ATS Down-Sunday, August 10th, 2008

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Re: ATS Down-Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Postby Count » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:14 pm

Access Denied wrote:
Count wrote:Bah and humbug. Your paranoia and prejudice is showing, please try to keep it in check.

LOL damn straight it is, and no I won’t “try to keep it in check”. I have all the proof I need not to trust ATS and I’m not here to please some (so far) random poster.

So you're the one who has been tasked to make everyone feel welcome? :lol:

I find that scenario highly unlikely. Writing a bot just for sending spam PMs on ATS would be more work than it’s worth in my opinion and eliminating that particular attack vector in code would be trivial after the first proof of concept.

I very much agree with you, though general purpose spambots have been around and I assume still are, though I wouldn't know as I no longer rate high enough on their attack lists. Writing one for ATS would be a bit more work than just attacking all phpBB, SMF, vBulletin or other popular boards who more often than not are just brought up with default settings and then left at that.

[Hey, now that I think about it, that sure would be a great way to keep the numbers up wouldn’t it? Some of the posters on ATS sure are fond of repeating themselves lol]

You know, after spending last night and most of the morning today (before ATS went down for maintenance) I could very easily be made to believe that what you describe above has already happened.

Also, there’s no reason ATS couldn’t use a manual (non automated) user registration process as you point out below. Occasionally a determined (e.g. paid) human spammer will slip through no matter what you do but so what?

Now I'm stealing your lines here, but... I think that going back to the old system [the introductory post] would cut into their revenue stream as they would attract less users who would post!

Sure, and your point is? Just because it CAN be done doesn’t meant it SHOULD be.

I somewhat agree with you. It never should be done unless there is a clear and well presented reason why it can be done. And I'm not saying that in all cases it should be done every time such a reason comes up; I've seen it myself that even knowing that such an opportunity exists will tend to make the would-be-abusers somewhat less vocal.

Private messages are supposed to be private… period. Can you give me an example of when it would be considered appropriate (ethical) for an admin to read their member’s private messages?

Well, in my case I was called at home at after 9pm on a weekend and the caller told me that such and such things have been said about her and what she does as a hobby and if those messages (both public and private) won't be dealt with she will press charges.

Hint: Resolving a pissing contest between members isn’t one of them. Neither is “checking up” on members “suspected” of “violating” the T&C.

Depends on how you define a pissing contest, I guess :)
I don't know of what privacy laws you live under, but over here the intended recipient can publish whatever communication they've received personally, unless it's covered by some very limited (usually government/military related) restrictions or if the recipient has signed an agreement not to divulge any information to outsiders.

I can’t really think of one that wouldn’t involve a court order or law enforcement in some way. There are other ways to deal with alleged “abuse” situations that don’t require violating a member’s right to privacy.

Does a member have a right to privacy? The admins are by no means forced to even enable PM features on their software of choice, does that mean that your perceived right to privacy has been denied?
A user in any forum I admin is there on my sufferance and on that alone, they have no rights other than what I choose to give them. If they don't like it, they don't need to sign up - if they've signed up without reading the fine print - they can leave.

<snip all the TRUSTe bs>

That certification & assorted bs that goes with it isn't even worth the paper it's not printed on. I think we both can agree to that.

Count wrote:Assume good faith is a good policy to have, as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and nothing else.


What I meant is that instead of trying to think of the worst and digging for hidden agendas etc isn't often very productive. And sometimes things just are how they appear to be, without any hidden meanings.

Count wrote:PS. No matter how much money SO & others have got from ads, investors etc. I'd be surprised if all told ATS would be in the black already. Running a site even half as big as ATS is not cheap, and the numbers do tend to add up over the years.

Mark claims he spent nearly $100,000 for advertising on Coast 2 Coast. Are you saying he’s a liar or just plain stupid?

Err, you lost me there.
I was saying that they're necessarily not in the black even though they're getting money now, and that in my books doesn't mean that they're making money. Spending $100k on advertising means that they believe that they will get more than that in return from that, but for my opinion to change they'd need get at least 100 to 1 return on that investment.

I don't know how they measure their financial situation, be it from the very beginning or from the start of the LLP or whatever, but taking into account the fact that Simon Gray started the site over 10 years ago and knowing what computers, bandwidth etc went at that time, the sum he had to invest to ATS to make it work [before getting SO and Springer onboard] would be not insignificant amount of £ had he invested it to the stock market instead.

