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   Author  Topic: Signature Spam  (Read 22562 times)
SMQ
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Signature Spam  
« on: Mar 9th, 2010, 3:47am »
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This is getting ridiculous.  In the year-or-so I've been tracking sig link spam, I've not once had a new user PM me back, or follow up in any way: they're all spammers so far as I can tell.  Therefore...
 
I propose a new policy: no links in your signature--commercial or otherwise--if you're a Newbie.
 
That way 1) regular posters are free to link to their blogs or whatever they like, and 2) Mods can delete signature spam without having to follow the links.
 
If approved, I'd say sticky a note in Guestbook (where 95% of the sig spam is showing up) letting legitimate new members know that posts with links in sigs will be removed on sight.
 
All in favor/opposed?
 
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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #1 on: Mar 9th, 2010, 4:58am »
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I vote in favor.
 
Perhaps William can also add a line about it on the registration page.  
Or maybe he could even be prodded to implement something like this.
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Aryabhatta
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #2 on: Mar 9th, 2010, 7:50am »
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Vote in favour.
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Grimbal
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #3 on: Mar 10th, 2010, 7:23am »
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I'd favor an automatic solution: a signature can be added to a profile only after 10 posts or so.
 
But I vote in favor of SMQ's proposal.
 
I have already deleted posts that don't add anything to the topic at hand, made by a user with 1 or 2 posts and with a link in the signature.
« Last Edit: Mar 10th, 2010, 7:29am by Grimbal » IP Logged
SMQ
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #4 on: Mar 10th, 2010, 7:27am »
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I'd love an automatic solution myself as well, but as we all know, changes to the forum software here are few and far between...
 
On a side note, do we think 10 makes a better limit than 50 (Junior Member)?
 
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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #5 on: Mar 10th, 2010, 8:55am »
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Some spammers might go to the trouble of making 10 posts, although it would be rare. And "Junior Member" is probably the simpler criterion.
On the other hand, some people do not post much, and they could take months to reach 50; although one would be hard-pressed to mistake them for spammers in the first place.
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Noke Lieu
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #6 on: Mar 10th, 2010, 4:24pm »
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Sounds like a good idea to me.
Perhaps--and I concede this is a half baked idea-- the abilty link in a sig is conferred upon request?
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Grimbal
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #7 on: Mar 11th, 2010, 12:37am »
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on Mar 10th, 2010, 8:55am, towr wrote:
Some spammers might go to the trouble of making 10 posts, although it would be rare.

Some moderators might go to the trouble of deleting 10 posts. Wink
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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #8 on: Mar 11th, 2010, 1:25am »
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on Mar 11th, 2010, 12:37am, Grimbal wrote:

Some moderators might go to the trouble of deleting 10 posts. Wink
Yeah, but if they can have a link in their signature after ten posts, then it wouldn't fall under this policy.
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Grimbal
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #9 on: Mar 15th, 2010, 2:18am »
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I see what you meant.
 
But the policy is not supposed to give extra immunity above the limit.  It is there to save us moderators the trouble of worrying we might hurt someone's feeling if we delete what looks like spam.  So we don't need to PM the person first and, as a result, leave the message for a few days, possibly forgetting about it.
 
If someone goes to the trouble of making 10 or even 50 irrelevant posts, he would just earn the right to be PM'ed first.
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SMQ
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #10 on: Mar 18th, 2010, 5:39am »
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Friends, I give you jakelittle: one of our newest members, and an obvious link spammer.  However, to my surprise, he appears to have read and followed the new policy, confining his spam link to the website entry in his profile.
 
Hopefully this won't become a trend, but if it does, how do we want to react?  I don't think we should be as heavy-handed as with signature links, but it would be nice to have a clear guideline for both Mods and new members as to what is likely to be removed and what is likely to be given a pass.
 
