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bloody spammers
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twebster
Site Admin


Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Phoenix "Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Mike!

It would be fun to meet you up there. Do you have an itinerary set, yet? I'm probably going to have back surgery next month (which is why I'm out shooting almost daily) but if I can work the schedule around I'd love to meet you. Let me know if it is possible. OK?

Best regards as always,
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Tom Webster

Phoenix "The Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

The worst day photographing dragonflies is better than the best day working! Smile
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Mike B in OKlahoma



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1048
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tentatively I'll be in Holbrook the night of the 8th, and maybe again coming home on the 13th or 14th. I'm kind of balancing my schedule to link up with another friend (lady friend, whoo!) in Mesa Verde and Hovenweep probably on the 11th and 12th, but she may have to shift days. I'll know for sure after New Year's. If it works better for you, it's remotely possible I'll be near Monument Valley (Kayenta, I think it is) on the night of the 13th, I'm wondering if that's going to be possible, but if that works for you and Holbrook doesn't, I'll move towards keeping it in. January 16 at 8 am I have to be back in OKlahoma and back at work, and I'm going to stop at Bosque overnight on the way home (and also on the way out) to see and photograph a morning blastoff.

Good luck on the back surgery, I dread that (it may be in my future down the road).
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Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin
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twebster
Site Admin


Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Phoenix "Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeez, Mike, you like to cram it all in, don't you? Very Happy I don't see a wasted minute in your itinerary! Very Happy OK, I have medical tests starting next week. I probably won't know much more until towards the end of the month. As I learn more I'll get in touch with you. Holbrook would be easier but, hey, I haven't been to Kayenta in nearly 30 years. You think it may have changed in the meantime? Let's keep in touch, my friend. Very Happy
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Tom Webster

Phoenix "The Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

The worst day photographing dragonflies is better than the best day working! Smile
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DaveW



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1702
Location: Nottingham, UK

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another spammer:-

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1270

DaveW
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salden



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 1363
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DaveW wrote:
Another spammer:-

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1270

DaveW


I just removed him from membership. Actually, I have spent most of this morning removing the "unwanted" from activation. They are getting bad.
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Sue Alden
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7058
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I removed about six posts plus the spammer this morning around 5:30AM or 6:00AM, yep it is getting bad. Rolling Eyes
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twebster
Site Admin


Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 442
Location: Phoenix "Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi y'all,

Spam is getting out of hand at other sites, too. Seems the spammers have a new tool that can route around the spam blocking measures, automatically register the spammer, and post a new topic. Sheesh!! Evil or Very Mad

Do me a favor, please, instead of deleting the offending thread move the thread to the "Queue Forum". I'd like to see some of the posts to get an idea of how they are bypassing the security software. Different types of automatic posts reflect different spam methods. Afeter moving the topic to the "Queue Forum" go ahead and delete the spammer's membership. OK?

Later today I will set new member registrations to be authorized by the administrators. I only wanted to do this as a last resort because it will increase the email load on we administrators. Right now all administration email is sent to my hotmail address. I am in and out of town so much that it would be difficult for me to review all new member registrations. I know Sue is very busy, too, at this time. I am going to create a new email account with our web hosting service that will direct all member registration emails to the admin email account. I will provide all of you the URL and password to access the admin email account. This way any of us can review new member registrations and the added workload will not fall on just a single admin. Fair enough?

Somehow we will get on top of this annoying issue Exclamation Evil or Very Mad
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Tom Webster

Phoenix "The Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA

The worst day photographing dragonflies is better than the best day working! Smile
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salden



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 1363
Location: Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds good tom.
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Sue Alden
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7058
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Works for me too Tom. Very Happy
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18695
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

twebster wrote:
Spam is getting out of hand at other sites, too. Seems the spammers have a new tool that can route around the spam blocking measures, automatically register the spammer, and post a new topic. Sheesh!! Evil or Very Mad
...
Somehow we will get on top of this annoying issue Exclamation Evil or Very Mad

It's an arms race.

