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From Dave Fisher <>
Subject Re: Response to spam on the user forum
Date Mon, 23 Apr 2012 04:29:24 GMT

I have only praise for how this difficult situation has been handled.

Thanks for the report.


On Apr 22, 2012, at 7:22 PM, F C. Costero wrote:

> The forum volunteers would like to inform the PPMC of recent events
> and actions on the user forum. I offered to write this initial message
> since the moderators have had a long and frustrating day. I hope I
> avoid missing any important details.
> Spam postings have been an increasing problem this year as noted in
> Hagar's summaries posted on Jan. 31, Feb. 29 and April 1.
> In the last week and especially the week end, the problem has gotten
> so bad that the forum became nearly unusable. Hundreds of message
> would be posted in a few hours. Nearly all of the posts were for
> streaming video sites, with absolutely no attempt to disguise their
> intent.   I personally saw more than 400 spam messages listed in
> response to the View New Messages link after being off line for less
> than 12 hours and moderators had probably been on line in the meantime
> deleting spam and banning users. Adding a dead time to user accounts
> so that messages could not be posted in rapid succession did not
> sufficiently reduce the spam. Today the registration process was
> briefly disabled to allow the moderators to remove messages and
> implement a user group for New Users. Hagar posted the following
> message:
> "I've taken some immediate action (sorry, unilateral but something had
> to be done to allow new users quickly):
> - I've reactivated the registration (by mail for the moment, not by mod)
> - I've activated the Newly registered and I'm restricting their
> permissions, preventing any BBCode
> - I've set the limit to 10 posts to get to the Registered status (not
> sure if it's automatic or not yet)
> Perhaps we should see how it works as a test. I think that the
> spammers do use BBCode for their links. If disabling it is enough,
> perhaps these basic counter measures will have some effect.
> Next step would be the moderation of posts from the Newly registered users."
> After these changes a few spam messages have appeared, but at a
> greatly reduced rate. This may be a result of the changes or just the
> time of day at the spam source. As Hagar stated in his message, the
> next step will be moderation of posts from new users. This is not a
> desirable action because it will make the forum less accessible and
> will greatly increase the moderator work load. If implemented, it may
> require the appointment of more moderators.
> I believe any suggestions from the wider Apache community for
> addressing this problem would be very welcome. Events have moved very
> quickly and there has not been time for the volunteers and moderators
> to have a thorough discussion of how to handle the new spam
> environment.
> Francis

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