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Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm
by Dwedit
I have an idea regarding the excessive amount of spam on the board.

Make everyone sort of a Guest Moderator. As long as the account is over 6 months old, and they have at least 30 posts, they could be eligible.
If at least 3 or 5 people consider a post to be spam, hide the post from the public until a moderator reviews it.
If the users abuse this feature, take away their ability to mark posts as spam.

If a post is marked as spam, then additional posts from the same user containing links are also hidden and flagged for review.

This could replace the "Report" feature.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:46 pm
by coto
How about implementing captcha's + the current mail -> response method when registering? That would force the spambot to acknowledge the captcha stuff.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:30 pm
by Dwedit
Captchas are attackable in so many ways, and ReCaptcha is a huge privacy violation from Google.
And captchas won't stop human spammers who use a real web browser and copy-paste in their crap.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:39 pm
by coto
Well I doubt the spambots right now are human spam bots given how fast these posts happen so it'd help. But I agree, anything Google should be set on fire.

What you suggest, I guess these changes aren't as trivial as these seem anyway.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:03 pm
by Pokun
There have been a lot of human spammers recently copy-pasting old posts and then editing them with their crap once someone baited.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:13 pm
by Garth
New (ab)users' posts should not show until they've had a few valid ones approved by moderators. Just one post may not be enough, as I'm a moderator or administrator on several other forums and I've seen newcomers come with bad intentions who don't know our subject matter so they copy and paste someone else's post in order to look legitimate, thinking they'll slip their spam in later once they're through some sort or perceived probation period. I have a good memory though and I remembered the posts, did a search to find the original, and then deleted the copy and threw the spammer out on his head. Sometimes they've copied my own posts! I wish we could do serious damage to their computers!

It is important to get control of this problem though. The 6502ag Yahoo group was essentially destroyed by spammers, as they left a bad taste in the legitimate members' mouths and ruined it for everyone, and the group never recovered.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:59 am
by DRW
I'm against approval of valid posts. Why should new users suffer because of spammers? If I register at a forum and post something and then the board shows me that my post won't be visible for a while, I'd be immetiately pissed.

I'm for the guest moderator approach: Two people with a minimum post count and a minimum membership time mark something as spam: It gets invisible.

Or better yet: The entire collection of posts from the spammer as well as his account itself get automatically disabled until further review, not just the reported post. This is for the spammers who post 20 things in a row.

Whoever abuses the system (i.e marking posts that are just not liked, but have nothing to do with spam) gets a temporal ban of a few weeks.


By the way, this method should only be used for spam-related stuff. If you want to complain about a user in general because he insulted you or is bothering people with his political views, the instant disabling of all his posts shouldn't be done.

So, the reporting function should check what you chose:
Spam and pirate software: Instant block until manual review.
Off-topic, insults, flamewars: No action until manual review.

If you report spam in the drop down menu, even though the user just called you an asshole and you are therefore supposed to choose "broke the community guidelines", that'll result in a block for you.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 6:55 am
by dink
DRW wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 4:59 am
I'm against approval of valid posts. Why should new users suffer because of spammers? If I register at a forum and post something and then the board shows me that my post won't be visible for a while, I'd be immetiately pissed.
yes agreed, this is the worst way of dealing w/spam. possible real new users are very important on any forum, don't want to make them feel bad.

I think we need a "mark as spam" button on posts, if 2 longtime users mark it as spam: it'll go hidden until moderation approves or disapproves.

best regards,
- dink

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:54 am
by Quietust
This phpBB extension might be of some use - it looks to prevent newly-registered users from including URLs in their posts (with or without BBcode).

Potential downsides:
  • There doesn't appear to be an option to allow "trusted" sites (like the wiki or GitHub), so it could inconvenience legitimate users that want to post links to their projects.
  • Spammers could probably bypass it by mass-posting in order to escape the "new users" category.
Still, I doubt it could make things much worse than they are right now...

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 11:32 am
by Drag
A quick google around suggests that phpBB's Q&A captcha works best when the answer isn't something you can directly copy/paste from a google search. For example, admins are reporting that even super simple things like "Take the word 'dingus' and type the middle four letters in uppercase" work well. Maybe we could modify our existing questions by asking the registrant to spell the word backwards, or add spaces between the letters or something.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:15 pm
by tokumaru
At this point, any new measures would help! The spam problem is really getting out of hand!

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:51 pm
by Garth
Now I've just gotten spam by private message, from Claytonpeect!! It's past time to do something drastic.

I'm also a moderator on the 6502 CPU Family group where we have a question for applicants, about why they want in. This is to sort out those with a legitimate interest from those who just want to spam. Every answer is read by a moderator or administrator, ie, human eyes and brain, and we tell them up front that a one- or two-word answer is not enough, as any spammer can write "to learn" or "the best" for example. Nevertheless, we still get applicants answering "yes" or other unacceptable answers, or no answer at all. They get declined.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm
by rainwarrior
IMO this board could probably benefit from having a few more mods than it does? There are a number of people who have been active here for years that could probably help sort that stuff out faster.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:18 pm
by gauauu
rainwarrior wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 7:32 pm
IMO this board could probably benefit from having a few more mods than it does? There are a number of people who have been active here for years that could probably help sort that stuff out faster.
Agreed. Having a few more mods could make a significant difference in fighting the problem without having to install or build new tech.

Re: Anti-spam proposal

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:23 am
by Dwedit
Mods can't ban, only admins can do that.