Sorry for the silence

Just want to hang out with other Makers and chat about stuff? This is the place to do it.
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jonoxer
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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by jonoxer » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:12 am

About the spammers, yes, there are 4 people with admin privileges on the forum who work hard to delete them (@cef cleaned up something like 600 spam accounts in the last 2 weeks) but it's a constant battle.
--
Jon

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by cef » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:27 pm

Yeah been jumping on them when I see them. More and more are getting caught by the automated routines, but overall there's been a bigger increase in numbers, so we're seeing as much if not more.

A forum without spam on it rates highly in their book, because they tend to get rated highly by Google in general for anything they have information on. This means if they get their spam on it, Google rates it higher than just some random site with the same spam on it.

The spambots are also offloading breaking of Captchas to "armies" of people to break for them. Seems reCaptcha (Google's solution) is pretty much broken as it stands.

We've got a few tricks up our sleeves that we plan to put in place, but if I say it here perhaps the spammers will use that to get around them. I know they monitor (and spam!) a number of anti-spam forums to keep an eye on those trying to block them.

As Jon said, it's a constant battle. Hopefully though, we'll make a big dent it in soon.

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by csconsulting » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:18 am

ban anything from russia and somalia by the look of it so far! haha

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by cef » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:07 am

The issue is identifying they're a spammer, not so much identifying where they come from.

We've got at least one legitimate contributor to the forum who has a .ru email address. We don't want to ban people who actually use a FreeTronics product and need help.

You also can't block somalia's IP netblocks, as many spammers will happily use open proxies and things like Tor to get around them.

FWIW: The most common email domains the spammers use are gmail (70+%), aol, yahoo, yandex, ymail, cmail, and other free services (about 10% combined) and a whole heap of specific fly-by-night addresses (about 15%). Blocking gmail would get rid of a large portion, but many people only have a gmail address.

And yes, we use email verification.

The fly-by-night domains pop up for only about 2-4 weeks and then vanish.

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by effgee » Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:04 am

cef wrote: it's a constant battle. Hopefully though, we'll make a big dent it in soon.
You must be doing a fine job, I haven't seen any spam here.
Well done, and keep up the good work.

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by cef » Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:08 pm

More and more of it is getting caught for moderation (meaning the average person doesn't see it), but we still get a fair bit that currently slips through the cracks. Hopefully that's going to change soon.

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by csconsulting » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:04 pm

Can we make the first 10 posts of all new members moderated?

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by jonoxer » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:56 pm

I've been wanting to avoid going to that sort of extreme if it could be avoided, but the spam just keeps on coming so it may be necessary.

Last night I upgraded phpBB and the Anti-Spam control panel to the latest versions at @cef's suggestion. The new version has Kismet support (which is a paid service for commercial sites like this one) so that's probably worth trying. It's $5 / month, but if that stops the spam it'd be well worth it!

Otherwise, perhaps moderating just the first 3 posts would be a good approach. I don't like the idea of putting a barrier in the way of genuine users if we can avoid it though. It sucks that the side-effect of spam is that it causes problems for honest people who want to use the forum as it was intended.
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Jon

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by Flymo » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:54 am

Glad things are going better, Jon - long may that continue.
The plumbing in the sinus is poorly designed, imo! ;)
Medical science has come a long way nowadays, they can fix things pretty often.
Agree that drinking plenty of water is good - keeping warm is good (eg improvised face sauna) and avoiding your own personal allergens is very good indeed.
Getting enough sleep, eating well, wearing a warm vest, all the stuff that Momma said....
All good.
Hope to see you at the Conf in Canberra this year?

Allabest, Ben

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Re: Sorry for the silence

Post by jonoxer » Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:06 am

Hi Ben, yes, I'll definitely be at LCA in January! I've booked accommodation but haven't got as far as arranging travel yet.

The Arduino Miniconf should be another fun one: the hardware project being prepared has been kept secret until now unless people happen to be hanging around on the right mailing lists, but it should be really cool. It's a bit off the wall so I hope people like it.

This time the main project is straying a little from pure electronics into mechatronics. We're going to be assembling simple CNC plotters, using stepper motors for X/Y drive and a servo for Z. It's all controlled by a custom Arduino-based CNC controller that Luke Weston has been working on, which is basically a LeoStick core with the addition of stepper controllers and a display. It's super-slick, and I think people will come up with some ingenious uses for it.

The mechanicals have been designed and prototyped by John Spencer at Connected Community Hackerspace. Hopefully this week we'll have the first controller prototypes fired up and connected to a chassis, and we'll see if the cunning plan is actually going to work!
--
Jon

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