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posted
Hey everyone,

This is Brady from QuinStreet, the company that owns Armystudyguide.com. As you know these forums have been flooded with spam lately. First off, our sincere apologies for not resolving this issue sooner. The fact is we should have caught and resolved the issue sooner than we did. We'll do better moving forward.

What happened

Spam bots created thousands of forum accounts starting in early December, and have been using them to post spam ever since.

What we've done so far

The first thing we did was to enable moderation on signups. All new accounts must now be approved before they can be used to login and post. This is preventing the spam bots from creating new accounts.

After enabling moderation, we suspended all accounts created between December 1, 2013 and January 7, 2014. We are in the process of reviewing all suspended accounts and re-enabling legitimate accounts that we can identify. I'll make another forum post with instructions for anyone that we miss on how to contact us to get accounts re-enabled.

The next step was to delete the spam posts. I believe we've deleted all of the spam, but we may have missed a few posts here and there. Please report any spam posts you come across so we can eliminate them as well. Report spam posts by sending a private message to me about the post. We will also be doing another manual review to look for spam that we may have missed.

What's next?

We are working on a plan to better monitor/manage these forums. We want this to continue to be a vibrant and growing community, and recognize that for this to happen we'll need to have a better management plan in place.

We need your feedback!

How can we better support this community? What suggestions for improvement do you have? Please feel free to add your comments to this thread or send me a private message.

Again, apologies for the situation over the past month. Here's to a much better 2014.
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 22 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
It was pointed out to me that I posted this in the read-only forum. I've moved it to the general discussion forum so people can actually comment on this thread. Sorry about that!
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 22 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post



posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by asg_admin:
We need your feedback!

How can we better support this community? What suggestions for improvement do you have?

Community administration:
1. Create a process to appoint additional moderators.

2. Allow moderators to delete all posts from spammers in one step.

3. Integrate a spam management tool such as http://www.stopforumspam.com/

4. Cap the number of posts by new members (e.g. 5 posts per day until 15 Karma points reached)

5. Limit BB code permissions of new members.

6. Put additional registration restrictions (CAPTCHA, mod approval, whatever) for those accessing the site from IP address that originate from countries where the U.S. Army (including Guard and Reserve) does not maintain a significant presence and not using a .mil email address

Community Structure
1. Consolidate unused and redundant subforums. Please don't delete old content, a lot of soldiers find it through search engines and it is often relevant.

Owner Participation
1. Introduce yourselves as a company to the community. Tell us your background, and goals.

2. Let us know your plans for site changes, or at least announce when the changes are made.

Community Participation
1. I would very much like to see the study material transition to a community maintained, open licensed (GNU, CC, etc.) model. Key leaders within the U.S. Army have denounced the use of online board study guides (which specifically means ArmyStudyGuide.com) because the information may be inaccurate or outdated. The last .pdf edition was in 2007. The audio version is from 2005. The material is not static.

A community of volunteer contributors could quickly react to changes in policy and doctrine. The members of this community are among the most knowledgeable soldiers I have ever encountered; they are ideally suited to the task. We can provide you with attractive content so long as we have proper guarantees that our efforts will perpetually be available to our fellow soldiers without charge.

With proper citation and database integration, study material could be compared to DA PAM 25-30 (the desktop version downloads a .mdb file; could probably wget it with some snooping) for supersession and obsolescence then flagged for review.

2. If an update to the audio version is not feasible through text to speech software, let us record, upload, and remix study guide questions.

3. A community driven cadence recording project would be awesome.


This is a ten level task
 
Posts: 2870 | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Darby.A.Corwin
posted Hide Post
I really like the ideas you posted DW and I wouldnt mind helping to shape the community and be a member of the team of moderators. It can only make this site better especially if we can keep it current, relevant and free of problems.
 
Posts: 9 | Registered: 24 November 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
Second everything that DW said. While I love the forums here, the main site itself is about useless now.


