More and more spam!

It seems that there is ever more spam finding its way on to our boards. Are there plans afoot to try and curb the influx? E.g., first time posters have their first post authorised by a mod.

There is a lot of spam, but it’s easy to avoid, disappears quickly, and doesn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the site. Mildly annoying, but not worth putting a higher bar to posting for new users.

Thanks to time zone correspondences it shows up a lot in the early morning hours…

The amount of spam varies from day to day. I don’t have the impression that it has increased drastically recently. Around 90% of the spam we get comes from a handful of streaming spammers, I believe mostly in Bangladesh.

We are reluctant to impose barriers to new members who wish to join the board. The present levels of spam are a nuisance but it is generally removed pretty quickly. And having to have the first post “authorized by a mod” would actually make more work for us, since we would have to review not only spammers but other new members.

You say that now, but if** Running Coach** ever takes a week off from the Board, we’ll never recover.

That’s an awful nice message board you have there. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.
Fortunately, I’m not greedy.


While the reports are certainly appreciated, we also see spam that isn’t reported, or that’s in other forums so that we don’t see the reports ourselves. I think I end up nuking more spam in GQ (where I don’t see the reports) than in CS (where I do). And often when I follow a spam report in CS, some other mod (often from another forum) has beaten me to it.

On days where I don’t get to ban someone I feel like I’ve missed out.

I’ve always had the feeling that GQ got a lot more spam than other forums, but since I don’t get reports from the others I wasn’t sure. I just did some research and found out what a spam magnet GQ is.

These are the figures for the number of threads deleted as spam in each forum over the number total number of threads in that forum in the past week, and the percentage.

ATMB: 2/17 (12%)
CCC: 2/8 (25%)
GQ: 76/199 (38%)
GD: 8/62 (13%)
Elections: 0/14 (0%)
CS: 7/159 (4%)
GR: 2/47 (4%)
IMHO: 3/128 (2%)
MPSIMS: 3/94 (3%)
BBQ: 0/30 (0%)

This doesn’t include spam posted to threads, just threads started by spammers. But as I said above, the latter accounts for about 90% of all spam.

GQ gets about 10 times more spam than the other large forums. I have no idea why the streaming spammers prefer GQ so much. (This is also evidence that it’s humans posting the spam rather than bots. I don’t know how bots would produce such a heavy preference for one forum.)

Maybe some bots are just set to pick the forum with the most threads?

Then why are there spam threads in forums with very few threads?

There’s no real correlation. GD has proportionately more spam than CS, IMHO, or MPSIMS, even though it has many fewer posts.

These are threads posted by the same spammers who hit GQ, based on their username, email, and thread title styles.

Some spam bots may be set that way, not every spam bot.

Cite? Can you provide a specific example of a spambot that works that way?

Sshh, dear, don’t cause a fuss. I’ll have your spam. I love it. I’m having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam beaked beans spam spam spam and spam!

You got it. I sent them your address. :slight_smile:

Lovely spam, wonderful spam!

Bloody Vikings!

Immediately after your cite that spambots act the way you maintain.

I’m not convinced that they are using bots at all. I suppose it’s possible that they have part of their system automated, but my best guess is that they are manually copying and pasting. They use the same user name and e-mail on multiple sites on the internet. They copy parts of existing posts and thread titles. It also seems to take them a while to cycle through all of the message boards that they spam, and I think they could go a lot faster if it were automated.

Two main spammers are behind most of the streaming spam we get (which is most of our spam these days). I call them Mr. Smith and Mr. Houssain because those names show up in their e-mail addresses in various combinations. They are pretty good at bypassing our spam filter. They also seem to put more effort into spamming than most folks put into normal 9 to 5 jobs.

Actual spambots seem to be getting more and more rare, probably because they usually end up getting caught by our spam filter and almost never get a post through. Most of them don’t even bother trying any more. Humans can quickly change what they are doing to try to evade a spam filter. A bot has to be re-programmed, and that takes a lot more skill than simply copying and pasting.

We did seem to have a bot system of some sort that figured out how to automatically register users here. For a while we were getting numerous registrations with (some random name)041@(some random e-mail host) followed by (some other random name)042)@(some other host), etc. with the numbers counting up in sequence. I banned most of those before they even posted, and after a couple of months they stopped registering.

It was my gut feeling that GQ had the most. Nice to know my gut is well calibrated. It is also my gut feeling that there is an uptick of spammers during football season with most of them being for online streaming sites.