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Paul
06-12-2015, 10:08 AM
When you see spam, please click the little Report Post (small triangle) icon.

Starting today, we're trying a mod which automatically moves the message to the moderation queue (removing it from public view) when 3 people report it. Hopefully this can help reduce the time spam is visible on the forum, especially on the weekends when Robin and I aren't always monitoring the forum closely.

PaulStoffregen
06-12-2015, 11:22 AM
After you report a post, the triangle icon is supposed to disappear. Initially this wasn't working. I think it's fixed now.

There doesn't seem to be any way to see how many other people have reported the post.

When you finish the report, there should be a 33% chance your report will be the one that causes the spam to vanish from public view. If your report was only the first or second, the disappearance of the triangle icon is your visual queue that your report has been registered in the count towards automatically removing the spam.

We'll be keeping an eye out for whether this auto-moderate feature is really working. If you see it do anything strange, especially any database errors, please save a screenshot and post it on this thread.

robsoles
06-12-2015, 01:53 PM
This is both brilliant and mildly disturbing all at the same time - tho, I imagine that posts which are flagged by three unique users are very likely spam but they will only be jailed (or similar) and you guys can rescue them if anything is unfairly condemned by more than two users.

I am going to report my own post here using the abuse button, if the abuse button disappears I will soon be in bed - if not then it won't take long to post that fact below and then soon be in bed :)

HWGuy
06-12-2015, 02:04 PM
In the overview the removed spam post is still visible.

4478

PaulStoffregen
06-12-2015, 05:24 PM
In the overview the removed spam post is still visible.

Yeah, it's not perfect. The message isn't deleted, only placed into the moderation queue.

Looks like vbulletin shows the latest not-visible message in that summary. I do not believe there's much we can do about. :(



This is both brilliant and mildly disturbing all at the same time - tho, I imagine that posts which are flagged by three unique users are very likely spam but they will only be jailed (or similar) and you guys can rescue them if anything is unfairly condemned by more than two users.

Yup, the message is only moderated, not deleted. It's easy to approve it, so it returns to normal visibility.

The same happens to messages caught by the Akismet spam filter (https://akismet.com/), which is applied to the first several messages posted from any newly-registered user. That filter is our second line of spam defense, and it does indeed automatically moderate a good portion of the spammers that get through registration. Without it we'd all see at least 2 to 3 times the amount of spam (all the extra filtered spam is invisible to everyone by Robin). But occasionally Akismet has false positives, which Robin manually approves.

Indeed 3 people (or 3 sock puppet accounts) could collude to abuse this new reporting feature. But such fraud would be very readily apparent to us (especially Robin).

So far, I don't recall anyone ever reporting any post with any sort of fraudulent intent. Just a few reports in the entire history of this forum have been non-spam related, and those were indeed reports of cases where people were out of line or abusing the forum rules in some way. Of course we'll adapt if it becomes a problem, but every experience so far is we have a really great group of people using this forum regularly, except the few spammers than make it through the registration process.

defragster
06-12-2015, 05:41 PM
This is both brilliant and mildly disturbing all at the same time - tho, I imagine that posts which are flagged by three unique users are very likely spam but they will only be jailed (or similar) and you guys can rescue them if anything is unfairly condemned by more than two users.

I am going to report my own post here using the abuse button, if the abuse button disappears I will soon be in bed - if not then it won't take long to post that fact below and then soon be in bed :)

I reported this post above as SPAM - since rob declared it as SPAM - my triangle icon went away as promised.

Making this post to see what happens to my QUOTED text that refers to the post if the post goes away - if a third person calls the post spam.

Of course once returned as NON spam it will work - I wonder if I get the triangle then to SPAM it again - which of course would get me banned ;-)

robsoles
06-13-2015, 01:37 AM
Popped in on my phone.

Quoted text will remain even if admins nuke the original post, if quote links to post link will be broken (vb may not link deleted sources of quotes tho) - I have quoted stuff that has been nuked in (vb) forums before.

Admins/mods would have to edit the post quoting the undesirable if so driven.

(feel free to be third to flag my indicated post, make it disappear and we confirm the behaviour of this install of vB)

MichaelMeissner
06-15-2015, 12:10 AM
I had my first spam pop-up (Becker Mexico or whatever) since the new spam support went in. Evidently by the time I hit the return on reporting spam, it had already gotten the 3 strikes and you are out, and I got "Invalid thread, please contact the administrator". I don't know if it is important to catch this case, and say the thread has already been quarantined, or figure that most people reporting spam would figure it out on their own.

