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Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

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Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 29 Aug 2011, 21:22

I'd like to address a comment taken from another area of this forum.
All of this said however, I do not believe it very professional let alone ethical to SPAM the hell out of forums that have NOTHING to do with such "specialties". If this "doctor" wants to participate as a forum member and share in a genuine discussion, then I think he should be welcomed into the frey. BUT, he must participate otherwise he's just another spammer that needs to be blocked.

One forum I belong to requires each member to make more than 6 posts of reasonable quality each quarter otherwise the angel of death swoops in and removes them from the rolls. Maybe such a standard would help in this kind of situation that starts with a legitimate introduction followed by a legitimate topic for conversation? I don't know, I only know that this type of spam activity is hurting forums everywhere and it needs to be ferreted out and killed.

Playing "Whack-a-Spammer" is about the only thing that I do lately. I am very aware that many of our more colorful characters have either drifted off due to lack of interest, left because of repeated negative commentary or have gotten tired of the lack of response by the OP. That said, the last thing that we need around here is making a possible new member prove their intentions.

Spam is a major pain in the ass to have to deal with. On June 1, I switched around the membership requirements and played with some of the moderator functions. These changes have nipped some of it in the bud but of course there are some who can defeat even the best anti-spam ideas. We had 60 new members sign up since June 1. Here are the stats on these 60 suspect members:

10 spambots automatically filtered by the system
3 David Mabus/Marzuke attacks that required me to limit the amount of links per post because he was really cheesin' me off already
5 real people who are trying to enjoy this forum content with witty and intelligent participation
14 questionable newbies who make me wonder if they are spammers just waiting for the right opportunity
and the rest were blatant spam mongers who were zapped as soon as I saw their crap.

Without doing the actual math on a calculator, that's just under 50% of what we get every month that is pure crap, so about one spammer per day. Of course the person(s) responsible tend to pop up in bunches up rather than follow any sort of predictable schedule so I can't use my excellent psychic abilities to block them before they complete their registration and spam this forum. I'm limited to predicting that every danged morning I'm gonna find some a-hole spam post or two or three or four that have to be deleted, ID deleted and then IP deleted. My psychic senses also tell me that said person(s) have software that allows them to use multiple IP addresses to thwart any blocking attempts and they come back faster than I can delete them. Now to get back to the OP:

One forum I belong to requires each member to make more than 6 posts of reasonable quality each quarter otherwise the angel of death swoops in and removes them from the rolls. Maybe such a standard would help in this kind of situation that starts with a legitimate introduction followed by a legitimate topic for conversation? I don't know, I only know that this type of spam activity is hurting forums everywhere and it needs to be ferreted out and killed.

Newbies here are now required to make more than 6 posts before getting the full monty of available services from the User Control Panel. Sad but true but of course I have a few newbies on my radar that I am more than willing to give full Membership status if they would like to up their street cred by simply asking. Anyone who would like to be bumped up can use the 'Report A Post' feature if they would like to keep their request confidential. I'm the one who gets all that stuff.

Speaking of the "Report A Post" feature, please feel free to use it at your leisure should any of you feel that something isn't as it should be RATHER than chastise a newbie publicly. I will continue this subject in my next post to follow-
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 29 Aug 2011, 23:53

I would like to thank those who have privately given me a heads up on potential problems. Your insight has been very much appreciated. I do personally respond via PM to every report or question. I do know that there have been occasional glitches with the PM system where I have responded and the PM poofs without any warning. I will then just throw a quick response back without any details due to time limitations.

DISCLAIMER - The following commentary is NOT directed at any one person on this forum:
As far as addressing a newbie with skeptical or cynical commentary as to their reason for posting something.... that's not really a warm and friendly attitude. It derails any possible 'on topic' chatter right out of the gate and makes newbies feel unwelcomed. Please hold off on any public interrogation of the 'smurfs' (blue members) who may have something of value to add to this forum. If your Spidey Senses are tingling with reckless abandon in regard to something or someone, send me a PM.

Smurfs who are lurking before making a first post might be run off by seeing others questioned. Even if the questioning is spot on and fully warranted, a newbie would not know this unless they have spent hours reading thousands of back posts and even then since I delete the spam crap, understanding the whole spammer situation can be sketchy.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby Arouet » 30 Aug 2011, 02:16

It's not like this forum is overrun with posts right now. Worth it to give people a chance.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Aug 2011, 03:05

Arouet wrote:It's not like this forum is overrun with posts right now. Worth it to give people a chance.

Yes. A large percent of the newbies are professional spammers and have no interest in participating in anything here other than to make their daily quota of forums spammed. I get around to taking care of those spam posts as soon as I see them.

