Please get a handle on the spammers!

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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby saulgoode » 2011-09-08 13:21

old_duffer wrote:As I'm addressing you directly, it's only fair to say who I am. This is cynwulf,

Your candor is appreciated.

old_duffer wrote:
saulgoode wrote:While I consider it far from pityable, it is a fact of life that people generally place higher regard on what a person does than what he says.

So once again you adopt the same lecturing and patronising stance?

I made a simple assertion. I fail to see how it could be stated any more neutrally and the sentiment itself is not that distant from your own expectations for the treatment of the old duffers of this forum.

Perhaps my stating it will be considered patronizing, but I should think this truism would be especially apparent to participants in the Free Software community, and particularly so for members of the Debian community. When Eben Moglen floated his idea for the Freedom Plug, it was Debian developers who jumped to the fore and said, "we appreciate all you've been doing over the years and we want to help"; the same sentiment expressed by Mr Moglen when he first decided to help Richard Stallman a quarter-century ago. Would you not be more quick to respond to a request for assistance from JohnDeere360 or mharrison than some just-joined-today newb?

And contrary to what some have put forth, there is deference paid to active contributors of this forum -- such is an inescapable part of human nature and arguably helps promote the forum's goals (and at a minimum does not interfere). For example, if a long-time member starts a new company, or purchases a new product, or publishes a book of Vogon poetry, it is not inappropriate for them to share this information with the rest of the community. Such would not be the case for new subscribers. There is also a bit greater leniency extended with regard to the usage of inappropriate language or the posting of unsuitable material.

But this deference only carries so far. Just because some consider you to be a rock star doesn't mean you're welcome to trash hotel rooms and throw televisions off the balcony; and just because you're a long-time contributor to the forum doesn't mean you're welcome to behave in a manner which interferes with its goals. If such behavior is permitted then the forum administrators would be failing to fulfill their responsibilities to all of the other members who participate in this forum because they agree with its goals and support their pursuit.

old_duffer wrote:
saulgoode wrote:I do not understand this mentality that the only way one can advance himself comes at the cost of the diminution of others. This forum exists so that users of the Debian distribution of GNU/Linux software can share their experiences and support each other in achieving maximal benefit from using it.

Your first sentence is obviously aimed at the people who left and went to the other place.

No. Not at all. I have great respect for meandean, JohnDeere360, yourself, and others who have decided that this forum was not providing the atmosphere they desired and have sought to create a place which does so. I applaud your efforts and wish you success. While I am dubious of the long-term sustainability of your governance in its current form (at least how it was when I looked at it), but such things can usually be adjusted as problems arise. I am particularly impressed by your explicit and unequivocal statement of the forum's mission (I think you called it a "Constitution").

My comment was directed toward those who feel that the only way they can attain satisfaction is at the cost of the demise of this forum. This seems a rather vengeful attitude and generally inconsistent with the philosophy of the Free Software -- just because you fork a project to better suit your needs does not suggest any necessity that the original project be destroyed. Are you not disgusted when you hear some Ubuntard blogger suggesting there are too many distros and that Debian is unnecessary? I know I am. Nadir's statement smacks of the same sentiment.

While I generally respect nadir for his opinions and the way which he expresses them, I nonetheless object to his proposal about "burning down" this forum. I do not feel it is necessary, nor do I feel that doing so would benefit the community of Debian users at large. It is also entirely dismissive of those who disagree with your pessimistic assessment of this forum's current state of affairs. If you hadn't noticed, there are still people here going about the business of helping each other and sharing their experiences with Debian and Free Software.

I have an appointment to attend and will attempt responding to some of the other points in a future post.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby traveler » 2011-09-08 14:04

saulgoode wrote:My comment was directed toward those who feel that the only way they can attain satisfaction is at the cost of the demise of this forum. This seems a rather vengeful attitude and generally inconsistent with the philosophy of the Free Software -- just because you fork a project to better suit your needs does not suggest any necessity that the original project be destroyed. Are you not disgusted when you hear some Ubuntard blogger suggesting there are too many distros and that Debian is unnecessary? I know I am. Nadir's statement smacks of the same sentiment.

I can't speak for him, but I know nadir quite well and can assure you he doesn't seek the demise of this board. New leadership? Absolutely- in particular a new "emperor". It can be difficult to translate nadir-ese, but I didn't read anything into his post about the demise of this board being something he wanted just to benefit those of us who decided to secede. I took his post as a clear call for a rebirth and restoration of this forum. Simply put, something was lost in the translation. At any rate, I'm sure he'll clarify for himself what he meant.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby nadir » 2011-09-08 14:44

I neither want to demise users nor the forum here (nor anyone, never)
I see why it might have sounded like that, but i already explained what i meant.
An eight page thread about spam, which results in "there is nothing one can do" seems to show that some changes are needed
(adding more spamhunters or mods, and some which are here, would be no biggie, as far i can tell, but that is really none of my business).

This way or that way i am sorry you understood me that way, cause i mainly posted the deleted post
(which might be worth spending a thought on), and added a short note (with a bad choice of words).
"I am not fine with it, so there is nothing for me to do but stand aside." M.D.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby eric1959 » 2011-09-08 14:50

nadir wrote:What i see right now is a shame for the OS.

You're right about that.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby JohnDeere730 » 2011-09-08 15:22

Saulgood makes a valid point....maybe it would help everyone to just think of duf.org as a fork of fdn. We run our board as we see fit; and these folks here do the same.Certainly, if any of the staff at duf.org were perceived as not attending to business and ignoring requests that we do so, we'd be out in the street on our ass in the mud before we could blink, but that is obviously not going to happen there., so let be, I say. To each his own.

This whole thread is a bit like school kids arguing about public policy on the White House lawn; we may get noticed, but since we can't vote and are not members of the Elite, I think it a reasonable assumption that the Elite's give-a-shit-o-meter is pegged hard on the zero as far as we plebs are concerned. I personally am not bitter at the Elites, as they make a very fine Linux distro, the best, in fact, for which I am grateful. But they suck at administering a forum. Just my 2 cents....
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby saulgoode » 2011-09-10 16:49

(nonsense, continued...)

@nadir
It is correct that I am a Slackware user, and that I do not to any meaningful degree use Debian (not directly, anyway). Nonetheless, after GNU itself, I feel there is no other project more significant to the promotion of Software Freedom and thus wish to see Debian's continued success (and to contribute to that in whatever small way I can).

Even were I a Debian user, I doubt I could be of any more assistance in this forum than I already am. The vast majority of the questions being asked in the forum concern problems encountered with proprietary drivers and applications, something with which I have very little experience. I also do not use a desktop, icons, or any type of file manager (unless you consider BASH a file manager). I do not use KDE or Gnome; in fact, I doubt that there are even ten other people on the planet using the same window manager as me. For what it's worth, I feel that the majority of the criticisms that arise about Debian users being less than helpful to newcomers, to whatever degree they may be valid, stem from the similar foundation that to a greater extent than other distros Debian users aren't especially experienced with proprietary solutions (and I do not consider this a bad thing because as a rule I consider Free Software solutions to be preferable).

I do have decades of experience with Unix systems and a modicum of understanding of things such as networking and working from the shell, but unquestionably when it comes to the sharing of knowledge in this forum, mine is the case of taking more than is given. Nonetheless, I do what I can and try not to be too egregiously misguided on the occasions where I do offer advice.

I would also clarify that I am not currently a "Moderator" of this forum. Since I resigned back in February I have not passed any judgments on postings in this forum, nor taken any administrative actions aside from the activities of removing spam. I am for all intents and purposes a member of the Spamhunter group; with but two exceptions.

Spamhunters (unfortunately) do not have the authority to issue bans and I have, in fact, done so on several occasions. Until about a month ago, I limited myself to only banning spammers who I "caught in the act" of posting while I was online, preventing them from posting any more spam while I was engaged in removing the posts they'd already made. About a month ago I expanded this abuse of authority to issuing bans for repeat offenders of spam -- ones who return to the site a second time to post their garbage. I have also used the Moderator's ability to investigate the IP address of posters in situations where there is doubt as to whether the post is spam (I do not believe Spamhunters have this option available).

I would consider banning every visitor who posts spam to be largely ineffective because less than 5% of the spammers appear to ever return for a second visit. It is quite frankly not worth expending 20 times the effort for rather minimal gain (issuing a ban takes as much time and effort as does removing the post in the first place). If someone wanted to go through all the spam postings and ban the authors, I would certainly not object; I am just not willing to do it myself.

I would also not object, as I stated in a previous post, forum software being enhanced to better prevent spammers from accessing the forum, but I am not a Debian member (see first paragraph) and thus not in a position to effect any such change.

But even barring any change in the forum software, I think the problem of forum spam can largely be handled by the current system, particularly if there were more members of the Spamhunter group. So far this year there have been approximately 5000 postings of spam messages, about 16 per day on average. This is not much out of line with my experiences at another forum of a similar size and level of activity which I used to administer and it can be managed with the software resources currently available.

