That's easier said than done, Robin. There are a LOT of nefarious folks out there who are very, very good at cracking into systems like this. In many cases, they actually hire people sweatshop-style to set up accounts and then sell the information. Let me give you a little background on this - some of this I've mentioned before but I'll offer some additional details.
For the past few years we've screened every user who applied to the forums, which typically ran in the neighborhood of 50-75 users *per day*. LBDA staff had to screen every one of them - some are obviously scammers, but many are not so clear. Conservatively, we figure that the screening process has cost the LBDA about $6000.
Newer versions of this software allow for more sophisticated self-registration tools, which would greatly reduce the cost to the LBDA (and put precious dollars on things such as research, the Awareness Campaign, etc.) while still keeping the forums clean. And I don't mean to minimize the importance of these forums, because I know that many people rely on them for support and sharing and that in many cases coming here to share helps get folks through the day.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier this week, we haven't had direct access to the files that the forum uses, and there were some problems with the upgrade process. We've relied on our third party hosting company to help us, and you may have noticed that it hasn't gone particularly well. Many of you have had access problems, received hundreds of duplicate e-mails, been spammed, etc.
So I threw a minor hissy fit on Friday and was magically granted a set of golden keys. I have resolved the duplicate e-mail problem, which has allowed me to reinstate the new user screening process. We'll continue with this for awhile but will eventually need to go to a method with less overhead or find a few people to volunteer to check the inactive users list daily, follow up and manage the activation. There is no reason that we can't have multiple forum moderators or account admins. I expect that we'll have significantly fewer registrations than we've had in the past.
I'll also be working on other things - fixing the link in the logo to point to http://www.lbda.org
, increasing the font size a bit, etc.
I do apologize for the problems we've had and want to let you know that we really are committed to keeping the forum safe and spam-free. We do need to find a balance, and with us having a little better control over things now I know that we can react to problems much more quickly.
And if any of you are interested in spending a couple of hours a week moderating, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
and we can talk about what it entails and getting you set up.