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Thread: Anonymous Members

  1. #1
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    Anonymous Members

    For some time now I believe that there are members, one in particular anyhow, but possibly others that aren't who they say they are. Nor do they provide any sort of link to their personal or business website so that other members can verify a) their identity or b) their credentials

    They are simply here to entrap or to troll.

    This concerns me

    At least one other forum I am a member of actually requires a real name in the signature or profile, and a website link to their page.

    I think in the spirit of transparency and honesty this would also be a good move here

    Comments ?
    Darren
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    Have to agree Darren, but I don't see how you could really enforce it. People could have any number of identities on here, I suppose that is why there are avatars and usernames to maintain anonymity. I think they provide some measure of personal safety and security but that works both sides of the fence . If someone took affront with another on this forum and a full id was available, who knows where things could go wrong. In the spirit of transparency and honesty I am happy to provide a full name and even a website if I had to create one, but is it really who I am? At the end of the day that's the job of the moderator to determine as per AP's rules IMO. If there are suspicious goings on, It should warrant mention to Rick, but I wish these things weren't so, because I really like this site and the great majority of folks on it have been good to talk to, unless there are particular areas/forums that you are referring to and I don't frequent.

    Diane Howden (really me )
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  3. #3
    Ausphotography Regular bobt's Avatar
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    I'm not sure anyone really knows who anyone is on the 'net. To look at my picture you wouldn't know that I'm really a gorgeous young girl wearing a min-skirt - but there you go, even our pictures can be misleading. There are trolls around, and there are lurkers and there are those who may have dual identities or be totally different here than in real life. I guess if that's what floats their boats there's not a whole lot one can do about it apart from making sure that they have a legitimate email. Honesty and transparency would be great, but I fear it may be an unrealistic goal.

  4. #4
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    We do what we can. We ban anyone who joins and lists their location as qwerty, or home, or here, or Dsdsdsds, etc. if we cannot match their ip to the location they provide they also get banned. Spammers often put Sydney as they location cause it's the only city they know.

    We also have a series of protection mechanisms to detect someone with multiple accounts and remove their accounts when they create new ones. Recently we banned someone over personal attacks against another member. Once banned they tried to rejoin about 6 times, each time our software detected it and banned them within minutes of their joining.

    We do what we can, and vigilant members can always make us aware of another member if you concerned. We will look into it.
    Last edited by ricktas; 19-10-2011 at 12:31pm.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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  5. #5
    It's all about the Light!
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    99.9% of regulars on AP are known, i.e. they have turned up at meets and/or provide enough anecdotal information in posts over time that we have a good sense about them in this community.

    The mods chat about odd posts and strange online behaviour - usually this ends up being a spammer of some type.
    We prevent about 100 spammers (mainly bots) from joining AP each day.
    About 5 a week get past our automated defenses, these are dealt with within hours, usually minutes.

    Other behaviours are dealt with on a case by case basis.

    99.999% of active members are great members who share our common interests.
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    I would dispute that 99.9% of members are known, I suppose it depends on your definition of regular

    I would say that there is a core group of regular members that are known but that's about it

    I dont think it's too hard to put in place such a policy and if you have nothing to hide then why worry about it.

    Plenty here that only post comments, never pictures, aren't linking to any website or using their real name, and I think that is wrong.
    Last edited by kiwi; 19-10-2011 at 5:31pm.

  7. #7
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    OK.

    I am not about to force members to provide a real name! End of Story!

    The rules on AP are fairly defined and comprehensive, we (the mods and I) act in the background more than most members would realise.

    Take this member who joined earlier today. Look at their location in their profile. They were locked out (banned) from the site within 5 minutes of joining. We are pro-active, but cause we don't talk about it on the site, most members do not even realise it happens.

    Recently,we banned someone for personal attacks against another member. For the next couple of days after they were banned we got reports from the site software of them repeatedly joining with new usernames (all up about 6 different accounts). Each was banned soon after they registered, in fact only once did they get time enough to actually post to the site, in the other 5 they got banned before they even got a chance to get a single post up.

    We are fairly skilled at detective work behind the scenes, and yes occasionally someone gets to join in, with less than savoury intentions, but it usually doesn't take us long to work it out, and get onto them. There are several members that also are astute and report stuff to us on a reasonably regular basis, that we are often replying to them saying 'thanks'.

    I do not believe asking members to provide their real name will stop anyone with less than pure intent, cause they will just say their name is John/Peter/Sally etc and lie anyway. As for website links, all they need to do is setup a Flickr account in the false name and link to that, if they really want to get on AP and cause mischief, they will, no matter what we do. All we can do is be vigilant and act when we become aware of something that isn't above board. If you see something you think is odd, report it, we will look into it.

    Having said all of this, remember that AP is generally a good site, with positive members and the vast majority are here to enjoy their photography an the interactions between members. The mods and I much more enjoy dealing with critiques, viewing threads, having a laugh, going WOW at a photo, running the competitions etc, than dealing with 'issues'.

