Changes to Our Website

What’s New

We have implemented two important changes to our Rogue Community website that you need to be aware of. One of them was planned from the beginning and the other became necessary because of bot attacks. (I’ll discuss bots later if you don’t know what they are.)

Initiated Members Only Section

The first change was in the initial blueprints of the site. We knewcustom_text_blue_print_12184 we wanted to have a website that was mostly open to the public, with some areas open only to initiated men of the Rogue Community.

We have now implemented a membership gateway. A membership gateway is a software checker that determines the appropriate access level for each user who logs into to our site.

Membership Levels

In theory there can be an infinite number of membership levels. In practice, at least for now, we have three membership levels for persons visiting

The three membership levels:

  1. Level One – When a person is not logged in but is viewing the site.
    • He cannot post a comment or a reply on any page. (Must be logged in to do that.)
    • He can only access the public areas-no access to the members only area. (Since the gateway checks membership level during log in, the gateway can’t know if he’s initiated, so it assumes he is not.)
  2. Level Two – When a person is logged in, but his entry in the user database does not indicate that he is Initiated.  
    • He can post a comment or a reply on any page or article he can access–only public access. (The gateway determined he is not initiated during log in, so it prevents his access to the members only area.)
    • He cannot access the members only section.
  3. Level Three – When a person is logged in and whose entry in the user database does indicate that he is initiated.
    • He may of course post a comment or reply on any page or article on the website that has comments enabled.
    • He does have access to all of the pages and posts on the site, both the public and members only sections.

Possibility of Other Membership Options

multiple_signs_custom_13406Right now any man who is marked as initiated and who is logged in to our site may access everything on our site. But this may not be the case in the future. We may create some additional membership levels that could be used for a particular I-Group or any other constituency of our Rogue Community.

An example of this could be membership levels created that would allow each I-Group to have its own private place on the site to discuss work that men do in their group. I would like to open this up for discussion in our Community. Leave a comment below to tell us all what you think we should do, or not do.

I will propose the idea to the next Rogue Community Executive Council members.

Who Will Be or Has Been Given Access to the Members Only Section?

It will take a little bit of time to ensure that everyone who should have access gets it. I will single_red_question_mark_4859need your help on this. Let me know if you should be able to access the Members Only section on the menu and you are not able to do so.

Just to be clear you should get access to the Members Only area if you:

  • Have been initiated through a verifiable NWTA training.
  • Consider yourself to be a member of the Rogue Community, regardless of where you live.
  • Have some other reason acceptable to the Rogue Community Executive Council.

There are two basic criteria to get Members Only access:

  1. First you must be a registered user on our site. Registration alone would not be enough to gain access to the Members Only section, but it is an important first step. The gateway software requires a person to be registered first before it will consider checking the database for Members Only access.  Registration only allows a user to post a comment or a question, or a reply to someone else’s post.
  2. Second, you must have your membership level set to Initiated by one of the site administrators. This is the part that’s new. Each I-Group representative in the Rogue Community will know how to have that done.

stick_figure_grabbed_by_hook_8617The Changes to Our Site

  1. We now have a Members Only section of our site for Initiated men.
  2. We will no longer allow users to self-register for our site.

The Second Change To Our Site

The second change to our site came about because of a series of bot attacks. You don’t need to read what follows, unless you:

  • Don’t know what a bot is and want to know, or
  • You want to know why we no longer allow people to self-register for our site.

Questions, Questions, Everywhere:

What’s a Bot?

RobotMKPIn this context a bot, which is short for robot, is an automated computer program that runs 24/7 on the Internet whose sole purpose is to find blogs that allow self-registration, like ours did previously.

When it finds one, it registers a fictitious person as if that person where a real person who wants access to that site.

Then it waits for an opportunity to jump into action. It looks for a post that has a few keywords in it and it posts something like: That was a great comment you posted (usually in very poor, broken English).

Here’s an actual example, where the English wasn’t even as bad as some, “Your site offered us with valuable info to paintings on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community can be grateful to you.” 

The reference to paintings on is right from the comment that was left and I have no idea what the bot was trying to say. Thinking that could have been an innocent typo from one of our legitimate users, I traced the IP address to find out where it originated. Not surprising to me anymore, it originated from mainland China!

That wouldn’t be so bad, but I’ve been getting hundreds like it from China and other places.

Why Do They Do That?

There are many different reasons, but the one used most of the time, is to allow the

Figure looking at a question mark through magnifying glass

Click on this picture to see him in action

creator of the bot access to the membership of that site for commercial purposes. They are motivated by the prospect of selling you something.

Massive global greed has motivated millions of unscrupulous people to create and launch these pesky and sometimes malicious programs throughout the Internet.

How Do They Do That?

Robot running inside a gear

Click to see him work

Good question. After registering, the bot just lurks for a while watching the comments sent back and forth on the blog between real people.

Then when the bot sees something it was programmed to respond to, it will leave an innocuous looking comment.

The comment will usually have some relevance to the posted comment and will include a link to some kind of sales page, (often called rightly enough a squeeze page), where someone somewhere will try to sell you something you probably don’t want.

Is That So Bad?

Yes! With so many bots doing this, yes it’s bad! You have no idea of how much time I waste dealing with spam.

When only a handful of bots were running around, back in the good old days, it was not a big deal. Back then most of us didn’t mind the occasional spammer who would try to sell something.

But times have changed. Boy, have the changed!

What’s Different?

There are millions–hundreds of millions–of bots roaming the Internet right now as youstick_figure_wheel_barrow_gold_8611 read this. They are all looking for the same thing–gold mines. Gold mines, to a bot, are simply blogs that allow unrestricted registration as our site did up until recently.

When they find one they register for that blog and look for an opportunity to post a commercial comment. They are tireless and relentless.

With so many bots out there doing what they do without needing time off or raises, it is no wonder that a blog like ours can get overrun with spam.

When these fake users, the bots, post irrelevant comments and pester legitimate users with unwanted solicitations, the result is often a blog cave in under the weight of it all.

Then the very ones for whom the site was created lose interest and stop using it.

Why Haven’t You Seen These Bot Emails?

Because I spend so much time deleting them!

What Have We Done to Fix This

We have made many behind the scenes changes that will help keep this problem manageable. No, there is no way to stop it completely.

In the meantime we have made it so a person can’t self-register for our site. This won’t be a problem since those who have a legitimate reason to use the site will have been given log in credentials by one of the system administrators.

If you are a currently a registered user of this site and you lose or forget your password, you can still reset it yourself.

Just For You to Know, But Don’t Tell the Bots

all_ears_6950The ability for a new person to self-register will return to our site after I finish installing the next type of gateway software. It’s coming, it will take a little time. Please be patient. Until then each person who needs access can get registered through their I-Group representative.

And likewise as non-initiated brothers who are registered get initiated, we will also bump up their membership level so they can get appropriated access to the Members Only section.

Mark Teague

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