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Allowing guest posts





Bondings
What do you think about allowing guests to post? I don't mean creating new topics, but simply responding to existing topics.

Currently guests are able to post and respond in the guests forum. There is next to no spam there, so I do not think that enabling guests to post will cause automatic spam. On the other hand, manual spam will probably occur, although I have no idea of the volume of it. With enough moderators and users reporting spam, I assume a certain amount of manual spam can be dealt with.

Another issue is the fact that this will bump up old topics. What do you think about this? Is it really bad that old topics are bumped back? I assume that in certain cases this is undesirable if the topic is related to a certain date/time, like topics in the Discuss World News forum that are mostly relevant a short time after they happen.

However what about some of the other forums? If a topic about a video game, movie or hobby is bumped back to the top of the list, is that a problem? It seems to me that the topic is as relevant as it was before. Of course it might not be as interesting to people who already participated in it a few years ago. On the other hand, maybe they gained some novel insights into the topic and have a new view on it to post. Another problem is that new topics can quickly disappear when old topics keep getting bumped.

If I try this out, I will probably start with a few forums first. I think this is rather forum-specific and will probably only work in some forums and not in others, so pretty much every forum will be in case in itself.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?
adri
I personally wouldn't allow guests to post. If you really want to contribute to a few topics, you can register too. (Only takes a couple of minutes to do) And you will be more tolerated (I don't like people who are guests at first sight) if you're a member and you get some cool features like avatar, signature, rank,...


Adri
ocalhoun
Some forums, yes...

General chat should definitely not be guest-postable, but many of the others probably could benefit from it.

I suppose it would be too hard to code, but perhaps guests could only reply to topics that have been active within a certain time period...

Also, if you prevent guests from using links (both url tags and automatically converted text), that should cut down on the manual spam possibility.

Adding a 'quick reply' section at the bottom of the topic (for guests only) would increase the amount of guest postings.

Make sure that some point of the guest posting process encourages them to register.
Bondings
If I stumble on a article, blog post or forum topic on the internet, I usually do not want to register on the website since this is usually quite a hassle. Simply posting a response, even if it involves a captcha, is way easier/faster.

About the links, spammers do not bother about it. If a link isn't possible, they simply use a text url that you have to copy-paste to get to work. The only difference is that they won't get what they want (a link), but we still get a spam post.

The cool features of a rank, avatar and the like can be something to persuade them to register, mostly after posting something. I could even make it an option to create an account together with writing the post, it's only 2 more fields (username and password) that are required.

I would, however, put it on a different page since the captcha is quite resource-intensive.
Nameless
I honestly don't think allowing guest posts in general forums is a good thing. There's a lot of 'post and run'ing on these forums already and opening it up to guests will be just make it harder to find an actual discussion to participate in. The only forums that would really benefit from guest posts are technical or niche topics where someone could pop in to eg. have a quick question asked, and maybe be attracted to stay afterwards. In our case that's not likely (save for questions ABOUT Frihost, which you already have the guest forum for) and we don't have any particular events or articles that could generate meaningful, but once-off, comments. And if anything, you'd probably lose more customers from seeing the spam and short posts in the forums than by not allowing them to make those posts before a quick registration in the first place.
nam_siddharth
I fully support this move. Guests should have right to reply the posts in most forums, including in General Chat forum. While surfing internet, I come across many forums, where I wish to reply some specific post, but for it I have to go through the hassle of registration etc. Even if I register there to post my comment, I am not going to that forum again anyway.
mtorregiani
From my point of view, it's better not to allow the guest to post around in the forum. I mean, if you really want to participate, create an account, and you're going to be rewarded even with a webhosting account... Just my two cents...
Bondings
What about making the guest posting actually registering and making a first post at the same time? The user account would be created and immediately afterwards the first post created?
saratdear
I can't say either way. Allowing guests to post might bring in more participation, and isn't that what we're looking for? What I think we should do is, we must tempt them to register. Some other forums I have seen have things like (even though it is after I registered) - "You have only 3 posts. You need more than x number of posts to view links/see signatures/avatars etc.etc." What about making it instead for registering - "You need to register before you can view links"

But on the other hand, that would mean nobody who arrives from search engines would be allowed to view links. Hmm....something which needs serious thinking.
ocalhoun
Bondings wrote:
What about making the guest posting actually registering and making a first post at the same time? The user account would be created and immediately afterwards the first post created?

