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Watch out for old posts brought forward by spammer

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2878
Joined: Jan 2010

Once again we have been invaded by a spammer. I have flagged many and have contacted CSN about it.

Please check the original post date on messages before replying as many old ones have been brought forward by this "robotic" pest.

Marie who loves kitties

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

I've done the same on the kidney cancer forum.  At least 28 CSN cancer forums have been vandalised by this louse. I'm enquiring what sort of legal recourse can be taken against this sort of individual.

jen2012
Posts: 1184
Joined: Aug 2012

I dont understand why they do this...but i was kind of interested in some of the posts brought up since many involve lymph nodes...my husband is stage 4 only for distant lymph node involvement and ive searched it on here but missed many of these posts.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

It's good to hear that there's some small silver lining, but against this there is the fact that this spamming has screwed up the chronology of all the current threads on which members were exchanging helpful information.

The reason they do it is, I thought, fairly obvious - it's purely commercial - trying to sell their wares.  Even if their business is going under (I hope it is) it's no excuse for damaging interference in the lives of tens of thousands of people by invading here to tout their wares.

 

jen2012
Posts: 1184
Joined: Aug 2012

yeah i get that, but the messages are usually so obvious, I wouldn't think anyone would click on the links.  Also I've marked them as abuse or whatever and they usually disappear pretty fast and the board looks normal again. 

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Let's hope we're back to normal again soon. The difference this time is that the culprit has been at it for many hours across all our cancer and all our general forums (I hang out primarily on the kidney cancer forum), so he/she/it has created massive havoc.

At a time when the CSN s/w team is so busy tring to improve it for us, they need this sort of added problem like a hole in the head.  If it weren't for the patent commercial motivation, one might think it to be a deliberate, malicious attempt to sabotage our CSN.

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

There are two resolves:

If the tech-team would lock down old threads, no-one would be able
to -post- to them, ending this continual problem.
(It's a simple fix that most webmasters have used to end forum problems.)

An alternative to that, is to require typing in "verification" word and/or
number codes at the time one attempts to post.

Either method should be employed here to resolve the agony of
reading new, but unanswered posts to our deceased friends.

Best wishes,

John

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

John, that type of solution tends to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

God forbid that old threads should be locked down when it's often desirable to allow renewed posting on the topic in that same thread and software solutions of the CAPTCHA variety would do more harm than good on forums like CSN's.

Far better would, I believe, be to exact swingeing penalties on the sort of unconscionable activity we're witnessing - a few stiff jail sentences would be a good start.

At the moment the CSN dev team has its hands all too full and we need legal sanctions to rid us of these meddlesome touts.

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

Re:
"to exact swingeing penalties on the sort of unconscionable
activity we're witnessing - a few stiff jail sentences would be a
good start."

Levying a fine to someone in Nigeria? Do you really think you
can impose fines to those in a different country?

"Locking down" old threads allows anyone to read the thread/posts,
but prevents posting new comments to that thread.

We frequently have newcomers to the board do searches, and
commence asking questions to those that have posted to the
old thread they found. All too often the person they are replying to
is has died. It's sad to see them waiting for a reply that will
never come. The problem of the resurrection of old threads
is not limited to spammers.

As far as the "CAPTCHA" system (typing in words/numbers
at time of posting) will prevent "robot posting", but the problem
of old, old threads being regenerated will still be with us.

A combination of both methods would be worthwhile, in my opinion.

Best of health,

John

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1277
Joined: Jan 2013

We frequently have newcomers to the board do searches, and
commence asking questions to those that have posted to the
old thread they found.

That is exactly how I found this web site last week. I googled Port and up pops the CSN link.  I did not think to look at the date on the thread either, but I did not post to it, instead joined the forum. 

I think locking a thread is a good thing. You can still read that thread, but not reply. If you want an answer, then you can post anew. 

jen2012
Posts: 1184
Joined: Aug 2012

Yeah i third that if anyone cares. I dont think i ever posted to an old thread but i imagine its easy enough to do when you are searching and reading a lot of stuff in the beginning. Good suggestion john.

