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dgswensen
9 September 2002, 10:08 AM
So, as a service to my fellow Holonet users (and whomever else might get some use out of it), a short time ago I created a Star Wars random name generator ((http://www.dimfuture.net/starwars/random/)

Now, a lot of people have been very nice, and worked to put new names in the database. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback, and it seems to be useful to people. But, as it seems with so many things, someone just can't stand it and has to try to make their pathetic lives more amusing by ruining something good for someone else.

I didn't check the reports database for a few days, and when I come back, some clever fellow with the mind of a grade-schooler had spammed it with obscenities and "funny" names (most all of which were related to genitalia, because we all know how funny that is).

It's not a problem to delete these from the database; I've set it up so it can be done with a single click of my mouse -- but still, it's irritating, because I set this up as a useful service, making it freely available to people, and letting users participate instead of locking it down -- and what happens, of course, but some chucklehead has to abuse my good nature and screw around with it.

Now, I don't want to go on too long about this, because obviously these guys are obviously starved for attention, and it probably makes them feel powerful to annoy others anonymously.

But it still gets under my skin, because this means I will probably have to make the random name generator closed to the public, to keep the scum of the earth from messing with it -- or maybe just take it offline altogether, because I don't want to have to deal with the B.S. of having to flush the database free of crap every few days.

The sad thing is, the assholes will probably win. Because they have no lives to speak of, someone will always be there to amuse themselves by wrecking this project for everyone else. I will get tired of maintaining it, and it will wither on the vine. Another victory for the fools.

So I guess the lesson here is no good deed goes unpunished -- put yourself at the mercy of your typical Internet moron, and he will screw you every time.

And to whomever took time out of their busy day to sully my database: you are a sad little man. I don't use the phrase "get a life" very often, but in this case, I think it's appopriate.

Nazgul
9 September 2002, 11:37 AM
Sorry this happened dg.

A small suggestion, could you have it so that any submissions are sitting in a pending queue before they are finally accessable? And require an identifier, so review by identifier. This way if some one wants to post a bunch of rather colorful names they have two alternatives, post them all in the same clip which you can easily remove since they share the same identifier. Or post them all individually, which will waste a bunch of their time and a little of yours.

Or if you don't like that idea, just set it to read only and have them send in submissions through an email address.

dgswensen
9 September 2002, 11:41 AM
That's actually a really good idea. It will require quite a bit of reprogramming, but it certainly would head potential wise guys off at the pass.

Thanks for the suggestion! I may just do that.

Nazgul
9 September 2002, 11:43 AM
I'm just trying to help. I'd hate to see a nice little resource like yours fall of the face of the internet. :)

You could also keep a seperate database of IP address which they post from and start banning those addresses from the site, to help keep down the repeat offenders.

Chris Curtis
9 September 2002, 12:15 PM
Yes, I was going to suggest the IP banning bit, too. That would go along with the other suggestion of requiring people to sign up as a user in order to add to the database. Then, when people add, you could track who it was that added the name.

As I remember, this was something you'd mentioned as a possibility in the future already. I realize it wouldn't be the quickest thing to set up, though, so maybe you could implement some of the other suggestions as a stop-gap measure until you find time to do this.

Anyway, I definitely sympathize with your situation. More than once, I've put in lots of time and effort on something for the community only to have some immature numbskull try and ruin it.

Good luck, Dan!!

evan hansen
9 September 2002, 12:23 PM
You know, the other option that will do kind of the same thing is to have two databases -- one that gets read from and one that gets written to. Once a week, just skim through it or set up a script that looks for keywords, delete those, then just copy it over.

It might just be a bit quicker to change the target database and/or table than it would be to reprogram a lot of your code.

Just a thought.

dgswensen
9 September 2002, 12:28 PM
Thanks for the feedback, guys, it's good to know I'm not alone.

I want to avoid making users sign up and register if at all possible -- it just makes more work for the user (who, most of the time, is adding names out of the goodness of their heart anyway), and it won't solve TOO much, as anyone who wants to make a pest of themselves can just register a new username when the old one gets nuked for bad behavior.

The IP banning is a good idea, and one I've considered -- hopefully I won't have to do that.

I definitely think a "submission queue" database is a necessity, though. That will put approval for any new names in my hands, and keep users from being inconvenienced by bozo antics. All new submissions will go to that database instead of straight into the names database.

DCJester
9 September 2002, 12:53 PM
The only downside to IP banning is that most ISP companies out there use the DHCP theory, effectively making the IP used by any of thier customers at any time. Banning an IP might be useful for a short time, but if the IP changes users, then that one is just as free as they were before to wreak havoc.

