Current spam flood (April 2014)

(I’ve put the date in the title as this seems quite a time-specific topic)

There appears to be a bit of a run on spam applicants. Yes, it’s easy enough to delete them (particularly if there are no genuine applicants in the list) but it’s a bit annoying. They all have yahoo or gmail emails which makes it hard to block by that alone, but the actual email addresses and reasons for applying seem to match a few well-defined patterns. Can we automatically block these?

It seems that every time I check the forum, there’s one or more applicants that I decline. They are easy to spot from real ones so it’s not too bad. I don’t know how the whole process works for them to get this far, but if they have to answer a question it doesn’t seem to be working.

I’ve been removing them with my codea project. Ignatz has a firefox plugin. I’m working on a web python script to keep them away and provide 24hr protection.

I think this is being done by real people working in China, because they arrive during my working day in a wave, rather than regularly through 24 hours, which is what a bot would do, and the IP addresses are Chinese. It is probably only a handful of people hammering away at a list of forums they have been given.

They can be identified by email and user patterns and also by IP address (the first one or two parts are sufficient, they seem to vary the end of the IP address). I have reliably deleted hundreds using detection patterns but I haven’t automated it because that requires a high degree of certainty.

The activity is increasing all the time, so an automated response, preferably at the confirmation stage, is needed in my view. We have better things to do than endlessly delete spammers. I deleted 170 in a single session the other day, and I don’t want to have to do that again.