Bryon

Bryon Thur

1628 Reputation

14 Badges

14 years, 153 days
Maplesoft
Director
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Social Networks and Content at Maplesoft.com

MaplePrimes Activity


These are replies submitted by Bryon

Thank you all for your comments & suggestions. I wanted to provide a few additional details and answers to your questions.

Notifications
The notification system was built as a way to aggregate all of a member's subscribed content, and to indicate - in one place - where activity is occurring. It works in conjuction with the e-mail notifications that are currently sent out.

As Carl pointed out, there are two components to each notification: the author (which links to the profile) and the notification content, which links to the specific comment or answer.

The "new-notification" highlight disappears after the list is viewed, but the notifications remain in your list

I very much see this is a first-version of a notification system and we will definitely be making improvements over time.

Information Density
We very intentionally created an airy, lighter feel to this version of MaplePrimes. That said, there are some areas that can be improved to reduce scrolling, and we will look at making some refinements.

 

Thanks again for your comments!

 

@taro Things are indeed going well. We are in final testing and are days away from launching the first set of updates. As mentioned previously, as soon as that is done, we will be addressing the spam problem at a foundational level. I am still expecting that we will have the spam problem taken care of by late this month/early November.

 

We have been keeping close tabs on the spam problem and are very aware that it has increased dramatically over recent weeks. We are also extremely appreciative of the efforts that many of you take on a regular basis to keep the forum clear of these intrusive & annoying messages.

We have examined a variety of methods for defeating spam (captchas, increased moderation, etc.) and have decided that the best way to defeat the problem is to add some intelligent detection & filtering at the time of message creation. If a message is detected as spam, it will get discarded before even being posted. This will likely not stop 100% of the messages (and we also have to be mindful of false positives), but it will reduce the volume dramatially and will hopefully take us off of the radar for the organizations who employ the spammers.

This addition is coming soon. In fact, we have 2 updates to MaplePrimes planned over the next 4-6 weeks.

The first update, which I hope to have in place within the next 1-2 weeks, is a significant one that includes a streamlined process for reducing the clicks (and therefore time) it takes to elminate spam messages that have already been posted. This change is based on a suggestion made earlier this year by Carl Love.

The second update will include an algorithmic method for detecting and elminating spam before they get published.

In the meantime, thank you again for the time you devote to keeping MaplePrimes clean.

Bryon

The link associated with the question did not trigger a malware warning for me, but it was very slow. For convenience, I downloaded the document and it is available here:

NTMSCI-2015-3-2.202.pdf

@Markiyan Hirnyk 

In my opinion, an appropriate time to change the title of a post would be in cases if a product or command was mis-spelled, an incorrect version number is referenced, etc.

Outside of specific scenarios such as those, I can't think of many times that I would change someone else's content. Your good intentions aside, it is easy for authors and other members to negatively interpret such 'editorial' changes.

For your specific example ("Asterisk tickmarks in Maple 2015"), there are some alternatives to changing the actual text of the original post.

  • Add a "DEPlot" tag to the question. The tag shows up when users are browsing through content, and it will add valuable context to the post.
  • Suggest a change to the author in a comment below the post, or by contacting them directly. If the author agrees, they can make the change themselves.

With regards to your last point, we will look at changing the requirements for posting to MaplePrimes in order to force members to always provide a product.

 

@Carl Love 

In my opinion, the same rules apply for titles as for any other content. There are limited scenarios where it may make sense to make a correction to a title authored by another indidivual, but these scenarios are rare. 

As an author, having your content changed, especially for a seemingly arbitrary reason (and regardless of intention), can be off-putting and it can make MaplePrimes feel less welcoming as a result. For that reason alone, I strongly suggest that moderators use their editing abilities sparingly. 

 

Thank you to those who brought this to our attention. We are working through this issue.

In addition, I have posted some clarifications and a reminder about the intent of site moderation.

 

@John Fredsted 

Acer is correct. Once a member's reputation level hits 500, they are given moderator privileges.

