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Some interesting TWT numbers

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#51
:tab There are alternatives to FB, you just have to get folks willing to switch. FB has inertia in that sense because people are invested in their use of it. No one wants to be "left out" by moving to a different platform. I use MeWe.com and participate in a cool group related to macro photography. It is very similar to FB, but without all the ads, sponsored content, data collection, etc,... It is very easy to use, so there really isn't much of a learning curve. FB is just the one that everyone knows about. However, they can only bank on that for so long before people get so sick of FB that they go looking for alternatives out of desperation.
 
Joined
Feb 19, 2007
Messages
9,944
Location
Midland
#52
I use MeWe.com and participate in a cool group related to macro photography. It is very similar to FB, but without all the ads, sponsored content, data collection, etc,...
You are the second person who has told me about that network in recent weeks. I'm gonna check it out!
 

4jranch

Forum Supporter
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
782
Location
Brenham
#55
Thanks Scott. I have no idea about most of the details of what you mention but am amazed at all the spammers.

I for one am not a fan of Tapatalk....
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#57
Scott, any timeframe we can expect the rollout of the new platform? :popcorn:
Well, like I said above, or maybe in the other thread about the forum being secure, if I can get all this done by the new year, I will be happy. I'd like to get it done earlier if possible so I can stop paying for my current hosting service at the same time I am paying for the new one ;-)

By the way, for those of you that like Tapatalk because of the ability to upload images directly from your phone, you will be able to do that once I get the new software running and we make the switch. IF the images are too large, the forum software will resize them on the fly during the upload. Also, media embedding in general should be easier for stuff like Youtube, Google Maps, etc,... That was something about vB that I was never happy with.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#61
Most users ever online was

14,763

11-02-2018 , this was the hill country 500 weekend

at 01:48 PM.

ididnotknowthat.jpg
It was the spammers. Even if their accounts have not yet received final confirmation after registering so they can actually post, they get counted by the software as "users".
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#62
Interestingly, the wave of spammers has changed in nature recently. Almost ALL of them are now using bogus email accounts from gmail and hotmail. The usernames are randomized letters and periods, making it impossible to filter them. There were a few domain names in the emails indicating they were porn related. Those are easier to filter because I can just ban that domain as part of the email.
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Messages
526
Location
Ahead of You
#64
:tab We are starting to see a lot of backlash for sites like Facebook, with their massive data mining of personal user information, shutting down of long time users based on political agendas, and just the seeming endless hostility and trash talking that takes place. I still think forums have a place in terms of generating a more real community, where people can actually get to know each other better than they can on drive by type social media sites. Yes, it takes a bit more time to interact with the community of forum users than on places like FB, Twitter, etc,... but let's face it, quality relationships ALWAYS require more time and intentional effort to make them better. There is simply no getting around that. In that vein, I still think forums offer a way for people to come together, share, learn, and plan face to face events where we can get to know each other even better.
^^^^^
This.
Forums are more of a community than FB, forums have a different culture and mindset. IMHO, FB is really BragBook, everyone's FB life is more wonderful than life in a beer commercial. Smack talkers on forums often get self-policed out by members who understand civility. FB is pile-on kick-em-while-they're-down. After I quit FB, I began liking people again.

TWT was the best and most relevant motorcycling resource available when I was an active rider. Glad to see that Scott remains so dedicated to making the Texas motorcycling community a better place.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#65
Just my two cents... I love old threads and would like to see them survive if possible.
I've not nuked anything real active. Mostly I deleted OLD for sale threads, like 5 years and older. I did the same with the Off-Topic, but also added the condition that the threads had to have less than 50 replies or they would not be deleted (going on the generally safe assumption that most threads worth reading generally had at least that many replies). I whacked a boat load of threads in the Moderators forum because they are basically irrelevant after so many years. I did not delete any from the General forum, and of the Story Telling forums, the Introductions, and most other forums.
 

h2000fb

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Messages
2,329
Location
Crawford, TX
#67
Interestingly, the wave of spammers has changed in nature recently. Almost ALL of them are now using bogus email accounts from gmail and hotmail. The usernames are randomized letters and periods, making it impossible to filter them. There were a few domain names in the emails indicating they were porn related. Those are easier to filter because I can just ban that domain as part of the email.
Will the new platform assist you better in identifying spammers? Personally, I wish there was a legal way to Ping into oblivion the source of spammers. Then, maybe, vendors (?) would be more diligent in policing their servers/services.