If I can get everyone to agree NOT to launch a personal investigation and politely respond only to the subject matter of the OP, we might actually get a newbie to stick around and get used to the regular dysfunctional 'MO' of our little family. If the subject matter isn't of interest to someone, then a simple 'welcome' or not commenting at all would be better than trying to find out if they are on the level or not.

A successful forum has multiple POVs for discussion on a broad range of topics. Without different opinions, there's nothing to chat about.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby JO 753 » 30 Aug 2011, 06:38

I suppoze you are trying to make a living with this forum?

I'm used to forumz not having much or any advertizing, so to me, this whole thing seemz like spam!

Not az bad az most commercial sites, but still, having an ad at the top, then a picture ad in posts and text that I've ritten turned into links.... Well, it makes me less inclined to spend time here.
IF PEPL TuK KeR UV XeR TiM aZ DILIJeNTLE aZ XA TuK KeR UV XeR MUNE, XA WuDNT SPeND SO MUC TiM TAKING KeR UV XeR MUNE.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Aug 2011, 07:08

JO 753 wrote:I suppoze you are trying to make a living with this forum?

A living? Nope, not me. I'm just a volunteer moderator around here.

JO 753 wrote:I'm used to forumz not having much or any advertizing, so to me, this whole thing seemz like spam!

Not az bad az most commercial sites, but still, having an ad at the top, then a picture ad in posts and text that I've ritten turned into links.... Well, it makes me less inclined to spend time here.

Those are standard Google Ads that are becoming more prevalent among internet websites. I'm sure that the owner of this forum has his own reasons for having them here but they don't bother me at all nor do I get any perks from them appearing.

My job is to delete spam and profanity.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby JO 753 » 30 Aug 2011, 10:00

Who ownz the site?
IF PEPL TuK KeR UV XeR TiM aZ DILIJeNTLE aZ XA TuK KeR UV XeR MUNE, XA WuDNT SPeND SO MUC TiM TAKING KeR UV XeR MUNE.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby Arouet » 30 Aug 2011, 10:09

Scepcop (Winston Wu) is the site owner.

I don't think there's anything wrong with having ads on a forum. Server space is hardly free and posters get enourmous entertainment value for free.

But it's the site owner's prerogative to try and make some money with it. Spammers hurt a site and site owners are not being hypocritical in getting rid of them.

I agree the google ads are a bit distracting, but unless he can get sponsors that are less intrusive for a small site that's a fair way to go.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby JO 753 » 30 Aug 2011, 10:56

I'm certainly not against blocking spammerz & trollz. I'm not against advertizing either.

The thing iz, wherez the limit?

I went to a woodworkerz forum a guy at Skeptics Forum linked to and it wuz so heavily festooned with adz that the page woud not scroll! I jiveth ye not, it took several minutes to load up & then I still could not see wut he wanted me to look at.

I think turning thingz we rite into links iz a bad idea. A casual vizitor woud likely believe that I am endorsing suppozitory weiner enlargement pillz or wutever. Its doubly bogus if we cant put links in ourselvez. Can I now? http://zolkorp.com
IF PEPL TuK KeR UV XeR TiM aZ DILIJeNTLE aZ XA TuK KeR UV XeR MUNE, XA WuDNT SPeND SO MUC TiM TAKING KeR UV XeR MUNE.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby Arouet » 30 Aug 2011, 12:01

With all due respect, if I recall correctly your primary purpose here at first was not to talk about skepticism but to promote this brand of phonetics you push. So this is a bit strange coming from you...
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby JO 753 » 30 Aug 2011, 12:43

Hey! I can link now!

My primary purpose everywhere iz to find and expoze nonsense, especially institutionalized nonsense. Regular english spelling iz the big cahuna; the mother uv all nonsense.

The thing I like about this forum iz its suppozed mission. I hav found that the scientific/skeptic community haz quite a bit uv hipocracy going on. The obvious UFO cover up, blacklisting anybody who even hints at creationizm - putting anything that soundz weird into the woo catagory unless it came frum a certified authority.

You can see the reactionz I get with the Opinions on Nooalf topic at Skeptics Forum. I have all the lojik on my side, yet most uv theze otherwize sensible and scientificly minded people are incapable uv even starting to consider the facts.

How duz that happen?

