Spam

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Spam

Postby /a3 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:30 am

I thought I may as well raise the issue. There are a whole heap of posts being made here that have links in the signature and spam posts.

Some of the more common signatures by the spammers here appear to be:
OpenOffice 3.1
OpenOffice 3.1 on Windows Vista
OpenOffice 3.1 on Windows 7

Of course I'm not suggesting that all the people with those signatures are here to spam. But I do think there are things that can be done. This topic for phpBB: Preventing Spam in phpBB3. Or more specifically, the Q&A CAPTCHA seems to work best at the moment.

Of course I don't wish to downplay the efforts by volunteers here! This board is a great resource for OOo/LO support, and the volunteers spend a lot of time online. I just wanted to make the suggestion. :)
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:00 pm

That's not spam. We encourage people to tell what version of OOo they use and on what operating system, because that information is often important for answering their problem. Each version of OOo (and LibreOffice) comes with its own new bugs but also solved bugs. If somebody with version X reports a problem and we know that that problem was solved in a later version of OOo than X, we can advice to upgrade to that later version. It might be however that that person was simply doing something wrong, and in that case we'd have to look for the solution somewhere else.
Same for the operating system: it appears that in Windows 7 users of OOo can run into problems that don't occur on Vista or another OS.
Last edited by floris v on Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:10 pm

Also, the Moderators are quick to disable inappropriate live links in .sigs. If you run across apparent spam, press the ! button on top right of the posting window and report it as inappropriate, selecting the particular form of impropriety from the drop-down. Such postings are dealt with quite speedily; drawing them to Moderators' attention eases the administrative load. We are fortunate that this is a relatively spam-free forum, thanks to their continuing work.
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Re: Spam

Postby /a3 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:11 am

That's not spam. We encourage people to tell what version of OOo they use and on what operating system

Sorry, I didn't mean the signatures themselves were spammy. I meant that they seem to be automated, because after looking at spam posts over the last few days here most of the spammers used this.

There's another post in the GD forum at the moment that is completely copied from ehow.com. I would say that's probably done for the purpose of link building and SEO, even if it is not automated.

The basic idea is that spammers post to boards, and then a few days later they change their website profile or signature.

Maybe I'm wrong, and these are legitimate posts. But it just seems a bit odd to me.
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Re: Spam

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Nov 08, 2011 1:06 am

You were right, the OP has edited the post to add links (to a site selling fireplaces). I've banned the account.

Indeed, sometimes, OP change their initial post or their signature. No real countermeasure for that...
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Re: Spam

Postby /a3 » Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:27 am

Hagar Delest wrote:Indeed, sometimes, OP change their initial post or their signature. No real countermeasure for that...

I do completely agree with that, it's difficult to track that sort of behaviour. And I think the moderators are doing an excellent job at it. But what I was mainly suggesting was a change in the registration page. At the moment the non-GD (phpBB2-style) CAPTCHA is being used, which has been broken for years. A live example:
Image
My main suggestion was to use another CAPTCHA that might be better at preventing spammers from registering.

Just as an example, you could change to a Q&A CAPTCHA that says
Name one of the office products that is supported here (see at top of this page)
with the answers (since there can be multiple answers)
openoffice
openoffice.org
libreoffice
staroffice
neooffice
ooo4kids
ooolight

Even one question should prevent the automated spammers for at least a little while.
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Re: Spam

Postby Hagar Delest » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:54 am

In fact, the signature is already the solution for that: it is now mandatory to put an OS and OOo version in the signature, this is first to help when a question is posted but it has also been added in the registration process to defeat the automatic deciphering of the CAPTCHA.

So the few spammers here are only real humans and not bots. There are sometimes periods in the year when there is a surge of spams, usually of the same kind (we have right now a spike of "Windows password reset" message for example) and I guess that's when "teams" of guys are paid to post wherever they can to get some bucks.

I think that the spam level is rather low here and thanks to the report function, it's easily and quickly removed. The key point is to have moderators all over the time zones.
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:58 am

Hagar Delest wrote:I think that the spam level is rather low here and thanks to the report function, it's easily and quickly removed.


