How do I address login, email, privacy and other issues on MakeUseOf?

Erlis D May 12, 2014
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Lately, here on MakeUseOf I’ve seen some bugs (sorry if the problem is on my side).

First, I need to re-login every time I open the website. This happens on every browser (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox).

Second, I don’t get any points any more. Sometimes I get points when I share (which is annoying, since I don’t want to share everything just to get points, but only when I feel the need),
but I don’t get points for commenting to answers on any posts. As I’ve talked before with someone from the site, this happens because comments gets checked (for spams or I don’t know).

Comments appear some time after posting the comment (which obviously makes me not get any point). I think comments should be removed by normal users by downvoting.

Some users should be added to a “trusted list” if they have some time on the site.

Sorry if this sounds like is only for the points, but it’s discouraging when you don’t get points at all and you don’t feel to comment at all. And also I would like to give some suggestions, hoping my voice will be heard.

Third, I think the site lacks of the ability to change your e-mail (I’m really worried about this, since I requested an e-mail change, and it was okay, until the last update of the site design). Anyway, it would be better to change it on your own, and to have a more customizable profile with more options.

And lastly, the biggest issue! There is no privacy on this site! Period! I try searching by my name on Google or any other web engines and I get mostly links from the Answers I’ve given on different questions (since, if any old user might recall, it was posted the full name on questions, and it’s still being posted the full name on comments).

Maybe privacy it’s not needed on a website where you share your knowledge, but still is good to know it is there.

Sorry I talked this much, but I feel there is the need for this changes to be made!

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  1. Bruce E
    May 12, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Site logins are handled by PunchTab. If your browsers are not configured to accept third-party cookies, the PunchTab cookie will get rejected and you will be forced to log in each time you visit.

    Before we enable the gamification of Answers, we need to address a few issues such as how to make it difficult for users to game the system, how to ensure crap comments are not getting points, how to remove points for comments that should not have made it through the automated moderation stage. and how to balance the awarding of points across the site so that the potential points earned through Answers does not unbalance the system for the rest of the site.

    The ability for users to change their email address is not a limitation of the site itself, but of PunchTab which is used to handle site logins and the rewards system.

    Most of the comments that go to moderation are due to rules built into WordPress itself and cannot be bypassed. The spam filters do catch some stuff, but the majority that now hit the mod queue are due to the built-in rules, not our custom ones.

    If you don't want your name attached to your comments, simply log out of the site before posting your comment. You can then appear as 'Anonymous' by not entering your name. Be aware that this will also make it so you are not earning any points as well once we do turn on the rewards system inside of Answers again.

    • Erlis D
      May 13, 2014 at 10:09 pm

      Thanks for explaing to me how the site really works! :)
      You are quite right about spammers and not 'useful' comments. I've seen comments like: "he/she is right about that", just to get some points. I also believe that privacy it's not so important sometime, since you are making a comment where you share your knowledge about something you know. Sometimes this can turn useful. But, it would be good to know that you have an option to customize how you want to share your private information. Also I believe, the profile page need lots of updates. A message 'center' (where you can send messages between members or even admins), a full profile (you can change your pic, where you can add your e-mail and probably other info). These are some points which I belive it will be lovely to be there. And I think it will make the site more professional.

  2. Oron J
    May 12, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Thanks for the comments Erlis. I know my colleague Kannon has already forwarded your post to people better able to comment on how the website operates, but I'd like to respond to a few points you raise.
    Points At present, points are not awarded for comments. We (editors and other staff at MUO) have discussed this, but have still not reached agreement on how (or whether to) award such points, but it has got nothing to do with the comments being moderated.

    Moderation Most users' comments go through automatically, and while we have a white list and a black list (for spammers etc), comments usually go into moderation because they have triggered certain automated filters. We revise the filters from time to time. At present, the vast majority of messages get posted automatically and only a small number are held in queue for moderation. If you saw the amount of spam that reaches us, you would not have thought that downvoting is the way forward. That said, I do think that downvoting (and upvoting) is a useful mechanism, and we actively discuss how to make it more effective.

    Privacy You can ask a question anonymously (and people often do). I take your point about the comments not being anonymous, but consider also this. Anyone can post comments, and these comments can have a real impact on the original poster (or others reading the page). Indeed, they can be malicious and harm those who follow the advice. In that light, I think it's reasonable that the commenters should have to take some responsibility for their comments by identifying themselves.

    I'm glad you pointed these issues. I hope the problems you pointed out get sorted soon, and I can assure you that the policy issues you raise do get debated here at MakeUseOf.

    • Erlis D
      May 13, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Yeah! Actually I got a mail from Kannon. Thanks for giving me this details. I know MakeUseOf will work to make the site better. I remember MUO on it's first days, and I'm very happy how it has gotten to be so great today! And I'm very happy to share my ideas, so maybe they can be useful for the site. :)