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What is easier for the moderators?





Afaceinthematrix
Every once in a while we get pieces of crap like this user: http://www.frihost.com/users/continetalbiz/ who sign up just to spam the hell out of the site. It might be a computer or it might be a real person; it's hard to tell. The point is the real users who want to keep this forum healthy report their spam and it always gets taken care of very quickly. When I saw the first post (out of nine) that this person or computer made, I immediate clicked on their profile to see what other posts they made. They were all the same but in different sections. So I went and reported them. However, I was wondering, is it easier for the moderators if we just report one of the posts and then they will go and check their profile to see if they have any more or should we report all of them and clog up the logs?
loremar
Makes no difference. What matters is a moderator should always be around. Already reported earlier, and still not addressed. And out of frustration, I reported it again. Whether you report the user or the post, the moderator can always easily sort out the spammer and delete them. Its their presence that matters. And I don't think you should report all the posts, one report will do unless you find reporting posts fun. lol.
Afaceinthematrix
That's my point. Should I report all of them? It might make them easier to see that the particular user posted 9 posts and so they don't have to try so hard to find them all and they are less likely to miss one. However, it will clutter up the report logs so maybe they just want 1 out of 9 reported?

And don't get annoyed; they will get to them. The moderators do have lives and can't be on here 24/7.
loremar
I think they're smart enough to immediately identify a spammer with only one reported post. Especially when a post has a very long title that doesn't make sense and doesn't even have any content such as this last annoying spammer. A title with the word 'sell' is already an obvious hint.
Afaceinthematrix
I know they are smart enough to identify them, but do they really want to click on every forum to insure that they didn't miss any posts or do they want the posts to just be there in their logs so that they can simply save their time?
loremar
I'm not sure. Isn't deleting a user suppose to delete all his posts? Or shouldn't there be a way to delete all of them in one single click? They couldn't have possibly done all the search manually all this time. I know some spammers can even reach to 50 spams or more. There must be some tools or privileges where they can do most of the things automatically.
Afaceinthematrix
loremar wrote:
I'm not sure. Isn't deleting a user suppose to delete all his posts? Or shouldn't there be a way to delete all of them in one single click? They couldn't have possibly done all the search manually all this time. I know some spammers can even reach to 50 spams or more. There must be some tools or privileges where they can do most of the things automatically.


I really do not know. That is why I created this post, lol. I'm not sure how their system works and therefore am not sure how they want us to do our part in taking action against spamming.
loremar
Well, I'm not going to check and report all those posts for them. lol. That's their job. Though you can be generous enough to do it for them. But I'm guessing deleting spams is no sweat. The administrators must have already placed some codes to make their life easier. And if we are suppose to report all of them, they should have already said so a long time ago. Probably inserted in forum rules under the header how to report spams. lol.
Peterssidan
I think this needs to be answered by an moderator but when I see a person that has made a lot of spam post I only report the user as a spammer. I often write an explanation to motivate and explain why it is spam. I think most moderators are capable of looking through the post history of the user to find other spam posts. If there is one spam post there is likely to be more and everyone knows that.
ocalhoun
Pretty simple,

If that user's posts are all (or at least almost all) spam, it's easier to just report the user.
If that user has good posts and spam posts, reporting the posts would be easiest, since it saves the trouble of looking through the list of that user's posts, trying to figure out which ones are spam.


So, for your average blatant spammer, reporting the user is easiest, but for a real user who has just had some indiscretions, reporting the posts is easiest.


(And often, if you just report one post from a spammer, we'll often also check that user's other posts, since it's very rare for an otherwise good user to make only one spam post... there are usually more.)




And if you'd really like to help out... there's one category of spammers who are difficult to catch, because their posts don't stand out.
They put links in their signature, and for posting, they copy other people's posts from the same topic -- sometimes even going to the lengths of modifying it a little so it won't show up easily on a search. They also sometimes add links into the post.
...Because those posts are copied from the forums, they blend in well, and are often difficult to notice. So, if you see a blatantly copied post out there, please make sure to report it -- that really helps in catching those types.

*thinking*

Yeah, it might be a bad idea to let people know what the most effective spamming strategy is where anybody could read it... but I think the benefit of having real posters looking out for it will outweigh the problems from any spammers that read this.
Peterssidan
The spammers have many tricks. Quite often I see users with very few posts and links in their signature that looks like that is the only reason they post here. I don't know if they qualify as spammers and I don't think I can report them because they do nothing wrong.

Looking around the forum I actually found a pattern in some of these discrete spammers. In this case I think it's obvious that it is systematic spam. In The Last Movie You Saw? there are many users that have posted 2 posts in total a few minutes in between. One post in that thread and one post in another thread ([OFFICIAL]What song are you listening to right now ? seems to be popular). I see no point in that I list any of these spammers here because the list will get very long. This is systematic spam in threads that are easy to spam. This is a job for the moderators that will have to follow the trails of the spammers around the forum to hopefully hunt them down.

http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-343-12.html - Gah! Shocked This page looks insane with 17 of 26 posts that looks like this. Can't we forbid all kinds of links for new users to get rid of this?

