Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

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Dominic Appleguard
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Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 20 Jun 2012, 14:14

I've given some thought to the problematic posts with which the LRR forums have been recently inundated.

As Paul mentioned during his recent Q&A video, the fake users joining the site to post about their silly BS are resisting CAPTCHA filters and LRR-themed countermeasures like the "first video" system. Simply put, it's hard to employ a Turing test when your target might well be a human being.

With this in mind, I thought I'd start a thread about ways Paul could make the forums more resistant to this kind of thing.

My ideas:

A) Implement a Karma system where users cannot start new threads without first earning a decent reputation from other users. Any forum member with more than 50 posts (this number is arbitrary) as of the day the system is implemented is a "trusted user", and if a new user is upvoted enough times by trusted users they become trusted. This number doesn't need to be large; the idea is that 1) you can't start a new account and immediately post about "See Madagascar 3 Movie In 3D Hey You Guys" 2) You can't start a bunch of new accounts to upvote your original account in order to post about "See Madagascar 3 Movie In 3D Hey You Guys" 3) If even a small amount of actual LRR fans can see you're not a robot or a marketing rep, you quickly get the privilege to post. The disadvantage to this idea is the fact that it makes the forums look more insular to new users.

B) Make it slightly irritating to start a new account. I'm talking about a CAPTCHA where the user has to track all the times Matt says "fuck" in "Son of a Bitch". The disadvantage here is obvious.

C) Delegate banning power to more users. I figure people like KingKool, AlexanderDitto, TheRocketSiobhan, Wraith, MasterGunner, Lord Crusher, Elomin Sha et cetera could relieve the pressure from the Super Moderators by pruning obvious bullshit threads.

Obviously any other ideas are welcomed.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Metcarfre » 20 Jun 2012, 14:30

A through C; no. Especially A.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 20 Jun 2012, 14:40

Wonderful bunch as we all are, I think C might get tempted by bias a bit too often to really be effective.

A is a lot more code on the forums and a pretty irritating little thing that barely even functions on Reddit.

B is probably the most reasonable but even it I think might be stretching things.

The simplest solution I think would be to disable users from creating new threads until after a certain period of time after registration, deleting users with zero posts after that time. Most spambots will sign up and then immediately try to spam, so this wouldn't be 100% effective (spam posts in other threads will still persist) but spam threads would be effectively erased.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Master Gunner » 20 Jun 2012, 14:52

Nope, nope, and the spam isn't that bad to require bringing on additional mods.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Dibria » 20 Jun 2012, 15:39

I figure a 'you can't start a new thread unless your post count is 10 or higher' would actually be reasonably effective at decreasing spam threads if not spam posts but even something as small as that is 1. A surprising amount of work to impliment and 2. Alienating to new users, not something the forum wants to be.

For now I just think we have to live with it, sure it kind of sucks but these things tend to come in spurts and it should die down again given time.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Kapol » 21 Jun 2012, 00:24

The problem with A is that I think it could possibly make things worse. Let's face it, it's pretty obvious when you see spam threads that they are spam threads. Like 'Watch True-blood season 5 episode 1 online' is very easy to spot and can be dealt with easily. Just wipe the thread out. But if the 'bots' can't start a thread, they'll just post in other threads. Sometimes even being more tricky about what they're doing. That makes them harder for the mods to spot and deal with, as they only get rid of that one post. Plus it will likely drive some people away from joining the site.

For B, when someone is paid to SPAM (as seems to be the case here), then they're going to do it. It might be a pain the first time they join, but if they keep coming back, it'll just get easier and easier since there'd be a limited number of questions.

I don't think C would be that great because I don't think it's quite that bad yet. It's likely a pain for the team of course. And I don't think that most here would abuse the power (besides me of course). But it still seems like something that could come back to bite them later. Having the threads there for a little while doesn't hurt anything anyways.


