Why so much spam?

I've noticed a fair amount of spam on this board recently (I've reported 3 items this week, and 4 other items were already flagged as reported).

Do you need to add a better "stop the bot" method?

9 Replies

I've seen an uptick in the number of spam bots hitting my wordpress installs- suddenly went from ~20-30/day to ~150-200/day. Akismet is doing a good job.

We removed the htauth protection on the forum because it's confusing to people, and mobile browsers don't show the realm string, so now we're relying on reCAPTCHA - which isn't perfect, apparently…

-Chris

Nearly two years ago, reCAPTCHA became pretty much useless on a wiki I help administer. I don't know if the cause was improved bots, or boiler-room operations using humans.

The solution was to change to a question-and-answer CAPTCHA, the answers to which would be obvious to anyone interested in the subject matter of the wiki but not to the random average person. Another benefit is that it is accessible to those who use assistive technologies or have javascript disabled. It does take some work to come up with an appropriate question and answer, and you'll have to change it every few months as the bots catch on.

a handful of spam yesterday, 3 more today already :-(

@sweh:

You've really got to get on top of this.

You need to cut us some slack. Spam posts are going to happen. We kill forum spam as soon as we find it or when we review the reports.

EDIT: I switch the forum to Q&A wall … we'll see how that goes.

-Chris

And almost 3 months later… today there was more spam than real messages.

You've really got to get on top of this.

These fora are one of the big benefits of Linode; it'd be a shame to see it descend into a mess of pink stuff as the regulars leave.

The "regulars" are primarily people who boil over from IRC based on notifications. Well, them and vonskippy. The forum at this point is primarily ancient/outdated content, and that has way more to do with how forums work and how they've globally declined (except for a few niche communities) in our present day and age.

I'd vote to kill it before pouring any worthwhile time into combating the issue of smarter spammers.

  • Les

Thanks, hopefully the new CAPTCHA will help. If availability of Linode staff to patrol the forum is a problem, it might be worth considering giving select non-staff users the ability to remove spam.

For what it's worth, I think the forums are extremely valuable. For new users, they are a place to get troubleshooting help when they go wrong following the guides. Presumably this results in less work for Linode support. For more advanced users, they contain information that's not documented elsewhere, like the fact that Google and other major services will rate-limit or block the auto-assigned IPv6 address. It would be a real loss to get rid of them without any sort of replacement.

I realize this thread is a bit old but, reCAPTCHA has been working great for me on my own phpBB installs - you may want to consider updating the forums phpBB install and using Google's new reCAPTCHA suite

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