Too many spam-bots

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adam_jeff
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Too many spam-bots

Post by adam_jeff » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:30 am

In the last few months the forums seem to be more and more plagued by spam-bots. Maybe it's just more noticeable it because all the humans are quiet during the LHC tech stop.
Obviously [some of] these bots are quite sophisticated and it's hard to think of a way of weeding them out automatically (For all you know, I could be a bot, trying to ingratiate myself with my humanoid overlords by grassing up my fellow bots).
But there is one thing which unites almost all of them. Their footer contains a link, directing you to whatever brand of spam they're trying to market.
It strikes me that if you can prevent users being able to display links in the footer, the forum will become much less appealing to bots. Of course they will probably still put links in the text of their posts, but you can't stop that without cramping everyone's style. The footer is fair game though, since as far as I can see there's no reason for a real person to ever put a link in their footer.

Kasuha
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by Kasuha » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:47 am

They're not bots, they're usually real people employed to make such posts on all kinds of forums. And if you prevent them having a link in the signature they'll find another way - put the link to the text, to their profile, as a link, as plain text, picture, anything. The only thing that works against them is a reliable expert spammer recognition and deleting system called moderator. But given the fact they actually make 80% of site posts recently it's question if it's worth the effort.

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chelle
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by chelle » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:25 pm

Big boss Chris, why don't you make Kasuha an additional moderator? (if he's interested of course) - perhaps a spam folder could be added where one could check which posts where put aside, and it might also demoralize spammers, or give them a place to post directly. A sort of advertisement section.
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DCWhitworth
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by DCWhitworth » Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:33 pm

Our dearest CQ has been moderating but she's a bit distracted at the moment :D

I can do moderation so if you see anything that hasn't been picked up PM or emali me.

Thanks
DC

The LHC - One ring to rule them all !

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CharmQuark
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by CharmQuark » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:35 pm

I do try and keep on top of things as well as I can but I am currently enjoying having my other half here for a week so the internet is the last thing on my mind :ugeek: I have an awesome team that does report them, then I ban them asap. I have told Chris about this problem but I will have another talk to him when he is around.

CQ.
Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted with large ones either by Albert Einstein.

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DCWhitworth
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by DCWhitworth » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:21 pm

I'm happy to whack them as I see them rather than reporting to you, would that help ?
DC

The LHC - One ring to rule them all !

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morgad
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by morgad » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:50 am

Would putting "/Forum/viewforum.php?f=3" in your robots.txt file work?
(if Google, etc. stop crawlining that forum, I assume it becomes worthless for SEO purposes?)

Dave

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CharmQuark
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by CharmQuark » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:44 pm

DCWhitworth wrote:I'm happy to whack them as I see them rather than reporting to you, would that help ?
That would be fantastic DC :thumbup:
Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted with large ones either by Albert Einstein.

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DCWhitworth
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by DCWhitworth » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:17 pm

This might be a good approach. :D

http://xkcd.com/810/
DC

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CharmQuark
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by CharmQuark » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:45 pm

morgad wrote:Would putting "/Forum/viewforum.php?f=3" in your robots.txt file work?
(if Google, etc. stop crawlining that forum, I assume it becomes worthless for SEO purposes?)

Dave
I'm not sure Dave :problem:
DCWhitworth wrote:This might be a good approach. :D

http://xkcd.com/810/
LOL love it!
Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted with large ones either by Albert Einstein.

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DCWhitworth
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by DCWhitworth » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:18 pm

morgad wrote:Would putting "/Forum/viewforum.php?f=3" in your robots.txt file work?
(if Google, etc. stop crawlining that forum, I assume it becomes worthless for SEO purposes?)

Dave
Would that help ? I'm no expert on SEO but how would blocking off that one forum help restrict spammers ? Just because they're not getting exposure doesn't mean they will no longer post.
DC

The LHC - One ring to rule them all !

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DCWhitworth
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Re: Too many spam-bots

Post by DCWhitworth » Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:45 pm

Right, I've got bored and had a purge of the board over the last few days. I've banned 39 spammers.

The majority of them fit the following pattern -

1. They had a spam link in their signature.
2. They had only one post.
3. That post was not in the 'New Users' section.
4. Their post was generic waffle.

I therefore conclude the following is happening -

1. Spammers are posting an 'innocent' first message in the wrong place i.e Not the New Users forum.
2. This message is being approved by a moderator.
3. At a later date they then change their signature to include a spam link.

The best counter to this is that we strictly enforce the policy that user's first post must be in the New Users forum, without exception. Genuine users will comply, spammers won't be back.
DC

The LHC - One ring to rule them all !

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