Forum Spam: Apology and Fixes

Hi all,

As you all know, we have had lots of problems with an unprecedented level of spam over the weekend. We'd like to take this opportunity to apologise profusely - we know how frustrating you have all found this and we’ve been taking urgent steps this week to prevent a repeat.

We’ve had confirmation from our tech team that quickjoin or instream posting has been stopped – this enabled new members who hadn’t validated their accounts to post a first forum message. We previously had this check in the old forum system, but there was a delay transferring this to the update. This should hopefully prevent some of the spam.

Another new measure we’ve decided to take is to trial a user moderation system over weekends and evenings, in addition to us checking moderation alerts during the day. This should help calm spam problems over weekends and bank holidays, which we understand is extremely frustrating for all of you. We’ll let you know when this starts, but it should be in the next few days.

We are also working on a number of other measures over the next week.

As ever keep your forum alerts coming in whenever you spot spam and we’ll try to delete it and block the offending member as quickly as possible. We’d love to hear your feedback on these fixes and your views on user moderation.

Finally (phew!), our tech team will be working hard this week to clear any outstanding bugs on the runnnersworld.co.uk forum update. Our aim is to make the forum as user-friendly as possible and we’ve taken on all your feedback. Thanks as well for all your patience over this weekend – we really value your commitment and contribution to this forum.

Best,
Dominique

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Comments

  • you are saying over the weekend...it was all yesterday evening and this morning............

    like many i logged on had a look at a couple of threads then left.it was impossible to use..............

    you can't blame the bank holiday for that........this is mid week........

    I hope for the forums sake that you have fixed it as so many forums like tritalk never seem to have this problem 

  • seren - not true about Tripetalk - the mods there spend a lot of time cleaning spam up and they are debating what to do about better controls.  sure, it's not getting hammered as much as this forum has been but it's happening.   

    and it's happening on LinkedIn groups as well and again debates on how to control it are going on

    fora are the new e-mail for spammers

    Dominique - good luck with sorting it - after 10 years or so on here, I was about to kiss it goodbye.

  • I don't know if I'm missing something but is there any reason why someone should be able to post anything even before their account has been validated?  That sounds like a positive invitation to be spammed left, right and centre.  If I want to turn up as a complete stranger to a new forum I would fully expect to have to jump through the odd administrative (prove you're human) hoop before diving in with the "Hi I'm new here, please be nice" stuff.  if people are put off by a tiny bit of extra effort they can take their ADD somewhere else as far as I'm concerned.  image

    Anyway, here's to a less luncheon-meat heavy (free) forum.  Cheers.

  • Seren there was loads over the weekend, I think you were otherwise engaged!  The mods had a big clear up when they got into work

  • Definition of irony: this thread being directly above a SPAM thread when I opened the latest posts option image

  • XFR Bear wrote (see)

    Seren there was loads over the weekend, I think you were otherwise engaged!  The mods had a big clear up when they got into work

    I think she was saying that it's not just over the weekend but also last night, this morning.

    Good luck with the changes Dominique

  • Just out of interest, how will the user moderation work? 

  • *whispers to Booky*

    We do it for free, apparently.....
  • I was thinking more along the lines of who is chosen, and how? And does one person have the power to delete, or does it have to be a consensus by several mods?

     

  • My thoughts exactly Sarah.

    Actually no, that wasn't my thought - DEAD against user moderation!  If people can't see how it could be abused/cause rifts and friction then they are very short sighted and/or naive.  Sorry.

    RW, the spam is YOUR problem.  YOU sort it or the forum dies and your ad revenue with it.  Simple.

  • sarah the bookworm wrote (see)

    I was thinking more along the lines of who is chosen, and how? And does one person have the power to delete, or does it have to be a consensus by several mods?

     


    I had the same question.... will RW pick or do we nominate ourselves? Personally -I'd have a lot of satisfaction hitting the delete button on 1000's of threads of spamimage

  • Or just introduce a captcha/something similar system for posting? Or all new users have their posts moderated until they've got a set amount (since most spam is from new accounts)? 

  • I AM a forum moderator. It doesn't take a lot to clean up spam normally if you can keep on top of it but it's not a 9 to 5 job.
  • Whether it's self-nomination or being 'chosen' by RW, it'll cause problems. 

    To quote Spiderman - with great power comes great responsibility.

    Unfortunately, I think the chosen mods won't necessarily use their power for the best... And even if they do, someone will disagree and then the proverbial will hit the fan. 

  • @KK -i'm not sure my Aunt Vera knows how to use a computer... but I agree with your opinion... it might not be the best way to work it.

  • *deep sigh*

    Great power.....Christian Grey has great power image
  • I have no idea who that is image

     

  • sarah the bookworm wrote (see)

    I have no idea who that is image

     

    We need to get you the 50 shades of grey triology my lovely.... just make sure that Cake is ready for some...um... exercise afterwards!

  • image

    Um... ok image

  • Domi - at risk of going back to topic - when are the changes for spam going to take place?

    Spam is still being created (look at the new discussions thread). I don't mind if you want a dancing monkey to moderate the forum - but I just want the spam issue solved.

  • Aside from the obvious problems with user moderation, isn't that just providing more sticking plasters to put over a proverbial exponentially growing wound (or something)?  Surely the only solution to what happened over the weekend is to prevent the deluge of spambot-generated spam (virtually a page worth generating all in the same minute??) in the first place, rather than requiring anyone to clear it up afterwards.

  • imageWhat he said is a far more eloquent way than I image

    The other problem with user mods is that the first question they should be asked is "Do you want to be a user mod?"  If they answer yes, they should not be given the role.  As the mods would need to willing, using that simple vetting process rules everyone out of the running.

  • There's a Fetcheveryone ad on the site now.

     

    Up there  

     

      *points*

     

    Is this the way the wind's blowing...

  • Regardless of the political problems associated with user mods in a general sense, I think the benefits to be gained from a small group of user mods being able to remove what is obviously spam at evenings and weekends has got to be a good thing...   there aren't any downsides to it....  they don't need to mod the entire forum, just be trusted to remove the spam when it appears....

    I really can't see any reasons why this should be a problem....

     

  • I'll do it!

     

    Payback time...image

  • DV - because it's a power to remove a post/thread regardless of it's content.  Other threads will be removed i an guarantee, with good intentions sure, but we all know where they can lead.

    This isn't a community run site.  It's a commercial site so it is the responsibility of the owners, not the users, to police it.  This site is here to make money (if it doesn't isn't down to us either).  No users = no money.  It's simple housekeeping on the part of RW just as it's Odeon's job to make sure they have usable seats and a viewable screen, or Barclays job to ensure they have counter staff.

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