@Preben Alsholm 

The question was moderated by a member and in the process, accidentally deleted. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to retrieve the original text. 

Fortunately, Carl was able to answer the question prior to this occurring.

Our site moderators do a great job at maintaining high standards for quality control on MaplePrimes - but mistakes occasionally occur. As a safeguard, it's always a good idea to use the preview function prior to submitting.

Thanks for the suggestion. Workarounds are very useful for Maple users and having a way for them to be accessible is a great idea.

One way of solving this would be to use a "workaround" tag to identify this type of content, and it can then easily be found via a tag search. If we get enough of these identified, we can then find a way to make the content more prominent on the site.

To get started, I created the tag on each of the posts that you mentioned.

Thoughts?

A note that as of today, we have added a new Delete as Spam feature to MaplePrimes that will hopefully be a useful tool for managing the spam that we see on the site.

Thank you all for your suggestions!

Hi Christopher - just a note that we added a new 'delete as spam' feature earlier today that hopefully makes it easier to control that spam that is posted on MaplePrimes.

I agree that spam has become more of a problem, and we will continue to do our best to control it. That said, spammers have become more sophisticated and more organized, which makes it challenging to preemtively control them. I'm of the opinion that the best offense is to remove new posts and block the spammer accounts as they appear rather than through restrictive measures that make it harder for legitimate new users to post their content.

We are looking into the timing issue you mentioned.

@Mac Dude Thanks for the suggestion! It's a great idea, and we've added the intern's name (Pia) and a link to her profile to the post.

@Christopher2222 

Thanks for your comment. I thought a couple points of clarification would be useful.

1. The reason I suggest that we delete all posts is that spammers commonly create multiple questions & comments within a few minutes, in the hopes that some get buried on the site to avoid deletion. In cases like this, removing all the messages at once would help reduce moderation efforts. That said, we could look at putting some limitations around it, such as only removing content posted within a 24 hour window in order to alleviate the risk of removing a real question or post. In any event, the members's account will be disabled so that they cannot post again.

2. We have the ability to retrieve content in the event that a post and/or user is removed accidentally or maliciously, so there is no risk of permanently removing content. As a secondary safeguard, however, what if we added a reputation threshold to the equation such that 'delete as spam' only works if a member's reputation is under 10, for example? This would essentially do what Carl Love suggested, but would also capture the rare cases where spammers create multiple accounts to upvote messages.

Regarding the spam folder, that is an interesting idea. There are a number of different community-moderation models that we could look at implementing.

Over the years, we've seen spam increase from time to time and unfortunately, it looks like we are in a particularly busy period for it right now. I'm not sure what specifically, if anything, causes these spikes, but they do seem to come and go in waves.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prevent, and spam-management is a reality for every online community. Most of the spam-related accounts and posts are created by a distributed, inexpensive labour force, so, as Axel mentioned, captchas and related techniques do not work. And because it only takes moments to create a new account and publish a question, it is ultimately easy for spammers to create their content. In a few rare instances, we have even seen users create multiple accounts and up-vote their posts in order to escape the "zero reputation" scenario.

In my opinion, community moderation, similar to what MaplePrimes does now, is the best way forward. We have a number of diligent users - both inside and outside of Maplesoft - who regularly patrol MaplePrimes and remove unwanted messages. These efforts are greatly appreciated, and they help keep MaplePrimes virtually spam-free for the thousands of users who visit us daily. We have tried to make the delete process as quick and simple as possible, but I can understand that it is occasionally onerous, especially for those who regularly contribute their time.

That said, there are some additional things that we can do. I particularly like Carl's suggestion to add a "delete as spam" function. When selected, this would perform multiple actions (i.e., ban the user and remove their other posts) in addition to simply removing an individual message, as is done now. We are currently working on some updates to MaplePrimes, and will add this feature to the mix.

This will certainly not eliminate the problem, and we will still get hit by spam attacks from time to time. But hopefully it will make it a bit easier to manage, and a bit harder for the spammers to do their jobs.

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