Forum unusable

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Erik
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Forum unusable

Post by Erik » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:20 am

I know I'm not the most active person on this forum, but I do check it every day. Without fail, every day it is completely populated with spam posts.

It has become so difficult to navigate what is spam and what is not, I consider the forum to be unusable. I'm sure I am not the only person who thinks this.

No other forum I am on has the volume of spam we do. Something desperately needs to be done.

I know this forum is maintained by volunteers (thanks, btw), but I also know the club has some financial resources. Is there any solution to this problem?
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Rabid-Weasel » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:36 pm

Wish I had an answer for you, Arch and Dig will have to chime in here. I barely get to read anything for fun myself too busy banning IPs and deleting topics.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Tank » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:05 pm

A simple solution would be to block all IPs from outside certain areas. We could (for example) block everything that doesn't originate in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, & Taiwan. (I include HK/T because "we" have a few friends/users from their.) Basically "white list" countries we want to have access and the rest can seek forums elsewhere.

The VAST majority of spam is coming from Russia and other former Soviet block countries and some from south/central America. So if we just block those IP sources it would make a huge dent in the spam.


Another solution (which we tried & failed at before) is to require admin approval for all new user accounts. Last time we tried this all the mods got HAMMERED with emails from mostly spam bots trying to start new accounts. If the emails were directed to a central email that admin/mods all have access to INSTEAD of personal emails (like last time) I'm sure it would work much better.

Personally I'd rather see the IP blocking method as it would significantly reduce the spam and would be less work for admins/mods.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by THE ARCHANGEL » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:44 pm

The truth of the matter is Digital, who has been our IT/Web Officer/Admin has stepped down from active duty. He's maintaining certain aspects of the board but upgrading and actively monitoring the board is no longer something he can do for us. The board is what it is until we assign a new IT Officer and even then there will be some transition time. I realize the board has a fair amount of SPAM but do to our mods and other Officers I can frankly say most of you have no idea how much we really have. No one wants to clear up this assault more than us.

The status of the boards is a discussion point for the MAA Members meeting in 2 weeks and we will get the pulse of where we are going and from that build a solid plan to move forward. Until then, we have to live with this.

* Tanks recommendation was on our short list and perhaps we will institute that for a temporary fix until our new Officer has been appointed.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Guges Mk3 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:06 pm

Other boards seldom have all these spam issues.

We need an upgrade...
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by THE ARCHANGEL » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:31 pm

Guges Mk3 wrote:Other boards seldom have all these spam issues.

We need an upgrade...
We need more than an upgrade. I am expecting a new board most likely. New Officer, new technology.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Rudedog » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:45 am

The admin approval was a great idea. As Tank states the problem with it was we didn't have 1 email account they went to. A gmail account that all officers have access to would fix that.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by genorion » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:22 am

The other forums i help with have effectively locked out new registration for now until a better antispam bot is finished.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by vashke » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:40 am

Another idea is making the board more restricted for what board members can access. Currently there are two parts...The MAA members section and then what the rest of us are able to see.

My thought:
A few (new sections?) sections for new members to access and get information.
Then the rest of the current sections as they currently stand.

The current registration would get new users access to the limited sections but to get access to the board member section has to be manually granted by admins that know you are not a bot.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Archer » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:47 pm

sounds like more work then just individually approving each member.....

Anti-spam bots have always been mediocre at best and totally worthless at their worst, and it's always taken a fair amount of human interaction to keep bots off of boards like this. I wish I had a better idea then an individual approval process, but that seems to be what works the best.

Is there any way that we can make filling out the location and age information mandatory in the sign-up process?

I ask because that would solve two problems. It would allow admins to automatically disapprove any account that is obviously a fake location, cutting a huge amount of spam, and it would also solve some of the time spent on telling people to put location information in.

with bots, you have to remember that they aren't people and don't necessarily know exactly what they are filling out and will get some of the answers "off" when they fill them out, so the more you make them fill out initially, the more likely you'll catch them on the approval process.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Rabid-Weasel » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:31 pm

Spammers actually fill out a lot of their info including adding avatars, sigs etc.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Bunny » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:32 am

Rabid-Weasel wrote:Spammers actually fill out a lot of their info including adding avatars, sigs etc.
Yah, I almost always see spam-bots filling out their location, age, occupation, interests, signature, and (of course) website. A fair number of them are even believable and not just gibberish.

Could we try throwing up a question-and-answer challenge? It's something I've seen pretty commonly at other boards, and I would imagine that spam bots would have a pretty hard time guessing that...

