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**bleep**ty Spam!!!!!


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I am over it. Four pages of crap, guys, probably more but I've stopped looking. It's not good enough.

This forum is rapidly losing any value. I come here to find out information to help me in Second Life and to help promote it's excellence. I don't give a rats arse about nasty Indian prostitutes or pirated telly.

 

 

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It's weird. I've run a pretty popular forum for almost 5 years now and we get zero spam AFAIK.

 

I implemented a number of anti-spam techniques into the registration system. I believe what worked for me is a combination of a recaptcha code, JavaScript hidden field and a randomised question and answer system related to the subject matter of the website.

 

There is a little more but I think no bot can get through all 3 together! xD

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Sounds like you do it right :)

I'll admit to being ignorant about how these things work. I'm totally no expert, but I do visit other forums where a short bit of trollery may happen at times ( and may occasionally be welcomed), but such flagrant spamming just never sees the light of day. I've seen this spamming in this forum happen for over 6 months (not counting-it's probably longer) and there has never been any change.  

It's making me lose my interest quite fast. I find that now I visit other sites for daily SL news. I used to pop in here daily, but I'm starting to avoid this site. I don't want that to be so.

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I will **bleeping** bleep myself in advance about this. It's totally ridiculous. Although I'm not a regular poster, I sure am a diehard follower. Or was. Not sure yet. The worst about the spam for me is, without reading the posts I've still read them because the titles says all they want us me to read. And I don't give a ratse arse about Indian telly and pirated prostitutes myself too.

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It sounds great, these anti-spam techniques. But as far as I (can) see it, not for the user, me in this case. If I have to insert captcha code and answer a question with every post I want to make then I'm not sure if I will come back a lot. 

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Not sure if this is what is going on or not, but this is how I read it. Because of the ads on the page, every piece of spam has the ad displayed to it. Every time that happens LL gets paid by the ad because someone is on the page and the ad is displayed to them. So the spam is income. Is that how it works?

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Oh no no not every post, just on new user registration, to stop the bots from registering in the first place.

The invisible field you don't even see (only bots "see" it and fill it in - that's how you know that they're bots), I think it also only allows through registrations where the person is using JavaScript, because like 99.9% of people use JS and like 99.9% of bots DON'T! :)

Also, the question and answers are MEGA easy, at least for a human. Probably a nightmare for a bot. ReCaptcha is the Google captcha technology and seems pretty good.

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I'm not sure what's worse...the spam on the forum or the people who constantly complain about it.

This has been an issue for a while...

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/So-spamming-is-not-just-a-problem-inworld-but-on-forums-too/td-p/2647910

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Forums-Feedback/Always-Thinking-Re-The-Spammers/m-p/2269041#M4271

Just two examples...

It's annoying...eventually LL will fix it....just move on....thank you....

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Hi Teagan,

Thanks for replying, but I'm talking about a different kind of spam. I get the one you are on about, and that's cool. The one that's gotten me all angried up about is the one where a few new accounts come in and make 500000 posts about escort agencies, horoscopes and other rubbish. These posts fill up the first 4-5 pages of the general discussion (I haven't checked the other sections). They happen quite often, and stifle proper discussion about SL matters. I just want to come in here and read about what's happening in SL, and nice stuff like that. Not looking for trouble...just cross that LL lets this continue to be a problem.

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Freya Mokusei wrote:

Right? One page of active discussion somehow more annoying than the 25ish pages of spam I saw when I popped in this morning.

It's bleepity to intentionally diminish the issue, Tex. LL only respond to noise-propelled signals, not sure that's Tiffy's fault.

<3

 

It's certainly not MORE annoying...it's just we don't need to hear about it. And, I never said it was her fault...We know the spam exists, yet people need to make us (the other members of the forum) aware that it exists. There's nothing that we can do about it except "Report Inappropriate Content" and move on. But, like the weather, there's no use complaining about something that we have no control over...even if it makes us feel better :matte-motes-sunglasses-3:

@ Tiffy...my apologies if I sounded nasty, was not my intention. As I said, there's nothing we can do about it. When LL moderators discover it, which sometimes takes a bit of time, they delete it. This has been going on for quite some time and caused the "death" of the PM feature that used to be available through the website. I hate this s**t as much as the next person and I'm sure that one day LL will just delete the forum rather than deal with this. It has to be a full time job for at least a few people to get rid of it all. We need to just get past it and deal with it, that's all (IMHO). :matte-motes-sunglasses-3:

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Thanks, Tex....yeah I did pick up that you hate it too. I've sat through this a few times, and it sort of disgusts me that those of us who care about any forums are careful to vet ourselves, yet the spammy bleepholes (self bleeping! insert your own happyword!) get away with something that I consider much worse. I've zipped my lips dozens of times, and have spoken out once.

I want good forums, with good active discussion, not this rubbish--that's really my entire point :)

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hollowgirl78 wrote:

As a new user it really put me off. I thought perhaps these forums were long dead because my initial perusal of this site showed nothing but spam. It wasn't until I dig further that I saw yes indeed, people still do post here!

yay

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Tiffy Vella wrote:

Hi Teagan,

Thanks for replying, but I'm talking about a different kind of spam. I get the one you are on about, and that's cool. The one that's gotten me all angried up about is the one where a few new accounts come in and make 500000 posts about escort agencies, horoscopes and other rubbish. These posts fill up the first 4-5 pages of the general discussion (I haven't checked the other sections). They happen quite often, and stifle proper discussion about SL matters. I just want to come in here and read about what's happening in SL, and nice stuff like that. Not looking for trouble...just cross that LL lets this continue to be a problem.

