The lights are on
I'm sure by now everyone's well aware of the spam/adbot problem we've been having lately in the forums. Rest assured the mods are doing their best to keep everything cleaned up. Today alone I've personally spent the better part of an hour banning these accounts, hiding their posts, and then individually deleting each of these posts (I've probably deleted over 150 threads so far today) to make sure the forums aren't left a broken mess.
Unfortunately just hiding these user's posts isn't enough, because evidently somewhere in the forum's programming it's set up in such a way that hidden posts still have placeholders in the forum's pages for some reason, so just hiding the posts would result in what would appear to be multiple empty or drastically short pages of threads.
That said, some of these threads these spam bots made only had a title and no body, and as such for some reason I apparently have no ability to delete, modify, or even reply to these threads, so as a result there are still unfortunately going to be a few pages in the forums that either appear shortened or completely blank due to the aforementioned issue with hidden threads still having placeholders. Eventually these gaps in the forums will fall into obscurity though as more valid threads take over the first several pages of the forums.
I don't know what's being done behind the scenes to stop this annoying problem from happening, but on behalf of the staff and the other mods on GIO, I ask that you try to be patient. I know it's tempting to trash talk these spam bots or reply to the myriad threads they create and tell them to go away, but because they are bots they don't care what you have to say or what you think, so any such effort is a waste of time. Feel free however to send conversation messages with links to these spammer's profiles to either myself or one of the other mods, and we'll try to deal with them as quickly as we can.
There is an reCAPTCHA set up in account registration, I verified this for myself last night. Either there's now bots that can overcome that or we're dealing with people so determined that they're making the accounts themselves, then unleashing their bots afterwards.
I had noticed these annoying things. And man, 150 deleted posts!? Without you guys this place would probably be an unusable mess lol. I definitely appreciate it.
Thanks for clearing up those posts and don't worry about the placeholder issue. These Forums are relatively new and aren't at their peak potential.
About the bots, I am actually an expert on this. Depending on what reCaptcha system you use, even regular bots can get passed them. Some bots are actually able to detect numbers and letters if not too obscured. Basically, these bots may be running a script that is able to detect geometric shapes, figures, and color. It's amazing how far these bots have advanced.
All you can do really is hope for the best and just take action when necessary. Your work is appreciated and without you guys, these Forums would be a mess. I have been on another site where it got so bad to the point the mods didn't care anymore. This was a few years ago and by now, I forgot all about it really. Can't remember the site though... Oh well, long live GIO. ^_^
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was wondering if someone was going to do anything about this.
Whatever peels your orange
Whew, 14 adbot users banned already today. It's gonna be a long day...
Edit: Correction, make that 20 adbot users banned today as of 3:17pm eastern. Are we having fun yet?
How I wish we could turn this into a FPS, and get the community together to..."ban" them MWAHAHAHAHA!
I appreciate the work you mods are doing to keep the forums clean, but wow that many threads, couple with that many bots, must be a long day...
Haha, that would indeed be awesome! NEW GAME: Bot Forum Banning 2011
A few of the spammers are even taking the time to upload an avatar. That's just weird.
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This is just getting worse.... I hope the staff have taken notice. Like suggested already, the main problem is the ReCaptcha in this. If they made it one of those you find on Google, then I think we could see all these bots down for the count. I have seen bots take down many games, let alone Forums.
We ARE using the Google Recaptcha facility. They're still getting in some how.
Actually, the ReCaptcha used is still pretty basic. You need one with multi colors and more shadowing to disguise the text. Then is makes it harder for the bots.
The other theory I have is that maybe some of these accounts were made already by a human and then a bot is attached. You guys have any luck with I.P. tracing or does the spammer(s) use different I.P. addresses every time?
If you guys need any help, I'm here. I have a very free schedule and I'm usually up when no one else is(Hooray for insomnia!) so I don't have a problem cleaning up the threads when they appear. Of course that would be making me a mod, and I know the person in charge of the "mods" account on here mentioned awhile ago about possibly trying to make me one when they needed a new mod, but...yeah.
Is there anything we can do as regular users? Does reporting help at all? Should we go so far as to bump topics to remove the ads from the front page? I think it's obvious no one in the community is very pleased with the spamer and/or bots.
It's really quite an eyesore...I'm surprised the forums are being attacked like this. I've never seen a video game forum get targeted for such massive spam attacks. Has anyone checked out any other forums to see if they're having the same problem? Because then that could pretty much confirm it's a bot, IIRC.
Thanks for the offer. Meagan used to be our community manager, then it was Annette, now it's me and Sanders. I'll see about giving you mod access, but can't do it today.
These posts appear to be spam bots looking at their frequency and ip addresses (Bangladesh and Philippines). We've been trying to keep up with them, but there's bugs and usability issues on the site that slow us down. Soooo...we'll have to fix those, at least, if we're going to make head way.