Spam Bots and leaderless forums

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dragon wench
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Spam Bots and leaderless forums

Postby dragon wench » Tue May 04, 2010 12:12 pm

Is there anything at all that can be done about the current plague of spammers?

Members are noticing, and to date we have no less than two threads on the subject:
http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/speak-your-mind-16/lots-of-spam-lately-117498.html

http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/gamebanshee-discussion-8/spam-117424.html

Given that we already have enough problems attracting legitimate site traffic... I don't think the negative highlighting in the above threads exactly helps. It only contributes to the feeling of a place no longer at its peak.

That we are down three mods, one a supermod, and various forums are without mods, further amplifies the spammer problem.. Xandax,
mighty though he is (: D), can't be here fulltime.

Would it help if we changed the system somewhat so that we each focus on a particular set of forums but have the right to deal with problems in other areas if the need arises? I have modded at one site where this structure actually worked very well; it made the moderator community into a kind of "village" and it was an efficient use of manpower. Though, obviously, we'd all need to remain aware of any "turf" sensitivities.


Thoughts?
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]

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Postby Xandax » Wed May 05, 2010 8:01 am

Yes - I'm doing my best, but sleeping at some times means no-coverage in that time. And coverage at that time at least would be nice. I'm deleting/banning about a bot per hour or something and doing it all over the site where I find them.

If what Buck and I have tested still holds, then the method I'm using to "ban" now should stick, and we're collecting IP addresses to block as well - at least it is new bots which spawn up now instead of the same over and over.

However to me it seems like there's something about the registration which might have been broken/altered. Whether it is a captcha being broken or something I don't know as I've not signed up for the site in ages :D

But another (super)mod or two who can clean up would be nice, if nothing else. :)
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Postby mr_sir » Thu May 06, 2010 4:13 am

I don't mind taking on one or two of the less busy forums that are left without a moderator. I don't have as much time these days as I used to as my little boy is keeping me busy, but I can spare an hour or so a day to check through them.

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Postby BuckGB » Fri May 07, 2010 11:53 pm

I'm not sure why more spammers seem to be getting through, but within the next week or two, I'm going to start requiring that members choose an avatar during registration. Perhaps an extra step will keep them at bay for awhile?

To help tackle the issue, I've asked Dragon Wench if she'd like to take on a Super Moderator's responsibilities and she's accepted. With the additional functions available to her, I'm confident that she and Xandax can keep the spamming to a minimum until I'm able to put in a couple of extra safeguards.

Also, mr_sir, let me know if there are any particular forums you'd like to be assigned to. I know what it's like to have little ones keeping you busy, though, so don't feel obligated to take on more work unless it's something you're easily able to make time for. In any event, thanks for the offer!

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Postby Xandax » Sat May 08, 2010 5:24 am

BuckGB wrote:I'm not sure why more spammers seem to be getting through, but within the next week or two, I'm going to start requiring that members choose an avatar during registration. Perhaps an extra step will keep them at bay for awhile?
<snip>


Have banned like around 6 the last 5 hours or so. It does seem pretty consistently to be 1-2 per every second hour.
I've PMed you 2 more IPs which consists only of spambots.

My guess is that the captcha has been automatically broken and does not hinder the signing up of bots. I don't know if it is a new one introduced at the time you made the change to Joomla or if it is the same one as usual.

I don't know how much customizability you have over the pages and the process, but I have an idea I'll try out on my own personal blogs because they're also heavily hit by spam bots and this should work.
Essentially - I'll place an empty, hidden, textbox on the page, and then via JavaScript, I'll enter a predetermined value into that textbox and then check on it when the page is submitted and if it isn't filled (usually, bots won't render javascript) - the submission is ignored.
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Postby BuckGB » Sat May 08, 2010 9:01 am

Thanks for the feedback, Xandax. Both of those IPs have been added to the ban list.

The spammers must have ramped up their efforts in recent weeks/months because I see other sites getting hit hard too. IGN is flooded with spammers and some Wordpress sites have even been getting hacked so that the spammers can post their keywords and links directly as news.

I'm not sure how they're getting through the Captcha system, but the next project on my to do list will be entirely forum-related. I have to get JFusion upgraded, take care of the cookie system, and tack a little extra armor onto the registration process.

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Postby mr_sir » Mon May 10, 2010 1:31 pm

I could take the Baldur's Gate 3 forum and the Divinity Series forums, neither get much traffic so they won't add much to my workload :) If you are really struggling to get people to do any other forums then I could possibly take more if needed.

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Postby Maharlika » Mon May 10, 2010 5:23 pm

I'll try to pitch in...

Homefront and present work setup prevents me from being more active than usual - something about access to websites at work and chronic internet connections here. :( I would love to take on the Baldur's Gate 2 Fora but I see that DW is already there. I'm not too comfy moderating a game forum whose game I don't play.
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Postby dragon wench » Mon May 10, 2010 7:15 pm

Mah,
The BG2 forum is, in fact, fairly busy. So, if you'd like to join me there that would be really cool. Given that we are on opposite sides of the world it would actually make sense in terms of coverage.
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]

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Postby BuckGB » Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 am

All new users are now required to choose an avatar upon registration. This seems to have stopped most if not all of the spambots from getting through, but please let me know if it picks up again.

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dragon wench
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Postby dragon wench » Fri May 14, 2010 1:22 pm

Awesome Buck! I thought the forums looked much cleaner when I logged in this morning. Just an FYI, I have dealt with a couple of spam bots that look like they registered before the new requirement, so I'm guessing we'll still see some stragglers.
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]