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Print Page - No signatures due to spamming

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The Shangri-La Diet => News, Polls, Announcements => Topic started by: Seth Roberts on April 02, 2011, 02:59:22 PM

Title: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 02, 2011, 02:59:22 PM
Many new members appear to have signed up so that they can put their signature in a search engine -- a common form of forum spamming. I have changed the options: signatures of more than 1 letter are no longer allowed.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: 2monkeymom on April 09, 2011, 01:27:11 PM
How do we do a ticker, then?
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 09, 2011, 05:27:38 PM
How do we do a ticker, then?
good question. I have changed the maximum-signature-length setting. Now you should be able to do a ticker.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 09, 2011, 10:04:21 PM
Hi, Seth.  I think there might be a little more adjustment required.  I just tried editing my signature block, and noticed that the length restriction is now lifted.  However, if you have a BBCode img item in your signature block (which everyone will need for a ticker to be displayed), and you then save the signature block code, the board is forcing an unsolicited width=1 (pixel) and/or height=1 parameter into the img tag, thus rendering the image invisible.  I've been experimenting with displaying images from various places in my signature block, and there doesn't seem to be a way for a board user around the unwanted one-pixel width/height issue, which is likely waiting to bite the next time that someone updates their ticker.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 09, 2011, 10:46:47 PM
Tandoori, I put the signature restriction to exactly what it was earlier. So now it should work.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 09, 2011, 10:57:02 PM
Maybe it's something to do with the revised board software, Seth -- or a bug?  I can edit my signature block code as I please, but once I hit the Change profile button, the board re-inserts the width and/or height parameters into the img tag.  I normally get by just fine with HTML or BBCode on message boards, but this issue's got me beat.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 09, 2011, 11:13:16 PM
Seth, when I was editing my signature block code just before my previous post, it was continuously displaying how many characters' space I had left for it.  Now when I'm editing my signature block code, there's nothing telling me how many characters' space I have left, so I guess that demonstrates that you really have lifted the length restriction.  However, even if I explicitly set width or height parameters for the img tag, the board is still changing them on me (back to a width/height of one pixel) once I hit the Change profile button.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 09, 2011, 11:58:38 PM
Hmm. I am unable to find a setting that would cause that problem (height or width of 1 pixel). What can you tell me about when it began?
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 10, 2011, 12:13:01 AM
Well, once I saw that you had originally set a length restriction of one character in an attempt to thwart the spambots, I didn't attempt to edit my signature block code.  I could see that, as soon as I brought up the edit-profile page, the text in the signature code edit box was replaced by a single "[", so I simply backed out of the page.

When I saw today that you had lifted the restriction, I again brought up the edit-profile page, saw that the text in the signature code edit box was staying as it previously was, so I felt confident to edit it -- so, I only noticed the problem today.

(By the way, you'll have seen a request from me for a second account.  Nothing sinister intended -- I was just going to test whether the problem is peculiar to my present account, and then delete the second account.)
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Son_Of_Tandoori_Trilobite on April 10, 2011, 12:52:57 AM
Seth, I've just tried it with this alter ego account -- by copying the signature block code from my normal account into this one -- and I'm getting exactly the same issue.  Then I removed the "Placeholder ..." text from between the url tags -- leaving just the img code between the latter, as would normally be the case in my signature block -- and the weird behaviour persists.

So, it doesn't appear to be confined to my normal account.  I guess all that can be done now is to see if the same phenomenon is experienced by someone else setting/editing img tags in their signature block to accommodate a ticker update.

(If there's no need to keep this alter ego account around for further testing purposes, I'll blow it away tomorrow, or you can blow it away yourself.)
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 10, 2011, 04:56:56 AM
Thanks for the investigation. At the moment I'm mystified. I may be able to get help on the SMF forums...
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: 2monkeymom on April 10, 2011, 11:49:07 AM
Tandoori has described the original issue (single character limit) and the img tag forced dimension issue. The second issue seems to also be affecting the display of any graphics on the board.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 10, 2011, 01:28:23 PM
Tandoori has described the original issue (single character limit) and the img tag forced dimension issue. The second issue seems to also be affecting the display of any graphics on the board.
Thanks, that may help me find the problem.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 10, 2011, 02:55:10 PM
I changed something that may get rid of the size restriction on img links in signatures.

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/sethroberts/5398521717/)
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 11, 2011, 03:08:03 AM
AAA(http://i775.photobucket.com/albums/yy39/tandoori_trilobite/SLDfatman.png)ZZZ
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 11, 2011, 03:24:35 AM
Okay ... the URL for my avatar in my profile is valid, because you can see the latter beside my posts.  So, in my post above, I copied-and-pasted that URL in from my profile, enclosed it in BBCode img tags, and enclosed that within the text AAA...ZZZ thus:

AAA[img]http://i775.photobucket.com/albums/yy39/tandoori_trilobite/SLDfatman.png[/img]ZZZ

If you look at the source HTML for that post using your browser's "view source" option, you find the following relevant generated HTML code:

AAA<img src="http://i775.photobucket.com/albums/yy39/tandoori_trilobite/SLDfatman.png" alt="" width="1" height="1" border="0" />ZZZ

Again, parameters limiting displayed width and height of the image (my Fatman avatar) to one pixel have been generated into the HTML <img> tag along the way.

