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Author Topic: Posting a new topic as a guest  (Read 1319 times)

Offline Study Force

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Posting a new topic as a guest
« on: April 10, 2019, 03:27:05 PM »
Just to be clear, this inquiry is for 1.x.

Just noticed that when a guest posts a topic, two things don't happen:

1) They do not get email notifications if a reply is made
2) The email address used in the topic making process isn't checked (that is, to see if it belongs to anyone in the forum)

Are these observations correct?

Looking at the code, in Subs-Member.php, the function isReservedName exists. This check the username only.

Offline Arantor

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 03:32:14 PM »
Yes, and yes.
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 Study Force

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 03:35:08 PM »
Where those things changed in later versions? In other words, were email addresses checked in 2.x and were notifications sent to guests?

If not, why hasn't it been done?

Offline Arantor

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2019, 04:01:23 PM »
I don’t believe they were, why would they? Notifications preferences need to be tied to an account, and in reality guest posting is super rare (easy to generate spam), so beyond reattribution to an account, no one saw any reason to change it.

Honestly I don’t see that changing any time soon, either.
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.

Offline Study Force

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2019, 04:08:28 PM »
I still think if guest names were being checked, so should email addresses to prevent confusion among other members. I see where you're coming from though, what's the point of verifying the email address if they're not being sent an email later on.

I guess I'll have to implement that on my own. I'm caring now because guest topics have risen for me in the past month, but the majority aren't returning to see their replies because no notifications.

Offline Arantor

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2019, 04:24:05 PM »
I'm pretty sure the only reason guest names are checked is primarily to prevent profanity (since IIRC it also factors in censoring). Using them as a filter against active members is a privacy concern; you can potentially use that to fish for who might be registered. (It's something you can do during registration but it's slower to do in practice)

The problems with notifications are manifold: how do you know people want notifications? If you're dealing with the privacy laws, you need to record that you got consent. Even if people do get notifications, are they on every reply, or are they in digest form daily/weekly?  I also assume such people are more likely to report such things as spam making your ability to send legitimate email harder to achieve consistently.

Also, are you sure these aren't automated? We've seen a rise here of bots, in particular ones copy/pasting existing topics to appear more legitimate.
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.

Offline Study Force

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2019, 06:13:13 PM »
I can see it becoming problematic if the topic becomes popular and the guest poster has no way to turn them off, resulting in spam email. Very good points to consider.

The topics are questions based on specific board subjects, that's why they're legitimate. I can spot spam a mile a way by now.

Offline Study Force

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2019, 06:17:41 PM »
I also added this script that I made that prompts the end user to ask a question if you've scrolled down far enough, I think that's what's contributing to the influx.

Example: https://biology-forums.com/index.php?topic=741767.0

Offline Spaken

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2019, 06:31:29 AM »
Do you actually have a means to track how often that's been used, Study Force?

Offline Study Force

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Re: Posting a new topic as a guest
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2019, 09:16:43 AM »
Do you actually have a means to track how often that's been used, Study Force?

I could easy add a click tracker, collecting data on the end user's IP, for example, but I've kept it simple enough based on how many more questions I'm seeing -- so, no.