General notices about the forum: news, admin. tips and help.
 #4776  by Mark
 Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:11 pm
Hi everybody.

It's been 100 days since I last wrote a newsletter quite a lot has happened since then.

Last newsletter, I mentioned that we were approaching 250 members and all of a sudden here we are at 383. At our average of 1.2 new members a day we should hit 400 in about 2 weeks. I wonder if we can hit 500 by our birthday on 15th July (that is the date that our first REAL member joined). That would be cool. The number of visitors continues to increase and also the amount of bandwidth used (the amount of information transferred to users) and this month that will exceed 75% of our plan. It is clear that we'll need to upgrade the plan for next year - but that's a good problem to have because it means that the forum is being used :)

I used to get excited when I saw that we were getting hits from Russia, Latvia, Moldova. I'm older and (a little) wiser now. It is clear that those hits were early signs of an imminent invasion by spammers which hit PHBB3 forums across the world at about the time that Kathy and I were crossing the straight. The first I knew of it was an excited text from my sister telling me the forum membership was now up to around 400 (I think) and then a message from Ray, who'd been left with the task of welcoming newcomers, making mention of some questionable posts made some of these. At about that time I could have been seen parked on the side of the Mt Buster road (3 bars!) near Naseby on the phone to the Vodaphone Helpdesk trying to get my laptop internet access fixed so that I could sort things out. I bumped Ray up to Administrator status and spent over an hour deleting all the bogus new members and changing the way that people could join the forum.

Over the next 12 weeks or so Ray trawled through hundreds of applications to join the forum, trying to figure out whether each one was genuine or a spammer, deleting the spammers and approving the genuine members - with a remarkably small " :o oops" rate. He was also trying to lessen the numbers of spammers by banning email sources and IP ranges - all without a single word of complaint and also while he was "on the road" himself for part of the time.

I have now researched ways to prevent these applications but will need to upgrade the forum software two versions before I can implement these methods. This will have to be done in the dead of night, when you all should be safely tucked up in bed and not playing on the forum. I hope I don't break it.

The decals are disappearing slowly but steadily and while I did not spot any while we were down south, the chances of encountering one on the road is increasing all the time. I will need to arrange a second printing in the next few weeks.

The NZMCA had their AGM at Kaikohe over Easter. We had some representation there but it is not clear whether any of the new members that have joined heard about the forum at the AGM. I would be interested if any did, so if any of you new members were told about the forum at the AGM, I'd be grateful if you would post that information of PM me.

Kathy and I are still getting back to "normal" after our 12 week absence, but really enjoying having long and frequent showers again. We "did lots of stuff" while we were away but I'm not sure whether people are interested in my "Good things to do in ...." series. It could be seen as a bit self indulgent. ??

It is great to see how willing some of you are to make sure that every New Member post gets a message of welcome. I also note that the level of expertise available within the forum continues to increase. Very impressive and gratifying. I haven't counted, but I guess that there are around 8 conversions being undertaken by various of our members and it's good to see the number of members offering information and ideas. That's what it's all about.

I found that I didn't use GeoKiwi at all while I was on the road. This surprised me. I think the problem was that we so seldom had good coverage (we spent most of our time in remote places beside water (ie low lying)) that when we DID have coverage all my time was spend writing and sending "Groupies" emails to friends and family and doing what I could to assist Ray with the forum. There was no time left to look up the next dumpstation or truckstop.
Has anyone found it useful on the road :?:

Well, that's about it. Hope to have the forum software upgraded by the next time I write and hopefully no-one will even know it has happened 8-)
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