A place to discuss spam?

Most Valuable Participant ,
May 05, 2011

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I am not the only one to think that the Report Spam thread is not the proper place to carry discussions on any topic, even if they are related to spam, spammers, or ways to fight spam. Such discussions unnecessarily clutter the Spam thread, even making it difficult to see if the spam one is about to report has been reported before or not.

The idea isn't mine; it was posted in the Spam thread by someone else, but I am willing to back it here. Could we have a thread to discuss spam related topics, and move there the messages posted recently on the subject in the Spam thread?

Thanks.

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A place to discuss spam?

Most Valuable Participant ,
May 05, 2011

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I am not the only one to think that the Report Spam thread is not the proper place to carry discussions on any topic, even if they are related to spam, spammers, or ways to fight spam. Such discussions unnecessarily clutter the Spam thread, even making it difficult to see if the spam one is about to report has been reported before or not.

The idea isn't mine; it was posted in the Spam thread by someone else, but I am willing to back it here. Could we have a thread to discuss spam related topics, and move there the messages posted recently on the subject in the Spam thread?

Thanks.

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May 05, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
May 06, 2011

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In another forum where I am a moderator, we have recently implemented stricter anti-spam measures.  After that, sign-ups by potential spammers from India, Pakistan, China, etc. have dropped by more than 90%.  Naturally, spam posts also have dropped to almost zero.

I have already posted this link in another topic, but it seems to have gone unnoticed.  So here it is, one more time

http://www.stopforumspam.com/

This is really a very effective method.  IP addresses and email addresses of known forum spammers are shared with all participating forums.  The API can be used to check for known spammer IP and email addresses during the sign-up, and just immediately stop the sign-up if it is one of these.


So far, more than 3 million spammer IP & email addresses are in the database.  I am sure that this would also help the Adobe forums tremenduously if this method could be implemented.

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May 06, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 07, 2011

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Thanks Claudio.

It was just getting a little busy over there.

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May 07, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
May 07, 2011

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Graf, the only problem is that nobody with the power to open such a thread and move to it the already posted messages seems to be paying attention...

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May 07, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 04, 2011

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...or has payed any attention in about a whole month.

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Jun 04, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 05, 2011

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Claudio,

I have only just seen this thread, and only because you brought it up again, even though I enter the forum every day and read up on almost all threads with new posts.

I believe others may have overlooked it as well, back there in the hazy days of early May.

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Jun 05, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 05, 2011

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Yes, Jacob, it would seem that I am becoming a champion in opening threads nobody notices/cares, in answering posts to poor souls who never manage to find their way back, in propossing ideas that don't even warm anyone, ... Sometimes I wonder if I am not also becoming invisible.

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Jun 05, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 05, 2011

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P.S.: Please take a look at this:

http://forums.adobe.com/message/3719885#3719885

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Jun 05, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 06, 2011

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I don't know about others, but I'm having a little trouble reading it...  See the attached screen grab.

ClaudioG.jpg

-Noel

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Jun 06, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 06, 2011

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In spite of the forums being fantastically slow right now, I have no problem reading the whole thread; nothing like your screenshot. In any case, the link was to this screenshot:

Spam.jpg

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Jun 06, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 06, 2011

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It's just a joke, Claudio.    I 'shopped that screenshot a bit to illustrate your point about becoming invisible.

-Noel

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Jun 06, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 06, 2011

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Well, luckily your joke passed quite above my head, or I might have got depressed thinking that I was becoming invisible...

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Jun 06, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 06, 2011

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No depression intended, most certainly.  There's quite enough of that in the world without extra help!

-Noel

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Jun 06, 2011 0
Mentor ,
Jun 06, 2011

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Yeah It depressing just to be alive in this day and times.

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Jun 06, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 06, 2011

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I find it incredible that the spam attacks we have been experiencing, and that have crippled the forums, do not arouse anyone's attention.

In another thread of this same forum, I posted very recently the following idea -for which I do not claim paternity, as it just unites suggestions from other participants- but it hasn't deserved any response:

The number of sports-related spam posts in the Reader forum has been on the increase, specially on days of important matches. And, as hard as JC and company strive to eliminate them quickly, they frequently remain there for hours after being posted.

I always undestood that one way to help in combating spam was to eliminate spam messages as soon as possible, not in hours. Some time ago, I suggested in this same thread, and combining suggestions from others, that some of the users that daily report spam in the forums they frequent be appointed as some kind of "limited moderators", with the only privilege of temporarily removing messages that for them are obvious spam. If considered necessary (I wouldn't consider it necessary, for they have been reporting spam for months), the removed messages could be temporarily stored in a safe place where they could be revised by someone with more experience and authority, before being eliminated for ever.

