The amount of spam is getting ridiculous

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  • Updated 9 months ago
I have had about 30 spam mails today from this forum.  Being ahead of the US, my morning normally starts with reporting a spam post or two.  But this morning it was 18.

TechSmith you need to act to get this under control.  The solution is simple.  All new users' posts are queued for moderation before they are released.  This will stop this nonsense dead in its tracks.  Genuine new users won't mind

You have had long enough to fix this.  It is simply disrespectful to your users to subject them to a torrent of spam.

I, for one, am seriously considering leaving the forum because of this issue
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Paul

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Posted 9 months ago

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Ronnie West

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Well said Paul!!!   I whole heartedly agree with you on this because I also spend ages each morning deleting this crap.
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Rick Grunwald

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That is a simple solution. I ran Vbulletin software and it could all be done via emails with links in them. I don't know this software but there has to be a way to handle it just as simply without a moderator having to watch the board all day
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Paul

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Yep, even the comments on my blogs are queued and dealt with via email.  It isn't hard, IF THERE'S THE WILL TO DO IT. 

And we always come back to the same point.  If Adobe, with their millions of customers can set the same "get satisfaction" platform up in a way that generates zero spam, why can't TechSmith?
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Rick Stone

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I think there is a pretty massive difference between a goliath company like Adobe and a smaller one such as TechSmith. Adobe has some pretty vast resources at its disposal. And when you consider that Adobe has 100+ different products, with several of those products geared toward manipulating web pages and suchlike, they likely have programmers well versed in doing nothing more than dealing with things like forums. 

I'd be surprised to see a company like TechSmith have dedicated staff that are well versed in making coding changes to their subscribed Get Satisfaction presence.

Bottom line is that I believe they are doing the best they are able. It's unfortunate that there are those out there that constantly seek to exploit forums in some bizarre effort to coax money out of unsuspecting folks. The good news is that while last night saw many posts arrive, these times are actually pretty rare. Sure, some SPAM creeps in occasionally, but it seems it's the exception and not the norm. ;)

As I am a moderator for a few of the Adobe forums, I can attest to times when their forums were under severe spam attacks. Most often these were seen on weekends. There were apparently SPAM bots that just slammed them posting messages faster than they could be deleted.

I'm not sure what Adobe forums you subscribe to that are hosted on GetSatisfaction, but I'm aware there are a few. The vast majority of Adobe forums are hosted via the Jive platform.

Cheers... Rick :)
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Paul

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I don't buy the argument that Adobe have more resources to police it.  No-one is asking TechSmith to do live monitoring of the forums to delete spam as soon as it hits.

What we're asking for is a simple filter that directs say, the first post from a user to a moderator. If that is spam, the thread is not published and the user is banned.  They could also put a recaptcha, invisible recaptcha or honeypot system in place.  If I can do it on my WordPress sites I fail to see why it's so hard for them to do it.
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JL1

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I assume you do receive spam under the guise of a forum post, correct?

I am on the East Coast of the USA. I don't get any spam from this forum. 

Strange.
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Ed Covney

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Yes, in the guise of a forum post.  I rec'd 8 of them (middle of MDT), local email client is t'bird, email is gmail.com - Maybe you do much better spam filter wise?
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Paul

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Not just under the guise of but as an actual forum post.

The pattern is quite clear.

1. New user registers
2. They create one or more spam posts

OR

3. They reply to one or more genuine posts with a spam reply

OR

4. They create a quaise genuine initial post of their own and 
5. Send spam replies to it

In every use case that I have seen. the user's behaviour could have been stopped dead in its tracks by the simple act of not allowing new users to post without their initial post being moderated.

To be clear, moderation only needs to happen for new users.  How many of those are there per day?

If you look at the "Report spam posts here" thread, you will see that because of the fact that I'm in Europe, I see and report more spam than others because of the time difference.

I'm pretty diligent in my reporting, and consequently I am pretty vocal about the fact that my inbox is spammed more than others. 

I have received 40 (FORTY) spam related emails today already and that's 40 more than I want or need. 

When I add that to the fact that I receive about 50 emails a day from TechSmith/Get Satisfaction for products that I am NOT registered for, the result is that today, unwanted Techsmith email will easily reach over ONE HUNDRED swamping my genuine email traffic.

