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Leigh
10-Dec-2016, 01:33
We're frequently inundated with spam.

I try to report all of them I see. Reporting one takes about 10 seconds.

Then when I try to report the next one, I get a banner that says I must wait an additional xx seconds before posting.

The simple solution is just not to report them, since management seems to think my time is worthless.

- Leigh

Oren Grad
10-Dec-2016, 09:25
Leigh, the delay is there to handicap bots and human spammers. Afraid there are no painless solutions here, only unpleasant tradeoffs.

But in partial mitigation, please do note that to report new registrants who have posted multiple spam threads, as we've just had overnight, it's enough to report one of the threads for each spammer - we'll see the others, and when we nuke the spammer in one of his threads all the other threads are cleared too.

Thanks to you and everyone for your patience and your help as we deal with this plague.

Jim Noel
10-Dec-2016, 10:08
We're frequently inundated with spam.

I try to report all of them I see. Reporting one takes about 10 seconds.

Then when I try to report the next one, I get a banner that says I must wait an additional xx seconds before posting.

The simple solution is just not to report them, since management seems to think my time is worthless.

- Leigh

My experience exactly. So now I just let them go.

Leigh
10-Dec-2016, 11:21
But in partial mitigation, please do note that to report new registrants who have posted multiple spam threads, as we've just had overnight, it's enough to report one of the threads for each spammer - we'll see the others, and when we nuke the spammer in one of his threads all the other threads are cleared too.
Hi Oren,

Thanks for that info. I didn't know that.

It reduces the number of reports, but the time required for each is unchanged.

Since the REPORT function has its own icon, just vector that to enter the post subroutine after the point where that delay is imposed.

- Leigh

Bob Salomon
10-Dec-2016, 11:33
Leigh, the delay is there to handicap bots and human spammers. Afraid there are no painless solutions here, only unpleasant tradeoffs.

But in partial mitigation, please do note that to report new registrants who have posted multiple spam threads, as we've just had overnight, it's enough to report one of the threads for each spammer - we'll see the others, and when we nuke the spammer in one of his threads all the other threads are cleared too.

Thanks to you and everyone for your patience and your help as we deal with this plague.

So, why not just institute a new rule that new signups cant post for 24 hours? That would stop these sports posts.

faberryman
10-Dec-2016, 11:39
I think all the spam is going to the Cameras - ULF (Ultra Large Format) and Accessories forum.

Oren Grad
10-Dec-2016, 11:44
I think all the spam is going to the Cameras - ULF (Ultra Large Format) and Accessories forum.

Most of it is, but a few of the threads have been posted in other subforums.

Oren Grad
10-Dec-2016, 11:53
So, why not just institute a new rule that new signups cant post for 24 hours? That would stop these sports posts.

Many have suggested this, and we've thought about it. Possibly it would help, but on the other hand the spammers may just learn to wait, and it would also likely create a new moderation burden of fielding queries from new members who haven't read the fine print and don't understand why they can't post.

Trying to find the least-annoying balance in all these tradeoffs...

Oren Grad
10-Dec-2016, 11:58
Since the REPORT function has its own icon, just vector that to enter the post subroutine after the point where that delay is imposed.

As a matter of policy, we don't modify the vBulletin code. Maintenance is enough of a burden without the extra debugging that under-the-hood customization brings.

Bob Salomon
10-Dec-2016, 12:17
Many have suggested this, and we've thought about it. Possibly it would help, but on the other hand the spammers may just learn to wait, and it would also likely create a new moderation burden of fielding queries from new members who haven't read the fine print and don't understand why they can't post.

Trying to find the least-annoying balance in all these tradeoffs...
For this particular group they only post shortly before a game or event takes place. So delaying them 24 hours would negate what they are trying to do.

BrianShaw
10-Dec-2016, 12:33
I can't believe that there are so many new members that such a solution would cause a big additional workload for the few who can't read fine print.

Leigh
10-Dec-2016, 12:39
I think all the spam is going to the Cameras - ULF (Ultra Large Format) and Accessories forum.
No way.

I've reported spam in many different sections.

I'm probably on LFPF more hours per day than any other member, and well into the night.
I always access it using the Today's Posts button, so I see posts in all sections.

- Leigh

IanG
10-Dec-2016, 13:52
Maybe it's time to just ditch vBulletin for more robust Forum software. All the other Forum sites I frequent switched easily sometime ago. I did suggest this some time ago.

Ian

Willie
10-Dec-2016, 16:30
No way.

I've reported spam in many different sections.

I'm probably on LFPF more hours per day than any other member, and well into the night.
I always access it using the Today's Posts button, so I see posts in all sections.

- Leigh

More than Drew?

Sal Santamaura
10-Dec-2016, 17:53
...I'm probably on LFPF more hours per day than any other member, and well into the night...


More than Drew?Drew has only ever participated here from his computer at work. He's advised us he's retiring in one week. He previously said he wouldn't be posting after he retires. We'll see. :D

Leigh
10-Dec-2016, 18:00
If Drew's only participating from work, then I'm definitely on more than he is.

- Leigh

Leigh
10-Dec-2016, 18:28
One simple solution to the spammer problem is to do an email confirmation, as most websites do.

When a newbie tries to register, the s/w sends a confirming email to the given address.
The account is only activated after the newbie clicks on a link in the email.

