37 Replies Latest reply on Sep 13, 2019 7:10 AM by

    more recent dodgy looking accounts

      please pardon any of these that are duplicate of accounts that remain open from mid-August reports.

      2caroline

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      9carolinee812yr0

      1avae753rm0

      1andrewc8423wa1

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      7andrewe1791fc3

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      9jasminec4723rh6

      block629dj

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      ysypi

      depikimdicu119

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      taliayrobinson

      dannyygreen

      terrenceerichardson

      devynflaneadityafbeasley

      esmeraldansampson

      makenafbenjamin

      alfredoorowland

      gilbertonbartlett

      marilyndmckee

      fredrsanchez

      rayebush

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      hyuin

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      thaliadstevenson

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      ambrandar3

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      mgawyzbud44

      zvemykree10

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      theyirlqm6

      jiothozhw10

      hbyhidinr49

      ynaphalzj27

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      mariane75

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      mortela

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      heartlinkklegev1988

      balraysolpect1977

      isvenrilec1971

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      • Reply
        • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
          Christopher Stanton

          Would you be willing to e-mail these lists instead?

            • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

              Would you be willing to e-mail these lists instead?

              I'm not sure how that would help.

              I think it's useful for other members to be able to spot check these lists since there are too many accounts for me to manually verify.

              I also think it's useful for other members to have a sense of how many accounts have dodgy links to watch out for.

              It's also useful for other members to see the patterns in dodgy account names so I don't have to be the only one reporting these.

              Other members may also come up with valuable suggestions for how to prevent these dodgy links from being created in the first place, rather than removing them after the fact.

                • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                  Christopher Stanton

                  > I'm not sure how that would help.

                   

                  It's not only other members that are a factor in posting such lists, search engines will also scrape and view such lists and degrade them as 'low quality content' and this could affect search ranking, especially if you're posting them as links to the profile.

                   

                  This's also why we have the mechanisms of reporting content to the moderation queue, and offer the ability to e-mail these lists, so while there is rationale in presenting lists to members, you're losing context by purely posting lists, and it can be more beneficial and introductory to members to watch out for them if you post it as a blog post that explains what you're doing and why - in the way you have been posting them it's raised confusion, (for example "is this a member of staff posting? is it an automated bot?") where as if it's led in a structured manner with an explanation, it's more helpful overall.

                   

                  If the goal is to educate other members I'm suggesting there's a better structured approach to it, if the goal's to remove and deactivate spam accounts, I'm also suggesting that there's a less detrimental way to do that also for aspects which may not have been clear.

                   

                  Does this make sense?

                  3 of 3 people found this helpful
                    • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                      it can be more beneficial and introductory to members to watch out for them if you post it as a blog post that explains what you're doing and why

                      I agree that a blog would be useful.  As you know, I have not been hesitant to answer questions as to "who is this guest?" and "what are they doing?" and "how are they doing it?".  But I think most of the remaining questions are in your court to answer, such as:

                      • do you find spam reports helpful for identifying spammers, or do you already pretty much know which accounts are spammers?
                      • do you have a plan for dealing with the tens of thousands of spammers other than waiting for users to report them?
                      • how many spammers per day are signing up for new accounts and adding dodgy links to their profiles?
                      • are there any mechanisms in place to prevent such dodgy links being created?
                      • how many dodgy accounts have been reported in the last month by guest, and how many of those have been deactivated, and how many remain to be deactivated?
                      • how to you indicate which reports you are finished with and which ones you are still working on?
                      • how many false positives have been found among the reported dodgy accounts?
                      • have any accounts been deactivated as the result of the reports and needed to be reactivated?
                      • why do so many reported accounts have no points and no avatars?
                      • why do so many accounts have fewer than 2 points?
                      • do the admins have access to adequate tools to detect dodgy accounts or are they at the mercy of user reports?
                      • are the admins limited by the same search restrictions as ordinary users, such as lack of regular expressions and page-size limits on number of results?
                      • is there any way to tell an engineer from a spammer?
                      • if not, how should spammers be counted as engineers when reporting the size of the engineering community?