Some persons have questioned this idea, on the grounds that these limited moderators could use their powers for unjustly removing messages from people they do not like. I find this very thought insulting for the people who report messages daily, and could equally been said, equally insultingly, of any of the present moderators.

It has also been pointed out that the idea is not even worth considering unless someone is under the illusion of it ever being implemented. Been a complete ignorant of the innards of the software behind any forum, my naive impression is that this simple idea cannot be all that difficult to implement. And if it were implemented, spam messages would only be vissible for minutes, not hours. And I am naive enough to think that this would even make easier the task for all of those who are now trying to delete spam messages and disable their posters.

In short, I still think the idea is at least worth considering.

There are days, specially during weekends, when one has to wade through two full pages of spam topics to get at the first genuine topic. I simply cannot believe that I am the only one who gets upset by this. Or perhaps others just get out and wait for the coast to be clear again before offering any help?

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Jun 06, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 07, 2011

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I believe the spam experience may very different in different forums, Claudio.

In addition to this forum, I go to six forums every day, one with sometimes two (forum) pages of threads every day or more, the others much slower. I rarely see spam posts in any of them. I believe it is less than one every week in total, on average.

Was this too woolly?

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Jun 07, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Jacob, if the idea of "limited moderators" could help to remove spam messages quickly from the most affected forums, it would be a simple matter to take a look at the Spam Report forum before even start studying it. The names of suitable candidates, and the most affected forums, are all there for anyone to see. If nobody is reporting spam in some of the forums (the one in Spanish, for example), there would be no need to nominate any "limited moderator" there.

I still think it's an idea worth considering, and in my ignorance I cannot believe that this would be very difficult and/or very expensive to implement.

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Jun 07, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Claudio González wrote:

I find it incredible that the spam attacks we have been experiencing, and that have crippled the forums, do not arouse anyone's attention.

That may be an overgeneralization.  For example, I frequent the Photoshop Windows forum, and we see virtually no spam in there.  Maybe one message every few weeks.

It's pretty clear that in the larger sense that our forum experience simply isn't something Adobe management is at all interested in spending much money on. 

Running forums is of completely intangible business benefit.  We may understand that we're saving Adobe's butt every day, compensating for their poor direct customer support, but they have never had any intention of rewarding us for that.  In fact, they expect to save money by our efforts - hence the atrocious customer support that sends people here with the questions they can't answer.  In all probability by being good citizens and helping out here we may actually be contributing to Adobe's bad practices.

-Noel

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Jun 07, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Noel Carboni wrote:

Claudio González wrote:

I find it incredible that the spam attacks we have been experiencing, and that have crippled the forums, do not arouse anyone's attention.

That may be an overgeneralization.  For example, I frequent the Photoshop Windows forum, and we see virtually no spam in there.  Maybe one message every few weeks.

...

-Noel

As I said: if there was some interest in implementing this idea, it would be a simple matter to take a look in the Spam report forum and check which are the forums that would require these limited moderators, and who are the likely candidates. No point implementing it where it is not needed...

And the crippling (no formatting of messages, for example) does afect all the forums.

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Jun 07, 2011 0
Advocate ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Claudio González wrote:

In another thread of this same forum, I posted very recently the following idea -for which I do not claim paternity, as it just unites suggestions from other participants- but it hasn't deserved any response:

If it didn't merit a response the first time, why would it merit a response when reposted verbatim?

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Jun 07, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Jochem van Dieten wrote:

Claudio González wrote:

In another thread of this same forum, I posted very recently the following idea -for which I do not claim paternity, as it just unites suggestions from other participants- but it hasn't deserved any response:

If it didn't merit a response the first time, why would it merit a response when reposted verbatim?

Because I am still an optimist, and so I hope that this time it may happen to be read by someone who has both some willingness to help, and the power to do something about it.

Because I am not in the least convinced that it doesn't merit a response.

Because ...

Forget it, I have just noticed who posted the question.

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Jun 07, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Y'know, it occurs to me that there's nothing in the world preventing Adobe's managers - the folks making funding decisions - from joining these conversations.  The "good guys" in Engineering do it all the time, to everyone's benefit, so clearly there's no company policy prohibiting customer contact like at a lot of companies.

I'd day that the managers never come here is just another indication how little management really cares about information portals like this.

You might just be tilting at windmills, Claudio.

-Noel

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Jun 07, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 07, 2011

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Noel Carboni wrote:

...

You might just be tilting at windmills, Claudio.