Same az any religious cult! Indoctrination at an early age! And I believe this cauzez people to accept nonsense in general. The credentialz uv the source outwiegh the lojik. Makes it eazy for The Man to get the massez to believe wut he wants.
IF PEPL TuK KeR UV XeR TiM aZ DILIJeNTLE aZ XA TuK KeR UV XeR MUNE, XA WuDNT SPeND SO MUC TiM TAKING KeR UV XeR MUNE.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Aug 2011, 20:27

JO 753 wrote:I'm certainly not against blocking spammerz & trollz. I'm not against advertizing either.
The thing iz, wherez the limit?

The beauty of the internet is that everyone can have their own personal limits. I'd say that as humans we put up with as much crap as we want based on the value of the subject matter.
JO 753 wrote:I think turning thingz we rite into links iz a bad idea. A casual vizitor woud likely believe that I am endorsing suppozitory weiner enlargement pillz or wutever. Its doubly bogus if we cant put links in ourselvez. Can I now? http://zolkorp.com

Yes, you can post links now. I also hate those automatic green links but it's not my call on this fourm.
JO 753 wrote:I went to a woodworkerz forum a guy at Skeptics Forum linked to and it wuz so heavily festooned with adz that the page woud not scroll! I jiveth ye not, it took several minutes to load up & then I still could not see wut he wanted me to look at.

I can give you a few possible reasons for this sort of thing since I create and manage websites for a living. That's my day job. It's one of the reasons I might be on a computer for 15+ hours a day, seven days a week during busy season.

Some people think it's a good idea to join a bajillion forums and post links to their website to attract business and show high traffic to get sponsor money. The more traffic they can create, the more likely it is that someone will pay this guy good money to put up an ad.

Obviously, the more ads, jpgs, gifs and visual clutter you have... the slower the website loads. What they don't think about is that the slower the website loads the more people they lose. It can affect their SEO as well and just plain piss off possible prospects.

Forums like this one with uncontrolled spam all over it pisses off the regular membership. No one wants to wade through countless numbers of unrelated garbage posts. It derails the momentum of a good discussion and it takes the good bots off this site to unrelated information and can once again affect the SEO of this site. If anyone out there is not aquainted with the term "SEO", here's a Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Aug 2011, 20:59

That said, this is what is commonly called a Forum or what used to be called a Bulletin Board or Message Board. "PHPbb" means 'PHP bulletin board' and PHP is a computer language and it stands for "Hypertext Preprocessor". In my world it means "Sux Wind". It's free and it serves it's purpose for what we need. Are there better systems out there with more bells and whistles? You bet your buns, but they cost big bucks and I do mean BIG bucks.

To offset the cost of these big bucks, paid advertising is a necessary evil. Well... at least it does help pay the bills.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Aug 2011, 21:02

If anyone should have any questions, please feel free to ask....I can bore y'all to death with this crap all day long.
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Re: Spam and Similar Problems on This Forum

Postby Arouet » 30 Aug 2011, 22:51

JO 753 wrote:Hey! I can link now!

My primary purpose everywhere iz to find and expoze nonsense, especially institutionalized nonsense. Regular english spelling iz the big cahuna; the mother uv all nonsense.

The thing I like about this forum iz its suppozed mission. I hav found that the scientific/skeptic community haz quite a bit uv hipocracy going on. The obvious UFO cover up, blacklisting anybody who even hints at creationizm - putting anything that soundz weird into the woo catagory unless it came frum a certified authority.

You can see the reactionz I get with the Opinions on Nooalf topic at Skeptics Forum. I have all the lojik on my side, yet most uv theze otherwize sensible and scientificly minded people are incapable uv even starting to consider the facts.

How duz that happen?

Same az any religious cult! Indoctrination at an early age! And I believe this cauzez people to accept nonsense in general. The credentialz uv the source outwiegh the lojik. Makes it eazy for The Man to get the massez to believe wut he wants.


No one sat down and created the english language. It evolved over centuries. It is the dominant language on the planet. Even if your criticism of it has merit your project has a zero chance of success. I'm sorry to say it, but it does. Think about what you are proposing, what would be involved if you had your way. How many billions of dollars would need to be spent? How many textbooks need to be written? How much training would need to be instituted? How much massive confusion would be generated?

Sure there are problems with the English language as there are with all languages. That's what happens with evolution - it's not planned and therefore not perfect. But you really need to think pragmatically about this. Are the problems with the english language worth the upheavel required to change it as massively as you want to? Do you believe that any government in the world would be interested in putting that upheavel on their populations?

I don't relish the thought of crushing your dream, but really - there are more pragmatic projects you could be devoting your time to. And to be frank, its really annoying reading your posts writen in the way that you do. Sure I can make out what you are saying, but it's unpleasant. That may be a result of my growing up with English the way it is, but that's life dude. Most people are going to find it annoying. Ask around. You can't force a language. You have to let it happen.
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