Date   
moderated Poll Results #suggestion

Ginny T.
 

While we're writing a wish list for polls, it would be a big help to be able to email results to only the moderator(s), rather than the group as it is now. There are times when a poll is done to help owners and moderators work up programming, collect input, etc., when emailing results to the membership is not necessarily applicable but of high value to the administrators of the group.

Ginny

moderated Re: log activity when someone responds to a poll #suggestion

Ginny T.
 

I agree that this being added to the activity log would be wonderful!

Ginny



moderated Re: log activity when someone responds to a poll #suggestion

 

Another poll suggestion: would it be possible to have a link to the "results so far" to send the group via a message in the poll thread?  I'm looking for a simple way to update group members on the results so far, and to encourage them to take part in the poll. I tried sending the URL for the results page but it just linked back to the thread itself. (This is not as important as my first request, which is that there be some indication in the logs, or any log, that there was activity in the poll. Currently the only way to see that is to go into the actual poll.)
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu

moderated Re: From another list-serv: Replace yourself with MAUDERATOR, a civility bot for online communication

Dave
 

I would prefer you as "stunningly gullible" rather than "cynically jaundiced" ;-)

David

moderated Re: From another list-serv: Replace yourself with MAUDERATOR, a civility bot for online communication

Jennifer Christian
 

Yes, I am stunningly gullible.   I just noticed the date on Gary's message.  Oh, dear.  I was had.  And if you believed my posting, so were you. 

Embarrassed at yet again falling for an April Fool's trick.  When my son told me the word "gullible" wasn't in the dictionary, I reached over to pull the book off the shelf and check. 

Jennifer

moderated From another list-serv: Replace yourself with MAUDERATOR, a civility bot for online communication

Jennifer Christian
 

Gary Greenberg, author of the email below, has an EXTREMELY dry sense of humor, and yet this is not a joke.  He has moderated the OEM list-serv of 3,000+ professional members since 1993 using an evolving series of technologies to do so.  He has been an “early adopter” of new stuff.  So he has decided to replace himself with a robot moderator – from Google.

 

Smiling,

Jennifer Christian
WFDRoundtable@groups.io

ACOEM WFD Section@groups.io

Etc.

 

From: Gary Greenberg [mailto:gngreenberg@...]
Sent: Saturday, April 01, 2017 8:06 AM
Subject: Alert: Forum now under automatic supervision. Introducing Mauderator, a civility bot for online communication

 

​​April 1, 2017

 

My continuous, single-sourced operation of the Occ-Env-Med-L forum since November 1993 is ending, and ongoing management will be performed by a robot. 

 

Our forum is generally a well-functioning community, distributing professional content among its nearly 3,000 readers without palpable oversight. Occasions do arise when internet 'troll' behavior is spotted, and a message (or an errant thread) needs restraint or interruption.

 

An internet troll is defined (in 2002!) as:

One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

 

Most readers recognize these entirely non-mythical creatures, but prior rule-based efforts have failed to protect this forum (and almost ALL internet-open discussion groups) from misuse, agitation and even scandal.

 

Prior criteria were based on a few simple patterns:

  • Messages introduced with subject lines in ALL-CAPS
  • Commercial speech with excessive "best", latest and most-amazing claims (Some claim spammers and trolls are different genera, and our community has seen both).
  • Replies with excessive punctuation, especially exclamation points (known as the Law of Exclamation)
  • Discussion threads which spiral to reach specific thresholds:
      • if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler.
    • Echo-speech
      • passionate threads tend to lose the number of participants as the agitation of its residual discussants climbs

The need for powerful non-rule-based message-filtering in online messaging is clear. Political and cultural polarization has damaged (perhaps beyond rescue) the utility of comment sections of web-based publications. Readers of the New York Times or NPR online will find that even erudite journalism triggers passionate and abusive commentary.

 

A new Google-sourced technology is being developed. "Inside Google’s Internet Justice League and Its AI-Powered War On Trolls" was a recent Wired magazine article introducing an evolving artificial intelligence tool developed to recognize, flag and block abusive messaging. Jigsaw (Google's internal idea-incubator) has developed Conversation AI, a machine-learning engine to abstractly analyze potentially toxic speech. 

