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Since the move we seem to have been invaded by a bunch of only partially literate spammers from the West Riding of Yorkshire trying to sell us their dubious services - they surely can't be registering manually - is there some hole in the registration system they are using?

asked 04 Apr '14, 08:19

Justin%20Willey's gravatar image

Justin Willey
accept rate: 20%

edited 04 Apr '14, 08:20

My guess is that there are scripts out there that know how to create user accounts and post questions on OSQA-based sites. Then they search the internet for OSQA sites and once they find one, they store it away someplace and then they can create random users and post spammy questions at their leisure. I'll look around for a way to thwart these scripts. It might be as simple as requiring a validated email address before allowing a user to ask questions.

It is odd, however, that we've seen more of these since moving to the domain (10 in the last week) than we ever did on (a few in the last year).

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answered 04 Apr '14, 08:33

Graeme%20Perrow's gravatar image

Graeme Perrow
accept rate: 54%

edited 04 Apr '14, 08:34

Will these questions be deleted?

(I'm ready to flag and close these like today, but a complete delete would be better IMHO...)

(04 Apr '14, 08:44) Volker Barth
Replies hidden

This is done.

(04 Apr '14, 08:45) Graeme Perrow

Now, that was fast:)

(04 Apr '14, 08:46) Volker Barth

FWIW: We delete them as quickly as we can... but sometimes we're not at our computers so it may take a few minutes before we get to it.

(04 Apr '14, 09:01) Mark Culp

sometimes we're not at our computers

We'll accept that excuse:)

(04 Apr '14, 09:35) Volker Barth
Comment Text Removed

If it's any consolation, we're having the same problems on an OSQA-powered site that I administer.

To @graeme-perrow, requiring a validated email address before posting helps a bit, but does not remove the problem altogether. You'll also need to check for a valid email address before you allow new users to update their profile. If not, you'll find spam in the bios.

I understand this is now a corporate Q&A site, but why no extend moderator privilege to high-reputation users so that they can delete offensive stuff as soon as it's posted? We've got about the same number of committed users on our site, from all over the world, and there's hardly a spam question, answer or comment that stays online for more than 5 minutes thanks to our attentive moderators.

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answered 05 Apr '14, 05:18

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck
accept rate: 15%


That's the message I just got right now when I tried to report another spam:

Sorry, but you don't have enough flags left for today..
The limit is 5 per day..
Please check the faq

OK, for the times on the Sybase domain that limit could have been 5 per year but now it seems somewhat anachronistic:)

@Spammers: Could you please wait until afternoon?

(05 Apr '14, 06:03) Volker Barth
Replies hidden

The OSQA software does not have a rep setting to allow a user to delete a question... Considering the increase in amount of spam that we have seen this week I think we will need to change this!

(05 Apr '14, 07:22) Mark Culp

@Volker: I have no idea what the "Report spam" thing does. I don't get an email or any kind of notification when that happens, and I see nothing in the administrator pages to indicate that anyone has reported anything. For now you can close the question, but as Mark said, we'll look into allowing high-rep users to delete them as well.

(05 Apr '14, 08:00) Graeme Perrow

Never mind - found a page that lists all the flagged questions, though I'm a little surprised that there is no notification. I have to manually check the list now and again.

(05 Apr '14, 08:07) Graeme Perrow

@mark-culp: you have a choice between editing the source to extend REP_TO_DELETE_COMMENTS to questions/answers as well ( the threshold is set under hostname/admin/settings/minrep/ ) or add a new min rep rule to delete questions/answers.

An easier solution is to promote a handful of willing high-rep users to moderator status, which would be very much in the spirit of this kind of Stackoverflowish site. Instead of flagging posts that must then be deleted by an admin, why not let them delete anything that is blatant spam right away. In case of doubt, an admin can always undelete later at /admin/tools/nodeman/

(05 Apr '14, 08:59) Vincent Buck

Thanks Vincent... we're already discussing options and those that you have mentioned are some alternatives that we're considering.

(05 Apr '14, 09:46) Mark Culp

@Mark, @Graeme: For the time being, could you enhance the list of reasons to close a question with a "spam" entry?

I make use of "Question is off-topic or not relevant" currently, but I guess that's better used for real off-topic questions, say on MySQL and the like...

(Of course, the close reason is moot as soon as the question is deleted...)

(07 Apr '14, 03:15) Volker Barth

Would that include "banning" those users, too?

I'm asking since these are different sports IMHO: While I surely would be willing to delete spam mails, I would hesitate to lock-out users - that seems really more like an "admin-only" task...

(07 Apr '14, 06:11) Volker Barth
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No. Moderator status gives a user the authority to edit, close, or delete any questions, answers, or comments. It does not give the ability to suspend users or perform other administrative tasks.

(07 Apr '14, 09:34) Graeme Perrow
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I registered today and saw there is no human verification check.

Enabling the recaptcha module will make automatic registration more costly:

good luck,

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answered 07 Apr '14, 09:00

vdcey's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%

Ach, that's not an "invasion", this is an invasion! :)...

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answered 04 Apr '14, 08:24

Breck%20Carter's gravatar image

Breck Carter
accept rate: 20%


Living on the North Sea coast it's these chaps I worry about:


(04 Apr '14, 12:02) Justin Willey

Noggin the Nog?

(08 Apr '14, 14:38) Tom Slee
Replies hidden

or possibly his cousin Bjørn the Berserker!

(08 Apr '14, 18:46) Justin Willey
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question asked: 04 Apr '14, 08:19

question was seen: 3,118 times

last updated: 08 Apr '14, 18:46