Presenting rules and new users

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Rex Allers
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Presenting rules and new users

Post by Rex Allers »

Some time back I created a message to post to a new user who had not abided by the "Firstname - Lastname" rule as a username on the forum.

In writing that post message I used some BBCode tags to add formatting like Bold or Bullet Lists. I think this makes reading and digesting the content much easier than an attempt with just simple text. Richard recently noticed one of these posts I had made, approved, and suggested it might be good if others used my message when appropriate.

I had no problem with this and have shared a text version with the BBCode formatting in the past. However, if someone just copies the contents one of these messages I have posted to use themselves, the formatting in my message is lost and it is harder to read.

I was working on a good and easy way to share my message with formatting so others could copy and use it. I think I had a good way in mind but in checking some things on our forum board I realized my message begins with a lie so I no longer plan to share it or nag new users.


---- fusor.net we have a problem ----

At the beginning of my message I say:
"When you registered you clicked to accepted the terms that were given on the 1st registration page: "

This is true, and I then go on to explain the rule they missed about using their real "Firstname - Lastname" when they select their new username. To fix their situation I later explain how to change it.

*** But ***
Currently on our board that first page they see and agree to is just a boiler plate message that is a default part of the phpBB software. They never see anything related to our actual fusor.net rules.

So my 'change_username' message is based on a lie.

-- Some History --
I am pretty sure it was in 2017 when I realized that new users, when they register and "Agree" were never seeing anything specific to fusor.net.

I knew how to change the text that is presented, but unfortunately it requires an edit to one of the php files that comprise the software of the phpBB board we use.

To change the user agreement one must find the proper php software file (and it is possible there are more than one), use an editor to find a specific tag in the file that marks the text string and replace the default string, then save the file.

In 2017 I exchanged a series of emails with Frank, who agreed it would be a good idea. I supplied instructions, and the new formatted text, and eventually we got an agreement page specific to the actual rules of fusor.net.

The updated agreement page message was the same as Paul's "The Rules" from the admin section of the board except with a bit of formatting like Bold to make the key points more obvious.

In 2019 the site move or some other update caused the edited php file to be replaced by the phpBB default software version. I contacted Frank and he had lost all info on how to make this edit. Eventually we swapped enough messages to again edit and present a fusor.net-specific agreement to new registrants.

Currently (Aug 2022) I have just noticed that the registration agreement is back to the phpBB default.

--- Tweaking an accessible "The Rules" ---

In the "Announcements and Site Administration Topics" of the board there is a sticky message at the top of the Topics:
" Fusor.Net Policies and Procedures"
Post by Paul_Schatzkin » Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:47 pm
viewtopic.php?p=69690#p69690

Near the top of that message is the section titled:
"The Rules"
with four numbered rules.

This section was the basis for what I suggested should be presented to users at the beginning of the registration process. (What I just described about making it fusor-specific above.) The Rules are the same except that I added a bit formatting like Bold to make key points more obvious.

Somewhere in that 2017-2019 range I created a BBCoded version of the The Rules section that someone with full editing privilages could edit into Paul's Admin sticky message to give it more visual oompf.

I think this editing was done at one point but the current message is back to its 2015 original formatting.

One other small point...
the first line of The Rules section in the sticky message is:
"The Rules: (updated 151214) (From http://fusor.net/board/ucp.php?mode=register"

That link points to the agreement page a new user sees in registration; it currently is the default boilerplate from phpBB, nothing to do with fusor.net rules. The reference should be deleted.

---- My Summary ----

- I think the file edit should be made again to show a new registrant a page with our actual fusor.net rules for them to agree to.

- I think it would be nice to have the Rules section of the sticky admin message edited with the formatting (Bold, etc.) that I provided in the past.

- In the mean time, I don't plan to share my 'change_username' message and I intend to stop nagging new users who didn't register with "First-Last".

I have here saved copies of the formatted text of the fusor registration page. I also have a formatted version of the "The Rules" section in the Admin message that could be edited in (and more readable IMO).

