Spambots

What features and fixes would you like to see here at erfworld.com?

Re: Spambots

Postby SteveMB » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:01 pm

Sieggy wrote:Well, I generally run down the Forum a couple of times a day flagging spam. I know someone else is doing this as well because I'll click on the report button and it says it's already reported, which is great! However it would be nice if once a spammer is identified, at least the Mod could block that user from any further posts, and then flag that user for the Admin to remove if Rob doesn't trust the Mod to do so . . .

I've been banning spambots when I log in after they're reported -- the problem is that sometimes it's a while between logins, and sometimes I don't have time to delete the posts one by one until later. That's the problem with depending on manual banning and deletion as the first line of defense.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Sieggy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:48 am

Does my flagging them help? I run down all the categories and flag every one, but if flagging a single example of a spammer will alert you to them, then I won't worry about catching each and every post, but rather each and every spammer.
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Re: Spambots

Postby SteveMB » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:02 am

Sieggy wrote:Does my flagging them help? I run down all the categories and flag every one, but if flagging a single example of a spammer will alert you to them, then I won't worry about catching each and every post, but rather each and every spammer.

Flagging helps -- thanks. Flagging more examples from the same perp isn't really much extra help; I can pull up a list of all posts from the account (though to actually delete them requires opening them one by one, which is why it sometimes takes me a while to find time to get it done if I'm just logging in for a quick check).
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Re: Spambots

Postby 0beron » Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:40 am

Yeah, that's why I'm really confused that he's only promoted ONE mod...and for that matter it's a user who hasn't posted since April 2011...wth?
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Re: Spambots

Postby SteveMB » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:47 am

0beron wrote:Yeah, that's why I'm really confused that he's only promoted ONE mod...and for that matter it's a user who hasn't posted since April 2011...wth?

I'm not sure it matters that much -- no reasonable number of moderators would do a tenth as much good as implementing one basic AntiSpam 101 protocol (automatically reject any message containing a hyperlink or image unless the writer's postcount is above a set threshold*).

*Even setting the threshold at "more than zero" would have blocked 99% of the spam that has been posted here.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Justyn » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:27 am

0beron wrote:Yeah, that's why I'm really confused that he's only promoted ONE mod...and for that matter it's a user who hasn't posted since April 2011...wth?


I speak with Rob on a near daily basis on the IRC, and have been doing so for... going on two years now. I also volunteered for the job and wasn't just uplifted at random.

That said, yeah, behind the scenes, this makes sense; but to someone who is sitting in front of the curtains instead of behind them, my promotion could seem fairly odd.
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Re: Spambots

Postby 0beron » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:44 am

Oh of course I knew it wasn't random, obviously you had to have some contact with Rob, (I figured he knew you IRL) I was just confused about the lack of FORUM activity. (and admittedly was feeling a little left out, since I responded to Rob's thread about a new mod...and never got any response)
But I'm hopeful to see what you'll do! :)
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Re: Spambots

Postby Sieggy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:49 am

What fun! I logged on this morning and got to play a rousing round of whack-a-spammer, as I was flagging spam literally as fast as he was posting it . . .
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Re: Spambots

Postby SteveMB » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:05 am

We had a major spambot infestation. I've banhammered the accounts; cleanup will have to wait because mod-level access doesn't allow me to delete the posts without opening them one by one, and I'm not stupid enough to do that on my work machine.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Sieggy » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:55 pm

Sigh. Look, should I ask Rob if I can have Mod status to the extent of deleting spam? Subject to review? 'cause I have to say that while I really love the quality of the discussions on this site, I'm pretty disgusted with Rob's neglect of it. And while I'm more than willing to help keep it clean, if he can't be bothered to employ even rudimentary protection for his site, I'm starting to feel that I'm wasting my time here.
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Re: Spambots

Postby 0beron » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:32 pm

Agreed....I have pondered the same but any posts I make to that effect, even in response to his own thread about Mal, have gone unanswered.
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Re: Spambots

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:52 pm

There are probably other forumites that Rob knows and trusts more than any of us, the authors of the last three posts here. In my case, it's in some part by my own choice (I never go to the IRC channel, because the "don't share anything said there" policy is ridiculous), so whatever- as you lay your bed etc etc.

Don't lose too much breath over it. We have our mods, we may have yet others, and we may even have some improvements on the site itself, as time and budget allows.
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Re: Spambots

Postby SteveMB » Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:09 am

Sieggy wrote:Sigh. Look, should I ask Rob if I can have Mod status to the extent of deleting spam? Subject to review? 'cause I have to say that while I really love the quality of the discussions on this site, I'm pretty disgusted with Rob's neglect of it. And while I'm more than willing to help keep it clean, if he can't be bothered to employ even rudimentary protection for his site, I'm starting to feel that I'm wasting my time here.


