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posted by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @03:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the lets-see-what-happens-here dept.

I realise that this has been an unpleasant time for many of our anonymous community members, but I can assure you that it has been necessary. I am not yet prepared to go into details but I can at least update you with our findings so far. But first we have to look at some historical data.

Anonymous Cowards (ACs) have always been - and will hopefully continue to be - welcome members of our community. There are many perfectly understandable reasons for wishing to post as AC and how you chose to live your own personal life is of no concern of this site. Equally, you are welcome to use VPNs and other security measures to protect your privacy. We take similar measures to protect all of your data so that you will not be compromised by us. These measures are effective and to the SN administration ACs appear as a single user with the user identity of #1.

We cannot treat some ACs differently from others. While we can manage to sort out your comments etc with the aid of the hashes that we produce, they change so frequently as to be useless for any purpose outside of this site. But the Administration is only concerned with what happens within this site and so this point is moot. We have no interest in the rest of the internet so IP addresses are also of no interest to us. How your comments get from wherever you are to us is irrelevant. The bottom line is that ACs can only be treated as a single account. That account is granted certain permissions or not granted those permissions and they apply to every AC interaction.

Most of our community, both logged in and AC, participate in the discussions in an reasonable manner and discuss the topic that has been outlined and any threads that resulting from it. It is true that, particularly at weekends, there is a slight increase in the number of ACs appearing but on their own they are little more than a minor irritant. There is, however, a 3rd group, consisting of ACs who sole purpose seems to be to derail any sensible discussion. Over recent years they have become more aggressive and often use personal attacks rather than challenging what is being said. Some are more obvious than others and I am sure that you can all think of examples of such people for yourself. A very small number have stated that it is their aim to prevent SoylentNews from continuing.

On 22 Jun of this year we received an implied threat (https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=49894&page=1&cid=1254201) suggesting the the person making it had a target date of 6 July for some event or other. It is possible that this is related to another 'prophecy' in which this individual foretold that the site would soon be dead. We believe that we can identify the person making that threat with a reasonable degree of certainty. However, since that time the number of ad-hominem attacks has increased and we have also been subjected to increasing amounts of spam. In small amounts either or both of these things can be shrugged of, but when they come increasingly aggressive and frequent, they can make the entire experience of being in this community very unpleasant. I know that we have lost both staff and numerous community members because of this toxic atmosphere - and not, as some would have you believe, because we administer the site!

Almost all of this behaviour is conducted by a very small number of ACs and occasionally via sock-puppet accounts. As the levels of harassment increased over the last few weeks it was obvious to us that we could remove it by simply preventing AC access. This was not an easy decision to make but we knew that we could protect the majority of the site by this simple action. The result is, as you know, that we reluctantly removed anonymous access by ACs to the front page.

We are now actively looking for more permanent solutions and hopefully to exactly what we had before. I have experimented with providing stories on the front page which are AC friendly, and also in my journal. We are still looking for a better solution but unless we can separate individual ACs then I cannot see what else can be done. I would welcome your feedback and suggestions. The outcome of our decision is also our loss as you can see if you look at the numbers of comments that we are now getting compared to before the ban.

I have spent a lot of time analysing the posts, both current and historical, to try to identify the person or persons responsible for this unwanted content. I am not going to name specific individuals because I believe that you can each reach your own conclusions. By looking at both the spam and comment content, and their meta data, I have established the following.

The person spamming our site is one of our own Anonymous Cowards who is currently blocked because we have removed access for the AC account - and that block affects all ACs. He is also one of the people regularly carrying out ad hominem attacks against other community members. He will be reading everything that we post about this issue.

Unless the abuses cease everywhere on the site including in journals, ACs will remain outside of the main site except for specially released stories until we can devise a better system. For us to currently do anything different would be foolish and irresponsible in the extreme. As soon as the abuse ceases we can readmit all ACs to the main site again.

I know that this will be as much of a disappointment to you as it is to me, and you may also be thinking of leaving. I ask you not to go. Rather I would encourage you all to let the abusers know that they are not fighting for your freedom of speech ("freeze peach") but they are by their actions actively preventing your participation in our site. There is one particular post (https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=50204&page=1&cid=1257692) which suggests that this is being done on behalf of all ACs and that you all stand as one behind this action. I don't believe that anybody has the right to claim that if you haven't actually agreed to it.

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Inspired by Palm Trees, Scientists Develop Hurricane-Resilient Wind Turbines 10 comments

Inspired by palm trees, scientists develop hurricane-resilient wind turbines:

Wind technology is growing—literally. Today's offshore wind turbines can tower more than 490 feet above ground, their spinning blades churning out up to 8 megawatts (MW) each—about enough to power 4000 homes in the U.S.

But with their increasing size comes challenges. Off the east coast, where offshore turbines are located in the U.S., increasingly powerful Atlantic hurricanes pose risks to the structures themselves and to the future of wind energy. To make those turbines more hurricane-resilient, a team of CU Boulder researchers are taking a cue from nature and turning the turbine around.

"We are very much bio-inspired by palm trees, which can survive these hurricane conditions," said Lucy Pao, Palmer Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

Traditional upwind turbines face the incoming wind, and to avoid being blown into the tower, their blades must be sufficiently stiff. It requires a lot of material to build these relatively thick and massive blades, which drives up their cost. Turbine blades on downwind rotors, however, face away from the wind, so there's less risk of them hitting the tower when the winds pick up. This means they can be lighter and more flexible, which requires less material and therefore less money to make. These downwind blades can also then bend instead of break in the face of strong winds—much like palm trees.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Sunday July 03, @04:00PM (9 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Sunday July 03, @04:00PM (#1257771)

    suggesting the the person making it had a target date of 6 July for some event or other.

    Might be a good time to check your backups if you haven't done so already. Just saying.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @04:04PM (1 child)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @04:04PM (#1257772) Journal
      I'll start search for a sober sysadmin :)
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @04:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @04:09AM (#1257934)

        Ah, the veritable Holiest of Grails. I'm afraid they went out with the dodo bird. The tipsy ones who also do perl have all gone fishing.

    • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:42PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:42PM (#1257785)

      Backups? Seriously, is anyone reading anything from more than a day ago? Maybe it makes posters feelz warm 'n' cozy that their insights are saved forever on teh tubez but c'mon, those Gb of text are wasted. Better to save old episodes of Friends, or M*A*S*H.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @04:56PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @04:56PM (#1257789) Journal

        It is useful to be able to link to 'Previous Stories' of relevance and alternative points of view. Some comments also point to them as a citation for the claim that they are making.

        The meta data is important for protecting users against some forms of abuse (moderation abuse for example).

        You might wish that we didn't keep such data but for this article in particular I had to go back several weeks.

        If we removed what people had said previously from our database then we would be accused of censorship. In fact we have been accused of censorship even though we have kept everything and it is all still publicly viewable.

