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Author Topic: Personal Messages Reinstated  (Read 1244 times)

Bill St. Clair

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Personal Messages Reinstated
« on: June 02, 2016, 06:02:58 pm »

In the middle of April, after a discussion about a troll who was sending disparaging Personal Messages (PMs) to new members, Elias decided to disable the PM feature, and I made the changes to the permissions to make sending PMs unavailable. Reading of existing PMs was still possible, but no new ones could be sent. I checked today, and none had been sent.

Moonbeam suggested that maybe we could disable PMs for only new members. After thought and discussion, Elias asked me last night to re-enable PMs, but not for "Provisional" or "Newbie" members. This means that if you have made 50 or more posts on the forums, you may send and read PMs, and people may send PMs to you. If you have made fewer than 50 posts, you may neither send nor read PMs, and nobody may send PMs to you. This leaves a small potential class of people who received PMs before April, but who have made fewer than 50 posts. They will be unable to see their existing PMs until they have made 50 posts. This class may be empty. I haven't tried to check.

Hopefully, these new settings will make it harder for a troll to poison the well, and will allow people to communicate in a less-than-public way. Remember, though, that PMs are stored in plain-text in a database table. Anyone with shell access to the Linux system hosting this web site, and knowledge about how to look at them, can see them. As far as I know, I am currently the only such person, and I do my best to not pry into private messages, except as I unavoidably see while looking for evidence of PM trolls. I so far have seen no evidence that any of our trolls managed to login, but if someone should break in, and there are always vulnerabilities that allow a dedicated goblin to do that, they will be able to read your PMs.

Bottom line: if your communication needs to be truly private, use a truly private messaging system, or at least encrypt your PMs before sending them here, so that the plain text is not in our database.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 06:52:47 pm by Bill St. Clair »
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"The state can only survive as long as a majority is programmed to believe that theft isn't wrong if it's called taxation or asset forfeiture or eminent domain, that assault and kidnapping isn't wrong if it's called arrest, that mass murder isn't wrong if it's called war." -- Bill St. Clair

"Separation of Earth and state!" -- Bill St. Clair

da gooch

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Re: Personal Messages Reinstated
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2016, 08:56:00 pm »

:wav:

Thank you Bill for making this happen.

Thank you Elias for allowing it to happen again.

And Thank you to Moonbeam for making the suggestion concerning the restriction of access for "Provisional" or "Newbie" members which apparently was the deciding factor.

Bravo Zulu's all around.

:wav:
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MamaLiberty

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Re: Personal Messages Reinstated
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 04:58:44 am »

Thank you Bill, and Elias. :)
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Elias Alias

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Re: Personal Messages Reinstated
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2016, 03:55:13 pm »

I am happy that those who need private messaging here once again have access to the feature.

I would like to post my email address here and invite anyone who sees abuse of this PM feature to email me please -- but please do not email me at this email address just to be friendly. My inbox is swamped and I can't keep up. But any abuse of the PM system here is important to me, so please do report any abuse you see. Thank you for honoring my request to only use this email address for such purpose.

eliasalias@thementalmilitia.net

To the "newbies", get busy with post-making so you can elevate your privileges by achieving fifty or more posts.

Bill, thank you sincerely for your wise counsel and for handling all the technical stuff to make this happen. You da Man!

Salute!
Elias Alias
https://thementalmilitia.net/
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