Forum Spam: Apology and Fixes

An update on how we'll be improving the forum

21 to 40 of 298 messages
13/06/2012 at 13:31

Domi - at risk of going back to topic - when are the changes for spam going to take place?

Spam is still being created (look at the new discussions thread). I don't mind if you want a dancing monkey to moderate the forum - but I just want the spam issue solved.

13/06/2012 at 13:33

Aside from the obvious problems with user moderation, isn't that just providing more sticking plasters to put over a proverbial exponentially growing wound (or something)?  Surely the only solution to what happened over the weekend is to prevent the deluge of spambot-generated spam (virtually a page worth generating all in the same minute??) in the first place, rather than requiring anyone to clear it up afterwards.

13/06/2012 at 14:07

What he said is a far more eloquent way than I

The other problem with user mods is that the first question they should be asked is "Do you want to be a user mod?"  If they answer yes, they should not be given the role.  As the mods would need to willing, using that simple vetting process rules everyone out of the running.

13/06/2012 at 14:28

There's a Fetcheveryone ad on the site now.


Up there  




Is this the way the wind's blowing...

Dark Vader    pirate
13/06/2012 at 14:31

Regardless of the political problems associated with user mods in a general sense, I think the benefits to be gained from a small group of user mods being able to remove what is obviously spam at evenings and weekends has got to be a good thing...   there aren't any downsides to it....  they don't need to mod the entire forum, just be trusted to remove the spam when it appears....

I really can't see any reasons why this should be a problem....


13/06/2012 at 14:31

I'll do it!


Payback time...

13/06/2012 at 14:40

DV - because it's a power to remove a post/thread regardless of it's content.  Other threads will be removed i an guarantee, with good intentions sure, but we all know where they can lead.

This isn't a community run site.  It's a commercial site so it is the responsibility of the owners, not the users, to police it.  This site is here to make money (if it doesn't isn't down to us either).  No users = no money.  It's simple housekeeping on the part of RW just as it's Odeon's job to make sure they have usable seats and a viewable screen, or Barclays job to ensure they have counter staff.

13/06/2012 at 14:41

Stick a 'report as spam' button on each post/thread, then if enough people click it within a certain timescale the system automatically puts the thread into invisible limbo until such time as an official Mod can look at it and either delete or reinstate.

The main issue with forum moderation by users is that it needs to be consistant, and it needs committed people who know and care about the forum and who are prepared to give it their time. They also need to be able to step back and be impartial when decisions need to be made, and that's a difficult task sometimes. And it needs Users to understand that a forum is not a democracy but a benevolent dictatorship. If you want to start flame wars or absue people go start your own forum and do it on your own Dollar.

Personally I think RW missed the boat a few years ago by seemingly writing bespoke forum software rather than incorporating commercial forum software into their website. Buying a commercial product potentially used by thousands of other sites means that you've got a manufacturer (and those thousands of users) constantly working on it to protect it and upgrade it, and even if you have to pay a licencing fee it's still going to be cheaper than having to employ your own people to reinvent the wheel. The forum really should be a pretty small spend in relation to the cost of the site in general.

13/06/2012 at 14:46

Come on tell us who the Mods are....or we'll start a witch hunt and wrongly accuse someone who isn't Meldy...

13/06/2012 at 15:11

BOTF on both points.

13/06/2012 at 15:32

Beware of The Fish


13/06/2012 at 15:49

Interesting debate

Personally, I wouldn't have thought it was that hard to give some user moderators clear guidelines on what they should or should not delete........ this shouldn't be anything they don't like the look of, but should be anything that is 100% spam (like we've had over the last week or so)....

I like BOTF's suggestions about using technology to pull a thread down if enough people report it, but have no idea if that is feasible given the architecture of the RW site.

Either way, something has to be done, and I really hope that the companies who advertise on here (and are paying Natmag-Rodale for access to runner's hearts, minds and wallets) are aware of the issues, and are exerting pressure on RW to sort it once and for all.....

13/06/2012 at 15:55

p.s. Dominique - Thank you for apologising, and for communicating the steps that are being taken to resolve this. You're right that these spam attacks are intensely frustrating, but it is good to hear that this is recognised, and that Natmag-Rodale do in fact care.

Now please deliver!.....

Dark Vader    pirate
13/06/2012 at 15:57

Well..  I agree that a user mod power could be abused, but lets perhaps have an element of trust here for the selected few who could be given the power.   There is an obvious need for an 'out of hours' spam removal facility and a user mod would solve that problem...

And if it gets abused then that person can be suitably dealt with.....

I also like BOTF's idea about the use of technology, if that were actually feasible...


13/06/2012 at 16:09

KK - I think it's about economics though as well? The reality is that hiring someone to operate an out of hours spam-cleansing service costs money, and I don't see why RW would spend that money if there are committed users of the forum who would be willing to provide the same service at either a lower or zero cost?

I haven't got experience of it leading to things going "tits up" like you have, but I'm not a big user of other forums (fora??)..



13/06/2012 at 16:14

Please no-one design and implement any solutions until there is a really clear definition of what the problem is.

As far as I can tell, user moderation (manual effort/ highly customised/ value judgements) is a really bad way of attempting to fix the issue of software spambots (highly automated/ following rules). User Moderation is a tiny step away from dominating individual preferences and cronyism in the forums. It seems to me the community does a pretty good job of taking care of itself and the occasionally determined bad person gets yanked out by the Rodale team.

I would think that a small software update to the Web Server to be able to detect and block software spambots is the way to go. This is a common problem and Forum Moderators are a misapplied sledgehammer when all that is needed is a fine tweak with a screwdriver....IMO.


seren nos    pirate
13/06/2012 at 16:23

I really can't see the problem with anyone having powers to deal with spam........we are not talking about full moderator powers and any reports on normal threads would go through the normal mods.........I imagine this is just the power to clear the spam out of hours......How on earth is that big brother.....I agree it doesn't deal with the core problem.but if it reduces the problem then whats the problem

13/06/2012 at 16:24

on a couple of "technical" websites I have been required to answer a question which required some slight degree of knowledge of the subject matter of the site before being granted access as a spam prevention filter.

For this site something  like - "identify a very popular race distance from this list - 2K, 4K, 5K, 7K  - or would that be too hard for a complete novice who one wouldn't wish to discourage from joining ?

13/06/2012 at 17:20
kittenkat wrote (see)
seren nos wrote (see)

I really can't see the problem with anyone having powers to deal with spam........we are not talking about full moderator powers and any reports on normal threads would go through the normal mods.........I imagine this is just the power to clear the spam out of hours......How on earth is that big brother.....I agree it doesn't deal with the core problem.but if it reduces the problem then whats the problem

You are assuming that the software has levels of moderation powers...

If the software has the ability to decide which posts/thread are spam and that it can be moderated by a user then you might as well let the softwaret get on with it and remove it.

As long as it's down to the interpretation of a human that a post/thread is spam or libelous etc then it's open to abuse.

I would not want secret moderaters. If they want the job then they need to wear the badge as well.  If a user moderater starts abusing their position then in my view they've abused a position of trust and need to dealt with firmly i.e. banned from the site completely.

13/06/2012 at 17:22

They shouldn't name the mods anyway. Otherwise people will start to get uptight. I'm sure you'll all agree.


You better had or I'll delete your heineys.

21 to 40 of 298 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW Forums