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Old 2010-11-25, 23:01   Link #1
Dist
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Leechers on Signature/Avatar request threads

Well I suppose I'll open up the topic as the problem for leechers, or Hit & Run people as we say it, has become apparent and they're steadily increasing. Almost daily someone posts an avatar or signature request on their respective threads, only to to disappear and never seen again once the requester gets what he wants.

The rules already state that you're not allowed to request if it's for use on elsewhere but it's not enough. As long as people don't pay attention to when the user was registered or his posts and make signatures for them, these people will keep coming back.

Simple solution would be similar to what Felix suggested in the Spoiler Policy thread. If possible, add white and black lists. All current users should go automatically to the white list, and all new created accounts would be added to the white list after certain amount of time if they have been active after their registration date.

I would like to hear opinions of other users and of course Moderators, and what can be done about this issue, if anything ?
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Old 2010-11-25, 23:44   Link #2
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This is just my own opinion, but I don't think this is a moderation/administration problem. The artists who do work on avatars/signatures are volunteering their time, so it's basically up to them to decide if the person making the request is "worthy" or not. If you want to try to establish certain common expectations, perhaps the artists could form a sort of "Guild" and agree amongst themselves what the requirements should be. There are certain common sense point-of-order rules (like not making too many requests at once, waiting some time between requests, etc.) that are more to prevent obvious abuse of the system, but beyond that I don't think the staff should decide whether an artist should do volunteer work or not. If you have evidence that someone is requesting signatures for use elsewhere, I suppose you could report it, but once the person gets what they're after they'll probably leave anyway (so banning them won't help much).

Anyway, like I said, that's just my own personal opinion; not sure what the other staff will think.
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Old 2010-11-26, 03:43   Link #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dist View Post
Simple solution would be similar to what Felix suggested in the Spoiler Policy thread. If possible, add white and black lists. All current users should go automatically to the white list, and all new created accounts would be added to the white list after certain amount of time if they have been active after their registration date.

I would like to hear opinions of other users and of course Moderators, and what can be done about this issue, if anything ?
That feels too time-consuming to be a good solution. Even automation wouldn't help in certain cases.

As to how we can prevent this from happening; only thing you can do is doing research on the person requesting a sig/avie, if you want to fulfill his/her request. I generally just stopped doing requests a long ago, since quite a few people don't even know what they want. Asking for a sig, using it for a week and then asking for another one. That just insults our effort.

Another thing happening to me - someone didn't even ask for a permission; used my sigs on other forums while using my own image hosting site. So they stole "my" art, used it elsewhere so I can't see it AND ate my bandwidth on Photobucket. Revenge was sweet though, I just made a different image with the same filename.
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Old 2010-11-26, 12:43   Link #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
This is just my own opinion, but I don't think this is a moderation/administration problem. The artists who do work on avatars/signatures are volunteering their time, so it's basically up to them to decide if the person making the request is "worthy" or not. If you want to try to establish certain common expectations, perhaps the artists could form a sort of "Guild" and agree amongst themselves what the requirements should be. There are certain common sense point-of-order rules (like not making too many requests at once, waiting some time between requests, etc.) that are more to prevent obvious abuse of the system, but beyond that I don't think the staff should decide whether an artist should do volunteer work or not. If you have evidence that someone is requesting signatures for use elsewhere, I suppose you could report it, but once the person gets what they're after they'll probably leave anyway (so banning them won't help much).

Anyway, like I said, that's just my own personal opinion; not sure what the other staff will think.
I agree. It is up to the person filling the request because it's their time and effort. The guild idea is very good too, the social group feature and be utilized for that quite well.
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Old 2010-11-26, 14:15   Link #5
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I personally do only batch jobs when I want to promote a series and burn some free time, so I don't really mind where people use them, it's all the same to me. That said I'm pretty sure I speak for the majority when I say, it's a pain to solve conflicts and "problems". Any little thing the staff could do to streamline the system would be very welcome.

regarding the technical aspect...

Pretty sure the whitelist/blacklist would not work for this case.

To solve this problem technically, it is fairly complicated business. I can see two approaches, in both you leverage on the Album feature of the forum. In one each user could have his own "avatar album" (which appears on a CP page only) and others could submit to it (this if fairly complicated and problematic) - the idea is to have the creator submit to the requester.

