While March was not a very eventful month, we did make a few changes we would like to talk about. Aside from a few minor bugs and fixes that were attended to, the biggest change, by far, was the change to our approach to the creation of new accounts and to what they may, or may not, be able to do. This is relevant to new users, as well as existing judges in training. You can read the official announcement here.
New Account Creation
A major change added this month is the removal of the approval process of new accounts. From this point onward, new accounts with a verifiable email address will be approved automatically. This should make account creation more streamlined and less cumbersome for new users that are in the process of joining the judge program.
However, this change will also include some changes to what uncertified judge accounts can, or more importantly, can’t do. To facilitate this, we are introducing a new gatekeeper (we named it Bob) that is meant to block specific site features that will be discussed below.
Privacy and Security
We felt that the chance made to new account creation will require a few changes with regards to information security. Bob, our newly appointed gatekeeper, will now prevent uncertified judges from accessing two features in the judge search functions. Uncertified users’ accounts will have access only to a partial judge list, as well as limitations to the autocomplete feature which is used for sending messages and writing reviews. This limits random accounts from accessing personal information. As an additional temporary measure, we also blocked the pictures of judges from showing for uncertified judges. This will be replaced in the future with a new privacy setting, which will allow users to choose to share their profile photo more widely if they choose to.
We believe that those changes will be overall beneficial to the judge program, while preserving the judges’ privacy and our overall desire to keep everyone safe.
Still on the topic of uncertified judges, we have also made a change to their ability to post in public forums. While we are always happy to share knowledge, it was agreed upon, together with the different forum moderators, that with the new changes regarding account creation it would be wise to prevent uncertified judges from posting and replying on public forums.
Please note that this will only apply to public forums, and will not affect forums uncertified judges have been invited into, like specific event forums or project forums. This should minimize the amount of potential spam, while still allowing uncertified judges to interact with other judges where appropriate.
Moving to other areas regarding forums, we also fixed a small bug where links to a forum topic would lead to a specific post and not to the topic itself. This should be fixed now, and links should be leading to the correct place.
We also fixed an issue where some notifications were so happy to be created that they were created before the post itself. This caused our happy little notifications to fail to send emails. The fix made sure the notifications won’t try to notify anything before there is something to notify about.
Lastly, we are working on adding RSS feeds to the forums, which will allow subscribing to the latest topics and posts, as part of an ongoing effort in a notification project that is being worked on. This, however, is not fully available yet and is limited to announcements, since the current feed model provided to us through Django is not exactly what we would like. We do hope this will become a fully implemented to all forums soon.
A look at the judge list will show you that we added GIS support to the judge location field (which stands for Geographic Information System). With this addition, we introduce more features to the list, like distance based filers from a judge’s location . This should make it easier for organizers and other judges to search for judges around a given location. Uncertified judges will not have access to the Judge Map.
We would like to thank you for reaching the end of this month’s blog post, and hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, thoughts or ideas that you might want to discuss with us, or any other issues you might encounter, we would be happy to hear from you.