Spam prevention: Minimum comment count to create new posts

CryogenCrystals

Sodbuster
Would this forum consider restricting the creation of new posts until someone reaches a minimum comment count, in order to prevent/reduce spam? I ask because this seems to prevent quite a few spam posts on other forums. It doesn't need to be a large number of comments/replies prior to posting, 5 even, just enough to discourage throwaway quick-post accounts. I know the byproduct of this affects people who cannot yet post (only comment) but have a support issue, generally I've observed these folks in other forums using search more, and then commenting in existing, similar and or somewhat related threads, which can be a bit messy yes, but can also greatly reduce the porn/drugs/money/scam/random product etc posts. I have seen this done on several game maker forums even for their official support forums. Such measures tend to discourage spammers because it takes far too much time for them to be able to create their junk account's comments (especially repeated throwaways for this as they get banned continually) and is also harder to automate, so they often move on.

In the other forums I mention, I've observed other forum goers simply informing these legit users to meet the minimum comment number by browsing around and contributing a few legit comments, then they can create their post.

I understand this method may not be desired or work for this forum, it just crossed my mind what is sometimes done elsewhere and might be helpful here. Please disregard if this has already been considered and rejected, thanks.
 
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ISSsloth

Planter
Would there be a way to have this restriction for some parts of the forum and not others? For example, someone who had just made an account wouldn't be able to make game discussion threads, but would be able to make an introduction.
 

Worblehat

Sodbuster
For what it's worth, the version I've seen elsewhere is that it requires a certain number of posts (5?) before a new user is allowed to include a link in their post. That puts a roadblock in front of the spammers, but still allows a new person to register specifically to post a perceived bug or ask for help. I think a very large number of new users do one or both of those as their first posts; I know I did. 🙂

The status quo seems to work decently well here. There are occasionally a few spam posts, we report them, mods delete them, done. Unless the times I happen to be on miss most of the action, and the rest of you are actually deluged with spam posts to report and they're all gone by the time I log in... 🤷‍♂️
 

CryogenCrystals

Sodbuster
Seems to have been every day lately. Both are good ideas, leaving the support and introduction one would be good and combining it with the link thing might be better. My main concern with the link only one is the ones that don't post links and just list meds/drugs/products and post WhatsApp numbers or chat places (most of the posts lately have this) etc., but links before 5 posts is a good idea regardless.

And yep, I agree, on the ones I've seen that implement the no new post (comment only) feature before 5, users who register just to post bugs still post them, as I mention they do it using search and by posting in existing threads. By the time they're done this, they can usually create their new post too lol. You're right though, it is not a method for everywhere and can create other issues like off topic posts in other threads (support folks always post, they just post elsewhere and will sometimes multi-post elsewhere). Lately I've been flagging 2 each time I log in. If it stays manageable for the mods, great and no change needed. I figured it can't hurt to provide an example in case it progresses to unmanageable. Doing links and restricting new to certain threads in the meantime seems like an excellent idea!
 
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Would it also be possible, in relation to a new person signing up, to have ONLY the Introductions and Support boards show up based on account level/permission? This way, it gives someone new immediate access to introduce themselves along with asking any game questions they have, but still mitigate spamming to a degree since they'd be pushed into a direction to actually talk about SDV instead of immediately posting some garbage spam.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
 

Ereo

Farmer
I don't think that kind of people will be deterred by the topic of the forums they see... There is never a good place to sell meds or counterfeit money. Or put an ad for a Chinese casino page.

I even doubt it's actually people posting this kind of spam.

Lots actually get posted as comments and not threads, so I'm not even sure how many would really be filtered out by not being able to post their own threads.
 

Zen_the_Ogre

Planter
I don't think that kind of people will be deterred by the topic of the forums they see... There is never a good place to sell meds or counterfeit money. Or put an ad for a Chinese casino page.

I even doubt it's actually people posting this kind of spam.

Lots actually get posted as comments and not threads, so I'm not even sure how many would really be filtered out by not being able to post their own threads.
You could go for the nuclear option start banning IP pools associated with the scammers/vpns. I mean yeah that could inconvenience some users but it's a simple on off function for most quality vpns.

I say you should launch it with 10 days notice plus an email to the users.

Or you could always load the keywords of fentanyl, counterfeit, Viagra, banking, or anything related to copulation to a blacklist that requires moderation to post. Also put spell check if more than 3 words are mistyped put it to the list as well. I mean I don't expect everyone to have perfect English and Yoba knows that Google is less than accurate. Heck you can make a white list for some users to not be affected as well. I mean I think the mods can be competent in deciding who is a bot and who just have a hard time spelling Junimos.
 

CryogenCrystals

Sodbuster
Or you could always load the keywords of fentanyl, counterfeit, Viagra, banking, or anything related to copulation to a blacklist that requires moderation to post. Also put spell check if more than 3 words are mistyped put it to the list as well. I mean I don't expect everyone to have perfect English and Yoba knows that Google is less than accurate. Heck you can make a white list for some users to not be affected as well. I mean I think the mods can be competent in deciding who is a bot and who just have a hard time spelling Junimos.
The keywords thing is a great idea, a robust list of blacklisted words/terms and their variants (there should be no WhatsApp numbers and emails posted regardless probably, plus a looooot of inappropriate topic words). Combine that with no links until x number of posts (if possible) and those alone might be very helpful and seems like a potential great start. Sounds like this forum is built on existing forum software (I haven't bothered to look at its source code to check) so I'd imagine there would be some limits imposed based on this.

