Too Much Spam

Would it be possible for Atlas to filter out (more of) the spambots? These things are clogging up this forum, and do some annoying over at the Ars Magica forum too.

I suggest you add a simple non-standard obligatory question to the registration stage, if at all possible. Something unique to Atlas Games, so that it won't be worth the while of spambots-developers to overcome. Simply adding a field saying "Text Comprehension Test: Please enter the words Atlas Games in the following field" should, I suspect, relieve the pressure. (Perhaps a more convoluted sentence, if that doesn't work.)

Changing the CAPTCHA you are using is also possible of course, but perhaps more difficult. I have no idea how hard it is, but perhaps whatever program you are using has other CAPTCHAs available? A better text-distortion could help, some other mechanism (audio-recognition, image manipulation...) would be even better.

I know the program you use might not make any of this easily possible. I'm just suggesting in case it does. The first solution at least seems very simple and likely to be possible. :slight_smile:

As i understand the problem , it is not automated spambots ,
but actual live spammers who are making the offending posts.

I agree with you Yair. Started a post on it some months back, but I chime in here simply because it is a relief for weeks to actually see a non-spam subject here!

I don't think you can add your own questions to the registration -I use the same forum-format for a MMO-guild- my experience is that the only way of putting a cap on the spamming is to prolong the registration so that you can read and register but not post until you've been 'approved'. This could be done by making an area only for 'introducing' yourself - but this would a) require a lot of work for the webmasters, and b) significantly raise the threshold on joining the community and thus possibly deter many would-be joiners, which might suffocate the forum. I can do this when it comes to the guild because the site is only relevant to people already known from in-game and we dont need to be 'accomedating' to strangers as they would have no other interest in our forum but to spam.

Btw - I do think that if you could add a question it should not be something you can simply read from the question, because as Ravenscroft pointed out many of the spammers seem to be 'live' ones. Such a question should be something relating to Atlas - either something everybody knows or could know simply from popping by the main website. But again, since many different games are discussed here such a commonality might not work and would yet again raise the treshold.

I do not know whether this is already done - but maybe banning IPs indstead of loggin IDs might be an idea.

But all in all it is just simply very frustrating - and I still at times think that removing the Generel Discussion might be the only way. But I do not think that would help either. :imp:

Not much you can do about actual persons spamming. :frowning:

The only thing I can see as working is delaying the first post, as Furion suggested, but that's a real work-drain for the moderators. Although automated filters should be able to tag most problematic posts, I suppose. Putting such a filter before the first post - denying it and barring the poster unless the moderator approves it the next day or so - may make it possible to filter out the spam without too many false positives that will deter new members. I doubt very much the current forum program can accomodate that, however.

I'm sad to learn it can't even accomodate adding a simple question. :frowning:

I'm pretty sure the messageboard blocks IPs, as when I was in my wife's home (a Kibutz) my IP was blocked - I couldn't enter Atlas' forums from that IP (I suspect the whole Kibutz).

I've sent a PM in the past to the webmaster to delete the offending accounts from the boards. Hopefully that will make a dent in the problem.


Unfortunately , some of the spam posters simply re-post with a new account almost as soon as the old one is deleted.

I'd wish they'd leave an Arcane Connection. I'm certain others wouldn't mind going beyond what is allowed the Quaesitors. :smiling_imp:

I'm a bit concerned about the asteroid strike in 2036 though. :unamused:

Hi there. I just thought I'd chime in to say that we feel your pain. We've actually asked a few of our top posters to act as "Spaminators" to help with the problem, and John just banned all .biz and .info addresses, so hopefully that will help. But putting a lot of effort into anti-spam efforts has the problem of diminishing returns ... both in regards to our time and in making it more difficult for legit posters to use the forums. Thanks for your understanding.

Great, thanks. :slight_smile:

Indeed, I do understand. :slight_smile: Thanks for your efforts.

Major spam alert! This is reaching epic proportions. Both in volume and in annoyance. I've never seen anything like the spam trend on this forum, even if attending several other fora build on phpBB. I wonder what makes Atlas' Forum such a target? Can nothing at all be done? I know many of the measures raise the threshold for new posters but maybe the spamming is reaching a level where the spam alone succeeds in discouragement?

The spammers are even spamming other spam threads now. :open_mouth:

It's all the SAME GUY registering with different IP addresses and email addresses. I'm trying my best, but there's not much I can do except keep deleting it. Banning doesn't do any good. Sorry. :frowning:

That's interesting! And somewhat alarming. My sympathies - and good hunting!

One of my friends suggested making a report to your local FBI office ,
as this is a Federal Offence.

The Wiki entry for phpBB :

It may be worth contacting this group to see if they have any suggestions.

Can you add a content filter to check forum posts?
Most of the spam is porn-related with occasional viagra and other drug or investment portfolio advice.

You're deleting too?

I'm deleting about 20 a day. Are you sure that it is a person and not a clever piece of software?

When i was chatting about the spam problem earlier ,
it was also suggested that one/more of the forum members
might have a compromised PC.

Running anti-virus and spyware checks might be a good idea.

Is there any reason that the obvious spam members on the membership list have not been removed?
There are 2394 list members so far , and not too many of them post or admit to lurking.

There has been a fair amount of spam on the offical announcements board. You can't post to that board unless you're a moderator. How does spam get there?

I have posted a query on a games forum run by a local university here in Sydney to see if anyone there can help.

And to rub it in, it is in a thread dedicated to tightening security! :confused:

About to call the Monthy Pythons by now? Certainly plenty of spam to go around :frowning: