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 Post subject: Bots
PostPosted: January 12th, 2015, 4:14 am 
Elf
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Mods it looks like there's a few Bots posting things lately, nothing major but there's been a few weird posts from 'new users' in ancient and dead threads.


Posts like zzzman's here and hherryjohn here seem a little odd to me, the posts seem too unrelated to the topic to be written by a human. And why would a new user only post in a thread that's nearly 5 years old?

Is there a way to check these out? I don't want out forum being overrun with spam. It all seems fairly innocent now, but the more we get, the more likely they will become a problem.

Ps I'm sorry of the users above are genuine (but I am suspicious)

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: January 12th, 2015, 6:56 am 
Queen of Eregion
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Those are such random posts and random users...but it's odd how the things they're posting actually almost make sense? O.o

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: January 15th, 2015, 5:53 pm 
Elf
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I know, seriously weird. I still think they're bots as the responses remind me of cleverbot where it kind of half makes sense, but is too generic to be obviously human. I also think trolls, phishers or hackers might be more obvious.

I wonder if they're 'testing the waters' seeing if they can get away with posts not being deleted and accounts not being blocked before they start bombarding us the penis-enlargement ads lol! :teehee:

Some older, but still recent bots.

Alex Sy in my Request thread :(

This post

& another from yesterday here

EDIT-16 Jan

Alison3492 Here

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: January 18th, 2015, 8:21 am 
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Oh wow those are weird! I'm not sure how to handle these bots (not much of a technical expert on the forum I'm afraid) but I'm going to look into it!
Thanks for bringing it up.

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: February 27th, 2015, 4:43 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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So, did this ever get discovered as to whether these were bots or not?

I have not seen any weird posts lately but seeing this makes me want to keep an eye out.

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 2:51 pm 
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Good question, I'll take a peek at their accounts! Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone is a bot or not, especially when their posts are on topic or somewhat on topic.

The registering process to join the forum weeds out the bots pretty well (sometimes so well, it won't allow real people from joining and then we get an email asking for a member to be "approved.")

Anyway, sometimes, the process allows one or two bots to slip through, that's when we need you help to alert us (which you've done, thank you!) and we can check their accounts and see if anything looks...fishy (like email addresses and whatnot).

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 4:05 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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Yeah, that's good. I remember a few bots back in the day that posted some pretty unappealing spam.


I will for sure be keeping an eye out. Is there a sticky thread somewhere that has a simple list of things to watch for that might sow signs that a new member is a bot asside from the obvious like blatent advertisements, mass PMs and totally off context posts?

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 4:26 pm 
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Thanks for keeping an eye out!

As far as I know, there isn't a stickied thread anywhere discussing bots. Apart from what you just listed, there isn't much else that shows signs that someone is actually a bot.

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 4:45 pm 
Elf
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I think looking at their sigs, the first two are definitely bots. It looks like most of the other spammy posts have been deleted. I haven't noticed any more since they were reported in January which is good. But it's useful if people know how to spot them :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 5:33 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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*thumbs up*


Indeed. Cool, so I guess I got the basics down.

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 6:37 pm 
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So you know them by what they post? Or am I missing something?

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 7:13 pm 
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Pretty much, there isn't really a science to it. My guess is as good as yours when determining if someone/something is a bot.

If a post ever seems weird to you or doesn't fit in context, definitely let a mod know and we can decide what to do from there. We are able to go into the control panel of the forum and check out an individual's email address and other things.

Lembas, I did go through and delete the posts/"members" from the older threads, I still need to get around to doing the first two. I keep getting waylaid by other things. :teehee:

Edit: I just deleted the posts/members from the first post. Fun fact, they both had the same IP address.

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 7:28 pm 
Elf
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Great job Sida, thank you :)

From the known bots I've encountered on my own website - it's usually a combination of things that gives them away.

1-A generic or gibberish username.
2-Their email address this usually like fgdhgfkut,gcddg@gmail.com and their from a strange IP
3-They have a profile with no details on, apart from occasionally having a location of somewhere like Uzbekistan.
4-They post in ancient dead threads or threads with no replies
5-Their comments half make sense, they're written in intelligible English but don't fit the context of the discussion
6-some will have signatures that are all text, but containing links to random sites.
7- sometimes they just straight up post ads.

Anything I've missed? :)

Hope that helps :P

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 1st, 2015, 7:53 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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Looks like a good list of general guidelines to me! Thanks Lembas. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 2nd, 2015, 2:44 am 
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Ok, thanks =)

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 Post subject: Re: Bots
PostPosted: March 21st, 2015, 3:11 am 
Elf
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The bots strike again -Here

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