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Redhedd Spam: How Can We Fight It?
Posted On 02/22/2012 12:21:47 by steve

Eunice CrankyPonts posted a blog about how much of a pain in her ass the spam messages she gets are, and it pained me to read about how one of our pillar members is so turned off that it keeps her from enjoying the site.

(please note - this is not a general site complaint opportunity. If you've got complaints about other sucky aspects of the site, please PM me, or post it in the forums. - thanks!)

I know that spam bugs the living shiznit out of many of you, as it does me, and I want to apologize for being so passive about it for so long. Not passive in the sense of allowing it, because OzRed, gah-bless-him, is our Banman on the scene and he daily chucks the spammers and bans their IPs (most of them are from China, asamattafack).

But there's really no way to keep up with the army of pissants that think that a link on a little social network like ours is going to give them enough google juice or sucker visitors or whatever to make it worth their while, and I've been passive in the sense that I've been content to win the battles (win?, more like rebuff the attacks) rather than win the war.

So I want to use this blog post to disucuss solutions to winning the war. I don't pretend to have the best answer, and I want to hear what you Members and Staff think, and together I hope that we might come up with something that works for all (except the spammers). I've posted a couple of options below. I'd love to hear your opinions on them, and any additional ideas you have.

One solution that comes immediately to mind that I've seen put into place on other member sites is a minimum number of points before a new member is allowed to send a private message or post a blog. Downside: it makes it harder for new members to immediately express themselves. Upside: It weeds out the crap that comes from spammers and/or the flash in the pans who are merely idly curious. 

Manual verification of new members: this is another method that seems pretty workable. Downside: More work for staff, less instant gratification for legit new members who may have to wait a few hours to get access. Upside: spammers are obvious. It's easy to deny them.

Referral verification: this is a twist on manual verification the above, but gives every already-approved member the ability to "approve" a new member. Basically, every new member comes on with no privilages whatsoever beyond customizing their profile and browsing the public areas of the site. To earn posting privileges, they have to be approved (or voted in) by one (or more) members. Upside: increases member involvement and sense of community. Downside: same as above manual verification - hinders impulsive expression.

What hasn't worked in the past: email verification. I used to get a ton of emails every day from legit new members who had signed up and not gotten their verification email, either because of their junk settings, or a misspelling, or whatever. And of course, most of our spammers have email addresses built into their bots, so it's not at all spamproof.

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what I consider to be the second biggest problem on this site (first being low member engagement, third being the fact that it loses money year after year). Hell, I don't want to aim too high here, but what I'd really love is if this were the first step toward getting redhedd back to humming along where it used to be in terms of activity.

So let's hear what you guys have to say about this! 

And thanks!


Tags: Spam Solutions Help


Viewing 1 - 13 out of 18 Comments

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03/19/2012 22:53:00
so when are we going to implement any of this?

03/10/2012 07:01:24
no problem :)

03/10/2012 00:29:03
oh, I see, now that I read it a little more carefully...

03/09/2012 02:35:52
i am fully aware of what captcha hence my reply.

03/09/2012 01:17:48
Rapturas, Captcha requires manual entry of several characters which have been slightly distorted. They cannot be scanned and read by bots. It require human eyes to successfully get past Captcha. You might have seen it on a few sites.

03/08/2012 22:19:09
im not sure captcha would work unless it's bots that are doing the spamming?

03/08/2012 22:18:21

minimum number of points in theory might work well but depends on the
spammer and why theyre spamming. ive never understood why people do it
but if theyre determined to spam then theyll wait to build up points

if you opt for the manual verification then im more than happy to assist you guys.

03/08/2012 17:40:27
captcha sounds like it may work  ive always been happy with redhedd the spam is aggravating but its not too bad. im sure guys will find a good solution.

03/01/2012 06:52:02
Thank you Steve, I have no idea how to resolve the spammer issue but whatever you and the staff decide, I say go for it. The Captcha things sounds interesting. Manual verification sounds very time consuming and annoying but it may work. 

I have noticed some precautions already put in to place - not being able to post comments within so many seconds/minutes of each other. That worked for me. When and if I comment, I make my comment and then forget to comment because of the lag/wait. So, no spam from me.... 

02/28/2012 23:18:59
CAPTCHA - on sign up and on blogging.  

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02/25/2012 19:56:34
Just an idea, no posting for 48 hours after an account is created.

02/24/2012 05:08:16

Thanks for being on top of it Steve, it has been a bit of a bugbear seeing messages from them in my inbox. I like the idea of the minimal points before they can post.


02/24/2012 01:19:31
The spam doesn't seem that bad to me, honestly. But, I'm for whatever everyone else thinks is best.

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