Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

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Teango
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Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby Teango » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:42 am

I've noticed more and more inappropriate spam CAPTCHAs lately when attempting to log in. For example, today I was asked to answer the following question:

I have cursed people who spam this forum with cancer? True or False:

Image

I don't know who's responsible for this (perhaps it's taken from a generic list of questions from an outside source), but wherever it comes from, I think it's in utterly bad taste and reflects poorly on the forum. Not only is the question ambiguous, it's also deeply disrespectful to victims of cancer, along with their close family and friends. Please can a mod look into this and help remove these offensive CAPTCHAs in future.
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby Adrianslont » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:53 am

I haven’t seen the cancer one but I agree with Teango.

Now that he’s started his thread can I add that some of the captchas are annoying. There’s one where the answer is something like “10 meters”. I’ve never got that right. Do I need to use numerals or words? Do I need to use the bare numeral or must I include meters? Or meter? Or the bare word?

I have been loathe to mention this because I don’t want to complain about this beloved forum that is administered and moderated by people who are so generous with their time.

However, ambiguous (and inappropriate) captchas bug me. I would love to never see that ten meter one again! There are others.
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby aokoye » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:29 am

I haven't seen one that bad yet, but the last one I was given made next to no sense. Enough so that I was wondering if something was wrong with the site. It seems like the CAPTCHA system used here needs a major overhaul.

I agree with Adrianslont that I don't want to burden the admins and/or mods more than necessary, but it seems like the captcha system here was always a bit of a mess and the cancer question is really over the top.
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby rdearman » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:17 am

The problem here is Google.

If I put in a captha like "What is the capital of France." the spam bot program runs that through Google and voila it has the answer and creates an account. Once the account is created it creates 1000 spam messages which don't get through, but I have to go and delete one by one. So the best captha are ones which are "non-sensical" and can't simply be run through Google and need a bit of human thought.

I don't remember writing I curse spammers with cancer, but in a fit of rage after deleting the bazilliont spam messge there is a good chance that I did. Along with Spammers are Scum and a lot of other things. I have in the past asked people to send me potential questions via PM (can't post questions because then your feeding Google and spammers the answers). If you can think of better questions then feel free to send them to me. I have to change the questions every couple of months because when the spammers don't get any sucess with Google, they then hire people to look at the questions and feed the answers into the spambot and I'm back to where I was again until I can change the questions.

So if you see something you consider inappropriate just tell me and I'll remove it. But it would be nice if in the same PM you provide me another question and answer which is "Google Proof"
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby Adrianslont » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:59 am

I thought I detected rdearman humour amongst the captcha questions.

Thanks for your anti-spam efforts, Rick.

I have PMed some possible questions - I hope some of them are suitable. A quick google tells me spambots are pretty cunning.

Cheers.
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby Iversen » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:44 pm

There is (or was) a question about a train from somewhere at a time which is indicated in the question. I have never passed that one! As for the cancer question I also think that it was slightly uncourteous to those who actually are victims to cancer, but by the same logic it is perfectly OK to wish that spammers be quartered, hanged and/or burned (or buried) alive.

But the central question still is bothering me: why the machine tells me that I have tried too many times and therefore have to solve a riddle. Is it a spam bot that uses my personal ID until it reaches the limit, and then I come quite innocently to try just once more and have to solve the captcha?
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby tiia » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:56 am

Iversen wrote:But the central question still is bothering me: why the machine tells me that I have tried too many times and therefore have to solve a riddle. Is it a spam bot that uses my personal ID until it reaches the limit, and then I come quite innocently to try just once more and have to solve the captcha?

I think the answer is yes. See also this thread.
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby rdearman » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:08 am

tiia wrote:
Iversen wrote:But the central question still is bothering me: why the machine tells me that I have tried too many times and therefore have to solve a riddle. Is it a spam bot that uses my personal ID until it reaches the limit, and then I come quite innocently to try just once more and have to solve the captcha?

I think the answer is yes. See also this thread.

Emk and I have been in discussion about why this keeps happening. It might not be the spambots but rather there are two other possible causes. The Apache webserver environment, or the phpbb forum software mangling the proxy server header information. Basically it might be that the correct IP addressing isn't being passed to the software (phpbb), or the software is mangling the addressing on receipt of the headers. This will take some more investigation but although painful, it would be better if it is badly designed software rather than bots, since the software and the web environment is under our control.
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby tomgosse » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:10 pm

rdearman wrote:The problem here is Google.

If I put in a captha like "What is the capital of France." the spam bot program runs that through Google and voila it has the answer and creates an account. Once the account is created it creates 1000 spam messages which don't get through, but I have to go and delete one by one. So the best captha are ones which are "non-sensical" and can't simply be run through Google and need a bit of human thought.

I don't remember writing I curse spammers with cancer, but in a fit of rage after deleting the bazilliont spam messge there is a good chance that I did. Along with Spammers are Scum and a lot of other things. I have in the past asked people to send me potential questions via PM (can't post questions because then your feeding Google and spammers the answers). If you can think of better questions then feel free to send them to me. I have to change the questions every couple of months because when the spammers don't get any sucess with Google, they then hire people to look at the questions and feed the answers into the spambot and I'm back to where I was again until I can change the questions.

So if you see something you consider inappropriate just tell me and I'll remove it. But it would be nice if in the same PM you provide me another question and answer which is "Google Proof"


I've said this before and I'll say it again, "Thank you for all the work and effort you put into running this forum." :D
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Re: Inappropriate Spam CAPTCHAs

Postby StringerBell » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:54 pm

Teango wrote:
I have cursed people who spam this forum with cancer? True or False:

Image

I don't know who's responsible for this (perhaps it's taken from a generic list of questions from an outside source), but wherever it comes from, I think it's in utterly bad taste and reflects poorly on the forum. Not only is the question ambiguous, it's also deeply disrespectful to victims of cancer, along with their close family and friends.


This past year one of my aunts died of cancer, and in recent years my mother has had cancer twice. I take no offense to this CAPCHA question, and in fact, I actually found it kind of funny and prefer it to most of the other questions; I've gotten this one multiple times and I'm usually relieved that I don't have to type that very long name of the train station again. I think this is a pretty trivial thing to be offended by, since it's an obvious attempt to vent a little frustration about something insanely frustrating.

Having to answer 37 CAPCHAs per day because I keep getting logged out is less enjoyable :cry:
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