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3 Improvements to Spam Management in 4.6

Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting.

But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online; I wanted to talk about three spam improvements coming to Invision Community 4.6.

As you may be aware, Invision Community has its own Spam Defense functionality, which uses a mixture of crowdsourced data, publicly available data and our own special sauce to help reduce the number of spam accounts that get through the registration system. Invision Community also has several other tools to mitigate spam post-registration.

These tools have served us well, but as spammers evolve, so must our systems. Here's what's coming to our next release.

Spam Defense Scoring
I can't divulge too much on our Spam Defense system lest we give spammers targeting Invision Community information that can assist them. Still, we have made several changes to our Spam Defense system.  These include rebalancing the score thresholds, checking against known TOR networks and proxies and using other data in the public domain to inform our scoring decisions.

Spam Defense Blocking
The current implementation of our Spam Defense only allows options to either prevent registration entirely or put the registration in an approval queue. However, the days when Spam Bots stood out from normal registrations are long gone, and it's hard to know if an account in an approval queue is legitimate or not.

In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published.

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This reduces the decision burden and makes it easier to take a chance on a low score from the Spam Defense system and review their posts before they are made public.

Word Filters
We have added a new option to the Word Filters to allow content containing specific words or phrases to be held for moderator approval where the author has less than a set threshold of posts.

For example, you may notice an increase in spam targeting "CBD Oil" and add it to the word filter list to hold the content for moderator approval. This works great and captures a good number of spam posts; however, your regular members get frustrated when they want to talk about CDB Oil in their posts.

This new option allows you to set a trust level for allowing these words to be used without capturing them for approval.

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We hope these three changes to our spam controls will reduce the level of spam you get in your community!

I'd love to know what's the weirdest spam (that is safe for work!) you've seen in your community.

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1 hour ago, rnorth6920 said:

Most all spammers first post includes a link.  Anyway we can add that to the list to mark for approval?

Yeah a lot of auto bot spammers post a link, moderation if a link is posted in the accounts 1/2/3 posts would be very useful.

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2 hours ago, rnorth6920 said:

Most all spammers first post includes a link.  Anyway we can add that to the list to mark for approval?

That would be very helpful, hold for moderation if contains a link for new registrations. You can already moderate all links but not isolate for new registrations only.

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Quote

Spam is as much a part of life on the internet as emoji overuse, serial GIF abuse and regretful tweeting.

But I'm not here to talk about how I conduct myself online

The way I felt personally attacked then saw the second line and laughed out loud 😂 

6 hours ago, IP-Gamers said:

Another from me about the fact that you are delaying the update...

joke drums GIF by neomagazinroyale

Not the first comment 💀 

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In 4.6, we've added a new Spam Defense option that you can choose to allow the registration but put the new members into the posting approval queue, meaning their posts will need moderator approval before being published.

Nice addition!  I do the same thing with Group promotions to prevent undetected spammers.

Another future enhancement idea would be to put any posts with links from members with less than N posts into a moderator approval queue, or even some level of link masking (like spoiler) that requires moderator approval to unmask.  This would help mitigate new members (spammers) from posting malicious links.

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Thanks for these useful updates to Spam Management. These are always welcome.

In all honesty I was a bit disappointed to see no mention of improved anti-spam measures relating to the Contact Form though. I know all communities have varying spam problems, but this is where I get the majority if not most of spam from, not from by people registering on the forums thanks to the existing Spam Defence measures, which in recent years have been much more effective for spam posts.

Fortunately we have @Nathan Explosion's free Contact Form plugin that provides a quick check for previously banned email addresses to prevent spammers and banned members from using the Contact Form. Although there's no stats integration that I'm aware of, it's a free plugin with a quick hook into the banned email addresses, it helps in a big way. You you can tell it's working because email from repeat spammers just suddenly ceases arriving in your inbox, and the funny bonus thing is that the sender is oblivious and thinks the spam is still getting through, wasting their time, and not yours.

Also, I noticed no mention of supporting the latest versions of Google Recapcha, which seems an obvious starting point for anti-spam improvements. 

Sorry to be a bit negative, these latest updates are really welcome and much appreciated, just pointing out there seems to be a few missed opportunities. With my pointy stick.

 

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An improvement I want to make to that plugin is to check if the email address is used by a known spammer too, so that would be an obvious improvement if included in core anyway.

6 minutes ago, The Old Man said:

Although there's no stats integration that I'm aware of...

None of that in there - I would have to turn this to an application to accommodate that, which I can look into at a later point but it will increases the complexity and support requirements which doesn't lend itself to a free resource really. We'll see, after I have all my outstanding paid items out of the way and....gasps....confirmed that 4.6 still would need it.

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4 hours ago, Nathan Explosion said:

An improvement I want to make to that plugin is to check if the email address is used by a known spammer too, so that would be an obvious improvement if included in core anyway.

IPS should defintely contract this out to you, name your price! Don't forget you get access to the IPS private corporate jet too (assuming you can get Charles and Lindy out of it for long enough).

Thanks Nathan.

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On 5/12/2021 at 7:56 AM, rnorth6920 said:

Most all spammers first post includes a link.  Anyway we can add that to the list to mark for approval?

We're actually getting some insidious spammers lately.
They will post 3 or 4 times, acting like they know what the forums about, be relatively on topic, and sometimes saying something really weird but not 100% spambot.

They go dark, and a few weeks later they come back, and edit their old posts changing it to spam.

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48 minutes ago, netonet said:

когда будет готов 4.6?

that's also interesting, well, or at least launching an alpha for tests, (if there is one, please share a link)

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