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View Full Version : I'd like to make a usability recommendation



donotgcc
February 28th, 2008, 04:01 PM
Something I noticed pretty quickly using this forum, when I attempted to create a topic, I was redirected to a page warning me I wasn't registered. The only way to stop the forum from repeatedly redirecting me to that page was to register an account, then muck about in my e-mail.

Now, I'm sure there's some option the administrator of the forum can choose to disable forced registration, but the simple fact that it hasn't been turned off, in of all forums one dedicated to Ubuntu, indicates it's probably not very easy.

Fortunately, this problem was solved nearly a decade ago with a piece of forum software known as Futaba. The original software is closed-source, and in Japanese to boot, but many open-source, optionally English spinoffs have been created, including the popular Wakaba and Thorn families.

One useful feature of these forums is that, in addition to allowing non-registered users to post by default, users who wish to take the trouble to guarantee their identities can do so with "tripcodes," a security system far easier to use than the paradigm of forced-registration message boards, and portable across any and all Futaba derivatives, or even Futaba itself.

I realize it's a lot to ask that the forum software for a large online community be replaced, but I wouldn't suggest it unless I thought it would quickly prove to be of great value to the movement to popularize Ubuntu. Also, since so many Linux users are interested in open-source development, hopefully by spreading knowledge of Futaba spinoffs, someone will start a project to make a flavor that doesn't have the rough, grid-like look of so many others.

hyper_ch
February 28th, 2008, 04:14 PM
(1) Being required to register in order to post helps identifying misbehaving people

(2) I don't think this policy will change

(3) That should be in the forums suggestion section

donotgcc
February 28th, 2008, 04:22 PM
(1) Being required to register in order to post helps identifying misbehaving people

That's a very common misconception. If you believe it to be true, please attempt to provide a rationalization.

p_quarles
February 28th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Moved to Forum Feedback & Help.

The forum software uses a verification procedure specifically to prevent anonymous posting. Is it foolproof? No. It does, however, do a good job of preventing any kind of automated posting, which is a huge problem with any kind of open comment system (cf. YouTube).

I can't speak for the site administrators, but I seriously doubt that any kind of software change is being considered.

hyper_ch
February 28th, 2008, 04:30 PM
That's a very common misconception. If you believe it to be true, please attempt to provide a rationalization.
Please attempt to provide a rationalization as to why it is a very common misconception...

SunnyRabbiera
February 28th, 2008, 04:32 PM
That's a very common misconception. If you believe it to be true, please attempt to provide a rationalization.

well it prevents bots, spammers and other malicious stuff from coming in, after all having the registration system mostly prevents those who come here posting about porn or something.

donotgcc
February 28th, 2008, 04:36 PM
Unless you're going to argue that vBulletin's blocking of automated posts is especially well-done, I don't see how that's relevant. Whatever fads (signature, smilies, etc.) Futaba spinoffs miss out on, they are generally very robust when it comes to practical matters, including blocking malicious use. None of the popular ones were hacked out on a lazy afternoon and then abandoned.

Anyway, since you're knowledgeable enough about forum management to recognize anonymous and automated messaging as distinct, I have to ask: why is ayone here concerned with preventing anonymous posting?

hyper_ch
February 28th, 2008, 04:37 PM
why is ayone here concerned with preventing anonymous posting?

Why are you afraid to tell who you are?

p_quarles
February 28th, 2008, 04:41 PM
Another point to make here, for the sake of comparison. A couple of good examples of sites which allow open participation, but which still manage to avoid being buried in garbage (usually): Slashdot and Wikipedia.

Neither of those sites require you to register or verify an e-mail address before participating. There are benefits to registering, but you can still post without doing so.

The primary way in which those sites are different is that they are user-moderated. If someone posts spam or porn on Wikipedia, the page usually gets reverted by another user within minutes. On Slashdot, such comments would get voted beneath the minimum filter level very quickly, and then eventually deleted by a staff member.