And to what this thread is about? What is the best way to report when this many users are involved? I will not report every single of them!
Aredon
I'd like to point out that the user "Continetalbiz" as mentioned in the first post. Joined on the 25th, but was listed in stopforumspam 6 days prior: http://stopforumspam.com/ipcheck/41.204.77.92

A phpBB mod already exists to allow plugging into this spam database and blocking user registrations based on ip/email (I recommend disabling blocking based on username, mostly because it does more harm than good). Frihost could significantly lower their spammers by using it, and any spammers they did get would be reported and added to the SFS database... lowering spam for everyone else using the mod. Let's not forget that these spammers aren't ignoring hosted phpBB forums either (mine gets hit constantly, but I run the mod).

I have mentioned this before and it went largely overlooked. Thought I'd say something again. Smile
truespeed
Peterssidan wrote:


http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-343-12.html - Gah! Shocked!


There are lots of threads like that on here,they even go for the blogs,the million post blog for instance has loads of spam posts links,i remember reporting a few of them a while back but they are still there.

Introductions also seems to be a place popular for spamming links. Example: Posted earlier.

The forums do need a clean up.
loremar
ocalhoun wrote:
And if you'd really like to help out... there's one category of spammers who are difficult to catch, because their posts don't stand out.
They put links in their signature, and for posting, they copy other people's posts from the same topic -- sometimes even going to the lengths of modifying it a little so it won't show up easily on a search. They also sometimes add links into the post.
...Because those posts are copied from the forums, they blend in well, and are often difficult to notice. So, if you see a blatantly copied post out there, please make sure to report it -- that really helps in catching those types.

I already caught one in that moon conspiracy thread. He just copied my post and spinned it.

I think the most difficult spammer to get rid off are those which the moderator can't have the guts to get rid off. One which could hit their soft spot. I remember somebody posted some one word comments all over in many threads. Most of them weren't even relevant to the topics. Not sure if it was a real user but obviously he's doing spammy posts. I reported the user but I was surprised that ocalhoun deleted all the posts except one. The post which says "anarchism". I can't believe he even replied to the post. Obviously the poster didn't think it through while he made that post. lol.
loremar
Aredon wrote:
I'd like to point out that the user "Continetalbiz" as mentioned in the first post. Joined on the 25th, but was listed in stopforumspam 6 days prior: http://stopforumspam.com/ipcheck/41.204.77.92

A phpBB mod already exists to allow plugging into this spam database and blocking user registrations based on ip/email (I recommend disabling blocking based on username, mostly because it does more harm than good). Frihost could significantly lower their spammers by using it, and any spammers they did get would be reported and added to the SFS database... lowering spam for everyone else using the mod. Let's not forget that these spammers aren't ignoring hosted phpBB forums either (mine gets hit constantly, but I run the mod).

I have mentioned this before and it went largely overlooked. Thought I'd say something again. Smile

I wouldn't do that. I remember I was misreported as a spammer in some site. And I found my IP in the list of stopforumspam. If people block users listed in that site, I wouldn't be able to join any forum. That would be unfair for me. Some people inject spambots in other people users computer while using the internet and they use your infected computer to automate spam. So I don't think that it's really reliable. You will just block some legitimate users.
sanalskumar
loremar wrote:

I wouldn't do that. I remember I was misreported as a spammer in some site. And I found my IP in the list of stopforumspam. If people block users listed in that site, I wouldn't be able to join any forum. That would be unfair for me. Some people inject spambots in other people users computer while using the internet and they use your infected computer to automate spam. So I don't think that it's really reliable. You will just block some legitimate users.


There are new spamming strategies being used everyday, that you simply can't catch all of them.

IP based blocking is not a bad idea. Because everybody knows that there will be chances of false positives. In your case, even though you are a legitimate user, as you said there is a possibility that your machine is a zombie. So once if you have cleaned it, you can request to remove your IP from the blacklist database, with enough evidence to prove yourself right.

There are so many red lists which work this way. One good example is Trend Micro's email reputation database.

I personally felt like they are saving your name from being abused among so many, without any reason.
Peterssidan
truespeed wrote:
Peterssidan wrote:
http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-343-12.html - Gah! Shocked!
There are lots of threads like that on here,they even go for the blogs,the million post blog for instance has loads of spam posts links,i remember reporting a few of them a while back but they are still there.

Some here are real spam with the whole post consisting of links. There are a few posts by single post users that could have been an attempt to spam but no signature is visible in blogs so it's hard to say. I don't think they follow the same pattern I see in the threads pointed out. To make it more clear, here is the main things I see as typical for these spammers.
  • Post count is 2 with few exceptions
  • All the links in the signature have the exact same URL.
  • The signatures are often structured in a similar way. Most of them put all links on the same line separated with |. Others put each link on it's own line.
  • If you look at spammers in the same thread you will see that many of them share a thread where they have posted their other post.

truespeed wrote:
Introductions also seems to be a place popular for spamming links. Example: Posted earlier.

Yes he's definitely one of them. He follows the pattern and his other post is posted in a thread with many posts like this.
loremar
sanalskumar wrote:

IP based blocking is not a bad idea. Because everybody knows that there will be chances of false positives. In your case, even though you are a legitimate user, as you said there is a possibility that your machine is a zombie. So once if you have cleaned it, you can request to remove your IP from the blacklist database, with enough evidence to prove yourself right.

