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Fresh spam users able to post links

Discussion in 'Meta-forum Discussion' started by MadeFromPolygons, Mar 16, 2021.

  1. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2013
    Posts:
    3,098
    Why are users who joined "today" according to profile, able to post spam links? Why are people able to post links at all for that matter, if they have not completed say 5-10 comments/posts?

    It just seems like a really low bar to set, and so no wonder so many bots are jumping over it.

    I would like to point out again that the links posted, which users especially younger or less internet savvy users, may click, often lead to places that are either harmful (viruses, adware etc) or illegal.

    There is no good reason to let a new user post links without having to first pass a small limit to verify they are real. Many, many forums do this - what is the reasoning behind us not?
     
    Antypodish likes this.
  2. Naheedmir

    Naheedmir

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2020
    Posts:
    12
    Yes, you are right. Though I am new to the forum and hasn't come across any
    link so far but New users shouldn't be allowed to post links as they may be harmful
    (viruses, adware etc) or illegal.
     
  3. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Posts:
    11,238
    If you add a 10 post minimum before links, you'll just increase the spam bot posts. You'll see 10 posts of either nonsense or copies of other posts across the forum, then the link post.
     
  4. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2013
    Posts:
    3,098
    Ofcourse, but as a community we are really good at spotting spam bots trying to get through filters, having a 10 minimum would give us more time to point them out (some already do get pointed out before they post right now). Right now many days you get a fresh user with live links in posts to dangerous content, surely there is a better way to do it than what is currently the process?

    It just seems crazy that links to illegal sites and phishing sites etc are live on a first users post on a forum that has lots of minors using it and is publically traded, maybe this really is as good as it gets but I refuse to believe that until someone from unity tells me so :p :D
     
    Joe-Censored likes this.
  5. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Posts:
    8,341
    So, this was discussed a while back, the challenge is that quite often first time posters here are more often than not coming here and signing up to get help, and often links or images (or links to images) are included (and in fact we encourage this, provide as much information as possible for support).

    It was decided that more harm was done preventing or discouraging new users seeking help than occasionally having to clean up spam. I completely agree with that. While spam is annoying, it should be noted that there is a minimum age and agreement to use this forum, and most browsers have warnings. Almost all links by spammers are just that, spam, not anything else. Additionally, what does make it to the forums, is probably only about 1% (or less) of what is actually blocked by the forum software, and the staff regularly updates the filters (though obviously spammers are updating their bots more often). In fact, the only posts in the last year that I can recall that were legititmately offensive/possibly illegal, were done by someone who was a member for many years. Stuff will always get through.

    The best solution, is as always, report if you see something, there are mods and staff in most time zones, so it should get cleaned up fairly quickly.
     
  6. M_R

    M_R

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2015
    Posts:
    553
    suggestion: require a proof of work* to post the first N messages. this may reduce the amount of incoming spam (if your <1% is correct, a spammer would have to compute over 100x of what a regular user would)

    *: proof of work: given a nonce (e.g. hash of your userid + number of your messages + message content (+ timestamp?)), provide a string that when combined with it and hashed begins with X zeroes. X can be configured to keep the time needed reasonable (e.g. ~5 seconds on a low-end machine?)
     
  7. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2012
    Posts:
    8,341
    While probably a workable idea, and may reduce some level of spam, the problem is that it is effectively an arms race. It would only work for a while. Posting links in a your first thread was gotten around by creating two accounts, first post was innocuous, second account responded with spam. Time delays were gotten around by innocuous posts, that were edited a month later with inserting spam. While there is stuff that admins can do within the constructs of the forum software, I think creating rules and conditions outside that is probably not worth the effort and risk. As it will only likely work for a while. Reporting is only a click or two. For mods/admins completely wiping is spam account is only one click. The effort is pretty minimal and is safe, as spam accounts only get wiped after human eyes have looked them. It is rare, but genuine posts get reported (they look like spam, or just over zealous noobs first posts)
     
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