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Spam problem

Simon SmithSimon Smith BannedBanned User Posts: 46
Hi,

I realise the amount of spam threads doesn't appear to have been reduced, even after I installed (what I thought) was a pretty effective question & answer protection system.

So we are looking for a better way to protect the boards but in the meantime I apologise for how annoying it must be.

Thanks to those who keep reporting the threads.

Simon

Comments

  • PoodlePoodle Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 711
    Hi Simon,

    I am not an IT Boff but is it not possible just to restrict registration to this forum, and therefore restrict posts (not viewing)to only AAT members? We all have a membership number after all and so surely your software could cross reference members from non-members

    Should the member log on and post SPAM then the AAT could have some form of recourse to that member? Or cancel their registration/access to the forum?

    A naughty list in the monthly Mag?

    Poodle
  • Simon SmithSimon Smith Banned Banned User Posts: 46
    That is one option Poodle, but it closes off the forums to people who are interested in joining the AAT.

    It's a good way for people to get honest opinions on whether the AAT could be the right choice for them.

    I'm sure there is better bot protection plugins available, means I will need to work a bit harder to stop these bots.

    Thanks
  • PoodlePoodle Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 711
    but it closes off the forums to people who are interested in joining the AAT.

    I do not see how this could be the case. The forum is open to all on the web to view but you could leave it that only AAT members are able to register to make posts or reply to threads.

    Poodle
  • CJCCJC Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,657
    It would also clobber those who contribute here but are not currently AAT members - no longer a student but without the experience to be a full member in my case.

    I suspect that actually implementing this would be quite a job what with rewriting large parts of the vBulletin login system and database and getting everyone to re-register. Probably overkill for the low (though obviously still annoying) levels of spam we're seeing.

    It's been suggested several times in the past but I still think it would be a good idea to have a number of moderators with the power to delete spam as it appears so that the admin doesn't constantly have to be doing the job.
  • CJCCJC Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,657
    CJC wrote: »
    It's been suggested several times in the past but I still think it would be a good idea to have a number of moderators with the power to delete spam as it appears so that the admin doesn't constantly have to be doing the job.
    Especially when they don't seem to be doing it... there's been at least one spam post left up for the past two days.
  • CJCCJC Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,657
    Five days...
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,071
    Can we not just get some longstanding members to be moderators? Who can therefore remove spam posts?
    I'm sure some people have volunteered.
    This does seem like the simplest solution, and then submit spammers usernames to admin for banning.
  • square-pegsquare-peg Well-Known Registered Posts: 143
    faerie9 wrote: »
    This does seem like the simplest solution, and then submit spammers usernames to admin for banning.

    The problem is though as this is open to anyone to join they can just rejoin again with a new username. :glare: Annoying, isn't it!
  • DavePDaveP Feels At Home Registered Posts: 79
    Not if you block the IP address they can't.
  • BaggybooksBaggybooks Experienced Mentor Registered Posts: 522
    They used to block 'unwelcome' AAT members (couple of years ago), but it doesn't look like they have the personnel to do it now.
  • Nilesh MandviaNilesh Mandvia Feels At Home Registered Posts: 91
    Spam blockings

    I sent two emails to Anna Hillier, Web Team Manager over the week end regarding few spam I came across in threads. I suggested more or less what have been suggested by other posters here. Here are my suggestions.

    1. New users should not allowed to have a link within their posts. (Some other forums have rules that new user can not paste a link to the web sites.)

    2. The first message/post from new user always should go through the moderator for the authorisation. If the message is spam then, it should not allowed to show in the forum. This rule should not be known to all the users. Let the spammer think that they are postings their post.

    3. As this forums is for AAT members and students, there should be a checking of membership number as part of the registration process. If the user is not a member or student, then, the user have to provide a valid UK address either business or residential with post code. This should be validated by using royal mail or some other software to stop foreign spammer misusing the forums.

    4. The system should show a message to the user that your IP address has been noted and if you are a spammer your IP address will be blocked for ever. The system should log IP addresses of the users.

    5. Some of the user should be appointed as moderators. As soon as the moderators see the spam, they should be able to delete the post and should alert the admin.

    5. When such spam is spotted, this IP address should be blocked permanently.

    6. Have a condition as part of T & C that you post a message advertising your services this would class as a paid advertising. Hence, AAT would invoice you such a amount and the poster would be liable to pay such amount. (I am not sure this would work!!!)

    7. If the user name is such as 1234 or qwer, this kind of user name should not allowed.

    8. There should be one click reporting of spam with every post/messages. As soon as some sees he/she shoudl be able to report it by just one click.

    9. The moderators should be able to delete the spam message with one click too. The system should automatic inform the admin about this action.
    NIlesh
  • square-pegsquare-peg Well-Known Registered Posts: 143
    DaveP wrote: »
    Not if you block the IP address they can't.

    no, that's true - I understood the suggestion to be removing the username, and was responding to that. I agree, IP address blocking would be great. In fact, right now any effort towards spam blocking would be great!!!
  • DavePDaveP Feels At Home Registered Posts: 79
    Some interesting suggestions there. My thoughts on them..

