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Is there really nothing that can be done about all the giberish posts?!

    General discussion

  • I have to say it appears MS has simply abandoned trying to keep TechNet up and working (and clean!), it's got garbage forums being created as fast as real ones and what used to be limited to early mornings only, seem to take place all day long and even weekends. Surely all those other language forums aren't meant to show in the forum list for everyone? It's so bad at times there's not a single English word on the screen, this is ruining the usefulness of TechNet to say the least!

    Jack

    Monday, March 28, 2016 4:01 PM

All replies

  • The forums have been under a spam barrage for the past few weeks. From what I've heard, the admins have been working on updates to the auto spam filter, but as you can see the results haven't been exactly perfect yet.

    There aren't new forums being created by this process though, only new threads. They're being posted in some of the older, unused forums.

    I suggest using the 'My forums threads' view for the time being. That way (as long as the forums you frequent aren't being spammed) you won't see any of the garbage noise.


    Monday, March 28, 2016 4:09 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the reply. Sorry, threads, you are right, forums would be WAY bad ;-) I do use "My Threads" but that's only good to monitor your own stuff, not help others. BTW, it's been a lot longer than a few weeks...

    Jack


    • Edited by JFetter Monday, March 28, 2016 5:21 PM
    Monday, March 28, 2016 5:20 PM
  • I'm referring more to the huge flood rather than a few threads here and there. That's been happening for years, and likely will always be happening to some extent.

    I find that the 'My forums threads' view works perfectly fine for helping others. I only really follow a few forums anyway, so I don't need to see threads from forums where I couldn't possibly be of any real help.


    Monday, March 28, 2016 5:23 PM
    Moderator
  • The posts you speak of are all spam. Some are Chinese, some Farsi, Korean, some English, but all are nonsense text with spam. They are not posted in the wrong forums. I believe the volume greatly increased about March 1. Some forums can no longer be used and have been abandoned by users. Forum admins are working on a solution, I am told.

    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)

    Monday, March 28, 2016 6:41 PM
    Moderator
  • IMHO this "spam" may be actually something more serious, like botnet control. For advertisements, these forums simply are not exposed to enough target audience which can read these gibberish languages. But for botnet control, gibberish is perfect to conceal the message. If this issue could be put in security context, the proper folks will take care of this and solution will be found quickly.

    Regards,

     -- pa

    Wednesday, March 30, 2016 10:26 AM
  • This has to be stopped, it’s ruining the forum!

    As I’ve been saying for ages, give me the authority and I’ll remove the spam/poster. As I live in London I could do it whilst the USA sleeps, others in Japan and Australia could also be enlisted, so that it is monitored around the clock.


    Ninety-nine per cent of politicians give the rest a bad name!

    Thursday, March 31, 2016 1:31 PM
  • BurrWalnut, it is nice of you to volunteer, but I am convinced it would be a waste of time. During the first week in March I attempted to report all spam posts as abusive. I spent 2 to 4 hours per day. There are thousands of spam posts per day, posted by from 30 to 40 different user accounts. It takes about 8 clicks per post to report abusive. In forums I moderate I also deleted, but even that took about 6 clicks per post (plus refreshing).

    If enough posts are flagged abusive, the forum admins ban the user. Sometimes it takes 10 flagged posts, sometimes 100, sometimes they don't ban the user. Time of day is not an issue. Sometimes they are quick to ban during off hours and weekends, sometimes they seem to be off duty during normal hours in the US.

    The point is that the forum admins can ban a user in one process. Then all posts by the user are deleted in bulk at once. But they should not wait for us to report posts abusive, or even for moderators to delete the posts. They can spot the spam as easily as us. Just look at the TechNet forums home page, do not select any forums, and filter on posts with no reply. Quickly scan the profile activities of each suspected user and see that all post titles are clearly spam. No need to open any. Then click the red button to ban the user. Admins have to deal with the spammers anyway, but they can ban 30 to 40 per day in much less time than we can deal with several thousand posts.

    Even better, forum admins should automatically be alerted when any user with 0 recognition points posts more than a set number in less than a set number of minutes. Perhaps more than 10 posts in less than 20 minutes. Then the user can be automatically banned. Or if that is unacceptable, automatically alert the admins so they can scan the activities and glance at the titles. Again, one operation per user deletes all of their posts in bulk.

