or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Other Discussion › Feedback › Preventing Spammy Posts
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Preventing Spammy Posts

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
I've noticed a few spammy / advertising posts lately from 1st timers. Are these 'autobot' posts by creating accounts and replying to a google search script (if that's possible) or human spammers?

Was wondering if there should or could be a way to crack down before it get's out of hand

Obviously, the persistent human is a lot harder to stop creating several user accounts

Any thoughts?

Loving the site, keep up the good work

3.4 GHz i7 iMac | 64GB iPhone 5 | 64GB iPad 3 | 16GB iPad mini

Reply

3.4 GHz i7 iMac | 64GB iPhone 5 | 64GB iPad 3 | 16GB iPad mini

Reply
post #2 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by bclapper View Post

I've noticed a few spammy / advertising posts lately from 1st timers. Are these 'autobot' posts by creating accounts and replying to a google search script (if that's possible) or human spammers?

Was wondering if there should or could be a way to crack down before it get's out of hand

Obviously, the persistent human is a lot harder to stop creating several user accounts

Any thoughts?

Loving the site, keep up the good work

Yeah, they're bot postings.

Trust me, I'd love to be able to reduce spam to zero here.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #3 of 78
can't you develop a filter, or like some websites to sign up you have to repeat some weird shaped letters that a "bot" can't figure out

we should simply recognize them and not view them so there count goes to zero and passes by
like some of my questions on the genius bar
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
I APPLE THEREFORE I AM
Reply
post #4 of 78
Null.
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
Reply
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
Reply
post #5 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

Bots can sometimes figure them out anyway, and doesn't AI already use CAPTCHAs? I don't remember since it's been a while since I signed up.

Sebastian

Yep, we do use captchas. As you can tell, they're virtually useless.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

Yep, we do use captchas. As you can tell, they're virtually useless.

Really? I used to get hundreds of spam comments per day in the form of comments on my site, but when I implemented CAPTCHA I've never gotten a spam comment since.

I took a look at the registration CAPTCHAS and no OCR software could read those. The spammers may be posting the threads/spam automatically, but I think you have humans signing up for the spam accounts.

In order to get rid of spam, I'd implement a probationary period, if possible. Something like this: new users can't post new content for 3 days and their first 10 comments are moderated.
post #7 of 78
Null.
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
Reply
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
<(=_=)> (>=_=)> <(=_=<) ^(=_=^) (^=_=)^ ^(=_=)^ +(=_=)+
Reply
post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Really? I used to get hundreds of spam comments per day in the form of comments on my site, but when I implemented CAPTCHA I've never gotten a spam comment since.

I took a look at the registration CAPTCHAS and no OCR software could read those. The spammers may be posting the threads/spam automatically, but I think you have humans signing up for the spam accounts.

In order to get rid of spam, I'd implement a probationary period, if possible. Something like this: new users can't post new content for 3 days and their first 10 comments are moderated.

http://sam.zoy.org/pwntcha/
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #9 of 78
I think the image idea is best. Just have a set of say 10 pictures that are numbered and then have an internal database as to what the picture is. So say 1.jpg = owl, 2.jpg = superman, 3.jpg = boat. Then ask the user what is in the picture. How can a bot figure that out without advanced image analysis?

If they only get one try to guess, the bot can't brute force it and IMO it's way easier than trying to figure out those scrambled messages.
post #10 of 78
I agree, just keep up to date to try to prevent spamming.
post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

http://sam.zoy.org/pwntcha/

Here is one example of the captcha I use:

It's customizable to the point where I can add noise, lines, change the font to any true type font I provide, and exclude or include certain characters, numbers, and symbols. Also, once thing I notice about it's implementation is that the images that appear are generated dynamically with php, so they are not generated and stored as image files -- meaning that once the page has loaded and the captcha displayed, no image file exists. So the embed code for the captcha image would look like this:
Code:

<img src="/image_captcha/1939250506" />


But that's not an image file so when when you try to load that in a browser, you get nothing.

On the other side of things, I also use reCAPTCHA for another site, which seems to be extremely effective. reCAPTCHA aims at providing captcha challenges to prevent spam, but also to digitize books by having humans translate the scanned words into text. Some of the letters are completely unrecognizable as individual letters, but because the letters are in full words, the human brain can understand.
post #12 of 78
You should filter on known spammers. You know if there are more than X "$" or "0" in a post then don't post it but also don't tell the user that it didn't get posted.
post #13 of 78
  1. A moderator or admin has to approve every new user before they can post.
  2. A moderator or admin has to approve the first 5-10 posts of a new user.
post #14 of 78
This is more of a proposal to vbulletin.

