Spam filters

Accounts spamming many stories with posts containing exactly the same URLs, such as the recent Yeezy shoes spam, are very easy to filter. Is this really so hard to do with the current Drupal set-up?

Steve Kemp has an XML-RPC-based, centralised comment spam detection service that works very well for the Debian sites. Could that be used here?

Cf. old discussions on dealing with spam?, which has Ehud's objection to filters; and SPAM reports, which describes the Anton spam-monitoring daemon. It's been a year since the last site discussion topic dealing with spam, so the topic might be due for revisiting.

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The issue with Drupal is that the version we're on is too old to run any current modules at all, so anything that involves installing modules requires a Drupal upgrade first. Upgrading Drupal itself is easy enough, but migrating custom changes accumulated over the years is the part that requires more work & QA. The recent spam issues have made that a higher priority.

As an example of the version situation, the Drupal plugins for Steve Kemp's service are for Drupal versions 6 and 7. LtU is running Drupal 4.

However, I've had some experience with the Mollom spam filter on another newer Drupal site, and the experience there was that it didn't make enough of a difference - the site in question eventually shut down comments because of spam. Perhaps Kemp's filter would be better.

We did recently install a captcha (reCAPTCHA) for new user registration. Initial indications are that it hasn't made much difference.

So, the general plan is to proceed with the upgrade, which will give us a range of additional options. There should be some action on that front over the next few weeks.

Perhaps the spammers are

Perhaps the spammers are humans. I think adding a simple PLT question would filter these better than reCAPTCHA.


How about we make new users pass an advanced examination on PLT?

(just kidding) :-)

I am ready to five up my convictions...

Well, not really. But I am willing to do anything to stop the onslaught of spam. Indeed, if no better solution is found soon I am considering blocking new accounts entirely until the situation improves. (Keep in mind that the spam you see is what manages to escape, we have been deleting accounts by the dozen recently.)

tin foil hat

Ok, how does the spam problem here compare quantitatively with other sites? Is this "normal" or "targeted"?

Given the societal roles of various prominent LtU'ers I can see motive and opportunity for an organized attack aimed at nothing more than wasting a lot of time (as part of a larger systempunkt effort).

Where can I buy the Anton spam monitoring daemon?

Is it in stores?

Getting antond

antond is in the Plan 10 distribution. You need unusual privileges to run it.

Given the amount of subscribers

You might as well just filter new applicants manually.

xref to an update