                       

                      if the goal's to remove and deactivate spam accounts, I'm also suggesting that there's a less detrimental way to do that also for aspects which may not have been clear.

                      Unless you are contemplating putting me on the payroll or something like that, I think I'll continue to post the lists of spammers I find if that's OK with you.

                        • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                          Christopher Stanton

                          I'm asking you to contribute in a way that is constructive to staff, and less agitating to other members and potentially detrimental to the website.

                           

                          The answers to your questions here are identified in the Jive documentation and it should become quickly obvious as to how limited they are. I do not have to disclose what functionality we facilitate (if any), I'd also like to clarify that for handling these spam reports and accounts, it's not going to another development team, I am handling them, and I am asking you to work with me on this.

                           

                          While you're not on the payroll, and this is not the way to go about it, it's also not your responsibility to report these accounts and it's not being asked of you, while it is appreciated and I am attempting to discuss with you ways to make it more productive.

                           

                          Users come first, that's the prime directive of a Community, and I find it unfortunate that you're choosing not to become a user.

                            • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                              If it's OK with you, I'll prefix all future spam reports with "IGNORE" so anyone that is bothered by long lists of strange user names can simply ignore them.

                              If you have a better suggested keyword, please let me know.

                              We are making progress and I think we will eventually clear out the spammer accounts and their dodgy links and everyone will be able to breath a sigh of relief.

                              You can probably tell by the dates on the recently reported users where we are in the process, as I have been pretty systematic.

                              I understand that users come first, and that users don't want to be bothered either by spam or spam reports.  As you know, I have been grouping the reports in large batches to accommodate that.

                              I realize that you don't need to disclose anything about your current spam filters, but I have seen what gets past them so I have a pretty good idea what state they're in.  I've also seen reports that there is no filtering of status updates, which I presume also applies to profile updates:

                              https://www.element14.com/community/message/226335/l/re-spammy-users-needs-deleting#226335

                              It would be a shame to clear out all the spam only to have it come right back, so I would suggest you think about how to reduce the incoming rate.

                              I am aware of the Jive documentation, but I'm also aware that you can presumably scrape the user database and use whatever tools you like to find the spammers just as easily as I can.

                              Based on some of the reactions I've gotten so far, I'm very happy with my decision to make the spam reports anonymously.  There is no glory in spam reporting.

                                • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                  Christopher Stanton

                                  > If it's OK with you

                                   

                                  Ah good, let's work together. The e-mail to use is CommunityManager@element14.com

                                   

                                  Thanks!

                                      • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                        Christopher Stanton

                                        As an activity of building trust and a rapport I would ask that you reconsider. Even if you used a 'burner' e-mail account to send them. Especially as users do not have functionality in Jive to filter out your reports, and if you have a lot of reports to post then it would certainly be imposing.

                                          • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                            As an anonymous user, I'm not really interested in building trust and rapport.  Anyone can judge for themselves as to the quality of the spam reports.

                                              • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                Christopher Stanton

                                                The quality of the spam reports isn't under question here, it's how they're reported.

                                                  • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                    The quality of the spam reports isn't under question here,

                                                    That's good to hear.

                                                     

                                                    it's how they're reported.

                                                    Maybe it would be less intrusive if I reported all the spam under a single F&S thread, so less likely to bump other threads.  I'm happy to do that.

                                                     

                                                    btw,

                                                    rscasny wrote at: A Conversation about RoadTests, Missing Reviews, and the Future

                                                    I think I have to do a better job at screening RoadTest applicants.

                                                    I doubt he was aware that in at least one instance, an incomplete review: SILICON LABS USB-TO-UART Bridge Controller EVM - Review

                                                    was attributable to a level 3 reported spammer: Spam needs deleting

                                                    although the road-test selection slightly preceded the spam report.

