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The past few days have been a bit of a fixer session for me on the site. Here's a quick run-down of the fixes that didn't make the news until now because they were a little small:
- Ordering files by rating will now recognise files with a rating of 10, and order them by their total ratings too, so files with the same rating will be ordered by the number of ratings they have
- Morrowind mods are now properly recognised on the Updates Recently log
- A fix was applied to stop duplicate entries for the same file appearing on the Updates Today page
- A fix was applied to the "Give editing access to other members" feature on the "Edit File" page that allows you to give editing access to a single other member on the site
- There is now a new section under your uploaded files for files that you have editing access to, as governed by the "Give editing access to other members" feature on specific files
If you find a bug on this site or you believe a feature is not working as intended please use the feedback forum to make it known. I cannot fix a problem if I do not know about it!
Buddah brought my attention to another problem on the site that requires a mention. There are a few files on this site that have come victim to the nasty site bots from Russia and China. These are nasty bitches that deliberate autonomously spam the site in order to leech its bandwidth in an attempt to bring the site down. You can recognise such files by checking the total downloads counter against the total views counter; if the downloads are greatly higher than the views then a bot has been trying to get its way with the site via this file.
This is not the uploaders fault and steps are being taken to identify the files that have unrealistic download counters and to try and provide a more accurate reading.
In response to this issue I have tightened security on the site and added a few flood control features to the downloading code. A limit of 50 downloads has been placed on files so that members and guests can only download a single file a maximum of 50 times before they are blocked from downloading. Similarly members logged as hitting this limit are automatically moved to a seperate member group, "Suspects", so I can further monitor their activity.
Around 10:30pm GMT security checks on the login cookies were placed on all pages of the site, consolidating the site security. Some members might have been a bit scared when redirected to a "You've been banned" page. I apologise for this, the blurb was misleading and has since been changed.
These changes should help further the accuracy of stats, the prevention of bandwidth leeches and aggressive bots, and the security of the site.
Following on from the email sent out to Premium members last week in regards to purchasing a premium member only server (i.e. a file server that only premium members can use) the new server has been setup and is available from the server selection window when you go to download files.
In the end I decided to settle on purchasing a server from London, UK. I did this for a couple of reasons. Firstly the price:quality ratio of the server is the best of the three providers I use. To do a bit of pumping I use RapidSwitch in the UK, and The Planet and FDC Servers in the US. Similarly RapidSwitch have brilliant connections to both Europe and the US and provide an unparalled amount of bandwidth out of the established providers. My US servers can download files from RapidSwitch at 5mb/second, which is awesome.
Some of you might be interested to know that around 40% of the premium members come from Europe. I was expecting more US users, so while it's true there are more American premium members the figures I received from all your feedback surprised me and spurred me to purchase another UK server. If you're a US member give the new server a go and let me know the results, you might be surprised!
Thank you to the members who replied to my email and provided me with that valuable feedback. I hope you put the new file server to good use. And for those of you who have no idea what this whole "Premium Member" thing is, please take the time to take a gander.
Sadly today I have been requested by Bethesda Softworks to pull the mod "Morroblivion" from the site as it breaches the EULA for Oblivion. Matt Grandstaff explained the situation:QUOTEEssentially, we let folks mod our games like Morrowind or Oblivion, but we don’t allow for folks to take content from another game and put it into a new game – even if they own both copies, and even if it's one of our own games.
The situation is unfortunate, as Morroblivion was a great tool I'm sure made with the best of intentions, but the rights to this content belong to Bethesda Softworks and they are perfectly within their rights to make such requests. While I'm pretty liberal when it comes to the content allowed on the site (nudity, violence, etc. etc.) when it comes to copyrights and content ownership I have to draw the line.
Hopefully you can all appreciate the situation. If you believe a file you're looking at is in breach of copyright or takes content from Morrowind, or any other game, please use the "Report this file" feature to inform the staff on the site so it does not potentially affect myself and the site itself.
Before locking a topic on the official forums about Morroblivion, moderator Dogsbody has provided further clarification on the matter:QUOTEThere are many reasons why this is so; among others, it is important to protect the original licensor's rights when Bethsoft has licensed a resource to use in a game. That license may allow use of the resource in that game alone, and Bethsoft is duty-bound to prevent the resource from being used in any other game, including their own.
It is evident many users are upset by the decision and many of us, myself included, were wondering why exactly this had to be done. Hopefully this helps patch things up. I stand by the comment that providing this information from the offset, rather than it being weeded out of different people gradually, can only bring good things. Communication communication communication.
The original File of the Month feature at TESSource has now been relaunched as the Files of the Month. The system is simple; every member of the site has a single vote they can cast for the file of their choice each month. This vote can be changed at any time and the highest voted mods each month enter the "Hall of Fame" of sorts on the site.
