Fighting Spam on DG.com

As many regular visitors already know, this site has been a target of spammers from the unsophisticated individual creating an account to just promote their offerings to the elaborate network of computers designed to break through our spam prevention measures.

Fighting spam requires walking a fine a line between inconveniencing the "real" users of the community and keeping the spammers out. In the past we have tried to walk this line by adding new spam filters. These filters need trained over time to know what is good and what is bad and inevitably some "real" content gets flagged as spam. Despite letting people know of this possibility there wasn't a very good reception during the training period and we ended removing it and went back to relying on the old filters and having community flag spam themselves when they saw it.

The only problem with this is when the spammers get real aggressive it can be a big annoyance. So we are taking a new approach to regulating the content on the site, at least on a trial basis, and here it is...

The first thing is we will be creating a "Trusted Poster" status. Anyone who has over a certain number of points on the community will get this status and be exempt from the spam filters. This should cover 90% of members who have been around for a while or have been participating regularly right off the bat. Also, until a user reaches "Trusted" status they will only be able to post new forum topics and reply to those, as well as commenting. They will not be able to post classifieds, blogs, etc. The logic is, if you're not an active participant in the community than your motivations are just like to spam something. Non-trusted posters will not be able to post links anywhere on the site. Spammers have no use for a spam post if they can't put a link to their offer, so that should help also.

Lastly, new accounts will require approval before access is granted. This approval will be very quick, but sometimes we get an almost equal number of spammers creating accounts as we do real members. If we can keep them from creating an account to begin with, all the better.

We will be implementing these changes over the coming days. If you notice an adverse effects, let us know right away.

how many points do you have

how many points do you have to have to be qualified as a trusted and how would you know who & who not to approve?

I've got an idea...

Levis Dad's picture

Require ALL new members to fill out their bio before they can do ANYTHING AT ALL. Done and done. Not good enough? Okay, do this too...

Delete all spammer accounts on the FIRST OFFENSE. No warnings, no notice, no 2nd chance e-mail. Just poof, there it is!

Trace all spammer accounts back to their IP address. The 2nd time you get spam from that IP address, block it from your site altogether. Yeah, spammers won't be able to even view DG.com after that, but since all they want to do is spam anyways, it's a win-win if I ever heard one.

OR! Keep DG.com free for all members, but charge spammers $300/month.

Any Computer Science major past their 2nd year of college can set this stuff up on a lunch break. I made these recommendations over 2 years ago, and got nothing but crickets in response. Hope someone pays attention this time. All the best...

"What do you mean, 'ugh'? I DON'T LIKE SPAM!!!" - "Monty Python." XD

Great News

femailceo's picture

Hope their are no bugs and no more spammer bugs! Thanks alot for trying something new!

Changes

dgadmin's picture

Alpine... actually, that is one of things we are going to do, requiring a full user profile.

Vonny, we are going to do a couple calculations before we set the point limit. The points requirement will be to post classifieds and blog posts, things like that. The forums are the heart of the site so if people are just coming to post classifieds they probably aren't classifieds we want on the site anyways. This will ensure we have quality classified and blog posts and not flooded with things that are not of value to the community.

All, we have locked down new registrations to an approval basis, at least for just a few days. So anyone who has a brand new account will have to wait for approval before posting, which is anywhere from minutes to hours. We also have a new system of challenge answers that will change randomly which should keep the robots out for the most part. Once we implement the full profile requirement it should eliminate 100% of the new spam accounts or close to it.

As we implement these you may still see some spam from spammers who created accounts in the past and didn't use them to spam until recently. When you see spam go ahead and flag it. We will never get rid of the individual spammers who jump through all of the hoops to create an account to spam their business or product, but we can deal with those as they appear. The big problem is the robots who can create hundreds of accounts and posts in minutes which makes it hard to keep up with them and they are good at getting around the captchas and other prevention measures. We will keep you updated as things progress.

Admin

kareng's picture

Thanks SO much!

I was thinking the same thing about the bios so I am glad you are implementing that.

Karen

Thanks DG Team! Sounds like

dominoafekt's picture

Thanks DG Team! Sounds like you have a pretty solid plan to take care of this. Hope it works!

Next suggestion for the forums: Make a link under the "Active Forum Topics" at the top to a page where you can see ALL recent posts, not just the last 5. Smiling

THANK YOU FOR LISTENING!

Zion Properties's picture

I am so happy to hear you are implementing this! Thank you so much!

Dom

kareng's picture

If you click on "What's New" on the left hand side it shows all that.

Winning The War...

dgadmin's picture

We have made a lot of headway in the last week against the spammers. We have stopped their ability to create new accounts as of now, and we have also deleted a lot of spam accounts and spam posts.

There may be a few new posts from time as we mop up the last of the spam accounts that have been saving to post content once, but once those are revealed we should have this under control.

Once that is confirmed we will start to implement a few of steps mentioned in the original post to ensure only legitimate accounts get all the privileges they should on the site. Hopefully you've noticed a major reduction in the spam as well.

PS- Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, Thinks there is less spam

femailceo's picture

although I did see a few on Thanksgiving as usual. Hopefully, it will soon be a thing of the past. Thank you for caring to clear up the site! We really appreciate it!

Fighting Spam on DG.com

SKL Properties's picture

To The DG Staff.....

The DG Family appreciates all your help.....Smiling

Thank You,
Sharon

Initial Cleanup Finished

dgadmin's picture

The initial cleanup of the existing spam and spam accounts was completed on Saturday. It took review of thousands of posts and accounts but we think we've eliminated at least 80-90% of the existing spam and over the last week there has been just a few new posts that we saw and over the last couple no new spam has made it in. So long as we have eliminated the spam accounts like be believe we have there should be no new spam posts.

From time to time there may be a couple spammers who slip in or regular people who come here for the purpose of promoting their stuff, but we can deal with those.

Thanks!

I think I have been removed

michaelmangham's picture

All my posts are gone! Don't know if I got removed intentionally or by accident. Jeremy, could you let me know whats up?

Thanks,
Michael

investor

Amer Brdjanin's picture

can you help me.

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