Can we reduce the spam?

  • xsevensinzx

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25437

    Seems like there was a lot of spam today on recent posts. It's been like this for a while now.

    I know it's not easy maintaining a large robust community as this one, but after going through the registration process again, there is no type of captcha system in place or anything to stop bots. You register with an email, wait for the link, click the link and you have a account after setting your password.

    Can we put in a validation of user or use one of the captcha plugins for the forums to help reduce the spam? If not, then why?

    https://www.keycaptcha.com/smf-captcha/

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714093

    We don't want a captcha as people are mostly registered when they post. It's an annoyance for many, and perhaps might not prevent replies from spammers.

    I suspect there's a hole in the forums somewhere that allows posts without the account being completely valid. We've tried banning people, but sometimes posts slip through.

    Really this is an issue for a few people that monitor forums or active threads. I realize it's annoying. It bothers me, too, and we have systems in place that do go through and hide spam posts. This works well, and we continually feed through posts and patterns.

    The people that seem most affected are those that respond extremely quickly to spam posts in a forum.

    I have raised this as a flag, and am working to get some additional measures in place.

  • Gail Shaw

    SSC Guru

    Points: 1004424

    xsevensinzx (11/22/2015)


    Can we put in a validation of user or use one of the captcha plugins for the forums to help reduce the spam? If not, then why?

    Captchas don't work well and annoy regular users more than anything.

    http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/189455/how-can-robots-beat-captchas (2 years ago)

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • Phil Parkin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 243277

    I've suggested this before, but I'll do so again as the spam is driving me mad at the moment.

    1) Apply additional rules to new users (< 100 posts, say)

    Additional Rules (apply these before the message or thread gets posted)

    a) If the subject contains http or https --> straight to bin.

    b) (This could be applied universally, I suspect) Limit the number of new threads per day. Even 10 sounds excessive, maybe 5.

    2) Allow trusted users, across different time-zones, to ban spammers with a couple of clicks.

    If the answer to your question can be found with a brief Google search, please perform the search yourself, rather than expecting one of the SSC members to do it for you.

  • drew.allen

    SSC Guru

    Points: 76411

    Would it be possible to limit posts based on the number of visits? I noticed that most of the spam comes from people with 1 or 2 visits. If we set the threshold as low as 3 visits, we might be able to reduce the number of spam posts.

    Drew

    J. Drew Allen
    Business Intelligence Analyst
    Philadelphia, PA


    How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help[/url].How to Post Performance Problems[/url]

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714093

    Phil Parkin (11/25/2015)


    I've suggested this before, but I'll do so again as the spam is driving me mad at the moment.

    1) Apply additional rules to new users (< 100 posts, say)

    Additional Rules (apply these before the message or thread gets posted)

    a) If the subject contains http or https --> straight to bin.

    b) (This could be applied universally, I suspect) Limit the number of new threads per day. Even 10 sounds excessive, maybe 5.

    2) Allow trusted users, across different time-zones, to ban spammers with a couple of clicks.

    This isn't as easy as expected. First, most people don't put an http or https in the subject. That's an easy win, but one thing we've learned is that if we blanketly remove those, they try something else. Right now we get lots of subjects that aren't related to anything, but then a link.

    Limiting new threads per day is possible, but I'm not sure we see a lot of threads from the same account. Since I've cleaned a lot manually, most are similar names, but altered accounts.

    It's maddening for sure.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714093

    drew.allen (5/19/2016)


    Would it be possible to limit posts based on the number of visits? I noticed that most of the spam comes from people with 1 or 2 visits. If we set the threshold as low as 3 visits, we might be able to reduce the number of spam posts.

    Drew

    Meaning someone with 1 or 2 visits can't post? Most of those people do ask questions, surprisingly.

  • lptech

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3188

    This sounds like a Big Data project, to find things that spam postings have in common, but not legitimate posts.