PaulStoffregen
06-15-2015, 08:43 AM
From the info I can see on reported posts, your's was indeed the 3rd report that sent it to moderation. You spared many others from seeing that spam for the rest of the weekend! :)

Looks like the mod we installed (http://ozzmodz.com/forumdisplay.php/160-Moderate-Reported-Posts) doesn't change the Report Post behavior of sending you back to the thread where you reported the post, even though it's just put it into the moderation queue. That's gotta be a bit confusing or unexpected when the thread is no longer visible because it's only post is now moderated.

vbulletin could also do so much better than merely "invalid thread" when you try to view something that's recently been moderated. But then it could do a lot better with tons of basic usability stuff.

It seems unlikely this software behavior will change. I'm certainly not looking to divert engineering time into forum programming. Hopefully if anyone else wonders why they get "invalid thread", they might find this conversation.

PaulStoffregen
06-15-2015, 09:02 AM
Robin and I talked about possibly setting up a special "Spam Cop" user group. Membership would be on a volunteer basis, with specific approval from Robin, not based on anything automatic like number of posts.

Anyone in the Spam Cop group would bypass the 3 reports requirement. Your reports would immediately moderate any message. The downside to this power is you can't report any messages for any other reasons, without instantly removing them from public view.

Obviously we'd only add a fairly small number of trusted people that Spam Cop group. Anyone want to volunteer?

defragster
06-15-2015, 09:19 AM
I'll give it a try. I've seen a few movie things and noted them over time - Helping SPAM go is good.

MichaelMeissner
06-15-2015, 11:30 AM
Sure, I'll volunteer.

If you can easily change the verbiage of the screen where you are asking for the reason to add a sentence explaining that they might get the invalid link, it might be useful. If it is more effort than just modifying some text that is put up, it is probably not worth the effort.

robsoles
06-15-2015, 01:30 PM
Always possible to change verbiage, nice if it is a config'able thing but an easier thing to change in the PHP than, for example, search result output for specific types of searches.

If no better candidate from my time zone volunteers quick enough then I may as well volunteer till my time zone has other volunteers.

I am GMT + 10:00

defragster
06-17-2015, 07:56 AM
I just SPAM'd this Movie thread: https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/28930-Dope-2015-Movie-Review?p=75704#post75704

It didn't ZAP it - so the designation 'Spam Cop' not bestowed at this time.

PaulStoffregen
06-17-2015, 10:56 AM
This anti-spam measure seems to be working. Three people reported this latest spam, within 10 minutes of each other, and not long after the spam was posted.

I saw the reports a couple hours later, after it was already moderated, so this really did cut the time the spam was visible. On the weekends the effect is much greater, since Robin and I sometimes take many hours away from the computers!

When/if the "Spam Cop" group happens, Robin will be administering it. If you haven't heard anything directly from Robin, you can safely assume nothing with "Spam Cop" setting has been set up.

Constantin
06-17-2015, 11:46 AM
Seeing that I've successfully spammed this forum about 700 times... :p

Count me in if you need volunteers! :cool:

GremlinWrangler
06-17-2015, 01:18 PM
Happy to be added to Spam squashing detail

Robin
06-17-2015, 02:45 PM
I'm doing some testing on the new Spam Cop group. I'll be adding users to it today and tomorrow.

mortonkopf
06-17-2015, 02:58 PM
happy to be added if needed - UK time zone might be useful?

Wozzy
06-17-2015, 06:25 PM
I'm happy to help also.
I'm in the US Eastern Time Zone and I frequently check the New Posts page.

mortonkopf
06-29-2015, 12:44 PM
Well, the spam reporting process seems to work. Just reported one that was only up a couple of minutes and the thread is already invalid. good work.

Wozzy
06-29-2015, 02:19 PM
I tagged that one too.

I probably shouldn't have... But I noticed that he was still online, so I PMed him and politely asked him to "Please go away".

el_supremo
09-12-2015, 07:25 PM
There seems to be a lot of spammers today. If you need an extra pair of eyes, I'm in CST timezone (UTC-6 year-round).

Pete

defragster
09-12-2015, 07:56 PM
See it - Tag it : IIRC the 'Report Post' icon 'Triangle !' is there for all registered users and three hits and a post is sent to oblivion for PJRC review.

PaulStoffregen
09-13-2015, 12:25 AM
Yes, please report all spam. Just click the little black triangle. Three reports triggers automatic moderation (effectively deleting) the message.

