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Obvious Trolls

jab1
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Obvious Trolls

I know they usually get deleted reasonably quickly, but why are 'members', clearly trolls/potential spammers, allowed to register an account on these forums? Just one from the current long list: https://community.plus.net/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/91180

These are obviously all from the same 'organisation' and looking at the profiles, all linking to U.S. 'colleges', so presumably from U.S. IPs?

John
15 REPLIES 15
Mook
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Re: Obvious Trolls

But there's the rub @jab1, you don't know they are going to be trolls / spammers until they have registered and posted.

jab1
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Re: Obvious Trolls

Sorry, @Mook but other than as spammers/trolls would U.S. individuals create accounts on a U.K. ISP website?

There are four distinct 'groups' of them - the ones at the beginning of the on-line list, another 'boilsxxxx' group, an 'elecxxxx' group and a 'plumbxxx' group.

The last three are U.K. links in their profiles, but I dread to think where they actually lead.

John
VileReynard
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Re: Obvious Trolls

These are people who create accounts on forums.

The ISP thing is irrelevant.

They are identical to email spammers.

"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

jab1
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Re: Obvious Trolls

@VileReynard I realise that, but I'm amazed, nay, shocked, that the registration system is so lax as to allow such blatant behaviour - surely it should have picked up on the IPs of this/these individuals by now?

John
Mook
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Re: Obvious Trolls

I understand what you are saying @jab1 but I would ask why Non Plusnet users create accounts here? The answer is simple, it's because they can and not just on this forum. This is a rod any forum has to bear if it is open to Joe Public, but from what you're saying and I've read in other posts I think it may well get worse as the profile creation process is automated more.

dvorak
Moderator
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Re: Obvious Trolls

We have discussed banning on RIPE location outside of the UK but with the mobile forum and people posting about access from abroad it was a bit tricky to implement - plus with some PN IP’s flagging as the states could be extra hassle for the poor user.

 

IP addresses can be banned, but with a dynamic ip allocation then that isn’t as effective as it can be.

Banning whole email domains is also a bust as they often use the likes of gmail / hotmail etc.

 

so we play whack a mole the best we can. 

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jab1
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Re: Obvious Trolls

OK @dvorak , I understand all that, but unless these cretins have an inexhaustible supply of IPs, there might be a way of blocking certain IP blocks? Just a thought, because I don't know how deep you would have to go.

John
Alex
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Re: Obvious Trolls

I can think of that, but in my view (both of you) but while GEOIP is good, it is not an exact sceince. You may have people who want to use the forums that around from abroad from the U.S. for legimate reasons such as support friends or family. Or make friends, which is what you do.

Yep @jab1 that is an idea, but I have some that people who have their internet blocked would realise there are holes

Or remote desktop into another comptuer, or as I did I remoted into my remote deskop server at home. 

These are only going be worked around.

dvorak
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Re: Obvious Trolls

And it will only become worse when IPV6 becomes more prevalent
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Townman
Superuser
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Re: Obvious Trolls

Is it possible to use Geolocation restrictions for CREATING an account, rather than restricting existing users posting from wherever.

Personally I do not subscribe to the cannot be done approach because a handful might find it difficult when what we seek to limit impacts all users.

Superusers are not staff, but they do have a direct line of communication into the business in order to raise issues, concerns and feedback from the community.

VileReynard
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Re: Obvious Trolls

Why not force the first couple of posts to be passed by a moderator, before the user gets unlimited posting privileges?

It would stop all but the most keen spammers.

"In The Beginning Was The Word, And The Word Was Aardvark."

jab1
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Re: Obvious Trolls

@VileReynard These cretins do not appear to be creating accounts in order to post on the forums, merely to trap the unwary into clicking the links contained in their 'profile' to send them who-knows-where.

Hopefully none of us who occasionally check the 'Who's Online' list are silly enough to click said links.

 

 

 

John
Alex
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Re: Obvious Trolls

I don't know how easy and if it is possible with Lithium (mind you getting the unread post flag bug fixed isn't, so nothing would surprise me). Also removing the spell checker, re-instating it and then removing it again. There must be some logic with the developers and their managers during their long lunches down the pub?

Anyway, sorry just my sense of humour. When I used to run a forum though it was only a small one (that's what she says - sorry will shut up I can't help myself! 😀).

When I did run a forum, it used to have around 25 users and 7-8 posts per day. Nothing compared to on here. I did say on another thread where I had to modify the phpBB2 code. I found a sample mod.

I didn't borrow it of course, plagarism is just a naughty word isn't it? 😂 I copied it and adapted it. Any developer who tells me they haven't done that is a liar and I won't believe them! So any Devs at PlusNet will know what I mean (if they're honest).

Sorry back a bit on topic, yes but even my (small) forum got spam signups a day which I of course deleted.

With a bigger forum like PlusNet's I assume the problem is a lot worse than mine was.

I don't know how feasible it is, but of course it would mean more work for the staff and mods. Would it not be possible for the mods to get a list of the new signups as alerts and limit new users to x number of posts (you name the number), until a mod is satisifed it is a genuine customer, not someone out to cause trouble or a spammer. Then they manually unrestict an account, if they're happy.

Just an idea, and like most of mine are probably bad.

jab1
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Re: Obvious Trolls

@Alex Your idea is a reasonable one, but in this scenario, these people have no intention of posting on the forums, they want others to click on the links they give in their profile, which 'look' innocent enough, but will probably lead to trojan/virus installers.

John