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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Trippy » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:50 pm

Is it possible to block any post that has the word "ugg" in it? it seems like two thirds of the spam posts recently have been for Uggs or canadian down something or others.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by SeawolfIV » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:55 pm

Airsoft mechanics has a spam catcher forum where admins delete any account that posts in it, and the deletion deletes their posts as well. Or, maybe not admins, maybe just automatically deleted by the board, I don't really know.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by THE ARCHANGEL » Tue Dec 11, 2012 3:31 pm

We have re-instituted Admin verification for registration which will kill all new SPAM accounts. The reason we didn't keep this feature on before is we were receiving hundreds of requests a day and it was not sustainable to process them all. That said, the Membership Officer Rabid-Weasel has offered to pilot this feature again so we can get and record actual numbers and to hopefully refine a process.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Rabid-Weasel » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:05 pm

OK folks here is an update.

20,000+ inactive accounts deleted.
1,000 active accounts deleted. Notice we are about 4700 users, we were at 5700 earlier this evening. More pruning on the way but now it is getting more difficult due to the spammers being mixed in with the newly active people.
As of 11:00am I have had 80+ requests to activate an account, yup my gmail inbox is all full of junk I fear what it will look like in the morning. :D
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Trippy » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:09 pm

Good luck Weasel.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Tank » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:11 pm

Now you only have to delete about 3000 more to get back to where we were at when I left office.

I'd be willing to help out if need be.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by genorion » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:09 am

I have found a reasonably rotated q&a that is more targeted to the group and not what color is a school bus has all but stopped spambots on my other board. How long it will hold is anyone's guess.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Pappy » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:15 am

Hell of an improvement! Way to go!
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Blackcat » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:23 am

I appreciate that this is being addressed
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Tank » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:29 pm

After reading my previous post I realized that it might sound like I was taking a jab/shot at you Jim.

So just to clarify....Thank you for taking on this (daunting) task. And again, if I can be of any assistance LMK.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Rabid-Weasel » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:11 pm

Didn't even give it a second thought.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Guges Mk3 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:09 pm

Tank wrote:After reading my previous post I realized that it might sound like I was taking a jab/shot at you Jim.

So just to clarify....Thank you for taking on this (daunting) task. And again, if I can be of any assistance LMK.

Again...who are you and what have you done with Tank?

Are you on meds?
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by vashke » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:13 pm

You know, it almost seems like a new board with out the spam.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Trippy » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:53 pm

Guges Mk3 wrote:
Tank wrote:After reading my previous post I realized that it might sound like I was taking a jab/shot at you Jim.

So just to clarify....Thank you for taking on this (daunting) task. And again, if I can be of any assistance LMK.

Again...who are you and what have you done with Tank?

Are you on meds?
After the last open session I decided that he is actually always thinking about kittens.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Tank » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:17 pm

It must be some weird 12/12/12 voodoo bullshit.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Guges Mk3 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:20 am

...yup...the meds are wearing off....
I rather use a "nightmare" that shoots like a dream over something that looks like a "dream" but shoots like a nightmare.

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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Moose » Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:59 am

Rabid,
Thank you for your efforts fighting this battle.
With respect,
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Rabid-Weasel » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:49 pm

We have taken off the step that requires admin activation of accounts and replaced the current security measures with a Q&A.
We are going to give this a try for a day or so to see how the spam bots handle it.
I apologize in advance if there is an increase in spam posts but I have this week off so I will put back the activation step if need be.

Our current two questions are
In what state is this association located?
What is the approximate size of a BB (a whole number)?

The answers should be evident to those playing airsoft if not google is their friend.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by andre » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:50 pm

Rabid-Weasel wrote:What is the approximate size of a BB (a whole number)?
:lol:

In your face spam-bots!
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by FoxtrotMitch » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:13 pm

What is the size of a airsoft BB?

Spam Bot Response: Uggs and more Uggs.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by EMO » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:08 pm

Gabe I sent you a message on facebook regarding the forum's concern.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by Erik » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:58 pm

Caught a spam post tonight, but things seem to be improving. Kudos to the mod team.

One suggestion - could you place spam at the top of the drop-down menu for reporting posts? That would make reporting it easier.

Thanks again for your efforts!
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by bikemancs » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:41 pm

I've caught a couple, but they have all been registered before the new measures went into effect.

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Re: Forum unusable

Post by THE ARCHANGEL » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:51 pm

bikemancs wrote:I've caught a couple, but they have all been registered before the new measures went into effect.
That is what I have found as well. Legacy SPAM.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by FoxtrotMitch » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:57 pm

I'd like to say, the staff on the website are doing an outstanding job keeping spam and non-sense of the forums. You guys are doing great, and I think myself and the community owe you guys a thanks.

The forums are very easy to navigate now and much easier to communicate without bots spamming everything and turning it bad.

So, Thanks!
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by slusk17 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:10 am

I have to say unfortunately I still have spam in my inbox. He is in my Foes list.
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Re: Forum unusable

Post by bikemancs » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:31 am

Did you report it? Nope... how do we know what you don't tell us?

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