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����������� (The Thread About Forum Spam And Possible Solutions)
Might as well discuss solutions and their relative merits.

(edited from original spam, obviously)
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I didn't see Spirit's post before I replied 
I hope you didn't misunderstood it, I meant that you are the "thing that.. it shoots these pink balls...". No, not nice of me either. Slap me :D 
I think just stopping bots should be enough, there's really not much you can do when a human is decided to come spam somewhere. It's not a major problem on other message boards, don't see why it would be one here (not enough moderators maybe?) 
In the short term I can just improve the moderation tools.

I'm thinking forward to a time when the volume of abust gets high enough that it takes too much human effort to moderate. We're not there yet, though. 
This Is Just An Idea: 
Limit posting to registered users and create one "anonymous account". Just a common user account with a password everyone knows (like the qmap@qmap). Maybe just put an image on the login page with the username and password for anonymous posts. The ideal would be when this user had a changeable name so people still can/have to enter a name.

You'd need the email approval link then too, so bots can't register themselves. 
Oh Wait 
Uhm, that user must not be allowed to login via cookies of course, so no-one can block it. Just add a Password field in the "Post A Reply" form that people will have to fill everytime then (if not logged in with their real accounts). 
... just use captchas for anonymous posting and account creation. That's a system that most people understand nowadays.

What do you mean by rerouted captchas btw? 
well, there's two problems:

- keep spambots out completely
- keeping human abuse as low as possible

The captchas are only good for dealing with spambots, but I have some other, less-annoying-to users ideas to deal with that first.

The latest train of thought has more to do with how to reduce human abusers. 
actually i quite like the invitation idea. It works VERY well for gmail..

and including #tf we have a pretty nice infrastructure for inviting new members already. You could just drop a line on the registration page ' please come to irc and ask someone for an invitation..'

you'd have to make sure that new users can't invite thousands of spammers immediately then, though. 
I myself think invitations for such a tiny message board is completely stupid. =)
Come on, this place doesn't get so much traffic, there are very little problems with humans spamming and such. 
I Agree With Bal 
Human abuse is incredibly small, IMHO. Invitation system just furthers elitism and discourages growth in a community that has been shrinking for some time. Furthermore, for users who don't even have an account, who's to say they'll take the time to ask for an invitation?

IMHO, the only significant issue is the spammers. 
What About... 
A anonymous post & new account queue? When they initially sign up or post anonymously, it goes into a queue and has to be aproved by a mod or a certain number of existing members?

You'd make a section "New Account/Post Queue" that would be visible only to registered, active members. The new account or anonymous post gets routed there first before appearing in the main forums. If a post or an account is random or seems to have non-legit info, then it would take a number of members to either approve it or flag it for deletion. 
I Like Blitz' Idea... 
Its how they do it on, and they have THOUSANDS of users -- they don't get much spam, if any (although, they get lots of stupid stuff, but thats not the same ;) 
That's Exactly The Point Though... 
...func_msgboard DOESN'T have thousands of users, so such a system is completely useless. 
that you KNOW ABOUT! 
I made a slight change to the javascript code to discourage spam bots -- the "post a reply" form now does not have a valid "action" (the action is the URL of the target page to submit data to) until the javascript sets it right before submitting. So, assuming spambots don't execute the javascript the way a real browser would, this might stop them. 
Response To Aquirre From Other Thread: 
It wasn't really a suggestion to secure this board, since it's pretty spam-free. It was more of a consoling feeling that someone's actually trying to put a spotlight on this issue from a spammer's perspective.

The online world seems otherwise to be rapidly drowning in a diarrhea of nonsensical noise ...

Yeah, I admire the project. Reminds me of my idea to release "vaccines" or "antibodies" which are basically benign trojans/viruses that use an exploit to get in, but the payload is actually just a patch for the same exploit.

This somewhat violates people's rights to control their own computer, and it's definitely illegal, but on the other hand, if unsecured workstations are being used in DDoS attacks and spam vectors, then it's for the good of the internet in general and I think that probably outweighs people's implicit right to determine when and how to patch their computers.

As for the general state of email and forum spam, "search engine optimization", and wikipedia abuse, my opinion is that it is all neatly explained by the "Tragedy of the Commons" theory. It makes me wonder what the end result is going to be, because it seems like everything we like about the internet (openness, freedom, anonymity) is only made possibly because we are in an early transitional state where the exploiters haven't reached maximum efficiency yet. Will we eventually get to a point where openness, freedom, and anonymity are replaced by exclusivity, controlled access, and identity verification? 
It Seems 
very likely. As a comparison, in the mid-nineties I already considered Internet to be extremely noisy compared to e.g. CompuServe, which I had been using for a long time before that.

It was always very easy on CS when searching for help or useful info, while the Internet search engines (pre-InfoSeek and AltaVista) were bad and their results even worse.

Since then, the search engines have become much better, but the increased speed of noise production is just ridiculuos today.

What's the use of having any amount of very knowledgeable info, when you can't access it due to ear-damaging noise levels?

Not to mention the increasing difficulty to distinguish between real and phony info. 
A less pessimistic point of view is that the internet goes through cycles of higher and lower usefulness.

You could look at the huge increase in usefulness provided by Google in the early days, when it replaced older, crappier search engines and provided a sudden window into billions of pages which were ranked well enough that you could actually find stuff. Then as google became well known as an information source, it became a desirable target for exploiters. Now the usefulness of google is a product of how well they can defeat the exploiter's strategies. So the peak for google was a few years ago.

The more recent attempt to consolidate knowledge and root out the crap is Wikipedia, but Wikipedia is experiencing the same curve... there was (or will be) a peak where there is a critical mass of information to make it useful, but now that people recognize it as useful, it becomes more attractive a target for the exploiters, who go in there trying to make full use of the free access to an audience.

So if it's really cyclical, is each peak higher than the last? Is each trough shallower? 
Metl, insightful...
I guess the same is with many nice forums - first you can have nice people but then it's filled with lamers... 
I guess the same is with many nice forums - first you can have nice people but then it's filled with lamers...

Good one! A little self deprecating humor is good
for the soul. 
Best Resurrect Evah 
I suggest adding a captcha to the site, if that helps to combat the spammers. 
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