        And if we didn't have a backup, how would we restore our system when it crashed - of course that would never happen to SoylentNews, now would it?!

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Sunday July 03, @07:57PM (1 child)

        by SomeGuy (5632) on Sunday July 03, @07:57PM (#1257827)

        I know it's unthinkable these days, but once in a while someone might have actually posted something *useful*. The sort of thing one might want to pull up again, or let someone else pull up while doing a web search.

        That is technically the entire purpose of a forum, to preserve hopefully useful information and discussion.

        Of course, "modern" sites like Facebook and Twitter could go up in flames and nothing of any value would be lost, since their entire purpose is to produce advertising and sell cell phones.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by anubi on Monday July 04, @12:53AM

          by anubi (2828) on Monday July 04, @12:53AM (#1257905) Journal

          Thank you.

          What you said is exactly the reason I registered here.

          Many Soylentils offer unique points of view into issues of the day, often the same issues vexing me.

          I am a member of a diesel truck forum for the same reasons. An old purely mechanical IDI International Harvester Diesel engine powers my van. It should last the rest of my life if I can maintain it. Or at least until it is outlawed I even have it converted to run on 100% solar power, via Neste's plant and animal fat rendering technology. ( Neste renewable diesel ).

          Specialty forums, such as here, are just the ticket for me. I come here to discuss technology. I don't have much interest in pointless bickering, who knows who, name-dropping coattail-riding celebrity idle rich people crap.

          I don't even visit FB, Twitter, etc. It's like getting snarled in an Outbrain or Taboola trap. Lots of people, but the ratio of brain to blubber is so low it makes meaningful communication quite tedious.

          --
          "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @11:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @11:58PM (#1257889)

        Information that someone has posted, even decades ago, will come in very useful for their trials for crimes against the state, comrade. That ten years ago people weren't telling you which pronoun they preferred will be no excuse.

        Dark comedy aside, as a semi-frequent AC poster, if y'all need to shut down the AC posting to keep out those miserable SOBs who are abusing the privilege, then so be it. I think the site will manage to go on without my thoughtful insights and sharp witticisms, as improbable as that may seem. :D

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Reziac on Monday July 04, @02:38AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Monday July 04, @02:38AM (#1257920) Homepage

        I've occasionally gone looking for some quote and guess where I find it? in one of my antique posts either here or on the Green Site. This happens often enough to have some appreciation for the long string of history preserved by these sites.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:19AM (#1258168)

      One day left! Backups will be of no avail. The Apocalypse, the Ragnorak, the Eschaton is imminent! Prepare yourselves, soylentils, to be cleansed. The End is Nye! Bill Nye!

      We are amused by the gullibility of SoylentNews's ex officio Chief Editor Emeritus, retired but called back into "action". Good luck, janrinok, and have fun storming the internets!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:13PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:13PM (#1257774)

    Stuff modded as spam at -1 shows up even though I set threshold and breakthrough to 0.

    I set it to 0 because some AC comments are worth reading.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @04:23PM (1 child)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @04:23PM (#1257777) Journal

      I will get to it but it is nowhere near the top of my todo list at present.

      • (Score: 2) by datapharmer on Sunday July 03, @07:07PM

        by datapharmer (2702) on Sunday July 03, @07:07PM (#1257819)

        As I recall from the green site this may be tied to mod points system (unless we are taking about ac users that is).

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:32PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:32PM (#1257779)

      Maybe give Spam an additional -1 in your preferences?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @04:39PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @04:39PM (#1257783) Journal

        If he is not a logged-in AC he will not have preferences.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:39PM (#1257784)
        Have you even tried that yourself? I have. -1, +1 neither help.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by RS3 on Sunday July 03, @04:34PM (1 child)

      by RS3 (6367) on Sunday July 03, @04:34PM (#1257780)

      IIRC there an issue (code bug?) where first level (parent? not sure what to call them) comments show regardless of score or reading threshold.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by deimtee on Monday July 04, @12:45AM

        by deimtee (3272) on Monday July 04, @12:45AM (#1257904) Journal

        I think it's if they have replies they show up.

        --
        No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:15PM (27 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:15PM (#1257775)

    The spammers definitely do NOT speak for all of us.

    Maybe I'll code up some anti-spammer functionality. I can work in perl (been a few years since any professional work in it, mind you). Some ideas spring to mind.

    If I can spare enough hours, that is. So, middling odds.

    Looking forward to being able to be a full-fledged participant in the community and in the conversations again.

    Signed,
    A Friendly Neighbourhood Well-intentioned AC

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @04:22PM (22 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @04:22PM (#1257776) Journal

      I am grateful for your offer, but you must remember that we will not be giving anyone access to our hardware systems until we know who they are and their competencies. You can download our source code from Github [github.cosoylentnews]. The code you are looking for is Rehash.

      If you wish to continue with your offer please contact the Admins by email.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @04:37PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @04:37PM (#1257782) Journal

        link is corrupted - https://github.com/soylentnews [github.com]

        Apologies - more haste and less speed.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday July 03, @04:52PM (20 children)

        by RS3 (6367) on Sunday July 03, @04:52PM (#1257787)

        As a sysadmin (not here), if I may, I suggest you allow only SN admins access to hardware. I believe there's at least 1 test / development system. Be sure to use proper git checkout, commits, etc., and please please get code reviewers- many coders here- before committing to production system.

        All that said, the beauty of interpreted code like perl is that it's pretty painless to restore working code. Worst-case is database corruption where you may lose some posts, which is a bad thing of course. (hence, test much on development system)

        BTW, If _I_ were sysadmin here, I would just delete the text of the spam comments. Somewhere you or someone mentioned link / brokenness if you try to delete an entire post's database record. I'd get a consensus from some top-tier people here, but using some simple database tools, it's pretty easy to edit the post text field and put something pleasant.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @05:02PM (5 children)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @05:02PM (#1257792) Journal

          We do all that you say and more. Nobody gets access unless they have been accepted by the current sysadmins. I haven't got access. As far as I know the access is kept to only a handful of people.

          Plus, of course, that our hardware is hosted elsewhere and daily backups are automatic.

          I can understand your logic behind deleting Spam content but I am rather glad that we don't do that. It has proven to be very useful over the last few days. People make some unusual spelling mistakes which can be found elsewhere on our site..... The little things can often be enough to give me a pointer to where to look next.

          • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday July 03, @05:32PM (4 children)

            by RS3 (6367) on Sunday July 03, @05:32PM (#1257801)

            Thanks. Yes, that's why I said I'd get consensus before deleting or editing a post.

            • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Monday July 04, @02:43AM (3 children)

              by Reziac (2489) on Monday July 04, @02:43AM (#1257921) Homepage

              There's also the problem that if spam autodeletes (as it would have to, lest the admins find themselves doing nothing but spam herding) then it becomes easy to target and erase individuals one disagrees with.

              • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @05:06AM (2 children)

                by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @05:06AM (#1257948) Journal

                lest the admins find themselves doing nothing but spam herding

                A situation I found myself in a few days back with 101 spam posts in less than 16 hours if I remember correctly. And they cannot be done at all once - they really should be supressed at the earliest opportunity so I had to respond to each of them as and when they arrived.

                However, I have a few things to help me. I can watch all comments arriving (for all stories/journals simultaneously) in a feed which lets me quickly identify them and then take action. I can also immediately see which posts are being moderated and how. Many of our community do assist by Spam modding as soon as it arrives which draws my attention to the activity. We also have displays for moderation abuse etc. I don't want to have to sit in front of my screen waiting for comments to arrive for 12-16 hours a day! I think that only a handful of people currently have those privileges - but there are not many staff left now either. The toxic community has taken its toll.

                • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Reziac on Monday July 04, @05:45AM (1 child)

                  by Reziac (2489) on Monday July 04, @05:45AM (#1257952) Homepage

                  I am thankful for your dedication. Good job.

                  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @06:56AM

                    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @06:56AM (#1257968) Journal

                    I appreciate the kind words, but I don't suppose I would still be doing it if it was no longer something pleasurable overall - these times are not much fun but over the 8 years I've certainly enjoyed the task, the community and the comments far more than a few low points along the way.

                    I will nevertheless be glad when we get this matter resolved.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @05:13PM (13 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @05:13PM (#1257795)

          BTW, If _I_ were sysadmin here, I would just delete the text of the spam comments.

          I quite like the TechDirt approach where spam and whatnot just shows a single line (no title, no content) saying

          This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

          so anyone can click it into view if they really want to. I feel it really makes a point that it's not hidden, but really, Dude, no-one wants to read it. All the spammer can do is to shout louder and louder that no-one is listening to him, which just gets his posts marked down faster and faster.

          Hmmm. I headed off to the TechDirt site to find an example to paste into the quote and there seems to be a shortage of such just recently. Then I scrolled back as far as a post mentioning Trump, which of course came up, well, trumps.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @05:43PM

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @05:43PM (#1257803) Journal

            I like the suggestion too - but without that elusive programmer it leaves us with a problem, and it is not something that I want to try to do manually with a live database.

          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by RS3 on Sunday July 03, @05:51PM (11 children)

            by RS3 (6367) on Sunday July 03, @05:51PM (#1257804)

            That's a great idea. Of course that would involve code changes, and afaik SN does not have a full-on perl programmer.

            I like what I thought was the plan- anything marked "spam" has to be true spam or something equally garbage. Anyone abusing the spam mod would lose mod points for a month.

            If that was and is true, then at least one more mod score level might be the fix, and it might be very (very!) easy to expand the range of possible scores. It may be that a -2 for true spam / garbage would solve much of the problem, and only a "spam" mod could achieve a -2 score.

            Then (obviously) there needs to be an appeal / review system where if your post got a -2, you request a review by top-level editors' / admins' consensus, and if the "spam" mod was not deserved, it gets fixed and person doing undeserved mod loses mod points for a month or more.

            • (Score: 4, Interesting) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @06:03PM (10 children)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @06:03PM (#1257807) Journal

              We review spam moderations frequently - although not as often as I would have liked over the last 36-48 hours. We probably revert about half of them but it does vary considerably and that is a wet finger held in the air estimate. If someone repeatedly abuses the spam moderation they receive a private warning and, should they continue, they can receive a moderation ban starting a 1 week for the first offence and so on...

              • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 03, @09:07PM (9 children)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @09:07PM (#1257841)

                One potential tool to slope the field against Trolls would be to magnify the troll moderation effect on AC posts.

                In the 1980s I established the axiom: a message board determined to allow anonymous posts is defenseless against griefers. Community moderation is the best mitigation to come along since then.

                If you want to go high tech you could try an AI lexical analyzer. Feed it a stream of all available data on bad vs good posts and allow it to slow the introduction of material posted by AC which the AI throws in the "smells bad" category.

                --
                Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
                • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Ken_g6 on Monday July 04, @05:33AM (4 children)

                  by Ken_g6 (3706) on Monday July 04, @05:33AM (#1257950)

                  Actually, a spam filter is something that could be done by a non-Perl programmer, if you have those to spare. Create a special account with lots of mod points. (Or, just a normal one, for testing.) Then, someone could create a bot, in any programming language, to go through posts, run them through a spam filter, and moderate them if needed. If it's a really good spam filter that ranks posts as "not spam", "kinda spammy", or "clearly spam", those could be mapped to no moderation, "Troll", and "Spam" respectively.

                  • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @05:58AM (3 children)

                    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @05:58AM (#1257955) Journal

                    We can do that part - but we cannot integrate it into the comment processing or allocate it to the appropriate account without interfacing it with the existing Perl..... And any change to the Perl necessitates a new build, a new testing schedule, etc

                    It's chicken and egg I'm afraid, unless I have misunderstood your suggestion. If the latter is the case then feel free to hit me with a clue bat and explain it again please. I am tiring after a long weekend and I am perhaps not firing on all cylinders at the moment.

                    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by coolgopher on Monday July 04, @07:36AM (2 children)

                      by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @07:36AM (#1257973)

                      I believe the idea (if I understood it correctly), was to have a bot which uses the existing site's interface as it's API, the only difference being that the account it logs in as has a considerable amount of available mod points. The bot could then read the comments and spam-check, and when triggered mod down automatically. So, no changes to the existing code base (assuming there is some way of granting mod points beyond the auto-refresh).

                      • (Score: 5, Funny) by nostyle on Monday July 04, @03:00PM (1 child)

                        by nostyle (11497) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @03:00PM (#1258038) Journal

                        In short:

                        He is suggesting that we replace some of the moderators with a small shell-script.

                        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday July 04, @09:56PM

                          by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @09:56PM (#1258100)

                          Not replace, augment. And the shell script has the distinct advantage of tirelessly reading every comment posted - as soon as it is posted - and being somewhat unbiased in its mod assignments.

                          --
                          Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @11:04AM (3 children)

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @11:04AM (#1257997) Journal

                  You raise an idea worth thinking about. Thank you.

                  One problem that we see on this site is that the more a specific moderation type suppresses a comment, the more that moderation type will be abused. If we simply make a troll mod carry more negative points than it currently has, then it will be used more often when it really shouldn't be. If everyone was perfect and their perception and use of moderation was the same we probably could see this working exactly has you stated. But I don't think that any of us actually meet that description.

                  The end result is that someone has to moderate the moderations and ensure that they are being applied fairly across all stories and journals. The Admins do that to some extent already. We have displays showing moderation abuse and daily email reports showing who is receiving moderations that appear suspicious, whether they be positive or negative. As someone has to be logged in to moderate it is a simple task to look at who and what they are moderating and, if necessary, look at their moderation history. If it appears accidental or borderline then I usually issue a polite private admin-to-user message. I don't expect a reply from it, the problem resolves itself, and the world continues turning. If the abuse becomes excessive or repetitive, then a more formal warning is issued and/or a ban if thought necessary. The later case is still unusual although it is the one that you hear about because the recipient usually wants to complain about their treatment.