If I zoom my view of my previous post in as high as I can go, I can just see the image represented as a tiny black dot.  If I hit my cursor onto that image (it's not easy), and then right-click for the image properties (in Firefox), I am given the correct URL for the image and advised that its size is 80px x 80px (scaled to 1px x 1px).

There seems to be an issue of how BBCode img tags are being processed more general than just in signatures.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: slw on April 11, 2011, 05:05:22 AM
Good morning guys. Can anyone tell me how to add a pic to my profile from my cell phone camera?
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 11, 2011, 05:48:29 AM
Well. slw, it's around 10:45pm for me, but here's the general idea of how you do it.

Firstly, you have to get the picture from the phone onto your computer.  One way to do it is to email the picture to yourself from the phone, and then collect the mail with the picture on your computer.  If your phone has, say, a capacity for you to transfer the picture directly onto your computer via a USB cable, that's another possibility.

Secondly, you need to put your picture out on the 'Net somewhere from where it's publicly viewable.  The simplest way is to join one of the free image hosting services (such as Photobucket or Imageshack, among others).  You upload your picture to the site according to their instructions, and they will in turn provide a URL (http something-or-other) by which your picture may be found.

To make that picture your avatar, you go to your profile editing area on this board.  Under Personalized Picture, you select I have my own pic, and fill in the box on the right with the URL to your picture as provided by your image hoster (Photobucket, Imageshack, whoever).  Then you click on the Change profile button.

Your avatar picture will be displayed on this board at a size of 80x80 pixels.  Unless your original picture was square, it will appear distorted (stretched in one dimension and compressed in the other).  To avoid such distortion, you need to use an image editor to crop your picture to a square shape before you upload it to your image hoster.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: slw on April 11, 2011, 09:48:08 AM
   Thank you Tandoori !!! That seems like a lot of work for me at the moment. I will look into it though. I have also read many of your posts and think u like so many others here are wonderful...... ;D  Do u get into tennis?
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 12, 2011, 03:47:04 AM
Thank you for your kind remarks, slw.  Do I get into tennis?  Uh ... no, not at all.  Not sure if there's some significance behind the question that I don't "get", though. ???
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: slw on April 12, 2011, 04:23:30 AM
 I'm a big tennis fan and I really like when they head down under. I just thought u may have seen a live game. ;) lastnight I did the photobucket u suggested. I.m still not able to do the pic transfer. I'm not as computer Savoy as I should be :'(
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on April 14, 2011, 01:00:11 AM
I finally figured out how to fix the img problem (pictures were restricted to 1 pixel by 1 pixel -- not very much!).

now you can have pictures again... :)
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on April 14, 2011, 01:29:24 AM
Yes!!! *punches fist into the air*

Thank you!
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on July 01, 2011, 05:26:20 AM
Unfortunately, due to the rise of signature spam, I am again eliminating signatures.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on July 02, 2011, 02:48:31 AM
Seth, is it possible to incorporate CAPTCHA into the board's registration process?  I appreciate that it would involve some up-front setup effort, but cleaning out spam takes time, too.

I just had a look through the 600 most recent registrations.  Among all those registrations -- nearly all of them with apparently synthetically generated names -- only a handful have ever posted, and only a couple of those looked to be clearly bona fide posters.  I didn't bother looking further than those 600 most recent registrations.

One message board I was a member of had a policy that new members would by default be on moderation, and were required in their initial post to explain or make evident their interest in the subject matter of the board.  On submission of a satisfactory initial post, new members were then approved to post instantly.  This discouraged even human would-be spammers, because they couldn't get away with submitting a generic token post of (for example) something like "Hi, I'm new, and I'm really pleased to be here" that could be applicable to any board.

Legitimate new posters here normally demonstrate their bona fides automatically because their initial posts usually relate specifically enough to the subject matter of this board that it's obvious that they have a particular interest in the board and are not just throwing in a generic post.  The downside of putting a new member's first post on moderation is that it might deter personalities who, in the blush of enthusiasm of having just discovered the board, require the instant gratification of seeing their first post hit the board straight away.

Adjusting a publicly displayed ticker is no doubt part of the motivational armoury for some posters (it was helpful to me back when I was running a ticker), and it's a pity for members to lose it.  Not as big a pity, of course, as the spam vandalism that you're trying to overcome.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Seth Roberts on July 02, 2011, 03:05:20 AM
Thanks for the suggestion. The current registration system includes CAPTCHA. I am thinking of upgrading; the new version may have something more difficult than CAPTCHA.

Your post has made me think more about how to eliminate phony registrations. I am trying something new: an age restriction. You must be over 120 :). I hope this will be hard for bots to figure out!  

If this eliminates spam-motivated registration, then I will try again allowing signatures.
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Tandoori Trilobite on July 02, 2011, 05:20:41 AM
Sorry, Seth -- I (obviously) wasn't aware, or didn't remember, that you were already using CAPTCHA in the registration process.  Wow ... even that's not stopping the bots.  It sounds as if your spam-fiend enemies are more heavyweight than your friends on the board. :)
Title: Re: No signatures due to spamming
Post by: Augustus on July 06, 2014, 10:09:24 AM
I enabled signatures again.  Let's see how that works out.