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Allow links for hosters only





truespeed
To fight the spam why not dissallow links for new members only turning them on once they apply for hosting,spammers wouldn't go through the hassle of making a hosting request just to add a couple of links so it should cut out the sig link spam over night.

You would still get the fake sig links but they are easy enough to spot.
SonLight
Good idea. I wouldn't want to exclude those who are active posters but choose not to get posting though. I would suggest displaying links only if the poster has at least 15 points, regardless of hosting status. Perhaps that rule would allow Bondings to write an explanation encouraging new members to make longer posts, so they can reach that level in only three or four posts.

This simple rule would affect long-time members who let their points decline also. I would suggest counting points + coins, the idea being that coins do not automatically decline so the extra effort to get some would be "insurance" against having links not appear when you are inactive.
deanhills
I think we need a special filter of a kind. How about a more complicated test like match pictures. Something that a bot won't be able to do.

Just looked in at General Chat and wow, just can't get away from spam.

truespeed
deanhills wrote:
I think we need a special filter of a kind. How about a more complicated test like match pictures. Something that a bot won't be able to do.

Just looked in at General Chat and wow, just can't get away from spam.



Most spammers are human spammers,so any captcha won't stop them,i think what is needed is to take away the ability to add links. .
deanhills
truespeed wrote:
Most spammers are human spammers,so any captcha won't stop them,i think what is needed is to take away the ability to add links. .
Anything that can help is a great idea. And yes, to deactivate links sounds like a very simple and very practical way of sorting it out.
metalfreek
Spammer are becoming active lately. Look at this post http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-141127.html

This guy has already posted four threads with spam content. May be its time to disable links for new user and choose some more moderators to ban these users immediately and delete their accounts. Its getting worse day by day.
Ankhanu
Even blocking the use of URL tags or preventing naked URLs from parsing into active links won't actually stop the posts from being made. The spammers will still spam, there just wouldn't be blue click text, just plain black font URLs.
ocalhoun
Ankhanu wrote:
Even blocking the use of URL tags or preventing naked URLs from parsing into active links won't actually stop the posts from being made. The spammers will still spam, there just wouldn't be blue click text, just plain black font URLs.

Yep, and that's the problem.

And even if you filter out anything that looks like a url, they'll still make posts just the same, leaving you with a forum full of linkless spam.


A few (in my opinion) options that would help:
1- A new user who only makes posts with links would automatically have all their posts hidden, viewable only by moderators. (And generate a report) Their posts don't get un-hidden until they a) make a post with no link in it or b) have their posts manually approved by moderators
2- Connect with a spam database like stop forum spam, and either entirely block blacklisted IP's or require moderator approval of any posts/users from blacklisted IP's.
3- A post or user who has reports from multiple other users within a short time period goes into 'hidden mode,' much like described in #1 -- The post(s) would become invisible except to moderators until a moderator reads the reports and either un-hides or deletes the post(s) -- It may be wise to include the ability to make certain users' reports not count towards this, in case people gang up and abuse it... Or perhaps users who've been registered for more than a month could be made immune to it.
4- Not allowed to have signatures until after 5 posts (Which would neutralize the sig-link spammers pretty well. They may still post, but the spammyness should be reduced.) (Or, instead of a post-count-based metric, use a time-based one; like, no signature for the first 2 days of being a member.) (As in, the whole signature section on the user control panel would be unavailable, so they couldn't put in a spam sig and then wait for it to show up, they'd have to fuful the requirements, then input a sig.)
5- Add a 'spamcan all posts' button to the user information page (allowing mods to remove spam quicker and easier) On my forum, I have a 'one click ban' mod, which on the user page puts a link that with one click (and another to confirm), removes all posts, removes all PM's, removes the sig, removes all profile data except username and email, and bans the user. Something like that might work well.
6- De-standardize the registration page... put the text boxes in a different order (or even a randomized order). Even the human spammers probably use some degree of automation when registering, so changing the routine might throw them off. Spambots can be entirely thwarted this way, and even human spammers will be pretty inconvenienced by it.
Changing the prompts and/or variable names* may also help with this, throwing a monkey wrench into the works of any automated registration attempt.