Another more simple and efficient way is again each user has his own special "avatar" album but only he can add to it; other people can see it and have a button to "Claim" a avatar there (only one person can claim it at any given time). The "caption" (album) of the avatar is used as hover text.

In both methods the idea is to eliminate the intermediate steps between request and use. With the steps cleared, the avatar image can be obfuscated into the system. There's no effective way to hide it (permanently) but a simple goal to force people to at best have to make a screen shot and go into a editor to get the image is doable (because this provides reasonable protection for things like a gif animation in particular). There are several methods:
  • The simplest to implement, but weakest is to stretch a 1px image over the avatar. This will make it impossible to RightClick > Save Image. However View Source / Ctrl+F > Copy Link easily bypasses it.

  • A more secure way is to use "class-ID" system, based on a common alphabet. Basically the avatar is contained in a CSS stylesheet as a background, using a base64 encode (obviously cache headers set). Each stylesheet contains more then one avatar, based on a grouping strategy to optimize requests (so using this method the forum would actually run faster because of fewer http requests, and better compression because of the inherit image packaging). The image is identified by a series of classes belonging to a common alphabet. Lets say for consistency the alphabet is simply hex. Classes in HTML can not start with a digit so we prefix a "H" to make it valid, thus the alphabet is: .H00 .H01 [...] .H0f .H10 [...] .H1f [...] .Hff

    What one does is then set the class for the <div> which acts as the avatar container to something like: Hf1 H0a H32 H15 Hfa (length of this is dependent on the bitlength of your hash function) and then in the css, using a global API key set somewhere, the hash digest value is scrambled so for the previous value you could have something like: .H0a.H15.Hfa.Hf1.H32 for a selector (alternatively you can do it backwards; ie. scramble each time in the div).

    Another small advantage of using this method is that because we are using CSS it should be possible to hide the avatar when the size of the post would need to be extended to display it. So in other words, 1 line posts would not extend to that of a 10 line post just because of the avatar.

    More obfuscation can be done using multiple backgrounds. Basically every container displays every avatar, but in the CSS permutations are done in the background positioning/stacking/order in groups of rules, where the resulting permutation for each group results in the appropriate avatar.

    Disclaimer: The system is only reasonably secure against non-tech savvy people. If the person in question is extremely technical no amount of perfect obfuscation and hiding is going to work. In the worst case he can use fraps to clone it. The assumption is only non-tech savvy people would do this.
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Old 2010-11-26, 20:25   Link #6
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Well, I didn't mean that people won't be allowed to save images from this forum at all.. It's obvious people might come across nice signature, save it and use it elsewhere.. I just find it annoying you get requested something specific, you work on it for quite some time and then you never even get to see it used.

Also I agree with you Larthak .. Although I don't do signatures and it doesn't happen so often for avatars, people switching their av/sigs like once per day and thus requesting daily something new is just annoying.

If moderators don't see this as a problem then I guess nothing can be done but then why do we have a rule '' Do not request Sig/avatars for use at elsewhere '' in the very first post of these threads ?
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Old 2010-11-26, 21:01   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dist View Post
Well, I didn't mean that people won't be allowed to save images from this forum at all.. It's obvious people might come across nice signature, save it and use it elsewhere.. I just find it annoying you get requested something specific, you work on it for quite some time and then you never even get to see it used.
Wasn't suggesting it be implemented either. Just putting it forth since I hate it when eventually someone comes and says it's impossible... when it clearly is only in the realm of "lots of work" and the discussion should just keep to "merits vs disadvantages".
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dist View Post
Also I agree with you Larthak .. Although I don't do signatures and it doesn't happen so often for avatars, people switching their av/sigs like once per day and thus requesting daily something new is just annoying.
Rules work on the principle of "give & take". Supposedly they give more so then they take (most of the time). It would be fairly easy to implement a "minimum time before re-upload" into the current avatar system, would the freedom it takes away be worth it? (personally I don't think so) On this other site they have this caching issue (or at least that is what it appears to be), thus any image you upload won't take effect for around 24h (at worst). Even though it's just one messily day, people aren't very happy about it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dist View Post
If moderators don't see this as a problem then I guess nothing can be done but then why do we have a rule '' Do not request Sig/avatars for use at elsewhere '' in the very first post of these threads ?
I am pretty sure that is a request, not a rule. Obviously moderators here, no matter how bold, have no power outside this domain. This particular instance of the issue is actually fairly tamed as well. There have been issues where people would steal avatars, use them, and/or claim to have made them on other sites. I've also witnessed cases of the inverse happening: fairly well known posters here accused of stealing from fairly well known sites. I know for a fact, moderators/administrators were very aware of both... and have since hopefully resolved the issue (or, at least they did a good job in preventing pandemonium).
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Old 2010-11-26, 23:44   Link #8
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Someone mentioned a post rule, you have to have a certain amount of posts before requesting? Personally I think that would be the best and easiest solution, it shouldn't take that long for a person to get 25-50 posts, and you'd be able to tell from those posts whether a person is a leecher or not.
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Old 2010-11-26, 23:52   Link #9
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^I thought about this too and it was actually me ( I think ) who mentioned this in the Signature thread. I just wasn't sure if they can implement something like this and thought perhaps the Whitelist thing would be easier to do ..

