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Dog's avatar

Fighting Spam: Is it possible to make a program or script that will note names of users who earn a certain Fluther award?

Asked by Dog (25132points) October 25th, 2011

As many of you are aware, we have been inundated with spam since our Google ranking dropped.

We mods are working hard at keeping it off Fluther, but I was wondering if any of you brilliant programmers could help.

Our biggest problem lately is Profile Spammers. They join just to create a profile to sell products and never participate. We have banned hundreds of them, no- thousands.

I usually watch the community feed for users earning either the Rembrandt or Autobiographer awards to catch these guys, but a lot of them slip through our fingers since the feed moves fast at times. We try to check new members out, but some wait a couple days to put up the profile and slip under the radar.

So can anyone tell me how to create a script or program that will alert me to the user names that win that award? I have no access to the deep inner workings of Fluther, so it would have to be using just what we have as average users.

I know this is likely totally impossible but I just had to ask.

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10 Answers

phaedryx's avatar

Is there a way to access the community activity feed externally the same way you can with or

(might be a question for Ben/Andrew/Tim/Cameron)

Dog's avatar

I cannot find a url like that. Hopefully one of the boys will chance upon this question or someone else knows. :::sigh:::

XOIIO's avatar

We need a greasemonkey script.

Who you gonna call?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Yep, just create a script that includes: youreaboutogetyourspammyasskickedbytheflutherbitchesnowgtfo or something along those lines…..

Hahaha, I’m sure it’s quite apparent that I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to computer “script”!!! :P

Come on guys, there’s got to be a computer nerd around here somewhere who can figure out a plausible method of spam prevention!!

XOIIO's avatar

Jonpowell, of course

Dog's avatar

@XOIIO I posted as a question for all because it seems like @johnpowell is always bailing me out with stuff. I figured he deserves a break. :)

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dog, did you mean the Jelly-Asker award? The Autobiographer award is long broken.

Dog's avatar

:) Yes! The “Jelly Asker” too. Rembrandt is working too.

HungryGuy's avatar

A person who is spamming something needs to provide a way for prospective customers to contact them, otherwise there’s no point to the spam. So have a script do the following:

Strip off all punctuation, special characters, spaces, and digits (spammers love to fill their spam with special characters to hide their web addresses from spam detectors). Then search for character strings such as “com” or “org” or “dot.” Do the same sort of parsing for phone numbers.

Also, when a post is deleted as spam, keep it stored (even if it doesn’t appear on the page) and scan for duplicate subsequent posts (after stripping off all punctuation, special characters, yada-yada-yada).

Further, I don’t know what language Fluther is written in, but there are also many PHP add-ons for developers to detect spam in email. Purchase one of those and apply to to every post….

Some other techniques:

1.) Until a person reaches a certain level of lurve (doesn’t have to me very much, maybe 100 lurve or so), every question or answer has to pass through a captcha. But make sure new jellies know that it’s only temporary, and once they achieve a certain lurve level and prove they’re a member of the community, the captchas will end.

2.) Make Fluther self-moderating. If more than X number of users Flag a post as spam, mute it automatically until a mod can review it. Unfortunately, there is the potential for members to abuse this to censor people they disagree with, so a mod should be able to un-mute it if that’s the correct action.

ETpro's avatar

@Dog I think a screen scraper that does something like @HungryGuy is suggesting would be the best approach. You could program a watchdog to do it server side looking at the database, but that would be more complicated. And a screen scraper running on your desktop alongside your browser could flag the culprits for you while you’;re online doing your other chores.

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