Proposal: Requirements for first posters

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webfork
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Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#1 Post by webfork » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:11 am

So compared to the spam problem like a year ago, we've made some headway. However, there is an issue of spam anchors that continues to be a problem. Here's how it works: someone says something easily applicable to almost any topic...
  • Awesome!
  • This is very interesting -- thanks for posting about this.
  • When is the next update?
And then a few weeks later will update their post (or signature) to include spam links underneath. This is not a serious problem but its very important to me that I don't scare away new users. After all, how insulting is it to have your positive, upbeat post denied? There are a few ways to deal with this, but what I'd like to do is reply to the user:
Thanks for your post but because we've had a problem with spam anchors. We welcome your feedback and input, but its important that first posters say something specific. For example, a feature that really helped, an issue, or related software. Please post again and thanks!
What about when spam bots get so smart they start posting useful, constructive things? http://xkcd.com/810/

On a related note, here's a look at the rationale for this by a spammer forum. Remember that for them, links = good. Yeah.
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#2 Post by m^(2) » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:14 am

I think monitoring links entered by users is a better solution. Doesn't disturb real users at all (unless you make a mistake, but all schemes share the problem), catches all spammers, does it quickly and probably costs less time than bugging all new people to post something specific.
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#3 Post by webfork » Thu Jul 14, 2011 12:39 pm

m^(2) wrote:I think monitoring links entered by users is a better solution. Doesn't disturb real users at all (unless you make a mistake, but all schemes share the problem), catches all spammers, does it quickly and probably costs less time than bugging all new people to post something specific.
That would work better, but we need a system to monitor when users edit their entries or their sig, not just when they post. I deleted a user who's spam has been up on the site for quite a while today because we don't have a system to notify us of their edits.
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#4 Post by Magibon » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:14 pm

i think asking members to report when they see spam will help ..

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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#5 Post by castman » Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:51 pm

@Magibon: How? Someone can talk something in english that looks like Greek since english is a very wide language nowadays. Then it can be really hard to identify. Yet can be identified then the problem is another....piracy =P!!

Edit: Comments were a serious problem, though.
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#6 Post by Magibon » Thu Jul 14, 2011 6:25 pm

castman wrote:@Magibon: How? Someone can talk something in english that looks like Greek since english is a very wide language nowadays. Then it can be really hard to identify. Yet can be identified then the problem is another....piracy =P!!

Edit: Comments were a serious problem, though.

what?
i think you're asking how ?

simple.. if you see spam.. click the report button and let the Mods/Admins decide.
teamwork ..

but the emphasis has to be made to remind members..

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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#7 Post by m^(2) » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:33 pm

Asking users to do the hunting is something that can't hurt, but is not very productive. And now I think that the policy of good first post isn't productive either. Because few bots post at all.
That would work better, but we need a system to monitor when users edit their entries or their sig, not just when they post
Not only a sig. They can edit post body and use any profile fields. On a forum that I moderate sig, bio and homepage are equally popular places to post links.
I think the best implementation would divide user into 3 groups (not visible to anyone but mods/admins), 'most likely a human', 'unknown', 'most likely a bot'. Mods would be capable of moving users back and forth. The first group wouldn't be monitored at all. The third one would be permanently banned and get accounts deleted after some time (so, in case of error, there's a way to protest).
But somebody would have to do the coding and I haven't seen any ready solutions like this. Though I didn't search.

Oh, there's one more thing. Some bots are buggy and enter invalid links. I think such links should be removed too, but I don't see a productive approach.

BTW,
I haven't seen any spam here for long and I visit the forums several times every day.
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#8 Post by guinness » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:59 pm

I haven't seen any spam here for long and I visit the forums several times every day.
Same here, the percentage is something like 0.000001%!
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#9 Post by webfork » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:35 pm

Follow up: since posting about this back in July, this really hasn't come up yet. I had a post get close to qualifying today, but turned out to be just another spam anchor.

::shrug::
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#10 Post by webfork » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:12 am

Old thread update:

This may only be useful or interesting to other admins or moderators like myself but this process of contacting someone with a generic post and asking them for a more involved response has been successful, though not our best tool. Really there's been only 20 new posters I sent this "please post something more specific" message to and we've had only a handful of spam anchors come up since I posted about this 6 years ago.

I also put together an updated message:
Glad to have you. Unfortunately, due to spam problems, we require posts to be about something related to PFW or a clear reply to something posted. Too many bots pop in and then later edit their posts to include links to commercial stuff.
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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#11 Post by Specular » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:59 am

webfork wrote:I also put together an updated message:
Glad to have you. Unfortunately, due to spam problems, we require posts to be about something related to PFW or a clear reply to something posted. Too many bots pop in and then later edit their posts to include links to commercial stuff.
Sounds reasonable. There might be some way of disabling sigs until a user reaches a certain number of posts, but from your post it seems this is no longer a real issue for the site.

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Re: Proposal: Requirements for first posters

#12 Post by webfork » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:27 pm

Specular wrote:There might be some way of disabling sigs until a user reaches a certain number of posts, but from your post it seems this is no longer a real issue for the site.
Agreed. I believe it's possible in BBcode to turn off one's signature box until a certain event is triggered, but I'm not sure. Program entry spam is way more common.
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