At this point (i.e. after cleaning up another crapflood), I think adding one more moderator to delete spam posts one at a time would be like adding one more bucket to bail out the ocean. Someone with admin-level access (able to delete all posts from a given account at once -- besides the convenience, it would avoid the problem of having to individually open posts before nuking them, which is why I can't do it during downtime at the office unless I already know what a specific spambot is leaving) checking in frequently would help somewhat, but there's just no substitute for installing some basic filtering (I recommend something like the Spam Hammer functionality of blocking any posts containing hyperlinks unless the poster is above a certain postcount threshold -- that one rule would block 99+% of the crap).
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Re: Spambots

Postby 0beron » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:24 am

I noticed that in the text of the Kickstarter, Rob mentions improvements to the site being on his radar as something to do if they go over the funding goal...does anyone else find this a little...odd? I mean, unless I'm mistaken, there are spam controls that are free and would take less than an hour to implement, even for those with novice computer skills? I almost find it MORE frustrating to hear that he's aware the site needs improvements (though he sounds more focused on supporting fan-art and the like on the site) but is ignoring it.
And I'm noticing the same problem with the Wiki. You would think he'd REALLY care about spam there, since extra pages add to server load, and it is a Tool after all.

Okay, now I'm just preaching to the choir, so I'll shut up now haha.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Balerion » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:19 pm

I kinda have to agree with 0beron. When there are solutions specifically built for the forum tools you are using, that are pretty much self installing... not having them after six months of complaining about this just seems like apathy. And frankly, it is abusive to the mods who are being forced to deal with all of this. I am amazed that Steve has put up with it, cause I would have thrown in the towel ages ago.

I am tempted to give Rob the benefit of the doubt, and assume there is a reason this hasn't happened yet. But when all we get is silence, it gets harder and harder to do that. But this is a real problem; if it escalates pretty much at all, it has the potential to noticeably damage the forum community, if it hasn't already.
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Re: Spambots

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:13 am

These are valid requests, people. A preliminary filter like SteveMB suggested, the power to nuke a user for one at least one of the mods that show up to do the cleaning up ...

Didn't this site have an admin/IP guy, meaning harknell? My guess is, a PM would be well advised.

SteveMB, is harknell still with Erfworld? Did he get any incentive to work on the site/forum/wiki? Can he be brought back in action?

If the general trend of the above is yes, and this thread gets no response, I suggest PMs.
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Re: Spambots

Postby Sieggy » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:38 pm

I already gave up. I used to pop in every day at least once and go through and spend a half hour or so flagging spam, usually first thing in the morning. But between the incredibly slow updates (not that I'm griping about that, as I know quality work takes time, but still . . .), the petty, bitchy, and mean spirited snarking that goes on in far too many threads, and feeling like I was pissing in the wind trying to do my part to keep the place picked up while Rob just basically neglected it, well, OK, enough.

Seriously. It would be a trivial exercise to put filters in place or to designate someone who has the power to banhammer spammers and zap all the spam they posted. Maybe an hour or two work. But hey, what can I say . . . if Rob's not interested enough to protect one of the best webcomic sites on the net, then neither am I. So I'll just pop in every week or so to see if there's an update.
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Re: Spambots

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:45 am

Sieggy wrote:I already gave up.


The kickstarter project aquired new targets. Including site improvements. When I last checked the spec doc yesterday, there was one line about counter-SPAM measures. Very unspecific. But, this thread floated many ideas; the document is free to edit; AND, it looks like there will be enough money to hire the SW-dev power to get the things done, not just spam but other ideas as well.

We should get ideas from this thread into the spec document.
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Re: Spambots

Postby SteveMB » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:06 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:
Sieggy wrote:I already gave up.


The kickstarter project aquired new targets. Including site improvements. When I last checked the spec doc yesterday, there was one line about counter-SPAM measures. Very unspecific. But, this thread floated many ideas; the document is free to edit; AND, it looks like there will be enough money to hire the SW-dev power to get the things done, not just spam but other ideas as well.

We should get ideas from this thread into the spec document.


The two issues shouldn't really be connected. Letting the current spam situation continue to fester until the site eventually gets remodeled is as absurd as letting a hole in the roof continue to leak until the house eventually gets remodeled.
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Re: Spambots

Postby 0beron » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:19 pm

Agreed.

Actually the single line in the spec document was made by ME, so it wasn't even Rob acknowledging the issue. Speaking of the kickstarter, the lack of attention weighed heavily on my decision when contributing. I was VERY reluctant to contribute at all, and I'm still ambivalent about the $15 I did put in. In the end I justified it by believing that the motion comic will be fantastically done, but as for the site renovation....my hopes aren't high.

I've noticed in fact that momentum on the fundraiser has slowed significantly since it hit the initial goal...and I can't help but feel that more fans would contribute, or increase their contributions, if Rob hadn't been so negligent of this issue. Ultimately, Rob is a FANTASTIC creative genius...but seems to have less of a grip on logistics, and I think that may cripple the attempt at this secondary funding goal.
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