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442093

    Steve Jones - SSC Editor (5/19/2016)


    drew.allen (5/19/2016)


    Would it be possible to limit posts based on the number of visits? I noticed that most of the spam comes from people with 1 or 2 visits. If we set the threshold as low as 3 visits, we might be able to reduce the number of spam posts.

    Drew

    Meaning someone with 1 or 2 visits can't post? Most of those people do ask questions, surprisingly.

    Have to agree with Steve. I have seen people post valid questions on their first visit to ssc.

  • drew.allen

    SSC Guru

    Points: 76411

    Steve Jones - SSC Editor (5/19/2016)


    drew.allen (5/19/2016)


    Would it be possible to limit posts based on the number of visits? I noticed that most of the spam comes from people with 1 or 2 visits. If we set the threshold as low as 3 visits, we might be able to reduce the number of spam posts.

    Drew

    Meaning someone with 1 or 2 visits can't post? Most of those people do ask questions, surprisingly.

    Yes. The question, which may be impossible to determine, is how many legitimate users vs spammers won't return when faced with this restriction (especially when the reason for the restriction is explained). Also, of those people who post on their first visit, how many become active users?

    Three visits is not a terribly high bar to set. There is even a thread on whether the posted questions are getting worse. Perhaps setting the bar slightly higher will weed out those people (such as those who are looking for homework answers), too. Would that be such a terrible thing?

    Drew

    J. Drew Allen
    Business Intelligence Analyst
    Philadelphia, PA


    How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help[/url].How to Post Performance Problems[/url]

  • Lowell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 323331

    I still think a specific set of volunteers here should be given a whack-a-mole functionality, which has been suggested ad-nauseam, but I think it's hard for red-gate to dedicate a web dev resource to add that kind of functionality, with all the other things they have going on.

    Lowell


    --help us help you! If you post a question, make sure you include a CREATE TABLE... statement and INSERT INTO... statement into that table to give the volunteers here representative data. with your description of the problem, we can provide a tested, verifiable solution to your question! asking the question the right way gets you a tested answer the fastest way possible!

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714093

    It is hard to get resources to make changes. Adding users to moderate is something we don't take lightly, especially since most of you are quicker to whack things you don't like than I prefer. I could have people put things in a hidden mode, but I don't have an easy way to review those, which is a pain. Plus, I have to add you to each forum. No groups here. (crappy forum architecture).

    I did spend a bit of time looking at the patterns and tried to identify some things that I can try to handle in the DB side, no front end work needed, but it's not simple.

    I'll describe the problem more later, but a bit busy now. I have been trying to escalate this as work that needs to change. Part of the issue is we have only a few people that can make changes, and this is low priority. some also need good direction, not just "make less spam".

    If it's too much, I'd suggest that you not monitor forums, but rather come back periodically to look at active threads and answer those. The spam filter does work pretty well, but it's after the post is made, not as it's being made.

  • TheRedneckDBA

    SSChampion

    Points: 13935

    What about charging a one-time small fee to be a user of SQLServerCentral.com? Something like $2? (Or whatever the minimum charge would have to be to break even on the transaction charge you'd have to pay)

    The Redneck DBA

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714093

    TheRedneckDBA (5/19/2016)


    What about charging a one-time small fee to be a user of SQLServerCentral.com? Something like $2? (Or whatever the minimum charge would have to be to break even on the transaction charge you'd have to pay)

    My guess is no one will do this. Or at least, very few.

    Before RG owned the site we toyed with this. Couldn't ever justify it. While we might make some $$ from people that see value, few would pay the $2 even as a one time fee to ask a question or read an article.

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 993645

    Steve Jones - SSC Editor (11/23/2015)


    This works well, and we continually feed through posts and patterns.

    Actually, it doesn't. I've been hiding a lot of the obvious SPAM/reported spam whenever I'm on and the SPAM is usually hours old by the time I get on.

    --Jeff Moden


    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
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