Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Inline Spam Management and Prevention Tools


Forum spam is an increasing problem for many boards. Unfortunately, due to the visible-source nature of vBulletin and most other forum systems, most preventative measures we might add to the system can simply be reverse-engineered and worked around by persistent spammers.Therefore, 3.7 contains a new set of tools to help clean up spam and deal with spammers.Threads and posts can be selected in the usual inline moderation fashion, and then the new 'Delete Threads/Posts as Spam' command can be selected, which will load the spam management interface, which contains options on a single page for removing the spam posts and threads, banning the spammers and finding other spam they may have posted.


Thread Tagging


A new way to facilitate searching and grouping of threads, it is now possible for users to add tags to threads they post or read.Tags can be added when creating a new thread, or to an existing thread by any user (with appropriate permissions).Any users who then click on these tags will not only find all thread that have the same tag as the one clicked, but will also contribute to the building of a search tag cloud, which gives users a quick guide as to what has been searched for recently and most frequently.


Thread Prefixes



Long requested by users, threads can now have administrator-defined prefixes to their titles.Thread prefixes are divided into groups by the administrator, allowing different prefixes to be available in different forums.Reciprocal Friendships Between UsersAs part of our new social networking system, users can now request that people on their buddy list confirm their friendship, after which time a person's list of confirmed friends will be viewable to other users.Public MessagingWhile private messages between users have been in vBulletin since version 2.0, vBulletin 3.7 introduces the public messaging system, allowing users to communicate publicly via their profile pages.User Picture GalleriesvBulletin users can now create albums and upload pictures to their account.The ability to view these albums and pictures can be limited by the user to just board staff and people on their buddy list if they want privacy.User-Created Social GroupsTo further social cohesion between users and to encourage people to make friends, vBulletin now includes a facility to allow users to create their own social/interest groups.These groups are enhanced by having their own public messaging system, and the ability to add pictures to the group from user albums.New Member Profile PageIn order to accomodate all the new features in vBulletin 3.7, the member profile page has been completely redesigned from the ground up.The new page presents information in a far cleaner and more logical manner, while dividing up information into manageable chunks using a tabbed interface.Individual profile field categories can be displayed alone in blocks in the right column, in addition to appearing by default in the 'About Me' tab.Member Customization of Profile PageThe administrator may choose to allow his members to use the profile page customization tool, which allows users to alter fonts, colors, background and borders etc. of their profile page in order to create a more personalized look.The administrator can lock-down customization permissions, in order to prevent the personalized pages being made too offensively awful by aesthetically challenged members... nobody wants to see some of those really ugly MySpace pages on your vBulletin installation!

Inline Editing of Profile Field ValuesThe 'About Me' tab of each member's profile page has edit controls, allowing them to quickly change values without leaving their profile page.Attachment Viewing LightboxClicking on an attached image will now open a lightbox rather than open a new window, with the image scaled to fit the browser viewport. A click on the image in the lightbox will open it in a new window as before.Post Edit HistoryFor boards where the history of posts is important, it is now possible to log all edits to posts and then review the changes at a later date.Inline Moderation Enhanced AuthenticationWhen performing inline moderation actions, board staff will now be required to re-authenticate themselves if they have not done so in their browsing session.This prevents the possibility of unauthorized parties acting as a moderator on a public computer where a board staff member has accidentally ticked the 'remember me' box.Navbar NoticesAdministrators can now set up custom notifications that will appear underneath the navbar when visiting users fulfil specified criteria.For example, one may want to set up a notice to display when a user is a member of a particular usergroup, or to show a congratulatory message when a user has posted their 1,000th post etc.New Human Verification SystemsIn addition to the image verification system available in previous versions of vBulletin, 3.7 introduces the means for the administrator to choose the verification system employed on their board.They may choose to use the popular RECAPTCHA™ system, or to define a set of questions and answers for their visitors to deal with.User Change HistoryIn order to track changes made to users' profiles by administrators, a change log is now kept for various user profile fields including username, usergroup etc.Social Bookmarking of ThreadsAdministrators can now define a list of their favorite social bookmarking sites and have them available for use on the showthread page for bookmarking threads.And More...There are plenty more new features in vBulletin 3.7.Here is a brief list of some of the ones we haven't yet touched on:
Visitor tracking on profile pages
Automatic resizing of attached images to match filesize or pixel dimensions
Enhancements to custom bbcode system
Custom icons per forum
Advertisement locations defined in templates
Add multiple moderators in one go through ACP
ATOM support for RSS Poster Robot
Hooks to allow attachments to be passed through a virus scanner
Posts by users in 'Tachy Goes to Coventry' will no longer count towards the total number of posts in a thread or forum. They are now truly hidden!
All AJAX systems now employ the Yahoo! User Interface Library (YUI) for a more consistent and predictable system
YUI files can now be switched from locally hosted to remotely hosted by Yahoo! with a single option change, saving you bandwidth.

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