Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

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KitemanSA
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby KitemanSA » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:21 pm

THANK YOU JOE!!!

Stubby
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby Stubby » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:47 pm

Good work
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JoeStrout
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby JoeStrout » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:19 pm

You're welcome.

And here's an interesting tidbit about the flood of spammers. About 10 minutes after I got the new forum set back up, I started getting spammer registrations again, several per minute. This was with the board configured to use a standard visual captcha (pick the letters out from the visual noise).

So I changed it to instead use any of several Polywell-related challenge questions. The result? Not a single new spam account since then. (And it's been almost 12 hours!)

So apparently the standard captcha has been broken — either they have computer vision tools that allow spambots to break it, or they're employing legions of humans in low-wage countries. But in either case, so far, our challenge questions have stumped them. (Hopefully they won't prove too difficult for real people... I tried to make them easy for anyone with a sincere interest in our topic.)

Of course the questions would be easy for Watson... let's hope it's a good long time before Watson-level AI gets into the hands of the spammers!

P.S. As part of the transfer, I found an SQL snippet to delete all accounts that had never been activated. There were several hundred thousand of these. The 1000 or so members you see now are all real people, pretty much, and we've generated almost 100 thousand posts.
Joe Strout
Talk-Polywell.org site administrator

hanelyp
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby hanelyp » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:31 pm

JoeStrout wrote:So apparently the standard captcha has been broken ...

Character recognition captchas have been broken for several years. The captchas that remain effective are those sufficiently uncommon that spammers haven't put the effort into them yet. My gut is that multiple choice Q&A tests will be the next to fall, and will fall hard once they become common. A bot doesn't need to guess right every time if it can keep guessing until it passes.

Monocultures are bad for staving off plagues. The future of effective captchas is variety, where the first test is to identify what the test is.

P.S. As part of the transfer, I found an SQL snippet to delete all accounts that had never been activated.

A function available in the PHPBB 2 board I manage. Good practice to clean out unactivated accounts once in awhile.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

JoeStrout
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby JoeStrout » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:37 pm

hanelyp wrote:Character recognition captchas have been broken for several years. The captchas that remain effective are those sufficiently uncommon that spammers haven't put the effort into them yet. My gut is that multiple choice Q&A tests will be the next to fall, and will fall hard once they become common. A bot doesn't need to guess right every time if it can keep guessing until it passes.

Agreed. The one on this board now is fill-in-the-blank, which is considerably harder, but still something that wouldn't be too difficult to solve with a Google search and some keyword processing. And of course, the big problem with it is that there are only a handful of different questions — once a spam organization has cracked even one of them, and shared it with its zombie army, then they can all get in.

My hope is that we're small enough potatoes that we won't be worth that kind of bother, for a while anyway.

hanelyp wrote:
P.S. As part of the transfer, I found an SQL snippet to delete all accounts that had never been activated.

A function available in the PHPBB 2 board I manage. Good practice to clean out unactivated accounts once in awhile.

There was no such function in the version of phpBB 2 we were running before. A surprising oversight, but no more so than many of the other glaring oversights in phpBB. Fortunately, some of these (including that one) have been corrected in phpBB 3.
Joe Strout

Talk-Polywell.org site administrator

ladajo
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby ladajo » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:43 pm

Can you not just change up the questions every month or two?
I realize that is labor, but...
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hanelyp
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby hanelyp » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:37 pm

Fill in the blank questions could be really nasty. I wonder how many current contributors would have trouble with the questions. I believe we're looking for a test of Human, not a test of Polywell Expert.
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JoeStrout
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby JoeStrout » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:42 pm

I did my best to make the questions easy for a human. No particular expertise is required; I don't think anyone here would struggle with them. But, if a real newcomer can't figure them out, they can always write to me for help.
Joe Strout

Talk-Polywell.org site administrator

hanelyp
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby hanelyp » Wed Feb 13, 2013 4:35 pm

Just took a look at what kind of question you're using. Without giving away the question I see a few problems:
- Definite cultural context. Difficult problem to avoid. Non-native English speakers would be discouraged.
- Do I enter the answer as one word or 2?
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

JoeStrout
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby JoeStrout » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:14 pm

hanelyp wrote:Just took a look at what kind of question you're using. Without giving away the question I see a few problems:
- Definite cultural context. Difficult problem to avoid. Non-native English speakers would be discouraged.
- Do I enter the answer as one word or 2?


I agree, it's not a perfect solution. But it's the one we have. I'll take the occasional real person needing help, over the 5-10 spam accounts per minute that I was getting before.
Joe Strout

Talk-Polywell.org site administrator

KitemanSA
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby KitemanSA » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:29 am

Joe,
Thanks for your work and I don't blame you at all.

ltgbrown
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby ltgbrown » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:43 pm

A small part of me is sad that there are not 100,000s of people registered on Talk-Polywell. Just us meager 1000 or so. I use to have some comfort in thinking Polywell was well populated. Now, not so much.

Even so, I like the upgrades!
Famous last words, "Hey, watch this!"

DeltaV
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby DeltaV » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:43 pm

Links in posts here used to always open in a new window for me. I don't see a user option for this. Is there a way to get this behavior back?

KitemanSA
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby KitemanSA » Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:22 pm

Seconded!

krenshala
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Re: Upgrading the forum to phpBB 3 pretty soon

Postby krenshala » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:39 pm

In Firefox, and I believe Chrome, you can open a link in a new tab by using CTRL+Left Click or Middle Mouse Button (if you have one). Your browser config will determine whether it immediately switches to that new tab or not.


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