                  • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Monday July 04, @09:42PM

                    by Fnord666 (652) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @09:42PM (#1258095) Homepage

                    The end result is that someone has to moderate the moderations and ensure that they are being applied fairly across all stories and journals. [...]

                    I believe that was what the green site did with meta-moderation. It allowed the community to police itself. Did that code not make it over?

                  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday July 04, @10:00PM (1 child)

                    by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @10:00PM (#1258101)

                    For what it's worth, my suggestion was to have the magnified effect only on AC posts... but I suppose I am biased, here in my non-AC persona.

                    --
                    Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
                    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @06:11AM

                      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @06:11AM (#1258167) Journal

                      Looking specifically at AC posts is a reasonable thing to do - particularly as our current woes are all as a result of the actions of a few of our own ACs. As long as the majority are not penalised for the action of a few then it might be a reasonable solution. There are already limits placed upon what ACs can do - they have additional security checks when they post, they cannot have journals, they cannot moderate etc. It becomes a balance between those who are prepared to have accounts and those who wish to remain as AC.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 03, @08:50PM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @08:50PM (#1257834)

      You could start with recording a one way hash of the commenters' ip address, enabling blocking of AC access from address hashes matching abusive comments. It doesn't take much effort to vary a source IP address, but any effort is infinitely more than they currently expend.

      --
      Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @09:22PM (2 children)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @09:22PM (#1257849) Journal

        Er, we do have been doing that for 8 years. That is why people complain about us using hashes. We use hashes because we do not want the iPs. They then accuse us of tracking them. If has been Ari's favourite soap-box topic for several years.

        Many AC's IP addresses change very frequently. Some actually do it between every post.

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @09:24PM (1 child)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @09:24PM (#1257850) Journal

          Sorry for the typos. It is 23:23 here and i have been on the site since about 08:30. Time for my bed.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday July 03, @11:38PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @11:38PM (#1257883)

            zzzzzzzzzzz. So, you are tracking them, but not in any way useful to anyone else (as I think I saw you write elsewhere...) Moot, really, unless their ability to run multiple AC personalities on this particular site is of some kind of extreme value to them (in which case they're a very special snowflake, indeed.)

            Thanks for all your efforts, in the end it's just a public forum and nobody can really be held responsible for crackpots entering the conversation with all manner of crazy / deliberately offensive stuff.

            Would be interesting to see how accurately something like this: https://blog.revolutionanalytics.com/2016/12/stylometry.html [revolutionanalytics.com] could pre-screen for troll-text and slow down undesired types of content.

            --
            Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:56PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @04:56PM (#1257790)

    ..... which suggests that this is being done on behalf of all ACs .....

    No, of course it isn't on behalf of all ACs. Keep up the good work. AC posting is important for all the usual free speech reasons.

    I posted once at the green site in response to a (signed) snarky post about ignoring a comment because it was AC. The point I argued was that AC comments are often better, because they have to stand up on their own and make a sensible argument, without relying on any reputation of the poster. If you can't make a decent argument without relying on any reputation you may have, then maybe your argument wasn't up to much in the first place.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @05:56PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @05:56PM (#1257806) Journal

      I agree 100% with your choice of title.

      I know that the few don't represent the majority, but if you don't make your voice heard they can claim whatever they wish. If they realise that you do not want them perhaps, just perhaps, they will move on. At least you will making life more difficult for them by removing what they feel is justification for their actions.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @07:04PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @07:04PM (#1257817)

      It's bigotry. Those people aren't as good as us. They're all the same. They're ignorant. If they had anything worthwhile to say, they would register... if they are smart enough. We don't want those people in our neighborhood.

      And, look at that, they're gone.

      But that's okay, there are more coming in, all the time.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:20AM (#1258176)

        If I were not a discriminated against AC, I would mod the parent +10 Insightful. We need more wokeness here on SoylentNews.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Monday July 04, @12:03AM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @12:03AM (#1257892) Journal

      For the argument about reputation, a registered user can always post as an AC, any time. Thus their argument does not have to rely on any real or perceived reputation. Or be seen in light of past postings.

      --
      You can not have fun on the weak days but you can on the weakened.
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @06:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @06:37PM (#1258067)

      With apologies to Monty Python...

      I'm AC, and so's my wife!

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Sunday July 03, @05:16PM (4 children)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @05:16PM (#1257797) Journal

    It's fairly obvious this is Aristarchus we're talking about, but stop beating around the bush and confirm it already. No more of this shit. If someone is being a persistently sandy little butthole, the only thing they understand is consequences.

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @06:09PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @06:09PM (#1257808) Journal

      I am not yet prepared to go into details but I can at least update you with our findings so far.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @06:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @06:42PM (#1257811)

      Go out yourself, tranny. You're the nasty semi-op perv who pokes in her to fuck up everything you can't touch with the severed dongs you keep with your collection of used maxi-pads. That idiot you want guillotined is an oozing wound in the side of the administrators, but you are the perverted hemorrhage driving others away. This bubbling bedpan deserves you.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:23AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:23AM (#1258177)

      Do you have any evidence it is aristarchus, who after all permabanned on double-secret probation? Or, Azuma Hazuki, are you just engaging in the same tired prejudices of the dominant patriarchal establishment here at SoylentNews? I see no evidence of aristarchus doing anything.

      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @08:38AM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @08:38AM (#1258192) Journal

        Who said it was aristarchus? Did I name anybody? I invited people to reach their own conclusions. You jumping in has perhaps confirmed those conclusions. Oooops, a bit of projection there, maybe.

        Yes, I have evidence. On at least 4 occasions the spammer and commentators made significant errors that resulted in compromises.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @06:56PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @06:56PM (#1257815)

    Not just because it is fine thing reminding us to the early days of the internet where we just assumed that users were generally decent, but because it is essential to liberty. The first thing the authoritarians banned is anonymous pamphleteering, the Soviets went as far as registering every typewriter, and mainland China is now moderating every social media post.

    That being said, dealing with the scum of the internet isn't easy. I hope you manage to put together some code to help, even if it is just to drop anon comments to an even lower visibiltiy or rendering in teeny font until approved or replied to, during times of crisis (or if they consume more than a certain fraction of a story). But I am sure others have even better ideas. Some of them might even be Perl programmers.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @07:06PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @07:06PM (#1257818) Journal

      I genuinely hope so too. They are an important part of our community.

  • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Sunday July 03, @07:21PM

    by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday July 03, @07:21PM (#1257825)

    Since that particular individual seems to be overwhelmed by the idea of doing anything but copy/pasting his sermon, maybe offer the choice of a spamfilter? It should be trivial to get that "content" pattern matched.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @08:09PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @08:09PM (#1257830)

    Suggest instead of using [* AC Friendly *] to flag articles ACs like me can comment on, it might be better to add [* Registered users only can comment* ] to the titles of articles where ACs *can't* comment.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @08:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @08:29PM (#1257831)

      How about [* WHITE ONLY *]?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Sunday July 03, @09:28PM (1 child)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @09:28PM (#1257854) Journal

      We have a limited number of characters for the story title - the [* AC Friendly *] eats 16 of them!

      Your suggestion is not possible I'm afraid to say.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:23AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:23AM (#1258169)

        How about No Coloreds, then? Better?

  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @08:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @08:44PM (#1257833)

    Quoth janrinok:

    You will get a special story later today!

    https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=50189&commentsort=0&mode=threadtos&threshold=-1&highlightthresh=-1&page=1&cid=1257710#commentwrap

    Just imagine the glee!

    vDue to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner. If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down. If you think this is unfair, please email admin@soylentnews.org with your MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "126f05d874919fbe4a6475cba4bb8814" and "0c5a5196c43c8a939656245f780d95fc".

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @09:00PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @09:00PM (#1257837)

    It is possible that this is related to another 'prophecy' in which this individual foretold that the site would soon be dead. We believe that we can identify the person making that threat with a reasonable degree of certainty.

    It's NCommander, isn't it?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @06:34AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @06:34AM (#1257960)

      If it were NCommander, this site would already be dead. Whether through legal means, coding means, or sysadmin means, or less legitimate means, someone with NCommander's abilities wouldn't need to make vague prophecies nor rely on half-assed spam bots.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:26AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @07:26AM (#1258179)

        And yet, Runaway is still here. Question: why?

  • (Score: 2, Offtopic) by Runaway1956 on Sunday July 03, @09:04PM (11 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday July 03, @09:04PM (#1257839) Homepage Journal

    I probably just have an intermittent short in the brain . . .

    I read through this thread, was about to close it. Then, I made a connection somehow, that ari and the persistent spammer sometimes known as APK are one and the same.

    I thought that's stupid, then I thought again. I am almost certain that the Azuma Hazuki 2.0 account was an ari sock. And, that other sock with 'nigger' in the name was ari. Maybe APK and other spammers? Maybe . . .

    Maybe I'm connecting dots that don't connect, but is it possible that ALL of SN's major problems are just one person? Jeeezus. Bad enough that there are two, or even three individuals who hate the site. But, if all of them are the same person? Dude must spend all of his non-working and non-sleeping hours plotting SN's demise. That would require a truly fucked up mind.

    June 6th, huh?

    Don't open any packages delivered to your home on June 6th. Avoid large crowds too. He's not from Denmark, is he? https://apnews.com/article/shootings-denmark-copenhagen-e5670b98e4b604da265028614652cbd3 [apnews.com]

    --
    Your private safe room in the back of your mind? Trump pooped in it.
    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @09:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @09:26PM (#1257853)

      Runaway thinks he can throw us all off the scent, by blaming all his crimes on some one else? Better than blaming the fart on the dog. Just a while ago there was speculation that APK and Runaway were the same person, and the racist profanity (and male body parts) fits Runaway better than anyone else here. Hmmm.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Mykl on Sunday July 03, @10:00PM (8 children)

      by Mykl (1112) on Sunday July 03, @10:00PM (#1257861)

      IMHO, the posting styles of the two are dramatically different, and from memory their individual targets on the site never seem to overlap. Each seems to have a different type of psychopathy as well. I doubt that the moment of clarity is coming any time soon, but when it does I really do hope that they seek help. Their lives could be so much more fulfilling without spending the time they do on something that they will get no thanks for.

      I always read at -1, but I do like the idea of modifying posts that contain spam so that you have to click to see it, kind of like the Spoiler tag. I agree that penalties for misusing the Spam mod would need to be increased.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday July 04, @06:43AM (5 children)

        by RS3 (6367) on Monday July 04, @06:43AM (#1257962)

        My idea (off the cuff, fishing for suggestions) would be a very simple perl code change: "spam" mod would not be subtracting 1, but would always be a -2. No other mod type could achieve -2.

        In other words, almost all perl code stays the same, no matter how many downmods (other than spam) a post gets, -1 is the lowest any other post can go... except, "spam" mod would result in -2. That way spam score posts will be out of view of anyone using -1 reading threshold.

        Should be easy to expand reading threshold to include -2.

        I'll look at the rehash code, my hunch is it's quite easy.

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @07:03AM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @07:03AM (#1257970) Journal

          I agree that seems quite possible and would be a useful improvement, but how to change those settings on the remote live server to which I haven't got access is not something I wish to contemplate at the moment. :)

        • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Tuesday July 05, @02:00AM (3 children)

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @02:00AM (#1258136) Homepage Journal

          Then something incorrectly modded as spam would not be visible to the general public whi micht otherwise be able to mod it up again.

          • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Tuesday July 05, @03:21AM (2 children)

            by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday July 05, @03:21AM (#1258148)

            Not correct. I'm not sure why I keep explaining this. Spam and only spam would be a -2, and reading threshold would be expanded to include -2 option.

            "Spam" mod is the only way to -2 score in my scenario.

            The thought being the "spam" mod is a nuke from orbit. You only use it when it's really the correct mod. When editors / admins see it, they decide what to do (fix it or leave it).

            If the modder was incorrect, they risk losing mod points for a month, and afaik that has been the policy for several years (but now I'm not sure if it's being enforced...)

            • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @12:02PM (1 child)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @12:02PM (#1258229) Journal

              It is being enforced.

              You may be being confused by the fact that the Decision to ban aristarchus specifically stated that his posts would also be classed as spam.

      • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday July 05, @03:28PM (1 child)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday July 05, @03:28PM (#1258275) Journal

        Each seems to have a different type of psychopathy as well

        Being pissed off that your rights are being systematically stripped from you by theocrats is a a reaction to objective reality, not a psychopathy.

        • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Tuesday July 05, @11:52PM

          by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday July 05, @11:52PM (#1258409)

          Wow, that's a lot to unpack. Let's have a look:

          • "rights". SN's free speech is not bound by the US Constitution (or any other country for that matter). It is entirely a matter of policy for the site whether someone can or can't post. Their ball, their rules. Now, SN takes a very open approach to this and is generally pretty open to most commentary, but has drawn the line at spam (duh) and doxxing. Nobody has a "right" to post spam on SN - the challenge for the site is working out how to eliminate spam while minimising harm to all other users and encouraging legitimate discussion
          • "systematically stripped". Apart from the aforementioned spamming and doxxing, what conversation topics are currently verboten? The fact that your own post will remain up is evidence that people can still say pretty much anything here. Please point me to a legitimate topic of conversation that has come under the jackbooted heel of the fascist SN leadership.
          • "theocrats". I do not think that word means what you think it means. No evidence of Sharia law here, or any religion-based decision making
          • "objective reality". This doesn't apply when it's an opinion. You can say that the sky is blue, that water is wet. But an _opinion_ on whether certain Doxxers are being unfairly treated is hardly axiomatic

          Perhaps I should ask you a different question. What value do you think APK's spam brings to SN and why should I, as a member of this community, defend it (instant fail if you reference the 1st Amendment - FWIW I don't live in America). Feel free to replace APK with D**kN***ers or those old misogynist fantasy posts describing extreme violence against females.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Reziac on Monday July 04, @02:52AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Monday July 04, @02:52AM (#1257923) Homepage

      There's a troll elsewhere who did targeted harassment, and was tracked down by an interested 3rd party. Long story short, turned out it was a schizo kid in a wheelchair, who occasionally didn't take his meds and escaped surveillance (he was under a restraining order that limited his internet access) and went on a troll-binge, and literally had nothing better to do, so did a lot of it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @09:28PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 03, @09:28PM (#1257855)

    ...the person making it had a target date of 6 July for some event or other...