    Right now the admins are attempting to update the spam filter to deal with this. I believe this will fail. Even if they get it work now, it will need to be modified constantly. The time they are spending on the filter is a waste. Last Saturday I estimated the number of pages of spam in the forums and estimated about 17,000 spam posts remaining.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)

    Thursday, March 31, 2016 3:15 PM
    Moderator
  • I hate to keep posting this, but I think it does a good job of illustrating the scale of this problem.

    See this link:

    http://boardreader.com/site/TechNet_forums_561478.html

    All but one of the top authors is a spambot. Also, see the top forums for last week....


    Thursday, March 31, 2016 3:20 PM
    Moderator
  • Instead of bashing new good users with "verify my account" nuisance, new users must be required to validate their email address.  At the same time they must pass antibot/captcha challenge and confirm agreement to rules. Then they must be allowed to post links and pictures.

    If  users post spam, their posting ability is suspended and they are sent a validation email again.

    Moderators can review these users manually, when time allows.

    Looks simple?

    -- pa

    Thursday, March 31, 2016 6:54 PM
  • The problem also is Moderators on forum are busy answering and do not remove the spam posts when MSFT CSG guys comes they remove it. I am only moderator in Getting started with SQL Server and for that I do it the moment I see it.

    Mods should be educated a bit that only answering is NOT your duty. There is serious lack of moderating abilities and due to this forum, SQL server forum precisely  is getting all types of foolish posts


    Cheers,

    Shashank

    Please mark this reply as answer if it solved your issue or vote as helpful if it helped so that other forum members can benefit from it

    My TechNet Wiki Articles

    MVP

    Friday, April 15, 2016 11:04 AM
  • Moderators can and should deal with spam in the forums they moderate, even if there are 10 per day. But some forums get many hundreds per day. It can become very time consuming. Forum administrators can ban a user and all of their posts are deleted at once in bulk. They should deal with this in the forums that have 1000's of spam posts.

    Last weekend I estimated there are at least 32,000 spam posts in the TechNet forums. Most are in 3 or 4 forums. The forum administrators need to deal with this, not moderators.

    When I see spam in forums I moderate I first flag the posts abusive, then refresh and delete. This alerts the administrators. At some point they should ban the user. If you don't report the posts as abusive, then the posts by the spammer in other forums may not be addressed. I know this makes it more work, but as it is now, the administrators only deal with any spammer after some minimum number of posts have been flagged.


    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)

    Friday, April 15, 2016 11:27 AM
    Moderator
  • But we are well into the 21st century, no? Where is automation? Microsoft Research with their AI? Could they offer some help here,  when they are not busy making terribly useful talking office staples?

    Do the forums have some scripting ability for mods to set automatic actions, like, er, we have in Outlook and many other MS apps?

    -- pa 

    Friday, April 15, 2016 4:16 PM
  • But we are well into the 21st century, no? Where is automation? Microsoft Research with their AI? Could they offer some help here,  when they are not busy making terribly useful talking office staples?

    Do the forums have some scripting ability for mods to set automatic actions, like, er, we have in Outlook and many other MS apps?

    -- pa 

    Believe me forum is played second fiddle. There are lot of unsettled bugs which are getting carried on with no attention being payed. There are lot of features requested but it would take years to come.

    Leave AI they developed some spam filter and it backfired, started reporting many posts as spam finally they tweaked it again but still it goes haywire a lot of time.


    Cheers,

    Shashank

    Please mark this reply as answer if it solved your issue or vote as helpful if it helped so that other forum members can benefit from it

    My TechNet Wiki Articles

    MVP

    Friday, April 15, 2016 5:44 PM
  • I just got an update to an email I sent to fissues 5 days ago about this issue. It has been escalated to the engineering team, who are working on "another option". This sounds encouraging. Of course, it is important that they not reveal too much about their "option", as it would only assist the spammers.

    Richard Mueller - MVP Enterprise Mobility (Identity and Access)

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016 1:19 PM
    Moderator
  • Richard

    Thank you for keeping us informed. Let’s hope that something is finally done to reduce the tsunami of spam that the forum is attracting.


    Ninety-nine per cent of politicians give the rest a bad name!

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016 5:32 PM