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#1 Edited by Sweep (8826 posts) -

As many of you have noticed, we have recently seen an influx of spambot activity on the forums. Instead of a steady drip, these "attacks" seem to come in waves, and as such requesting that you guys flag dozens of threads at once is impractical and uses up all your lovely karma. As a compromise:

When spambots attack, do not flag them!

Instead, let us know we are under attack by sending a PM to the mod team and we will delete them all in one go.

The problem at the moment is that spammers (actual people, not robots) are creating the accounts and then running their scripts afterwards - which renders captcha mostly useless. As a result the only real thing we can do is sit around and delete the threads/spam accounts as and when they appear. Several solutions have been discussed and the staff are working towards a system that prevents spambots being able to abuse our accessibility, whilst not making the process awkward for new users.

Hold tight, folks. Top Men are on the case.

x

Moderator
#2 Posted by AlisterCat (5488 posts) -

All my lovely karma has already been used up, and I'm far too lazy to request a reset, so I decided to stop helping out by flagging things. Good to know!

Online
#3 Posted by august (3827 posts) -

Attack of the Spambots is my least favorite Star Wars movie.

#4 Posted by Sweep (8826 posts) -

@AlisterCat: I reset it for you. I should probably mention in the OP that we can reset anyone's karma if it gets used up flagging stuff.

Moderator
#5 Posted by adam1808 (1386 posts) -

We all know what is to blame: soccer.

#6 Posted by AlisterCat (5488 posts) -

@Sweep: Much appreciated. I should stop flagging spam at 4am anyway.

Online
#7 Posted by Hizang (8533 posts) -
@august

Attack of the Spambots is my least favorite Star Wars movie.

Return of the Spambots is pretty great though!
#8 Posted by NakAttack (1289 posts) -

ill keep an eye out.

#9 Posted by dr_mantas (1804 posts) -

I think the karma system should be changed. If you only flag stuff that gets deleted because it's obvious spam, you shouldn't get punished.

How is it like on the new site ?

Online
#10 Posted by pyromagnestir (4252 posts) -

Oh PM all mods button, I always forget where to find you... Even though you're right there permanently stuck to the first page of the forums. I'm an idiot.

#11 Posted by Sweep (8826 posts) -

@dr_mantas: That's the way the system was designed but it sometimes seems to have a mind of it's own. We have been assured by the engineers that the karma system has been rebuilt on the new site so there will be no negative repercussions for flagged content that is consequently removed.

Moderator
#12 Posted by RawknRo11a (554 posts) -

Yea, I thought it was kinda crazy the amount of spam threads that had been showing up lately. and these weren't even funny...

#13 Edited by dr_mantas (1804 posts) -

@Sweep: Yeah, but it seems to me, at least, like even if what you flag does get deleted, your karma drains anyhow. And it doesn't automatically reset (or does it?) if you flag correctly.

It just seems to put more workload on the mods, and I feel like you guys are already heroes for the amount of stuff you do :)

Good to hear it's better on the new site.

Online
#14 Posted by Brodehouse (9640 posts) -

From here on, new members have to drive to San Francisco and apply in person.

#15 Posted by dungbootle (2457 posts) -

Someday we will win this war.

#16 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@Sweep: When you say PM the mods, what do you mean exactly?

What should the PM contain? Just links to all of the spam threads I've spotted?

#17 Posted by MB (12072 posts) -

@dr_mantas said:

@Sweep: Yeah, but it seems to me, at least, like even if what you flag does get deleted, your karma drains anyhow. And it doesn't automatically reset (or does it?) if you flag correctly.

Unfortunately, if a user flags a piece of content (say Viagra spam) and we delete the offending post and agree it was flag-worthy, the user(s) who flagged the item do not get that karma point back. This effectively "punishes" users who help us out the most by keeping their karma high, and subsequently increases our workload because we are constantly having to reset the same handful of users karma pretty much daily. It does only take a second to manually fix someone's karma, but it really should not have to be done at all.

