Home – New Forums Other discussions A question re Spam

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  • #995676
    Greg_M
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    I’ve been posting on, and reading this Forum for quite a while now, so long in fact that I had forgotten the process I went through to join.

    What appears to me to be a massive increase in useless spam on the forum had me wondering about how easy it is to “get on board”…seems to me that as soon as there isn’t an admin actively signed in, the spammers just help themselves ( so I went through the process again).

    Captcha might keep out a few automated Bots, but someone getting 10 cents an hour to be online can help themselves.

    Most other online stuff I participate in now requires as a minimum, a confirmation email link…seems to me that offers a better chance of eliminating the rubbish…or a better chance of retribution for repeat offenders??

    Is there no “cost benefit” in implementing a more secure sign up process? Or is it the the number of members that really counts?

    Sorry to sound like I’m whinging (which I am ) but wading through the rubbish posts every morning has me wondering why I bother.

    Cheers

    #1203361
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Greg_M, post: 241173, member: 38207 wrote:
    I’ve been posting on, and reading this Forum for quite a while now, so long in fact that I had forgotten the process I went through to join.

    What appears to me to be a massive increase in useless spam on the forum had me wondering about how easy it is to “get on board”…seems to me that as soon as there isn’t an admin actively signed in, the spammers just help themselves ( so I went through the process again).

    Captcha might keep out a few automated Bots, but someone getting 10 cents an hour to be online can help themselves.

    Most other online stuff I participate in now requires as a minimum, a confirmation email link…seems to me that offers a better chance of eliminating the rubbish…or a better chance of retribution for repeat offenders??

    Is there no “cost benefit” in implementing a more secure sign up process? Or is it the the number of members that really counts?

    Sorry to sound like I’m whinging (which I am ) but wading through the rubbish posts every morning has me wondering why I bother.

    Cheers
    Hi Greg,

    We try to do our best to keep the spam at bay to make the Forums as on-point as possible.

    I will notify the owners of your concerns and highlight this thread.

    Cheers

    #1203362
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for bringing this topic up. It’s one we’ve grappled with ever since we opened up comments and then the forums.

    Since we moved to WordPress as a web platform (Xenforo for the forum), the bots ramped up a bit as they tend to target widely used software.

    The three things we’ve settled on that tend to strike the balance are…

    • IP blocking – whereby only Aust and NZ members are able to join. Others are presented an option to request membership via moderators as per our guidelines. This has blocked a lot of the overseas bots.
    • Captcha was added this year again to filter out bots and has lowered the numbers.
    • No follow links for new posters reduces the link dropping benefit (not that spammers necessarily check these things!)
    • Manual moderation – whereby everyday we have an admin check in a number of times to read and delete posts. We are also very often alerted to posts that have been reported by members.
    • Ban and block features let us clean all posts by spammers and block them from returning.

    The ongoing challenge that you’ve identified is that real people (usually trying to build links) can still get through the system if they try hard enough by using IP screens and completing Captcha, and even email confirmation if required.

    It’s that balance between letting genuine contributors in versus locking it too tightly to block bots/spammers but also putting off real people.

    With 1200+ posts since 2012 I you will have seen all the spammers come and go and I appreciate it is frustrating!! As you’ve identified overnight is when posts can hang around for a while, annoyingly.

    Overall, the closest to fool-proof method we’ve found is having moderators reading all posts daily and jumping in threads reported by regulars.

    We’ll work on getting the clearing done in the mornings and keep on top of reports as soon as we can, as well as looking for any new automation/filtering tools.

    Thanks for being part of it! Peter & FSers

    #1203363
    Greg_M
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    Thanks Peter, I guess being an early riser means I see the worst of it.

    I do appreciate it’s a tough operation keeping them out…and a little sad that some people have to bomb forums to make a living, especially when it’s probably a totally fruitless exercise except for irritating users.

    I know it can’t happen, but I’d love a category where you move the spammers posts to, and then make it possible to rubbish their pointless exercise…

    Excuse my frustration (nowhere near yours I’d guess).