    While I had seen these deadline announcements, I had assumed it was related to the funding shortfall - which was passed on 22/7/1 {pi anyone?}. Then allowing for it to take a week for the CPA's to process reality, one might expect the site to begin shutting down around 22/7/7.

    Now I have no proof that there is not a dastardly plan to hack the site to death around that time, but I don't see how anyone would gain anything by such foolishness, so I don't give it much credibility. Then again, some people think bragging rights are a thing.

    --
    "There is no bloody revolution" -The Police, Spirits in the Material World

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Mykl on Sunday July 03, @09:51PM (2 children)

      by Mykl (1112) on Sunday July 03, @09:51PM (#1257859)

      I think it's got about as much credibility as Trump's return to office that was predicted by QAnon last year.

      • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @12:22AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @12:22AM (#1257898)

        The Rebublicans knew exactly what they were doing when they let Trump lose in 2020. Four years of Biden and the econony will be so messed up that the Democrats will lose not only Congress in 2022 and 2024, but any other elected position down to and including local dog catcher. And then President Pence will show us exactly how God wants the country to be run.

        • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:27AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:27AM (#1258170)

          Perhaps voters will see a pattern, how the economy is fucked and the deficit has ballooned, at the End of Every Republican administration. Trump 2024- stupid is infinite.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @12:27AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @12:27AM (#1257899)

    I don't have much to add to the specifics, I know you're working on it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @01:42AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @01:42AM (#1257911)

    This is a tragedy of the commons.

    This is an arms race.

    This is inevitable on any given forum on the Web.

    Stop obsessing and being dramatic about it.

    Consider a -1 score on a post as sufficient to ignore and not rebut. Skip it and go on with your day.

    Limit your sarcasm and vitriol to opinions and beliefs expressed, not the posters who make them.

    Also, APK='Advanced Persistent ThreatKowalski' (I belive that's his name, that's the joke)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @04:26AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @04:26AM (#1257939)

    As an AC reader and very occasional poster, I've not been inclined to create an account due to the number of times I've been tagged Troll, just for disagreeing, or shock horror, not hating on Elon Musk.

    That being said, the amount of spam is annoying, if you have to keep posting without an account off to stop it, I won't be terribly upset.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by unauthorized on Monday July 04, @10:45PM

      by unauthorized (3776) on Monday July 04, @10:45PM (#1258117)

      You can register an account and still post AC on all articles including ones that are not AC friendly. Moderation to your anonymous comments will not affect your account karma and there is an account preference to make all of your comments anonymous by default.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @04:28AM (28 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @04:28AM (#1257940)

    Let people logged in with an account still post anonymously (by checking the post anonymously box).

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mrpg on Monday July 04, @04:33AM

      It works like that here too, but the thing is some people don't want to create an account.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @05:44AM (26 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @05:44AM (#1257951) Journal

      That is what we already do - many people log in and then post anonymously which ensures that their comments are assessed for content and not for the username. There are a very small number of people who chose not have an account for genuine security or other reasons, but for the majority of ACs it would solve all of their problems.

      If they had an account they get the following benefits:

      • No problems with logging in or 'Blocked IP' messages. If you use a username/password those security checks are bypassed by the server - we accept all valid accounts without any further processing.
      • They can still post anonymously and thus protect their reputation.
      • If they post anonymously their comments will be judged on content, not on username.
      • They can continue to change their IP address just as they do today.
      • They will not be blocked by any measures that we take to protect logged in users - they WILL BE logged in users.

      If it is the staff that they do not trust then why are they even joining this site? If someone doesn't trust the staff in a bank would they open an account there?

      Perhaps this site is sufficiently unique that people can see the real value of it and want to be a part of the community. Or maybe, for a few, they just can't find anywhere else that will accept them....?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @02:46PM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @02:46PM (#1258034)

        Fair enough.

        I was thinking perhaps if people don't want to log in they can have the option (with a bunch of check boxes) of

        A: Having their IP address/hostmask/both stored (either temporarily for like an hour or indefinitely)
        B: Only having the hash stored

        Viewers can then filter out anonymous posters that only want their hashes stores if they choose

        Or, you can have anonymous posts that select to store only their hash screened ahead of time before being posted.

        The option to store the hostmask temporarily can give mods enough time to identify and (temporarily) restrict the IP address/hostmask into the future if it submits spam.

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @04:20PM (6 children)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @04:20PM (#1258048) Journal

          A couple of problems. The database is built around those hashes, They are used as unique identifiers all over the place. CmdrTaco could have used IP addresses, random strings, incrementing counters but he chose hashes and he has explained the reasoning behind his decision. I have published that explanation several times on this site. So if you want to take away the hashes you have to rewrite EVERYTHING. We cannot store the hashes 'temporarily' - they are woven into every bit of code and all the stored data that we have.

          You are probably aware that for almost a year now we haven't had a Perl programmer on the team. There is nobody who knows Perl well enough volunteering to support the site for free to do what is obviously a significant task. Furthermore, any suggestions that require new code (assorted checkboxes and the code to process them) just aren't possible at the moment for precisely the same reason. It is easy to say 'why didn't they do....?', the simple answer is it doesn't matter, we have to work with what we have.

          The fear that people have of hashes is rather silly. The original slashdot actually stored and used the IP addresses themselves, and nobody complained about that. The problem that CmdrTaco had is that they are not the most efficient way to store the data when you have to do processing or access a database. So he changed it to hashes which improved the response time of the code significantly, meant everything would work for both IPv4 and IPv6, and it was much easier to code in the first place. We simply forked the code at that stage.

          And in these days of VPNs and TOR, all that most hashes hold is the LAST step in the link between the user and our site. Nobody connects directly to the site from the computer in front of them. So the hash tells us nothing. We haven't got a secret way of decoding or hacking VPNs or TOR. But we don't care - we don't want to know who you are or where you are. We are trying to run a place for techy story discussionse - not a dating website!

