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restrictions on posting links

links linking

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#1 caliban

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 08:53 PM


The anti-spam measures that we are using on LongeCity are adjusted from time to time.

 

We had some issues with over-responsive checks earlier this year and the some measures were switched off. 

Unfortunately this has led to a recent influx of spam.

 

Among the measures to counteract this, non-Members are currently prevented from posting links.


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#2 blood

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 08:38 AM

Turning off links (as a reaction to spam) appears to be an over-reaction.

Links are the lifeblood of info-exchange forums like this.

A typical thread starter on this forum is a description of a study followed by a link to the abstract or full text.

Links not being functional will make this forum much less useful than it is (or, was).

:/

Edited by blood, 24 May 2014 - 09:15 AM.

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#3 niner

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 12:23 PM

I just deleted a spam post that contained the invitation "Visit us!" with a text URL instead of a link.   Apparently spammers are familiar with the no-link paradigm, and have workarounds.  I think we should allow users with more than a handful of posts to post links, and perhaps make our signup process more unfriendly to spammers.  Spammers have particular characteristics that I'd be happy to discuss with admins via PM, if anyone is interested.


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#4 albedo

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 07:04 PM

I would also like to revert how we had it before.



#5 PWAIN

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 12:53 AM

I'm on my mobile atm so I can't upvote niner but consider him upvoted.
20 votes and 2 weeks since first post should do it. Also, are capatchas not working any more?

#6 blood

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 01:41 AM

I think we should allow users with more than a handful of posts to post links


These seems like a reasonable approach.

Also: I hope people are clicking on the "Report" link for spam posts, alerting moderators to posts that need to be deleted.

Community policing is a much better solution than deactivating forum links!

#7 YOLF

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 02:34 AM

This should only be temporary. But there is good cause for concern and this is being done for our user's security. Spammers will from time to time become angry with us for blocking them and we'll see in influx of malware posts where the user only has to view them. This is necessary for your safety due to recent attacks from spammers and I'm sure we'll get the kinks worked out.



#8 niner

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 02:54 AM

This should only be temporary. But there is good cause for concern and this is being done for our user's security. Spammers will from time to time become angry with us for blocking them and we'll see in influx of malware posts where the user only has to view them.

 

Has this actually happened?  The only malware I know of came from one of our ads.  Users have occasionally posted links (accidentally, as far as I could tell) to pages that could (and did, in my case) infect your machine if you visited the page, but not if you just looked at the post.



#9 YOLF

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 04:10 AM

Yes, I viewed a spam post which contained an enhanced media link (I saw it only as an image placeholder). It was flagged and blocked by my security software. I have all ads and trackers blocked, so it wouldn't have been any of those (I'm here too much to count as an impression anyways). I immediately removed the link/placeholder using the rich media post editor. 17 people had viewed the post prior to me. It was called URL/MAL or somesuch by my security software.

 

I'm wondering if the file at the end of the link was only swapped with a malicious one when the spammer detected that the account was flagged (I think I could determine a way to detect this, so it's within the realm of possibility). And as we have to view the posts to flag them, it's kind of like saying if you delete my spam, I'll infect your users... As there's no telling what malware they have at their disposal or whether all security software can detect it, it's just safer this way.



#10 niner

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 04:45 AM

Well, that sounds like the security software had that particular URL in its database of bad web pages.  I think you would have had to click on it in order to get infected.  The idea that spammers are trying to punish us for blocking them sounds specious.  Is there any evidence that this is happening here?  I've never seen it.  Spammers look for sites with good page rank that are easy to spam.  If one doesn't work, they just go on to the next.  I don't think they take it personally if they get flagged.  Their procedures are heavily robo-ized.  One guy is probably making a hundred spam posts a day on tons of forums.

 

The safest thing for us to do would be to shut down the forum.    If we make it much more dysfunctional, we might as well. 


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#11 Phoenicis

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 05:09 PM

I've never seen a spammer here, this change made me lose some links in posts that I made. It really sucks. 



#12 blood

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 03:12 AM

I've never seen a spammer here, this change made me lose some links in posts that I made. It really sucks. 

 

Some posters here are extremely meticulous when it comes to providing references. I'm thinking of (for example) Darryl - his posts are highly valuable for the references that he has carefully curated and provided through links. All of his work has been laid to waste. Thus the deactivating of links on this forum feels to me like an act of vandalism. It is certainly a destructive change in the way the forum operates. Arguably deactivating of links is destructive to the nature of the web itself. At core, the web *is* text + hyperlinks. Deciding that you will no longer participate in hyperlinking to other web resources is bad web citizenry, in my opinion. Fear of spam is not an excuse for this bad policy. Longecity should be ashamed & disgusted with itself over this. :/


Edited by blood, 26 May 2014 - 03:14 AM.

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#13 caliban

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 07:08 AM

LongeCity continues to be in the crosshairs of a what appears to be a particular spam initiative -- new counter-measures were implemented today, and the temporary link restrictions lifted. 

 

PS: On balance, I would rather leave 'comments enabled' - but I'm sometimes strangely worried with these announcements that an impression could be created that inane bleating at high volume has (had) any persuasive effect. 







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