1. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what about 'hiring' a spam-eraser?

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by mammamaia, Jun 22, 2011.

    considering the flood of merde we've been bediviled by lately, and since our two main mods have way too much to do to be able to catch them all quickly enough, and since it's even too much for me to report them all, thanks to the 60-second limit, why not:

    call for a volunteer who'd be willing to be a full-time 'security guard' and can be given spam-deleting/banning powers to search and destroy the stuff and its venal posters on a daily basis?... maybe even twice a day?
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    That's a good idea, mamma. Just someone with limited function...
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    There are a few mods, but they do not get on as often. I think Banzal is a mod but I don't see him on much. The other moderator is Wreybies (I think that's how you spell his name). Other than that, I think this is a good idea to have addional moderators on the WF site. I have reported the spammers manny times, and it gets solved, but there are thimes that the spamming can be out of a moderator's reach.
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Banzai is on more often than you think. Wreybies I don't think has been on in a very long time. Even with Banzai and Cogito though, it's an awful lot to keep up with...
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe the answer is to add several part-time mods, people who, together, would be able to provide additional coverage.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all it would take is one who'd check the site daily and delete the spam, ban the spammers...

    however, it would have to be someone utterly trustworthy, as the power to delete threads and ban members could easily be abused/misused... the 'semi-mod' would have to agree not to use it for any other purpose...
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Agree completely. And also someone who is on a lot, of course, as that would be easiest. The more active the person is, the less Banzai and Cogito would have to do....
     
  8. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    I have an idea on how to approach this.

    What if (assuming we code our own forum in after this $500 limit) all messages we made started with a '~' if not they would be deleted.

    ????

    It may seem awkward but no bot would know about it.




    Or I'd recommend mamma
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm sure the hackers would find a way around that, before we could even get used to having to do it... plus, i don't know how that would stop anything...

    as for me [thanks--i think--for the draft, color!], i've volunteered to wield the axe partially, at least, if that's amenable to the admin... sent an offer off to cog and banzai after posting this thread...

    but the thing is, while i go to many sections regularly, i don't go to all of them, so another hit-person may be needed to pick up what i miss...
     
  10. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I trust most people on this forum, but I'm not sure I like the idea of someone with absolute power to delete and ban who isn't a moderator. Such powers can easily be misused, perhaps even by mistake. For instance, what if I wrote an advertisement in the nonfiction section hoping for a critique on the writing, and someone assumed it was "spam" and banned me? While I'd hope most people can tell the difference, I did have one site that gave me an infraction for posting spam when all I did was post a link to a website that sold books (because someone had asked me for the link). Before we give lay people the power to ban or delete, I want to know that there's a clear definition of what constitutes "spam" and other "merde" so that no one ends up deleting something important or arbitrarily banning.

    I trust you, Maia, but I'd just like to avoid misunderstandings by considering all of the possible problems ahead of time.
     
  11. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    If you know it is advertising and not spamming, and the site clearly prohibits advertising, then don't they have the right away to infract or ban for advertising? Especially if the site has the rules in big in the announcements section? I can see that a moderator ban for "spamming," when the person is "Advertising," so I see what the mistake may come in.
    at

    In the event that some websites do not allow advertising (not refering to the spamming and advertising confusion), it logically makes sense that the moderator would ban for advertising if you don't give the moderator any notification that the person asked you for a link to a website. So I was wondering, in a sense, how would the moderators know that your intend is not to break the rules of the site when you didn't provide any notification to the moderator?

    And I can see where you are coming from, that some spammers are advertising when they are not spamming, so in my definition, what constitutes a spam is when a person intentionally "floods" the forum, such as "adkfsdlfkdsflksfjdskfjskfksdfjsdkfdf," as exposed to "Click here to come to this website. This website is the best site in the world. I'll have your book published," and so on <--- that would be advertisng, and not spamming in my opinion.
     
  12. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    Reggie, I think you misunderstood. I wouldn't post an advertisement anywhere on this site UNLESS I was asking for a critique of the writing and not really advertising the product. An advertisement is a legitimate type of writing that has to be edited like anything else before it can be good. But this was just an arbitrary example to show that there might be some gray areas or moments where people misunderstand what is spam and what isn't. As for my posting a link on a different website, a guy posted, "where can I buy this book" and I replied with a link. I didn't run the link, and I wasn't using it to advertise anything, I was just answering the question, so I'd say that it was rather unfair. Makes no difference, however: just an example of a misunderstanding.

    I've never heard spam defined in the way you're talking about. Almost everyone I know uses it to refer to advertisements that flood emails or websites. But that's exactly why a definition is needed...
     
  13. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Yes, I understand that it is an example. I probably did misunderstand, but it could be an issue with some moderators that they haven't given their members enough information or definition of Spamming and other rules that might be misunderstood.

    I think this is unfair to be banned for giving a link to someone who asked for it. And yeah, I understand what you're saying here.

