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Awful issues with registration


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#1 dannyricsshoe

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 06:48

I messaged Vitesse about this but they haven't read my message so I wanted to post it here:

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Hey. I've just been granted access to the forum but I wanted to share some feedback which I hope helps the forum.

I signed up to my account some time ago, confirmed my email and waited for moderation approval. It seems the approval never happened, yet I was able to log in, read posts but not post myself.

After some time I tried another account registration, but the same issue. My account never got approved, no notice or reason was given and I decided then to try and contact forum admin about it.

The obvious step was using the contact us link at the bottom of the forum I filled this form in twice but received no reply and my account remained locked.

I then tried to contact admin or a mod via pm but my account didn't have the permissions to do so.

I discovered the only way I could send a message was by visiting a users profile and reporting them. I did this, and also messaged autosport on Twitter.

Finally I have access to post after such a long time. I just wanted to let you know that this potentially may be happening to other registrations that seen to get lost in the system. Likewise there's no way to properly contact anyone if registration doesn't work.

I've read some other topics in the feedback sub forum and seen that I'm not the only one. Another user even had to contact someone on a different forum about their account not being approved.

Of course I'm familiar with spam filtering and denial of posting as a new member but I only registered using my home ip address, nothing suspicious like a vpn proxy or data saver. Not only this, but I successfully confirmed my email and still was denied!

The icing on the cake is not receiving any correspondence. No message to say account was unapproved, no way to contact anyone and to seek help and no explanation other than initial 'waiting for account to be accepted' after email confirmation.

So I'm glad to be in finally, but I wanted to pass my experience on so hopefully it can corrected in the case of future registrations like me. I'm not sure what did it in the end, reporting or twitter, but certainly the experience of registering is enough to put anyone off, so I hope this helps you improve the system in the future!

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#2 absinthedude

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 10:49

Yup....I have one account here which I started years ago and I could not regain access even though the account still exists. When I re-registered it took the creation of three separate accounts to actually get through the process successfully. 

Mentioned it at the time and I don't think it was believed. I recall an admin checking and finding no evidence on their side of my multiple attempts to register yet I had the emails in my various inboxes. 



#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 13:15

I had actually read the PM you sent as I get them all copied to my personal email. To address all your points would take far too long and possibly reveal some of the other techniques we use, but having looked back over the history - and bear in mind we're talking about over three months ago, since when we have had thousands of registrations, the vast majority from spammers - the following things stand out:

 

1 The time zone which was set on the first registration didn't tally with the geographical location of your IP address.

2 The ISP you registered from, while reputable, is - in our experience - the source of a lot of spam registrations.

3 There was no obvious reason for your first registration - no favourite team or driver stated.

4 An image search on the avatar on your first registration led me to another forum where you were apparently a moderator and - while the email you used to register tallied with the username there, it didn't tally with the one you used to register here. We get lots of registrations from spoofed and/or compromised email addresses. So I'm afraid that just looked suspicious.

 

Taken together, all those things led me to the conclusion that you might be a spammer. Then you registered another account from the same IP ...

 

The lack of communications is being addressed, but it's a slow process, for reasons I won't go into. But if I sent out a 'sorry we don't think you're real' or 'we think you're a returning banned member' to every registration we rejected it would take hours every day. And, since many of the spam registrations are confirmed by email, despite being obvious spam - ultimately pointless, merely proving they'd found a live email address and thus attracting more spam. There are some previously banned members who have attempted to set up thirty-plus new accounts and ten or a dozen attempts is not uncommon.

 

And it's not as if I get paid for this ...



#4 proviz

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 17:07

All this does is just showcase the gigantic, monstrous problems involved with most things internet....



#5 proviz

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Posted 03 January 2021 - 17:08

... and no. I absolutely will not call them challenges!


Edited by proviz, 03 January 2021 - 17:13.


#6 dannyricsshoe

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Posted 04 January 2021 - 07:06

How was I supposed to know you received my message? No reply and it's sitting there unread. If you did read it then I'm not going to know unless it's snorkeled acknowledged.

So basically what you're saying is my manual account approval was denied on the basis you thought I was a spammer. Whilst I don't really see how a residential ip address from a cable company in the USA can be seen as spam and flag me as spam.. Especially if I pass captcha and the Schumacher test.. However I accept that sometimes manual approval may be required.