                                                      • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                        Christopher Stanton

                                                        > Maybe it would be less intrusive if

                                                         

                                                        I believe it has been made politely clear, and you're intelligent enough to be aware of this, as to the method for it to be less intrusive for you to report them.

                                                         

                                                        It is also not a question of how intrusive, as it doesn't mitigate the potential detriment to the website you are being helpful to.

                                                          • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                            If you are politely requesting private spam reports that other members can't spot check, then I politely decline, as I am not on the payroll and that sounds like something you would ask of an employee. 

                                                            As noted elsewhere I have seen that non-public spam reports get no attention, such as:

                                                                https://www.element14.com/community/thread/73379/l/spammy-movers

                                                                https://www.element14.com/community/thread/73374/l/more-spam

                                                             

                                                            I have also seen the difficulty that even top-member users have had getting attention to their spam reports, such as:

                                                            Spam in User status

                                                             

                                                            so I don't want to do anything to reduce the likelihood of getting the spam accounts deactivated.

                                                              • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                Christopher Stanton

                                                                > If you are politely requesting private spam reports that other members can't spot check

                                                                 

                                                                At present members are complaining about the fact that you're posting them, that's not collaboration. If members were saying 'thanks, I'm also spot checking them' then this would make sense and support what you're saying, I would be glad to be corrected, but I am not seeing where you're getting this justification from at present. So it is not a matter of being an employee.

                                                                 

                                                                As users are approaching yourself to stop posting like this in Feedback and Support, and if you're not going to use other avenues of reporting them, then that will lead to an eventual likelihood of the spam accounts you're identifying as not being deactivated as preventing detriment to the site and its users as reported takes precedence.

                                                                  • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                                    If members were saying 'thanks, I'm also spot checking them' then this would make sense and support what you're saying,

                                                                    I think plenty of them are.

                                                                    clem57 did spot checking here: more recent dodgy looking accounts and reported that they involved weight-loss.

                                                                     

                                                                    sjmill01 did spot checking here: Who is this "Guest"?

                                                                    and reported:

                                                                       "So, I feel like this is a whistle-blower thing going on from someone in the community, which is cool, ...

                                                                       I just looked at Lucy Hodgsomething or other.

                                                                      Just signed up.  No activity, but has http://deeper-pills.eu in the profile."

                                                                    and got 2 likes.

                                                                     

                                                                    genebren wrote:  "I have no clue who the guest is, but really, I see the reporting of spam as a very noble service."

                                                                    and got 4 likes and 2 helpfuls.

                                                                     

                                                                    shabaz liked my report here: spammy user

                                                                     

                                                                    14rhb commented favorably here: recent dodgy accounts

                                                                    with a like from gadget.iom

                                                                     

                                                                    Almost all of my reports have been immediately locked preventing further comment, so in those cases lack of positive comments is not indicative of anything.

                                                                      • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                        Christopher Stanton

                                                                        And as the reports have continued, attitudes have also changed and such has the spot checking. Hence this discussion.

                                                                          • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                                            whose attitudes have changed?? 

                                                                             

                                                                            I wrote:

                                                                            shabaz liked my report here: spammy user

                                                                            That was only a day ago.

                                                                              • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                                Christopher Stanton

                                                                                I receive messages from users directly and outside of the Feedback and Support forum, not everybody likes to discuss matters publicly which I'm sure you can respect as a person who appreciates their privacy.

                                                                                  • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                                                    I receive messages from users directly and outside of the Feedback and Support forum, not everybody likes to discuss matters publicly which I'm sure you can respect as a person who appreciates their privacy.

                                                                                    First you say there is no collaborative spot checking, but you are willing to be proved wrong.

                                                                                    Then I prove you wrong, and you move the goalposts and say there are no recent reports of

                                                                                    spot checking, which how could there be when you immediately lock all the report threads.

                                                                                    Then you say you want me to somehow address the private messages you get, without even

                                                                                    the slightest summary of what arguments they make or who they're from.  What kind of

                                                                                    kangaroo court are you running?

