Explaination of the TCadmin account

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qturner
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 6:48 pm

Explaination of the TCadmin account

Post by qturner » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:22 pm

A member of the forums emailed me and asked me to put up an "official" explanation of the TCadmin account.

I'm sorry that this was not done sooner - I had posted to the Moderator Forum awhile back and thought that it had been brought to the attention of the regular forums as well.

I thought it would be better to not get involved in any of the specifics or the recent controversy, but I wanted to just give a factual account of why the TCadmin account exists and what it is intended for.

After I took over the day to day operations at ChessUSA (ICD), there were apparently a lot of problems with bots and spam appearing all over talkchess. It was so much that some of the old team of moderators
came to me and insisted I do something about it because, rightly so, it was interfering in their normal moderation duties when they had to remove dozens of pharmacy and other nonsense posts constantly.

To help, we needed to switch to an activation method for accounts. For awhile I was doing this myself, manually accepting and denying accounts. This was difficult because I was working or not at the computer, and some people would unfortunately have to wait a couple days for activation - not something that is particularly welcoming!

I knew that this was not something I could do indefinitely. I am not really an active member of CCC or CTF and never have been, but I accepted a takecaker responsibility for the forum. However, at the same time I could not keep spending as many work-hours with on talkchess as I had been, and I couldn’t have mass resignation of moderators because of all of the spambots, - so I decided I needed a sort of sysop role to keep it running smoothly. At the time, Sam was a moderator and helping with a lot of these problems, so I offered him the responsibility. This is not to say he's permanently the TCadmin - the account is simply a filler account to do these various admin functions. Sam was generous enough to donate his time to do this (which included going through literally thousands of bad pharmacy accounts and that ilk) in his spare time.

The roles of the TCadmin was to do that stuff I did not have time for, namely approving the accounts, and make sure they followed the posted requirements (which had the real name issue, which i guess is another story entirely?). Also, that account can upload the mods to phpbb, which is something I do not know how to do.

What TCadmin does NOT do, is moderate posts or make any of the decisions moderators would. Really, I don't think it's an account that should even be used for posting. it's just an administrative tool to make sure the accounts follow the guidelines, and runs the various administration functions that moderators cannot. It is not intended to be used for banning or anything like that - just making sure the accounts followed the guidelines at signup.

I understand there was a lot of confusion with the TCadmin account, and that was largely my fault - it was never meant to be a "secret" account, and has never been what some people refer to as a "super mod" it ran smoothly for several months, so I basically did not give it a great deal of thought. I'm just not very activate on CCC/CTF, and thus never really got around to making a post about it in the main forum.
After I posted it to the moderator forum, I figured it was a done issue.

I did want to once again apologize for any inconvenience, as well as the massive amounts of confusion caused. My goal is, and has always been, to leave the decisions to the moderators and try to have as little involvement in the board itself as possible. I think the goal of the board is an admirable one, and can serve a useful function in the online chess community. That is why I worked to switch it to a more dedicated server to help prevent the downtime and speed issues, as well as allowing the older posts to remain longer as a reference for people who visit down the line. There was simply a point where I did not want it to be any more of a burden on my time. I am truly sorry if that intention has been misinterpreted by anyone.

If anyone has any questions about this, feel free to email me (qnt@chessusa.com).

Kaj Soderberg

Re: Explaination of the TCadmin account

Post by Kaj Soderberg » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:25 pm

As you say, maybe a bit late, but then, better later than never.

Thanks for bringing clarification about the intended role of TCAdmin.

Whether things have gone exactly as intended is of the past now, and the new mods could have a look at the charter and when needed clarify the different roles.

I am sure the administrative work Sam has done is much appreciated here.

Let us now move on and have better days.

Best regards,

Kaj

Ryan Benitez
Posts: 716
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:21 am
Location: Portland Oregon

Re: Explaination of the TCadmin account

Post by Ryan Benitez » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:20 pm

Hi Quentin,

Thank you for clearing up the intent of TCAdmin. Unfortunately Sam was working too hard as a simple software solution could filter the spam bots instead. Also despite the intent of the account abuse of power is an issue that needs to be watched for no mater who is in use of the account.

Ryan

Steve B
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 2:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Explaination of the TCadmin account

Post by Steve B » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:34 pm

Ryan Benitez wrote:Hi Quentin,

Thank you for clearing up the intent of TCAdmin. Unfortunately Sam was working too hard as a simple software solution could filter the spam bots instead. Also despite the intent of the account abuse of power is an issue that needs to be watched for no mater who is in use of the account.

Ryan
well said
Quentins accounting although clearly honest does not speak to the need for secrecy in the account in the first place especially when the account grew in importance once it was charged with overseeing the last election

clearly at that moment in time the person who was posting from the account should have made himself known to all members..and not continue to hide under the cover of darkness especially when at the time of the last election members where questioning who was behind the account

the account has been abused but thanks to the efforts of those here..the account i imagine will be carefully kept in check and "reined in" from now on

at least hopefully it will be

sadly the account continues to be the sole overseer of the current election ..which is a shame

Best
Steve

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Sam Hull
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Location: The Cherokee Nation
Full name: Sam Hull

Re: Explanation of the TCadmin account

Post by Sam Hull » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:09 pm

Ryan Benitez wrote:Hi Quentin,

Thank you for clearing up the intent of TCAdmin. Unfortunately Sam was working too hard as a simple software solution could filter the spam bots instead. Also despite the intent of the account abuse of power is an issue that needs to be watched for no mater who is in use of the account.