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @05:24PM (5 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @05:24PM (#1258059)

            I never said to only store the hashes temporarily or not at all. Record, use, and keep those indefinitely.

            The options I was referring to was in reference to what you can possibly store/record in addition to hashes so that you can use the additional information to address/deter the specific problem cases. The additional information would only be used/looked at when relevant, otherwise, just do everything the same as before.

            • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday July 04, @07:00PM (4 children)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 04, @07:00PM (#1258069) Journal

              OK, I think I am understanding some of it but.....

              If somebody wants to remain anonymous so that their comments are evaluated by content rather than by username then people are already able to log in and post anonymously. If they don't trust the SN staff then why are they even joining the site? Would you use a bank if you did not trust the bank staff?

              The additional information would only be used/looked at when relevant

              What additional information will they provide? How will that information identify somebody who might be about to abuse our system or how do we relate that information to somebody who abused the site in the past?

              Or, you can have anonymous posts that select to store only their hash screened ahead of time before being posted.

              Who do you envisage will calculate the hash and what is it a hash of? If it is the AC then why should we trust his hash? If it is a hash of an IP, how will he know which IP address we are seeing? He will not know what TOR exit IP or might not even know the VPN IP he is using. If it cannot cope with TOR, then we need to have different procedures for different types of IPs that we might see. So it cannot be the AC who provides it.

              If we calculate it (again?) then that will require a software change - well the whole thing will actually - and we cannot implement that change without a programmer. We haven't had a programmer for almost a year. But what do we gain by implementing this change? We already have to calculate a hash, and every AC logging in has to go through the security procedures that a username/password can bypass. If they want to prove who they are there is a perfectly good procedure for doing that - we call it logging in. Once inside (and verified) they can post anonymously. That system is already implemented and is being used by many community members today.

              The option to store the hostmask temporarily can give mods enough time to identify and (temporarily) restrict the IP address/hostmask into the future if it submits spam.

              We already store both the IP hash and the subnet hash. But ACs do not connect to this site using the same IP/subnet every time they do so. Some people are changing their IP every few minutes. That is how they hope to avoid having the same hash twice. There are flaws in that logic which we can sometimes exploit but that is another discussion entirely.

              I haven't used slashdot in years so I have no idea what they do - but I am still not clear exactly what you are suggesting the benefits will be or how they work.

              I am tired and it has been a long weekend, so perhaps it is my problem not understanding what you are suggesting. But at the moment there are too many uncertainties for me to see how it would help resolve matters for AC posts.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @03:52PM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @03:52PM (#1258288)

                With the hostmask you can set temporary bans that are broad enough to block the person's ISP within a given region but narrow enough not to block the ISP within other regions and not to block other ISPs. Kinda like how IRC channels do (at least Efnet used to let channels do this, I haven't used it in a long time).

                Of course most IRC servers do screen for things like VPNs and Tor before they even let you in. Perhaps you can have a way for screening for these things and have submitted posts made from these sources prescreened before posted.

                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @05:55PM (2 children)

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @05:55PM (#1258319) Journal

                  There is no way of proving that the AC contacting us now on a specific IP address is the same one that was 'prescreened' - whatever that term means to you. You can be "prescreened" quite easily but we call it "creating an account". And afterwards it doesn't care what IP address you have.

                  It sounds to me that you want the benefits of having an account without actually creating one. Nope, it's not going to happen.

                  If you want to connect to the site as an AC you have to go through the automatic security checks.

                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:15PM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:15PM (#1258325)

                    I mean you prescreen the comments themselves coming from VPNs or TOR for flaimbait before you let them be posted. There are services that can determine if they are coming from tor/known VPNs.

                    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday July 06, @04:31AM

                      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @04:31AM (#1258454) Journal

                      Any rewriting of Perl code - and to change comment processing requires a lot of changes - requires a Perl programmer that we do not have.

                      As an aside, the title "Maybe do like slashdot" isn't very helpful unless you say what slashdot do. Most of us left that site in 2014 and haven't been back.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @10:35PM (16 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 04, @10:35PM (#1258111)

        No problems with logging in or 'Blocked IP' messages. If you use a username/password those security checks are bypassed by the server - we accept all valid accounts without any further processing.

        I am gobsmacked by how little janrinok seems to be aware of the average Soylentil's everyday Soylent experience. Blocked IP? If you are caught "bad posting" (whatever that is), you can log it, but not be allowed to post anonymously. If you are even badder, you can be banned from posting at all. Not the mention the punitive moderation bans. Better to remain an AC, so they can't just ban you by your identity.

        They can still post anonymously and thus protect their reputation.

        Yes, of course, until janrinok or some other smartass admin decides to out your anonymous post, which he has repeatedly done. At least he was embarrassed the first time he abused his admin powers and professional ethics.

        If they post anonymously their comments will be judged on content, not on username.

        See above.

        The cognitive dissonance here is severe. Until management understands what is going on, we can expect more misguided attempts to whip SoylentNews into shape. Beatings will continue, etc. etc.

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @04:46AM (1 child)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @04:46AM (#1258160) Journal

          What was 'outed' was the fact that you were having imaginary discussions with yourself. You were posting and moderating both as AC and with your username to suggest that you had support for what you were saying. That was moderation abuse and discussion manipulation. This was explained to you at the time. And yet still you cling on to alleged abuses against you as justification for the numerous abuses you have since inflicted upon the community.

          We are in this current situation because of your abuses and those of others like you. We do not want nor need your spam, your ad hominem attacks, or your attempts to disrupt other peoples' conversations to declare your perceived persecution.

          • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:41AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:41AM (#1258173)

            What was 'outed' was the fact that you were having imaginary discussions with yourself. You were posting and moderating both as AC and with your username to suggest that you had support for what you were saying.

            Oh, yes, of course, that was me. Who am I, again? Which logged in accounts posting anonymous were revealed by janrinok, and for what reason? Point is, if janrinok takes a dislike to you, he will expose your anonymous comments while logged in, which does oblivate the purpose of posting as AC, when you are not. And you wonder why some Soylentils would think it worthwhile to have the option to comment as a real AC, so that janrinok could not out them, and at the very worst could fume and fluster, and accuse innocents of being aristarchus. It is always aristarchus, isn't it, jan, hiding behind a AC post, or a VPN, or intentionally Torring.

            You have lost the trust of the community, janrinok. We give you the Black Spot. You might have look it up. Arrrrgh!

        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @04:56AM (13 children)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @04:56AM (#1258162) Journal

          I am gobsmacked by how little janrinok seems to be aware of the average Soylentil's everyday Soylent experience.

          The problems with Blocked IPs only exist for Anonymous Cowards - the majority use a username/password combination to log in and do not experience these problems usually. The security checks are ONLY enforced on accounts that we cannot readily identify when they post in. I have no objection to ACs joining this community, indeed I welcome them. But they do not get all of the functionality that the site offers. That is their choice. They have to pass additional security checks, they cannot have a journal, and they cannot moderate etc.