                                                                                     

                                                                                    You have made it very obvious you don't like my spam reports.  You wrote:

                                                                                    I have other tasks to do in my day to day job than working through 7000 strong lists of spam accounts immediately for a guest user

                                                                                    You also wrote that spam detection was working fine:

                                                                                    There are some tactics which are used to catch spammers early, and we look through a list of recently registered users to catch some or most of these before they become regularly active accounts.

                                                                                    You have repeatedly criticized me for posting as guest.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Given that public stance, it doesn't surprise me at all that you might have convinced some members that

                                                                                    spam checking is working just fine and that my reports are only creating unnecessary work

                                                                                    for you and unnecessary annoyance for everyone else.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    You have declined my suggestion to blog about your findings in processing my spam reports,

                                                                                    so it isn't surprising at all that members are confused about the cost/benefit ratio.

                                                                                      • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                                        Christopher Stanton

                                                                                        No goal posts are being moved, it's how discussions work, a back and forth of information, and I'm sure you know this.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Users have the ability to post on the Community just as you do. Irrespective of a post being locked, they can reach out to myself, or post in Feedback and Support or other areas, some of which are not visible to you because you're posting as a guest. Other users have posted to report spammers on the Community in the past and I'm sure they will continue to do so.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        There are mechanisms that we use for spam, we make these aware to users. If you're not aware to them, then you're not a user we entrust that information to, which you can't be when you're posting as a guest and wish to remain anonymous. I have no reason to trust a person posting anonymously as a guest who refuses to collaborate or co-operate with me, I believe I have that right, as does anyone. The burden of trust here is on you.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        There are problems with the spam checking, because no system is infallible, and not every member of staff that's worked here has acted upon every piece of reported spam, I don't have reasons as to why that is, some of those staff don't even work here anymore and time enough has passed that it's of little importance.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        I have not seen any comment saying that anyone is convinced your spam reports are unnecessary work for anyone or that spam checking is working just fine. You have also taken out of context my comment about checking a 7,000 strong list of spam accounts, you have a sense of urgency to it which we do not, there's no service level agreement arranged here for when I would go through them and so I go through them when I am able, and that's not necessarily within a week.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        As I've said before, your work here is and has been appreciated, and what I am pointing out here is you're making it difficult to work with you amicably which if I didn't assume good faith, would presume you're doing so on purpose.

                                                                                          • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                                                            There are mechanisms that we use for spam, we make these aware to users

                                                                                            Yes, I'm aware that content can be reported for moderation as spam/abuse/etc.

                                                                                            But spam in user profiles can't be reported using that mechanism, and that's where

                                                                                            essentially all the spam currently exists.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I have no reason to trust a person posting anonymously

                                                                                            Why would I care if I am trusted?  My reports speak for themselves.  They do not rely

                                                                                            in any way on my credentials.  So far they apparently have been found to be extremely accurate.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I have not seen any comment saying that anyone is convinced your spam reports are unnecessary work for anyone or that spam checking is working just fine.

                                                                                            Shabaz said just a day ago that there is essentially no spam on the Activity page, and that's the only page that matters to him.  He said any remaining spam must be hidden somehow by some sort of complexity.  I'm not sure how spam in user profiles fits the definition of hidden by complexity when you see them just by clicking on a username, but so be it.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            you have a sense of urgency to it which we do not,

                                                                                            I do like seeing my reports acted on promptly, as I think I have explained, because I don't like coming across the same spammer account more than once when I do filtering based on different search criteria.

                                                                                            But I have been very careful to report the spammers without any commentary such as needing them fixed in any certain timeframe.

                                                                                            I don't understand your lack of urgency when there are tens of thousands of reported malicious links on your site waiting for users to trip on them, but I'm not telling you what to do.  I also don't understand your lack of urgency regarding the approximately one-per-hour new spammer arrival rate.

                                                                                            You say your lack of urgency is based on my status as a guest user, but your urgency really should be based on the importance to the community, not on the status of the person reporting the spam.

