Admin: Spam Concerns

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JoeS

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Messages
4,334
Location
Hills above Silicon Valley, California
As many of you may have noticed, over the past four days we have been subjected to massive spam attacks from what primarily appear to be Eastern European and Russian sources.

Your dedicated moderators have been devoting a lot of their personal time laboriously manually attempting to keep this site clean. Please bear with us.

Sad commentary on today's world. :(
 
A word of thanks to the moderators for their hard work & who are dealing with this matter . It is disruptive and unwanted .
Hopefully we can have some kind of preliminary screening (Waiting period on first posts) to new members to filter out the spammers.
 
We have made some changes to the registration process to see if that helps.

If you do see a spam post, please click the red ! on the right corner of the post to help us find and delete the spam.
 
After the changes made by our Admin a year ago we've thankfully had a significant reduction in spam postings. Most notable are the British kitchen sink ads that seem to pop up every couple of days. My approach is to delete that post and ban the poster.

My thanks to those of you who flag such suspected spam using the red exclamation-point button, although I do occasionally let such a post ride if it's not too blatant and somewhat related to the topic. Subjective on my part.

Lately, I've noticed a spam influx whereby someone joins the forum and makes a number of random innocuous posts which contribute nothing to the topics and then embeds a link to a commercial product (often barely or unrelated to the topic) within such a post. Having removed hundreds of spams, I personally have a very low tolerance for such antics and not only ban such a poster but remove all of his/her posts (which usually occur within a short timeframe of each other).

I try to be very careful to differentiate this from someone who posts a link to a product that is directly on-topic.

This apparently-severe action on my part (which, as far as I recall only affected brand-new forum joiners) prompted a discussion between another moderator and myself regarding possible censorship and I thought I'd throw this open to everyone - what spam-control guidelines would you like?
 
I'd suggest having someone's first post be moderated, but I've had that happen enough times where my completely relevant comments have never made it onto the site to which I was posting, meanwhile other comments continued in. :twisted:

I have no problem with flagging spam posts, and I thank the moderators for keeping this site clean, although our threads do go off-topic rather easily :oops: .
 
I guess I'm the 'other moderator' ;)

I've removed probably a hundred fifty to two hundred or so 'spam' links and/or posts over the past 18 months. I have not 'banned' anyone and I can't recall someone I haven't banned coming back and posting more spam, though I guess it's possible one or more of them did and some other moderator caught the repeat offense and banned the offender . . . . maybe thinking it was their first offense?

Not every 'member' here is a 'contributor' and even our loyal membership make posts from time to time which do not 'contribute' - When someone posts 'Merry Christmas' and someone else says, 'Yes, I had one too' it's not really a 'contribution' in my book, but it's not something that needs to be flagged or moderated, IMO

If we ban everyone who posts a link to an outside commercial website, there would be few of us left - I know I've done it myself when I thought it might help someone with something they're looking for

Spammers, on the other hand primarily come here just to advertise unwanted products, services and such. I suspect many of them are paid to do so. Most of them don't pretend to be members or bother to make any other posts. I have as little tolerance for those guys as anyone but I personally don't see it as a reason to ban anyone, at least not for a first offense. If someone has made half a dozen posts and includes a link to some unwanted product or service in one of them, I'd be for deleting the link and/or the entire post, especially if it has little or nothing to do with the thread it's posted to. I would let the other posts be, at least until he/she proves the only reason they came around was to spam us

I guess the question is - Should we ban everyone for a first offense and delete everything they've ever posted to this forum, or, should we be a little more tolerant and do away with only the repeat offenders who by then have pretty much proven they are only here to spam us?

The Admin makes the rules - I'm happy with whatever his thinking on the subject is. Personally, I haven't seen much of a problem with repeat spammers. As I said, I've deleted hundreds of links or single posts, but banned no one so far and I have see few if any repeat offenders

Don
 
I have seen recent new "members" post messages that add nothing to a thread, but these messages don't advertise anything. I'm guessing that they plan to post a few innocuous messages thus passing any moderation. But then they will start posting real spam.

I don't see any problem deleting the messages and accounts of anyone who posts spam. But before doing so, we should be fairly certain that these forum members are here for one reason only: to post spam. I think it's pretty easy to determine who's real and who's not.
 
alohart said:
I have seen recent new "members" post messages that add nothing to a thread, but these messages don't advertise anything. I'm guessing that they plan to post a few innocuous messages thus passing any moderation. But then they will start posting real spam....
That is exactly what prompted the initial discussion between us, only to find that the person's fourth message contained the spam link. I have no problem only deleting the spam post, but we moderators will then have to start separately tracking the spammers.
 
OK, so I just deleted the topic "Kitchen Sales Derby Shire" but first banned the poster (perisyaiq).

My reasoning for first banning the poster is based on the massive spam attacks in late 2012 whereby once a poster got into our system they would (automatically?) produce lots of posts using that name - it was sometimes a race to block them as they were in the act of generating those posts.
 
JoeS said:
OK, so I just deleted the topic "Kitchen Sales Derby Shire" but first banned the poster (perisyaiq).

My reasoning for first banning the poster is based on the massive spam attacks in late 2012 whereby once a poster got into our system they would (automatically?) produce lots of posts using that name - it was sometimes a race to block them as they were in the act of generating those posts.

I agree with this 100% for spammers like this one; they should be banned and any spam or useless posts from them should be deleted. I took the same action on this one just as Joe did.
 
We continue getting spam regarding "Kitchens" in a different UK location on almost a daily basis, yet with the same linked website. I've contacted our Admin to see if he has some tools to inhibit this. In the meantime we'll continue deleting the posts and banning the ever-changing spammer's name (at least it will prevent our membership number from being artificially inflated) :(
 
Thanks again guys for all your hard work deleting the spam that comes in! You guys are so good at it I haven't seen any spam for a month plus!

In order to better learn about these spammers, please leave the messages for me to delete today and tomorrow. On Saturday you can start deleting spam again :)
 
We have been very spam-free compared to the massive spam attacks we had a couple of years ago.

Just a reminder: if you suspect spam, simply click on the exclamation point on the bottom right of the post and that will flag the moderators whenever we log on. It's then up to a moderator to decide whether to leave or delete the post, and also whether to ban the poster.

Preferably, don't post in that thread referring to the spam posting as that continues bringing that spam message to the forefront (thus inducing people to click on the spam's link which is what they want us to do) and your post then also needs to be manually deleted.

Life in this arena has actually been pretty good (benign) lately, making our job so much easier… :D
 
Thanks for taking care of those posts, Joe.

I habitually refresh the active list almost every hour, and when I saw the spam posts, you were already cleaning them up. You really stay on top of things.
 
Did you happen to notice when they were posted? I forgot to look when I deleted the posts around 9:45 AM EDT.
 
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