I will decide on exactly how many files enter the Hall of Fame each month depending on the turn-out of votes for the month of February. I'm guessing it'll probably be the top 2 or 3 files.
The original winners of the monthly competition are already on the page and winners cannot be voted for again in order to help publicise as many files as possible.
To help facilitate user knowledge of this feature, as well as the "Report file" feature on the site I have removed the "Options" tab on file pages and there is now an options pane above the main content area. The hope is users will make use of these two features more now that they're right infront of them.
It's that time again where the old poll gets kicked out and a new one comes in to fill the void. The last poll question asked "What type of character do you play?" and here are the results:
- Might, 4434 votes - 31.68%
- Magic, 3152 votes - 22.52%
- Stealth, 6410 votes - 45.80%
Seems like the majority of visitors to this site like being backstabbers and pretending to be ninjas...good on them.
The new poll question asks "How would you describe your gaming habits?". Note that this relates to gaming in general, not just Morrowind and Oblivion.
I have finally gotten around to producing a proper member profile page for all the members of this site that is accessible via file and image pages. You should now find that clicking on a file author's name, a comment author's name or an image uploader's name will take you to their profile on the site. Profiles contain voluntary personal information about members as well as account statistics so you can see how active the member is. The page also has a tabbed menu so you can see all the member's uploaded files and images (if they have any) at a quick glance. Hopefully some people will find this feature helpful.
If you would like to fill out your profile information already you can do so easily by going to your profile settings page.
With the new member profiles comes the return of the kudos system that was first introduced back with TESSource. Kudos is a way of showing appreciation to other members of the site. You can give one kudos point per member and you cannot give negative kudos. You can take back kudos points you have given should you so wish. A member's kudos points are visible next to their name in file uploads, comments, their profile and on the forums. There should usually be links to give kudos either on the kudos points shown or nearby.
No doubt I will get around to creating a "Top Kudos" list of some sorts in the near future.
Matt "GStaff" Grandstaff, community manager over at Bethesda, wanted to let you all know that Bethesda have opened up positions for QA testers. Here's the blurb:QUOTEWe’re hiring for testers in our Quality Assurance department! We tend to favor candidates with programming experience but most importantly, we want people who are fans of our games.Why would you want to work in our QA dept? I’ll give you two reasons.
1. We use our QA testers as interns throughout the year. These interns are typically among our top testers, and they sit with the development team, attend meetings, and work on our games directly. So if you kick major ass as a tester here, there is a good chance you’ll be a candidate for one of those intern slots.
2. When we have a job opening on the development team, we look internally first to fill them, so our QA dept gets an inside advantage.
So if you're looking for your break in the gaming industry and think you fit the bill I'd recommend checking out the jobs page at Bethesda for more information.
This is something I have been meaning to do for a while now and today I have finally gotten around to doing it. All files and images marked as "Adult-only" are now blocked from viewing for non-members, and those members who have specifically chosen to block the content. By default adult-only content is blocked on the site. In order to view adult-only content on the site you need to be a registered member, logged in, and toggled the adult-only view settings in your preferences.
The reasons behind this are typical and common place across the web; to protect "minors", censor inappropriate content for people at work, and help those people who don't want to accidentally stumble across this content.
At the moment it is only the uploaders of files and images who can toggle the "Adult-only" content flag so I ask uploaders to use their own mature judgement on using the flag. If your file uses or shows nudity or quite graphic violence then please turn that adult-only flag on. I'm sure you're tired about some people moaning about not wanting to see your content in their game so this is the perfect way to give them no excuses and stop them complaining for good.
I just wanted to inform you all that there may well be some file downtime over the coming days while I make some changes to the file structure of the site. The site is outgrowing it's current harddrive and I'm having to do a bit of recoding to accommodate spreading the site across multiple harddrives.
Hopefully there won't be many issues and service will be like normal for most of you!
Edit: The system has now been recoded. I have noticed that the upload progress meter isn't currently displaying correctly. If people find any other problems please let me know ASAP. I can't fix the problems unless people tell me about them!
After doing some grundgy looking around in the server log files I found a number of bandwidth leechers all originating from China. Bandwidth leechers cause mini Denial of Service attacks as they take up multiple (often 50+) connections and use up the servers entire bandwidth, meaning people either cannot connect to the server or download at very low transfer rates.
Aside from IP banning these people, which isn't very preventative in this day and age, I will also be looking to limit the total number of connections each IP can open on the file server. This limit will probably be set at 3. What does this mean? Essentially, you will only be able to download 3 files at a time from a file server, or, if you use a download manager and have found a way to get it to work with this site, you will only be able to make 3 threads for your download.
Hopefully we'll all be seeing faster downloads and less IPS Driver errors on the site very soon!
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