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From Rory O'Farrell <ofarr...@iol.ie>
Subject Re: Response to spam on the user forum
Date Mon, 23 Apr 2012 16:46:09 GMT
On Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:23:28 -0600
"F C. Costero" <fjcc.apache@gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks for the input Rob. I will pass it on to the forum. Some of the
> volunteers commented over the weekend that it was more like a denial
> of service attack. At one point the forum did become unavailable but
> Hagar contacted Infra and it was back on line promptly. A few spam
> messages are still coming in, at a rate I would have called high
> before last week, but things remain vastly better than the weekend.
> Francis
> 
> 
> >
> > What you are seeing is odd.  A successful spammer does not work this
> > way.  They want their posts to survive and persist, to have impact. To
> > build up Google Pagerank they want posts on 400 different websites
> > rather than 400 posts on one website.  It doesn't make sense to send
> > 400 to one website, since that will obviously draw attention from
> > moderators.  This sounds more like a denial of service attack than
> > spam.
> >
> > But a few ideas that might work, based on my experience running forums:
> >
> > 1) Change the CAPTCHA used in your registration.  What you have right
> > now is too easy.
> >
> > 2) Much forum spam is targeted at getting links to raise their search
> > engine position. You can remove that incentive by ensuring that all
> > links given by users are given the rel="nofollow" attribute.  Most
> > major sites, like Wikipedia, online newspapers, etc., do this in order
> > to reduce the incentive to add spam.   I have the impression that the
> > spammers search the web for high Pagerank websites that do not cloak
> > their URL's with nofollow.  These sites are targeted by spammers.   If
> > we get off that list, then we'll get less spam.
> >
> > 3) Longer term, maybe there is some way we can run forum posts through
> > Apache's SpamAssasin?  It would probably require some custom app dev
> > with phpBB, but it could result in a very sophisticated anti-spam
> > solution.
> >
> > -Rob
> >
> >
> >> Francis
> 

The situation is improved on what it was, but still unacceptable.  I have Moderator privileges
on the Forum and in 3.5 hours I have banned at least 15 spammers and directly deleted their
postings/topics rather than move them to holding locations, as I see no need to clutter these
up with undoubted spam; there have been sometimes as many as five or six postings by a spammer.
Acknak and Hagar have also been active during that period and I do not include their totals;
the moderator logs which are accessible to Apache Observers will show the extent of the problem,
which a visit to the main pages of the Forum will not, as we are trying to keep the Forum
running as normally as possible.


-- 
Rory O'Farrell <ofarrwrk@iol.ie>

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