Trusted Posters System

Several months ago, I launched an Optional Authentication feature for this site. While some members decided use this feature, many chose not to. The feature had two main objectives: 1) to provide some authenticate that posters are not impersonating others, and 2) a means to bypass many of the spam-advertising filters on the site (which are necessary to prevent the site from being flooded with spam). However, becuase of the lack of uptake, the Optional Authentication was not very successful in reaching these goals.

Because of this, I have now launched a new "Trusted Posters" system, which was inspired by a conversation with hortonheardawho. With the new system, you don't have sign-in, you just post as you normally would. Adminstrators of the system (FMR or myself) can then manually "trust" certain posters. In order to prevent abuse and impersonation, the system relies on 3 pieces of infromation:

  1. "Name"
  2. email address
  3. IP Addresses

For example, a poster using "Joe Smith" with email "" will be trusted only if he his IP address is "24.123.456.789" or "4.456.123.23". This avoids some of the security problems that can occur with simply trusting a poster based on a nickname.

Note that from time to time, you may post from "new" IP Addresses. An obvious example is when you post from work and home, or when you are travelling. Also, some Internet Service Providers will issue you a new IP Address from time to time (and some, such as AOL, do this very, very, frequently). The new system, accounts for this, as multiple IP addresses can be "trusted" for each name/email pair. Please note that each IP must be trusted manually, so there may be some delays. If you find that you don't seem to be "trusted" from certain IPs, please reply here or contact FMR.

The Benefits:

  • Trusted commenters will bypass the content filters, so your messages will not be blocked, and will not be held for moderator approval.
  • A trusted sender icon will appear next to your name (replies only).

In summary, the goal of the new system is to achieve the benefits of authentication, without the need to register and sign-in with a username and password.

As always, feedback is appreciated. If things don't seem to functioning as intended, please reply here and I will investigate.

Very good solution. I noticed it immediately this AM.

A refinement might be to use a list of subnet masks rather than IP addresses, so that different IP addresses from the same ISP LAN are acceptable.

Although it would be theoretically possible for someone to "spoof" a trusted user by locating his provider, his e-mail address, his ISP's LAN address and setting up shop with the same provider in on the same LAN -- it would be easier to just break into the guys house, shoot him and take on his identity.

( OK, let's not get too paranoid here... )

Yes, the code does support trusting IP subnets. To do that requires a bit of manually editing of the database -- this is something I will likely do on a very selective basis.

Another thing I should have noted. If you check "remember personal info?" box, your "cookie" will be set to expire in 1 year. This should mean that you will be okay for a full year (on the same machine), even if your IP changes.

I never went for the initial request as I am not cool with downloads for protocol reasons. I have always stuck to the three criterea set out here and the site knows me but I see no icon that says I am who I am. However I am never blocked and am really enjoying being part of the debates, learning a lot and hoping to make a contribution one day.

Regards to all Marsaholics.

So how come I'm blocked? Twice now I've tried to start a new topic but each time I get an error message. I get sent to this link:

which contains the following message.

The page cannot be found

The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Please try the following:
If you typed the page address in the Address bar, make sure that it is spelled correctly.

Open the home page, and then look for links to the information you want.

Click the [] Back button to try another link.
Click search.gif (114 bytes) Search to look for information on the Internet.

HTTP 404 - File not found
Internet Explorer


I am not a spammer and can post fine but can't start a new topic. What gives?

A warning I have not as yet seen you present here is the requirement that any person submitting a reply must 'login' to TypeKey first, before the opening of a secondary page to your site through the automatic login procedure they engage in during the login. I find my entries must be rewritten or 'copy & Paste' transferred to the newly opened Mars Rover Blog page to allow the login to be effective. This produces two site page accesses for each posted reply.
The repeated blockages and several day delays in posting replies seems to have subsided for my name this past two weeks again after your hand applied consideration in the matter, Mark. I have faced the problem at various times here over the two years, and expected it required hand alteration of particulars, whatever the technical slant involved. Again, as I still use AOL there is the possibility of similar difficulties in the future. I have also found a few quirks in the open pages on the Image Shack hosting service disturbing the remaining open IE6 stack of other site pages over the times periods of posting a reply statement. With the number of details that can interfere in successful computer interaction on the Internet, it all seems to flow very smoothly in sum.
As TypeKey gives no warning in advance before the attempt to post a reply, we must simply 'take a roll of the dice' in the matter. Any secondary attempt to post results in multiple repeats when resolved and updated by yourselves.
Although burdensome perhaps you might consider a procedure to trap the repeats with 'one only' allowed for publication through a additional filtration.

Thanks for your comments, Dana.

A key feature of the new Trusted Posters system is that you do not need to sign in to TypeKey at all. The TypeKey option is still available, but if the system recognizes your name, email address and IP address, then you will automatically be "signed-in", and thus bypass the filters, etc. Of course, if you are posting from a new IP address for the first time, you may not be considered trusted until the new IP address has been added to the database.

Your suggestion about preventing duplicate posts is a good one. I will give it some thought.

Seems ok. I was a bit reticent about putting my email in there because I didn't want it linked publically. Now I see that that does not happen.

Aldebaran, that is true.

Also, it should be noted that with the new Trusted Posters system, you are free to use a fake email address. Either way, you should be consistent, using the same Name and Email address each time you post.



I can no longer post from my home computer.
So i came to afriends house to post this.

The page is alittle different, the name address, Url boxs are highlighted in yellow, and the big page, with preview does not come up. Must be the type key system?

All was fine, then as of day before yesterday, i can no longer post???

What the heck is going on, is anyone else having troubles or noticed any changes recently?

every thing is different again, MARK???



I see that you have now been able to post again. I hope our email discussion helped. The problem was that were not entering your email address.

Nothing has changed, and your experience is "normal". ;)

The "trusted posters" system will "remember" your email address, so most of the time the system will welocme you by name. But this feature works on a per computer basis. So if you go over to a friends house, the system won't know that it is you, and you have to enter your name and email address when you post. After that, I can trust the IP address of your friend's computer and in future, the system may remember you there as well. I hope this clears up some of the confusion.

In this process, I have also cleaned up the reply "error" page, making it easier to see what error is causing the problems.

Mark i NEVER WAS, in the PAST TWO MOnths, entering my email.

The thing that is different now, i no longer have the smoking pipe by my name, it,s gone.

Also, there is still abit of aglitch as yoy can see from the multiple posts, in biology, an "internal error" page came up, so i backed out of the error page hit repost then it worked.
Computers are like my cars electrical systems to me, i just wiggle the wires and hope it works.

thanks for the help Mark.

Yes, mann, I understand that you did not have to enter your email address for the past two months. ;) During that period of time, the system "remembered" your email address. Don't worry about the technical stuff, but there was a small text file on your computer called a "cookie" that the system recognized, and because the system recognized that you were mann, it didn't ask you for your email address. That said, for a number of reasons, the system can "forget" that it is you, if that cookie expires or gets deleted.

The bottom line is, "most the time" the system should recognize you and you won't have to enter your nickname and email address. That is the goal of the trusted posters system. But sometimes, (hopefully rare), you will be asked to enter your name and email address.

COOKIES??? IN my computer???? how did they get there?? what kind?? hope not chocolate chip, that would be messy.

Ow, (slap to side of head), yes i cleaned up my cookies.

Mark, thanks for the Help, you are the man.

Just keeping myself in the system in case it forgets I am here :D