I can't think of many ways that one could deal with the problem. It's not that hard when the problems are straight-up spam bots who can't answer a CAPTCHA. When real people come into play, dealing with the problem becomes much harder.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Keab42 » 21 Jun 2012, 12:08

Nice ideas but I don't think we're there yet. Besides can you imagine what would happen if you gave Elomin a Banhammer....
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Dibria » 21 Jun 2012, 14:58

As long as we don't give it to his evil sister Eolmin by accident it wouldn't be too bad.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Geoff_B » 21 Jun 2012, 23:19

I'm starting to suspect this "evil sister" is really just Elomin in a long wig.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Dibria » 22 Jun 2012, 06:03

It was dark, don't judge me.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Darkobra » 25 Jun 2012, 10:18

Kapol wrote:But if the 'bots' can't start a thread, they'll just post in other threads.


That's exactly my thoughts and that is something that is much harder to track down.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Gap Filler » 10 Aug 2012, 16:12

In my experience of forums which did it, A) doesn't work, either as a direct preventative or as a deterrent.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Elomin Sha » 10 Aug 2012, 23:45

Actually I was a mod for a multi clan forum and never abused the powers.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Drdiggit42 » 12 Aug 2012, 17:54

I don't think Elomin would abuse a ban hammer. He likes to see his victims writhe as he tortures them. There is no fun in banishment.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Ptangmatik » 20 Oct 2012, 14:38

Oh, I'd just like to say sorry about posting a reply in spam threads, I have a ~niece~ (ermm... cousin's daughter) who tends to fall for spam unless her dad watches over her. so I felt obliged to just say something. God help her if she ever tries to torrent anything.

As to my own stupidity: Thank you to empath for informing me about the ! button, I feel like a pillock for not spotting it myself. For future reference I have no problem with my post count getting reduced if it means a spam thread can be removed.

As for mod powers, I'm a mod for a popular minecraft server (idk if that gives my opinion any weight, if it doesn't: I'm also a fairly balanced, if not particularly normal human being) and as far as I can see, I think Keab would be a good choice for mod powers were it necessary, but the spam isn't really overloading honest discussion as it stands.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Lord Hosk » 20 Oct 2012, 16:50

I just dont think there is enough of a spam problem for it to require any other steps.

One spammer comes in and posts 3-5 threads that people might look at if it is worded well, immediately see its spam and flag it.

This forum isnt big enough that it gets hit by 50 or more a day, and the readership is smart enough not to click spam. I really really hope I am not giving too much credit to you all.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Master Gunner » 20 Oct 2012, 19:18

While there's a steady stream of spam (not uncommon for me to see ~3 spam threads when I check General Discussion in the morning), it's not worth worrying about. The tricky ones are typically left in pre-existing threads, and usually commented on to notify any that may be fooled.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 20 Oct 2012, 23:07

I'm inclined to agree, despite the fact that I started this particular thread in the first place.

Sometimes I wish I could tag a thread as spam without reading it, but obviously that system invites abuse.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby the amativeness » 25 May 2013, 05:12

CODE BEIGE! CODE BEIGE! SUMMON ALL THE BANHAMMERS!

I've just reported 50 posts myself, not counting the "already reported" ones.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Ptangmatik » 25 May 2013, 06:46

Well someone forgot to enable the irony filter, didn't they?
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby ZePancakes » 25 May 2013, 07:29

It would also be hilarious if said spambot posted that on the Let's talk Japanese thread.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Lyinginbedmon » 25 May 2013, 07:29

They're even spamming in their own threads now...

Perhaps we could alter the profile data such that you can't post unless your first video actually matches a video in the archive?
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby ZePancakes » 25 May 2013, 07:31

Lyinginbedmon wrote:Perhaps we could alter the profile data such that you can't post unless your first video actually matches a video in the archive?


Pretty much this.
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby JackSlack » 03 Jun 2013, 14:46

No. Because misspelling, because ENN, Daily Drop, whatever thing, etc. etc. ... Just way too many possibilities
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Re: Spamthread 2: Revenge of the Spamthread

Postby Lurkon » 12 Oct 2013, 06:16

Saw a thread in the Gaming thread where a spambot started it, and a DIFFERENT spambot replied to it. Don't think I've seen that before, at least not here.
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