The Forum

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Did you know that there is an EPautos.com Forum? A place where you can post pretty much anything you like – and respond to the posts of others? It’s here (and can also be accessed from the pull down “Tools” tab on the top menu bar of the main page).forum pic

We’ve had this thing up for years – but very few of the EPautos.com regulars (or even the irregulars) ever post there. We’d like to get your input.

Do you like the idea of having a “bulletin board” – or do you prefer the scrolling comments system we have on the EPautos.com main page?

Would you like to see better integration of the Forum and the main page?

We’re trying to make the entire site more valuable to you; a place to get together as well as a place to get information (and hopefully, some entertainment, too).

Any ideas, suggestions, gripes – whatever you’ve got – would be much appreciated!

Other stuff:

I spoke with my friend, the mechanic, about doing articles – and answering questions. He’s agreeable – and so now it’s just a matter of setting everything up. If it’s successful, I’m hoping it’ll build to the point that we can offer “real time” access to professional assistance with diagnosing/dealing with repair & maintenance issues. What that means is a reader’s question would get an individual response within 24 hours of posting – ideally, sooner than that.

I’d also like to ask everyone who’s a regular here to help us promote the site, broaden the readership. Please tell friends, colleagues and family who might be interested in EPautos about EPautos! E-mail them links to articles posted here, encourage them to register and post comments. If we can kick up our monthly traffic from the current 75,000-100,00 or so to a steady 150,000 I am certain I’ll be able to get the major car companies to advertise with us directly – which would put the site on a stable financial footing and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the need for us to ask for your financial support.

Speaking of which: With about a week left in the month, we’re roughly at 70 percent of where we need to be to cover our expenses for the month (see the “thermometer” on the top right of the main page). We’re hoping we’ll make up the 30 percent over the next few days, with the help of our supportive readers.

Thanks, as always, to all of you!

Eric

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34 COMMENTS

      • My apologies, Mama.

        NE-WY Fly Fishing

        Life as a Female Trucker in North Dakota – “the land of hell”

        #1 Freest State: ND (SD is #2)
        http://freedominthe50states.org/overall/north-dakota

        Sunday Schooling from R. Heinlein –
        A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with religion — any religion — is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason — but one cannot have both.

        The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

        The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it’s lovely work if you can stomach it.

        I now define “moral behavior” as “behavior that tends toward survival.” I won’t argue with philosophers or theologians who choose to use the word “moral” to mean something else, but I do not think anyone can define “behavior that tends toward extinction” as being “moral” without stretching the word “moral” all out of shape.

        Of all the strange “crimes” that human beings have legislated out of nothing, “blasphemy”is the most amazing — with “obscenity” and “indecent exposure” fighting it out for second and third place.

        Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, “equality” is a disaster. – R. Heinlein lessons

        • No apologies called for, Tor. 🙂 That’s my country, and that’s my kind of gal. Lots of smart, pretty and hard working women out here. One of my handgun students drives a train in the coal fields to the south of here. Tough, and well able to defend herself. More and more of us every day. 🙂

          • If everything implodes for me here (in Va.) I might make my way out there, to start over… I’m pretty good at working on old bikes and cars… .

          • Eric… come visit and you’ll never want to leave. Wish I could post a picture or two. 🙂 In any case, you’ll always have a place at my table and a spot for your sleeping bag if you ever need it. You’d probably get a kick out of my log cabin here.

            Oh, and we have LOTS of older cars and trucks, and never enough people to fix them. Not too many bikes, except in the summer when 10,000 or more of them descend on the area for the Sturgis bike rally.

  1. Eric,
    You are soliciting input regarding what to add to the site but perhaps you should also consider what to subtract. Oftentimes a site can get bogged down with content that is ignored by the reader or, worse, is a turn-off and ends up driving away traffic. This also applies to particular contributors; they can be either a benefit or a cost. As a long-time reader, I would recommend trimming away the unproductive fat before you add anything.

      • Butting in here, please excuse.

        Not like? All the ‘God said’, ‘God did’, ‘because God’ crap that infested this place over the last month or so. I found it highly repulsive as there is no way for someone to claim ‘to know’ without coming off as arrogant and sanctimonious no matter how much they may claim to be open minded.

        To be clear, what people believe is their business but when it colours every response, rational conversation becomes frustratingly impossible.

        I excused myself from here for a while because I was tempted to go the ‘your god is bullshit and Satan is Lord therefore (insert premise)…..’ route to highlight the absurdity but figured it was better to just abstain entirely.

