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Spammers 
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Post Re: Spammers
There's another (more active) thread about spam in the Open forum:

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5059

Phil has even tried getting James' attention by posting a topic in the "Reviews" section:

http://reelviews.net/reelviewsforum/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=5080

Again, I can only imagine that this is a particularly difficult period for JB because he's yet to even acknowledge the problem.


Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:08 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:35 am
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Post Re: Spammers
Glad to see things look normal again. For the moment.

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Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:06 pm
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Post Re: Spammers
It's spam central in the general discussion forum at the moment!!!

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Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:37 am
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Post Re: Spammers
Syd Henderson wrote:
Glad to see things look normal again. For the moment.


That only happens when one or more moderators log on. From what I gather they have quite the fight on their hands.


Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:05 pm
Post Re: Spammers
Official-as-can-be-without-me-being-James-himself-hiJames!-statement:

The nuclear option has been deployed, and thus the great spam war of the last few weeks has been ended, hopefully. I must have deleted and spammed enough people to fit into Paris Hilton's vagina.


Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:33 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3059
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: Spammers
Evenflow8112 wrote:
Official-as-can-be-without-me-being-James-himself-hiJames!-statement:

The nuclear option has been deployed, and thus the great spam war of the last few weeks has been ended, hopefully. I must have deleted and spammed enough people to fit into Paris Hilton's vagina.


Call it a "tactical nuclear strike" at the moment. I'm requiring new registrants to be approved by me before their accounts are active. This is not a foolproof plan - some spammers will probably still slip through the net - but I have already identified and rejected a number of likely problem accounts. So, although I can't guarantee that the forums will now be "spam free," things should get a lot better quickly.

Let me know if I'm wrong about this, and I'll tighten the net even further. The ultimate nuclear weapon is to temporarily suspend any and all new registrations and delete any suspicious ones on the roster. I'd prefer not to do that unless absolutely necessary, however.


Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:57 am
Profile WWW
Post Re: Spammers
James Berardinelli wrote:
Evenflow8112 wrote:
Official-as-can-be-without-me-being-James-himself-hiJames!-statement:

The nuclear option has been deployed, and thus the great spam war of the last few weeks has been ended, hopefully. I must have deleted and spammed enough people to fit into Paris Hilton's vagina.


Call it a "tactical nuclear strike" at the moment. I'm requiring new registrants to be approved by me before their accounts are active. This is not a foolproof plan - some spammers will probably still slip through the net - but I have already identified and rejected a number of likely problem accounts. So, although I can't guarantee that the forums will now be "spam free," things should get a lot better quickly.

Let me know if I'm wrong about this, and I'll tighten the net even further. The ultimate nuclear weapon is to temporarily suspend any and all new registrations and delete any suspicious ones on the roster. I'd prefer not to do that unless absolutely necessary, however.


Thanks a bunch, James. The forum is much more usable. And I've noted a drastic drop in the number of "users" celebrating a birthday today.

However, isn't this a little time-consuming? I hate to be a nag about this and to complete the discussion publicly, but I do hope you get the chance to read the links I PM'ed you. Some quick hits:

1. The visual CAPTCHA Without GD, GD 3D CAPTCHA, reCAPTCHA and GD CAPTCHA are all described by the official phpBB forum as "These CAPTCHAs are included in the stock install but have been broken by spambots. They are ineffective and should not be used." If you happen to be using one of these you're still allowing spambots to register which will give you a lot more work.

2. There are also mods that can automate a lot of the work for you. For instance the phpBB spam hammer mod can:

Quote:
* Disables external links and bad words in posts, messages, signatures, and profiles until a user reaches a specified age and/or number of posts
* Own-site links are excluded from the filter, other sites can be added to a whitelist
* Configurable list of forbidden filter words, optionally show the user the trigger term
* Configurable unicode filters to prevent spam in languages not used in the forum
* Prevents 'sleeper agents' by disabling posts, signatures, and profiles for old accounts with 0 posts (optional)
* Zombie registration cleanup deletes old users with no posts (optional)
*Log of all filter actions (optional)
* Protections are 'automatically' disabled after the criteria are met (no moderation required)


Image


Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:33 pm
Post Re: Spammers
Spammers are now posting porn. Things could have just gone from bad to worse. That's the first time I've seen something like that on the forum, and hopefully it's the last time.


Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:22 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3059
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: Spammers
Blonde Almond wrote:
Spammers are now posting porn. Things could have just gone from bad to worse. That's the first time I've seen something like that on the forum, and hopefully it's the last time.


Sounds like things are looking up. :)

Actually, although I'm clamping down on new spamming accounts, some will still slip through. Going forward, the amounts of spam should decrease but may never completely bottom out unless I implement the draconian measure of either not allowing new registrations or mandating that every post go through a moderator. Both are highly undesirable.


Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Spammers
James Berardinelli wrote:
Going forward, the amounts of spam should decrease but may never completely bottom out unless I implement the draconian measure of either not allowing new registrations or mandating that every post go through a moderator. Both are highly undesirable.


I'd say the former would lead to the eventual death of the forum so, yes, it's certainly undesirable. The latter is rather impractical too.

And, I'm starting to feel like a little child begging for daddy's attention but were any of my suggestions of interest? Without knowing too much of the internals I'm assuming that they could help immensely but given the lack of any acknowledgement I'm assuming none of these is an option?


Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:03 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 10:55 pm
Posts: 3059
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ, USA
Post Re: Spammers
ed_metal_head wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:
Going forward, the amounts of spam should decrease but may never completely bottom out unless I implement the draconian measure of either not allowing new registrations or mandating that every post go through a moderator. Both are highly undesirable.


I'd say the former would lead to the eventual death of the forum so, yes, it's certainly undesirable. The latter is rather impractical too.

And, I'm starting to feel like a little child begging for daddy's attention but were any of my suggestions of interest? Without knowing too much of the internals I'm assuming that they could help immensely but given the lack of any acknowledgement I'm assuming none of these is an option?


I checked out your suggestions (and thank you for making them). Some are impractical. Those that aren't, are unlikely to be of much help.

The simplest and most straightforward suggestion is that all people registering for the forums choose the same username as appears in their e-mail. 95% of spammers do not do that. Right now, that's a filter I'm using to pass names through. I'm also eyeballing names and seeing if they look like "real" usernames or random ones. I also check e-mail addresses. (For example, two addresses I have passed - and who have gone on to post legit posts -are HAL 9000 and CasualCritic. It's pretty easy to understand why they were passed. "Weird" user names are more likely to be rejected because I don't want to spend more than about 10 seconds on each request.


Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:12 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: Spammers
A fun task for the enterprising mod:

I've noticed that there are 10 pages of nothing but spam threads in General Movie Discussion (and probably more in the other forums) that have all been backdated to 1969. While they don't impede posters from going about their business, I'm sure they suck up a bit of forum resources just by being there.


Thu Nov 03, 2011 1:29 am
Post Re: Spammers
Ken wrote:
A fun task for the enterprising mod:

I've noticed that there are 10 pages of nothing but spam threads in General Movie Discussion (and probably more in the other forums) that have all been backdated to 1969. While they don't impede posters from going about their business, I'm sure they suck up a bit of forum resources just by being there.


Got SQL errors when trying to delete said posts....where's the fun in that Ken?


Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:04 pm
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