TR Forum Spammers

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TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:25 am

Damn these stupid spammers! If you notice, they've been VERY active lately, posting all those forum threads with a bunch of URLs to some dubious site. Careful, guys. Who knows what they'll try to do once you click on those links.

And to you, damn spammers, why don't you people just dig a hole and bury yourselves in it?
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:49 am

ronch wrote:Damn these stupid spammers! If you notice, they've been VERY active lately, posting all those forum threads with a bunch of URLs to some dubious site. Careful, guys. Who knows what they'll try to do once you click on those links.

And to you, damn spammers, why don't you people just dig a hole and bury yourselves in it?



You'd think the modmins would be a bit more proactive in keeping them out, eh?
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:15 pm

Whoa now, take it easy on the admins. Most spam is removed within minutes. I for one think they do a great job.

If you see a spam post, DO NOT POST ON IT. Just hit the report button and it will be taken care of ASAP.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:29 pm

DancinJack wrote:If you see a spam post, DO NOT POST ON IT. Just hit the report button and it will be taken care of ASAP.

Yes, yes, yes. We have a very nice tool for quickly removing SPAM but I fear that it might sometimes take follow-on posts/posters as collateral damage (I think). Snark is not your friend in this situation.

If I'm sitting at my desk, most SPAM is gone in a couple of minutes after posting.

Hz so good wrote:You'd think the modmins would be a bit more proactive in keeping them out, eh?

When the economics of SPAM are such that you can hire real people in China to do nothing more than sit at a screen all day to create forum logins, pass the Turing tests, and get your streaming SPAM up for even a few minutes, defence is damn near impossible short of onerous IP range bans. The stuff we're getting isn't bot SPAM, it's some poor kid in China paid whatever a fraction of a yuan (Wiki tells me a "dime" is a jiao and a "penny" is a fen) is called for each successful SPAM post.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:18 pm

They are no more/less active than around the time of major political/news/sporting events (not just your American sports either). You only see them from time to time because of weekends or gaps of admin coverage. Most mods are North American based but since we are geeks, we do cover most of the 24-hour timezones. However, we do have lives so it is not perfect.

Most of these spams are shot on sight. People replying to them pushing them up the "Latest Posts" list and search engine results are not helping. Again, please use the report button, which is the little exclamation mark on the top right of the post.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:21 pm

And, since today is the traditional college football bowl day, we'll be swatting streaming SPAM all day. Somewhat reminds me of playing the old game "Missile Command".

EDIT: FF is right. A good percentage of the streaming SPAM I swat is for English Premiere League games.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:07 pm

LOL, I see its time again to rant about the spammers. Seems to come up every four to six months. I lost my cool and ranted last time the topic came up so don't feel bad about doing it yourself. :lol:

There should be a better way of keeping them out but no one has come up with it yet. Pretty difficult task on a public forum. The only thing you can do is "report 'em then ignore 'em."
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:23 pm

Khali wrote:There should be a better way of keeping them out but no one has come up with it yet. Pretty difficult task on a public forum. The only thing you can do is "report 'em then ignore 'em."

And that is the crux of the debate amongst the mod community. We have the ability to forbid new posters from posting links but we've never pulled that trigger as we really don't want to discourage first-posters with true hardware issues from posting their problems and links. After all, helping people through their problems is the true purpose of these fora.

It's an intractable problem with no real solution. The fact that these fora are so targeted means we must be on the right path.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:50 pm

I still think that preventing anyone from posting anything with a link it in until they've had say, 5-10 other posts or a few days as an active user would drastically cut down on these. New users wouldn't be affected nearly as much as has been thought or discussed in the past.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:33 pm

Think for yourself, schmuck!
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:35 pm

I agree with steelcity_ballin: Grant limited access for new accounts that mitigates the ability to post links or other spam. Also, rate-limit new accounts so that a spammer can't just make 5 - 10 nonsense posts before posting the spam.

Some bayesian filters and other automatic techniques might be helpful too. While some of the subject lines are halfway convincing (likely due to automated scripts that scrape real text from somewhere else) the actual content of the spam posts tends to just be a spray of URLs that could be distinguished from legitimate content with a good filter.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:45 pm

steelcity_ballin wrote:I still think that preventing anyone from posting anything with a link it in until they've had say, 5-10 other posts or a few days as an active user would drastically cut down on these. New users wouldn't be affected nearly as much as has been thought or discussed in the past.

This is the crux of the mod debate. Properly fixing it will require much more modding than currently exists, hence the debate.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:42 am

I don't know how much control you guys have of the system here but if you specified that new users can't post URLS in the first 48 hours of making their first post, you could probably discourage 95% of what is currently manually swatted away by the mods.

