Robomoderation Registration FAQ

Copyright (c) 2002-3, Brian Edmonds
$Revision: 1.5 $ $Date: 2003/03/27 00:14:23 $

Contents

  1. What is poster registration?
  2. Why register posters at all?
  3. How do I register?
  4. What if I just want to register, not post?
  5. What if I don't want to give away my real address?
  6. How can I use an address similar to my real address?
  7. How do I switch back to my real address?
  8. How do I deregister?


What is poster registration?

The robomoderation software (robomod) maintains a list of email addresses which are registered for posting to the newsgroup (and gated mailing list, should the group have one). In some groups, registration is required, in which case submissions from unregistered posters will be rejected with instructions to register before posting. In some groups it allows regular posters to post directly, while new or troublesome posters are held for hand moderation. In other groups it may only be used to allow posters with invalid return addresses to still receive notices from robomod.



Why register posters at all?

In groups where submissions from non-registered addresses are bounced or held for hand moderation it almost completely eliminates spam from reaching the group. It also allows posters to register a valid/invalid address pair to protect their real email address while still receiving responses from robomod.



How do I register?

When robomod receives a post from an unregistered address to a group where registration is required, it replies with instructions on how to register. Included in these instructions is a "secret phrase" which will be used in the registration command(s). For the purposes of this FAQ we will use "marmalade" as this phrase.

If you are posting to a group for which registration is not required, but you wish to register anyway (to use a munged address, for example), you can get the phrase mailed to you by posting with the words "send secret phrase" in the subject. The body of the message does not matter, as the message itself will not be posted.

Once robomod has mailed you the secret phrase for the group you wish to register for, you can register your address by posting with the secret phrase somewhere on a line by itself in the body of your post. The phrase will be removed, your address will be registered, and the post will be approved for the newsgroup.

For example, if you post:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: my first post!
> 
> marmalade
> Hey all, this is my first post!  Yay me!

Then myaddr@example.com will become a registered poster and the newsgroup readers will see:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: my first post!
> 
> Hey all, this is my first post!  Yay me!



What if I just want to register, not post?

It's perfectly reasonable to want to just register so you don't have to think about it later, but not have anything much to say just then. You can do a "quiet registration" by posting with the same secret phrase in the body, but putting the word "quiet" before it. So in our example:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: just registering
> 
> quiet marmalade

Thus myaddr@example.com would be approved for future posts, but this specific submission would be discarded.



What if I don't want to give away my real address?

Due to the unfortunate reality of scum-sucking, bottom feeding spammers collecting addresses from Usenet, some people prefer not to post using their real addresses. Robomod supports an "obscured registration" whereby you can continue to post with your real address, but anything that looks like an email address in the From: header will be replaced with <nospam@please.invalid> before the submission is sent out. You can register in this way by putting the word "secret" before the usual phrase. In our example this would be:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: my first post!
> 
> secret marmalade
> Hey all, this is my first post!  Yay me!

So myaddr@example.com will become a registered poster, and what will show up in the newsgroup will be:

> From: Super Guy <nospam@please.invalid>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: my first post!
> 
> Hey all, this is my first post!  Yay me!

Thus your real email address will not be revealed unless you choose to do so yourself (in another header, or in the body of your messages). This obscured registration only needs to be done once, then any future posts from the same address will continue to be obscured in the same way.

You can do a quiet obscured registration by including both commands in your message. It will not work to try to combine the commands into a single line. So for example with our sample phrase:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: just a quiet, obscured registration
> 
> secret marmalade
> quiet marmalade

This will register myaddr@example.com as an obscured poster, but not send anything out to the newsgroup.



How can I use an address similar to my real address?

This is a more common way to avoid spammers collecting your address, yet still make it possible for humans to figure out what address will (probably) reach you. It's commonly known as munging, and robomod supports munged registrations. You can, of course, simply send in a normal registration from your munged address and then continue to post with that address. The problem with this is if robomod rejects one of your postings, you'll never find out, since the rejection notice will bounce and be discarded by the mail system. To perform a munged registration you need to send the secret phrase with the word "munged" before it, and your real email address after it. In our example:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@NOSPAMexample.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: hi all!
> 
> munged marmalade myaddr@example.com
> Look at me, I'm posting munged!

This will register the address myaddr@NOSPAMexample.com, and send out to the newsgroup:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@NOSPAMexample.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: hi all!
> 
> Look at me, I'm posting munged!

If robomod ever needs to reject a post from this munged address, or send any other feedback by email it will remember and use the address myaddr@example.com instead of the munged address. Note that your real address is not registered in this case (unless you register it separately, of course), so any posts made with your real address will be handled as any other unregistered address would.

As with obscured registrations, you can also include a quiet registration command if you don't want the registration post to also be sent out to the newsgroup. You can even include both munged and obscured registration commands, but there's probably not a lot of point in that.

REMEMBER: You must send a post from your real address at least once in order to receive the mail containing the secret phrase. Unless you have somehow registered your real address without knowing it, your message will not be posted, since you are not registered.



How do I switch back to my real address?

If you are registered for obscured posting then you can switch back to normal posting by sending the secret phrase with the word "public" before it. In our example:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: hi all!
> 
> public marmalade
> Hey, I'm just me again!

This would switch myaddr@example.com's registration back to normal mode, and this and all future posts from that address would not be obscured. As with previous examples, to not have this message posted as well, just include the quiet registration command.

If you are registered in munged mode, to switch to non-munged mode, simply register your real address and start posting with it.



How do I deregister?

Any address which is not used for posting for six months will be automatically deregistered. If for some reason you want to explicitly deregister an address you can do so by sending the secret phrase with the word "no" before it. In our example:

> From: Super Guy <myaddr@example.com>
> Newsgroups: alt.fred.moderated
> Subject: i'll be back
> 
> no marmalade

This will remove the registration for myaddr@example.com. The message may or may not be posted, depending on what the group does with submissions from unregistered addresses. As ever, you can add the quiet registration phrase to avoid any possibility of posting.



Brian Edmonds <robomod-owner@gweep.ca>
$Date: 2003/03/27 00:14:23 $