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READ BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE/About the porn spam/Our apologies

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Some of you have received some really disturbing personal messages and mails in your inboxes.  I'm going to try in this post to explain what we know.

First of all, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Second, we are so, so, SO sorry that this happened.  We have a lot of precautions in place to prevent this from happening but apparently, this loser slipped through some cracks. 

Since the onslaught of spammers began in earnest in June and July, we have made a number of changes to the forum setup.  First and foremost, we have gone from quick registration for anyone who wants to join to a completely moderated registration system.  If you have registered since August, you'll remember that you had to fill out your handle, password, email, etc., then wait for an approving email from an administrator.

When the administrators are notified that someone wants to join, we do as much research as we can before allowing that person to access the boards.  This includes checking the IP to see if this person has been banned in the past (an auto-reject, obviously), googling the handle to see if it pops up on inappropriate sites, and googling the email address for the same reason.  We've learned over time that there are certain email addresses that are obviously going to be spammers and we delete these guys immediately.  We also recognize the handles of some people who try relentlessly to join the board for spamming purposes.

As huge a deal as last night's porn spam was to us (we think he personal-messaged everybody and he posted the same graphic image over 30 times), the administrator-approved registration obviously works for the most part.  To put it in perspective, we probably have 15-20 attempted registrations a day--usually only 1 or 2 are legitimately interested in writing for children.  The rest want to bombard us with mortgages, new windows, drugs, free long-distance, and yes, pornography.  That means that last night's events represent a failure of far less than 1/10th of 1% (if I'm doing my math right).  However, it was a whopper of a failure.  We extend our deepest apologies to anyone who received or viewed the offensive material.

We are investigating any options we might have to keep this from happening again; however, we are somewhat limited by the software that powers the board--we can only make the changes that it allows, not modify the program itself.  To begin with, Verla has disabled all new attachments, at least for the time being.  I'm sorry that that means that artwork and photos are also disabled.  We will revisit this shortly, but for a little while, that will be the case.

Also, you should know that as far as we can tell from checking the forum settings, new registrants SHOULD NOT be able to access people's email addresses.  We THINK that those of you who got this trash in your own inbox probably have your personal messages set to forward personal messages to you.  To avoid this in the future, we suggest that you click on Profile, then Personal Message Options, then deselect the option "Notify by email every time you receive a personal message."  You can select "show  a popup" to let you know of any PMs that you've received; the popup should appear when you access the site.  And of course, you'll get the little message up near your name, if you think to look at it.

If you are reading this message before you have read your PMs, please know that it is possible you will receive a very disturbing image in your pm box.  It is from RobertT.  I don't know if there is a good way to delete it without seeing it.  You may be able to do it by not scrolling down too far, depending on how many PMs you have in your box.  I wish there were a way to delete all of these posts from your boxes for you, but there is not.

Again, we offer our deepest apologies for what has happened.  We want this board to be the absolute best place to discuss children's writing on the Internet; and we want it to be safe.  Please know that we will do everything we can.  These spammers are unbelievably crafty, but we will do our best to head them off.

Finally, special thanks to Cassandra and Vijaya.  They were the Pacific Standard Time folks who were still awake when the storm hit, and they did all the damage control.

Sincerely,

Anne Marie
Board Administrator
on behalf of Verla Kay, Jaina, ShirleyH and Cassandra
#1 - November 22, 2006, 04:25 AM
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 04:28 AM by Anne Marie »
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
VAMPIRINA AT THE BEACH (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

addicted to YA
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Thank you, Anne Marie and everyone... I appreciate everything you do to keep this board as safe as possible from spammers.

Julia
#2 - November 22, 2006, 04:29 AM
XVI, Puffin/Speak, available now
Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012
http://juliakarr.com

cinstress

Guest
thanks I woke up this morning on the East coast to the rude picture... I was looking around to see how to report it, but I'm glad to see you already have it under control

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 
#3 - November 22, 2006, 04:51 AM

Paulahy

Guest
Thank you.  I PM'ed Anne Marie before reading this. I figured you guys were already on this case but wasn't sure.

It's a shame that there are people who literally only want to taint the online experience of others.  If people want porn on the web there are plenty of places to find it without someone having to guide you.