          They are NOT the average Soylentil.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:33AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @06:33AM (#1258172)

            The problems with Blocked IPs only exist for Anonymous Cowards - the majority use a username/password combination to log in and do not experience these problems usually.

            Wrong. Incorrect. A lie. You are in error, janrinok. You really have no idea how Rehash works, do you? My confidence in you slips daily. All you have to do is "post badly", and your ip (or hash thereof) will be blocked. How could you not know this? You have done it to so many innocent ACs that you disagreed with, not to mention the ones you have banned, defenestrated, and decimated. We who are about to be IP blocked, salute you!

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @08:17AM (2 children)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @08:17AM (#1258187) Journal

              do not experience these problems usually

              Your problem is entirely different. You insist on using VPNs that are already blocked by external agencies and published on their lists of IP addresses that are known to be used by spammers, malware and other unwanted activities. The vast majority of our users do not experience them regularly if at all. And because you an an AC you have to go through the full security procedures whenever you access the site - that means for every individual post. You have successfully posted a comment, you do not seem to have a problem?

              So please do not spread your mistaken beliefs when you clearly do not know what you are talking about. Nobody as far as I am aware is manually setting IP blocks nowadays. It simply isn't worth it. The online server - to which I do not have access - also has software built in to do these things automatically if and when posts arriving on a specific IP are being consistently and repeatedly moderated down below a given threshold. And as an AC, every post you make is checked against all the security requirements - as it has been for the last 8 years.

              You are learning the hard way that rather than 'Aristarchus Rules', aristarchus must now behave himself. Look at the damage you have caused to this community. Look at the current situation you have created because of the abuse. You are not a freedom fighter supporting free speech; you and your like are simply trolls and spammers who abuse the system.

              Until the abuse stops then this situation will continue. I genuinely regret what the innocent ACs are having to put with, but you are not one of them. You have put them there.

              There are plenty of stories to which you can contribute today - except that is not what you are here for, is it?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @08:34AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, @08:34AM (#1258190)

                You insist on using VPNs that are already blocked by external agencies and published on their lists of IP addresses that are known to be used by spammers, malware and other unwanted activities.

                No, I do not. The bans are specific to my hash, not the IP address (unless, surprisingly, it is IRC.)

                Two, I am not this "aristarchus".

                Third. Glad to see you are looking for new volunteers. Would be an improvement, no matter who they were.

                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday July 05, @10:11AM

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 05, @10:11AM (#1258204) Journal
                  The hashes ARE your IP address and subnet. If you change your IP hash or subnet the hashes will change also. Are you forgetting to change your subnet still? - oh silly boy. A common problem for those that are covered by the Title. If they subnet is on a banned list, then all of the IPs belonging to that VPN subnet are also banned.That is why we do NOT block hashes any more. What is the point?
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @04:15AM (8 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @04:15AM (#1258452)

            The problems with Blocked IPs only exist for Anonymous Cowards - the majority use a username/password combination to log in and do not experience these problems usually.

            There's that weasel word at the end there: "usually" -- that completely undoes the normal meaning of "do not experience these problems".

            IP blocks that prevent logged in users from choosing to post as AC very much do exist in the Soylent codebase. I've had one slapped on me, while using my normal IP address, and I have no idea how or why or where it came from, because there is never any communication as to "why". And before you go off arguing about dynamic IP's, my IP is a static IP, and no one else shares it, so it was not "someone else's post" that triggered the "IP block" gods into silent action.

            • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday July 06, @04:49AM (5 children)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @04:49AM (#1258456) Journal

              Even if you are logged in, if the posts received on a given IP address have a significant number of down mods then a block is imposed BY THE SERVER. If you are certain that you are not sharing the IP, and that you are not using a VPN or TOR, then it looks like your posts are being consistently down-moderated. You yourself have had accounts that have been temporarily blocked this way. Why are you now surprised that something that has existed in slashcode/rehash since it was written is still there. Even logged in users have the ability to trash their account, although it is usually temporarily.

              • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday July 06, @05:08AM (2 children)

                by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @05:08AM (#1258460) Journal

                I cannot find the data about your temporary block but it seems that if it was applied then it was of very short duration. Of course if the moderations were received while you are posting as AC they are difficult for me to extract anyway. Searching for posts that were made by ACs and which received a negative moderation value will probably account for a large percentage of the 1.25 million comments that we have in the database! They will still be applied to the correct IP address via the hashes but I cannot search for them based upon your username.

                Without more details on what exactly the block message said and when it was issued I cannot identify what the cause of the problem was. I agree it seems unlikely that a block would be applied to your particular account.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @01:34PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @01:34PM (#1258507)

                  Without more details on what exactly the block message said and when

                  I do not remember the "when" (but sometime within the last few months -- and it went away shortly thereafter).

                  As for "said" -- it was the standard "due to numerous bad postings from your IP, anon posting has been temporarily blocked". I could post as myself, but could not use the "Post Anon" checkbox and post a comment.

                  But my comment still stands, the weasel word "usually" undoes the "do not experience" explicit statement. Logged in users can experience the same issues.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @01:38PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @01:38PM (#1258508)

                  Searching for posts that were made by ACs and which received a negative moderation value ... They [the AC posts] will still be applied to the correct IP address via the hashes.

                  Ok, that likely explains how the block came about, as I didn't get any "someone has down-modded your post as X" emails, it must have been one of the AC posts that was targeted.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @01:42PM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @01:42PM (#1258509)

                You yourself have had accounts that have been temporarily blocked this way.

                Ah, for me (the logged in user posting as AC that brought this up) that is not correct. This account is my first, and only, Soylent account. Before registering it I was one of the many posting as AC without any account at all.

                So I've not had other accounts blocked this way with which to deduce a likely mods-oparandi from the actions taken by the perl code.

                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday July 06, @02:22PM

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @02:22PM (#1258513) Journal

                  OK, I can believe that. There is a short unexplained gap in your account records but it is very short. Perhaps it is just an artefact how how we process or record the data.

            • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday July 06, @05:29AM (1 child)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 06, @05:29AM (#1258465) Journal

              We have at 2 different IP hashes for your account on record. It changed sometime between the 19 and 22 December 2021, so your current IP is a little over 6 months old. I don't know if that helps you?

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @02:02PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, @02:02PM (#1258510)

                Not really, other than the particular date I already knew I'd show different IP's, as I have used a VPN before to connect to Soylent. I am surprised it is only two IP's however.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JeffPaetkau on Tuesday July 05, @06:35PM

        by JeffPaetkau (1465) on Tuesday July 05, @06:35PM (#1258330)

        "If it is the staff that they do not trust then why are they even joining this site? If someone doesn't trust the staff in a bank would they open an account there?"

        Agree. Require an account to post. Period. Permanently. You can lurk without an account. You can post in AC mode but that should require an account. Only the staff can see the link between the post and the account. If you don't trust the staff ... why are you here?

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