 

 Mauderator (avatar shown here) is an early implementation of the Jigsaw tool, taking over as the new AI manager for Occ-Env-Med-L, our forum. "She" will assess the utility of incoming messages, the civility of ongoing discussions and adherence to the forum's rules for broadcast messages. Readers should soon notice improved quality and consistency of the distributed content.

 

As Moderator Emeritus, I plan to remain active in Occupational & Environmental Medicine in a real-world partnership with Dr. Achmed Envel. Our practice will consist entirely of fine-judgement determinations regarding FMCSA cases and borderline assessments regarding MRO complexity. More clinical consults will target contested attribution for patients with subjective-only illness and complex motivations. The gratification of these challenges will surely outweigh any loss of stimulation from evaluating OEM-L messages and alerts.

 

Thank you to the readership and supporters who have made this opportunity a reality.

 

Sincerely,

 

- Gary Greenberg

 

 

Gary Greenberg, MD MPH

Sysop / Moderator Occ-Env-Med-L MailList
www.OccHealthNews.net
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

= -- = -- = -- = -- = -- = -- = -- = -- 

Med. Director, Urban Ministries of Wake Co. Open Door Clinic

Logo
"Renewing lives, restoring hope"

www.OpenDoorDocs.org
www.UrbanMin.org

moderated log activity when someone responds to a poll #suggestion

 

Could "responded to poll" be added as an activity in the logs (group's member activity log, and individual member activity log)?
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu

moderated Re: state "chat is closed" if member tries to join closed chat #suggestion

 

Duane, that's exactly what I meant. It should stay in the same thread, precisely so that members see it when they see the notification that the chat has been opened.

J

On Sun, Apr 2, 2017 at 8:49 AM, Duane <txpigeon@...> wrote:
On Sun, Apr  2, 2017 at 07:55 am, J_Catlady wrote:

>
> also causes an announcement to be sent when the chat is closed
>

While we're wishing...  I would prefer that it be a reply to the Open Chat announcement rather than a new one.  I think that could help prevent further confusion since they'd be directly connected.

Duane





--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu

moderated Re: state "chat is closed" if member tries to join closed chat #suggestion

Duane
 

On Sun, Apr 2, 2017 at 07:55 am, J_Catlady wrote:


also causes an announcement to be sent when the chat is closed
While we're wishing... I would prefer that it be a reply to the Open Chat announcement rather than a new one. I think that could help prevent further confusion since they'd be directly connected.

Duane

moderated state "chat is closed" if member tries to join closed chat #suggestion

 

Currently, if you try to join a closed chat via the message (notification) that the chat was opened, you are taken to the list of open chats. This will be confusing for many people. I think a note that "this chat is closed" would be better.

More better would be that checking "send an announcement to the group" when the chat is opened also causes an announcement to be sent when the chat is closed, thereby mitigating/reducing attempts by people to join closed chats via the notification thread. 
--
J

Messages are the sole opinion of the author. Especially the fishy ones.

I wish I could shut up, but I can't, and I won't. - Desmond Tutu

moderated Site updates #changelog

 

Changes to the site this week:

  • SYSADMIN: Updated IP block lists
  • BUGFIX: There was a bug when trying to update a credit card, it wouldn't register.
  • CHANGE: For a moderated thread, allow replies to go through from people with posting status of override-allow posting.
  • CHANGE: Added spellcheck flags to all subject line inputs.
  • CHANGE: Removed paragraphs about using Google Analytics and aggregated personal data usage from the privacy policy because we don't do that.
  • NEW: Group messages can now have custom subject lines.
  • CHANGE: Now deleting pending subs older than 14 days.
  • CHANGE: Sticky wiki page tweaks. Only display Read more if needed, reduced size by half.
  • CHANGE: Sticky wiki box is now grey, displays on topics and messages pages.

Have a good weekend everybody and remember that I am on vacation until 4/12, so responses to emails may be slow.

Mark

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

Taffman <webmaster@...>
 

I eliminated SPAM and bogus signups from my Forums and CRM sites by using ZBBLOCK (http://spambotsecurity.com/zbblock.php) Maybe Mark could look at implementing some elements of this?

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

 

Mark,

All the ones I checked had registered on the website. The email
addresses are mainly gmail and yahoo. The addresses all appear to be
valid.
I guessed wrong about email versus website, which means the addresses aren't necessarily compromised accounts.