-Noel

I know. I have been doing it all my life, with less than a handful of successes. Which doesn't prevent me from trying one more time everytime I come accross a specially interesting windmill...

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Jun 07, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 08, 2011

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Claudio,

However Quixotic the endeavor might be, we applaud your efforts.

Fight the good fight!

Hunt

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Jun 08, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 11, 2011

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the_wine_snob wrote:

Claudio,

However Quixotic the endeavor might be, we applaud your efforts.

Fight the good fight!

Hunt

Obviously, that "we" doesn't include everyone posting here...

Seriously now, times as long as the ones seen here would not happen if we had the "limited moderators" I have been talking about.

10 hours.jpg

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Jun 11, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 11, 2011

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I am wondering what the point is of all these "sports" spams?

There must be a scam somewhere in it, but I have no idea what it is...

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Jun 11, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 12, 2011

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Any post with a link in it to me seems to be an attempt at Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO, i.e., causing a particular site to rise in Google's search rankings).

If it is a given that Google uses the appearance of links on other sites to a particular site to set its rankings (and the actuality of this is a closely-guarded secret), and IF Google picks up forum posts for its searches (a fact) and doesn't exclude the links from ranking calculations (an assumption), then a forum post would theoretically count as another web site publishing a link to the target site.  Any web site publishing user content and not blocking links is a target.

Some people sell services and take money to supposedly artificially/quickly increase the search ranking of your web site.

Hence these spammers are making money at our expense.

-Noel

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Jun 12, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 12, 2011

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You mean, a post such as this would give more points to the spammer?

watch.jpg

Does it matter how long the message remains in place? That is, does it make any difference if the spam message is removed in a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, or never?

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Jun 12, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 12, 2011

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I understand the concept of search engine ranking, but that is usually used for commercial sites like fake pharma, pirated software, adult sites, and whatnot.

But these "sports" sites often reside on blogger, and recently on facebook, and are usually taken down days after their creation.  So where do the spammers make money here?  There must be a scam somehwere in there; I just cannot see it.

P.S. I always help the spammers take their sites down quickly by reporting them to blogger, facebook, or whereever there is a public 'Report' button.

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Jun 12, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 12, 2011

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Claudio González wrote:

You mean, a post such as this would give more points to the spammer?

...

Does it matter how long the message remains in place? That is, does it make any difference if the spam message is removed in a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, or never?

I should think it would increase the ranking of the page whose link is shown.

If the Google search indexer bot happens to read the page 2 seconds after it's posted, the damage is done.

Google search bots run all the time all over the place.  I've seen threads on these forums getting into Google search results literally in a few seconds, because Googling for an answer often comes up with the question itself.  If you're curious how long it takes, watch for a legitimate post to appear, then search Google for one of the unique phrases in it and put quotes around it.

So the short answer is yes, if a spam post is taken down quickly it more likely thwarts the spammer's intent than if it's left up for a while.

-Noel

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Jun 12, 2011 0
Adobe Employee ,
Jun 13, 2011

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This may become a moot point in the future if we can get a "no follow" attribute set for forum messages (95% sure we will have this). Then the issue becomes letting the spammers know about this change.

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Jun 13, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 13, 2011

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adobe-admin wrote:

This may become a moot point in the future if we can get a "no follow" attribute set for forum messages (95% sure we will have this). Then the issue becomes letting the spammers know about this change.

Thanks for the news, but I am sorry to say that the concept of a "no follow" atribute escapes me. Could you please explain a little for ignorants such as me?

And the "may", and the "if", and the 5% uncertainty leave me with an uncomfortable feeling.

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Jun 13, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 13, 2011

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adobe-admin wrote:

This may become a moot point in the future if we can get a "no follow" attribute set for forum messages (95% sure we will have this). Then the issue becomes letting the spammers know about this change.

Wouldn't that cause havoc with legitimate search results? If so, you might want to wait until the forum search is up and runing well.

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Jun 13, 2011 0
LEGEND ,
Jun 13, 2011

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~graffiti wrote:


Wouldn't that cause havoc with legitimate search results? If so, you might want to wait until the forum search is up and runing well.

No, not at all.  Search results will still include all information that is posted in the forum, but the search engine bots will not follow any links in the posts.

Anyone finding a post as a result from a search can still follow any legitimate links.

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Jun 13, 2011 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Jun 14, 2011

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Claudio,

As implied by what Pat (or should I say Qat) says, no follow is (part of) a search engine bot instruction, just about the opposite of this one:

META NAME= "ROBOTS" CONTENT= "NOINDEX,FOLLOW">

In this case the instruction is to follow the link and index that page instead of the current one (which is then ignored by the bot).

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Jun 14, 2011 0