Author Topic: Upcoming spambot purge  (Read 10262 times)

eytanz

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on: March 28, 2011, 08:45:24 AM
Over the existence of the forums, the member list has become clogged with bot and fake accounts. Of the currently registered 6500+ members, less than a third have ever made a post; some of the non-posters may be genuine lurkers but the majority are simply bot accounts.

In an effort to make the member list actually useful again and to reduce the possibility of spammers, we're going to hold a bot purge within the next few days. We will delete any account that meets the following criteria:

- Has never posted
- Has not logged into the forum within the last 45 days.

That will eliminate most of them, and is unlikely to affect almost anyone who is a real person who reads the forums and just happens to not post. In addition, we will then go over the remaining 0 post accounts and delete all of those which we think are likely bots.

What does this mean to you? Well, if you have ever posted to the forums, you have nothing to worry about. If you are a human being with an account that just never posts, and you want to make sure we don't delete you - just make a post. It doesn't have to be a very contentful post, just reply here saying "I'm a person" or something like that, and we'll know you shouldn't be deleted. Or, if you really don't want to post - just wait, and see if your account is deleted, and start a new one if it is.



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Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 04:16:17 PM
What if I'm unsure whether I'm really a person?

Seriously, though, good on yer for trimming down the membership list to actual human beings.  I can't abide those robot spies (even if I do turn out to be one of them).



Talia

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Reply #2 on: March 28, 2011, 04:52:25 PM
What if I'm unsure whether I'm really a person?


We have ways of ascertaining these things.

Metal probes are involved.



Bdoomed

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Reply #3 on: March 28, 2011, 06:40:09 PM
What if I'm unsure whether I'm really a person?


We have ways of ascertaining these things.

Metal probes are involved.

What?!  No fair, I only got paper probes.


Also, stickied, news'd
« Last Edit: March 28, 2011, 06:42:03 PM by Bdoomed »

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Runkmud

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Reply #4 on: March 28, 2011, 10:36:30 PM
I'm glad this was one of the first threads I read!



Ocicat

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Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 02:33:31 AM
Really, I'll point out that if you're reading this - it doesn't effect you.  You've logged in recently.  But if you have friends who haven't logged in recently or ever posted, it might effect them...



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 03:15:51 AM
What if I'm unsure whether I'm really a person?

Seriously, though, good on yer for trimming down the membership list to actual human beings.  I can't abide those robot spies (even if I do turn out to be one of them).


Didn't Anne Leckie read an awesome Miniature about this topic a year ago or so?

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Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 02:12:33 PM
What if I'm unsure whether I'm really a person?

Seriously, though, good on yer for trimming down the membership list to actual human beings.  I can't abide those robot spies (even if I do turn out to be one of them).


Didn't Anne Leckie read an awesome Miniature about this topic a year ago or so?

Ha, yeah I remember that one.  Maybe I'm weird but I do wonder from time to time if the people I meet online are really just sophisticated AIs being tested on the public.  I mean, i have yet to meet any of my writing contacts in person.  I've talked to a couple on the phone, so I suppose those people are mostly off the hook.




Wilson Fowlie

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Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 10:08:02 PM
I have better evidence than most that I'm a real person - text-to-voice technology isn't that good yet.  :D

(Of course, that's not to say that I'm not a robot who has subjugated a story reader.)

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham


eytanz

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Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 11:42:14 AM
Ok, my current plan is to go ahead with the purge tomorrow. Anyone who is concerned about this, this is your last chance to speak up.



eytanz

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Reply #10 on: April 04, 2011, 04:36:13 PM
And done! Nearly 5000 accounts have been removed, which include all accounts with 0 posts that have not logged in in the past 45 days, as well as all accounts with 0 posts that had a spam website link, either in the "website" field or in their signature. No account that ever posted was deleted.

My sincere apologies if you are a real person who never posted and were away for a while and your account got accidentally deleted. Please create a new account, and drop me or another moderator a PM and we'll make sure we never do it again (or, just post somewhere).

From now on, we'll try to monitor the new membership to identify spammers more quickly - we already have a pretty good response to spammers that actually create spam threads, but I'm hoping the problem of fake accounts that sit there with malware/scam/porn links will go away too.



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Reply #11 on: April 07, 2011, 01:50:47 PM
And done! Nearly 5000 accounts have been removed, which include all accounts with 0 posts that have not logged in in the past 45 days, as well as all accounts with 0 posts that had a spam website link, either in the "website" field or in their signature. No account that ever posted was deleted.

My sincere apologies if you are a real person who never posted and were away for a while and your account got accidentally deleted. Please create a new account, and drop me or another moderator a PM and we'll make sure we never do it again (or, just post somewhere).

From now on, we'll try to monitor the new membership to identify spammers more quickly - we already have a pretty good response to spammers that actually create spam threads, but I'm hoping the problem of fake accounts that sit there with malware/scam/porn links will go away too.

Hooray!  Thanks for putting in the work to do that, eytanz.




Corcoran

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Reply #12 on: June 16, 2011, 04:01:04 PM
I have a problem and find no way to post it.
If I log in from my shop, everything is ok.
If I try to log in at home, I get a Message that says

blabla you are trying to log in from somwhere where spambot where created, so you are not allowed in.
If you see this message and are real send an email at this adress....

If I send an email it comes back as Can not be delivered...no such adresss

What can I do, I dont want to log in only at work, Iam real, and the security at home is a lot higher than here,
what could possibly be wrong ?

Best regards
Michael



eytanz

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Reply #13 on: June 16, 2011, 04:34:28 PM
Corcoran - sorry for this; the forum is currently undergoing a sustained attack by spambots, and we've been putting blocks in place to reduce the problem - unfortunately, you seem to have triggered a false positive. I tweaked the settings, and I think that now you should have no more problem logging in or posting from home - please let me know if I was succesful.

(For reference, the problem wasn't your home itself, it's your internet provider, which has been the source of many bots. But I don't want that to prevent you or anyone else who is interested in the forums from participating).