Bryon

Bryon Thur

1728 Reputation

17 Badges

18 years, 79 days
Maplesoft
Director
Waterloo, Montana, United States

Social Networks and Content at Maplesoft.com

Maple Application Center

MaplePrimes Activity


These are Posts that have been published by Bryon

As mentioned a few weeks back, we have been working on an update to MaplePrimes designed to dramatically curtail the amount of spam we have been receiving. I'm happy to say that we implemented these features earlier today, and in the hour or so since publication, they have already helped prevent multiple messages from being posted.

Using content posted to MaplePrimes over the past few months as a baseline, this new feature is successfully able to detect 90% of spam, while maintaining a false positive (i.e., incorrectly identifying a legitimate question or post) rate of 1%.

If a message is detected as spam, it is immediately quarantined and not publicly posted. Importantly, any user who posts a message seen as spam is immediately informed, and is provided with a simple mechanism to let us know so that their post can be reinstated (if it is in fact legimate.)

We will be closely monitoring these services to ensure that they are working as intended. In the meantime, I am very hopeful that they help improve the experience for our members, and require much less effort from our dedicated group of spam fighters.

Today we have published an update to MaplePrimes that includes a variety of improvements. Many of these changes are a direct result of member feedback and suggestions, and I am very appreciative for that!

What follows is a brief summary of the changes. As always, we remain very interested in your thoughts and feedback, and look forward to your further suggestions.

Also, a note that, as mentioned in a previous post, we have already begun working on a further update to address the influx of spam we have been receiving. This update will be published within the next 2-3 weeks.

Updated Look and feel
The most obvious change is the updated interface. With a few exceptions, the previous layout and functionality has been maintained, but with a cleaner, more responsive, and more appealing look.

New message editor
This update includes a new text editor called CKEditor. This editor provides a simpler, cleaner experience for posting your messages and also aligns MaplePrimes more closely with the Maplesoft product suite.

Notifications
You will notice a new flag icon in the upper right hand corner of the interface. This is the new MaplePrimes Notification feature, and it provides similar functionality to what we have become accustomed to on other social media sites. The icon is displayed in an orange color when you have notifications, and then when opened, your new notifications are highlighted in blue. Clicking on a notification will take you directly to the item being referenced.

Improved flow for removing spam messages
As any MaplePrimes moderator could tell you, removing spam on MaplePrimes was a cumbersome process taking 4 clicks. In this update, this process has been streamlined to 2 clicks, which will make the process considerably faster for our legion of spam fighters. In addition, the ability to remove spam is now available on all message types – comments, replies, etc.

Identification Badges
There are now 3 identification badges that are used throughout MaplePrimes wherever member information is displayed. These include:

 Denotes a member who works at Maplesoft

 Site moderators are the heart and soul of MaplePrimes, and are now identified by this new badge

 A member who also particpates in the Maple Ambassador Program

Other fixes and improvements
In addition to the changes mentioned above, several other minor fixes and improvements were made.

I have recently taken a few comments and questions about moderation, and thought it would be worthwhile to clarify our policies.

Although financed and hosted by Maplesoft, MaplePrimes is a community-run site. Our members provide thoughtful posts, answer thousands of questions each year, and generally keep things running smoothly by removing spam and moderating content. Moderation and management capabilities are granted automatically based on a member's reputation, which is a measure of how their content is valued by other community-members. Once someone's reputation score reaches 500, moderation privileges are granted. There are currently 69 members who have moderation capabilities.

We have had this system running for years, and by and large, it works well. There are occasional problems, of course, and these have been dealt with on an as-needed basis, and will continue to be dealt-with going forward.

What is the intent of moderation?

Quite simply, moderation capabilities are provided to maintain a high-standard of content. We want our moderators to help maintain a well organized and technically-sound site, without altering the intent or context of the original post.

Common examples of acceptable moderation scenarios include:

  • Removing spam or messages that violate our community guidelines
  • Editing the tags, categories or product(s) associated with a question or post
  • Correcting incorrect technical content such as bad URLs included in a post or poor formatting
  • Correcting a typo or improper spelling is appropriate in limited scenarios when the mistake made the original message confusing. In general practice, however, it is best to not edit someone else's grammar or spelling.

 

What is moderation not for?