Not everyone is smart enough to do that. Not even smart enough to install antivirus, though some people don't because it uses too much resources. The best way still is to hire moderators to clean up your site. If no moderator, then such method might be a good help. But I would instead suggest that new users are not given privileges to post until they can prove that they are not a spammer by posting in the introduction section with reasons why they want to join and perhaps share more about themselves. That way spams won't proliferate all over your forums.
loremar
Peterssidan wrote:
[*]Post count is 2 with few exceptions
[*]All the links in the signature have the exact same URL.
[*]The signatures are often structured in a similar way. Most of them put all links on the same line separated with |. Others put each link on it's own line.

What? From your list, it seems I qualified to be a spammer. Eh? I do that in other forums. But I always make my own contributions.
You can't seriously accuse anyone with those alone. If so, then why would there be a need of signatures with privileges to include a link? Many forums require a user to reach a post count before they can put a link, just to determine if a user is a spammer or someone who can make contributions. Sometimes, allowing a person to put his link can make a forum active while letting them contribute non-spammy posts. Frihost even give incentives to make the forums more active such as giving away free domains or free hosting account. Some forums allow their users to put a link as an incentive for keeping the community active.
Peterssidan
loremar, if you look at the number of users that follow this exact pattern you see that this is not the result of many users working alone. This is a strategy to put as many links on Frihost as possible without being flagged as spam. I don't know about you loremar but I certainly call this spam. If Frihost want to allow this then fine! They are after all building content, just not very high quality and they seem to prefer threads that have no discussion so they don't disturb much.
sanalskumar
loremar wrote:

The best way still is to hire moderators to clean up your site. If no moderator, then such method might be a good help. But I would instead suggest that new users are not given privileges to post until they can prove that they are not a spammer by posting in the introduction section with reasons why they want to join and perhaps share more about themselves. That way spams won't proliferate all over your forums.


I think i am not privileged enough to put a comment on that, but still i don't think this will be a good strategy if you wish to attract new registrations in frihost or any such forums. Smile
loremar
Peterssidan wrote:
loremar, if you look at the number of users that follow this exact pattern you see that this is not the result of many users working alone. This is a strategy to put as many links on Frihost as possible without being flagged as spam. I don't know about you loremar but I certainly call this spam. If Frihost want to allow this then fine! They are after all building content, just not very high quality and they seem to prefer threads that have no discussion so they don't disturb much.

I understand. But you can't really automatically call them spammers until proven that they do it deliberately. Some people do it because the forum rules/program does not prevent them. Most forums usually allow putting content/signature links after some post counts, even put a program that do these restrictions. These people come to forums to do some SEO or build traffic. Some are deliberate spammers making low quality content but some also end up to be active contributors that actually do make high quality content. These are people who are also smart to know that helping the forums to be less spammy and post more quality content can actually help more on their SEO pursuits and building reputation for their site than to just put up links so that they can gather more backlinks and traffic as they can. Some users make a couple of posts and don't come back. Though the forum owner/administrator can delete them to clean up the forums from old low quality posts or old inactive threads but I don't necessarily call them as spammers. Some of them are legit, some just didn't like the forums and left not coming back.

If this is a work of an entity to spam or sabotage frihost. I'm not sure. i'm not really in the position to judge that.

Well, actually. It's forum owners' discretion to decide what's a spam and what's not. All the members can do is to report what they think is a post that is in violation or a nuisance to the community.
Aredon
Edit: Loremar, you only have one report (hence the white bg) credited to your account name (assuming that is your IP as well) on stopforumspam. This would not trigger any blocking unless it was on the minimum setting (which is typically three reports; that is to say, ip reported by three separate sites).

Furthermore lets look at spam like a disease (because it essentially is). A spammer makes it onto the boards, posts a link to a drive by download. Suddenly a handful of users are infected, their computers zombified, and in the most likely case, used to further spam these boards (and others). So your argument against an IP black-hole list is to allow these zombie computers to continue posting? Because you "didn't know"? That's like not quarantining everyone because a few people "don't know" if they're sick or not. Aside from that, the first spammer (we'll call him patient zero), would have most likely have been blocked from ever coming on here, meaning patient one never gets infected. Besides, this mod only blocks registrations, not current members. Current members would be flagged for moderators by the mod, not blocked.

Lastly, I think it would be far easier to add a button next to the registration saying something about "I've been wrongly marked as a spammer, please help". This would result in what? Probably 1/1000th of the number of spam tickets that would be prevented. Very rarely, if ever, is someone's IP on a spam list. The benefits far exceed the costs. I will happily take helping a few individuals get past my spam system over deleting a pile of spam every day.
loremar
@Aredon. When you put it that way, it does help make Frihost better and more spam free. Though it would still depend on Bondings' preference if he wants to do that. I'm still not excited about the idea of giving forums the power to ban a person from another forum. In my case, (not so comfortable about you finding my name in that list and the fact that two more of me in that list to get banned by many forums), I was marked spammer not because my computer was infected, but I signed up, put a link on my signature because I have a website and because they didn't block the edit signature privilege. Then I made a short introduction of me and didn't come back until the other day just to sign in and read "You're banned because I know you're a spammer". Which is the reason why I disagree with Peterssidian's view on spammers. Shouldn't label people as spammers until they are caught making several low quality or spammy posts. And Forums should be responsible for their own judgement regarding who is spammer and who is not, and not just depend on some banned list of ip's. Unless of course, they can't carry such responsibility then I guess that kind of list helps. In frihost case, it has been doing fine without such measure and moderators are doing a great job. Despite even a few spammers get through, Frihost is still doing great in SERP rankings and I can see frihost several times in the front page of google search.
Aredon
I think if you find yourself getting reported on two additional and completely separate websites from the original, you might want to reassess your joining strategy. Very Happy
loremar
Aredon wrote:
I think if you find yourself getting reported on two additional and completely separate websites from the original, you might want to reassess your joining strategy. Very Happy