That's probably the best idea.

(Make sure the text box for typing the reply is above the registration fields, though. Once they've gone to the trouble of typing a post, they'll be less likely to balk at the idea of registering, easy though it may be.)
A box for email address would be good, and a checkbox for 'notify of replies to your post', to encourage them to come back a second time.
Diablosblizz
I think once the guest realizes that they can't post anywhere but the Guest forum they will just leave. I bet most people / bots don't check all the forums they can post in.

I personally say no, it can do more harm then good.
kutekitten
I'm personally for having guests post in other forums, maybe not the option of joining right there on the first post, that might seem slightly pushy, but having them put in an email and have the option of being notified of new posts is an excellent idea. I also agree with the no general chat thing, I think that there aren't really enough good discussions there to make it worth the amount of spam that would probably create.
deanhills
I agree with Adri, Nameless and Diablosblizz that it is perhaps not such a good idea. I always assumed that the reason why people ask you to register before you are allowed to post may be a legal one too along the lines of all postings are accounted for with people who have taken responsibility for their postings? I also think people would be much more careful with their postings if they have gone the extra mile of registering, than if they would without registering. We may get a flood of junk postings with one liners in them, or irresponsible wording of the manual spam and flame variety. It may also create extra work for the moderators as there would probably be a much greater need for spamcanning. I agree with Adri that registration is fast, and if the registration could be connected with an option of joining Frihost (with a simple tick), that may serve a really good purpose. Perhaps the tick could activate an automated e-mail to the e-mail address of the person who registered, and the e-mail contain all kinds of incentives that would motivate the person to stay with Frihost. Alternatively, once the person who has registered without being a Frihost member, should submit a posting, maybe there could be an automatic exit window that encourages the person to become a member and includes a full application.
Xanify
The possibility also exists that current users will use the guest post functionality to anonymously flame/troll others - of course this can be moderated like any other post, but just throwing it out there ...
truespeed
I don't allow it on my forum as i think it would end up where everyone is anonymous posting as guests rather than logging in,that wouldn't happen here with the members though as they wouldn't get any points for posting.

There is a facebook connect mod for phpbb3,wouldn't something like that work on here,could it be adapted for phpbb2?
nam_siddharth
Xanify wrote:
The possibility also exists that current users will use the guest post functionality to anonymously flame/troll others - of course this can be moderated like any other post, but just throwing it out there ...


Nice point. To prevent it, guest postings can be disabled in those forums where flame wars are possible like "World News" and "Philosophy and religion" forums.
Ghost Rider103
I don't think it would cause much of a problem to allow guests to post.

I also agree with Bondings on this one. When I first go to a forum and want to post on a specific thread, I really don't want to register just to post sometimes. So if you allow guest to post, then they might eventually register to get more in on some other conversations and become more known.

However, I do think that guest post should require a moderator approval before being public. This way if there are people that come just to spam, it never gets by us.
mOrpheuS
I'm just wary of those "XYZ video converter" spammers (bots?).

Now they won't even have to register. Razz
Ghost900
I think that it is not the best idea for at least most of the forums. If somebody wants to discuss movies and games then more than likely they would be happy to create an account and contribute often. I don't see some tech guy just popping into the tech help area and giving good advise and never to return. The amount of benefit doesn't seem like it will out way the possible spam that could occur.

I have read a blog before and would have liked to comment without signing up to do so but generally it is not the case for a forum. This is just my opinion, others may use the web differently so I may be wrong.
missdixy
Bondings wrote:
What about making the guest posting actually registering and making a first post at the same time? The user account would be created and immediately afterwards the first post created?


