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Thread: Disappearing Thread

  1. #61
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    Have to agree with EDG - Captcha just redacted. It often gives false rejections (maybe from silly time-out settings?), and if I have to refresh it more than once to get an unambiguous combination, I simply give up and move on - there's always a better way, a better forum.. If this was a knee jerk reaction to this problem, I think it was the wrong one - don't punish genuine potential members for spammers behaviour...
    Last edited by chrlzs; 2012-Jun-19 at 11:07 AM.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrlzs View Post
    ... Captcha just redacted. It often gives false rejections (maybe from silly time-out settings?)...
    tusenfem used the term generically. What we are doing is asking a very simple astronomy question. We are not using the read-a-distorted-word-on-a-noisy-background method.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Oh, I am very peeved by that.

    I spent a rather long time writing a lengthy post on that thread that pretty much contained all the reasons I could think of for why habitable moons might be rare - I'd answered that question a few times elsewhere and thought that was pretty much the best version of the answer that I'd written yet. I was going to go back and turn that into a post on my science blog since I thought I did a pretty good job in explaining that (because heck, nobody's going to remove a post about habitable moons, right?)... and when I went back to copy/paste my post, I find it's gone because some admin got overly twitchy about spammers? (IIRC the OP was also accused by a mod or admin of copying a website, which actually turned out to be his own blog).

    Serious Admin fail there. Not impressed at all. Next time please be more careful!

    If anyone made a copy of that post then please let me know! (It's not on the google cache, unfortunately).

    Outrageous! Accidental censorship is nearly as bad a purposeful censorship. Why would an entire thread, many years old, be deleted because of a recent post by a possible spammer?

    I couldn't be more upset.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    Outrageous! Accidental censorship is nearly as bad a purposeful censorship. Why would an entire thread, many years old, be deleted because of a recent post by a possible spammer?

    I couldn't be more upset.
    As near as we can tell, that was not the reason. But we don't know the reason yet. Still could be surprises.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    Outrageous!
    Outrageous?
    It was an accident. I wouldn't consider it an outrage unless they don't learn from the accident. Accidents happen. They are very upsetting, but to produce outrage is beyond the context of this site.

    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    Accidental censorship is nearly as bad a purposeful censorship.
    Accidental censorship? I consider that an oxymoron. Censorship is based on content and a point of view. This had nothing to do with the content. Yes; content was lost, but it was a random act.

    If you were outside listening to some protester, and a loud plane passed overhead so you didn't hear some of the content, do you consider that censorship?

    Where do you draw the line when you consider something to be censorship.


    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    Why would an entire thread, many years old, be deleted because of a recent post by a possible spammer?
    Because accidents happen, and this software is not forgiving in being able to restore content.

    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    I couldn't be more upset.
    And I can understand and sympathize with that.

    But; I hope it has been clear from my post that I don't agree with you elevating this mishap to the level of conspiracy or even of willful negligence which is what it sounds like to me based on the phrasing you are using.

  6. #66
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    Crosscountry, would this happen to be the thread you've been trying to find?
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  7. #67
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    No, that's the 69717-Post-your-dinner thread, he's looking for the 33976-Post-your-dinner! thread.

  8. #68
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    Hmm.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  9. #69
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    I have to ask--why were there two "post your dinner" threads in the first place?
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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I have to ask--why were there two "post your dinner" threads in the first place?
    Big appetite?
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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I have to ask--why were there two "post your dinner" threads in the first place?
    Three, or more, apparently. Threads fall off, get restarted. The missing thread is much older, and had a lot more recent posts, than the one that hasn't been deleted.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by grapes View Post
    Three, or more, apparently. Threads fall off, get restarted. The missing thread is much older, and had a lot more recent posts, than the one that hasn't been deleted.
    Is it certain yet that it actually is deleted? i.e. did someone look inside the database?
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  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I have to ask--why were there two "post your dinner" threads in the first place?
    I think it had something to do with the merger of BA and UT but that's a guess. The other thread appears to be a subset of the original.
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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Is it certain yet that it actually is deleted?
    that's why we're still talking about it.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  15. #75
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    Is it such a big loss? Who needs to know what someone had for lunch several years ago?

