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Author Topic: 2.x registration problems  (Read 14298 times)

MrPhil

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2.x registration problems
« on: May 27, 2012, 07:28:59 PM »
Every so often some poor soul posts in this forum that they were unable to register in some SMF-powered forum, and could we please help them out? They always end up being told that there's nothing we can do about it, as we don't control other installations and we don't even know who the owners or admins are.

My suggestion is that the registration process include a contact email for use if the registration doesn't come through. Sites would not be required to give out such an email address, but we can make it easy for them to do so. The address would not be given out until after the member information is submitted, to keep it away from email address harvesters. The applicant could also be reminded that an email response should be expected within the hour or within a few days at most, depending on what kind of sign-up approval is needed, and the address the email is being sent to and a reminder to check spam/bulk/junk mail folders if it doesn't show up when expected.

Offline emanuele

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 05:17:27 PM »
In that case I think it would be better a form that allows to "send" (i.e. both an email and something on the forum) a notification to the admin/s.


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MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 05:52:56 PM »
Such a feedback or response form would have to be open to guests, which invites massive spamming. And what would be the point of posting it in the forum? It may possibly be sensitive information that the would-be member doesn't want the public to see (at the very least, it would have to go to a restricted board).

Offline emanuele

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 06:15:11 PM »
I said "something", it may be a PM to the admins, or a separated page "complaints", don't know...I'm just proposing things...

What makes you think I would publish anything that could be private in the open forum? ???


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Hai bisogno di supporto in Italiano?

Aiutateci ad aiutarvi: spiegate bene il vostro problema: no, "non funziona" non è una spiegazione!!
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3) cosa ottieni.

MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 06:47:14 PM »
Not you, specifically.

I'm just pointing out that matters involving why someone is not getting their password or other registration problem often involve communicating passwords, real addresses/phone numbers, or other information that should be kept to as few trusted people as possible. Unless it's published in a very restricted board, it may become public.

Offline Arantor

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 07:54:16 PM »
Well, how about putting in a second email box for confirmation (to make sure they actually put the right thing in), plus building in a contact-page by default?

I don't necessarily think we need to make it as complicated as is being intimated. If the contact page is available built in, people can contact the admin rather than coming here, because they feel like they have a way to contact admins rather than here.

I mean... why do people come here for help? It's because there's nowhere for them to go generally to contact the admin. So give them a method to contact the admin.
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

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MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 08:20:44 PM »
My whole original point is that a forum registration process does not by default give any contact method from would-be member to the administrator, should something go wrong in the process. People end up coming here to ask for help getting in. We should help forum admins and their members by making it easy to set up a way for the latter to contact the former to get help, as well as an estimate for how long it should take things to happen (e.g., it's admin approval, so don't start asking in 15 minutes). As part of forum installation, we guide admins in configuring this part of the registration process, so would-be members have a point of contact (whether it's a form or an email address). Admins can't forget to do this task. Preferably, this contact method should not be publicly exposed, so that mail spammers can't easily harvest the email or flood the admin with spam via a form. Obviously, there's nothing to keep some dip****** member from giving out an email address to spammers, but an email address could be quickly changed if the admin starts getting spam on it.

Offline Arantor

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 09:34:01 PM »
That's the point... so instead of creating a whole new chain of contact, that's fraught with all sorts of issues, why not just have a direct contact feature in the forum instead?

Why do would-be members have to go the long route when all they want to do is contact a forum's admin? Surely by making a method of communication available *directly on the site*, by default, would be infinitely faster, robust and cleaner than any complicated method you could hope to conceive this way?
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

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Offline emanuele

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2012, 05:11:51 AM »
Well, how about putting in a second email box for confirmation (to make sure they actually put the right thing in), plus building in a contact-page by default?
I think that was one of the things "in-the-air"...not done yet...
* emanuele takes yet another note :P

I don't necessarily think we need to make it as complicated as is being intimated. If the contact page is available built in, people can contact the admin rather than coming here, because they feel like they have a way to contact admins rather than here.
Yep, that was what I had in mind: a contact form.
 was just thinking if the "contact" should be in the form of a PM to the admin or some kind of log (I'd exclude to have only an email sent to the admins because the email not sent is one of the most frequent problems and if it is not sent to the would-be member I could expect some problems in sending it to the admin too...less likely, but still possible), nothing more.


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2) cosa ti aspetti,
3) cosa ottieni.

Offline Arantor

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 09:35:38 AM »
Agreed on the part about the email situation.
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2012, 11:57:04 AM »
If you put an email link or contact form in the forum, it will likely be swamped with spam. That was my whole point about only revealing an email address once the registrant has sent off the application to join (not spam proof, but greatly reducing it, as the random public won't see it unless it's deliberately leaked). The advantage of an email link (over a contact form) is that it can be quickly changed, should it be leaked out and start receiving spam.

The whole point of providing a contact for registration stage failures is that most forums don't provide any such contact capability, leaving applications to bother this forum. We need to integrate this contact method into the forum setup, so that forum owners can't overlook it. We need to make it as spam-proof as reasonably possible, so forum owners won't be afraid to enable it.

Quote
Thank you for signing up with mynewforum.org. We look forward to your presence online.

