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Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:19 pm

(I am reluctant to write about "forum rules" because I dislike rules that are used to punish instead of being there to educate.)

The forum rules do not clarify how the moderation team should deal with necro-posting. There is an inconsistency with how forum moderators handle reports about necro-post forum abuse: some forum moderators simply remove the offending post while others lock the topic(s) to prevent the recurrence of this breach of etiquette. I would like to see topics locked, as a general rule, in cases of obvious, repeated necroposting.

I want to keep this simple. I propose the following rule change:
  • Do not attempt to resurrect dead issues by posting to threads that have been inactive for a long time (i.e. topics that started more than a year ago). It is better to create a new topic to address your specific questions than reuse an old one. The moderators will lock topics for Necroposting.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by ooffick » Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:55 am

Hi
I do not agree that topics need to be locked, in fact because some of those topics are open we can catch spammers in this posts.

There are always two sides to the story and it all depends on the topic and posts.

Some users are given another chance with others it is clear that they are just spammers.

So no, I do not think that such a rule change will work.

It is up to the Moderator to see if the post just removed, the user is warned, or the user is banned.

In very rare cases we would temporarily lock a topic but we usually do not lock topics.

I understand that certain other forums might have others rules, but that is how we deal with it here.

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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by gws » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:24 am

@ooffick, perhaps you would consider getting a few more mods as it is becoming a full time job reporting spam. Thanks gws.

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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:09 am

@ooffick: as a result of locking topics we have reduced the number of opportunities available for spam posters. So, while you may disagree with the idea, the practical outcome has been a pleasant experience for the rest of us who are gradually seeing a reduction in forum spam.

How "we" deal with things how we as the forum community requires things to be dealt with. Since there has been a increase in locking topics—particularly topics that were started 10 or more years ago—we've experienced a reduction in forum spam.

I feel that the forum may become irrelevant if we don't change some outdated, ineffective practices: keeping forum threads open for years only invites forum abuse. Although the idea of allowing topics to remain open indefinitely is intended to attract spam, the moderators are not catching the spam quickly enough and the whole idea is a constant distraction from the forum's real purpose. How about we trial for, say, a month locking topics just to see if such a change works better? You can always unlock those topics (or categories) if the trial is not a success. I think you'll find that the moderators and the community will both be happier for the experience.

It is refreshing to see one of the forum managers take an active interest in the feedback from the community. I hope that we may be able to change your opinion. ;) 8)
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:50 pm

If topics were to be locked because of age ... would that not make more work for the mods? Also would locked topics need to be moved to an 'Archived' forum?
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:04 pm

Webdongle wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:50 pm
If topics were to be locked because of age ... would that not make more work for the mods?
It's the same amount of effort, initially, to lock a topic as it is to remove a single forum post. After the [aged] topic is locked, it's actually less work for the forum moderator to remove one-time spam posts. The time saving occurs because there are fewer opportunities for necro-posting (because the topics are locked), there are fewer occasions to report these necroposts, there's less moderation intervention required and there are fewer distractions. It's a win-win-win (except for the spammers).

Webdongle wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:50 pm
Also would locked topics need to be moved to an 'Archived' forum?
This isn't happening now; I can't envision it happening in future.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:33 pm

sozzled wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:04 pm
... it's actually less work for the forum moderator to remove one-time spam posts. ...
Disagree because every thread would become locked at some stage which is considerably more times than a spam post is made to old threads.


sozzled wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:04 pm
...
Webdongle wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:50 pm
Also would locked topics need to be moved to an 'Archived' forum?
This isn't happening now; I can't envision it happening in future.
It's not happening now because there are no threads locked because of age.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:03 pm

I would rather we not focus exclusively on thread locking; that's one part of the issue. The main issue is to clearly spell-out (a) that necro-posting is anathema to this forum and (b) there will be consequences for those who employ this tactic.

Insofar as "every thread" will eventually be locked, I believe it would be an exaggeration to suggest that, over time, the forum moderators would be individually locking every one of the hundred thousand topics that have been posted in this forum. The simpler approach is to lock forum categories that are no longer relevant or useful to members' interests. There is also no harm in allowing the content to remain in these areas, searchable for people who are interested in the history of Joomla or who may have some unique situation that an ancient scrap of text might help. That's good. We should retain old topics for that kind of research. We don't, however, want people resurrecting J! 1.0 issues when we're knee-deep wrestling with J! 4, right? 8)
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:32 pm

sozzled wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:03 pm
...