Which is exactly what I'm doing now. I don't put link until my 30th post. That is my strategy even if they didn't block the edit signature privilege. But for the clueless people who don't know about stopforumspam, I'm not sure. Are there really several forums that actually use that service?
Aredon
there's quite a few, but I don't think most admins are going to jump the gun on reporting people.
standready
loremar wrote:
Makes no difference. What matters is a moderator should always be around.


loremar wrote:
Well, I'm not going to check and report all those posts for them. lol. That's their job.


I have heard these before here. First, moderators here are volunteers! I thank them for giving their time. Second, "It's not their job!" Making this community safe, especially for our younger members, should be everyone's responsibility.

And no it is not necessary to report each spammer's post. Report the user or one post with a comment of 'see this user's other post as well'.
loremar
standready wrote:
loremar wrote:
Makes no difference. What matters is a moderator should always be around.


loremar wrote:
Well, I'm not going to check and report all those posts for them. lol. That's their job.


I have heard these before here. First, moderators here are volunteers! I thank them for giving their time. Second, "It's not their job!" Making this community safe, especially for our younger members, should be everyone's responsibility.

And no it is not necessary to report each spammer's post. Report the user or one post with a comment of 'see this user's other post as well'.

Firstly, I didn't said that they're paid or not, that they are not volunteers. English may not be my native language but I'm quite certain that the word "job" is not exclusive to paid jobs. For example, a class president is not paid to be a class president but it is his job to keep the class organize.

Secondly, how am I able to know that they're volunteers. Is there a sign that says "frihost moderators are volunteers"?

Thirdly, I stand by what I said. They should be around or at least there should be a moderator around. And that it is their job to check and get rid for spammers. You just said it. It is our responsibility to keep our community safe or at least keep our community organized. Just as they are entitled to have the privilege to delete or edit our posts, they are also entitled to their own responsibility to use their privilege to keep the community healthy. I can't delete spams so it's not my responsibility to check for spams. But it is my job to report spammers whenever I encounter one.

Fourthly, who said it's not everyone's responsibility? I've been online everyday probably longer than you are online a day. I love frihost. And I always check every new post just to see if I can give my own opinion or idea. that's why I know when a spam comes and when it's not. And FYI, I do my JOB, report spammers. So don't make it sound like I'm being so apathetic especially for the moderators. All I'm saying here is "IMO, It's no sweat for the moderators and frihost, so it should be no sweat for us." And that "Moderator/s should be around to delete spammers just as much as we should report spammers." I'm not saying they can't be not around, it's that they should.

And finally, in case the word JOB means paid job, then I stand corrected. I didn't grew up speaking english. So my vocabulary and grammar is quite limited. I should have said "responsibility" or "obligation". But I choose job instead since it's short. Hope you understand.
truespeed
Peterssidan wrote:

truespeed wrote:
Introductions also seems to be a place popular for spamming links. Example: Posted earlier.

Yes he's definitely one of them. He follows the pattern and his other post is posted in a thread with many posts like this.


A few of late seem to use real names as username - Example ,there are a few in this introductions thread with real named usernames,2 posts and links.

They will keep coming back adding more usernames and more spam until frihost adopts a zero tolerance attitude towards them,they should be deleted as soon as they are spotted,over time the spammers will stop using frihost as a link farm once they realize all their effort to register to post links is going to waste.
ocalhoun

Wow... lots of stuff going on here!

Let's see if I can cover some of it...

First, the sig-link spammers, as we like to call them...
They are a problem, and they are everywhere.

Because they usually make somewhat decent posts, they often get lowest priority for deleting/banning.

It is possible to tell if one is a spammer or not for sure; they almost always register multiple users on the same IP address, which is itself a rule violation, and makes it obvious that they are part of the 'sig spammer' group.

While there are usually several on the same IP, they are still spread out over many IP addresses, so IP-banning them all would require banning a huge range of addresses.
Banning that many will slow down the forums, and occasionally ban innocent users.
(In fact, if we had been doing so, deanhills would have recently been banned, because he happened to get assigned an IP address that had been previously used by spammers on this site. -- No fault of his, just dumb luck.)

Just regular-banning them, by username, is not effective: they usually log in only once per user name, and they register new names far faster than we can ban them.

I keep suggesting that an automatically-running query be made, to find and delete posts by users who follow this pattern... but I'm not allowed to mess with the code any, and those who are haven't shown any interest in it yet.
(ie, a query that searches for all users that: share IP addresses, have less than 5 posts, have multiple links in the signature... then spamcan all posts by those users)


As for the spammer database mod... I doubt it will be implemented, since Bondings usually doesn't like installing modifications made by other people, and it might not integrate well at all with the established report and warning systems.
(And, again, you have the false positive issue, which could cause innocent users to be banned.)


loremar wrote:

I think the most difficult spammer to get rid off are those which the moderator can't have the guts to get rid off. One which could hit their soft spot. I remember somebody posted some one word comments all over in many threads.

