Discussion in 'Web Feedback' started by DTM450, Mar 12, 2015.
I've noticed a recent influx of forum spammers in the forum's general chat zones
the spambots have always been there, but usually the moderators are fast enough to delete those topics.
but pax happened so probably quite a few moderators were there
Just make sure they've been flagged as per the Report function. They might be suffering from partying too hard right now. (Except for Jaded. She recovers faster.)
Sent from my SGH-T769 using Tapatalk 2
Between 2AM and 8AM EST we tend to get a lot of messages. I wander in around 9AM EST each morning and do a major cleanup.
Edit: which someone beat me to today
Yeah, I vastly appreciate the efforts of the folks who clean up throughout the night, but it's unfortunate that I sleep on a (roughly) Pacific time schedule. As this is a volunteer forum, stuff gets cleaned up as it gets cleaned up, more or less; nobody has any obligation to be "on shift" to deal with it, but a number of folks still do it anyway.
Efforts have been and continue to be made to remove the manual portion of this, but better mouse traps beget craftier mice. Trust me, I'm very fatigued personally at having to spend my mental bandwidth on daily cleanup (it also doesn't play nice to have 30-60 tabs open at a time when I'm, y'know, wanting to actually play Minecraft, heavens forbid).
I love it when I delete/ban a post created "moments ago." Suck on that dipshit, you spent more time copy-pasting your bullshit than it spent on our forum.
don't tell me someone actually writes those spam posts? I thought they were just simple bots going around...
They are definitely bots. People would make more coherent spam. Anyhow, I have said this before, and I will keep saying it until someone implements it: we need preventative measures, as people alone are not enough. I get rid of easily 50 threads a day, and there is always more. Preventing new accounts from making threads for 15 minutes might be a short solution until the bot creators catch on, but the most effective fix would be preventing new accounts from posting links until they reach a certain post count (5 or 10 might be best).
Yes, I completely agree that having them not register in the first place would be preferable, and having them not be able to get a post through at all is another preference. But, I don't set the priorities on plug-in management for these forums (and frankly, don't want to; I have admin bits elsewhere and don't need anymore, thank you). Of course, problem with the first bit is, as mentioned, when you get a better mouse trap you eventually just get better mice. How I manage to deal with it elsewhere, then, is by running modules that simply don't allow the use of the URL tag outside of a very small selection of sub-forums for users beneath a post count threshold. If they can't manage to make the posts their clients want, they just don't post.
There is a level of adaptation going on with these bots here, though. In December we added a blacklist of common spammer terms that throw new posts from new users into the moderation queue; a couple weeks ago a few of the bots started making new posts with simple content like "HELLO THERE" and then editing it once through to bypass this check. Not by any means all of them, but I've noticed a few are doing that now. The blacklist does tend to catch about half to two thirds of all attempted spam on a given night, though; unfortunately, though, I still have to manually review and delete the accounts when I wake up, and it's all in the same queue as the Server Promotions threads, which means those get delayed.
The other measure I could suggest of course is a flat out ban on IPs in most of Southeast Asia. Of course in a couple months they'd probably just get replaced with the Russians anyway, but I'm grumpy enough about the whole thing to just stop caring. The Spam Cleaner button addition did remove a few keystrokes, but it's still far too manual for my liking; it'd really, really be nice if I had an in-line moderation option for spam bans instead of having to open a dialog for every single account individually. Seriously, queuing up 30-70 tabs means I basically can't run anything else on my system while cleaning it, and any other way of handling it takes too long. I ultimately get a lot more cursory in handling other moderation tasks because I'm so burnt out from the endless spambot war. As somebody who can't even cross a room without several paragraphs of exposition, that annoys me a lot too. =)
I'm usually on when the spam is at its worst. I used to report everything, but it just got too long with the delay that was forced on me. If you want I can try to clean the spam on times when you aren't on, but I don't have access to the remove spam button.
I really need to check with people on the criteria for who has Spam Cleaner and what the plans are about that (I have absolutely zero admin access, which is precisely how I plan to keep it, so other folks have to handle that stuff).
Fun fact: on January 20th the spam-cleaned threads started getting moved to a hidden subforum rather than just deleted. In that period (52 days counting today), there have been 3809 spam threads thus cleaned. This of course doesn't account for the spam-banned accounts who get caught at the "post a URL in my profile status" stage, but that's roughly 73.25 threads thus nuked per day. Keeping in mind that the bots usually, for some reason, avoid Saturday night/Sunday morning, the number's closer to 85.45 threads per active spam day. There was also a few day period where forum registration was flat out broken and so they stopped coming, but I'll avoid complicating the number any further than to say that makes even this number a low ball.
Seems like an awfully unnecessary amount of cleaning to have to do constantly.
For what its worth, I get an odd thrill from deleting them
For me, it's a double-edged sword. During the times when I'm not at my best, it's something concrete and simple I can do to know I can still help out around here; I don't have to remember how to configure a servo/filter to pump dense ores twice through a pulverizer instead of sending output straight to a redstone furnace, I just have to recognize the difference between a legitimate post and utter gibberish. On the other hand, the sheer volume of it serves as a barrier between me and actually interacting with the community/looking at threads and moderating them. Vauthil put it best when he described it as "mental bandwidth"; it really is an apt metaphor--with the bandwith clogged up by spambots and garbage posts, there's little room for anything else to get through. But, like Vau also said, we've had this conversation about filters and post limits plenty of times, but ultimately we aren't the ones who make those decisions, so in the meantime we just do the best we can.
I am just scared that I in my morning migraine stupor will bomb someone innocent with poor English skills who happens to post a suspicious looking link out of existence. The motion of identifying and removing the spam posts have become rather routine now
Hah, I know the exact feeling. There's been at least one time that I nuked a post and then thought "uh, did I even bother to read that first to be sure?"