Just seems to me people like Google and Microsoft, with all their technology, would be able to slow this down to a trickle. However, I do not see the motivation for them to do so.

"...randomized letters and periods, making it impossible to filter them."
Why couldn't they build a filter to stop randomized letters/periods from being used? Maybe even lock/block IP addresses that attempt to use randomized letters and periods. Yes, it would be a constant battle, but Google/Microsoft have the resources to make spamming much less profitable for the effort.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
5,297
Location
At the back of the pack and out of the dust
#68
Google and Microsoft are not the problem, at least not the core of it. Google has some excellent spam control for their email that is the result of them buying Postini years ago.

The issue lies with the carriers like AT&T, etc. - the guys who own the pipe. There are blacklisting services like SpamCop that will tell you, the guy on the receiving end, which IP addresses are spam sources, but those are only a partial solution and sometimes as much of a problem as the spammers. There is a catch to determining what is spam. Spam to one person may be legitimate business email to another. Sure we will all agree that an unexpected contact from an adult site is likely spam, but what about contact from a legitimate vendor we're not interested in. One small company in Houston had a lot of trouble with someone constantly reporting all of their emails and IPs to blacklisting companies. Each time they would loose business until the issue could be sorted out. SpamCop once blacklisted some the Yahoo email IP addresses for spam, blocking thousands of legitimate users.

I don't even TM's task of sorting the wheat from the chaff.
 

h2000fb

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Messages
2,329
Location
Crawford, TX
#69
Google and Microsoft are not the problem, at least not the core of it. Google has some excellent spam control for their email that is the result of them buying Postini years ago.

The issue lies with the carriers like AT&T, etc. - the guys who own the pipe. There are blacklisting services like SpamCop that will tell you, the guy on the receiving end, which IP addresses are spam sources, but those are only a partial solution and sometimes as much of a problem as the spammers. There is a catch to determining what is spam. Spam to one person may be legitimate business email to another. Sure we will all agree that an unexpected contact from an adult site is likely spam, but what about contact from a legitimate vendor we're not interested in. One small company in Houston had a lot of trouble with someone constantly reporting all of their emails and IPs to blacklisting companies. Each time they would lose business until the issue could be sorted out. SpamCop once blacklisted some the Yahoo email IP addresses for spam, blocking thousands of legitimate users.

I don't even TM's task of sorting the wheat from the chaff.
Regarding my Google and Microsoft reference was GMAIL & HOTMAIL/OUTLOOK could stop spammers from hiding their identity. Legitimate companies do not hide their names.

These two giants could easily prevent new email addresses from being formed with random digits/characters of any kind. It's the randomness that makes them difficult if not impossible to filter. That preventive measure starts with GMAIL and OUTLOOK/HOTMAIL.

Secondly, what about them preventing emails going out when filled with random words? I get those all the time. These should not be that difficult to nuke. Google certainly seems to be able to filter out whatever Google deems to inappropriate in the US and other countries. Why not email?
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#70
:tab TWT's IP have been blacklisted a few times. The problem is that spammers are able to spoof email addresses and domain. I have no idea how it is done. But when the dust settles, they can really screw up a valid domain/IP, kind of like what Meriden mentions. Of course, when that happens, the rightful owner of the domain is not typically notified that they have been blacklisted. So they cannot take action unless and until they realize something is wrong with their emails.