Perhaps just an addition to the policy posts along the lines of:
---
In addition, any posts by new members with a website in their profile may be removed at a moderator's discretion if they appear to be spam.  This is a relatively low-traffic board and the moderators can generally tell who is genuinely participating and who is just here to spread links around.  If you feel your post has been removed in error, feel free to PM any moderator (click their name, then Send Private Message) for a personal apology.
---
 
What do we think?
 
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« Last Edit: Mar 18th, 2010, 5:58am by SMQ » IP Logged

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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #11 on: Mar 18th, 2010, 6:00am »
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Well, we can't delete profiles, so there is little we can do about it; removing his posts would still leave the profile.
 
I don't really know why they bother, because google hasn't been indexing this forum for a while now.
 
[edit]The last pages of the member list read like a sad collage of spam.[/edit]
« Last Edit: Mar 18th, 2010, 6:09am by towr » IP Logged

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SMQ
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #12 on: Mar 22nd, 2010, 5:32am »
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Well, I think the last week has shown conclusively that homepage link spammers are indeed going to be a problem.  I'll add it to the policy posts so we can stop feeling guilty about deleting them. Wink
 
towr: but removing the posts at least keeps the clutter off the forums, which is really my main concern.
 
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william wu
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #13 on: Apr 7th, 2010, 4:28pm »
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With the assistance of Perl, I erased a couple hundred accounts that were most likely bogus, serving only to advertise their signature links.  So the member list pages look a little cleaner now, although there are still traces.  If anyone out there is a genuine puzzle enthusiast who just happens to also be selling male enhancement drugs, self-defense knives, forex robots or other blatantly commercial paraphernalia, I sincerely apologize, but your account is now in /dev/null.
 
The spam bots are definitely getting more sophisticated, selecting avatar images and including phrases like, "I am the biggest puzzle fan." And there are users who have very spammy signatures, but also made a nonzero number of sensible -- albeit short -- posts. It greatly worries me if we're actually talking to robots that have passed the Turing test.
 
I've also opened the board back up for public access to non-members. We'll see how it goes.
« Last Edit: Apr 7th, 2010, 4:30pm by william wu » IP Logged


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malchar
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #14 on: Apr 7th, 2010, 8:28pm »
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Is it possible that legitimate accounts are being hacked and subsequently taken over by the bots? Or perhaps, after working on puzzles for too long, people are turning into robots?
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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #15 on: Apr 8th, 2010, 12:53am »
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on Apr 7th, 2010, 4:28pm, william wu wrote:
And there are users who have very spammy signatures, but also made a nonzero number of sensible -- albeit short -- posts. It greatly worries me if we're actually talking to robots that have passed the Turing test.
I don't think they're robots, but simply manual spammers.
Couldn't you just remove link-signatures for all people that have, say, less than 10 or 20 posts? Or would that risk corrupting the whole database?
 
on Apr 7th, 2010, 8:28pm, malchar wrote:
Is it possible that legitimate accounts are being hacked and subsequently taken over by the bots?
It's unlikely, though not impossible.
 
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Noke Lieu
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #16 on: Jun 7th, 2010, 6:49pm »
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I'd wager 14620561 is a robot spammer. Only two different posts, each occuring 3 times, verbatim, typos and all.
 
[e]url added for clarity[/e]
« Last Edit: Jun 7th, 2010, 10:53pm by Noke Lieu » IP Logged

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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #17 on: Jun 7th, 2010, 8:03pm »
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on Jun 7th, 2010, 6:49pm, Noke Lieu wrote:
I'd wager 14620561 is a robot spammer.

 
At what odds ? (Though I don't even know what that means)  Grin
 
Guys, we agreed that this is getting ridiculous right ? What exactly is stopping us to use CAPTCHA to regulate registration ?
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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #18 on: Jun 8th, 2010, 12:32am »
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on Jun 7th, 2010, 6:49pm, Noke Lieu wrote:
I'd wager 14620561 is a robot spammer. Only two different posts, each occuring 3 times, verbatim, typos and all.
Yeah, seems like it. But no links. I wonder if he'll edit his posts in a few days to add them, hoping to stay under the radar.
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ThudnBlunder
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #19 on: Jun 8th, 2010, 11:28am »
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on Jun 8th, 2010, 12:32am, towr wrote:

Yeah, seems like it. But no links. I wonder if he'll edit his posts in a few days to add them, hoping to stay under the radar.

