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Author: Subject: Tired of reporting spam
j_sum1
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 13:08


It was clean 6 hour ago. I can do another clean up in an hour. Thanks for your patience.

And I agree: it is a bit ridiculous the voume arriving here.
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j_sum1
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5-2-2019 at 13:57
j_sum1
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 13:58


It seems that botkilla is down.
I will do my best to keep things clean until Melgar restores it.
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fusso
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 14:05


jsum just became admin?!:O



Useful sites:
Balance Chemical Equation: http://www.webqc.org/balance.php
Molecular mass and elemental composition calculator: https://www.webqc.org/mmcalc.php
Solubility table: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
It's not crime if noone finds out - Nyaruko
List of materials made by ScienceMadness users:
Remake: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nmJ8uq-h4IkXPxD5svnT...
Original: https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/1AoI2VA5L4bmFw2HwXS2O...
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 14:11


Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
jsum just became admin?!:O

And texium too.

I am enjoying my new superpowers.
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fusso
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 14:18


jsum, could you please delete the spam accounts completely when you see them start spamming the first few posts? Just removing the spam posts doen't seem to be enough.



Useful sites:
Balance Chemical Equation: http://www.webqc.org/balance.php
Molecular mass and elemental composition calculator: https://www.webqc.org/mmcalc.php
Solubility table: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
It's not crime if noone finds out - Nyaruko
List of materials made by ScienceMadness users:
Remake: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nmJ8uq-h4IkXPxD5svnT...
Original: https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/1AoI2VA5L4bmFw2HwXS2O...
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 5-2-2019 at 14:32


Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
jsum, could you please delete the spam accounts completely when you see them start spamming the first few posts? Just removing the spam posts doen't seem to be enough.


Like I said, I am enjoying the new superpowers.
There are spambots that run on different algorithms. Most are single-post nasties, so no real benefit in deleting the accounts. The return spammers get silenced: a few different strategies depending on characteristics.
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RogueRose
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 10:09


Is there no way to ban every poster who makes a post with the word "porn", sexy, tits, free sex?

I just reported about 30 posts and over 3/4 had one of those words in it. If the poster was banned as soon as they posted one of those words, all their other posts could be deleted as well.

Also, is there a way to copy all URL's from each spam post and put them in a large black-list and run a check for any post with URL's against the blacklist. Then if any of them appear, ban that user and delete all their posts. I've seen SO many posts that link to the same site(s).
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Tsjerk
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 10:25


I think that would work, but it is like suiting the disease, while there is a cure. Transfer of the forum to new software would fix stuff and and as far as I know Melgar could be ready and set to go.
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andy1988
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 10:36


Does the restriction manager work at all?


  1. Ban all new user registrations, EDIT: use wildcards on email/username field? *@*
  2. Make a sticky thread with a HOWTO get a new account
  3. Directions include emailing an email address with a certain subject, filter out all emails that don't match said subject
  4. Email body/subject includes an answer to a simple chemistry quiz (e.g. what is the most basic pH possible? What is above Ag in the periodic table?).
  5. Email body includes desired username(s) (more than one in case a username was taken)
  6. Admin/script can create new account manually with temp password? Less work this way than manually deleting spam that makes it past botkilla?


I see something here too about a setting to make a first post having to be approved before it's visible. But the above sounds like less work.

Could also make a script only allowing new account creation on a certain timeframe, e.g. every 12 hours for 10 minutes, e.g. 1200UTC-1210UTC, 0000UTC-0010UTC. Would be a little inconvenient but no barrier to a person seeking insight with some problem they're working on anyway.

------------------

Google lowers the rank of websites taken over by spam, I don't recall where I learned this, it may have been a presentation by a Google Engineer at my alma mater. Their algorithms can see through these primitive attacks, all in order to keep their search results high quality!
e.g. search term "sodium metal laboratory electrolysis" showing a sciencemadness.org result may move from page 1 to page 2 or beyond, and etcetera for all pages.
EDIT: I guess their attacks may manipulate more primitive search engines like duckduckgo or vk. Wouldn't fool Google though... I'm kind of thinking vk given the language often used.

One of the first jobs in the USA I had the opportunity to take was $7/hr (way more than $5.15 minimum at the time!), writing essays to increase the search rank of certain niche marketplace websites (essays on said products/website stored on different domains clustered appropriately). Before Amazon got big things were more competitive. They had a room with a handful of young American women writing essays on shifts, and wanted me to write C code to script things. They made me sign an NDA to even talk about the job details... whoops!

One other annoying thing you see in most website forums is the insistence of creating a new thread for every new user's problem- this choice of rule is meant to maximize ad revenue to the detriment of finding optimal solutions to problems (spaghetti-ing observations and solutions all over the place in threads making use of volunteer labor). There was a nice article which generalized forum politics like this, I wish I'd bookmarked it.

[Edited on 7-2-2019 by andy1988]




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Predacon35
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 12:50
Spam


Some of these spam posts seem to get quite a few views-:(
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unionised
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 13:01


Quote: Originally posted by Predacon35  
Some of these spam posts seem to get quite a few views-:(

That's because opening them to report them as spam gets counted as viewing.
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 13:49


The problem at the moment is that botkilla is down. Melgar needs to get it up and running -- which I am sure he will do when he next gets an opportunity.
Botkilla was only ever a temporary measure. A migration to a new platform is indeed the way to go.

