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HeliTorque Forum Index » Announcements & Comments

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James T Lowe
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:52 am    Post subject: Phantom Posts on Helitorque Reply with quote

(In reply to WhirlyGuy's locked Posts on Helitorque thread.)

Umm. Err. Right. These "ad"/"spam" postings are almost getting sophisticated! I'm reticent to believe there is a "human" legitimately posting here, but the cynic in me thinks it might be some kind of Turk type effort.

I've just seen a post on the Abingdon thread which whilst relevant to the topic of the thread, is directly lifted from Wikipedia. Other thread posts also have similar type cognicence behind them - for example, the Devon Air Ambulance pilot thread, has a reply which is directly lifted from D&CC's website. Notably, each so-called "user" has advert links as the signature.

I don't use many other forums (certainly nothing regularly), so I'm unaware if these kinds of posts are appearing Internet wide?
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WhirlyGuy
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Phantom Posts on Helitorque Reply with quote

Hi James,

James T Lowe wrote:
(In reply to WhirlyGuy's locked Posts on Helitorque thread.)


Sorry about that, the thread is locked as it is an Announcement and as such shouldn't really have replies in it or the main message will probably (after a few posts or so) be lost.

James T Lowe wrote:
Umm. Err. Right. These "ad"/"spam" postings are almost getting sophisticated! I'm reticent to believe there is a "human" legitimately posting here, but the cynic in me thinks it might be some kind of Turk type effort.


Unfortunately no matter what method is being used it always always comes down to a human being in the end.

There are actually people who pay other people to post on forums and post either complete jibberish or sometimes even posts that do look like they are from real users.

I personally don't understand why you would pay someone to post legitimate posts as that just seems bizarre but I know why they do it with spam posts as they just want to bring down 'competitors' sites. Please be warned anyone doing this on this site if I find that out for a fact then authorities will be warned and they will catch you!

If they aren't real human postings then a human has to at least find a way around the security systems (such as the CAPTCHA login image on this site) first. This means there are at least people finding ways of hacking into the site first. Once they have this then they can just set up a form sending utility to mass e-mail, PM or post on a forum.

With this forum though like many many others all it takes is for someone to sign up with say 50 or so new users and then they have a valid login whenever they like and they can then just get their automated bots to post away at their hearts content.

However it always takes a human somewhere in the process to get around security at some point or another.

I'm thinking that perhaps we should vet everyone who wants to sign up from now on and perhaps get them to prove who they are before they are even allowed to post. A complete PITA from an administration point of view but I guess one thing we could do. The other thing would be to charge people a yearly fee or something for posting.

This isn't really something we want to do but even at a very very modest fee this would stop (I would imagine) nearly all the spam posts as they aren't really going to want to spend any money just to spam us are they? Wink

James T Lowe wrote:
I've just seen a post on the Abingdon thread which whilst relevant to the topic of the thread, is directly lifted from Wikipedia. Other thread posts also have similar type cognicence behind them - for example, the Devon Air Ambulance pilot thread, has a reply which is directly lifted from D&CC's website. Notably, each so-called "user" has advert links as the signature.

I don't use many other forums (certainly nothing regularly), so I'm unaware if these kinds of posts are appearing Internet wide?


Yes unfortunately this kind of thing goes on with all forums and I would say personally we are quite lucky as we don't really get all that much. It does seem to go in waves though and you have quite periods and then periods where it all picks up again. Not sure if that means anything but does happen.

The text that is lifted from Wikipedia and peoples sites will have definitely been done by a human. Some spam bots do have clever routines to post to certain forums about certain things but as we are only getting a very small amount of spam as compared to other sites I can pretty much guarantee that this is being done by actual human spammers.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting to be a real nuisance! The ignore button helps though...

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PilotWolf wrote:
Getting to be a real nuisance! The ignore button helps though...

W.


I totally agree although, to tell the truth, I am a member of quite a few forums and Helitorque does not get anywhere near the amount that some forums get.

If however people can just leave the spam threads without any replies at all and either myself or Sarah will then delete them when we see them.
We don't need PMs or e-mails sending about each post in turn as we will get to them when they show up.

Also replying to the spam posts is actually becoming a problem because all it does is one of two things. If the spammer is 100% human ie they're not now using an automated bot to post the entries then they can see that this annoys and this is exactly what they want to do or in some cases are paid to do so playing into their hands is a really bad and pointless exercise. Ignoring them is the best thing to do as hopefully they will just get bored at some point and not bother any more.

The second thing is that the spam post then very quickly gets turned around into being a fun post for everyone to read. Myself and Sarah then have to make the decision as to whether to now keep that post and related comments or to delete it.

Thanks for everyone's support on this though, it's much appreciated.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 1:53 pm    Post subject: A and C Reply with quote

It is peculiar of how much attention is being given in this post to NOT giving attention to spammers.

Posting comments on why we should not post is counter-productive, and furthers their end.

Even this thread should end here.

AB
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 2:12 pm    Post subject: Re: A and C Reply with quote

Hiya,

afterburner wrote:
It is peculiar of how much attention is being given in this post to NOT giving attention to spammers.


