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Controlling Spam

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Nick Springer

Nick Springer

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Lately we have been getting bombarded with spam postings for porn and pharmaceuticals among others. We have tried to manage the registration process but that has had little effect as these don't seem to be bots registering and posting, but humans. The proliferation of domains and IP addresses means ban lists don't help much.

So we have set up the board so that newly registered users will have their postings subject to validation by an admin or moderator, hopefully in as short a time as possible. Once a new user is deemed by the CartoTalk staff to be a legitimate contributor after a few posts, they will be made a full-fledged "Validated Member."

As part of this will we will be looking for some additional moderators for the board. We could really use some from Asian or Oceanic time zones. If you are interested in helping out please send me a PM.

We have grandfathered all existing users with at least 1 legitimate posting into the Validated Member group so those of you who have already contributed will still be able to post unfettered. If you are a long time lurker with no posts and have bona fide cartography credentials and would like to be promoted to Validated, please send me a PM.

This will be a trial run to see if this works. It won't stop the spammers, but it will keep their posts from being visible until we can delete the post and the user.

P.S. as a bonus, Validated Members can change their Display Name now (up to 2 times total).

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC

Unit Seven

Unit Seven

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Hi Nick - happy to help out with this and am in New Zealand so could be a time zone others aren't in.
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Miramar, Wellington

Anthony Robinson

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Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you know of a small change I made this past weekend regarding the name of the Off Topic forum. You may have noticed that the name is now Non-Cartographic Topics instead of Off Topic. Shortly after Christmas we began experiencing huge new wave of spammers. Apparently the reCaptcha tool that many forums use to verify people as they sign up for accounts on all sorts of websites was cracked, and now bots can easily register for zillions of forums all over the world. We have not been spared - every day we have another 75 or so new accounts that are registered by spambots.

So far, we manage to prune out this stuff without any of you seeing it. In some rare cases people have slipped through the cracks, been approved, and posted something spammy. We try to act as quickly as possible to get this stuff off the board, but since everyone associated with CartoTalk is a volunteer, it doesn't always happen instantly.

Anyway, one thing I noticed was that many of the spam posts were happening in the Off Topic forum. Nearly all of them, in fact. And I surmised that it was possible that bots were posting there because nearly all forums of all sorts have an Off Topic section called "Off Topic" - so it would be easy to train a bot to find that spot and post there. Now that I have changed the title, I'm hoping to see if this has an impact on the number of postings we have to clean out every day. These are nearly always invisible to you as end-users, but to the moderators we see dozens of new spam posts every day, many of which now feature obscene images and the like. It's not nice stuff.

At the moment there has been little information on whether or not Google, who now own reCaptcha (along with everything else in the world, I think), have any plans to figure out a fix for things. For our part, the moderators here will continue to do everything we can to keep things here as clean and tidy as possible and we appreciate your patience while we sort things out to the best of our ability.






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Well I've just registered and I was encouraged by the care being taken to stop spammer on the site. It didn't make registration difficult so I don't se that is should cause any problems to genuine member :-)

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