That the addresses are valid is consistent with an experiment I tried. Entering an invalid address (from a valid domain) on the website resulted in a blue "B" (Bouncing) status rather than "NC". Entering an invalid domain (example.com) gave an error to the user and didn't create a pending member at all.

Shal
https://groups.io/g/Group_Help
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

 

Thank you, Mark. I did mention I wondered if the sign up box on my website was the cause, it sounds like it was a major factor. I am happy to remove it from my site if it would help and just provide a link to the group's homepage, but hope your actions today will largely resolve the problem.

I did clear out over 100 pending members this morning and am at 25 new ones so far today (not including those we approved today and those I rejected during the day because they were so suspicious-looking) so it is slowing down already. So I don't mind waiting for the revised embedded form until you are back from your vacation if it's easier for you. Have a good trip.

Helen

Hi All,

I spent the last few hours investigating this. Here's what I've found and what I've done so far.

I went through a bunch of the NC pending members in Helen's group to see what was happening. There are around 25 NC people pending for her group, just in the last day. All the ones I checked had registered on the website. The email addresses are mainly gmail and yahoo. The addresses all appear to be valid. The IP addresses of the machines do not appear to be concentrated in any one area/service. The actions do not happen with a speed that would trip any reasonable rate limiter.

All of the signups I saw in the logs were the result of websites that had embedded the Groups.io signup form on their site (this is from the Promote page under the Admin menu). It appears that there is a crawler that goes around looking for sign up forms and inputs email addresses. It does not appear to be targeting us specifically. Our sign up form has some protection against crawlers, but clearly not enough.

I'm going to be a little vague here, but I've done a few things that should cut down on these bogus joins, at least in the short term. One of the things is that I updated the IP blocklists that I use to prevent connections from some parts of the Internet. I hadn't updated these lists in awhile; they were definitely out of date. That will take care of some of the bogus joins. I also did some other things that will block the majority of others, at least for now. I have no illusions that these actions will permanently solve the problem, but at least they should give some temporary relief.

It is clear that I need to harden the signup form some more against crawlers. And once I do that, people will need to replace the existing embedded signup forms with the new one. I will work on that the rest of today and try to get it out on Monday before I leave.

Longer term, I think we'll have to look at the idea of making people confirm their accounts before they become pending members. But that's a conversation for another thread.

Thanks,
Mark

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

 

Hi All,

(messages to this thread were moderated earlier today because the thread was more than 2 weeks old. I've removed moderation on the thread).

On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 12:05 PM, Shal Farley <shals2nd@...> wrote:

> Ideally I'd like groups.io to somehow filter the baddies ... but I
> know that's easier said than done.

Right. I don't know if there's any systematic way Mark can weed these out based on information he has that we don't.

I spent the last few hours investigating this. Here's what I've found and what I've done so far.

I went through a bunch of the NC pending members in Helen's group to see what was happening. There are around 25 NC people pending for her group, just in the last day. All the ones I checked had registered on the website. The email addresses are mainly gmail and yahoo. The addresses all appear to be valid. The IP addresses of the machines do not appear to be concentrated in any one area/service. The actions do not happen with a speed that would trip any reasonable rate limiter. 

All of the signups I saw in the logs were the result of websites that had embedded the Groups.io signup form on their site (this is from the Promote page under the Admin menu). It appears that there is a crawler that goes around looking for sign up forms and inputs email addresses. It does not appear to be targeting us specifically. Our sign up form has some protection against crawlers, but clearly not enough.

I'm going to be a little vague here, but I've done a few things that should cut down on these bogus joins, at least in the short term. One of the things is that I updated the IP blocklists that I use to prevent connections from some parts of the Internet. I hadn't updated these lists in awhile; they were definitely out of date. That will take care of some of the bogus joins. I also did some other things that will block the majority of others, at least for now. I have no illusions that these actions will permanently solve the problem, but at least they should give some temporary relief.

It is clear that I need to harden the signup form some more against crawlers. And once I do that, people will need to replace the existing embedded signup forms with the new one. I will work on that the rest of today and try to get it out on Monday before I leave.

Longer term, I think we'll have to look at the idea of making people confirm their accounts before they become pending members. But that's a conversation for another thread.


Thanks,
Mark

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

Bob Bellizzi
 

Our experience has been that open groups seem to attract the largest amounts of bogus joiners.

