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How to block spam?

Our subscribers to our askbot powered site (and were hit this morning by a Chennai based spammer who was referred from:

Our subscribers thus received a message containing this spam and their spam filters will have marked points against us as a spammer.

Two proposals:

  1. Please can an optional method of preventing first time users from posting questions until their account has been approved be added?

  2. (Better) Please can a feature be added to block the automatic forwarding of a message to non admin subscribers (ie. not 'Staff Status') until the new subscriber has reached a certain number of points. That would allow Staff to work with the site to self manage spam. ie. Spam and the user could be deleted quickly by Staff without other users noticing.

Rupreck's avatar
updated 2011-08-24 03:48:53 -0500
todofixthis's avatar
updated 2012-10-26 22:08:20 -0500
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3) Add recaptcha or another captcha solution when you post the first 3 questions/answers/comments.
Fitoria's avatar Fitoria (2011-08-24 06:19:36 -0500) edit
Spam control should be part of Askbot itself. Any major deployment would run into such issues fairly quickly
mether's avatar mether (2011-08-24 17:14:54 -0500) edit
Agreed, we should add more spam-control features. The #2 suggestion is very good, we'll do that soon.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-08-24 18:16:55 -0500) edit
We could add minimum reputation requirement to insert external links.
Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-08-24 20:02:09 -0500) edit
In the Fedora wiki, we use a captcha if the user posts a link and that has cut down spam drastically. Maybe you could only use a captcha if the user reputation is low.
mether's avatar mether (2011-08-24 20:14:28 -0500) edit
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3 Answers


Askbot supports content moderation for every new edit. Moderation has three modes: 'flags', 'audit' and 'premoderation'.

'Audit' mode places edits of untrusted users onto the queue, but does not prevent the posts from being published. 'Premoderation' mode makes all posts by untrusted users go onto the queue and prevents publishing those posts until approved. The 'flags' mode will only place actively flagged posts onto the queue.

If 'stopforumspam' app is installed, IP addresses can be moderated as well.

Evgeny's avatar
updated 2011-11-11 20:26:08 -0500, updated 2014-11-08 13:01:01 -0500
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Well we got spammed again. Akismet requires a paid subscription which is really not helpful in resolving what is fundamentally a design flaw. If this doesn't prevent the email to site members then it is not a good solution. A reputation based solution to prevent the mailout will be most effective.

Rupreck's avatar Rupreck (2011-11-10 17:27:54 -0500) edit

Actually I am not sure you have to pay to use akismet. I think they have a free limit. Re: emails - first posts never get to email, there is a karma limit for that, but admins will still get the notifications. I am not saying that akismet is the only solution, we might develop new features to better control spam.

Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-11-10 17:35:54 -0500) edit

To get around the first post email restriction the spammer posted 3 messages. Akismet require payment unless it is for personal use. In which version did the karma limit on post appear?

Rupreck's avatar Rupreck (2011-11-10 19:07:29 -0500) edit

As an admin I'd suggest to subscribe to all new posts - of course only if the post volume is not too high as for the version, will need to look into the releases, we probably started documenting new features some time after this one was added. We will soon finish new skin, you could try it out perhaps, but I know it will take some effort to get back to your desired looks, we could help by designing a similar layout, we do want to make a few distinctive skins soon.

Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2011-11-11 20:28:13 -0500) edit

I believe that following two updates will also suppress spam: If karma < 100 (setting), user cannot post links. If karma < 500 (setting), all links are no-follow. Spammers are looking to insert do-follow links. I believe these simple actions will make askbot much less of a target for spam.

Joseph's avatar Joseph (2011-11-16 03:18:45 -0500) edit
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Really I don't know what else you can do to mitigate spam.

1) Please can an optional method of preventing first time users from posting questions until their account has been approved be added?

This suggestion by the OP would have solved my problem. Very surprised this wasn't done before Akismet.

Even something like "require x Karma before asking questions" would work perfectly.

stevemulligan434's avatar
answered 2012-04-17 09:08:47 -0500
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"require x Karma before asking questions" - Seems like a Catch-22 though; how would new users earn karma if they could not post until they earned enough karma?

todofixthis's avatar todofixthis (2012-04-17 12:56:10 -0500) edit

Yes, preventing users to post will stop spam, but will also unfortunately stop content. Does not seem to be a good solution.

Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2012-04-17 15:34:58 -0500) edit

There is a grain of wisdom in manually vetting users before they can post in some situations.

Evgeny's avatar Evgeny (2012-10-26 19:45:55 -0500) edit
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One of the simplest measures that you can take to stop spam in your inbox is create a temporary email address (also called a fake, disposable, or alias email address). Through our survey, we found that 96% of people sign up for online accounts with their real, primary email account. Of this same group, we found that on average users create 3.61 “junk email accounts” used to catch spam.

CamilleForest's avatar
answered 2015-01-15 00:25:58 -0500
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Something filter out your link, sweetheart? LOL

spockers's avatar spockers (2015-01-23 00:41:56 -0500) edit
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