*I suspect some automated registrations work by sending $POST variables directly to the next page, rather than actually filling out the boxes. If the names of those variables change, it would require any scripts used to be rewritten before they would work again.
deanhills
@Truespeed. I've just hit on a great article for dealing with spam as well as phpBB software for rejecting links - called the Links Rejector - have you tried it? The article below suggests (not sure how old it is) that he can catch 99 percent of spam posts that way. He also uses some filter words to enhance the software.

http://www.apromotionguide.com/stopping_phpbb_spam.html

Here is a link for the Links Rejector software for phpBB:
http://bbantispam.com/lr/

Here is a resume of the guy who developed the software - Oleg Parashchenko:
http://uucode.com/me/resume.html#scientific
Josso
I've been meaning to try this
http://lithiumstudios.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=941
cfvergara
Actually, the cheapest (nearly no thinking involved, very low false positives and nearly nonexistent false negatives) is integrating akismet (a wordpress-backed antispam service). I understand it's free, and also available for phpbb3 (not sure about phpbb2, but integration should be trivial)

Between that, and having actually vigilant and expecting mods, there SHOULD be no problem at all with the spamming.

Other, more creative but human-resources-consuming ideas might involve putting users on probation for a couple weeks after they sign up, or having them login using more spam-aware methods like, say, facebook login; but it shouldn't be necessary if we have a proven automated service approve or disapprove all of the site's posts
deanhills
cfvergara wrote:
Actually, the cheapest (nearly no thinking involved, very low false positives and nearly nonexistent false negatives) is integrating akismet (a wordpress-backed antispam service). I understand it's free, and also available for phpbb3 (not sure about phpbb2, but integration should be trivial)
Agreed. We have one running at a templates Website that I'm a member off and we hardly have any spam. Haven't found a false negative there yet.

Found one false negative at another Forum but only because Akismet had picked up on illegal scripts in a Website through a link in a comment. The actual subject of the link did not contain spam, but the Website did. And then this member got automatically banned. Can happen, but only this once that I know off.

Here is a link to the Website. It's free for personal blogs and one has to get a license for Websites for commercial use. Looks a though it would be 5 USD for a public Forum.
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/
cybersa
[quote="ocalhoun"]
Ankhanu wrote:

1- A new user who only makes posts with links would automatically have all their posts hidden, viewable only by moderators. (And generate a report) Their posts don't get un-hidden until they a) make a post with no link in it or b) have their posts manually approved by moderators


Many forum have this rule to stop the spam until 5 or 10 post.
For this we need active moderator.
Ghost Rider103
[quote="cybersa"]
ocalhoun wrote:
Ankhanu wrote:

1- A new user who only makes posts with links would automatically have all their posts hidden, viewable only by moderators. (And generate a report) Their posts don't get un-hidden until they a) make a post with no link in it or b) have their posts manually approved by moderators


Many forum have this rule to stop the spam until 5 or 10 post.
For this we need active moderator.


We have a few active moderators.

I personally think all posts from new members should be required to be reviewed by staff. For example, when a new user registers and makes a post, all of their posts are hidden until it is reviewed by the staff. Once reviewed, if everything is ok, then there will be no need to review the user any further.

This would make spamming much harder. Especially for those hardcore spammers who create 20+ accounts just to spam.

Doing this though I think a new moderator should be picked up, who's job is specifically to handle these. However giving all the staff the option to do so at any time will also help. That would be the
deanhills
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
I personally think all posts from new members should be required to be reviewed by staff. For example, when a new user registers and makes a post, all of their posts are hidden until it is reviewed by the staff. Once reviewed, if everything is ok, then there will be no need to review the user any further.

This would make spamming much harder. Especially for those hardcore spammers who create 20+ accounts just to spam.

Doing this though I think a new moderator should be picked up, who's job is specifically to handle these. However giving all the staff the option to do so at any time will also help. That would be the
Excellent idea! Probably need more than one new moderator for it though. It's also high time to retire some of the Mods who aren't showing up on a regular basis. Make them into Honorary VIPs with a fancy rank, plenty of stars and profuse thanks. And move on with those who are regular Mods.
Ghost Rider103
deanhills wrote:
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
I personally think all posts from new members should be required to be reviewed by staff. For example, when a new user registers and makes a post, all of their posts are hidden until it is reviewed by the staff. Once reviewed, if everything is ok, then there will be no need to review the user any further.

This would make spamming much harder. Especially for those hardcore spammers who create 20+ accounts just to spam.

Doing this though I think a new moderator should be picked up, who's job is specifically to handle these. However giving all the staff the option to do so at any time will also help. That would be the
Excellent idea! Probably need more than one new moderator for it though. It's also high time to retire some of the Mods who aren't showing up on a regular basis. Make them into Honorary VIPs with a fancy rank, plenty of stars and profuse thanks. And move on with those who are regular Mods.


I doubt it. Weeding out who's spam and who isn't would be a very quick and easy job when they are all lined up to be approved.

