Author Topic: Spam Board Issues and Restrictions  (Read 1510 times)

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Offline Meadow Whisper (Natasha)

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Spam Board Issues and Restrictions
« on: May 18, 2010, 12:11:44 am »
Due to the gross overuse of the Spam board, and the fact that a significant number of people don't know how to use it responsibly, the Spam board is temporarily closed.  It will re-open in one week (on May 24th).  If abuse of the Spam board continues beyond that date, we'll begin taking action against specific users, so consider this an official warning to everyone.

What constitutes abuse?  Well, after reviewing our server logs and posting histories, the Spam board has been getting more traffic than every other area of the site combined, almost by an entire order of magnitude.  Not only is this ridiculous in general, but it misses the point of the Spam board, and has a dramatic impact on the site's performance.  The rapid rate of posting there is a problem on its own, but there's the additional and more serious issue of users heavily refreshing the page to look for new posts.

The point of the Spam board is not to be the focus of your visits to the site.  It exists to provide a supplemental "fun zone" for members who are otherwise highly active elsewhere on the site.

After the Spam board re-opens, anyone whose posts in Spam exceed their posts in all other boards combined will be prevented from accessing the Spam board.

On behalf of all the admins, I apologize for the inconvenience.  I know there are some fun threads there, but if that section of the site isn't used responsibly, at our current rate of growth, we'll experience major problems long before I can afford to move FT to a higher-volume server.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 04:38:49 pm by Natasha Softpaw »
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Offline Daniel A. Skirtandzy

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 12:37:13 am »
While not entirely in favour of it, I have to agree with your decision.
I have seen site stats, and I know what you are talking about.

And I know that I, myself, have been guilty of just posting in there during sessions.
Hopefully, this will bring more life to some of the other boards, and the pace in those will pick up.
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Offline Taily

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 12:41:19 am »
Yeah, I guess we really brought this upon ourselves, didn't we?
Well, dang. Live and learn.

Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 12:45:03 am »
0_0... While I've got other fish to fry than that, I'm quite surprised.... Though, last I checked, Spam about matches all the other boards combined for me, so it's not like I'm not guilty of it too. But... I mean, I don't sit there and just refresh the page. I'm not that bad, or that lost as to how an HTTP GET/POST command combination works.
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Offline Wolf12

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 01:07:07 am »
 Sorry Natasha I will try not to do that again.
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it's in the fine print.

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 02:20:18 am »
Sadness. Although you're right, and I'm sorry if I was a part of it.
Maybe you could make a limit on how many posts you're allowed in the spam thread a day/week? That would help control the traffic.
I'm gonna miss the Classic Count to a Million. TBH, I think that was the problem, since it's the most-used one on there I think...
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Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010, 02:31:59 am »
@MangoPaws: If you don't know, I recently ran the numbers very quickly to check on such a thing for one of our member's sakes (and my own curiosity, I won't lie). If you'd like to see that, it's at:

http://www.furryteens.org/forum/index.php?topic=4500.msg189065#msg189065
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Offline Alex Galloway

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 06:42:40 am »
It hink it's because we were using the CCtM as a general chat thread, something I've seen on other forums that's a huge and popular topic. If we created a real general chat or casual chat thread in the General Chatter, it might relieve and balance some of the stress of the spam thread, but then again, it might also Cause an overflow in general chatter, while also inflating user posts.
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Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2010, 06:58:23 am »
-snip-
[After] reviewing our server logs and posting histories, the Spam board has been getting more traffic than every other area of the site combined, almost by an entire order of magnitude.  Not only is this ridiculous in general, but it misses the point of the Spam board, and has a dramatic impact on the site's performance.  The rapid rate of posting there is a problem on its own, but there's the additional and more serious issue of users heavily refreshing the page to look for new posts.
-snip-

Let me snag out the part that necessitates this more than anything:

[There's] the additional and more serious issue of users heavily refreshing the page to look for new posts.

From the server's stand point, that ends up as:
Calls to the firewall (incoming signal)
Several basic HTTP calls to the server (after they pass the firewall)
Calls to PHP scripts and a SQL database
A return call for all those to the user, so that they receive a copy (and, yes, it also hits the firewall on the way out, even though it's "safe")

All of these cost resources and bandwidth. There's also processing load to be considered - how much the server has to "think" about this to get it done.


I'm not a staff member, but, please, stop and consider this... It's very important, and it's why I picked that line to highlight more than any other in what Natasha said. Let me repeat this: It's not, by any means, an official story, but is still worth considering.

EDIT: Removal of major egocentrism; I apologize if you saw it before the edit.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 07:00:54 am by copb.phoenix »
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Offline Meadow Whisper (Natasha)

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2010, 07:00:44 am »
It hink it's because we were using the CCtM as a general chat thread, something I've seen on other forums that's a huge and popular topic. If we created a real general chat or casual chat thread in the General Chatter, it might relieve and balance some of the stress of the spam thread, but then again, it might also Cause an overflow in general chatter, while also inflating user posts.

That was part of it, but only a minor part.  As I already explained, the main issue is people refresh-spamming the site so hard that they basically create a DOS attack (Denial of Service).  Combined with the rapid rate of posting in a large number of Spam threads (not just the counting one), the total traffic to the spam board has had a major impact on our server.  Plus, there were people who, for the most part, weren't active anywhere except the Spam board, which misses the point of its existance.

Also, in case I haven't made it clear enough:

Forums are not a chat room

If you want to have "general chat" or "casual chat", there are ample other venues for it, including instant messenger applications, IRC and other chatroom systems, and email.  Forum threads are not the place for it, and the only reason it was allowed in the counting thread is because it actually increased the usefulness of that particular thread.


From the server's stand point, that ends up as:
Calls to the firewall (incoming signal)
Several basic HTTP calls to the server (after they pass the firewall)
Calls to PHP scripts and a SQL database
A return call for all those to the user, so that they receive a copy (and, yes, it also hits the firewall on the way out, even though it's "safe")

All of these cost resources and bandwidth. There's also processing load to be considered - how much the server has to "think" about this to get it done.

Pretty much, yeah.  I've been monitoring this for awhile now, and the main bottlenecks in this case are actually both the firewall and the web server. 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 07:04:29 am by Natasha Softpaw »
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Offline lucien

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2010, 01:43:22 am »
Just gonna throw this out there, but remember guys, just because the Spam board is open again it doesn't mean you can go crazy with it. The whole reason it was shut down is because there was too much posting there and not enough on the general areas of the site, so if you go back to the same routine we're not solving the problem.
I mean, it's only been open a few hours and it's already getting more activity than the rest of the site :\ I know you guys like playing games and being silly, but contributing to the rest of the site is also important.

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Offline Meadow Whisper (Natasha)

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Re: Spam Board Temporarily Closed
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2010, 04:43:25 pm »
Spam board restrictions are now in effect.  We now have an administrative script to identify the users who most heavily use the Spam board, and to flag accounts that meet our criteria for abusing it.  From now on, any user whose posts in Spam exceed their posts in every other board by double will be denied access to the Spam board.  This will be recalculated at the end of every month (approximately), so users who are denied such access will have an opportunity to regain it, and vice-versa.

Due to the resource-intensive nature of this script, it's restricted to staff only, but any user wishing to request the spam usage data for their account may do so by contacting any admin via PM.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 04:48:26 pm by Natasha Softpaw »
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Note:  I'm no longer actively involved in running this site, so while I welcome any personal messages, please do not contact me about account issues.  Please direct all such inquiries to Panda.  Thanks for all the years of awesome memories and friendship!  <3