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Dealing with spam users

by hippo (Chancellor)
on Dec 04, 2020 at 15:55 UTC ( #11124639=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

I've noticed an increasing number of spam users over the past few weeks: new accounts which don't post any nodes but put a link on their home node to their external site for SEO benefit. I wonder if a threshold for this facility should not be put in place such that it is unavailable to initiates? Either disallowing links in the Bio or just disallowing the Bio entirely would work.

Or maybe the spam links aren't considered that much of an issue, I don't know. Any thoughts?


🦛

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Dealing with spam users
by Fletch (Chancellor) on Dec 04, 2020 at 16:32 UTC

    Maybe a compromise? Cut the spammers in two Allow no markup in Bio only after sufficient leveling has been attained; until then you can just have bog-plain ascii (and forbid anything in that matching qr{https?://.*?}).

    The cake is a lie.
    The cake is a lie.
    The cake is a lie.

Re: Dealing with spam users
by LanX (Cardinal) on Dec 04, 2020 at 16:22 UTC
    > I've noticed an increasing number of spam users over the past few weeks

    Good catch, the newest user is linking to an escort service. ( PLEASE DON'T LINK TO HIM!)

    Seems like spammers found a loop hole.

    > Either disallowing links in the Bio or just disallowing the Bio entirely would work.

    Not sure how difficult that is.

    But we do have a filter in place blocking posts with links to known spammers. Albeit not in the bio section...

    ~~~

    I think the cheapest way to deal with it is to manually erase these accounts till the spammers are frustrated.

    The only mechanism I know for that is messaging the gods. (DONE)

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
    Wikisyntax for the Monastery

Re: Dealing with spam users
by jo37 (Friar) on Dec 04, 2020 at 16:23 UTC

    I reckon that disabling the Bio for initiates would not hurt anybody interested in a real participation here. It would provide just another incentive to be active.

    Greetings,
    -jo

    $gryYup$d0ylprbpriprrYpkJl2xyl~rzg??P~5lp2hyl0p$
      I think disabling linking should be enough.

      But discouraging new participants to write an introduction wouldn't go down to well.

      We already have restrictions in place like limiting user images until a certain level is reached.

      Cheers Rolf
      (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
      Wikisyntax for the Monastery

        maybe make external links and/or text that appears to be an external URL on the homenode a Level 5: Beadle privilege, like the homenode image.
Re: Dealing with spam users
by LanX (Cardinal) on Dec 04, 2020 at 16:38 UTC
    > I've noticed an increasing number of spam users over the past few weeks

    I've checked the last 50 new users and was only able to identify one spammer.

    Did you report the others? 1 in >50 doesn't sound that dramatic.

    Otherwise I'd recommend an automatic script regularly checking the bios and scratch-pads for all users with low XPs. (the spam links could be included long after registration!)

    Could also be used to clean up dead registrations from users which didn't show up for a year.

    Cheers Rolf
    (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
    Wikisyntax for the Monastery

        Hm... but this SQL-Query doesn't check if someone edited an old node of his, right?

        Cheers Rolf
        (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
        Wikisyntax for the Monastery

      Did you report the others? 1 in >50 doesn't sound that dramatic.

      Yes, I did. From CB records it appears that I reported nainaike, sitenetlife, xiaofeifei171, businessmenugui, menubook and 24hourloanz (in addition to today's provider of escorts). Are they in your 50?

      Cleaning them up after the fact requires manual action and is by definition reactive. If the spammers are considered a problem then surely a pre-emptive solution is preferable? Obviously if it's going to be a bind to code then that's a consideration too.


      🦛

        Thanks

        > Are they in your 50?

        No I used supersearch to list all users and seems like "Locked Accounts" are automatically skipped.

        Cheers Rolf
        (addicted to the Perl Programming Language :)
        Wikisyntax for the Monastery

Re: Dealing with spam users
by Bod (Hermit) on Dec 04, 2020 at 16:09 UTC

    new accounts which don't post any nodes but put a link on their home node to their external site for SEO benefit

    If these accounts are not posting any nodes, is there really an issue?
    Posting nonsense would be a different matter but do dormant accounts really add any significant overhead to either the Monastery or its users...I suspect not but I could be (and often am) wrong.

      Posts to this site are rapidly indexed by most search engines, it's an old but often effective SEO trick, adding a URL to an established legitimate site, linking to something else.

      Update: fixed typo, thanks pryrt.

      If these accounts are not posting any nodes, is there really an issue?

      It is, though arguably not much of one, considering the low volume. But setting aside the strict definition of "posting", the spam user has already posted one node - his homenode. We should not tolerate any crap in a homenode which we wouldn't tolerate in any other kind of node.

      The risk is that spam links will eventually threaten the Monastery's good reputation.

      Of course, that same good reputation is why the spammers want to post their links here...

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