Count wrote:(Pretty much the only reason I called it quits with my 'too successful' forum...)

Sorry to hear that, what forum was that?

I won't name it here but it was a forum which was brought up "on the ruins" of another board which indeed crashed and burned because it was found out to contain a "secret forum" where a select group of users talked amongst themselves about other, very much identifiable and identified users. A 'deep throat' of sorts published some screen shots about the juiciest matters and in return the admins pulled the plug. I had been just an user there and not even very active one.
I got 250 registrations on the first 24 hours, about 1000 in 4 days and after it got up to speed, about 100k messages a month were posted. 2 million hits per month on the average, about 200k of those unique.
I could go on but it's not really topical, but I'm happy to serve your curiosity by PM if you want :)

Edit: Fsck, I forgot to mention the reason why I quit...
I had set up Google AdSense ads which were providing a steady but not that stellar amount of money (on the average about 230€/month) and I had the bright idea that it would be a good idea to donate some of that into charity. At the time there was quite well publicized event which many (if not most) of the user base was very upset about, and I felt that it'd be a good way to help. So I figured out that I could take 6 months of *pre tax* ad revenue, divide it by 6 and donate the average amount to a charity/cause the users would like to support. Not very long after the first donation was made, I got notified by Google that they're closing my AdSense account because of some unspecified fraud, and that was the end of it.
I think that either someone got jealous that I was "making so much money" and decided to clickbomb my site, or that someone or several someones decided to "help out" and click more ads. The truth of it will never be known, as Google will not say anything about the matter (only some conflicting messages from the customer service)...
Last edited by Count on Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ATS Down-Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Postby Count » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:23 pm

ryguy wrote:It really is a joy watching an illogical argument get completely dismantled through logic, reason and facts.

Yeah, so what does this mean, then?

I was going to respond regarding the silly comment that the private area (based on posting levels) is set up to block spam bots

So in your opinion this is silly:

"CAPTCHA helps, but it doesn't cut all of it so mandatory posting limit is a good and relatively painless way to get rid of said bots."

Where exactly is the silliness you mention? Though I can only assume that you were referring to that sentence as there is no other place I'm referring to posting limits. And you'd be hard to pressed to point out where I'm in fact saying, insinuating or suggesting that the limit is there because of that reason. I'm just pointing out a possibility, nothing more, nothing less.
You might also let the SMF maintainers know that they're being silly, as their software is setup out of the box in a way that you need to write x number of messages before you can PM.
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Re: ATS Down-Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Postby Access Denied » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:10 pm

Hey Count, I could be wrong but I think Ryan was referring to the silliness of the ATS “party line” (excuses for posting limits) that are clearly intended to promote quantity over quality more than anything you said specifically.

Anyway, more later when I have time…

P.S. Welcome to RU. :D
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Re: ATS Down-Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Postby ryguy » Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:58 pm

Yes, AD got it right mostly. Actually, I was referring to the topic that got lost within the surrounding issues you guys are discussing. What I'm referring to is this one item, when AD wrote:

What’s the difference? Is it just me or does anybody else think it’s strange that a supposedly “free” site make you “pay” for stuff (“privileges”) with posts other sites give you as soon as you sign up? (especially the ability to send private messages)

What AD was initially referring to was the concept of creating an "elite" private forum area where you need to have a certain number of posts before you can access it. You (count) started talking about spambots...which is irrelevant to the original issue - that ATS uses gimmicks such as private posting areas, which you need a certain postcount to access, in order to drive up the quantity of posts on their site.

There really is no purpose to using postcount for private access to a small forum area, other than making people feel like they have additional "privileges" if they post enough. We have a private area here called "The Big Picture" - but it was only created to keep out our detractors who hope to cause trouble. We were providing information that we didn't want the "general public" to have, but only our members who could make it through our private screening process (meaning contacting us as a "real person" so we could verify who they really were).

So what was silly, to me, was the change-of-subject from what AD was referring to, to a conversation about bots which, while I'm sure it's true and accurate, is irrelevant to the issue of what their true intent was in creating the private forum area in the first place. It wasn't to stop spammed messages.

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