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It’s been quite some time since any of us paid attention to upkeep on the WordPress back-end of No High Scores. To that end, I’ve finally enabled a series of updates to WordPress and the few plug-ins we do use. My relief that nothing exploded during this process was… notable. In doing all this, I also replaced an abandoned site notification email address with my own. That’s when the flood of registration emails started. Easily 50 of them in less than 24 hours. All spam as far as I can tell. This aggression, quite obviously, will not stand, man.

Since Captcha isn’t getting the job done, first and of very little relevance to you, I’ve enabled a new plug-in that should make fake registrations at least a smidge harder. This includes requiring new registrations to put in at least a first name as well as reply to a verification email. In the 24 hours or so since I enabled this, fake registration attempts dropped precipitously and none of them have jumped through the verification hoop to actually become registered. This is a huge improvement that, as noted, in no way affects you.

The next step, however, may affect you. For this and for ruminations on the past year, the year ahead, and what it all means for No High Scores, you’ll have to venture beyond the break. Come, walk this way…

There are over 7,500 registered subscribers to NHS. I’d love to believe that’s all fans, but let’s live in the real world for a minute and recognize that a notable number of these accounts are fake. I’d like to clean those out. Unfortunately, where some spam registrations are obvious, others aren’t so much. So, it’s very, very likely that a small number of you will get caught up in the dragnet. I apologize for this in advance.

There are things you can do to ensure this doesn’t happen to you:

  • Go into your account and fill in your first and/or last name. I don’t think this was an available option before I enabled the registration plug-in, but it’s there now. No registered accounts currently have these fields, so if you fill them in, I’ll know you’re, like, a person and stuff.
  • Write a comment. You can put it in this post. You can put it in some other posts. I will do my very, very best to not delete any account that’s shown recent posting activity. (Supposedly there’s tracking for this, but the last couple comments have not incremented the poster’s count as it appears on the accounts page. I don’t know what the deal is with that.)
  • In the event that I accidentally delete your registration, it should be simple to re-register. If you run into problems, however, email me and we’ll get it sorted out. (Todd @ OurDomain dot com) The vast majority of spam accounts come from @hotmail and @outlook domains, so if you registered using one of those, you’re more likely to get inadvertently broomed.

I won’t start this process for a few days yet, so raise your hands and wildly wave them around if you’ve got any concerns.

On a related topic, let’s talk about the site. It’s an unfortunate fact that as our overall volume of contributions to this site have waned, so has our readership. This, while unfortunate given how well this project started, is not surprising in any way. It’s cause and effect. But, you, who are still here and reading this? You’re awesome! We’re so glad you stuck around and that the content that has been coming through has been worth your while. Hopefully we can keep you here going forward!

To that end, let’s take stock of the past year or so:

  • Danielle moved on. What she brought is impossible to replace. Sad face. She’s writing wonderful stuff for Polygon, though, and that’s pretty damn cool. Happy face!
  • Brian moved on. He’s now in PR, which means he’s dead to us. Kidding. Gainful employment is a wonderful thing, even if it means you no longer write here.
  • Matt’s been pretty regular, but he also has a lot of paying gigs and there’s only so much of him to go around. He’ll still be around, though. Huzzah!
  • Brandon will get back to doing the weekly release post (I think), but is otherwise burned out on writing; a feeling with which I empathize because I’ve been there. You really can’t force this stuff out, especially so when it’s purely a labor of love, as this site is. His podcasting will continue unabated because he loves me in ways he’s not prepared to deal with.
  • Bill has way too many non-gaming things going on to write, though once his coaching season comes to a close I know that he hopes to get back to authoring the occasional post, not to mention getting back to quasi-regular podcasting.
  • Michael is here for you each and every week because, even bitter, angry, and jaded –disclaimer: he’s really not those things– he’s still the best of us.
  • As for me, although I wouldn’t call my future contributions reliable, I’ve been strangely re-engaged the past few months. I’m actually playing things again. More strangely, I want to write about these things more than I did a year ago at this time. For the first time in forever, I’m actually rather excited at the prospect of many of the games coming out this year. I don’t know if this feeling will last, but I like it, so let’s roll with it.
  • The podcast will continue, though the weekly format is not coming back. We do better shows when we’re not forcing them out every single week. I may even make a return to doing proper audio editing on them because I know how spotty the quality has been. No promises. Proper audio editing is a real time-sink.

So the question, as the Buffy gang would sing it, is where do we go from here? Will it be status quo, with a post or three on the front page each week and a new podcast every other week? Or do we try doing more to re-invigorate things? The honest answer is that nobody the hell knows. The site, as you can infer from the above, is not going away. This, I assure you. Whether there’s a push to liven things up a bit beyond that by, perhaps, bringing in some fresh voices or trying some other new things we’ll just have to see. It’s on the table, at least.

In the meantime, what would you all like to see from us in 2014?

Make Twitter Bird Happy

Twitter Down

Not only is No High Scores rocking a new look, we are launching into Twitter and Facebook. Just follow the little icons up in the navigation bar.

We know, everyone and their mothers, and even grandmothers are dipping into the social media sauce, so space in your feed is limited. That’s why we plan to make friendship worth your while, just in case Todd’s magical smile isn’t enough of an incentive. Follow us, chat with us, praise and berate us, and we will start doing some giveaways to show our appreciation.

Sadly, one person on Facebook (me) does not make for a fun giveaway. Then I’m just buying things for myself.