Here is a link to Sean Coonce's blog about the karma system as it was originally launched almost four years ago, and it has remained unchanged (for better or worse, mostly worse) since then. We are working with the engineers during the redesign process and they are aware of the changes we would like to see with the system..chief among them being if a user flags a piece of content and we concur, they get their flag point back.

Moderator Online
#18 Posted by MB (12072 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@Sweep: When you say PM the mods, what do you mean exactly?

What should the PM contain? Just links to all of the spam threads I've spotted?

That would be the most helpful thing - it doesn't even need to have more than that, just links and title it spam (or something clever if your'e up to it.)

Moderator Online
#19 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@MB: Just before that response, I have done exactly that :p Good to know I got this shit down.

Football sucks anyway.

#20 Posted by TruthTellah (8573 posts) -

@Sweep: Should we provide any extra info about the spam or just send the message to alert you that "Hey, there's an explosion of spam!"?

I just imagine yall get twenty messages to all mods saying that. Though, I suppose flagging might be similar.

I'll definitely shoot you all a private message if we have another massive flood again.

#21 Posted by Sweep (8826 posts) -

@TruthTellah: Yeah, unless there is one tucked away somewhere specific we will just work our way down the most recent topics and delete them all. We get 20 messages regardless from people requesting karma resets so it makes little difference to us :D

Moderator
#22 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@Sweep: I feel you totally timed this perfectly. Not 10 minutes after posting this thread, we got a wave.

Has anyone seen Sweep and the spammers in the same room at the same time? Didn't think so.

Also, chem trails.

#23 Posted by PulledaBrad (612 posts) -

The PM all mods link should be renamed to "All Units". Just sayin.

#24 Posted by Phatmac (5723 posts) -

THE SPAMBOT WAR IS UPON US BROTHERS!

#25 Posted by Superfriend (1535 posts) -

Make them answer captcha for the first 50 posts. Or 20, I don´t know. It would result in a lot more work for those spammers and hopefully discourage them.

Me, I wanna go Jay and Silent Bob style on those freaking a$$holes. A man can dream.

#26 Posted by Snail (8584 posts) -

Ooooh.

Okay.

#27 Posted by Trace (3550 posts) -

I would actually say that if you're going to PM us links, right-click the spamming user account(s) and PM us the URL(s) to their profile page(s). That way, we can jump right into their profile, confirm they're spambots, ban them immediately, and then go through their recent history undoing everything they've done. That's far more effective and helpful than just individual thread links once they've gotten out of control.

We'll keep working on what we can.

Moderator
#28 Posted by Nux (2306 posts) -

Good to know. My karma is all boned due to all the flagging I've been/trying to do. Good to know that there is another way to help out when I can't flag.

#29 Posted by Bollard (5293 posts) -

There's already a limit on the number of posts that can be made a day for new users right? I still would consider extending that to stopping new users creating threads until a certain threshold!

#30 Posted by Demoskinos (14585 posts) -

I still think @Sweep is a bot in disguise trying to gain our trust by turning on his brethren. IM ON TO YOU MAN! *adjusts tinfoil hat*

#31 Posted by Sweep (8826 posts) -

@Chavtheworld said:

There's already a limit on the number of posts that can be made a day for new users right? I still would consider extending that to stopping new users creating threads until a certain threshold!

That has been discussed, but the staff believe they can engineer a more technical solution that won't impose those kind of restrictions on new users.

@Demoskinos said:

I still think @Sweep is a bot in disguise.
Moderator
#32 Posted by Bollard (5293 posts) -

@Sweep said:

@Chavtheworld said:

There's already a limit on the number of posts that can be made a day for new users right? I still would consider extending that to stopping new users creating threads until a certain threshold!

That has been discussed, but the staff believe they can engineer a more technical solution that won't impose those kind of restrictions on new users.

That's good to hear!

#33 Posted by Fredddi43 (322 posts) -

@Sweep: Uh can you reset my karma too? Flagged a bunch of these Spam posts not knowing about karma, and now it sits in a corner and cries a lot. It keeps getting on my nerves.

