announcement: non-logged in users can no longer see contact info. March 15, 2002 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I made a slight change to the user pages. Logged in users see everything as it was before, but non-logged in users don't see any contact information except for websites URLs. I had long worried about the spam thwarting measures I have employed not being good enough, and I've also been hearing about non-members hassling members for memberships, posting, etc. So with the new change, non-members won't be able to harvest addresses, or send you an email (unless you've got it listed on your homepage URL somewhere), and they won't know your AIM/ICQ or location.
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 10:13 AM (34 comments total)

thanks, matt.
posted by moz at 10:15 AM on March 15, 2002


Good call...I've certainly received a whole lot of spam recently, though I have no idea why.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:20 AM on March 15, 2002


Makes sense.
posted by rodii at 11:13 AM on March 15, 2002


Damn. I was really hoping to get another of those "if you are an alien, you must help me travel back in time!" spams. Know the one I'm talking about? Anyway, there goes THAT plan.
posted by Succa at 11:15 AM on March 15, 2002


'I've also been hearing about non-members hassling members for memberships'

Just re-direct them to this girl. (See item 4)
posted by RobertLoch at 11:30 AM on March 15, 2002


Just wanted to say thank you, mathowie.
posted by Wulfgar! at 11:31 AM on March 15, 2002


cool, thanks. btw, any further thoughts on the non-googling of user pages?
posted by Dean King at 11:31 AM on March 15, 2002


I put a disallow on /user.mefi and /username.mefi in the robots.txt file, but I still see user pages in google.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:37 AM on March 15, 2002


yeah, I do too, but thanks for setting up the disallow.
posted by Dean King at 11:42 AM on March 15, 2002


Pretty cool, dispite the google cache.
I've had quite a few emails from people either kicked out or wanting in who seem to think I'm some sort of sympathetic presence for that sort of thing.
This works out pretty well for me.
posted by dong_resin at 11:50 AM on March 15, 2002


thanks, matt, that should keep "spidernat666" (whoever the hell it is) off my back...
posted by jonmc at 11:55 AM on March 15, 2002


I have the strangest feelings of jealousy over those who have gotten bothered by wanna-joins and spammers. I never get a damn thing.

Christ, I'm weird.
posted by Skot at 12:34 PM on March 15, 2002


Google will yank all or part of its links to/caches of a site, if the webmaster writes to them and asks.
posted by aaron at 12:59 PM on March 15, 2002


I never get a damn thing.

Christ, I'm weird.


2 + 2 = ?

:)
posted by rodii at 1:00 PM on March 15, 2002


Matt: Google will probably get around to removing the user pages when it rechecks them, but just in case it doesn't consult robots.txt for pages already in its database, you can put this in the HEAD section of the user profile pages also:

<META NAME="Robots" CONTENT="NOINDEX,FOLLOW">


posted by rcade at 1:04 PM on March 15, 2002


I have the strangest feelings of jealousy over those who have gotten bothered by wanna-joins and spammers. I never get a damn thing.

Oh, Skot, don't feel bad at all. This last week, I've had to ask myself the question, "is MetaFilter worth losing my job". The answer is obvious, but the outcome is still up in the air. mathowie just took a huge step in making sure I don't have to ask myself that question again.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:25 PM on March 15, 2002


I put a disallow on /user.mefi and /username.mefi in the robots.txt file, but I still see user pages in google.

Excellent! I've been waiting forever for a chance in which to offer this link. Hi-larious, but not something worth pointing out outside of context.
posted by willnot at 1:55 PM on March 15, 2002


I got an email from the people who run suicide girls, thanking me for my comments on the MeTa thread about their textad. I didn't mind.

On the other hand, I have no homepage URL, at least not one I post on my profile here. When/if I do, I suppose that anyone who had a reason to contact me would be willing to take the trouble of a few extra clicks. So I'm not complaining.
posted by bingo at 3:31 PM on March 15, 2002


I just found (and blogged) the Database of Web Robots earlier today. Handy tool if you're planning on blocking access to specific robots from your site (as I am.)
posted by Danelope at 3:57 PM on March 15, 2002


Thank you!
posted by justlooking at 3:59 PM on March 15, 2002


As a non techi, one question I have is how do websites differentiate between a robot or e-mail harvester viewing a page and a person? For the purposes of serving ads etc. do ad servers have a way to automatically block them or something? Probably a daft question, I've just never really considered the implications of robot crawling sites until this post. Is it a problem in respect to accurately assessing pages viewed as well?

Oh yeah, to clarify my post above. I noticed a post on a weblog saying: 'I found the secret way to join Metafilter today, and feel like a super-hacker-spy or something. Heh.'

Does such a thing exist?
posted by RobertLoch at 8:35 AM on March 16, 2002


It isn't really all that secret - a lot of us members have gotten here that way. Not that I would know from personal experience, or anything.
posted by iconomy at 8:45 AM on March 16, 2002


Spotting a ridiculously-high user number is a sure-fire way of telling when somebody's snuck in the back door. Criminy, 14,000 - what's the world coming to.
posted by yhbc at 5:19 PM on March 16, 2002


Welcome to the party, yhbc!
posted by ColdChef at 5:53 PM on March 16, 2002


Thanks, ColdChef! I appreciate the welcome, and I'll try not to wear it out.
posted by yhbc at 6:08 PM on March 16, 2002


yhbc--"You Have Been"...Conned? Cuddled? Castrated?
posted by rodii at 6:43 PM on March 16, 2002


rodii- "You Haven't Been Checking" the user pages.
posted by yhbc at 6:53 PM on March 16, 2002


14007? bit of a bug, then: front page says 13859 members as of this moment. and that last one joined on the 2nd. strangely invisible, you are.
posted by Dean King at 12:00 AM on March 17, 2002


Dean, many numbers in the first couple hundred were test accounts and are not attached to a member. I don't know if that accounts for the whole discrepancy.
posted by rodii at 9:02 AM on March 17, 2002

As a non techi, one question I have is how do websites differentiate between a robot or e-mail harvester viewing a page and a person? For the purposes of serving ads etc. do ad servers have a way to automatically block them or something?
Browsers and robots declare themselves in the http header as a user-agent. You can filter based on this.
posted by holloway at 1:01 PM on March 17, 2002


Well-behaved robots do that. Spam harvesters and the like often don't. But when one user agent is requesting every page on your site in the space of a few minutes, that's another type of clue.

yhbc--apologies. Your nick looks strikingly like "YHBT", which is a standard Usenet acronym.
posted by rodii at 5:20 PM on March 17, 2002


er, aren't all webpage-fetching thingies "user-agents"? Including browsers?

Robots are just one type of user agent...
posted by beth at 9:33 PM on March 17, 2002


rodii-my apologies too. I didn't make the "you have been trolled" connection, and now I see the problem with my first-impulse choice of name.
posted by yhbc at 6:20 AM on March 18, 2002


beth!
posted by rodii at 7:15 AM on March 18, 2002


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