I think there's a clear problem with the automatic spam filter.

Regarding your points. I'm not quite sure which points refer to why my account was initially flagged as spam, or which are related to a decision to manually not approve my account:

1.I didn't even see an option to set a time zone. If it defaults always to GMT and there's no option to even set it when you register then maybe that tripped the system? I just checked again registering a new account on my phone and there's no time zone setting.
2. My ISP is spectrum that have roughly 30 million subscribers in the USA. I live in a small City in Michigan. Flagging that as spam would be akin to flagging anyone with Sky internet in the UK living somewhere like Bournemouth as spam.
3. Maybe these should be required fields if they are used to determine manual account approvals. Not everyone is going to put favorites here, not just spammers.
4. The email I used is the same email as my moderator account on the other forum. Still, I don't mind if you thought I was spam, but no message, email or anything with a way to prove otherwise?

What really is a shame is there was no way to even contact anyone about it and my messages I sent using the contact link are ignored.

So not only do I think the system used to check spammers to begin with seems very rudimentary and over zealous I don't really mind that your own manual judgement was my account was spam. What I think is strange is no replies to my contact requests and no communication to appeal account denial.

As you saw, I myself volunteer to help on another forum so I understand you may do this on a voluntary basis more than anyone, but I also assume it's rather important that legitimate users don't get turned away. Both from a community point of view and a financial one.

I'm only giving feedback because I don't want it to happen to people in the future because I know it will put 99% people off. I've never ever had these issues with any other message board.

Anyway, the feedback is there and I'm willing to help any way I can. I hope it doesn't get swept under the rug because it's clear from other threads here and from proviz posting here that I'm not the only one.

#7 PlatenGlass

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Posted 04 January 2021 - 23:15

 

3 There was no obvious reason for your first registration - no favourite team or driver stated.

 

And the non-sequitur of the week award goes to...



#8 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 January 2021 - 08:58

And the non-sequitur of the week award goes to...

That question actually helps me greatly in identifying spammers, because it will often be auto-filled by bots with something which flags the account up as dubious, like a country name or the username they've put in the registration.

 

Leaving it empty is not necessarily a reason not to approve an  account, but can - as demonstrated above - be a factor.



#9 PlatenGlass

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Posted 05 January 2021 - 16:34

That question actually helps me greatly in identifying spammers, because it will often be auto-filled by bots with something which flags the account up as dubious, like a country name or the username they've put in the registration.

 

Leaving it empty is not necessarily a reason not to approve an  account, but can - as demonstrated above - be a factor.

OK, fair enough. But not everyone has a favourite team/driver - I think I probably left it blank. Maybe a different motorsport-related question would be preferable with an asterisk to say it's required.



#10 absinthedude

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Posted 09 January 2021 - 21:40

Not everyone has a favourite team or driver. Maybe that's why two of my attempts to register a while back didn't work - not that I would have known because my attempts to contact admin were fruitless.  I don't recall it saying that the answers would affect account approval. 

 

Regarding the OP's geographical location not matching time stamp....perhaps OP uses a VPN? I don't recall anything in the sign-up process which says "If you use a VPN please disable it as your account won't be approved if your local time doesn't match your apparent geographical location".

 

I do appreciate that being admin/mod isn't easy. I admin elsewhere and it's a thankless task...so please see this as constructive criticism. I'm glad that someone else had similar problems to me attempting to register. 



#11 dannyricsshoe

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Posted 11 January 2021 - 07:05

Not everyone has a favourite team or driver. Maybe that's why two of my attempts to register a while back didn't work - not that I would have known because my attempts to contact admin were fruitless.  I don't recall it saying that the answers would affect account approval. 

 

Regarding the OP's geographical location not matching time stamp....perhaps OP uses a VPN? I don't recall anything in the sign-up process which says "If you use a VPN please disable it as your account won't be approved if your local time doesn't match your apparent geographical location".

 

I do appreciate that being admin/mod isn't easy. I admin elsewhere and it's a thankless task...so please see this as constructive criticism. I'm glad that someone else had similar problems to me attempting to register. 