MaplePrimes members cover a very diverse range of backgrounds, languages, technical skill with Maplesoft products, and familiarity with MaplePrimes. It is therefore normal that posts and questions within MaplePrimes reflect this diversity.

In order to respect the author, as well as to maintain the context of the original question or post, there are some scenarios where moderation should not be employed. For example:

  • Many members are not fluent in English, yet the context of their message/question is very clear. In cases like this, correcting improper spelling or grammar (unless requested) is disrespectful and should be avoided. 
  • Do not edit or remove another person's code, even if it is incorrect or incomplete. Doing so can completely change the context of the message and makes the message very confusing for people who read that thread in the future.
  • Do not edit the context of a message to make it 'read better'. Even if your intentions are good, edits like these are can be seen as disrespectful, and in some cases, even inflammatory.

In general, I recommend following this rule: If you're not 100% certain that your edit will be helpful and appreciated by everyone, do not make it.

 

What can I do if I disagree with a moderator's changes?

MaplePrimes moderators are invaluable for keeping MaplePrimes running smoothly, and as mentioned above, they do a great job. From time to time, however, a change may be made that you disagree with. Often such changes are a result of a misunderstanding on the part of the moderator, or perhaps just an honest mistake.

In situations like these, my recommendation is to contact MaplePrimes administrators by flagging the post as 'other' and providing the details. We will then look into the issue and (hopefully) reach a speedy resolution. During this process, we will contact the poster and/or the moderator to discuss the changes. If needed, further actions can be taken, from further education up to and including suspending or removing moderator privileges. 

 

I hope this has been helpful, and I'm looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.

Bryon

 

As some of you have previously mentioned, we have seen an increase in the amount of spam on MaplePrimes over the past few months. We recently took steps to improve it in a recent update that has so far proven helpful, and have also increased our behind-the-scenes efforts to proactively remove and block spam accounts.

Today we made a couple of additional minor changes to member profiles that should help further. Specifically, members can no longer enter HTML tags in the biography, 'technical interests/fields', and 'other interests' sections within their profiles. Spammers were co-opting these areas to create links back to their sites, and it is our hope that MaplePrimes will become much less attractive to them now that the capability has been removed.

In addition, we de-activated a large number of accounts (with 0 reputation) that were using these fields for spam. Prior to taking this action, we reviewed the records we were deactivating, and did not see any evidence of legitimate members. However, there is a small chance that we blocked a legitimate account in the process of doing this. If this has occurred to you, please accept my apologies and send an e-mail to custservice@maplesoft.com and we will reactivate it quickly.

 

Earlier today, we published some changes to MaplePrimes in order to add some new features that have been requested by our users.

Delete as Spam

Users with a reputation score above 500 have always had the ability to remove inappropriate or spam posts using the Delete function. As of this update, a Delete as Spam feature has been added that provides some additional capabilities targeted directly at the spam messages that are posted on MaplePrimes. When this feature is used, the following occurs:

  • The message is deleted
  • The author's account is marked as a spam account and blocked
  • All other messages from the author are removed

Since this is a powerful feature, there are also some safeguards in place to prevent accidents from occurring:

  • Only users with a reputation less than 10 can be removed in this way
  • In the event that content is ever inadvertently removed, MaplePrimes administrators have the ability to restore content removed in this way.

Hopefully, these features make it much more difficult for spam accounts to get traction on MaplePrimes, and also reduce the time involved in policing the spam that is posted.

Draft Messages

You now have the ability to save a message as a draft so that you can come back to it later. All draft messages are saved in your profile and can be managed by clicking the account option at the top of every page. 

Advanced Search

Some powerful searching capabilities have been added to MaplePrimes with the addition of a new Advanced Search feature. Using this search allows you to quickly find questions or posts within a particular date range, by author and/or by tag.

 

Save page as PDF

We know that some of our members maintain personal archives of MaplePrimes content, and to make this easier, we have added a feature that generates a PDF copy of a page. This option is available in the More area that appears under every post and question.

 

View your Replies

Your MaplePrimes user profile page has always included archives of your posts, questions and answers. With today's update, replies are also available.

 

In addition to these, some other minor changes & fixes were made.

As always, thank you very much for your dedication to MaplePrimes and for your suggestions. We hope that you find these features useful and look forward to other ideas that you have!

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