My point is more that people shouldn't pay any attention in the first place to the posts and then myself or Sarah as the moderators of the site are then able to very easily see what is a spam post and what isn't thus allowing us to delete them with ease.

I only posted the announcement to hopefully let people see this and to make our jobs as the moderators much easier. This is and always has been a free forum which myself and Sarah pay for out of our own pocket and it has cost us quite a bit over the years to keep it all going, both in monetary value and also the time value so I think my announcement post was well in order. It is after all our site and so any rules we make really should be adhered to.

afterburner wrote:
Posting comments on why we should not post is counter-productive, and furthers their end.


I'm sorry you see it that way as I certainly don't. Letting people know why I think they shouldn't post is obviously required as people are posting to those threads. If people didn't post it would make our (mine and Sarah's) lives a lot easier as we then wouldn't have to think about whether we are going to upset people in deleting a thread which started out as spam but has then morphed into something completely different.

I also don't see how posting what to and what not to do helps spammers in any way at all? All I am letting people know is that these are real people at one stage or another who are doing this and playing into their hands just furthers the spam posts. I don't really see why I am wrong in doing that?

afterburner wrote:
Even this thread should end here.

AB


And it definitely can do if that's what people want although I don't see why a discussion on this isn't warranted. I believe everyone agrees that they are a right royal PITA and if we discuss it then people might even come up with different ideas to combat the problems that myself or Sarah may not have thought up yet.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I believe everyone agrees that they are a right royal PITA and if we discuss it then people might even come up with different ideas to combat the problems that myself or Sarah may not have thought up yet.


Is there anyway that the first few posts from a new member can be 'held' and approved before they show on a thread? I believe that other forums do this - not sure if the software here is suitable though...

Also as (the) one that reported the posts I thought that it was being helpful directing you to them. All of the other forums I belong to encourage that and indeed most have a 'Report Post' button.

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Last edited by PilotWolf on Tue May 05, 2009 3:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PilotWolf wrote:
Is there anyway that the first few posts from a new member can be 'held'and approved before they show on a thread? I believe that other forums do this - not sure if the software here is suitable though...

W.


Unfortunately not with this software I'm afraid. The problem with that though is that we are still doing the same amount of work in that if say all posts went into a hidden forum then either myself or Sarah would have to view each and every one of them and then either approve or delete them. The very act of approving it and moving it to where it should be would probably be more work than just deleting offending posts so really just leaving them for us to notice and delete is the best course of action.

Definitely a nice idea but then it doesn't really prevent the spam and we would find ourselves with more work in moving posts around all the time.

Another problem with that which I have seen on other forums is that when the person (sorry I meant dis-functional disease) first sends a post they could just send what looks like a real post and then once they are through that barrier they are again free to post at will.

Really just quick deletion is the easiest and best thing I'm afraid.

Hopefully when we get our forums moved across to the new software I will be able to plug in either Akismet or the Bad Behavior (possibly both) software which again will help with all of this.

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James T Lowe
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:49 pm    Post subject: Re: A and C Reply with quote

afterburner wrote:
It is peculiar of how much attention is being given in this post to NOT giving attention to spammers.

Posting comments on why we should not post is counter-productive, and furthers their end.

Even this thread should end here.


I understand the sentiment, afterburner, but I do disagree. I started this thread, as a legitimate comment and question in order to help me understand the recent weird posts. I also don't really understand the notion of "not giving attention to spammers" - by its very nature, I don't think they'll have the chance to check for attention. It's clicks to the links I think they're after. And as Whirlyguy suggested, if it is a Mecahnical Turk type thing, there's no way the actual bodies putting those posts on will be in any way interested in the result - they just want to be paid!
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 6:01 pm    Post subject: A and C Reply with quote

Jim,

Please do not be offended. My comments were not about your post. I was just trying to express experiences I have had on other forums. By actually posting "against" the spammers, we do exactly what they want.....give them attention.

If I have displeased you, I am sorry. It was not meant that way. You are a great forum member, and I think your posts are quite meaningful to all.

Best Wishes,
AB
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Out of interest.... how come the posts are still there?

Notice yet another has appeared too Sad

Maybe you need to recruit some more Mods WGs?

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PilotWolf wrote:
Out of interest.... how come the posts are still there?

Notice yet another has appeared too Sad

Maybe you need to recruit some more Mods WGs?

W.


If you can let me have the thread links then I will moderate them immediately now. Sorry these weren't done more quickly but we have been uber busy on one thing or another which is another reason why if people didn't post to the spam posts we would be able to filter them out a lot more easily.

Thanks.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PilotWolf wrote:
Maybe you need to recruit some more Mods WGs?
W.


Um, the Whirly-ees do a heck of a lot on the forum, besides holding down jobs. Not a bad suggestion.

AB
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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WG - check posts made by mitul001 and zenie.

AB - couldn't agree more and I'm sure the regulars appreciate their efforts. I for one currently have plenty of time on my hands and I'm sure there are others who would be prepared to help out too.

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PilotWolf wrote:
WG - check posts made by mitul001 and zenie.


Which posts would they be then? Wink

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