Our administrator has to approve applications, so it may take up to 3 days for your application to be approved. Please be patient. If you have not heard back from us by then on the email address you provided (me@mymail.com), please drop us a note at signup@mynewforum.org with as much information as you can provide (ID chosen, email address, etc.) and we will look into it.

Since you will be receiving an email from us, there is a chance it could be misdirected into a spam, bulk, or junk email folder (or even, simply discarded). If necessary, please "whitelist" our email address: newmember@mynewforum.org so you will be sure of receiving it.

We suggest that you write down the above information, in case you need it, as it will not be repeated anywhere! And once again, thank you for signing up and we look forward to your participation on mynewforum.org.

Something like that, provided on the last page of the registration process. What's so complicated about it?

Offline Arantor

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2012, 12:26:03 PM »
So don't put the raw email address, put a contact form in with a CAPTCHA/question/whatever. But if you make it so it just sends a PM, any possible damage is contained anyway.

The thing is, putting this extra method makes it waaaaaaay more fragile and likely to frustrate people who are having trouble, rather than putting in a method that they can use themselves without the admin having to do too much about it.
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 05:01:30 PM »
putting in a method that they can use themselves without the admin having to do too much about it.

?

That's exactly what I'm proposing. When you sign up, you're told about an email address you can use if things don't go smoothly. How much simpler can you get? What does the admin have to do with it (other than addressing the issues raised in the email)? I think you're reading far more complexity into this than there actually is. True, there's a little more setup than today, to give a contact email address and perhaps a length of time to wait before pressing the panic button, but the payback is happier members and less annoyance at SMF.

Offline Arantor

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2012, 05:10:11 PM »
No, it's not. That's the point.

Under my proposal, the member who's having trouble can send a message directly to the admin. The admin would have to do nothing to set it up, it would be a base feature.

Under your proposal, the admin would have to set up an email address here for every forum they run, assuming they wanted to do such. It also means people have to go somewhere else to get support - and even then it still means they have to send a message to the admin and wait for the admin to do it.

End of the day, the same thing is still happening - a message is sent to the admin. Except under your proposal, the user has to go to a totally different site, to receive an email address that may or may not be provided, may or may not be up to date... and that's *better* than having a form they just fill in there and then?

Honestly, how is it possibly simpler in *any* way than to just have a contact form built into SMF that directs to a PM?
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2012, 08:26:42 PM »
Except under your proposal, the user has to go to a totally different site, to receive an email address that may or may not be provided, may or may not be up to date... and that's *better* than having a form they just fill in there and then?

No, you didn't read my proposal carefully, and jumped to conclusions. Under my proposal, the user receives a valid email address as an emergency contact, as the last stage of signup. They should use it only if something goes wrong with the registration process. It's part of the site registration -- not on another site. They are reminded to write down the information in case they need it. If the forum owner deliberately chose not to provide such an emergency address, the user won't see the message (it will be just as things are today). I suggest an email address rather than a form for two reasons: 1) it's easily changeable if spam starts arriving (leaving the forum owner less fearful of providing such an address), and 2) a contact form on the site would be publicly exposed to spammers (the annoyance factor would be high enough that I think most owners would shut off the form after a while).

Offline Arantor

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2012, 09:08:22 PM »
That seems to be different to what you originally suggested.

If you leave an email address, it WILL be spammed. If you obfuscate it, it's going to confuse people. And setting up a new account (and remembering to check it) is actually far more work for most admins than using a contact form is.

As far as anti-spam, I'm still not seeing a problem, I'm running at 1 spammer/month, and that's without even using any mods, just the anti-spam questions. You'd just do the same thing in the contact form.
Don’t try to tell me that some power can corrupt a person. You haven’t had enough to know what it’s like.

No good deed goes unpunished / No act of charity goes unresented.

MrPhil

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2012, 10:16:42 AM »
No, that's what I originally suggested. The idea is not to leave the email address (emergency contact) in plain sight, but to only show it once registration has been completed. It's not proof against spamming, but should cut it down since it's not listed publicly. Of the two methods, an email address could be changed within minutes (and "blackhole" the old address after a day or so, enough time for anyone who just signed up to complete the process) should it get spammed.

The problem with using a contact form (even with CAPTCHA, etc.) is that it's exposed to the public all the time, and it's possible that many admins will be afraid to enable it because they fear being inundated with spam. Since you feel strongly that a contact form is better, perhaps admins could be given a choice of email or form to receive problem reports from registrants? They could even switch from one to another at will.

Offline emanuele

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2012, 12:30:51 PM »
It needs a bit of improvement, but that's how I see it (see patch attached).

Three options:
1) disabled (of course),
2) enabled at registration (i.e. shows a button on the registration page, next to "register" or under "I agree...")
3) enabled in the menu.


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Offline live627

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2012, 07:37:25 PM »
Um, ema, that patch is for SMF 2.1...
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Offline emanuele

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Re: 2.x registration problems
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2012, 04:20:12 AM »
Yep, I know...it's just I'm developing on 2.1, so 2.0 it's already old! :P
Or better I created a branch (with the intention to send a PR and see if we want it or not) and the patch out of it and then I was too lazy to backport it to 2.0. ;)


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Hai bisogno di supporto in Italiano?

Aiutateci ad aiutarvi: spiegate bene il vostro problema: no, "non funziona" non è una spiegazione!!
1) Cosa fai,
2) cosa ti aspetti,
3) cosa ottieni.