It's funny, there was next to no comment spam on the forums I mentioned, probably because finding existing posts is slightly more work, but that doesn't mean it can't happen, absolutely, and it is a very good point. Different places seem to be affected differently too I guess. I've only seen new post spam here so far, hopefully volume comment spam doesn't come next.

Personally, I'd stop using the forum if I couldn't use a VPN but some places do block them for sure and find it quite helpful to do so. That's also a good point.
 
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liquidcat

Moderator
Staff member
You could go for the nuclear option start banning IP pools associated with the scammers/vpns.
We do have spam filters which flags IP pools and we have to manually approve the users who are flagged. It's honestly godsent and there are up to 10-20 obvious spam/bot accounts flagged by it everyday.

There are some good ideas suggested in this thread! The word blacklisting idea seems easiest to implement.

Sounds like this forum is built on existing forum software (I haven't bothered to look at its source code to check) so I'd imagine there would be some limits imposed based on this.
Yup! We use XenForo Forum Software and what we can and can't do are limited by it so we will just have to look around and see if there are ways to implement them while striking the difficult balance or see if there are better spam prevention add-ons available.
 

Zen_the_Ogre

Planter
@liquidcat make sure to consider the spell check option. You know their are numerous ways to disguise thing like wwwdotgoogledotcom or do you wanna buy a fully automatic bunny or a semiauto bunny(family guy reference) or the b reak ing up wo rds to bi pass fi1ters.

Hmmm looking at my post for some reason I can see automatic bunny coming up one way or another
 

Zen_the_Ogre

Planter
Also you guys have my condolences with bots and scammers. I used to be a moderator for mytinyphone before android came along. I was deleting probably 1000+ obscene photos a day. Then often having to explain why content was deleted when someone disputed.
 
While I understand the concerns here are to mitigate spam and other bad things; I would like to remind you that not everyone who may be a "new user" may have the time to jump through hoops to make a new post. While making bots/scammers jump through hoops would discourage them and stop that problem; it would in turn create a new problem. Those same hoops would effectively stem the flow of new users entering, for starters. Although, the adding a link does make sense to have a hoop to jump through. Since the links would most likely take you to a different webpage; you want to know you can trust the person first.
I mainly joined this forum for some advice and I did not see any related threads. I would not want to turn someone's thread off-topic; if it could be helped; just because I am new. Being "new" should not mean that your assumed "guilty" until proven "innocent".
While Scammers/bots are a real and dangerous threat to any forum. It's also dangerous if you accidently alienate the people you are looking to attract. Not everyone who joins is forum experienced and that needs to be kept in mind.
 

Ereo

Farmer
@liquidcat make sure to consider the spell check option. You know their are numerous ways to disguise thing like wwwdotgoogledotcom or do you wanna buy a fully automatic bunny or a semiauto bunny(family guy reference) or the b reak ing up wo rds to bi pass fi1ters.

Hmmm looking at my post for some reason I can see automatic bunny coming up one way or another

While Scammers/bots are a real and dangerous threat to any forum. It's also dangerous if you accidently alienate the people you are looking to attract. Not everyone who joins is forum experienced and that needs to be kept in mind.
Especially in the help section, I see many new users post with the help of a translator or in somewhat poor English, and I don't think it's fair to exclude them from getting help just because English isn't their first language.

In the other hand, most ad posts I've seen here are either perfect English, or they are directly written in Chinese.

That's why I'm sceptical to use spelling screening to prevent spam posts.
 

Zen_the_Ogre

Planter
Especially in the help section, I see many new users post with the help of a translator or in somewhat poor English, and I don't think it's fair to exclude them from getting help just because English isn't their first language.

In the other hand, most ad posts I've seen here are either perfect English, or they are directly written in Chinese.

That's why I'm sceptical to use spelling screening to prevent spam posts.
You misunderstand. If a person is using poor spelling a simple spell check on the forum side can help. (Edit spelling mistakes happen)> Win a person is trying to use spamdotspamerdotcom for censor bypassing or putting in phonetic profanity those could be culled. I want to show what I mean but it would probably break thread rules. But regardless it's not to harm people who spell what as wat but people who try to censor bypass.

On the flip side however a person who is typing "wat u men", "giv hep bad smapi" probably isn't bothering with translation. As in those two questions only one real word exist and it doesn't make since they would use men as mean as language translators typically don't make those mistakes


The spelling option was mainly to enforce the word blacklist to prevent as I listed the broken spelling to side step
 
I understand that blacklisting words would help with the profanity problem. Not so much for the broken English and talking in texties problem though... lol.
I don't think it will inhibit the use of translators. Since the blacklisting profanity seemed so simplistic and effective I did not think it would be misunderstood. Sorry, if people thought that prohibiting profanity was going to alienate Newcomers.
 
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