I'm not real excited about going through another email chain on how to accomplish this. If I had the necessary access permissions I could do the changes myself in a few minutes. I volunteered to help in the past but it became apparent my help was not needed or desired.
Rex Allers
thecoalman
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by thecoalman »

Rex Allers wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:55 pm I was working on a good and easy way to share my message with formatting so others could copy and use it.
Use code tags:

Code: Select all

[list]
[*]Default line 1
[*]Default line 2
[/list]
[list=1]
[*]Numbered line 1
[*]Numbered line 2
[/list]
[list=a]
[*]Lowercase line 1
[*]Lowercase line 2
[/list]
[list=A]
[*]Uppercase line 1
[*]Uppercase line 2
[/list]
[list=A]
[*]Parent uppercase line 1
[list=a]
[*]Nested lowercase line 1
[/list]
[*]Parent Uppercase line 2
[list=a]
[*]Nested Uppercase line 2
[/list]
[/list]

Produces.
  • Default line 1
  • Default line 2
  1. Numbered line 1
  2. Numbered line 2
  1. Lowercase line 1
  2. Lowercase line 2
  1. Uppercase line 1
  2. Uppercase line 2
  1. Parent uppercase line 1
    1. Nested lowercase line 1
  2. Parent Uppercase line 2
    1. Nested Uppercase line 2
There is others, extensive BBcode directions here: https://www.phpbb.com/community/help/bbcode


Currently on our board that first page they see and agree to is just a boiler plate message that is a default part of the phpBB software. They never see anything related to our actual fusor.net rules.
There is an extension for this:

https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/exte ... agreement/
Rex Allers
Posts: 534
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:39 am
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Location: San Jose CA

Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Rex Allers »

Coalman, good to see you still posting here.

Yes, I am familiar with BBCode. For sharing it, I had decided CODE boxes in a message post was probably the best option. I'll do that later in this message.

I like the extension for changing the user registration page. I was looking for a solution like that, I guess, just before that extension was authored. All I could find was descriptions of editing ucp.php, which is what we did here on the forum a couple of times. Obviously that edit is lost if the phpBB software is updated, replacing ucp.php.

The extension is safer and uses BBCode formating. Editing ucp.php needed html tags for formatting.

As you were writing your message I was in the process of installing WAMP here and then phpBB under that. After a simple install I read your message and then got the "customregistrationagreement" extension and installed it. (Took several tries to figure out what part of the unzipped to copy into 'ext/'.) So, it gives the admin an edit window just like a new message and it can process BBCode tags.

Here's the BBCode version of "The Rules" that I created and pasted into the extension's input.

Code: Select all

[b][size=150]The Rules:[/size][/b]
    (updated 151214) 

[b][size=120]By registering for membership in this site, you agree to adhere to the following terms and conditions:[/size][/b]

[list=1]
[*]The first rule of membership in these forums is: 
[b]You must create your account using your [size=120]real, full, [u]first AND last names[/u][/size] as the LogIn/UserID for your account[/b]. 

If your name is John Smith, your UserID (i.e. login handle) must be John Smith, or John_Smith. This is the name that will appear in the forum listings. “JSmith” or “JohnS” or “JS997” or “handles” like “MrFusion” or “ProtonBoy” are [b]NOT permitted[/b]. 

New accounts that do not adhere to this simple rule will be summarily deleted without any further consideration. Any questions? OK, rolling right along…

[i][/i]
[*]New members are required to introduce themselves with a [size=120][b]first post[/b][/size] in the [size=120][b]"Please Introduce Yourself" forum[/b][/size] prior to posting elsewhere on the site.

[i][/i]
[*]The following types of content, and any links to such content, are prohibited and subject to immediate deletion: obscene, vulgar, or sexually-oriented material; ad-hominem attacks; legal threats; displays or endorsements of unlawful activity; commercial advertising of any kind; solicitation of funding for individual projects or initiatives of any sort.

[i][/i]
[*]All content posted must be one’s own, or attributed to the creator and used with permission.
[/list]

If you have any issues with these protocols (particular #1), you are welcome to contact the site admins: admin@fusor.net
And here's a capture of what a new registrant sees.

Registration Rules.png

I think it would be nice if someone with admin privileges would do the same on fusor.net.

I also suggest that Paul's sticky message in the Admin section might be edited replacing the simple text section of "The Rules" with my BBCode version.
Rex Allers
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Richard Hull
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Richard Hull »

Great effort and work, Rex.

Much needed. I think Frank or Paul will agree and help out.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
Frank Sanns
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Frank Sanns »

There is SO much about this site that is frustrating. YEs, I was aware of the registration problem. Thanks for working it out again REX. It is a simple procedure that I can do in literally a couple of minutes.

