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Thread: Please report spam - 3 reports moderates the message

  1. #1
    Administrator Paul's Avatar
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    Please report spam - 3 reports moderates the message

    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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by PaulStoffregen; 06-12-2015 at 11:27 AM.

  3. #3
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    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

  4. #4
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    In the overview the removed spam post is still visible.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	xCapture.PNG 
Views:	292 
Size:	24.5 KB 
ID:	4478

  5. #5
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HWGuy View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by robsoles View Post
    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, 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.
    Last edited by PaulStoffregen; 06-12-2015 at 05:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robsoles View Post
    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 ;-)

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    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)

  8. #8
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    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 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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    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?

  11. #11
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    I'll give it a try. I've seen a few movie things and noted them over time - Helping SPAM go is good.

  12. #12
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by MichaelMeissner; 06-15-2015 at 11:34 AM.

  13. #13
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    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

  14. #14
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    I just SPAM'd this Movie thread: https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/28930...5704#post75704

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

  15. #15
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    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.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Seeing that I've successfully spammed this forum about 700 times...

    Count me in if you need volunteers!

  17. #17
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    Happy to be added to Spam squashing detail

  18. #18
    Administrator Robin's Avatar
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    I'm doing some testing on the new Spam Cop group. I'll be adding users to it today and tomorrow.

  19. #19
    Senior Member mortonkopf's Avatar
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    happy to be added if needed - UK time zone might be useful?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Wozzy's Avatar
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    I'm happy to help also.
    I'm in the US Eastern Time Zone and I frequently check the New Posts page.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mortonkopf's Avatar
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    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.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Wozzy's Avatar
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    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".

  23. #23
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    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

  24. #24
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    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.

  25. #25
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    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!

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