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"freak" and recent threads

by merlyn (Sage)
on May 05, 2004 at 12:57 UTC ( #350754=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I'm seeing a pattern here: While any single question taken alone might be innocent enough... together these appear to be some attempt at fraud, perhaps on a pay-per-click system somewhere.

I'd be cautious about answering these or any future question from freak. Unless the answers are either funny or distracting. {grin}

-- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

update: My spider sense was tingling at the right time: In Re: Re: HTTP_REFERER "control", freak writes:
i want to build a bot that will "earn" on popups. and now can somebody please answer my question.

I think the phrase here is "busted!".

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: "freak" and recent threads
by Fletch (Chancellor) on May 05, 2004 at 13:02 UTC

    Hear hear. I was about to make a similar comment myself. Maybe he'll get the idea after things like Re: Hide real IP that people here aren't going to help him defraud people.

Re: "freak" and recent threads
by blue_cowdawg (Monsignor) on May 05, 2004 at 14:03 UTC

        While any single question taken alone might be innocent enough

    Nope. After seeing the top 4 questions each on their own I had my suspicions already. Or maybe the sleep I have been deprived of lately chasing worms (gaobot/phatbot and friends) has made me cranky. I dunno.

    There have been a lot of other posts on this forum that I have read over the last few years that looked like the musings of hackers/crackers/phreaks and spammers to me that I have not felt obliged to even acknowledge.

Re: "freak" and recent threads
by davido (Archbishop) on May 12, 2004 at 04:58 UTC
    It should be noted that as of 05-11-2004 2148 PDT, freak's last login was over two days ago, 05-09-2004 1708 PDT. Then at 05-09-2004 1709 PDT, one minute later, a new user was created, chiburashka, who almost immediately began asking questions that could be construed as being related to the same project that freak was working on before his disappearance.

    There has been speculation (not just by me) that freak ditched his username when it was made clear enough to him that people were on to his scheme, and immediately created a new user to disguise himself.

    This is only speculation, but the conincidence seems too strong, and the questions too closely related for it to just be dumb luck. That being the case, it seems prudent to, while giving the benefit of the doubt to chiburashka, exercise good and careful judgement when answering questions for this new user that may be applied toward improper uses.


Re: "freak" and recent threads
by perlinux (Deacon) on May 05, 2004 at 15:25 UTC
    After your posts, I have a question: is there a Monk or is there a possibility to stop or delete a thread? (reaped?) IMHO, I think it's better (in this community) don't continue discussions like these after your considerations. It's Perl, but...
    Ok, the node is under consideration...
Re: "freak" and recent threads
by jacques (Priest) on May 05, 2004 at 16:57 UTC
    I see no problem with the "content" of his questions whatsoever. Your observation about fraud may be correct and it may not. But it does not matter to me, since using proxies is not illegal.

    Lets give him a break. His XP is bad enough. He is a new user and probably a very young geek. At least, he knows to use Perl and not Java for his exploits. :)

      On top of which, there are many places in the world where what we think of as basic freedoms can be practiced only in the absence of official scrutiny. I'm not saying that's the case here, but one should not be too quick to judge the underlying motivations from external signs. I'm all in favor of morality and ethics, but such attitudes have to come from the inside. Imposing them from the outside just drives people toward Victorian-style hypocrisy.

        Those questions belong on comp.infosystems... sorry, wrong forum ;--(

        Seriously, those questions really seem to boil down to "how can I artificially inflate the hit count on a web site without being caught?". The poster never gave a satisfying explanation to why they wanted to do this. Or any explanation at all. I /msg'ed feak privately and got no answer. I imagine other monks have done the same, and suspect that if they had received an answer they would have said so.

        So the signs are really, _really_, pointing to an annoying individual engaged in at least non-ethical, and possibly illegal, activities. I would love for freak to explain why they need this though.

        In Soviet Russia, counter hits you!

        I fail to see what that has to do with someone asking questions (well, the same underlying question eight times more or less) about inflating web hit counts. And posting questions in a public forum isn't exactly being circumspect.

Re: "freak" and recent threads
by Nkuvu (Priest) on May 05, 2004 at 18:27 UTC

    While I'm not disagreeing with your conclusions, I came to a completely different one.

    All of the questions linked above have more than one thing in common (the first being the subject matter). What is more of a nuisance in my mind is that the questions are all very short. Concise questions are fine, but these are also very repetitive questions, and aren't showing much in the way of motivation. I'm surprised how few responses there are of "do your own work".

    I'm not really inclined to reply to these threads, but if I were so inclined I think there would be a lot of RTFM involved.

      What is more of a nuisance in my mind is that the questions are all very short.
      One of the skills useful in gaining information is to ask short questions with just enough info to optimize the number and depth of responses.

      This can be used for good at, say, an industry convention to find out what the other guys are working on (or just to be socially engaging):

      Hey, isn't your company into magnetic lasers or something?

      Oh, yes, we're investigation cellphone signal distortions caused by atmospheric electromagnetic phenomena, and we're trying to apply those results to coherent transmission techniques for interplanetary missions during heavy solar activity.

      Or in the on the blacker side of social engineering:
      [Your example here]
      So short questions might be generated from a severe lack of what question to ask, or to let those of us who think we know what the unasked question might be to give an answer we think fits, without letting out too much info about what the original motivation is.

      Update: Yes, effortless questions...perhaps they deserve effortless answers?

      Quantum Mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of

        This can be used for good at, say, an industry convention to find out what the other guys are working on (or just to be socially engaging)

        What works well to start a real-life conversation does not necessarily make for good practice on an asynchronous forum like PerlMonks. Short, rapid, back-and-forth questions are fine when responses come in seconds, but On The Internet (tm), responses can take minutes, hours, or days. It's unrealistic to expect the same sorts of social conventions to work equally well.

        I meant to imply that the nuisance comes from "short and repetitive and showing no motivation" questions. Not solely from short questions.

        Sorry, poor editing on my part (when composing the post I rearranged sentences a few times).

Re: "freak" and recent threads
by ambrus (Abbot) on May 05, 2004 at 16:00 UTC

    See Re: Hide real IP. (That node says about the same as you, just 10 minutes faster.)

    Update: No. It was certainly written after your post, as it even refers to yours. My mistake.

Re: "freak" and recent threads
by nimdokk (Vicar) on May 05, 2004 at 17:55 UTC
    I'd have to agree. I glanced at only a few of those and saw a potentially disturbing pattern. While on the one hand, it could be a perfectly innocent quest for knowledge, the paranoid side of me just has to wonder. It's not that I'm paranoid, but they're just out to get me ;-)
Re: "freak" and recent threads
by chanio (Priest) on May 06, 2004 at 19:30 UTC
    I think that there are enough tools to judge the origin of such questions:
    • checking the frequency of the visits of the member that asks the question.
    • reading previous questions/answers.
    • seeing if his profile helps us to understand the nature of the question...

    In that way, his credibility could be well balanced with this site's one...

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