We'd have all of our current staff plus one more, that would probably be more than enough.
ocalhoun
^ It could get bad though if there was ever a blacklog of them... Getting users complaining about 'why hasn't the post I made 3 days ago been approved yet?'
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
^ It could get bad though if there was ever a blacklog of them... Getting users complaining about 'why hasn't the post I made 3 days ago been approved yet?'
My immediate thoughts as well since we don't have a 24 hour around the clock moderator attendance arrangement, moderators attend voluntarily if and when they have time available, which isn't all of the time.
Ghost Rider103
ocalhoun wrote:
^ It could get bad though if there was ever a blacklog of them... Getting users complaining about 'why hasn't the post I made 3 days ago been approved yet?'


It's possible, but I honestly think we could keep up with them.

Take a look at the reports, they rarely ever get backed up. However this last week I was ontop of spam quite quickly and there were a few days when we didn't get a single report.

Taking care of posts that need to approve would be even quicker than handling a report, as you can scan a post and tell if it's spam or not within seconds. A report can take a decent amount of time, especially depending on if/what/how we do the AWIT.

If we did this system, we could always add one moderator, that's job would be specifically to handle those (while also doing all the other moderator jobs), plus the current staff could also handle them.

However I was talking to Bondings about some ideas on how to keep spam off the boards. If he ever gets to working on it, or wants more ideas perhaps he'll bring it up sometime. Smile

Until then, I think it's safe to say not much is going to change for a long time. All I can recommend is that if you don't like spam, report it.
tidruG
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
If we did this system, we could always add one moderator, that's job would be specifically to handle those (while also doing all the other moderator jobs), plus the current staff could also handle them.
I disagree with that. Adding a moderator whose only job is to go through the new users' posts could get tedious. If we ever implement such a system, it should be a shared responsibility of all moderators.

In any case, I don't like this system. When you're a new user, the feeling of posting in a community and getting replies and getting your voice heard is what makes you feel welcome in a website like ours. If we lose that first moment with a new user, it's not likely he will come back. Remember that a lot of people come to Frihost not for hosting, but simply because the forums are a great place to be.

Quote:
However I was talking to Bondings about some ideas on how to keep spam off the boards. If he ever gets to working on it, or wants more ideas perhaps he'll bring it up sometime. Smile

Until then, I think it's safe to say not much is going to change for a long time. All I can recommend is that if you don't like spam, report it.

Precisely. You have to remember that Frihost is not a "Professional Web Host Service" with an entire team behind it. It's owned and operated mostly by one man and a team of volunteer moderators and Admins. Bearing that in mind, our uptime is still ridiculously fantastic. With all the pros and cons, a forum of our size will naturally attract certain amount of spam. It's not such a big deal. Just report it and ignore it and it's generally taken care of.

Honestly, I would rather have a little bit of spam in the forums than to have a situation where people join, find that their posts are not approved in time and go away because they lose interest.
deanhills
Darn! It's NICE to see you back tiDrug! Two things that have made my day today. Bondings doing magic with the transfer of all of the Websites, and reading your comment.

You're right of course. Thinking back to my first posts at Frihost, they were very much experimental. If they had not appeared immediately after I made them, I'd probably have wandered off to the next free host. Part of making those posts was the fun of actually seeing them appear, and seeing people commenting on posts. I also liked the way Bondings had set up the stats with earning Frih dollars and points while I was making posts. I just thought that was incredibly neat.
Ghost Rider103
tidruG wrote:
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
If we did this system, we could always add one moderator, that's job would be specifically to handle those (while also doing all the other moderator jobs), plus the current staff could also handle them.
I disagree with that. Adding a moderator whose only job is to go through the new users' posts could get tedious. If we ever implement such a system, it should be a shared responsibility of all moderators.

Oh no, I said that wrong/or you read that wrong. What I mean is, if we did add such a system, we should add another moderator because of the fact that it will take more work. In other words, every moderators job would also consist of approving posts. The extra moderator would be a normal moderator, covering the same jobs all the current mods do. The idea is to just add another to help with the extra load that it would surely cause.

Quote:
In any case, I don't like this system. When you're a new user, the feeling of posting in a community and getting replies and getting your voice heard is what makes you feel welcome in a website like ours. If we lose that first moment with a new user, it's not likely he will come back. Remember that a lot of people come to Frihost not for hosting, but simply because the forums are a great place to be.

This I sort of agree with. However, users are constantly complaining about spam that general last only a few hours on the forum. I'd rather keep a steady slow pace of new members coming in, rather than having a large amount of new inbound users that really post junk, plus having our current members complaining.

Quote:
Precisely. You have to remember that Frihost is not a "Professional Web Host Service" with an entire team behind it.

Maybe not at the moment, however this should still be a goal for Frihost in general.