It sucks for new users, but realistically it's no different to many other sites and genuine new users will things like "I can't link yet but here's a screenshot of my problem - photohost[dot]net/12345678"

You're always going to be on the back foot when the spammers are real humans - they'll find a way around it. The key is to make TR a less apetizing target for their spam efforts.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:06 am

Chrispy_ wrote:It sucks for new users, but realistically it's no different to many other sites and genuine new users will things like "I can't link yet but here's a screenshot of my problem - photohost[dot]net/12345678"

And this, is the crux of the debate among mods. Not all first time posters are savvy enough to change links into that stuff (do they even know how/where to store their screenshots/phone pictures?), and may be discouraged from posting their problem in the first place. Essentially when we make it too hard for spammers, we will be making it hard for potential people in need as well (and they usually may be in the middle of the build with nowhere to go?). Think of the poor newbie: they are in the midst of putting together their first build, when something is wrong during boot, and they are outside business hours. Where do they turn to? Call some support dude with poor English accent for just one particular component? Do they even know which component was the culprit? Post on his/her Facebook wall? Ask his/her followers on Twitter? :o

The Hammer of Banning has already made the drive-by new threads much easier to kill. It is the reply spam and gerbils thinking they are being cute with snarky replies that present us with problems. Again, do not reply to spam, use the report button.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:37 am

Too bad the forums don't have some up and down voting ability from already existing members. Make it past 10 ups, and you can get full functionality. This means that a first-post can get lots of ups and links enabled without the poster needing to make many posts first.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:31 pm

liquidsquid wrote:Too bad the forums don't have some up and down voting ability from already existing members. Make it past 10 ups, and you can get full functionality. This means that a first-post can get lots of ups and links enabled without the poster needing to make many posts first.



Eventually that would get abused. We have enough 'heated' discussions as it is. Throw a up/down measure in there and it could quite possibly get very nasty.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:39 pm

I have been ignoring them, I figure someone else has reported it, and I don't want to spam the mods with hitting the report button (since I assume others already have). But seeing this thread I'm thinking if I see it, I should hit report just to be sure that everyone else who saw the spam isn't doing the same thing I am.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:53 pm

The question of how to handle the rules for posts for new users comes up every year or so (search if you want to see the results of prior discussions)

The answer is usually they are at the mercy of what the forum software can do and what features it brings in with an upgrade.
They do not want to inconvenience us too much as normal users (or chase away a legit first poster)
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:16 pm

mattshwink wrote:I have been ignoring them, I figure someone else has reported it, and I don't want to spam the mods with hitting the report button (since I assume others already have). But seeing this thread I'm thinking if I see it, I should hit report just to be sure that everyone else who saw the spam isn't doing the same thing I am.

DO feel free to report blatantly spammy (or even slightly suspicious) posts using the Report button.

DO NOT reply in-thread if you suspect that a post may be canned pork product.

We do tend to scrutinize new threads more closely, so reporting spam that gets posted as a followup to an existing thread is especially important.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:28 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
DancinJack wrote:If you see a spam post, DO NOT POST ON IT. Just hit the report button and it will be taken care of ASAP.

Yes, yes, yes. We have a very nice tool for quickly removing SPAM but I fear that it might sometimes take follow-on posts/posters as collateral damage (I think). Snark is not your friend in this situation.

If I'm sitting at my desk, most SPAM is gone in a couple of minutes after posting.

Hz so good wrote:You'd think the modmins would be a bit more proactive in keeping them out, eh?

When the economics of SPAM are such that you can hire real people in China to do nothing more than sit at a screen all day to create forum logins, pass the Turing tests, and get your streaming SPAM up for even a few minutes, defence is damn near impossible short of onerous IP range bans. The stuff we're getting isn't bot SPAM, it's some poor kid in China paid whatever a fraction of a yuan (Wiki tells me a "dime" is a jiao and a "penny" is a fen) is called for each successful SPAM post.



I was just thinking more along the lines of blacklisting or filtering blocks of IPs of well-known Paid spammers, or maybe making it a little more time consuming for them to post spam here, so they'd set their sights on easier prey. It wasn't really a dig on you folks, so much as a wish that more proactive measures could be taken.

I've worked for a few ISPs, and I know the pains of seeing entire blocks of Chinese and Vietnamese IPs trying to guess the passwords to my edge routers (looking at you Xinhua Daily), so you guys have my sympathies.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:33 pm

just brew it! wrote:
mattshwink wrote:I have been ignoring them, I figure someone else has reported it, and I don't want to spam the mods with hitting the report button (since I assume others already have). But seeing this thread I'm thinking if I see it, I should hit report just to be sure that everyone else who saw the spam isn't doing the same thing I am.

DO feel free to report blatantly spammy (or even slightly suspicious) posts using the Report button.

DO NOT reply in-thread if you suspect that a post may be canned pork product.

We do tend to scrutinize new threads more closely, so reporting spam that gets posted as a followup to an existing thread is especially important.

Don't worry about over-reporting. If a post has been reported you will get a message saying so. So mods will only get the report once.

Hz so good wrote:I was just thinking more along the lines of blacklisting or filtering blocks of IPs of well-known Paid spammers, or maybe making it a little more time consuming for them to post spam here, so they'd set their sights on easier prey. It wasn't really a dig on you folks, so much as a wish that more proactive measures could be taken.
Major parts of China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and such have already been banned. The Hammer of Banning "HoB +4" was a tremendous tool for the super mods.