Well, just because a user isn't banned, doesn't mean we're not doing anything about it.
If it looks like there's a chance that the user could be legitimate, but making mistakes, we'll often just give a warning and try to correct them.

Sometimes also, banning can take a long time. The list of waiting reports is usually pretty short, but the list of waiting warnings is always very long... many of them waiting for a response back from the user... but many also just waiting to be banned.
The people who have authority to ban users are usually very busy with other things, so it gets very backed up, and I'm sure that actually catching up on the list would be an extremely daunting task.

*edit*

The false positive issue for IP bans is a serious reason against it.
As demonstrated by deanhills getting assigned a spammer's IP address, the users with the longest time here and the most activity are actually the most at risk for that.
Over the course of my participation in Frihost, I've posted under 364 different IP addresses... and if a spammer starts using any of those, then gets IP banned, I could get banned as well!
truespeed
ocalhoun wrote:

Just regular-banning them, by username, is not effective: they usually log in only once per user name, and they register new names far faster than we can ban them.


I disagree with that,i have a forum,i also get spammers,not so long ago i would get quite a few joining just to add links,i would delete straight away,they still kept coming and i kept deleting their usernames and posts,after a while they changed tact,they posted a few times and didn't add links,only to come back a couple of days later to add the links knowing their posts would be well down the recent topics list and less likely to be spotted,i would still spot them though even without their links,by the comments they made,so i would make a mental note to keep an eye on them over the coming days,and always the links were added and again i would delete them from the board,now i rarely get them at all.

I know you can't delete users being a mod,but i think the admins should take more of an active role in cleaning up the forums,warnings don't work for spammers,if the links are already added they have no reason to login again.

I don't think frihost gets that many daily posts whereby spotting and deleting the spammers would/should be a problem.
Aredon
well stopfrumspam doesnt produce the mod, but they do provide the API that it uses. Bondings is welcome to use the API to write whatever system he wishes. Again I'm not supporting automated banning of members, I'm supporting blocking registration of new members that match the sfs database three or more times. That really just seems like the logical path to take, because no amount of moderation is going to slow or even stop the spammers. It will, in fact, be a never ending and growing problem. Unless you find a way to automatically stop them from getting registered in the first place. The reports will never decrease.

here's what a query looks like. If the frequency is above 1, then that ip has been reported by more than one site, and the chances of them being a legitimate user decreases dramatically as that number goes up. Use 2 and I can almost promise you won't block a single legitimate user. If you're worried about cycling IPs, check the last seen entry and have an expiration for how long you block that spammer. This will prevent ip-recycles from getting people banned.
Quote:

<response success="true">
<type>ip</type>
<appears>yes</appears>
<lastseen>2007-09-18 05:48:53</lastseen>
<frequency>2</frequency>
</response>

for reference: API
loremar
It seems Peterssidan is right.
They all gathered themselves here->http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-129026.html
I can't believe they can find and smell their own kind.
I didn't notice all this time. I always thought they were all ignorable. Plus, sig-links can't be seen when users are not logged-in neither search engines are able to find them.
And ocalhoun should check on the new posts under movies and television. There's so many advertisements going on in there.

I'm not sure about installing some new automation system to block registering spammers. From the looks of it, making changes to Frihost seems to be Bondings' last priority now. And it seems he's already satisfied with making links nofollow to stop deliberate spamming and the fact that frihost members are vigilant against these attacks. Nevertheless, using the banned list from stopforumspam seems to be a good idea as explained by Aredon.

As for the OP, reporting all spams from one user, I think, does more inconvenience than giving convenience to the moderators. Just imagine it. How much time and effort would you spend to do this. First you have to click on the report button to bring you to the report page. Then you have to enter the reason why you reported the post. Then, you have to click the submit button. And you have to repeat all the steps for all its posts. The moderator, it's easy for him. He just have to press new tab for all posts and click on delete/flag spam.
ocalhoun
Preventing registration by blacklisted IP would be a pretty good way to go, actually.
Heck, even preventing registration from any IP that already has a username attached at Frihost would help a lot.


I've been working tirelessly for a while in deleting their posts... probably around 100 total deleted today... Let's see if the difference is noticeable.
Kinda like a game of whack-a-mole, really.

loremar wrote:

Just imagine it. How much time and effort would you spend to do this. First you have to click on the report button to bring you to the report page. Then you have to enter the reason why you reported the post. Then, you have to click the submit button. And you have to repeat all the steps for all its posts. The moderator, it's easy for him. He just have to press new tab for all posts and click on delete/flag spam.

^.^ There's a delete button next to every post in their list of posts, so it's even easier than that.
Lately, when somebody reports a sig-link spammer, I've been deleting all that user's posts, then looking up their IP, and deleting all the posts of all the other 3-or-less-post users on the same IP... So just reporting once will do the trick... at least as long as I end up being the one to read the report.
Aredon
Quote:
Preventing registration by blacklisted IP would be a pretty good way to go, actually.
I know. Cool
Quote:

Heck, even preventing registration from any IP that already has a username attached at Frihost would help a lot.


