I actually caught the first two of that 26-thread spammer within minutes of them being posted, and flagged them, fully convinced that two flagged threads meant not being able to start any more new threads. I then headed out to work.
Glancing in hours later, I noticed 24 more new threads... I wonder if there is a loophole/bug in that algorithm of blocking spammers after 2 flags, or if I'm completely imagining things with it existing at all.
There must be a bug in there somewhere, because yes - the flags would stop further posts being made.
That is, unless the posts were deleted by a moderator, at which point it would be possible to post again.
Also, I'll check, but a member flag should also stop the person from being able to post until resolved.
Btw, there were like 80 of these posts yesterday before Europe came online. Three different chinese spammers with the same IP (which was banned at that point).
Hypothesis: Could it be that the 2 flags thing only prevents the form from loading, but isn't checked after the submissions, and that the spammer just used the back button to get a cached version of the form?
And youch on the 80! Maybe also add a limit of 5 new threads per hour for new members? High enough that even very enthousiastic legitimate new members shouldn't notice it, but low enough to at least limit the damage / cleanup necessary for this type of spammer?
Yeah, there are some loopholes here. Looking back over the code yesterday, I had a good case of "what was I thinking?!".
I'll tighten the logic up today.
Ok, well the loopholes weren't as bad as I thought. We did have throttling in place, but it only slowed people down within the first hour of signing up.
The flagging of an entry should have stopped them. However, if the flagged entry was deleted, then that block wouldn't have worked. That's what I suspect allowed them to continue.
I've added two new additions to the spam control.
1. There is a "report member" link in the spam reports page so you can quickly report the member. That will block them even if they have no entries flagged.
2. I've added an automatic flag if someone posts more than 10 entries in their first day. Once that flag has been cleared, the user can continue posting again, so if it's a rampant spammer - be sure to report them as a member, not just report their post.
I've also made some updates to the forum rules, in particular I've added a rule about surveys and a rule about using the forum as a marketplace. I've removed some of the other rules which were just repeating themselves.
[ Edit: Edited on 01-Oct-2015, at 19:49 by Peter ]
Also, I just uploaded a change so flagged threads are now hidden from the index. That is, if the user flagged was the thread starter, so not when it's a reply to an existing thread.
The threads still show for moderators, but are more compact.
Could flagged threads be shown to all moderators, rather than just the moderators for the specific forum the threads are in? Could be quite useful for spotting the more sneaky spammers who post across different forums.
Other than that, great improvement, this! We just had a massive spam attack, and with them all flagged, that won't bother anyone at all.
That looks much better. I always look at the 'travel forum' view & before the fix that entire page would have been ablaze with Spam.
Sander - any idea what that Spam was all about. I have never seen the like before & It looked bizarre - a waste of time on the spammers part.
I wonder why the first moderator who spots spam doesn't clean it all up. More work for one person perhaps, but swings & roundabouts should take care of that.
Flagging spam is not something only moderators can do; members marked as respected member or travel gurus (like yourself!) can "Report" posts (see the little link in the top right corner of each post) for attention by a moderator. That's what'll replace the post with the "UNDER REVIEW!" notice, and in case of it being the first post in the thread cause the red "spam?" flag (and now also hide it from the index). The responsible moderator will then be notified of that flag, and either judge it as acceptable and re-instate it, edit it to remove just a potentially promotional link, or delete the entire post.
Moderators are assigned to specific forums, and can only moderate those forums. Since these threads were in the "General Talk" forum, that means I couldn't delete them, but only report the threads, which is the exact same thing as you could also have done.
As for what they were for... Apparently the phone number of an Indian "love astrologer".