Please sign in to post.

Maybe RS should reconsider allowing emojis

They are being abused by spammers.

Not likely, but I am posting this mainly in hopes of moving those offensive posts down off the main page.

Posted by
6384 posts

As soon as the office opens in a couple of hours, they'll disappear. We hope.

Posted by
7031 posts

I wish that the Webmaster would allow a few members to have limited admin privileges for spam purposes only. It's frustrating when you see stuff like this on the weekend and know it's going to hang around till the Pacific time staff get in.

Posted by
4022 posts

Emojis are a great way to express ourselves on this site, especially since we cannot post photos, I don't see any harm with them. Besides emoji keyboards are already integrated into our computer's operating systems and this website's code, it would require a technical workaround like an input filtering system which is more bother than it's worth. 😁

Posted by
3342 posts

I wish people would stop responding to spam. Just saying "reported" bumps the spam up to the top of the "All Topics" queue.

Posted by
7079 posts

I wish that the Webmaster would allow a few members to have limited admin privileges for spam purposes only.

I'm not aware that you could limit admin privileges that narrow and allowing 'outsiders' of the company access to any part of the website opens up whole new issues. Nice thought, but not gonna happen.

Posted by
7031 posts

It probably won't, Nancy. But it's no different than Trip Advisor or Reddit or other for-profit companies that allow volunteers as moderators. It's the same principle. Most message board forums rely on volunteers to help keep the spam out and enforce the rules.

Posted by
386 posts

Or - and this is a pretty radical idea - they could update the forum structure to something that is actually user-friendly and maybe more secure? This HTML bulletin-board set-up (or whatever it is) is so outdated...

Posted by
6689 posts

I wish that the Webmaster would allow a few members to have limited
admin privileges for spam purposes only. It's frustrating when you see
stuff like this on the weekend and know it's going to hang around till
the Pacific time staff get in.

That would be very helpful.

I wish people would stop responding to spam. Just saying "reported"
bumps the spam up to the top of the "All Topics" queue.

That would also be great.

I'm not aware that you could limit admin privileges that narrow and
allowing 'outsiders' of the company access to any part of the website
opens up whole new issues. Nice thought, but not gonna happen.

On modern forum software, it's not a problem. Even on 10-15 year old forum software it's not difficult to have different levels of admin privileges. But this forum seems really ancient.

Posted by
6788 posts

This forum is an expense for the company, not a revenue generator, and that drives decisions about what to do (or not do) regarding maintenance, upgrades, and lots of other things. Although I'd make a strong case that the forum is a huge contributor to the company's success and is absolutely worth regular investment (just like anything else that's valuable), they're not really taking suggestions (at least not from me, although I've personally managed huge public forums for major corporations for decades...I've tried to get their attention and offer input, they don't respond; the company seems not to be set up for that or lots of other things). It is what it is, and they seem to be perfectly happy with the status quo (or happy enough to tolerate it given it's low ongoing cost). A little spam now and then that lasts through a long weekend is not going to move the needle.

The forum software is a custom-built, one-off that is indeed ancient and extremely limited by today's standard, making it costly and a technical/business nightmare to bring up to the standards that many people seem to expect or want. They're OK with that. It works as well as it has for a long, long time, and they're OK with that too. Users shouldn't expect it to change.

I don't think emojis are an issue here. 😎

Posted by
5067 posts

It may be technically outdated (not a geek so really don't know), but it works better than most forums and could not be easier to use. My opinion is that if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Posted by
18862 posts

It may be technically outdated (not a geek so really don't know), but
it works better than most forums and could not be easier to use. My
opinion is that if it isn't broken, don't fix it.

Agree

Ignore the Spam and dont bump it up

Agree

Volunteer Moderators

Disagree, our Webmaster is the best. We have one personality to work with and one known set of expectations to deal with. Much easier than a bunch of amateurs

Posted by
7031 posts

Volunteer Moderators - Disagree, our Webmaster is the best. We have one personality to work with and one known set of expectations to deal with. Much easier than a bunch of amateurs.

James, I agree wholeheartedly that the Webmaster is great. But I think that sometimes this forum causes a lot of work for him and his team. I was a moderator on the AOL travel boards for 5 years back in the lates 90's and early 2000's, and having moderators like that can really ease up on the workload. I'm not saying it will happen; as others pointed out, this forum uses older software and it may not be possible to do. And I wasn't talking about volunteers monitoring the posts of regular forum members. I was talking about the sole ability to remove obvious spam, like the barrage from last night that denigrated women and was pretty disgusting to see on this forum.

This forum is an expense for the company, not a revenue generator, and
that drives decisions about what to do (or not do) regarding
maintenance, upgrades, and lots of other things.

David, I'm not sure why you would say the forum generates no revenue unless you have access to info I do not. In fact, I would be very surprised if this did not bring in some revenue, such as shopping for travel items, tours and guidebooks.

Posted by
2597 posts

I am in the pacific time zone and keep officeworker hours, because I work in an office,
and I would not have known anything about most spam that gets onto the forum at all
if regulars would just report it and show a little patience.

Posted by
6788 posts

@ Mardee -

I'm not sure why you would say the forum generates no revenue unless
you have access to info I do not. In fact, I would be very surprised
if this did not bring in some revenue, such as shopping for travel
items, tours and guidebooks.

I have no insider knowledge, just understand how businesses tend to run and how most of them account for things like IT expenses, staff time, and online forums (I have been watching this particular business since it was Rick going around to college campuses giving talks, before the TV shows, before the current style of books, long before they took people on tours).

I'm pretty sure there is zero direct revenue produced by this forum (and most others), so most businesses would put it in the "cost" column, not the "revenue" column. That tends to drive a lot of decisions. I'm sure they recognize that it's valuable (otherwise it would have gone dark decades ago), but that doesn't really keep the lights on or pay the rent. Perhaps they account for the eyeballs and clicks and have a formula for how much that's "worth" but some places just see that as the cost of doing business.

I'm pretty sure the primary webmaster here (and other employees who pitch in occasionally) are not dedicating 100% of their time to this. The forum is a low-cost operation, that mostly runs by itself requiring relatively little staff time. Keeping it running is not a huge expense, but it does require some routine maintenance/staff time, and occasional (rare) tweaks to the code.

The question about trusted users having permissions to hide/hold spammy posts or block suspected spammers has been floated many times. There is no ability for "somewhat-trusted" users - the software either gives you full admin permissions (which puts the business' entire operation at risk, so not ever gonna happen), or you're a user/non-employee. The "partially trusted" user permissions would require fundamental changes, and without some great urgency to justify that (greater than some occasional annoying spam), I don't see it happening.

Just my guesses here, informed speculation but speculation nonetheless.

Someday, they are going to have to fully overhaul the forum, maybe start over from scratch - they'll have no choice, as it will simply become impossible to keep it running on old operating systems, old servers, etc. (all hardware eventually wears out and needs to be replaced, operating systems must be upgraded, things gotta be compatible, etc. - it's inevitable). I hope they have a plan for that day in place (other than "I just hope I'm gone by then and it's not my problem!") , and I assume they must.

This is a business that has been around a while, and has been quite successful, but (in case you have not noticed) is already "in transition" in many ways (at least that's what it looks like to me, a local observer looking in from outside).

Just my 3 cents. 🤷‍♂️