CW3 Troy Ward
NETOPS OCT
Bronco 30E
National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA

Are you a signal warrant officer? http://www.signal-chief.com/
 
Posts: 609 | Location: National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA | Registered: 26 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
I sent this as a PM but figured I would post it here as well....

quote:
Brady,

I was surprised, but very happy that the spam messages were gone when I logged into the forum today. Truth be told, I had pretty much given up on this forum and written it off as an unfortunate loss to the Army community. I have been a part of the community for a pretty long time and have been a little sad to see it change so much over the years to where the vast majority of the stuff is full of links to advertising and such and the forums have become all but unmoderated. My question for you (or probably your boss) is what is your plan for the site. The thing that this was originally all about (the study guide) stuff hasn't been updated in a while from the looks of it and is very quickly loosing its relevance as the Army changes regulations and such. Nearly every link you click on on the main page links back to something trying to get you to sign up for a school (I understand that's how you guys make money but give me a break, its a little excessive at times). There forums are unmoderated with the exception of Daddy Warcrimes who is only one person and as this spam episode shows, pretty well limited in what he can do from an admin perspective. So what are your plans. Is this resource going the way of the dinosaurs slowly, or is there a plan in place (or at least being developed) to actually keep this thing functioning?

Thanks,

Troy Ward

This message has been edited. Last edited by: CW3 Pyro,


CW3 Troy Ward
NETOPS OCT
Bronco 30E
National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA

Are you a signal warrant officer? http://www.signal-chief.com/
 
Posts: 609 | Location: National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA | Registered: 26 October 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
Thank you for the feedback everyone, it is much appreciated and very helpful.

I have two updates today:


  • I've removed the requirement that every new registration be manually approved.
  • We are still working on our plans for this site going forward. I acknowledge it's been awhile since you've heard from me and wanted to make sure you know we're still here and thinking about the best way to move this site and community forward.


Please feel free to share any additional feedback/questions for us here.

Brady
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 22 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Soldier60
posted Hide Post
I would like to see the "Last Post Time" column changed so that sticky notes no longer update the last post date for every forum.

It is currently impossible to see which forums have new posts from the Forum menu without selecting each individual forum.
 
Posts: 145 | Registered: 09 November 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
Looks liKe the spammers are back
 
Posts: 121 | Registered: 09 October 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post



posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Soldier60:
I would like to see the "Last Post Time" column changed so that sticky notes no longer update the last post date for every forum.


I think we can solve that without structural changes to the site. I've moved this post to the popular General Discussion forum, and it is now only sticky there (instead of in all subforums).

If we need to communicate something across all forums, probably best to lock the thread to prevent this kind of confusion.


This is a ten level task
 
Posts: 2870 | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by bigrob69:
Looks liKe the spammers are back

But they are fewer in number, and less aggressive with their posts.


This is a ten level task
 
Posts: 2870 | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Nukem1040
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by CW3 Pyro:
I sent this as a PM but figured I would post it here as well....

quote:
Brady,

I was surprised, but very happy that the spam messages were gone when I logged into the forum today. Truth be told, I had pretty much given up on this forum and written it off as an unfortunate loss to the Army community.


I just wanted to say that I was in the same boat as Pyro. I finally got on today to see if it was a total loss and seen all this. Great job and thank you!!

As for DW, I am 100% with him on what he said. One that caught me was "Community Participation
1. I would very much like to see the study material transition to a community maintained, open licensed (GNU, CC, etc.) model. Key leaders within the U.S. Army have denounced the use of online board study guides (which specifically means ArmyStudyGuide.com) because the information may be inaccurate or outdated. The last .pdf edition was in 2007. The audio version is from 2005. The material is not static." I think this is a key point to try and work on. He sums it all up.

One other suggestion I have(don't know if this is too much) is to have MOS forums and not just the Branch i.e Infantry, Artillery, Aviation. Is this possible or of course, too many MOSs that would be too difficult?


When was the last time YOU recited and lived by the NCO Creed?
 
Posts: 138 | Location: Drum | Registered: 15 June 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of Soldier60
posted Hide Post
Spam in the Off Topic forum has been building up since the 24th. Looks like it's the only one being hit at the moment.
 
Posts: 145 | Registered: 09 November 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post



posted Hide Post
We need fewer subforums, not more. Even the branch forums are underused.

I don't check the off topic section very often, but it is cleaned out now.


This is a ten level task
 
Posts: 2870 | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



posted Hide Post
If it's not too much trouble, I would like to see the ads removed from the control panel.


This is a ten level task
 
Posts: 2870 | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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