It's not likely that a bot or volume-poster would provide a real email address, or respond to same.

- Leigh

Winger
10-Dec-2016, 20:28
One simple solution to the spammer problem is to do an email confirmation, as most websites do.

When a newbie tries to register, the s/w sends a confirming email to the given address.
The account is only activated after the newbie clicks on a link in the email.

It's not likely that a bot or volume-poster would provide a real email address, or respond to same.

- Leigh

Yes, they do. I run another site that's on vB and the new members don't show up to be moderated in or out until after they've clicked the link in the e-mail sent to them. I still get dozens of newbs per day minimum (sometimes a hundred or more). I have it set for moderator review, so each new member has to be approved or deleted by a human after they've clicked that e-mail link.

Ralph Barker
11-Dec-2016, 09:54
One simple solution to the spammer problem is to do an email confirmation, as most websites do.

When a newbie tries to register, the s/w sends a confirming email to the given address.
The account is only activated after the newbie clicks on a link in the email.

It's not likely that a bot or volume-poster would provide a real email address, or respond to same.

- Leigh

Yep, our implementation of vBulletin does exactly that. Plus, the way we nuke them requires that they create a new valid e-mail account and re-register from a different IP address before they can post spam again. Apparently, these people are very dedicated.

Vaughn
11-Dec-2016, 09:59
It is not that big of a problem to require more work by the mods. Dang...it is not even a big enough problem for me to be posting about it.

BrianShaw
11-Dec-2016, 10:56
It is not that big of a problem to require more work by the mods. Dang...it is not even a big enough problem for me to be posting about it.

We see! :o

Halford
11-Dec-2016, 12:01
I think people underestimate just how industrial and financially driven the spam business is. Spammers go to work every day just like the rest of us. Getting around anti spam measures is their job. If there's money to be made in them generating thousands of disposable email addresses (trivially easy), or automated delay timers (to get round 'can't post for _x_ days' protocols) they will.

The only thing to do is to put in the time and effort to making their lives just that much less profitable, and their businesses that much less viable.

Dustin McAmera
11-Dec-2016, 12:57
I'm an (abominably lazy) admin at Camera-wiki. We are a small site, but were developing a large spam problem for our size; enough that most of what the admins were doing on the site was deleting spam and blocking spammers, instead of researching or writing for the wiki. There was little satisfaction or pleasure left in being involved in the site.

A large fraction of our spammers were usernames which conformed to a standard pattern, clearly generated by a program from a list of possible human names. One thing we started doing was deleting any usernames that fitted that pattern, before they spammed. I guess some of that work might have been done for us if we had the knowledge to sign up to something like Spam-o-matic as you have here. Certainly, the stats quoted on the front page here suggest it's a very worthwhile measure.

Also, we have a Bot that puts a welcome message on a new user's Talk page; we started having one of the admins add a second message, which said in polite terms 'Welcome, but write something soon or get blocked', and after a short while, we went back and did that. Otherwise, we were building up a long membership list of spammers' spare usernames, which couldn't ever be used, because they'd been generated from an IP address that had been used for spamming, but their existence offended our ideas of tidiness (and if the IP blocks had ever been lost, we'd have been in deep do-do, I guess).

Still, as Halford says, the spammers don't notice what we do or care about it, and they kept on registering. What we have done in the end is disable new registrations. People wanting to edit in the wiki have to contact an admin (via another site even, since you can't use the wiki's 'mail this user' feature until you're registered!). We have registered only two new users in several months since that change; but spam has ceased.

It seems to me your systems work. I only see a few spam posts per week myself, and the few I've reported were gone in a few minutes. I doubt LFPF is getting significant traffic to the spammers' links, and I doubt they spend those few minutes gloating over their presence here; it's pointless to spend our time fuming about it.

Leigh
11-Dec-2016, 14:41
I'm a moderator at www.PracticalMachinist.com

With over 10.6 million unique visitors in the past year, it's the world's largest website devoted to the machinist trade and related manufacturing subjects.

We have no visible spam problem that I've ever seen. I'll try to find out why not.

- Leigh

djdister
11-Dec-2016, 16:50
If the forum software allowed for text-based scanning software to process each post before actually posting it, some very simple text and regular expression matching algorithms could probably filter out 95% of the traditional spammers who keep hitting this forum. Scanning scripts written in Javascript, Python or even PHP could handle this quite simply, and it wouldn't matter how many fake registrations the spammers use, because the scanner would look at the contents of what they try to post, not the registrant's name or email address. I would be surprised if current forum software didn't have such a capability built in. So that's a long way of suggesting that the forum software here may be too out of date to adequately handle this type of problem. Without the ability to build in some intelligence in the forum software, the problem with spammers will only get worse.

Sal Santamaura
7-Feb-2017, 11:12
Drew has only ever participated here from his computer at work. He's advised us he's retiring in one week. He previously said he wouldn't be posting after he retires. We'll see. :DDrew hasn't resumed posting yet, but did log in on January 27 for the first time since retiring December 16. Can his renewed participation be expected soon? We'll see. :D

Randy Moe
7-Feb-2017, 15:10
Retirement is hard to adjust to, takes a while. Took me years to even realize I was retired...:)

I wager Drew will be back...