Not sure what other span your talking about, but yes, the escort stuff is what I am referring to also.

 

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I'm to the point of rooting for the spammers now.

Maybe if they just keep flooding in the spam, eventually somebody will decide to do something preventative for a change.

Yes, that's engaging in a constantly escalating war. As is, however, it's a war lost daily, evidently without firing a single shot.

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Hoppimike wrote:

It's weird. I've run a pretty popular forum for almost 5 years now and we get zero spam AFAIK.

 

 


I've said this in almost every one of these threads... I'm getting tired of saying it...

http://catnapkitty.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/new-theory-on-sl-signups-that-never-seem-to-join-theyre-forum-spam-bots/

- that long ago...

 

This is linked to how SL gets hundreds of thousands of signups every month, yet has like 1% retention... 99% of them are these spam bots.

You could fix all this in a flash with two simple measures:

1. Moderate everyone's first forum post. Light moderation - if the post is looks human written and pertains to SL, approve it. Otherwise, delete that person's account.

2. A captcha on new account creation. Bots can hack that, but only a few of them. It would cut bot-signups down from 1000s per day to maybe 3 to 5 a week.

I don't make that number up - it comes from when I ran a professional forum for an online retailer. We shifted our crusty hidden forum to the front of our website and hooked into into our google analytics and overnight went from about 300 accounts to me coming in and seeing 120,000 accounts... And that was just the beginning... So after fighting with marketing for a few months, I added a captcha, made very broad guesses about wich accounts were real or fake (if you had no posts or login record, I wiped you), and wiped us down to about 1000 left... the simple captcha took my spammers from those numbers to a small handfull getting through every week.

 

Cleaning the database of already registered spammers is also easy:

Wipe every SL account that has never logged in to SL. Zap em. Gone. Just remove those rows from the database like they were never there.

IP-block spammers by the second level IP address: 123.456.789.012... so block everyone at 123.456.*.*

- This wipes whole buildings, city blocks, etc... off your list. Its brutal but it works, because the spam companies tend to all share the same office compound in Somewhereville, Overthereizstan.

- I would do this only after I see 123.456 show up at least 3 times. Initial blocks I always did like: 123.456.789.*

 

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Yours is the way to go, Pussycat. We have a similar system on ours (roughly 10k "real" users, less than 500 posts a day - not very big).

In addition we also limit the number of NEW posts someone can do after joining to one post in one hour. Forgot what the exact setting is, but only after x days _and_ y posts does that restriction get lifted. Last but not least we gave trusted users the ability to flag stuff as spam. If 5 trusted users do that, it gets de-listed and the user gets put on moderation (and reported). If it turns out to be legit, the user is history. If it's not... there's 5 trusted users with very good explaining to do.

We get maybe one spam post a day, and it's typically gone within minutes.

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

Yours is the way to go, Pussycat. We have a similar system on ours (roughly 10k "real" users, less than 500 posts a day - not very big).

The forum I was professionally running had been there since the 90s with like... 1 post every few months. Marketing wanted to bring it out of the attic and tie it to a stronger online presence (the company was formerly a print catalog mail business, and shifted almost entirely online in the two years before I got there - with me coming in to revamp their website from its 1996 "Hi mom, I haz webpage" look... and eventually taking over their SEO as well.

So we went from the forum having a tiny number of posts, to actual customers posting a few things a day, to one day... what you see here on SL's forums every night...

So I've played this game from the other end of the table - and fixed the thing.

What worries me is they use non-standard software here. Some Q&A educational thing that has been hacked into looking like a forum, I think... I'm actually not a techie... I'm a web-design and big data/SEO thinker.

This reminds me of a project I also had to convert Moodle into a forum and video streaming service... Moodle is an educational 'blackboarding' open source thing... and that client wanted to take orders, have forums, and do video conferencing with it. I wasn't the technical person (I make my living putting your online stuff in shiny boxes - somebody else figures out how to make the box openable), but I was in many "reality check" meetings...

But anytime you use application A for purpose B it was not intended for, you can paint yourself into a corner where the 'normal solutions' might not be available.

For example... does the software used on this forum even have a captcha plugin? Can it even be set to moderate a user's first x-number of posts? Can I ban IPs by my chosen wildcards? Can I delete 'every account that has <1 posts and the word 'fizzbutton' in part of the name'? Can it auto-moderater-queue every post with the word 'mumbai' in the subject line? Or with what appears to be a phone number or credit card number?

- In other words, all the tools you'd expect to hand your moderators if you gave them forum software designed for the very purpose of being forum software.

 

I suspect the software here lacks all these tools... or they'd be using them.

Then again it took me almost 3 to 4 months to convince the marketers at the place I was at that we needed to use those tools... that not using them was in fact hurting out marketing and our SEO very badly. I needed all that time in order to have logs of data from Analytics showing them 'where the money went'.

 

oh and ps: limiting posting by age of account doesn't work. One reason the bots register accounts by the thousands is the hope that you will miss a few of them. A year or more later those will get auto-triggered and spam you... Half of the spam I had to control for came from old but unused accounts. The other half, from those under a week old.

They scatter-shot their strategies, but with not much complexity. If you've got analytics running, you can sit down and look at how you're getting spammed and usually in about a day, find all the patterns.

 

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