    Start another one!
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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by tusenfem View Post
    A captcha system has now been turned on asking a question before registring is possible to reduce the number of new-spam-members.
    As it stands, this new Q&A is ineffective.

    I looked at the register page and the question was "Which solar system body was a planet but officially isn't any more?". This won't work, because the answer can be looked up (these bots are VERY smart). I had questions like this on my board, and it didn't stop any bots from registering.

    Like I said, you need to ask self-referential questions - ones that refer to the contents of the question itself. e.g. "what is the fifth word of this sentence?" or "what is the odd one out from this list:". Bots can't handle that, but bots can answer questions whose answer can be looked up on google.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    Is it such a big loss? Who needs to know what someone had for lunch several years ago?

    Start another one!
    The thread itself isn't critical. But there are plenty that people find critical around here. My food thread is not the only thread that has been removed recently, and there is potential for others to be deleted without ANY course of retrieval. How does that sound?
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    Like I said, you need to ask self-referential questions - ones that refer to the contents of the question itself. e.g. "what is the fifth word of this sentence?" or "what is the odd one out from this list:". Bots can't handle that, but bots can answer questions whose answer can be looked up on google.
    Not that I'm suggesting that the question we're using is at all resistant to bots (it's not), but what, exactly, is programmatically difficult about your self-referential question? As long as I know the question is going to be self-referential ahead of time, I can easily parse that sentence to find the answer.

    The point isn't that the question is going to be hard for bots to answer. It's not. At all. It's that so long as that question is somewhat unique, and we're willing to change it periodically, the bot makers aren't going to find it very cost-effective to account for it just to get to little old us.

    It'll last as long as it does. But for the moment, it's working nicely.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    The thread itself isn't critical. But there are plenty that people find critical around here. My food thread is not the only thread that has been removed recently, and there is potential for others to be deleted without ANY course of retrieval. How does that sound?
    Unhelpful, to be honest. If you instead want to contribute to an eventual solution, see if you can remember who actually started that missing thread. That's where the forensics chain begins. Without that, there's little more I can do to track this.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  20. #80
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    Crosscountry. Here it is from Google Cache, snapshot time, May 23, 2012 09:55:45 GMT :

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=us

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    Thread: Post your dinner!

    22-October-2005 01:21 AM #1

    crosscountry
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    Post your dinner!
    I'll start. Tonight I fried some hamburger meat and filled the pot with tomato sauce. This went over the spaghetti. Also I made a salad with: spinach, red onion, tomato, and artichoke.

    I cheated and baked some "Texas Toast". Normally I wouldn't, but tonight was a lazy night.



    I'm topping it all off with vodka and 7-UP





    oops, I spilt some spaghetti sauce






    come on! it's fun!!!
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  21. #81
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    Okay, then it's pretty definite nobody offed the thread with the spam killing tool the mods use. Crosscountry would have found himself banned until somebody noticed, which would have been immediately because of his 50+ posts. The board warns very prominently. Something else is at play.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Not that I'm suggesting that the question we're using is at all resistant to bots (it's not), but what, exactly, is programmatically difficult about your self-referential question? As long as I know the question is going to be self-referential ahead of time, I can easily parse that sentence to find the answer.
    You can, sure... but for whatever reason it seems that Bots can't. At least that's what I found with my own forum (and I had a lot of spam problems before I implemented this). As soon as I used exclusively self-referential questions (at the start of this year), the spambot registrations stopped dead. About two human spammers have gotten through since then.
    Last edited by EDG; 2012-Jun-20 at 08:26 AM.
    General request: If I ask a question, I'd like people who know about the subject to answer it with factual answers (preferably with references). Saying we don't know is fine if that's the case. However, I'm not really interested in guesses or personal opinions. Thanks!
    Website: http://www.evildrganymede.net

