6 views (last 30 days)

We've seen a dramatic increase of the spam that we get on the forum lately, and I am wondering if it isn't the right moment for increasing the complexity of accounts creation. Would it only be with two captchas, that could pretty easily be implemented : one graphical and why not, as we are on Mathworks, one mathematical (e.g. basic arithmetic with a few levels of parentheses, enough for screwing up most regexp-based parsers)?

Cheers,

Cedric

EDIT - some arguments from my comments below

I don't really care about clicking on multiple threads to see whether they are spam or not. What I do really not like though, is to have to do it multiple times for the same user. I think that any solution which allows a same user account to send multiple posts after one has been closed or flagged as spam by a high enough rep. member, is not adequate.

If I look at the list of members with a rep above even 1000, I don't see anybody who should legitimately not be trusted about using adequately a mechanism which allows to block an account until a high rep member (2k+, 3k+,editor,admin?) decides to unblock or to cancel/delete it. This mechanism could even be limited to accounts with a rep below 25 or 50, because no spammer will ever pass this threshold (see Jon's comment about this point).

EDIT - There could/should also be a list of forbidden domain names for creating TMW accounts, typically those which allow the creation of anonymous/disposable accounts automatically. The rational is that no professional/student should have any valid reason for using such email accounts for creating a TMW account.

Image Analyst
on 6 Jun 2014

I don't think they're bots posting. I actually saw one person respond to the spammer saying that the tv/movie web sites were probably illegal and the spammer actually responded saying he didn't think so. And each account only posts 1 to 20 or so posts. So I think that actual real live people are posting , not bots. We've discussed ways before, such as suspending an account if the editors delete more than 2 posts or the account has any posts flagged as spam, but the Mathworks is keeping any possible solutions secret for now. All I know is that they're working on some kind of solution but I don't know what form that will take.

By the way, Steve's blog has a captcha where you have to do math to post a comment. And Google is famous for that, like in their help wanted ads or billboards like this:

John D'Errico
on 8 Jun 2014

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John Kelly
on 10 Jun 2014

Kelly Kearney
on 10 Jun 2014

Star Strider
on 11 Jun 2014

Those who now have the ability to lock Questions (RP >= 1500) and make questions flagged as ‘spam’ disappear, can’t see the flags unless we click on the Questions. Eliminating the extant Tags and replacing them with ‘spam’ helps.

A Question flagged as ‘Spam’ should have a visible signal symbol that we can easily see. Perhaps simply displaying the ‘Flag’ symbol on the Question — probably on the right margin — would be enough. If I knew to look for it there, it would immediately draw my attention.

A red ‘Flag’ symbol would indicate a flagged Question, yellow an Answer or Comment that need to have the spam edited out (RP >= 2000) or the Answer or Comment deleted (RP >= 3000).

John D'Errico
on 14 Jul 2014

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