Spammers

dtw's picture

...boy, do we need some sort of automated "flag as spam" button.

Comments

Wiewauters's picture

If I remember correctly, there is. Use the vote up button next to a initial post. It's small and grey on grey, but it's there.

dtw's picture

I've seen the button, but didn't know what it was for! The tooltip isn't enormously explanatory! :^)

aluminum's picture

I'm confused...why would up-voting a thread indicate a spam reply?

eliason's picture

Besides, it's usually comments in existing threads rather than new threads that ask for marking.

dtw's picture

Indeed. Someone pops up mid-thread with a post full of sales links (and not font-related ones!)...
Some sites have a system where anyone can flag a post, and then if enough different people flag it, it gets removed (or at least hidden).

kentlew's picture

Weiwauters is mistaken. The icon in the upper right corner of each post is ostensibly a “bookmark” for marking a thread (and thus adding it to My Marks, which can be accessed via the link under your login status at the top of the sidebar).

I don’t know why the tool tip says “Vote up!” since this isn’t a voting button. I suspect that’s a mistake (probably from copying a previous bit of code related to a short-lived experiment with a voting module). I’ll bring it to the attention of the Punchcut folks.

I can tell you that using the mark feature will not help with spam, since I won’t ever see your marks.

There was a brief period when Punchcut experimented with a spam marking feature, but I don’t know what happened to it. I can’t honestly recall whether it worked well, since that was before I volunteered to be janitor on the site.

Such a feature might be helpful, but I can imagine it would also be subject to abuse. If you seriously want Punchcut to add the feature, I suggest starting a thread in the Bug Reports and Feature Requests forum.

Believe it or not, these occasional bouts of spam comments are actually only the tip of the iceberg. You guys don’t see even a third of the spamming that goes on. Most of it gets caught and shunted off, to be dealt with by us volunteers out of public view.

The Comments sections are the most vulnerable to these spam fits because we don’t have the Akismet Antispam module filtering the comments. It is still too prone to false positives, and filtering all comments right now would bog down the free flow of conversations.

I check the General Discussions, Design, and Blog forums every morning and clear spam and block spam accounts. I also usually comb through a couple more times during the day. Sometimes I do a spot check through the entire Comments section in the Admin. I think Florian checks the Type ID forums regularly.

But if you happen to spend your time on Typophile before I get up and come online, then you probably will end up seeing a fair bit of the overnight spam.

For whatever reason, there are a few individual threads that have become spam magnets and are usual suspects for spamming. These spam bots seem to follow each other around or something. Also, commenting on spam seems to exacerbate the situation and increase the likelihood that a thread will become the target of future spamming. (Also, the comments look silly once the original spam has been cleared out.)

dtw's picture

Wiewauters is mistaken.

I thought he probably was.

Not dissing the wonderful work done by you and the others: I'm sure it's a constant frustration that you'd much rather be shot of! I just got a bit fed up with the numpties who post the damn things in the first place (what DO they hope to achieve??), after seeing them pop up in a couple of otherwise interesting threads.

Still, the situation is WAAY better than it could be. Over at World of Escher there was a tidal wave of spammy posts supposedly advertising cheap consumer electronics...

dtw's picture

Best of luck with the General Discussions forum today, Kent! ;^/

Bendy's picture

Is it real people or bots? Today it's pretty bad, the whole tracking page is full of rubbish from India.

kentlew's picture

Probably bots. It should be clear now. Not sure about the Tracking page, since that may be cached for a while. But it should also clear up shortly.

Bendy's picture

Yes, it's clear :)

Has a captcha been ruled out?

kentlew's picture

Captchas are in place. Somehow they get around them. Maybe humans on the front end to create accounts, then bots to exploit them? Or backend loopholes?

I think putting a captcha on every new thread and comment would be draconian and really bog things down.

But I leave all that up to the Punchcut folks. I’m just here to scrub the walls and take out the trash. ;-)

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