I appreciate all you guys do and understand what a huge job it is to keep all the loonies out!

-Paula
#4 - November 22, 2006, 05:17 AM

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I'm glad to know it was random. I feared it was just me who got the mail, and that freaked me out until I read this. Thanks for doing your best to maintain an authentic and pleasant board.

Wendy
#5 - November 22, 2006, 05:19 AM
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https://twitter.com/WendyDecker19
Sweet Tea (Vox Dei Publishing, October 20, 2015)
The Bedazzling Bowl (2006)

Donna

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 :faint: Is there a vomit icon somewhere?  I opened my email today here on the site and my middle little one was sitting beside me. Yes, my 4 year old. Hopefully, I got it off the screen before she realized the deformity that was on there. UGH!!!!!

I know you all are doing all you can. Thanks for your continued perseverence.


Grace and peace
Donna
#6 - November 22, 2006, 05:26 AM

lizjonesbooks

Guest
Thanks, Anne Marie-- I got some too-- but I like getting the messages forwarded(the real ones!) So I'll probably risk it.
I do however, wish I could email him some really nasty spyware/crashware back....
*snarl*
thanks for trying so hard to keep everything free of this kind of junk!
 :hug1:
#7 - November 22, 2006, 05:44 AM

Dor

Guest
Thanks Anne Marie. Couldn't imagine how that sick-o porn scammer got through. But very grateful for all the hard work on the part of Verla's Moderators in trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Dor
#8 - November 22, 2006, 05:50 AM

sharpegirl

Guest
Thanks!

Gosh, sometimes I just can't imagine what goes through people's heads! Spammers are so annoying and I can imagine they're even MORE annoying to people running boards! Thanks for all your hard work.
#9 - November 22, 2006, 06:05 AM

~wren

Guest
Sending thanks to all the mods who worked on this shameful situation!
And thanks for the tip, Anne Marie -- I've just re-set my Profile.
#10 - November 22, 2006, 06:08 AM

Because of your vigilance, I was able to scroll down through my list of about nineteen personal messages (not the messages themselves, but the list above them), check the boxes next to the two spam messages, and hit delete them without ever seeing what all of you had to see.  I re-set my profile, too.

We don't have to look very hard to find blessings to be thankful for, do we?  Thank you, Cassandra, Vijaya, and Anne Marie.      
#11 - November 22, 2006, 06:09 AM
« Last Edit: November 22, 2006, 06:12 AM by Stef »
http://stephanielreed.com

"If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23

Pickles

Guest
Wow, thanks everyone for being on top of it.

Okay, if you haven't checked your PM's on this board yet, scroll carefully. (Of course, I have tons of messages still in the the box).

As soon as you see the top of the asian's guys head, click on delete. I had two messages, but they both disappeared with that one click. I did not see anything else.
#12 - November 22, 2006, 06:09 AM

Thanks for watching out for us!
#13 - November 22, 2006, 06:10 AM

ritajr

Guest
Thanks, Anne Marie.
#14 - November 22, 2006, 06:12 AM

Wow! That was weird. Coffee through the nose is fun! Thanks for guarding our tender eyes from that junk!
#15 - November 22, 2006, 06:17 AM
Stephanie J. Blake
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THE MARBLE QUEEN (Two Lions, December 1, 2012)

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Thank you for watching out for us.

Beverly
#16 - November 22, 2006, 06:21 AM
Weird Noises in the Night
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And other stories for children and teens.

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Again, Anne Marie, thank you!  While I was snoring away, you were working frantically, weren't you?!

I like having personal messages forwarded to me - but luckily, I my e-mail program doesn't allow the pictures to pop up until after I've okay'd them.  I thought it strange to have a personal message from someone I hadn't yet seen on the board . . . and when I closely checked those websites he was directing me to  . . .

Thank goodness I didn't open them . . . I too would have spit coffee all over my desk!

#17 - November 22, 2006, 06:33 AM
Cooper and Packrat Series  Islandport Press
   Mystery on Pine Lake 8/2013
   Mystery of the Eagle's Nest 8/14

jeanclaude hoppair

Guest
I joined this board Monday night and then…

Why would someone do such a thing? It wasn't funny or shocking. It was weird.