This. I like this idea. I don't like the idea of people being able to posts as guests and then just leaving and never coming back and never reading if anyone had anything to say in return to them and thus never answering them. I know that people already do this even being while being registered, but it might become even worse if anybody can just come and post something somewhere and then leave :/
escritor
If this is going to be limited to forums such as those about videogames, movies and hobbies, I support it.
Insanity
It's not so hard to register, I agree. If they want to post so bad, don't give them the weapon of anonymity. They want to post, they can register.
Nameless
Insanity wrote:
If they want to post so bad, don't give them the weapon of anonymity.

... INTERNET.

I don't get the impression that abusing guest posting for hostility is likely in these forums, and there are always ways around being tied to an account anyway for sufficiently determined trolls. It's the lazy posters who you'll have to deal with by allowing guest posts, not the angry ones.

(Tying registering in with a guest post doesn't sound like it would add much functionality, and might turn off as many guests as it attracted if they didn't notice until after typing their post or felt confronted by a long list of details to supply for seemingly just one comment.)
ocalhoun
Nameless wrote:

(Tying registering in with a guest post doesn't sound like it would add much functionality, and might turn off as many guests as it attracted if they didn't notice until after typing their post or felt confronted by a long list of details to supply for seemingly just one comment.)

It doesn't have to be a long list...
It could just be-
Name (username):______
Post text:_______________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Email:_______
Create password:__________
Confirm password:_________
[submit]

Notification of replies should probably be automatically on- that increases the chances of a repeat visit.

Also, for guest registrations like this, the welcome email should also include the password they put in. (And mention how they can get free web hosting by posting some more.)
Bondings
ocalhoun wrote:
Nameless wrote:

(Tying registering in with a guest post doesn't sound like it would add much functionality, and might turn off as many guests as it attracted if they didn't notice until after typing their post or felt confronted by a long list of details to supply for seemingly just one comment.)

It doesn't have to be a long list...
It could just be-
Name (username):______
Post text:_______________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Email:_______
Create password:__________
Confirm password:_________
[submit]

Notification of replies should probably be automatically on- that increases the chances of a repeat visit.

Also, for guest registrations like this, the welcome email should also include the password they put in. (And mention how they can get free web hosting by posting some more.)

That's almost exactly what I intended to do. Only difference is the need of a good CAPTCHA. People won't like it, but otherwise we'll get tons of spam. On the other hand, it's common practice on the internet nowadays, so maybe most people will be used to it already.
nam_siddharth
Bondings wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Nameless wrote:

(Tying registering in with a guest post doesn't sound like it would add much functionality, and might turn off as many guests as it attracted if they didn't notice until after typing their post or felt confronted by a long list of details to supply for seemingly just one comment.)

It doesn't have to be a long list...
It could just be-
Name (username):______
Post text:_______________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Email:_______
Create password:__________
Confirm password:_________
[submit]

Notification of replies should probably be automatically on- that increases the chances of a repeat visit.

Also, for guest registrations like this, the welcome email should also include the password they put in. (And mention how they can get free web hosting by posting some more.)

That's almost exactly what I intended to do. Only difference is the need of a good CAPTCHA. People won't like it, but otherwise we'll get tons of spam. On the other hand, it's common practice on the internet nowadays, so maybe most people will be used to it already.


You can do one more thing to stop spam. The post will be visible only after the poster activates its account from the activation link in his mailbox.
Bondings
nam_siddharth wrote:
You can do one more thing to stop spam. The post will be visible only after the poster activates its account from the activation link in his mailbox.

From my own experience, this isn't necessary on Frihost. Maybe on bigger websites this can be a factor, but here it won't change a thing. Email confirmation isn't needed anymore for creating a Frihost account since quite a while and there has been no increase in spam of any kind.

