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Behind the Scenes: Keeping the forum spam free
Written by Brad Baker   
Saturday, 19 July 2008 10:21

I was just doing my regular daily 'ban a few spammers who the moderators have reported to the Global Moderators' and it struck me that it might be a good idea just to share a small incite into the huge job that is done by all, users and moderators to keep the forum clean. We often forget this, I know I do at times.

How does it all work?

  • It all starts when a spam thread is reported to the moderators
  • A local moderator usually cleans up (removes the spam).
  • A Global Moderator bans/blocks the user, and checks to see that no posts are left visible.

Seems simple enough. However, we're talking about blatant spam here. Spam posted by users real humans from valid email addresses, who sign up just for this purpose, to spam you. I know we are not unique, but due to our size and activity, we get targeted a fair bit.

How much spam are we talking about?

It's hard to say, but I estimate from 10-15 users are banned each day for this kind of spam. Perhaps, each of these posts 3-5 posts that need to be cleaned up. Do the sums, and appreciate for a moment the amazing job that goes on 24/7 behind the scenes helping to keep the community clean. Hours and hours of work, just in this one area of the project.

So, next time, before blasting a moderator (as a user did to me today via PM) stop and think of the hard work that they do behind the scenes to keep the forum clean. Speaking for myself, at times I may come accross blunt and to the poitn when moderating, but keep in mind that some of us moderators/global moderators spend hours and hours EACH DAY keeping things clean.

How can we all help?

  • If you see any spam, please report it to the moderators. It will take you less than 10 seconds.
  • If you are able to, take the time to answer a few questions, or direct users to the relevant documentation. It's not a moderators 'job' (or anyone's for that matter) to answer people questions, but we often feel compelled due to the amount of time and activity we spend on the forum.
  • Don't conclude if your threads/posts (not spam) are moderated that we are out to get you. I assure you this is not the case. Most of us are normal reasonable people (despite what you may think) just doing our best.
  • Please read the rules and especially with regard to your forum signatures, check these are in line with the rules. This again saves moderating time on smaller issues such as this.

We're here to help you, help us help you, and if you are interested in helping out in a more direct way, there are plenty of opportunities. Get involved, leave your comments, help out, participate, make this your community as well.

Finally, don't forget to bookmark/subscribe this (and other) blog(s). This blog feed is:


If you have any relevant questions, please ask. Have a good weekend!






Six Ways for Newcomers to Contribute to Joomla!
Written by Mark Dexter   
Friday, 18 July 2008 22:03

Hi there. Although I've been working in the software business over 30 years, I'm a relative newcomer to Joomal!. Many people think you have to be an expert before you can contribute to an open-source project like Joomla!. Well, I don't agree, and so I decided to write down six ways a newcomer can make meaningful contributions to the Joomla! project. Here we go.

1. Help make the "Help" and other entry-level documentation better.

New users are the life blood of an open-source project like Joomla!. We need Joomla! to be as easy as possible for people to learn. As a newcomer, you are "the expert" when it comes to the question of how best to help newcomers learn Joomla!. And it is really easy and quick to provide feedback (both compliments and constructive criticisms) to those of us working on help and documentation.

There is a forum (which is sadly underutilized) under the Documentation / User Documentation / 1.5 Documentation called Suggestions, Modifications, and Corrections. Here is the link:

What have you found helpful while learning Joomla!? What was missing? What pointers could have saved you a lot of time? Let us know by making a post here and maybe we can make it easier for the next person.

Many Joomla! users (maybe you?) are great writers and communicators. After all, writing and communications are at the heart of most websites. If so, maybe you can contribute an article or a tutorial or just a quick tip. Or even join the documentation team!

Speak a foreign language? Chances are, your translation skills could be greatly needed. Have a tip to share? Make a post in the Tips and Tricks forum.

Hopefully, you get the idea. If you find yourself thinking "I've got to remember that!", think about making a note where everyone can find it.

2. Be a good forum citizen.

The Joomla! forums are very active, friendly, and (in my biased opinion) very helpful. Users of all levels are encouraged to take advantage of this great resource. What has this got to do with helping the Joomla! project, you ask? Plenty. You can help save everyone's time in three easy steps.

  1. Before you post, do a little research to see if your question has already been answered. Use the Handy, dandy search field in the top-right of the forum, and check out the FAQ's and Absolute Beginner's documentation.

  2. When you post, be concise, precise, and nice. Concise: state your question or issue as briefly as possible. Precise: Always say what Joomla! version you are using. If you are having anything that might be system related (like something that seems to work generally isn't working for you), use the Forum Post Assistant to provide your site's technical details in a quick and painless way. Nice: (Do I have to explain that one?)

  3. If your topic comes to a successful conclusion, please go back and edit the first post (if you are the topic starter) to indicate that the issue is solved. Either add "[SOLVED]" to the subject line or use the green check box. Remember, you need to edit the first post for this to be visible from the forum list. This does two things: it tells forum users that there might a good answer in the topic and it tells the people trying to answer questions that they can skip this one.

3. Help on the forums.

Want to learn a lot about Joomla! in a short time? One of the best ways is to help answer questions on the forum. If a topic is interesting but beyond your current knowledge, subscribe to the topic and learn by reading the posts. Many questions can be answered by just by trying something, for example in a local copy of the Joomla! sample website. You can learn something and help someone, all at the same time! Still other questions can be answered with a little research. For example, many questions from newcomers can be answered by pointing them to the correct area of the Joomla! Extensions site. If you're like me and like to read about software products, the Extensions area is a lot of fun. And it's surprisingly easy to download and install extensions and try them out.

Before you know it, you'll be seeing more and more topics where you can help out. Beware: Helping others on the forums can be addictive!