If it is possible though, would be nice to see it happen.
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Old 2010-11-26, 23:56   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dist View Post
^I thought about this too and it was actually me ( I think ) who mentioned this in the Signature thread. I just wasn't sure if they can implement something like this and thought perhaps the Whitelist thing would be easier to do ..

If it is possible though, would be nice to see it happen.
Hook into the post system (pretty sure there is a hook) check if thread has words Avatar/Signature in it, if so, verify user has more then a certain amount of posts. Pretty simple. Probably a better way to do it; I just gave the most naive way.
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Old 2010-11-27, 06:19   Link #11
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Back when I was active filling requests, I simply ignores anyone with junior member tag status.. Most leechers dont change that. The default stays until the users have more then 100 forum posts.. Of course, at that time, we do have one guy who requested on average 1 signature per day which is a source of constant hilarious topic of discussion between me and Riker at that time, because he usually targets either one of us alternately He did now joins the GD group and have his own signature thread that he made himself, so its kinda moot point right now

If I'm feeling a bit hardworking I usually peeked at the requester's post trail. <- I still use it to determined when peoples tries to add me as their friends.
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Old 2010-11-27, 06:40   Link #12
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I agree with Dist. Is it possible to make rule on the first post in each request threads (including those in sub forums) that you have to have at least 50+ posts before you can ask for sig. Also if it's possible to include that posts from 'requests' and 'rate that' kind of threads don't count.
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Old 2010-11-27, 11:01   Link #13
Aurelie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dist View Post
^I thought about this too and it was actually me ( I think ) who mentioned this in the Signature thread. I just wasn't sure if they can implement something like this and thought perhaps the Whitelist thing would be easier to do ..

If it is possible though, would be nice to see it happen.
I just checked back, JuJuBeez was the first to mention it (kind of).

Just edit the rule into the first post, adding a bit about requests and spam threads not counting. As for the rest, you just have to look at their profile, that'll tell you how many posts they have, and there's usually a link that lets you see where and what they've posted.

It should go something like this.
Member A: Posts request.
Member B: Checks profile, notices they have less than __ posts, tells Member A they can't request until they have __ posts.
Member A: Leaves forum for good, or posts __ times. Requests again.
Member B: Checks profile again, checks posts, notices Member A has only posted in spam threads. Tells Member A to GTFO.

Maybe not exactly like that, but you get what I mean (hopefully). The only problem is request TAKERS ignoring the rule, in which case you just remind them of it like you would requesters.
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Old 2010-11-27, 11:05   Link #14
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If you want to do it like that we could have a option in user CP to make post counts visible in the postbit (by default set to OFF).