But they are mere robots, not the undead.
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #20 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 8:18pm »
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Eversince I have learn the life online, I always hear or read of this word "SPAM". What makes it a big deal? And what harm does it do to a site? Links to a website, are they really spam? Does it hurt in anyway? Every site I have went on they are putting so much attention on links...I don't know why they are so much concern about it these days? Could someone enlighten me about this. Thanks!  Roll Eyes
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primoled
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #21 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 8:23pm »
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don't get me wrong, i don't have any objection about your rules and policies, every member should abide by the rules....but isn't it just right that when you have a website, it is nice to promote it every where you go on the web? whether you are  simply chatting with someone or participating in any kind of community, you would really love to show to everybody what you have worked hard for...
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towr
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #22 on: Sep 29th, 2011, 10:34pm »
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I don't think this forum would be much improved if millions of people flocked here and the only thing they did was post a link to their website. Or said "hi" and post a link to their website. This is a puzzle forum, not an website-advertisement forum.
It's a different matter if they're actually participating in what this forum is meant for, but that is often hard to judge from the first few posts, which is why we set a limit at reaching 50 posts first.
 
The thing is, most often these are not people promoting their own, personal websites. Often they're not even people at all, but automated scripts (possibly run on hacked computers run by criminals). Furthermore their posts are irrelevant to the subject of the forums they post to, and annoy the regular members which those forums depend on. Forums have been known to simply keel over and die because spammers ruined the experience for everyone.  
A few years ago I moderated on a forum intended for children and young adults, which was set up on by spammers promoting pornography sites and posting highly inappropriate images. Some members where banned by the filtering software on their computer from even going to that forum any more, because of the crap those spammers put there. It was a daily struggle to remove it. Fortunately when we switch forum software the bots couldn't deal with it and the onslaught stopped. But it was not a particularly enjoyable experience for anyone.
The spam problem has never been anywhere near that bad here. But it's still like people are treating your house like a bathroom wall writing "Call ***** for ******" all over the sides of it.
 
Better forum software would make things a lot easier, for example by just making it impossible to set a signature if you haven't reached 50 posts; or allowing them to be moderated; or any number of other things. But real life has been getting in the way of upgrading for a long time now and that probably won't change in the immediate future.
« Last Edit: Sep 29th, 2011, 10:38pm by towr » IP Logged

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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #23 on: Oct 4th, 2011, 5:50am »
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Just to shed some light (no pun intended):
- look at his profile, check his website.
- then google "View profile: primoled".
 
That guy was active on:
09-20-2011 12:45 AM on http://www.idlethumbs.net
09-20-2011 02:06 AM on http://184.106.227.159
09-20-2011 05:27 AM on http://ixanime.com
09-20-2011 05:39 AM on http://www.black-sabbath.com
09-20-2011 09:18 AM on http://forums.wtso.net
09-20-2011 10:13 AM on http://www.signaturebar.com
09-22-2011 12:31 PM on http://www.solarpaneltalk.com
 
Need to say more?
« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2011, 6:42am by Grimbal » IP Logged
marlonmark
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Re: Signature Spam  
« Reply #24 on: Jan 6th, 2013, 10:48pm »
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I would say 50 posts is enough for the newbie however there are some who will add some bad URL's or adult site url's to this site by signature. I think those should be banned from this forum as they are the one who are spoiling the site as other just like to do marketing for their site in terms of signature and they are the white collar guys as per my thinking. The forum admin anyways have the right to delete the posts or signature if they find something strange but not for those who are answering a lot of question and spending time at this forum and get no signature links for them.
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