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Pete Atkin >> Members >> Important note about registration and email
(Message started by: S J Birkill on Today at 11:58)

Title: Important note about registration and email
Post by S J Birkill on Today at 11:58
Those who keep a close eye on the 'Information Summary' panel may have been bemused by the appearance and subsequent disappearance of a few names in the 'Newest Member' slot over the past week or two. Here's the reason.

Since the last spam flood, I've changed the the registration procedure so that passwords are no longer mailed out automatically to new membership applicants. Instead they receive an email confirming their registration, but requesting a reply. Only on receiving this reply do I notify them of their initial password (which of course they are advised to change). So 'igor@mail.ru', whose only interest is in advertising some unpleasant Website, doesn't become a member.

However, the mechanics of the Forum software mean that Igor's name does appear as 'Newest Member' for a period, until I rumble and delete him.

Apart from attempts by obvious spammers, of which I've now trapped a handful, there are other reasons for the appearance of evanescent 'members'. One is the old problem of incorrectly-typed email addresses. Many people still don't seem to realise that completing a Web-based form with their email address (as they need to do to join the Forum) is not the same as sending an email from their own computer. Any error in entering the address, and the welcome message will not reach them. So I don't get a reply, and the registration process remains incomplete, but the unfulfilled username remains in the membership list. A week or two back, one person tried twice to join, with slightly different email addresses, both of which were incorrect and came back to the Forum as bounces. It's remarkable how many people don't seem to care whether they know their own addresses, how they're punctuated and whether they end in ".com" or ".co.uk".

Equally, if the applicant receives the welcome email but doesn't reply to it, he (or she) will not receive his (her) password and the process will not be completed. If he replies but changes the message so it's not recognisable, for instance by altering or omitting the subject line, it may get branded as spam on arrival here (a mail from someone whose name I don't recognise, with a subject line that sounds 'spammy', or no subject line at all, especially if the message body is HTML-coded, is likely to go unread).

So I am now implementing a further restriction: if I receive a bounce from a welcome message, or if I don't get a reply within a week, the would-be member will be deleted.

There's one more case in which a new name may vanish almost as soon as it appears, and that's the duplicate registration. If I observe a new registration attempt which is obviously from an existing member, I'll delete that attempt. If I'm feeling kind (which depends on how busy I am -- this isn't a 'kind' weekend!) I'll write and explain, reminding the member of his original log-in details.

I rather suspect duplication has occurred a few times in MV's history, and I intend to go through the database when I get a moment and purge duplicates -- these aren't always obvious as they cannot be exact copies: the Forum will not permit re-use of a username or email address, so the errant candidate has to supply an alternative address on his second attempt. If you know you've done this in the past, it'd help if you could let me know.

If you've forgotton your log-in, don't re-register, mail me!!! <sjb(at)peteatkin(dot)com>.

I'll incorporate this advice in the Forum FAQ (as if you'd asked!) in due course.


Title: Duplicate Registrations - don't do it!
Post by S J Birkill on 06.10.06 at 10:46
Just bringing this thread up to date with a reminder to MV members who've forgotten their log-in details. PLEASE, DON'T re-register under a variant of your name and a new email address! That leaves us with an orphaned entry in the membership list and an artificially high member count.

All you need do is email me <sjb(at)peteatkin(dot)com> and ask for a reminder of your login. If you've made this mistake in the past and as a result have two MV identities, email me and let me know, so that I can delete one of them.

If any new registration attempt remains unfulfilled (by its author's manual email response to the Forum's automated welcome message) for seven days from its appearance, be aware that it will be deleted.

S J Birkill, MV Forum administrator

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