Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

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Nathan Bransford
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Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 22nd, 2012, 4:48 pm

Hi everyone,

Spammers are getting more sophisticated, and we need your help combatting that annoyance. To that end, please flag any post from any user who has a suspicious signature with links to things that don't make much sense. They may seem like normal people and even have on-topic posts, but don't be fooled.

This is especially important for people who are starting new threads. It becomes much harder to clean up the mess once people start responding, so please report them promptly and me or one of the mods will deal with it.

Thank you!

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LurkingVirologist
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 22nd, 2012, 11:47 pm

Nathan,
I don't know how much time you and the mods have to referee things, but one of my favorite blogs instituted a policy where a person's first comment automatically went into moderation, and once the blogger approved it, that person could post freely. It was a science/skepticism blog so the main purpose was to snuff out a recurring sock-puppet problem, but if cleaning up the spam starts to get onerous, it's something to consider.
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Sommer Leigh » July 23rd, 2012, 1:39 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:Hi everyone,

Spammers are getting more sophisticated, and we need your help combatting that annoyance. To that end, please flag any post from any user who has a suspicious signature with links to things that don't make much sense. They may seem like normal people and even have on-topic posts, but don't be fooled.

This is especially important for people who are starting new threads. It becomes much harder to clean up the mess once people start responding, so please report them promptly and me or one of the mods will deal with it.

Thank you!

The spammers have gotten extremely tricky!
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Beethovenfan
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Beethovenfan » July 24th, 2012, 3:16 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote: The spammers have gotten extremely tricky!

And more numerous!
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 24th, 2012, 10:55 pm

LurkingVirologist wrote:Nathan,
I don't know how much time you and the mods have to referee things, but one of my favorite blogs instituted a policy where a person's first comment automatically went into moderation, and once the blogger approved it, that person could post freely. It was a science/skepticism blog so the main purpose was to snuff out a recurring sock-puppet problem, but if cleaning up the spam starts to get onerous, it's something to consider.
Thanks for the suggestion! Yeah, this is something we could do, though I've preferred to this point to err on the side of making it as easy as possible for people to contribute. If it gets out of hand this is definitely something to consider.

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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Margo » July 27th, 2012, 1:59 am

The spam is getting really annoying. I second the suggestion of putting posts from brand new users into moderation. I think I've flagged (multiple) spam posts from five different users this evening alone. More than half of the posters listed as the most recent contributors on the forum front page are spammers.
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MattLarkin
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by MattLarkin » July 27th, 2012, 8:17 am

Margo wrote:The spam is getting really annoying. I second the suggestion of putting posts from brand new users into moderation. I think I've flagged (multiple) spam posts from five different users this evening alone. More than half of the posters listed as the most recent contributors on the forum front page are spammers.
Unfortunately I have to agree.

Moderating first post my be a small barrier to entry for legitimate posters, but for some reason this site seems to be targeted unduly by bots.
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Doug Pardee
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Doug Pardee » July 27th, 2012, 1:34 pm

I don't know how well it'll work with phpBB, but with Drupal I've had great success with:
  • Posting restricted to logged-in members,
  • Member sign-up requires e-mail verification step, and
  • StopForumSpam to prevent sign-up of known spammers, based on e-mail address and IP address.
Approximately 3/4 of the attempted sign-ups have been spammers, and 90+% have been rejected by StopForumSpam. The rest provided fake e-mail addresses and couldn't complete the sign-up.

I haven't found a single "false positive" from StopForumSpam except when I used the requested member name as an indicator. Someone would try to sign up as Nathan and would get rejected because NathanSellsNike4Less2857 had been reported as a spammer.

Collectonian
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Collectonian » July 27th, 2012, 8:48 pm

Margo wrote:The spam is getting really annoying. I second the suggestion of putting posts from brand new users into moderation. I think I've flagged (multiple) spam posts from five different users this evening alone. More than half of the posters listed as the most recent contributors on the forum front page are spammers.
Agreed...I've mostly given up on checking the forums regularly because its almost always spam. If not moderation, maybe more moderators to help get it gone faster. I know some has sat here for two days waiting removal. I think new visitors who see forums with a lot of spam links are more inclined to move on, thinking the forums are not particularly active or well maintained.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 29th, 2012, 9:10 pm

Collectonian wrote:
Margo wrote:The spam is getting really annoying. I second the suggestion of putting posts from brand new users into moderation. I think I've flagged (multiple) spam posts from five different users this evening alone. More than half of the posters listed as the most recent contributors on the forum front page are spammers.
Agreed...I've mostly given up on checking the forums regularly because its almost always spam. If not moderation, maybe more moderators to help get it gone faster. I know some has sat here for two days waiting removal. I think new visitors who see forums with a lot of spam links are more inclined to move on, thinking the forums are not particularly active or well maintained.
Hi everyone, just want to reiterate that I take this issue extremely seriously and I've spent the last few hours trying to figure out the best options for a balance by making it easy to post (which will encourage new users), while not being annoying for everyone else affected by the spam.

I do like the idea of limiting people to specific forums before they get full privileges, but unfortunately this forum platform (phpbb) makes it difficult to do that and I haven't found a satisfactory solution there.

I instituted a new check at registration that will hopefully be better at keeping out the spambots, and I'd like to try this option first. If in a week or so we don't feel like that works then I'll go about putting all first posts into a moderation queue.

Thanks for your patience!

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Mira
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Mira » July 30th, 2012, 12:55 pm

Well, I know this is a weird thing to say, and I'm not diminishing the irritation of having to delete it, but I rather enjoy the spam. I get a kick out of how clever they are.

Sorry. ;)

On the other hand, I really like flagging things, too, so I'll do my flagging part!

Maybe this is because I sort of like the spam, but I think I side on being sure it's not too irritating for people to post. It's really easy for a new poster to get discouraged. And the forums are still alittle slow, it's nice to have easy access for newbies. It's a tricky balance, though.

Well, don't know if that was helpful, but that's my contribution to the topic. I appreciate that you are asking for input, Nathan, and I'm sure you'll come to a good decision.

I'm off to go flag things now. :)

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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by LizV » August 1st, 2012, 1:33 pm

My two cents, as a relative newcomer: Having my first post moderated wouldn't have put me off, assuming the moderation was reasonably prompt. Having access restricted to certain forums probably would have put me off. It's hard to tell if a community is going to be a good fit until you really dive in and start splashing around, and having to reach an arbitrary number of comments or some other bar before being allowed into the deep end represents a significant investment of time and effort for something that may or may not turn out to be worth it. One of the things that induced me to finally sign up here was the fact that I could play in the whole pool right away; I've had enough experiences with other forums where I've worked up to full access only to find out that it wasn't worth the investment, that I'm rather leery about putting that effort in blind again.

Of course a person should still play nice and contribute to the community before making demands on it, but the people who don't grasp that innately are just going to game whatever system's in place to enforce it anyway.

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Hillsy
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by Hillsy » August 31st, 2012, 8:46 am

Does anyone else suddenly really want a knocked off NFL shirt....

....and of course a Louis Vitton Handbag to carry it home in??

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MattLarkin
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Re: Please flag posts with suspicious signatures

Post by MattLarkin » September 1st, 2012, 1:35 pm

Hillsy wrote:Does anyone else suddenly really want a knocked off NFL shirt....

....and of course a Louis Vitton Handbag to carry it home in??
Just you, buddy. Just you.
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