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Old 04-04-2020, 09:19 AM   #1
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Default What are bots?

And how do they work.

Since this forum seems to have three running I would like to understand more about them.
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Old 04-04-2020, 02:36 PM   #2
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And how do they work.

Since this forum seems to have three running I would like to understand more about them.
I’m wondering why they’re not getting shut down. I flagged the most recent one. It’s been more than 24 hours without action.

I got suckered on one of the recent crop. The others had such weird titles I hadn't even bothered to look at them. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Just report ‘em. More reports typically means faster action from the site team.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:07 PM   #3
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I’m wondering why they’re not getting shut down. I flagged the most recent one. It’s been more than 24 hours without action.
Please be specific. I am unaware of any remaining ones, but I seem to be the only one paying attention right now and sometimes I miss stuff. It is also possible that all the offending members have been banned but some of the messages or threads have been overlooked.

Please use the "Report" button on the lower left of the message.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:15 PM   #4
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And how do they work.

Since this forum seems to have three running I would like to understand more about them.
They are artificial intelligence agents that are always scouring the Web looking for ways to insert spam links in order to increase traffic to commercial websites.

To do their job they have to first figure out how to create an account at a site, and then use that account to post links. Step 1 is the reason you often have to perform a "Captcha" task or answer some obscure question while signing up. The trick to the second is to post something that looks legitimate so that moderators don't immediately ban them . They have traditionally not been very good at this, but they are getting much more subtle, using techniques like analyzing and transforming snippets of legitimate posts. They can be recognized because (a) their messages never have any real content and are often off-topic, and (b) they usually contain links. Not always, though, since they often attempt to accumulate a bit of reputation on the list before they spring their traps.

This is an arms race between the bots and the mods. You can help by reporting any suspicious posts.
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:29 PM   #5
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Please be specific. I am unaware of any remaining ones, but I seem to be the only one paying attention right now and sometimes I miss stuff. It is also possible that all the offending members have been banned but some of the messages or threads have been overlooked.

Please use the "Report" button on the lower left of the message.
I flagged one thread by user “migueljackson” but another is still up. Guess I assumed all would be removed. I’ll flag the other, “Do W123’s have door drains?”

EDIT- Having a problem. There’s no mechanism to flag from the mobile skin. Today it won’t let me exit the mobile skin using the “view full website” button. Worked fine yesterday. Odd...

EDIT- Updated from iOS 13.3 to 13.4. “View full website“ link now works again. Coincidence, maybe?
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Old 04-04-2020, 03:52 PM   #6
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I flagged one thread by user “migueljackson” but another is still up. Guess I assumed all would be removed. I’ll flag the other, “Do W123’s have door drains?”
[/I]
Thread deleted. Thanks.
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Old 04-04-2020, 04:07 PM   #7
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Thread deleted. Thanks.
The thanks belong to you and the other moderators who deal with the dark side of social media. Truly, thank you!

Late thought... another Social Knowledge site I frequent does not allow active links by new members until they have a fixed number of posts. Do we have something like that here?
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Old 04-04-2020, 04:19 PM   #8
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The thanks belong to you and the other moderators who deal with the dark side of social media. Truly, thank you!

Late thought... another Social Knowledge site I frequent does not allow active links by new members until they have a fixed number of posts. Do we have something like that here?
Dunno. Probably. Glad to help out around here, but my interest is bounded.

In any event, the current generation of bots tend to lay low for a period of time before starting to add links, for exactly the reason you suggest.
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Old 04-04-2020, 04:21 PM   #9
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Please use the "Report" button on the lower left of the message.
Thanks. I now know it's there.
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Old 04-04-2020, 04:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by avanti View Post
They are artificial intelligence agents that are always scouring the Web looking for ways to insert spam links in order to increase traffic to commercial websites.
To do their job they have to first figure out how to create an account at a site, and then use that account to post links. Step 1 is the reason you often have to perform a "Captcha" task or answer some obscure question while signing up. The trick to the second is to post something that looks legitimate so that moderators don't immediately ban them . They have traditionally not been very good at this, but they are getting much more subtle, using techniques like analyzing and transforming snippets of legitimate posts. They can be recognized because (a) their messages never have any real content and are often off-topic, and (b) they usually contain links. Not always, though, since they often attempt to accumulate a bit of reputation on the list before they spring their traps.
This is an arms race between the bots and the mods. You can help by reporting any suspicious posts.
I didn’t think getting through “Captcha” test was easy, amazing. I am certain there are many brains working on some kind of identity verifying schemes to limit abuses. Good to know about this reporting flag in the lower left corner.
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Old 04-04-2020, 04:59 PM   #11
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hbn7hj was most likely asking about nuisance bots but though I'd add that there are also good bots also like Googlebot that crawls websites and forum content to add to Google's search index.
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