View Full Version : Elaborate spam

January 4th, 2007, 06:28 AM
Some spam is easy to detect. The drive-by guys that post Nokia phones, home mortgages, and Viagra make it pretty easy for us.

Some spam is harder to detect. When a new user posts a question that is not vintage computer related in our off topic area, we really just can't whack them over the head immediately. It might be a legit user, and until they incriminate themselves with a link we have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The last post/user was deleted because they posted the link to their product, and their posting IP was in the same eastern European country as the corporate headquarters for the product. That might have been a coincidence, but at that point we felt better about deleting the thread and user.

So don't be discouraged if we don't whack possible spam immediately. It will get cleaned up, if we can detect it.

A better solution might be to get rid of the off-topic areas entirely, or to make them available only by invitation. Any other ideas?

nige the hippy
January 4th, 2007, 06:46 AM
I personally like the off-topic areas, having a purely on-topic forum is a bit intense, and I feel would lead to stagnation.

I think it's quite important to be able to get to know the "people behind the postings"

Also, if a posting isn't immediately recognisable as spam, it surely can't be that offensive?

Maybe the forum(?) should moderate PMs to and from posters with <10 or so postings to avoid people passing on personal info to possible spammers.

January 4th, 2007, 08:04 AM
I wonder what happens if someone posts a legitimate question, in particular if it is an on-topic one, and someone representing a company has a commercial solution and links to their own webpage. Either done honestly, making it clear who they are, or doing it in stealth mode pretending to be just anyone else who happened to wander by the forum.

Spam is spam, even if it is relevant for the topic? If the person in question had opened a topic how to convert mailboxes from NeXTmail to Outlook and two messages later came back with a link to their own product, it still would get filtered?

January 4th, 2007, 08:23 AM
That is exactly what happened - they posed a bogus question, then answered it themselves. And the answer pointed to a product from the same region as the original poster, so it looked like self-promotion along the lines of spam.

If somebody is up front about what they are doing when they post a link in response to a legitimate question, there is no problem. But if a person asks a bogus question with the intent of having 'the correct' answer provided, that is unacceptable.

We can't detect them all. I'd like to shut down the off-topic forums to new users - that would cut it down a bit.

January 4th, 2007, 08:46 AM
Yep, I saw the thread myself but didn't trace the link. Since I don't know the user's IP, it would be pointless to do anyway. Perhaps in that scenario one could question how they found this excellent source of information/product: simultaneously asking on another forum, suddenly figuring out how Google works or a strike from God?

I suppose adding more intelligence tests in sign-up won't fix the problem, as these messages appear to be posted by humans rather than computer programs. If you were required to answer two out of three multiple choice questions about vintage computers in order to become a member, it would look like we're an exclusive bunch of people, snobbism.

On other communities where they have online games (Flash etc), they often have a requirement that in order to play games, you need to have made X number of posts where X can vary from 5 to 50. This is to prevent people to sign up just to play the games but not having any interest in the rest of the community. It is not applicable to the Vintage-Computer Forums, unless you consider the Off-Topic section like one big game. :-D

January 4th, 2007, 09:40 PM
I miss our "What is the role of quality assurance in the Information Era?" type questions :crazy:

January 5th, 2007, 03:58 AM
I wonder, is the forum software possible to configure so you are not allowed to post links and images in your messages until you have reached a post count of 5 or been confirmed by a moderator? Single nonsense messages with only a few lines of text are not quite as bad as those using the forum as a link referral springboard. I realize this may require a bit of rewrite or installing some odd module that Jelsoft may or may not provide.

January 5th, 2007, 10:16 AM
You make a new class or sub class of registered user and then setup a promotion for users who have a level of posts.

This is all built in to Vbulletin. These options are under Usergroups.

January 13th, 2007, 05:46 AM
Wow, what a great morning:

- Spam from somebody would would post a semi-ontopic reply to a msg, and have the spam at the bottom of the msg or in the .sig area. They changed their .sig 4 or 5 times to reply to 5 different messages.

- Good old mortage spam .. one or two of these

- Porn spam .. 3 or 4 of these, one included pictures

I'm beginning to like the probation idea a lot.

Terry Yager
January 13th, 2007, 09:45 AM
Whoever the spammer is, he's persistant. We'll have to monitor the forums more closely today, or until he gives up and moves on.


February 4th, 2007, 10:20 AM
I like the probation idea a lot but there should also be a moderator on watching the new posts every 1-2 hrs or so.I could do it from 9-11 p.m. every day.Even better idea no probation idea but for the first 5-10 posts you need a moderator's approval for the off topic idea?