Careful there, you can't predict when someone and his or her friend are in a public library registering frihost accounts behind NAT. ^_- Perhaps in this instance a silent flag should be placed so moderators can check, rather than blocking accounts with duplicate ips right off the bat.
sanalskumar
Aredon wrote:
Quote:
Preventing registration by blacklisted IP would be a pretty good way to go, actually.
I know. Cool
Quote:

Heck, even preventing registration from any IP that already has a username attached at Frihost would help a lot.


Careful there, you can't predict when someone and his or her friend are in a public library registering frihost accounts behind NAT. ^_- Perhaps in this instance a silent flag should be placed so moderators can check, rather than blocking accounts with duplicate ips right off the bat.


Right. There is a possibility that, users sitting behind a static NATed proxy will be blocked from registering or accessing. So blocking based on access from duplicate IPs is a very bad idea. Using a globally accepted spam IP red list will do the job.
deanhills
I'd say catching up on the reports is probably a luxury in the order of priorities of Frihost. The Support Forum is all but unattended. What has happened to mOrpheuS? And where are all of the other Moderators?

I agree with Loremar. For the Discussion Forum to be really alive, we need Moderators to be around and catch those spam posts even before we do. That is the kind of energy that really keeps a Forum alive.
Ghost Rider103
We actually keep caught up on the reports fairly well.

Right now there are only two reports open, which have been open for more than a day because they take longer to look over and figure out. Otherwise, reports are usually closed within about a day. Usually within hours.

I catch quite a few spammers on my own without looking at reports that have never been reported. I've seen half of the general chat page filled with ALL spam threads. Which was removed within seconds from when I spotted it.

The fact is, there are way more spammers out there than there are moderators. There is usually at least one of us online at all times (it seems that way anyways) however just because we are on doesn't mean we're looking where you're seeing spam. We can't check every post or even every thread, there is simply too much going on. This is why we have the report system.

One thing I would like to note, if you do see someone spamming, please don't reply to it... I've seen some people report the spam post, and they actually reply to the spam post with more spam.

Some of us moderators are actually here more often than you think. I personally just delete more posts than I make. Laughing
deanhills
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
Some of us moderators are actually here more often than you think. I personally just delete more posts than I make. Laughing
I fully appreciate that GhostRider, and am grateful for your hard work and of course the hard work of other Moderators as what they do is on a voluntary basis. However I was not really talking about the reported posts. I was actually referring to the Support Forum. The unattended posts speak for themselves. I realize you can't attend to them as I'm sure there are designated staff only who can deal with those and was wondering what had happened to mOrpheuS? Anyway, there seems to be a great backlog and the need for Staff services seems to be greater on that side than on catching spam, particularly since the reports seem to be up to date as well.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
I'd say catching up on the reports is probably a luxury in the order of priorities of Frihost.


The reports are usually pretty well caught up on...
The problem is that many of those reports end up being warnings in the AWIT system, most of them waiting for a response from the user or admin action...
It's the AWITs that get really backed up.


Now that I've been getting harsh and thorough with the sig-link spammers, I think I've seen a reduction in the amount of that... maybe.
Just keep the reports coming when you see them, and hopefully they can be beaten.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'd say catching up on the reports is probably a luxury in the order of priorities of Frihost.


The reports are usually pretty well caught up on...
The problem is that many of those reports end up being warnings in the AWIT system, most of them waiting for a response from the user or admin action...
It's the AWITs that get really backed up.


Now that I've been getting harsh and thorough with the sig-link spammers, I think I've seen a reduction in the amount of that... maybe.
Just keep the reports coming when you see them, and hopefully they can be beaten.
I have just hit the report button again for a spammer. I still wonder why some of us can't get a spam button as now someone will have to pick up the report in the Moderator Panel first before it is split off to trash.

Anyway, will keep on hitting the report button, and now look out for the signatures as well. Was unaware you've been on a signature mission .....
Very Happy


loremar
Quote:
I have just hit the report button again for a spammer. I still wonder why some of us can't get a spam button as now someone will have to pick up the report in the Moderator Panel first before it is split off to trash.

Great idea. But I suggest there should be a few number of votes (at least two) before it disappears from the thread. What if someone hits the spam button by accident?
deanhills
loremar wrote:
Quote:
I have just hit the report button again for a spammer. I still wonder why some of us can't get a spam button as now someone will have to pick up the report in the Moderator Panel first before it is split off to trash.

Great idea. But I suggest there should be a few number of votes (at least two) before it disappears from the thread. What if someone hits the spam button by accident?
That can only happen when it is a delete button. None of the spam posts are deleted. But you're right. You probably need people who know what they are doing, and need to be put through the paces first.

In phpBB there are a number of steps. If it is a thread that has to be moved, it is quite easy. When it is a post that needs to be split off, you need to pay a little closer attention. This is probably where mistakes can happen, but rarely of the delete variety.

Very Happy
Ghost Rider103
I'm not sure what's really involved in bringing a "spammed" post back into its original place, but it's apparently a bit more difficult than it sounds.

So if someone did accidentally hit the spam button, chances are the post probably wouldn't be put back. It's too much work to do so and there isn't a simple "undo" button for this sort of mistake.
ocalhoun
loremar wrote:
Quote:
I have just hit the report button again for a spammer. I still wonder why some of us can't get a spam button as now someone will have to pick up the report in the Moderator Panel first before it is split off to trash.