#34 Posted by Sweep (8826 posts) -

@Fredddi43: Done

Moderator
#35 Posted by mikey87144 (1670 posts) -

@Sweep: Sorry to ask but my Karma also needs to be reset.

#36 Posted by Trace (3550 posts) -

@mikey87144: I fixed it up for you.

Moderator
#37 Posted by Fattony12000 (7093 posts) -

This would never have happened if I was a bloody mod, I tell thee, bloody spam these days, eh? EH!?

Grumble ruffley snort grumble blarg.

#38 Posted by NakAttack (1289 posts) -

What if their was system that automatically flagged/deleted a new users posts/threads if the user has less than three posts, is creating a new topic/thread, and contains two or more links in said topic/thread.

#39 Posted by Cold_Wolven (2214 posts) -

It would be pretty ironic if a spambot was to attack this thread.

#40 Posted by WMWA (1160 posts) -

HOW IN THE FUCK AM I GOING TO KNOW WHEN SOCCER IS ON THEN

#41 Posted by Gamer_152 (14058 posts) -

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck these internet football robots.

Moderator
#42 Posted by Subjugation (4718 posts) -

@Gamer_152 said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck these internet football robots.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

I also have to say that I actually like (as a temporary solution) the idea of just PM'ing the profiles of the offending users to the mods. It totally circumvents the flag karma problem and it seems to have a faster turn around time from what I can tell. I actually don't know what flagging does on the mods end of things, so I think I prefer being able to include information via PM.

#43 Posted by laserbolts (5314 posts) -

@Sweep said:

@AlisterCat: I reset it for you. I should probably mention in the OP that we can reset anyone's karma if it gets used up flagging stuff.

any chance you could reset mine? I havent been able to flag anything these last few weeks. thanks

#44 Posted by Demoskinos (14585 posts) -

@Sweep: I knew it!

#45 Posted by ZombiePie (5588 posts) -

@laserbolts said:

@Sweep said:

@AlisterCat: I reset it for you. I should probably mention in the OP that we can reset anyone's karma if it gets used up flagging stuff.

any chance you could reset mine? I havent been able to flag anything these last few weeks. thanks

Your karma has been reset.

Moderator
#46 Posted by ShaggE (6348 posts) -

The true crime of these spambots is that they aren't funny. There was a time when you could go into a spam thread and laugh until it hurts... "Giant Bomb: Best Spam on the Internet", I'd proudly proclaim. :(

#47 Posted by Gamer_152 (14058 posts) -

@Subjugation said:

@Gamer_152 said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck these internet football robots.

You took the words right out of my mouth.

I also have to say that I actually like (as a temporary solution) the idea of just PM'ing the profiles of the offending users to the mods. It totally circumvents the flag karma problem and it seems to have a faster turn around time from what I can tell. I actually don't know what flagging does on the mods end of things, so I think I prefer being able to include information via PM.

We always get more information from a PM than we do from a flag, although that's not always necessary in the case of the spambots. Speaking for myself, I usually find I get to the spambots faster than users can PM us about them, and I know similar cases have happened to some other mods, but it's not always the case, and doing things this way does stop spambots wrecking the karma system. There do seem to be a lot less spambots than there were just before Christmas Day, but I'm sceptical we'll ever completely get rid of them. Maybe the staff will be able to do a little more about them once the new site has launched.

Moderator
#48 Posted by ZombiePie (5588 posts) -

@Gamer_152 said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck these internet football robots.

At least the spam bots are advertising the superior version of football more than the silly football game non-American and non-civilized countries celebrate.

Moderator
#49 Posted by xMEGADETHxSLY (446 posts) -

ADD a gate where they need to type "The RAp MAn"

#50 Posted by Gamer_152 (14058 posts) -

@ZombiePie said:

@Gamer_152 said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fuck these internet football robots.

At least the spam bots are advertising the superior version of football more than the silly football game non-American and non-civilized countries celebrate.

Joke's on you Zombie, I don't give a fuck about sports.

Moderator