Restriction manager does work but it is not a particularly powerful instrument as it targets usernames only. (AFAIK)
Your other suggestion andy might have to be the way that we go.

It is noticeable that the spam patterns adapt pretty quickly. A week ago the pattern was to add 14 spam posts to an existing thread. That does not seem to be happening at the moment.


I am off to do a clean-up.
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[*] posted on 6-2-2019 at 23:37


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
I am off to do a clean-up.


Thanks!
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[*] posted on 16-2-2019 at 06:21
Please fix security or close new registrations.


SM is not in urgent need of new members

closing new registrations until security works would protect existing members from all of the spam

a notice explaining the above in place of the registration should passify any potential new members until this can be fixed.

Please fix security or close new registrations until the new software/site is working properly.





CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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[*] posted on 16-2-2019 at 18:42


This time I disagree with you, Sulaiman.

Members, both old and new are the lifeblood of SM. Last time registration was closed for two weeks we heard through the grapevine of a number of people who wanted to sign up but couldn't. We do not want to turn these people away. Who knows how many just gave up.

The contribution that newbies make is valuable since they are the ones that ask questions and promote discussion. And we need also to have new members to compensate for the seasoned members whose lives turn another direction and who cannot make contributions as regularly (if at all).

WRT to the spam... progress is being made. We all know that the final solution requires Polverone's input. Jesus may return before that happens. So in the meantime we have adopted secondary measures with the fairly limited tools we have.

Added to the fun is that botkilla, the script put together by Melgar, has been down for a few weeks. Botkilla was catching spam more frequently than once every five minutes on average. Do the Math: that is in the order of 300 spam posts per day. Currently, we are about a tenth of that -- I have been able to block spammer registration to some extent and I am dealing with roughly 20-30 spam posts per day at present. And for every spam account I find, I search out related sleeper accounts that have been registered in the past.

If you see a spammer -- or more significantly, if you see a spammer disappear, there is a chance that I have neutralised somewhere between 2 and 150 spammer accounts. Sure it is a manual process rather than an automated one. But it has been effective. I know the account characteristics that are currently slipping through the registration net. They are a bit trickier to filter. But there are yet a couple of tools that I can implement. They will just require an investment of time.

By my estimate, once botkilla is up again, we will only see one or two spam posts per day. I was a bit worried a few weeks back but now I am very optimistic.

And what is also very gratifying is the increased level of discussion and activity currently on the board. When the spam is gone, the people come back.



There is still a concentration of spam that tends to arrive during my sleep hours. If you notice it, try not to get too frustrated. It will be dealt with in due course.
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[*] posted on 17-2-2019 at 14:14


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
Members, both old and new are the lifeblood of SM. Last time registration was closed for two weeks we heard through the grapevine of a number of people who wanted to sign up but couldn't. We do not want to turn these people away. Who knows how many just gave up.

The contribution that newbies make is valuable since they are the ones that ask questions and promote discussion. And we need also to have new members to compensate for the seasoned members whose lives turn another direction and who cannot make contributions as regularly (if at all).
A number of ppl who wanted to sign up but couldn't? How many? When did this happen? And how many real ppl register per day currently?



Useful sites:
Balance Chemical Equation: http://www.webqc.org/balance.php
Molecular mass and elemental composition calculator: https://www.webqc.org/mmcalc.php
Solubility table: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
It's not crime if noone finds out - Nyaruko
List of materials made by ScienceMadness users:
Remake: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1nmJ8uq-h4IkXPxD5svnT...
Original: https://docs.google.com/document/u/1/d/1AoI2VA5L4bmFw2HwXS2O...
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 17-2-2019 at 14:24


Quote: Originally posted by fusso  
A number of ppl who wanted to sign up but couldn't? How many? When did this happen? And how many real ppl register per day currently?


Last year some time. I forget exactly when. Not that it matters.
Probably one or two genuine sign-ups per day on average.

Take a look at https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/misc.php?action=onlin... and see how many "members" have visited in the last 24 hours. The majority of these are spam accounts that have signed up within the past two days and have been blocked from posting.
(edit) The advantage of allowing these without deleting the accounts is that many bots are dumb enough to not know that their posts fail. This means that they don't create new accounts.

Sure we could close registration and block these accounts completely, but in the big scheme of things, the situation is currently under control and genuine new members are unrestricted.

[Edited on 17-2-2019 by j_sum1]
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[*] posted on 19-2-2019 at 22:08


I didnt read whole of this topic but i suggest to use CAPTCHA verification for each post.(at last bot and script cant create or post topic)



Chemistry = Chem + is + Try
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[*] posted on 19-2-2019 at 22:24


Waffles, that suggestion has come up a few times.

This is old software and the captch abilities are unsophisticated. The real solution is a new platform.

I intend to experiment with the captcha option such as it it: now that I have access to these things. But probably not for a week or two when I have some time to invest.

The good news is that even though I have been out of action for a couple of days, and other mid presence has been low, the board has not drowned under spam. Something is working.
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