Spam

Suggestions and comments about the ReactOS website

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PurpleGurl
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Spam

Post by PurpleGurl » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:39 pm

I noticed that lately, spam has been an issue. Most concerning are the ads for illegal products such as pharmaceuticals, fake documents, and college entry cheating. In the past, hardcore pornography has been spammed to the site, like the dog incidents a number of years back.

I guess I created this to just discuss it some, not really to ask for changes. There likely isn't much to do other than remain vigilant.

EmuandCo
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Re: Spam

Post by EmuandCo » Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:51 pm

There are some nice addins for PHPBB which might help here. I will discuss this at the next meeting.

My suggestions were: Disallow links in sig for everyone <25 posts, disallow edit posts for ppl <25 posts, force moderation before posting for ppl <10 posts. Max amount of posts before auto ban @ ppl <25 posts: 3/hour.

Many of these can be realized by a few addins. And there are nice auto checks, too. Akismet is really powerful, but does cost money.
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ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

milon
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Re: Spam

Post by milon » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:03 am

I'm pretty sure when I first registered, I went WAY over 3 posts per hour. Would there be really obvious user feedback, or would it be more of a surprise ban? I can see where you're coming from, but this has potential to catch a lot of legit users.

dizt3mp3r
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Re: Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam

Post by dizt3mp3r » Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:17 pm

I'd be happy to be given minimal moderation capabilities, ie. reviewing the posts of the new users that are prevented from posting without prior authorisation. I'm sure others here would too, Purplegurl &c (forgive me for volunteering you).

If you can assign those roles please feel free to do so.

On the systems I have managed an automatic email was generated per post and then it was up to me to authorise it via an email response. That was using a comment system on Joomla, not so very different, it may be possible.

karlexceed
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Re: Spam

Post by karlexceed » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:41 pm

It's unfortunate that any steps taken to combat spam come with increased workload for the mods. Whether it's setup/configuration, responding to alerts, or fixing a bot's overzealous auto-bans.

That said, I'm certain that several members of the community here would be more than willing to lend a hand if needed. We all want a pleasant forum experience where people can discuss ReactOS rather than wading through dozens of garbage posts.

dizt3mp3r
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Re: Spam

Post by dizt3mp3r » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:08 pm

Agreed. Some of us contribute merely by our presence, guiding and helping on the forums on occasion but really not doing much for the project (me included). I have significant web skills (unused) and other capabilities too (equally unused) but if I can be of use filtering out some spammers then it is something concrete, no matter how small.

If the task grows, find a way of farming it out. We've been here for a while, you know our mettle - use us!

Fraizeraust
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Re: Spam

Post by Fraizeraust » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:16 pm

karlexceed wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:41 pm
That said, I'm certain that several members of the community here would be more than willing to lend a hand if needed. We all want a pleasant forum experience where people can discuss ReactOS rather than wading through dozens of garbage posts.
If a moderator(s) selection has to be in place, I think it'd make sense if moderators were selected based on different timezone. Thus the spam and any post contents which violate the rules will be removed rather quickly than late.

So far EmnuandCo was cleaning the forum of malicious posts most of the time. A moderator selection and some additions for PHPBB would indeed make a great combination.

PurpleGurl
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Location: USA

Re: Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam

Post by PurpleGurl » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:49 am

dizt3mp3r wrote:
Mon Sep 17, 2018 4:17 pm
I'd be happy to be given minimal moderation capabilities, ie. reviewing the posts of the new users that are prevented from posting without prior authorisation. I'm sure others here would too, Purplegurl &c (forgive me for volunteering you).

If you can assign those roles please feel free to do so.

On the systems I have managed an automatic email was generated per post and then it was up to me to authorise it via an email response. That was using a comment system on Joomla, not so very different, it may be possible.
I think that is a good idea, and I wouldn't mind helping in this capacity. Don't feel bad about volunteering me, as I would be interested.

For the curious, I've modded in Yahoo! Groups, Wordpress blogs, Reddit subs, a pre-Internet BBS (as a sysop), and even WikiAnswers (which sadly dumped their wiki format and user database this year, likely due to regulation changes like GDPR and their own debts). I've run into a number of situations, like users uploading illegal photos in the old Yahoo! Groups out of revenge. Some even created multiple IDs, used hate speech under their socks, and then reported themselves under their main ID, with the goal of getting the group deleted.

