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Need suggestions on putting a stop to spam user registration
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Moiety Jean
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:45 pm    Post subject: Need suggestions on putting a stop to spam user registration Reply with quote

Brian and I have been trying hard over the last few days to put up defenses on this forum against bogus new accounts, whose only purpose is to put a spam link in their profile. We get probably five of these new accounts per day, which are immediately deleted after their profiles are checked for email domains and such that we can add to the blocked list.

It is extremely frustrating having to take time to delete these accounts, and I suspect that the problem will only worsen as Live takes off and the forum gets more hits. It has already led to us disabling comments entirely on the main website, where spam accounts posted comments full of scummy links.

We've also already made it harder for bots to register for the forum, now what do we do about the low-life humans?

We're discussing making a quiz of some sort that registrants must complete correctly before their application can be submitted. If we make the quiz pertain to our topic of interest (Myst/Uru/D'ni) we could potentially weed out the casual spammer who only wishes to register, link, and run. This makes it more complicated for every new user, but hopefully we could make questions that would not pose much of a problem for anyone already familiar with the D'ni universe or Uru.

One idea I had was to show screenshots of major ages in Uru and ask the applicant to type the name of the age in a blank.

If you have other ideas of how to combat these spam attempts (if only the spammers would realize how they are wasting their time registering in a forum which has no interest in their product) please post the general ideas here. I'm avoiding being very specific with things that may actually appear on such a quiz to keep easy answers out of attentive spammers' hands.
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Marten
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A training video followed by a short quiz? *ducks*

Honestly... I don't believe that anything beats the short essay question.

"Why are you registering for this website?"

We could also give people the option of making their sign-up explanation public. It could provide unique discussion oportunities.
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Eleri
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oooh, something like the Dharma Orientation Video...in pieces...and a hatch...er, wait...
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Moiety Jean
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marten wrote:
A training video followed by a short quiz? *ducks*

Honestly... I don't believe that anything beats the short essay question.

"Why are you registering for this website?"

We could also give people the option of making their sign-up explanation public. It could provide unique discussion oportunities.


This isn't intended to be an opportunity for people to present themselves, it's a filter to block out spammers. You don't get the answers right, you don't get through. Bam.

To clarify, we are trying to reduce the amount of work involved for us as Admins when a new user registers. We want more automated processes to help us in filtering out users who are not legitimately interested in the subject of our forum, who are only here to spam or troll. We want to avoid the process of having to "grade papers" until we get into the entirely separate subject of making official members of the Tree.
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Rils
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't say that I've heard of this being such a huge problem before... how do other sites like UO/DRC/Explorer's Guild/etc deal with stuff like this? If it's a problem for us, I imagine it must be for others too...
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Professor Askew
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If it's a problem for us, I imagine it must be for others too...

It is.
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Lord Chaos
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a long thread about this on the Slacker's Shard forum. From what I've read, they have some effective ways of reducing the spam registrations.

http://slackersforum.servebeer.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1093

The most recent technique involves putting part of the registration name in a block list, because many of the spammers use the same name-part many times. They also use PHPBB so perhaps the techniques are transferrable.

I wonder what these spammers think they're accomplishing, besides making sure nobody wants what they're selling.
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Marten
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The spammers don't care how many people they anger, as long as a few people buy their product. As long as they see orders come in after spamming, they'll continue to spam. This problem would be a non-problem if we could eliminate the morons that actually respond to the advertisements. To change the behavior, we must find a way to stop rewarding it.
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Rils
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm... maybe we should ask a ninja...

~Rils
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BladeLakem
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Chaos wrote:
I wonder what these spammers think they're accomplishing, besides making sure nobody wants what they're selling.


Putting up a spam link only costs the amount of time it takes to get an account and post a link - if it's something can be automated, then it costs next to nothing. And if one person comes through that link and buys one thing, they've made enough profit to cover the cost of a hundred such spams. Multiply that... and you have a profitable business.

Add onto the fact that there are a small percentage of people who really like spam - they follow most of the links, buy stuff and such. The same people who keep home shopping channels in business, I guess. Catch a few of those every day = $$.

From a bottom line perspective, it works. If all you are looking at is the bottom line.
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Moiety Jean
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It just makes me mad how persistently they weasel in past any method used to discourage them. Take a hint, your ads are not welcome here.
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CuzinJohn
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moiety Jean wrote:
It just makes me mad how persistently they weasel in past any method used to discourage them. Take a hint, your ads are not welcome here.


Yeah... just like how the big "No Soliciting" sign of the front door to my office stops the guy from the Chinese Food joint from dropping off stacks of carry-out menus.

Mmm... Chinese food... :drooool:
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Ashtar
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those #$%#@ spambots are certainly annoying. I was getting about 3 or 4 bot registrations per day on the shard forum, but now I've been able to trim that down to about 2 or 3 per week. I've PM'ed mj the details so hopefully it will help get rid of those nasty critters.

Ashtar
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Moiety Jean
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Ashtar. We haven't gotten a single spam bot registration since we enabled some D'ni image recognition. I hope it stays that way. We already had a few filters in place that were slowing them down, and right now we're free of them. ::crosses fingers::

Edit: got your pm.. we had implemented most of the suggestions you made and were also down to 2 or 3 registrations a week. But the D'ni characters seem to cost more time for them than it's worth. Take that!
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Ashtar
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well using the D'ni number system for the hidden message is certainly a way to weed out the bots, but it might be weeding out the new explorer as well. You might consider that many new explorers that might want to join the forum after Live launches may have no experience with Myst or D'ni at all. Just my humble opinion Smile

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