A quick note about spam posts. While we don't get an awful lot of them, we do see, I'd estimate, an average of 3-4 a week. For the most part, thanks to some key forum members with sharp eyes and the miracle of modern always-connected smartphone technology, these messages aren't visible for very long. They get reported and I delete them, hopefully before many of you even see them and are tempted to buy some Canadian pharmaceuticals or a new "Lewis Vittawn" purse.
If you see one of these messages, I have two requests:
1. Click the "Report Post" button - it looks like this: This generates a notification that gets emailed to me immediately, with a direct link to the offending post. After a few taps and about 10 seconds on my iPhone, the post is deleted and the offending user is banned permanently, and then I'm back to having dinner, shaving, feeding the cats, or whatever other exciting thing I was up to at the time.
2. Please don't reply to the post. First of all, while I regularly read the forums looking for new posts at nearly all hours, I can't guarantee that I'll see this right away, whereas the report post function, as I said, notifies me immediately. Second, replying to a spammer's post sends an email back to the spammer, confirming that someone on our board noticed and read their post. In theory, this could make our forum appear more attractive to the spammer - in practice, it really may not make much of a difference, but it absolutely doesn't help.
EAA Forums are built and maintained for EAA Members, but are open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter, just as our old forums were on Oshkosh365. As with so many things, there's a trade-off between accessibility and security. When we launched the forums, we used a "captcha" mechanism (the semi-distorted image that requires you to type a random selection of letters and numbers) to support our "humans only" policy. This was defeated by spam-bots pretty much immediately, so we switched to using one of a rotating series of human verification questions, which all-but-completely took care of the problem.
As it stands now, for most real people, the registration is here is extremely quick and painless, and it does deter the majority of spammers / spambots. Interestingly, at least to me, the percentages of real people who report that the registration process is too difficult and the amount of actual spam posts we get compared to legitimate traffic are both well under 1%. That's probably the best balance we can hope for.
Big thanks to people like Ron, Steve, Zack, Joel, and especially Matt for their diligence in reporting this stuff and helping me take out the trash, as it were.
Thanks everyone -