                                                                                              • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                                                Christopher Stanton

                                                                                                > But spam in user profiles can't be reported using that mechanism

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                That's true, and that's why users can reach out via posting or direct messaging about it, however it's often the case that potential spam accounts aren't an issue until they start posting, at which point they're then captured. You're presenting a hope for catching them early, which is difficult to do autonomously thanks to the Jive platform as you've also witnessed, and is also difficult for users to individually report, though it could be argued it's not always possible to be certain an account is going to be used for spam until it does actually do the deed.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                > Why would I care if I am trusted?

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Presumably because you want your spam reports acted upon as a matter of respect for your efforts.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                > your urgency really should be based on the importance to the community

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                It is, to users of the community that co-operate and help.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                > I don't understand your lack of urgency

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Try not to misinterpret having other priorities, as an action of not treating something as urgent. Also understand that while some of these accounts and bookmarks you have reported have been on the site for some time, mostly hidden and as you have admitted only surfaced via accessing it with the API, what problem has it caused? I am not saying that they have been purposefully ignored or that they will be.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                As I have said I have other work priorities to act on, as do other members of the team, and one of those priorities is work for users.

                                                                                                  • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                                                                    however it's often the case that potential spam accounts aren't an issue until they start posting, at which point they're then captured.

                                                                                                    This is absolutely false!  Every single spammer account I've reported (aside from the bookmarks) has had a malicious external link in its profile (that's how I found them), and as I've reported, these malicious links aren't even protected by a "you are now leaving the site" popup.  There is no "waiting until they start posting", they have all already posted, but their spam is in their profile as opposed to some other content.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    You're presenting a hope for catching them early, which is difficult to do autonomously

                                                                                                    No, absolutely false!  I'm suggesting catching them _after_ they've posted malicious links in their profiles, which is trivially easy to do with a simple javascript function.

                                                                                                      • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                                                        Christopher Stanton

                                                                                                        > This is absolutely false!

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Ok, I understand how you're referring to these now, thanks for the explanation.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        > these malicious links aren't even protected by a "you are now leaving the site" popup

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        I did have a discussion about that with the rest of the team which was inconclusive unfortunately, that may have to stay that way.

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        > I'm suggesting catching them _after_ they've posted malicious links in their profiles, which is trivially easy to do with a simple javascript function

                                                                                                         

                                                                                                        Right, and the change which is being made to accommodate this in a way that's practical, is that for the list which we can view which shows the newly signed up users will include this field for us to preview and then act upon. However I have to wait for a development release on the site for that to be updated, which happens every couple of months.

                                                                                                        2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                                                                                          • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts

                                                                                                            Right, and the change which is being made to accommodate this in a way that's practical, is that for the list which we can view which shows the newly signed up users will include this field for us to preview and then act upon. However I have to wait for a development release on the site for that to be updated, which happens every couple of months.

                                                                                                            Sounds promising!

                                                                                                            Let me know if you are able to use the same mechanism to detect older spammer accounts or if you still need my help in reporting those.

                                                                                          • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                                            clem57

                                                                                            Could I suggest take just one of these many blogs and reply to that one blog only adding information each time. That way we can ignore the one and not see the many new ones. It is the many blogs that irritate folks mostly.

                                                                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                                                                            • Re: more recent dodgy looking accounts
                                                                                              shabaz

                                                                                              Guest wrote:

                                                                                              shabaz  liked my report here: spammy user

                                                                                              I liked seeing one report. Then I noticed it was from the same person producing repeated ones.

                                                                                              There's no additional information in them, apart from the user's name.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              If any engineer or manufacturer does that, it is disrespectful to the rest of the users on the website, and we usually mention to them that more than one message with the same or similar content is undesirable, because it floods the 'latest activity', and it floods our e-mail inbox too.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              If you're really passionate about spam-killing, why not reach out to the developers directly, or establish a separate channel that's not as noisy to our e-mail and 'latest activity' feed, and give others a chance to have their issues get eyeballs too.