Insofar as "every thread" will eventually be locked, I believe it would be an exaggeration to suggest that, over time, the forum moderators would be individually locking every one of the hundred thousand topics that have been posted in this forum. The simpler approach is to lock forum categories that are no longer relevant or useful to members' interests. ...
Locking forums would be If old posts are to be locked to prevent necro posting then eventually this thread (like all the others) would meet the age limit and get locked.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:49 pm

Hmmm ... I think we're over-complicating the matter. I'll try to tackle this in another way.

1) There's a problem and we're acutely aware that current approach is ineffective; perhaps some people are not as aware of the problem as others.
2) The spam problem (in all its guises) wastes everyone's time and and we're not happy about wasting our time if these problems persist because the forum management isn't aware of the issue and remains resolute in opposing recommendations for change.
3) I want everyone to be happy. :)

I am requesting a simple change to the rules, viz.:
  • Do not attempt to resurrect dead issues by posting to threads that have been inactive for a long time (i.e. topics that started more than a year ago). It is better to create a new topic to address your specific questions than reuse an old one. The moderators will lock topics for Necroposting.
Additionally—a "number two" priority—I feel it would be in everyone's interests if the forum moderators were not constrained by the open-house "[non-]policy" and were free to proactively reduce the opportunities for, and the occurrence of, forum abuse via necro-posting. I could be wrong but I'm happy to be proven wrong if we at least give things a try first.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by ooffick » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:34 am

gws wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:24 am
@ooffick, perhaps you would consider getting a few more mods as it is becoming a full time job reporting spam. Thanks gws.
Yes, something we can look into.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:27 am

I propose sozzled.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:53 am

@Webdongle: it's probably not going to happen, mate. The forum rules are unlikely to change and, because of that, any new moderators will be hamstrung, unable to do anything more than the current moderators are permitted to do. Until (and unless) the current necroposting policy is cleared up and unless forum moderators are given the freedom to act decisively to deal effectively with necropost forum abuse, adding new moderators is not the answer. It's not about the size of the moderator team (there are, notionally, 50+ forum moderators here). I suppose an easier question to ask is how things look from where @ooffick sits. I can only comment from how things look from my standpoint.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:08 pm

ooffick wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:55 am
I do not agree that topics need to be locked, in fact because some of those topics are open we can catch spammers in this posts.
Question: Are we saying that topics like viewtopic.php?f=306&t=892025 should never be locked because of their age? Are we saying this topic should remain open in order to "attract" garbage, because the moderators are always watching out for these things? Can someone please explain the benefit to the community in retaining a topic that was created three years ago, for a specific purpose at the time, to the present? I don't see it myself, sorry.

UPDATED: Likewise, what about this topic: viewtopic.php?f=559&t=858617
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:44 am

ooffick wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:55 am
I do not agree that topics need to be locked, in fact because some of those topics are open we can catch spammers in this posts.
How well is this approach working? See viewtopic.php?f=48&t=728067
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by ooffick » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:36 am

Usually pretty good, it all depends on how many users get through our Anti Spam system in the first place, and at what time they try to get in.

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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:50 am

Thank you for your reply.

I am no longer reporting individual posts for forum abuse by necroposting. I note that these topics remain open and available for forum necropost abuse. While two of the individual posts referred to in this topic have been removed, the topics themselves remain open for further abuse.

In one case that I mentioned earlier in this topic, the offending post made two days ago remains there on a topic that was started four years ago.

A couple of days ago I asked a question about a topic (concerning an event that took place three years ago). My remarks were very on-topic. I asked, in that topic, if someone could explain why this topic remained open. The topic had been used by someone else a few hours before I made my contribution. I asked, in relation to the resurrection of the topic, if that topic should remain open. I was not posting for the fun of it; it was not for my amusement. I sought an answer to the question. Instead of answering the question, my contribution was removed.

The point of this topic is to request a policy that spells out what necroposting is about and how it is harmful to the forum. Because there is not forum rule relating to necroposting and because there is a belief that the moderation team have the matter in hand, I see no need to go on with this discussion. I also see no need for anyone to complain when topics are resurrected (in some cases many years after the events, issues and subject matter is no longer of current relevance). As a consequence, I feel obligated to not report messages for necroposting.

