Option to make Search Tools Visible to Non-Logged in Users?

ElMuggs
ElMuggs

Hi, I was working on a response to a threat about 'backlinks' and in the process noticed that anytime you click a Tag or on the 'Search' button takes you directly to the OP login page!

Could these pages be fixed to have a option to allow these features to work without being logged in?

I think this would actually fix the 'backlinks' request as users can't actually see how campaigns that have big wiki's (like mine) can easily manage a lot of information simply using tag and search options - and I'd like my non-logged in players to have the ability to find things on OP - and hopefully see this as a reason to take the step to register :)

DM of The Domains of Dread Council Meeting (...a Comedic Misadventure though the mists of a re-imagined Ravenloft! ) - COTM Feb 2023! 

Comments

  • Vanillabean
    Vanillabean
    Posts: 88

    Hey @Elmuggs, thanks for bringing this to our attention! I've passed it on to the team. I'm not sure if this is working as intended or not, so I'll check in and let you know! 

    Obsidian Portal Dungeon Manager || [email protected] 

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 1,084

    Hey @ElMuggs,

    Unfortunately, the limitation to be logged in to be able to search is intentional. The servers were getting slammed by bots/scanners/scrapers hitting the search pages in particular, and the search pages are some of the most compute intensive. So, we restricted those pages to only the logged in members. But, it's any logged in member, so you don't have to be a member of a Campaign or Ascendant or anything.

    Also, our logins are "forever" ... meaning as long as you don't log out on a particular device/browser (or clear cookies), you will stay logged in. So, your players only need to login the one time to be able to search forever after on that device.

    For the players that don't want to create an OP account, do you know what is preventing them from doing that? Maybe that's something we can address or make easier?

    Regarding the backlinks feature, it's mostly done, but the feature itself put too much load on the servers. So, we're reworking it a little, and also need to upgrade to a newer version of Ruby to get it to put less load on the servers. Which has other requirements as well. So, the feature is coming back, but it's been delayed.

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 1,084

    @ElMuggs, bumping this since it might have gotten missed due to the broken email notifications issue that got fixed yesterday. If you don't have any thoughts on what might be preventing your players from creating an OP account, feel free to ignore.

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • ElMuggs
    ElMuggs
    Posts: 61

    Ah, I was wondering if it was a broken feature or just something I never noticed was disabled for non-logged in users.

    In terms of the data scraping, could I confirm that OP has the 'no bots/robots' code headers in place and they've blocked OpenAI and co IP's from being able to train on OP user's data?

    Maybe a simple fix for the performance issues is to just introduce Captchas checks on the search page for non-logged in users? https://github.com/JonasCz/How-To-Prevent-Scraping has some great advice on this.

    As for barriers for players to join OP - I think it comes down to the lack of visibility of the 'features' as when you're logged out there's no clue about why a player should use OP?

    I posted a thread when I first started that visitors don't have a 'join campaign' option - and instead it looks like the OP portal is 'static' with only the DM able to create things.

    While I've tried to sell my players on the ability to create their own content and have access to player secrets most don't see the point of signing up for another service on top of Roll20 and Discord because they have a 'good enough' means to keep track of their stuff, and don't want to change.

    I think a focus on highlighting how easy it is for Players to create/manage their own characters lore, keep track of your session notes and share content with your DM/other players are real 'killer features' that are currently missing on DNDBeyond and VTT systems?

    For example a few years back my OG Wizard had a new player cast Legend Lore on them - and it was a nightmare to go back and write up their entire history - over 3 years and decades of in-game time.

    I ended up sending the player a fake Wikipedia page for her - which took a entire weekend of checking with the DM how things were spelled, when events occurred and if I got details right.

    Now I have a 'Legend Lore of the Main Timeline' campaign that I use purely to keep track of my PCs, character sheets and to take notes during sessions,so I can easily find and share them with others. In fact you can see them (SPOILERS for Curse of Strahd) right here! > https://themaintimeline.obsidianportal.com/adventure-log

    This has been AMAZING and I think OP should be sold to players who love to have a rich backstory, or who play long campaigns can actually build up their PC, their cast of characters/npcs and do so with a lot more freedom/detail then the raw character sheet provide.

    Plus the notetaking ability of the adventure log is fantastic -  now every session it just takes me a second to glance over my notes to remind myself of exactly what was going on - and anything I had 'planned to do' for the session that follows. :)

    DM of The Domains of Dread Council Meeting (...a Comedic Misadventure though the mists of a re-imagined Ravenloft! ) - COTM Feb 2023! 

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 1,084 edited September 2023
    @ElMuggs

    In terms of the data scraping, could I confirm that OP has the 'no bots/robots' code headers in place and they've blocked OpenAI and co IP's from being able to train on OP user's data?

    I don't think we have anything explicitly for that. I have zero confidence that bots will respect the headers, and/or that there isn't a swarm of LLMs being built by many more people than just OpenAI, so that feels like a futile effort on our part.

    If you want to keep your content from being used like that, your best bet is to make your Campaigns Private or Friends Only.

     

    Maybe a simple fix for the performance issues is to just introduce Captchas checks on the search page for non-logged in users?

    Captchas aren't something I want to mess with adding now, but that could be an alternative option if we want to revisit it.

    Dealing with bots is a tax on the system. The time we're spending on bots is time we're not spending making the system more useful. So, if we have a working solution for bots, I'm not chomping at the bit to revisit it. : )

     

    While I've tried to sell my players on the ability to create their own content and have access to player secrets most don't see the point of signing up for another service on top of Roll20 and Discord because they have a 'good enough' means to keep track of their stuff, and don't want to change.

    Thanks for that background! Yeah, I think there are players that are open to the idea of going deep on their characters (as you seem to be) and then there are players who just want to roll some dice. : )

    I don't know if this would help, but if you wanted to, you could create accounts for them (with their actual email addresses or with fake email addresses) and login names based on their characters' names or their email addresses, and send them the credentials. And if they logged in once, they would be perpetually logged in and could see the Player Secrets that you setup for them. And be able to search. : )

    Post edited by thaen on

    Obsidian Portal Developer

  • ElMuggs
    ElMuggs
    Posts: 61

    Yeah I get the idea but that workaround wouldn't work with my group - I do think OP needs to think about how it can be made more friendly to players as there's always more players then DM's out there.

    At the same time the 'just rolling some dice' was a big draw for me joining OP because you don't need to mess around with formatting or filling in a bunch of forms like World Anvil requires...and the simplicity/customisation of OP is what makes it really great.

    DM of The Domains of Dread Council Meeting (...a Comedic Misadventure though the mists of a re-imagined Ravenloft! ) - COTM Feb 2023! 

  • thaen
    thaen
    Posts: 1,084

    Thanks for the feedback! I'll message you to dig in on the details of your particular situation.

    Obsidian Portal Developer

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