  2. Hey Dom,

    Whaaaat’s Happening? Uhhhhh. We have sort of a problemmmm here. Yeah, you apparently didn’t put one of the new coversheets on your TPS Reports. Did you see the memo about this?
    Yeah, if you could go ahead and make sure you do that from now on. That would be greaaaat. – Bill Lumbergh – the uber-annoying everyman non-tech arrogant schmuck

    Office Space TPS Reports
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy3rjQGc6lA

    5. Display Featured Images In RSS Feed
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    6. Disable HTML in Comments
    Spam can be a real pain. Do you get spam in the comments of your site that are littered with links to even more spam?
    Disable HTML in your comments to prevent links to spam, bold text and other spammy tactics. Just add the following code to your functions.php file:

    14. Redirect a User After Login
    You can redirect users who login to your site to another URL based on their role using this snippet. Just add it to your functions . php file:

    http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/14-handy-wordpress-hacks-every-developer-should-know/

    Akismet has protected your site from 691,153 spam comments. What that’s all the spam you’ve gotten lately?

    Most Popular Free WordPress Slider Plugins
    http://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/most-popular-free-wordpress-slider-plugins/

  3. Too many hoops at Ronpaulforums. What would be best is if no human intervention is needed to post. Just some hurdles that will keep out the majority of the spammers.

    Just to see what it takes to use a forum, I tried registering at Ronpaulforums. The first hurdle is I had changed my email password, and didn’t remember. but I figured that out. Loss of time 5 minutes total. I wouldn’t expect this site not to need me to check my email, but if somehow I didn’t, that would be great.

    Upon returning to the forum I am greeted by this:

    Site Message
    Thank you for registering, Tor Munkov. Your account has been submitted for moderation by an administrator and will be activated shortly. You will be notified by email when this happens. To return to the forums, click here.

    Does that happen to everyone, is it because my TLD is Germany, or is it because I do all manner of stuff on the internet that isn’t just shopping at amazon and posting on facebook.

    Since I had to overcome a medium difficulty two word captcha at RPF to get this far, I don’t understand why there continues to be a further waiting period.

    In the time this all took, I could have posted 10 things on 4chan/pol as anonymous. Posting on that forum is daunting, because it doesn’t hold your hand regarding what you have to do to get your post submitted.

    But I am used to that. It’s like this internet rain man six sense. Somehow I just know that you have to click on the little symbol to the right on this wordpress site to get a fresh captcha, but I don’t think there is any description field that tells me that, I just knew it intuitively.

    • “Does that happen to everyone” Yeah, that’s standard. We have ours set the same way. I just loosened it up a bit today. I’ll have the site relatively lax in registration requirements. Then we get 1,000 bots registering in a day. I tighten it up some, then we get half that. Then I lock down the registration all together and keep comments available and we get thousands of spam, so I lock that down. There we are with the site completely locked and requiring users to email me for registration. Eric and I go back and forth about every three or four months on it. To be honest I’m sick of the whole shit and am ready to throw in the towel. Just fucking over it. Shit ain’t fun no more!

      • Dear Dom,

        You said it. The problem with America in a nutshell. “Shit ain’t fun no more.” This site has substance, whoever complains about its form or acts in a way you or Eric don’t like. Give them a warning icon or just flush’em.

        Insults, posts with a 1000 word wall of text, gibberish, poor construction, boring stuff, move these to a temporary limbo category. 48 hours to fix/improve/resubmit before final deletion. Post something worthy or pay $ to play, insult, spam, and flood the site.

        I’m going to register and not just read the forum like I do now.

        My aim was to verify how hard forums are to administer. No doubt Ron Paul’s site valued at $250K has many multiples of the manpower and funding of this site. Even now no one has gotten back to me one way or the other.

        Most places are echo chambers, mostly everyone posts at everyone else. Or infested with ignorants, patriots, bootlickers. This is really something different and better. Maybe expand clovercam to include homemade videos by us. And funny videos. And random videos of all kinds.

        Consider being more editorial, enabling a moderator/janitor with limited powers to strip out unwanted links, break up walls of text, edit posts, shorten posts, move posts to where they better belong. Keep the convo and the party moving.

        When I’m in a bar, the best bartenders in my mind are the ones focused on the customers themselves.

        Not wiping things down, stocking bottles, mixing drinks that take 5 minutes. Screw that stuff, don’t cater to that. If a douchebag comes in to a bar or website and incessantly wines about cleanliness, service time, just laugh and brush him off and cater to him last if ever.