    I reckon we need to all get on with enjoying our photography and what AP offers, and forget about the occasional internet idiot, that all sites have, and have to deal with, but there are much better things to be doing than having a thread about something that really is a very minor annoyance, rather than an issue that needs constant attention each and every day.

    Now, where is my camera?
    Last edited by ricktas; 19-10-2011 at 5:50pm.

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    I'm me , Darren you seem to have an under lying problem, I'm wondering what it is that your worried about ? In case it effects me , Could you explain a bit more , Not trying to be a smarty , Just wondering - Bill
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




  9. #9
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    I'm me , Darren you seem to have an under lying problem, I'm wondering what it is that your worried about ? In case it effects me , Could you explain a bit more , Not trying to be a smarty , Just wondering - Bill
    Not you Bill. It is another member, who the mods and I are aware of, and have done some checking on, and we are sure they are not who Darren thinks they might be, and Darren has been informed of this.
    Last edited by ricktas; 19-10-2011 at 6:21pm.

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    My only problem with you William is that you're a better photographer than me :-)

    As for the topic, well, seems my recommendation has been considered and rejected.

    Oh well.

  11. #11
    It's all about the Light!
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    We are also subject to the Australian Privacy Act ... See the AP privacy policy

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    Seems a bit secretive , So I'll leave it to you guys to sort it out , Hey, Lets be happy and go and take some photo's Thats what it's all about , Is'nt it , AP rules !! Thanks guys for keeping it safe for all , Probably should'nt have entered into this at all , BTW Thanks for the wrap Darren , Your not to bad at the art youself

  13. #13
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    I remember a thread a while ago where someone asked how they got their username.
    From memory about 90% said it was either there real name or a combination of first or last names. Or something related to their name.
    Others are related to; where their from, where they are, or where there going in life. Or a nick name they have had all their life.
    Yes some are argumentative, and some just go with the flow. But all in all, about 98% of all members are fantastic people. Willing to help out anyone new, and making them feel welcome.
    Yes there are some trouble makers out there. But I think that Admins and Mods have the bull by the horns when it comes down to those who don't want to play the game.
    Last edited by geoffsta; 19-10-2011 at 7:47pm.
    Geoff
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    And 2% of 10000 members is still too many I'm afraid

    Anyhow, that's the last point I'll make

    There are other ways to skin a cat.

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    If it's any help, my real name is Trent. But with my surname in a phone book, I'm hardly going to supply a real surname to anyone except the mods or site owner, and definitely only if they really needed it, because I've already had a weird facebook stalker look up my address and phone number once because of a real surname being used on there. I'd rather avoid that experience again.
    I would warrant that ricktas is only going to need my real name if I commit some kind of crime, and he'd have my IP address to give the AFP the moment I do that, and they'll have no trouble finding out who I am from that.
    My guess is whoever it is that concerns you, simply alert the mods. There's a pretty good chance they'll already have taken note of the person anyway if they've been doing anything of note. Trust your mods. I'm pretty sure this place wouldn't have the reputation it does if the mods weren't doing a pretty thorough job.
    Canon EOS 60D ..... EFS 18-200mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS - 430 EXII Speedlite - "eBay special" Remote Control Unit - Manfrotto 190XPROB w 804RC2 head.

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    Anyone that joins AP for a purpose other than for what AP is about concerns me, and should you too if you choose it to.

    Transparency isn't the only answer and yes, AP is well moderated where members step out of line

    If you just do enough to stay active and are just here to troll then that's a problem I guess

    Anyway, mods can close the thread.

  17. #17
    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Anyone that joins AP for a purpose other than for what AP is about concerns me, and should you too if you choose it to.

    Transparency isn't the only answer and yes, AP is well moderated where members step out of line

    If you just do enough to stay active and are just here to troll then that's a problem I guess

    Anyway, mods can close the thread.
    Of course it concerns us, but you have to have a little trust that the mods and I are fairly good at detecting when things may not be as they seem, and we investigate and watch, or investigate and act.

  18. #18
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    To me there are 6 different types of members.
    1. Those who have been hobby /pro togs for a long time. And feel that they have a sort of ownership of the site and want it to continue.
    2. Those who use Ausphotoraphy as a means of escapism. They like the idea of communicating with like minded people in a sort of anonymous way.
    3. Those who are just starting out. Go like a bull at a gate. Then slow to a crawl as they get better at it. Or can go no further.
    4. Those doing a uni course and want to pick the brains of those in #1 (Then go into the #5 category)
    5. Those that are really only join because of the competitions. They may write one or two posts, just to keep active.
    6. Those that only join to get what they want, then are never seen again.

    I'd bet if Rick deleted all those that haven't posted in the last 90 days. The membership would be below 5,000

  19. #19
    It's all about the Light!
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    @Geoff - that is standard for most forums.
    Whirlpool with 400,000+ mainly Aussie members only has a couple of thousand active members.
    The mods have a stats package that provides membership analysis.
    We've had around 1,500 active members in the last 30 days.

  20. #20
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    I don't need lots of AP members crawling into my private life, so I don't use my real name, but I'm sure a half-dozen AP members know my real name. Keep it to yourself if you do. I especially don't want my customers googling and finding my thread posts!

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