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

John, where did you get the idea of fines from and how do you figure Nigeria is involved? This looks like a criminal outfit and it shouldn't be too difficult to run them to earth and shut them down.

Both of your suggestions for dealing with this problem are bad ideas. I, too, have pointed out to newcomers that they have posted a 'response' to a posting that was many years old, and to a person who was almost certainly no longer alive. However, I've been met with the valid reply that the new posting contained information that will prove of value to subsequent visitors and it's best kept on a thread where wisdom on the subject has already been accumulated, rather than constantly re-inventing the wheel. (It's easy enough to point out to a newcomer that they've responded to an ancient message.)

The imposition of a system such as I mentioned (CAPTCHA) would put an unacceptable impediment in the way of genuine would-be contributors and we would lose many of them as a consequence. The spammers would have thereby wrought yet further damage.

The spammers should be dealt with in other ways.

There is no problem of "old, old threads being regenerated". If someone has searched and found a thread on the topic they wish to address, it's still a live topic.

The true evil is the constant creation, by newcomers and established members alike, of unnecessary new threads. This fragments information that should be kept together, scattering it thinly over innumerable threads and perpetually causing useful threads to get lost. This is why it's proved necessary on other forums to combat this by other devices such as the "Superthread" on the Head and Neck cancer forum. It devalues the potential worth of forums like this when ridiculous new threads are started by newcomers with pointless titles such as 'The day has arrived' and content like 'I'm about to have an operation. Is there anyone out there who's had an operation?' Newcomers should take the trouble to search and read what's there already and post on an appropriate existing thread on the topic and only start a new thread if there's nothing on the subject already.  The ridiculous extreme can be seen on the Rare and Other Cancers forum where there are dozens of threads about pancreatic cancer, many with exactly the same title as others and each with only one or two postings on it.  That does nobody any favours.

As you'll have gathered, I have strong feelings on the subject (and I'm involved in computer software) but I don't belong on this particular forum so I'll leave you in peace.

I reciprocate your wish for good health for us all and I do hope we can see off the spammers that we all detest.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1277
Joined: Jan 2013

Texas_wedge posts: The true evil is the constant creation, by newcomers and established members alike, of unnecessary new threads. This fragments information that should be kept together, scattering it thinly over innumerable threads and perpetually causing useful threads to get lost. This is why it's proved necessary on other forums to combat this by other devices such as the "Superthread" on the Head and Neck cancer forum. It devalues the potential worth of forums like this when ridiculous new threads are started by newcomers with pointless titles such as 'The day has arrived' and content like 'I'm about to have an operation. Is there anyone out there who's had an operation?' Newcomers should take the trouble to search and read what's there already and post on an appropriate existing thread on the topic and only start a new thread if there's nothing on the subject already. 

OK! I will have to be more careful how I post in future. Truth is for me, an old woman not overly familiar with the computer, I'm not quite up to scratch with how to navigate the threads.  Maybe I should take the time to become familiar with the forum before I post any more. I'll see if I can behave myself so as not to annoy good folks by 'devaluing the potential of the forum' with 'pointless titels'

jen2012
Posts: 1184
Joined: Aug 2012

That is so ridiculous.     Trubrit - you shouldn't feel worried about posting anything.  I haven't been here long, but I have found the folks that post here to be so helpful and caring.  Texas Wedge isn't even a poster here so I'm sure he/she won't be offended by any posts you make.   The problem with just searching for answers is you find old threads.  Things can change so much from the time of the post.  I think it makes good sense to start a new post and give the nice people here to opportunity to help.  

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

There are times I have to use the </sarcasm> code to identify
the end of my sarcastic comment. (haha)

British humor is oft understood........

Be well,

John

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1277
Joined: Jan 2013

OK! I will have to be more careful how I post in future......Maybe I should take the time to become familiar with the forum before I post any more.

This was truthful, I will indeed try to be careful and look around more. And thanks to Texas, I did look for the search button and found some excelletnt older posts about Ports, which right now, is my main concern (Chemo starts in next week, so I'm sure I will move on to that soon).