        Maybe just participate in our conversations and moderate us yourself, if not feasible to get a third unpaid person. What everyone mostly wants, I think, is not to be a bunch of washed up has beens in a broken down culture that the world is leaving behind.

        If for a minute, enough of us believed our delusional drivel and mediocre sentiments were worth something to someone, I think we’d be willing to pay even more to post more than we do now. There’s some great writers here, I don’t want to name them, in case I forget someone.

        I think its amazing you’re making as much as you are with no endowments or connections to speak of.

        – Reaching 80% of the goal with 85% of the month ended, not too bad, all things considered, right?

    • I can’t speak for RP Forum, but I can tell you (so can Dom!) that one of the biggest jobs – one of the biggest time wasters – is dealing with the fucking endless spam assaults. I would like to pour acid slowly down the throat of the cretin who set loose these electronic termites.

      The irony is they can’t possibly make money for the spammers. Who the hell would click on a spam link? Or read a spam post?

      It’s just trash – wasting everyone’s time and energy.

      • If you just let the spam bots go and let it be a free for all, what would that look like?

        Maybe just let everything go, let the weeds grow, then burn everything, I mean, delete the whole thread of comments after 48hrs or so?

        Or, maybe just keep an eye on one or two main articles, let the weeds grow in the back 40, then do a controlled burn? One match, one delete key? An Easy Button?

        Anyway, If dom could figure out a way to automate the process of fighting spam bots it might be worth some money, for nine months, until they find a way around that.

        • It would look like utter shit.

          They would take over. Literally. You’d see nothing but spam. We block/delete thousands of spam “messages” every day.

      • Hmm, I’m just not seeing how this is so time consuming. I administer four message board/fora, I own one of them. I administer three blogs, and own one of them. I probably don’t spend more than fifteen minutes a day, at worst, dealing with spam or bot accounts. I have good anti-spam software/filters on all these sites and simply go dump what they’ve caught each day. Takes no more time that it does to load the dashboard or admin section and click the delete. If you are wading through them one by one to see if you can find one or two valid items, that’s the problem. Forgetabout it.

        Set your parameters to skim off the spam, and then trust it. I don’t see more than a few a week – all my sites combined – that manage to bypass the captcha and other filters. If that number increases, the captcha or filters need to be reset, and that’s usually enough.

        • Hi Mama,

          How much traffic do your sites get? If they’re not heavily visited, that may be the difference. This site routinely gets 100,000 a month.

          We also have been hacked several times.

          Dom knows more about this stuff than I do; might ask him directly.

          • Shouldn’t really be an issue, Eric. The spam traps, filters and captchas work no matter how many are presented. The software needs to be updated and watched, of course, but it shouldn’t really matter if there are 10,000 or 100,000 entries. Computers work fast. 🙂 With good filters and software, you should be basically uninvolved other than periodic maintenance. I can dump hundreds or thousands or more in the same amount of time… if the filters are doing their job.

            Being hacked IS a major problem, and the software to prevent that has to evolve and be updated endlessly too. But that’s also a matter of a few minutes once in a while, and not an 8 hour a day job for a website the size of yours. The really major sites, such as news and political outfits would be under greater attack, of course, but I don’t see it being a full time job for an outfit your size.

            I do hope Dom will join this discussion, since it is obvious that I may well have a lot to learn. 🙂

            • Well, it is an issue for us! We’ve been trying to strike a balance between keeping the site as open as possible (so that new people can register/post without undue hassle) and being literally swamped with spam. Dom is on here every day, for several hours, keeping watch and dealing with the endless, countless problems associated with DNS attacks, spam “new users” and faux posts…

              Personal blogs probably don’t have such problems. Our problem is we’re bigger than a personal blog, but don’t have the resources to create our own architecture. So we use WordPress – a popular template, one that looks nice but that’s also very vulnerable to attacks.

          • All of my blogs are “wordpress.” And I’ve never had any complaints about access. The volume shouldn’t be a problem, maybe unless you were running LRC or something like that, as I said. If you are trying to read every comment post, no wonder you are run ragged. Good filtering gets rid of the bots and obvious spammers, but you might want to engage some volunteer moderators to help with the goofy posts. I’ll be glad to help.