    Cheers

    #1203364
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Hi Greg,
    The early bird catches the overnight spam :( I totally understand your frustration. For the life of me I’ve never been able to work out the business model, fruitless is the right word. I suspect, like email spam, it’s a case of hit enough random people often enough and hope for the best. Must be better ways!!
    Peter

    #1203365
    bb1
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    Peter – FS Administrator, post: 241200, member: 1 wrote:
    Hi Greg,
    The early bird catches the overnight spam :( I totally understand your frustration. For the life of me I’ve never been able to work out the business model, fruitless is the right word. I suspect, like email spam, it’s a case of hit enough random people often enough and hope for the best. Must be better ways!!
    Peter

    Hey [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER] maybe you just had a volunteer for spam cleaning duties… LOL

    #1203366
    bb1
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    PS. I like Gregs idea of the separate category for us to rubbish them, but would be against forum rules, but hey we occasionally get a quick smart comment in before they are deleted. Don’t we [USER=34537]@LucasArthur[/USER]

    #1203367
    Jason Ramage
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    bb1, post: 241203, member: 53375 wrote:
    PS. I like Gregs idea of the separate category for us to rubbish them, but would be against forum rules, but hey we occasionally get a quick smart comment in before they are deleted. Don’t we [USER=34537]@LucasArthur[/USER]

    Not entirely sure mine are deemed ‘smart’, appears there is a word missing off the tail end of that word ;)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1203368
    bb1
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    LucasArthur, post: 241206, member: 34537 wrote:
    Not entirely sure mine are deemed ‘smart’, appears there is a word missing off the tail end of that word ;)
    Yeah thought I had better leave it off or I would be deleted. :(:(:(:(
    #1203369
    Greg_M
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    bb1, post: 241201, member: 53375 wrote:
    Hey [USER=1]@Peter – FS Administrator[/USER] maybe you just had a volunteer for spam cleaning duties… LOL

    I doubt anyone responsible would let me loose with a “delete” button, especially early in the morning.

    bb1, post: 241203, member: 53375 wrote:
    PS. I like Gregs idea of the separate category for us to rubbish them, but would be against forum rules, but hey we occasionally get a quick smart comment in before they are deleted. Don’t we [USER=34537]@LucasArthur[/USER]

    Can’t we bend the rules please?

    I’d really like to see [USER=6375]@JohnW[/USER] take some of them apart piece by piece, plus the usual stirrers of course.

    Perhaps the forum could become a place where all spammers (live ones-not bots) fear to tread…70 odd thousand return emails has some appeal too, if everyone gets onboard.

    One can dream…I already spend too much time hounding and harassing those that dare send me crap online.

    Cheers

    #1203370
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Greg_M, post: 241211, member: 38207 wrote:
    One can dream…I already spend too much time hounding and harassing those that dare send me crap online.

    Cheers

    Read Freakanomics take on that – the way to really hurt them is to suck up their time like a vacuum – make them believe you are buying their special blend and then pull out at the last moment.

    #1203371
    Greg_M
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    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 241214, member: 78928 wrote:
    Read Freakanomics take on that – the way to really hurt them is to suck up their time like a vacuum – make them believe you are buying their special blend and then pull out at the last moment.

    Love it, a bit of creative revenge sounds more fun than just reading the riot act…may have to “borrow” that strategy.

    #1203372
    Jason Ramage
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    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 241214, member: 78928 wrote:
    Read Freakanomics take on that – the way to really hurt them is to suck up their time like a vacuum – make them believe you are buying their special blend and then pull out at the last moment.

    read your sentence from the bottom up, thought i’d come across a birth control thread ;)

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1203373
    bb1
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    LucasArthur, post: 241217, member: 34537 wrote:
    read your sentence from the bottom up, thought i’d come across a birth control thread ;)
    Pity you cant give more than one like to a post…:):):):):rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:o_Oo_Oo_O
    #1203374
    gingerbeardhs
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    I just had an idea…

    Can we maybe reverse the process? New overnight sign-ups automatically post to a spam-bin and real posts get moved to the relevant category in the morning?

    I know that if I’m posting here late at night, I’m not going to expect a great answer straight away, and I’d respect that you guys have a lot of spam to counter. This is with the assumption of course, that there is more spam than real people joining and posting during the night

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