I like the sound of the Pending bit myself. Alot easier, and much simpler for any trouble you might have to go thru.

And yes, I feel those people should be taken and shot...we just so LOVE thier sense of childish humor, perhaps we should invite them to a Pillow Case Party ;)

VixenofVenus
9 September 2002, 03:26 PM
Yeah ... I noticed that the other day when I went over there dj ... I went and got a random name ... well ... lets just say the name it generated was not nice ... but I did laugh alot!!! ... *genital name* Antillies ... you fill in the blanks ...

Darklighter
9 September 2002, 04:00 PM
Oh, dgswenson, I'm so sorry this happened, man! That site of yours is a really good idea. (Heck, I threw a few names in there a little while back - women mostly, because you put out the call for them.) Anyway, it looks like you're getting a lot of ideas on how to solve the problem. I'm clueless when it comes to programming, but I hope you keep it going. Good luck, and don't let the small minds win! :)

Fred Getce
9 September 2002, 05:04 PM
This is said news.

While I admit I never had a chance to visit your site to add names or just too take a peek, but there has been a rash of trollers signing up to message forums just so they can have fun posting B.S. in an attempt to p*** people off.

It is quite possible that some troll who lurks here saw your link and decided to have fun. I am currently on the opinion that some trolls have signed up recently here as well.

Now as to making it more secure. Is this in ASP? There are some unique ways of securing without taking extreme measures. There is logging ISPs, setting up a que of entries until you have seen them, Eliminating certain words automatically or checking to see what words were entered (definitely cumbersome and time consuming to make). There are a couple of other ways if you do not want people to sign up for permission.

I plan on using ASP to make something like Earth2025 (http://games.swirve.com/earth/) only it is in space with starships, planets and stuff (major project to any one wanting to help). I am half tempted to make it like Star Wars with the Republic Army, Jedi Knights and other cool things.

dgswensen
9 September 2002, 05:15 PM
As far as security is concerned, right now I have already taken the measure proposed by a couple of posters. I have created a "submissions" database, where all contributed names will go.

I will go through the submissions personally, and put into the "live" names database only those contributions which are appropriate. Obscene, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate names will never see the light of day.

This is a little more work for me, and it means that the database will grow a little more slowly (as I will have to hand-pick submissions, basically), but I imagine that plugging in a bunch of profanity and bodily-humor puns will grow old once the culprit realizes it has absolutely no effect on anyone. Plus, it will be less work for me to delete them (in the long run) than it is for them to put them in, so time is on my side. :)

With this measure, I hope to avoid having to do any IP-logging or user registration. I may still create a user system down the road, but it will be for other reasons -- not to stop trolls.

wolverine
10 September 2002, 03:03 AM
One of the other things you can do, is instead of blocking IP's, block the Email. Have it, so when people wish to post, they must include their WORKING email address and Name. If you feel the need to block one, you can go to the site for it (most) and check out the user's details, to see if it matches....

Puck
11 September 2002, 02:58 AM
As a refinement :) you may want to database the offensive words you find (along with a list of 'general' offensive words. Then you can compare the offensive list to the pending and automatically remove any name that matches.
Soon(ish) you may not even have to manually check the list anymore.

But I guess the saying "bulid a better mouse trap and the world builds better mice" is probably appropriate :(

Best of luck dg! And keep up the outstanding work!

Jedi_Staailis
11 September 2002, 10:38 AM
It's very aggravating when someone takes something good and does their best to ruin it just to make others unhappy. However, there's a silver lining to almost every situation.

The positive, at least for me, was just hearing about this site. Coming up with good names, especially on the fly, has always been something very difficult for me. I have name lists and such in my GM binder, but one list is short (repetitive, after a few dozen NPCs :D) and the other is overly long, with names that don't sound anything like Star Wars. Upon reading this post, I went to dgswensen's site, generated a batch of names, and found that every one would be suitable for an NPC. So don't let the jerks get to you dgswensen, the site is an excellent resource and very helpful for the rest of us (especially because you're concerned about keeping it a good resource).

dgswensen
11 September 2002, 01:14 PM
Thank you very much. That is very kind of you to say. I am glad you are getting use out of the site, and I should mention that while the framework is mine, a good amount of thanks should go to the people who took time out to make positive contributions to the database, as well.

And it is gratifying to be able to give something back to the SWRPG community, despite the occasional bad apple.