This kind of system can work, but it raises a whole new set of problems: these types of sites see a lot of infighting and clique-formation. The model for this site is very different from those sites, and my understanding is that much of it is designed specifically to prevent that kind of cliquishness and "mod-warring."

donotgcc
February 28th, 2008, 04:47 PM
Okay, let's start with this:

The largest message board in the world is one with anonymous posting. I think the admin there knows what he's doing, and has already encountered and dealt with whatever problems you think would doom such a system to impracticality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2channel

Next, you seem to be afraid anonymous users will generally be of lower quality than registered ones, or that anonymous posting will lead to increased bad behavior. Not true:

http://wakaba.c3.cx/shii/shiichan

Lastly,

Why are you afraid to tell who you are?
Why are you obsessed with the identities of message board posters?

p_quarles
February 28th, 2008, 04:55 PM
Okay, let's start with this:

The largest message board in the world is one with anonymous posting. I think the admin there knows what he's doing, and has already encountered and dealt with whatever problems you think would doom such a system to impracticality.
I didn't say it was impractical: if you read what I wrote, you'll see that I provided two examples of good implemenations of open participation.

What I said was that such systems demonstrably encourage cliquishness, infighting, and mod-warring. That doesn't make it impractical: that makes it against the spirit of the Ubuntu community.


Next, you seem to be afraid anonymous users will generally be of lower quality than registered ones, or that anonymous posting will lead to increased bad behavior. Not true:
The registration system was battened down recently because the forum had a problem with bad behavior from users who were taking advantage of the relatively low bar for entry.


Why are you obsessed with the identities of message board posters?
No personal information -- apart from a valid e-mail address -- is actually required. What is required is that a user's Forum identity remain consistent from one post to the next. This helps engender trust and community, both of which are important to the philosophy behind this forum and the Linux distribution which it supports.

LaRoza
February 28th, 2008, 04:56 PM
You joined this forum to say that?

Never mind, I see you have many accounts here. We are looking into the matter.

Vadi
February 28th, 2008, 05:01 PM
I don't agree with this idea for -these- forums. I can think of others where it will help, but here, registering is a good thing.

donotgcc
February 28th, 2008, 05:02 PM
No personal information -- apart from a valid e-mail address -- is actually required

Oh, look--he didn't RTFA.

Slashdot's drama is the exception for places where it's possible to post anonymously. Further, the drama there occurs not because it's a message board that tolerates anonymity, but because it's a message board that encourages pseudonymity.


Never mind, I see you have many accounts here

Posting from work, but it's surprising that I'd have "many" coworkers here.

LaRoza
February 28th, 2008, 05:08 PM
Posting from work, but it's surprising that I'd have "many" coworkers here.

There are many accounts that are registered with your IP address, and there are many different accounts using it.

Many of them have no posts.

donotgcc
February 28th, 2008, 05:16 PM
Many of the accounts have no posts? That's not surprising for a forced-registration message board.

Then again, since they come from the same IP I'm using, there's a chance my company's server is compromised.

LaRoza
February 28th, 2008, 05:21 PM
Many of the accounts have no posts? That's not surprising for a forced-registration message board.

Then again, since they come from the same IP I'm using, there's a chance my company's server is compromised.

Did you join this forum for any other reason than to critize the fact one has to join in?

Your posts would make more sense if you were actually part of the forum.

I noticed your "RTFA" line directed at p_quarles. When you registered, you agreed to the rules of the forum.

Please review them, to help, the Codes of Conduct link in my sig will direct you to them, read the Ubuntu Forums Code of Conduct again.

p_quarles
February 28th, 2008, 05:22 PM
Many of the accounts have no posts? That's not surprising for a forced-registration message board.

Then again, since they come from the same IP I'm using, there's a chance my company's server is compromised.
You don't have to register to not post, so I fail to see the sense of the "not surprising" remark.

In any case, assuming that your IP address is in a pool like you say, it is confusing that to me why this would be the first post you make here. But, whatever. You've made your point, the site administrators will see this eventually and give the idea due consideration. The bottom line, of course, is that if you believe you have a better way of running a Linux support forum, it is your right to start one, and then to run it the way you think is best. Please understand that the owner of this site is exercising that same right.

EDIT: Thread closed, as this discussion seems to have run its course.