Forum spam
2006-12-31 spam

Over at Toonbots, I have a forum, based on ancient but reliable Perl code. For many years, that forum has been a quiet backwater of the Net where I chat on various topics with those of my friends who enjoy that facet of my personality responsible for the engendering of Toonbots.

But lately, something extremely irritating has happened. The forum has become the target of forum spammers. Their spam rarely even formats correctly, since the forum code is so old and weird. But that doesn't stop three or four of them from posting every day, and I have to delete it all by hand, or relinquish the forum to utter uselessness.

Oddly, the wftk forum is utterly unaffected by all this. Since the trouble started when I started properly indexing the forum archives, I suspect the archives are acting as a Google magnet for various topics. But I'm not sure yet.

The modus operandi of forum spammers is different from real posters, according to the logs; typically the forum spammer hits the site for the first time in the forum archives, then posts within a few seconds. Real posters actually read the site first. So I could filter based on that behavior. But I'm going to study the issue for a while, see if I can detect any other useful patterns. It's a serious problem, and a growing one; email spamming is experiencing diminishing returns now, since fewer people read email thanks to spam. So forum spamming is a logical progression.


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