{kun´ēzē}
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05Sep2015

Kunena 4.0: Category autosubscription — is it legal?

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3363 hits Updated: 27 November 2018

Is auto­matic cate­gory sub­scrip­tion spam by another name?

Who can be pena­lised under anti-spam law?

The Kunena defence

Autosubscription vs. personal privacy

The Kunena development team has been working on a new feature (expected in a future release of K 4.0[1]) to automatically subscribe forum users so that they will receive emails whenever there is any forum activity on websites where Kunena is installed.  This article examines the legal implications of this feature as a core part of the Kunena framework.

In a previous article I wrote about autosubscription in terms of technical feasibility, design, viability and risk management.  Although it’s technically feasible to automatically subscribe all users to receive emails whenever a new topic or reply is posted on a web-based discussion forum like Kunena, there are a number of caveats if you intend to implement such a feature.  When I wrote my earlier article the Kunena team had no plans or intention to implement an autosubscription feature within Kunena.  The situation has changed and, aware of the risks that this may involve, the developers intend to add a new feature to the Kunena component that will give website owners the ability to automatically subscribe users of their websites to receive unsolicited content via email.

Update

At the time when this article was originally written, the Kunena development team had a strong intention to implement the autosubscription feature.  The proposal was unexplainably shelved.  The proposal has now been resurrected[2] to be included as a future release of K 5.1.x.

There are serious legal consequences of this idea that website owners need to be aware of and, in my opinion, that the Kunena developers have not properly considered.

31May2015

Forum help page for Kunena

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2113 hits Updated: 16 August 2015

Create the forum help page article

Create the Kunena menu item

One of the current problems with the Kunena website is that the documentation is out of date and no-one is maintaining it properly.  This article is part of an ongoing series to update the information so that it is more relevant to Kunena today.

K20 help defaultContentsWhen you first install Kunena on your Joomla site, a help menu item is created for you but its contents are not very useful (see the image on the right); many people choose to hide or remove this menu item completely.  The menu item is more of a “template” for a help page indicating that there are several ways to build your real page but it is up to you to write your own text if that will eventually appear on the Help tab.

The help page can be anything you want.  It can be used, for example, to show your community how to use the forum, what is allowed and what isn’t allowed and to educate your users about the features of Kunena and how use them.  I wrote a sample forum help page for Kunena several years ago but it contains errors and it is sorely in need of a major rewrite.

The help page is built using the Kunena custom content menu type.  Menu items using this menu type can be used for more than only providing a help guide for your users. They can be renamed or used for any purpose that helps your community and you can also build other pages using the techniques we will describe below.

15May2015

Kunena 4.0: situation report May 2015

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951 hits Updated: 29 May 2015

Kunena 4.0 beta is an­nounced

How is K 4.0 different from K 3.0?  Where are the user guides?  Where is the docu­men­ta­tion?

Marketing K 4.0

A client asked me today “What, in your opinion, is the best forum product?”  Without hesitation I replied, “Kunena is the ‘only’ forum product for Joomla!”  Of course there are other forum products—there are other forum products for Joomla—but Kunena is the only product that I can recommend with total con­fi­dence.  The announcement in April this year about K 4.0 beta was good news.  It has taken the Kunena team more than 2 years to now be in a position to offer a version of the next generation of Kunena for the community to test.  How has the com­munity responded and how will the com­munity judge this next, new version that has taken so long to produce?  Only time will tell, of course.

The article about K 4.0 beta was well-written and I congratulate its author, Florian Dal Fitto, for taking charge of the marketing side of things.  K 4.0 still only exists as a beta version—and there is no shame in acknow­ledging that all beta software contains defects (even lots of defects).  Given the deepening mystery surrounding the project and the information vacuum that we’ve had for months, I was very pleased that Florian’s article contained more information (including some screenshots) about the team’s plans over the coming weeks.  Leaving aside the fact that the K 4.0 beta versions that have been released to date did (and still do) contain a lot of errors—we should not punish the team for those faults—overall the whole K 4.0 story has been a disappointing one and, I am sorry to say, it still disappoints me.

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03May2015

How to stop forum spam in Kunena

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15152 hits Updated: 09 January 2018

Is there a 100% effective remedy again spam?

Prevent spam account registations

Other tools to prevent spam account registration

Kunena’s built-in anti-spam mechanisms

The best way to prevent spam:  category management

Other tools to prevent spam in your forum

Summary

I’ve recently installed Kunena on my website and love its functionality. The only problem is I’m getting spam and it’s getting worse.  Are there recommendations or some sort of cheat sheet to follow to stop these bad guys/robots?a “forum user”, Kunena forum, 3 May 2015

The problem with spam is not confined to Kunena.  Indeed, the discussion about forum spam has been going on long before Kunena (or Joomla) first appeared.  People can spend almost as much time researching the subject as they may have to spend dealing with an outbreak of spam in their forums. The short answer to the question “How can I stop forum spam [in Kunena]?” is that you cannot.  You can never completely eradicate spam—there is no 100% guaranteed solution to combat spam.  Kunena does have some configuration settings that will help you to manage the amount of spam that you may get but those configuration settings, by themselves, will not completely innoculate you against the spam epidemic.  This article is therefore only a guide—a collection of some ideas that I have found useful—in minimising the level of spam in your forum.

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