix that scenario?
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by A_O_C »

Negotiating costs, terms, dates, etc. How are you supposed to respond when someone writes back saying they will work with you? Out of curiosity, how much of a problem is it? I mean, what was the indication that this precaution was needed in the first place? I understand if its a management secret... :D
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Marshalrusty »

The suggestion was that we should allow users with less than 5 PMs to reply to messages they receive from others. When hiring someone for private work (by ways of a signature invitation), the hirer needs to initiate contact. My point, therefore, was that allowing users to reply would still prevent them from contacting others.

You should also keep in mind that while we do not prohibit private contracting via the PM system (I even do it myself), it is not something we actively support. I welcome suggestions for we could solve both the spam and the restriction at the same time.

To answer your last question, there was enough PM/email spam being sent that it became a concern. The restriction was reluctantly added because it is the only means of defense (at least, as far as I've been able to come up with). As you might imagine, we are not fond of the board being used as a spamming medium. Lastly, note that something like a "CAPTCHA for users below X posts" feature would not work because the majority of these messages were sent by people.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by igorw »

The problem with PMs is, unlike posts it's impossible to detect a user is sending out spam PMs. We could of course monitor the amount of PM being sent, but this is a breach of the privacy that is implied by the term "private message".

By putting this restriction in place, we can combat potential spam by forcing anybody to post something legitimate first. As with almost any spam combat method it may not be ideal for the user. Take captchas or email verification after registering. They are a pain for the user, but they are needed in order to keep spam to a manageable level.

Allowing users to reply to PMs will ensure that they can at least reply to a team member, for example. Allowing users to PM team members should not be a problem either, as we can detect this and place a ban if spam is detected. That would seem like a good compromise.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Marshalrusty »

eviL<3 wrote:Allowing users to reply to PMs will ensure that they can at least reply to a team member, for example. Allowing users to PM team members should not be a problem either, as we can detect this and place a ban if spam is detected. That would seem like a good compromise.
This restriction does not apply when PMing team members. Users of any post count can contact staff here.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by lurttinen »

So, preventing people from doing business on this site before they take a few moments to post something usefull.
Is there anything else "wrong" with this feature/restriction?

Do we have estimates how many of our new users register here just looking to hire someone?
I say this does not affect "every user" as most of our users first post a topic asking for help. Only after they realize they cannot do it themselves they look at their wallets. :)
This restriction is nothing but a minor inconvenience for really small portion of our users when compared to spam and possible threats from that.

Just because those few cannot get straight away what they want is not really a good excuse to expose every user account on this site to spam. :)

With first posts needing approval and post count restriction before PM = quite effective way to combat against PM spam.

Any better ideas?
I have few, but the word "private" in Private message is a problem. We could always analyze the content. Say, if same content is posted more than once it would be held and admin/moderator notified.
Trigger words -> deny
We would need to notify admin/moderator about possible problems. We cannot trust software to ban spammers automatically, because it might just give a false positive. Doctor forums discussing viagra? Porno forums discussing sex?

We could change the term "Private message" to "Direct message" and ad a note in the registration agreement that admin/moderator might be peeking before the delivery...
Yes, i don't like it either, but forum spam and PM spam is a serious threat. Email is almost dead because of spam. What will happen to forums and online communities?
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by A_O_C »

Marshalrusty wrote:there was enough PM/email spam being sent that it became a concern
You learn something new everyday; thanks for the heads up! :D

Maybe we could change the notice to say something along the lines of "Due to spam issues, PMs are disabled to users with less than 5 posts. If you are sending a PM to hire someone for work (indicated by the users signature), please contact a team member for assistance." This way, you are catering to what lurttinen correctly pointed out as a small amount of users, but still keeping the restriction in place. Then again, we could just go with the philosophy that you cant please everyone. :D


lurttinen wrote:We could change the term "Private message" to "Direct message" and ad a note in the registration agreement that admin/moderator might be peeking before the delivery.
I firmly believe that administrators (or, at that most, founders) should have the ability to read a user's PM, so long as they have a really good reason to do so. You cant stop a determined founder from connecting to the database and searching through the PM table. I definitely agree that we could change it to "direct message" or some other variant and notify users that their inbox can (and will) be monitored if there is a need to do so.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Phil »

A_O_C wrote:
Marshalrusty wrote:there was enough PM/email spam being sent that it became a concern
You learn something new everyday; thanks for the heads up! :D

Maybe we could change the notice to say something along the lines of "Due to spam issues, PMs are disabled to users with less than 5 posts. If you are sending a PM to hire someone for work (indicated by the users signature), please contact a team member for assistance." This way, you are catering to what lurttinen correctly pointed out as a small amount of users, but still keeping the restriction in place. Then again, we could just go with the philosophy that you cant please everyone. :D
As Marshalrusty stated, allowing users to offer private support is not something we directly support or aid. As such, it is not really our job to play matchmaker for users who are unable to make five posts on the board ;) We (as team members) tend to get a rather bothersome amount of PMs as it is -- more certainly are not needed :D

That being said, the restrictions in place are working quite well to curb the problems we were experiencing. The very small minority who have a desire to send PMs prior to five posts while simply have to make them anyway -- frankly, five constructive posts on a board this size is not an impossible task ;) In fact, you made your first five posts within 12 hours of registering, and I within 15 minutes.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Dan27 »

Hay well look on the bright side, it might encourage to spam post, but at least it's only 5 posts.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by Marshalrusty »

Dan27 wrote:Hay well look on the bright side, it might encourage to spam post, but at least it's only 5 posts.
The whole point is that if the user's intention is to spam, we will catch it and take action before the threshold is reached and more spam can be sent via PM.

If you read what we said above, users with less than 5 posts should not have any dire need to PM non team members.
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Re: 5 messages to reply to PM

Post by 3Di »

Marshalrusty wrote:users with less than 5 posts should not have any dire need to PM non team members.
Not completely true if you think that there are users that joined many years ago with less than 5 posts but in need to PM those users for a reason or another. ;)

Perhaps a condition in the code that relates to the joining date too?
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