The process to adding such a option is the same as with adding a legacy/normal postbit switch which I've explained in another thread (NightWish should know what I'm talking about).
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Old 2010-11-27, 18:46   Link #15
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a) As I said before, I don't think this is something that should be made into a rule. Volunteers can decide for themselves the conditions for doing free work.

b) Doing things based on post count is stupid, because it just encourages people to find threads where they can start posting nonsense so they can meet some artificial threshold (who would decide what the threshold is anyway?). It will only increase forum spam, so I am firmly against it. Besides that, just because someone does meet the post threshold doesn't mean that anyone has to agree to their request either. It's 100% volunteer. Number of posts is not a valid indicator of the poster's quality or dedication to these boards.

c) Don't expect that we will add any form of "white-listing", make post counts visible in the postbit (or add options to enable such), or make any changes to the functionality or appearance of the boards. If there are baseline "point of order" sort of rules that could be added, then maybe, but I still favour voluntary agreements amongst those doing the work -- the staff are stretched thin enough as it is that we're not going to be able to police more rules effectively.
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Old 2010-11-28, 00:11   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
It's 100% volunteer.
As much as cannot stand it when users do this 'hit and run' tactic, I have to agree with relentless. At no point have I felt obliged to carry out a poster's request, no matter their join date or post count. Some designers are perfectly fine with people joining up to the forum only to request a signature, and taking away their ability to make them doesn't work in my books. Hell, some members have joined AS just to make signatures.

I play it much like KiNA. A bit of detective work only takes around a minute. If someone wants to make a signature only for the user to then disappear elsewhere with it, then let them. At least then you know that your efforts have not been in vain.
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Old 2010-11-28, 07:00   Link #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Doing things based on post count is stupid, because it just encourages people to find threads where they can start posting nonsense so they can meet some artificial threshold (who would decide what the threshold is anyway?). It will only increase forum spam, so I am firmly against it. Besides that, just because someone does meet the post threshold doesn't mean that anyone has to agree to their request either. It's 100% volunteer. Number of posts is not a valid indicator of the poster's quality or dedication to these boards.
Nobody said anything about turning them ON for everyone and making any rules you had to enforce. I only mentioned of how to turn it on individually so people like KiNA have a easier time looking post count up (since you have to scrap and rewrite the entire board on update anyway you could add a link to post history too).

The problems you mention don't exist since the requesters aren't mind readers to know what methodology the one handling it uses; nobody said anything about writing it down as a rule either. Regardless of how the discussion here goes, I would still do it the way I want to (ie. make lots and lots, and not care how/where it's used).
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Old 2010-11-28, 14:18   Link #18
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nobody said anything about writing it down as a rule either.
Actually, there were at least two other posts in this thread suggesting specifically it be written down as a rule, so...
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Old 2010-11-28, 16:59   Link #19
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Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Actually, there were at least two other posts in this thread suggesting specifically it be written down as a rule, so...
Oh... you're right. Opss I think my brain somehow interpreted that as a joke (err- I mean as in not really serious).
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Old 2010-12-08, 16:18   Link #20
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I thought I'd move the discussion here:
From the Sig Request Thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wang View Post
GuardianZax has been here since February, asking for signatures for use on forums other than animesuki for a month shy of a year now... And people have been doing them anyway, so I get the impression he/she thinks it's still okay to keep requesting like Guardian has been for the last eleven months.

Whether GuardianZax is to blame for repeatedly requesting for sigs against the forum rules, or for we the sig-makers who work on it anyway despite that a quick look at his/her profile reveals that he/she isn't using Animesuki other than for its forum artists for eleven months is up to people to decide. I find Guardian to be sort of a resident requester anyway, though due to the nature of the requests, it still does irk me slightly. So, it's still largely up to us whether we continue helping him/her out or not.
Personally, I don't have anything against people requesting sigs for use on another forum - after all, it is up to the sig makers whether they choose to fulfill a request or not. Although I can understand the let down of not seeing your hardwork displayed where you want/intend for it to be displayed (happened to me too many times lately). Therefore, my response is not to blame GuardianZax for anything (but more to remind him/her of the sig size rule, more than anything else). Even if they request it for use on another forum, I do think all other parameters (size and filesize) should still be followed. It would be nice if they straight out say that this is for use on another forum. I wonder if creating another thread for requests that are to be used outside of AS would help? But what concerns me in that case is the overburden on AS with accounts that stay idle without use except for requests once-in-a-while. I'm not knowledgeable in forum IT, so I'm not sure if forums do become overburdened with accounts.

As for post count limit, as was mentioned earlier here, the problem is that would just instigate a lot of unwanted spam. I've seen that happen in many other forums that have the post count rules. I agree with relentlessflame and others that we can just leave it as is, and let the sig makers decide for themselves. Checking on their post history and such before you decide is simple enough right now.
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