    I see what spamming is. I help run a chat in a website that defines spamming (not an accurate definition in the chat) as what I said, but it can be differently defined by other members/moderators in different websites.

    By the way, my bad for the misunderstanding you.
     
  14. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I would most certainly think that anyone mods chose would be well aware of the difference between asking for a critique on an advert and an advert spam.

    Also, most people have the sense to look at post count and such. If you've been here for 2 months and have say 30 posts, you're probably not a spammer. You're either legit or have made a mistake (which the mods should deal with). The real problem advert/spammers are the ones who sign on, make 1-10 spam posts and nothing else. They do it immediately. I think the difference should be clear.

    It's pretty rare for an established member to flip out and spam the boards but even when that happens I don't think there is any mistaking it.

    Anyway, I think they either need to do as mamma has suggested (maybe mamma and someone else) or get another full on mod. Then we won't have to worry about accidents or everything the poor person says being taken as an abuse of authority they don't have (we all know it'll happen).
     
  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I already have minor mod powers in Book Discussion, so I would be willing to help out for that particular section of the forum.
     
  16. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Just as a note to help out the mods can there be a sign that says if a post has already been reported so they don't get two messages?
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Mostly we need better tools to block spammers from registering. Before the recent invasion flood, I was able to screen all new members, and was able to identify about 80-90 percent of them before they could post. Obviously, I wlll not say here what methods I have used to identify them.

    But proactive spam-killing, and even after-the-fact spam extermination, requires full mod powers. It's not the kind of powers that can be handed out lightly, and even with the care Daniel has taken in choosing mods, we have had some spectacularly bad experiences with mods who should never have been given those powers.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    understood... sorry if that was a bad idea, cog... was just trying to find a way to get you some help in ridding us of the plague...

    so, fellow members, i guess it's best for us to simply be patient and let our guys in the white hats go on taking care of the problem... and bless 'em for doing so!
     
  19. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it was a bad idea. Even though Cog makes good points as to why it would not be workable, I'm glad you brought it up. It highlights what a tough job it is to keep this forum functioning as well as it does.

    There have been a couple of times in the past when I've given Cog a hard time over certain decisions he's made. I didn't realize at the time just what it meant to keeping the site running this well, so I took a narrow view. Cog, I apologize.
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, it's not a bad idea. It's just that what it really means is addong another moderator, and one whose sole role is as an enforcer. It's hard enough finding moderators, and I believe only one who is emotionally invested in what the site stands for who can keep doing it with any kind of balance.

    There have certainly been enough times I've wanted to just walk away and never return.
     
  21. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Cogito and Banzai have done a fanastic job catching spam. It takes a lot of time - more than you would think. I'm open to taking on an additional moderator if needed, but am also hesitant because finding the right person for the job can be difficult. And as Cog said, what we really need is new anti-spam tools. I hope that once we make the software upgrade we'll see a big reduction in spam and such attempts.
     
  22. Kontrast
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    Kontrast Member

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    I'm assuming we've got captchas? I know I JUST joined like two weeks ago, but my memory is a literal black hole and I can't remember if we had to type in random #s/words in order to register or not...

    Your other option is admin approval....this will force new members to wait until an admin/mod approves of their account before they are allowed to post- I know that's a serious pain, but they could check email address IP addys (to see if its a previous offender) Most people who just want to share their work would be willing to wait 1-2 days, but spammers and punks would just go to an easier forum.

    just ideas! cheers!
     
  23. Cain
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    Cain Member

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    Spam like this is all automated, having to wait a few days for approval doesn't particularly bother a computer program. Plus they're pretty good at recognising captchas now. Really the most effective thing that can be done is upgrading to v4 of the forum software, which is obviously the plan.

    I think I was asked a question when I signed up too - it asked me what the earth revolves around. I tried Sun, 'The sun', even its axis, but couldn't get the correct answer. I went with a different question in the end, but I'm still intrigued what the answer should have been...
     
  24. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    I'm sure I'm underestimating the time & expertise that goes into being a spam executioner, but it seems like the clearer cut cases of pron/spam wouldn't require all that much discretion.

    I mean, if a person's "job" was merely to shoot down shamelessly egregious offenders, as in compartmentalized only to that - even if it required full mod powers - I imagine common sense, free time & the requisite technical skill would be the only/most pertinent qualifications. Of course, the "with great mod power comes great responsibility" thing is serious, but I don't see how a trust-worthy volunteer with a level head could screw up much if their only duty was to kill the blatant "XXX HUGE SCHLONGS/BOOBS XXX" threads. More ambiguous/borderline threads could be referred to the elder mods, or something. If that makes sense. Not to minimize the gravity of the proposition of this thread, but yeah. Seems do-able, to me at least.

    Otherwise, looking forward to the software update. Hopefully it helps.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Because to keep it under control, we need to recognize and ban spammers BEFORE they take a huge dump on the site.
     

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