Spam Issues

Voice your opinions, concerns and suggestions on how to make the Transport Tycoon Forums better.
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Spam Issues

Post by Redirect Left » 20 Sep 2017 06:50

Lately there is an influx of spam. I think its time someone did something about that, it's getting a little ridiculous now.

Perhaps make it so that you need to have at least X posts before you can post a url, or even entirely ban urls in topic titles too, no real valid reason to post a url in a topic title after all? If posting a url, don't allow the post to go through, that'll thwart them I reckon!
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Chrill » 20 Sep 2017 07:28

Trust me, it's not worse than usual. We've just not been online at the right times. Most of our work is done... in the shadows!

I too would support the inability to post URLs before you reach a number of posts. This number could be as low as "Greater than 1" really. If you have posted once, you can now post URLs. That would still eliminate 99% of all spam. Also, as you said, one could ban the phrase "http://" from topic titles.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Pilot » 20 Sep 2017 07:35

Whatever happened to Robobot? Wasn't that supposed to deal with most of the spam?

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Re: Spam Issues

Post by orudge » 20 Sep 2017 15:19

We do have various anti-spam mechanisms in place. Unfortunately, spammers find ways to evade them.

Restricting links in a user's first post seems a good idea. There seem to be a bunch of old abandoned mods on phpBB that implement that kind of functionality, but I'm not sure if any are actually up-to-date. I may need to write my own I guess...

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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Redirect Left » 20 Sep 2017 16:12

I don't think that sort of modification would be too arduous or time consuming, and the payoff would be worth it, imo.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by WWTBAM » 20 Sep 2017 23:33

Pilot wrote:Whatever happened to Robobot? Wasn't that supposed to deal with most of the spam?
There were intentions of taking it in that direction. However it could originally only clean the birthday list. A phpBB upgrade also broke the bot, then real life got in the way. I got the bot loging in sgsin just before real life got in the way. I might look into repairing it again in a way that theme changes don't break it.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by kamnet » 21 Sep 2017 03:39

I don't think the URL post restriction is of any use. I've seen bots posting plenty of spam disguised as generic responses to posts without URLs anywhere specifically to try to evade that type of restriction. And it's not like it's particularly difficult to identify what is spam. It's just annoying that it fouls up discussions when we think there are legitimate new posts and there aren't.

If you need volunteers to help squash the spam, I'm available. I usually end up reporting several a week.

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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Transportman » 21 Sep 2017 05:41

I think a better way would be to allow multiple reports per post, and after X move the topic/post to a restricted section for mods to look at.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by orudge » 21 Sep 2017 14:29

kamnet wrote:If you need volunteers to help squash the spam, I'm available. I usually end up reporting several a week.
It might be useful to have a North American moderator once again... I'm a bit busy now (as always) but I will perhaps get back to you on that in the somewhat near future. :)

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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Redirect Left » 21 Sep 2017 15:18

Does phpBB allow for levels of moderators/admins? Hand out a few low level ones that can only remove (or move) posts and not any other administrative functions? Might be handy doing that, and making a new staff rank "Janitor" or something.
Transportman wrote:I think a better way would be to allow multiple reports per post, and after X move the topic/post to a restricted section for mods to look at.
That would also be pretty neat.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Chrill » 22 Sep 2017 07:34

Another solution would be that if a user has less than X posts (let's say 3), any report made will temporarily remove the post. We moderators then have to either approve the post for it to return online.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by WWTBAM » 22 Sep 2017 08:52

That used to be the case before a phpBB update broke one of the mods Owen was using.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Transportman » 22 Sep 2017 18:17

Chrill wrote:Another solution would be that if a user has less than X posts (let's say 3), any report made will temporarily remove the post. We moderators then have to either approve the post for it to return online.
Problem is that spammers would then just continue spamming, to keep ahead of X and keep their spam visible.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Redirect Left » 22 Sep 2017 18:42

Transportman wrote:
Chrill wrote:Another solution would be that if a user has less than X posts (let's say 3), any report made will temporarily remove the post. We moderators then have to either approve the post for it to return online.
Problem is that spammers would then just continue spamming, to keep ahead of X and keep their spam visible.
Not likely.
The majority of spam is done by single hit spam bots.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Transportman » 23 Sep 2017 06:37

Redirect Left wrote:
Transportman wrote:
Chrill wrote:Another solution would be that if a user has less than X posts (let's say 3), any report made will temporarily remove the post. We moderators then have to either approve the post for it to return online.
Problem is that spammers would then just continue spamming, to keep ahead of X and keep their spam visible.
Not likely.
The majority of spam is done by single hit spam bots.
I'm not sure if it is the majority, but I also regularly see multiple hits from the same spam bot. And if the less than X posts limit is there, I expect the multiple hit spam bots to increase to compensate.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Redirect Left » 23 Sep 2017 07:51

It's usually a bot doing a single hit of multiple posts, they generally act as humans do when posting to avoid any filters in place. They tend to wait a few minutes between posts to imitate someone slowly typing it out.

Most forums have a filter, and won't let you post more than 1 post in a given time frame.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by YNM » 17 Oct 2017 14:14

I think we have a few options :

- Captcha before entering site. This site (ProMods) apparently uses them all the time. Might just be me (picture following) but at least that's how I've been having it. Seems really clean.

- Limit #posts before URL posting. Two ways :
* No direct URL, the "old" way. At least you don't accidentaly hit a URL.
* Perhaps something to block/reject "http://" or "www." or ".co" . Miight be a bit annoying but they'll break it I suppose, unless the sites they're doing are of another way.
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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Sylf » 25 Oct 2017 02:26

YNM wrote:- Limit #posts before URL posting. Two ways :
* No direct URL, the "old" way. At least you don't accidentaly hit a URL.
* Perhaps something to block/reject "http://" or "www." or ".co" . Miight be a bit annoying but they'll break it I suppose, unless the sites they're doing are of another way.
In many cases, I see very generic posts (like, dig up a very old, random topic, and post some "This was very useful information!" type of message), and rely on the user's profile Homepage link to improve their site SEO score. (Or at least I assume that's what they're after when I see such posts)

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Re: Spam Issues

Post by skippern » 25 Oct 2017 04:55

Blocking ".co" might theoretically block valid URLs also, blocking "http" I think is good, all shared URLs should be "https"


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Re: Spam Issues

Post by Auge » 25 Oct 2017 08:46

Hello
skippern wrote:blocking "http" I think is good, all shared URLs should be "https"
Really? Many websites still using unsecured HTTP, even with declining tendency. On the other hand your proposal will not work with spam links using HTTPS. So your proposal doesn't work.

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