Truth is for me, an old woman 

OK! I'm only 54, not so old. But I'm not as computer savy as I could or should be. 

 'devaluing the potential of the forum' with 'pointless titels'

Yes John23. I am English and my humour is dry, but I was also trying to make a point along with the humourt. I am pretty thick skinned, comes with 'old' age, but I did find Texas comments like 'true evil' and 'pointless titles' to be somewhat insensitive.

 I'll see if I can behave myself so as not to annoy good folks by....

As for behaving myself, it aint gunna happen. I've never behaved myself and I can't see it happening now Wink . 

I will though, start using smilies, they certainly do help paint a picture. 

And thank you Jen2012 and LivingNH for standing up and protecting us newbies. Much appreciated! 

We all have a place here on the fourm. Survivors, sufferers, old, young, educated and less educated.

 

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
Posts: 1258
Joined: Apr 2010

How dare you insult the new members on this forum!!  Most are in shock from a devastating diagnosis and want to reach out for any help that we can offer.  I'm so angry at your words right now that I'm simply going to tell you to kindly go back to whatever forum will tolerate you and to stay away from this one!!!

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Perhaps I shall, since I'm evidently not welcome here. 

However, I take the opportunity to say how sad I was to learn of the recent loss of your Husband and soulmate,  and to express the hope that it won't be too long before a host of happy memories will start to lessen your grief and bring you comfort and peace.

 

Trubrit, I'm a Londoner, though I live in the north of Scotland.  Please note - my broadside against the gratuitous creation of new threads was directed at  "newcomers and established members alike". I stand by what I said about taking the trouble to search before just starting a new thread that may be unnecessary.  If you need to research a topic (I do constantly on many forums on CSN, and also many on ACOR, Cancer Compass and other sites) it's a whole lot easier if the requisite material is concentrated in a manageable number of locations rather than being spread thinly across thousands of threads.

PhillieG - I'm glad to see that someone got where I'm coming from.  By the way, I like your expressions picture gallery. You may like one or two of mine - mostly landscape, wildlife and sunsets.

Wishing better health to us all.

dmj101's picture
dmj101
Posts: 521
Joined: Nov 2011

I am not sure how you found them to be a spammer..

I see ould links referenced all the time..

I never see any links selling us anything.. Next time you see one.. can you please advise what you saw so we all know what a spammer looks like.

jen2012
Posts: 1184
Joined: Aug 2012

If you look at the posts by shangai you'll see. Right now they are still here...bottom of page 1

Lovekitties's picture
Lovekitties
Posts: 2878
Joined: Jan 2010

The postings by user name "shanghai" are touting wedding dresses and expensive watches, etc.  This one is fairly unique in that it changes the subject line each time...using names.

My definition of spam is "disruptive messages, especially commercial messages posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail". 

Marie who loves kitties

 

 

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4659
Joined: May 2005

Once the post is flagged, the moderator removes the culprit, bans/blocks the IP address, and posts are restored to their proper order. 

There is another thing we could do (which I do very often) is to go to the site that the SPAM is from, copy the comment, and contact them via their Contact Us link and let them know where they're sending their SPAM and "highly suggest" they stop. Often I'll use more colorful language and I'll send them the same message 5x (Reverse SPAM :-) )

I've never been a fan of locking down posts. People die... If people can't handle that part of the life-cycle then maybe this site isn't for them. Usually when I see comments from someone who's no longer with us, I often think of the friendship I had with them and yes, it can bring a tear to my eyes but I've never understood how pretending they're not dead helps. I recently lost an Uncle to cancer and a close friend/fellow patient. Yeah, it sucks they went too soon but I think off the Happy moments and am thankful they were part of my life. When new people join the site and search for answers to questions, it would be nice if they looked at the date before responding just as they hopefully would do when researching their cancer and not look at data from 1970, but people are going to do what they're going to do and to have 99% of us have to do extra steps in order to post is basically punishing us.

Really, isn't SPAM the least of our worries?

PS: thanks for flagging the spam Marie :-)

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