  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Unhelpful, to be honest. If you instead want to contribute to an eventual solution, see if you can remember who actually started that missing thread. That's where the forensics chain begins. Without that, there's little more I can do to track this.
    Please read this whole thread before asking for more information.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  24. #84
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    Then it'll have to wait until I have time.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
    - Neil deGrasse Tyson, answering loaded question in ten words or less
    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  25. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDG View Post
    You can, sure... but for whatever reason it seems that Bots can't. At least that's what I found with my own forum (and I had a lot of spam problems before I implemented this). As soon as I used exclusively self-referential questions (at the start of this year), the spambot registrations stopped dead. About two human spammers have gotten through since then.
    Thanks for the input. When the current scheme stops working, I'll give that one a try.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  26. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain swoop View Post
    Is it such a big loss? Who needs to know what someone had for lunch several years ago?
    I don't know if "needs to know" is the criterion to be used here, there wouldn't be much of the board left!

    I haven't seen threads disappear, but I have seen "offending post + moderator reprimand" silently disappear.

  27. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratMaster View Post
    I haven't seen threads disappear, but I have seen "offending post + moderator reprimand" silently disappear.
    Really? Sure, we have on rare occasions removed an offending post (non-spam) from public viewing, usually because it was so foul or inflammatory that no reasonable amount of redacting would make it fit for public (and search engine) viewing. But those are very rare. Much more frequently, "offending post + moderator reprimand" are left in plain sight, where all can see.

    Can you give an example that you have seen? Were you perhaps referring to this thread, which was in fact not removed; it was only closed.
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  28. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratMaster View Post
    I don't know if "needs to know" is the criterion to be used here, there wouldn't be much of the board left!

    I haven't seen threads disappear, but I have seen "offending post + moderator reprimand" silently disappear.
    this thread isn't really about moderating except that what appears likely is that the Dinner thread was marked as spam. Accusing moderators of post removal doesn't work toward the solution of keeping threads that might otherwise be deleted.
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  29. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    this thread isn't really about moderating except that what appears likely is that the Dinner thread was marked as spam. Accusing moderators of post removal doesn't work toward the solution of keeping threads that might otherwise be deleted.
    Accusing moderators of post removal is a factor in the discussion. We don't have a clear understanding of why the thread went away, but it seems like it could have been moderator action.
    "Accuse" is probably a bad word to use, but if the problem is due to moderator action, then it's something to look at as a step toward a solution.
    The moderators are at the mercy of the software, so it's hard to come up with a technical solution. It's more efficient to start looking towards procedural solutions that the mods have more control over.

    Also, what frequency is this happening? Is an occasional mishap worth persuing so deeply?

  30. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by crosscountry View Post
    this thread isn't really about moderating except that what appears likely is that the Dinner thread was marked as spam.
    Actually, the testing we have done is not consistent with that idea (and yes, we have been testing various ideas).

    A moderator can delete as spam either individual posts or entire threads. You can use either process to simultaneously ban the spammer. And when you ban someone as a spammer using this process, it deletes all of their posts.

    If a spammer had posted in that thread, the banning of the spammer, even if that individual spammer post was not selected, would not have deleted the entire thread. And if the entire thread had been selected, while "bulk" deleting spammer threads, then whoever had started the Recipe thread would have also been banned as a spammer; and if that person had more than 50 posts, there would have been a warning before the deletion.

    There is a possibility that the entire thread was selected as part of "bulk" thread deletions, and whoever started the Recipe thread has been banned as a spammer. Before you hit the "OK" on such a deletion, you see a list of user names to be banned. I think I would have noticed "JayUtah" among all the people named "afsdjfoADFAal" and I would think we would have heard from the banned person, unless they no longer were active. But if they are rarely or no longer active, we might not know.

    There is no way to sort the list of banned people (a HUGH list, just because of spammers) by anything other than name, so we can think of no way to look for someone banned recently who should not have.

    At this point, we can think of nothing else to do or test.

    We have adapted some things that seem, at least for the moment, to have significantly decreased spammer load. Even if the thread was accidently deleted as spam, we are talking of one accident deletion among the (guess) 20 to 30 spammers banned daily for at least the last many months to a year or so.

    I wish my batting average was so good for my paid job.

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    Last edited by Swift; 2012-Jun-21 at 03:33 PM. Reason: added note
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