Spammers typically target the whole board with items for sale. If vbulletin could add a way to automatically filter some "spammy" posts that would be cool. For instance

Messagesboards that have items sold every now and then could implement a solution like this.

1. Create a "for sale" section on the boards. ALL items for sale would be sold here and only here.

2. For sale items would have to have "FS." in the main title. Any post to the "for sale" section that does not have a "FS." appened to the title would automaticall be deleted and a PM would be sent to the author.

Spammers that attempt to add sale items in other areas would find their posts automatically torched immediately.

As a secondary percaution there'd be a "spam" button on every post. New posts would be subject to this spam button for say a predetermined amount of time. A threshold would be set so that say if a new post hits and enough users deem it spam it's removed after receiving too many hits.

Fighting spam is going to take tiered approach but I'm sure it can effectively be dealt with
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
Reply
post #15 of 78
Isn't there also a way to filter out certain posts and mark them for review before they're allowed to be posted? People who spam for sale posts tend to put the same type of words/phrases in them.
post #16 of 78
The spam is increasing again. Any action coming from admin's or mod's. The mod's seem to be asleep at the switch.
post #17 of 78
Just make the first 10 posts moderated!
post #18 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

Just make the first 10 posts moderated!

I 2nd that!

3.4 GHz i7 iMac | 64GB iPhone 5 | 64GB iPad 3 | 16GB iPad mini

Reply

3.4 GHz i7 iMac | 64GB iPhone 5 | 64GB iPad 3 | 16GB iPad mini

Reply
post #19 of 78
Boy this porn spam has been in general discussion for 18 hours now. I reported it about 12 hours ago.

Still there.
post #20 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mydo View Post

Boy this porn spam has been in general discussion for 18 hours now. I reported it about 12 hours ago.

Still there.

I agree.

Right now = Today, 2:58 PM
Porny post = Yesterday, 5:11 PM

Still not deleted.

That's ridiculous.
post #21 of 78
8:38pm still there
post #22 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mydo View Post

8:38pm still there

6:57PM PST It's gone.

Could I ask a favour? If you see spam, would you mind reporting it please? It really would help in the cleanup. I realize that an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure but I've only got cure on tap, so any help would be appreciated.

There's a report button on the bottom left hand side of every post. Please feel free to report spam when you see it. I'll do my best to clean as I go.

Edit: I should note that I was only added to the report list for that forum today. I'll do my best to be on the ball for you. Thanks!
Modding for Great Justice
Reply
Modding for Great Justice
Reply
post #23 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamw View Post

6:57PM PST It's gone.

Could I ask a favour? If you see spam, would you mind reporting it please? It really would help in the cleanup. I realize that an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure but I've only got cure on tap, so any help would be appreciated.

There's a report button on the bottom left hand side of every post. Please feel free to report spam when you see it. I'll do my best to clean as I go.

Edit: I should note that I was only added to the report list for that forum today. I'll do my best to be on the ball for you. Thanks!

I usually report spam and porn, but honestly there's too much now to report everything, I don't even open the threads anymore.
post #24 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamw View Post

6:57PM PST It's gone.

Could I ask a favour? If you see spam, would you mind reporting it please? It really would help in the cleanup. I realize that an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure but I've only got cure on tap, so any help would be appreciated.

There's a report button on the bottom left hand side of every post. Please feel free to report spam when you see it. I'll do my best to clean as I go.!

Actually I'm going to stop reporting spam because it never seems to help. I report so much I hit the 30 second wait limit between posts. I officially give up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamw View Post

Edit: I should note that I was only added to the report list for that forum today. I'll do my best to be on the ball for you. Thanks!

Then something is wrong with your reporting system.
post #25 of 78
It seems to me that most of the Spammy Posts say the SAME EXACT THING! Could A filter be installed to prevent that block of test from being posted.
post #26 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mydo View Post

something is wrong with your reporting system.

Just a quick note: I'm a volunteer. This is no more my reporting system than it is yours. I would still appreciate the continued help, if possible. Hopefully you'll see an improvement in reaction time.

Thanks.
Modding for Great Justice
Reply
Modding for Great Justice
Reply
post #27 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamw View Post

Just a quick note: I'm a volunteer. This is no more my reporting system than it is yours. I would still appreciate the continued help, if possible. Hopefully you'll see an improvement in reaction time.

Thanks.

I know you're doing your best, and thank you, but this thread is aimed at people who *can* take precautionary measures against spam. The thread title is "Preventing Spammy Posts" not "Destroying Spammy Posts."
post #28 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamw View Post

Just a quick note: I'm a volunteer. This is no more my reporting system than it is yours. I would still appreciate the continued help, if possible. Hopefully you'll see an improvement in reaction time.

