We now have a working spam trap!

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We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:40 am

We have added a couple of steps during registration that will stop all spam bots - human spammers can not be stopped but they are not many.
There are still some users registered that probably are spam bots so we still may get some spam
It is a bit more to do when you register, but you only do that once :)
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby altair4 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:56 am

I appreciate your efforts. It was beginning to look like I had logged into a pharmacy website :lol:
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby markcynt on Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:49 am

Very good. Thank you! A few days ago the spam was ridiculous. :x
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:25 am

A few days ago the spam was ridiculous

And the workload to stop it from being even worse was also ridiculous :(
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby emorrp1 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:14 am

woooo, good work husse!
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:31 pm

Actually it was Clem that made it with a little help from me :)
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:25 pm

I just* banned a user for spamming who entered the forum in March 2009 and posted a couple of normal posts first....
*just = June 1
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby tinca on Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:33 pm

Husse and Clem,

thank you for your commitment.

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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby exploder on Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks guys! The forum looks a lot better today. :D
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:49 am

And today (June 2) there was another spam post from someone (rather something) that registered before the change
There will be more spam for some time so please keep an eye open and report (exclamation mark) all spam
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby eiver on Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:33 am

I am not sure if phpBB supports this by default or if there is a plugin that could be installed, but a good idea to get rid of spam would be to allow users to do that. There are many of us so you could use us. And there are few admins, who probably have more important stuff to do than fighting spam bots.

Many sites have a "this is spam" button. If this button is used by enough people, say 5, then it is automatically hidden or deleted. I don't know if the current exclamation mark has this functionality. If it does and people still do not use it, then maybe it would be good to replace the icon with a more descriptive one, so that it includes text like "Mark this as spam" or similar.
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby professorsnapper on Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:09 pm

eiver wrote: I don't know if the current exclamation mark has this functionality. If it does and people still do not use it, then maybe it would be good to replace the icon with a more descriptive one, so that it includes text like "Mark this as spam" or similar.


Agreed. I had no idea this was a spam icon until you mentioned it - how many others would be similarly ignorant?

Also, +1 for forum users to flag spam without relying on forum admin to do all this themselves.
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:21 pm

Seems you can't change the exclamation mark :(
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Carl on Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:22 pm

eiver wrote:I am not sure if phpBB supports this by default or if there is a plugin that could be installed, but a good idea to get rid of spam would be to allow users to do that. There are many of us so you could use us. And there are few admins, who probably have more important stuff to do than fighting spam bots.

Many sites have a "this is spam" button. If this button is used by enough people, say 5, then it is automatically hidden or deleted. I don't know if the current exclamation mark has this functionality


A system like that is just waiting for abuse from script kiddies or angry forum users who register multiple accounts :?
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby professorsnapper on Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:40 am

Carl wrote:A system like that is just waiting for abuse from script kiddies or angry forum users who register multiple accounts :?


I wonder how other forums (& even sites like youtube) manage this process?
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Zwopper on Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:35 am

professorsnapper wrote:
eiver wrote: I don't know if the current exclamation mark has this functionality. If it does and people still do not use it, then maybe it would be good to replace the icon with a more descriptive one, so that it includes text like "Mark this as spam" or similar.


Agreed. I had no idea this was a spam icon until you mentioned it - how many others would be similarly ignorant?

Also, +1 for forum users to flag spam without relying on forum admin to do all this themselves.

On the other hand if you hover above the exclamation mark it does say "Report this post" :roll: :wink:
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby eiver on Thu Jun 04, 2009 11:19 am

Yeah, but I always thought, that "report this post" is used to report flames. I just clicked the button and there actually is a spam option in the list. But correct me if I am wrong - if I report a post, then an admin still has to review it before it is deleted. This results in a fight between one human admin and a machine spammer (or large number of bad users). I know it all to well. I am the head admin of a much smaller forum (about 100 times smaller than this one). I never had problem with ads and bots, but just resolving user problems like "the occupation of ones mother" took me huge amount of time. I can only imagine how much does it take to handle a huge forum like this one.

Youtube actually deals with that problem the way I described it - you can cast positive or negative votes and based on that the system will automatically hide entries with too much negative votes.

Wikipedia also assumes that most people in the world are good and nice compared to a relatively small number of spammers and jerks. That is why you almost do not see any ads in Wikipedia (or destroyed articles). There is no point. Someone will quickly repair it. Only very controversial topics must be locked.

Btw. current system also is prone to abuse. Suppose some trickster posts tons of ads and also writes a script to report all posts in the forum including his own ads. Generally I think the best way is to trust users, like wikipedia does.
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:38 pm

Thanks for all the input
We have effectively stopped spambots now so the few reports I get can easily be handled
And it was actually not until late May that spam got so out of hand that it became a major problem to handle
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby Husse on Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:55 pm

The result of the spam trap is fabulous
There is a list in the admin control panel where I can see users that have registered but not yet clicked the activation link in the activation mail that is sent out when you register
Before the spam trap there were at least 30 a day often many more
From the start of the trap on June 1 until today 9 days later there is a total of about a dozen such inactive users
It's odd to see the enormous number of spam bots that registered before (of course there can be the the odd human in between)
I've deleted the lot so we don't get spam from one of these bots
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Re: We now have a working spam trap!

Postby emorrp1 on Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:00 pm

wow, that's quite effective. It only really got bad at the end of may, but the spam now seems manageable by mere humans, as well as yourself!
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