Quote:
Honestly, I would rather have a little bit of spam in the forums than to have a situation where people join, find that their posts are not approved in time and go away because they lose interest.

Some users, but not all, are constantly trying to make suggestions in which would entirely eliminate the spam. So I think it would say it's safe to say some, though not all would disagree with this. I do have the same thoughts though. The little spam we have is not an issue. Some people just keep making a huge deal over it - which they shouldn't. Report it and move on, as I've said before.
milkshake01
Not every user wants to host. I'm only interested in getting a free top-level domain name. It would be good if only users with a certain number of points would be allowed to post links.
darthrevan
milkshake01 wrote:
Not every user wants to host. I'm only interested in getting a free top-level domain name. It would be good if only users with a certain number of points would be allowed to post links.

My thoughts exactly and it would also stop the movie spammers with Warez links.
milkshake01
darthrevan wrote:

My thoughts exactly and it would also stop the movie spammers with Warez links.

What about a filter that detects and prevents the sharing of such links?
RosenCruz
One piece of awesome idea. Definitely should be implemented ! Twisted Evil
Ghost Rider103
milkshake01 wrote:
Not every user wants to host. I'm only interested in getting a free top-level domain name. It would be good if only users with a certain number of points would be allowed to post links.


This is a great thing to bring up as well.

Not all of our active users are hosted, so that wouldn't be fair to make it so you have to be hosted to post links on the forum.

We definitely should be more strict as far as posting links goes. Things have changed a lot since the beginning of Frih and I think we need to change some rules around. Such as the links in the signature. While technically we allow people to put links in there signature as long as it's not a referral link or a link to another web host. We have random people coming here posting near garbage just to get the signature link out there.

These types of posts are often reported, while I used to allow it as it's technically not breaking any rules, I have been a bit more strict on it lately to an extent.

Either way, I honestly think we need more staff. Especially with the amount of reports we're getting a day now.
appsapps
I'll tell you how we got rid of most of the spam on a forum in which I am a moderator on...

First, to cut down on profile spam, made by spammers that register on forums just to fill their profiles with spam links, never making a single post, we created a mod that hides the profiles from all members of the forum (and search engines) until the new member has a certain number of posts.

To combat signature spam, we also disallow signatures to those same new members till they pass that threshold.

All moderators on our forum receive an email with a copy of all changes to profiles and edited posts. This way they can't fill it out with something good, or make a seemingly useful post, only to come back in 6 months and edit to insert their spam for SEO purposes.

There is another mod that allows moderators to ban and remove all posts in a single click. Quite useful and makes clean up a snap.

We also have a custom desktop app used by the moderators and most dedicated forum members that pops up a copy of every post on our desktops, within 15 seconds of being submitted. Part of the info that app displays is a link to the member's profile. If we get hit on our desktop with a spam post, one click to the profile, one click of the ban button, and the spammer and his junk is gone.

We don't force posts by new users into a moderation queue, but the first few posts they make are emailed to us to be checked. We have a bunch of moderators and that means a bunch of eyes looking them over, and they are not likely to slip past all of us, no matter how sneaky they are.

To make the forum less attractive to spammers, all links in profiles, signatures, and links contained within posts are all marked nofollow, until a member crosses the threshold. At that point, we remove the nofollow flag from links within posts. We had a long debate on the forum over whether or not we should do this or just stick everyone with a permanent nofollow on all links. We decided that the nature of our forum is to be helpful in any way we can to small software developers, and if a member thinks highly of an application, enough to write a good review and link to the developer's site, we should reward that developer with a bit of our link juice to help others find their apps more easily on search engines. Not all forums are the same, and you might not want to take that approach here.

We also have all new signups run through a database of known spammers, with automatic blocking of anyone that is.

We also have an RSS bot that spits out links to every new post right into our IRC channel. This is partly to encourage those in the IRC channel to visit the forum more and participate in discussions, and part to get more eyeballs keeping a lookout for spam and notifying us in real time, when they see it.

And finally, I report all urls contained within spam posts on WOT. If you have the browser plugin installed, you can right click any link and check it for ratings, and if I have already banned them, it will have a message from me simply stating "forum spammer". If we all report the spammer links on WOT and rate them red across the board, then no matter what name they use, no matter what IP address, or even email, the site(s) they are promoting in their spam will get a bad rating and access will be blocked to anyone that has the WOT plugin installed. And you don't need to be a forum moderator or even a member of a forum to do your part to rate the spammer's links appropriately. Anyone with the WOT plugin can do it on any site where they spot any kind of spam links. Crowd sourced website ratings can be quite useful in stamping out spam and can cause those companies that advertise through spam to lose a large chunk of their business. But it requires all to do our part when we see it.
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