I've always felt that I have been a responsible and diligent member of this community. I have always appreciated the help, advice, guidance and willingness by the forum moderators to act on matters I have brought to their attention. Given the situation I now find myself in, I will have to let the moderators figure things out for themselves.

Sorry, Olaf, but that's just how I feel about it. :'(
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:03 am

It all boils down to what creates the most work:
Locking all threads that reach their 'sell by date'
or
Reporting/Moving/removing rouge posts.

The former is more work for the mods while the latter is less for them but a little more for us (regular contributors). The latter also has the advantage that rouge posts (by virtues of the fact that they are on threads of active contributes) have more chance of being detected.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by ooffick » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:53 am

Update: we have implemented a new feature which locks all topics which are not updated within 2 years.

Please allow a bit of time before all the initial locks are set.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by gws » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:00 am

Good move,thanks.

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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:27 am

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Thank goodness.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:52 am

Perhaps 18 months? I just got a lecture for accidentally posting to a thread that was less than 2 years old. I probably posted to a more recent reply to the thread (that had been removed). But if mods are going to send PM's lecturing on the forum rules when someone accidentally posts to old threads ... then perhaps an auto lock of 2 years is too long a time ?
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by ooffick » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:00 pm

Let's see how we get on with the 2 year option first.

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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:43 pm

The fact that this is happening—that there will be a consistent approach to prevent necroposting—is welcome. I welcome locking topics based on a two-year inactivity rule. I don't care if the rule is based on a two-year inactivity basis or any specific length of time. The fact that there's been a turnaround in thinking—topics will be locked—is welcome.

Every day, as forum moderators target individual topics (and lock them), is another day when there are fewer opportunities for necroposters and other internet trolls to abuse this community. As these old, dead topics are locked we are able to breathe again without being constantly dragged into useless demands on our time. Although it will take considerable time for these necroposting opportunities to diminish, we're heading on a better trajectory that will assist all users of this forum. Thanks.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:29 pm

sozzled wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:43 pm
...
Every day, as forum moderators target individual topics (and lock them), ...
I thought it was a feature that automatically locks them.
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by mandville » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:57 pm

No. Some forums are auto locked like announcements or in the showcase method auto pruned.
Others are manually done
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:43 pm

mandville wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:57 pm
No. Some forums are auto locked like announcements or in the showcase method auto pruned.
Others are manually done
But
ooffick wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:53 am
Update: we have implemented a new feature which locks all topics which are not updated within 2 years.
...
Sounds like all are auto locked after 2 years ?
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by mandville » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:44 pm

I was talking previously...
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by sozzled » Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:49 pm

Let me try to explain to @Webdongle:

1) At the beginning, I asked for two things: (a) changes to the forum rules to help educate people about how to make better use of the forum, and (b) locking old discussions to prevent forum abuse. At the outset, I wrote that it was not my intention to see these changes used as punishment.

2) My original requests were rejected.
ooffick wrote:
Sun Aug 12, 2018 8:55 am
I do not agree that topics need to be locked, in fact because some of those topics are open we can catch spammers in this posts.
3) After a little more discussion, I gave up agitating for my suggestion. It seemed evident to me that my ideas for change were not gaining traction and were largely unsupported by the community. No changes have been made to the forum rules that mention the term "necroposting"; in the absence of some guidance in the regard, the forum moderators lack the power to either (a) counsel members of the forum or (b) prevent forum abuse (by locking topics) to reduce the opportunities for necropost spam.

4) The means by which topics have been locked in the past have only been by forum moderators intervening on a case-by-case basis. There hasn't been an auto-lock feature in this forum.

5) I'm sorry to read that you were recently counselled
Webdongle wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:52 am
I just got a lecture for accidentally posting to a thread that was less than 2 years old.
In my opinion, I don't think anyone should be given a warning/counselling/"lecture" for doing something that is not clearly stated in policy.

I hope this helps explain the situation. In essence, your conclusion—all topics will be auto-locked after they have been inactive for 2 years or more—sounds about right. Cheers. 8)
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Re: Forum rules: necro-posting

Post by Webdongle » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:31 pm

Let me explain to sozzled
sozzled wrote:Every day, as forum moderators target individual topics (and lock them)
Suggests the mods will be locking all old posts manually.


But 'new feature' in ooffic's suggests it is done automatically.
ooffic wrote:Update: we have implemented a new feature which locks all topics which are not updated within 2 years.
That is what I was referring to ... not the things you mention in your filibuster.
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