    1. New users should not allowed to have a link within their posts. (Some other forums have rules that new user can not paste a link to the web sites.)

    Good idea but I am not sure how this can be implemented without moderators cleaning up posts. Also, this would not stop the spambots from posting.
    2. The first message/post from new user always should go through the moderator for the authorisation. If the message is spam then, it should not allowed to show in the forum. This rule should not be known to all the users. Let the spammer think that they are postings their post.

    Don't like this. New users just wouldn't bother. Particularly if there isn't a moderator around at the time.
    3. As this forums is for AAT members and students, there should be a checking of membership number as part of the registration process. If the user is not a member or student, then, the user have to provide a valid UK address either business or residential with post code. This should be validated by using royal mail or some other software to stop foreign spammer misusing the forums.

    Don't like this either. Again, I wouldn't have bothered going through such a process when I signed up. People like to register and get posting straight away. You do realise AAT is an international organisation?!
    4. The system should show a message to the user that your IP address has been noted and if you are a spammer your IP address will be blocked for ever. The system should log IP addresses of the users.

    Spammers are not people they are computer programs. They won't care if IP addresses are logged.
    5. Some of the user should be appointed as moderators. As soon as the moderators see the spam, they should be able to delete the post and should alert the admin.

    I agree with this. BUT moderators should be restricted to removing spam only. Moderators can get carried away and start deleting or amending other peoples posts.
    5. When such spam is spotted, this IP address should be blocked permanently.

    Agreed.
    6. Have a condition as part of T & C that you post a message advertising your services this would class as a paid advertising. Hence, AAT would invoice you such a amount and the poster would be liable to pay such amount. (I am not sure this would work!!!)

    Don't like this. Just gets messy and Spambots don't care about permission to spam!
    7. If the user name is such as 1234 or qwer, this kind of user name should not allowed.

    Unenforceable. Who's to decide what is an acceptable user name.
    8. There should be one click reporting of spam with every post/messages. As soon as some sees he/she shoudl be able to report it by just one click.

    Agreed.
    9. The moderators should be able to delete the spam message with one click too. The system should automatic inform the admin about this action.

    Agreed. And this is possible with vBulletin.
  • CJCCJC Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 1,657
    As I've said elsewhere anti-spam measures should be be proportionate and not significantly impact on the user experience. We need to keep a sense of proportion, spamming is really a small problem on this site that's been allowed to snowball recently through inattention. we're only having this issue because the admins seem to have stopped routinely deleting the spam and banning the spammers.

    I'm mostly in agreement with DaveP but here's my suggestions:
    1. Admins to do their jobs and act on reported spam asap.
    2. Grant permission to delete posts to a small number of users. There's plenty of long-serving and responsible users of this forum, some with forum running experience. I think we can be trusted!
    3. Ensure that vBulletin's built-in anti-spam measures are running and properly configured.
  • square-pegsquare-peg Well-Known Registered Posts: 143
    8. There should be one click reporting of spam with every post/messages. As soon as some sees he/she shoudl be able to report it by just one click.

    Don't we already have one click reporting? You can click on report at the top of any message, and report it that way :confused1: It's just that when you report it nobody does anything about it!
  • richardwrichardw Well-Known Registered Posts: 108
    I cant remember how it worked when i registered on here.

    However, most sites that have forums have the following process

    register with a username, password, email address
    do captcha test (this stops automated systems)
    registration approved by a moderator/admin
    receive email to say approved, with a link to verify the email address

    that system stops most spammers straight away, as they dont verify the email address
    also, the time delay between registering & being approved puts off even manual spamming, but not real users


    also, this is version 3.7.1 of vBulletin, the latest version, as at 26/08/08 is 3.7.3
  • richardwrichardw Well-Known Registered Posts: 108
    http://forums.aat.org.uk/showthread.php?t=18997

    this spam has been up for over a month now, & i have used the report function twice
  • richardwrichardw Well-Known Registered Posts: 108
    & ive just had to login again to post that reply ^^^
  • square-pegsquare-peg Well-Known Registered Posts: 143
    richardw wrote: »
    http://forums.aat.org.uk/showthread.php?t=18997

    this spam has been up for over a month now, & i have used the report function twice
    yep - one of the wonderful examples of spam on spam we're getting now :glare:
  • aatfreeaatfree Feels At Home Registered Posts: 86
    Send a PM to Manuel Sanchez - this was the guy from the web team online yesterday. I sent him a list of the users who were posting spam and he removed them. There is obviously an issue with the report buttons because I clicked them and no action was taken until the PM.

    I've just had to write this post again because it didn't post when I submited reply. This is improvement is really a big improvment.:001_rolleyes:
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