Great idea. But I suggest there should be a few number of votes (at least two) before it disappears from the thread. What if someone hits the spam button by accident?

Another reason that it needs multiple votes is that some users can't be trusted with the power to remove others' posts at will.


It might be a good idea, though, to make a post go to some kind of 'hidden mode' if two or more people report that post.
Perhaps the post could be replaced by a just a "(+) -- Flagged As Spam --" symbol, and any user who wanted to still see what the post was could click the + to expand it and read it.

--Though in most situations, that wouldn't help all that much. Posts usually don't sit around for all that long between the first report and being removed by a moderator...
(It is kinda rare for multiple reports to be made about the same post, mainly for that reason. Usually it only happens for the most blatant and annoying spam posts.)
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
It might be a good idea, though, to make a post go to some kind of 'hidden mode' if two or more people report that post.
Perhaps the post could be replaced by a just a "(+) -- Flagged As Spam --" symbol, and any user who wanted to still see what the post was could click the + to expand it and read it.
Excellent idea. Make it three users, and then rather than getting flagged it automatically goes to Spam Can?
standready
ocalhoun wrote:
Another reason that it needs multiple votes is that some users can't be trusted with the power to remove others' posts at will.

So true. I look at some things going on on some boards here and could see revenge 'tags'.
'Flagged as Spam' might not be bad until Mods could 'Spam can' the post but Mods are usually quick to do that anyway so would be unnecessary. Blogs might be another subject since I see a few that have not been address.
ocalhoun
standready wrote:
Blogs might be another subject since I see a few that have not been address.

Yeah...

I don't know about the other moderators, but I don't venture into blog territory unless something has been reported.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
standready wrote:
Blogs might be another subject since I see a few that have not been address.

Yeah...

I don't know about the other moderators, but I don't venture into blog territory unless something has been reported.
Great that Standready mentioned this, think our minds must be on the same wavelength. I think it is worth looking at. Not to the same depth and extent, but it needs some attention. Maybe you could take a cursory look in the "View Unanswered Posts" mode and you'll understand what we mean. It hits you straight in the eye.
Ghost Rider103
The reason for the blog posts not being watched as much, is there was never a release of official rules for the blog posts.

The blog posts are considered to be a little more personal so the rules are generally going to be different. In other words, you don't necessarily need to make your blog post the same way you would a thread on the forums.

But for obvious spam posts form bots and such yes need to be removed and I do of course remove junk like that when I come across it.
Peterssidan
ocalhoun wrote:
Now that I've been getting harsh and thorough with the sig-link spammers, I think I've seen a reduction in the amount of that... maybe.
Just keep the reports coming when you see them, and hopefully they can be beaten.

I just want clarification. Should we report all users we think is sig-link spammers or just if we have some better proof? The threads I linked to earlier in this thread still has a lot of sig-link spammers, is this just because nobody reported them, or they are considered valid posts?

In the Introductions forums it is easier to get additional proof because the spammers often reuse the same messages on many other forums. I reported quite a few posts like this some days ago but there is still a lot if you go further back in time. I guess the moderators know this so is it really a good idea to go hunting older posts to report? Is it better if we leave them to the moderators and we just report spam in new posts when we see them?
ocalhoun
Peterssidan wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Now that I've been getting harsh and thorough with the sig-link spammers, I think I've seen a reduction in the amount of that... maybe.
Just keep the reports coming when you see them, and hopefully they can be beaten.

I just want clarification. Should we report all users we think is sig-link spammers or just if we have some better proof? The threads I linked to earlier in this thread still has a lot of sig-link spammers, is this just because nobody reported them, or they are considered valid posts?

In the Introductions forums it is easier to get additional proof because the spammers often reuse the same messages on many other forums. I reported quite a few posts like this some days ago but there is still a lot if you go further back in time. I guess the moderators know this so is it really a good idea to go hunting older posts to report? Is it better if we leave them to the moderators and we just report spam in new posts when we see them?

The reports help a lot. I don't know about the other moderators, but I usually don't go around in random threads looking for spam... If I see some while posting normally, or see a topic title that is obviously spam, I'll remove them, but otherwise I just deal with what gets reported.
(Though if you report spam by one user, I'll also look at that user's other posts, as well as checking to see if that user shares IP addresses with anybody, and then check their posts.)

As for the aggressive anti-sig-link-spammer campaign... it's on hold for me right now... I had to concede defeat when confronted with IP addresses that had been used by 200+ users. (all with 2 posts) My browser can't even handle that many tabs open.
Still removing any spam that gets reported, but for now, no longer checking IP addresses.
Bondings said that he will be making some shortcut links for the moderators soon though, making the process of removing users like that quicker and easier. Once that comes about, it's on.
ankitdatashn
Spamming and Plagiarism has so very plagued the internet and social forums, got to drill out the culprits, I lose out revenue on my poem website because of Plagiarism Sad
ocalhoun
ankitdatashn wrote:
I lose out revenue on my poem website because of Plagiarism Sad

1: Make sure you can prove when something was put on your site.
2: Google search for the text of the poems.
3: Sue the plagiarizers.
4: Profit.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
ankitdatashn wrote:
I lose out revenue on my poem website because of Plagiarism Sad

1: Make sure you can prove when something was put on your site.
2: Google search for the text of the poems.
3: Sue the plagiarizers.
4: Profit.

