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spam - get rid of it


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#1 Lynette

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 11:00 PM

If my home computer and a simple spam guard can stop all this crap getting into my mail box, why can't WOS stop all this crap getting into the discussion forum? I'm disappointed that WOS can't deal with this stuff.

#2 Matthew Winn

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 08:52 AM

It's not as easy to fight spam as you think. Spamming is big business and spammers put a hell of a lot of work into trying to break through anything you place in their way. The forum does use a captcha mechanism, but as we've seen the spammers can evade it to create their own registered accounts for spamming.

There are other ways to interfere with spammers but they inconvenience users as well. One way is to require validation from an email account: you register, an email is sent to you, and you must reply to activate your registration. This can work well, but only if the email account is a real ISP account. A free webmail account (such as gmail) is no good because the spammers can set up thousands of their own accounts to use. Block registrations from gmail and similar accounts and you stop the spammers, but you also prevent anyone without a true email address from registering.

Some sort of content-sniffing would work, but that would require modification to the software by its authors and is out of Whatsonstage's hands. Our spammers are search engine spammers: they're posting bunches of links to improve their ratings with search engines. That can be stopped by putting a limit on the number of links in a post: for example, saying that if there is more than one link in a post then there must be at least ten words for each link. If not, the post is silently discarded along with the registration used to create it. Then normal posters could still post links as part of their text but posts made almost entirely of links would disappear. But, as I say, that requires changes to the program. I doubt it's something that our admin can do.

The situation has improved. I've seen no recent sign of normad (who has, I hope, lost his or her internet access), and there's less spam than there used to be. The best thing we can do is to report spam as we find it so it can be removed before others see it.
I have always hated eggs. I remember back when I was a sperm I tried to head-butt one. It did not end well.




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