Thanks.

Yea I'm a volunteer too. Either way if someone doesn't see a benefit to their hard work then they stop participating.
post #29 of 78
Why does spam bother you so much, mydo?
proud resident of a failed state
Reply
proud resident of a failed state
Reply
post #30 of 78
It's like your posts, annoying and unproductive.
post #31 of 78
OH SNAP! MEGABURN!

I personally like getting awesome deals on iPhones and Viagra so...
proud resident of a failed state
Reply
proud resident of a failed state
Reply
post #32 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samnuva View Post

It seems to me that most of the Spammy Posts say the SAME EXACT THING! Could A filter be installed to prevent that block of test from being posted.

Nope.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #33 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mydo View Post

Actually I'm going to stop reporting spam because it never seems to help. I report so much I hit the 30 second wait limit between posts. I officially give up.

Oh well.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #34 of 78
Obviously, we need a solution.

If each forum member pledges $20/month, I will stay on AI a minimum of 16 hours/day 365 days/year as a human spam filter.

How does 7am to 11pm (EST) sound?

I promise to have all the overnight spam deleted by the time you're drinking your morning coffee.

I'll get a payment system set up.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #35 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

Oh well.

How about:

Moderated first 10 posts. That would solve a lot of problems.
post #36 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

How about:

Moderated first 10 posts. That would solve a lot of problems.

Not a chance unless I have some volunteers for mod positions. \

Unfortunately, 'Unpaid Position For Boring and Endless Click-work' isn't exactly a tempting job posting.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #37 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

Not a chance unless I have some volunteers for mod positions. \

Unfortunately, 'Unpaid Position For Boring and Endless Click-work' isn't exactly a tempting job posting.

Here's are a few model that may alleviate the labor, although would be rather complex to set up initially:

New user's posts are moderated until 5 (or maybe 3) of their posts have been approved by experienced AI users.
  1. New users signs up
  2. New users creates post
  3. New user cannot create another post until that post has been approved (this prevents mass spaming that has to all be deleted).
  4. Experienced AI users (has over 500+ posts, for example) are able to see such pre-moderated posts
  5. Experienced AI users can approve or disapprove the thread or public viewing.
  6. If a thread is approved, the user can post more threads and the thread is publicly visible to everyone.
  7. If a thread is disapproved by two users, it's deleted.
  8. Once the user has posted the certain number of moderated posts and they have all been approved, the user is unmoderated.
  9. Two posts with two disprovals on each of the two posts in the probation period result in an immediate ban.

And about CAPTCHAS:
1) Have you tried RECAPTCHA? It's very good at tricking OCR because it uses real words that are only readable because the human brain can interpret even if some letters are totally indistinguishable. Also, it helps digitize books.
2) Have you tried more creative CAPTCHAS? For example, a picture of a random picture of an animal is displayed and the user has to type in the animal appearing in the picture.
post #38 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by icfireball View Post

And about CAPTCHAS:
1) Have you tried RECAPTCHA? It's very good at tricking OCR because it uses real words that are only readable because the human brain can interpret even if some letters are totally indistinguishable. Also, it helps digitize books.
2) Have you tried more creative CAPTCHAS? For example, a picture of a random picture of an animal is displayed and the user has to type in the animal appearing in the picture.

If, as some have mentioned, the spam sign-ups are fronted by a human during registration then using Recaptcha would be useless.

I will look into improving the captcha system ... but, as I've mentioned before, the vB mod/hack must be able to withstand an upgrade to the forums without borking even more things than vB screw themselves on each time they issue a point upgrade.
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
"Many people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell
Reply
post #39 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

Not a chance unless I have some volunteers for mod positions. \

Unfortunately, 'Unpaid Position For Boring and Endless Click-work' isn't exactly a tempting job posting.

Hey, that's how I got the job
Modding for Great Justice
Reply
Modding for Great Justice
Reply
post #40 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiopollution View Post

If, as some have mentioned, the spam sign-ups are fronted by a human during registration then using Recaptcha would be useless.

I will look into improving the captcha system ... but, as I've mentioned before, the vB mod/hack must be able to withstand an upgrade to the forums without borking even more things than vB screw themselves on each time they issue a point upgrade.

Yea, that was me that said that:

Quote:
I took a look at the registration CAPTCHAS and no OCR software could read those. The spammers may be posting the threads/spam automatically, but I think you have humans signing up for the spam accounts.

That's why I think some kind of moderation is best.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Feedback
AppleInsider › Forums › Other Discussion › Feedback › Preventing Spammy Posts