Thanks, Anne Marie
#18 - November 22, 2006, 06:35 AM

Well at least he posted in the right area.........FICTION!!!! :mooning:
#19 - November 22, 2006, 06:38 AM
"Make no mistake about it...a true piece of writing is a dangerous thing. It can change your life."  Tobias Wolfe.

Jaina

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Yer funny, Skarecrow! :D
#20 - November 22, 2006, 06:40 AM

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Oh my.  I blinked just in time, and hit that close button as fast as was humanly possible. Wish I had read this post first!  I'm just glad that nobody was walking down the hall by my cubicle at work when this happened.

Whew.

Thanks Anne Marie.
#21 - November 22, 2006, 06:51 AM
www.andreabrame.com  |  Twitter: http://twitter.com/Andrea_Brame  |  Instagram: @andreabrame

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Well at least he posted in the right area.........FICTION!!!! :mooning:

 :dr :dr :dr
#22 - November 22, 2006, 06:56 AM
XVI, Puffin/Speak, available now
Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012
http://juliakarr.com

THANKS Anne Marie, Cassandra, and Vijaya for your vigilance and your thoughtful and quick response to jerks like Robert T.  :police: It's amazing how demented and determined these wackos can be.  :o Despite their sleezy attempts, this is still the best place to be for writers of children's books!   :laugh:
#23 - November 22, 2006, 07:01 AM
"If you don't get it right the first time, just get it written." ~J. Thurber
http://thebrokentree.blogspot.com
http://gglightandshadow.blogspot.com

Thanks Cassandra, Vijaya, and Anne Marie.  You're the best.
#24 - November 22, 2006, 07:03 AM
http://rt19writers.blogspot.com/
AMAZING KITCHEN CHEMISTRY (Nomad 2008)
EXPLORE ROCKS AND MINERALS (Nomad 2009)
MAPPING AND NAVIGATION (Nomad 2013)

I was worried I was the only one who got this!  Good thing I checked this site at 7:00 this morning!  You guys are doing a great job from weeding  these perverts out!  

#25 - November 22, 2006, 07:06 AM
NO MORE GODDESSES:
http://www.zumayapublications.com
EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA: http://museituppublishing.com
CROSSED OUT:http://www.lachesispublishing.com

KimRamsey

Guest
Thanks for being on top of the situation and for letting everyone know about it. I got the forwarded PMs, but only had links to the images, not the images themselves, thank goodness.
#26 - November 22, 2006, 07:07 AM

Thanks for the warning. Too bad I read things in the order recieved. I think I'll pay more attention next time. I just went and changed my settings for PM's. Anne Marie, hate to tell you this, but the photo was included in the message with the warning you sent too. So I had three images to delete. Sorry, thought you should know.

gail
#27 - November 22, 2006, 07:10 AM

Harrietthespy

Guest
A suggestion to those of you who know how to change your mail settings on your computer.  I go into preferences and use a function that prevents automatic loading of html photos.  I'm on a different system right now, so I'll post later the right terminology.  But what it does is puts mail in my inbox with a button that says "load html now?"  So I got the forwarded text message but not the photos.

Why do this?  Because when you get emails with photos in it, the photos are stored on the offending company's server.  So your computer pings the address to confirm that your address is a real one.  So now I selectively load when I want to see what is there - for instance I get Dilbert and Boonedocks comics by email, and PW updates.  All show with text and no photos until I load them.  This allows me to delete spam without confirming my address is valid.

For those on personal (or corporate) computers, it's an extra ounce of prevention......C
#28 - November 22, 2006, 07:16 AM

Owl Princess
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Thanks, Anne Marie and the other moderators. 
#29 - November 22, 2006, 07:22 AM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
http://decoowlpress.com

Barb  :owl

Website: http://barbaraetlin.com
Blog: http://owlsquill.blogspot.com

write4me

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Really. What is up with some people?
Thanks for the heads up. I deleted before I had to see whatever it was. Pretty happy about that too!

Janet G
#30 - November 22, 2006, 07:28 AM

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