            I suspect the key is still software and adequate filtering. There is no need to examine or even look at each new member. If you are having more than one hack attempt a day – or even a month – I’d say you need some serious security upgrades. But again, I’m sure Dom understand that and I’m no expert. It’s just that something seems really weird about all this. Nobody should have to struggle with it constantly, daily. If that were so, there’d be darn few large and successful websites, I think.

            It would be interesting to compare tech notes with Lew Rockwell or one of the really big websites, just to see what they deal with. I’ll ask around.

          • @Eric – Don’t feel bad. Even the big boys have headaches: This is one of the biggest in the industry – Rackspace

            NTP-Based DDoS Attacks

            Rackspace has been tracking and monitoring an increase in Distributed Reflection Denial of Service (DRDos) attacks specifically exploiting a vulnerability associated with some versions of the Network Time Protocol (NTP – a protocol used to synchronize time between servers over the internet). These attacks are not unique to Rackspace, but have reached such a magnitude that they pose a risk to our customers. In this communication we give you detail about the vulnerability, outline the steps that we have taken, and describe some additional options that may be appropriate for some customers. Most customers are not impacted by these actions. If you have questions, please feel free to contact your Rackspace support team.

            You can learn more about these attacks at http://www.informationweek.com/security/attacks-and-breaches/ddos-attack-hits-400-gbit-s-breaks-record/d/d-id/1113787.

            What action did Rackspace take?

            Rackspace implemented multiple types of filtering policies on the network designed to have minimal impact on your environment hosted at Rackspace. Our approach is intended to mitigate the attacks to prevent an impact to your environment and the Rackspace network. We implemented our mitigation plan Monday evening, February 24th, 2014.

  4. I sure miss the good ol’ days when all comments were on the forum. Ever since we started using wordpress as the platform for conversation things suck. WordPress stinks as a conversation platform at the level we use it. If I had my way I’d have all the articles posted just as they are, then linked to the forum for commentary. I get so much email complaining about how wordpress acts on certain machines/browsers. I just got this today:

    “Dear Dominic,
    I don’t usually write to complain about websites that I visit often and I like Eric Peters’ site a lot. But I have to admit that I find the sliding ad panel that moves down along the right edge of the screen so annoying and distracting that I’m giving up visiting your site altogether. Not only does it continue to follow my progress by sliding back into view no matter how far down I scroll but it makes a “fingernails on the chalkboard” scraping noise as it moves down into position. I have to ask: Why would you want to annoy your readers in such a fashion? It’s sure not going to encourage me to donate. Quite the contrary. Since you’re the webmaster I figure you’re the guy to talk to about this. So there’s my two cents for what it’s worth. ”

    My reply:

    “Hi.

    Are you talking about the “Valentine One” “Find it Here” and “What’s Happening?” block on the right side?

    I’ve never heard it make a noise.

    The only ad I placed there is the Valentine One Radar detector.

    Are you seeing something else?

    Has it always done this?”

    Is anyone else having this problem?

    • Both items slide, but that doesn’t really bother me. Perhaps he is on mobile, I can see issues then. I have no idea what sound he’s talking about.

        • I like having the most recent comments available.

          Anything that makes the site seem live and actively changing as I read is a plus in my book.

          If there’s a way for some of the spam to appear live somewhere in its own walled off sandbox as it’s posted, prevented from executing its scripts, links, and crap. I’d think that would look bad-assed.

          Man thrives in a minute oasis of order in an overwhelming chaotic galaxy. Only Clovers demand wooden, unchanging order, and sterile, over-censored silence so they can enjoy their echoing babytalk chambers.

          • “If there’s a way for some of the spam to appear live somewhere in its own walled off sandbox as it’s posted, prevented from executing its scripts, links, and crap. I’d think that would look bad-assed.”

            Good question. As of now it’s assigned to a post. I’ll check into whether I can change it to a sandboxed post.

        • @Dom – I use the “what’s happening” all the time when I first land on the site. In fact you could make it longer. I think it is the PageDown follower that some don’t like. I find it easy to ignore, but that is just me.

  5. Seems to me that the only way the forum would function for comments on the articles is if that was the only comment option. Dividing the comments between here and a forum doesn’t appeal to me, anyway. A forum can be very good, and I’m a member of several, but it’s also time consuming and having to track things on two different sites would make it difficult. I would do one or the other, but not both.

    • Yeah… that’s my sentiment also. I’d like to figure out some way to integrate the Forum with the main page (www.epautos.com) so that we’d have everything under one roof… wish I were more “tech hip” and new how that might be done…!

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