We're suffering a spam attack right now. It'll be at least another 14 hours or so until we can actually *do* anything, like adding more IP numbers/netblocks to the ban list.

In the meantime, please do report any spam messages that get through. Those reports really do help!

Robin
09-13-2015, 01:17 AM
I cleaned up the spam and I banned several accounts that haven't posted yet, but are almost certainly spammers.

Robin
09-13-2015, 03:07 AM
We updated the blocked IP list and added a few ranges of IP numbers. Pretty much all the spammers from today came from the same block of IP #s (now banned). It's kinda like playing whack-a-mole.

jimmayhugh
09-13-2015, 02:00 PM
Robin and I talked about possibly setting up a special "Spam Cop" user group. Membership would be on a volunteer basis, with specific approval from Robin, not based on anything automatic like number of posts.

Anyone in the Spam Cop group would bypass the 3 reports requirement. Your reports would immediately moderate any message. The downside to this power is you can't report any messages for any other reasons, without instantly removing them from public view.

Obviously we'd only add a fairly small number of trusted people that Spam Cop group. Anyone want to volunteer?

You can count me in if you'd like.

PaulStoffregen
09-14-2015, 02:24 AM
The spam attack is still going. Robin just added more IP ranges to the block list, which seems to have slowed them down a bit, but many of the spams seem to be coming from infected PCs all over the world.

Please keep reporting the spam. 3 reports automatically removes the message.

If the attack keeps up or gets worse, we'll look into more drastic measures, like disallowing links in the first few posted messages. But I *really* want to avoid that, since links let people ask better questions.

Constantin
09-14-2015, 03:21 AM
I enjoy playing spam whack a mole. ;-D

MichaelMeissner
09-23-2015, 04:12 AM
Given the increased spam levels, maybe the system should keep track in our profiles of the number of spam messages reported.

JBeale
09-23-2015, 05:08 AM
The spam I've seen in the past few days here has all contained in the body just a few words, which were all forming a URL link, and nothing else. I'm pretty sure no legitimate post on this board has ever had that characteristic (at least when it was a new user and starting a new thread). So I guess a script could detect that easily enough. Now of course spammers can easily change that, but it's a step...

defragster
09-23-2015, 08:25 AM
The three report rule is working pretty well though doing this now would probably be a good choice for a select few and you have history to look at now.


Robin and I talked about possibly setting up a special "Spam Cop" user group. Membership would be on a volunteer basis, with specific approval from Robin, not based on anything automatic like number of posts.

Anyone in the Spam Cop group would bypass the 3 reports requirement. Your reports would immediately moderate any message. The downside to this power is you can't report any messages for any other reasons, without instantly removing them from public view.

Obviously we'd only add a fairly small number of trusted people that Spam Cop group. Anyone want to volunteer?

I re-volunteer . . .

MichaelMeissner
09-23-2015, 11:31 AM
Sure, I'll volunteer.

Constantin
09-23-2015, 12:03 PM
I'd be happy to help too... now where is that red helmet of mine?
5139
(image courtesy of empire online)

Wozzy
09-23-2015, 12:19 PM
Where's My Spam Hammer?
5140

Wozzy
09-23-2015, 01:12 PM
Has anyone dared to click on one of those sports streaming links?
Maybe if someone has a virtual machine set up they could tell if these are actually links to some nefarious location.

Wayne
09-23-2015, 03:37 PM
Did not know about this or forgot.. Will do next time I see SPAM..

potatotron
09-23-2015, 07:49 PM
Has anyone dared to click on one of those sports streaming links?
Maybe if someone has a virtual machine set up they could tell if these are actually links to some nefarious location.

I just tried this with a Win7 VM on the recent spam message "He could have just distanced".

The link takes you to a Reddit post from a new user with a single post, which has nothing but boilerplate text about free game streaming and a link. That link takes you to a page titled "France vs Romania" and "Get your desirable channels here" with links to the signup on onlinesports.com; each link has an extra parameter past the page. Maybe an affiliate code? Maybe the whole thing is a way to get a piece of revenue sharing from people who actually do sign up?

Interestingly pjrc.com is definitely not the only site being targeted by this campaign; googling "france vs romania rugby watch online" turned up this one (WARNING: The link below is OK, but don't follow any links on that page).

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/watch-romania-vs-france-live-stream-rugby-online--2#/story

Constantin
09-23-2015, 09:27 PM
Likely this is a bot net designed to drive clicks. I wonder if the vbulletin spam killer software allows Boolean parsing along the lines of 'first post' and 'nothing but a link'?