I have repeatedly asked TechSmith for help with turning down the firehose, but my last two requests have gone unanswered.  

Meanwhile, I DON'T receive emails about new threads that I AM registered for, so my ability to help users with their problems has been reduced to about zero.

Sorry for the rant, but you can see that I have every reason to be pi***d off with TechSmith at the moment.  I have now written a rule to direct all TechSmith content to a separate folder so I can keep my inbox clear for genuine traffic.  I mean, come on,   REALLY?
(Edited)
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Official Response
Hi All,

I just wanted to let you know that I have reached out to our community platform provider regarding the spam that has hit the forums recently. Once I have more information on the topic I will update everyone here; in the meantime I will work to remove the spam as it appears, though please do be aware of our office hours so there may be a delay for those in other timezones. I do apologize for the spam that has gotten through the filters set in place by the platform and again, will work to address it as soon as it appears. If you have questions or would like to contact me directly you can do so by emailing me at r.risdon@techsmith.com 

Kind regards,

Robert
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Paul

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See my previous reply please Robert.
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Paul;

I understand the frustration and have reached out a few times via email (both to you and to the platform provider). I am happy to continue the conversation from my 06 March and 20 March emails privately if you would like?

-Robert
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Paul

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Thans Robert. Unfortunately, I have not received your emails of the 6th and 20th. :(

Please could you resend them? 
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Rick Stone

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LOL, how ironic would it be if you found the missing emails in your SPAM folder? ;)
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Paul

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They aren't because i review that regularly.

But it does kind of underline my point.  Perhaps in the tsunami of junk mail from TS I deleted them by mistake.  We'll never know. :)
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi Paul;

I've resent the emails, let me know if you've gotten them.

-R2
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Paul

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Nope :(

I have now whitelisted you.
(Edited)
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Paul;

Thanks for letting me know; I'm going to try a few things internally to see if something wonky is happening. Hopefully you'll find some emails from me come morning (as I know you're a handful of hours ahead of us). 

-Robert
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Rick Grunwald

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@Rick Stone The size of the company should not matter. If adobe is in fact using built in spam tools, they should be available for all  regardless of company size. It is probably a case of finding out how to set this up

Robert - if the tools are available and you are able to implement them, then office hours don't matter. Get your coffee in the morning then go thought the moderated queue. I have had to do this on  a different  forum platform

If the wait is too long and can't be passed to others over the weekend, you can assign privileges to a volunteer moderator who can see and process the queue for spam and not for content they may not like nor agree with. That can all be set with permissions. Even that may be overkill as we are only talking about new people on the board
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi Rick;

There is indeed a moderated queue that I go through every morning and that is one of the first steps I complete each day, beyond that I (and others) surf through the forums to try and find those that slip past the automated filters. Those that we miss, fortunately, the community is kind enough to bring to our attention and we are able to get to them as well. As mentioned in my official response, I have reached out to our platform provider to see what can be done to mitigate the increase in Spam.

There are numerous decisions as to the selection of volunteer moderators and due to platform constraints we do not offer that particular feature / step within the community at this time.

-Robert
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Paul

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I would happily put my hand up to be one of those volunteers.  I'm reporting the spam anyway.  It'd be just as easy to kill it instead during the UK morning while the US is asleep.
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Rick Grunwald

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Most forum software will have adoption to moderate new members for X number of messages or days (or both). It may be just a case of finding the setting

I am not seeing the problem for some reason so my input is just trying to toss some ideas

Thanks for all you do Robert. 
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damianrx

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And I only yesterday congratulated techsmith for what looked like a new forum structure. I was sucked in it seems.

@paul I was also hit with a stack of rubbish emails from techsmith. Yes techsmith, they are the ones who authorise these emails.

@robert r why does techsmith persist with the current setup?
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi Damian;

Welcome to the community! It's unfortunate that your most recent experience has been something of a dud on account of the Spam. Rest assured I'm working to address the situation so we don't continue to experience these things. I can't promise a timeframe, but hopefully this issue will dissipate and not return. I'll keep everyone posted via this thread, so stay tuned!

-Robert
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Keiko

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Thanks a lot for moderating the forum community! It's truly unfortunate to see all the spam done by various people who inappropriately exploit forums like this.