Ryan
The "simple software solution" for filtering spam bots was implemented back at the beginning of the year. There was no software solution for weeding out the 3000+ bogus accounts that had been created before that, or for checking new accounts created by human beings intentionally trying to break the rules.

-Sam-

Ryan Benitez
Posts: 716
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:21 am
Location: Portland Oregon

Re: Explanation of the TCadmin account

Post by Ryan Benitez » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:28 pm

Sam Hull wrote:
Ryan Benitez wrote:Hi Quentin,

Thank you for clearing up the intent of TCAdmin. Unfortunately Sam was working too hard as a simple software solution could filter the spam bots instead. Also despite the intent of the account abuse of power is an issue that needs to be watched for no mater who is in use of the account.

Ryan
The "simple software solution" for filtering spam bots was implemented back at the beginning of the year. There was no software solution for weeding out the 3000+ bogus accounts that had been created before that, or for checking new accounts created by human beings intentionally trying to break the rules.

-Sam-
I believe that you believe what your hard work deleting accounts by hand one by one is the only way but there is a software solution for that as well. If an account is older than a given date make the user put in a verification code on next login. This will cause the spam bots to not be able to sign in. As for people trying to break the rules, feel lucky that is not you problem. Let the moderators deal with it. :wink:

GS

Re: Explanation of the TCadmin account

Post by GS » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:03 am

Ryan Benitez wrote:
Sam Hull wrote:
Ryan Benitez wrote:Hi Quentin,

Thank you for clearing up the intent of TCAdmin. Unfortunately Sam was working too hard as a simple software solution could filter the spam bots instead. Also despite the intent of the account abuse of power is an issue that needs to be watched for no mater who is in use of the account.

Ryan
The "simple software solution" for filtering spam bots was implemented back at the beginning of the year. There was no software solution for weeding out the 3000+ bogus accounts that had been created before that, or for checking new accounts created by human beings intentionally trying to break the rules.

-Sam-
I believe that you believe what your hard work deleting accounts by hand one by one is the only way but there is a software solution for that as well. If an account is older than a given date make the user put in a verification code on next login. This will cause the spam bots to not be able to sign in. As for people trying to break the rules, feel lucky that is not you problem. Let the moderators deal with it. :wink:
Well, this is not the same than _really weeding_ the list, it will just prevent
postings by spam bots, when the so called member list still will grow
infinetely without showing neither real members names nor numbers.
(Note that the member list finally showed 3000+ numbers, when we knew
it were at most perhaps 600-700 real ones, even the current nearly 900
are not correct...)
Except you would also add an auto-expire/auto-delete solution if someone
doesn't post for a certain period, but that solution obviously has other
disadvantages, as it would also hit real members occasionally.
On second thought there might be another choice, just display verified
accounts names/numbers and let others stay invisible until they did a
verified login(if the forum software allows this).

Guenther

Ryan Benitez
Posts: 716
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:21 am
Location: Portland Oregon

Re: Explanation of the TCadmin account

Post by Ryan Benitez » Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:19 pm

GS wrote:
Ryan Benitez wrote:
Sam Hull wrote:
Ryan Benitez wrote:Hi Quentin,

Thank you for clearing up the intent of TCAdmin. Unfortunately Sam was working too hard as a simple software solution could filter the spam bots instead. Also despite the intent of the account abuse of power is an issue that needs to be watched for no mater who is in use of the account.

Ryan
The "simple software solution" for filtering spam bots was implemented back at the beginning of the year. There was no software solution for weeding out the 3000+ bogus accounts that had been created before that, or for checking new accounts created by human beings intentionally trying to break the rules.

-Sam-
I believe that you believe what your hard work deleting accounts by hand one by one is the only way but there is a software solution for that as well. If an account is older than a given date make the user put in a verification code on next login. This will cause the spam bots to not be able to sign in. As for people trying to break the rules, feel lucky that is not you problem. Let the moderators deal with it. :wink:
Well, this is not the same than _really weeding_ the list, it will just prevent
postings by spam bots, when the so called member list still will grow
infinetely without showing neither real members names nor numbers.
(Note that the member list finally showed 3000+ numbers, when we knew
it were at most perhaps 600-700 real ones, even the current nearly 900
are not correct...)
Except you would also add an auto-expire/auto-delete solution if someone
doesn't post for a certain period, but that solution obviously has other
disadvantages, as it would also hit real members occasionally.
On second thought there might be another choice, just display verified
accounts names/numbers and let others stay invisible until they did a
verified login(if the forum software allows this).

Guenther
Sure if total number of accounts is important to people only counting verified accounts is a good idea. I never cared about the true user count myself. I just want a smooth running forum that follows the rules as intended while keeping the people happy.

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