My problem is that I can no longer access the site from my Mac. The Windows computer that I purchased is finicky and has locked me out of the ftp login procedure AGAIN. I need to go through the new software and reestablish the secure connection so I can gain access with my ftp client.

There are other minor things that I need to do on the site too but like I said, it is a PITA over the year. Trivial things become monstrously complex because of softwares and formats. It will get done in the near future and will be the first thing once I am back into the site.
thecoalman
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by thecoalman »

Rex Allers wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:02 am Coalman, good to see you still posting here.
You have been "adopted". There was a lot of effort put into trying to fix what I could and if I'm more than happy to help going down the road.

Frank, I just tested the sftp connection and it works fine. Keep in mind that WinSCP will remember the last directory you were in, If the last one was the files directory it can take a while to load. If the screen says "Loading directory" that is the issue.

You can prevent this by being in another directory when closing WinSCP. You can also go into the advanced options and uncheck remember last directory.
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Paul_Schatzkin
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

Thanks, guys, for catching this.

My recollection of how phpBB works is that the page a new user gets when he creates a user ID is buried somewhere in the .php files. What I am reading here seems to confirm that.

And I surmise that what happened is that when The Coalman set up our newest installation, that default file was baked into the set up.

So that file has to be replaced and could probably stand some fresh editing and I think Rex is right that it needs to be marked up so that the essential elements (i.e. "First and Last Names Only") are clear to the reader.

I wonder if we have that old .php file lying around in a backup somewhere. If not I can start fresh from the post that Rex highlighted from the Admin 'rules'

Marking it up sounds a bit more complicated. but I can get into it tomorrow or else over the weekend.

Does that sound like a reasonable course?

--P
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television - http://farnovision.com/book.html
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 50 years in the past and we missed it."
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Richard Hull
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Richard Hull »

Yes, by all means use Rex file. It looks good.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.
Rex Allers
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Location: San Jose CA

Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Rex Allers »

Paul,

Good to see that you support changing the registration agreement page a new user sees and also editing a prettier version of "The Rules" into your admin post.

But it seems you missed some details that have developed in this thread.

Editing the file ucp.php is the method I found 7+ yrs ago for changing the registration page. It works and is the method we have used in the past.

In one of the posts above, thecoalman pointed out that there is now (since about 5 yrs ago) a phpBB extension that makes it easier and safer to change the content of that page.

Repeating that here...
There is an extension for this:
" ...customise/db/extension/customregistrationagreement/"
https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/exte ... agreement/

When I saw that, I had just installed a small test phpBB board on my windows PC here. I downloaded the zip of that extension and installed it. It gives the admin an edit box for the registration page that looks just like a user's new message edit box. I pasted my BBCode version of The Rules into that box and saved it. Worked fine. I shared the results here as a screen capture a couple posts up. You probably need to click on the thumbnail of that capture in my message to see a readable bigger version.

If that looks ok to you, you can copy my BBCode from the 'CODE:' box in my message above. Click on 'SELECT ALL' and copy the selected text. Paste it into a local text file for future use. If there is anything in my capture image of the rules that you would like to change, I can do that.

With full editing permissions to your admin message, my BBCode can be pasted into your message to replace the simple-formatted text that is there now.

I've left out some details in these descriptions. I'll send an email to the address I have for you. We can discuss more via email if you would like.
Rex Allers
thecoalman
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by thecoalman »

Rex Allers wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 7:31 pm Editing the file ucp.php is the method I found 7+ yrs ago for changing the registration page. It works and is the method we have used in the past.

Actually it's /language/en/ucp.php, The agreement is right at the top. you need to be careful with some characters, specifically apostrophes because they will be interpreted as php code instead of text string. You can use HTML entities instead.

https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_entities.asp

The extension is much easier however extensions can have issue with new phpBB updates. Typically you need to just disable it.
Rex Allers
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Re: Presenting rules and new users

Post by Rex Allers »

I like the extension method for a few reasons over the ucp edit.

After trying it on my simple test phpBB install, it seems to still work. So from 2017 when it was developed to the current phpBB version now. I realize it could break in the future. I think any update of the phpBB software would require the ucp to be edited again. That's where we are now.

Moot for me. I don't have authority to do any of this stuff on fusor.net.

thecoalman, have you seen the email Paul sent and I added a follow-on email? It was sent to a different email addy for you than I had used once in the past. This one had 'nep...' in it.
Rex Allers
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