Great business idea!
Ghost Rider103
ankitdatashn wrote:
Spamming and Plagiarism has so very plagued the internet and social forums, got to drill out the culprits, I lose out revenue on my poem website because of Plagiarism Sad


You could do exactly what Ocalhoun suggested.

Most people would remove the copyrighted content when they are asked about it. I've had some copyright issues in design work. But most people don't see it worth the trouble and will usually comply immediately.

If they don't, well it will work out in your favor if you know what you're doing.
Aredon
ankitdatashn wrote:
Spamming and Plagiarism has so very plagued the internet and social forums, got to drill out the culprits, I lose out revenue on my poem website because of Plagiarism Sad

I'll just leave this here Cool:
Code:

## text_to_image.php
// Create the image
$im = imagecreatetruecolor(200, 18);

// Create some colors
$white = imagecolorallocate($im, 255, 255, 255);
$grey = imagecolorallocate($im, 128, 128, 128);
$black = imagecolorallocate($im, 0, 0, 0);
imagefilledrectangle($im, 0, 0, 200, 18, $white);
// The text to draw
$text = '';
// Replace path by your own font path
$font = 'trebuc.ttf';

// Add some shadow to the text
//imagettftext($im, 20, 0, 11, 21, $grey, $font, $text);

// Add the text
imagettftext($im, 10, 0, 0, 15, $black, $font, $text);

// Using imagepng() results in clearer text compared with imagejpeg()
imagepng($im);
imagedestroy($im);
standready
deanhills wrote:
Great that Standready mentioned this, think our minds must be on the same wavelength.

Don't start that again, Dean. Nobody but no-body, wants to be on the same wavelength as me! Laughing Blogs are pretty much spam-free moment thanks to the Mods.

ocalhoun wrote:
Now that I've been getting harsh and thorough with the sig-link spammers, I think I've seen a reduction in the amount of that... maybe.

Can't Mods just remove signature privileges of sig-link spammers? I see that don't in other forums.
ocalhoun
standready wrote:

ocalhoun wrote:
Now that I've been getting harsh and thorough with the sig-link spammers, I think I've seen a reduction in the amount of that... maybe.

Can't Mods just remove signature privileges of sig-link spammers? I see that don't in other forums.

Admins can... not mods.
And they have to do it to each user individually... and some of these link spammers make over 200 accounts.

It could be done automatically with some coding work though.
deanhills
I'm sure this suggestion must have been made before, but how about allowing a Signature only after the Frihoster has reached Junior Frihoster Status - 100 posts? Sort of making people work hard for the privilege?

I'd also vote for limiting the size of the signature too and rejecting any referral links. That should be easy to program?
Aredon
So you guys just moving away from the ip registration blacklist now? :/

I agree with the posts to unlock signatures though, should help.
sonam
I didn't read all posts, and maybe this already working this way. My idea is block posting for all users with warnings. In that case spammers will automatically loose advantage of user response.

Quote:
Sometimes also, banning can take a long time. The list of waiting reports is usually pretty short, but the list of waiting warnings is always very long... many of them waiting for a response back from the user... but many also just waiting to be banned.


Sonam
Peterssidan
deanhills wrote:
I'd also vote for limiting the size of the signature too and rejecting any referral links. That should be easy to program?
Referral links has not been allowed for as long as I can remember.
deanhills
Peterssidan wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'd also vote for limiting the size of the signature too and rejecting any referral links. That should be easy to program?
Referral links has not been allowed for as long as I can remember.
Embarassed Was unaware of that but thanks for pointing it out. Very Happy
ocalhoun
Peterssidan wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'd also vote for limiting the size of the signature too and rejecting any referral links. That should be easy to program?
Referral links has not been allowed for as long as I can remember.

But they're not automatically detected. They have to be noticed by somebody and reported. (Or noticed directly by a moderator.)
Peterssidan
ocalhoun wrote:
Peterssidan wrote:
deanhills wrote:
I'd also vote for limiting the size of the signature too and rejecting any referral links. That should be easy to program?
Referral links has not been allowed for as long as I can remember.

But they're not automatically detected. They have to be noticed by somebody and reported. (Or noticed directly by a moderator.)
That's true, but automatic detection could be very hard to implement. Probably not worth it unless it is a bigger problem than I think it is.
deanhills
Is it possible to code it so that it would automatically be rejected, i.e. someone who does that won't be able to save it as part of the signature?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Is it possible to code it so that it would automatically be rejected, i.e. someone who does that won't be able to save it as part of the signature?

There are lots of different kinds of referral links, and legitimate links can share all of the same characteristics.

(And a really smart, persistent spammer would set up ordinary links, target those to his own website, and make a redirect from there that points to the referral link... so you wouldn't be able to tell it was a referral link without actually following it.)
Aredon
ocalhoun wrote:

(And a really smart, persistent spammer would set up ordinary links, target those to his own website, and make a redirect from there that points to the referral link... so you wouldn't be able to tell it was a referral link without actually following it.)

It's also possible to load the page they want you to see in a frame, so you aren't even aware you've been redirected. :S
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