Definitely not using a VPN, just a residential IP address that points to my local city in Michigan, USA. And a small city of that.

 

If every account goes to manual approval then I can understand why some new registrations may not be approved, but there's no communication or anything to let you know either way.

If only certain accounts go to manual approval because they flag up as spam by an automatic spam filter, then something is wrong if its flagging me as spam. And not just me either, I'm certain there are lots of other people with the problem. So far in this thread 2 people have mentioned the same problem and we've been able to document it whereas 99% of people that have the problem can't, since they can't get to this stage to begin with.

 

But the last problem of course is that the contact form either doesn't work, or doesn't go to forum admin, and there's no way to pm a mod or admin unless your account has been approved.

 

Definitely intending this criticism to be constructive, I thought I'd mention it because its very, very unusual and I'm sure it puts a lot of others off about posting. I mod myself on another forum so I understand it can be frustrating, especially if there's no backing from ownership. But I hope for the sake of the community it can be ironed out and improved.

 

If a someone reading without posting access reads this; try what I did. Contact Autosport on twitter via DM or report a random users profile on here.


Edited by dannyricsshoe, 11 January 2021 - 07:06.


#12 Hrco42

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Posted 04 February 2021 - 11:56

I had similar problems to this...

I first registered at the end of 2018. I was at work at the moment, and our company uses VPN or something, so it is possible my geo location was different to my IP location. I could read and everything, but not post.

I registered again in the summer of 2020, this time I was on my mobile phone, connected to 4G network, no VPN, so there shouldn't have been an issue with locations. But again, no approval.

Both times I left my profiles empty, but I never thought that was a factor. Whenever I register somewhere, I leave that stuff empty. Especially since the profile page looks like something straight out of early 2000s (asking for ICQ, MSN... lol)

 

At some point, I found some email on Autosport, something like admin@autosportforums, not sure, anyway, when I wrote, soon I got the automatic reply that that email doesn't exist anymore.

I also wrote a message via the contact form also on Autosport, but still nothing.

I also contacted Autosport via Facebook Messenger, nothing.

 

Then I saw this thread, reported Vitesse2, wrote in report message about my issues with the registration but still nothing.

Finally I decided to make the third account where I filled the profile nicely and even wrote in the Occupation that this is a real account, not spam and after a few days confirmation email finally came

 

Anyway, if necessary I can provide other two accounts so you can delete them, or even better, enable the first one so people can see that I'm not a total newbie, but that I was here since 2018. But however, I'm just happy I can post finally :clap:



#13 Imperial

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 07:04

There is definitely an issue relating to the forum in that it is hosted by Autosport, but they appear to have absolutely zero to do with it. I did have an issue ongoing for months last year, where I had previously requested my forum account be closed in 2019 (I needed a self-imposed internet sabbatical) and then wanted to return early summer last year. It took months for me to get through to anyone to request the resurrection of my account and I tried multiple @autosport.com addresses I found, as well as filling out various online forms, none of which ever received a response from Autosport (despite the forms having an option regarding the forum) and the irony is that you can't DM a moderator unless you are already on the forum and there are no alternate contact options direct to the forum itself.

 

I was very grateful to Vitesse2 in the end, but still have no idea how my message/s finally got through. 



#14 SophieB

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Posted 07 February 2021 - 18:24

There is definitely an issue relating to the forum in that it is hosted by Autosport, but they appear to have absolutely zero to do with it. I did have an issue ongoing for months last year, where I had previously requested my forum account be closed in 2019 (I needed a self-imposed internet sabbatical) and then wanted to return early summer last year. It took months for me to get through to anyone to request the resurrection of my account and I tried multiple @autosport.com addresses I found, as well as filling out various online forms, none of which ever received a response from Autosport (despite the forms having an option regarding the forum) and the irony is that you can't DM a moderator unless you are already on the forum and there are no alternate contact options direct to the forum itself.

 

I was very grateful to Vitesse2 in the end, but still have no idea how my message/s finally got through. 

I had no idea these were broken, I am going to contact the magazine (obvious not via this route) and let them know about this, thank you.



#15 Imperial

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Posted 07 February 2021 - 21:29

I'm not sure if they are broken as such, or just that they are either inundated with spam, or Autosport don't check or act on them.