We have a very good (small) spam level compared with other forums, thanks to excellent policing by the mods. Many thanks!
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:20 pm

+1. Maybe there's a setting in the PHP board to log edited posts by users with a low post count.
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:37 pm

I note with appreciation the work floris and others do on the old forum (which I observe but to which I do not contribute); the spam level there is quite high. I note also how helpful our insistence on the version and OS in the signature is in reducing unnecessary queries and responses. This informative signature is a practice that should be more widely adopted in forums.
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:15 pm

The spam level is getting quite high here as will now that the spammers have found out how to bypass our anti-spam protection.
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:22 pm

I've seen the various spam posts this morning, but as I'm new to the task and distracted by having to do various Friday things, I'm not dealing with them until later, as I am not yet familiar with the Moderator's console.
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:24 pm

I'm not blaming you - those spammers shouldn't even be able to get in.
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:26 pm

There are six right now, and I just deleted some 10 in the old forum. That still gets most, but this is bad. Deleting all the spam is a drain on our time.
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:27 pm

I'm not taking offence, Floris v, nor did I interpret your post as criticism. I may later post a link to an antispam device which we might consider. Now off to do other things - Friday is a particularly busy day for me.
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Re: Spam

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:56 pm

Bu they seem to be humans, don't they?

Not even sure that disabling the BBCode for urls would be enough.
Then the next step would be to moderate all the new posts (made visible only after mods approval)...
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:00 pm

On the old forum many seem to come from a small range of IPs. They may be human, or they're spambots managed by humans who actually look at a targeted forum to find a way in if the spambot fails to do so. I see plenty of new topics that use the title of an existing thread over and over; I don't really see why that couldn't be spambot work.
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Re: Spam

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:20 pm

In fact the question was more for the anti-spam registration process.
If bots have understood that we ask for OOo version, perhaps we should change the captcha for a question like a simple arithmetical question (what's the sum of x + y?).
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:25 pm

The Ubuntu forums use a simple question such as Hagar suggests, chosen at random from a small group of questions.

Seeing the (low) level of intelligence of many posters, I would prefer a trick question such as "How many blue beans make five?" or "Which is heavier, a kilogram of feathers or a kilogram of lead?". Think how many this would weed out :-)
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Re: Spam

Postby acknak » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:49 pm

My impression is that these spams are coming from real people who (I presume) are paid to register and post spam. As long as we have a registration procedure that people can navigate, we're not going to keep them out by any registration limits.

It would be helpful if there were a button available to mods: "Nuke this spam", that would ban the user and move all his posts to junk land. It can be quite a confusing hassle navigating all the different pages, prompts, closing reports, ... Less likely to mess something up, as well.
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Re: Spam

Postby RoryOF » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:52 pm

acknak wrote:It would be helpful if there were a button available to mods: "Nuke this spam", that would ban the user and move all his posts to junk land. It can be quite a confusing hassle navigating all the different pages, prompts, closing reports, ... Less likely to mess something up, as well.


I agree, acknak! I've been trying to make my way about the Mods' console today, while doing other things, and came to the same conclusion.
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Re: Spam

Postby Villeroy » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:46 pm

RoryOF wrote:I agree, acknak! I've been trying to make my way about the Mods' console today, while doing other things, and came to the same conclusion.


With the current setup deleting all the posts of a banned user is very tempting because it saves a lot of clicks compared to moving all posts to "Deleted Topics".

I used to open the profiles of each new spammer in a separate tab, ban user, go back to the profile, search all his posts, and then
for each search result: {goto posting, click moderation mode and split tab, enter new subject and forum, select spam, split } : back to search results

If the spammer posted many new topics:
for each spammed forum: {goto forum, mark spam topics, move to delete forum} : next forum
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Re: Spam

Postby Hagar Delest » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:58 pm

Well, I'm rather lucky, with the admin panel, I can move all the posts from a user at once:
Admin.png

I've tried to see if this panel can be activated for moderators but it doesn't seem so (or it is well hidden).
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Re: Spam

Postby Villeroy » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:58 am

Hagar Delest wrote:I've tried to see if this panel can be activated for moderators but it doesn't seem so (or it is well hidden).

Likewise, volunteers should see reported messages highlighted in the same way as moderators can see them.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Spam

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:30 pm

Only mods can see reported posts it seems (after a quick search on the web). I've found that article but it seems to be commercial: Post Already Reported? Then Tell Me!
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Re: Spam

Postby floris v » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:39 pm

Villeroy wrote:
Hagar Delest wrote:I've tried to see if this panel can be activated for moderators but it doesn't seem so (or it is well hidden).

Likewise, volunteers should see reported messages highlighted in the same way as moderators can see them.

In fact, that should work for all registered users - any registered user may be as willing to report spam as any volunteer.
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