The Spamhunters is listed as an open group which to my understanding means that those who wish to join can ask by sending a PM to one of the administrators (mez or mzilikazi).
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby Mr James » 2011-09-10 18:17

There is no need for further discussion on this matter... :wink:
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby nadir » 2011-09-10 18:33

I know that you are very helpful here. I also know that you are very experienced (as far i can tell, cause its sure way above me).
In fact i got a lot respect for you, and i did not mean that a user of a different distro could not help, advice, or whatever here.
I don't even doubt that for the job of a moderator or an admin the distro does matter at all (i remember that you said you wanted to give up on it, but anyway).

Still i think that Debian, the only big distro which is created by a community (not by a company and not as a one man show), attracts folks of a certain kind (with certain ideals, wishes, etc). That might be a dream or myth only, i really don't know. Its simply how it looked like to me when i arrived here and it looked like that for quite a while.
I like the Debian social contract and all which comes with it (e.g: we promise to not hide problems) I would not know why a forum should not reflect that.
I just wanted to join a forum, and it had the best rules i have ever seen:
Registration Agreement Terms

"Whatever you do or write in here....it's not my fault or my problem (but that doesn't mean I don't care)."
[Cervantes circa 2005]

I agree to these terms

I do not agree to these terms

As far i see it did not burn down yet. (its the i2p forum).
I for one would consider something like that much more in line with the general approach of Debian. At least its much better than people who arise out of the blue, decide on the fly, and then vanish in the dark again.
What puzzles me most of all that i seem to be the only one who does not understand why forums of Gnu/Linux, free, are run as if we had 1788 (quite authoritarian), pre-free. Perhaps if the mailing lists will be run like that too it gets more clear why it is not the perfect approach.
To sum it up i would say that what is best for the Debian community is first of all a question for Debian users (which does not mean one should not take advice by non-Debian-users...)

I might be awkard with others, i might choose bad words for what i say, but be sure that i don't look down or consider myself a rock-star. I do respect the opinions of others, but if i disagree i say it.
"I am not fine with it, so there is nothing for me to do but stand aside." M.D.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby qjqqyy » 2011-09-14 08:19

I think we need more mods with the ability to delete posts, else the forums get spammed up, and most of them are web forgery links.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby vbrummond » 2011-09-14 09:57

Well if more in depth (root of the problem) kind of fixes are not within the power of the folks running the board, a few more mods might be the only way forward.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby Bulkley » 2011-10-25 02:52

On the other phpbb forum I'm involved with we installed Spam Hammer and set all options to recommended. This thing has really cleaned up the site. After one day it removed all the zombies (about 1/4 of the membership list) and every day it removes new ones. The best part is that we don't have to do anything.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby ComputerBob » 2011-11-14 01:11

To anyone who thinks that generically complimentary spam messages are posted by real human beings who actually read these forums, here's something you ought to read:

http://www.computerbob.com/wp/do-spamme ... r-blog.php
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby Bulkley » 2012-01-14 17:48

Just a follow up on the Spam Hammer mod. The other site I help moderate has been using the Spam Hammer mod since last fall. We have not had to remove a single spammer since the mod was installed; Spam Hammer does it for us. Every day we have spammers register and 24 hours later they are erased. As moderators, we don't do anything; the mod does the work.
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby ComputerBob » 2012-01-14 22:20

Bulkley wrote:Just a follow up on the Spam Hammer mod. The other site I help moderate has been using the Spam Hammer mod since last fall. We have not had to remove a single spammer since the mod was installed; Spam Hammer does it for us. Every day we have spammers register and 24 hours later they are erased. As moderators, we don't do anything; the mod does the work.

It seems to me that the reason spammers post here is because they know that Google spiders this site a lot; so Google will see and index their spam messages very quickly. Google spiders even my site at least once every 24 hours.

With all of that said, if it takes Spam Hammer 24 hours to delete spam, then by that time, Google has already seen and indexed it -- which is exactly what the spammers want.

I know that my logic must be missing at least one important piece of the puzzle, or else no one would bother using things like Spam Hammer -- so I'd be happy to hear an explanation of what I'm missing. ;)
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Re: Please get a handle on the spammers!

Postby dasein » 2012-01-14 22:51

ComputerBob wrote:I know that my logic must be missing at least one important piece of the puzzle, or else no one would bother using things like Spam Hammer -- so I'd be happy to hear an explanation of what I'm missing. ;)

Since you asked...

When Googlebot comes back 24 hours later to find the content in question gone, it gets removed from their index.
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