:tab For a forum, this is a REAL problem. The forum software sends out a LOT of email on a daily basis to notify users about replies to threads they are watching, that they have received a PM, and several other functions. It is not uncommon for users to stop getting emails from the forum because their mail service decides email from the forum is spam. In some cases, users simply quit coming to the site because the emails are not getting through. There is NOTHING I can do about that. On the user end, they can at least white list the twtex.com domain so that hopefully, their service will not tag it as spam. BUT, they have to know they need to do this or it does no good.

:tab Spammers often create user accounts using real email addresses, but they belong to other people. These people then get the confirmation email and send me an email demanding I remove their account, as if I had anything to do with it!?

:tab The new software does have more up to date spam fighting features built into it. It remains to be seen how effective it will be... I know people hate lawyers and politicians. But I'd like to think there is an extra deep level in hades for spammers... The same goes for the phone and fax spammers. I get tons of calls and faxes at work every day. VERY annoying!!
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,183
Location
Far East DFW
#71
Don't forget there's also a difference between email spam and spam accounts being created here.

Meridan, we had an issue with one of our clients back in the day getting blacklisted. Sure he was sending out over 100k emails each month in a blast. They sold water filters and customers would sign up for reminders every 6 months to reorder, hence the email reminders. Legit business email that was signed up for but was being blocked. We got him all set up correctly and worked out.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#72
:tab There is another issue I forgot to mention. It used to be that if I did a search for "texas motorcycle" or something similar, TWT would show up on the first or second page of results almost every time. That is no longer the case. Something changed regarding how the search engines rank sites and TWT has all but fallen off the results. I am sure this has also been a factor in the decline of registrations by real people. I don't know enough about how all that works to try to improve the standings of TWT in search results or what might have caused the drop to begin with. There are meta tags embedded in the forum software that are supposed to help with this. The robots are finding TWT because if you do more specific searches, you will often find threads on TWT. I have no idea if the switch to a new server and new forum software will have any impact, good or bad, on this issue.

:tab This combined with the email black list issues can kill a site. TWTs continued existence depends on people coming back, but also on new users. Otherwise, over time people will stop coming for all manner of reasons and eventually participation will slow to a trickle. Many long time users have stopped coming, often because they just don't ride anymore. It used to be that I'd get on the site and there would be 400-500 new posts per day. It is now maybe 1/10 of that. I'd like to see that trend reversed.
 

Crew Chief

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2007
Messages
3,285
Location
Rendon TX
#73
I have a feeling that the email spam issue is a part of the decline in overall forum participation. I do not get emails from two forums that I participate in and it definitely reduces my participation by a great deal. I've had problems with TWT being blacklisted by at&t, but you guy's have been great at working through the issues. Not so much administrators at other sites.
 

h2000fb

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 21, 2006
Messages
2,329
Location
Crawford, TX
#74
Google said early on that secured sites would be necessary for ranking. That is why we moved to HTTPS. However, I just searched "motorcycle forums" and while many are secured, the top one was not.

That said, my son is SEO manager for a large online company and he told me early on that volume trumps just about everything. It seems there must be some truth to that. However, I would think ADVRider would rank higher than it did.

:shrug:

Search for Texa motorcycle forums and TWT is #1 :clap:
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Messages
5,297
Location
At the back of the pack and out of the dust
#75
I'm seeing TWT ranked at 5 on my clean browser for the search "motorcycle forums texas." If I type a "T" in my regular browser, the first thing that pops up is TWTEX.com. That's the filter bubble for you.

Understood regarding the difference between spam email and spam on forums. I was wrapping those together in the bigger picture of spoofing, which I understand really is a carrier problem. I should have brought in some hired guns on our blacklisting problem rather than sorting it out in house. It took too long. On the other hand we were doing everything as economically as possible.

The old Honda XR650 thread used to be a clearing house for day rides and ride reports in central Texas. I think that many of the guys who were posting then have moved, or quit riding. Others have moved on from day trips to longer rides. There was a lot of activity on that thread, but no so much any more.

m
 
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