Start to Blacklist Ad Sites Here?

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
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Start to Blacklist Ad Sites Here?

Post by MrAl » Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:39 am

Hi there,

We have been getting so many ads lately it's becomming a pain
to keep deleting them, so i was thinking perhaps we can start
a Blacklist to put these offenders on? The Blacklist would be
in the form of a new thread with all the offending posts moved into
that list.
On the other hand, that would mean they would still be here.

LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

Robert Reed
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Post by Robert Reed » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:18 am

Would a stricter set of registration rules weed out these spammers before they can even get into the forum? I know this would be a pain in the *ss for all of us to have to reregister, but I for one would be willing to suffer through it just for future peace of mind. I am seeing as much SPAM hit here lately as I get on my day to day personal E-Mail. And now that these idiots are beginning to reply to our posts, its worse than ever.

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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:45 am

Im 100% against letting them stay anywhere on this forum, but a better registration at the front end would take about the same amount of time as just tossing them out, and thus weed them out a little better?

Some idiots come back with the same name and that is just not right?

If a machine sees those scrambled codes they cant be read by the bot while a person can over read the incoming like now and toss it if necessary, looking for their tell tale signs and banning them altogether.

Then the bad guy has to re-register again.

Their IP can be watched and those usual spam “machinesâ€

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Post by hp » Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:27 pm

The issue with the registration system is that the default phpbb verification image was cracked early on by some OCR geniuses. They figured out how to easily decipher the generated images with very little cpu power (and thus bots can flood forums in a matter of minutes).

Email verification does not work because bots have automated email checking that automatically clicks on all links to activate accounts. After activating they will begin posting messages.

My forum was bombarded by spammers the past 2 weeks. They filled the forum with over 100 messages just like the ones posted here. The only way I could reduce the number of bots was to install Bad Behaivor (which was recommended by Newz2000).

Unfortunately a few bots slipped through this layer of protection, so I added a new field to my registration forum which requests for a specific piece of information that no non-gamer could provide (this is a gaming forum). Specifically, the registration page requires the user enter in their unique steamid which is an unique identifier for steam powered games. After adding in this new field, I have not had a single bot or spammer pass through.

In the case of the Nuts & Volts forum, I would recommend adding in a field such as 'Which magazine do you subscribe to: Servo, Nuts & Volts, Both, or Neither). The user would have to choose one, which would prove that they are a human user. This should effectively lower the amount of spam on the forums.

Note that I have looked at the browser signatures and post data from bots. Bad-Behavior logs these and it is pretty easy to see that a bot tried to register. The headers are usually shorter than real browsers, and the bots only submit data that is associated with generic phpbb boards (which is why adding in a new required fields work well).


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Chris Smith
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Post by Chris Smith » Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:42 am

A simple mandatory questionnaire should weed out just about any fake bot or person.

I know Free subscriptions to trade magazines add this in to become a little tedious, but they do keep out most of the rift raft.

Subscription should be a small pain, but as long as you dont lose it through stupid posting its a "one time thing" only.

Make em work for their crap, over and over.

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Post by Newz2000 » Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:18 pm

The problem with letting the spam posts stick around is that it gives them what they want...

They honestly don't expect us to click the links, but they'd love to have google boost their page rank so that they get higher positioning in the search engines from people who are searching for that crap.

The more sites (like this one) that link to the garbage, the higher their page rank is. This site has a reasonably specific topic, and therefore has a reasonably good page rank. Therefore, any links here lend credibility to the sites that get linked to.

I have nothing against page rank and linking, and therefore I don't condone efforts to ruin page ranks of sites that are linked here if it can be avoided. Case in point, someone linked to a site called danssmallpartsandkits in another post. We've just boosted his site. However, that's good, because his site sells electronics parts and he's not spamming the forums.

It seems to me that one thing we can do that we're not is to explicitly have a policy against spam (which would need to be defined). If we have a policy against certain kinds of links, or against automated tools that create new posts and someone violates this policy, then they've just violated US law (google trespass to chattles) and can be prosecuted. I don't know if that will work to stop spam, but it makes sense to at least cover your legal basis. Then, if there comes an opportunity to put the smack down on someone, the site owners can do so.

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Post by haklesup » Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:12 pm

You can do all the automated stuff you want but IMHO the only reliable way to weed out "Off Topic" and offensive posts is to personally review them and have them deleted by a moderator. The moderators we have do a fine job but no one can be here all the time, thus some linger until one logs in.

Adding more moderators in more time zones would help. They don't have to be the most frequent users or heaviest posters but enough someones we trust so at least one is likely to be online most of the time.

Moving posts rather than deleting them is a conservative step which helps avoid accidental or overzealous deletion and allows for easy detection and restoration if an accident or abuse occurs. However this does not address the concern over ballot box stuffing (page rank manipulation) so posts that have been moved should autodelete after a time period if its done that way.

Frankly, deleting as our moderators have been doing is working, I know of no complaints or abuse, we just need to expand on that. It's low tech and it works. Fighting automation with automation just leads to an arms race.

Perhaps we should start a thread to nominate more moderators.

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Dave Dixon
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Post by Dave Dixon » Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:50 pm

Why not give everyone the right to delete messages? (Waiting for the feathers to fly.) Seriously, no reason for the spammers(spambots?) to want to delete anything. I think 99% of our regulars could be trusted not to delete any legit messages..... no matter HOW tempting it could be to thin the herd at times :) Hmmm, maybe that isn't such a good idea after all.

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Post by dacflyer » Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:30 pm

ya, i agree,, someone should have to approve any new members into the forum..this auto registering is a haven for bots etc..
i think also that you. (new member) would have to type in what you see in them blurred boxes before the form can be even submitted for approval.
i seen this many times in use with other groups and in e-bay.
many times when i want to ask the seller a question, i have to do that
"whats in the blurred box" deal before i can submit the question..

works for me... can it not be implimented here ?

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Post by MrAl » Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:09 am

Hi there,

I guess the general opinion then is to have a tighter registration
procedure. Unfortunately i have no control over that.
LEDs vs Bulbs, LEDs are winning.

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Post by Joseph » Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:31 pm

I like the more moderators idea. Not sure if is pratical, though.



Post by amelecsol2000 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:10 am

Mr. Al

Is there a way to allow the members to be able to delete these spamers? There seems always to be a member online . That way they could be gone almost as fast as they post.



Post by amelecsol2000 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:12 am

mmmm , Dave Dixon and a couple of others beat me to it. lol.
Spammers got to go.

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Post by jimandy » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:08 am

Maybe this has been suggested but here goes anyway.Could the software be set to send a first posting (a new member's intial post) t to a moderator for review. If it was out of line then he/she would be put on a autoblock list. To be more effective they should not get any reply whatever.
"if it's not another it's one thing."

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Post by L. Daniel Rosa » Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:30 am

Would it be difficult to disable all html capability of new posters? This would stop the embedded links.

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