The Coffelt Database of Vietnam casualties
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Why are we limiting access?

We have become aware that some users are "mining" the Coffelt Database.

As you can imagine, construction of the Coffelt Database required an enormous effort on the parts of a very few people - and a very substantial out-of-pocket monetary investment which continues today. The Coffelt Group members are very concerned with what is done with our work - and therefore we are concerned about single users who look at a lot of "detail" records.

As an example, one user showed up once or twice each day, requesting 80 "detail" records within a three-minute period on each visit. That wasn't done by a human being; it was done by a type of "robot" software. Once the records were downloaded to the user's computer, it would be possible to disassemble the downloaded page, extract the information, and even retrieve any image files associated with the record.

We don't know who these "someones" are or why they're doing what they're doing, but we aren't willing to tolerate it. We decided to take action to limit the opportunity to download extravagant numbers of records per day, to identify abusers, and to segregate "innocent" (but heavy) users.

The daily limit on attempts to access detailed casualty records has been set at 14 records, but that may change. Be advised that ALL attempts, whether allowed or refused, are counted and that exceeding a 3-day average above 14 attempts per day will trigger a two-week ban from CoffeltDatabase.org. We therefore recommend AGAINST "running up your score" with pointless attempts to access a casualty record after reaching the maximum allowed. We realize this is an inconvenience, but we believe it necessary.

"Banning" for a 14-day period is the only way we could figure out to get people to contact us. That has worked out fairly well in the sense that we've identified a number of innocent users and we've been able to arrange for their continued access to the Database. We've also identified a number of abusers and permanently banned them from access to the Coffelt Database.

We regret the need to take these actions, but the alternatives are limited. We could convert to a "membership" site, complete with an access password ... that actually would be easier to accomplish than what we have done. We could shut down CoffeltDatabase.org entirely. What we can't and won't do is to allow some knuckleheads to rip us off.

And that's why we're limiting access to the Database.




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Page written on 18 Apr 2019