In my opinion, email confirmation will only have a time-consuming impact on both the spammers and the real users, but not stop the spammers.
deanhills
Bondings wrote:
In my opinion, email confirmation will only have a time-consuming impact on both the spammers and the real users, but not stop the spammers.
Wish Yahoo could learn from this wisdom, as they have to be the worst with email confirmations. And as you pointed out it is also true for me, I still get an incredible number of spammers spamming my Yahoo e-mail account. Not genuinely spamming however, more along the lines of "marketing". Don't know how they do it, but there has to be bots everywhere, as when I search any given topic, like vitamins for example, next thing I get "spam" in my Yahoo e-mail account "selling" related products. Ditto my Google Mail Account. Awful feeling of them being aware of all my searches. But also that these "precautions" are more in the interest of the search engines, than the people they are saying they are trying to protect from "spamming".
snowboardalliance
Bondings wrote:
nam_siddharth wrote:
You can do one more thing to stop spam. The post will be visible only after the poster activates its account from the activation link in his mailbox.

From my own experience, this isn't necessary on Frihost. Maybe on bigger websites this can be a factor, but here it won't change a thing. Email confirmation isn't needed anymore for creating a Frihost account since quite a while and there has been no increase in spam of any kind.

In my opinion, email confirmation will only have a time-consuming impact on both the spammers and the real users, but not stop the spammers.


The idea of integrating registration with posting sounds like a good one. My biggest annoyance is when I go to a forum to READ something and instead I get redirected to registration AND have to confirm my email. By the time it's all done, the original link just redirects home and I have to go back to the google result to find what I want. As for posting, this would probably also make people's lives easier. Also could make the terrible phpBB registration faster/easier (honestly, it's a huge useless form that needs to be shrunk to username, password, and email like any modern registration, it's just good practice).
deanhills
snowboardalliance wrote:
My biggest annoyance is when I go to a forum to READ something and instead I get redirected to registration AND have to confirm my email. By the time it's all done, the original link just redirects home and I have to go back to the google result to find what I want.
This is a really good point. Probably good to bookmark the spot before you navigate away, but then one probably does not know that you may never be able to return to that spot. And may not care any more either.
snowboardalliance
deanhills wrote:
snowboardalliance wrote:
My biggest annoyance is when I go to a forum to READ something and instead I get redirected to registration AND have to confirm my email. By the time it's all done, the original link just redirects home and I have to go back to the google result to find what I want.
This is a really good point. Probably good to bookmark the spot before you navigate away, but then one probably does not know that you may never be able to return to that spot. And may not care any more either.


Well it's usually in your history just back a few pages, but annoying as hell still. Sorry to get off topic about this though as at least guests can read topics here no problem
escritor
I think that nobody has mentioned this yet: What about enabling them to post with their openIDs?
cr3ativ3
Bondings wrote:
If I stumble on a article, blog post or forum topic on the internet, I usually do not want to register on the website since this is usually quite a hassle. Simply posting a response, even if it involves a captcha, is way easier/faster.

About the links, spammers do not bother about it. If a link isn't possible, they simply use a text url that you have to copy-paste to get to work. The only difference is that they won't get what they want (a link), but we still get a spam post.


The first point there, I can relate to... Many a time, i'll be looking for something thats helping me debug, or I can answer someone's question... However it's not worth my time or effort to register, activate, then post my msg.

To the second point if you disable hyperlinks (while retaining the text), that would be a good idea, because your right spammers try to post a million links in each new post/thread. For page ranking and stuff... I left a forum with 1 guest forum online, never used the forum... but came back to it a month or 2 later and found a forum with over 2000 topics with spam posts all over it.. Odd thing was I had a captcha on each post, so literally someone with no life was typing in the captcha over and over. (Some of them even apologized in their post for spamming Razz).

My opinion is you should try it, your gonna get spam.. Just a matter of keeping on top of it.
Asap170
cr3ativ3 wrote:
[quote=bondings]If I stumble on a article, blog post or forum topic on the internet, I usually do not want to register on the website since this is usually quite a hassle. Simply posting a response, even if it involves a captcha, is way easier/faster.

About the links, spammers do not bother about it. If a link isn't possible, they simply use a text url that you have to copy-paste to get to work. The only difference is that they won't get what they want (a link), but we still get a spam post. [/quote

The first point there, I can relate to... Many a time, i'll be looking for something thats helping me debug, or I can answer someone's question... However it's not worth my time or effort to register, activate, then post my msg.