More proactive? Some F5-ing the latest posts list at 3am ET and killing posts is not proactive enough for you? ;) :P
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:39 pm

Flying Fox wrote:More proactive? Some F5-ing the latest posts list at 3am ET and killing posts is not proactive enough for you? ;) :P

I've been on vacation since before Christmas but my usual morning work-day routine finds me thudding into my desk chair at about 6AM ET to kill the early AM spam. It's the rare AM where I don't find some either live or in the junk drawer.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:40 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
mattshwink wrote:I have been ignoring them, I figure someone else has reported it, and I don't want to spam the mods with hitting the report button (since I assume others already have). But seeing this thread I'm thinking if I see it, I should hit report just to be sure that everyone else who saw the spam isn't doing the same thing I am.

DO feel free to report blatantly spammy (or even slightly suspicious) posts using the Report button.

DO NOT reply in-thread if you suspect that a post may be canned pork product.

We do tend to scrutinize new threads more closely, so reporting spam that gets posted as a followup to an existing thread is especially important.

Don't worry about over-reporting. If a post has been reported you will get a message saying so. So mods will only get the report once.

Hz so good wrote:I was just thinking more along the lines of blacklisting or filtering blocks of IPs of well-known Paid spammers, or maybe making it a little more time consuming for them to post spam here, so they'd set their sights on easier prey. It wasn't really a dig on you folks, so much as a wish that more proactive measures could be taken.
Major parts of China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and such have already been banned. The Hammer of Banning "HoB +4" was a tremendous tool for the super mods.

More proactive? Some F5-ing the latest posts list at 3am ET and killing posts is not proactive enough for you? ;) :P


You're right. I apologize. I'm duly chastened and rebuked. I forget that forum monitoring isn't as easy as blackholing blocks of IPs, or setting up an ACL to make the annoying people go away.

That's why I like working behind the scenes. I'm the little ninja that gets to punish the really bad actors, like making your ADSL mysteriously start running in bits per second, instead of megabits, while the legal department sends you a note explaining why you've been a bad boy. *evil grin*
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:47 pm

Hz so good wrote:You're right. I apologize. I'm duly chastened and rebuked. I forget that forum monitoring isn't as easy as blackholing blocks of IPs, or setting up an ACL to make the annoying people go away.

Are we running a private club or an open-access tech site where anyone can ask a question at 3AM local time? I'm ecstatic that Morphine cobbled together the HoB; before that junking posts and banning spammers was real work. I think we're on the right balance of defense vs ease of posting, we just need more mods in Eurasia/Oceania to cover the clock better.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:56 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Hz so good wrote:You're right. I apologize. I'm duly chastened and rebuked. I forget that forum monitoring isn't as easy as blackholing blocks of IPs, or setting up an ACL to make the annoying people go away.

Are we running a private club or an open-access tech site where anyone can ask a question at 3AM local time? I'm ecstatic that Morphine cobbled together the HoB; before that junking posts and banning spammers was real work. I think we're on the right balance of defense vs ease of posting, we just need more mods in Eurasia/Oceania to cover the clock better.

Or more insomniacs on the mod team. :wink:
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:04 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Hz so good wrote:You're right. I apologize. I'm duly chastened and rebuked. I forget that forum monitoring isn't as easy as blackholing blocks of IPs, or setting up an ACL to make the annoying people go away.

Are we running a private club or an open-access tech site where anyone can ask a question at 3AM local time? I'm ecstatic that Morphine cobbled together the HoB; before that junking posts and banning spammers was real work. I think we're on the right balance of defense vs ease of posting, we just need more mods in Eurasia/Oceania to cover the clock better.



Wait, whaaa? I was just apologizing, because I forgot that being a forum mod is a difficult job, too. I didn't mean any offense. I'm just used to a world where I don't have to deal with people, I just shepherd packets to and fro. I truly am sorry folks!

*eep* :oops:
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:26 pm

The mods have been joking about how much of the China/India/Pakistan block we have blacklisted already. :lol:
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:27 pm

Hz so good wrote:Wait, whaaa? I was just apologizing, because I forgot that being a forum mod is a difficult job, too. I didn't mean any offense. I'm just used to a world where I don't have to deal with people, I just shepherd packets to and fro. I truly am sorry folks!

*eep* :oops:

Sorry. Goes to show how the fine line between real emotion and sarcasm/snark is not well-served in a text-only environment. Pseudo-tags come in handy in these situations.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:28 pm

Flying Fox wrote:The mods have been joking about how much of the China/India/Pakistan block we have blacklisted already. :lol:

Mainly due to one person, especially in the Indo/Pak region.
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Re: TR Forum Spammers

Postposted on Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:50 pm

Hmmm, it would be very interesting to see a world map showing huge swaths of TR-Banned geographic areas. :o :)
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