4. Make sure bugs get reported.

If I've learned one thing from my many years in the software business it's this: bugs don't get fixed unless they are reported. Duh! And yet ... how many times have I heard this: "I can't be the only one that has had this problem! The developers must already know about this." Well, maybe you are the "only one", or maybe everyone else is saying the same thing. In either case, it is amazing how many bugs are not fixed for the simple reason that they are never reported. Especially with a program like Joomla!, where it is relatively easy to customize and work around issues, it might be tempting to let others report the bugs. Don't give in to the dark side!

There are three tricks to reporting a bug. The first is to make sure it is a bug. The second is to make sure it can be reproduced in a simple way. The third is to make sure it hasn't already been reported. (Yes, sometimes they have, despite my rant above.)

For simple bugs, the best thing is probably to make a post in the General Questions forum and go from there. There is also a Joomla! 1.5.x_Q&T forum for more complex bugs (for example, bugs you find from the programming side).

Most developers will tell you that the hardest thing about fixing most bugs is being able to reproduce them. Your auto mechanic can't fix that clanging noise in your engine if it's not making it when you take the car to the shop. Likewise, a developer can't fix a bug unless it can be reproduced. I think the best bug report goes something like this: "X doesn't work. To reproduce: (1) Start with Joomla! sample site. (2) Do this, this and this. (3) This should happen, but instead this does." If you can describe a bug in simple terms like this, then it should have a good chance of getting fixed.

5. If you love Joomla!, talk it up.

An easy but effective way to help the Joomla! project is to spread the word. Promote Joomla! on your site, perhaps. Tell your friends. Make Joomla! a friend on your Facebook site. (I'm told you can do this type of thing, although I'm not of the Facebook generation.) Subscribe to the Joomla! announcements forum and participate in Joomla! events. Make comments about it. Blog about it. Open source projects are all about community, and Joomla! has a fantastic community. Be a part of it.

6. Mom, please send money.

If you have more money than time and want to help, the Joomla! project can always use monetary contributions. (The developers have asked me to request that these contributions be made in small, unmarked bills in plain paper envelopes, addressed to them personally.) Seriously, if Joomla! were a commercial product, it would be worth a lot. So do think about this option.

I hope you are convinced that you can contribute in meaningful ways to the Joomla! project even if you are a newcomer. If you do, you'll learn a lot, have lots of fun, meet interesting people, and feel great about helping out.







Fun at the Googleplex
Written by Elin Waring   
Friday, 18 July 2008 21:51
Tomasz and his mom at Great America

Last week I was lucky enough to spend some time at the Googleplex with Tomasz  Dobrzyński bug squad member and Joomla! grand prize winner in the Google Highly Open Participation Contest, his mother, and the students, parents and mentors from the nine other open source projects that participated in GHOP.

Thursday we had a fun day starting with Ghop at Ihop for breakfast (for non Americans IHOP is a chain of pancake restaurants). Then on Friday, we had the award ceremony and an amazing day of talks about things like Google infrastructure, Android, the Google App Engine and, my personal bug squad favorite, testing.

You can read more about it in Leslie's post at the Google Open Source Program blog

You can see the award ceremony here:

And Tomasz and I hit Youtube here:

IF Google were to run another GHOP Contest this year, we would be smart to be thinking about possible tasks already. If you wanted to see the kinds of tasks we offered last year you could find them here. And, hypothetically, you could even leave ideas in the comments.

And if you are a high school student who would theoretically be interested in participating, you could read some of the tasks and look at the wiki and learn how to set up a development environment, see how to work in the documentation cookie jar, or learn something about translation. Just because some of the students mentioned that doing that kind of thing made the first tasks they did challenging.






Promote Joomla! Packt Nominations open
Written by Toni Marie   
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 20:29

July 14, 2008 marks the beginning of year three of Packt's friendly competition between world class free software communities for who earns bragging rights to the much coveted 2008 Best Overall Open Source CMS. Not only is this recognition a great way to encourage, support, and reward the incredible efforts of free software communities, but, there is also a nice cash award shared with those projects fortunate enough to win.


That's a quote from our esteemed project manager Louis Landry, in a forum announcement found here.

I may be biased, but I have long thought our Joomla Extensions Directory was one of the things that makes Joomla! the best CMS on the planet.  Joomla has the biggest repository of add-ons that I know of, and I have yet to see a repository that is as well-maintained and complete as the JED.

And so, for that reason alone, I suggest anyone with the inclination to support the Joomla! project goes over to Packt and puts in a nomination for Joomla!, and maybe even nominate a team member you feel is a CMS MVP.

The news announcement can be found here:  .






RSS Feeds From the Joomla Extensions Directory
Written by Steve Burge   
Monday, 14 July 2008 13:06

With the launch of you may have noticed Joomla relying much more heavily on a new partner ...

We're now running all RSS feeds in this section of the site through Feedburner. We've also moved the Joomla Extensions Directory's RSS Feed over.

There are four main reasons for doing this:

  1. Better Statistics - We can count how many people are subscribed.
  2. More Features - You can now subscribe by email, send the listings to a friend and even submit them to Digg.
  3. Easier Updating - If needed, we can change the location of your feed without breaking anyone's subscription.
  4. More Secure - We used to provide a full RSS directly from the Extensions Directory. Several sites were taking this and creating their own copies of the JED. The problem was that these copied sites didn't update their listings whereas the JED is constantly monitored for insecure or abandoned extensions. It was becoming normal to see a component with major security holes still being promoted on these scraper sites. Feedburner has measures in place to prevent people from doing this.

If you haven't done so already, subscribe to the new JED listings via


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