To the second point if you disable hyperlinks (while retaining the text), that would be a good idea, because your right spammers try to post a million links in each new post/thread. For page ranking and stuff... I left a forum with 1 guest forum online, never used the forum... but came back to it a month or 2 later and found a forum with over 2000 topics with spam posts all over it.. Odd thing was I had a captcha on each post, so literally someone with no life was typing in the captcha over and over. (Some of them even apologized in their post for spamming Razz).

My opinion is you should try it, your gonna get spam.. Just a matter of keeping on top of it.


Ugh sorry about the long quotes... but Cr3ativ3 when you quote something you need
Bondings wrote:
Whatever the quote is...
Just for a heads up, but about this topic I think you should go ahead and give it a try and if it doesn't work out to well then just disable the functions and do some maintnence!
nivinjoy
I think guests should not be allowed to post because that would just increase the number of posts and not members..!!

In my opinion if they are not allowed to post they would be willing to sign up and post. Thus they become the members of this community and thus Frihost would become one of the most biggest communities in the web world..!!

So when they click on the post reply button itself they should be redirected to Register page so that they can register easily..!!
standready
Bondings wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Nameless wrote:

(Tying registering in with a guest post doesn't sound like it would add much functionality, and might turn off as many guests as it attracted if they didn't notice until after typing their post or felt confronted by a long list of details to supply for seemingly just one comment.)

It doesn't have to be a long list...
It could just be-
Name (username):______
Post text:_______________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
Email:_______
Create password:__________
Confirm password:_________
[submit]

Notification of replies should probably be automatically on- that increases the chances of a repeat visit.

Also, for guest registrations like this, the welcome email should also include the password they put in. (And mention how they can get free web hosting by posting some more.)

That's almost exactly what I intended to do. Only difference is the need of a good CAPTCHA. People won't like it, but otherwise we'll get tons of spam. On the other hand, it's common practice on the internet nowadays, so maybe most people will be used to it already.


I think that would work well and limit spam which would increase Mods work. I must admit that I had to go look up what "CAPTCHA" is. Used many times but did not know what it was called. Did find what looks to be a good "CAPTCHA" for free - http://recaptcha.net/whyrecaptcha.html
yagnyavalkya
Guest post should be allowed but that prbly would become habit and ppl will just be guest
so I guess there should be a limitation on the number of posts
furtasacra
PLEASE don't let guests post anywhere but the guest area, or we'll just get eaten up with spammers and trolls.

One of my favorite things about Frihost is the level of civility here, and that will go right out the window if you allow guests to reply to anything they want.
Lor20
I think its a good idea to allow everybody to post, but its difficulf to control spammers, so i think they could request something to people post
mathiaus
I don't understand why we would want guests to be able to post. Frihost is a great community where members chat for hosting. Guests would not have the relationship with others like our members do and get nothing out of posting. I just don't see the point.


Making registration easier and shorter a process is always a welcome suggestion yet integrating it into a guests first post (2 in 1) makes even more sense and cuts out a lot of waste. Great idea! Very Happy
Ghost Rider103
I agree. Making the guests register while creating their first post is a much better idea.

But if we decide to allow all guest to post, I think it would be best if all guest post had to go through a moderator/admin approval. That way no spam will ever get in from a guest.
ocalhoun
Ghost Rider103 wrote:

But if we decide to allow all guest to post, I think it would be best if all guest post had to go through a moderator/admin approval. That way no spam will ever get in from a guest.

That would require a LOT of mod time...
Make ordinary users able to moderate guest posts?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Ghost Rider103 wrote:

But if we decide to allow all guest to post, I think it would be best if all guest post had to go through a moderator/admin approval. That way no spam will ever get in from a guest.

That would require a LOT of mod time...
Make ordinary users able to moderate guest posts?
Agreed that it would require a lot of mod time, and there would probably be a great lag in time in those posts finally appearing as a consequence. By the time that they appear the discussion in the Forum may have gone in a different direction and the posting would look quite odd and out of place.
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