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The Society for the study of flies (Diptera)

Affiliated to the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS)

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#1 2012-07-21 12:46:17

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 180

Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

Today 21 July 2012 a certain 'saidur123' has posted 217 bulk advertising items, spread across most of the forums, and has taken the opportunity of advertising wedding accessories for free.

Unless action is taken to do something about this, the site will become unworkable, and will be taken over by this sort of thing.

Registration (and the ability to make a post) must only be allowed after checking would-be applicants.  Otherwise it is plain now that the task of deleting these bulk posts will become more onerous than checking registration applicants first.

I suggest that the first action should be to delete the bulk of already registered persons, now amounting to many thousands, who have not made any posts recently. I also suggest that all applicants must supply their email address, so that they can be contacted and asked to verify their interest in Diptera.

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#2 2012-07-21 14:45:59

Jim Jobe
DF Members
Name: Jim Jobe
Registered: 2008-04-08
Posts: 125

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

Hear, hear Michael!

Last edited by Jim Jobe (2012-07-21 14:46:18)

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#3 2012-07-22 18:45:58

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 220

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

After a few hours I have finally deleted all the 260 posts by saidur123. I assume the motive for so many posts is that if it takes a long time to delete them all it is more likely that the links will be indexed by search engines before deletion, to move that site up the search list results. Unfortunately the technique was probably successful as I did not log on until late last night and did not have time to remove all until today (British Summer Time not whatever the forum server time is) and I know that one of the other Moderators has been having problems with his broadband connection.
I understand that there are plans for a revision of the DFf site when I hope some of these concerns may be addressed.
A charitable interpretation is that the Brides of Australia web site, being advertised, is a reputable company and not directly involved in the spam attacks, perhaps they have employed a Search Engine Optimisation (seo) company to improve their position in search results without being aware of the techniques used. I have emailed them pointing out what is happening and that they may not want to be associated with internet nuisances that would give them a bad name if reported on other bulletin boards.

From their web site-
Brides of Australia is a division of Wiz Bang Promotions Pty Ltd Marketing Group
ACN 111134233 ABN 30111134233

The details of the spammer are-
saidur123
    Registered: 2012-07-20
    Posts: 260
    IP: 117.18.231.10 (Location of this IP address is apparently in Bangladesh)
    E-mail saidurrahmanshuvo123@gmail.com

Last edited by KenMerrifield (2012-07-27 20:52:20)

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#4 2012-07-22 19:08:39

Jim Jobe
DF Members
Name: Jim Jobe
Registered: 2008-04-08
Posts: 125

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

Could you introduce a simple question for people wishing to register with the forum to answer? Something along the lines of "Which of the following is not a fly?" Obviously the question would have to change from day to day and some spammers might be dipterists as well, but at least it would be something to try.

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#5 2012-07-22 19:21:33

Alan Outen
DF Members
Name: Alan Outen
Registered: 2010-06-24
Posts: 800

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

I am sure I speak for all in our appreciation of the time and trouble that this has taken for Ken. I cannot imagine that any genuine members on this site are ever going to be likely to buy any of the things, or from any of the companies advertised on the site by these selfish and irritating nuisances, so they are wasting their own time as well as those with much better things to do with their time.

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#6 2012-07-23 01:23:09

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 220

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

Thanks for that Alan.
I think that their motive is not in expecting anyone here to buy their products but that the links they post will be found by search engines and improve their rating in searches (search on "Search Engine optimisation" seo, for more details of companies that make their living doing such things). As the membership list is visible to all this probably explains the thousands of users who have registered without ever posting, most will have spam links in their profiles to be picked up by search engines.

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#7 2012-07-27 20:53:50

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 220

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

I emailed Brides of Australia saying that I believe that they are a reputable, legitimate company that would not have organised or authorised this spam attack.
They responded immediately thanking me for bringing this to their attention as they do not wish to be associated with such actions.
They confirmed that they used a Search Engine Optimisation company to improve their position in search results and are contacting them for an explanation.

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#8 2012-08-03 02:16:55

Mark
DF Members
Name: Mark Mitchell
From: Hampshire
Registered: 2008-06-17
Posts: 273

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

I would argue that if Brides of Australia are using Search Engine Optimization company they are not 100% reputable. I have in the past done a number of web site for reputable companies - and all got great Search Engine results without using underhand techniques. If they have a well written site, good reputation, and it is kept up to date, then optimization is not necessary. In fact'  Google and the like go to long lengths to detect it, and this will have a negative effect on their search position if found out.

I would agree that we need to stop them from posting on here, as this activity risks our own search engine ratings. I would think, if it is possible, not letting new members post any web links would go some way?

Last edited by Mark (2012-08-03 02:29:07)

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#9 2012-08-23 14:10:19

Roger Morris
DF Members
Name: Roger Morris
From: Stamford
Registered: 2008-02-08
Posts: 31

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

This is a problem that will not really go away until Stuart has had time to write a new website.  I know he is on the case but there are challenges migrating some of the databases - especially I think for hoverflies. It is a job for this winter - but of course there are other jobs too - like running training events, developing the cranefly book, writing an update to Stubbs & Falk .. .... - all of which need to be attended to this winter!

In terms of making things difficult to register, yes this would be helpful on the one hand, but as one of the biggest internet numpties I have to say I find all sorts of problems with the systems some websites use and from time to time give up after numerous attempts to make out letters.

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#10 2012-08-24 15:17:02

Michael Ackland
DF Members
Name: Michael Ackland
Registered: 2008-06-14
Posts: 180

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

I notice that the diptera.info site has now stopped registration due to the large number of scam registrations!

Quiote: Due to a huge number of spam accounts being created during the last few days (users should not have noticed it, though) I have decided to disable the registration page for the time being. I am aware of the hassle and delay Iit may cause, but those who want to create an account on the website should contact me using the 'Write Webmaster' link in the left column. The account will then be created manually

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Paul

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#11 2012-08-25 22:13:53

KenMerrifield
Administrator
Name: Ken Merrifield
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 220

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

Roger Morris wrote:

In terms of making things difficult to register, yes this would be helpful on the one hand, but as one of the biggest internet numpties I have to say I find all sorts of problems with the systems some websites use and from time to time give up after numerous attempts to make out letters.

The system of entering letters from a distorted image is intended to prevent automatic enrolment by programs, assuming humans are better at recognising patterns than computer systems, every time there is an advance in character recognition the test has to be made more difficult. If this is the cause of the problem at Diptera.info then we could be hit in due course.

To prevent (sub?)humans registering just to post spam messages some bulletin boards do not allow newly registered userís posts to appear on the site until they have been approved.
According to Stuartís message on 11 2010-09-23, (in the original thread when spammers started appearing -  http://www.dipteristsforum.org.uk/t685- … ction.html ), the Bulletin Board system used for the current web site could be set to allow newly registered members to post messages directly only when they have been approved, and given full membership if they have established themselves as genuine. If Moderators or Committee members could approve Membership then activating this system should help the situation. If only the Administrator can approve membership then Stuart would not have time to do this so we would have to wait for the update.

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#12 2012-08-30 01:07:12

JohnShowers
Committee
Name: John Showers
From: Northants
Registered: 2008-02-28
Posts: 65
Website

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

As Membership Secretary I am well placed to validate member access and am happy to do it if I can be given the rights.

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#13 2012-09-16 13:38:16

muscapaul
DF Members
Name: Paul Beuk
From: Maastricht, Netherlands
Registered: 2010-01-06
Posts: 576
Website

Re: Futility of allowing anyone to register and post anything to the Forum

We are having a bad spell again...

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