How to handle the spam in the playground group?

We are getting small amounts of spam in the playground group but currently we have no way to deal with this.

As all the actual groups require application, they are unlikely to have this kind of spam issue, so it’s just something for the playground group.

We chatted a bit about it and a few ideas came up:

  1. database admins manually delete it (those being @nicksellen and @tiltec)
  2. we add an admin interface (using django admin, for example) that allows a select number of people to delete messages for the playground group only
  3. we remove the whole concept of a playground group
  4. periodically reset the content in the playground group

Option 3 actually seemed the best as we discussed it, the playground group isn’t used that much anyway (the idea is for people to be able to play around with the features), and we also have which could be used for that purpose… (although that has the downside that you need a separate account there).

The discussion also went in the direction of wondering if we should use karrot itself for organising ourselves more, it would make it easier for people who use karrot to participate (as they would already have an account), and also force all of us on the karrot team to actually use the software on a regular basis (so more likely to fix annoying little bugs), there was a concern though that it’s not designed as a tool for co-ordinating software projects so our needs and usage patterns might differ a lot from other groups on there… and another point though that we might want to support more open groups in the future, so make it easier for outsiders or casual contributors to participate in some way in karrot groups.

We didn’t come up with a clear idea what to do immediately though :slight_smile:

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I guess if we removed the whole concept of playground groups in the software (as they are open groups, and have various other bits of special handling in the code), we could also create a “normal” group that people could join if they want to try things out, and that would require people doing an application to join it, which would presumably make it easy to filter out the spam entries.

For that option though, it would be useful to implement a “test” flag for the group in the database at least, so we can filter out the stats for that/those groups. This option would also allow other groups to create their own “test” groups…

I think current Karrot backend code already supports multiple playground groups and they don’t need to be open (is_open is a separate column). Frontend should support it as well, but I’m less certain :wink:

So, maybe we can just make the default playground closed? (and remove the bit where you can automatically get added into it on registration? … and maybe some other special bits of handling?)

Yep, that sounds like a solution. Then the main feature of playground groups is that they don’t add to the stats?

Yup, I think so. Maybe there are some other things they do that I forgot? But making them as similar to normal groups as possible might simplify handling…

I think it’s funny that this moderate amount of spam is now leading to the removal of the playground group…^^ I mean, imo it’s fine to disable it, if it’s really not needed, I just think those are two separate issues.

The idea is to make the playground group closed rather than remove it, perhaps that also makes it more like a realistic playground group too.

Personally I also think the amount of spam is totally fine. What I don’t like is that the Playground is probably not serving its original purpose for testing. If we want to keep the purpose of testing, I would begin by changing the title to “Test playground” or something like that (maybe “Test and talk”?). Even in the description I feel the lack of word testing to explain it properly.

I don’t have a clear opinion on whether it should be closed like a normal group or not. On the one hand, it would keep the spam out. On the other, it would make it a bit harder for people to actually find and join, when they usually want to do a quick testing and not wait for an application to be approved.

If we have it closed, then people can actually try (or test) the application feature :wink:

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Probably an easy and good solution to close it for now.

It becomes more evident that the Playground confuses people who are signing up for the first time. See comment on Github issue

To make a playground group closed, we just need to change a setting in the database: is_open for the playground group should be set to False. I already made the change for, we can do the same on production once we deployed