And, if you have a group specifically targeted, as we do to a rare disease or similar tight focus the number of bogus entries goes down significantly.

We still weren't sure about some of the  applicants so we instituted our own, separate form and process (Request to Join) that asked enough questions to enable us to usually just enter name, address into Google search and find matches.  Over time we've added questions that give us even more information and it doesn't seem to slow down Requests at all.  In fact, since coming over to groups.io our monthly requests have increased significantly but that could also be a result of our greatly increased use of our Google for Nonprofit Adwords account that is running at almost the monthly maximum value allowed.

Anyone who tries to join directly receives an automatic email telling them how and why they need to access the  Request to Join form.  We don't take any further attempt to access them.  From there on it's up to them.

It must be ok because in the last 2 months we've received almost 150 Request forms and direct invited all of them while about a dozen never filled out the form.

We feel that if they are serious about joining, the form is not a deterrent.  After all, most of us have our entire personal profile available on the internet with very little effort required to access.

If your group has a serious purpose you owe it to your members to ensure that newbies are reasonably vetted.

Spammers occasionally fill out one or other of the forms on our website but typically reveal their falseness in some quirky remark or putting in gibberish because they get bored with the form

Bob Bellizzi

The Corneal Dystrophy Foundation

Fuchs Friends & Fuchs Friends UK groups

moderated Re: Vacation

Joseph Hudson <jhud7789@...>
 

Mark, enjoy your vacation to Europe I hope you enjoy your time.

On Mar 29, 2017, at 12:38 PM, Mark Fletcher <markf@corp.groups.io> wrote:

Hi All,

I will be on vacation from Monday 4/3, back on Wednesday 4/12. During this time I will be slow(er than normal) to respond to emails, and group transfer requests may be delayed. I'll be in Europe, so expect any responses to be during those daylight hours.

As usual, I will continue to monitor the site and respond to any issues during this time.

Thanks,
Mark

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

 

Mark,

Helen wrote:

The problem, Shal, is firstly the sheer volume (trying to fiind the
person to approve in a list of five pages) but mainIy it's that we no
longer know who is legitimate, so the people who are legitimate are
no longer getting the help they need to join the group.
Perhaps it would help if the Pending Approval list could be sorted or filtered by NC status. Of course, that still doesn't help find the "legit" applicants who happen to still be NC.

Helen,

Ideally I'd like groups.io to somehow filter the baddies ... but I
know that's easier said than done.
Right. I don't know if there's any systematic way Mark can weed these out based on information he has that we don't.

... (this never used to happen, but I do have a join option on my
website, I don't know if that's a factor)...
I would guess these are caused by messages sent to the group's +subscribe address, not by access to the "Apply For Membership" (or Join) button on the group's home page. Can you confirm or falsify that based on Activity Log entries?

For email subscription I'm assuming Mark already has some filtering on this based on source authentication (SPF & DKIM) - elsewise I think we'd all have long since been buried by the spambots. So these requests are likely coming from compromised email accounts; or like the airbnb example "backscatter" from attempted use of the group's +subscribe address to access another service.

Shal
https://groups.io/g/Group_Help
https://groups.io/g/GroupManagersForum

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

 

If this is a box on groups.io, I think it's an interesting idea, and even nicer if I don't see the applications to join unless it's completed properly. I just hope it isn't too much for some people though. I loathe captchas myself, and I do have some blind members and don't want to make life harder for them (though I know most of the time they can use an aural captcha instead).

Thank you.

Helen (moderated here. Bizarre)

Re: Spam/bogus join requests

 

Thank you. I have always had a questionnaire before you can join any of my groups. Unfortunately it doesn't really help in this situation. One of my groups is completely untouched by this problem, the other is overwhelmed.

The lack of response to the questionnaire does not mean the applicant is a spammer. Spammers never fill out the questionnaire, but quite a few legitimate applicants don't either (even before the spam addresses appeared, I rejected more than I accepted, though everyone gets a second chance to join when I reject them). This is my problem, it is hard to spot and help those people in the midst of the spammers. Many of the suspected spammers have ordinary looking e-mail addresses, so I have no way of knowing who is who.

If there is no other way forward, I think I would prefer not to even see any pending members unless they have moved on from NC.

Helen