The spammers are rushing to develop spambot software that can act enough like a human to register and post, and the bboards are rushing to develop automatic software that can reliably tell the difference between a spambot and a real human. All this without making the registration process so tough that it blocks real humans too.

For a while, images of distorted text worked pretty well because they were easily read by a human, but were beyond the reach of software. But recently, image interpretation software has gotten a lot better. Scuttlebutt now has it that for the best spambots there are essentially two classes of such images: simple ones that the spambots can read better than humans can, and complicated ones that humans can't read either. "%^&*!", to put it mildly.

You can read more about the problem in general at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captcha (CAPTCHA = "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart" -- a wonderful acronym, trademarked by your friendly entrepeneurial academics at Carnegie Mellon University). A good discussion of the problem for phpBB in particular starts at http://bbantispam.com/howto/.

The arms race is going to continue.

From the standpoint of the forum, this is bad. Keeping the spammers at bay is going to be a continuing struggle, requiring multiple layers of defense. Mostly likely it'll involve some combination of a) tweaking the phpBB software so that our forum has slightly different hooks and vulnerabilities from everybody else's, plus b) running the best defensive mods that anybody else can think up, plus c) mod'ing phpBB in general to make it easy to delete multiple "users"/posts at one stroke, plus d) having admins scattered around the globe to minimize response time, plus e) keeping human admins in the registration loop, preferably as a last line of defense after all the automated stuff says "um, this one looks OK to me -- what do you think?".

It's a challenge to figure out how to do this efficiently. Unlike the big forums, photomacrography2 has only 181 registered members, of whom only 82 have ever posted. That's in 138+ days of operation --- a whopping big average of less than 0.6 serious registrations per day! (82/138=0.6. Or maybe I should say 181/138=1.3, though I'm still unclear why anybody registers before they want to post. As far as I know, everything except the member galleries is available for public viewing, and I don't have a clue what's in those galleries since I've never bothered getting credentials to look. )

I'm not privy to the admin activity, but I'd guess that the forum is attracting many more spam attempts than legitimate new members.

Given the high quality of members that this forum attracts -- willingness/enthusiasm to spend time thinking & writing -- perhaps we can raise the bar in ways that other more casual forums cannot. Think

--Rik
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Mike B in OKlahoma



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1048
Location: Oklahoma City

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It still boggles my mind that anyone buys stuff from these people! They've definitely gotten worse the last month or so.

Thanks to the forum admins for working on this stuff. Those of us who read and post here appreciate what you're doing. I'll refrain from trying to make more helpful suggestions 'cause I realize that people who know more than I do about this in this forum and elsewhere are working like busy beavers on the problem.
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Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18695
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike B in OKlahoma wrote:
Thanks to the forum admins for working on this stuff. Those of us who read and post here appreciate what you're doing.

I'll second that! The admins here are top-notch in all respects. Exclamation Very Happy

Quote:
It still boggles my mind that anyone buys stuff from these people!

Mike, the reason these folks spam is because it's incredibly cheap advertising. A single good spambot, running unattended, can post links in places where millions of people will see them. It only takes a few purchases or scams to be worth the trouble. Some of the spammers don't even care about purchases or scams per se -- they just want people to click through to their site so that the occasional vulnerable computer can get infected with whatever virus the spammer has posted. Once infected, that computer becomes one more member of an army of part-time slaves, whose services the spammer then rents out for other purposes. It's quite a black-market economy. Sad

If there's a bright spot in any of this, perhaps it's in the weird thought I had a couple of days ago. For many years, academics have been trying to develop really good "artificial intelligence" software, but with only modest success. Wouldn't it be ironic if the final push toward human-equivalent software was driven by the economics of porn, illicit pharmaceuticals, and slaved computers? <no appropriate emoticon found>

--Rik
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7058
Location: lat=35.4005&lon=-81.9841

PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HAL 9000 (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) Kind'a spooky...isn't it? Laughing
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