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Thread: Phew. Can we please get rid of that forced moderation for new members' posts?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Kuhman View Post
    <snip>
    As to links, I would like to see them disallowed completely. There is too much potential for abuse, including completely changing the target of the link after moderation. Whenever I see a link, even if it looks legitimate, it is a red flag to me to pay extra attention to the post, and track down just who this new member is, what other sites he posts on, check for spam history on his IP address as well as his email address, and so on. Complaining about not being able to post links makes the flag even redder.
    aren't spam posts pretty obvious.

    if a post is so badly written that you think it might be spam with a spam link, but you're not sure because it looks legit too, then why not check the link?

    somebody complaining about not being able to post a link shouldn't in itself be a red flag. If they eloquently explain their
    problem and it looks legit but they complain that they can't post a link, and a link would help them explain their problem, then it doesn't sound that suspicious.

    have you ever had a spammer complain that he can't post a link.. and say you then say it's not clear why he needs the link, does he then respond with a very convincing explanation and a link to a very legit looking website? Mostly you just need to look at the link or hover over it, to see it is spam.

    On a related note. 10+ years ago I knew spammers would eventually figure out that their spam would be more likely to be opened if they put 're...' in the subject. Unfortunately they started doing that, but it's still easy to see that it is spam.

  2. #12
    Moderator Moderator
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    From my experience I've never seen problems with links of the approved users.

    On the other hand it's very easy to recognize spam post of new users; either I highlight the URL and see the spam link or I follow the link and look over the website. If it is a spam posting, it will be deleted and the user banned forever.

    Some times spamer try to post something which looks like nonsense but without a link and they hope to get the "approved" status by the time. In this case I send them a warning pm and I didn't see them coming back with other trial postings.

    A wise decision of the administrators has been, to limit the time for users to edit their postings. Therefore it is impossible to insert spam links within the posting many days or weeks later.

    Perhaps Clinton or Harry may consider to extend the time limit to 24 or 48 hours. Sometimes users complain about the current short time limit. And I think none of the approved users will abuse such an extended time limit for spam.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Werner P. Schulz View Post
    From my experience I've never seen problems with links of the approved users.

    <snip>
    A wise decision of the administrators has been, to limit the time for users to edit their postings. Therefore it is impossible to insert spam links within the posting many days or weeks later.

    Perhaps Clinton or Harry may consider to extend the time limit to 24 or 48 hours. Sometimes users complain about the current short time limit. And I think none of the approved users will abuse such an extended time limit for spam.
    do you mean this restriction on just new users, or on approved users too?

    and perhaps with new users, it's possible to be automatic in allowing(or sending for approval) edits that don't modify or add links.

  4. #14
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    It's only a thought of me to extend the time limit. Even if the administrators will do it, it would be their own decision, in which way they will do it.

    But I think it isnt't necessary to differ between new or approved users. Either a spamer insert a spam link immediately or he starts in any thread with a nonsense posting like for example:
    "Very interesting message. I agree with you."

  5. #15
    well, if you think that that post should be allowed in as a first message, then ok, but then you could have a second layer of approval.

    for example it's beyond doubt that you're not a spammer so there's no need for you to be under any extended time limit for editing your posts.

    I suppose that it's beyond reasonable doubt that i'm not a spammer. And i'd rather not have a 1 day or any time limit re editing my posts.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werner P. Schulz View Post
    From my experience I've never seen problems with links of the approved users.
    Hi.. Long time registered, just hadn't posted. Some sites I've been on over the years will allow immediate posting but will strip all external links for a prescribed amount of time. Seems like it was a WEEK or even TWO before new users had full posting privileges on the sites I'm remembering..

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by terapin View Post
    aren't spam posts pretty obvious.
    Most are. And there are many clues, including bad grammar (I'm not going to list all of the clues here, for reasons that should be clear.) But lots of members here don't have English as a first language, and even of those who do, many wasted their taxpayer funded education and are barely literate enough to post. So grammar isn't an adequate indication of spammers.

    But while most spammers are easy to spot, there are devious spammers out there. I've caught people come back and edit a perfectly acceptable post to include spam after the post was moderated. This happened on the old forum software and there are now checks in place to hopefully catch it.

    I even had a case where someone was praising a boot-able Linux on Flash-drive release and suggesting it was so good that he sent the author extra money. I made an off-hand comment that this sounded like hype, and he responded so aggressively denying the implication that I looked into it further, even though I had not be inclined to at first when I saw the previous post. What I learned was that there were three members here all singing the praise and wonders of that flash-drive, including him. They posted back and forth discussing it. And they all posted from the same IP address (even though they claimed to be from different countries), an address that I was able to trace back to the seller of the Linux flash-drive software. I had seen those threads before, but they looked sincere enough to not raise suspicion. It was only after the spammer had pushed his luck and became rude about my questioning his legitimacy that I looked into it enough to find reason to remove his false and misleading spam posts.

    We have learned a lot in fighting spam. We have tools that let us check a lot of things about a new member. Some of it is automated and comes into play automatically by the forum software, some still comes down to a human effort. Back in the days before Clinton took over the site, the previous owner EADZ wanted everyone to be able to post immediately without moderation. The problems were major. I wrote software to analyze the logs, and we could see that there were a hundred or more new spammer sign-ups for every legitimate user sign-up. Many accounts were never used, many were allowed to age for weeks or months before the spammer came back and started posting. We also had a lot of problems with real damage done to both the forums and the wiki by spammers; in some cases information was completely lost and Eadz couldn't recover it even from the backups.

    The current system is a good system. Users who think that their extremely important posts are being delayed for a few minutes or even a hour or two might be better served by using that time to see if their question hasn't been asked and answered many times before. But in any case the people who are best qualified to see you post and help resolve it will see it as soon as they long in, simply because the moderation process requires them to see it.
    Last edited by Harry Kuhman; 07-18-2014 at 10:21 PM.
    ---
    Verifying of md5 checksum and burning a CD at slow speed are important.

  8. #18
    Administrator Site Admin-
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    Quote Originally Posted by terapin View Post
    aren't spam posts pretty obvious.
    You've got no idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Kuhman View Post
    The current system is a good system.
    Thank you, Harry, that means a lot to me. I remember how much we discussed the spam problem and the should we/shouldn't we move to a new system and all the backups of "bad" email addresses and "bad" IPs we took and all the other stress we - mainly you - handled.

    Everyone else, you'll just have to trust me on this, every single one of the current restrictions is there for a very good reason and has been put in place because we've figured out over the years many of the tricks spammers use. Most spammers are idiots and give themselves away easily. Others are a lot smarter, a lot more devious and sneak in promotion of their websites, or link drops, in very cunning ways - hidden text with links, white text, punctuation marks with links etc. are the EASY ones to spot!

    I appreciate some restrictions imposed by what is, after all, an automated system can be frustrating but as the person who has first hand experience of the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of spam messages we've deleted, the thousands of suspect IPs we kept tracking, the thousands of hours Harry spent cleaning the site of spam, I'm very satisfied that we've got a good balance of minimum disruption to genuine users while keeping spam at bay so the site is clean for YOU to use (without having to trawl through a lot of junk to get at the information you need).

    For every post you see in public there are more than a hundred (spam posts) that have been blocked by the system! Anyone who wants to volunteer to clean that spam manually is welcome to PM me with their proposal to lift any of the current restrictions.

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