On Answers, there were situations like Q&A's that broke the rules (cyberbullying, spam, inappropriate subject matter, profanity, etc). This included PM spam, trolling and nonsense answers, blatant spam, cyberbullying questions, solicitation for illegal acts, the occasional vulgar ASCII artwork, etc. I rarely banned, as I tend to have a more passive philosophy, but there are times when you try the education approach and it doesn't work. Most on Answers were just kids who scared easy, so if they received a message from a supervisor or other administrator, they tended to curb their behavior. But then there were those who were there to push agendas that were related to religion, racism, homophobia, or other hate. Or there was the guy who we tried to get the police to watch, as we feared by the prolific number of inappropriate questions and answers involving children, that he might be a menace to society. We'd block every IP he used for 30 days at a time, and when he posted again, we'd block again. Some of our users were brazen, like the one who said, "Go ahead an ban me! It isn't like I haven't been banned from here before. Besides I have 50 other accounts already." We were supposed to block previously banned users when we encountered them, but every once in a while, they managed to clean up their acts and become supervisors.

Anyway, I'm not trying to hijack the thread I started, just sharing some of the experiences and tactics of undesirable users, including spammers. I appreciate what moderators do, and I can empathize with most of them. (The exception is mods of user-created forums on sites like Reddit, some of whom are quite mean and often ban unfairly. If you appeal, they mute you out of spite. Going to the admins doesn't help, and if they reply, they will say to take it up with the unfit mods but not create another account to get around that.)

I agree with the sentiment of those here who want to do more but don't know what to do that is within our interests and skill range. I might someday learn C, but that seems like a losing battle to me. I took a class in it, but it was too fast-paced and I forgot everything. Even if I master that enough, there is all the stuff about learning how to do it in Windows. The APIs and kernel take a bit to master. I've been somewhat active in the wiki here and have tried to be somewhat helpful in the forums, but there are times where I'd like to do a little more.

Agghh! Just spotted 2 more spam posts. We had a problem with this type of spam on Answers too, as they would ask questions with these fake support desk phone numbers.

karlexceed
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:17 pm

Re: Spam

Post by karlexceed » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:40 pm

I was thinking about this issue, and specifically about the posts that seem to almost make sense, but then suddenly recommend a support link. They remind me an awful lot of the Markov-based Twitter bots. (Like this: https://github.com/heidilabs/markov-bot)

Then I found this:
https://www.isi.edu/natural-language/pe ... on-bot.pdf
It describes a phpBB bot that uses Markov models to try and offer reasonable answers to students' questions based on past answers.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any publicly available code that might shed more light on the situation.

PurpleGurl
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Re: Spam

Post by PurpleGurl » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:30 am

Yes, I agree, the helpdesk bots are annoying.

ctasan
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Re: Spam

Post by ctasan » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:47 pm

I would like also to help firing that spammers off with some moderation powers.

PurpleGurl
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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:11 am
Location: USA

Re: Spam

Post by PurpleGurl » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:33 am

That is 3 of us so far who wouldn't mind being "deputized" to help deal with the spam.

And I just noticed we have another spammer, and they've fired off 6 spams related to degrees and fake ID documents. We mentioned tools above, and maybe one thing that can be done is to have a check to see if messages are identical or at least essentially the same.

EmuandCo
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Re: Spam

Post by EmuandCo » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:05 am

Morning... first thing I do these days after breakfast... Tidy up forums... meeeh
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ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

PurpleGurl
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Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:11 am
Location: USA

Re: Spam

Post by PurpleGurl » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:24 am

Yes, good morning for you, still the night for me. I am sure you are at least 4 hours ahead of me (would be at least 5, but we honor DST when a lot of places don't, which makes the difference 4).

I looked in here and noticed the spams were addressed, for now, and figure you had made your rounds.

EmuandCo
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Re: Spam

Post by EmuandCo » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:05 am

GMT+1 in theory, due to daylight savings time thingie (soon no more I hope) GMT+2. Yeah, banned another one and removed his 6 posts you mentioned too.
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ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

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